The Massacred Armenians -ar191712

Jump to: navigation, search



THE sad fate that has befallen the Armenians of the Turkish Empire is the theme of a paper in Nuova Antologia (Rome) by the Italian Minister of Finance, Senor Filippo Mada. He considers that one of the chief anxieties aroused by the Russian revolution concerns the future of the surviving Armenians in Asia Minor, which had seemed to be reasonably assured by the Russian victories.

He recalls the ringing proclamation of Nocholas II to the Armenians, in which the Czar tells them that after four centuries of oppression "the hour of liberty has at last sounded for you," and assures them that the Russian people will never, never forget its debt to illustrious Armenians, such as Laraseff and Loris Nelikoff, who fought side by side with their Slavonic brothers for the freedom of Armenia.

These fervent protestations were accompanies by an abandonment of the attempts to crucify the Armenians if Russian territory by violent means, and by the institution of a more sympathetic policy toward them.

It is true that many of the more intelligent Armenians, especially those living in the centers of European civilization, were disposed to be somewhat skeptical as to the Russian promises, in view of previous experiences, after the Russo-Persian war 1828, and the Russo-Turkish war of 1877. Nevertheless, the repeated declarations of the Allied powers as to their determination to satisfy the aspirations peoples, seemed to justify the belief that the hour of Armenia's freedom has at last arrived.

Now, however, that revolutionary Russia bodily proclaims a policy of "no annexations and no indemnities," Senor Meda asks what is to be the fate of Armenia, into whose hands will she fall? The history of the past two years shows that unless the world is willing to see the Armenian race disappear entirely, it must be freed, once and for all, from Turkish domination.

The frightful sufferings to which this unhappy race been subjected are briefly but convincingly presented by Senor Meda, who draws his data from the "Blue Book" of July 1, 1916, prepared by Viscount Bryce. The latter took every possible precaution to exclude from the recital any statements unworthy of acceptance.

In almost every case, the course persuade by the Turks was to summon the male Armenians of a given district to present themselves without delay before the authorities. All who did not obey the summons were driven to the rendezvous by the Turkish gendarmes. On their appearance they were immediately arrested and sat into prison for a day or two, then they were bound one to the other, and driven out of the inhabited regions into the open country.

They were told that their destination was Mossoul or Baghdad, but as soon as the wretched exiles, snatched from their families without even taking a last leave of them, had reached a distant point where nothing could be seen of them from the road, they were all massacred. This was done at the order of the Minister of the Interior of War, Enver Pasha, who had charged himself with the task of exterminating that part of the Armenian population under his jurisdiction.

After the departure and the massacre of the able-bodied male population came the turn of the women,. the children, the old men, and the infirm. Notices were put up in every village that they must prepare to leave in a few days. The women were nominally accorded the privilege of escaping exile, if they became Mohammeda converts. But the mere profession of a change of religion did not suffice, they must ratify it by espousing a Mussulman.

For the children the illusory promise was made that they could enter Turkish orphanasylums, where they would be educated in the faith of Muhammed. However, in the greater part of the cities and in almost all the villages there were no such asylums in existence.

The miserable women were forced to march out into the open country. Under these conditions death by thirst, hunger, sunstroke, or infections diseases soon reduced their numbers, and when they reached the mountainous district the old and infirm were massacred by Kurds.

The few exiles who finally reached Aleppo in a state of absolute destitution were assigned to the unhealthiest places, among enemies whose language they did not understand. It has been estimated that as many as 600,000 of the total population of 2,100,000 Turkish Armenians were in this way deliberately done to death by their Turkish persecutors.

A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922