Wednesday, October 10, 2007


President Bush has urged Congress today to reject a resolution on the genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Turks in 1915. The resolution which is supposed to be voted on today calls on the President "to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution."

Bush, of course, who probably never even heard of the Armenian Genocide until recently, doesn't want the US to go on record about it because he fears offending Turkey and losing its support for his war in Iraq.

This is intolerable.

Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director,Armenian National Committee of America, says,

"The adoption of the Armenian genocide resolution would represent a meaningful step toward reclaiming our right - as Americans - to speak openly and honestly about the first genocide of the 20th Century, free from the gag-rule that Turkey has, for far too long, imposed on the discussion of this human rights issue by our elected officials.

Turkey has outlawed mention of the Armenian genocide, prosecuting its own citizens under Article 301 of its newly revised Turkish Penal Code for speaking openly on this topic. Among those taken to court have been Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and noted Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated this January outside the offices of his newspaper in downtown Istanbul.

Turkey, apparently not satisfied with stifling debate in its own country, is seeking - using threats, blackmail, and intimidation - to export it efforts to silence discussion of the Armenian genocide to the United States. As Americans, we should never outsource our nation's foreign policy - or our morality - to Turkey or any other nation."

A similar resolution to the one being debated today passed the committee by a 40-7 vote two years ago, but it never reached the full House floor. House Republican leader John Boehner, noting the critical military and strategic alliance with Turkey, said bringing the resolution to the floor would be "totally irresponsible."

"Let the historians decide what happened 90 years ago," Boehner said in a written statement.

They already have.

The Armenian Genocide is said to be the second-most studied case of genocide.

Genocide cannot be hidden. It cannot be denied. It cannot be erased from history for political expediency.

Bush and those doing his dirty work today in Congress should be ashamed.

THIS JUST CAME IN: A U.S. House committee approved on Wednesday a resolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians genocide, brushing aside White House warnings that it would do "great harm" to ties with NATO ally Turkey, a key supporter in the Iraq war.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution 27-21. It now goes to the House floor, where Democratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic, and do not require the president's signature.

The following comes from the Armenian National Committee of America.


The Genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I represents a major tragedy of the modern age. In this the first Genocide of the 20th century, almost an entire nation was destroyed. The Armenian people were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly three thousand years. This annihilation was premeditated and planned to be carried out under the cover of war.

During the night of April 23-24, 1915, Armenian political, religious, educational, and intellectual leaders in Istanbul were arrested, deported to the interior, and mercilessly put to death. Next, the Turkish government ordered the deportation of the Armenian people to "relocation centers" - actually to the barren deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Armenians were driven out brutally from the length and breadth of the empire. Secrecy, surprise, deception, torture, dehumanization, rape and pillage were all a part of the process. The whole of Asia Minor was put in motion.

The greatest torment was reserved for the women and children, who were driven for months over mountains and deserts [see map], often dehumanized by being stripped naked and repeatedly preyed upon and abused. Intentionally deprived of food and water, they fell by the hundreds of thousands along the routes to the desert.

There were some survivors scattered throughout the Middle East and Transcaucasia. Thousands of them, refugees here and there, were to die of starvation, epidemics, and exposure. Even the memory of the nation was intended for obliteration. The former existence of Armenians in Turkey was denied. Maps and history were rewritten. Churches, schools, and cultural monuments were desecrated and misnamed. Small children, snatched from their parents, were renamed and farmed out to be raised as Turks. The Turks "annexed" ancestors of the area in ancient times to claim falsely, by such deception, that they inhabited this region from ancient days. A small remnant of the Armenian homeland remained devastated by war and populated largely by starving refugees, only to be subsequently overrun by the Bolshevik Red Army and incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades, until its breakup in 1990. The word " genocide" had not yet been coined. Nonetheless, at the time, many governmental spokesmen and statesmen decried the mass murder of the Armenians as crimes against humanity, and murder of a nation.

Reports of the atrocities gradually came out and were eventually disseminated the world over by newspapers, journals, and eyewitness accounts. In the United States a number of prominent leaders and organizations established fundraising drives for the remnants of the "Starving Armenians". In Europe the Allied Powers gave public notice that they would hold personally responsible all members of the Turkish government and others who had planned or participated in the massacres. Yet, within a few years, these same governments and statesmen turned away from the Armenians in total disregard of their pledges. Soon the Armenian genocide had become the "Forgotten Genocide".

In effect, the Turkish government had succeeded in its diabolical plan to exterminate the Armenian population from what is now Turkey. The failure of the international community to remember, or to honor their promises to punish the perpetrators, or to cause Turkey to indemnify the survivors helped convince Adolph Hitler some 20 years later to carry out a similar policy of extermination against the Jews and certain other non-Aryan populations of Europe.

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