WILMINGTON, Del.–The City Council of Wilmington, Del. on August 23 voted unanimously to call on Delaware Congressional Representative Michael Castle (D-DE) to support the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, reported the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region.
Introduced by Councilman Samuel Prado, representing the City of Wilmington’s fifth district, the powerfully worded resolution was presented and voted upon with no debate. The resolution, which cites the history of the Armenian Genocide and urges cosponsorship of H. Res. 106, also urges the "Turkish Government to accept responsibility for this tragic event in world history."
"We commend Councilman Prado for working within the State of Delaware to urge Representative Castle to sign on to H. Res. 106," stated ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian. "The Armenian Community of Delaware, and Armenia’s throughout the nation welcomes this initiative and hope that the action taken in Wilmington will build on the already majority support for the initiative."
Prado also issued a proclamation honoring the ANCA for fostering public awareness for Armenian Genocide recognition and its work in support of self-determination for the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Birazian accepted in the proclamation on behalf of the ANCA, along with ANC of PA Chairman, Dr. Ara Chalian, and ANC Delaware activist Mike Kalajian. Each spoke before the overflow crowd of over 250 community citizens in attendance about the history of the Armenian Genocide, and urged Delaware Congressman Mike Castle to sign on the resolution.
In a strong and moving statement read at the City Council meeting, Kalajian stated, "here we are now, 92 years and 10,000 miles away, living in the relative safety of the state of Delaware in this great country America. Why should we care what happened nearly a century ago and so far away? Because apathy bears acceptance, and we cannot condone a horror such as this… We can not, and will not, accept that any government has the right to exterminate any segment of its innocent citizenry for any reason, not for the color of their skin, not for their religious or political beliefs, and not for their race." Kalajian was instrumental earlier this year in working with State Representative John A. Kowalko (D-25) who introduced a resolution in the Delaware General Assembly in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution was adopted by voice vote with no opposition on April 5.
Prado, son of Jesus Prado, and a lifelong resident of the City of Wilmington was elected to represent the Wilmington’s 5th District in 1984. Samuel was previously employed by the AIG Life Insurance company in the area of customer service. He attended Salesianum Catholic High School. He is a 1999 graduate of the University of Delaware and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. Following passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution, Prado explained his reasons for introducing the legislation, stating: "As someone who has studied history, I came across the subject of the Armenian Genocide in reading about World War I. I found this event to be not only tragic but also very telling about the evil that fellow man can inflict on others. What I found particularly appalling however is the present-day government of Turkey continued denial of genocide and the political motivations behind it. I am saddened that the United States will not admit that Turkey did this for fear of upsetting its political alliance with the Turkish State. The reality is that Turkey needs to own up to what it did the Armenia’s. And just as Germany had to pay reparations to the Jews, Turkey in the end, will have to do the same for the Armenia’s."
"Whether that is through financial compensation or returning land that was violently taken from Armenia, Turkey will have to do either in order to rectify this historical injustice. I find it equally appalling the Turkey maintains a blockade on Armenia and continues to mistreat the small surviving Armenian community in Anatolia. This also applies to its treatment of the Greeks and Assyrians. People in the United States need to realize that this so-called ally of the US has committed atrocities against its Christian inhabitants and ironically, anti-US sentiment in Turkey is higher than in Iran and many other Muslim countries. Even though I’m just a City Councilman, I will do my part to getting the word out about this evil event with the hope that it will never happen again. I sincerely hope that Rep. Mike Castle does the right thing and votes for House Resolution 106 to recognize the Armenian Genocide."
Later that evening, ANC of PA Chairman, Dr. Chalian was interviewed live on Horizon Armenian Television and shared with the viewers what had happened that evening: "Working with city councils is an innovative way to urge members of Congress to take action on the Armenian Genocide Resolution," commented Chalian. "We are so grateful for Councilman Prado’s initiative on this matter."