Posted 01 March 2010 - 11:25 AM
2010/02/27 | 11:22
Here's a piece from the notebook of Robert Fisk that appeared in the
February 27 edition of The Independent.
I am back in Beirut. A Sunday, and Missak Keleshian, an Armenian
researcher - actually, he's in love with film and photographs and is a
technician by trade - is showing an original archive movie on the
It was made by German cameramen in 1918 and 1920. Never before shown.
I sit at the back of the big Armenian hall in the Beirut suburb of
Dbayeh and the camera tracks across a terrible wasteland of dry hills.
Southern Turkey - or western Armenia, depending on your point of view
- just after the 1915 genocide of one and a half million Armenians at
the hands of the Ottoman Turks. And a woman comes into focus.
She is sitting in the muck and holding her child - alive or dead, I
cannot tell. She is weeping and wailing and there before our eyes is
the 20th-century's First Holocaust - which our precious US President
Barack Obama dare not even call a genocide lest he offends Turkey.
Literally moving proof. Later footage shows 20,000 Armenian orphans in
Beirut, 30,000 in Aleppo. Where are their parents? Ask not Obama.
In one extraordinary scene, the orphans of the First Holocaust are
sitting at a breakfast table two miles in length. I am both mesmerized
and appalled. They smile and they laugh at the camera.
Dr Lepsius, a German working for Near East Relief - how swiftly the
good Germans who cared for the Armenians turned into more dangerous
creatures - holds the children in his arms.
Outside an orphanage, other children plead for help. Then there is a
picture of an orphanage run by the Turks in Beirut in 1915, in which
the children, Nazi-style, were `Turkified', given Muslim names to
eradicate their identity.
Enough. This will be a big report in The Independent. But there is a
long, panning shot across Beirut.
It is Lebanon, 1920; there are tents for the Armenians but the sweep
of film shows the port. There are steam ships and sailing ships and
the long coast which I see each morning from my balcony.
Posted 10 March 2010 - 04:20 PM
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
The US wants to deny that Turkey's slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians
in 1915 was genocide. But the evidence is there, in a hilltop orphanage
It's only a small grave, a rectangle of cheap concrete marking it
out, blessed by a flourish of wild yellow lilies. Inside are the
powdered bones and skulls and bits of femur of up to 300 children,
Armenian orphans of the great 1915 genocide who died of cholera and
starvation as the Turkish authorities tried to "Turkify" them in a
converted Catholic college high above Beirut. But for once, it is
the almost unknown story of the surviving 1,200 children - between
three and 15 years old - who lived in the crowded dormitory of this
ironically beautiful cut-stone school that proves that the Turks did
indeed commit genocide against the Armenians in 1915.
Barack Obama and his pliant Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton -
who are now campaigning so pitifully to prevent the US Congress
acknowledging that the Ottoman Turkish massacre of 1.5 million
Armenians was a genocide - should come here to this Lebanese hilltop
village and hang their heads in shame. For this is a tragic, appalling
tale of brutality against small and defenceless children whose families
had already been murdered by Turkish forces at the height of the First
World War, some of whom were to recall how they were forced to grind
up and eat the skeletons of their dead fellow child orphans in order
to survive starvation.
Jemal Pasha, one of the architects of the 1915 genocide, and - alas
- Turkey's first feminist, Halide Edip Adivar, helped to run this
orphanage of terror in which Armenian children were systematically
deprived of their Armenian identity and given new Turkish names,
forced to become Muslims and beaten savagely if they were heard to
speak Armenian. The Antoura Lazarist college priests have recorded
how its original Lazarist teachers were expelled by the Turks and
how Jemal Pasha presented himself at the front door with his German
bodyguard after a muezzin began calling for Muslim prayers once the
statue of the Virgin Mary had been taken from the belfry.
Hitherto, the argument that Armenians suffered a genocide has rested
on the deliberate nature of the slaughter. But Article II of the
1951 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime
of Genocide specifically states that the definition of genocide -
"to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group" - includes "forcibly transferring children of the
group to another group". This is exactly what the Turks did in Lebanon.
Photographs still exist of hundreds of near-naked Armenian children
performing physical exercises in the college grounds. One even shows
Jemal Pasha standing on the steps in 1916, next to the young and
beautiful Halide Adivar who - after some reluctance - agreed to run
Before he died in 1989, Karnig Panian - who was six years old when
he arrived at Antoura in 1916 - recorded in Armenian how his own name
was changed and how he was given a number, 551, as his identity. "At
every sunset in the presence of over 1,000 orphans, when the Turkish
flag was lowered, 'Long Live General Pasha!' was recited. That was
the first part of the ceremony. Then it was time for punishment for
the wrongdoers of the day. They beat us with the falakha [a rod used
to beat the soles of the feet], and the top-rank punishment was for
Panian described how, after cruel treatment or through physical
weakness, many children died. They were buried behind the old college
chapel. "At night, the jackals and wild dogs would dig them up and
throw their bones here and there ... at night, kids would run out to
the nearby forest to get apples or any fruits they could find - and
their feet would hit bones. They would take these bones back to their
rooms and secretly grind them to make soup, or mix them with grain
so they could eat them as there was not enough food at the orphanage.
They were eating the bones of their dead friends."
Using college records, Emile Joppin, the head priest at the Lazarite
Antoura college, wrote in the school's magazine in 1947 that "the
Armenian orphans were Islamicised, circumcised and given new Arab
or Turkish names. Their new names always kept the initials of the
names in which they were baptised. Thus Haroutioun Nadjarian was
given the name Hamed Nazih, Boghos Merdanian became Bekir Mohamed,
to Sarkis Safarian was given the name Safouad Sulieman."
Lebanese-born Armenian-American electrical engineer Missak Kelechian
researches Armenian history as a hobby and hunted down a privately
printed and very rare 1918 report by an American Red Cross officer,
Major Stephen Trowbridge, who arrived at the Antoura college after
its liberation by British and French troops and who spoke to the
surviving orphans. His much earlier account entirely supports that
of Father Joppin's 1949 research.
"Every vestige, and as far as possible every memory, of the children's
Armenian or Kurdish origin was to be done away with. Turkish names
were assigned and the children were compelled to undergo the rites
prescribed by Islamic law and tradition ... Not a word of Armenian
or Kurdish was allowed. The teachers and overseers were carefully
trained to impress Turkish ideas and customs upon the lives of the
children and to catechize [sic] them regularly on ... the prestige
of the Turkish race."
Halide Adivar, later to be lauded by The New York Times as "the Turkish
Joan of Arc" - a description that Armenians obviously questioned -
was born in Constantinople in 1884 and attended an American college
in the Ottoman capital. She was twice married and wrote nine novels
- even Trowbridge was to admit that she was "a lady of remarkable
literary ability" - and served as a woman officer in Mustafa Ataturk's
Turkish army of liberation after the First World War. She later lived
in both Britain and France.
And it was Kelechian yet again who found Adivar's long-forgotten
and self-serving memoirs, published in New York in 1926, in which
she recalls how Jemal Pasha, commander of the Turkish 4th Army in
Damascus, toured Antoura orphanage with her. "I said: 'You have
been as good to Armenians as it is possible to be in these hard
days. Why do you allow Armenian children to be called by Moslim [sic]
names? It looks like turning the Armenians into Moslims, and history
some day will revenge it on the coming generation of Turks.' 'You
are an idealist,' he answered gravely and like all idealists lack
a sense of reality ... This is a Moslem orphanage and only Moslem
orphans are allowed.'" According to Adivar, Jemal Pasha said that he
"cannot bear to see them die in the streets" and promised they would go
"back to their people" after the war.
Adivar says she told the general that: "I will never have anything
to do with such an orphanage" but claims that Jemal Pasha replied:
"You will if you see them in misery and suffering, you will go to them
and not think for a moment about their names and religion." Which is
exactly what she did.
Later in the war, however, Adivar spoke to Talaat Pasha, the architect
of the 20th century's first holocaust, and recalled how he almost lost
his temper when discussing the Armenian "deportations" (as she put
it), saying: "Look here, Halide ... I have a heart as good as yours,
and it keeps me awake at night to think of the human suffering. But
that is a personal thing, and I am here on this earth to think of my
people and not of my sensibilities ... There was an equal number of
Turks and Moslems massacred during the  Balkan war, yet the
world kept a criminal silence. I have the conviction that as long
as a nation does the best for its own interests, and succeeds, the
world admires it and thinks it moral. I am ready to die for what I
have done, and I know that I shall die for it."
The suffering of which Talaat Pasha spoke so chillingly was all too
evident to Trowbridge when he himself met the orphans of Antoura. Many
had seen their parents murdered and their sisters raped. Levon, who
came from Malgara, was driven from his home with his sisters aged
12 and 14. The girls were taken by Kurds - allied to the Turks - as
"concubines" and the boy was tortured and starved, Trowbridge records.
He was eventually forced by his captors into the Antoura orphanage.
Ten-year-old Takhouhi - her name means "queen" in Armenian and she was
from a rich background - from Rodosto on the Sea of Marmara was put
with her family on a freight train to Konia. Two of her two brothers
died in the truck, both parents caught typhus - they died in the arms
of Takhouhi and her oldest brother in Aleppo - and she was eventually
taken from him by a Turkish officer, given the Muslim name of Muzeyyan
and ended up in Antoura. When Trowbridge suggested that he would try
to find someone in Rodosto and return her family's property to her,
he said she replied: "I don't want any of those things if I cannot
find my brother again." Her brother was later reported to have died
Trowbridge records many other tragedies from the children he found
at Antoura, commenting acidly that Halide "and Djemal [sic] Pasha
delighted in having their photographs taken on the steps of the
orphanage ... posing as the leaders of Ottoman modernism. Did they
realise what the outside world would think of those photographs?"
According to Trowbridge's account, only 669 of the children finally
survived, 456 of them Armenian, 184 of them Kurds, along with 29
Syrians. Talaat Pasha did indeed die for his sins. He was assassinated
by an Armenian in Berlin in 1922 - his body was later returned to
Turkey on the express orders of Adolf Hitler. Jemal Pasha was murdered
in the Turkish town of Tiflis. Halide Edip Adivar lived in England
until 1939 when she returned to Turkey, became a professor of English
literature, was elected to the Turkish parliament and died in 1964
at the age of 80.
It was only in 1993 that the bones of the children were discovered,
when the Lazarite Fathers dug the foundations for new classrooms. What
was left of the remains were moved respectfully to the little cemetery
where the college's priests lie buried and put in a single, deep
grave. Kelechian helped me over a 5ft wall to look at this place of
sadness, shaded by tall trees. Neither name-plate nor headstone marks
their mass grave.
Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:28 AM
Posted 09 November 2011 - 10:33 AM
"Armenians should honor those Turks who saved Armenian citizens
during the Armenian Genocide. Dialogue can start also from there,
because they too were Turks living in the Ottoman Empire," said The
Independent columnist and Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk,
speaking to Turkish daily Radikal in Turkey.
"I wrote about the Armenian Genocide in my book [The Great War for
Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East] and now it's being
translated into Turkish. Yes, I know there is a risk that Turkish
readers might focus only on these chapters without giving importance
to the others. But I have to say, there are more Turks now speaking
freely about their Armenian relatives and grandparents. So I recommend
compiling a list of Ottoman Turks who saved Armenian citizens during
the 1915 genocide. And I'm recommending this to not only Armenians
but also Turks. They are obliged to honor these people because they
rescued the consciousness of Turks. After all, both Germany and
England confessed their genocides and nothing happened [to them].
Turkey is a brave country," he said.
According to epress.am, Fisk mentioned that to speak about and remember
the Armenian Genocide will not make Turkey an EU member, but, according
to Fisk, it has to be in the "must list" of conditions for Turkey's
ascension into the EU.
Posted 14 October 2013 - 11:16 AM
Further proof emerges of Turkey's genocide
Sunday 13 October 2013
The Turks are preparing to smother the 100th anniversary of their
Holocaust against the Christian Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in 1915
To other, earlier refugees. The Turks are preparing to smother the
100th anniversary of their Holocaust against the Christian Armenians
of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 with commemorations of their victory
over the Allies at Canakkale (Gallipoli) the same year. But each month
brings yet further proof - in the testimony of Westerners - of what
Turkey still officially denies: that the genocide of the Armenians was
a fact of history.
Now come the memoirs of Alec Glen, a British army doctor of the
1914-18 war - written privately for his sons, but published by his
family - which record the further agony of the Armenians.
Entitled In the Front Line: A Doctor in War and Peace, Dr Glen's
account includes the fate of the Armenians of Caucasia as the Turks
tried to spread their pan-Turkic rule to the east in 1918 - after the
original massacre of one-and-a-half million Armenians three years
earlier. Marching through north-western Iran towards Baku, Dr Glen
writes of how his British-Indian force began to pass several thousand
Armenian refugees in a day.
`It was an amazing and tragic sight ... now and then we passed at a
roadside a dying person, or one already dead and half-eaten by dogs
and jackals... we lifted some of the younger ones who might recover on
to the mules and carried them forward to the next village.
`Salisbury Craig [a fellow British doctor] told me later that he
attended an old refugee in the road who, before he died, gave him a
leather belt full of sovereigns, which he asked him to spend to help
Greater love hath no man...
Posted 06 April 2015 - 09:05 AM
The Christian tragedy in the Middle East did not begin with Isis
Sunday 5 April 2015
A hundred years on from the Armenian genocide, and a Christian
minority is again suffering
One summer's day in 1990, I walked into a beautiful Crusader chapel in
Keserwan, a gentle mountainside north of Beirut, where an old Catholic
Maronite priest pointed to a Byzantine mosaic of - I think - Saint
John. What he wanted to show me was the holy man's eyes. They had been
stabbed out of the mosaic by a sword or lance at some point in
antiquity. 'The Muslims did this,' the priest said.
His words had added clarity because at that time the Lebanese
Christian army General Michel Aoun - who thought he was the president
and still, today, dreams of this unlikely investiture - was fighting a
hopeless war against Hafez Assad's Syrian army. Daily, I was visiting
the homes of dead Christians, killed by Syrian shellfire. The Syrians,
in the priest's narrative, were the same 'Muslims' who had stabbed out
the eyes in the ancient picture.
I remember at the time - and often since - I would say to myself that
this was nonsense, that you cannot graft ancient history onto the
present. (The Maronites, by the way, had supported the earlier
Crusaders. The Orthodox of the time stood with the Muslims.)
Christian-Muslim enmity on this scale was a tale to frighten
THE POPE CONDEMNS THE WORLD'S SILENCE OVER PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
And yet only last year, as shells burst above the Syrian town of
Yabroud, I walked into the country's oldest church and found paintings
of the saints. All had had their eyes gouged out and been torn into
strips. I took one of those strips home to Beirut, the painted eyes of
the saints staring at me even as I write this article. This was not
the sacrilege of antiquity. It was done by ghoulish men, probably from
Iraq, only months ago.
Like 9/11 - long after Hollywood had regularly demonised Muslims as
barbarian killers who wish to destroy America - it seems that our
worst fears turn into reality. The priest in 1990 cannot have lived
long enough to know how the new barbarians would strike at the saints
HOW ONE YAZIDI GIRL FLED THE CLUTCHES OF ISIS
ISIS WARNS OF THE 'END OF CHRISTIAN PRESENCE' IN MIDDLE EAST
COPTIC CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT BEHEADED BY MILITANTS
Note how I have not mentioned the enslavement of Christian women in
Iraq, the Islamic State's massacre of Christians and Yazidis, the
burning of Mosul's ancient churches or the destruction of the great
Armenian church of Deir el-Zour that commemorated the genocide of its
people in 1915. Nor the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls. Not even
the very latest massacre in Kenya where the numbers of Christian dead
and the cruelty of their sectarian killers is, indeed, of epic,
Hollywood proportions. Nor have I mentioned the ferocious Sunni-Shia
wars that now dwarf the tragedy of the Christians.
Soldiers standing over skulls of victims from the Armenian village of
Sheyxalan in 1915, believed to be victims of the Armenian HolocaustBut
the Christian tragedy in the Middle East today needs to be re-thought
- as it will be, of course, when Armenians around the world
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the genocide of their people by
Ottoman Turkey. Perhaps it is time that we acknowledge not only this
act of genocide but come to regard it not as just the murder of a
minority within the Ottoman Empire, but specifically a Christian
minority, killed because they were Armenian but also because they were
Christian (many of whom, unfortunately, rather liked the Orthodox,
And their fate bears some uncommon parallels with the Islamic State
murderers of today. The Armenian men were massacred. The women were
gang-raped or forced to convert or left to die of hunger. Babies were
burned alive - after being stacked in piles. Islamic State cruelty is
not new, even if the cult's technology defeats anything its opponents
In Kuwait last week, a good and thoughtful Muslim, an American
university graduate - within the al-Sabah family and prominent in the
government - shook his head with disbelief when he spoke of Islamic
State. 'I watched the video of them burning the Jordanian pilot
alive,' he told me. 'I watched it several times. I had to, because I
had to understand their technology. Do you know they used seven camera
angles to film this atrocity? We could not compete with this media
technology. We have to learn.'
Iraq crisis: Yazidi nightmare on Mount Sinjar
And this is true. The West - that amorphous, dangerous expression -
has still not understood the use of this technology - especially the
use which the cult makes of the internet - nor have the Muslim Arab
imams who should be speaking about the fearful acts of Islamic State.
But most are not, any more than they denounced the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq
war, when around a million Muslims killed each other. Because they
were on Saddam's side in that war. And because the Islamic State's
ideology is too obviously of Wahabi inspiration, and thus too close to
some of the Gulf Arab states.
The crimes of Islamic State are as brutal as any committed by the
German army in the Second World War, but Jews who converted were not
spared Hitler's plan for their extermination. What the Islamic State
and the 1915 Ottoman Turks have in common is a cruelty based on
ideology - even theology - rather than race hatred, although that is
not far away. After the burning of churches and of synagogues, the
rubble looks much the same.
The tragedy of the Arab world is now on such a literally Biblical
scale that we are all demeaned by it. Yet I also think of Lebanon
where the old priest showed me his mosaic with the missing eyes and
where the Lebanese Christians and Muslims fought each other - with the
help of many foreign nations, including Israel, Syria and America -
and killed 150,000 of their own people.
Yet today, Lebanese Muslims and Christians, though still politically
deeply divided, are protecting each other amid the gale-force winds
around them. Why? Because they are today a much more educated
population. It's because they value education, reading and books and
knowledge. And from education comes justice. Which is why, when
compared to Lebanon, the Islamic State is a nation of lost souls.
Posted 22 February 2019 - 11:28 AM
Israeli historian Benny Morris doesn’t do things by half. The footnotes of his new book on the 30-year genocide of Christians by their Turkish rulers, cowritten with his colleague Dror Zeevi, take up more than a fifth of the 640-page work. “It was nine years, a long haul,” he admitted to me this week, with an audible sigh over the phone. And he talks about the involvement of Ataturk in the later stages of the genocide of around 2.5 million Christians of the Ottoman empire; how “religions do drive people to excessive violence” – he has in mind the Turks, Isis, the Crusades – and even condemns the Arabs for their inability to criticise themselves.
The mere title of the Morris-Zeevi book, The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities 1894-1924, is going to have the Turks enraged, from Erdogan down. The Armenians and other Christians will dispute his apparent claim that he has only just discovered that their slaughter lasted for 30 years – others have talked of the Armenian genocide of 1915 bookended by the late 19th-century massacres in Turkey and the post-1915 killing of surviving Armenians and Greeks, Assyrians and others. And the Arab world will challenge his view that the holocaust (my word) of Christians was more motivated by Islam than Turkish nationalism.
Having written about the genocide of the Armenians for 35 years, I have doubts that the actual call for “jihad” in the Turkish Ottoman empire unleashed at the start of the First World War was as ferocious as Morris makes it out to be. Muftis were indeed told they were in a holy war against Christians – but not against German Christians, Austro-Hungarian Christians, neutral Christians or allies of the Central Powers (Bulgaria, for example). Many Muslim worshippers, sitting on the carpets of mosque floors, must have shaken their heads in puzzlement at these caveats. Well, one way was to notice the German officers training the Ottoman army, the German diplomats and businessmen who witnessed the genocide of the Armenians with their own eyes, and wrote home about it. Hitler asked his generals who now remembered the Armenians just before invading Poland in 1939.
But again and again, I was brought up short by the sheer, terrible, shocking accounts of violence in Morris’s and Zeevi’s work. “Strident religiosity” moved through the Muslim lands, write the authors.
The date: 1895. The place: Severek. The witness: Armenian survivor Abraham Hartunian. “The first attack was on our pastor [Mardiros Bozyakalian]. The blow of an axe decapitated him. His blood, spurting in all directions, spattered the walls and ceiling with red. Then I was in the midst of the butchers. One of them drew his dagger … Three blows fell on my head. My blood began to flow like a fountain … The attackers [were] sure that I was dead … Then they slaughtered the other men in the room, took the prettier women with them for rape …”
Now it is July 1915. The place: Merzifon. The witness: missionary JK Marsden. “They were in groups of four with their arms tied behind them and their deportation began with perhaps 100 … in a batch … they were taken about 12 miles across the plains, stripped of their clothing and, in front of a ditch previously prepared, were compelled to kneel down while a group of villagers with knives and axes quickly disposed of them. For a week, this was repeated until 1,230 of the leading Armenian men had been disposed of.”
In January 1920, YMCA secretary CFH Crathern was in Marash. The wife of an Armenian pastor had reached his hospital. “She was bleeding … from three bullet and three dagger or knife wounds while a child of 18 months had been taken from her breast and slain with a knife, and an older girl killed with an axe. To add to the sorrow of it, this woman was pregnant and had a miscarriage as soon as she reached the hospital.” The woman died the following day.
I have repeated above only a few of the less bloody episodes from the 30 years. I will spare readers the chopped off fingers, the thousands of raped girls, the priests beheaded or burned on crucifixes.
In the final annihilation of the Armenians, an American missionary spoke of “minds obsessed with Muslim fanaticism seven times heated”. Turks, he wrote, had “become drunk with blood and rapine, and plunder and power, and he will be a different man from what he was before the atrocities”. Benny Morris thinks it was more to do with a mixture of modern nationalism and the decline of “Islamic polity”.
I discussed all this with him. Is it possible for a people to be so inured to cruelty that they changed, that their acts of sadism could alter their humanity? Religions drive people to excessive violence, he said again, and then repeated this as “excessive sadism”. Morris agreed that the Romans were cruel, but they were pagans. “In terms of religion, the Romans were amateurs. Abrahamic religions drive people to excess.” Jews had avoided this. Palestinians will disagree.
There is certainly a frightening geographical scope to the killings. Many thousands of horrors were perpetrated in Mosul, Raqqa, Manbij and Deir ez-Zor, names grimly familiar from the Isis torments of 2014 onwards.
Why, one keeps asking, didn’t the Christians leave after 1924? But of course, they had been urged to return to settle in Cilicia and in Mesopotamia and Syria by the French and British – who left; and thus the Christian descendants waited for the next generational bloodletting.
The Turks were not the only killers, and Kurds also killed the Christians for the Turks, as Ukrainians killed the Jews for the Nazi Germans. At one point in Morris’s text, a group of Circassians plait a rope 25 yards long from the hair of young women they have killed, and send it as a present to their commander.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk gets pretty well trashed in this volume. “There are accounts of him saying in 1922 that, ‘Our aim is to get rid of the Christians’ – he said this in a number of conversations,” Morris contends. “He gave orders, and men in his later government were responsible.” But if this 30-year history of blood was fuelled by “Muslim fanaticism”, there are “good Turks” in the book. In the first massacres, government officials arrested Essad Bey, an “honest, impartial and tolerant” judge who tried to help the Christians. There is a heroic Turkish doctor who throws out his sick Turkish soldiers from a hospital and replaces them with Armenian refugees. Missionary Tacy Atkinson hoped to meet the doctor one day “in the Kingdom of Heaven”. There are others. It’s true that the Greek Christians have fewer historians than the Armenians. Tens of thousands of Greeks were transported to Greece in return for an equal number of Muslims – official agreements kept the massacres a trifle smaller – but Morris and Zeevi give too little attention to the awe in which the Nazis held Ataturk’s people.
Ataturk himself cared little for Islam: he smoked and womanised, and was a nationalist before he was a Muslim. The Nazis admired his “Turkified” non-minority republic. When he died, the front page of Volkischer Beobachter was fringed in black.
The authors briefly compare the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian genocide – I prefer the terms Jewish Holocaust and Armenian Holocaust – and there are some already published parallels. Armenians might be spared if they would convert to Islam or marry Muslim men. Jews could not save their lives by converting. The Turkish massacres were more sadistic. I rather think the German-inspired slaughter could be just as bad in the Second World War: witness the head-chopping at the Jasenovac camp on the Croatian-Bosnian border. Persecution of the Jews under the Nazis lasted at most 12 years, but persecution of Christians in Ottoman territories 30 years.
German civilians played little role in the Jewish Holocaust. Turkish civilians played a far greater role. If 2.5 million Christians is the correct figure for those murdered in the 30 years – Morris warned me that it cannot be accurately tallied, and I’m sure he’s right – at least six million Jews were killed in the 1939-1945 period, and so it took the Nazis five times as few years to slaughter more than twice as many human beings. The Turks simply didn’t have the industrial tools to kill more Christians more quickly, because these mechanics were unavailable at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. But working on this basis, how many people will be killed in the future – and how quickly – with new technology?
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