WASHINGTON — On the eve of the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Van Z. Krikorian, Co-Chair of the Armenian Assembly of America Board of Trustees, testified before the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) congressional hearing entitled “A Century of Denial: The Armenian Genocide and the Ongoing Quest for Justice.”
Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) opened the hearing with a powerful statement. “The Armenian Genocide is the only one of the genocides of the twentieth century in which the nation that was decimated by genocide has been subject to ongoing outrage of a massive campaign of genocide denial, openly sustained by state authority,” Chairman Smith said. “This campaign of genocide denial is a slap in the face to the Armenian people, preventing reconciliation and healing. As Pope Francis said at this Mass marking the centenary of the genocide, ‘Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.’”
Excerpts from Krikorian’s statement are below.
“President Obama has used the Armenian term for the Armenian Genocide (“Meds Yeghern”), he has described and condemned all of the events which provide a dictionary definition of the Armenian Genocide, he has called on Turkey to deal with its past honestly and he has referred back to his prior statements as a Senator explicitly using the term Armenian Genocide. But since his election as President, he has been misled by false promises and bowed to threats from the worst kind of people. This undercuts his own credibility. Worst of all it puts more lives at risk as history does repeat itself.
“The record has never been in doubt. To say that people are shocked is an overstatement. The news that the Turkish Foreign Minister met with Secretary Kerry and National Security Advisor Rice with ISIL on the table made everything clear. However, to say that we are deeply disappointed is an understatement.
“The truth is we feel pain and sorrow, close to when a loved one is lost. We feel pain for the innocent people and civilization that was destroyed. We feel sorrow in the knowledge that it will continue unless change comes. And like other victim groups, we are more than resilient enough to rededicate ourselves to the cause of preventing genocide which we have inherited.”