Washington, D.C. – Community activist and civic leader Azniv Goenjian recently traveled to Washington, DC with the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) to confront her Congresswoman, Jane Harman (D-CA-36), for secretly opposing the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H. Res. 106, while publicly presenting herself as a supporter of this human right legislation.
“Mrs. Goenjian stands out as a principled and devoted citizen who demonstrated, once again, by traveling across the country to confront her Congresswoman’s retreat on this core human rights issue, that she has the courage of her convictions,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “In sharing her profound disappointment with Congresswoman Harman, she gave voice to the concerns of all Armenian Americans from the 36th District and served as a role model for other activists from across America,” he added.
H. Res. 106 passed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) by a vote of 27-21 on October 10, 2007 in the face of unprecedented opposition. The resolution enjoys the support of over 200 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and has not yet been scheduled for a vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
While a cosponsor of H. Res. 106, Congresswoman Harman sent a private letter to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee on October 3, 2007 opposing passage of the resolution, citing strategic concerns that came to light after she visited Turkey. Only after a flood of local phone calls from activists who expressed outrage after learning independently about the Member’s actions did the Congresswoman post the letter on her website, claiming that she had never intended for her opposition to be secretive. Upon learning of her Representative’s actions, Goenjian traveled to Washington, DC as part of the ANCA’s “Advocacy Days” during the week of October 22, 2007.
Accompanied by ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian, Esq. and ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian, Esq., Goenjian met with the Congresswoman on Wednesday, October 24, 2007. During the meeting, Goenjian expressed serious concern over the Congresswoman’s opposition to the resolution, noting that it is always the right time to condemn genocide. Goenjian, Nahapetian and Kzirian strongly urged the Congresswoman to reconsider her position and noted that similar resolutions pertaining to the Jewish Holocaust, the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide, the Cambodian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Comfort Women under Japanese oppression and today’s genocide in Darfur had all passed in the House, despite the fact that many faced opposition from foreign governments.
Goenjian also presented the Congresswoman with her son’s California public school textbook, which includes substantial material on the Armenian Genocide.
“By going to Washington for two days of face-to-face meetings with our elected officials I was able to make a real difference,” stated Goenjian. “Each of us can and must do something to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and to press for the adoption of H.Res.106. Interacting with our Members of Congress – both at home and in our nation’s capital – is our Constitutional right and our moral obligation to demand that our government live up to America’s highest ideals,” she remarked.
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo caption #1: Congresswoman Harman.
Photo caption #2: Congresswoman Harman.