WASHINGTON—A broad spectrum of veteran and freshmen House members are adding their voices to the global call for truth and justice, as support for passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res. 154) continues to grow, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
A bipartisan cross-section of House Committee leaders have added their voices to the more than 45 supporters of the measure. Joining H. Res. 154 lead advocates Robert Dold (R-Ill.), Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), and Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) are the following:
Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Budget Committee Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission James McGovern (D-Mass.), Co-Chairs of the Hellenic Caucus Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), and Representatives Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Michael Honda (D-Calif.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), James Langevin (D-R.I.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Edwin Perlmutter (D-Col.), Jared Polis (D-Col.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), David Trott (R-Mich.), and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).
Armenian-American U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier offer personal accounts of the ravages of genocide
During a press conference held in conjunction with the introduction of H.Res. 154 last week, Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier offered powerful personal calls for U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide.
“I am of both Armenian and Assyrian descent,” said Eshoo. “I know the stories. I lost family in the genocide,” she said, as she went on to share her concerns about the ongoing horrors in the Middle East visited on Christian communities today. “History does repeat itself. Today, we are seeing the elimination of Christians across the Middle East. And so, history is repeating itself. The Armenian Genocide took place because Armenians were Christians—they had a mark on them. The Christians in the Middle East today are suffering at the hands of yet others who seek to exterminate them.”
Speier explained, “I am a proud Armenian American. I am also a pained Armenian American because our Congress has not seen fit to do the very least that we can do in recognizing the Armenian Genocide. This is the 100th anniversary. Certainly after 100 years we can recognize a fact and pass a resolution condemning the act.”
Sherman: ‘Genocide denial is not just the last step of a genocide, it is the first step in the next genocide’
Throughout the inaugural press conference and in statements issued thereafter, House members cited the importance of ending U.S. complicity in Turkey’s Armenian Genocide denial.
“This is a genocide that Senator Barack Obama recognized, that Senator Kerry recognized, that UN Ambassador, Ms. Power, recognized and wrote the book on. And it’s time for both the executive branch and legislative branch to do the same,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee senior member Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). “We need to show the government of Turkey that we cannot be cawed. That we cannot ignore history. Because genocide denial is not just the last step of a genocide, it is the first step in the next genocide.”
“I think it is important that the world community, that the United States, Turkey, acknowledge the atrocities that occurred—the genocide,” said Michigan Freshman Republican David Trott. “I am new to this Congress. I have only been here a few months, but it is hard for me to fathom why we are still debating and discussing this topic. We need to move forward with this resolution. I am a proud sponsor of it.”
Southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu remembered her meetings with 104-year-old Armenian Genocide survivor Joseph Manjikian, who has since passed away, but remains a steadfast reminder of the horrors of the past and the need to speak truthfully about that crime. “With the Armenian Genocide Centennial quickly approaching, we must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Armenian-American community and on the side of justice,” said Chu. “We will not give up until our country stands on the side of history.”
Calls for reaffirmation and justice continued after the press conference, with Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline sharing this statement with the ANCA: “I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution. Though a century has passed since the horrific period of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey continues to deny these historical facts. I will continue to work hard for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and properly honor the memories of the Armenian martyrs. Rhode Island is home to a thriving Armenian-American community and I am honored to be a strong voice for this community in Congress.”
Fellow Ocean State Congressman James Langevin noted, “A century has passed since more than 1 million Armenians lost their lives in a senseless campaign of violence, and yet the Armenian people worldwide are still waiting for universal acknowledgement of the genocide committed against them. I am proud to support the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution, and I will continue to back these efforts to honor the victims and give the Armenian community the support and peace of mind that they deserve.”
Costa: ‘The time is now!’
Central Valley, Calif. Congressman Costa countered detractors who would argue the timing of the resolution. “Next month will be the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide. Acknowledging this atrocity would finally allow a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity. … The time is now! Congress and the president should go on record acknowledging this atrocity once and for all,” he said.
H.Res. 154, spearheaded by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Dold, Schiff, and Valadao and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Pallone, reflects and reinforces previous U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide as a crime of genocide, citing the U.S. government’s May 28, 1951 written statement to the International Court of Justice regarding the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; President Ronald Reagan’s April 22, 1981 Proclamation; and congressional adoption of Armenian Genocide legislation in 1975 and 1984. The resolution calls on the president to work toward equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgment of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide, and a fair, just, and comprehensive international resolution of this crime against humanity.