CR: Now’s the Time to Recognize the Armenian Genocide – Rep. Conyers

[Congressional Record: April 28, 2004 (House)]
[Page H2451-H2452]
The Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, tonight I rise to remind the world that the
24th of April marked the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a
systematic and deliberate campaign of genocide of the Ottoman Empire.
Also, it marked yet another year with the U.S. formally recognizing the
atrocities that occurred. Considering how well documented the genocide
is in the U.S. archives and through an overwhelming body of first-hand,
governmental, and diplomatic evidence this is nothing less than a
disgrace. I also rise to reaffirm my support for the adoption of the
Genocide Resolution H. Res. 193. The purpose of this legislation is
prevent future genocides by stressing the importance of remembering and
learning the lessons of past crimes against humanity, including the
Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides
in hopes of preventing future atrocities. In addition, this resolution
strengthen America’s commitment to the universal values of the Genocide
Convention and asks the United States to commemorate the 15th
anniversary of the Genocide Convention. Support for this legislation is
widespread with a diverse coalition of over 100 ethnic, religious,
civil, and human rights organizations calling for its passage.
As Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, it was an honor
to be instrumental in preparing the report which gained unanimous
approval at the committee level. The report described the Armenian
Genocide in the following terms: “Beginning in 1915, the Islamic
Turkish state of the Ottoman Empire sought to end the collective
existence of the Christian Armenian population. From 1915 through 1918,
during World War I, the Ottoman Empire subjected the Armenian people to
deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and
starvation. The atrocities were renewed between 1920 and 1923. It is
estimated that one and a half million Armenians were killed out of over
two million Armenians who had lived in the Ottoman Empire. It should be
noted that these activities ceased with the institution of the new
Republic of Turkey in October, 1923.” This past March, I signed onto a
bipartisan letter to Speaker Hastert asking to bring H. Res. 193 to
vote but we have not yet been given the opportunity to vote on this
important legislation. Today, also marks the day of the Armenian
Genocide Observance on Capital Hill and I join over 110 House and
Senate Members who have agreed to co-host this observance.
The Armenian Genocide is fully documented in U.S. history. In a July
24, 1915 cable, American Consul Davis noted that, “I do not believe
there has ever been a massacre in the history of the world so general
and thorough as that which is now being perpetrated in this region or
that a more fiendish, diabolical scheme has ever been conceived by the
mind of man. What the order is officially and nominally to exile the
Armenians from these Vilayets may mislead the outside world for a time,
but the measure is nothing but a massacre of the most atrocious nature.
It would be that even if all the people had allowed to perish on the
road. As a greater part of them,

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however, have been actually murdered and as there is no doubt that this
was done by order of the Government, there can be no pretense that the
measure is anything else but a general massacre.”
Now more than ever as the world is gripped by unrest and terrorism,
the memory of the Genocide underscores our responsibility to help
convey our cherished tradition of respect for fundamental human rights
and opposition to mass slaughter. We owe it to the victims of the
Genocide to acknowledge what happened and to teach our students and
children about their suffering, so that we can fulfill our obligation
to ensure that genocide will never happen again. Our future generation
should be able to say, “I learned, I acknowledge, and I will work to
prevent it from happening again.”