Los Angeles, CA – The State of California’s largest Armenian American public affairs organization, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR), is praising a proclamation concerning the Armenian Genocide released by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The document specifically addresses the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide which is so deeply offensive to the over 500,000 Armenian Americans who live in the Golden State.
“We are proud to see Governor Schwarzenegger exercise moral leadership on the Armenian Genocide,” commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Andrew Kzirian. “His statement is appreciated by Armenian Americans in California and all people of conscience who believe that the denial of genocide is morally abhorrent. The ANCA-WR will be sharing the Governor’s proclamation with all 53 Members of California’s Congressional Delegation in the hope that they will pass, without delay, the Armenian Genocide resolution pending in the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” added Kzirian.
The statement, released on April 6, 2007, reads in part, “Documented as the first instance of genocide in the twentieth century, the Armenian Genocide remains unacknowledged to this day. I strongly echo the sentiments that all nations must examine their own painful histories, as the denial of genocide further wounds a nation’s ability to heal. It is our responsibility to recognize the brutal slayings of so many innocents [Armenians], remembering their suffering and vowing to help prevent future genocides.” The proclamation goes on to declare the week of April 22 through April 29, 2007 as “Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
Governor Schwarzenegger’s proclamation was issued in the midst of a campaign by the Turkish Government to defeat a resolution (H.Res.106) pending in the U.S. Congress that would mark the slaughter of 1.5 million Christians as the first genocide of the 20th century. Over 48 of the State of California’s 53 Members of Congress have cosponsored the Armenian Genocide resolution. San Francisco – Bay Area Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA-12), who serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is himself a Holocaust survivor, has not indicated whether he is supporting the legislation or if he will schedule a vote on the bill in his committee. Currently, nearly 200 Members of Congress from over 35 states have cosponsored the Armenian Genocide resolution.
This is the tenth proclamation issued by the Office of the Governor of California in the past eleven years, and supplements the sixteen proclamations by the California Assembly and Senate dating back to 1991. Governor Schwarzenegger has followed in the footsteps of predecessor Governor Grey Davis in issuing proclamations recognizing and calling for remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
The full text of the proclamation is included below.
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: Governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA).
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Between the years 1915 and 1923, during the chaos of World War I, over one million Armenian men, women and children living within the Ottoman Empire’s borders were killed; forcing hundreds of thousands of Armenians to flee to foreign countries after being stripped of their possessions, their identities and their homeland.
Scores fled to the United States, and California was fortunate to become home to one of the largest populations of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia. Many of California’s Armenian-American families are the descendants of these courageous genocide survivors, whose hope for a life independent [of] war and violence was realized on our soil. Like their family members before them, the Armenian-American community bravely flourished and contributed much to our state and nation.
Documented as the first instance of genocide in the twentieth century, the Armenian Genocide remains unacknowledged to this day. I strongly echo the sentiments that all nations must examine their own painful histories, as the denial of genocide further wounds a nation’s ability to heal. Though over ninety years have passed since these mass killings took place, present day atrocities resonate throughout the world. It is our responsibility to recognize the brutal slayings of so many innocents, remembering their suffering and vowing to help prevent future genocides.
I join California’s Armenian-American communities and all Armenians worldwide in remembering those who were killed and persecuted during the Armenian Genocide, and urge people throughout the world to never forget these horrific crimes against humanity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim the week of April 22nd – April 29th, 2007 as “Days of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have here unto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed to this 6th day of April 2007.
GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA