Pallone Condemns Revised UN Exhibit That Values Turkey’s Denial Over Victims of Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON–Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, went to the House floor last night to condemn a revised UN exhibit on the Rwandan genocide that does not classify the atrocities inflicted against Armenia’s as genocide. "We thank Congressman Pallone for speaking to his Congressional colleagues – and the American public – about Turkey’s pressure on the United Nations to water down the reference to the Armenian Genocide in the recently opened Rwanda Genocide exhibit," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We value his leadership and share his principled view that the international community’s efforts to prevent and punish genocide should be not reduced to the level acceptable to a Turkish government that is actively pursuing a campaign of genocide denial – both here in the United States and around the world." The New Jersey congressman gave the following statement. "Madam Speaker, what was supposed to be an important U.N. exhibit educating the world about the Rwandan genocide was turned into a farce thanks to the actions of the Turkish Government. "Three weeks ago, right before the exhibit was to open, the Turkish Government did what the Turkish Government often does—-denied historical facts and objected to the exhibit because it called the Armenian Genocide exactly that—genocide. "It was bad enough that this important exhibit documenting the Rwandan genocide was delayed by three weeks because Turkey continues to deny the past, but I was appalled when the exhibit was opened yesterday with one major revision. Gone was the citing of the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenia’s as genocide. Instead it was referred to as ‘mass killings’ in order to appease the Turkish government. "No serious historical dispute exists about the reality of the Armenian Genocide. Sadly, an intensive and well-financed effort by the Turkish government has succeeded in preventing the United States and now, the United Nations, from any formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This is the warped Turkish version of history and is not acceptable. The Turkish objection to this exhibit is the latest example of their genocide denial. It is absolutely ludicrous that an exhibit dedicated to the education and prevention of genocide would include Armenia as an example, use the definition of the term genocide — but not use the word genocide to describe the events. "This simply does not make any sense. How exactly are you educating the public about genocide when you refuse to call the first genocide of the 20th century by its name? The word genocide was actually created as a way to describe the barbaric crimes inflicted against the Armenia’s between 1915 and 1923. But now, the word cannot be used in an exhibit at the U.N. This is utterly ridiculous. Would you ever have an exhibit on Christianity without mentioning the birth of Christ? "The same type of absurdity has been used by President Bush during his annual statement commemorating the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Year after year, the Bush Administration continues to play word games by not calling evil by its proper name. "Historically, the U.S. policy has been to acknowledge the fact that the tragic events of the Armenian genocide occurred, but not to properly call the systematic massacre of 1.5 million Armenia’s as ‘genocide. "The United States and the international community must never allow crimes against humanity to pass without remembrance and condemnation. As a society, we cannot effectively work to end crimes against humanity without recognizing those that have previously occurred. "Madam Speaker, I don’t think that the United Nations response to genocide should be denigrated to a level acceptable to the Turkish government. It’s also about time that this administration started dictating a policy for Americans, not for a foreign government like Turkey. This lack of honesty, in my opinion, is simply not acceptable. "Thank you."

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