Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In Memory of Those Who Died During the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides

For the up to 1.8 million Armenians and 750,000 Assyrians killed in the 1910s and 1920s because they were not of a desirable ethnicity.

Armenian Genocide map.  From Wikipedia.  Click to Enlarge.

Assyrian Genocide Map.  Red areas are centers of killings and red lines are refugee routes.  From Wikipedia.  Click to Enlarge.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the inflation of the number who died in the Armenian genocide? I am not denying that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in the genocide, but how does one account for the fact that for the twenty years after the fact all claims of the number killed ranged from 300,000 to 750,000 at the top ends.
Numbers larger than a million, or 1.5 million, or now 1.8 million were not cited until after the gigantic death toll of the Holocaust became known.
Given that the most recent censuses before the genocide (both Ottoman and those carried out by Armenians Churches themselves) estimated that the population Anatolia was 8 million of whom 800,000 to 1.2 million were Armenian, where do the other 600,000 Armenian dead come from? How does one account for the hundreds of thousands of Armenians that took refuge in Lebanon, Syria, France, Iran, Soviet Armenia and the United States?
Again I do not doubt the original numbers of 300,000 to 750,000, I am just curious how one can claim more Armenians died than were living.

My second comment would be to question the use of annihilation center. Armenians were concentrated in inhuman camps that were not sufficiently provided with food and medicine to prevent the outbreak of disease, causing the death of hundred of thousands. A majore crime against humanity. But this is also how the campos de concentracion in Cuba and South Africa worked. Would you call the camps set up by the British and Spanish colonial authorities annihilation camps? Just curious.

The third comment questions why you commemorate the genocide of Chritistian groups in Anatolia but do not commemorate the Turkish and Kurdish communities that were also ethnically cleansed in this period. As Armenian groups wanted to create an Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia they wanted to rid the Turkish and Kurdish populations that they were living with. In the early half of the Russian entrance into Antatolia victorious Armenian bands liberated Anatolia by dispatcing local Muslim communities. Yerevan, capital of modern Armenia was a city with more mosques than churches in 1914. Only now are some Armenian scholars beginning to write about the destruction of Yerevan's Muslim community and the mass graves in which one can find their remains. This Armenian on Turkish violence should not be so hard to recognize as in our own life times we saw Armenian militias depopulate Western Azerbaijan.

Furthermore while it is rather difficult to find Ottoman newspapers or articles that call for the destruction of the entire Armenian community (after all the Ottoman world vision viewed themselves at the center of a cosmopolitan society) There is ano shortage of revolutionary Armenian literature from the late 19th and early 20th century that discusses how to rid Eastern Anatolia of Muslims and restore it to a "pure" state. In this the model used by Armenian revolutionaries were the Serbian, Greek and Bulgarian movements to evict or kill Muslims on land won from the Ottomans.

I am not trying to say that genocide did not happen. I am saying that a lot of it did. And we need to recognize and condemn it all.

Catholicgauze said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your thoughtful e-mail.

1) I cannot comment on the number controversy as I do not know the background of the dispute. I will change my post to say "up to".

2) Arguably, yes. More so the Spanish than the Brits to an extent but it is clear by the Brits, Spanish, and Turks wanted at least some of their targets to die.

3) I know Yerevan was once majority Muslim yes. I have denounced Armenian ethnic cleansing of southwest Azerbaijan in the 1990s before.

4) I denounce all desires to ethnic cleanse.

Thank you for your comment. Sadly this issue is hypersensitive thus allowing a fog of what exactly happened to occur. If only more people were like you we could better understand the evil killings that went on.

Catholicgauze said...

You seem to know more about actions against Kurds et al during this time than me. If you so desire, you can write a post on the blog remembering these victims and I will post it.

Anonymous said...

That's very kind for you to offer, however my understanding of the events in Eastern Anatolia is mostly though the lens of local media of the period, and I have never really focused on the actual question of the death involving Kurds. Although from what I understand a lot of the violence in Van and other areas was Kurdish/Armenian as both communities saw some areas as key components to new states they wanted to build after the War.
I couldn't however write anything credible on where, and how and when the killings took place, just on the claims being made in media during the period.

You have a great blog, I always enjoy it!