Older schoolchildren must be taught about the Holocaust and the 1915 Armenian Genocide under a bill that won approval Wednesday, May 18 in the Michigan State Senate, the Oakland Press reports.
The lessons would be taught at some point between grades 8-12, according to the bill by Republican Rep. Klint Kesto, and Gov. Rick Snyder would have to make appointments to a 15-member genocide education panel.
The bill says instruction doesn’t need to be limited to the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, but those were the only two formally acknowledged in the legislation.
Though the House approved it once, the bill will go back to that chamber for consideration before needing a signature from Snyder. Kesto said he hopes that happens next week.
Eleven other states require instruction on the Armenian Genocide, according to the Genocide Education Project.
As many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in the Genocide.
Democratic state Sen. Steven Bieda offered an amendment Wednesday, which was narrowly defeated to also include instruction on the massacres in Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia and others.
The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.
The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.
Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.
The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.