|Pro-Armenian Protestors in Los Angeles|
Atlanta, GA - Some call it the “Great Crime.” Others call it the Armenian Massacre, or the Armenian Holocaust. But by any name, they are all talking about the same thing. An act that began on April 24th, 1915, 100 years ago. But time has not removed its horror.
It was the Turks who did it, of course. Everyone knows that. Some estimate around 800,000 innocent men, women, and children died. But that is a low number. Some estimates put it at twice that.
It began when the Ottoman Turks demanded of the city of Van that they furnish several thousand able bodied young men as conscripts to fight. But it was obvious to everyone that the Turks were not looking for soldiers, they were looking for victims. When the young men lined up to fight, they would be killed, leaving the Armenian town without defenders.
When they refused, the Turks attacked, and began banishing Armenians from their own country, promising to exterminate them. The Muslim Turks and the Christian Armenians had been at odds with each other for many years, and now, in the heat of World War I, with the world in flames, it was as good a time as any for old scores to come to light.
The Turks were determined to add their names, it seemed, to the list of the world’s Great War criminals, and so began their killing spree. They started death marches, marching hundreds of thousands of people out into the deserts without any type of supplies of food and water. Of course, the Armenians began to die by the thousands. To the death marches were added concentration camps, where people starved to death, trying to eat horse droppings.
|So many children were drowned, that according to some|
eyewitnesses, their bodies changed the courses of rivers.
People later claimed some graves held up to 60,000 victims. When starvation didn’t come fast enough, the innocent Armenians were burned to death. Of course, their only crime was where they were born. Sometimes, children were taken in boats out into the water and thrown overboard, drowning them.
But today, despite the fact that all of the above is well documented, it is established practice by our government not to call what happened to the Armenians genocide. On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Genocide earlier this year, the White House released a statement, avoiding the term “Genocide.”
The prevailing belief is that this is because Turkey is one our many allies, and so not to offend the Turks of today, we should not call it Genocide. Of course, that is racism. Do we really think that the Turks are so thin skinned that calling what Turks a 100 years ago did Genocide would offend them?
We are allies with the Germans, but we have no problem calling what they did only 70 years ago Genocide, and a Holocaust, and they seem to have enough self-control not to throw pity parties about it.
The President needs to call the Armenian Genocide what it is, and he needs to do so as soon as possible. To not do so is racist, towards the Armenians, but especially towards the Turks.
Andrew C. Abbott