Monday, September 1, 2008

Congressional leadership marks April 24

First published in April 26, 2008 Armenian Reporter

House Speaker, Majority Leader stress importance of Genocide affirmation

WASHINGTON – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) addressed the annual congressional commemoration of the Armenian Genocide hosted by Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chairs Reps. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) and Joe Knollenberg (R.-Mich.) on the Capitol Hill on April 23.

Ms. Pelosi spoke of the urgency of addressing the Genocide “as long as genocides happen now – in Rwanda, Darfur, we must speak with one voice.”

“I carry in my briefcase the front page of the New York Times from the day the resolution was passed because it shows the survivors,” Ms. Pelosi said in a reference to the House Foreign Affairs Committee approval last October of House Resolution 106 affirming the Armenian Genocide.

Ms. Pelosi described the committee vote as “a human rights statement [that] almost 100 years ago something happened to the Armenians, and we are prepared to call it Genocide.”

Strong pressure from the Bush administration on behalf of the Turkish government has since stalled passage of the resolution by the full House of Representatives. Rep. Hoyer in turn stressed that “repetition [of genocide] is the child of denial: it’s not about what happened in 1915, it’s about what happens today. When you speak out for this resolution, you speak out for all the people today” who are suffering genocide.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), U.S.–Armenia Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC), and other Armenian groups helped organize the event attended by hundreds of supporters of Armenian Genocide affirmation. The commemoration featured speeches from more than a dozen lawmakers, as well as keynote addresses by Dr. Gregory Stanton of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Tatoul Markarian, NKR Representative Vardan Barseghian, and prayers led by Archbishops Oshagan Choloyan and Vicken Aykazian.

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