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2005 blog


Pallone puts Armenia's Foreign Minister's speech
on Armenians and Jews into Congressional Record
,  Feb. 19, 2005

holocaust file

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who chairs the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, has placed in the Feb. 18 Congressional Record a speech made by Armenia's Foreign Minister Vartan Oksanian in which he noted the link Nazi Germany's Chancellor Adolf Hitler made between Armenians and Jews while contemplating the Holocaust.

"'Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' said Adolf Hitler, days before he entered Poland," Oksanian recalled in a United Nations speech in January at a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

"Hitler's cynical remembrance of Armenians is prominently displayed in the Holocaust Memorial in Washington because it is profound commentary about the crucial role of third parties in genocide prevention and remembrance," Oksanian said. "Genocide is the manifestation of the break in the covenant that governments have with their peoples. Therefore, it is third parties who become crucial actors in genocide prevention, humanitarian assistance and genocide remembrance." 

Pallone, submitting Oksanian's speech for publication, commented: "By remembering all instances of man's inhumanity to man, we renew our commitment always to prevent this crime's recurrence, and therefore negate the dictum that history is condemned to repeat itself."

Oksanian said that "after Auschwitz, we are all Jews, we are all Gypsies, we are all unfit, deviant and undesirable, for someone, somewhere. After Auschwitz, the conscience of man cannot remain the same. Man's inhumanity to men, to women, to children, and to the elderly, is no longer a concept in search of a name, an image, a description. Auschwitz lends its malefic aura to all the Auschwitzes of history, our collective history, both before and after."

Armenia's Foreign Minister said that if the world truly had learned the lessons of the Holocaust, no one would again "turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. As an Armenian, I know that a blind eye, a deaf ear and a muted tongue perpetuate the wounds. It is a memory of suffering unrelieved by strong condemnation and unequivocal recognition. The catharsis that the victims deserve, which societies require in order to heal and move forward together, obligates us here at the UN, and in the international community, to be witness, to call things by their name, to remove the veil of obfuscation, of double standards, of political expediency."

He pointed out that following last December's tsunami, "multilateral assistance efforts were massive, swift, generous and without discrimination. But, when compared and contrasted with today's other major tragedy, in Africa, it is plain that for Darfur, formal and ritual condemnation has not been followed by any dissuasive action against the perpetrators. The difference with the tsunami, of course, was that there were no perpetrators. No one wielded the sword, pulled the trigger or pushed the button that released the gas." 

"Recognizing the victims and acknowledging them is also to recognize that there are perpetrators," Oskanian said."But this is absolutely not the same as actually naming them, shaming them, dissuading or warning them, isolating or punishing them." 

Oskanian said that "third parties...can make the difference between life and death. Their rejection of the behaviors and policies which are neither in anyone's national interest nor in humanity's 
international interest, is of immense moral and political value." —Donald H. Harrison