Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr.
President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. President:
We, the spiritual leaders of the Armenian Community in the United States of America, salute your praiseworthy achievements during the hundred days of your presidency coinciding with global existential crisis. Your priorities to rebuild a healthy society and promote human rights are like the heavenly star leading to peace and prosperity.
On the 106th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide we appeal to you with a keen, existential sense of urgency to recognize the first Genocide of 20th century perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks and request fair reparation for this crime against humanity. It is not sheer coincidence that legal scholars have called the Genocide Convention the first human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations.
The Armenian Genocide is not only a historical tragedy, but as a Damoclean sword today is pending and threatening the extermination of Armenia, the hosting country of Noah’s Ark. If there were any doubts, in a “victory parade” in Baku on December 10, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised the memory of Enver Pasha, one of the architects of the Armenian Genocide. A genocide denied is a genocide repeated.
How current are the words pronounced by His Holiness Pope Francis on the centennial of the Genocide in 2015:
“Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9)
In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century” (John Paul II and Karekin II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks.”
Tiny as it is, Armenia is an outpost of democracy in a region often marred by suppression of what stands at its core: Freedom. As the world’s first Christian nation, Armenia shares the moral quest of the United States, its values, and its vision of peace and prosperity.
We appeal to you to redress this historical injustice:
Please proclaim April 24th as a day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide. Non-recognition has emboldened Turkey to carry out a genocidal policy in the region. This is why we say that recognition is of existential importance for Armenia.
We urge you to fundamentally reconsider U.S. military and political relations with Turkey. It has been obvious for some time now that the increasing bellicosity of Turkey is incompatible with the foreign policy pursued by the U.S. and its role in the world envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Please allow us to quote at some length from a 2020 speech that defines the urgency of our appeal:
“Today we remember the atrocities faced by the Armenian people in the Metz Yeghern — the Armenian Genocide. From 1915 to 1923, almost 2 million Armenians were deported en masse, and 1.5 million men, women, and children were killed. Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians were also targeted. We must never forget or remain silent about this horrific and systematic campaign of extermination. And we will forever respect the perseverance of the Armenian people in the wake of such tragedy.
“It is particularly important to speak these words and commemorate this history at a moment when we are reminded daily of the power of truth, and of our shared responsibility to stand against hate — because silence is complicity. If we do not fully acknowledge, commemorate, and teach our children about genocide, the words “never again” lose their meaning.”
We thank you for these brave words that you pronounced last year, Mr. President.
Very few men have the power to shape History. You are one of them, and American Armenians look up to you with pride and hope.
We pray that Divine wisdom leads your endeavors and fulfills your mission with success, generating peace, justice, mutual respect, and prosperity for the Land of the Brave and for mankind at large.
Archb. Hovnan Derderian, Primate, Western Diocese
Archb. Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, Eastern Prelacy
Bishop Daniel Findikian, Primate, Eastern Diocese
Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate, Western Prelacy
Bishop Mikhael Mouradian, Eparch Arm. Catholic Eparchy
Rev. Berdj Jambazian, Minister, Arm. Evangelical Union
Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director AMAA