The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America has launched a petition on Change.org, which calls on US President Barack Obama, the House of Representatives and the Senate to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The petision has been signed by over 3,000 people by now.
The text of the petition is provided below:
“This upcoming April 24, 2015 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Join us as we call on President Obama and Congress to remember the Armenian Genocide by reaffirming past U.S. policy of labeling this event a “genocide.”
Between 1915 and 1923, two million Christian Armenians were forcibly uprooted from their homeland with 1.5 million of that number systematically slaughtered by the Ottoman Turkish government under the cover of World War I, effectively eliminating the 5,000-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland. This campaign of ethnic mass murder – which also targeted Christian Greeks and Assyrians living in Turkey – is considered the first documented genocide of modern times and included crucifixions, torture of women and children, sexual slavery, deportations, mass executions, forced labor, enslavement of children and purposeful starvation. Similar to the pattern seen in the Holocaust, this genocidal campaign also consisted of the confiscation of the personal and real property of the genocide victims, as well as that of the Armenian Church.
The Armenian Genocide is settled history. The International Association of Genocide Scholars has repeatedly and unanimously declared these events to be a genocide. In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt referred to the Armenian Genocide as “the greatest crime of the war.” In 1939, Adolf Hitler referenced the Armenian Genocide as justification for the Holocaust saying, “Who, after all, today speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” The creator of the word “genocide,” Holocaust survivor and lawyer Raphael Lemkin, said he conceived the word to describe the pattern of ethnic cleansing seen in WWI with the Armenians and WWII with the Jewish people.
Despite this overwhelming evidence, the Turkish government denies its past. It has criminalized discussion of the Armenian Genocide by its own citizens and built a powerful coalition of lobbyists in the United States who use political influence to deny the truth about the genocide and prevent international recognition of this crime, including former Congressional leaders like Dick Gephardt and Dennis Hastert and the law firm of Greenberg Traurig.
We call on President Obama and Congress to rise above Turkey’s threats and political pressure to take a stand for historical justice. Join the 22 other countries – including 11 NATO allies, the Holy See, 43 U.S. states, and numerous past Presidents including Ronald Reagan – in recognizing that the events of 1915 were, in fact, a genocide.
In the case of President Obama, we simply ask him to keep his promise: As a Senator and candidate for President, President Obama strongly endorsed recognition of the genocide, promised he would recognize the genocide as President, and said America “deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide.” We couldn’t agree more, Mr. President.
The surest way to prevent atrocities in the future is to acknowledge and learn from those in the past. Sign on to our petition today to add your voice to the growing chorus who demand recognition and justice.”