A handful of anti-impeachment protesters tried to hijack an Armenian community gathering tonight in Glendale, California organized by the ANCA Western Region to thank Congress and to mark the recent passage of two historic resolutions in the House and the Senate commemorating the Armenian Genocide – Turkey’s WWI-era mass extermination and exile of over 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.
What made the act that much more egregious was that descendants of Genocide survivors happened to be in the room, many of them elderly, who had waited for the passage of such a bill their entire lives and had come to the event to express their gratitude to all those who championed this cause over a period of decades.
While as Americans, we value our right to freedom of speech, today’s actions by a select few were designed to disrupt an event that had no connection to recent political divisions and disrespected the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Though asked to leave, the disrupters instead remained and continued to behave in an appalling manner which lacked any semblance of human decency.
H.Res.296 and S.Res.150, the identical standalone resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide, were introduced on a bipartisan basis by Members of Congress Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) in the House and Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the Senate. Despite the current political crisis and divisiveness in Washington DC, the House passed it by an overwhelming majority of 405-11, and the Senate passed it unanimously with the votes of members on both sides of the aisle.
This issue transcends partisan politics in its appeal to properly honor and acknowledge the 1.5 million lives lost during the genocide of a people whose voices have been silenced for nearly a century by successive Turkish dictatorships exerting their gag rule over the democratic process of the U.S.
Our democracy deserves better than the disgraceful behavior of those who tried to disrupt a non-partisan, non-political event meant to express unity and gratitude on a purely humanitarian issue, and we strongly condemn any attempt to hijack its message.
Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region
Board of Directors