CR: Armenian Genocide – Rep. Visclosky




of indiana

in the house of representatives

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in solemn memorial to the
estimated 1.5 million men, women, and children who lost their lives
during the Armenian Genocide. As in the past, I am pleased to join so
many distinguished House colleagues on both sides of the aisle in
ensuring that the horrors wrought upon the Armenian people are never
repeated. On April 24, 1915, over 200 religious, political, and
intellectual leaders of the Armenian community were brutally executed
by the Turkish government in Istanbul. Over the course of the next 8
years, this war of ethnic genocide against the Armenian community in
the Ottoman Empire took the lives of over half the world’s Armenian
population. Sadly, there are some people who still deny the very
existence of this period which saw the institutionalized slaughter of
the Armenian people and dismantling of Armenian culture. To those who
would question these events, I point to the numerous reports contained
in the U.S. National Archives detailing the process that
systematically decimated the Armenian population of the Ottoman
Empire. However, old records are too easily forgotten–and
dismissed. That is why we come together every year at this time: to
remember in words what some may wish to file away in archives. This
genocide did take place, and these lives were taken. That memory must
keep us forever vigilant in our efforts to prevent these atrocities
from ever happening again. I am proud to note that Armenian
immigrants found, in the United States, a country where their culture
could take root and thrive. Most Armenians in America are children or
grandchildren of the survivors, although there are still survivors
among us. In my district in Northwest Indiana, a vibrant
Armenian-American community has developed and strong ties to Armenia
continue to flourish. My predecessor in the House, the late Adam
Benjamin, was of Armenian heritage, and his distinguished service in
the House serves as an example to the entire Northwest Indiana
community. Over the years, members of the Armenian- American community
throughout the United States have contributed millions of dollars and
countless hours of their time to various Armenian causes. Of
particular note are Mrs. Vicki Hovanessian and her husband, Dr. Raffy
Hovanessian, residents of Indiana’s First Congressional District, who
have continually worked to improve the quality of life in Armenia, as
well as in Northwest Indiana. Three other Armenian-American families
in my congressional district, Dr. Aram and Mrs. Seta Semerdjian,
Dr. Heratch and Mrs. Sonya Doumanian, and Dr. Ara and Mrs. Rosy
Yeretsian, have also contributed greatly toward charitable works in
the United States and Armenia. Their efforts, together with hundreds
of other members of the Armenian-American community, have helped to
finance several important projects in Armenia, including the
construction of new schools, a mammography clinic, and a crucial
roadway connecting Armenia to Nagorno Karabagh. In the House, I have
tried to assist the efforts of my Armenian- American constituency by
continually supporting foreign aid to Armenia. This past year, with
my support, Armenia received $84 million in U.S. aid to assist
economic and military development. In addition, on April 16, 2004, I
joined several of my colleagues in signing the letter to President
Bush urging him to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian
Genocide. The Armenian people have a long and proud history. In the
fourth century, they became the first nation to embrace
Christianity. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by an
organization known as the Young Turk Committee, which allied with
Germany. Amid fighting in the Ottoman Empire’s eastern Anatolian
provinces, the historic heartland of the Christian Armenians, Ottoman
authorities ordered the deportation and execution of all Armenians in
the region. By the end of 1923, virtually the entire Armenian
population of Anatolia and western Armenia had either been killed or
deported. While it is important to keep the lessons of history in
mind, we must also remain committed to protecting Armenia from new and
more hostile aggressors. In the last decade, thousands of lives have
been lost and more than a million people displaced in the struggle
between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabagh. Even now, as we
rise to commemorate the accomplishments of the Armenian people and
mourn the tragedies they have suffered, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and other
countries continue to engage in a debilitating blockade of this free
nation. Consistently, I have testified before the Foreign Operations
Appropriations Subcommittee on the important issue of bringing peace
to a troubled area of the world. I continued my support for
maintaining the level of funding for the Southern Caucasus region of
the Independent States (IS), and of Armenia in particular. In
addition, on February 26, 2004, I joined several of my colleagues in
sending a letter to President Bush urging nim to ensure parity in
military assistance between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank my colleagues, Representatives Joe Knollenberg and
Frank Pallone, for organizing this special order to commemorate the
89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Their efforts will not only
help bring needed attention to this tragic period in world history,
but also serve to remind us of our duty to protect basic human rights
and freedoms around the world.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS