Providence–Human rights activists at Brown University Friday rallied to protest genocide denier Congressman Robert Wexler’s (D-FL-19) visit to the campus Hilell House during a parent’s weekend dinner where he was to address the crowd about foreign affairs and the Middle East, reported the Providence chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation.
Wexler, Co-chair of the Turkish Caucus, voted both in 2005 and 2007 against the Armenian Genocide resolution (H. Res. 316 & H. Res. 106) during the House Foreign Affairs Committee markups. He carefully avoided using the word genocide in describing what befell the Armenia’s from 1915-1923.
"Congressman Robert Wexler’s ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide needs to be stopped. His inability to call what happened to the Armenia’s what it was–genocide–shows us how vulnerable he is to outside foreign pressure," commented Levon Attarian, Central Executive member of the AYF.
Learning of his presence on the campus several hours before the event, the Providence "Vartanian" Chapter of the AYF mobilized and demonstrated their outrage at Wexler’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide. Several dozen Armenian youth and community activists stood in front of the auditorium to greet Congressman Wexler shouts of "Genocide Denial" and placards, which read “Wexler for Hire."
Wexler was clearly surprised and upset by the protesters, to the point where he did not speak or respond to the commen’s from the attendees as he entered the function hall.
Demonstrators also held posters in support of Ben Graber, candidate for the 19th District of Florida, and pro-human rights activist who has called upon Robert Wexler to end his denial of the Armenian Genocide. Following the House Committee vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution on October 10th, Graber issued a statement in support of the committee’s firm stance on human rights. Graber, who began an early start against Wexler, is seeking Wexler’s seat in 2008.
Melissa Danielian stated that "the AYF learned several hours earlier in the day of Wexler’s Providence appearance. It is expected that he will be met with similar receptions in other cites whenever he travels."
The AYF Eastern Region, along with other organizations, has planned a rally in Cong. Wexler’s district for January 12, 2008. A large number of human rights activists are expected to be in attendance to confront Wexler’s ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Below is the text of Dr. Graber’s statement:
Statement of Dr. Benjamin Graber regarding the House Foreign Affairs Committee vote that took place on October 10, 2007.
I would like to commend the 27 members of Congress on the Foreign Relations Committee for making a positive historic vote by recognizing the Armenian tragedy of 1915 as a true genocide. History teaches each generation. This first genocide of the twentieth century was carried out by an advanced, civilized nation, the Ottoman Empire,, using antiquated and barbaric actions. The fact that the world looked the other way gave future guidance to those despots who used it as an excuse for their own genocidal policies. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Milosevic, and now the Darfur genocide may not have occurred if the Armenian Genocide had not been tolerated by the world.
The first step to abolishing future genocides must begin with recognition and condemnation of these actions by the world. We cannot be responsible for what those who came before us did. We must learn from their misguidance, correct the problem and teach the next generation to know better. After all what counts most is what we do because we occupy this time in history right now.
Those who continue to deny the Armenian Genocide are thinking primitively and dangerously. They are the people who give encouragement to those in society who would dare to repeat this barbaric behavior. Threats of poor relations or retaliation for this action by those affected negatively by this outcome clearly demonstrates that they have not learned from history and may still be doomed to repeat it. Those who actually perpetrated the crime should have considered the long-term consequences of their actions. Hopefully, future generations will learn from this now.
If the United States of America will not lead on this issue, then who will? We are too strong a nation to compromise our principles in the face of threats by other nations and we must stand strong, together and be proud for doing the right thing. God Bless the Armenian People and all those who were victims of this atrocity. The whole world is watching.
Ben Graber, candidate for Congress Fl. dist .19