Posts Tagged ‘Armenian Genocide’

THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)

[ANEC]

 

Uruguay Recognizes the Armenian Genocide
(April 20, 1965)

As it is well known, the fiftieth anniversary of the Medz Yeghern, the Armenian genocide, became the event that gathered Armenians worldwide around public claim for recognition of what had happened in 1915 and for the Armenian Cause.

 

Believe it or not, the small community of Uruguay was at the forefront of the struggle. Around 1963 the young generation came together to commemorate the month of Armenian culture in October, and the next year it joined its voice to the campaign in neighboring Argentina against the issuance of a postal stamp by the Argentinean postal service that would commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. These activities became the driving force behind the decision of young people in a community politically divided as elsewhere in the Diaspora to come together and organize the commemoration on April 24 in a unified way. They created the Coordinating Committee of Armenian Youth Organizations of Uruguay (Mesa Coordinadora de Organizaciones Juveniles Armenias del Uruguay), which was integrated by five organizations belonging to different political orientations of the community.

 

The Coordinating Committee organized the commemoration of 1964, with an imposing “March of Silence” through the streets of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, which was widely commented in the press and had its impact over Armenians all over the world. It invited to a general assembly of 19 organizations (the entire spectrum of the community) that in January 1965 issued a communiqué, stating that, “The Armenian Cause belongs to all Armenians and is not the domain of any faction,” and that “Political organizations, religious institutions, and all organizations existing in the community must set to work around the Armenian Cause.”

 

The intensive activities carried by the Coordinating Committee, including lectures, press releases, PR work with the Uruguayan press, and a competition of posters for the 50th anniversary, were crowned by its lobby efforts.

 

These political efforts led to a commemoration by the Municipal Council of Montevideo on April 27, 1965, which was preceded, most importantly, by the passing of a law recognizing the genocide.

The draft bill was written by Representative Enrique Martínez Moreno, and introduced on January 29, 1965 to the Constitution and Codes Committee of the House Representatives, with the signature of six co-sponsoring representatives of different political parties. The bill stated:

 

Article 1. The following 24th of April is declared "Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Martyrs," in honor of the members of that nationality slain in 1915.

Article 2. The stations of the Official Radio Service must on that date conduct part of their broadcast in honor of the mentioned nation.

Article 3. Armenian descendants who are public servants are authorized to miss work on the mentioned date.

 

The word genocide was not mentioned in the draft bill, but it appeared mentioned several times to legally qualify the extermination of 1915 as “one of the most terrible genocides that history has known,” in the introductory text of the draft, adding that “the synthesis of one of the most brutal genocides is more than a million assassinated persons.”

 

The draft bill was discussed by the House of Representatives on April 6, 1965. A proposal to add an article naming a school of Montevideo with the name of Armenia mustered the necessary number of votes, while another proposal to devote a school class to refer to the genocide did not. The draft bill was approved with the addition of article 4 (“The 2nd Grade School, No. 156, in the department of Montevideo, is designated with the name of ‘Armenia’”) and went to the Senate. The project was not treated on April 7 and was delayed until April 20, when it was treated with urgent character and approved with unanimous vote. The law 13,326 was signed by Washington Beltran, President of the National Council of Government (Uruguay had a collegiate executive in those years), and issued on April 22, 1965. The enthusiasm that the approval of the law created in the Uruguayan Armenian community inspired a massive assistance to the commemorative acts from April 23-28.

 

Petty politics caused the demise of the Coordinating Committee shortly thereafter. The Armenian community would fall into decades of new political divisions that seem to be on their way to solution on the eve of the Centennial. It is noteworthy that on March 2004, the Uruguayan Parliament passed law 17,752 that extended the commemoration to every April 24, repeating the text of 1965 without the use of the word genocide. Nevertheless, on April 7, 2015, the Postal Service of Uruguay issued a stamp on the centennial of the Armenian genocide and Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa underscored that, “Uruguay was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide by law 50 years ago, a transcendental step in a struggle that continues to the present day.”

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee [ANEC])

 Killing of Enver Pasha
(August 4, 1922)

EnverPasha

Enver Pasha

The Russian revolution of November 1917 that set the grounds for the Soviet Union was followed by a civil war. Bolshevik troops were sent into Central Asia to establish Soviet power in 1919-1920. A local movement headed by Muslim elements, known as the Basmachi revolt (the Turkic word basmachi originally meant “bandit”), took advantage of the blunders of the Soviet government in Tashkent (the current capital of Uzbekistan) to challenge its authority and set a movement of national liberation.

Enver Pasha, former Ministry of War of the Ottoman Empire and one of the main perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, had become a fugitive of justice after his condemnation to death in absentia by the Ottoman court-martial in July 1919. He had first left Constantinople for Berlin in late 1918 and in 1919 had gone to Moscow, where he engaged in pro-Turkish activities among the Bolsheviks. After participating in the Congress of Eastern Peoples of Baku (September 1920), he tried to reenter Anatolia in 1921, but was rejected by Mustafa Kemal.

HagopMelkoumian

Hakob Melkumian

Enver decided to return to Moscow and won over the trust of Soviet authorities. Lenin sent him to Bukhara, in Soviet Turkestan, to help suppress the Basmachi Revolt. He arrived on November 8, 1921. Instead of carrying his mission, he made secret contacts with some rebel leaders and defected along with a small number of followers. He aimed at uniting the numerous rebel groups under his own command and taking the offensive against the Bolsheviks. He managed to turn the disorganized rebel forces into a small well-drilled army and establish himself as its supreme commander. However, David Fromkin has written, “he was a vain, strutting man who loved uniforms, medals and titles. For use in stamping official documents, he ordered a golden seal that described him as ‘Commander-in-Chief of all the Armies of Islam, Son-in-Law of the Caliph and Representative of the Prophet.’ Soon he was calling himself Emir of Turkestan, a practice not conducive to good relations with the Emir whose cause he served. At some point in the first half of 1922, the Emir of Bukhara broke off relations with him, depriving him of troops and much-needed financial support. The Emir of Afghanistan also failed to march to his aid.”

Operation Nemesis had succeeded in the liquidation of several of Enver’s colleagues in European capitals. An Armenian group assassinated Ahmed Djemal Pasha on July 25, 1922, in Tiflis under the very sight of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police. Ten days later, Enver would find his own Armenian nemesis in Central Asia.

Yakov Melkumov (Hakob Melkumian), born in Shushi (Gharabagh) in 1885, was a decorated career officer who had participated in World War I and after the revolution had entered the Red Army. After fighting in Bielorrusia (Belarus) in 1918, he became a cavalry brigade commander in Turkestan in late 1919, and from 1920-1923 he was involved in the suppression of the Basmachi revolt.

On August 4, 1922 Melkumian’s brigade launched a surprise attack while Enver had allowed his troops to celebrate the Kurban Bayrami holiday, retaining a 30-men guard at his headquarters near the village of Ab-i-Derya, near Dushanbe. Some Turkish sources claimed that Enver and his men charged the approaching troops, and the Turkish leader was killed by machine-gun fire. Melkumian published his memoirs in 1960, where he stated that Enver had managed to escape on horseback and hid for four days in the village of Chaghan. A Red Army officer infiltrated the village in disguise and located his hideout, after which the troops stormed Chaghan, and Melkumian himself killed Enver in the ensuing combat.

After seven decades in Ab-i-Derya, Enver’s remains were taken to Turkey in 1996 and buried at the Monument of Liberty cemetery in Istanbul. Melkumian was decorated with the second order of the Red Army for killing Enver and defeating his forces. The Armenian officer continued his military career until 1937 in Central Asia. He was arrested in June 1937, during the heyday of the Stalinist purges, and charged with participated in the “military-fascist conspiracy.” He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 5 years of deprivation of civil rights. After the death of Stalin, he was freed in 1954 and rehabilitated. He died in Moscow in 1962.

 

Read Full Post »

130th BIRTHDAY OF MARIE JACOBSEN

Yesterday, November 6, was the 130th birthday of Marie Jacobsen, the 24-year old Danish missionary who saved thousands of Armenian children during the Genocide. She was lovingly called “Mama” by the thousands who grew up under her care, first in Kharpurt, and later in an orphanage located between Byblos and Beirut in Lebanon called “The Birds Nest.”

The Birds Nest remained under DanMarieJAcobsonish supervision until 1970 when the Danish missionaries turned it over to the care of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, as it continues to this day. Marie Jacobsen was extraordinary because of her lifelong devotion to missionary work and to Armenian children, but she was also extraordinary because she kept voluminous diaries. She kept extensive day by day accounts and records of events. Her diaries are one of the most detailed and most important primary accounts of the genocide.

We will light a candle in her memory this Sunday in church. Hope you will also.

To read a remembrance of Marie Jacobsen, “Pink Flowers for Mama,” that appeared in the April 1996 issue of Outreach click here.

Posted from Eastern Prelacy’s E-Newsletter.

Read Full Post »

By David Luhrssen

The persecution of Armenians and Jews has a long history, but in the 20th century, special milestones mark the road to tragedy. Much as the Armenian Genocide began with the April 24, 1915 arrest of community leaders and intellectuals, the Jewish Holocaust’s starting point is often said to have occurred on Nov. 9, 1938 with Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), so called because the smashing of windows in Jewish shops, synagogues and homes featured prominently in the pogrom.

 Milwaukee’s Jewish community will remember Kristallnacht with “An Afternoon of Remembrance and Hope,” 3:30-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. It will begin with an outdoor ceremony at the Memorial to the Holocaust, 1360 N. Prospect Ave., and continue with an interfaith commemoration and program at the Rubenstein Pavilion of the Jewish Home and Care Center, 1414 N. Prospect Ave. Holocaust survivors Werner Richheimer and Betsy Maier Reilly will speak at the event.

Leaders of the Armenian communities of Milwaukee and Racine will be in attendance. We encourage our members to come and show solidarity with a people whose history parallels our own.

Read Full Post »

By Harut Sassounian

http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/08/16/sassounian-leading-muslim-cleric-issued-fatwa-condemning-turks-for-killing-armenians/

I recently came across an extremely significant Islamic document that severely criticizes Turks for using religion as a cover to killing Armenian Christians.

This rarely seen document is a fatwa, or religious decree, issued in May 1909 by Grand Sheikh Salim al-Bishri of Egypt, condemning Turkish Muslims for massacring 30,000 Armenians in Adana, a major city in the Ottoman Empire.

Sheikh al-Bishri of al-Azhar Mosque, the leader of the Muslim world’s preeminent center of Islamic studies in Cairo, issued this fatwa to counter the decree issued in April 1909 by a Turkish mufti (religious leader) that urged Turks to kill Armenians because “they were against Muslims and God.”

Upon seeing a passing reference to the Egyptian fatwa on the internet, I contacted Prof. Mohammed Rifaat al-Emam, an expert on Armenian history, whom I had met during a recent visit to Cairo. Dr. al-Emam kindly sent me the original Arabic text of this important religious document, excerpts of which are presented below in English translation for the first time:

“We have seen in local newspapers agonizing news and vile reports about Muslims of some Anatolian provinces of the Ottoman Empire attacking Christians and killing them brutally. We could not believe these reports and hoped that they were false, because Islam forbids aggression, oppression, bloodshed, and harming human beings—Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.

“Oh Muslims living in that region and elsewhere, beware of actions prohibited by Allah in His Sharia [Islamic law] and spare the blood that Allah prohibited to spill and do not transgress on anyone since Allah does not like aggressors…

“Your duty towards those who are allied with you, who entrusted their safety to you and who reside among you and next to you from Ahlul Dhimma [Jewish and Christian minorities protected under Islam], as imposed by Allah, is to uplift them as you would uplift yourselves, prevent them from what you prevent yourselves and your kinsfolk, make your strength their strength, make pride and prosperity out of your strength, and protect their monasteries and churches the way you protect your mosques and temples.

“Whoever abuses their women, draws the sword on them, and oppresses them contradicts Muslims’ pledge to Allah, which is the obligation of Muslims.

“Be informed that if what the public is hearing is true, then you have angered your Allah and did not satisfy your Prophet and the Sharia. You kept your Muslim brothers away from their religion, whose rejection became hideous by this heinous act, violating what is forbidden, and you let loose tongues of people ignorant of your religion to pronounce hideous words against all Muslims.

“Then, hear some of what your Prophet said about conditions similar to what you are in today. He said: ‘He who kills an allied person [person joined with Islam by an agreement in order to give help and support] will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, and if he smells it, that would be at a distance of 40 years.’ He also said: ‘A person who rejects a dhimmi [a person from Jewish and Christian minorities] will be whipped with flagella of fire on Judgment Day.’”

This document makes it amply clear that the Armenian massacres of 1909 and the subsequent genocide of 1915 were not the result of religious conflict between Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians. The Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar rightly condemned the Turks for the mass murder of Armenians, which was committed for racist Pan-Turkic—not Pan-Islamic—reasons, along with the intent of capturing Armenian lands and properties. The various fatwa issued by Turkish muftis were intended to provoke fanatical Turkish mobs to attack and massacre innocent Armenians.

Sheikh al-Bishri’s 1909 fatwa was further reinforced by the decree issued in 1917 by al-Husayn Ibn Ali, the sharif of Mecca, ordering all Muslims to defend Armenians and “provide everything they might need…because they are the Protected People of the Muslims about whom the Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Whoever takes from them even a rope, I will be his adversary on the Day of Judgment.’”

In 2009, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan stated that “Muslims don’t commit genocide,” he was only partly right. He should have said, “Good Muslims don’t commit genocide.” The leaders of the Young Turk Party who masterminded the Armenian Genocide in 1915 were not faithful Muslims, judging by the teachings of the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam. They were simply criminals who used Islam as a convenient cover to carry out mass murder. The compassionate fatwa of the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar still rings true today as the Muslim world celebrates the end of Ramadhan.

http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/08/16/sassounian-leading-muslim-cleric-issued-fatwa-condemning-turks-for-killing-armenians/

 

Read Full Post »

By Tom Vartabedian On July 4, 2012 http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/07/04/turks-rebuke-school-genocide-classes/

Just when you think life has dealt you a pat hand, along comes a conniver to steal your pot.

For the past four years, members of our Armenian Genocide Education Committee of Merrimack Valley have filtered in and out of high schools north of Boston.

We’ve also expanded our reach to include schools around Greater Boston like Newton South. Scores of children have benefitted from our lessons. In most every case, instructors have been overwhelmed by the impact being made, for they, too, come out learning a valuable lesson in history.

There hasn’t been one repercussion, not even a grunt from a naysayer—until now. A vile and vindictive article from a pro-Turkish website (History of Truth) crossed my eyes bearing the headline: “Armenians Spreading Their Lies at High Schools.”

The gutless piece failed to carry a byline, thus making it more intolerable.

What’s more, a photograph of Wilmington High students holding samples of postage stamps they had designed carried the inscription: “Their Lies Reached to Schools.”

The group photo also had the two presenters that day, myself and Albert S. Movsesian. The ideas for a postage stamp were being sent to the postmaster general of the United States in an effort to get a commemorative stamp minted for the 100th anniversary in 2015.

A completely harmless project meant to both elucidate and arouse our younger non-Armenian population was slurred with malice.

The rebuttal was generated in response to an all-encompassing piece written by chairman Dro Kanayan giving readers a fairly detailed account of the progress made in schools this year. How effective has it been?

While attending a grand niece‘s Chelmsford High graduation party the week before, I approached a table occupied by students who had been addressed during a genocide class taught by Jennifer Doak.

“Hey, you look familiar. Aren’t you the guy who spoke to us about the Armenian Genocide?” a co-ed remarked.

“Yes, that’s me,” I replied. “What do you remember most about the class?”

“How difficult it was for your race to be slaughtered like that,” she replied. “We loved the story about the Calvin Coolidge Orphan Rug and how it found its way to the White House.”

The article goes go to say that the “Armenian Diaspora is spreading its lies by telling them at high schools.”

The next paragraph quoted Kanayan’s story: “Armenian researcher Dro Kanayan said for those people who feel that our elders and the youth cannot work together, don’t worry. Kanayan and both of his peers, Albert Movsesian and Tom Vartabedian, have been working together to have the so-called Armenian Genocide included in the high school curriculum on Human Rights in the Merrimack Valley.”

“They are teaching students about the so-called Armenian Genocide and Armenian culture.”

The story went on to say how we have “poisoned” the students in over 10 high schools, providing individual classroom presentation on comparative genocides over the past 100 years.

It proceeded to include other high school students, including a deaf student we encountered at Newton South who had learned about the genocide through American Sign Language.

Adding more insult to injury, a second photo was used of Dro Kanayan holding a picture of his famous grandfather General Dro, who led the siege at Bash Abaran during World War I.

I should be fuming over such poppycock. Instead, I hold no regret over those who are ill-informed and continue to show their absurdity. The more Turkey refutes historical fact, the more scornful it becomes.

The more truth will prevail and people will see how superficial the Turkish government continues to remain. What people lack in intelligence, they usually make up for in stupidity.

I recall once how vandals had climbed to the top of a billboard in Watertown and defaced a genocide sign that had been sponsored by activist/artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian. For years, Hejinian has been putting up these notices to draw attention during April 24th.

For the most part, the Armenian papers publicized the act, but it also caught the attention of the American press, which matters more. The fact that some screwball scaled a building at night to commit an act of degradation suddenly became media hype. It appeared in newspapers and television networks, giving the Armenian Genocide more exposure than normal.

During a commemoration that week in Merrimack Valley, a local priest approached the podium and talked about the insanity.

“If that’s the way our genocide is going to catch the outside public’s eye, then let the billboards be vandalized,” he lashed out. “And let those responsible find guilt in the process.”

http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/07/04/turks-rebuke-school-genocide-classes/

Read Full Post »

BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN

http://asbarez.com/102833/lawsuit-happy-turkish-group-loses-appeal-on-armenian-genocide/

The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) has been on a rampage in recent years, filing lawsuits against scholars, public officials, and civic groups who support the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Last week, a federal appeals court put an end to TCA’s legal tirade against the University of Minnesota by unanimously upholding a federal court’s decision dismissing TCA’s baseless allegations.

The Turkish advocacy group had filed a lawsuit against Prof. Bruno Chaouat, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, for labeling TCA’s website and others as “unreliable.” The university’s webpage had posted the following stern admonition to students: “We do not recommend these sites. Warnings should be given to students writing papers that they should not use these sites because of denial, support by an unknown organization, or contents that are a strange mix of fact and opinion.”

Initially, TCA had complained that the inclusion of TCA’s website on the university’s list of “Unreliable Websites” violated the Turkish group’s freedom of speech. The university rejected TCA’s allegation, although, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies revised its website on Nov. 18, 2010, removing the “Unreliable Websites” and recommending new resources for genocide research. The university asserted that the revision was not prompted by TCA’s complaint and denied any wrongdoing. On Nov. 24, 2010, Prof. Chaouat posted a statement on the Center’s website explaining that the list of “Unreliable Websites” was removed because he did not want to “promote, even negatively, sources of illegitimate information.”

TCA then filed a lawsuit against the university, its president, and Prof. Chaouat, claiming that including its website on the same list as websites denying the Jewish Holocaust, stigmatized the Turkish organization. The court dismissed the lawsuit.

A three-judge panel of the 8th circuit federal appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision on May 3, 2012, ruling that the university did not violate TCA’s First Amendment rights, since it neither blocked nor restricted access to the Turkish website.

The judges also rejected the Turkish group’s second claim that it was defamed when the university stated that TCA’s website is “unreliable,” engages in “denial,” presents “a strange mix of fact and opinion,” and is an “illegitimate source of information.” In a sinister attempt to win the lawsuit, TCA claimed that its website did not deny certain underlying historical facts, affirming that “certainly hundreds of thousands of Armenians died.” However, since the Turkish website had alleged that it is “highly unlikely that a genocide charge could be sustained against the Ottoman government or its successor,” the judges ruled in favor of the university asserting that TCA had in fact engaged in “denial.”

TCA’s malicious lawsuit disturbed many US scholars who were worried that this case would set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on academic freedom. The gravity of these concerns had prompted the Middle East Studies Association to demand TCA to withdraw its lawsuit.

Although TCA failed in its bullying tactics against the University of Minnesota, there is no guarantee that this Turkish group will stop suing other academic or civic organizations for refusing to cave in to Turkey’s denialist campaign. It should be noted that TCA spent $630,000 on legal fees out of its 2010 budget of $3.6 million. Significantly, no mention was made in its annual report of the sources of TCA’s funding, except a passing remark that it is “supported entirely by private donations.” The Boston Business Journal reported that Turkish-American Yalcin Ayasli, founder of Hittite Microwave Corp., contributed $30 million to TCA in 2007.

TCA engaged in the following wide ranging activities and political objectives with its $3.6 million budget in 2010:

– Delivered 75 position papers to members of Congress and US opinion leaders; – Monitored the American media; – Took a Native American business delegation to Turkey; – Lobbied the Congress against the Armenian Genocide resolution; – Advertised in Roll Call and Washington Quarterly; – Organized Summer internships in Washington for Turkish students; – Provided scholarships to African-American, Armenian-American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Turkish-American students to study in Turkish universities; – Awarded grants for academic conferences; – Offered research fellowships to professors Michael Gunter, Justin McCarthy, Hakan Yavuz, and others; – Contributed $100,000 grants to each of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and Federation of Turkish American Associations, and a smaller amount to the Azerbaijan Society of America; – Spent $630,000 on lawsuits against various entities that support the Armenian Genocide issue; – Funded congressional trips to Turkey, and – Filed a report with the US government accusing the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) of being a “hate group.”

Given TCA’s tax-exempt charitable status, the Internal Revenue Service should investigate the legality of this Turkish group’s involvement in such extensive political and lobbying activities.

http://asbarez.com/102833/lawsuit-happy-turkish-group-loses-appeal-on-armenian-genocide/

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: