BBC BROADCAST FEATURES ARMENIAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE
February 11, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC — The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has aired a major film on the Armenian Genocide that includes commentary from Armenian National Institute (ANI) Director Dr. Rouben Adalian and relies heavily on the Institute’s archival information.
The producers of “Armenia: The Betrayed” turned to the ANI as a U.S.-based resource center to provide archival documentation, assistance in locating Genocide survivors and its insight on the 2000 Genocide affirmation resolution that was hours away from passage in the U.S. House of Representatives before being removed from consideration due to pressure from the Clinton Administration.
BBC Correspondent reporter Fergal Keane traveled to Turkey, Lebanon and the United States to see how the first genocide of the 20th century and its continuing consequences affect the survivors, their families and policymakers attempting to affirm the record, specifically in the United States.
“We were very pleased with the program,” Adalian said. “Keane’s report on the Armenian Genocide presented a clear picture of the atrocities and the continued denial campaign carried out by Turkish officials.”
In his interview for the program, Adalian said, “What we're asking for is an affirmation of the historical record of the United States from that era that clearly records and substantiates the fact that a genocide was committed against the Armenian people.”
“America owes it to itself to recognize its own record, the diplomatic files are so extensive and so thorough that we base our knowledge of the Armenian Genocide on what the American diplomats reported. And in this respect affirming the Armenian Genocide as a historical event is nothing more than recognizing one’s own history, a piece of American history,” he added.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), who is Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, and Congressman George Radanovich (R-CA), a member of the Caucus, were also interviewed for “Armenia: The Betrayed.”
They discussed the 2000 congressional legislation they advanced seeking to re-affirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.
The legislation was slated for consideration by the full House of Representatives in mid-October 2000, but after then-President Bill Clinton conveyed, via letter and phone call, his concerns about the impact the resolution would have on national security and American lives in Turkey, Speaker of the House Dennis J. Hastert (R-IL) withdrew the bill.
“They were making all kinds of threats, they were saying that American soldiers were going to be in jeopardy in Turkey,” Congressman Pallone said. “The Turkish government always acts as if they're benign and their citizens are about to revolt over this issue.”
“In other words, it's not that we have a problem if you bring up the resolution but there are going to be demonstrations in the streets and American tourists and American soldiers in Turkey are not going to be safe anymore…It's the government that is taking the position not to recognize the genocide,” Pallone added.
Reflecting on the debate in the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Radanovich noted that, “I think the longer that the Members of Congress heard the Turkish MPs talk about the fact that in their opinion there was no genocide, or this did not exist, it never happened, the more the votes swung toward those of us that were wanting the recognition.”
“And so, in what they had hoped to be a very close vote ended up being a larger, quite a swing in favor of the genocide recognition bill that we were seeking as a result of the Turkish testimony because they, they really are in denial,” he said.
The program aired on January 26, which is Holocaust Memorial Day in Great Britain, and a link to the ANI Web site was featured on the BBC’s Web site.
The Armenian National Institute, founded in 1997, is dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. Visit its Web site at www.armenian-genocide.org.