Harry Terhanian.com

Wisdom from the son of Armenia.

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  • yehrp vor gahtzeenuh ehgahv ahndahr, dzahrehruh ahseen, “puhr-nehleekuh mehruhn eh”

    This saying conveys the meaning that the trees cannot blame anyone but themselves for their difficulties because the handle of the axe that will cut them down is made from the trees of their forest.

    The Armenians throughout their own history have had the same problem. Often they were defeated by the treachery of their own people. This is a very controversial subject. Analyzing the history of the Armenian people may confirm my statement. Of course, it may be argued that my analysis is a speculative personal opinion. I am sure other persons or groups have a different interpretation of Armenian history. This question should be discussed because the worst tragedy is to have history repeat itself over and over again.

    In ancient times, the most successful Armenian king was Tigannes the Great (Dikran the Great). He lived from 140 to 55 BC. He was able to expand his kingdom from from the Pontic Alps (in modern north-eastern Turkey) to Mesopotamia, and from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Rome considered him a serious threat. He was eventually defeated by the Roman armies of Pompey because one of his sons helped the Roman general and his army traverse the Armenian mountains in order to attack Dikran’s capital Dickranagerd. To save his capital from pillage and destruction, Dickran surrendered. Pompey treated him with respect and a treaty was signed in which Dickran surrendered all his southern kingdom to the Romans and gave large amounts of money in return for peace. His son was arrested by Pompey because he tried to subvert the treaty between Rome and his father.

    There are reasons why Dikran’s great kingdom was short-lived. Armenia was disrupted by internal strife due to its feudal system. There existed regional Armenian feudal lords or Nagharars who were not always loyal to their Armenian king, Dikran. This might have been due in part to Dikran marrying a Greek wife named Cleopatra, who introduced Greek culture and language in Dikran’s capital city. Dikran also transferred a large Greek population to his capital along with a modest Jewish population. In summary, the lack of unity amongst the Armenians eventually led to the defeat of Dikran.

    The Armenians wavered between loyalty to the Roman empire and the Persian empire. After the rise of Christianity in Armenia, the forced conversion of most Armenians to the new religion caused confrontations with Persia. When Armenia distanced itself from the Roman Church and other national churches of Christianity, it became more isolated and weaker. Armenia was defeated by the Arabs and finally by tribes of marauding Turks because it was somewhat ignored by the kings of Byzantium, of whom some were of Armenian origin.

    Later, the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia was also overrun by Turks due to internal strife. The last independent Armenian king of Cilicia was
    John of Lusignan who was crowned king as Constantine IV; but he and his successors alienated the native Armenians by attempting to make them conform to the Roman Church, and by giving all posts of honor to Latins, until at last the kingdom, falling prey to internal dissensions, succumbed in 1375 to the attacks of the Egyptian Mamluks.

    The situation of the Armenians gradually deteriorated under the oppressive yoke of the Ottoman empire. The Armenians that lived in Constantinople fared much better than their brothers who remained in the traditional Armenian lands in the interior of Asia Minor.

    The Ottoman Turks crafted a very sinister plan to weaken and subjugate the Armenians of Asia Minor. They gradually encouraged Kurdish tribes to move farther north from their traditional lands in northern Syria, Iraq and Iran (these are the modern equivalents to the Mesopotamian and Persian areas) to the Armenian lands in eastern Turkey. The Ottoman rulers armed the Kurds and gave them a complicit approval to assail Armenian merchants, villagers and in general the Armenian population as well as other ethnic Christians like Assyrians and Greeks. The Armenians and other ethnic Christians were not allowed to have arms. But the marauding Kurds were well armed and often had superior numbers of men to attack unarmed Armenians. This situation is described by Raffi and others who depicted the depressing situation of the Christian minorities of the Ottoman empire.

    The following are some extracts. The first is by T. E. Lawrence in “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” Chapter four of the Introduction pages 30 and 31.

    “Mobilization (in 1908 after the Young Turk take over of the Ottoman Empire) put all power into the hands of those members – Enver, Talaat and Jemal – who were at once the most ruthless, most logical and most ambitious of the Young Turks.
    They set themselves to stamp out all non-Turkish currents in the State, especially Arab and Armenian nationalism. For the first step they found a specious and convenient weapon in the secret papers of a French Consul in Syria, who left behind him in his Consulate copies of correspondence (about Arab freedom) which had passed between him and an Arab club, not connected with the Fetah but made up of more talkative and less formidable intelligenzia of the Syrian coast. The Turks, of course, were delighted; for “colonial” aggression in North Africa had given the French a black reputation in the Arabic-speaking Moslem world; and it served Jemal well to show his co-religionists that these Arab nationalists were infidel enough to prefer France to Turkey.

    In Syria, of course, his disclosures had little novelty; but the members of the society were known and respected, if somewhat academic, persons; and their arrest and condemnation, and the crop of deportations, exiles and executions to which their trial led, moved the country to its depths, and taught the Arabs of the Fetah that if they did not profit by their lesson, the fate of the Armenians would be upon them. The Armenians had been well armed and organized; but their leaders had failed them. They had been disarmed and destroyed piecemeal, the men by massacre, the women and children by being driven and over driven along the wintry roads into the desert, naked and hungry, the common prey of any passer-by, until death took them. The Young Turks had killed the Armenians, not because they were Christians, but because they were Armenians; and for the same reason they herded Arab Muslims and Arab Christians into the same prison, and hanged them together on the same scaffold. Jemal Pasha united all classes, conditions and creeds in Syria, under pressure of a common misery and peril, and so made a concerted revolt possible.

    The Turks suspected the Arab officers and soldiers in the Army, and hoped to use against them the scattering tactics which had served against the Armenians.”

    In Lawrence’s opinion, “The Armenians had been well armed and organized; but their leaders had failed them.” To understand how the Armenian leaders failed their people, we can read some of the history of General Andranik and his relationship with the Dashnag party written by his nephew.

    “General Andranik Toros Ozanian, my great uncle, was born on February 25, 1865 in Shabin Karahissar. As a child, he attended the local church school but received no higher education. When he was 17, a local Turk was beating his father, and Andranik, enraged, killed the Turk. Andranik fled from the government. At about 20 years of age, Andranik settled down and had two children with his wife. Only a year later, when Andranik was in Varna, Bulgaria, a Turkish pogrom killed his wife and children. Andranik had had enough of the injustice of the Ottoman government, and joined the Hunchak party. However, soon afterwords, he became dissatisfied with the Hunchak’s policies, and joined the Dashnaktsutiun. His commander was Serob Pasha.

    However, this was not to last, as an Armenian traitor poisoned Serob, incapacitating him, allowing Kurdish brigands to kill Serob. Serob’s wife, Soseh Mayrig, went to Andranik for help, and allegedly found him sleeping under a tree. Andranik was furious and destroyed the Kurdish militants who had carried out the killing. He then went to the Armenian traitor and killed him, saying that if traitors like this are allowed to live, the Armenians will be undone. In 1901 Andranik was trapped inside the enormous Arakelots Vank with a bunch of Armenian monks. The Ottomans were sieging the monastery, and Andranik had no chance to get out militarily. Andranik then had an idea, to dress in Ottoman military uniforms and sneak out. His plan was successful, and for that event Andranik became legendary.

    In 1904 Andranik was charged with commanding a force of 500 fedayi to defend the 20,000 civilians of Sassoun from an Ottoman/Kurdish army of 50,000. Andranik successfully halted the Turkish advance, but a notable Armenian loss in that battle was Hrayr Tjokhk a famous fighter. However this did not discourage Andranik in his quest to protect his ailing people from whoever decided to oppress them. In 1907, Andranik then had a falling out with the Dashnaktsutiun which worked hand in hand with the Young Turks to overthrow the Sultan and help bring Tallat and the young Turks to power. Once the Young Turks were in control, the Dashnaks embraced them joyously, saying “Now We are brothers” and engaged in celebrations with them. The Dashnak leaders even invited General Andranik to join in the celebrations, but he turned down their invitation. General Andranik had withdrawn from the Dashnak ARF party in 1907-he had viewed the ARF as traitors who were willing to cooperate with the Turks, and he was right.

    In fact, the ARF continued its cooperation with the young Turks even after the 1909 massacre in Adana. who had decided to support the Ottomans in case of war between Russia and Turkey. Andranik resigned and went to Varna, creating an Armenian division in the Bulgarian army and fighting alongside them against the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars. Andranik was awarded some high Bulgarian award by the king Ferdinand himself.

    With the outbreak of WWI, Andranik warned his intellectual friends to not go to Bolis (Istanbul). He knew that the Ottoman invitation of the Armenian intellectuals to Bolis meant trouble. The intellectuals however did not listen and called Andranik a pessimist. He was right, and all of the intellectuals were murdered on April 24, 1915. Andranik sped to the Caucasus, where he became a Brigadier General for the Russian army. He built a large army of thousands of Armenian volunteers to save the persecuted Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and became the vanguard of the Russian advance, participating in over 20 offensives and becoming famous for his cavalry charges which were always led by Andranik himself at the helm.

    Andranik then advanced against Mustafa Kemal at Bitlis and decisively defeated the Ottomans army, and was ready to drive into the heart of the Empire, when Russia began to dissolve. Mustafa Kemal reoccupied Bitlis after Andranik was forced to retreat. Andranik then became the last governor of the provisional government of the Administration of Western Armenia. He knew that all the Armenians would die if they stayed in the area due to famine and invasion, so Andranik began the march to Yerevan, fighting numerous battles to defend the thousands of civilians under his protection.

    Armenia became “independent” in 1918 from the Treaty of Batum. General Andranik had opposed sitting down with the Turks, and warned the Dashnak leadership against this. And what did the Dashnaks do? following the glorious battle of Sardarapat, the Dashnak leadership sat down with the Young Turks and lets them dictate the terms of Armenia’s independence. The treaty of Batum left Armenia a territory of 4,500 square miles of rock and dirt.This so called “independence” was forced upon the Armenians by the Young Turks.

    In Talaat Pasha’s words, the rationale for Turkey’s plan to create a small Armenia on a temporary basis was: “ By creating a small Armenia we will present ourselves to the international peace conference [after the war] as having solved the Armenian Question, and therefore not be regarded as war criminals and perpetrators of the Armenian massacres.”

    A delegation from the Republic of Armenia went Constatinople in June 1918 to ‘revise’ the terms of the treaty of Batum., a delegation from the Republic of Armenia (Aharonian, Papadjanian, and Khatisian) went to Constantinople to revise the Batum agreement. They stayed in the Hotel Tokatlian for four months as guests of the Turkish government.

    Here is what Khatisian had to say from the experience “I saw the Turks. They are as sweet as sugar, intelligent, and civilized. I am surprised that the Turkish Armenians were not able to get along with them and created an abyss between the two peoples.” –Chalabian, page 401.

    After reviewing the document, the Turks added two more clauses, making it worse than before:
    1) the Republic of Armenia promises to help Turkey in its war against the Allies (England, France, the USC, ect..)
    2) The Republic of Armenia promises to help the Turks to fight against General Andranik.

    The creation of the little Armenian republic was a smart cover-up for the enormous crimes committed by the Turkish government. When it comes to politics, the Turks are second to none. – Andranik was the only one with enough political maturity and foresight to see what was happening. Here is what ARF leader Armen Garo had to say:

    “I can confess today that Andranik was the only man who was not fooled by the Young Turks, and not carried away with false promises.”

    If the peace conference after the war went well for them and nobody asked questions about the Armenian Genocide or tried the Turks as war criminals, then they could wipe Little Armenia out as a state anytime they chose to. They tried to do just that in the fall of 1920.

    Andranik knew that the existence of an independent Armenian state on the eastern border of their country could further the Young Turks immediate political program, but it would not be in their long term national interests. He was certain that the Young Turks had some hidden agenda that, when uncovered, would explain why they granted “independence” to their age old enemies. To General Andranik, ratifying the terrible terms of the Treaty of Batum would mean accepting the little Russian Armenian republic as the final solution to the Armenian question. Such an act would consecrate the loss of Turkish Armenia to the Turks. Andranik could not bow his lion’s head to the enslaving terms of the treat of Batum, nor could he reconcile himself to the loss of Turkish Armenia, for whose liberation he had struggled for thirty years.

    Andranik was extremely upset when he read the terms of the treaty of Batum: “Russian Armenia, therefore, without Alexandrople (Gyumri), Kars, Surmalu, Karabakh, Zangezure, and without Nakhijevan.” “Armenia’s army should not exceed 1,200 soldiers which should be placed under Turkish control.” “It is forbidden to organize armed units on Armenia’s soil, and Vehib Pasha has specified that Andranik must disband his 1,200 soldiers.” The following quote makes clear the importance of Antranik’s battle ready soldiers. “Without the presence of General Andranik and his Special Striking Division, what is now the Zangezur district of Armenia would be party of Azerbaijan today. Without General Andranik and his men, only a miracle could have saved the sixty thousand Armenian inhabitants of the Zangezur district from complete annihilation by the Turko-Tatar forces in the fall of 1918.” — Chalabian, page 409.

    After completing his reading of the Treaty of Batum, Andranik sent a telegram to the commander of the Armenian army, “With the terms of this Treaty you have passed the chains of enslavement around your own necks with your own hands.”

    Andranik’s small force was virtually alone to defend the civilians, due to the fact that the Yerevan Dashnak government was self-centered and corrupt. Andranik fought the decisive battle at Dilijan, holding off the Turks for good. Andranik then went to Persarmenia where he defended more civilians, both Armenian and Assyrian. After his defensive tasks were done, he went to Zangezur, where he was left alone once again to halt the advance of Enver Pasha’s Army of Islam. At the same time, preliminary Soviet and Azeri assaults began on Zangezur. Andranik was victorious, but was disgusted at the Yerevan regime when their “best general” Drastamat Kanayan, also known as General Dro, invaded and conquered part of Georgia, dragging Armenia into another unnecessary war.

    Andranik prepared to go to Yerevan and leave for America with his supporters, saying that submitting to the Soviets would be better than losing everything by struggling. As Andranik’s soldiers were traveling to Yerevan, Drastamat Kanayan set a trap. A policeman stole one of Andranik’s soldier’s wallet, and lured them into a trap. More policeman began to fight with the soldier, who called for help, dragging more of Andranik’s soldiers into the scuffle. Drastamat Kanayan then arrived on the scene conveniently, and ordered his troops to fire on Andranik’s soldiers. The 250 cavalry refused, and Kanayan went back to Yerevan and got another division of 500, who agreed to fire on them. It was a massacre, and a lot of money was looted from Andranik’s dead men. Andranik cracked, telling the Yerevan government that if it did not grant him and the rest of his men safe passage out of the country, Andranik would be forced to attack Yerevan. The Dashnak’s knew they had messed with the wrong general, and they heartily agreed.

    Andranik immigrated to Fresno where he married a second time. Andranik Ozanian died on August 31, 1927. Andranik’s body was transported by France to be buried in Yerevan, but the Soviet government refused to let a former Armenian fedayi into the country to be buried. The French decided to bury him in Père Lachaise in Paris in France. The French Army escorted the casket with tanks to the site of burial in 1928. Later, He was returned to Armenia to be buried in the Yerablur cemetary in Yerevan, where his remains lie today.”

    This is a point of view of history by a relative of General Antranik and some supplemental information.It may or may not be accepted by different factions of the Armenian community. However, it points to a general pattern of Armenian history. The last part that explains why Antranik left Armenia, is in my opinion most significant to understand why Armenians have been their own worst enemy throughout history. The man who saved hundreds of thousands of Armenians from slaughter, was disgracefully hounded out of Armenia by the Armenian political and military leaders of the time.The same leaders ignored Antranik’s warnings about collaboration with the Young Turks in 1907, 1914 and 1918. He was unheeded and the result was a unthinkable disaster for the Armenian people due to naivete of its leaders.

    Another interesting point that I have always pondered is the lack of coordinated efforts with the other Christian and non-Christian minorities of the Ottoman empire and the Young Turk republic that were massacred and displaced. Why have the Armenians not joined with the other persecuted minorities to reclaim their rights to reparations and other amends from the Turkish government for the crime of genocide?

    The following is a historical record of the massacre of Assryians in the Ottoman empire that took place along with the Armenians.

    By Anahit Khosroeva entitled “Assyrian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey and Adjacent Turkish Territories.”

    “At the end of the 19th century the Ottoman Empire was a multinational state, in which along with Turks lived Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Albanians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Bosnians, Jews, Serbs, Kurds, and other nations. All the political, military and spiritual power belonged to the Turks and only served toward their interests. Under the circumstances, the Turks only managed to maintain the authority by violence. It was not accidental that the policy of slaughters, which scope increased in the 20th century and rose to the level of state policy, presented the most critical feature of the internal political and national life of the Ottoman Empire and the principal weapon in solving the national problems. Hence, the history of the Ottoman Empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries appears an infinite series of slaughters, tortures and demeaning the dignity of the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and the other non-Turkish peoples of the Empire.

    At the end of the 19th century a number of Assyrian villages could be found in the Eastern parts of the Ottoman Turkey : in the Hakkari sanjak of the vilayet (region) of Van, in the vilayets of Erzerum, Diyarbekir, Bitlis, Kharberd (Harput) and Sebastia (Sivas) in Western Armenia, as well as on the territory of Lake Urmia in Iran, Mosul in Iraq and in the north-western regions of Syria. More than one million Assyrians with common language, culture and national traditions lived there. By their social and religious characteristics they were divided into several groups. In terms of religion Assyrians were divided into Nestorians, Chaldeans, Jacobites and Orthodox believers. Socially they were divided into two large castes : Ashirets (independent tribes) and Rayas (the subordinate people), who were mainly engaged in farming and cattle breeding. Ashirets paid only nominal taxes to the Turkish government, but Rayas constantly suffered from its pillages and lived in extremely poor conditions : they were almost starving, exposed to Kurdish forays and often were forced to serve in the Turkish army.

    Many Assyrians studied in Turkish educational institutions, but getting the corresponding certificates could not fill public positions. They did not even have an opportunity to economically develop their regions. Turkish authorities dissolved the Assyrians among other nations in order to deprive them of the possibility of joining and putting up a united front. Eventually, as the subsequent historical events showed, the Assyrians suffered the same cruel fate as the Armenians and other minorities living under the control of the Ottoman Turkey.

    In 1876, Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918) rose to the Ottoman throne, who governed with iron hand for 33 years, up until 1909. He kept in fear and horror everyone, both his advocates and opponents, all the peoples, even the Turks. The years of his reign went down in the history of the Ottoman Empire as years of “zulum” - horror and autocratic dictatorship. He introduced individual and mass murders into the Ottoman political “culture”, as the best method to settle the problems the Empire faced. Mass murders of the non-Turkish peoples in the Empire became a component of the new political “culture” by Abdul Hamid. It is known that the pivotal idea of Abdul Hamid’s external and internal policies was Pan-Islamism, which aimed at joining together around Turkey all the countries and territories populated with Mohammedans, by no means excepting the oppressions of non-Turkish nations and repression of national liberation movements. Military and political authorities, Kurdish Hamidiye cavalry units, and Muslim mobs all participated in the crime. In this period along with hundreds of thousands of Armenians, tens of thousands of Assyrians also fell a victim to the mass slaughters, which were organized based upon this very political intention.

    In October 1895 the mass massacres of Assyrians started in Diyarbekir and, afterwards, spread everywhere in the Empire. The Assyrian slaughters reached unprecedented levels : horrible events happened in many places, during which a great number of people emigrated, were forcibly converted to Islam or murdered. About 100 thousand Assyrians from 245 Christian villages were Islamized2. Thousands of Assyrian young girls and women were forced into Turkish and Kurdish harems.

    On October 20, 1895 in Amid (Diyarbekir) slaughters of Christians were perpetrated by Turkish and Kurdish rabble. The Assyrian Church of The Blessed Virgin gave refuge to many Christians : Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks. Fortunately, this church was not exposed to aggressions which can hardly be said about the Assyrian villages most of which were ruined and plundered by Kurds. During those dire days several Assyrians went to their clerical leader suggesting making Armenians go out of The Blessed Virgin Church in order not to draw down Turk’s anger. In response to this request the Assyrian priest answered to his people : “The people who cross themselves will stay in church to the end. Should we be killed, we will be killed together”3. 119 villages in Diyarbekir region were scorched out and ruined. 6 thousand Christian families, about 30 thousand people were killed.

    The massacres of the Assyrians were continuing in every region of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the 19th century as a result of the massacres organized by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the Ottoman Empire along with 300 thousand Armenians 55 thousand Assyrians also fell a victim to the Turkish dictatorship5. During the Armenian slaughters these brutalities perpetrated towards the Assyrians added new pages to the bloody history of the Ottoman Empire. These were the total massacres, genocidal by nature. In fact the 19th century and especially the dreadful events of its last decade had baneful consequences for the Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire paving the way for even greater disasters.

    So, the Ottoman Empire entered the 20th century as a backward dictatorial state, which organized mass slaughters of the nations inhabiting the Empire. The crisis, which involved the political, economic and social systems, still deepened. The massacres exacerbated the situation and bared the vices of the Ottoman state. In the eyes of all the peoples of the Empire, even in the eyes of the Turkish people, Sultan Abdul Hamid was an odious person, the symbol of their misfortunes, violence and torture. The idea of riddance of the bloodthirsty sultan was growing and maturing. The Young Turks were the ones to effect it. On July 23, 1908 the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihat ve Terakki) organized a coup. Sultan Abdul Hamid was deprived of power ; in 1909 he was dethroned.

    The Young Turks came onto Turkish arena under the slogans of the French Revolution : “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. All the nations in the Empire, Moslems or Christians, welcomed the overthrow of the “red sultan” with enthusiasm. The people believed in that a new era in the history of the Ottoman Empire had dawned. Yes, shortly after, it turned out, that the Young Turks were well disguised ardent nationalists, who continued the policy of oppressions and slaughters, carried out by the preceding sultans. They were advocates of the idea of assimilation of all the nations of the Empire to create a pure Turkish nation, never even stopping before mass slaughters in order to achieve that goal.

    As Henry Morgenthau, the American Ambassador to Turkey 1913-1916, says : “The Young Turks were not a government ; they were really an irresponsible party, a kind of secret society, which by intrigue, intimidation, and assassination, had obtained most of the state.”

    It was stated in the Young Turks’ party program : “Sooner or later all the nations under Turkish control will be turned into Turks. It is clear that they will not convert voluntarily and we will have to use force.” During one of the secret meetings a Young Turkish ideologist Dr. Nazeem said : “The massacre is necessary. All the non-Turkish elements, whatever nation they belong to, should be exterminated”8.

    So, as we can see, the figures changed, new rulers came, the policy persisted. And the problem of minorities, racial and religious, had been to a large extent solved by the simple method of extermination.

    On August 1, 1914 World War I broke out. World War I was a most tragic episode in the history of mankind, which, certainly, didn’t go past the Assyrian nation. The Ottoman Turkey officially joined in the war on October 29, 1914. Turks thought that participation in the war will considerably raise Turkey’s authority, satisfy their vanity and dignity. In fact this war was a good opportunity for Young Turks to test the viability of the all-Turkish ideas in practice, to realize their aggressive and wild plans, which met with support among the military-feudal, bourgeois,

    Ittihatic-chauvinistic elite. Talaat Pasha, Turkish Minister of Interior, in a conversation with Dr. Mordtman, the dragoman of the German Embassy in Instanbul, said : “Turkey is intent on taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.” A central committee member Union and Progress Bahaeddin Shakir told almost the same : “We are in war, there is no threat of intervention by Europe and the Great Powers, and the world press either will not be able to voice a protest. Even if we do not succeed, the problem will become an accomplished fact, the voices will calm down, and no one will dare to express a protest. We should make use of this exceptional situation as much as possible. This kind of opportunity is not always available …”

    The subsequent events showed that Turks really were not afraid of the Great Powers’ intervention and perpetrated massacres of a number of nations in the Ottoman territory. The Assyrians also did not elude the mass slaughters and forced emigration. The genocide of the Assyrians was perpetrated with unspeakable brutality. From May, 1915 mass murders and deportation of the Armenians and Assyrians began in the regions of Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Erzerum, Kharberd, Sivas and Van. The expelled Assyrians, attended by armed detachments of Turks, were exiled to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia.

    The American Ambassador H. Morgenthau says : “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race ; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact.”

    The extermination of the Christians in Diyarbekir was controlled by the head of that region Reshid Bey. The Assyrians of Mardin, Midyat and Jezire regions were especially badly hit by the Turkish massacres. The priest of local Chaldean Assyrians Joseph Naayem reported that “since April 8, 1915 horrible massacres had taken place : Turks gathered men above 16, beat, tortured, killed them, and afterwards put turbans on their heads and photographed them in order to prove the world in future that Christians oppressed Mohammedans.

    In September 1916 the American periodical “Martyred Armenia” translated from the “Original Arabic” an article by an Arab eyewitness of massacres, Fayez El Ghosein, where the author adverted to the slaughters of the Assyrians in Diyarbekir : “In Midyat and Mardin an order was issued to murder only Armenians, and not to disturb the members of all the other communities. Learning about the misfortune of their brothers (the Armenians) the Assyrians immediately took a position in three villages close to Midyat and rebuffed the Turkish army exhibiting bright examples of valour. …The Assyrians fully recognized that they were dealing with a deceitful state, which will tomorrow withdraw the promise of not disturbing them and will strike more badly those whom it had granted a pardon yesterday.”

    Jevded Bey, the governor of the region of Van, a person with a number of negative characteristics, who was a master of misdeeds, conspiratorial plans and at the same time was specialized in lying and shamming, had a “butchers’ battalion” comprised of 8,000 soldiers. Jevded organized horrible massacres of the Assyrians in this region never seen before. One of the striking examples of this was the terrible slaughter organized in Hakkari region in spring 1915, where Turks murdered about 60 thousand Assyrians. Then during the following years about 70 thousand Assyrians were annihilated : some of them were murdered, others starved to death or were killed in the battles against Mohammedans.

    In early June 1915 mass slaughters of Assyrians took place also in the northern part of region of Van. The village Qochanis, which was considered the Assyrians’ clerical leader Mar-Shimoun’s residence, was totally destroyed. The patriarchy building was scorched out.

    On June 30, 1915 Leslie A. Davis, the American Consul in Harput 1914-1917, wrote to US Ambassador H. Morgenthau : “Turks have found another way of exterminating the Christians - forced emigration. On June 18 it was publicly announced that all the Armenians and Assyrians should leave Harput within five days.”

    Hundreds of children were bayoneted by the Turks and thrown into the Euphrates, and how men and women were striped naked, tied together in hundreds, shot, and then hurled into the river. In a loop of the river near Erzinghan, …the thousand of dead bodies created such a barrage that the Euphrates changed its course for about a hundred yards.”

    We can see from the above that the Assryians and other minorities suffered the same fate as the Armenians. It appears to be a reasonable strategy that all the different ethnic groups that suffered from the organized genocide by the Ottoman and Young Turk governments combine their efforts to have recognition and justice and reparations from the modern Turk government.

    Enlightened leadership is rare among the Armenian people. It requires people of quality who are street savvy and courageous like Antranik and also free of any personal motive for gain or fame. Self-interested persons may pose themselves as leaders but ultimately they will betray the people who put their trust in them because their ulterior motive will be advancing their personal agenda for profit, distinction and adoration. God help the Armenian people!

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  • Once a man was drowning in a lake. He screamed frantically for help. A brave man jumped into the lake and swam toward the drowning man. The swimmer grabbed the drowning man’s coat and shirt and pulled them. He was able to easily swim back to shore and displayed the coat and shirt of the drowning man, but not the man who drowned. The swimmer proudly showed the coat and shirt and claimed to have saved the drowning man. All the bystanders were aghast at the foolishness of the swimmer, who made such a claim. It was evident that the coat and shirt minus the man was stupid.

    There are fundamental mistakes of perception among the leading intellectuals and scientists today. They are purposely adamant that everything in creation is a combination of matter or chemicals including the consciousness. If there is such a thing as the soul, they insist that it is also a product of matter. Their fundamental mistake is that they remain willfully ignorant of the existence of two energies – material and spiritual. The defect of their theories is that they begin from matter instead of spirit. The truth is that matter comes from spirit.The spiritual energy is the source of matter. The scientists for the most part reject the existence of the soul and spiritual reality. Therefore, their research and studies and theories always remain incomplete and misleading.

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  • heehmahr mahrt oushahteer cheh

    Mrgertitch Koryune has written a story. There was a foolish man who wanted to know how to make dolmas (stuffed grape leaves with cooked rice, vegetables, sweet and sour herbs and spices, olive oil, etc.) He asked a friend to teach him. The friend began.
    “You need a special type of grape leaves that are cured in salt brine.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.” said the fool.
    “Next, get some good long grain rice.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Then you need good olive oil, black olives cured in brine and vinegar with spices, tomatoes, sour plums, dill and other spices.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Don’t forget to get yogurt, chickpeas, pine nuts, lemons and sesame seeds and thyme.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Now cook two cups of rice on a bed of tomatoes mixed with olive oil. Once very hot, add water and bring to a boil. Cook separately in some olive oil any vegetables you want to add like carrots finely cut, parsley, etc. Add pine nuts and spices like dill, cumin, turmeric, sour plums, olives, etc.
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Once the rice is almost cooked spread it on a large plate to cool. Now get your grape leaves ready by spreading them out to stuff with the rice and roll into cylinders.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Now place some cooked rice into the center of the grape leaf, turn over the corners and roll into a cylinder. Place the dolma into a cooking pot with the ends of the grape leaf facing down against the bottom of the pot.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “Once the pot is full of rolled dolmas, pour enough fresh water to cover the top of the dolmas and bring the pot to a slow boil.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “After about an hour of boiling, the water will have evaporated. Pour some extra olive oil on them and let them sit for 2 to 6 hours so that the taste develops.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”

    “Before you serve the dolmas, get some fresh cow dung and put some on top of the plate of dolmas.”
    “Yes, yes, I know.”
    “How do you know anything, you fool, said the friend. You don’t put cow dung on top of the dolmas. You’ll ruin them. Next time, don’t assume you know anything and listen carefully to the explanation.”

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