WASHINGTON, DC – A campaign – launched by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and strongly backed by key Congressional allies – resulted, this week, in a determination by the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, that books and other resources currently cataloged under the subject heading “Armenian Massacres” will be referenced as the “Armenian Genocide.”
“This long-overdue correction by the Library of Congress – a principled, fact-based stand for the integrity of American institutions against malign foreign influence – comes at a particularly meaningful moment for Americans of Armenian heritage,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We see today the painful, real-world results of American leaders having allowed Turkey to bully our country into a century of silence on the Armenian Genocide. Even today – as Ankara and Baku openly seek to complete the destruction of the Armenian homeland – our government remains all too fearful of truth-telling to Erdogan and Aliyev. That has to end.”
Bipartisan letters to the Library of Congress calling for this change were spearheaded in the U.S. House by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Dina Titus (D-NV), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Jackie Speier (C-CA) and in the Senate by Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
In a December 4, 2019 letter to Dr. Hayden, the ANCA recommended changing the terminology for the Library of Congress Subject Heading from “Armenian Massacres, 1915-1923” to: “Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923,” in the wake of the near-unanimous passage of H.Res.296 (405-11) by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 29th of last year (the Senate passed an identical resolution, S.Res.150 (100-0) on December 12th.
The University of California – Los Angeles, one of America’s leading research libraries – played a vital role in this change, by submitting a formal request to the Library of Congress last month. The UCLA request was echoed by the ANCA in its own submission.
Over the past several months, thousands of community advocates weighed in directly with the Library of Congress and their Members of Congress via a dedicated portal on the ANCA website.
Congressional leaders welcomed the Library of Congress decision to change the Armenian massacres subject heading and properly characterize the Armenian Genocide.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) issued a joint statement noting, “We applaud the Library of Congress’s decision, which reflects both scholarly and Congressional consensus. This determination is another victory for those who value the truth and believe in the importance of the words ‘Never Again.’ After the Senate unanimously approved Senator Menendez’s resolution recognizing the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and the House passed a similar resolution with a strong bipartisan majority, the Trump administration finds itself increasingly alone in its refusal to recognize the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide. We call on President Trump to end his deference to President Erdogan and to join Congress in saying genocide is genocide.”
“It is welcome news that the Library Congress, at our urging, will now use the historically accurate term ‘Armenian Genocide.’ This is one further step in overcoming the decades-long campaign of denial that has silenced too many about the murder of 1.5 million Armenians,” said Rep. Schiff. “This recognition is particularly meaningful at a time when the genocide of a century ago seems all too immediate, as Azerbaijan and Turkey are committing atrocities right now in Artsakh.”
“I am glad that the Library of Congress has chosen to honor the Armenian Caucus’s request to change the subject heading to match the historical fact that the Ottoman Turks perpetrated a genocidal campaign in the early 20th century that systemically and ruthlessly targeted Armenians,” said Rep. Pallone. “This change establishes the categorization that the Armenian Genocide deserves to match the historical record and helps set an example for scholars worldwide. The Library’s change follows the important precedent set by Congress last year when both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions commemorating the Armenian Genocide.”
“I am glad to see the Library of Congress will finally recognize the Armenian Genocide for what it was; a genocide,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “For decades there has been a campaign of denial that silenced any attempt at recognizing the 1.5 million Armenian lives that were lost. While our work is not done, this is an incredible step as we work towards international recognition of the atrocities that were committed by Turkey only a century ago.”
“Last year I was proud to co-lead the historic House resolution to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, along with the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Armenian Caucus,” Rep. Speier said. “As an institution founded on the principles of scholarship and learning, it is imperative that the Library not shy away from the truth. I am encouraged to see the Library correct its research headings to adhere to historical accuracy – and to properly acknowledge the murder of 1.5 million Armenians at the hand of the Ottoman Empire.”
“The use of the term ‘Armenian Genocide’ is necessary to paint an accurate picture of history and rightly honor the victims of this atrocity,” said Rep. Titus. “I am grateful that the Library of Congress will no longer conceal the truth about these horrific crimes. The Trump Administration should do the same.”