State of Illinois
90th General Assembly

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 1                          HOUSE RESOLUTION
 2        WHEREAS, The United States has always been  a  haven  for
 3    the  persecuted  and oppressed, whether by reason of religion
 4    or nationality; and
 5        WHEREAS, We who cherish our freedom can never take it for
 6    granted; we who respect justice can never be  totally  secure
 7    in it; and
 8        WHEREAS,   When   freedom  is  challenged  anywhere,  all
 9    humankind must rise up in protest; we must all use our voices
10    and our influence to meet those challenges and  help  protect
11    individual life and liberty; and
12        WHEREAS, No other human rights violation deserves greater
13    protest  and  attention  and  demands  firmer condemnation by
14    freedom-loving people than genocide; and
15        WHEREAS,  For  the  Armenian  people,  the   horror   and
16    inhumanity of this devastating crime began in 1915 when young
17    men  of  Armenian  origin were drafted into the Turkish army,
18    soon to be disarmed, transferred  to  labor  battalions,  and
19    then massacred; and
20        WHEREAS,  On  April  24, 1915, authorities of the Ottoman
21    Empire arrested the most prominent intellectuals and  leaders
22    of  Constantinople;  they  were  exiled  to  the  interior of
23    Anatolia, either perishing on the way or meeting  their  fate
24    on arrival; and
25        WHEREAS,  The  Armenians were rounded up, brutally driven
26    from their homes and their  land,  separated  from  families,
27    robbed  of everything they owned, and stripped of possessions
28    they carried with them; and
29        WHEREAS, On a death march  to  Der-El-Zor,  more  than  a
30    million  died  of  starvation  or  were  killed; thousands of
                            -2-               LRB9002710CBcbA
 1    Christian Armenians were tortured and murdered  for  refusing
 2    to  accept  Islam as their religion; the atrocities inflicted
 3    on Armenians in concentration camps and on death  marches  to
 4    Der-El-Zor  in  the  Syrian  desert  resemble  those  of  the
 5    Holocaust of World War II; and
 6        WHEREAS,  During this act of genocide, 1.5 million people
 7    of Armenian ancestry were victims from 1915 to 1923;  at  the
 8    outbreak  of  World  War  I, the Young Turk regime decided to
 9    deport the entire Armenian population of about  1.75  million
10    to Syrian and Mesopotamia; and
11        WHEREAS, Talaat Pasha, leader of the Young Turk movement,
12    was  the  principal  author  of  the  plan to exterminate the
13    Armenians; the plan of genocide consisted  of  deporting  all
14    Armenians  of  whatever  age  or  condition  of health to the
15    totally barren Der-El-Zor region of what is now Syria; and
16        WHEREAS, The massacre of Armenians who remained in Turkey
17    was called the "most colossal  crime  of  all  ages"  by  the
18    examining  American  military  mission's report to the United
19    States Congress; and
20        WHEREAS, In a telegram  sent  by  U.S.  Ambassador  Henry
21    Morgenthau  to the Secretary of State, Morgenthau warned that
22    "a campaign of race extermination  is  in  progress  under  a
23    pretext of reprisal against rebellion"; and
24        WHEREAS,  Each  year, with solemn religious and patriotic
25    ceremony, Armenians  in  the  international  community  honor
26    those who died in 1915 and remind all people that genocide on
27    any scale is a crime against all humanity; and
28        WHEREAS,  Adolph Hitler, when questioned as to the "final
29    solution" to the Jewish question, said,  "Who  remembers  the
30    Armenians?"; and
31        WHEREAS, April 24, 1997 will be commemorated by Armenians
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 1    in  this  country  and throughout the world in remembrance of
 2    the first instance of genocide in this century; and
 3        WHEREAS, The People of Illinois, as  represented  by  the
 4    General Assembly and the Governor, should be mindful of these
 5    tragic  events,  should  further assure that no future tyrant
 6    may ever ask the question asked by Hitler and should act in a
 7    spirit of justice and humanity to designate April 24, 1997 as
 8    Armenian  Martyrs  Day,  a  day  of  remembrance   of   man's
 9    inhumanity to man; therefore, be it
12    commemorate  April  24,  1997  as a day of remembrance of the
13    82nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of  1915-1923;  and
14    be it further
15        RESOLVED,  That  we  call  upon the people of Illinois to
16    observe that day by remembering the  1.5  million  people  of
17    Armenian  ancestry  who lost their lives during that terrible
18    time; and be it further
19        RESOLVED, That we request Governor Jim Edgar to  proclaim
20    April  24,  1997  as  a  day  of  remembrance in honor of the
21    victims of the Armenian Genocide; and be it further
22        RESOLVED, That a suitable  copy  of  this  resolution  be
23    presented to Governor Jim Edgar.

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