Rep. Pallone calls on White House to “side with historical honesty” and allow display of Armenian Orphan Rug

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) urged President Obama to reverse an earlier decision and allow the display of the Armenian Genocide orphan rug, noting that the Turkish Government should not be allowed to dictate whether this cultural treasure is available to the public, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

In a letter send to the White House, Rep. Pallone stated that “the refusal of the White House’s to allow display of the rug without explanation denies the American people access to a national treasure and suggests that discussion of the events surrounding the Armenian Genocide is unwelcome.  The Armenian American community continues to make valuable contributions to the United States and our government should be committed to helping the community explore their history, including the Armenian Genocide.”

“We want to thank Congressman Pallone for pressing the Obama Administration to do the right thing,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “It is a truly tragic testament to the depths of our Administration’s deference to Ankara’s angry and irrational genocide denial campaign that our White House – having been gagged into silence by Turkey on the Armenian Genocide – is now allowing this foreign government to dictate which works of art – U.S. property and part of our American history – we are allowed to display at the Smithsonian Institution.”

Congressman Pallone joins Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) in pressing the White House to allow display of the Armenian Genocide Orphan rug through individual letters.  This week, Representatives David Valadao (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) launched a Congressional letter urging their colleagues to band together in petitioning the White House to release the rug for view.  Both Representatives Pallone and Sherman have cosigned the letter along with a growing bi-partisan list of House Members.

The ANCA launched a grassroots campaign last week calling upon the White House and Congress to secure a prominent and permanent public display of the historic rug, woven by Armenian Genocide orphans and presented to President Calvin Coolidge on December 4, 1925 in appreciation for U.S. humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Turkey’s murder of over 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923.

The Armenian orphan rug measures 11’7″ x 18’5″ and is comprised of 4,404,206 individual knots.  It took the Armenian girls in the Ghazir Orphanage of the Near East Relief Society 10 months to weave.  A label on the back of the rug, in large hand-written letters, reads “IN GOLDEN RULE GRATITUDE TO PRESIDENT COOLIDGE.”

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