At long last, one branch of the United States government recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Indeed, the House of Representatives adopted HR 296 with an overwhelming number of votes (405-11). For more than 35 agonizing years, the hopes of the Armenians were hanging over the unstable political relations between the US and Turkey. The latter’s continuing bullying and threats and the US’s hesitation made the passage of the resolution all the more valuable.
The significance of the resolution is enhanced even more because of its inclusive content: it sums up all the previous legislative and commemorative acts, including the United States government’s May 28, 1951 to the International Court of Justice, President Reagan’s Proclamation 4838, House Joint Resolution 148 of April 8, 1975 and others, as well as the fact that 49 out of 50 states have extended recognition, as have 30 countries and the European Union.
These items expand the political and legal scope of the measure to universal parameters.
It was also very dramatic to watch one representative after another giving testimony and arguing for the passage of the resolution, reverberating the voices of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, US Consul Leslie Davis (who wrote The Slaughterhouse Province), sometimes with emotional overtones.
Political pundits and the general public have been wondering why the resolution passed now, at this very moment, after dangling for 35 years.