[Congressional Record: April 20, 2004 (Extensions)]
>From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 89TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
HON. MICHAEL R. McNULTY
of new york
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Mr. McNULTY. Mr. Speaker, I join today with many of my colleagues in
remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide. April 24th will be
the 89th anniversary of this human tragedy.
From 1915 to 1923, the world witnessed the first genocide of the 20th
century. This was clearly one of the world’s greatest tragedies–the
deliberate and systematic Ottoman annihilation of 1.5 million Armenian
men, women, and children. Furthermore, another 500,000 refugees fled
and escaped to various points around the world–effectively eliminating
the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.
From these ashes arose hope and promise in 1991–and I was blessed to
see it. I was one of the four international observers from the United
States Congress to monitor Armenia’s independence referendum. I went to
the communities in the northern part of Armenia, and I watched in awe
as 95 percent of the people over the age of 18 went out and voted.
The Armenian people had been denied freedom for so many years and,
clearly, they were very excited about this new opportunity. Almost no
one stayed home. They were all out in the streets going to the polling
places. I watched in amazement as people stood in line for hours to get
into these small polling places and vote.
Then, after they voted, the other interesting thing was that they did
not go home. They had brought covered dishes with them, and all of
these polling places had little banquets afterward to celebrate what
had just happened.
What a great thrill it was to join them the next day in the streets
of Yerevan when they were celebrating their great victory. Ninety-eight
percent of the people who voted cast their ballots in favor of
independence. It was a wonderful experience to be there with them when
they danced and sang and shouted, “Ketse azat ankakh Hayastan”–long
live free and independent Armenia! That should be the cry of freedom-
loving people everywhere.