On a hot bloody day in late April, when the sun was causing red oasis in the sandy deserts of Turkey and Syria, many Armenian intellectuals disappeared and never came back. As it turned out, they were among the one and a half million that were slaughtered in the first genocide of the 20th century:the Armenian genocide. Although this massacre was pre-planned and derived by pre-determined motives, it was not referred to as genocide until the Turks started denying this clear historical fact. The Armenian genocide should be recognized, because denying it ignores the historical reality and outweighs the benefits for the Turkish government.
Genocide is a misanthropic act that is intended to accomplish certain incentives for a group of people through mass killing and extermination of a race.
Genocides are generally composed of eight stages, and the last stage is typically denial. The eight stages of genocides are generally an eight-fold classification: symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and finally denial. The Armenian genocide of 1915 was pre-planned by the Nationalist Ottoman Empire and organized by Talat Pasha. The major incentive of the Armenian Genocide was to create a uniform Turkish-speaking Muslim territory by cleansing all the non-Turkish minorities and conquering their lands and possessions.
Such a utopian territory was neither Turkey nor Turkistan; it was called “Turan.” Mehmed Ziya, the most influential thinker of the Turkish government, who from 1909 to 1918 was a member of the secretive Central Committee of the Committee of Union and Progress, the party that ruled the Ottoman Empire for most of the period said: “The land of the enemy shall be devastated, Turkey shall be enlarged and become Turan.” The only way the Turkish government could create their desired dreamland “Turan” was by exterminating all the Armenians who were the Christian minority in that region and deporting them to foreign lands. Today, this sad reality has become incredibly hard and disrespectful for the Turkish government to accept. After all, who would want to admit a mass murder of two-thirds of a nation?
Despite the Turkish government’s constant crusade to destroy evidence of the genocide, there is still tons of evidence remaining to prove it. When I physically went down to Ani, a holy Armenian city which Turkey devastated and killed all its Armenian inhabitants during the genocide, I observed how a government can kill history. All the burnt churches that were evidence of the genocide were being torn down, or they were reconstructed and represented as Turkish mosques.
If a country is not ashamed of her past why would it change her history? A simple answer to this question is that it is always easier to say something did not exist rather than denying an actual fact.
There is also unbiased evidence compiled by world-famous historians such as Arnold Toynbee and James Bryce. In February 1916, these historians began compiling information and evidence for a publication about recent events in Armenia.
Resistance itself is the most valuable psychological evidence that can lead to the unraveling of the untold and denied truth. If Turkey is confident that the Armenian genocide did not happen and keeps denying this historical fact, then why do they resist those who attempt to produce documents about this fact? “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (Mount of Moses)” is literature that narrates the story of Armenians inhabiting villages around Mount Moses during World War I. Although this story is mainly an artwork, it is based on true facts, evidence, personal experiences and observations of the author from the genocide.
When MGM was trying to produce a movie based on this book, the Turkish government called the American authorities to forbid MGM from producing the movie. This clear resistance shows the fear of the Turks from the popularity and fast transmittance of the truth. If the world finds out about such an inhuman reality in history, it will be a lot harder for Turkey to deny the genocide.
Like all the other genocides, racism is an inevitable factor of the Armenian genocide. The Turks could not stand the Armenians’ advancements in economy, and their involvement in the political system.
Looking back at history we find out that every murder has a murderer, especially if the murders happen in a large amount and at a specific time period. Armenians have been deprived of any meaningful and official recognition of this bloody series of murders. Indeed the world has not taken the time to listen to the survivors, but this has not kept the survivors from speaking up and narrating bitter stories about the genocide.
Although the Turkish government has been denying the Armenian genocide for 91 years, the world is getting more informed about this genocide. Clearly, Turkey will be the last nation to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, because denying this historical reality outweighs the benefits for the Turkish government. Naturally Armenians all around the world will not sit silently. They will protest and fight until they get the genocide recognized by the whole world.
This is definitely a possible thing to accomplish, because similar cases, such as the Jewish Holocaust have been already tested and have successfully passed this bloody test of recognition, for the most part. His Eminence, Ignatius Peter XVI Batanian, once said: “A million and a half Armenian victims horribly massacred, all the Armenian people, shaken but not discouraged, await an answer.”
Armen Rostami can be reached at email@example.com.