WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide:
“Today, we recognize the genocide that took the lives of 1.5 million Armenian children, women, and men in their ancestral homeland. Their ashes are written into history: into human history, into the history of Ottomans and Armenians, and even into the history of this country, on account of our predecessors who—like so much of the world—heard, and knew, and did too little.
“Through the 20th century and into the next, the thread of genocide, and the hate and apathy that run along it, has tied the desert concentration camps for Armenians to the camp at Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia, and Rwanda, and Darfur. And yet, where the thread runs darkest, we can find words to give us hope.
“When the parliament in Istanbul was debating how best to seize the property of the exiled Armenians, a representative rose against the bill and said this: ‘If we are a constitutional regime functioning in accordance with constitutional law we can’t do this. This is atrocious. Grab my arm, eject me from my village, then sell my goods and properties—such a thing can never be permissible. Neither the conscience of the Ottomans nor the law can allow it.’
“The man who spoke those words, Ahmed Riza, was not an Armenian, but a Turk.
“As long as genocide is real in our world, may there be men and women who speak and think as he did. Let us witness that no law can ever sanction genocide—not the laws of nations, not the moral law that is higher than them all—and let us work to give the law force in our world.”