FALLS CHURCH–Va.–Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley described official recognition of the Armenian Genocide as "enormously important" during a recent Derry–New Hampshire town hall meeting–noting that he has in the past raised this human rights issue directly with Turkish officials and that he will continue to do so in the future.
Bradley’s November 29 statement came in response to a question from retired US Foreign Service Officer Jeannette John of Nashua–New Hampshire. The town hall meeting was broadcast on WNDS-TV in New Hampshire and several times nationally on C-SPAN. The full transcript of the portion of the meeting dealing with the Armenian Genocide follows:
Jeannette John: My name is Jeannette John. I want to thank you for speaking out–during your July 22nd speech at the National Press Club–in support of US recognition and Turkish acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide. I urge you to bring this same thoughtful and principled approach to defending Section 907; condemning the dual Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades; advocating Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination; and calling for increased US support for a secure–prosperous–and democratic Armenia.
My mother was sixteen years old–she was a survivor. She would never talk about it –please do not say alleged genocide. One day–I was nineteen years old and I lost one of my earrings and I said–"Mother I lost my earring," and she said–"Oh dear we left so much over there (Armenia)." So–that is my plea to you.
Bill Bradley: Thank you for your question. I think that the only way the society moves forward is to have a full accounting of its past–including its bad past. The Armenian Genocide is a fact. I have raised the issue on numerous occasions with Turkish officials and I think that history is best served by acknowledging what is a fact. You can rest assured that I will continue to raise this and bring this up because I think it is enormously important.
I had one experience with this in the past–and that was with the Ukrainian famine of the 1930’s–which the Soviet Union denied–and we established a study group–a commission–to look into it and in the mid-80’s we revealed a lot of facts that had not come to light before and therefore nailed it as being an event in history that has to be dealt with. That is the same attitude I have toward the Armenian Genocide.
On a related note–Bradley met–over the weekend with Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Board of Directors member Hovaness Boghossian during a campaign stop in Sacramento. The meeting took place on the initiative of State Assemblyman Lou Papan.
Boghossian thanked the presidential hopeful on his strong support of Armenian issues–especially is expressed commitment to work toward Genocide recognition.