Azerbaijan International

Summer 2002 (10.2)
Page 9

Readers' Forum
Sorry, I Didn't Read

These days life has become so hectic and automated that members of the U.S. Congress have been known to send out replies to their constituents without bothering to read their actual requests. The results are more revealing than politicians might wish for.

Recently, some of the Azerbaijanis studying in the United States wrote to members of Congress to make them conscious that there are two sides to the story regarding the Armenians' claims of "genocide" in 1915. Every year, this issue comes to the fore as Armenians commemorate the event on April 24th and members of the Armenian lobby pressure political leaders, including the President, to say the "G-word" ("Genocide").

The following letter was sent from the office of House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt as a reply to the Azerbaijanis. Obviously, the Congressman had assumed that there is only one side to the story and drafted only one reply for their computer bank - to satisfy Armenian constituents.


"Thank you for contacting me regarding the Armenian Genocide. I appreciate hearing from you.[an explanation follows about Gephardt's support of the Armenian definition of the situation in terms of victims involved (a figure which seems to grow larger through repetition over time) and in regard to who is to blame].

"In the 106th Congress, I urged the Republican leadership to schedule House Resolution 398 for consideration which would have called upon the President to ensure that all Foreign Service officers, Department of State officials and other executive branch employees responding to issues related to human rights received appropriate training on the Armenian Genocide. In addition, it would have requested that the President characterize this incident as "genocide" during the annual message commemorating this terrible event. Unfortunately, however, this legislation was not considered on the House floor before the Congress adjourned in December [2001].

"You may be assured I will continue to keep your views in mind in relation to Congressional matters pertaining to the Armenian Genocide. Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to write or call regarding this or any other issue of concern to you."

Signed, Richard A. Gephardt


A note circulating on a Listserv among the Azerbaijani students along with Gephardt's letter reads:

"This obviously is a major screw-up in Gephardt's office, or actually on the part of the software they are using. Because of the huge volume of e-mails they receive - thousands each day - government and business offices employ CRM programs that pre-screen all e-mails and respond automatically to as many of them as possible, leaving only the difficult issues for personnel to handle. This letter seems like a cookie-cutter template letter that the program e-mails without any additional intervention.

It seems these days that e-mails have become largely ineffective because they are so easy to send. The best way to contact Congress is still via faxes, telephones and letters sent through postal mail - not email."


Back to Index AI 10.2 (Summer 2002)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | AI Store | Contact us

Other Web sites created by Azerbaijan International
| |