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Public Statements

Armenian Genocide Anniversary

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Armenian Caucus, I am pleased to continue to lend my support to the Armenian-American community and the people of Armenia in any way that I can. I support strongly the work that all the members of the Armenian American community do to foster strong ties between America and Armenia.

This month we mark a somber and important anniversary.

Ninety-eight years ago, the Ottoman empire committed one of the largest crimes against humanity in world history. The systematic annihilation of over a million Armenian men, women and children is a crime that cannot be forgotten. We will not allow it to be forgotten.

I know that many will say that the Armenian deaths occurred in the midst of war and social disruption and so we cannot call it genocidal killing, or that we cannot even say accurately how many people died and how they died. Such arguments avoid the evidence. The evidence shows that more than a million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman empire.

Further, some will complain that these statements unfairly besmirch the dignity and reputation of today's Turks. I would say that recognizing genocide from nearly a century ago need not sully the reputation of modern-day Turks any more than accounts of disreputable, brutal or atrocious behavior of early settlers in the Americas, or of Germans in the 1930s and 1940s, or South Africa under apartheid, or other historical regimes reflect badly on those nations today, unless those nations refuse to acknowledge and learn from past evils and mistakes.

I'm also pleased that so many of my colleagues have joined me in supporting continued U.S. government aid and support for Armenia and the people of Nagorno Karabakh. These remain challenging times for the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and I hope our colleagues on the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate honor our request for that aid to continue.

On this anniversary of the genocide against the Armenian people, let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that the truth about this heinous event is acknowledged by every country in the world.

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