ARMENIAN GENOCIDE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED
By Britt Towery
San Angelo Standard Times
April 19 2012
DiscussPrintAAA.SAN ANGELO, Texas – Next Tuesday marks the 97th
anniversary of the Armenian genocide by the Turkish government,
a fact that the Turks to this day deny.
Armenians all over the world commemorate this great tragedy on April
24, because it was on that day in 1915 when 300 Armenian leaders,
writers, thinkers and professionals in Constantinople (present day
Istanbul) were rounded up and deported or killed. Also on that day
in Constantinople, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were butchered in
the streets and in their homes.
The Ottoman Empire was a world power from the 13th century until
the 20th. During the 16th and 17th centuries the empire reached its
height of power under Suleiman the Magnificent, controlling much of
southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa.
Much like the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire rotted away with
the Young Turks forming a modern country called Turkey. In the
process of the revolution, the Armenian minority (mostly Christian)
were threatened, killed and raped in the worst ethnic cleansing in
It was a prelude to what Adolf Hitler would do 20 years later
in Germany. An estimated 1.5 million to 2 million Armenians were
slaughtered. Those who survived fled the country.
Since Hitler’s genocide, the Western world has been constantly reminded
to “never let it happen again.” But it continued in Cambodia (remember
Pol Pot’s murder of 2 million Cambodians that went without comment
from the United States); Rwanda (Hutu militants exterminated 800,000
Tutsi without even a high-level protest); Bosnia (Serbs’ slaughter
of Muslims), and the Sudanese government’s treatment of Darfur (where
the Turkish government continues to supply Sudan with weapons).
Observers recorded that Hitler said to his generals on the eve of
sending his killing units into Poland, “Go, kill without mercy … who
today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Between 1983 and 1988, the United States supplied Saddam Hussein with
more than $500 million per year in credits so Iraq could purchase
American farm products.
In 1987-1988 Hussein’s forces destroyed several thousand Iraqi Kurdish
villages using chemical weapons. (This was not considered genocide,
but shows again how little the U.S. government knew or cared what was
going on abroad.) Our old friend, Hussein, became the enemy in 2003.
Henry Morgenthau Sr., the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire,
after hearing from missionaries and deported Armenians, sent a cable
to the U.S. State Department in 1915: “Deportation of and excesses
against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of
eye witnesses (sic) it appears that a campaign of race extermination
is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.”
Morgenthau called it “race murder.” Morgenthau’s successor followed
suit: He wrote of a continuing “unchecked policy of extermination
through starvation, exhaustion, and brutality of treatment hardly
surpassed even in Turkish history.”
The word “genocide” was invented by Polish attorney Raphael Lemkin. He
spent his life getting such tragic events recognized and labeled.
Genocide is one group’s intent on destroying the members of another
group, not because of anything they did, but because of who they were.
The world at large and the American people were slow to learn about
the wretched remnants of the death marches, the orphaned children
and degradation of a people.
In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a
resolution condemning genocide. The New York Times editors wrote:
“From now on no government may kill off a large block of its own
subjects or citizens of any country without impunity.”
The time is long overdue for the United States Congress to pass
still pending legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide that
began April 24, 1915, and lasted nearly three years.
Let your congressman know of your concern.