May 25th Protest to Call for Decisive U.S. Response to Unfolding Genocide

May 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – Armenian Americans, the descendents of the first genocide of the 20th century, will host a White House vigil on May 25th to help bring an end to the first genocide of the 21st century – the systematic massacres, mass starvation, and ethnic cleansing taking place today in the Darfur region of Sudan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Up to 400,000 people have already died and more than 2,000,000 dislocated in Darfur over the past two years. Recent reports confirm that the situation on the ground is deteriorating, and the humanitarian crisis is reaching desperate proportions.

This special Armenian American vigil, hosted by the ANCA, will take place on Wednesday, May 25th vigil, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm in Lafayette Park, across from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. The gathering will be the most recent in a series of vigils, organized every Wednesday by Africa Action, a leading advocate for U.S. and international action on the Darfur Genocide. For directions or more information, contact ANCA at (202) 775-1918 or

New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof, a leading voice for U.S. action on Darfur, has written to the ANCA about the situation in Sudan. In a powerfully worded letter, he touched on the unique responsibility of Armenians, as victims of genocide, to help end the ongoing suffering in Darfur and to work toward preventing future crimes against humanity. In congratulating the ANCA for holding the vigil, he stressed that, “Obviously, crimes against any part of humanity require a response from all the rest of humanity, but I think any group that has suffered a systematic attack also has a particular responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen again to some other group.” The full text of Kristof’s letter is provided below.

The ANCA has participated in previous Darfur vigils, protested outside the Sudanese Embassy, spoken at genocide prevention conferences, and generated support – both at the grassroots level and in Washington, DC – for Congressional legislation aimed at ending the slaughter in the Darfur region.

For more information about Darfur:

Click here to send a free ANCA WebFax protesting the Darfur Genocide.


Text of letter from Nicholas Kristof (NY Times) to the ANCA

Dear Aram,

Congratulations on holding the vigil against the genocide in Darfur. Obviously, crimes against any part of humanity require a response from all the rest of humanity, but I think any group that has suffered a systematic attack also has a particular responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen again to some other group.

In 1915, Americans didn’t despise Armenians or want them to die. But rather the feeling was very similar to that today: the Ottoman Empire was a long way away, the victims spoke a different language and belonged to a different culture and so it was difficult for average Americans to identify with them, the president was absorbed by other foreign policy considerations, like staying out of World War 1, and there was no magic solution to solve the killings. And so President Woodrow Wilson did next to nothing, just as President Bush is doing far too little about the genocide in Darfur today.

Because Darfur is even farther away today, culturally, than the Ottoman empire was then, let me just tell you what I saw on one of my trips to Darfur. People were spread across the horizon, seeking refuge near some wells and under trees. Under the first tree I visited, I found a man who had been shot in the throat and jaw and left for dead along with the bodies of his wife, his children and his parents; his brother came back that night and carried him to safety. Under the next tree I found a woman whose husband and children were missing and presumed dead. Under the third tree were two small orphans, malnourished, aged four and one, whose parents had both been killed. And under the fourth tree was a woman whose husband had been killed, whose two children had then been killed in front of her, and who then had been kidnapped with her two sisters and gangraped. Afterward, her sisters were killed, but she was mutilated but released to limp away naked as a warning to what would happen to women in the area. Those were the people under just four trees next to each other — there were more trees, more victims, more tragedies, as far as the eye could see.

Those are the kinds of incidents that occurred to Armenians 90 years ago, and that America did not respond to adequately. And today, they are happening to another people, the black Africans of Darfur, and again we are not responding adequately. We always say “Never Again” to genocide, but we interpret it too narrowly, to mean that Armenians will not be massacred again in Turkey, or that Jews will not be slaughtered again in Germany, while the real meaning should be that the world will not tolerate another people to be systematically killed because of who they are. And the best way of giving meaning to dead Armenians, or dead Jews, or dead Rwandans, is to make that phrase “Never Again” truly meaningful — by ensuring that we act to limit the number of Dead Darfurians tomorrow.

Nicholas Kristof
May 12, 2005

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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