These attacks included a massacre of some 1,200 Armenians in 1890.
A particular incident occuring in 1909, six years before the genocide itself began, took place in the city of Adana. Turkish looters and mobs began attacking and robbing the Armenians there, and the Turkish guards actually fired on the victims themselves instead of the Turks who were attacking them. "...The streets were already filling up with bleeding bodies and Armenian corpses...The [Turkish] provincial Governer and Commandant refused to do anything but sit in their offices"- Doughty Wyley, british Vice-Consul, speaking of attack on the Armenians of Adana, 1909.
At the end of the attack, 4,437 Armenian houses were burned down, two hundred villages destroyed, and between 15,000 and 20,000 were thought dead.
Begining in the spring of 1915, the Armenian Genocide resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians. Mehmed Talat Pasha, an Ottoman Statesman played a large role in this mass-murder.
The Armenians were forced out of their homes and villages, and were either killed immediately, or sent to one of at least twenty five concentration camps. intellectual, strong young men were taken out first and shot or beheaded, leaving the surviving Armenians with no one who could help protect them.
On the marches to the camps, they were starved, killed, raped or robbed, and many died of disease, exhuastion, heatsrtoke, and starvation. Those who were too weak to continue on were either left to die or slaughtered, often in front of their loved ones. To survive long enough to make it to the camps meant one of two things: Death, or strenous, fourced manual labor. The elderly, sick, injured, weak, or very young would be automatically sent to the death camps, if they even survived the marches at all.
Rize, a camp located along the Black Sea, was known as a mass "killing station where Armenians were often taken out on boats, and drowned"
"The epicenter of death was the region of Deir el-Zor, where Armenians died not only of massacre, starvation, and disease, but were also stuffed into caves, and asphyxiated by brush fires- primitive gas chambers" -Peter Balakian (In his book about the genocide, The Burning Tigris)
Dead bodies- and not uncommonly, living ones who where unfourtunate enough to be thrown in with them- were either thrown into poorly dug mass graves, burned, or simply tossed into a body of water.
Journalist Leslie Davis described his 1915 visit to lake Goejuk, and the village of Keghvenk, noting the tens or hundreds of thousands of Armenian corpses. He saw thousands of bodies in the lake itself, the piles of the ashes of those who had burned alive, heads lying upon the ground, and many who had been "mutilated by bayonets". (Bullets were scarce at the time) Davis compares it to a slaughterhouse, where "Armenians were hacked to peices" and children where impaled on rocks, usually infront of their parents. He also wrote that amount of death was so numerous he "could smell the dead bodies" for miles.
All throughout Turkey the same brutal slaughterings and murders took place, leaving the deathtoll amounting to, and perhaps exceeding 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children.
The customs and and culture of more than a generation were nearly erased; perserved by those who managed to survive. many young Armenians today, including myself, can no longer trace their lineage past that of their grandparents, because so many have been lost in the genocide, and family records along with them.
An even greater blow to the Armenians living today, and to the memory of those who perished in 1915, is Turkey's denial of the enitre genocide. Although in 1919, Turkey was forced to try and convict those responsible for the mass murders, the average Turkish citizen was generally unconcerned, or, denied the genocide had taken place. Later that year, the Turkish government released those who had been found guilty, and the killers fled to Germany, where they'd been offered protection.
Another outraging action turkey has taken, is the posting of numerous websites (many of them state sponsored), the making of adds, movies, and even a tourism video where they plainly claim that the genocide was/is a LIE. Even the United States doesn't acknowledge that it was a genocide. They will agree that it was a great tragedy, and that over a million perished, but thet avoid using the tabooed 'G' word: Genocide. Perhaps to prevent an uncomfortable dispute with Turkey, or maybe even because some do not know the truth.
Reconizing the Turkish crime as genocide has been proposed to the House Of Representatives, but not passed. If we can convince the Speaker of The House that we want the truth, and we want justice, then perhaps we can convince them to pass it. Below, I have included a few links to sign the petitions requesting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Please sign if you'd like. All I ask is that you read the petition first, so you know what you're signing. :) Thanks :)
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