I don't run into very many people (of non-Armenian descent) that know who Armenians are, let alone are well versed on the issue of the genocide.
Rosco, you're right. Question everything. As I said, DON'T do this because I, or SOAD said so. Familiarize yourself with the issue (*if you care to). But......that meant actual research.....not....snopes. What the hell could snopes possibly tell you about an issue of this caliber and complexity?
Anyways, as Ryan and I said, that link to the Jennings bit will get you up to speed on what happened. Ryan touched on why most nations who haven't officially recognized it, don't do so. But Turkey goes beyond that, and flat out denies it even happened. I'll give you some background on what lead up to this, and why they "debate" this issue.
Armenians are ancient peoples, dating back to at least 5,000 years. They were the first officially Christian State in the world (301 AD)
. And if the Bible is the truth, the repopulation of the world began in Armenia
, as the Bible says Noah'* Ark landed in "the mountains of Ararat". Due to this, there were many attacks and attempts to conquer and convert Armenian lands by their many Muslim neighbors. After holding off the Persians right around the turn of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire conquered much of greater Anatolia. Armenians, being white, Christian Europeans, suffered greatly under their rule, and had no recourse for these atrocities. They were not allowed to carry weapons, even though they were often randomly murdered by Turks, and were taxed much more heavily then the average Muslim Turkish citizens.
Jump to the end of the 19th Century. As tension was rising between nations pre-WWI, a handful of Armenian militias were also in open rebellion against the random mass killings that had been taking place for centuries. Meanwhile, the 2 million Armenians living within Ottoman boarders (formerly Western Armenia) were demanding better treatment. By this time, the Ottoman Empire was falling apart from within, and a new group of men, the Young Turks, took over in 1908. They promised better treatment and freedom of religion for all minorities. But as it turned out, this was all a farce to gain the support, and trust of the Armenians. Slaughtering continued on an even larger scale, and the rebellion grew even more noticeable in response. Between the advance of Russia, and the paranoia that the Armenian rebellion would grow greater with this advance, the Young Turks decided something had to be done about "the Armenian question". The "solution" turned out to be the elimination of the Armenian people. Plans began in 1914 on how to go about this. First, Turks visited Armenian villages, and said any and all weapons had to be turned in, as they would be needed to defend their lands against the Russians. Armenians, being the ever-naive people they are, gladly "helped the cause" (aside from the small pockets of the afore mentioned rebels). Now disarmed, and while the world was preoccupied with WWI, they would work under the guise of "deportations” to march the Armenian population into the Middle East with no food, water, and only the clothes on their backs.
And so, on April 24th, 1915, the orders were carried out to round up all the Armenian elites (teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc), take them away from their respective villages, and kill them. All Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman army were disarmed, rounded up, and killed. This is the date Armenians look at as the initiation of the genocide. From there, the women, children, and elderly were rounded up, and the marches began. There were many non-Armenian eyewitness accounts of rapes, drowning, mass burnings, beheadings, and carnage that rivals the greatest atrocities ever committed in the history of mankind. When all was said and done, approximately 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915, and 1923.
Now on to the debate. I will list a few of Turkey'* main reasons for denying this crime first, then will list the Armenian rebuttal in respective order to each Turkish reason.
First, they deny the numbers, saying there were no where near 1 million Armenians in Eastern Anatolia to begin
with, much less 1.5 million killed. They also estimate that only 300,000 perished in what was a civil war, not genocide.
Then there are those that say Turkey had no choice but to "relocate" the Armenians, as the rebellion was growing, and many Armenians turned "traitor", and joined the Russian army to fight the Turks. Again, they proclaim peaceful deportations, no actual killings on their behalf.
A few times, I read Turkish sites that claim it was the Armenians
that were the aggressors, and even perpetrators of genocide, blaming them for the death of 3 million Turks.
Today'* Turkish government, while not admitting to guilt, says that Armenia has no reason to go after them anyway, since it was their predecessors that are being accused. Modern day Turkey feels they owe nothing, guilty or not.
Turkey'* own census, conducted just a few years prior to this event, shows there were over a million Armenians present, and that doesn't include the many that eluded reporting themselves to the census on account of the outrageous taxes they had to pay. And Armenians were not at war with Turkey. Yes there were a small handful of rebellions, standing up to the unprovoked massacres that were taking place long before 1915, but the vast majority of the Armenian population were trying to go about their daily lives as best they could, and considered themselves Turkish citizens who were supposed to be protected
by them, not slaughtered by them.
Again, there were only a small handful of rebellion outbursts, and they were only defending themselves against the oppression. What were they supposed to do, just sit there and take it? They were being killed, anyway
, so this is a pretty weak excuse (if you can call it that) to kill, or even "peacefully deport" 2 million people. It was a loose/loose proposition. Do nothing (don't rebel), and die. Put up resistance, be called a traitor.... and die. As far as those "traitor Armenians" that joined the Russian army, the vast majority actually LIVED in Russia (Eastern Armenia). They had no choice, just as the Armenians in the Turkish army had no choice. Brothers were pinned against each other depending on which side of the line they lived on.
This is a rather interesting one. They claim there were less then 1 million Armenians present in Anatolia, yet Armenians somehow managed to kill 3 million of them, with little to no weapons. For the sake of argument, and to give this claim of there'* as much chance as possible, let'* pretend for a second they agree with the figure of 2
million Armenians inside Turkey. Take away the women, children and elderly. How many people does that leave capable, and willing
to bear arms, and fight? So you're trying to tell me a few hundred thousand men took out 3 million members of the almighty Ottoman Empire? Either Armenians were supernatural, fighting gods, or the Turks forgot that however many people they lost were primarily due to the Russians. They simply are trying to pin their entire WWI loses on the Armenians. It is a week attempt to waste the Armenians' time defending themselves on this ridiculous accusation, and diverting effort away from the real genocide.
Perhaps it was the Turkish predecessors that perpetrated this crime, but much like any corporation that buys out a bankrupt company, that corporation picks up all that companies debts. The Turks can't have it both ways. If they can claim and live on stolen, ancient ancestral lands because they are descendents of the former Turkish government that took
it, then surely they must also inherit the crime by which their predecessors obtained
I've studied this subject quite a bit. The Turkish "side" offers nothing but contradictory, and in many cases, completely fabricated facts and figures. Much of what they claim is basically taking history, and twisting the time line or reasoning behind it around. Thus why the Armenian slogan is "you can't re-write history". If you do even just a little bit of research on this subject, you will find COUNTLESS evidence supporting the Armenian case. Telegrams, memos, diaries, letters, photos, personal stories, newspaper articles, and so fourth, generated by American, Swedish, British, French, German, and yes, EVEN TURKISH soldiers, ambassadors, doctors, and citizens who bore witness to these atrocities. Denial is flat out ridiculous. Even countries that haven’t officially recognized it yet (like the US) still refer to the event as genocide when they speak of it. Only Turkey, and their close allies, Israel, flat out denies it.
What it basically boils down to is that Turkey fears Armenia will want monetary and territorial restitution. That is the main reason they won't admit to the genocide, even though they know deep down inside that this is the truth. It is also why they spend MILLIONS trying to keep a lid on this issue, till it will hopefully be blown away by the winds of time. They want this dark, barbaric part of their past erased from history and memory, just as they did back then. But we will not let them succeed. This is why we press on.
SOAD only comes into this picture because their popularity is bringing a bright light onto the shadows of this event, a light far greater then any government or organization has been able to shed in the history of this cause. And for that, we are eternally grateful. By the way, SOAD thinks it'* a "big deal" because all 4 members are
of Armenian decent. Serj (the singer) promised his 97-year-old grandfather that he would talk to Speaker Hastert, and try to get him to put this Resolution before Congress for a full vote. Thus, the rally in Batavia.
I realized when I went around, posting this that 99% of the people on the sites I posted on couldn't care less about it. It is not in American'* nature to care about what'* going on in the rest of the world. And that'* fine. But I posted regardless, hinging my hope on the slim chance that someone like Ryan might come across this, and take the opportunity to do something about it. Even if I only get a single person to respond with a Web Fax to Speaker Hastert, it'* all worth it to me. Every single one counts. We need to show that, while Hastert has buckled under pressure from the enemy before on this issue, for the first time, there is nearly equal pressure from the opposite end to, as Serj said, do the right thing.
Than enough info for ya?