The Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States – welcomes the March 4, 2010, vote by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives to adopt the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252). The AYF leadership and its membership are grateful to Committee Chairman Howard Berman for standing up to the Obama Administration, Turkish lobbyists, and the Turkish Government and championing this vital genocide-prevention measure.
Chairman Berman and the House Foreign Affairs Committee remained firm in recognizing the Armenian Genocide, which has been extensively documented in US archives. By labeling the crimes perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian race between 1915 and 1923 as a genocide, the House Foreign Affairs Committee stopped modern-day Turkey’s gag rule which attempts to prevent free speech in the US.
This vote sends a simple message to the government in Ankara that it may be able to outlaw discussion about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, but it cannot outlaw and gag the US Government from talking about historic events. Even though Turkey spends millions of dollars annually to spread misinformation about the Armenian Genocide, the decision by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee sends a signal to Turkey that it does not have a vote or veto in our Congress.
The vote to approve H.Res.252 also signals that Armenian-Americans have come one step closer to being able to use the painful lessons of the Armenian Genocide to help the US and world powers in ending the cycle of genocide.
The stage is now set for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the full US House of Representatives to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian-American community has been and continues to encourage the passage of a similar bill in the Senate of the United States and proper acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide by US President Barack Obama, whose campaign promise to Armenians was to stand by the truth.
For full congressional passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, there is much work ahead. Armenian-Americans must now mobilize their communities and ensure their elected representative co-sponsor the Resolution. The time is now to become active by calling, e-mailing, and writing letters to your congressional representatives. Also encourage all your family members and Armenian and non-Armenian friends to reach out to their representatives and to reach out to their friends to create a viral campaign to set the record straight, affirm the Armenian Genocide as such, and end Turkey’s gag rule.
Visit the anca.org/endthegagrule web page for more information about this historic campaign, to find contact information for your local representatives, and to read important facts to convey to your congressmen, senators, your family and friends.