09/23/2014: Issued a statement condemning the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Church at Der Zor, Syria: 'The reported destruction by ISIL of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, Syria is yet another example of the sickening barbarity that has terrorized millions across Iraq and Syria. The fact that the church was dedicated to those lost in the genocide is both especially poignant, and a chilling foreshadowing of how ISIL would treat Syria?s Christians if it were to further expand their territorial gains. We need to support the international coalition that is currently engaging in strikes to help the people of Syria and Iraq rid themselves of this cancer.' http://asbarez.com/127192/members-of-congress-express-outrage-over-der-zor-destruction/
08/13/2014 - Issued a statement condemning Azerbaijan aggression: 'For two decades, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have lived with constant threats and sniper fire from Azerbaijan, which seeks to reassert control over the overwhelmingly Armenian population of the region. Last week, Azeri forces again attacked across the Line of Contact, resulting in casualties on both sides. This latest resort to violence must be condemned in the strongest terms, and America should call upon the Azeri government to withdraw its forces and renounce the use of snipers, especially against civilians, and all American military assistance should be suspended until Azerbaijan does so.'
'Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev plan to meet starting tomorrow, but if their talks are to have any chance of bearing fruit, President Aliyev is going to adopt a sharply different tone from his remarks of late, when he asserted that Azerbaijan had the means to destroy ?any facility in Nagorno-Karabakh? and again trumpeted his country?s military prowess.'
'Since breaking free of a regime that encouraged violence and pogroms against its Armenian Christian citizens, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have sought to build democracy and a market economy at home. Baku has responded with an oil-boom funded military build-up and a campaign of bellicose rhetoric and has so imbued its citizens with blood lust against Armenians, that an Azeri army captain who beheaded a sleeping Armenian colleague during a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise was treated as a hero and promoted to major after his transfer from a Hungarian prison in 2012. Now is the time for the Minsk Group to assert itself in this long-running and increasingly dangerous dispute. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to determine their own future, free from Azeri threats and violence, and they also have the right to go about their lives without fear of being shot in the back by a sniper.'
07/08/14 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record congratulating Republic of Armenia Ambassador Tatoul Markarian - 'Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say a bittersweet farewell to Tatoul Markarian, Armenia's long-serving Ambassador to the United States and a man with whom I have had the pleasure of working for much of the past decade, since his appointment as Ambassador to the United States in March 2005.
The last nine years have been challenging ones for Armenia. Turkey and Azerbaijan have continued their campaign to isolate Armenia diplomatically and economically, even as the country has worked to move forward on the path to full democracy, while also seeking to develop its economy and bring needed services and opportunity to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. I have been proud to work with Ambassador Markarian and his team at the embassy on these and many other challenging issues, including recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States Congress, and on behalf of the tens of thousands of Armenian-Americans in my district, I wish him all the best as he takes up his position in Brussels as Armenia's Ambassador to the European Union.
Prior to taking up his post in Washington, Ambassador Markarian served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia since June 2000. In that capacity, his responsibilities included the Ministry's Departments of Politico-Military Affairs; International Organizations; CIS Countries; and Asia-Pacific and Africa. He was also the Armenian coordinator for the U.S.-Armenia Strategic Dialogue as well as the NATO-Armenia Political-Military Dialogue. In 2002-2004, Ambassador Markarian was also Special Representative of the President of Armenia for Nagorno Karabakh negotiations. In 1999-2000, he served as Advisor to Foreign Minister.
The United States has had a great friend in Ambassador Markarian and the U.S.-Armenian relationship has been greatly strengthened by his work here.'
06/30/2014: Traveled to Baku, Georgia and Moldova as part of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he participated in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and voted in support of three measures advanced by the Armenia delegates. Two of the three measures focused on the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East and the third supported self-determination for the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Following the votes, Rep. Schiff stated: 'Historic Christian communities in Syria and now Iraq are under increasing threat of violence and displacement by radical Islamic terrorists. The international community must do all it can to bring an end to the violence and protect these vulnerable minority populations. I was proud to be present at the OSCE parliamentary assembly and support Armenia?s amendments.' http://asbarez.com/124550/rep-schiff-votes-in-support-of-armenias-amendments-on-syria-at-osce-meeting-in-baku/
05/20/14 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Hagop Jack Manjikian and Knar Rita Manjikian for the books they have published on the Armenian Genocide. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923, but the statistics only tell part of the story. The first person accounts of the Genocide published by the Manjikians put a human face on the violence and suffering experienced by the Armenians, as well as their unflagging will to survive.
``The Fatal Night'' (Volume 2)--Mikayel Shamtanchian was among the hundreds of Armenian intellectuals rounded up on the night of April 24, 1915, and deported to the interior of Turkey, where the Turkish genocide of Armenians began. The author beat the odds and survived the first genocide of the 20th century. His memoir, The Fatal Night, is a detailed account of the extermination of Turkey's Armenian cultural and civic leadership in 1915. Shamtanchian recorded the fates of the innocent Armenian luminaries who perished in Anatolia--the echoes of ``Lord, Have Mercy,'' the last hymn sung by the Armenian priest and music ethnologist Komitas and a throng of exiles held in a Turkish military fort, and the pangs of authors Daniel Varuzhan and Sevak as they were slaughtered in the field of death called Ayash. The book provides a partial list of the Armenian intellectuals, civic leaders and priests who were martyred during the Genocide.
``Death March'' (Volume 3)--Shahen Derderian was barely eight years old when the Ottoman Turkish government deported his family, along with the entire Armenian community of his native Sebastia (now Sivas). The uprooting was part of an elaborate Turkish plan to exterminate the Armenian population of Anatolia. In the ensuing forced marches, the Sebastia caravan--one among countless others--was subjected by the Turkish police and hired criminals to a systematic spree of murder, robbery, rape, and death by starvation and disease. Young Shahen Derderian survived the carnage through sheer miracle. In Death March, he tells a harrowing story of dehumanization and loss, whose enormity would eventually be matched only by the Armenian survivors' spirit of renewal.
``The Crime of the Ages'' (Volume 4)--In 1919 Sebuh Aguni chronicled the large-scale plunder, deportations, and massacres that were systematically perpetrated by the Turkish government in its effort to exterminate the Armenian population of Turkey. The Crime of the Ages--the first English translation of Aguni's study--is an invaluable work of historiography as it encompasses not only firsthand victim accounts of the Turkish atrocities, but a wealth of evidential information culled from Turkish, European, and American official sources. Brimming with the eloquent, vivid narrative of a journalist and survivor, The Crime of the Ages portrays, in prodigious documentary detail, one of history's most heinous crimes, the Genocide of the Armenians.
``Defying Fate'' (Volume 5)--For the fifth volume of the Genocide Library, we chose the memoirs of Mr. and Mrs. Aram and Dirouhi Avedian, both of whom were survivors of the Genocide of Armenians by the Turks. Aram Avedian's writing consisted of a small book of handwritten notes titled ``The dark days I've lived.'' Dirouhi Avedian's memoirs comprised a relatively longer, though still compact, handwritten diary titled ``My life.'' Originally written in Armenian and translated to English, their memoirs reveal a childhood of sorrow and anguish as they relate how they lost their families and how they survived thanks to the kindness of strangers. Their infrangible faithfulness toward their cultural identity leads them to risk their lives and escape their circumstances. Amidst the tragedy, a happy ending emerges.
``Our Cross'' (Volume 6)--Our Cross is a collection of autobiographical short stories about survivors of Mets Yeghern, the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians. M. Salpi (Aram Sahakian) was a medical officer in the Turkish army during the First World War. In the course of his service, he met many Armenian soldiers and officers who recounted to him the plight of their families following the deportations and massacres of their communities by the Turkish government. After his capture by the British, Sahakian was appointed resident doctor at an Armenian refugee camp in Port Said, Egypt. Here, as well as during his sojourns in Syria and Lebanon, he met numerous Genocide survivors who struggled to rebuild their lives. Sahakian found their experiences at turns heartbreaking and inspiring, and went on to portray them in his writings. Complementing the laser-sharp observations of a man of science with the compassion and sensitivity of someone who himself had walked the path of devastation, Sahakian's stories pulsate with unforgettable images and characters, each a microcosm of a nation's cataclysm but also its irrepressible will to endure.
I hereby ask all Members to join me in honoring Hagop Jack Manjikian and Knar Rita Manjikian for their efforts to keep the memories of those who experienced the Armenian Genocide alive.
05/13/2014 - As part of a Congressional Delegation to the Middle East and Asia focused on terrorism, homeland security and the war in Syria, Rep. Schiff had separate meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and other Turkish high government officials. The Congressman discussed the imperative of Armenian Genocide recognition, as well as the recent attacks on Kessab and the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh crisis. http://asbarez.com/122938/schiff-presses-erdogan-gul-on-genocide-kessab-at-meeting-in-ankara/
04/09/14 - Offers remarks on the House floor in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide: 'An open letter to the Turkish people:
Today, I write to you on an issue of great importance to both our nations. It is on a subject that many of you, especially the younger generation, may know little about because it concerns a chapter of world history that your government has expended enormous efforts to conceal.
Turkey has been at the center of human civilization from Neolithic times to the present, and your arts, culture, and science have enriched the world. But interwoven with all of Turkey's remarkable achievements is a dark chapter that too many of today's Turks know little or nothing about.
Were you aware that your grandparents and great-grandparents had many Armenian neighbors and friends -- that 20 percent of the population of today's Istanbul was Armenian ? Did you know that the Armenians were well integrated into Turkish society as celebrated intellects, artists, craftsmen, and community leaders? Have you ever wondered what happened to the Armenians? Have you ever asked your parents and grandparents how such a large, industrious, and prosperous people largely vanished from your midst? Do you know why your government goes to such lengths to conceal this part of your history?
Let me tell you a part of their story. The rest you must find out for yourselves.
Ninety-nine years ago this month, in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turk government launched a campaign of deportation, expropriation, starvation, and murder against the empire's Armenian citizens.
Much of the Armenian population was forcibly removed to Syria, where many succumbed during brutal forced marches through the desert heat. Hundreds of thousands were massacred by Ottoman gendarmes, soldiers, and even their own neighbors.
By the time the slaughter ended in 1923, 1.5 million Armenians had been killed in what is now universally acknowledged as the first genocide of the 20th century. The survivors scattered throughout the Middle East and the wider world, with some making their way to the United States and to Los Angeles.
It is their grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom I represent as a Member of the U.S. Congress. Theirs is a vibrant community, many tens of thousands strong, with schools, churches, and businesses providing a daily link to their ancestral homeland. It is on their behalf that I urge you to begin anew a national conversation in Turkey about the events of 1915-1923.
As a young man or woman in Turkey, you might ask: What has this to do with me? Am I to blame for a crime committed long before I was born?
I would say this: yours is the moral responsibility to acknowledge the truth and to seek a reconciliation with the Armenian people that your parents and their parents could or would not. It is an obligation you have inherited and is one from which you must not shrink; for though we cannot choose our own history, we decide what to do about it, and you will be the ones to shape Turkey's future.
At the end of World War II, Germany was a shattered nation--defeated in battle and exposed as history's greatest war criminal--but in the decades since the end of the war, Germany has engaged in a prolonged effort to reconcile with the Jewish people, who were nearly exterminated by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The German Government has prosecuted war criminals, returned expropriated property, allied itself with Israel, and made countless apologies to the victims and to the world. Most importantly, Germany has worked to expunge the cancer of the dehumanizing bigotry and hatred that gave rise to the Holocaust.
This path of reflection, reconciliation, and repentance must be Turkey's path as well. It will not be easy. The questions will be painful and the answers difficult, sometimes unknowable.
One question stands out: How could a nation that ruled peaceably over a diverse, multicultural empire for centuries have turned on one of its own peoples with such ruthlessness that an entirely new word had to be invented to describe what took place? ``Genocide.''
As in Judaism and Christianity, the concept of repentance--or tawba--is central to Islam. Next year will mark a century since the beginning of the genocide, and Armenians around the world will mourn their dead, contemplate the enormity of their loss, and ask: Why?
Answer them, please, with words of repentance.
Sincerely, Adam Schiff, Member of Congress. '
04/02/2014: During a question and answer session at the House Appropriations Committee State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing with Ambassador Power, Rep. Schiff asked ?About a week ago, the town of Kessab, which is predominantly Armenian Christian, was attacked by Al-Qaeda-linked fighters who had crossed over from Turkey and the town was emptied in a bloody assault. Many of the residents are descendants of the Armenian Genocide and there is particular poignancy in them being targeted in this manner.? Rep. Schiff went on to ask what efforts the United Nations and its agencies are making to address the crisis.
Ambassador Power, noting that the recent attacks on Kessab are a ?huge concern,? went on to note that: ?Most of the [UN Security] Council members raised the issue of Kessab, calling on the UN to do more, to try to meet the needs of these people. [...] I would note that, unfortunately, the extremist group that appears to have taken hold of that town is not one that the United States and the United Nations overall has a great deal of leverage over. And so, our emphasis now, is on supporting the moderate opposition in Syria that is taking on those extremist groups and making sure that the UN has the funding it needs, and the resources of all kinds that it needs to accommodate [...] in this case, the Syrian Armenian community, as you said, an internally displaced population flow. So, it?s resources, it?s strengthening the moderate opposition which is taking on ISIL ? the very group that appears to have taken over that town ? making sure that none of the neighbors are giving support to terrorist groups or extremist groups which would aid their efforts in seizures like that, and going on a funding drive internationally because only a very small percentage of the UN funding appeal for Syria generally has been filled at this point.?
03/27/14 - Rep. Schiff Statement on Kessab Attack: ?Attacks Against Armenians and Other Christians Beyond Appalling?
Washington, DC ? Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement on the attacks by Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists against Kessab Armenians and Christians:
?The vicious attacks by al Qaeda affiliated terrorists against Armenians and other Christians in the Syrian town of Kessab in northern Syria are beyond appalling. These attacks, which reportedly originated in Turkey, reflect the depth of the depravity to which the conflict in Syria has fallen. I have been in touch with the State Department and have been assured that we are working with Armenian, Syrian and Turkish officials to determine exactly what happened and how to prevent further acts of such barbarity.
?The Syrian civil war has been a disaster for all of Syria's people, but especially vulnerable minority populations. I have been working on multiple fronts to help Syrian Christians, including working to secure humanitarian parole for Syrians with approved immigrant petitions and to ensure that humanitarian relief is distributed to all of Syria's citizens.?
03/04/14 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record on Sumgait - Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the twenty-sixth anniversary of the pogrom against people of Armenian descent in the town of Sumgait , Azerbaijan, where Armenian civilians were massacred at the hands of the Azerbaijani regime. Beginning on February 27, 1988 and for three days, Azerbaijani mobs assaulted and killed Armenians. Hundreds of Armenians were wounded, women and young girls were brutally raped, and many victims of all ages were burnt to death after being tortured and beaten. The carnage created thousands of ethnic Armenian refugees, who had to leave everything behind to be looted or destroyed, including their homes and businesses. The Sumgait Pogroms were part of an organized pattern, and were proceeded by a wave of anti-Armenian rallies throughout Azerbaijan, which culminated in the 1990 Pogroms in Baku.
These crimes were never adequately prosecuted by Azerbaijan authorities. Despite efforts by the Government of Azerbaijan to cover up the events which occurred in February 1988, survivors of the pogrom have come forward with their stories. They told of enraged mobs, which threw refrigerators and furniture, among other belongings from apartment balconies and set them afire. Armenians were dragged from their apartments. If they tried to run and escape, the mob attacked them with metal rods, hatchets and knives before the victims were thrown into the fire.
The Sumgait massacres led to wider reprisals against Azerbaijan's ethnic minority, resulting in the virtual disappearance of a once thriving population of 450,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan, and culminating in the war launched against the people of Nagorno Karabakh. That war resulted in thousands dead on both sides and created over one million refugees in both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In the years since the fighting ended, the people of Artsakh, the region's ancestral name, have struggled to build a functioning democratic state in the midst of unremitting hostility and threats from Azerbaijan, as well as incursions across the Line of Contact between the two sides, such as the recent murder of yet another Armenian soldier, Hrant Poghosyan, in an unprovoked attack by Azerbaijani troops against Armenian forces. Hatred towards Armenians is both celebrated and inculcated in Azeri youth, as exemplified by the case of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army captain who had confessed to the savage 2004 axe murder of Armenian army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, while the latter slept. At the time, the two were participating in a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise in Budapest, Hungary. After the murder, Safarov was sentenced to life in prison by a Hungarian court and imprisoned in Hungary.
In 2012, Safarov was sent home to Azerbaijan, purportedly to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Instead of serving out his sentence in an Azeri jail, he was pardoned, promoted to Major, given back pay and paraded through the streets of Baku in a disgusting and bloodthirsty welcome home.
With these appalling acts, the Azeri state reminded the whole world why the people of Artsakh must be allowed to determine their own future and cannot be allowed to slip into Aliyev's clutches, lest the carnage of Sumgait 26 years ago serve as a foreshadowing of a greater slaughter. Mr. Speaker, the memory of the victims of Sumgait must not be forgotten, and it is our moral obligation to condemn crimes of hatred, in hope that history will not be repeated.
03/14/14 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of Women's History Month. Each year, we pay special tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation's women. It is an honor to pay homage to outstanding women who are making a difference in my Congressional District. I would like to recognize a remarkable woman, Sonia Tatulian of Tujunga.
Born in Armenia, Ms. Tatulian and her family immigrated to the United States in 1974 when she was a teenager. While attending Hollywood High School, she went to work in a Beverly Hills bridal shop doing a variety of jobs, including pressing, altering, and selling wedding gowns. This began her career in the retail industry, which would go on to span two decades.
In 1989, Ms. Tatulian bought her home in Tujunga, and soon after she obtained her real estate license and began a part-time flower business. After changing careers for a position with Wells Fargo, Ms. Tatulian realized she wanted to help businesses and become more involved in her community. She was able to fulfill this aspiration once she started her new position as Manager at the Sunland Bank of America. Ms. Tatulian then became a member of the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce, Sunland-Tujunga Rotary Club and the Sunland-Tujunga Lions Club. She served as President of the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce and increased membership from 63 to 175 members, all while being the Treasurer of the Rotary and Lions Clubs.
Ms. Tatulian also founded the non-profit organization, the Sunland-Tujunga-Shadow Hills Community Fund, which is the parent company of Voice of the Village, a local newspaper. The Fund took over the organization of the annual Fourth of July Fireworks event, with the proceeds and matching grants going to Verdugo Hills High School programs. Proceeds from the newspaper support the high school's journalism class. Recently, Ms. Tatulian founded the ``Welcome to the Foothills'' company, a free service where she visits new home owners, welcomes them and provides them with important information about the community. In addition, she volunteers with the Verdugo Hills Family YMCA.
I ask all Members to join me in honoring an exceptional woman of California's 28th Congressional District, Sonia Tatulian.
02/20/14: In a tweet timed with the AYF international effort, Rep. Schiff marked the 10th anniversary of the brutal murder of Armenian Lt. Gurgen Margaryan by Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, stating ?Azerbaijani soldier Ramil Safarov should never have been pardoned for butchering an Armenian Army officer. Appalling. #Justice4Margaryan? In an expanded statement shared with the ANCA, Rep. Schiff explained, ?Ten years later, we remember Armenian Lt. Gurgen Margaryan, who was hacked to death by Azerbaijani soldier Ramil Safarov while participating in a NATO training exercise in Hungary. Safarov should be in prison, but inexplicably, he was extradited back to Azerbaijan from Hungary in 2012. Instead of serving out his sentence in an Azeri jail, he was pardoned, promoted to Major, given back pay and paraded through the streets of Baku in a disgusting and bloodthirsty welcome home.? http://asbarez.com/119766/members-of-congress-join-global-protest-of-margaryan-murder/
01/29/14: Met with Bishop Armash Nalbandian, primate of the Armenian Church of Damascus, who is in the United States with several other Syrian Christian leaders to discuss the plight of Syria?s Christians.
?Bishop Nalbandanian and his colleagues described the extreme insecurity and fear of their people and asked Congress and the President to speed the disbursement of aid to the millions of Syrians who have suffered from the civil war, but remain in Syria,? said Schiff. ?The Bishop?s report echoes what I have been hearing from other sources about the disparity in resources directed to Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) and those who have escaped to one of the neighboring states.
12/20/2013 - Issued statement condemning Azerbaijan for killing of Armenian soldier, Hrant Poghosyan, who was killed in the Tavush region. ?One need only look at the sick display of adulation that greeted Ramil Safarov ? the Azerbaijani military officer who beheaded an Armenian colleague during a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise - to see how the Azeri government has glorified this violence. Rather than prison, Safarov was paraded through the streets and given a new house and a promotion. Baku?s newest murderer will not be brought to justice until the international community insists on an end to these atrocities.?
12/04/2013: Wrote an op/ed published in the Asbarez Newspaper regarding the plight of Syria's Christians. http://asbarez.com/117001/rep-schiff-the-plight-of-syria%E2%80%99s-christians/
12/04/2013: Met with Republic of Nagorno Karabakh Parliament Speaker Ashot Ghoulian where Rep. Schiff indicated his strong desire to return to Artsakh and that he will pursue a CODEL with other friends of Artsakh and Armenia. During the meeting, Ghoulian presented Schiff with a medal commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Artsakh?s liberation movement. ?It was wonderful to meet again with Speaker Ghoulian to discuss Artsakh and how the United States Congress can support peace and economic development there,? said Rep. Schiff. ?I hope to visit Artsakh soon to assess the situation and to review our assistance programs and other efforts to strengthen the NKR.?
09/16/2013: Submit op/ed to Asbarez Armenian Newspaper titled 'Diplomacy Key for Syria's Religious Minorities'
06/11/2013: Holds in-depth interview with Asbarez English editor Ara Khachatourian. Watch the complete interview here: http://asbarez.com/110595/watch-schiff-discusses-armenian-issues-with-asabrez/
04/26/2013: Questions USAID Administrator Shah regarding U.S. assistance to Nagorno Karabakh and Javakhk. 'Two quick questions, one funding for Nagorno Karabakh. The history of the last several years as Congress has appropriated funding USAID hasn?t used it at least not completely. We hear at times there is a lack of capacity. But it seems given the small amount that we are talking about, a leap of imagination to think that with the humanitarian needs there it couldn?t really be fully be absorbed.'
'So I?d like to get your thoughts on that. And I?d like to work with you to make sure we can utilize all the assistance that?s been provided to help meet the humanitarian needs there.
Second in the Javakhk region of Georgia is a very impoverished Armenian community. We have raised with the Georgian government and USAID an interest of trying to meet the needs of that population as well as the country more broadly. And over the past year Armenian-American groups have been working closely with USAID to explore a public-private partnership that could leverage U.S. assistance to Georgia and that region. If you could give us a progress report on those efforts?' http://asbarez.com/109659/usaid-supports-full-funding-for-karabakh-aid-program/
04/24/13 - Remarks delivered in Armenian on the House Floor - Mr. Speaker, I would like to say the following in Armenian to my Armenian friends:
Sireli hai paragamneres, hos yev ashkharee chors goghmereh. Aysor, Haiots Tseghasbahnootian inisoonoot erort darelitseen oreh, khoskes googhem tsezi Neriguyatsusichneroo Don ambiyonen, tser medzhaireh loon lezvov.
Lezoo muh vorov anonk gardahaideyeen irents hooysereh, gyankeh, yeraznereh, yev sereh hazar inuh hairoor dasnuhinkee naxortogh darineroon.
Osmanyan Guysrutian daradzkin, dasnyag hazaravorner chartehvetsan.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh ayn yerexaneroon voronk aganadess yeghan irents hayreru spanootyan.
Hazaravor geener pernaparvetsan.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh anonts toosdreroon, voronk koot gugherseyeen toork vosdiganneren.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh ayn yerekhaneroon, voronk gateel muh choor gugherseyeen.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh ayn myreroon, voronk mahatsahn irents noradzeenneruh irents keergeroon mech.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh ayn verabroghneroon, voronk Amereega yegan azadootyooneth vaylelu yev nor gyank muh usguseloo hamar.
Kuhreteh meg tareh eever, toorkia goorana tsaghasbanootyooneh. Toorkiah goozeh, vor ashkharuh morna ays maseen.
Tsezi guh khoseem lezvovuh anonts, voronk ayleves chegan. Anonk mezmeh guh khentren heeshell zeerenk. Anonts tsaynereh dagaveen guh lesveen.
Yes ays nahadagneren voyeveh megoon hednortuh chem, sagayn tsezi guh khoseem irents keghetseeg lezvov, vorovhedev aysor, polores hai enk!
Tsezi guh khoseem ays vayren, Nerguyatsutsichneroo Don ambiyonen vorovhedev Amerigatsi joghovurteh meeshd jagaden yez kachootyamp nayadz eh polor sarsapneroon oo zanonk gochadz eh irents poon anoonov.
Guh sbasem ayn orvan, yerp ir ghegavarnereh yeves nooynuh beedee unnen. Vorovhedev yes vuhsdah em, vor ayt oruh beedee kah. Guh sbasem vor chooshanah, vorbesi verabroghneruh luhsen anor tsentseech tsignuh.
Asdvadz mer tsignuh luhseh.
(English translation of the above statement is as follows:)
To my Armenian friends: Today, on the 98th anniversary of the genocide day, I speak to you in the language of your grandparents and your great grandparents--the language they used to speak of their hopes, their dreams, their loves in the years before 1915.
By the time it was over in 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenians--men, women and children--were dead. It was the first genocide of the 20th Century.
I speak to you in the language of the mothers who died with their babies in their arms.
Throughout the Ottoman Empire, tens of thousands were killed outright. Others were force marched through desert heat as the Ottoman government sought to destroy a people.
I speak to you in the language of the children begging for a drop of water.
Women were raped by the thousands.
I speak to you in the language of the girls begging the gendarmes for mercy.
A nation was scattered around the world. To the Middle East, to Europe and to America.
I speak to you in the language of the survivors who came to America for freedom and made a new life.
For almost a century, Turkey has denied the genocide. In the face of overwhelming evidence--much of it from American diplomats and journalists--Ankara has denied that the genocide ever happened. They want the world to forget.
I speak to you in the language of those who were lost. Their voices drift across the decades--begging us to not forget them, no matter how hard some people try.
I am not Armenian , but I speak to you in your language because on this day we are all Armenian . For many years I have sat with you and listened--to the stories of those who were lost in the genocide and those who survived.
I speak to you in their language and yours to thank you for sharing your history with me and to pledge again that I will not stop fighting until the United States lives up to its principles by honoring and commemorating the Armenian Genocide.
And because I know that day will come. May it come soon, so the last of the survivors may hear its awesome sound.
May God hear our voices.
04/24/13 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a resident of Los Angeles, California, and a 105-year-old survivor of the Armenian Genocide--Rose Garjian.
Rose Garjian, then Rose Dedeian, was born on May 1, 1908, in the city of Kilis, located in south-central Turkey. Her father, Zakar Dedeian, worked as a shoemaker and cobbler, and her mother, Maritsa Dedeian, worked as a teacher. When the government of the Ottoman Empire launched a campaign of fear, destruction and death in the Spring of 1915, Ms. Garjian was only six-years-old. Her father hurriedly took his family to a small neighboring village to go into hiding from the Turks.
Ms. Garjian remembered the episode last year in an interview recalling that her father did not tell them why they had to go, only that they should hurry. ``We left our home, and went to the desert,'' said Garjian. ``My father took us to hide, he tried to take us away from the Turks.''
While the Dedeian family was in hiding, the Ottoman government committed genocide against the Armenian people through wholesale massacre, forced marches through blistering deserts across the villages and cities of eastern Anatolia.
When the killings ended eight years later, more than a million and a half Armenian men, women and children were dead, and the world's oldest Christian nation had been shattered--with its survivors scattered around the world.
The Dedeian family moved to Lebanon, where Ms. Garjian attended Catholic School, learning French and Arabic. There, she met her husband Robert Garjian, a successful cobbler, who had come from the United States to marry her.
Once in the United States, Ms. Garjian gave birth to two daughters, Ellen and Mary. She is a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, with six grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. One family member spoke of her caring nature, saying ``her home was always open to family members visiting or immigrating to the United States.''
After her husband passed away in 1986, Ms. Garjian continued to dedicate herself to her family and community. She served as a volunteer for the Valley Guild of the Arat Home--where she now lives--and was active in the Armenian community where she was a member of the Massis Church in Los Angeles, treasurer for the Marash Women's Group, member of the United Armenian Congregational Church, and is one of the founding members of Aleppo College.
After her husband passed away in 1986, Ms. Garjian continued to dedicate herself to her family and community.
Garjian served as a volunteer for the Valley Guild of the Arat Home--where she now lives--and was active in the Armenian community where she was a member of the Massis Church in Los Angeles, treasurer for the Marash Women's Group, member of the United Armenian Congregational Church, and is one of the founding members of Aleppo College.
I ask that all Members join me in honoring a wonderful woman, Rose Garjian, for her remarkable story, dedication to family and exceptional service to the community.
02/28/13 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record on Sumgait - Mr. Speaker, this week marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the pogrom against people of Armenian descent in the town of Sumgait, Azerbaijan . The three-day massacre in the winter of 1988 resulted in the deaths of scores of Armenians, many of whom were burnt to death after being brutally beaten and tortured. Hundreds of others were wounded. Women and girls were brutally raped. The carnage created thousands of ethnic Armenian refugees, who had to leave everything behind to be looted or destroyed, including their homes, cars and businesses.
These crimes, which were proceeded by a wave of anti-Armenian rallies throughout Azerbaijan , were never adequately prosecuted by Azerbaijan authorities. Many who organized or participated in the bloodshed have gone on to serve in high positions on the Azeri government. For example, in the days leading up to the massacre, a leader of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan , Hidayat Orujev, warned Armenians in Sumgait: ``If you do not stop campaigning for the unification of Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia, if you don't sober up, 100,000 Azeris from neighboring districts will break into your houses, torch your apartments, rape your women, and kill your children.'' In a cruel twist, Orujev went on serve as Azerbaijan's State Advisor for Ethnic Policy and later as head of State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations.
The Sumgait massacres led to wider reprisals against Azerbaijan's ethnic minority, resulting in the virtual disappearance of Azerbaijan's 450,000-strong Armenian community, and culminating in the war launched against the people of Nagorno Karabakh. That war resulted in almost 30,000 dead on both sides and created more than one million refugees in both Armenia and Azerbaijan .
In the years since the fighting ended, the people of Artsakh, the region's ancestral name, have struggled to build a functioning democratic state in the midst of unremitting hostility and threats from Azerbaijan , as well as sniper fire and other incursions across the Line of Contact between the two sides. Hatred towards Armenians is both inculcated and celebrated in Azeri youth, as exemplified by the case of Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army captain who had confessed to the savage 2004 axe murder of Armenian army lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, while the latter slept. At the time, the two were participating in a NATO Partnership for Peace exercise in Budapest, Hungary. After the murder, Safarov was sentenced to life in prison by a Hungarian court and imprisoned in Hungary.
Last August Safarov was sent home to Azerbaijan , purportedly to serve out the remainder of his sentence. Instead of prison, he was greeted as a hero by the Azeri government and promenaded through the streets of Baku carrying a bouquet of roses. President Ilham Aliyev immediately pardoned Safarov and he was promoted to the rank of major and given a new apartment and eight years of back pay.
In recent weeks, 75-year-old Akram Aylisli, one of Azerbaijan's most celebrated writers, has been subjected to a campaign of hatred. According to a report in the BBC, '[h]is books have been publicly burnt. He has been stripped of his national literary awards. And a high-ranking Azeri politician has offered $13,000 as a bounty for anyone who will cut off his ear. Aylisi's 'crime?'-- in his short novel Stone Dreams, he dared to look at the conflict between Azeris and Armenians from the Armenian perspective.
With these disgusting acts, the Azeri state reminded the whole world why the people of Artsakh must be allowed to determine their own future and cannot be allowed to slip into Aliyev's clutches, lest the carnage of Sumgait a quarter century ago serve as a foreshadowing of a greater slaughter.