Originally posted by BigGulpFrom711 on February 08, 2023 08:20
I unequivocally believe that the Armenian genocide was caused purely by religious differences and religious prejudice / discrimination. Differences in belief and ideas led to the mass killing of a group of people. The only thing I doubt is the reasoning that the Ottoman Empire used to justify the mass killing, pillaging, and deportation of the Armenians. It’s extremely ridiculous, but it’s also not surprising that the Young Turks blamed the Armenians for supposedly conspiring with foreign powers to push for Armenian reforms in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenians were simply viewed and used as another scapegoat for the failure of the Young Turks party, as well as a way of freely displaying their religious prejudice.
I think it is difficult to identify what “real history” is and what isn’t “real”. However, I think the best way to identify what is “real” history is through primary sources from many different sources. I think this is really important, because it provides different perspectives from opposing sides of history. This can range from official documents and transcripts to diaries and letters of common soldiers and people. However, I still think that these documents and letters must have similar details within them to prove that a specific event existed. On a related note, I think this can be correlated with the denial of an event, like the Rape of Nanjing or the Armenian genocide. The Rape of Nanjing is heavily denied to have existed by the Japanese, with this being backed up by the lack of evidence — destroyed evidence — that the Japanese never committed such atrocities. With the Armenian genocide, it is illegal to recognize the genocide or to even discuss it. Despite this, international communities have recognized both the Rape of Nanjing and the Armenian genocide as atrocities that deserve reparations and formal apologies, but there has been little to no response from the nations responsible.
Recognizing what is “real” and “fake” history can also be extremely difficult due to several factors: destroying evidence, “rewriting” history, and changing the views of the people. Events that violate human rights and morality in general, typically genocides, have evidence destroyed. Bodies are burned rather than buried and documents that carry out the deaths or deportation of thousands are also destroyed. Due to this, there are extremely rough estimates of casualties, which always tend to have a wide range. “Rewriting” history and changing the views of the people correlate with each other, typically focused on how these events are learned and viewed. Within the slides, it stated that Armenian orphans were sent to Turkish households to be “Turkified”, which is similar to what Americans had done to “assimilate” Native American children. Children are extremely susceptible to the environment they are in, both physically and psychologically. With these actions, the culture and identity of the child is changed to someone they were not originally. This reduces the population of the targeted population and effectively “converts” the children. Aside from cultural assimilation, people are led to believe specific things about a targeted population or event, which involves dehumanizing or a necessary requirement to do something about the population. However, I think this aspect is really based on the perspective of people. It could be the people’s truth, but it is not the truth. To a different group of people, it might not be a righteous or necessary cause, but to them, it might be. This is what leads to the conflict of one side having history of specific events and people, but another side having zero context of a situation or completely writing a different narrative to justify what occurred.
The Turkish government’s response to the Armenian genocide is borderline delusional. The first point made was that “How many people perished during WWI is not known nor has it been properly documented to date” (Paragraph 2), which basically stated that “war is war, people die, it’s a product of war”. Even if PoW (Prisoner of War) laws were not in place at the time of WWI, the comparison of state of being between an enemy soldier in a country’s captivity and a victim of the Armenian genocide would be day and night. Children, even babies, are clearly seen in pictures to be close to the state of a skeleton, with bodies piled on top of each other. The claim that the Armenians were “conspiring” with Russians is another case of pure paranoia, scapegoating, and blatant hatred. The supposed “[R]elocation (not deportation since they were not sent outside of the Empire)” (Paragraph 3) is also pushing terminology to the nitty gritty. The Armenians were not pushed out of the Ottoman Empire, yes, but they were pushed out of the place they called home for centuries and into the Syrian Desert with the intent of killing Armenians through pure exhaustion, lack of resources, or execution.
What makes this even more ridiculous is that the letter claimed “[M]ost young Armenians are filled with hate from a young age in the diaspora of this issue and some even resort to violence with the misplaced anger planted in their hearts” (Paragraph 5). They are shifting away from the idea that the Ottoman Empire was responsible, and that it is simply a case of Armenians being aggressive, which backs up a previous point of dehumanizing a certain group. There is a constant back and forth of stating that there were deaths of many Armenians, but not to the extent of it being deemed a “genocide”, even if there are multiple pieces of evidence showing that it was carried out with the intention of wiping out the Armenian population.
I agree completely with your statement about how difficult it can be to figure out what history is actually real sometimes because evidence can be destroyed or falsified. Governments have to make themselves look good, and denying the fact that it played a role in such an inhumane event really helps with that (only when people also refuse to see the truth, of course). I also really liked your reference to other events such as the Rape of Nanjing. Events like these and the perpetrating nation's response to anger over such events says a lot.