We welcome President Joe Biden’s statement commemorating the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Federal-level acknowledgement by the United States of the crime of genocide carries with it serious responsibilities, including profound moral and practical treaty obligations. For far too long, successive administrations have used verbal gymnastics to avoid the term, genocide, and allowed their silence to be weaponized by the Turkish government to contest their criminal past.
The Armenian community in the United States has fought long and hard, through sound scholarship and effective political activism by the Armenian National Committee, to shine the light on the truth and overcome a heavily financed Turkish propaganda machine. Within a matter of two short years, the US Congress has reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide, the Library of Congress has changed it categorization from “Armenian massacres” to “Armenian genocide,” and now the US President puts the final nail in the coffin of denial. The United States must now translate the President’s declaration into sustained policy initiatives aimed at ending Turkey’s obstruction of justice and engaging with Turks and Armenians toward an enduring regional peace based upon a truthful, fair, and comprehensive resolution of the Armenian Genocide.
Now left isolated, the Turkish government must end its revisionist campaign, acknowledge the monumental crime committed against the Armenian people and begin atonement. Acknowledgement, remorse and reparations are all necessary so that our peoples can finally move forward in peace with dignity and justice.
Central Committee, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Eastern United States (ARF)
Central Executive, Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Eastern United States (AYF-YOARF)
Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.
Of those who survived, most were forced to find new homes and new lives around the world, including in the United States. With strength and resilience, the Armenian people survived and rebuilt their community. Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.
Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security. Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us pursue healing and reconciliation for all the people of the world.
The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.