06/05/2022

60 US members of Congress endorse Syriac, Greek and Armenian Genocide Education Act

WASHINGTON — The number of U.S. members of congress supporting the bill to introduce education on U.S. schools about the 1915-1923 genocide of Christian peoples in the Ottoman Empire continues to rise. The Armenian National Committee of America and partner In Defense of Christians, a non-profit human rights and advocacy organization for Christians in the Middle East, report that Genocide Education Act HR7555 has already 60 co-sponsors. Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) was the most recent to express support for the bipartisan bill introduced to the House of Representatives on April 21 of this year by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).

Bill HR7555 invokes House Resolution 296 and Senate Resolution 150 that cite the Ottoman Empire’s “campaign of genocide against Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Aramean, Maronite and other Christians”, and call on the United States to (A) “reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide”; and (B) “encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity”.

To counter the still-lively denial “that the Ottoman Empire systematically planned, organized, and implemented a campaign of genocide against Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Aramean, Maronite, and other Christians or who seek to distort the true nature of these crimes continue to find forums,” the House Resolution calls on the U.S. government to conduct activities to support Armenian, Greek, Kafno and Sayfo Genocide education programs in order to gain a thorough and broader public understanding of the historical facts.

Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis modeled the Genocide Education Act on the Christian people of the Ottoman Empire after the Holocaust Never Again Education Act. They also requested a budget of $10 million for the Library of Congress to develop the educational genocide program within 5 years.

The Education Act will give teachers across the U.S. the resources they need to educate on the atrocities of the Greek, Syriac-Assyrian-Aramean-Chaldean-Maronite, and Armenian Genocide and the consequences of intolerance and hate. “As the saying goes, if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it,” said Congresswoman Maloney in a press release. “That is why I am proud to introduce the Armenian Genocide Education Act to teach the horrors and lessons of the Armenian Genocide accurately and effectively.”

On April 24, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden described the events of 1915 as genocide. Last year, the Biden Administration officially recognized the genocide against the Armenian people. Previous administrations had avoided using the term genocide to describe the events of 1915 out of concern that Turkey — a NATO member — would be offended. The genocide was, “one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century,” said the statement released by the White House. While the U.S. has finally recognized the killing of Armenians as genocide, efforts are being made for the recognition to include the Syriac-Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean-Maronite and Greek peoples. If only we could learn from history…