Genocide….of Armenians by the Turks

we remember

Many Americans have never heard that Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in and around 1915.   April 25, 1915 is generally considered the day the nightmare began but there were smaller amounts murdered a few years before that.

I publish this piece from an interesting website because it’s about a BOOK and I love books…and it includes, in not too many words, the rather complicated history of the genocide period.  For sheer facts, I’d also direct you to HERE.**   Please make sure you read the last sentence of the article below;  it says a lot.   The Turks still deny what they did.  This is a surprisingly weighty sticking point to their not getting into the EU, so my hat’s off to a group I don’t usually admire (the EU) for finding the denial of the Turks egregious enough to keep them out of the EU…..Please read this article:

MGM was to produce a film version of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh in the 1930s.

Franz Werfel did not lead a quiet, stable life. Then again, the times in which he lived did not lend themselves to such luxuries. Born in 1890 to a German-speaking, Jewish family in Czech-speaking, predominantly Christian Prague, Werfel lived through a Europe that was fundamentally altered in the decades that followed. His adult life was tied to Vienna, although he also lived elsewhere on the Continent, before ending up in the United States.

His literary works had a following among the public and artistic circles, especially in Austria and Germany after World War I. This was the period of the rise of the Nazi Party and growing, institutionalised anti-Semitism. Werfel moved as far away as possible from his heritage – even carrying out an affair and later marrying a socialite known for her disdain for Judaism. Regardless, the written work for which he is most celebrated today bridges the experience of the Armenian and Jewish peoples, and not by coincidence.

crucified christian girls

(Image: Crucified Christian girls)

The Mount of Moses – or Musa Dagh – is located in the far south-eastern corner of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey today. It used to be populated with a number of Armenian villages, the inhabitants of which got organised in 1915, using their higher ground to resist the approaching Ottoman forces. For 53 days, the 4,000-5,000 villagers of Musa Dagh fought back, until – heeding the SOS sign painted onto a large sheet – French warships passing by evacuated them. (One Musa Dagh village, Vakıf, remains in Turkey, populated with local Armenians, while another set of Armenian villages around the town of Kessab, just across the border in Syria, was attacked by forces entering from Turkey in March, 2014, over the course of the Syrian civil war; these outposts are what remains of the native population of the medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.)

skeletons armenian

It was on a honeymoon of sorts in the Middle East around 1930 that Franz Werfel came face-to-face with the survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Their story had already been shunted aside, but a little enquiry and some research inspired Werfel to take up that single episode from 1915 and turn it into one of the most influential novels of its day. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh caused a sensation, given the background of its author and the language and time-period in which it was published – German, 1933, the year Hitler came to power. It did not take long for the circumstances of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire to be likened to that of the Jews in central and eastern Europe, especially in Germany, where the book was banned, and where copies of it were burned. Another country that unsurprisingly played an active role in suppressing Franz Werfel’s work was Turkey, where, likewise, the book was prohibited and burned – even by the remaining Armenians of Istanbul, who were quick to toe the official line as did the Jewish community in Turkey (Z: I would question this remark;  Armenians do not deny the genocide other than under duress). However, Franz Werfel’s book was being circulated in both the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as Jewish fighters in Palestine. New Musa Daghs were being called for in the struggle against oppression and genocide, over two decades after the original Armenian resistance.

armenian walk

Turkish machinations made their way across the Atlantic as well, where Forty Days was causing such a stir that MGM had made up its mind to turn it into an epic movie, starring Clark Gable. Diplomatic wranglings from Ankara and interference by the State Department in DC all the way to Hollywood finally had their effect: the film was put on hold, its rights passing down until a low-budget production was put together in the early ’80s.

Although Franz Werfel died in 1945, his influence lives on, certainly beyond Armenian circles. The likes of Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson have expressed interest in recent years of reviving a Forty Days of Musa Dagh movie project, but both have caved under Turkish pressure .  (END OF ARTICLE)

Z:  Since some of my Armenian relatives were lost in the genocide (young mothers losing new husbands and infants, great uncles dying by beheading, my grandmother walking 3 months in the desert at the age of 9 years old, to survive, (thankfully…she was wonderful)…and my stories are nothing compared to some of the brutality of what happened there), I wanted to publish this today in honor of the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.  I don’t often call it a genocide because, clearly, we still exist, but it was what I call “the low tech holocaust” because we weren’t thrown into high tech ovens but were killed with swords, guns, babies cut out of pregnant mothers, walking to exhausted deaths, etc etc………  And most people have never heard of this.  1.5 people killed and most people aren’t taught about it here in America.   It should be heard.

God bless all the Armenians who lost their lives simply for being intelligent and for being Christians in a Muslim world which they’d helped bring into the 20th century through art and science.

armenian candle

                                      This post is dedicated to their memories.  

P.S. I published particularly gruesome pictures (there are thousands more) because Turks still completely deny this happened, or say the Armenians had it coming to them.   I think the pictures say a lot, and the fact that so many women and babies were brutally killed.

**The Armenian Genocide[7] ] also known as the Armenian Holocaust,[8] the Armenian Massacres and, traditionally by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern (Armenian: Մեծ Եղեռն, “Great Crime”),[9] was the Ottoman government‘s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre.

The Turks today say that European insistence on their admitting the genocide shows that Europe is becoming more and more ‘racist’.  Seriously.  And HERE is an article by a Turk, published by Al Jazeera, and he has another viewpoint I saw;  I felt it dishonest not to present his side, too.    My feeling is that I don’t care how provoked the Armenians might have made the Turks, one doesn’t massacre innocent women and children in the hundreds of thousands.

God bless the dead……particularly those who died in such agony….which is almost all of them.  Please say a prayer.

Z

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24 Responses to Genocide….of Armenians by the Turks

  1. Mustang says:

    Tragic beyond understanding, actually and I wonder if the world’s refusal to hold the Turks accountable encouraged another massacre a few years later. We have learned nothing if we think a problem will solve itself if we ignore it long enough.

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  2. geeez2014 says:

    Mustang, there’s a story that Hitler was heard to have said “They massacred Armenians and nobody noticed, who’s going to care about the Jews?” I don’t believe anybody knows if that really was said (and many debunk it, particularly genocide deniers), but I don’t think it’s important whether he said it or not. The point is important and inescapable…

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  3. Angus1234 says:

    Wow Z what an awful history the world has indeed. Your people suffered so much and it should be remembered.
    Thank you for the education. Very sad indeed

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  4. Lisa says:

    What a terrible history the world has Z. So awful what happened to your people.
    It should be remembered always. We should never pretend genocide doesn’t exsist,no matter who or where it is happening against.
    Thank you for the education

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  5. geeez2014 says:

    Lisa, thanks for reading it. I know it’s long but I think it’s important. I was so sorry I accidentally published another post this morning on top of this one….will publish that one tomorrow; but I wanted all my friends/ readers to see this … oh, well!!
    I’m glad you came by. My grandmother was an amazing woman and, as I read novels on the genocide and I realize that she was part of the nightmare they describe, it’s hard to take in….at 9 years old she lost many loved ones and neighbors and was marched through the desert for 3 months …. of intense heat, little food, and seeing dead bodies everywhere…….I don’t know how she did it, but she would NOT TALK ABOUT IT.

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  6. cube says:

    This was hard to read. It breaks my heart to think about all those innocent people who never got to be…

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  7. geeez2014 says:

    Hi, Cube; it is hard to read, isn’t it. I just got FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH in the mail…..haven’t dug into it yet. I know it’s the quintessential novel of the genocide.
    I just finished THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS (by Chris Bojahlian) and liked it, but not as much as BLACK DOG OF FATE by Peter Balakian. THAT one REALLY got to me in not a good way; Although SANDCASTLES deals almost directly with what my grandmother and her family went through, BLACK DOG moved me almost too much. It’s very haunting; I highly recommend it.
    I just spoke to my mother and she said my grandmother’s whole family survived….talk about a miracle; I don’t know that many families survived intact…though her older brother was yanked into the war by the Russian army and lost toes to frostbite. He was a wonderful man; he did make it to America afterwards. How they all kept in touch and found each other without email and computers is WAY beyond ME.

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  8. geeez2014 says:


    EXCELLENT 30 minutes on the massacres…by a turkish professor….if you want to know about it, this is it.

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  9. I heard Hitler had said that, also, Z (“Who remembers the Armenians?”). As for you not often calling it a genocide because we still exist, so do the Jews and theirs was also called a genocide.
    You can never kill off 100% of any group so it must be the intent of the killings that distinguishes it as to what it should be called.

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  10. geeez2014 says:

    Hi, Mal…nobody knows for sure Hitler said that and I think the point of it is more important, don’t you? He’d have been right if he had.
    Yes, I know ..it just seems dumb to stand there talking to someone who’s never heard of it, as an Armenian, saying ‘it was genocide’…but yes…one definition I read included “or attempt to eliminate a people”….

    Were any of your family involved? Dad’s family somehow survived and Mom’s family was in Istanbul and survived, too. But not easily. Dad’s family REALLY suffered, as described above, and Mom’s had some terrible things happen.

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  11. Baysider says:

    Hitler was very connected to what was happening in the Levant. He hosted the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on several occasions, and it’s known they conferred over their common cause of getting rid of Jews. It would be hard to NOT believe he at least thought this.

    I learned of the genocide when I was quite young. A teacher’s story burned it into my soul at 10. While she omitted the gore, the message was plain enough: her then 5-year old grandmother was the only survivor of her entire village being massacred because she hid in a haystack for 3 days. It was those little upside down stacks that only a small child could hide in, so they probably didn’t bother to search. I’ve thought many times of her terror, hunger and hurt in creeping out and finding everyone dead.

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  12. Baysider says:

    Very interesting video, Z. Not unlike the confiscatory program of Lenin: planned, carefully organized and orchestrated, rapidly deployed.

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  13. geeez2014 says:

    Baysider, I just don’t like to say “Hitler (or anybody else) said…” unless it’s transcripted or on tape. We don’t know what he said but some say he did say that, or allude to it. And, as I said above, it’d be hard not to think he at least thought it…you’re right.

    As for your having learned about the genocide, I read your words and thought “Must have been an Armenian teacher”…and sure enough.
    Even MARYLIN at study had never HEARD OF IT (she’s about 84)…Hancock Park Marylin. I don’t put last names here, obviously! Starts with an “S”, I think you know her?

    Anyway, yes, the plan was very carefully orchestrated; we know this amazingly unbiased Turkish professor kind of ‘gathered the information in a kind of organized way’ so it is presented that way; not sure how organized the actual egregious plans were, you know?
    I would LOVE to meet that young man. He’s very special

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  14. Kid says:

    Thank you Z for the education. It also made me think of how Gen. Eisenhower made sure the german Holocaust camps were kept intact until film crews and others could go in and document what had happened because “without the physical proof, no one would believe it happened in 4 or 5 decades (or less)” I always thought that was exceptionally prescient, and now it seems to me, he was thinking about the Armenian genocide as the example that proves that it could be erased by time. As far as the turks, well, they’re moslems for the most part and can’t be trusted to take responsibility for such a thing.
    Bottom line – the moslems have done these unbelievably horrible things 1000 years ago, 110 years ago and they’re still doing it today. The civilized world has not a single use for moslems to be in it. They provide not a single molecule of positive value anywhere in the world at any time.

    Have you ever seen a muslim hospital? A muslm animal hospital?

    Have you heard a muslim orchestra?

    Have you seen a muslim band march in a parade?

    Have you witnessed a muslim charity that is not associated with a terrorist organization?

    Have you seen muslims shak[ing] hands with Muslim Girl Scouts?

    Have you seen a muslim Candy Striper?

    Have your seen a muslim do anything that contributes positively to the civilized way of life?

    Have you ever been invited into a muslim home? mosque?

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  15. Kid says:

    PS – Ever seen a moslem product for sale in a store?

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  16. Baysider says:

    Reviewing video again. This is SO RICH! I particularly ‘like’ the slide of the structure of the dispossession process (20:53 min).
    1)You see what the top oligarchs got (we speculate much about this in our own country) – consolidating power in their image and to their benefit.
    2) The term “plunder” advanced to those on the bottom is a parallel with our system of ‘legal’ plunder fed by an ersatz victimization class fueled with envy and greed.
    3) Then there is the middle – giving everyone their ‘piece of the pie.’ Wow! That is eerily like demrat campaign rhetoric, right down to the fact that the piece of the pie comes NOT FROM THEIR OWN EFFORTS BUT FROM GOVERNMENT!

    And to think that fine men like Ed, Mustang, Imp and Mr. B (sorry for those I left out) gave much of their lives just so we could come to this. I’m crying. Our only solace is that their efforts may have pushed back the dissolution farther.

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  17. Baysider says:

    Z, I know this is not your favorite website, but this man’s story fills in a lot of troubling details that he links to the behavior of modern monsters. At least the first third is has historical value.
    ““I’ve read accounts of a call to arms where Muslims would show up at residences – people who lived with neighbors for a decade or more – and engaged in indiscriminate slaughter.” The picture of a well-fed official taunting starving children with bread speaks for itself.

    It’s worth reading just for the story of how his grandmother saved herself, children and 2 brothers-in-law. That woman had chutzpah! http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/the-armenian-genocide-and-my-grandmothers-secret/

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  18. jerrydablade says:

    Heartbreaking Z. You’re right that most Americans have never heard of this holocaust. They don’t have a phone app for this, and sadly they probably wouldn’t care having been so de-sensitized to slaughter.

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  19. geeez2014 says:

    Baysider; I’ve been told it’s the KURDS who moved into the homes of Armenians where doors were suddenly burst into and it was “Everybody OUT…” Men were usually slaughtered there, in front of wife and kids, and then she and the children faced months in the extreme heat marching to Der el Zor or wherever else….most didn’t make it. My grandmother and her family did somehow.
    They moved in and practically finished the meals at the table which were interrupted.

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  20. geeez2014 says:

    Someone had sent me Kupelian’s excellent piece two days ago; but thanks for linking it.
    I don’t read WND but this kind of article can at least be believed…and it isn’t hyperbolized. nice if it was only exaggeration of the truth, but no.

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  21. geeez2014 says:

    Kid…I love your mind. “A Muslim Candy Striper” Definitely NOT. And ditto on everything else….
    I never thought we’d face anything near what the Armenians faced…but the Muslims are active again.

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  22. geeez2014 says:

    Kid, by the way, it’s so interesting that you’d talk about the importance of getting photos….and how good it is that Eisenhower realized that because the novel I just finished THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS revolves around a box of photographic plates that the Turks tried to get destroyed. One Turkish officer decided they were too important to toss out so he buried the box …. later, he told an American working in Aleppo where the box was buried and stories came out of that box when those plates were developed. This is fictional but, clearly, based on a lot of fact.

    By the way (Baysider, particularly!) I don’t particularly recommend this book over the other really excellent ones, like BLACK DOG OF FATE, which I have to admit I sobbed through parts of with thoughts of my grandmother.

    Baysider: Also, Kupelian’s family was from Maras (or Marash, as we pronounce it), which is where my own father’s family had left in time to escape the genocide…for Upstate New York, Troy, to be exact. My step great grandmother (whom I adored) lost her first husband and baby son to the massacres.
    Honestly, how these women survived, mentally (let alone physically) is beyond ME.

    People sometimes said my grandmother (I loved her beyond reason) was “fragile”…she, for instance, “couldn’t be alone”… hers is one of the homes that was burst into and they never saw it again…nor anything inside it………marching for three months, 9 years old, in the intense Turkish/Syrian heat….little food, almost no water; I’d be a LOT less than together than only ‘fragile’, I assure you.

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  23. Z, I have a friend Arnold Boyajian (87 yrs. old) that moved to Vegas in the late 1980’s and worked in security at the Mirage until retiring a few years ago. His mother survived the Turks when her husband, a professor, was killed and she at age 22 with an infant baby was one of the many who were force marched across the desert. When her baby kept crying, one of the Turks snatched it from her and sliced it up with his sword in front of her! When she screamed and pounded her fists on him, he hit her with the back of his rifle and knocked her out. Shortly after, a friendly Kurd saved her and eventually got her safe passage to America where she met and married Arnold’s dad and had 3 sons. His dad and my dad were from the same little town in the mountains of Turkey, not far from Mt. Ararat. That’s how we became friends.

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