A Proud Day: Congress on Record on the Armenian Genocide (Rep. Joe Knollenberg)

This week the House is going to take a major step towards recognizing the first genocide of the 21st century. The Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res 106) is scheduled to be marked up in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Once it passes, the genocide of the Armenians will once and for all be recognized by the House of Representatives. From 1915-1923, the Ottoman Empire systematically and deliberately annihilated approximately 1.5 million Armenians. This atrocity against humanity was even used by Adolf Hitler to justify the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust. Hitler said, "who today remembers the Armenians.

However, because of controversial politicking the House has neglected from recognizing these events as Genocide. Yes, Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, is an ally. Yes, their importance to the United States in the Middle East should not be underestimated. And, yes, they have made their opinion of this resolution perfectly clear, even going as far as taking a full-page advertisement out in the Washington Post. However, is it not the responsibility of Congress to recognize events such as this Genocide and call it to witness so that it never happens again? Not only do we owe it to the Armenians to officially recognize the genocide as such, we owe it to those individuals suffering in Darfur and other regions around the world who live their lives in fear. Recognizing and learning from the past is the only way to ensure we don’t repeat it.

As the representative of thousands of Armenian-Americans, I am proud the day has come where the Congress will finally be on record when it comes to the Armenian Genocide. We must remember that Turkey is, indeed, an ally; but so is Armenia and the plight of their people in the early 21st century must not be forgotten.

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