WASHINGTON–An overflow crowd of Armenian Americans from across the US joined with over 35 Members of Congress and staffers representing over 100 offices in commemorating the 87th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on Capitol Hill this week–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The eighth annual program–organized jointly by the Armenian National Committee of America and Congressional co-Hosts–Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and George Allen (R-Va.) and Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) had the support of more than 100 Congressional co-sponsors.
ANCA Western Region Board Member Raffi Hamparian invited Senate and House Members throughout the evening to pledge their commitment to Congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide and to continue efforts to urge President Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as ‘genocide’ in his yearly April 24th commemoration. His Eminence Oshagan Choloyan–Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern US and Canada and Bishop Manuel Batakian–Apostolic Exarch of Armenian Catholics in Canada and the US gave moving opening and closing invocations setting the mood for the solemn occasion. Armenian Genocide survivors from as far away as Weymouth–MA attended the gathering and were honored by Senators and Representatives alike.
ANCA Western Region Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian–who had spent the week in Washington meeting with elected officials from a number of Western states–noted that–"We were very happy to see our close Congressional friends from the Western states convey their strong commitment to US recognition of the Armenian Genocide. With Representatives Schiff–Sherman–Royce–Davis–Becerra Rohrabacher–Roybal-Allard and of course–Armenian American Anna Eshoo at our side–among others–we feel confident that we will succeed in setting the record straight against those who would deny this crime against humanity."
Congressional Members and staff received detailed information regarding the Armenian Genocide and complementary copies of the recently published book "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power–examining US foreign policy responses to 20th century genocides. Her work covers the great crimes against humanity of the last century–including the Armenian Genocide–the Holocaust–the Cambodian Genocide and the most recent mass slaughter and modern killing fields in Rwanda.