ANC-Massachusetts Meets with Senate Candidate

Representatives of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Massachusetts met recently with Congressman Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), the candidate in the Dec. 8 Special Election for the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy. They discussed how to inform voters about the congressman’s many years of support on issues of concern to the Armenian community including vocal support for justice for the Armenian Genocide and for U.S. aid to Armenia and Karabakh.

(L to R) Kaligian, Congressman Capuano, Boghossian, and Nazarian.
(L to R) Kaligian, Congressman Capuano, Boghossian, and Nazarian.

During the meeting, ANC representatives Dikran Kaligian, Ara Nazarian, and Laura Boghosian discussed the Armenian community’s outrage at aspects of the Armenia-Turkey protocols including the establishment of a historical commission to look at 1915 and the ratification of the existing borders as well as the repeated attempts by Turkey to link the protocols to the surrender of land by the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh to Azerbaijan.

There was lengthy discussion of the extraordinary pressure applied by the State Department on Armenia to accept a one-sided agreement while Turkey did not have to make serious concessions. This was linked to the years of opposition to recognition of the genocide and other actions showing a demonstrable tilt towards Turkey that disqualifies the State Department from acting as an honest broker in Armenia-Turkey negotiations. The ANC stressed that the next Senator from Massachusetts must speak out against such bias and noted that Capuano has not shied away from criticizing the state in defense of human rights and justice.

Congressman Capuano expressed his desire to assist in the economic development of Armenia and improve the standard of living of its population. While he noted that he has always strongly advocated negotiations to resolve conflicts between countries, he shared the ANC’s concern with any commission that might raise doubt on the historical veracity of the Armenian Genocide.

Capuano has represented the Massachusetts Eighth Congressional District since 1999. He has worked actively on human rights issues including both the Armenian Genocide and the Darfur Genocide and is a member of both the Congressional Armenian Caucus and the Sudan Caucus. He voted against the congressional resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq as well as against the Patriot Act.


  1. Capuano offers lip service fooling Massachusetts Armenian National Committee

    As an American and a resident of Massachusetts’s 8th Congressional District, I attended a public forum given by U.S. Representative Michael Capuano on February 24, 2007 at Somerville City Hall.   The event was videotaped, and the audience of about 90 people was allowed to ask questions.

    After publicly thanking Mr. Capuano for co-sponsoring the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.R. 106), I asked if there was more he could do to work for its passage.

    “Nothing”, he replied.

    Capuano did say that the Genocide was a fact and that he did not know why Turkey would not acknowledge it.  He stated, however, that he had “no problem with Turkey” and that it was an important ally in a strategic location.

    I reminded him that Turkey had not allowed U.S. troops to transit its territory at the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

    Capuano countered that that was a very small and unimportant example.  Germany, he added, had not sent troops to Iraq, yet was a good ally.

    After I remarked that, “Genocide denied is genocide repeated,” Capuano asked, “Well, so?”

    When the forum ended and Capuano was leaving, I approached him and shook his hand.  If Germany denied the Holocaust, I asked, “would you do business with it?”  He said, “Yes” – repeating it twice for emphasis.

    Capuano clearly pays no more than lip service to Armenian-American issues, and his unqualified support for Turkey is disturbing.  I question whether he cares that his district – previously represented in Congress by J.F.K., Tip O’Neil, and Joe Kennedy – is and has long been home to many thousands of Armenian-Americans.

    I suspect that many other Congressmen and elected officials are, like Capuano, fooling their Armenian constituents by doing little more than occasionally giving a speech on April 24 and co-sponsoring a Genocide resolution. With rare exceptions, they will not expend any political capital whatsoever, or make any real effort for us.

    To the readers of the Armenian Weekly, I would ask that you stop Capuano from getting away with paying mere lip service to Armenian-American issues?

    (P.S. Capuano’s response to this letter follows.)

    Berge Jololian

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter submitted by one of my constituents. I have actively supported the Armenian Genocide Resolution since being elected to Congress and am hopeful that this year the U.S. House of Representatives will have an opportunity to record U.S. indignation at such a sad and shocking historic tragedy.

    Additionally, I have traveled to Armenia to learn more about its history and culture, and have met with many groups and individuals over the years to talk about issues important to the Armenian

    I have also traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh and have brought the Armenian government’s position on this territory to the President of Azerbaijan. There are persisting tensions between Armenia and
    Azerbaijan and I believe those tensions cannot be resolved without engaging both parties.

    I understand that recognition of the genocide remains a controversial issue in some circles and among many Turkish citizens.  The Turkish government has suggested that passage of the Armenian
    Genocide Resolution will harm relations between the U.S. and Turkey and could jeopardize the cooperation our nations have enjoyed as allies. I do believe we must maintain a strong and respectful dialogue with Turkey. Turkey’s cooperation will be essential if Iraq is to be stable after U.S. troops are withdrawn.

    In no way does my commitment to cooperation with the Turks diminish my commitment to the Armenian community. I firmly believe that we must correct historical inaccuracies and properly record the U.S. position on the Armenian Genocide while we continue to work with the democratic
    government of Turkey.

    I regret if any of my comments during this particular community meeting were misinterpreted or misunderstood. Genocide is never acceptable and genocide or Holocaust denial is contemptible. We must never forget any historic genocide and we must strive to prevent it from happening wherever we can. I am working diligently to end the atrocities in Darfur, a cause to which so many Armenian-Americans have so generously contributed.

    I thank you for the opportunity to express my views and I look forward to working with the community in the future.

    Very truly yours,
    Michael E. Capuano
    Member of Congress

  3. Mr. Jololian’s bravely confronting Capuano brought to light Capuano’s true feelings – at least at that time though probably now too – namely, Capuano gives no more than “lip service” (to use Jololian’s phrase) to Armenian American issues.
    Let me also remind readers that during the long and hard-fought battle to have the Armenian Heritage Park constructed on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, Capuano was no help whatsoever (and neither was the late Senator Kennedy).  Capuano even told the Boston Globe that he thought it was somehow unfair of Armenians to get a spot on the Greenway.  How’s that for being “friendly” to Armenians?
    Keep in mind that the ostensible reason was that no other ethnic group was to have a place on the Greenway (not true at all) and that if the Armenian Park’s plaque were to “memorialize” the genocide victims this would somehow violate the rules of the Greenway (also not true at all).
    If you wish to read more about this sad chapter of lies uttered by Capuano and other ostensible “friends” of Armenians, please read the following investigative piece here:  (click, or cut and paste this URL)
    By the way, the most vociferous opponent, if you read the above article about the Armenian Park, was one “Peter Meade,” a top member of the genocide-denying Anti-Defamation League.

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