The Armenian genocide. A century ago. At least humans have outgrown genocide since then.
Widely accepted historical accounts say that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives at the hands of Ottoman forces in what was then eastern Turkey.
Between 1915 and 1922 the Teskilat e-Mahsus (special organisation) carried out a campaign of mass murder, deportation, pillage and rape against the minority Christian Armenians.
What does that sound like? Oh…Yazidi, Ahmadiyya, Uyghur, Jews, Christians, Muslims, immigrants, foreigners, natives, aboriginals…
The Guardian received more than 500 responses to a callout for first-hand experiences of persecution. Some are based on transcripts and audio recordings, others are stories recited through the generations.
While it is impossible to independently verify every detail, the stories contribute to an overwhelming narrative of death, loss and destruction.
It was night-time in Dalvor when 12-year-old Beso Gasparian’s family were warned of the proximity of Ottoman soldiers. She fled with her mother and her eight-year-old brother, Manuk, to a hill above the village to hide their valuables and wait for the rest of their family to join them.
But as dawn came a massacre erupted. They watched as the soldiers beheaded her father and stabbed her two-year-old nephew before turning on the boy’s mother, Kveh. She was seven months’ pregnant.
The three of them returned to the village the following night to bury the dead. “The scene was hellish. We put the killed baby on my sister’s chest and covered them with stones. But we couldn’t find my father’s corpse,” wrote Lusya Araqelyan, recounting the story told to her by her grandmother.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is very disturbed about this. Not the genocide, of course, but people calling it genocide.
Turkey’s president has lashed out at country leaders who have recognized the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide on the centenary of the massacres.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused France, Germany, Russia and Austria — whose leaders or parliaments recently described the killings as genocide — of supporting “claims constructed on Armenian lies.” He accused the United States of siding with Armenia although President Barack Obama stopped short of using the term in his annual message.
It was all just a misunderstanding, I guess.