CR: Remembering the Armenian Genocide – Rep. Sherman




of california

in the house of representatives

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleagues tonight in somber
remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Early in the 20th Century, during
World War I and its aftermath, the Ottoman Empire attempted the
complete liquidation of the Armenian population of Eastern Anatolia.
We must come down to the House floor tonight not only to remember
this tragic event, but we must also proclaim that the Armenian Genocide
is an historical fact. There are many who deny that this first genocide
of the 20th Century actually took place.
The American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1919 was an
eyewitness. In his memoirs, he said, “When the Turkish authorities
gave the order for these deportations they were merely giving the death
warrant to an entire race. They understood this well and in their
conversations with me made no particular attempt to conceal this
He went on to describe what he saw at the Euphrates River. He said,
as our eyes and ears in the Ottoman Empire, “I have by no means told
the most terrible details, for a complete narration of the sadistic
orgies of which they, the Armenian men and women, are victims can never
be printed in an American publication. Whatever crimes the most
perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, whatever refinements
of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive,
became the daily misfortune of the Armenian people.”
We can never forget that 8 days before he invaded Poland, Adolf
Hitler turned to his inner circle and said, “Who today remembers the
extermination of the Armenians?” The impunity with which the Turkish
government acted in annihilating the Armenian people emboldened Adolf
Hitler and his inner circle to carry out the Holocaust of the Jewish
It is time for Turkey to acknowledge this genocide, because only in
that way can the Turkish government and its people rise above it. The
German government has been quite forthcoming in acknowledging the
Holocaust, and in doing so it has at least been respected by the
peoples of the world for its honesty. Turkey should follow that example
rather than trying to deny history.
It is also time–indeed it is far overdue–for our Congress to
recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Mr. Speaker, I again call on my colleagues to recognize the Armenian
Genocide and to urge my fellow Americans to remember this tragic event.