Tag Archives: Ottoman Empire

From Soviet Rule to Present Days: Struggle of Artsakh People for the Right of Peaceful Existence in Their Homeland (By Liana Hovhannisyan)

10 Jul

From Soviet Rule to Present Days: Struggle of Artsakh People for the Right of Peaceful Existence in Their Homeland

The Armenians, one of the ancient nations in the world, throughout the years of their existence were and continue   struggling for their right of peaceful existence in their historical homeland. The fact that in the 21st century Armenians managed not only to survive but have two independent republics, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (otherwise known as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) is a vivid proof of the success of the centuries long struggle that the Armenians were forced to fight to preserve their religion, culture and language.

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Lebanon’s dark days of hunger: The Great Famine of 1915-18 (By Rym Ghazal)

16 Apr

Lebanon’s dark days of hunger: The Great Famine of 1915-18

The harrowing images from Mount Lebanon as death stalked the streets in 1915. Courtesy Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

The harrowing images from Mount Lebanon as death stalked the streets in 1915. Courtesy Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

“My people and your people, my Syrian

Brother, are dead … What can be

Done for those who are dying? Our

Lamentations will not satisfy their

Hunger, and our tears will not quench

Their thirst; what can we do to save

Them between the iron paws of

Hunger?”

– From Dead Are My People by Gibran Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

Almost 100 years ago this month, as the First World War raged across Europe and beyond, a dark chapter unfolded in what was then known as Greater Syria.

The first culprit: the relentless locust. Following a bad harvest caused by a drought, in April 1915 dark clouds heralded the arrival of swarms of locusts, descending to feed on plants, whether green or dry.

For over three months, the tiny but insatiable creatures devoured whatever had been left behind by the Ottoman authorities, who had prioritised food and grain reserves to feed their soldiers as part of the imperial war effort.

This marked the beginning of a period that is now often just a footnote in the history books: the Great Famine of 1915-18, which left an estimated 500,000 people dead. With a lack of accurate data, estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in Mount Lebanon alone.

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Armenia’s moral duty: Recognizing the Greek-Pontic and Assyrian-Aramean Genocides (By Yeghig Tashjian)

23 Mar

Armenia’s moral duty: Recognizing the Greek-Pontic and Assyrian-Aramean Genocides

“Will the outrageous terrorizing, the cruel torturing, the driving of women into the harems, the debauchery of innocent girls, the sale of many of them at eighty cents each, the murdering of hundreds of thousands and the deportation to, and starvation in, the deserts of other hundreds of thousands, the destruction of hundreds of villages and cities, will the willful execution of this whole devilish scheme to annihilate the Armenian, Greek and Syrian Christians of Turkey — will all this go unpunished?” Henry Morgenthau, “The Greatest Horror in History,” Red Cross Magazine, March 1918.

Many scholars believe that more than 350,000 Pontic Greeks and between 300,000-600,000 Assyrians, Syriacs and Chaldeans were exterminated by the Turkish troops and Kurdish militias during 1915-1923. Unfortunately, most historians highlight the Armenian Genocide and the remaining nations’ suffering has been almost forgotten for many reasons. Today their grandchildren are demanding justice, Greeks, Assyrians, Arameans (Syriacs) together with Armenians are lobbying, protesting and cooperating with each other to raise their unheard just voice. On the other hand, while the Greek-Assyrian-Aramean Diaspora is supporting Armenians on international courts and parliaments, the Armenian state still has not recognized the Greek-Pontic and Assyrian-Aramaean Genocides.

Pontian Greek students and teachers of the Alumni Tuition 1902-3 Trebizond.

Pontian Greek students and teachers of the Alumni Tuition 1902-3 Trebizond.

Pontus, the Hellenic heritage of the Black Sea is no more. Entire villages and cities in Pontus were burned, lands confiscated, while thousands were forced to flee to neighboring countries. The Genocide of the Pontic Greeks occurred in two phases, the first one during 1916-1918 and the second one from May 1919 to 1923 carried by the Kemalist forces.

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Armenian genocide: Turkey has lost the battle of truth (By Cengiz Aktar)

24 Apr

“In actuality, how Turks and Armenians, as the owners of this common history, can together, through dialogue and empathy, reach a just memory of the tragic events of 1915, which occurred during the great human sufferings of World War I, is already being examined thoroughly and in all its dimensions. In this context, our proposal to establish a Joint Historical Commission, also reflected in the Turkish-Armenian Protocols, remains on the agenda.”

The quotation is from the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s press release regarding the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s recent resolution on the Armenian genocide. In the wake of its centenary, this is the uttermost point reached by the Turkish state in the perception of the annihilation of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian citizens: A “just memory” and a “joint historical commission”. The just memory is a euphemism to recall revenge killings of Muslims in some areas by Armenian avengers once their people were decimated by the state and their neighbours. And the commission is a sort of face-saver to equate the pains.

The ruins of an Armenian church in the eastern village of Hozat in Tunceli province, Turkey [AFP]

The ruins of an Armenian church in the eastern village of Hozat in Tunceli province, Turkey [AFP]

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