You can read Secretary of State John Kerry’s full statement here or watch it above. Here is an excerpt:
My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that, in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does…
Daesh has executed Christians solely because of their faith; that it executed 49 Coptic and Ethiopian Christians in Libya; and that it has also forced Christian women and girls into sexual slavery.
CNN reports on the significance of this declaration:
This is the first time that the United States has declared a genocide since Darfur in 2004.
The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a resolution labeling the ISIS atrocities against Christian groups in Syria and Iraq “genocide,” a term the State Department had been reluctant to use about the attacks and mass murders by the terror group.
The genocide finding does not legally obligate the U.S. to take any particular action, but it could put pressure on the Obama administration to take more aggressive military action against ISIS. It could also give weight to calls by other lawmakers and humanitarian groups pushing the Obama administration to welcome more refugees into the United States.
When genocide could be used to bludgeon Obama for not “doing more” it was a useful tool. We may find that once it has become a justification for allowing in more refugees (say, Yezidi or Shia), it will be denied.
Many of us have been screaming about this for over a year and they refused to call a spade a spade for a very long time. How many lives had to be lost before they called it what it truly was?
we don’t ‘scream’ about Christian martyrdom . . . look at the dignity and faith of the Coptic Christian martyrs killed in Libya . . . we tell of it as it was meant to be told: their witness to Our Lord, their Savior whom they called on at the moment of their death . . .
Christian people don’t ‘whine’ or ‘scream’ or ‘complain’ . . . they WITNESS, and sometimes they do it with the manner of their dying before a world that did not know of resurrection before the advent of Christianity . . .
I’m saying this not to criticize your wording so much as to point you to the importance of Christian people bearing their faith publicly even at the moment of their deaths as something important to the Church’s growth in this world. . . please understand my meaning here if I sounded harsh, and I hope you will forgive me if I have offended you, it was not my intention.
A Coptic Christian prayer:
““. . . You are the life of us all, the salvation of us all, the hope of us all, the healing of us all, and the resurrection of us all.”
Perhaps I should clarify my term “scream”. It was in no way a dismissal of these believers being martyred. It does give a great witness. My thought process was more on social responsibility level.
After the holocaust, what were the famous words said? “never again”. Many of us have been talking (not screaming) to our government representatives about this genocide for at least a year, trying to convince them of what was going on. It fell upon deaf ears. That is what is frustrating about this. The administration did not want to deal with this genocide early on and wouldn’t even say what it was.
While martyrdom may be a powerful (perhaps the most) witness, it does not mean we look forward to watching our brothers/sisters lose their lives that way. That’s all.