Floor Statement Recognizing the 91st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
MR REED: Mr. President, on behalf of the Armenian population of Rhode Island and Armenians around the world, I want to recognize the 91st anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Ninety-one years ago today, April 24, the Young Turk leaders of the Ottoman Empire summoned and executed over 200 Armenian community leaders. By 1923, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were murdered, and another one half million were exiled, affecting the lives of every Armenian in Asia Minor. Author John Minassian, a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide, tells of his experience. These fine people were now being made into refugees only because they had clung to their ancient beliefs and the faith of their ancestors. They marched proudly under a yoke of hatred, prejudice and bigotry, their morale high, their spirit as yet unbroken. They knew that their only crime' was being Armenian.'' The Armenian genocide was condemned at the time by representatives of the British, French, Russian, German, and Austrian Governments, both foes and allies of the Ottoman Empire. Today, as a cosponsor of S. Res. 320, I call 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 record of the United States relating to the Armenian genocide. Armenian soldiers have supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the Polish-led multinational division in south-central Iraq. Working as truck drivers, bomb detonators, and doctors, Armenia has not allowed others to be left helpless as they were nearly a century ago. The United States is proud to have Armenia as an ally in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Iraq. So as history does not repeat itself, we must study and remember the events of our past. In instances such as the Armenian genocide, all nations must educate their youth in the hatred, the wrongdoing, and the oppression to deter future atrocities against humanity. Not more that two decades after the Armenian genocide, Hitler said to his generals on the eve of sending his death squads into Poland, Go, kill without mercy ..... who today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians.'' We remember the Armenians. Menk panav chenk mornar. We will never forget.