Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), lead sponsor of the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress, delivered his remarks in Armenian on the House floor on Wednesday to honor the 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children who were murdered by the Ottoman empire.
His remarks come the same day that President Obama once again did use the word genocide in his annual statement about the tragic event.
Schiff said in his Armenian address, “I speak to you from the floor of the House of Representatives in the language of your grandparents and your great-grandparents – the language they used to speak of their hopes, their dreams, their lives and their loves in the years before 1915 … I speak to you in the language of sons who watched their fathers murdered.”
On the 98th anniversary of the genocide, Schiff pointed out that not only were Armenians murdered, Armenian women were raped by the thousands.
“I speak to you in the language of the girls begging the gendarmes for mercy,” he said.
“I speak to you in the language of the children begging for a drop of water,” Schiff said.
The Congressman noted there is “overwhelming evidence” – much of it from American diplomats and journalists as well as Turkish historians – that the genocide occurred and Schiff said he supports those who fight to have it given its proper commemoration.
“I speak to you in the language of those who were lost. Their voices drift across the decades – begging us to remember,” Schiff said.