By Hagop Vartivarian

It surely will not be easy to get the superpower that is the United States to accept the Armenian Genocide as fact. Nevertheless, despite the failure of past attempts, American-Armenians continue to exert all their joint financial, moral and political efforts toward this end.

Thursday, March 4, is another historic date that shall go down as a day of political victory for the American-Armenian community as a whole. On that day, H. Res. 252, the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, was approved in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives by a vote of 23-22. This happened despite extensive Turkish lobbying and silence from President Barack Obama, as well as the attempts by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to derail passage of said resolution.

Committee Chairman Howard Berman, Democrat of California, spoke compassionately in stating that the recognition of the Genocide was always postponed during his 27 years as House member, with the excuse that “it’s not the time.” The Committee had approved similar resolutions in 2000 and 2007 but, unfortunately, the approval of the recognition of the Genocide was always voted down due to similar or other types of intervention.

It became apparent on the day of the committee vote that the Turkish Embassy and, particularly, the well-known industrial firms having close relations with Ankara by virtue of the strategic Hillary Turkish-American alliance, led by Secretary of State Clinton, were engaged in a last-minute attempt to prevent passage of the resolution. However, when that attempt failed, Ankara recalled its ambassador from Washington as a sign of protest.
The resolution passed with the votes of pro-Armenian Democrat and Republican Representatives alike.

However, it should be noted with satisfaction that the American-Armenian community, with all its factions, is the real victor here. The thousands of letters sent by American-Armenian voters to their Congressmen over the past several months shaped opinion in the American political circles. Besides that, on the one hand, the lobbying of the Armenian Assembly and the Armenian National Committee of America equally with the congressmen and, on the other hand, the unceasing involvement of all our institutions and organizations — benevolent, ecclesiastical, political, social and youth — in all 50 states had a positive effect. Fortunately, the work carried out through joint efforts successfully accomplished the objective, and this success recorded by the American-Armenian community in the days preceding the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide will undoubtedly give a new moral boost this year to our overall efforts on behalf of the Armenian Cause.

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Having completed the first stage of the victory, the Foreign Affairs Committee will take this resolution to the House floor, where it will be put to a vote and, if it passes, it will go to the Senate. Finally, if it passes the Senate, it will be sent to the president’s desk for his signature.

Of course, Ankara is not going to sit with hands folded through this process. Especially at this time, when Turkey has begun to experience a stormy domestic political scene, in which the erstwhile old forces who make up the military are slowly emerging from their “trenches” and making their appearance in the political arena….

Our American-Armenian compatriots have quite a long road to travel. However, we are certain that justice will come to light in America too, and the United States will also acknowledge the 20th century’s first genocide, like certain European countries.

(Hagop Vartivarian is the chairman of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party’s Press Committee.)

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