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Public Statements

The 98th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the ninety-eighth anniversary of the onset of the Armenian Genocide, one of the ugliest chapters in the bloodiest century in recorded human history. Over the course of the Genocide, 1.5 million innocent Armenians were slaughtered; those Ottoman Armenians that survived were the tiny and miraculous remnant of a forced march conducted by the Ottomans under the most savage of conditions.

Those murders were not only a tragedy for the Armenian people, who bear its scars to this day. The barbarity inflicted on the Armenians also opened the floodgates on a century of genocide and ethnic-cleansing. We've all seen Hitler's sneering statement "Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?'' That statement makes clear the link between indifference to the Armenians and the murder of six million Jews. And it expresses the mindset of so many thuggish leaders after Hitler, leaders convinced that their nationalist aims could easily be achieved through a policy of murder that carried no punishment. The victims of this mindset have spanned the globe, as we know too well.

"Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?'' Mr. Speaker, I want to affirm today that we do remember, and we remember with reverence. We recall with sorrow the massive loss of life as the result of a deliberate policy of murder. We also know that we owe it to humanity and history to remember, if only to help erect a deterrent against future such tragedies. And let me add that Turkey owes it to the Armenians to acknowledge and come to terms with what its forbears perpetrated--and, at a minimum, to apologize.

Turkey also owes that to itself, too, for Turkish society will be stronger for having ended the charade of denying what the whole world knows to be true.

Mr. Speaker, to the Armenian people, including the very few remaining survivors, I want to express my great sorrow and deepest condolences. And I say to them, as we say regarding the Holocaust, ``Never again.''

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