posts 1 - 15 of 19
Boston, US
Posts: 350

This assignment builds on what you did in class during the week of February 6, including the web investigation, the documentary film, our discussion of the Armenian genocide timeline, and the information about Armenian genocide denial.

In this post, here are the questions I want you to address:

  • What do you unequivocally believe is true about these events? Is there anything that you question or doubt? Please be specific.
  • How do you identify what “real history” is and what isn’t “real”? How can you tell? Please cite specifics.
  • How would YOU respond to the Turkish government’s position on these events, based on the exchange of correspondence with St. John? Explain your reasoning with some detail.

Be sure you comment on the thoughts of at least two of your peers who have posted prior to your post.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

I believe the Armenian Genocide happened, and was a direct, purposeful, and malicious attempt to not deport or relocate but rather completely annihilate the Ottoman Christians in the most cruel and brutal way possible. I do not believe there is any defending Turkey in this situation but rather that the Ottoman and Turkish governments are completely to blame for spreading misinformation, propaganda, and ethnic stereotypes among their populations to ensure that very few Turks would stand in the way of the genocide. I believe the government did not act under false pretenses but completely knew what they were doing here. They continue to deny it and refuse to teach about it - I’m sure there are many young Turkish citizens who have no idea it even happened. They have less blame than their government, who without a doubt does know exactly what happened and tries to deny it. Whatever the reason they deny it is, whether it is shame, pride, malice, or fear of damaging relations with other NATO countries, is no excuse for their implicit erasure of history.

It is indisputable that the genocide happened, and to that point it is also unbelievable that the Turkish government denies it while also trying to justify it. No, an entire ethnic group was not conspiring against the Turkish government. And, if they were, it was probably because they had no rights in the Ottoman Empire. I don’t see how the Turkish government could say that a 6 year old child could ever deserve to be killed under suspicion of them being a traitor. Any hatred the Armenians had for the Empire was not only completely justified but should have been expected. The evidence is overwhelming. Eye witness accounts, photographs, documents - how can the hundreds of pieces of evidence be fake? How could thousands of unrelated people organize a conspiracy that a genocide happened? Why would they do this? It makes no sense. Where did 1.2 million Armenians go? How did they die? The Turkish government underestimates that number, and says they died from lack of provisions along the journey. Not only was the attempted “deportation” or “relocation” unjustified in the first place, but starvation doesn’t cause thousands of people to suddenly collapse in place. It doesn’t cause mutilated and tortured bodies littering the roads. And, if everyone suffered under World War I, and you had no intention to harm the Armenians, why carry out this plan for relocation in the first place? What was its supposed purpose? What was the justification? Is rounding up a group of people and then denying them food intention to kill them? Is that not genocide? Turkey’s explanation of the event is a lie, and it's not even a good lie. Sure, thousands of modern day Turks believe it, but unlike us they have no information telling them otherwise.

The government’s response was infuriating to read. First, Turkey depends on us like how we depend on them. We should find alternatives, and cut off relations with Turkey. When they acknowledge the genocide and make amends, then we can establish trade again - slowly. They’re basically buying our silence - how could America stand for that? (I know how, but it doesn’t make it justifiable). There is already a movement to force Turkey to acknowledge the genocide. We should support that movement. They need to pay reparations to Armenia, as well. Furthermore, it should be reconsidered if Turkey should be part of NATO in the first place. To be fair, NATO countries are always killing millions of people, so it would be pretty hypocritical to make another country acknowledge their wrongdoings without having done much about ours either. We have soldiers and air bases in Turkey - let's pull out of there. For that matter, why are we there? Surely there are better things to do. Regardless, we should support and recognize Armenia and rethink relations with Turkey. And we should not shy away from calling the event what it actually is - a genocide. If we could only recently admit that, why expect better from the perpetrator?

Dorchester, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14
I do believe that the Armenian Genocide did happen, and that it wasn't just a deportation that somehow followed with a few atrocities along the way. I firmly believe that it was a planned action that the Turkish government put into place because they wanted to flush out the Christianity out of their country because they saw them as threats, when in reality they only just held different beliefs. I think the Turkish government should be held accountable because not only did they actively try to wipe out a whole race of people in their country, they also spread so much propaganda in order to rewrite and erase so much history from the very minds of young Turkish people, and even into today. Also, I don't know if it's exactly reliable to say that Hitler was inspired partially by this very event, but if he is that is even more of a reason to say that this did take place and that it was a genocide no matter how much the Turkish government tries to rewrite this history.

I think the best way to tell if History is real, is several primary sources that all coincide. For example, all the stories of survivors or survivors children, all explaining what they had gone through while living in the Ottoman Empire. And I think if there are enough people giving their first-hand accounts of seeing their friends and families being tortured and killed, or even themselves being tortured, then most likely the Armenian genocide and the un-justful mass murders of their people really did happen. I think another way to tell if its real is if we have data evidence, records, or bones. For example in that video we watched today in class, the archaeologists and just random children were finding bones of Armenians on random roads and dirt sides, and that discovery could possibly be studied and linked back/point towards the Armenian genocide taking place. When seeing that history is not real is when we just got so much denial from the Turkish government and the inconsistencies in their stories, just points towards the fact that they are covering something up and that their side of the history most likely isn't true or isn't the full story.

After reading the Turkish government's response to St.John, I was kind of angry and confused. I think what angered me was when they tried to deflect and tried to almost gaslight St.John into thinking that his points were wrong and absurd. They almost tried to turn the accusations back on him by talking about America and their problems, as a way to deflect the accusations and points St.John was presenting. Their response really shows how scared they are and what extent they are willing to go to never admit to having committed a genocide of the Armenian people. In response to them I would ask them, how they can try to say the deaths were at the hands of the war or because they lacked supplies, but there are documents of people recalling what happened to them, pictures of children who were starved and killed, and there is scientific evidence supporting there were many mass murders(fossils/bones)?

I also wonder if this wouldn't have escalated as much if they just took responsibility a little earlier? What significance does it hold if America acknowledges it as a genocide, like does it mean that Turkey will feel forced to acknowledge as well? Has St. Johns letter been publicized in a more popular way(like sent to president or any higher up person in the U.S)?

Response to 1 student(because there was only one post when I wrote): My feelings towards the letter was the same as yours, it really was infuriating to see them deflect like that.

Curious George
Boston, MA
Posts: 17

Truth of the Armenian Genocide

The Ottoman Empire committed a genocide on Armenians. There is no question if the Young Turks decided to systematically move to remove Armenians to create their pan-Turkish utopia. I’m not sure if the specifics really matter, but I noticed that historians, Trump and even a first-hand account from a Turkish officer included deportations in the description of the genocide, but the email from the Turkish embassy claimed it was at most a relocation, not deportation because they weren’t sent out the empire. Based on the deportation map and the documentary, are they claiming that the paths out to sea and to Syrian/Meditteraenean deserts did not exist at all?

“Real history” is most easily identifiable through first-hand accounts and pictures. Although they successfully massacred so many Armenians and “turkified” the young children, as well as time taking the little number of survivors, there are many recorded first-hand descriptions of what happened, and there are more than enough photographs of the killings. Though anyone can claim that articles and letters are biased, they too are proof of what happened. Morganthau’s pleas to Washington and his book act as proof. The printed articles from the NYT from the time period should also be taken into account.

According to an inclass video, evidence comes in text, photographs, and bones, which I agree with. Deir Zor is the largest gravesite of Armenians and the men were easily able to find many bones of Armenians.

Many know the saying, “winners are the ones to write history”, so it is interesting to me that Turkey had the power to deny their acts having lost the war. Even though the winners in Europe were too weak to enforce justice on the Young Turks, the new government to replace them should take accountability. Even today, based on the exchange with St. John, Turkey still clearly denies anything to do with the genocide they committed. They were incredibly vague and claimed that all civilians were victims of war, continuing to use the argument that any Armenians that died were loyal to Russia, not Turkey. Although the number of deaths is contested among historians, they always chose the lower side to diminish the crimes they committed, so I would encourage them to do what they can now to accurately count the number of Armenians that perished. I would also tell them to rethink their stance on whether Armenians were deported, considering the number of evidence of Armenians who were taken out of the country. Although Turkey lost the war, they were clearly able to erase most memories of the genocide and inspired Hitler’s “final solution”.

Though Turkey has not changed their stance on the issue for the past hundred years and doesn’t seem to plan on changing it, the difference between language from 2004 vs 2016 (admitting to deportations) gives me hope that citizens worldwide can slowly push for the change. If we continue to call for less intervention in the middle east, Turkey’s military power would not be as necessary and America can declare it a genocide without strong repercussions.

Responding to hollyfawn, I completely agree (with their whole post) with the last paragraph, and especially 'They’re basically buying our silence". Our military, which is linked to economic greed, depends on Turkey, which fuels their lobbying power.

responding to siri/alexa, reading their email response to St. John also angered me. I agree that they were trying to deflect the accusations onto America's issues, which doesn't answer any of St. John's or our questions.

Posts: 15

The Truth of the Armenian Genocide

I believe that what the Turks did to the Christian Armenians was undeniably genocide, rather than deportation/movement with certain tragedies along the way. It wasn't until in class on Tuesday and Wednesday when we completed the web exercise and watched a video on the genocide that I was 100% firm on where I stood. After seeing photographs of hundreds of dead children piled on top of each other, Turkish generals posing in front of decapitated heads, and spears with heads on them being used as near decorations, I don't see how can deny the obvious: this was a genocide. I still question why the Turkish government can't own up to its history. Countries that have acknowledged the attack on Christian Armenians as genocide has cut ties with Turkey to some extent, meaning if Turkey admitted to the genocide, they would probably economically benefit. It's shocking how their stubbornness has gotten in the way of acknowledging possibly millions of deaths.

The first "evidence" which convinced me that the Armenian genocide was indeed genocide was the photographs we saw in the web exercise, but I second-guessed the credibility of the pictures as historical confirmation when we saw the book the 10th grader brought to the library. Used by the Turkish government as propaganda to portray the Armenians as the bad guys, I learned that images can very easily be picked and chosen to tell whichever story is beneficial to a government/country. The most credible sources of real history are first and second-hand accounts, such as the elderly Armenian woman in the video we watched Wednesday when she mentioned how she had her throat slit, yet she survived. It doesn't get more real than that. I don't care how old she was, if her memory may have been foggy, being a victim of genocide isn't a memory that may be confused with another, which is why I believe her and other Armenian stories are as real as history can get.

It was maddening to read Turkey's response to St John, especially how they would always shift his accusations back at him, making a high school student question his own thinking, Based alone on how defensive the writer was, Turkey seems pretty guilty to me. If St John had a question, they took it as an accusation, and would both deny it yet also shift it onto America's history, to justify the wrongdoings despite (in their words) Turkey only engaging in deportation rather than genocide with the Armenians.

To add on to Curious George I do think it is hopeful to see the shift in the language since the early 2000s, and the gradual amounts of people confirming the acts as genocide, and apologizing on behalf of their country.

To add on to hollyfawn I found it amusing that Turkey denies the accusations of genocide while also justifying it. These two don't make sense at all, because there would be no need to justify a crime if your country surely didn't committ it.

Boston, US
Posts: 15

The main thing that I believe to be true about the Armenian genocide is that it is certainly a genocide. This was a systematic killing and attempted removal of a given people from an area by the government of that area. That is the textbook definition of a genocide. I feel like there is enough evidence of what happened in the Ottoman Empire to call it a genocide, even if there isn't as much as other genocides in history. It very clearly wasn't an "accidental tragedy" like it was claimed to be by the Turkish government. There are photos of Turkish soldiers posing with severed Armenian head, among other pieces of evidence that there was more to this than just some people starving because of the war. There was evidently an active effort by at least a portion of the Ottoman empire to exterminate the Armenians.

I feel like the most clear pieces of evidence are the testimonies and photographs. It is very possible for photographs to be staged or hand-picked to try to get a point across. Despite that, I doubt that is the case here at all. There are many different photographs from many different places across the Ottoman empire from different sources, all of which corroborate the genocide. Some of the photographs I saw immediately made me think of ones that I have seen from the Holocaust. The piles of bodies and the pictures of starving children very much point to a genocide. I feel like the testimonies from survivors help prove that it happened. Much like photographs, it is possible for people to make things up. However, it seems unlikely that so many different completely unrelated people, many of whom were children during the events, would make these things up or embellish them at all. Stories like the one the man in the documentary told about seeing all of the men getting brought away and him finding them later dead seem like pretty clear evidence to me.

I don't really know how I would respond to the Turkish government. They are attempting to cover up a genocide pretty much unapologetically. It seems very evident that they won't acknowledge it, at least without a major change within the government, which looks unlikely. I feel like the best thing to do would be to bring more historical awareness in other places to the genocide, especially ones that hold power over Turkey. Their government won't change the way that they talk about the genocide without serious external pressure, so that seems like it would be the best way to do it. Teaching more about the Armenian genocide around the world feels like the best way to combat the Turkish government's suppression.

Responding to deviouseggplant, I agree that it is very stupid from a Turkish point of view to not acknowledge the genocide. They would probably economically benefit if they were to just acknowledge the genocide. One of the worst parts is that this was not something that was committed by the modern Turkish government. It isn't like they are trying to cover up something within the 21st century; this happened over 100 years ago and was committed by an entirely different government.

Responding to Curious George, I agree that there does some to be some progress, albeit minor. This does seem like the Turkish government is taking some steps in the right direction, which is a good sign. I am also glad that the United States has finally recognized it, which will hopefully set an example for other countries yet to acknowledge it, even though we were far too late ourselves.

Posts: 14

The Armenian genocide did happen, and there is so much evidence to prove it. The textbook definition of genocide is “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group”, and that is exactly what happened in the Ottoman empire. When people hear the word genocide they most likely think of the holocaust, and although this genocide did not happen like the holocaust it still is considered a genocide, due to the mass number of killings that took place. In the images and videos, we took a look at in class there are many examples of Turkish soldiers holding severed Armenian heads and such, there were even photos of piles of deceased Armenian people. The intent of these mass killings on behalf of the Ottoman empire was to essentially exterminate the Armenian people.

The most “clear history” evidence of this genocide are the stories from survivors, the images, and the remaining evidence of where mass killings occurred that is still visible today. Although these images did depict cruel actions, seeing the propaganda book that Ms.Ellis gave to Ms.Freeman t made me realize how easily images can be manipulated to tell a story. And this has made me slightly second guess some of the things I had seen. The most damming evidence for me was the Deir Zor, which is the largest gravesite of Armenians. Seeing the men finding bones by barely scratching the surface of the dirt and just seeing how big the area was furthered my belief that the Armenian genocide did occur.

The Turkish government has maintained the same stance on this matter for the past 100 years. Denying that there was never a genocide yet just a mere relocation of people for their safety. But what relocations result in this many casualties, unless there was malicious intent?

Responding to siri/alexa: reading the letter response was upsetting seeing how they deflected the accusations and ultimately answered none of the questions being asked.

Responding to deviouseggplant24: I agree that being a victim of genocide isn't a memory you can confuse, which is why I believe it's not important to hear the stories of the survivors. This genocide isn’t something they can simply forget happened, so they need to share their stories and we need to listen.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

The Truth of the Armenian genocide

I truly believe that were was awful violence towards the Armenians unring these events, and on purpose. However, I believe that many of the stereotypes are untrue about these events. After hearing many first-hand/witness accounts of these, how could this be made up? It just doesn't all add up. For example, on the account of Pamela Douglas, her grandfather had to dress up as a little girl and be smuggle to Canada in his childhood. For Noyemzar Alexanian, she had to take care of her little sister at only 6 years old, being deported to Syria, then Lebanon, then Cuba, then finally the US.

Many of the arguments that Turkey made against Armenia and the genocide included that Armenians were violent to Turkey as well, and that these deaths were just a result of the war and they never had any "cruel" intention against the Armenians. I would say that the Turkish government position is choosing avoidance and denial over acceptance and confrontation. I think that they are trying to avoid the association of the term "genocide" with their country and its history at all costs, even though this is what they need to do to honor all the victims, and accept it.

In the letter back to St. John, they wrote back: “To answer your question related to terrorism, there was no systematic murder, or genocide, inflicted on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, if the simple fact that some deranged people can be successfully brainwashed into perpetrating terrorist acts means that their claims are true, then we would have had to assume that those who attacked the US on 9/11 were also right in their motives. This, very obviously, cannot be true.”

They are trying to erase any type of evidence/arguments made against them, calling the thousands of people who truly believe this was a genocide and stand with Armenia. It's also interesting to me how little the US intervened, and how it tried to keep a "neutral" position. Overall, this was written to the Turkish embassy in the US itself, not somewhere in Turkey. It wasn't until recently, when Biden joined office, when this event finally became recognized as a genocide. At first, Obama was talking about making this happen, but things became very difficult between the relations, and it was hard to. Then, Trump fully rejected the Senate resolution to recognize it as a genocide. All the politicians want to keep Turkey happy because it has a hold on the US economy.

Reply to siri/alexa: the response to St. John's email also annoyed me a lot. They really didn't answer any of his questions, and were just deflecting and rebounding his questions back to him.

Reply to Curious George: I think the idea of less intervention in the Middle East is good because it can soften the repercussions of America's fragile relationship with Turkey.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

I think that it’s pretty obvious that the Armenian genocide was not spawned by any justifiable reason, and that it was no accident from the Turkish government. This entire massacre was deliberately orchestrated to annihilate all of the Armenian ethnic population, and to do so in a way that would prevent international interference. The government knew that by keeping the massacre contained within Ottoman territory, the Allied Powers would be unable to intervene, and that any intervention likely would’ve never even been possible due to all the Western superpowers being preoccupied with the first World War. From the timeline, we watched the conditions for Armenians get worse, beginning with boycotting their stores and leading to eventual “deportation” that just so happened to also coincide with their murders. Their stories parallel those of German Jews under the Nazi regime, and if that doesn’t prove the intent behind this genocide then I don’t know what else will.

I think that “real history” can easily be justified, through the testimonies of different people from different points of view. For example, I can confidently say that the Armenian genocide was a real occurrence because of the testimonies from survivors and activists like Henry Morgenthau. The presence of this atrocity in the European press (even if it was just another form of military propaganda) also reaffirms that something terrible was being done to the Armenian population under the Ottoman Empire during World War I. We saw the photos that people took of the starving Armenians, and of the skeletons that littered the roads. Photos like that aren’t fabricated easily, and the sheer amount of evidence left behind all point to the genocide occurring. Meanwhile, fake history is usually conjured up through the dangers of a single story. This happens when all of the “history” only comes from one source, granting them an almost authoritarian control over how events are depicted. In the case of this genocide, this can be still be seen today in how the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge the genocide and refuses to teach it in schools. It’s a form of revisionist history, but to a less successful degree since public knowledge of the Armenian genocide isn’t being explicitly covered up in other countries, like America.

I think that a lot of the excuses that the ambassador spewed to St. John in the email only works because of how few people know about this incident. If the general public was made more aware of the sufferings of the Armenian people, then protest and change would be sure to follow. Having more people aware of the issue would also make it that much harder for the Turkish government to deny their sins, and actually begin the process of acknowledging what they did and how they can make up for it through reparations or anything else. The sheer amount of deflection in the letter just proves that Turkey can’t really defend themselves after being called out, and that there was no proper justification for these killings. Altogether, the ambassador’s arguments all seem to almost contradict one another, only further highlighting their need to cover up their crimes. I almost want to press them further with evidence such as the countless photos we were shown, just to see how many more lies the government can provide and how many more contradictions would arise. The Armenians were simply targeted because they were different and because of unjustified fear and discrimination, and they most certainly weren’t just “deported.”

Responding to Curious George, I was also really mad when I read the letter from St. John. It felt like watching a child trying to make excuses for something objectively bad that they did, and expecting to get away scot-free. It’s infuriating how un-seriously the Turkish government regards the Armenian genocide, and how they refuse to acknowledge it as if they didn’t deliberately kill millions of Armenians and traumatize countless child survivors.

Responding to deviouseggplant, while it is stupid that the Turkish government doesn’t acknowledge the genocide, I think it’s even dumber that most powers haven’t condemned Turkey for their actions. Until other foreign superpowers start pressuring Turkey through economic or political means, I doubt that Turkey would ever own up to their crimes anytime soon. As a government, why would they risk making their own government look bad during a period of relative stability? While I’m sure that there are some economic blockades currently in place as a way to “condemn” Turkey, they’re unfortunately not enough to actually incite change in Turkey.

Posts: 12

I believe strongly that the Armenian genocide did happen and that it was a genocide. After viewing all of the sources in class, I think it is undeniable. It was absolutely horrifying to see things such as the seemingly endless amount of bones found in the desert and to read about the brutality and violence that the Turkish government committed against the Armenian people in the primary source documents in the web investigation. One source from the web investigation that particularly impacted me when I read it and has stuck with me ever since was Anne Smith’s family’s story. She described how her aunt had her eyes gouged out by a Turkish soldier. That was horrifying and shocking to read. I think what the Turkish government did to the Armenians was unquestionably a genocide. The Turkish government’s firm denial of it confirms to me even further that it did happen because why else would they lie about something with such damning evidence unless they wanted to protect their reputation or had something to hide.

I think the way to identify what “real history” is versus what isn’t “real” is to listen to first-person accounts of the events and weigh those in comparison to any opposing evidence. In the case of the Armenian genocide, there are an overwhelming number accounts documenting atrocities committed by the Turkish government against the Armenian people. We can see this with the many eyewitness reports we read on the Armeniapedia website, photos, as well as ambassador Morgenthau’s correspondences. This evidence easily outweighs any claims from the Turkish government that it was simply a deportation. That is clearly not the case.

I found the Turkish embassy’s response to St. John quite abrasive. The entire response was extremely defensive and a few things stood out to me in particular. The main thing that stuck out to me was that they said the anger in Armenians today is “misplaced” and then proceeded to say at the end of the response that Armenians should simply move on. I think that it’s honestly disgusting to say to a group of people who lost over a million of their people that they shouldn’t be angry and should just move on regardless of whether it was a genocide or not (which it clearly was). I believe that shows a genuine lack of empathy for Armenians.

In response to siri/alexa’s question about the significance of America acknowledging the Armenian genocide, I think that it will help bring a more global awareness of genocide and crimes against humanity. I am not sure if the Turkish government will ever take full responsibility for this but I think more recognition of the genocide from other nations like the US will bring more recognition for many other genocides that aren’t as recognized throughout history and hopefully stop anything like this from ever happening again.

Adding on to what deviouseggplant24 said about the propaganda book brought to the library, I wonder how many people’s opinions were swayed by this book or others like it? How many people’s minds were changed by the book globally? Also, how prominent is this book in particular? Is it widely accessible or widely known in Turkey?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

I do believe that the Armenian race was disproportionately massacred and targeted by the Turkish government during the wartime specifically from 1915 to 1923. The Armenian race was in between two opposing nations and a lot of prejudice arose. In the film, they explain how some fought for Russia and others for the Ottoman empire but in the end, the entire population was labeled as treasonous. There is tons of evidence that a massacre occurred but the question is if it was a genocide or purposeful to ending an entire race of people. There are photos that demonstrate people starving and laying dead in the streets or orphans who had their families ripped away from them. There are documents explaining the ‘relocation’ of Armenian people which to me emphasizes them targeting this specific population to die. Deportations began in Van and they were forced to walk many miles without any water or food ultimately they were rounded up and massacred firstly with the men but did not exclude women and children.

You can identify what is real history by looking at the abundant amount of evidence. In class, while searching the web there were plenty of survivor stories of their experiences. In the film, an Armenian woman explains how she saw the 500 men that went missing flowing down the river lifeless with slit throats as a child. Another story we read about was of Noyemzar Alexanian who explained how the Kurdish cavalry surrounded their village and rounded up the men and eventually took everyone away in caravans. These acts cannot be labeled as false because these are eyewitnesses and their experiences show how the Turkish government and military did not only relocate specific individuals accused of treason but entire communities because of their blood.

The Turkish government has done not nearly as much as expected from a nation that is the cause of genocide. Since this time period, Turkish officials deliberately avoid mentioning these events and deny that the genocide occurred. In the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, the Armenians were not mentioned at all in the decision of who would succeed the Ottoman Empire. When you read the email reply from the Turkish embassy sent in 2004. They focus on how this time period was full of hostility due to wartime and deny any presence of systemic murder. They mention that tragedies occurred due to “circumstances” which avoid holding accountability.

Responding to bubbles, I agree that the presence of photos as being clear evidence of genocide. This media allows us to put a face to the victims and see that they are humans who don’t deserve to experience such atrocity. This reminds me of how the media was used to spread awareness about the violence and cruelties during the Vietnam war and also during the Great Depression.

Responding to tiktok1234, I wanted to add to your point about the Turkish government repressing accountability. Especially since the nation was not held accountable from the start, it’s difficult for them to claim responsibility for genocide. I do agree that it is necessary for them to acknowledge the reality of history in order to rightfully remember and honor the victims.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

The Truth of the Armenian genocide

I unequivocally believe that what occurred in the Ottoman Empire was genocide. Genocide is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group." The Turkish government spread propaganda and claimed that the entire Armenian race was plotting against the government. It is improbable that the thousands of dead Armenian children were not conspirators–the Turkish government murdered them unjustly. Turkey worked to rid the empire of its Christian population and used innocent Armenians as scapegoats for Turkey's problems during the first World War.

I believe that there is no such thing as "real history." Any event can be told from a different perspective with differing emphases and reasoning. The prevalent issue, however, is that history is often only told from one perspective and gives an incomplete version of the past. "Real history" would be a completely unbiased account that includes every minute detail–something which is virtually impossible to achieve. "Fake history," however, is common. When a story of the past has an unequivocal antagonist and protagonist, it has most likely been influenced by bias and is an inaccurate piece of history. "Real history's" effects ripple to the present, are nuanced and never perfect. For example, we can presume that the Turkish government's version of history is inaccurate because it establishes Armenians as an indisputable evil.

The Turkish government's position is unacceptable. They are still trying to erase a major part of their history. In an ideal world, countries would threaten Turkey with sanctions and force them to accept responsibility. If we allow governments to ignore their history, we set a precedent of acceptance and permit further acts of genocide to occur. We should not allow the Turkish government to gaslight victims and invalidate their stories.

I agree with tiktok1234's point that the Turkish government does not want genocide associated with their country. When it is established that genocide occurred, the question of reparations arises; Turkey would likely be pressured to pay Armenian victims and their children. Turkey does not want to confront this painful piece of history, so it instead covers it up and denies it.

I think that deviouseggplant24 brought up a good point about the validity of photographs. While they can be strong evidence, we must always remember the context of any sourcing document–anything can be curated to prove a point. I do believe, in this case, however, the photos do show damning evidence of genocide and do prove its existence.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

The Truth of the Armenian genocide

I believe that what happened to hundreds of thousands of Armenians was genocide, and it unequivocally was the product of the Turkish government targeting the entire Armenian population. Given all the evidence that has come out of attempts to cover up the organized genocide of Armenians, the pictures, the personal stories, it is undeniable. The deliberate killing of millions of people, which was what occurred within the Ottoman Empire, exactly matches the definition of a genocide. From the pictures and testimonies that we’ve viewed, the amount of death, starvation, and mistreatment was no accident, and was instead orchestrated by the Turkish government to murder all American people, including children.

I think that “real history” can be defined as events that are told from many different sources and perspectives. It makes perfect sense for a country or group of people to tell history in a different way to make them seem like the good guys or that they were in the right. Perspective can also warp people’s perceptions of an event, giving different sides completely different “truths”. “Real history” consists of unbiased facts that tell the entire story. Factual events can seem as though they are “real history”, however if there is any part of what occurred that is left out, it can’t be considered the real, true, and whole history. This is practically impossible to achieve. A major issue that we have and continue to face is “fake history” or “fake news”, as we’ve seen all kinds of terrible tragedies arise from mass misinformation and the spread of propaganda. What makes these “fake histories” or “incomplete truths” so dangerous is that they give people the idea that what they are fighting for is correct, no matter how brutal or violent their actions are. We can see evidence of this in all sorts of varying conflicts in history, such as January 6th and the Holocaust. The issue of not being taught “real history” is that it gives people a justification for committing atrocities.

I thought that the Turkish embassy’s response to St. John was incredibly frustrating. Throughout the entire exchange, the Turkish government’s response was attacking St. John while coming to its defense, deflecting each question and trying to turn accusations back towards the student and the US. I found that the response was really aggressive, especially since it was sent to a student who was looking to be educated—even if the student was aggressive themself. I think it’s really unprofessional. Additionally, their overall position of denial is wildly disrespectful to all the Armenian deaths that they are responsible for and trying to erase. This tactic of not only denying, but then going on offense to deflect any question of the genocide should not be allowed, and the Turkish government needs to be held accountable. I think that it is important that many more countries actually come out and acknowledge the genocide that occurred. Right now, the world is letting this government get away with its dark history without consequence, and it is important that it is held accountable for these actions.

I agree with ToyotaCorolla’s point that the historical awareness of the Armenian genocide around the world is extremely important when holding the Turkish government responsible. Given how tightly the government has covered any evidence, it is definitely a significant first step to this issue. Dealing with reparations and accountability is a very complex topic, and I think that something that can always contribute to a solution is education. While I do agree that it is a very good way to combat the Turkish government’s suppression, I also believe that there is much more to be done.

I agree with siri/alexa that the amount of gaslighting and deflection angered me as well, and it did give the impression that they would go to pretty extreme lengths to not admit to the act of committing a genocide. I think that at the end of the day, the thing holding a lot of countries back from acknowledging the existence of the genocide is the potential effects on their global relationships and economies.

Posts: 10

The Truth of the Armenian genocide

I have no doubt that the Armenian Genocide did happen. The Armenian genocide is an atrocious part of history that has been denied by the ones who committed these crimes against humanity. It's hard to believe anyone would question if these events truly happened after really doing the research. I think the word genocide itself has been too tied in with the holocaust so people might not be able to recognize a genocide that doesnt look similar to the one of WW2. After hearing about the genocide the first time, I wasnt really sure what to think, but then we saw the pictures from the web search and I was fully convinced that the Armenians experienced a genocide.

I think real history is determined through sources, like images along with asking people who survived through the history in question to be able to tell us their perspective. But we have to be aware of how we analyze images, seeing the book brought up from the library shows you how one could easily try to put out the wrong idea and manipulate the way we see things. In some situations, it wouldn’t be smart to go to political leaders because, like the Turkish Government, they could try to protect their country and deny any event that would be inconvenient for others to know of for them. But the fact that proof is needed shows that the Turkish Government has been successful in denying these events as if proof is needed to make people believe, it means that the history has already been forgotten by wide populations. Turkey denied and denied. They say that the genocide was an “accident” while they tried to displace Armenians to keep them safe from battlefields in WWI but there are images that show Turkish soldiers proudly standing in front of hanged people and the heads of others. They wanted to turn history around to make themselves the hero and not the malefactor.

The response to St. John's email was just ridiculous to read but not surprising. As I mentioned before, Turkey continues to make themselves the victims as the responder claimed that Armenians were inspired by the Balkans and elsewhere and decided to “attack” the Ottoman empire. But let's say that the Armenians were in fact planning a revolt against the Empire for their independence, it does not justify what the Turks did. Nothing could possibly justify a genocide, I believe Turkey should stop looking for excuses and own up to their actions regardless of how long ago they might have happened. Urging Turkey to acknowledge their actions is more difficult than teaching a child their actions have consequences.

Response to deviouseggplant24: I agree with you, they seemed very defensive with their response to what was supposed to be a simple question from a high school student. There was a specific line that read “Sadly, most young Armenians are filled with hate from a young age in the diaspora on this issue and some even resort to violence with the misplaced anger planted in their hearts.” The fact that the respondant called it “misplaced anger” bothered me so much, like they were saying that the Armenians have no reason to be angry or upset with Turkey, because according to them, the genocide didnt even happen.

Response to siri/alexa: Now that you've mentioned maybe this wouldn't have escalated as much as it did if Turkey had taken responsibility sooner and I believe it wouldn't have escalated. This tension has been built through the centuries of Turkey's denial, it would be in everyone's best interest for Turkey to at least make an attempt at making amends.

Posts: 16

I believe that the Armenian genocide most certainly happened. Building on the web investigation, the documentary film, our discussion of the Armenian genocide timeline, and the information about Armenian genocide denial, it only becomes more clear that the horrifying events described were a reality. After thorough research, from the bones found in the desert to witness accounts, the fact is apparent that any question of whether or not this genocide happened or not is being intentionally spread by the perpetrators in an attempt to deny the brutality and bloodshed.

Identifying what “real history” is often difficult in an age in which people would rather omit certain events to paint a more “palatable” picture. We see this in textbook erasure to the outright denial of the Armenian genocide. “Real history” is found through careful and rigorous research, determined through as many sources as possible, and even then, each source by human nature has some form of a bias, each story is told differently. To find “real history” is to find the facts. If enough evidence exists, if survivor and witness testimonies report back on the same fact, one can determine that this fact is unequivocally true. Claiming that the Armenian genocide was “accidental” when there is evidence that directly contradicts this, such as photographs of Turkish soldiers standing over hanged people, is another attempt at attempting to rewrite history, to omit these events to paint the Turkish government in a positive light rather than acknowledging the atrocities they perpetuated in the past.

The exchange of correspondence with the Turkish embassy and St. John was incredibly frustrating but overall it was also unsurprising. Consistent deflection of questions, turning to shoot back accusations towards the student and the US, was incredibly telling. By refusing to take responsibility for these events, the Turkish government is disrespecting the victims of this genocide and desperately trying to cover up their crimes in a disorderly and contradicting fashion. Although I know that there is likely little that one person can do to force the Turkish government to acknowledge the genocide when it is so clear that they are dedicated to covering it up and denying its existence, I would want to push with more evidence, more indisputable proof, to see if they would ever concede on their point when its so clear that they’re in the wrong.

I agree with hollyfawn’s point on the letter, I almost couldn’t believe it. To add onto i_love_pink’s point, the fact that the Turkish government has been so successful in their denial of this genocide is truly telling, especially when so much proof is there to dispute their claims that it was an “accident.”

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