Acceptance Speech by Dave Boyajian at Governor's Council

Massachusetts State House, Wed., April 30, 2008, Governor’s Council chambers

By David Boyajian

Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Members of the Governor’s Council, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, and friends:

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Governor’s Council, and especially to Councilor Marilyn Devaney, who has long supported efforts to reaffirm the Armenian genocide.

This honor really belongs not to myself but to those hundreds and thousands of persons – and by no means just Armenian Americans - who have worked tirelessly for the unambiguous acknowledgement of all genocides since last summer.

They have educated not just Massachusetts but also the Nation and even the World – these events have been in the int’l press - about the evil of genocides, past and present.

There are many more people and organizations to thank that it would be difficult to mention them all today, but I should briefly mention the following:

1. Human Rights commissioners, elected officials & citizens in 13 Massachusetts towns that have done the right thing by acting against genocide denial

2. The Massachusetts Municipal Association which, by following through against genocide denial, has set a highly principled example for the Commonwealth’s towns to emulate

3. The Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts whose leaders and grassroots supporters have proved indispensable

4. The Watertown Tab, Newton Tab, and those other media that have stayed on top of this story

5. Those Jewish Americans who have stood firmly for principle when they could have remained silent

6. Last - but not least – those persons in the Commonwealth - and even in other countries - of all ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds – without whose support this issue would not achieved what it has.

And I’d like to interject that the campaign continues - many towns still sponsor ADL programs & Blue Cross Blue Shield funds NPFH.

In conclusion, are there lessons we can take away from this issue? I think so.

1. We should strive for consistency, not selectivity, when it comes to recognizing genocide and human rights violations.

2. This country has a wonderful system that allows freedom of speech and freedom of the press. But if we do not vigorously use those freedoms, and if we don’t hold the media’s feet to the fire, those rights go to waste.

3. America’s acknowledging major human rights violation, such as genocide, has never damaged this country’s national interests. On the contrary, aside from perhaps some short-term fallout, our nation’s acknowledging injustice only increases our credibility, prestige, and others’ respect for us.

4. Finally, if you think you see injustice - please - speak up. Individuals and organizations will hear you and – sometimes - one never knows – they will agree with you and take action. And the world may wind up being a better place because of it.

Again, thank you.