What comes to your head when you here the sounds of guns and screams. When women and children are wandering the streets begging, pleading for mercy. All the Turkish soldiers are wandering, with a gun in one hand and an Armenian’s head in the other. The terrified screams, “No! Please don’t! Not my children! Please!!” These were the horrible cries of millions of Armenians that were tortured and most killed by the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1918.
It is true people to make mistakes. Some minor, some major. Most people learn from their mistakes, but some don’t and that is what hurts the most. Human beings keep performing horrible tasks, until these have been pertained to them. When someone here’s about the country “Armenia” or the language “Armenian” they don’t no who it is. Now it is time for us as an Armenian human race to make ourselves heard and speak about our past.
This genocide was one of the leading factors to other genocide’s in the twentieth century for example the Jewish Holocaust. One of the most devastating factors in this genocide is that to this day it has gone unnoticed and unheard..
Another reason that this genocide is special is because it had a major factor in it. This genocide was factored to single out one of the powerhouses in Asia, with all the smart, intelligent and well known people in the world. The Turks singled out one country, one nation and tried to destroy them. They tried to destroy a country, us Armenians, and we have prevailed. Our nation has gone through the havoc the Turks put us through and we thrive in everyplace imaginable now. Now we live on to tell the truth about what has happened to us.
In this essay I will illustrate the reasons for the genocide, the monuments that honor the genocide, how us Armenians fought back, why the Turkish government denied it, how us Armenians can preserve this and the possible solutions to stop genocide’s from occurring again.
“If I could resurrect these dead dog Armenians, I would – just so I could kill them all again.”
-Documented in Greece by a witness to the speech of a high ranking Ottoman Turk official.
Genocide, according to the definition of the 1948 Convention, involves the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such. Genocide may manifest itself in killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to its members, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. Which they did. Taking baby Armenians and raising them to become Turkish. Of these conditions, the policies applied in Nazi Germany to German and European Jewry, covered all of the above, with the exception of the forcible transfer of the children of the group.
This genocide was one like no other the Armenians had to face. When earlier massacres had happened with the Armenians, none of the men were trained in the military and certainly none had guns. This was a major factor in the genocide. Armenians with guns. What a preposterous thing the Turks would say. Why does this race deserve the same benefits that we have? The Turks were used to the easy way out. No guns, but now their enemies had guns and were encouraged to use them for self defense by the government. For the Turks to be successful they would have to do two things; make all Armenian soldiers powerless and take all Armenian arms out of every Turkish city and town. Before the Armenians could be slaughtered, they would have to be made defenseless. Which they were, than the Turks started to attack and kill!
In the early part of 1915 the Turks started their attacks. All Armenian soldiers were reduced to nothing. Before the Turks did this, most Armenian soldiers that were combatants, were now workmen. Instead of serving their country as artillery men and cavalrymen these soldiers were being treated as animals. The Turks would put unimaginable loads of army supplies on their back and making them walk distances as high as 100 kilometers. These ‘servants’ were allowed a limited time of sleep when their Turkish leaders would allow them to rest. They were given only scraps of foods. When they fell sick, they were left to die on the road and robbed of their only possessions, including their clothes, by their Turkish leaders. Even if these slaves reached their destinations they were not more than always killed. Groups of 50 to 100 Armenians were taken up to a sight near the camp and tied up in groups of four and shot from close range by the Ottoman soldiers. They return shortly, with no shame, sending their servants to bury them (Armenians burying there own). To add so called insult to injury the Armenians were sent to dig their own graves before the killing of them.
One of these death trips occurred early in July, 1915. About 200 Armenian ‘soldiers’ were going to be sent into the hills to start building roads. The Armenians knowing what this meant went, so they went pleading to the governor for mercy. The governor assured the families of the soldiers that not one of them would be harmed. Almost all of the Armenians were massacred and their bodies were thrown into a cave. A few escaped and this is how the genocide reached the world. This was how the genocide started. A horrible act of cruelty and murder that was all because a race was growing. The Armenian race was growing and taking over the Turks. We were growing and getting smarter. These massacres happened frequently. The purpose of these happenings were not only to stop the strong males on the Armenian race to start a new generation of Armenians, but to also make the rest of the Armenian population easy prey.
ABDUL HAMID. Known in history as the “Red Sultan” and stigmatized by Gladstone as “the great assassin.” It was his state policy to solve the Armenian problem by murdering the entire race. The fear of England, France, Russia, and America, was the only thing that restrained him from accomplishing this task. His successors, Talaat and Enver, no longer fearing these nations, have more successfully carried out his program.
The idea of taking weapons from every city and town was a great plan to the Turkish people. The Ottoman Empires highest officials would place signs all around the town asking all peasants to give up their arms at city hall. The few Armenians that gave in were greeted joyfully by the Turkish guards. They were charged with possession of an illegal weapon and almost always killed (beheaded or shot). The Turkish government had no mercy when they were searching for hidden arms. They would even go into a sacred churches and look and break the altars and sacred utensils with the utmost indignity, and even held mock ceremonies in imitation of the Christian sacraments. They would even beat priests senseless for pure pleasure. When they would find no arms in the churches they would just arm the priest with a weapon and charge them in court. The Turks showed no mercy for women. Any women accused of having a weapon were whipped with freshly cut branches from trees. These beatings caused most of the women in the Ottoman Empire to flee to mountains, fields and riverbeds to survive.
All of the strong men were captured and taken to jail one night. These men were inflicted with the most agonizing pain. A common practice was to place the prisoner in a room, with two Turks stationed at each end and each side. The examination would then begin with the bastinado. This is a form of torture not uncommon in the Orient; it consists of beating the soles of the feet with a thin rod. At first the pain is not marked; but as the process goes slowly on, it develops into the most terrible agony, the feet swell and burst, and not infrequently, after being submitted to this treatment, they have to be amputated. The gendarmes would bastinado their Armenian victim until he fainted; they would then revive him by sprinkling water on his face and begin again. If this did not succeed in bringing their victim to terms, they had numerous other methods of persuasion. They would pull out his eyebrows and beard almost hair by hair; they would extract his finger nails and toe nails; they would apply red-hot irons to his breast, tear off his flesh with red-hot pincers, and then pour boiled butter into the wounds. In some cases the gendarmes would nail hands and feet to pieces of wood, evidently in imitation of the Crucifixion, and then, while the sufferer writhed in his agony, they would cry: “Now let your Christ come and help you!”
These atrocities were usually done at night, with Turkish guards guarding the prison. There were also drummers banging on drums very loudly to block out the screams of the victims to the nearby cities.
FISHING VILLAGE ON LAKE VAN: In this district about 55,000 Armenians were massacred.
The strangest fact that I uncovered about the Armenian Genocide is that most Turkish officials did not deny it. In a story by US ambassador Henry Margenthau, he was talking to a high ranked Turkish official. This official talked freely about the detested Armenian race. This official enjoyed talking about all the pain the Armenians have gone through. He liked it!
This is a major shock to my mind because now all Turkey does is deny the Armenian Genocide ever occurred. It was absurd for the Turkish government to just say, “We are merely deporting the Armenians to new homes”. This was obviously a planned attack and shows that murder was the real purpose of Enver and Talaat. Less than a quarter of the people sent on the caravans actually reached their destinations. A caravan of more than 2000 Armenians would leave (mostly women and children), with 40 Turkish soldiers and only 15 kilometers into the hike, the gendarmes supposed to be their protectors turned into their executioners and murderers. They stripped them of all their possessions and BOOM! Shot them in cold blood.
It was some time before the Armenian atrocities reached the world. When the atrocities reached the US both Enver and Talaat dismissed them as wild exaggerations, and when, for the first time, we heard of the disturbances at Van, these Turkish officials declared that they were nothing more than a mob uprising which they would soon have under control. It was very apparent that the Turkish government was trying to keep this out of the outside world. Talaat spoke about their expulsion, he replied that the Government was acting in self-defense. The Armenians at Van, he said, had already shown their abilities as revolutionists; he knew that these leaders in Constantinople were corresponding with the Russians and he had every reason to fear that they would start an insurrection against the Central Government. The safest plan, therefore, was to send them to Angora and other interior towns. Talaat denied that this was part of any general concerted scheme to rid the city of its Armenian population, and insisted that the Armenian masses in Constantinople would not be disturbed. These Armenians were merely acting in self defense for themselves. They were being abused and even killed by the Ottoman government. This horrible incident was denied and ignored by the Turkish government and is still looking for recognition today.
INTERIOR OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH AT URFA: Where many Armenians were burned. The Armenian Church was established in the fourth century; it is said to be the oldest state Christian church in existence.
The Armenian population fought back in a very hard manor. This manor was unfortunately interrupted most of the time because of the lack of strong Armenian men and the incredibly strong Ottoman Turkish government. We have mostly relocated to new spots outside of Turkey. The Armenian population has grown a lot in the past 15 years
The Armenian genocide is a very dreadful and somewhat important memory to preserve for our Armenian youth. This is a good memory for all of the Armenian youth to remember because it is a story of triumph. Our nation has triumphed over the greatest fear of humanity. The fear of being annihilated by another race. We have had a victory and we have to teach this to our Armenian youth because they will learn we are a unique and distinguished race. We have our own strengths and this genocide proves we are able to overcome anything.
In Armenia there is a monument (Dzeedzernagapert) which commemorates the day of April 24, 1915. On this day more than 500 000 Armenian leaders, strong men and scholars were killed. This monument is a good reminder to the Turks of all the misery and pain they have given us. They caused us the worst years of our lives killing more than half of our population. These monuments are a good reminder to the Turks that they have hurt us. They have hurt our country and language. This also lets us as Armenians know that we overcame this great tragedy in life.
The Armenian genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century. This has ‘paved’ the path for other genocide’s such as the Jewish Holocaust. I say this because the Nazi’s view of the holocaust was that if the Turks could get away with killing 2 000 000 Armenians, why can’t we kill as many Jews as we want? They did that and paid serious consequences. While the Turks are still free to talk and repeat again with no punishment.
It is now 2002. 47 years after the genocide. The Armenians have not gotten much recognition.
Armenia have gotten recognition from these groups and governments:
1. Only one Turkish government, that of Dama Ferit Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian Genocide. In fact that Turkish government held war crimes trials and condemned to death the major leaders responsible.
2. The permanent People’s Tribunal recognized the Armenian genocide in 1984.
The European Parliament voted to recognize the Armenian genocide in 1987.
President Bush (sr.) issued a news release in 1990 calling all Americans to join with Armenians in commemorating the Armenian genocide on April 24.
3. Of course, the government of France has helped in relieving the survivors of the Genocide.
This recognition is the first step in the right direction to recognizing the Armenian genocide for what it really was. All Armenians are now hoping that history will never repeat itself!