Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Real Abominables #2 The Armenian Genocide (Pt 1)

#2 of The Real Abominables series relates to The Armenian Genocide, and needs to be spread over two days' posts. Today, a bit of outline information; tomorrow, a look at natal charts of two of the leaders of the genocide.
(#1 in this series is HERE)

First, where is Armenia? The country is located in the Caucasian Mountains on the Black Sea between Russia and Turkey. Interesting sidelight: Armenia contains some of the most significant cultural examples of sacred geometry, as well as other remarkable prehistoric structures, such as the "stonehenge" at Karahundj near Sissian. This stone circle, now shown to be a prehistoric observatory, long predates Stonehenge in England. Ancient inscriptions found here may mark the birthplace of the Zodiac – and of Western Civilisation itself. (See HERE).

It is estimated that one and a half million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923. There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of World War I. Well over a million were deported in 1915. Hundreds of thousands were butchered outright.

 Photo from the Armenian Weekly
Nazi genocide, of Jews, had this predecessor in such atrocities. Though The Armenian Genocide is not as universally well known, we do receive reminders of it from time to time, just last month, for instance:

( – An Armenian Apostolic church constructed in memory of the victims of the 20th century Armenian genocide was “rigged and dynamited” on Sunday by forces loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), according to reports from Syria’s government news agency.

To appreciate the detailed circumstances and history leading to the Armenian Genocide, it'd take many pages of text. I'll try to put major points into as neat a nutshell as possible here, then link to some of many websites carrying more detail.

Armenia adopted Christianity in 301 A.D., before the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. For centuries it was a prosperous country, but in the 15th century the Ottoman Empire absorbed Armenia and its population. Non-Muslim Armenians were classified as “infidels”, were made to pay higher taxes, and enjoyed fewer rights than Muslims.

The Ottoman Empire was dominant in the region through the 19th, into the 20th century. In the 1890s Armenians began to demand more rights. In 1894, they met with a violent response from the Sultan. In ensuing battles, until 1896, as many as 200,000 Armenians were killed by Sultan Abdul Hamid’s troops: the Hamidian Massacre. The killing of the 200,000 Armenian Christians, though, pales as compared to the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

Turkish nationalism grew, Armenians were seen as enemies of the state. In 1908, a group of so-called "Young Turks" forced the Sultan out and took control of the government. Armenians were, more and more, considered a threat to the shrinking Ottoman Empire. As Christian countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia left the Empire, Turkish loss of power fomented ever stronger feelings of nationalism.

Some extreme members of the "Young Turks" formed the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). The CUP focused on an increase of Turkish nationalism, their chant: “Turkey for the Turks!”

Germany and Russia went to war in 1914. Turkey sided with Germany. The Turks hoped a defeat of the Russians would help in the prospect of rebuilding their empire. In December of 1914, the Ottoman Turks tried to invade Russia, but suffered a bad defeat. More than 100,000 Russian troops invaded Turkey. Some 5,000 Armenians had helped the Russians, many enlisting in the Russian Army. Turkish leaders now saw the Armenians as a definite liability. Armenian members of the military were immediately disarmed, moved into labour camps and subsequently executed. On April 24th 1915, a group of 250 Armenian intellectual leaders of the community were rounded up and shipped to a camp where they were killed. Armenian soldiers and the cultural elites were now gone. The remaining Armenian population was forced to comply with a relocation order - essentially a death sentence.

Armenians were forced marched for sixty days, many did not survive. The Turks forced those of their victims who were transported by rail to purchase tickets for the ride to their own extermination. Children and old people were marched over mountains and in circles, without food and water, until they died. Young Christian girls were raped by the Turkish soldiers. There are reports that many killed themselves afterwards. The barbaric treatment of Armenian women went even further. One woman who claimed to have witnessed the brutal crucifixion of 16 young girls.

In her memoir, Ravished Armenia, Aurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem. Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being raped, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.” Related scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

Accounts of Turkish atrocities against Armenians reveal brutalities equal to those happening during Hitler’s attempts to exterminate the Jews from Germany, and the world, more than twenty years later.

 PBS Documentary Film, 2006
The entire wealth of the Armenian people was expropriated. After only a little more than a year of calm at the end of World War I, the atrocities began again and continued, between 1920 and 1923. Remaining Armenians were subjected to further massacres and expulsions.

The scope and brutality of the events which killed 75 percent of Armenians — a predominantly Christian group - makes it very difficult to understand why, though historians and Armenians call this a genocide, the Turkish government and the United States and its presidents, will not officially accept the word "genocide" in relation to these events.

No American president has officially called the mass killings, dating from 1915, “genocide.” President Bush went as far as publicly urging Congress to reject a resolution on the subject. In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama promised that, as president, he would acknowledge it, saying; “Armenian genocide is a widely documented fact.” Despite that very clear language, President Obama was not followed up on his campaign promise. After he was elected, on Armenian Remembrance Day, the president issued a statement. The word that was conspicuously absent from the release: genocide. That term was also absent from every single April 24th Armenian Remembrance Day since 2009.

Here's an 11 minute video extract from TV's 60 Minutes on this topic. The segment includes a video shot on the banks of the Euphrates River where it is believed 450,000 of the victims perished. Remains of murdered Armenians are so prevalent in the area that just scratching the sand, along the river banks, is sufficient to uncover pieces of human bones that have lain there for almost 100 years.

Links to other sources:

Wikipedia's page
Genocide Museum
United Human Rights Council
The Blaze (Why still denied...)

Part 2 will follow, tomorrow.


mike said...

Genocide has been the name of the game throughout human history. Dog eat dog world. As for our American presidents not recognizing Armenian genocide, the Native American cleansing is still fresh in history and the final acts were playing-out alongside the Armenian wipe-out.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - As many extant, non-Native Americans like to say, "that was then, this is now, let's leave the past in the history books".

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, I'm aware that there was an horrendous genocide much closer to home than Europe. The thought that it was in progress around the same time as the Armenian Genocide occurred to me too.

I feel it's useful to learn of things formerly unknown by many, or known of very vaguely but without proper understanding. That's what I'm doing here - educating myself - and finding it interesting. If others do or don't remains to be seen, but the information will be here, (and elsewhere, but minus the astrology part).

Trying to pinpoint the leaders of a particular genocide isn't easy because there will seldom be just one person, though designated leaders and their astrology, will to be at the core.

If you tell me who the main leader(s) of the Native American genocide was, I'll gladly include a post later on. Or, better yet, if you'd like to write a post on that topic yourself, I'd be glad to include it - even as a long set of commentary if you don't wish to reveal your contact detail. I know that you once responded to the offer of writing guest posts by declining, due to lack of huge readership and number of comments. However, bear in mind that these posts do remain available for years; old posts are looked at daily via Google.

When few other bloggers/writers have mixed, for instance genocide and astrology, an early page Google entry will lead people to what IS available. There'd likely be no immediate gratification though.

mike (again) said...

No, I declined blogger-guest, because I visit your site for YOUR postings. I made an additional remark that I tend to write more than a once-a-week "hey, great post!" write interesting essays and I think you deserve more than just a nod.

I think you have become wary with my comments regarding the mix of astrology and your "Abominable" posts. That does NOT mean that I am not interested in seeing the astrology behind the abominables. It's more a continuation of the recognition that you, myself, and other commenters have made regarding the limits of astrology. Difficult to decipher a chart toward evil or saintly behavior.

I'm certain that it's very difficult to write an essay, then read comments that might in some way be interpreted as negative. You are very gracious by allowing comments, then replying to each. From my vantage, I'm simply responding and often I write in haste or without thoughtfulness, but stating my thoughts none-the-less.

There is a strong trend for blog-authors to have their followers, which consist of mostly bobble-head dolls with everyone in perfect agreement, leaving glowing comments. Many sites I visit have "waiting for moderation" after a comment is made and I caught-on that this is typically another way of deleting comments not in alignment with the author's ego. And it's ever so easy to make a quick comment and have the author read it in his/her mental state, only to have a positive turn to a negative. I've read nice comments that, for some weird and unknown reason, have drawn ire from the blogger-author. Many blog-authors take an extremely one-sided stand on an issue without any potential balancing considerations, then are outraged when a commenter offers a varying perspective. This obliterates an academic foundation and puts the essay into emotional ideology.

I come from a science background where my work was under constant review and I became very accustomed to giving presentations with critical feedback. It's part of the professional, peer-review process. My first professional presentations often left me feeling offended and it required that I become a better presenter and-or thicker skinned. Audience remarks are often thoughtless, mistaken, or overly aggressive.

Rain-in-the-Face said...

Are you planning to include the Rwandan genocide of 1994? I notice events in the southern hemisphere are often overlooked.

Twilight said...

Rain-in-the-Face ~ Hi! I've spent some time reading up on the history of Hutu and Tutsi, and general background of the Rwandan Genocide, but am not yet clear about leadership involved. Jean Kambanda was my first thought, but he's hardly ever mentioned in the articles I've read so far. Do you have any information to share?

LB said...

Twilight ~ Thanks. I also think it's worthwhile to remember and honor all those who have suffered injustice and cruelty. Much better than pretending it didn't happen.

Also wise to remember what humans throughout history have been capable of. There are so many terrible examples of the endlessly cruel ways in which humans, then and now, dehumanize other humans.

In retrospect at least, mass genocide makes it harder to ignore our dark propensities, but also easier to blame one particular person or group of people than to look at our own failures.

I see our astrology as more of an **evolving reflection** of who we are and where we've been, combined with the challenges we're likely to face. Not as some inescapable celestial programming that dooms us to commit atrocities or to mindlessly go along with them.

To the extent that we're able, I *hope* our astrology exists as a portrait we're actively helping to create, with each new brushstroke representing a choice - otherwise what's the point?

It's why I like evolutionary astrology.

anyjazz said...

And some lengthy research in this one, TW. Good blog, tough subject.

LB said...

Here's the link to an article that touches on the general point I was trying to make, "Shadow Projection: The Fuel of War":

You could easily replace the word "War" for "Genocide" or "Slavery" or any number of terms.

I'll be curious if there's anything that stands out in the charts of those who are able to rally forces in these dark campaigns without people (and armies) rising up against them.

I've always been intrigued by the astrology of courageous individuals willing to challenge the madness rather than go along with it - either overtly or in secret. My husband and I were talking about this the other day. I wondered if I'd be brave enough to say no.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oddly enough your 2nd comment went straight into the spam box (no idea why- Blogger having a hiccup, I suppose) - I'd not have noticed it if it were not for the e-mail notification I get when comments are made. I've redirected it - as you can see. :-)

I appreciate the points you've made and the encouragements you do offer.
As I think I've said before to both you and LB, I'm not averse to a friendly argument now and again - that's what keeps a blog interesting, and extends perspectives for all sides.

I decided to respond to comments here, which isn't the norm on many blogs, but I feel it's courteous to do so, and I enjoy the challenge to find the right words and tones.
I guess I can be thin-skinned, depending on circumstances. If someone is openly antagonistic I'll be coldly brief, maybe a little sarcastic in reply. But when it's someone I'd normally count as a blog friend I suppose my sword and shield are laid aside and my thin skin shows through.

My background was quite different from yours, but I did have to write reports on my team members annually. I did find that any even slightly critical, or negative remark I'd made made was pounced upon by the "reportee" AT ONCE, always - and all the compliments and good stuff was ignored.

Now I'm in the position of being "reported upon" (kind of). :-)
Human nature!

Twilight said...

LB ~ Yes the sufferers are the reason I decided to devote a day's post to background of this genocide, rather than throw it off in a couple of paragraphs and straight on to the astrology.

As to your point about it being easy to blame certain people or groups, with hindsight, without looking at our own failures, well...we're right on top of 'em now. I'm sure that, if humans survive and the 'net survives, someone will be writing plenty about our failures in a century or two. ;-)

As to whether astrology will show anything at all with regard to the leaders of genocides is part of the reason I decided to continue with this theme for a while. If it doesn't show anything - that tells us something too.

I don't know what it might show, but the more charts we have to compare the more likely it is that "something" could become obvious - even if it's a fairly minor "something".

It's the pull of research into astrology, I feel, I've always felt it - if in a minor, maybe even some might say, a childish, way.

If nothing comes out of this effort, well, it will have been good mental exercise, and I shall have learned a little more history and a little more astrology too.

Thank you for the link - I shall read that piece later.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks - it was an interesting study, and one I knew very little about at the outset. Never too old eh?

Sonny G said...

I'm reading your posts on this issue and well as the comments and replies.

very interesting.
thank you Annie for always serving food for thought.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Though we may not always agree (and who does?), I *always* appreciate the effort you put into each post as well as the gracious way you allow us to share our thoughts through comments. And the time it takes you to respond.

Just wanted you to know I don't take you for granted! I suspect your other regulars feel the same.:)

Off subject (or maybe not), but on your recommendation I rented "The Book Thief" from the library last night. I'll let you know when I've watched it.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ You're very welcome, as always. I'm happy to know there's something of interest to you hereabouts. :-)

Twilight said...

LB ~ That's very kind, LB - thank you!

I shall be very interested to hear your reactions to "The Book Thief".
Its subject matter touches closely on yet another genocide - the one we all (or those of us of a certain age) know quite a lot about already. I might not "go there" with these Abominables posts. So much has already been written, most of the figure heads of that era have been taken apart astrologically, by many people, already.

I think I might just find a few good articles, general and astrological and link to them, before eventually closing this topic. It'd be wrong of me to exclude The Holocaust altogether.

ex-Chomp said...

This is not as known as the Chinese but I always ask myself why European or Western powers genocides enjoy such a good press and always the other ones are rembered so much...

Who knows...

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ This one is outside of the memory of most living people now, and when a lot of people could still remember it - well, back then there wasn't the same level of communication going on, there were newspapers, some radio, but not for all. But I take your point - some genocides are definitely remembered more than others, attributed more importance, and I suppose there are reasons beyond just lack human memories for that, even for some current abominations there's not the level of outcry there ought to be.
Politics, oil....?

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