Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) today released the following statement in response to the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor, Syria by the Islamic State, or ISIL.
“ISIL’s actions can only be viewed as a barbaric act of terrorism. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced to march to the deserts of Der Zor, where they lived in concentration camps until their brutal extermination. The Armenian Genocide Memorial Church commemorates these men, women, and children, along with the more than 1.5 million Armenians who were systematically annihilated by the Ottoman Empire. As a proud member of the Armenian community, my relatives and ancestors are included in this figure. If my mother had been born in the Ottoman Empire instead of Fresno, she too may have been a target. This consecrated church stood as a reminder of the terrible consequences of hateful ideology and violence. We must remember these lessons as ISIL threatens Armenians, Kurds, Jews, Muslims, and Christians today.”