Op-Ed on “Support H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106 Recognizing the Armenian Genocide”
Washington, DC—The following Op-Ed appeared in the National Herald, 4-14-07, p. 11, the Greek News, 4-16-07, p. 44, and it will appear in the Hellenic Voice, 4-25-07, p. 5 and the May issue of the Hellenic News of America.
Support H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106 Recognizing the Armenian Genocide
By Gene Rossides
If you want to support the rule of law in international affairs; if you want the U.S. Congress officially to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the first holocaust in the 20th century; if you want to publicize genocides so as to help stop current genocides and help prevent future genocides, then support H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106, the bipartisan resolutions in the House and Senate which recognize the Armenian Genocide.
H. Res. 106 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 30, 2007 by Representative Adam Schiff (D-29th CA) for himself and co-sponsors Representatives George Radanovich (R-19th CA), Frank Pallone (D-6th NJ), Joseph Knollenberg (R-9th MI), Brad Sherman (D-27th CA), and Thaddeus McCotter (R-11th MI). H. Res. 106 was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Chairman Tom Lantos (D-12th CA) has not scheduled a vote.
As of April 5, 2007, there are 184 co-sponsors of H. Res. 106. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated she will seek a vote on H. Res. 106 but has not set a date. In my judgment, if a vote is allowed in the House, H. Res. 106 will pass.
S. Res. 106 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Majority Whip, with 25 co-sponsors as of April 5, 2007. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is one of the original co-sponsors. S. Res. 106 was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In previous years, the Bush administration and the previous Clinton administration were, unfortunately, able to convince Congress not to allow a vote. This year Speaker Pelosi, with bipartisan support, hopefully will allow the Congress to act on H. Res. 106.
The Turkish government is going all-out to prevent a vote. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates have written a joint letter to Congressional leaders, including committee chairs, opposing the Armenian Genocide resolutions by Congress.
Representative Adam Schiff
The appeasement of Turkey, a disloyal ally, by Gates and Rice is embarrassing. On March 21, 2007 there was an exchange between Representative Adam Schiff and Secretary Rice during a hearing before the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. Secretary Rice repeatedly refused to state that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 by Turkey was genocide.
Mr. Schiff asked Rice: “Do you have any doubt in your mind, that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 constituted genocide? Is there any doubt about that in your mind?” Rice responded with the standard State Department response: “Congressman, I think these historical circumstances require a very detailed and sober look from historians and what we’ve encouraged the Turks and the Armenians to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past and, in examining their past, to get over their past….”
Mr. Schiff then asked: “Is there any historic debate outside of Turkey? Is there any reputable historian you’re aware of that takes issue with the fact that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians constituted genocide?”
Secretary Rice again refused to directly answer this and several other questions and gave the evasive State Department position.
The French Parliament last year passed a law stating that denial of the Armenian Genocide would be a crime. The French Parliament did not give in to the Turkish threats of economic retaliation and stood tall. The U.S. should do the same.
In the June 6, 2005 issue of its European edition, Time Magazine ran a four-page advertisement, placed by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, promoting tourism in Turkey, together with a DVD which contained a 70-minute segment that completely denied the Armenian Genocide and distorted the facts. The DVD also contained numerous false allegations against the Armenian people.
Following protests by Armenian National Committee branches worldwide, Time Magazine published in its October 17, 2005 European edition a letter to the editors of Time-Europe by leading French, Armenian, Jewish and human rights organizations. The publication was required by France’s “right to reply” laws for those unfairly attacked in its pages.
Time also ran a brief apology alongside the letter stating: “Time regrets distributing the dvd and we are very sorry for the offense it has caused. The so-called documentary portion of the dvd presents a one-sided view of history that does not meet our standards for fairness and accuracy, and we would not have distributed it had we been aware of its content. Unfortunately the dvd was not adequately reviewed by anyone at Time because it was believed to be a benign promotion piece. We have since changed our review process so as to guarantee more vigilance in future. We apologize to the Armenian community and to our readers.”
In December 2005 the French organizations together with the Switzerland-Armenia Association (SAA), the French Association of Armenian Lawyers and Jurists (AFAJA), the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) and the California Courier newspaper “reached an amicable agreement with Time executives ensuring the facts of the Armenian Genocide are not distorted again in the pages of the magazine.”
Thereafter, Michael Elliot, editor of Time International stated in a letter to California Courier publisher Harut Sassounian: “Please be advised that, in common with other leading news organizations, it is Time’s policy and practice to refer to the Armenian genocide as a historical fact. Accordingly, I will be informing our correspondents and editors that the term ‘Armenian genocide’ should be used without qualification.”
And most recently and by continued effort of Armenian organizations and non-Armenian organizations, Time Magazine in its February 12, 2007 European edition carried a full page factual announcement on the Armenian Genocide, together with a complimentary dvd in English and French “which contains a compelling 52 minute documentary on the Armenian genocide by French director Laurence Jourdan” and “a 46 minute interview with Dr. Yves Temon, a leading expert on the Armenian Genocide.” The full-page statement and the dvd were provided free of charge by Time Europe (circulation 550,000).
Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said “We welcome Time Magazine’s judgment that—in the interest of its readers’ right to accurate reporting- the Armenian Genocide should be reported as a fact, without qualification. This announcement by Time, along with similar policy statements by the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and many other leading publications, only increases the pressure on the administration to abandon its morally bankrupt complicity in the Turkish government’s denial of its crime against the Armenian nation.”
The above actions by Armenian and non-Armenian organizations demonstrate that actions by groups, their individual members and by citizens at large do have an impact.
I urge our many Greek American organizations, their members and Greek Americans at large to support our fellow Armenian American citizens with political action. Specifically, I urge them to contact Speaker Pelosi and their own Representative and two Senators and urge their full support of H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106 and particularly urge them in the interests of the U.S. to have a vote on these resolutions.
It is easy to call your Representative and two Senators by dialing the central Capital switchboard telephone number 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative and Senators. Also make sure to write them. The addresses for letters to House and Senate members are:
The Honorable ___________
The Honorable ____________
They should also contact Secretaries Rice and Gates and express disappointment and disagreement with their basically denialist position on the Armenian Genocide.
The address for Secretary Rice is:
The address for Secretary Gates is:
Finally, call and write to President George W. Bush and urge him to support the Armenian Genocide resolutions.
To call the President:
To write to the President:
Please take action—it can help.
Op-Ed on “Support H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106 Recognizing the Armenian Genocide”