WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today issued a statement commemorating the Armenian Genocide stressing that “genocide must be faced in its harshest reality” and criticizing those who seek to allow the “horror of the Armenian Genocide to be either diminished or denied,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Senator Boxer, who has consistently supported issues of concern to Armenian Americans, will face a re-election challenge next year as she seeks her third Senate term. Throughout her service in both the U.S. House and Senate, she has fought for assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, and against the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of the Armenian people. Sen. Boxer has consistently defended Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which restricts U.S. aid to government of Azerbaijan until it has lifted its blockades of Armenia and Karabagh. In recognition of all her efforts, she has consistently received an “A” rating from the ANCA.
“We welcome Senator Boxer’s principled stand and look forward to continuing our work with her as, together, we make progress toward a just resolution of the crime of genocide committed against the Armenian nation,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
The full text of Senator Boxer’s speech follows:
Each year on April 24, people throughout the world pause to remember the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide. On that day, in Constantinople, more than 200 Armenian leaders were arrested and killed. This day saw the beginning of the first genocide of the 20th Century and the organized effort to eliminate the Armenian presence from the Ottoman Empire.
The Armenian Genocide ultimately resulted in the massacre of a million and a half Armenian men, women and children. Untold numbers of Armenians were subjected to torture, deportation, slavery and murder, and more than 500,000 were forced on death marches through the deserts of Syria. The Armenian Genocide is one of the saddest chapters in world history.
Yet like other persecuted people, Armenians ultimately prevailed and their dream of freedom did not die. More than 70 years after the genocide, the new Republic of Armenia was born as the Soviet Union crumbled. Each year on April 24, we pay tribute not just to those who died, but also to those who, through courage and strength, built new lives and a new nation.
In another parallel to persecuted people, there are those who question the historical accuracy of this time period. We must not allow the horror of the Armenian genocide to be either diminished or denied. Genocide must be faced in its harshest reality, for only then can we fight the conditions that can foster new instances of this worst crime against humanity.
Recently, though terms of a court settlement, Armenian-Americans obtained from New York Life Insurance an agreement that the company will make good on policies sold to Armenians prior to the genocide. Though the amount will not make up for the tremendous losses suffered, this settlement is an important step. It acknowledges the loss of human life and permits the settling of still valid claims from that time. Justice has not been swift, but we should all celebrate this settlement as a step toward justice.
Finally, we should remember Adolf Hitler’s statement at the outset of the Holocaust: “Who today remembers the Armenians?”
We must teach our children and succeeding generations the story of the Armenians so that future genocides will never again occur.