CR: Observing the Armenian Genocide – Rep. Holt




of new jersey

in the house of representatives

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, April 24, 2004 marked the 89th anniversary of
one of the most harrowing events in modern day history–the beginning
of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian community is too familiar with
the details of this tragedy. They know well the accounts of Armenian
leaders, writers and professionals in Constantinople that were rounded
up, deported and killed; the accounts of men, women and children were
driven into the desert between Terablus and Derzor to die of
starvation, disease and exposure; and the accounts of families that
were burned alive in wooden houses or chained together and drowned in
Lake Van.
Unfortunately, few outside of the Armenian community know of the
Armenian Genocide–

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one of the most awful events in modern history. Many are not aware that
Ottoman officials expelled millions of Armenians from the homelands
they had inhabited for over 2,500 years. They are not aware that
Ottoman officials attempted to exterminate the Armenian race and the
precedent this event set for the genocides that followed. It is
distressing that horrors of this magnitude have largely been forgotten.
Even more disturbing are the governments, institutions, scholars, and
individuals who deny the enormity of these crimes against humanity. It
is inconceivable that individuals and governments continue to ignore
the substantial evidence–including numerous survivor accounts,
photodocumentaries, and official documents in the archives of the
United States, Britain, France, Austria, and the Vatican–that prove
these atrocities took place. It is also frustrating that some
rationalize these crimes or refuse to recognize this premeditated
ethnic cleansing as genocide.
The international community must deal honestly with this senseless
genocide. World leaders must rise above indifference and the political
considerations that they have cowered behind. They must unequivocally
acknowledge the murders of one and a half million Armenians that began
in 1915 for what it is–genocide. They must use their position to
reveal the truth and bring attention to this tragedy that has been
overlooked and brushed aside for too long.
We all want to forget these horrific tragedies in our history and
bury them in the past. However, understanding the immeasurable wrongs
the Armenian people endured–and the mass scale on which they
occurred–is vital to grasping the impact these events continue to have
on the stability of the region. It is only through the painful process
of acknowledging and discussing these horrific events that we can
prevent similar iniquity in the future.
We owe full recognition and acceptance of these crimes to the one and
half million victims of the Armenian Genocide. Anything less is an
insult to their memory.