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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

Images and a variety of sources documenting the Armenian genocide.

  1. Then I’d like you to look at two maps on this site

∙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.

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:

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!

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:

Here’s where Trump did:

Here’s where Biden seems to be:

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?
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 22

Acknowledging the Armenian Genocide

After all the resources we have watched, read and looked at in this class, the only conclusion that can be drawn about the Armenian genocide is that it was just that - a genocide, with a combination of murders and cultural erasure carried out on 1.5 million Armenians, with the goal being complete eradication. I cannot fathom how Turkey can continue to deny what the Ottoman Empire inflicted on this minority group, nor how countries such as the United States can likewise refuse to acknowledge the genocide on grounds such as access to army bases. With innumerable photographs and eyewitness testimonies describing the horrors of this genocide, there is no doubt that all of what we have learned about in class is true, from the executions of Armenian leaders and intellectuals to the Euphrates running red from the blood of dead Armenians during their death march. All of this is “real history”. Only Turkey’s claims about the genocide appear to be untrue.

One block from my house is the Armenian Heritage Park, a part of the Greenway featuring a movable statue that is changed every year on April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, as well as a maze that features key values of Armenian culture. Some days when I come home from school, I see large groups of people holding memorials and gatherings. Why would Armenians devote so much time and resources to an event that never occurred? How could the deaths of 1.5 million people, almost entirely civilians, be described as anything other than a genocide? Why would Turkey jail and bomb the offices of publicists if all they were publishing was mere hearsay? There is zero doubt in my mind that the Armenian genocide happened; nations must simply begin to acknowledge the truth of what occurred in 1915.

I think that the Turkish governments’ lack of acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide is inexcusable, but not altogether surprising. Nations around the world have refused to answer for the crimes they have perpetrated against other nations, particularly with regards to colonialism. Most people would never have guessed that Belgium, which most associate with chocolate and waffles, was responsible for the deaths of 10 million Africans due to the brutal oppression of local peoples. Even today, the area is still incredibly destabilized due to the actions of King Leopold - and Belgium has still not issued a formal apology. I think that there should be increasing international pressure for governments to admit to their past crimes and at the minimum issue an apology - and in most cases, reperations should be offered. I think that in the case of Turkey, the United States and other countries have a responsibility to Armenians to pressure Turkey to admit its past crimes, and offer some form of healing, no matter how late, to the millions of Armenians who are still grieving. While the United States itself finally acknowledged the Armenian genocide in 2019 (only a year and a half ago), then-President Trump refused to sign the bill. I hope that the new administration will finally work to hold Turkey accountable for the Armenian genocide, and that Armenians will be able to receive global recognition for their sufferings.

Chestnuthill, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

Turkey Rejects the Truth

After reading the many witness accounts, as well as looking at a map and many pictures, I came to the conclusion on my own, with the evidence provided, that a genocide did occur. What occurred at first was discrimination against the Armenians, and then they were put down and accused of being traitors. Armenians were killed in large amounts, and they were forced to go to labor camps. Many families starved, and businesses were destroyed.

The only thing that seems to be untrue in my eyes is what the Turkish government is saying. An example of this what the Turkish embassy sent to the “confused student.” They completely played off the many deaths of Armenans as just war, a war that never happened. They accused them of being traitors and siding with the Russian. Even if a couple Armenians did side with the Russians, it is not the cause to try and kill an entire group of people. I can tell from photographs and the documents that were sent from the embassy that what happened was real.

Why won’t Turkey just admit to the Genocide? After many Genocides, Germany has apologized and tried to make amends for the mistakes they made. Turkey completely ignores that the Genocide occured, and it has turned into something political. It led to other nations being hesitant to acknowledge that the genocide did happen, as well as some nations ignoring it. The United States is one of the nations ignoring the genocide, as they have relations with Turkey. Something that should have been done is making a day to remember the Genocide. They should have also put it in history books, specifically world history.

Charlestown, MA, US
Posts: 18

1.4 Million.

From looking at the many resources given to us, it is safe to say that the Armenian Genocide is a concealed topic within the Turkish community. I call it a genocide because that is exactly what it is. There is no other word to perfectly define the immense emotions from losing a family member, taking away millions of lives at one’s expense, and having first-witness accounts of someone’s life being taken away because of their religion. I noticed that in the letter to the Turkish embassy, the ambassador wrote back saying that there are always two sides to war and that there were also a large number of Ottoman Turks that suffered at the hands of the Armenian people. It is also worthy to note that the Turkish ambassador poses a skeptic tone towards the student and tries to make it seem as though the student’s points were invalid and based on lies, even after the student mentioned articles and photographs of people getting ruthlessly murdered. It is shameful that the Turkish government tries to hide behind a facade that they created themselves, so that future Turkish generations would maintain their pristine reputation of their country. Reputation over righteousness.

The Armenian Genocide has happened, whether some recognize it or not. All these first-hand accounts of torture, sufferings -- all these stories cannot be invalidated. Their lives mean more than just a simple casualty in the face of “war”. From everything that we have seen in these resources, I do not find any of these to be untrue; in fact, I stand proudly stating that those photographs of the tortured children lying on the side of the road and the orphan with most of his bones showing to be real. These events happened. They should be remembered as the victims who suffered under their merciless leader. It is an insult to both the victims and their families to say that their deaths were a casualty of war, especially if the “war” never gave the Armenians a chance to win.

Furthermore, it is fairly easy to deduce whether or not something is true or false when presented with numerous articles and pictures released to the public by countries other than Turkey. Through the report on the massacre of Armenians from Erzurum, it gives us an insight into what terrors both the ambassadors and the victims faced every day. Morgenthau was an American ambassador with a dream of alerting the US to speak out against the Turkish government and wrote about how most women and children were the ones being deported from the district to be murdered in the next. These cruel killings are the evidence needed to prove that this was real. Having the population decrease largely day by day and having escape routes printed on the map with the red dots being the camps and the blue arrows leading out of it symbolizing a path to escape; this is evidence proving that this is real. Having numerous pictures of people suffering, struggling to have a tiny bit of food day by day, this is evidence proving that this is real. Having first-hand accounts from trusted ambassadors from our own country; this is evidence proving that this is real. If these pieces of credible information still prove that the Armenian Genocide never happened, what does?

Finally, I think that the Turkish government's inability to recognize their own faults is dishonorable and immoral. 1.4 million Armenian citizens died at the hands of the Young Turks. 1.4 million. That large of a number signifies the creation of a genocide, and yet, they choose to deny that it ever happened. As I said before, they care more about their own citizen’s reputation and image of themselves over choosing to do what is right: commemorating their losses. Reputation over righteousness. There is no justifiable reason to not teach their students about the genocide that they enacted by their ancestors. Yes, it is a lot for a child to learn when they are still young, but it is their duty and responsibility to relay the message that genocides and mass-killings are wrong. Therefore, I think that by having the U.S government and other large nations publicly condemning Turkey for not educating their citizens on this is a necessary act. Turkey would eventually understand the importance of recognizing their own history and to help aid those who are still heavily impacted by this horrendous disrespect towards the struggles their Armenian ancestors must have faced. I understand that this would cause a discourse within our community, especially with our close ties with Turkey, but I believe that it is better to ruin relations than to deny that these deaths ever happened.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 28

It is Time for Recognition

From everything we have been learning in class and on our own, we have no other reason to believe the 1.5 million deaths of Armenians is none other than genocide. The pictures I saw were torture and not “the casualties of war”. 1.5 million Armenians died for absolutely no reason other than them being Christian and Armenian, that is the definition of genocide. It is absurd to see that people still believe in 2021 that the Armenian genocide didn’t happen. From the countless eyewitness accounts of the genocide, it is easy to see that the Armenians went through something no human should ever go through. It is horrendous to hear stories like Noyemzar Alexanian, a little girl at the time, say how her family was split up and how the Turks used to tie them up with ropes. You can simply not just turn away when these stories are being told. How can the Turkish officials not listen to the eyewitness account of the Euphrates river being stained with the blood of Armenians? It is disgusting that people refuse to believe these victims of genocide. The “real history” that is being told is that from the Armenians and witnesses to the genocide, not the Turks. It is very hard to not believe that genocide didn’t occur when Hitler took strategies from the Armenian genocide. I believe that the true events are being told by Armenians because why would all these people just make up traumatic stories, they wouldn’t. The Turks are the ones that aren’t owning up to their awful mistakes so they are rewriting history.

I am angry and disappointed by how the Turkish government has handled the topic of the Armenian genocide for the past 106 YEARS. I cannot believe they don’t have the empathy for the trauma the Armenian people had to endure, the least they could do is acknowledge it happened. I am especially mad that the letter from the Turkish embassy replied to a facing student saying “to confused student”. That student sure wasn’t confused about anything, they were looking at the facts while the embassy was protecting their image 100 years later. It is time Armenians get the recognition they deserve. I also believe that other countries need to take a firm stance on these events because if they do maybe others will too. The U.S. especially needs to step up in that department because we know what happened, we have the evidence, and still refuse to help the Armenian people. I believe that Obama needed to do more and so same with Trump. I do not care that it might hurt their relationship with Turkey, it is time for Armenians to feel recognized. The whole world needs to see what happened in 1915-1923 in Turkey for what it really was, genocide.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 27

100% True

After looking at all of the evidence presented, it seems impossible that anyone could call what happened to the Armenians anything but a genocide. How could one deny the atrocities depicted in those photographs? Or the eye witness accounts? How could the Turkish government deny it when their own citizens can testify to what their grandparents or parents did? I do not understand how any country could be so apathetic and heartless as to deny closure to a group of people that they massacred in cold blood decades earlier.

I believe that it is 100% true that the Turkish government systematically deported and massacred the Armenians. The Turkish government forced the Armenians to pack up and get on the trains and then dragged them through unbearable tortures on the journey to Deir Zor. Both the Nazis and the Turks told the Jews and Armenians respectively that they would be coming back home eventually. In reality, most women and children could not make the minimum 60-day trip. The Turks planned the routes to be as difficult as possible, taking the Armenians through mountains or even in circles. The treatment of Armenians on that trip was so inhumane that one eye witness testimony described a soldier murdering his grandmother with the words, “mercifully pumped bullets into her.” Those that did survive the brutal travel conditions were forced into the desert, where they died of starvation. I find it incredibly demeaning and ridiculous that the Turkish Embassy would ever write, “No serious scholar could or would ever draw a comparison with the Holocaust.”

All of that is real history, in addition to what we learned in class and the fact that the Turks segregated Armenians in the Turkish army and massacred them en masse, rounded up, tortured, and killed Armenians in prisons in the spring of 1915, formed death squads for the sole purpose of hitting Armenian encampments, and rowed men, women, and children out into the middle of the Black Sea and dumped them overboard to drown. The only things that seem fake to me are the claims of the Turkish Embassy that the Armenians were killed because they were had sided with the Russians and were a threat to innocent civilians. To quote @broskiii, “The Armenian Genocide has happened, whether some recognize it or not. All these first-hand accounts of torture, sufferings -- all these stories cannot be invalidated. Their lives mean more than just a simple casualty in the face of ‘war.’”

I believe I can tell because of the evidence available to back up this version of events. There are endless photographs, first hand testimonials, and documents that support the fact that all of these despicable crimes were carried out against the Armenians at the hand of the Turks. The only thing the Turks have to support their own claims is their word, which is not worth very much.

That the Turkish government argues that there was no “intent” would be laughable if it wasn’t so callous and disgusting of them. In the documentary we watched earlier this week, a Turkish representative even tried to turn it around on the Armenians and make them out to be the bad guys for fighting so hard to call it a genocide. Words are not meaningless, and it is dangerous for the government to keep spewing this propaganda, as shown by the interviewees in the video. So many of them claimed that no genocide ever happened. This only goes to show the hypocrisy of the Turkish government in that they claimed in their letter from the Embassy that all their country needs to do is “move on, cognizant of [their] history,” when in reality they are actively teaching their population to ignore said history.

I agree with @Wyverary in that the United States and other countries have a responsibility to pressure Turkey to admit its past crimes and offer reparations to the Armenians. To stand by as the Turks continue to deny the genocide sends the message to the Armenians that what happened to them doesn’t matter. Whether that be in the form of sanctions, legislation passed in their own countries that recognizes the genocide, or something else remains to be seen. Regardless, as we have discussed so many times in class, this is when the countries of the world need to be upstanders rather than bystanders. I also believe Turkey should take a page out of Germany’s book and first, implement the genocide into their schools’ curricula, but also introduce a requirement for all students to visit the sites of massacres before they graduate high school. It is not enough for the Turkish government to simply “acknowledge” the genocide after all they have done to discredit it.

boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 22

Acknowledging the past

After looking at all the resources I think that the word genocide perfectly matches the events that happened to the Armenian people at this time. Considering these events as anything except a genocide is completely disregarding the lives of all these people. They deserve the truth. The fact that people are still unwilling to accept the fact that this incident was a genocide is a little concerning because if one doesn’t take responsibility to their wrong doings they will likely do the same thing again. In regards of making sense to the genocide, I think this is something that is really hard to do. The numbers of people dead are so huge that you would believe that the issue would be top priority to make amends for. However, the event has been basically ignored for years and these people who died deserve justice. Events like these can not be ignored or rewritten. The amount of evidence and proof that these events happened is enough to say that these were purposeful killings that were meant to wipe out a whole population of people. Real history is events that happened and are proven. This genocide is definetly real history and it needs to be dealt with. The only thing that seems to be untrue in this is the stance that Turkey has taken on the issue. You can really see the attitude that they have on the issue through the letter exchange when the Turkish embassy has an attitude towards the student and has a completely closed mind on the topic. If the Turkish government doesn’t want to bring attention to this tragedy I think it is our job to do it. We need to push the people to see this genocide for what it truley is. We ourselves also need to acknowledge that we ignored the issue too. We had the power to stop it or get involved and we didn’t, which is selfish and unfair. If we were in the position of the Armenians we would expect other nations to help us so why didn’t we do the same?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 20

How do governments deal with holding Turkey accountable...

To me, it is clear that the Armenian Genocide occurred, meaning there was a genocidal intent on the part of the Turkish government. The Turkish government provides a well-developed argument that the casualties during these deportations were due to the lack of resources caused by the war. They constantly deflect the trauma of Armenians to “similar” trauma amongst Turks and other countries from the horrors of WWI. In the letter in response to the Facing History student, the Turkish embassy in Washington D.C. then turns to blaming Armenians in today’s society for perpetuating unfounded violence by killing innocent Turks. This seems quite hypocritical of the Turkish government to do, as their predecessors characterized all Armenians as their enemies, just because a few joined Russian forces. I believe the ideas spewed by Turkish officials are not the “real history” because they are not the ones who lost over a million of their people. Most Turkish casualties were as a result of the war, not Armenian renegades. The winner can rarely tell the truth, and we see this throughout history.

If these “relocations” as some officials called them were really for the benefit of Armenians to get them away from the warzone, why are their witnesses to and images of torture and massacres of Armenian deportees. There is truth to these massacres carried out by Turkish soldiers, whether on order from their superiors or because of their own hatred of Armenian Christians. If the Turkish government truly did not have a genocidal intent, then they would have spoken out against mistreatment of Armenians, and literal pillaging and rape of their villages. There is evidence too that the Turks hired the Kurds to do their dirty work for them as detailed in Noyemzar Alexandrian’s story of the men in her village being stabbed to death by Kurds.

The Turkish government perspective angers me because they constantly deflect the topic to make themselves seem like victims. They refuse to even acknowledge the existence of evidence contradicting their points. I do think that the US needs to speak out about this. President Obama did not do so because of the military might of Turkey and its benefits to America in the oil industry. Still, millions of people whose trauma has not been widely accepted cannot fully grieve, and this seems far more important than foreign relations. The Armenian people are hurting. As tensions between Turkey and the US rise, Biden mentioning the Armenian genocide will most likely make things worse, but I still believe that he needs to keep his promise to hold Turkey accountable, along with other countries. Other nations should chime in too, hopefully enough to pressure Turkey into acknowledging the genocide rather than turning to a possible war, which no one wants obviously. I’m not sure how this can be done since the fears of war are already mounting without this issue of the genocide, yet I have faith in our world leaders to maintain peace even when issues arise.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18


The Armenian Genocide was one of the most horrific events to have ever occurred in human history. What makes this event even more tragic is that the perpetrators of the genocide still refuse to acknowledge its existence over a century after it occurred. Children all across Turkey are being taught that the genocide never took place and that anyone who says otherwise is lying. Despite pressure from US citizens for the United States to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, no US President has been able to do this. Obama promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide, but he failed to do that. Recognizing the horrific event to have occurred would forever strain relations between the United States and Turkey. The United States cares more for easing relations with Turkey if it means keeping China and Russia from gaining further influence on the country. The similarities between eyewitness accounts of the genocide suggest that there was certainly an attempt at systematically eliminating a group of people because of their Armenian heritage. The eyewitness accounts also mirror the accounts of survivors of other genocides that occurred in the 20th century. I find it appalling how, in the letter that the Facing History student sent to the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C, the ambassador chose to reject the idea that there was an attempt at eliminating the Armenians. He tried to downplay what happened by calling the event as nothing more than a relocation of Ottoman Armenians that resulted in the losses of many Armenian citizens. The Ottoman Empire specifically targeted the Armenian people even though they had not really done much to try and overthrow the government. Despite this, the ambassador made it seem as though all Armenian citizens were attempting to overthrow the government. He used this to justify what the Ottoman government did to them. If I was in any position of power, I would likely condemn Turkey for their denial of the Armenian genocide. I don’t think we should stay silent when it comes to evil actions that are being committed or have been committed in the past. The world’s refusal to acknowledge the event helped influence Hitler to commit horrific acts against the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. Our world leaders should no longer be shy to use the word “genocide” when it is obvious that a nation is trying to systematically eliminate a group of people. Maintaining good relations with other nations is, for the most part, a good idea, but that does not mean we should give them a pass whenever they’re doing something such as committing genocide against a group of people.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

I'm pretty sure everyone here agrees that the Armenian genocide happened, one thing I would like to note is that I wouldn't be surprised if there was armed resistance to Turkish action which is probably what they used as their justification for escalation. This leads to what I really wanted to talk about which is just how weak the Turkish response really is. Their response to me seems more like a justification than denying and they justify the massacre of Armenians by saying that they shot first... but does that even justify killing all those people. I'm pretty sure Hitler did the same exact thing they claim they are doing after a Jewish person shot a German leader. So their modern justification has some of the same reasons as Hitler's and they're probably justifying so they won't be treated as though they once had a Hitler in power. This is such a mess, they're bad at both denial and justification because it's impossible to do either. Onto the topic of "real" history, I don't really think there can be such a thing, given that there are always at least 2 sides to every historical event there will always be bias, the only "real" history I would say is completely real would be a computer code or something because they can't really have bias. It is physically impossible to either give or record all the facts of any event so can there really be "real" history, however, some history is more real than others, for example, The history of everywhere but Turkey is most likely more real than Turkey's side of the Armenian Genocide however we can't tell the "real" history of that event because we don't have all of the facts and probably never will.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 26

The Importance of Acknowledging the Truth

After looking through the accounts, and looking at the pictures from the Armenian Genocide, it’s clear that the Ottoman Empire's intent was to murder all Armenians through torture and inhumane treatment. They allowed many children to be orphaned, and they were dying in groups because of malnutrition. They tortured many Armenians regardless of age, even going as far as crucifying children. They let people drop dead left and right, and they were all so feeble. This just demonstrates that the account of the Armenian government and the portrayal of the situation as merely ‘relocation’ is simply propaganda. They were strategic in their cruel acts because their one purpose was to annihilate Armenian population. Regarding the Turkish government’s response to the genocide, they want to separate themselves so much from the genocide that they blame it all on the Armenians themselves for being ‘rebels’ and on the circumstance of WWI. I just hate that they lack the ability to own up to their actions and obtain justice for the Armenians who lost their lives, and the lives of their loved ones. I think that the US should also take accountability for choosing neutrality rather than using their power to save Armenian lives.

It is true that over a million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman Empire during and after the first world war. The Young Turks believed that the Armenians were problematic because they were in the way of creating a larger Turkish state that was united under Islam. Also, some Armenians in Russia fought on the side of the Russians during the war, leading the Young Turks to believe that all Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were potential traitors who would fight against the Ottoman Empire. This potential threat, in the mind of the young Turks, justified the genocide of the Armenians. It is also true that Turkey continues to deny that the Armenian genocide actually was a genocide. America’s with Turkey would supposedly be hurt if the US formally recognized the genocide, which is why both Obama and Trump didn’t officially recognize the genocide. However, it is true that Biden appears to be taking a harder stance toward Turkey. Many of the claims made by Turkey are untrue, such as the idea that the Ottoman Empire never wanted to completely get rid of the Armenians, although we know that this claim is false because of certain messages sent between Ottoman leaders.

The real history is that the Young Turks viewed the Armenians as a threat and believed that all of the Armenians had to be killed or removed from Ottoman territory. The real history is that, because of these beliefs, millions of Armenian men, women, and children were murdered or forced to leave the empire. It is not true that the genocide didn’t happen, or that the Turks were also being massacred by the Armenians. These ideas are supported by Turkey today, because it doesn’t want to acknowledge that it is guilty of genocide.

We can tell by physical evidence, eyewitness accounts of massacres and forced deportation, as well as reports from various governments at the time, that the genocide did in fact happen, and the Armenians were being massacred, rather than the Turks. Turkey today has little legitimate evidence to support the idea that the genocide never happened, or that the massacres occurred on both sides.

I believe that the Turkish government’s position on these events is not enough. They are pretending that nothing ever happened which is, in my opinion, absolutely disgusting. Over one million Armenian people were killed at the hands of the Turks and they won’t own up to it. In the photographs, it was clear that the Armenian people suffered a great deal; whether it was by hunger or watching those around them die. The amount of trauma these people endured is astounding.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Truth is Powerful

Especially after seeing all these additional images and testimonies, I was struck by how tragic it is that the Armenians have not received enough acknowledgement of what they went through. Knowing this makes it even harder to look at the horrific photos of people suffering. It is disappointing to learn that countries are dancing around the technicalities of what really happened, and that Turkey seems to be trying to rewrite history, despite all the evidence, not to mention the lasting grief of the Armenian population around the world. Thank you to @Wyveray for writing about the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston – like the Armenian genocide, I had never known about it.

It is clear that many Armenians, including children, were killed or starved. The testimonies’ descriptions show that Armenians were targeted and massacred not for what they did or what they were involved in, but for their ethnicity. I agree with @SlothsPoopOnceAWeek’s sentiment that Turkey is telling the lies here.

From my perspective, it is untrue that the mass killing of Armenians was done to put down and prevent rebellion, as the Turkish government would have us believe. @razzledazzle pointed out that “The pictures I saw were torture and not ‘the casualties of war.’” I totally agree. The images of starved children in piles help prove this point. From all that I read, the Armenians were definitely killed for being Armenian. The nature of the massacres certainly suggests that extermination of Armenians and their heritage was the goal. The process and stages of the genocide shows intent: the disappearances, “deportation” to desert via difficult routes, massacres of Armenian intellectuals (carriers of Armenian intellectual/cultural heritage), and the treatment of Armenian children (starvation and, notably, “Turkification”), all documented, point to an intent to erase the Armenians.

“Real history” is supported by evidence. This includes physical documentation, such as photos and documents, as well as witness/survivor testimonies. We can piece them together to build a narrative of what happened. The haunting photos of emaciated people, alive, dying, and dead, show how desperate and cruelly treated the Armenians were. The testimonies show how the massacres were carried out, and how the Armenians were specifically targeted. The historical documents show that even back then, it was clear to a number of people of multiple nationalities that atrocities were being committed.

It was quite shocking to learn about all that Turkey does to to try to cover up or sanitize what happened to the Armenians. How surprising that the embassy actually sent an official response to a random student to just try to deny the genocide. How shameful that a journalist who acknowledged the genocide was murdered: why would Turkish nationalists do this if nothing even happened? Why would he be a threat to them? My most pressing question for Turkey right now is: “If you have nothing to hide, why do you go to such great lengths to hide and deny the incidents related to the Armenians?” I do think that the US and other nations should respond, as Obama already failed to do so, and the years keep going by. I understand the value of our relationship with Turkey, but it is incredibly frustrating that it gets in the way of what is right.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

How Can This Be?!

After doing this web exercise I can confidently say that Armenian genocide happened. It didn’t take long after I saw the first images of the orphans waiting in line for food, and about a dozen pictures of refugees for me to confirm that I stand against the Turkish government in saying that the Armenian genocide never took place. It is unfathomable in my mind that a government could continue to deny that the lives of 1.5 million people were unjustly taken. What is even crazier is that even with all of these witnesses and photographs there are still people including entire governments and countries that continuously denied that it even happened.

One of the most powerful pieces of evidence I looked at was the eyewitness accounts. In my opinion eyewitness accounts are the most dependable pieces of evidence, and they carry even more weight and power when we have to look far back in time. Sometimes these are the only pieces of evidence we have back to look on. To me Anne Smith’s story was especially powerful as it detailed her fear of the Armenian genocide not being recognized in the future. This is a real concern for a lot of Armenians, and rightfully so. While it is scary for us to think that an entire government can just disregard this, it is even scarier to the survivors that they will never get the justice, or even the acknowledgment that they deserve.

I think that any part of history that has evidence in the form of photographs, video, accounts, writing, etc should be validated as real history. Real history in this sense to me means that it should be published in textbooks and widely taught. This is not to say that some history is not important, it just may not be significant enough for children all over the world to learn. We as a nation and as a people have the responsibility, and opportunity to make this happen. We have the ability to make the Armenian Genocide be known, and for the families to get the recognition that they deserve.

It really scares me that there's a possibility of this happening again. If it already happened and the government fails to recognize it, there is no precedent being set that it is wrong and unjust. Therefore, there is a possibility that something like this could happen again. That is why other nations who have the means to do so need to educate and inform their people of what is truly happening. They need to make it aware that we as a people can not stand for anything less than life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness for all humans.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

Genocide Intervention

The evidence that we looked at in class supported the fact that the Turkish government committed genocide in order to eradicate the Armenians from Turkey. Despite all the pictures of the Armenian survivors and the large number of deaths, other countries at that time, including the United States, refused to intervene. Even to this day, the Turkish government ignores the blatant evidence, portrays this genocide as a tragedy, and blames the deaths of 1.5 million people on the circumstances of war as stated in the letter from the Turkish embassy. As a result, Armenians are suffering from “incomplete mourning,” where their wounds from the genocide cannot heal properly until the event is recognized as a genocide by the descendants of the Turks.

The truth behind these events is that Armenians were murdered, tortured, and forcibly deported by the Turkish government due to false accusations and propaganda. The religious tension between the Turks and Christian can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, when they lost their European territories and Muslim refugees fled to Istanbul and spread the idea that accuses Christians of being “out to get the Muslims.” This sentiment grew with the Young Turks coming in to power. Talaat, Enver, and Jamal formed a coalition and began to brainwash the Turkish children into becoming nationalists. The Young Turks committed acts of genocide due to their fear that the Armenians would join their rival nation Russia to fight against their own nation. From then on, the government continued to create propaganda to justify and conceal their acts of genocide to this day. The eyewitness accounts, the documentations, and the photographs piece together the truth and the “real history” while the Turkish government twists the narrative to avoid having to acknowledge this part of their history. I can tell because on one hand, there are evidence to support the occurrence of a genocide, there is no evidence to back up the Turkish government’s claims.

The Turkish government actively suppresses any voices that says otherwise regarding these events and is reluctant to even call it a genocide despite the millions of deaths. In the documentary “The Armenian Genocide,” the Turkish children did not learn about this in school and writers received blackmail, attacks, and imprisonment for writing books that discusses the genocide. This angers me because while the Armenian descendants are still recovering from this event, the descendent of the Turks who committed this act doesn’t even know about it because the government hides this part of history from its people.

I agree with @Wyverary and many others that the United States and other nations have the responsibility of pressuring the governments to acknowledge their past crimes and issue an apology to the victims. Of course, no apologies can make up for the death of millions, but it at least allows the victims to recover properly this tragedy. Additionally, I hope that all the nations are recognizing when genocides are occurring and use their powers to get involved and stop the governments from committing genocides.

Posts: 18

Armenian Genocide

After looking at all of these images and writings depicting the reality of the Armenian genocide, I can see that, without doubt, the Turkish government commited genocide against the Armenians. They intentionally and systematically planned and committed the murders of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, because they were Armenians. The Armenian genocide is widely untaught and outright denied by the Turkish government. What makes this so dangerous is because there is so much overwhelming evidence to say that it did happen and it was a genocide. It is so troubling to see how a government can get away with something so horrific as this if it is not held accountable enough.

What is true about these events is that an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed by order of the Turkish government. These killings, as talked about in the PBS documentary, were also done by the Turkish public. Because the government created a precedent for such violence to occur, the public did not feel ashamed to take part. What is true is that there was the raping, torturing, and killing of Armenians because of who they were. After looking at and reading all of these photographs and accounts, none of them appear to be untrue. All are backed up by countless other similar accounts and evidence. Diplomats also wrote accounts of the horrors they witnessed. Now housed in the U. S. National Archives, these accounts come out to be nearly 4,000 pages of written testimony about the atrocities of the genocides.

The “real history” is that the Armenians were massacred in a genocide and the killings were government funded. Real history was that the Ottomans were fearful of losing their land after the Christian regions of the Balkans successfully pushed to become independent. In efforts to keep their remaining land and Anatolia, the Ottomans felt that any means to secure their land was justifiable. The Young Turks rose to power and Turkish nationalism grew through education policies pushed by them. The genocide began with massacres of Armenian soldiers and grew into deportations where countless died from murder, torture, and horrible conditions. Innocents, the young and the old, died first. What is not real history is that a genocide did not take place or that the Turks were justified in killing Armenians because Muslims died too. We can determine “real history” because there are so many photographs, written accounts, and testimonies that describe the same genocide. These accounts all describe the inhumane systematic removal and killings by the Turkish government.

The Turkish government’s position on these events is that the horrors do not amount to genocide. This is false and the reason the government has gotten away with such denial is because other world powers are not demanding them enough. In 1923, when the new Turkish republic was created, the nation underwent extreme Westernization. After that, world powers like Britain and France wanted to befriend Turkey and relented demanding accountability. In the most recent presidencies in the U. S., presidents prioritize good relations over accountability. How the Turkish government is forcing school and news to never teach or mention the genocide is horrifying. We need to make sure the past is remembered to have it not happen again.

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