1915, the Ottoman Empire is put to it's first test of the 20Th century... how fast can it can kill off the Armenians?
Recently the House Foreign Relations Committee passed a non-binding resolution to which this blog was opposed. Being well educated on the issue of the Armenian Genocide I knew what The Ottoman Empire had done. Turkey is now what remains of the Ottomans. And yes its population consist of the descendants of Muslims that had actively participated in the destruction and annihilation of Armenians. But that resolution would change nothing.
Until all the civilized world condemns Turkey and forces reparations to made, Armenians are still a people without a recognized history. Until the United States and Great Britain recognize that Turkey did in fact commit, and condone as a state, genocide then nothing has been accomplished.
Men, women, and children were actively hunted down and butchered in every imaginable way under the Ottomans. They were decapitated simply because they were not "Turkish" or Muslim. Yet they had lived under the Ottomans for generations. Their words and language were used widely throughout the Anatolian area. Animals had been named with the word "Armenian" in their titles. Places such as churches and palaces were uniquely Armenian before 1915. Yet now nothing remains.
With the rise of Hitler we watched as the world we knew was engulfed with the insanity of hatred. Knowing far to well what was going on, the United States sat back and watched Europe being drowned in fascist barbarism. The real "rats" wore the red band of blood upon their arms as they marched Europe into the depths of Hell and back.
It wasn't till the fall of Berlin that the Nazi death machine lost its steam. They continued to murder their victims in the same old methods the Turks used right up till the grand finally on May 8Th 1945 (when they assumed the world would look the other way).
Wanting to sleep with themselves that night, the Allies began to march Germans and locals through the death camps their leaders had built with their money. Many would claim that they had no idea what was going on right down the street from their villages and towns. They claimed ignorance even though they themselves had sent the Jews, gypsies, mentally ill, homosexual, and antisocial to the gas chambers.
We whispered never again when the pictures of the Nazi pogroms made their way across the Atlantic. Some still deny those pictures and the Holocaust all together. Many more deny the Armenians fate in 1915 (quickly approaching 100 years ago).
Unable to face our own sins here at home it is not a surprise to me that the government is reluctant to use the word genocide whenever and where ever it is happening. Having systematically killed countless tribes of Native Americans our government and our ancestors have blood on their hands. Now surely we could recognize our own sins... if not at least the fact that we have killed for much the same reasons the Turks did.
Armenians were forced to march to their deaths countless times in their genocide. They were ushered by the soldiers and angry mobs out into the wilderness only to be slaughtered. Some might recall our own punishment for the Native Americans, those who had simply been raised on land the government wanted. Walking the trail of tears, both peoples were targeted simply because they didn't belong.
Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia... the sights of Muslims being systematically butchered simply because Serbs felt they were "a threat to Serbian livelihoods". Once more the world stood back and watched as "war" happened to cause horrific atrocities. Yet we all knew far to well what was happening. This was no war. This was an attempt by a government to destroy, abolish, annihilation an entire race, religion, and people. They desired Hitler's "living space".
So where does all this end? When do we actually once and for all say "Never again"? And when will we mean it?
Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Darfur, Nazi controlled Europe, Russian tyranny under Stalin, American Expansion, the Ottoman Empire.
All those are the known genocides sponsored and supported by the governments. We have forgotten dozens if not hundreds throughout our history. We choose to turn a blind eye to the facts behind war and human history. "Never Again" is and will for the foreseeable future be a hollow promise by those who profit of the deaths of others.
Many set at home and believe the little lie that it could never happen here. Yet we know for a fact that no society is immune to the possibility of genocide. It knows no bounds nor does it respect race, religion, or creed. Money, education, and intelligence do not prevent the horrors of its far reaching devastation. Only the physical action of brave and dedicated people who will oppose this strange part of human history.
Recently I came across the band System of a Down and their work in remembering the Armenian Genocide. They work to spread the word so as to inspire their followers. For the most part they want our government and that of England to hold Turkey responsible for the genocide of the Armenians. For me, they are some of the few brave people that actively oppose the governments and groups that cultivate genocide. So even though I rarely listen to the bands music, I greatly appreciate their work.
Genocide is a part of human history that can not be erased. It does not go away simply because we wish it so. Instead it seems to pop up in the most unlikely places. Rearing its ugly head, genocide destroys cultures, it deconstructs the fabric upon which its victims' societies were built. In a way, genocide is a catalyst that changes the world of those it attacks and yet for as long as it has occurred, genocide and the method in which it is conducted has not changed.