U.S House of Representatives finally recognizes the Armenian genocide

What does this mean for Armenia?

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U.S House of Representatives finally recognizes the Armenian genocide

Students rally at Clark Magnet High School for Armenia in 2016.

Students rally at Clark Magnet High School for Armenia in 2016.

Henry Reed

Students rally at Clark Magnet High School for Armenia in 2016.

Henry Reed

Henry Reed

Students rally at Clark Magnet High School for Armenia in 2016.

Anna Arutunian, Yearbook Section Editor

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After school had ended on Oct. 29, my dad picked me up from my bus stop and replaced his usual greeting with “The House recognized the genocide!” The conversation carried home, spreading the news to the rest of my family. My patriotic grandmother immediately rushed to turn on the television to see for herself the details of this momentous event.

My family wasn’t alone in radiating such excitement, because the U.S. House of Representatives recently took the enormous step of recognizing the burdensome tragedy that is the Armenian genocide as an actual genocide, a move the Armenian diaspora around the globe has been waiting for for over 35 years. The votes were (almost) unanimous — 405 voted “aye” and only 11 voted “nay.”

In terms of exactly why this vote is so significant to the Armenian population, it’s crucial to the political and social development of this second-world country. Turkey, or at the time of the genocide in 1915, the Ottoman Empire, massacred and persecuted over 1.5 million Armenians, torturing them with unethical torture practices such as rape, mass burnings, noxious gas poisoning and starvation. Even after all the torment our Armenian ancestors were forced to endure, Turkey still dares to claim that the attempt to exterminate the entire country of Armenia was a not genocide.

However, the U.S. House didn’t just decide to suddenly accept the genocide; they received a little push because of the respectable idiocy of U.S. President Donald Trump, who made a single phone call that hollistically impacted the resolution of the vote. President Trump abruptly called Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan without Congress’ consent and agreed to allow Turkish armies to invade the Kurds in northern Syria, betraying one of the U.S.’s main allies. 

With this, Congress imposed sanctions on Turkey that were approved by the House, which paved the road for the Armenians to be recognized; the action of Congress recognizing the genocide is a closer step toward a declining relationship between Turkey and the U.S. and an advancing relationship between Armenia and the U.S. 

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff is, and has always been, an honorable figure toward Armenian-American families all over the nation, mine included. Between coming to Nikol Pashinyan’s address to Armenians in Los Angeles on Sept. 22 and fighting for the recognition of the genocide for over 19 years, Schiff has proved his loyalty to the Armenians. “The House declared that it will no longer be party to the cause of genocide denial,” he said. “This is a vote… that tens of thousands of my Armenian American constituents have worked, struggled, and prayed for decades to see.”

Realistically, though the vote might have been nothing but revenge directed toward Turkish forces, it shows how Armenians and the U.S. could potentially have a strong relationship that could overpower the semi-toxic relationship between Russia and Armenia since World War I and revolutionize Armenia for the better. Russia and Armenia haven’t always had the most mutual connection, mainly because Russia’s overwhelming power often overshadows Armenia. Examples including persecution of the Armenians during WWI and the 2015 Gyumri Massacres as well.

Armenia is going through significant changes. Between the Velvet Revolution led by Nikol Pashinyan and this resolution by Congress, Armenia has been put through challenges for the better that has given Armenian citizens a voice once and for all. President Trump’s decision to call the Turkish president was ignorant when looking at it through the perspective of Congress, but it certainly ended up working in favor of the Armenian diaspora everywhere.

Armenian-Americans all throughout Glendale, myself and my family included, will remember this vote as one of the first baby steps toward a more outspoken, bigger, more duxov (stronger) Armenia.