Boston, MA- Over 82 Members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, including the Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo filed a House Resolution urging the U.S. Congress to renew their efforts in recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915. State Representative Peter J. Koutoujian, a descendent of the Armenian Genocide, led his fellow colleagues in a final push, just one day before April 24th, the day Armenians around the world recognize and commemorate this tragic event, reported the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts.
“The immense support from my colleagues was overwhelming,” said State Representative Peter Koutoujian (D-Waltham). “Each year, when April 24th comes around, I think of my grandparents, Abraham and Zarouhi, and their flight from their home in Marash, Turkey. It is in remembrance of them and the millions of Armenians who suffered that I look to Congress to recognize this genocide. My grandparents’ experience is both humbling in that it provided me, their grandson, the opportunity to be in a position to call for recognition of this forgotten genocide, and sad at the same time, in that we in the U.S. have yet to officially acknowledge it. This anniversary is also a reminder that despite the fact that genocide has reocurred a number of times since the plight of the Armenians, and still occurs today – these crimes against humanity will continue until we truly recognize the act of genocide.”
The Resolution urges the United States Congress to approve House Resolution 252 and recognize the Armenian Genocide. April 24th, 2009, day 94 of President Obama’s Administration will mark the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide. During President Obama’s candidacy, he pledged to recognize the Armenian Genocide. With the expectation from the Armenian American community that Obama will fulfill his presidential campaign promise of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, volunteer activists have been urging their members to sign on to the resolution. Currently 9 of the 10 Congressional members in the Massachusetts Delegation are cosponsors.
“State Representative Peter Koutoujian’s leadership and devotion on recognizing the Armenian Genocide is a true testament of standing up for American values,” commented ANC E. MA Chair Shari Melkonian. “We commend the Massachusetts delegation for taking action and standing up against genocide.”
Earlier this week, Congressman McGovern, who represents Worcester, MA and neighboring cities, urged President Obama to recognize the Armenian Genocide. In his remarks he commented “When is the right time? When the last survivor, the last witness, is no longer with us?”
CALLING UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO APPROVE HOUSE RESOLUTION 252 AND TO RECOGNIZE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
WHEREAS, THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE WAS CONCEIVED AND CARRIED OUT BY THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE FROM 1915 TO 1923, RESULTING IN THE DEPORTATION OF NEARLY 2,000,000 ARMENIANS, OF WHOM 1,500,000 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; AND
WHEREAS, 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; AND
WHEREAS, HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 148, ADOPTED ON APRIL 8, 1975, RESOLVED:[T]THAT APRIL 24, 1975, IS HEREBY DESIGNATED AS “NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN”, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED AND REQUESTED TO ISSUE A PROCLAMATION CALLING UPON THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES TO OBSERVE SUCH DAY AS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ALL THE VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF ARMENIAN ANCESTRY….; AND
WHEREAS, PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN IN PROCLAMATION NUMBER 4838, DATED APRIL 22, 1981, STATED IN PART “LIKE THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS BEFORE IT, AND THE GENOCIDE OF THE CAMBODIANS, WHICH FOLLOWED IT—AND LIKE TOO MANY OTHER PERSECUTIONS OF TOO MANY OTHER PEOPLE—THE LESSONS OF THE HOLOCAUST MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN”; AND
WHEREAS, HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 247, ADOPTED ON SEPTEMBER 10, 1984, RESOLVED [T]THAT APRIL 24, 1985, IS HEREBY DESIGNATED AS “NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN”, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED AND REQUESTED TO ISSUE A PROCLAMATION CALLING UPON THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES TO OBSERVE SUCH DAY AS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ALL THE VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE, ESPECIALLY THE ONE AND ONE-HALF MILLION PEOPLE OF ARMENIAN ANCESTRY….; AND
WHEREAS, PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, ON APRIL 1998, STATED: “THIS YEAR, AS IN THE PAST, WE JOIN WITH ARMENIAN-AMERICANS THROUGHOUT THE NATION IN COMMEMORATING ONE OF THE SADDEST CHAPTERS IN THE HISTORY OF THIS CENTURY, THE DEPORTATIONS AND MASSACRES OF A MILLION AND A HALF ARMENIANS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE IN THE YEARS 1915-1923; AND
WHEREAS, PRESIDENT GEORGE 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 1,500,000 ARMENIANS THROUGH FORCED EXILE AND MURDER AT THE END OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE”; AND
WHEREAS, THE COUNTRIES OF ARGENTINA, ARMENIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, CHILE, CYPRUS, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, ITALY, LITHUANIA, LEBANON, NETHERLANDS, POLAND, RUSSIA, SLOVAKIA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, URUGUAY, VENEZUELA HAVE RECOGNIZED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE; AND
WHEREAS, 42 STATES OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE RECOGNIZED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE; AND
WHEREAS, HOUSE RESOLUTION 252 FILED ON MARCH 17, 2009 FOR THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 111TH CONGRESS IS CALLING 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
RESOLVED, THAT THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES URGES THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES APPROVE HOUSE RESOLUTION 252 AND RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT A COPY OF THESE RESOLUTIONS BE FORWARDED BY THE CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO THE PRESIDING OFFICER OF EACH BRANCH OF CONGRESS AND TO THE MEMBERS THEREOF FROM THE COMMONWEALTH.