THE FIRST GENOCIDE OF MODERN HISTORY
'...THAT MEN DO NOT LEARN VERY MUCH FROM
THE LESSONS OF HISTORY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF
ALL THE LESSONS THAT HISTORY HAS TO TEACH...'
-- ALDOUS HUXLEY.
Written by Gevork Nazaryan
On June 28, 1914, the Archduke of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. This act triggered the beginning of the Great War that later became known as World War I. This era turned out to be darkest page in Armenian history and indeed a shameful page in all of human history...
The Turkish answer -- to the Armenian outcry for human justice and freedom -- initiating one of the most horrendous and barbarous acts in human history -- the first genocide of the XXth century -- between 1915 - 1923, the Armenian Genocide, which took the lives of 1,500,000 innocent men, women and children. Waiting for the "right time" to execute "the final solution" of the Armenian Question -- the cloak of the World War, served as the gruesome backdrop for the implementation of the pre-planned and systematically executed policy of the annihilation of the Armenian people throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond. The criminal regime that ruled Turkey during the war years called itself the "Young Turks."
THE GENOCIDE OF THE NATIVE POPULATION OF ARMENIA WAS FOLLOWED BY
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MILLENNIA OLD PRICELESS CULTURAL MONUMENTS. THE
SACRED MEMORIALS ...LEFT UNPROTECTED BY THE PEOPLE WHO CREATED THEM
ARE STILL BEING DESTROYED TO THIS VERY DAY... AT THE OPENING
OF THE 21ST CENTURY, THE BREATHTAKING UNESCO VALLEY OF KHACHKARS
IN OLD JULFA, NAKHICHEVAN WAS BARBAROUSLY DESTROYED
AT THE HANDS OF AZERI TURKS...REACTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY...
"...THE EYES OF THE ARMENIAN SPEAK BEFORE THE LIPS MOVE AND LONG
AFTER THEY CEASE TO..." -- ARSHILE GORKY [1904-1947].
CHARCOAL SKETCH [63 x 48.5 cm] OF RENOWNED ARTIST'S MOTHER
MADE IN 1938 FROM AN ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH MADE
MONTHS BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF THE GENOCIDE...GORKY'S MOTHER
WAS ONE OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT MARTYRS DURING
ONE OF THE DARK PERIOD'S IN HUMAN HISTORY. GORKY [VOSTANIK ADOYAN]
NEVER GOT OVER THE TRAUMATIC LOSS OF HIS BELOVED MOTHER
BECOMING AN ORPHAN AT THE TENDER AGE OF 11...
WHOLE MILLENNIA OLD ARMENIC COMMUNITIES STEEPED IN ANCESTRAL
TRADITIONS AND FOLKISH LORE WERE WIPED OUT BY INHUMAN RUTHLESS
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE 'SPECIAL ORGANIZATION'...THE SECRET STATE POLICE
OF THE CRIMINAL 'YOUNG TURKS...' THE IMMORTAL PARUYR SEVAK DEDICATED
HIS MAGNUM OPUS -- THE EVER-TOLLING BELL TOWER -- TO THE ETERNAL
MEMORY OF THE INNOCENT MARTYRS OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.
One of the other euphemistic names that the criminals who masterminded the first genocide of modern history was -- "The Committee of Union and Progress" [CUP]. Adopting the racist policy of "Pan-Turkism" - a "Turan from Europe to Siberia" as the criminals dreamed of, the plan of "extermination of a whole race," and a "murder of a nation," [the word genocide was not coined yet -- as there was no such occurrence prior to the Armenian Genocide - when the government of a "modern state" implements such a program of an annihilation of a whole nation -- the word genocide was in fact invented by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who noted that the best example of the genocide in modern history is the Armenian Genocide -- the first genocide of the twentieth century] as Henry Morgenthau Sr., the eyewitness U.S. Ambassador of the time [1913-16] had wrote when he alarmed the world that "the greatest crime in human history is taking place." The plan of complete annihilation consisted of two phases.
"...WHY DID YOU PRESSURE US SO MUCH THAT
-- G E V O R K Ē M I N
ARMENIAN'S LOVE FOR THE SACRED SOIL RUNS DEEP.
HIS CONNECTION TO THE SACRED ERKIR -- EARTH-SOIL --
MOTHER ARMENIA -- THAT AFTER CARING CULTIVATION
AND PLANTING OF THE SEED -- AND RECEIVING THE SUNNY
RAYS OF THE SACRED SUN GAVE LIFE AND NURTURED
THE SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS WAS... CUT SHORT...
....WITH THE CULMINATION OF THE GENOCIDE AT THE HANDS OF
THE BLOODY KILLERS OF THE PARASITIC TYRANTS WHO
THROUGH INHUMAN SUBJUGATION AND IMPOSITION OF VIRTUALLY
UNBEARABLE DEGREE OF TAXATION -- LEECHED OFF OF
THE SWEAT AND HARD WORK OF THE PAINSTAKING
TOIL OF THE ARMENIAN FARMER.
LIFE IN THE SACRED HOMELAND BEFORE THE GENOCIDE
SHURJPAR [FROM LEFT TO RIGHT] -- TRADITIONAL ARMANI
ANCESTRAL CIRCLE DANCE MIRRORING SOLAR PRECESSION...
A DEATH BLOW STRUCK AGAINST CREATIVE PEOPLE...
CULTURE...KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM.
The first period was planned to eradicate the Armenian population of Western Armenia [including Cilicia] and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, through the means of massacres, rapes, forced starvation, and long death marches of hundreds of miles through the scorching Syrian deserts to a certain death. The second phase was launched in early 1918. Just as the criminal Turkish government had waited for the cover of WWI to carry out the horrific genocide in Western Armenia -- the collapse of the Russian front , after the turmoil that followed the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917, presented itself as the right opportunity to "once and for all solve the Armenian Question" in Eastern Armenia, the last bastion of historic Armenia still populated by what had remained of the Armenian people. Talaat -- Enver -- Djemal -- the three CUP ringleaders that masterminded the Genocide wanted their Turan -- without Armenia -- without Armenians -- the most serious major obstacle in the realization of their racist dream.
Already at the end of 1917, after the October Revolution in Russia the Bolsheviks issued the Decree of Land and Peace, which effectively signaled Russian withdrawal from World War I. Thus the Armenian front manned by primarily Russian troops, after the new Bolshevik policy began to crumble. Western Armenia that was liberated from Turkish yoke was once again at the mercy of the Turkish death squads. Although the new Bolshevik government issued a decree about "the right for self-determination of Turkish [Western] Armenia" nonetheless concrete steps in defending the remnants of Armenians in their native homeland remained only formal declarations without any undertaking of concrete steps in order to implement Lenin's "Decree on Turkish Armenia." The Turkish troops of the Young Turk regime after occupying most of newly liberated Western Armenia and rounding up and killing those Armenians that had managed to survive between 1915-18 -- crossed the frontier and moved onto Eastern Armenia. Special units called "The Special Organization" were in charge of rounding up Armenians for later execution.
THE SYSTEMATIC KILLING OF INNOCENT MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
But the cover up did not work. Hundreds of eyewitnesses -- missionaries, journalists and diplomatic representatives who at that time were in Western Armenia, Cilician Armenia and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, recorded and made it known to the world the unbelievable horror that was taking place.
THE INHUMANITY OF THE DEATH SQUADS WAS ASTONISHING
SENDING SHOCKWAVES OF HORROR AND ANGER THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
SMASHED CRADLE... MYRIAD OF INFANTS WOULD NOT LIVE TO SEE THE
SUNNY DAWN OF CHILDHOOD... AS YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE WERE PUT TO THE SWORD
IN AN ORGIASTIC OUTBURST OF INHUMANE CRUELTY.
IN MANY PLACES THROUGHOUT ARMENIA LIKE VAN, URFA AND MUSA LER
THE ARMENIAN FIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO FIGHT OVERWHELMING
ODDS AND FORCES OF THE TURKISH DEATH SQUADS BY FORTIFYING
THEMSELVES IN IMPREGNABLE ANCIENT ANCESTRAL CASTLES, FORTS AND
HIGH MOUNTAINS LIKE MUSA LER...THE HEROIC ARMENIAN RESISTANCE
AND VICTORY OF SOME 700 ARMENIAN FIGHTERS [WHO DEFENDED
5,000 SURVIVOR ARMENIANS] AGAINST 15,000 TURKISH REGULAR
TROOPS HEADED BY THE 'SPECIAL ORGANIZATION' SPECIFICALLY
SET UP BY THE 'YOUNG TURK' REGIME TO IMPLEMENT THE GENOCIDAL PLAN
OF WHOLESALE ANNHILATION OF THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE WAS THWARTED
BY THE SUPERHUMAN EFFORT OF ARMENIAN RESISTANCE FIGHTERS...
THE EPIC LIFE AND DEATH BATTLE BECAME A WORLDWIDE LEGENDARY
LITERARY MASTERPIECE...WRITTEN BY FRANZ WERFEL IN
EARLY 1930S AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN AUSTRIA IN 1933.
WERFEL HAD INTERVIEWED HUNDREDS OF EYEWITNESSES FROM
MUSA LER, INCLUDING FRENCH NAVAL OFFICERS AND MARINES WHO
HAD SEEN THE HUGE ARMENIAN BANNER [WITH SUPERIMPOSED RED CROSS]
FLYING ON THE PEAK OF MOUNT MUSA IN THE ANCIENT ARMENIAN GULF
[ALEXANDRETTA, NOW PART OF TURKEY AS ISKENDERUN] NEAR THE ARMENIAN
VILLAGE SUEDIA [SWEDIA] OF ANTIOCH PROVINCE OF CILICIAN ARMENIA.
MUSA LERTSIS WERE RENOWNED FOR THEIR FREEDOM LOVING SPIRIT
IN 1895, WHEN THE ARMENIAN MASSACRES [THAT SERVED AS A PRELUDE
TO THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE...] OF 1894-96 WERE RAGING BY THE HAMIDYE
BATTALIONS OF SULTAN ABDUL HAMID II -- MUSA LERTSIS AS IN TIME OF
THE GENOCIDE YEARS LATER -- AGAIN TOOK UP TO THEIR HIGH
MOUNTAINS, FOUGHT AND THREW BACK THE HAMIDYE
KILLERS MADE UP OF JAIL CRIMINALS [RELEASED UPON THE ORDERS
OF THE SULTAN...] AND CUTTHROATS EAGERLY PURSUING
THE PROSPECT OF PILLAGING AND LOOTING THE LAND
AND PROPERTY OF THE ARMENIAN MSHAK-FARMER.
WHEN THE BULLETS OF ARMENIAN DEFENDERS RAN OUT...
HUGE BOULDERS WERE DISLODGED FROM THE MOUNTAIN
AND TOPPLED UPON THE ENCROACHING HORDES OF TURKISH KILLERS...
THE ROAR AND THE MASSIVE SIZE OF THE BOULDERS WAS ENOUGH
TO CAUSE PANIC AND FOREVER SPOIL THE 'APPETITE' OF
THE GENOCIDAL KILLERS AND RAPISTS THAT MADE UP THE TURKISH 'ARMY.'
THE FRENCH BATTLESHIP JOAN OF ARC
WAS ABLE TO DOCK, FRENCH MARINES LANDED
AND WERE ABLE TO HELP THE ARMENIAN FIGHTERS TO OPEN A
'WINDOW' THROUGH THE FIRE OF THE TURKISH LINES THAT ENCIRCLED
THE ARMENIANS HELD OUT ON THEIR STOIC ARK-MOUNTAIN...
SOME 4,000SURVIVING ARMENIANS OF THE FIVE MUSA LERTSI VILLAGES
[INCLUDING SUEDIA] WERE ABLE TO TRANSPORT TO THE SAFETY OF
JOAN OF ARC THAT CARRIED THEM THROUGH THE MEDITERRANEAN
SEA TO PORT SAID IN EGYPT THAT WAS SECURED BY THE ALLIES.
The Turkish "army" by mid 1918, having obliterated all of Western Armenia, had overran most of Eastern Armenia, killing and raping en route, reaching the outskirts of Echmiadzin. Save The Holy City! became the rallying cry of the last remnants of the Armenian nation. A volunteer militia began to enlist Armenians young and old, rich and poor, from all walks of life, from every corner of the world. Armenians from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa rushed to fight the final battle in this struggle of Life and Death. Many
volunteers were non-Armenians, people who simply hated the Turks for what they were doing and wanted to fight for justice and uphold human life. The Genocide would be the pinnacle of one thousand years of killing. The epic battle would take place near the
THE LIFE AND DEATH STRUGGLE
T H E L A S T S T A N D O F T H E A R M E N I A N F I G H T E R S
village of Sardarapat, only few kilometers from the Holy City. The Turkish "army" was led by the famous or rather infamous “Gallibolu” [Gallipoli] Army. The critical energy of feelings and emotions was built up within the ranks of the Armenian fighters. The electrified atmosphere that was written in the stoic faces of the defenders was later recounted by the eyewitnesses as something of having a supernatural effect to it. If the Armenians would lose the battle -- EVERYTHING -- would be lost -- no going back, in case of defeat the Darkness would prevail-- there will be no Light at the end of this long dark tunnel of history.
THE IMMORTAL K O M I T A S V A R T A P E T WENT MAD AFTER
PERSONALLY WITNESSING THE UNSPEAKABLE HORROR OF THE GENOCIDE.
But, Providence, in the eternal Life and Death struggle, would come through for Armenians -- again at the very last moment -- when everything suggested that the Abyss was near. It is during this time that the World War I British Lord of the Admiralty - Sir Winston Churchill - who would later be distinguished as the British Prime Minister during World War II -- would for the first time in history use the word Holocaust to describe what is happening to the Armenian nation. "An ancient race has disappeared from the pages of History..." So it seemed. At the utmost critical point of survival the Armenian fighting spirit had won. The Armenians had completely smashed the "Gallibolu" army chasing the remnants all the way to Kars. From that point on, the Armenian policy of reliance on foreign, outside forces had relinquished. Self-reliance became the new policy which to a great degree is still ingrained in Armenian individual psyche and collective consciousness.
A R M E N I A R E B O R N FROM THE ASHES OF THE GENOCIDE
EASTERN ARMENIA IN GENERAL AND -- YEREVAN IN PARTICULAR --
SERVED AS A SAFE HAVEN FOR THOUSANDS OF SURVIVORS OF THE GENOCIDE