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Public Statements

Stop Denying the Armenian Genocide

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. MCGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, today marks the 97th Anniversary of the terrible period of atrocities committed against the Armenian people by the leaders of the Ottoman Empire and immediate subsequent Turkish government that is known as the Armenian Genocide.

Every year I have been in Congress, I have marked this solemn anniversary remembering the victims of this genocide and the expulsion of tens of thousands of Armenians from their homes and homeland, and honoring the survivors of one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th Century. These survivors and their descendants have helped awaken and teach the world to the horrors of genocide and the necessity of standing up to the forces of denial.

This year, however, Mr. Speaker, I come before this House angry and frustrated by the refusal of my own government to recognize and identify the events from 1915 to 1923 as the Armenian Genocide. It doesn't seem to make a difference if the White House is occupied by a Republican or a Democrat, no one has the political courage to call the Armenian Genocide by name. I am always told that now is not the right time to take such an action.

When will be the right time, Mr. Speaker? When the last survivor, the last eye-witness to the genocide has passed away? Every year, when I join the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Worcester, Massachusetts, there are fewer and fewer survivors.

I understand the need for careful political consideration of these matters, but we have waited too long as it is.

It is past time to recognize the Armenian Genocide, by name, Mr. Speaker. I call on the President to do so, now, this year, for the sake of the last survivors of this atrocity and in honor of all of those who perished.

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