LOS ANGELES–The Armenian Youth Federation/Armenian National Committee Political Action Task Force Thursday launched a petition drive urging President Clinton to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The petition–which cites Clinton’s commen’s made on March 25–1998 at Rwanda’s airport where he apologized to the Rwandan people for not doing enough regarding their genocide–urges the White House to recognize the Armenian Genocide using the same policy-decision which was articulated in Rwanda.
The PATF has already dispatched a letter to Clinton–urging him to join US allies–and recognize the Genocide on April 24. The petition drive is aimed at securing grass-roots participation in continuing the pursuit of the Armenian Cause.
PATF members and AYF volunteers began circulating the petitions throughout the various communities around California–and they have set up special signing mechanism at Sunday Mass and throughout the week leading to April 24 and commemorative activities scheduled for that day.
Interested individuals are urged to contact the PATF office at the AYF Central headquarters at (818) 507-1933.
Below is the text of the petition:
Dear President Clinton:
I applaud your recent statement made in Rwanda’s airport on March 25–1998 where you acknowledged the tragic Genocide of the Rwandan people.
However–I am disturbed that–as President–you have yet to publicly characterize the attempt by the Ottoman Turkish Government to systematically exterminate the Armenian people during 1915 to 1923 as genocide–the first genocide of the 20th century. As you are well aware–the international community and the vast majority of the genocide scholars around the world recognize the attempted eradication of the Armenia’s living in the Ottoman Empire as a classic case of genocide. In fact–Raphael Lemkin–the "father" of the Genocide Convention coined the word "genocide" prior to the Holocaust and only after investigating the mass extermination of the Armenia’s living in the Ottoman Empire.
Mr. President–your failure to use the word genocide in characterizing the Armenian experience has unwittingly provided comfort to the Turkish Government–which Continues its insidious and immoral campaign to distort and deny the Armenian Genocide.
I know that–as a dedicated student of History–you fully understand that society’s refusal to honestly examine its past and properly address outstanding transgressions can only serve to embolden those considering the undertaking of similar crimes against humanity.
Simply put Mr. President–as long as world leaders like you avoid the proper characterization of the Armenian experience–the lesson that the world will learn is that responsibility for genocide–the most heinous crime known to mankind–can be avoided.
I respectfully ask that you add your powerful voice to those leaders around the world who have made statemen’s–and correctly term the extermination of the Armenia’s as genocide.
As always–we wish you well in leading our nation into the 21st century and look forward to your commemorative remarks.