WASHINGTON — Once more, April 24, the day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide has come and gone, marked by ceremonies and observances throughout the US, in Armenia and abroad. Once more, President George Bush issued a statement that avoided the word “genocide,” calling the events “one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century.”
When there was the real chance that H.R. 106, the bill that supports Genocide recognition, might come to the floor for a vote in fall 2007, Bush adamantly opposed the resolution, citing concerns that US ally Turkey might engage in diplomatic acts of reprisal. On October 10, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs had held a mark-up of the bill and ordered it reported favorably by a vote of 27-21. Nevertheless, the forward motion was quashed by the executive.
Despite the fact that Congress buckled to the Bush administration’s opposition to H.R. 106,members of the Armenian Caucus and others, continue to voice support for the resolution. At the Capitol Hill annual Armenian Genocide observance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urged passage of the resolution, a move described by legislators as a long overdue rejection of Turkey’s “gag-rule” on the US Congress and
a powerful step toward ending all forms of US complicity in Turkey’s multi-million dollar campaign of denial.
Said Pelosi, “I come to pay respect with some sadness — certainly sadness over what happened nearly 100 years ago, but also sadness that it is long past time for the president and the Congress to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
Many other legislators including Co- Chairmen of the Armenian Caucus, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) stated support for the resolution.
Said Knollenberg, ”Though we have had some setbacks in this Congress and certainly last year, we are not going to stop until there is an official genocide recognition and we pass House Resolution 106. So we give you that commitment. The United States should affirm the Genocide once and for all. There are many reasons to do this, but the most important is so that we can prevent atrocities like the Genocide from happening in the future. But we first must admit to and learn from the past before we can stop future genocides.”