Thursday, 24 April 2014

99th Anniversary Armenian Genocide

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This year July will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

The article below comes from the Holocaust and History section of IG, which has been updated and revised. 

Modern day Armenia in red and Historic Armenia with its territory Cilicia highlighted in red.

Where Are My People? (1965) By Michael Hagopian 

The film tells the story of the Armenian nation from its birth some 3000 years ago to the 1915 genocide and its aftermath. 

The Armenian Genocide was the first state sponsored systemic extermination of a minority group by a brutal regime beginning in 1915-1922. Making it one of the first genocides of the 20th century. It was carried out by the Ottoman Empire under the nationalistic and increasingly xenophobic Young Turks Regime of Talat Pasha against its own Armenian minority living in what was then considered Historical Armenia in Eastern Turkey. Today Eastern Turkey is a Kurdish majority area. Many irreplaceable Armenian manuscripts, artwork, ancient churches, monasteries and schools were also destroyed by Ottoman soldiers to erase the Armenians' cultural history and contributions in Anatolia. From the Armenian Genocide it is said Hitler and Nazi government copied the Ottoman's use of transporting Armenians from their homes using cattle cars which were later used to cram and transport Jews, Roma, Russians and anyone else marked for death by the Nazi Regime both before and during World War II. The Ottoman government attacked various Armenian intellectuals including prominent community leaders first to get rid of any strength building community leaders who could've protected and sheltered the women and children.

PBS Special: Armenian Genocide Past and Present 

Considered the 20th century's first modern and sadly forgotten genocide lasted from 1915-1920. The date chosen and commemorated is April 24th. The Ottoman Government headed by Talat Pasha, had been harassing and persecuting Armenians (since the 1890s) living in Eastern Turkey than known as Historical Armenia or Armenian tableland. Although mass media was still limited, American, German and other European diplomats did record Ottoman government's force removal of Armenians. One witness to the forced marches of Armenians was American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau. American newspapers followed the genocide then known as the Armenian massacres. Some of the first humanitarian organizations in US was created to sponsor and support the survivors and children who found refuge across the Middle East. The Ottomans' methods of ethnic cleansing of Armenians from cities, towns and villages across Eastern Turkey predated Hitler by twenty years and Bosnian war by almost eighty. The methods used to terrorize the Armenians are eerily similar to methods adapted by Gestapo and Nazi regime's security police: The Ottoman utilized box car transportation, massacring intellectuals and able body men, cultural destruction and loss of property, led women, children and elderly on forced marches across the desert towards the sea, a tactic that was used by German soldiers under the Second Reich in Namibia in 1890s, destroying a centuries old culture, dehumanizing Armenian people as enemy threats and rape and abuse of women and children. The war that nearly wiped an entire people off the face of the Earth. Out of 2 million Armenians some 1.5 million were killed by Pasha's government under the shadow of World War I. Thousands of Armenian children became orphans and trekked across Turkey to the safety of Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and even further to Western Europe and United States. After the end of World War I, Armenians who were displaced by the genocide and now found themselves not allowed to reenter the nearly created Turkish Republic after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, returned to Armenia only to live under Soviet rule where memories and stories of genocide were suppressed by the Soviet authorities. The survivors of the genocide and their descendants are still mourning. They have not received justice in a formal recognition, reparations or an apology by Turkey nor have the original culprits from the government down to the soldiers were fully placed on trial. Talat Pasha was assassinated in Berlin by Armenian Revolutionary Soghomon Tehlirian in the aftermath of the genocide.

Assassination of Talat Pasha in Berlin

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