Senator Boxer's Statement on the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
Friday, April 24, 2009
Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 94th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Ninety-four years ago today, the Ottoman Empire—now modern-day Turkey—began the systematic destruction of the Armenian people. Armenians were driven from their homes and villages, marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, and slaughtered in cold blood. Before it was over, approximately 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the first genocide of the 20th century.
Recently, the Armenian and Turkish governments announced important progress toward achieving the full normalization of relations between their two countries. I support this effort, and am hopeful that this process will lead the Turkish government to finally acknowledge the irrefutable truth of the Armenian Genocide, and also to greater peace and prosperity for the people of Armenia.
As President Barack Obama has said, “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable.” There is no need for further study or debate, because we must never legitimize the views of those who deny the very worst of crimes against humanity.
On this solemn anniversary, we remember those who were lost in the Armenian Genocide, while honoring the survivors and their descendants who have done so much to make America and the world a better place. I am personally grateful that so many of those individuals have chosen to call California home.
We also take pause to acknowledge that such crimes are continuing today. There is perhaps no more fitting example than the genocide that is raging in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Since 2002, the Sudanese government has attempted to exterminate the African Muslim population of Darfur with horrific acts of brutality. Villages have been burned to the ground, innocent women and children slaughtered by helicopter gunships, and rape has been used as a tool of genocide. What happened to the Armenians is genocide. What is happening today in Darfur is genocide, even though the government of Sudan denies this.
Genocide is only possible when people avert their eyes. Any effort to deal with genocide – in the past, present or future – must begin with the truth. By acknowledging the truth of the Armenian Genocide, we can end the phony debates and strengthen our ability to stand up against mass killing today.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer