Sunday, October 21, 2007

Armenian genocide mustn't be forgotten

The Miami Herald, FL
Oct 13 2007

Armenian genocide mustn't be forgotten

Posted on Sat, Oct. 13, 2007

A divided U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved
House Resolution 106 condemning the Armenian genocide. Below are

The Armenian genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman
Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly two
million Armenians, of whom 1.5 million men, women, and children were
killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which
succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of
Armenians in their historic homeland.

- On May 24, 1915, the Allied powers -- England, France and Russia --
jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time
ever another government of committing ``a crime against humanity.''

- The post-World War I Turkish government indicted the top leaders
involved in the ''organization and execution'' of the Armenian
genocide and in the ``massacre and destruction of the Armenians.''

- As displayed in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler,
on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without
provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying ''[w]ho, after
all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?'' and set the
stage for the Holocaust.

- Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term ''genocide'' in 1944, and who
was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, invoked the Armenian case as a
definitive example of genocide.

- In 1948, the U.N. War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian
genocide 'precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern
term `crimes against humanity' is intended to cover'' as a precedent
for the Nuremberg tribunals.

- The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent federal agency,
unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum would include the Armenian genocide and has since
done so.

- On June 5, 1996, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment
to House Bill 3540 to reduce aid to Turkey by $3 million until the
Turkish government acknowledged the Armenian genocide and took steps
to honor the memory of its victims.

- President Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: ``On this day, we pause
in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th
century, the annihilation of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through
forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.''

- Despite the international recognition and affirmation of the
Armenian genocide, the failure of the domestic and international
authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian genocide is
a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the
future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future

- The House of Representatives calls upon the president to ensure
that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate
understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human
rights, ethnic cleansing and genocide documented in the United States
record relating to the Armenian genocide and the consequences of the
failure to realize a just resolution;

- And calls upon the president in [his] annual message commemorating
the Armenian genocide to accurately characterize the systematic and
deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide.

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