"Do not pity the dead, pity the living and above all… those who live without love."
The Forgotten Genocide
I wanted to take this blog to talk about something that never seems to be mentioned anywhere something that most people don’t even know about. The pain of so many people, which seems to be ignored. To the Armenian people it is known as the Armenian Genocide and this is our story. Almost a century ago, we were deceived, we were tricked and our land was pulled out from under us like a carpet. The unfortunate thing is that this three-year genocide has been ignored as has been the lost lives of the many people massacred. Interestingly enough, Hitler used the Armenian Genocide almost as a springboard for the Holocaust. “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” With these words, he reassured the Nazi’s that they would not be caught and that their crimes against humanity would go unpunished as it was done with the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
Since 1524, the Armenians were loyal, law abiding citizens to the Turks of the Ottoman Empire but they were still considered to be second or even third class citizens and not of equal status or of the same stature of the Turks. After a while it seemed to bother the Armenians that they could not get the jobs they wanted or purchase the land that was rightfully theirs due to their unequal standing beside the Turks. So around the year 1800 they asked for their civil rights and protested that they get equal rights. This lead to many small peaceful protests being turned into riots and many small massacres. The Turks were furious, that the Armenians were “stepping out of line” so in 1896, more than 250,000 Armenian citizens, intellectuals and any persons who tried to fight for civil freedoms were killed. Things only got worse from there.
In 1908 the Young Turk Revolutionists came to power, claiming that they could bring change ad overthrowing the Sultan in the process. The Armenian people rejoiced to the fact that these Young Turks were going to bring change; they had no idea that it was for the worse. So in 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I and suffered a very bad defeat at the hands of Russia. The Turks were angry about their defeat but they knew that this would be the best time to execute their plans. Slowly they started rounding up the Armenians and getting ready for their extermination. The Turks started to evacuate the Armenians from their land with the excuse “its for your protection from the war.’ Then they took their firearms with the excuse “we need weapons for the war”. Lastly they separated all men under the age of fifty from their homes with the excuse “we need solders”. Then on April 24, 1915 the slaughtering began. The Turks murdered all teachers, priests, and any other person smart enough to foil their plans or fight back.
With the remaining people, they stated what is now know as the “death marches” which were systematically planed routes through the Diyarbekir and Deir ez-Zor deserts designed to slowly kill of the Armenian race. By means of torture, starvation, thirst, or firing squad the Turks began to climate everyone. Some were not so lucky, small children were rounded up and buried alive for complaining about lack of water and food. Pregnant women were considered a game, bets were placed as to the gender of the baby and then their stomachs were ripped open to see who was correct. These are a few examples survivors who lived to tell their stories of the horrors they remembered.
By 1918, the death marches had stopped and it was estimated that 1.5 million people of the Armenian population were killed. The Turks were angry that they weren’t able to be rid of the whole Armenian race and so they hid the fact from the world. They told lies about how it was a war and that Turks were also lost in the crossfire because they didn’t want to be responsible for the pain they caused. Even until today, Turkey glowers at the mention of the Genocide of the Armenians.
As I type this blog, the Turks are in my homeland, where my father’s father was raised and where the bodies of my own are buried. They took everything from us and left us close to nothing but they too, deep down, are ashamed of what they wrought. If you visit on of the twelve provinces of Armenia where the Armenian people were forced to leave, you will see that the Turks haven’t touched a single house. Everything remains the same, almost like a ghost town. But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that the Turks are never going to accept the Genocide because of political, SoCal, or economical matters and if it is not recognized within two more years, it will be forgotten. Us as a human race would have let the Turks get away with this hate crime. For the Armenian people, this story will stay in our hearts and we will pass it on from generation to generation so that everyone will know that the world let Turkey get away with this mass murder, extermination, this Genocide of the Armenian people.