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Members of Congress Welcome White House Display of Orphan Rug
November 23 , 2017 , 19:34
Members of Congress Welcome White House Display of Orphan Rug

Members of Congress joined with Armenian-American organizations on Nov. 18, in welcoming the display of the White House’s historic Armenian Orphan Rug and in urging the Obama Administration to reject the gag-rule that Turkey has long enforced against honest American discourse about the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).



The Armenian Orphan Rug, woven by child survivors of the genocide, was gifted to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 in appreciation of U.S. humanitarian assistance.


Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) were joined by fellow colleagues Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), and John Sarbanes (D-Md.) at the National Press Club for a kick-off press conference, followed by a special blessing by Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian and viewing of the Armenian Orphan Rug—also known as the Ghazir Rug—at the White House Visitor Center.


Dr. Martin Deranian, author and Armenian Orphan Rug expert; Hratch Kozibeyokian, a member of the Armenian Rug Society Board of Directors; Missak Kelechian, a member of the ANCA Western Region’s “America We Thank You: An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief” initiative; Aram Hamparian, executive director of the ANCA; and Bryan Ardouny, director of the Armenian Assembly of America discussed the significance of the Armenian Orphan Rug in both American and Armenian history.




Display ‘no substitute’ for U.S. reaffirmation


As Members of Congress celebrated the release of the Armenian Orphan Rug from White House storage, they all referenced the need for formal and unequivocal U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide.


“The Ghazir Rug is not just a carpet; it is a tangible connection to the first genocide of the 20th century—a silent, beautiful rebuttal to those who deny the murder of 1.5 million men, women, and children in a campaign of mass murder, forced marches, rape, and looting that befell the Armenian people from 1915-23,” explained Rep. Schiff, who over the past year led the effort to secure White House display of the artifact after its more than 30 years in storage.


“As the world prepares to commemorate the centennial of the genocide, the Ghazir Rug brings to life the shattered families and the mass inhumanity that was visited upon the Armenian people. And I hope that it can serve to educate a new generation of Americans about one of the great tragedies of history and leads to a redoubling of efforts in 2015 to finally and forever honor the genocide of the Armenians without equivocation.”


Rep. Valadao told press conference attendees, “My Congressional District is home to a very large Armenian population that has a very strong presence in our community. The Armenian Orphan Rug is a shared piece of American and Armenian history that should be available to the public. I am excited my colleagues and I were able to help secure a public display of the rug.”



Source. The Armenian Weekly