Markey Statement: 98th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide


• Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, parev, pari yegak (Hello, welcome!).
• I am very proud to represent Watertown, Massachusetts in Congress. Watertown has the third highest percentage of Armenian-Americans of any community in the Nation. I am also a proud member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues led by Representatives Pallone and Grimm.
• The Armenian-American community is one of the greatest success stories in this Nation's history. I was meeting recently with a group of my Armenian-American constituents to discuss some of the current issues affecting US-Armenian relations and I commented that in my experience, I have never met an unsuccessful Armenian!
• As an Irish-American, I know what it is like to come from a troubled land. My grandfather and grandmother came to Boston from Ireland in 1902. Just as the core of the Irish-American community was formed out of the refugees of the Potato famine and the Irish Civil War, the core of the Armenian-American community was formed from those who fled the Genocide and their descendants.
• Today, we remember and commemorate the Armenian Genocide, the first of many genocides we saw in the 20th Century. The Armenian Genocide that began in 1915 is sometimes called the ``forgotten genocide,'' but we must never forget!
• I was proud to be present at the opening of the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston in May of last year. This beautiful park and its haunting monument are a lasting testament to the 1.5 million Armenians who were slaughtered by the Ottoman Empire. This monument reminds us that we must be ever vigilant and not allow such horrors to occur again.
• In order to prevent future genocides, however, we must recognize those of the past. For many years the U.S. House of Representatives has had before it a resolution which clearly affirmed that the Armenian Genocide did occur.
• I have been a strong supporter and vocal cosponsor of this resolution in every Congress, and I remain so today.
• Almost one-hundred years have passed since the Armenian Genocide, yet the suffering will continue for Armenians and non-Armenians alike as long as the world allows denial to prevail.
• Already, 43 states and 22 nations have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, and it is long overdue for the United States to do the same.
• Unfortunately, the Republic of Armenia's challenges have continued even after it gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
• In the face of ongoing blockades from Turkey and Azerbaijan, the United States must provide assistance to Armenia while working to reestablish the Turkish government's commitment to normalized relations in order to ensure peace and stability in the Caucasus region. I strongly support these efforts.
• The Armenian people are true survivors. Despite the reappearing themes of invasions and land loss that the Armenians have dealt with for over 3,000 years, coupled with the loss of between one-half and three-quarters of their population in the early 20th century, the people of Armenia have prevailed.
• The journey of the Armenian people continues today, with our shared responsibility to ensure that the Armenian people are able to build their own, independent and prosperous future.
• I look forward to continuing to work with the Armenian-American community to address the issues facing this longtime friend and important ally of the United States. Together we can continue to build something positive, something hopeful, something good for the future--an Armenia that is respected and honored by its allies and neighbors.
• And this cannot come without universal acknowledgement of the horror that was the Armenian Genocide.
• Shnorhagal em (Thank you).

[Page: E528]  GPO's PDF