Recognize the Armenian Genocide

The woman helping to update and alter my wedding dress is Armenian. After tea and cookies with my mom, she shared the story of her best friend, who died ten years ago. When her friend was young, and walking on an Armenain death march, she remembers holding her mother’s hand as tightly as possible. A  soldier approached the pair and cut the arm of her mother off. The little girl didn’t know what to do. Her mother had been left for dead and she was forced to continue walking. Traumatized, she held on to her mother’s hand, now only attached to a small portion of her arm. This was her only memory of her mother and childhood in Armenia.

The 8th stage of genocide is denial. A stage of the Armenian Genocide we are stuck in. It is time we recognize this mass atrocity for what it is, genocide. We all know it is the right thing to do, but we also know that our politicians don’t do the right thing simply because its the right thing. They need our pressure. I ask you to take a few quick actions for Armenia.

1. By April 16, 2010 sign the below letters to President Obama and Congress as an individual, and as an organization if you are part of one. Send your signatures to Herman Purutyan at hpurutyan@mac.com.

2. Contact your Senators and ask them to co-sign Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) letter asking President Obama to recognize the Armenian genocide on April 24, its 95th anniversary.  They can sign by emailing Ann Norris in Senator Boxer’s office by April 16 at Ann_Norris@boxer.senate.gov.

3. Check out President Obama’s fact sheet regarding Armenia.

————————– Letter to Obama ——————————-
Dear President Obama:

We are writing to urge you to unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide in your upcoming April 24th statement regarding the cataclysmic events of 1915.

We firmly believe that if the United States is to play a credible role in responding to crises around the world when gross violations of human rights occur, it cannot afford to appear in doubt about past genocides.

Genocide, as you stated in 2008, “sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics – displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter – that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915…America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”

This April 24, we believe, represents an important opportunity to unambiguously affirm the Armenian Genocide and further the cause of genocide education and prevention. Doing so it will demonstrate our moral and political leadership in the world, especially as we confront the ongoing consequences of genocide and its denial.

As we approach the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we urge you to honor your pledge to properly characterize the systematic destruction of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Sincerely,
—————————- end of letter ———————–
—————————– letter to the Democratic and Republican leadership in the House ————————————-
Dear____________:

We are writing to lend our full support to H. Res. 252, a resolution that calls “…upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide,” and urge its swift passage by the full House of Representatives.

H. Res. 252 represents a significant bipartisan effort of over 140 cosponsors to preserve, honor, and utilize the proud record of the United States in responding to the first humanitarian crisis of the 20th century – the Armenian Genocide. The facts of the Armenian Genocide are clear and well documented in voluminous official reports housed by the U.S. National Archives. In addition, 20 countries around the world and 43 U.S. States are on record acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

We firmly believe that if the United States is to play a credible role in responding to crises around the world when gross violations of human rights occur, it cannot afford to appear in doubt about past genocides. As President Barack Obama stated in 2008, “Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics – displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter – that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915…America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”

Congressional passage of this critical human rights legislation as well as reaffirmation by President Barack Obama will demonstrate our moral and political leadership in the world, especially as we confront the ongoing genocide in Darfur. As we approach the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we urge that Congress adopt H. Res. 252 and not succumb to undue pressure from foreign sources to deny adoption of this resolution.

Sincerely,
—————————- end of letter ———————–

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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