State Department Historical Profile of Armenia Excludes Armenian Genocide

ANC Action Alert

The State Department website’s history profile of Armenia fails to make any mention of the Armenian Genocide. This glaring error represents a serious disservice to all those who turn to the State Department for an accurate understanding of Armenia and the surrounding region.

BACKGROUND

State Department Text

The relevant portion of the State Department’s website reads as follows:

Between the 4th and 19th centuries–Armenia was conquered and ruled by–among others–Persians–Byzantines–Arabs–Mongols–and Turks. For a brief period from 1918 to 1920–it was an independent republic. In late 1920–the communists came to power following an invasion of Armenia by the Red Army–and in 1922–Armenia became part of the Trans-Caucasian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1936–it became the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union on September 21–1991. (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5275.htm)

Library of Congress Description of the Armenian Genocide

The Library of Congress Country Study of Armenia estimates the number of Armenia’s killed during the Genocide as high as "2 million" and describes the Genocide as "a demographic disaster that shifted the center of the Armenian population from the heartland of historical Armenia." The relevant text in this section follows:

ARMENIA

A Country Study: Historical Background between Russia and Turkey–The Young Turks

Whatever the exact dimensions of the genocide–Armenia’s suffered a demographic disaster that shifted the center of the Armenian population from the heartland of historical Armenia to the relatively safer eastern regions held by the Russia’s. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/amtoc.html#am0019

What Can You Do

1) Fill out the State Department’s public commen’s form requesting an explanation and an immediate correction. Visit the following link and write your own letter or use the sample letter provided below.

http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_foreign.html

2) Leave a recorded message on the State Department’s public commen’s line at 202- 647-6575.

3) Continue to check this State Department website every week until this glaring error is corrected.

SAMPLE LETTER

The Hon. Margaret DeBardeleben Tutwiler

Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Public Inquiries and Opinions

Public Communication Division PA/PL/PC–Rm. 2206

US Department of State

Washington–DC 20520

Dear Under Secretary Tutwiler:

I am writing to share with you a glaring error in the State Department’s country profile of Armenia (Background Note: Armenia-http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5275.htm).

This brief description of Armenian history makes absolutely no mention of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923. Ottoman Turkey’s genocide of the Armenia’s–which exterminated fully two thirds of all Armenia’s and exiled a nation from its historic homeland of more than three thousand years–represents a major milestone in Armenian history. The Library of Congress Country Study of Armenia–which estimates the number of Armenia’s killed in the Armenian Genocide at up to two million–describes the Genocide as "a demographic disaster that shifted the center of the Armenian population from the heartland of historical Armenia."

The exclusion of the Armenian Genocide–a crime of such massive proportions and lasting impact upon the Armenian nation–represents a glaring historical mistake and a profound disservice to anyone who turns to the State Department for an accurate understanding of Armenia and the region.

Under normal circumstances–I might ascribe this exclusion to sloppy scholarship or irresponsible staff work. However–in light of the State Department’s shameful record of complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide–including formal opposition to Congressional efforts to commemorate the victims of this crime–it is clear to me that this Background Note represents yet another attempt by the State Department to cover up the Armenian Genocide for narrow reasons of political expediency.

Sadly–in adopting this shameful posture–the State Department is betraying America’s–and its own–once proud history of protesting the Armenian Genocide. Today’s State Department is turning its back on the core American values–compassion–truth–and justice–that once drove hundreds of thousands of Americans–leaders and laymen–to participate in the unprecedented relief effort for the Genocide’s survivors. This chapter in American history is thoroughly documented in the Department’s own archives as well as in "The Burning Tigris," the New York Times best-selling book by Peter Balakian.

In the interest of historical accuracy–I respectfully ask that you share with me the specific steps the State Department will take to 1) correct this very serious error and 2) to review this website for other errors of fact and bias. If you have any specific questions on this matter–please contact the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) at 202-775-1918 or anca@anca.org.

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