Commemorating the 93rd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Floor Speech

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: April 24, 2008
Location: Washington, DC

COMMEMORATING THE 93RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE -- (Senate - April 24, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise today to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

On April 24, 1915, an ancient nation faced extermination when officials of the Ottoman Government initiated a series of raids in which hundreds of Armenians were arrested and subsequently deported or killed. Isolated incidents of brutality had occurred before, but sadly this event marked the beginning of a campaign of murder, deportation, and forced starvation. When the violence ultimately ended, as many as 1.5 million Armenians had died and 500,000 were exiled. Armenians all but disappeared from land their people had occupied for centuries.

The American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time was the distinguished Henry Morgenthau who described the horrors perpetrated against the Armenians as the ``murder of a nation.''

Just this week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which I have the honor to chair, had a hearing on the systematic murder of innocents in Darfur. The incident serves as an important reminder that an open discussion of the Armenian genocide is critical. Since the 1915 ethnic cleansing, the murder by a government of its own citizens has occurred again and again.

It is depressing to think that human beings have not learned their lesson. The whole world is diminished, wounded, and made poorer by such tragedies and we must not forget them if we hope to prevent them. The commemoration of this act of brutality and systematic murder 93 years ago is important and relevant not only for the survivors and their descendents, but for humanity as a whole.