February 22, 2006
Dominique de Menil once reflected, "What should move us to action is human dignity: the inalienable dignity of the oppressed, but also the dignity of each of us. We lose dignity if we tolerate the intolerable."
The forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians in the closing years of the Ottoman Empire is one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. By recognizing this event and through awareness, we can prevent such tragedies from happening ever again. Through recognition we create avenues for remembrance and prevention.
There are far too many examples in history of good people simply standing on the sidelines during times of injustice and tragedy. Fortunately, there are also role models who choose to make a difference in the world around them. Let us remember those who spoke out against these atrocities and those who attempted to prevent them.
As we reflect on one of the darkest times in world history, we also commemorate those who courageously fought for the dignity and tolerance for all people. In the face of tyranny, citizens from a variety of ethnic, religious and social backgrounds demontrated extraordinary courage and compassion towards Armenians who were systematically persecuted during this dark time in history.
I urge all Texans to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and those who fought heroically in the name of freedom. As we look to the future, let us always be mindful that the power to end violence and suffering resides in our hearts and minds.