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freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 205

In this exercise, you are going to look at the Armenian genocide, which resulted in the murder of approximately 1.5 million Armenian Christians living in the area of eastern Turkey that today is independent Armenia. In 1915, Armenia was part of the Ottoman Empire, which was in rapid decline and would eventually become Turkey. The Young Turks, who came to power in 1908, dreamed of a pan-Turkish empire that was Muslim in religious orientation. The Armenians were the largest remaining group of Christians left in this territory (other groups of Christians in parts of the Ottoman Empire had broken away or gained independence).


Beginning with the execution of Armenian political leaders in Istanbul in 1915, the systematic elimination of Armenians, either through exile overland to Syria or execution, took place. It is believed that mass deportations, torture, and executions took place between 1915 and 1923, with the goal of eradicating the Armenian population from Turkey soil.


  1. To be sure that you understand the magnitude and the scale of the Armenian genocide, I’d like you to look at some photographic material about the Armenian genocide. Choose two of these sites (you may go to all three, if you wish). Warning: some of the material on these sites is extremely graphic.

Photographs of the Armenian genocide taken by John Elder between 1917-19

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/photo_elder.html

Images and a variety of sources documenting the Armenian genocide.

http://www.genocide1915.org/bildgalleri_armenian_na.html

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide_Photos

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide_Texts

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide_Contemporary_Articles


  1. Then I’d like you to look at two maps on this site http://www.genocide1915.org/kartor.html

∙the first shows the vision of Pan-Turkish land

∙the second map indicates the extent of the deportations and massacres


  1. Then, read some eyewitness reports about the genocide.

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Genocide_Survivor_and_Eyewitness_Accounts


Feel free to look at any of these but be sure to scroll down and take a look at Noyemzar Alexanian’s story. (2nd from the bottom of the list) After you’ve done this, take a look at some of the other survivor testimony on this site, if you have a few minutes. These are incredibly moving.


  1. Then take a look at some of the wartime testimony in archival documents in the U.S. and British archives. Go to:

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/sampledocs.html

Poke around this part of the site, featuring US and British documents, and see what you find. Select at least 3 documents to read.


5. Please take a look at the letter sent by the Turkish embassy as a reply to one of my former students, St John Barned-Smith, in 2004 when he asked how the Turkish government could explain the fate of the Armenians. (St John is now a very successful reporter for the Houston Chronicle.)


In the link that follows, the letter from the Embassy appears first; if you scroll down after the Embassy’s letter, you will find the student’s letter to the Embassy at the bottom of this link AND you should read that first before reading the Embassy’ response!

http://www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/archives/003343.htm

6. Finally, where does the US government stand right now on the Armenian genocide (updating some of what you read in Samantha Power’s book).


Here’s what Obama did/didn’t do: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/19/armenian-genocide-ben-rhodes-samantha-power-obama-349973

Here’s where Trump did: https://thehill.com/regulation/international/474869-trump-administration-rejects-senate-resolution-recognizing-armenian

Here’s where Biden seems to be: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/31/what-the-biden-presidency-means-for-turkey-and-erdogan-post-trump.html


7. Your final task is to post your responses HERE to the following questions, along with your reactions to what you’ve learned about the Armenian genocide:


  • After looking at all this, what sense can you make of the Armenian genocide?
  • What’s true about these events? Is there anything that appears to be untrue?
  • What is “real history” and what isn’t?
  • How can you tell?
  • And how would you respond to the Turkish government’s position on these events? Do you think the U.S. government and/or world governments should in some way respond as well?
20469154661
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

The Real History of The Armenian Genocide

The “real history” is that the deportation, starvation, bludgeoning, execution, death marches, rape, and outright torture of Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire was genocide. In 1915, Talaat Pasha led the mass killing of over 1 million Armenians.


Genocide is defined under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” This includes “Killing members of the group”, “Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, and “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” It is also explicitly stated under Article I that genocide can take place in the context of international or non-international armed conflict or in the context of a peaceful situation.


The Turkish government, officials, and many historians deny that these events can be characterized as genocide. In response to the letter sent to the Turkish embassy, there were statements such as “there was no systematic murder, or genocide, inflicted on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” and “to create any parallel between the Holocaust… (is) way off the mark… Jews of Germany never took up arms… Germany was not at war when it decided to destroy the Jews and the Jews never conspired with an invading power... Hitler had a openly stated goal of exterminating all Jews and had for this purpose set up death camps. None of this applies” It was even argued that there was no “intent to destroy the Ottoman Armenians”. It was even suggested that “all we need to do is move on”.

Contrary to the statements made by the Turkish government and Turkish individuals, there was explicit intent to “destroy the Ottoman Armenians”. There were also camps similar to those in Germany during the Holocaust set up, despite the claims of the Turkish embassy. Turkish officials “posted deportation orders requiring the Armenians to relocate to camps prepared in the deserts of Syria”. There were no facilities prepared. Over half of the deported Armenians died on the way. Talaat Pasha wrote, “we are ensuring their eternal rest.” In addition, in terms of defining events as genocide, being at war or not being at war has no pertinence. This means that intent to destroy a whole racial, ethnical, national, or religious group at any time is genocide.

It has been proven that the events can be defined as genocide. There are photographs, documents, and sources that display or tell of the events. There are accounts of the men and boys of villages being led to their execution, young girls being abducted, women being raped, the forced Turkification of orphans, Armenians starving, and much more.

The U.S. government and other world governments should in some way respond. They did little to nothing to prevent the Armenian Genocide for many of the same reasons that they refuse to acknowledge that what happened was genocide. For example, Germany was determined not to offend the empire and harm their alliance. The presidents of the United States have a history of promising to acknowledge the genocide, but then refraining from it because Turkey is a NATO ally and allows access to a strategic military base. Armenians deserve a response from world governments, but offending the Turks would have serious consequences. The ideal course of action would be one that has the highest net benefits. The safety of people in the region needs to be considered. Just recently Turkey and Russia increased strikes in Syria. It seems like the Syria-Turkey border is becoming less stable and the relationship between Turkey and Russia is growing. The United States is still trying to defeat ISIS in Syria and protect the Syrian Kurds, our partners.

It would be ideal if the Turkish government recognized the events as genocide and formally apologized to the Armenians on their own. It is also significantly more meaningful if they act on their own and are not forced to act by world governments.

penguinsintherain
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

The Denial of the Armenian Genocide

After looking through the evidence, we can see that the Armenian genocide was and deserves to be recognized as a genocide. All evidence (eyewitness accounts, photographs, etc.) makes it clear that a genocide took place despite Turkish denial and the U.S’s lack of recognition. From the eyewitness’s perspective and photographs we can see that the Armenian genocide was “real history” and the fake history” is what Turkey is saying, or rather what they aren’t. We can see in the various photos that children were being starved, many died, and that due to the genocide there were many refugees after, whose suffering still remains unacknowledged by the perpetrators. Turkey’s stance on the Armenian genocide is alarming and it is clear that they are grasping for pieces of history that simply aren’t there: They consistently refer to the deportation of the Armenians that led to the deaths of so many along the journeys as “relocation” and the horrific conditions that the Armenians were forced to endure are blamed on the war. Even worse, their deaths are compared to the deaths of other Ottoman Turks who died in the war, and blame is placed on Armenians who sided with Russia. There is no evidence that this was not a genocide, yet Turkey continues to change history, insisting that these


We found that the letter in response to the student was especially shocking. We could not believe that a country’s government would respond to a letter in such an unprofessional and threatening way. This shows how the Turkish government felt so threatened by this single letter and that they definitely know they did something wrong. They would not have responded in such a way if they were innocent of the genocide. We find it appalling how Turkey will go to such great lengths to denounce any “accusations” of genocide, rather than acknowledge what happened, and that they will go so far as to blame the Armenians for the atrocities committed against them. This is an example of a government putting their image and nationalism as a greater priority than acknowledging the horrific genocide that they took part it, even though likely Turkey will not be looked upon fondly for their denial of the Armenian genocide in history. The first step to reconciliation for Turkey is to admit that this was actually a genocide and work towards making amends for all of the suffering they caused.


For the U.S to take Turkey’s lead by not doing anything about this and refusing to label it for what it was, we are committing a selfish act most likely made to continue a good relationship with the Turkish government. Since we rely on Turkey for several things, including connections in the Middle East, we seem to value our diplomatic relationships with them, which, while important, should never overshadow the recognition of the atrocities committed against the Armenians. It makes no sense that multiple global powers stepped up to aid victims of the Holocaust, yet multiple refuse to even acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Reading that a hundred years after the Armenian genocide, Trump still rejected a resolution recognizing the genocide is appalling, not only because of the rejection, but also because in 2019 we had still not recognized it as a genocide. By refusing to recognize the Armenian genocide, the U.S. acts as bystanders, since we still refuse to step in just as we refused at the time of the genocide, and that is horrifying, as we do have an obligation to respond when something as horrific as a genocide takes place. One of our main takeaways from learning about the Armenian genocide has been shock at how both Turkey and the U.S. have acted surrounding the Armenian genocide, which should have been acknowledged years ago, but still continues to be denied, even though evidence of the atrocities that took place is overwhelming and all of it proves that this was indeed a genocide.


JGV
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 24

Turkey's Disregard of "real history" and the Amenian Genocide's Erasure

It is a shame that we do not learn about the Armenian genocide more throughout our education. It’s disheartening that events like these are still being hidden and censored to a majority of people. After learning about the Armenian genocide it is beyond horrific that the Turkish government wants to censor it from its history. Its impact has been nullified by the Turkish government; kids are known to play with the bones from mass graves. The impact of intergenerational trauma is felt by remaining Armenians, who must deal with the consequences of the past while optimistically embracing their future as individuals and as a people. There is 100% proof to these events, without question. It’s true that beginning in 1915, over 1,000,000 people were killed throughout the course of the genocide from the orders of the leader of the Turkish government at the time, Talat Pasha. It’s true that the Turkish government attempted to justify this mass killing by saying that there was a “revolutionary uprising” against the Turkish government by the Armenians. And it's true that their motives were because of the Armenians’ Christian beliefs and not because of a nonexistent threat.


Everyone has bias, so we need to take this into account, but ‘‘real history’’ attempts to highlight multiple perspectives when telling one story. Real history doesn’t obstruct the facts, regardless of how it paints an individual, group or country. And thus, the opposite of real history is a version of events with facts misconstrued or left out but, it can also include the shifting of blame from one group to another, as we see with Turkey. You can tell what’s real versus fake history if you sift through multiple lenses, sources, and facts to create a comprehensive understanding of what happened. Although many documents and records have been lost and destroyed throughout history, there are oral histories that have been preserved. There is strength in having a whole community validate each other’s shared experiences, but this isn’t enough for oppressive powers to give way. Additional burdens are placed on single carriers of oral histories, as they are the final remaining link to a particular story or event.


The Turkish government’s lack of acknowledgment is shameful and woefully ignorant because they are perpetuating a false version of history rather than taking accountability. For the descendants of those massacred, it must be difficult to have to deal with the fact your country refuses to admit a part of their history that has deeply impacted them. The world governments should respond because by not saying anything to Turkey to uphold “positive” foreign relations, they are acting as bystanders to the erasure of history. Either congressional resolutions or statements put forth by U.S presidents would be a step in the right direction to holding Turkey accountable. Other countries should also do the same, since they have been allowing for a pattern of erasure since the 1920s.

goob
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

Call It Out For What It Is

After seeing and exploring the pictures, maps, and eyewitness accounts of the Armenian genocide in class on Friday, it definitely classifies as a genocide, much to the refusal of the Turkish government and community. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and reading the first-witness accounts of having family stripped away from them and killed on the mere basis on their race and religion only constitutes as further evidence that this indeed was a genocide. There is concrete proof right before our very eyes as we’ve seen in the bones at Deir Zor. Children were playing around with the bones of these victims as if they were toys and it is downright inexcusable that they were never given a proper burial. The Armenian genocide is overall a global tragedy that has yet to be acknowledged by its very own perpetrators.


There is nothing that seems to be untrue about these events. Perhaps the excuses that the Turkish government is making to excuse these tragedies are lies but all events within the Armenian Genocide are indeed true. The Turkish government continues to ignore their role in the Armenian Genocide by saying that there are always 2 sides to a war in addition to the violence they faced because of the Armenians. We see this in the Turkish ambassador’s response to the letter by the BLS student. Not only does the ambassador doubt the validity of the student’s identity because they signed off with “a confused student”, he dances around the evidence the student presents and implies that the student is lying. All of this for what? Just so that Turkey can have a commendable reputation among other countries? Their outright denial to respect the million Armenian lives lost and refusal to make reparations for their horrific actions only decreases their view in the public eye. In addition, all of these events are true. We’ve seen real accounts of the victims themselves and the torture they experienced as well as pictures of starving Armenians, foraging the lands for any nourishment possible, with their cheeks sunken in and bones showing. There is a plethora of evidence, making it safe to say that the Armenian Genocide indeed occurred. It’s unbelievably frustrating to see that the Armenians have not received any means of consolation from Turkey to this day. Not even an acknowledgement.


As for what “real history” is, it is detailing the events of the past while including perspectives and stories from all sides. Too many times have we learned history through a one-sided view, and a Eurocentric one at that. Had we learned the Armenian Genocide by only the Turkish lens, I have no doubt that we’d also be the ones arguing that the event never happened. There is always a justification to atrocities. In this case, the horrible acts of violence enacted against the Armenians were argued as repressive acts of violence in response to the Armenian fight for equal rights, in which it became justified in order to establish law and order. The Armenian Genocide was also depicted as a response to the notion that the Christian Armenians were out to get the Muslims as well as them being a threat to the state after some Armenian subjects fight alongside Russia. Those are the dangers of “fake history”. You can tell it isn’t real when the events are retold in a biased way so that those learning what happened are inclined to take a specific position. This is not how we should be teaching history. We need to include all sides and not hold back any evidence pertaining to the subject so that we may stick true to the facts.


Finally, I am frustrated and angry about the Turkish government’s position on these events. They are presented with insurmountable amounts of evidence of the horrific struggles the Armenians faced yet continue to not take any responsibility. The number of victims alone deem the tragedy a genocide, not to mention the genocidal intent of the Young Turks. They have to make reparations in order to pay respect to the lives lost as well as the unimaginable violence the Armenians suffered. The Turkish government should also stop silencing the voices of those who wish to bring light to the truth of their involvement in the Armenian Genocide, whether it be through books and other means. It is downright unacceptable to not only fail to acknowledge the event, but then to also pass on that misconception and teach it to the younger generation. The U.S. government should also respond as well. Obama said that he would classify what happened to the Armenian people in 1915 as a genocide, but fell short of his promises in order to maintain friendly relations with Turkey. The U.S. government should call out Turkey for their active role in the Armenian Genocide and bring light to the facade that they are creating to hide their responsibility. It’s vital for everyone to become educated on this atrocity so that history may not repeat itself, as we see now with China and the Uighur Muslims.

vintage.garfield
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The Global Silence and Turkey's Denial of the Armenian Genocide

The sense that anyone can make of the Armenian genocide is about what a tragedy it was and what a tragedy it is that Turkey won’t even admit to it happening. It is absurd to think about how many people would murder others because of the religion they practice, both in history and in present day. Historically and presently Armenians have publicly called this event what it is, a genocide from the Turkish government. However, the Turkish government has constantly dismissed such an accusation, often saying that although atrocities did take place, there was no official policy of extermination targeted against the Armenian people , so it is not considered genocide. The Turkish government does so much to go against the idea that the Armenian genocide was a real event that they did, when it would probably just be easier to admit what they did. They go to great lengths, even teaching about how it did NOT happen in schools to children, and some Turkish citizens who acknowledge the genocide have even faced prosecution for "insulting Turkishness."

Everything about these events seems to be true, and the only government and group of people who seem to be rebutting them are the Turkish government. The only statements we have found about any part of the Armenian genocide being false all come from the Turkish government, known for publicly disbelieving and denying the genocide they enacted. All of the pictures from the links are heartbreaking, and picture evidence is one of the best ways to show that an event really happened. While in theory these pictures could have been faked to give the illusion that such a genocide did happen, doing so would be completely illogical and not worth the time and resources it would take.

The “real history” of the treatment of Armenians under the Ottoman empire involves inhumane conditions that accompanied their deportation. Some of the atrocities committed against the Armenians include public forms of torture, rape, and other methods of execution. Through archival documents on the Armenian genocide, it is apparent that Turkey had issued a governmental order to systematically exterminate the Armenian minority. Under those circumstances, the Turkish government operated with the intent to ethnically cleanse Turkey of its Armenian population, therefore categorizing this historical event as a genocide. To label it as otherwise, is simply false and invalidating to the victims of this violence. The way in which Turkey and other great powers have swept this incident and help fabricate an explanation for the mass killings, shows that real history is often overlooked when diplomatic relationships between nations are prioritized.

Many deniers of the Armenian genocide justify the mass killings of Armenians by comparing the actions of the Turkish government to the deaths of Muslims in the past. A former Turkish ambassador also glossed over the cruelty exhibited by the Turkish military by arguing that the relocation of Armenians was done to avoid alliance with the Russians. It is often mentioned that the Armenian deaths were tragic, but inevitable in the face of war. Through accounts from American diplomats and first-hand witnesses of the treatment of the Armenians, we can conclude that what occurred was indeed a genocide. In the pictures we observed, there is blatant evidence of mistreatment and starvation seen on the lifeless bodies. If the Turkish government was confident in their innocence, why would there be so much effort towards suppressing books on the Armenian genocide?

The Turkish government’s position in these events is that they continue to deny the existence of a genocide. In the response a student received from the Turkish embassy about the Turkish refusing to take responsibility for the Armenian genocide, the embassy put the blame on the Armenians for siding “with the Russian Empire which had designs on the Eastern territories of the Ottoman Empire where Armenians together with other Ottoman citizenry lived and attacked Ottoman forces who were trying to protect the Eastern Borders of the Empire” and seizing “the city of Van for a period of time where many atrocities were committed against innocent civilians.” They also denied the deportations of Armenians, claiming that it was merely “relocation” and that the lives lost were just a part of war. The embassy also states that Henry Morganthau, a US ambassador who made efforts to stop the unjust killings of the Armenians, received his information from suspicious sources and that he spread propaganda about what was really happening. Obviously, this was a lie because of the multitude of photos, articles, first-hand accounts, and etc. about the Armenian people being horribly mistreated (people being led to their executions, young girls being abducted, kids being brainwashed and Turkish-fied, starvation, etc) and killed by the masses. This response from the embassy completely dismisses the oppression of the Armenians and the millions of lives that were lost because they were targeted.

We think that the US government and other governments in the world should definitely respond to what had happened to the Armenians during WWI. Not only were there little to no outside intervention when these people were being ethnically erased, but also the Armenians today still have not received any reparations and constantly have their family’s sufferings and generational trauma not being acknowledged and even being denied or blamed for what had happened. Because the US receives access to a military base from Turkey, the US government chooses to not acknowledge the genocide. It makes sense why some governments may be hesitant to call the Turkish government out for denying it because of international conflicts, but countries like the US, which have tons of military bases everywhere and a crazy amount of funding for the military ($500+ billion), have nothing to worry about. Plus, the lives of the Armenians are much more important than international alliances. To conclude, the Turkish government needs to formally acknowledge and apologize to the Armenian people for the genocide and begin to make proper reparations (such as memorials or funding).

Fidget
Boston, Massachuesetts, US
Posts: 19

Call It What It Is-- This Was an Armenian Genocide

Time and time again politics, power and economy are held higher than the rights and lives of the individual, and this is just another example. Just 100 years ago, the Armenian people were brutally held in camps, raped, abused, and murdered, with as many as 1.5 million casualties, and somehow it is still disputed whether or not this is was a genocide. What is a genocide-? A genocide is by definition "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation." We could dissect this definition further, Of a particular ethnic group, which is quite resonate in this case, as the Ottomans routinely murdered the Armenian people, because they were Armenian.

Some things that are true about this event is that the Armenian people were targeted, and murdered mercilessly, men, women, and children were all murdered, and the government excused this with the fact that they were in war. What is true is that it is still debated whether it was a genocide to this day, and although the Senate and House have acknowledged this act to have been a genocide the presidents have not; especially Obama, Trump and Biden. It is true that these presidents have not called it what it is (minus Biden, who has only been president a few months), because they did not want to ruin political and military ties with Turkey, who refuses to acknowledge the genocide and disagrees harshly with those who do. What is not true, is the Turkish description of what occurred, namely that the "movement away from the front lines." What is more probable, is the movement from the outer regions of the then Ottoman Empire, into inner concentration and death camps, where Armenians would be beat, raped, and slaughtered in countless amounts. What is not true, is justifying these atrocious acts because they were in a time of war, saying that the Armenians were conspiring against them, and sided with the Russians, when not many Armenians revolted and fought back. Then after saying this, (In the letter to the confused student), they said that it is awful that innocent civilians were murdered, when in the lines before it seemingly said that all Armenians were conspiring against them, which is not only racist, but a motive for genocide, which they carried out.

I choose to believe the eyewitness reports, and not the country that would have carried out a tragedy, because while history has long been told by the winners, it has long erased the story of the defeated, and I believe that there is a certain level of bias that occurs when the story is told by the winner. There is no reason for the Armenian people and some Turkish soldiers to make up stories of the atrocities, and no reason for Armenians to desperately flee the country, if there was not a terrible act of violence being committed. I choose to believe the recounting of the victim, as the abuser and perpetrator most likely do not want to admit they had done wrong, admit that they had been the one to hurt the other. While the Armenian people have no reason to lie, the Turkish government would do anything in it's power not to recognize the pain and suffering it brought about, as it may be trying to either dodge acknowledgement, or needing to pay the Armenian people retribution for the crimes committed against them.

I believe that it is our duty as a country and as a planet to hold the Turkish government accountable, and make sure that they acknowledge this and call it what it was, a genocide against the Armenian people. As I mentioned previously, the Obama and Trump administrations both did not recognize it as a genocide, having excuses, or holding political and military advantages that come with allying with Turkey over the people. It is the responsibility of a just man to not do dealings with a criminal, and Turkey is the criminal in this case. If Turkey does not want to ally with us because we acknowledge the awful things they did in the past, they clearly have some issues to work out on their own. It should not be our job to ignore the elephant in the room, to tiptoe around Turkey as they refuse to acknowledge the skeletons in their closet. I am disgusted to read the excuses and lies that the government had the nerve to send back to the student, and am saddened that they refuse to acknowledge these crimes and that the president has yet to. I believe that it is the most important thing for this to be called a genocide, which it is.

Odinous
Boston, Massachusettes, US
Posts: 16

Denial of Facts - The Armenian Genocide

Like most genocides at this scale, the reason behind the Armenian genocide doesn’t make much sense. What makes the Armenian genocide unique is how many deny that it ever happened in the first place. The killings themselves were a result of anger, fear, and discrimination against the Armenian people, and a large part of it was due to the Ottoman government abusing its power and attempting to make an all-muslim state, which in no way justifies what occurred. The denial that many Turks have today is a result of the government influencing education in the country and disbelief on a basis of pride. Not only does the government not wish to acknowledge the genocide due to the possibility of having to pay some sort of compensation, but many Turks don’t want to believe that their predecessors committed such atrocities as it would injure the pride they have in their nation.


While there is a a lot of denial surrounding these events, essentially, the entirety of recorded history of the Armenian genocide able to be accessed by other countries is found to be true, backed up by picture evidence and people’s recounting of the events that transpired, as stories passed down through families. Many of the claims that Turkey makes today about the genocide, such as “there was no victim” and “there were equal losses on both sides” are found to be false.


Despite the Turkish government’s denial, we know that the Armenian genocide did happen and is “real history” and that is because of the array of facts and information proving that point. “Real history” is the history of something presented as it truly was, without inference, especially by parties involved whom it may favor to alter the story. Facts proving the “real history” of some event can be found in different sources like real reports and eyewitness accounts. For the Armenian genocide people like the US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau is a prime example. There are many accounts of his pushing for something to be done about the genocide, in some he describes the circumstances such as the brutality against women and children and the explicit orders allowing commanders to “do whatever they choose with the women and girls”. There are also many images displaying the horrible conditions that killed so many, and such explicit images can not be denied. That is what makes this “real history”, the facts that can not be disputed no matter how much people try to push a different narrative.


The Turkish government’s position on these events is absolutely shocking. It is disgusting and horrifying how even now, decades later, they continue to deny the blatant facts and evidence. In the letter that was sent to “Confused Student”, the Turkish embassy’s response was quite frustrating to read. Not only did they dodge many of the questions and apparent facts, but they also created loopholes and excuses for their behaviors. They call the Armenians protests and rebuttal simply violence and propaganda. It was not a direct response in any way and it continues to prove how the Turkish government does not take accountability for their actions. As for the United States and other governments, I think that bringing awareness and calling out the Turkish government for the genocide would be at least a little helpful. By ignoring or failing to acknowledge the genocide it continues to erase the tragedy and enables Turkey to continue to silence Armenian voices.

Murs1214
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

The Armenian Genocide Was Real

The Armenian genocide did happen. With all the evidence of the genocide available, there is no way that the Ottomans did not commit genocide on the Armenians. It is unfortunate that the Armenian people had to go through this tragedy. What is more unfortunate is Turkey’s inability to admit that what happened was genocide. In a genocide that killed more than a million people, it is also disquieting that many do not know about the Armenian genocide. Why does it take an elective class in the 11th or 12th grade to learn about this? The events that I looked at seem to be all true. There is nothing that may seem untrue.


When talking about history, there are many different versions that could be around as no one is absolutely certain what actually happened. There are always multiple perspectives on events: the views of the perpetrators, the victims, witnesses, and upstanders. When looking at history, all of the different perspectives should be looked at and analyzed to best understand history, in turn knowing the real history. Real history includes all sides and does not leave any details or attempts to misrepresent facts and evidence. Attempting to cover up history oftentimes prove that something malicious happened and the person or nation is responsible for it. We should always be skeptical of history that is told from only one perspective, especially if it is from the perspective of the perpetrators: it is more likely for them to hide the real facts and present themselves in a more positive light.


After looking at the witnesses’ accounts of what the Turkish government did to them, it is clear that they wanted the Armenians wiped out. From the video shown in class, the man seemed to back what the Turks did as right and just. I do not believe that any of these actions were ok and if I could, I would have let some powerful nation like the U.S know about the actions of the Turks. I believe that other governments should respond in some way because if no one responds like at the time of the genocide, overwhelming amounts of people die.

dennis12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 20

Too Many Innocent Lives - They Must Be Acknowleged

This genocide is shocking and is not talked about enough. All people should be educated about this horrific genocide and especially the response of Turkey. It is sickening to realize that so many innocent lives were lost because of who they are and the people who committed these acts against them will not give them the apologies and respect they deserve. After watching the video in class, you realize how horrible it truly is. There are bones/human remains in piles of dirt and all you have to do is dig a little to find clear evidence. Children even play in this dirt and find bones all the time. It is sad to realize that no one gave them the respect they deserved and no grave because Turkey will not admit to this genocide.


After looking at all these elements, it is clear that the Armenian genocide was real. The photos are horrifying and it is clear people were tortured, starved and murdered. In these photos, you see how poorly taken care of these people are, children are orphaned, people are forced to work, people are so skinny you can see their bones, graves and dead bodies everywhere. Turkey will only say that Armenians were deported but this is not deportation, it is murder and it is clear through the photos. The images of severed heads on stakes show that the deaths that occurred during the deportation of Armenians were intentional and not simply an unavoidable tragedy as the Turkish government claims.


There are children who are dead in the streets, people who are lying dead. How could people say this is just deportation? All the pictures are so horrific and show the abuse and torture that Armenian people had to endure. It is clear that the Armernain genocide is real and was not deportation. With the maps, we are able to see the Armenian population in the current day which is barely anything compared to the whole country of Turkey.


I would respond to Turkey’s government position with shame. It is so shameful that a country is so focused on their political standpoint that they will not give innocent people justice and the respect they deserve. Turkey has gone so far to get rid of this genocide by wiping anything to do with the Armenian Genocide from databases. It seems that Turkey puts more work into getting rid of evidence rather than showing respect. I would ask the Turkish government, “If the Armenian genocide never happened than why are you covering everything up? How do you explain the photos? How do you explain the mass graves with bones in the dirt? How do you explain the gas chambers in the caves? Why were so many Armenians killed? Why do all other countries acknowledge this but the one who committed these murders? What do you have to say about the New York Times even admitting the genocide occured while it was occuring? Why are you so afraid of the truth? ” There is a lot of clear evidence and it is so shameful that Turkey has the privilege to just ignore it all for political purposes.


As for the U.S government and other world governments, I do think that they should have responded during the genocide and also bring up the issue again in present day. Even though the U.S was still undecided in the alliances that formed during World Wars when the Armernian genocide occurred, they were still aware by the media coverage that surfaced about the Armenians in Turkey. Similarly to other nations, they might have not been in an appropriate position where they can directly stop the genocide, however, they could’ve responded by reporting it to neighboring governments. As for present day, I think a lot of nations are afraid of the consequences that the word, “genocide,” might carry, so they are afraid to even bring it up, especially if they have good relations with Turkey now. However, people in Turkey are uninformed and unaware of their own history, and it is important for them to acknowledge it when other nations are already aware of it.

redlavazibra
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Responding to the Genocide

It is so obvious that this massacre is a genocide; all of the evidence, whether it’s a picture or an article, clearly proves it. and that the “real history” is what the Armenians say, and the “fake history” is what the Turkish government said. The Turks have repeatedly denied this genocide, but the evidence proves otherwise. There are numerous photographs of HUMAN BEINGS being starved to death, and even just dead. The fact that the Turkish government is denying that any of this happened is sickening; they’re simply calling the deportation “relocation”, as if it was just that. There is simply no evidence that this genocide wasn’t one, and yet Turkey still denies it.


Global governments should respond to this in some way. We did pretty much nothing to stop it from happening, and it’s awful to know that the U.S. didn’t officially recognize the genocide until 2 years ago. Most likely, this was done to not ruin our relationship with Turkey, but in this case, diplomatic relations should come after recognition. We were bystanders for 100 years. How terrible is that?? I think that an idea we should take away from this study was how shocking it was to see the country act like such a bystander. You would think that we would try to help, but we didn’t.


greenbeans
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

Recognize It

There is absolutely nothing that seems untrue about these events. The evidence is all there: the photos, the anecdotes, the maps, and the Armenian bones that are still being dug up in Der Zor, Syria. And it is also clear that the Ottomans had the intent to kill any and all Armenians for arbitrary reasons—war affiliation, religion, or simply existing. Despite all of the evidence and established motives, Turkey continues to misconstrue the details by insisting that the Armenian genocide was merely a “tragedy.” Although it is difficult to confront past actions, especially ones involving an “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” Turkey’s false claims have deceived their citizens into denying any form of genocide, and these ideologies have even negatively impacted American media and politics, too. Even though the nomenclature of these events is unable to change the past, Turkey’s recognition of genocide would provide closure to the Armenians and foster stronger relationships between the government and the people. Because the Turkish government fails to fully address and acknowledge the extent of their actions, they are willingly obstructing their citizens’ civic understanding and exacerbating Armenians’ mistreatment; this has been the product of spreading fake history.


History is multifaceted. During the Armenian Genocide, when over a million people were killed, there were countless anecdotes and endless photographs that detail the event. When certain pieces of evidence are left out or misinterpreted, however, it is easy to assert a misconception. For example, a couple faced a bomb attack and death threats from Turks for writing books about the Armenian Genocide and spreading awareness. Furthermore, in the United States, MGM’s production of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh was also halted by Turkey. This suppression of awareness and truth feeds directly into the transpiration of fake history. When the public lacks access to myriads of perspectives and empirical evidence, they have no one else to believe besides the Turkish government’s lies. Therefore, in order for the public to understand “real history,” there needs to be less censorship, misinterpretation, and deception.


What is scary, however, is that we can never truly tell if we are learning real or fake history. As a whole, we put trust into our government/education system, hoping that they have honest intentions and will take accountability for any wrongdoings; however, there will always be some perspective or statistic that we never got to hear about. For example, the first example of fake history I can think of is learning about Columbus in elementary school, where he was made out to be a heroic explorer. It wasn’t until we grew older that we learned Columbus was a terrible person. However, as children who didn’t know anything about the topic, we had no other option but to believe what we were hearing. Therefore, it can be merely impossible to truly know the difference between real and fake history until you are exposed to numerous perspectives and empirical evidence.


On another note, the Turkish government’s response to the Armenian Genocide is appalling, but not necessarily surprising. It is evident within the videos we have watched and the letter that the Turkish government is in denial of the events and their intentions. This was clear, as they meandered around the BLS student’s questions, such as “Why didn't you let them have pets? Why were the intellectuals rounded up? Why were they not allowed to send mail?” by simply saying “You have many other allegations in your mail that deserve further scrutiny.” This tells me that the Turkish government didn’t actually have a good response to the student’s questions, so it was easier to just dodge those questions as a whole. Furthermore, the government lacks empathy for the Armenian people, as the narrative is often shifted toward the Ottomans who had died during the same time period. Furthermore, they push to hastily sweep things under the rug and “move on.” This abruptness shows that Turkey has truly never acknowledged their actions and still holds a negative view of the Armenian people.


Therefore, it is crucial that the Armenian people gain support of world governments in acknowledging the Genocide of their people. Obama and Trump’s failure to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide has shown the world that world governments are complicit in Turkey’s disemmination of fake history. Our leaders are scared to rock the boat, as “ the U.S. relies on Turkey’s cooperation on several Middle East issues, including the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group.” Although national security is important, making the Armenian population feel heard and validated is crucial, too. In fact, if top Obama aides apologized for failing to recognize the Genocide, it is obvious that the US government knows the right thing to do. Biden’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide is a step in the right direction; I just hope that other nations step up and show support for the Armenians by officially recognizing the Genocide, too. Until then, Turkey’s denial will remain.

muumihalit
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by 20469154661 on March 23, 2021 13:46

The “real history” is that the deportation, starvation, bludgeoning, execution, death marches, rape, and outright torture of Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire was genocide. In 1915, Talaat Pasha led the mass killing of over 1 million Armenians.


Genocide is defined under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” This includes “Killing members of the group”, “Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, and “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” It is also explicitly stated under Article I that genocide can take place in the context of international or non-international armed conflict or in the context of a peaceful situation.


The Turkish government, officials, and many historians deny that these events can be characterized as genocide. In response to the letter sent to the Turkish embassy, there were statements such as “there was no systematic murder, or genocide, inflicted on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” and “to create any parallel between the Holocaust… (is) way off the mark… Jews of Germany never took up arms… Germany was not at war when it decided to destroy the Jews and the Jews never conspired with an invading power... Hitler had a openly stated goal of exterminating all Jews and had for this purpose set up death camps. None of this applies” It was even argued that there was no “intent to destroy the Ottoman Armenians”. It was even suggested that “all we need to do is move on”.

Contrary to the statements made by the Turkish government and Turkish individuals, there was explicit intent to “destroy the Ottoman Armenians”. There were also camps similar to those in Germany during the Holocaust set up, despite the claims of the Turkish embassy. Turkish officials “posted deportation orders requiring the Armenians to relocate to camps prepared in the deserts of Syria”. There were no facilities prepared. Over half of the deported Armenians died on the way. Talaat Pasha wrote, “we are ensuring their eternal rest.” In addition, in terms of defining events as genocide, being at war or not being at war has no pertinence. This means that intent to destroy a whole racial, ethnical, national, or religious group at any time is genocide.

It has been proven that the events can be defined as genocide. There are photographs, documents, and sources that display or tell of the events. There are accounts of the men and boys of villages being led to their execution, young girls being abducted, women being raped, the forced Turkification of orphans, Armenians starving, and much more.

The U.S. government and other world governments should in some way respond. They did little to nothing to prevent the Armenian Genocide for many of the same reasons that they refuse to acknowledge that what happened was genocide. For example, Germany was determined not to offend the empire and harm their alliance. The presidents of the United States have a history of promising to acknowledge the genocide, but then refraining from it because Turkey is a NATO ally and allows access to a strategic military base. Armenians deserve a response from world governments, but offending the Turks would have serious consequences. The ideal course of action would be one that has the highest net benefits. The safety of people in the region needs to be considered. Just recently Turkey and Russia increased strikes in Syria. It seems like the Syria-Turkey border is becoming less stable and the relationship between Turkey and Russia is growing. The United States is still trying to defeat ISIS in Syria and protect the Syrian Kurds, our partners.

It would be ideal if the Turkish government recognized the events as genocide and formally apologized to the Armenians on their own. It is also significantly more meaningful if they act on their own and are not forced to act by world governments.

In addition, the Turkish government claims that the deaths of Armenian people were due to the war going on, and not a carefully organized and executed campaign to annihilate the Armenian population. However, this is not a sufficient cover as like we said before, the definition of genocide states that it can occur during war as well as during peaceful situations. Just because there was a war going on, does not mean it was not genocide. Besides, there is lots of evidence that the intention of the government was extermination, including this quote from the Armenian Genocide chronology cards, on September 16, 1916: “To the Government of Aleppo. It was at first communicated to you that the Government, by order of the Jemiet [Young Turk Committee] had decided to destroy completely all the Armenians living in Turkey… An end must be put to their existence, however criminal the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex nor to conscientious scruples.” – Talaat, Minister of the Interior.

It is vital that this be recognized for the horrific genocide that it was. In order to prevent similar atrocities from happening, past ones need to be acknowledged so that history does not repeat itself. It is obvious from Hitler’s quote: “After all, who remembers today the extermination of the Armenians?”, that he took inspiration from the Armenian genocide in carrying out the Holocaust. If more countries had condemned the Armenian Genocide more immediately after it happened, would the events of the Holocaust been different?


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