Of Turks and Armenians
Today’s Zaman | July 19, 2010
Of Turks and Armenians
If the Pope can finally beg forgiveness for the child abuse perpetrated by its priests (‘fathers’), and the church’s decades of denial and cover-up, maybe there is hope that the Turkish Government will one day beg forgiveness for the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the country’s founding fathers, and the Turkish Government’s decades (now a century) of denial and cover-up.
On the eve of the 95th Anniversary of the events of April 24, 1915, Armenians around the world are preparing to attend church services, commemorations and rallies around the world. Today we awaken to cries of “We are all Armenian” sympathies that lift our hearts. Unfortunately, while we sleep, Turkey continues its insidious campaign of Armenian Genocide denial. This hateful last phase of genocide has lasted (successfully) for 95 years. As the granddaughter and great granddaughter of Armenian Genocide victims, I beseech you to recognize and stand up to all forms of genocide and genocide denial.
Professor Gregory Stanton, the Immediate Past President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars recently wrote a letter to London’s Tate Gallery concerning the museum’s shocking complicity in Turkey’s Armenian Genocide denial campaign. Stanton is Professor of Genocide Studies and Prevention, George Mason University, and Founding President, Genocide Watch.
Read the Article:
Former International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) President Writes Letter to Tate Gallery on Genocide Denial
The Armenian Weekly | April 22,2010
- Thank Professor Stanton for his vigilance and speaking out about Armenian Genocide denial. Email Stanton at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to the Tate Gallery to share your opinion about the handling of the current Arshile Gorky exhibit and the musuem’s submission to the Turkish Government’s Armenian Genocide denial demands:
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, The Tate Gallery
Mr. Matthew Gale, Curator, The Tate Gallery
My Sunday school teacher, Dr. Zaven Daderian, was right. We must remain vigilant in our fight for the truth about our history. Please continue to educate yourself and the world about the Armenian Genocide.
As readers of this blog already know, I am writing a book about my grandfather, Dr. Karnig Kalpakian. This blog came about because as I started researching the history of the Armenian Genocide, I learned that what my high school Sunday School teacher warned us was true: the Turkish government actively denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide. And, sadly, many of our politicians and universities are on the Turkish lobby’s payroll. This blog is simply a means for sharing what I come across each day as I dig deeper into the mountains of evidence that actually do exist, which prove the truth of the Ottoman Turks’ slaughter and brutalization of over 1.5 million Armenians at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Last night I read Neither to Laugh nor to Weep: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide by Father Abraham H. Hartunian. I learned about the book when I read the Ellis Island oral history of his son, Vartan Hartunian. Father Hartunian’s account is brutal and vivid. I shutter to think what horrors he may have edited out of his memory, because his descriptions of the attacks he witnessed and the terror he experienced are raw.
I wanted to read his book because I learned that he led a church congregation in Marash (which is the city where my grandfather lived). I hoped to learn more about what happened in 1920, as my grandfather only glossed over the events in his letters to our family. The only clue I had to the madness is that my grandfather referred to his home burning and that his mother and sisters were taken to the mosque and ‘butchered’. But, I questioned his knowledge and memory of the event because until last night I had not read an account, or spoken with anyone, who knew of the mosque (I kept encountering the recounting of the burning of the churches with their congregations inside).
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE IS VERY VIOLENT AND GRAPHIC
On pages 136-137 of Neither to Laugh not to Weep, Father Hartunian writes:
On the night of January 23, to the firing, the thundering of the cannons, the din of battle, a more calamitous evil was added—fire! The Turks had begun to set Armenian houses and buildings on fire. Even Turkish buildings were being burned if it seemed possible thus to spread the blaze to the Armenian quarters or one of the military centers. The flames rose everywhere; the city glowed beneath their light. From every side, bullets were incessantly whizzing like hail, and no one knew when he might be hit. Every moment there was danger of a fierce attack on any center where the Armenians had gathered. The fire horrified us. It was impossible to withstand it. I do not know a battle on a field or in the air, but I do know that a battle in a city is a hellish thing!
In the other centers the situation was the same or even worse. But no horrors can ever parallel the experience of the Armenians in the Armenian quarters and in their houses. These were tortured without respite and without pity and then slaughtered. A well-known and supposedly good-hearted Turk, Murad Bey, was in the Great Mosque, Ooloo Jami, where the murderers were at work. Some Armenian women and children, watching the slaughter and awaiting their turn, pleaded, “Please tell them to shoot us and not cut our throats with the knife!” and our kind Turk answered, “Don’t be afraid. The knives have been sharpened well and you will not suffer much.”
The city’s greatest Hoca was there too, Dayi Zade Hoca, and the Turks turned to him saying, “Hoca, shall we slaughter the small children too?” Does the Koran give us permission?” “Yes,” he answered, “slaughter them too. The Koran permits. We must kill the offspring of the scorpions, too, that they may not grow and sting us.”
Now, I know the fate of my grandfather’s mother, Mary Mesrobian Kalpakian; and his sisters, Anais Kalpakian (13 or 14 years old), and Armenouhi Kalpakian (9 or 10 years old).
The more I read, the more my grandfather’s words are verified as fact. This history is no ‘myth’ as Turkish government spokespeople continue to allege. But, I wish they were right.