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House Legislation

Statement on Armenian Genocide to the International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee of The House International Relations Committee

September 14, 2000

I would like to thank my Chairman for calling this hearing.

The legacy of the Armenian Genocide and all genocides must be remembered so that the human tragedy of genocides, which has continued until the present will not be forgotten. It is important that the truth be told and not politicized.

As too many of us don't know, from 1915-1923 the Ottoman government had over one and a half million Armenians massacred and more than 500,000 survivors forcibly expelled from their historic homeland.

U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during this period, Henry Morgenthau Sr., in a statement at the time said when Turkish authorities gave the orders for the massive Armenian deportations, they were "merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and in their conversation with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact."

So horrific were the acts that the Ottoman government perpetrated on the Armenian people that Ambassador Morgenthau noted, "I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this, the great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915."

Well, as we all know, this was not the end of Genocide in the 20th Century as the Armenian massacres were used as a blueprint for Hitler's Third Reich. Recently the Rwandan and the Yugoslavian genocides used the same efficient methods in order to subjugate and obliterate an entire group of people.

Hitler's attitude established a directly historical connection between the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, demonstrating that the first genocide of the century was a precursor of worse to come in the century.

Hitler incredibly referred to the extermination of the Armenians as a laudable event, an example to emulate, and a historical model. As for the Nazi's genocide of the Jews, Gypsies, and Catholics and homosexuals, they even killed their own retarded children.

The Armenian Genocide has been called the forgotten genocide. But it is not the only forgotten genocide.

The Rwandan Genocide, in which an estimated one million people died was largely ignored by most of the world. And the United States could have prevented it and instead, for political reasons, chose to do nothing. In fact, we now know that the Clinton Administration actively fought to ensure that nothing would be done.

The same activism to "not be involved" occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 when the Uniterd Nations surrendered 30,000 Bosnian Muslims to the Serbian Army knowing that they would be slaughtered.

Crimes against humanity are being committed as we speak in Tibet, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo. And the world does nothing.

What right does any one of us have to ignore what happened to the Armenians?

As I look around this room of different ethnic groups, different religions, and different races, I'm reminded of the words attributed to Martin Niemoller .

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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