WASHINGTON (KSEE/KGPE) — The Library of Congress said Wednesday it will recognize the Armenian Genocide by amending its catalog entry that previously referred to the Armenian “massacre,” following a bipartisan request by four members of Congress and the Armenian American community.
The move by Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, came after letters by Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Frank Pallone, Jackie Speier and Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis, and after a formal request for a subject heading change by the library at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to a statement by Schiff’s office.
Both the House and the Senate passed formal legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide in 2019.
The decision by the Library of Congress also comes as Armenia and Azerbaijan battle over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh.
The region lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.
The two countries announced a cease-fire on Saturday in a bid to halt the fighting that has killed hundreds since Sept. 27, when the latest outbreak of hostilities started, marking the worst escalation of a decades-old conflict. The agreement — just like a cease-fire deal brokered by Russia a week earlier — was almost immediately challenged by mutual claims of violations and the fighting resumed unabated.
“This is one further step in overcoming the decades-long campaign of denial that has silenced too many about the murder of 1.5 million Armenians,” Schiff said. “This recognition is particularly meaningful at a time when the genocide of a century ago seems all too immediate, as Azerbaijan and Turkey are committing atrocities right now in Artsakh.”
The Armenian National Committee of America welcomed the news and said the change will “cascade through thousands of libraries across America and around the world.”
“This long-overdue correction by the Library of Congress – a principled, fact-based stand for the integrity of American institutions against malign foreign influence – comes at a particularly meaningful moment for Americans of Armenian heritage,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We see today the painful, real-world results of American leaders having allowed Turkey to bully our country into a century of silence on the Armenian Genocide.”
Kim Kardashian West, an outspoken supporter of Armenia and who celebrates her birthday Wednesday said on Twitter that the decision by the Library of Congress was the best birthday present.
In another tweet, Kardashian West spoke of the ongoing war and said, “Together, we continue to pray during this difficult time for the many men, women, and children who have been impacted by the war. We are one global Armenian nation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.