100 Years Later, Time to Recognize the Armenian Genocide | Commentary

Posted April 24, 2015 at 9:00am

By Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. and Robert J. Dold While ordering his military leaders to attack Poland, Adolf Hitler rationalized, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” These chilling words make one thing abundantly clear: when you do not shed light on injustices, they will be repeated.  

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, during which Ottoman Turkey systematically exterminated over 1.5 million Armenians and Christian minorities. The genocide is a fact that cannot be ignored — it is settled history.  

However, a century after it began, the Armenian genocide has yet to be acknowledged by the United States government or the Turkish government.  

Turkey has never accepted responsibility for these acts and continues to hide behind bully tactics that shroud violations of human rights. Despite 11 of our NATO allies and 43 U.S. states recognizing these atrocities as genocide, Turkey continues to push revisionist history.  

Just as Hitler’s rationalization shows, the continued campaign of denial sets a dangerous precedent that makes future atrocities more likely.  

As the greatest force for human dignity in the world, the United States is long overdue to stand with the people of Armenia and change the dangerous precedent of blindness to violence that we have set. How can we claim to defend freedom when we refuse to even acknowledge the systemic execution of millions as genocide?  

We must join the international community to speak with a unified voice against this genocide.  

Our bipartisan Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution would send the unequivocal message that we will never forget those that were lost nor will we tolerate human rights abuse of any kind.  

For the past 100 years, the Armenian people have sought justice. They have fought to have their suffering recognized by the international community and the descendants of those who carried out the slaughter.  

We can help bring closure to this longstanding moral issue. We can help open a new chapter in Armenian-American history. We can lay the foundation for durable peace and security. We can do all of this by recognizing what is already established fact: the Armenian genocide was a crime against humanity, which even 100 years later, has ongoing consequences.  

Today, in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, we call on our colleagues in Congress to speak out by passing the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution so that we can put a long-overdue end to the denial of one of history’s most horrific crimes.  

Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Robert J. Dold, R-Ill., are co-chairmen of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.

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