“More than one million Armenian city dwellers and peasants were savagely slaughtered and made to choke quietly on their own blood. Tens of thousands of Armenian males, lashed together with string or rope, were mercilessly butchered along all the roads of Asia Minor, or massacred with axes, like tree branches being pruned. The executioners were deaf to the crying and weeping of these wretched victims, even to their pleas to shoot them so that they might escape the torment: the order had come from on high and the jihad against the Armenians truly had been proclaimed. Yes, it was necessary to mercilessly slaughter them until not a single Armenian was left within the confines of the Ottoman Empire.” —Grigoris Balakian, Armenian Golgotha
Plain and Simple
It is now one century since Turkish Muslims commenced genocide against Armenian Christians. And President Barack Hussein Obama is going to be careful not to call it what it is, a prime example of Islamic Jihad. The Armenian community, however, would settle for the simple recognition on President Obama’s part that the mass slaughter perpetrated against their ancestors was genocide, plain and simple.
The Canonization of Armenian Saints
To honor those martyred by the Ottoman program of Islamic Jihad, the Armenian Apostolic Church has decided to canonize the martyrs. On April 23rd, the religious ceremony in Erevan, Armenia, took place at Ejmiatsin, a 4th-century Christian cathedral. At the conclusion of the ceremony Thursday, bells tolled at Armenian churches worldwide, in recognition of the deaths of the 1.5 million sainted Armenians, to be be followed by a minute-long international moment of silence.
Holocaust Denial, Muslim-Style
The Armenian people, both in Armenia and in diaspora, have sought official recognition of the Armenian Genocide for decades. But post-Ottoman Turkey continues to repudiate any official recognition of the slaughter, likely due to the fact that Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, is of a long line of Muslim leaders who characteristically lack sympathy for non-Muslim tragedies, on any scale.
A Solemn Day
A follow-up event, on Friday, April 24th, was set to commemorate the actual date of the commencement of the genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians planned to make their way to the site of the Armenian Genocide Memorial, upon a hilltop to the west of Yerevan, overlooking the city of Tsitsernakapert. The carrying of candles and flowers were the order of the day, their final place of repose to be at the Eternal Flame at the memorial. Every year, on April 24th, many Armenians from Armenia and abroad visit here to place flowers around the flame.
A Proper Remembrance
From Paris to Chicago to Los Angeles, members of the Armenian diaspora remember what happened to their sainted relatives. Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande find themselves in Armenia for commemorative ceremonies there, not to be joined by President Obama, who was also noticeably absent from the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz earlier this year. When it comes to matters of genocide, President Obama has lost the moral high ground to President Putin, who has declared, “Russia’s position was and remains consistent and objective: mass extermination on ethnic grounds cannot be justified! The international community must do everything to prevent such heinous crimes from ever happening again.”
Flashback to the Past: Anti-Armenian Jihad Begins
In 1915, Muslim leaders of the Turkish government decided to prosecute Jihad against Armenian Christians. The plan was to massacre all 2 million of the empire’s Armenian Christians (which only goes to show that the Islamic State if far from original in the scope of its efforts). When the slaughter finally ceased, circa 1922, some 1.5 million Armenian Christians had been annihilated. This was, inarguably, a case of genocide, the pre-meditated and systematic annihilation of an entire population.
Armenians have lived in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for 30 centuries. During the 4th century, Armenia was an independent state that became the first country on earth to announce Christianity as its official religion. But eleven centuries later, conquered by warring Muslims, Armenia became part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman rulers were Muslims. They tolerated religious minorities, such as Christians, as long as three things remained true: 1) they agreed to pay the jizya tax (customarily, 50% of all income); 2) they submitted to their Muslim rulers; and 3) they remained more of a benefit than a burden. Despite the obstacles inherent in living under such hardship, the industrious Armenian Christians had high levels of literacy and education and could, therefore, do generally well. Their Muslim neighbors resented their success, however, and bad feelings devolved into whispering campaigns against the Armenians. Armenians were accused of being disloyal to the empire and harboring sympathies for Russia, which was a Christian country.
As the Ottoman Empire began to crumble, at the end of the 19th century, tensions increased. State-sanctioned pogroms against the Armenians occurred in 1894 and 1896. Entire villages, and even cities, saw their populations decimated; and hundreds of thousands were dead before the butchery ended.
In 1908, government reformers called the “Young Turks” took over. They established a new government, and at first the Armenians hoped their situation would improve. But change was not going to be for the better. The Young Turks wanted to “Turkify” the empire. And with the advent of World War One, anti-Armenian sentiment increased, due to renewed fears of the Russian army. A plan was laid to rid Turkey of Armenian Christians for good. No other group, it is interesting to note, was singled out. No Muslims were harmed as a part of the murderous campaign.
On April 24, 1915, the planned Armenian Genocide commenced. The government arrested and executed hundreds of Armenian intellectuals. The next step was to turn Armenians out of their houses. And then the death marches into the desert began. Often, the marchers were stripped bare and force-marched beneath the scorching sun until they dropped dead. Squads of killers called “butcher battalions” were dispatched with “the liquidation of the Christian elements” in mind. Many Armenians were thrown off of mountains, some were burned alive, and others were crucified. The corpses of Christians littered the countryside.
Back to the Future: Obama Breaks a Pledge
Today, it is the Iraqi countryside that is being littered with Christian corpses. And President Obama does little or nothing to help arrange matters in favor of the victims. President Obama—who criticized President George W. Bush for failing to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide—vowed, during his 2008 presidential campaign, to acknowledge the mass slaughter of Armenian Christians for what it was: “As president, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
Getting It Wrong
Obama continues to this day to break his pledge, but how can Obama be expected to acknowledge the Armenian past, when he refuses to intervene in the Darfurian present? President Obama cannot speak with honor on the subject of the Armenian Genocide when he continues to shirk his present-day responsibility to combat the genocide in non-Muslim Darfur. Mia Farrow, writing for the Huffington Post, remarked on what might seem a conspiratorial silence with regard to the slaughter that is transpiring daily in Darfur: “There was a time when Mr. Obama expressed outrage over the mass murder and aerial bombardment of civilians in the Darfur region of Western Sudan. Now President Obama has joined that silence.”
And the Rest Is . . . Entirely Predictable
Whether it be honoring the Armenian Genocide or protecting Darfurian Christians from the Muslim Janjaweed, at least President Obama, if he is nothing else, is entirely predictable.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com