Posts Tagged ‘Armenian Genocide’
Posted by addisethiopia on April 25, 2017
The Armenian Genocide Finally Gets Its Due With the Film ‘The Promise’ – ክርስቲያን ኢትዮጵያ ይህን ታሪክ ማወቅ፣ ፊልሙንም ማየት አለባት
Posted by addisethiopia on April 19, 2017
ጸረ–ክርስቶስ ቱርኮች በ “ኢንቨስትመንት” መለክ ወደ አገራችን ጠጋ ጠጋ የሚሉት የክርስቲያን ደም ስለናፈቃቸው፣ የአባይ ወንዝ ጠረን ስለማረካቸው ነው። የሚቀጥለው ትልቁ ህልማቸው መጀመሪያ ግብጽን እንደገና መቆጣጠር መቻል ነውና። ብልሆቹ ኢትዮጵያውያን ይህን ሳያስተውሉት የቀሩ አይመስለኝም። በመንፈሰ ቆሻሶቹ ቱርኮችና አረቦ ፈንታ አርመን እና ግሪኮች ወደ አገራችን ቢገቡ ነው የሚሻለው!
Every year, on April 24, a solemn procession of men, women, and children commences in Yerevan, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Armenia. A sea of sad Armenian faces makes its way up to the hill of Tsitsernakaberd to the Armenian Genocide Memorial. It is here that every year the victims of one of the 20th century’s greatest crimes are quietly honored.
An ancient Christian country located just south of Russia and east of Turkey, Armenia has seen much suffering in its long history. However, of all the tragedies experienced by this small yet resilient nation, none compares to the enormity of the Armenian genocide of 1915. The genocide was committed by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Possessed by a fanatical nationalism, the ruling Young Turk government accused its Christian Armenian subjects of sympathizing with the hated Russian enemy. What followed was the planned, systematic, and ruthless mass murder of as many as 1.5 million Armenian civilians.
“Of all the sufferers of the war,” wrote American diplomat Lewis Einstein in The Nation in 1920, “none have endured more than the Armenians, victims less of its horrors than of the Turkish Government’s diabolical policy of murder.” To this day, Turkey continues to deny the historical reality of the genocide, despite overwhelming scholarly evidence. After over 100 years, the denial of this horrific crime has left the Armenian people in state of incomplete mourning.
Terry George’s forthcoming film The Promise captures the magnitude of this history in a way that no prior film on the genocide has done before. With its sweeping cinematography, powerful acting, and all-encompassing story, it is a truly epic work that effectively and humanely conveys the story of the tragedy.
Bringing The Tragedy To The Screen
Given Turkey’s continued stance of denial, making a film about the genocide has never been an easy task. Efforts to produce such a film in Hollywood were consistently blocked by the Turkish government. The most infamous instance of this was in the 1930s, when Ankara pressured MGM into abandoning plans for producing an adaptation of the novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, by Austrian-Jewish writer Franz Werfel. The novel was based on real events in which a small community of Armenians living in the mountains of Turkey’s present-day Hatay Province (on the Syrian border) defended themselves against deportation by Ottoman authorities.
Due to Werfel’s Jewish background, the novel was banned in Hitler’s Third Reich and subject to mass book burnings. The book eventually came to the attention of MGM’s Irving Thalberg, who bought the rights and decided to have it produced as a film. Pre-production began in 1934. Clark Gable was to be the star. However, due to pressure from the Turkish government (including anti-Semitic threats by Ankara against MGM as a “Jewish studio”), Louis B. Mayer canceled the project.
“There are numerous reasons why a film like that has not been made by Hollywood over the past century,” said Eric Esrailian, a UCLA doctor who played a major role in the production of The Promise. “It is not as though people have avoided spending money producing other films for all these years. All elements—from studios to producers to actors to crew—have felt pressure or intimidation in one form or another.”
There were indeed films produced about the genocide. The earliest of these, Ravished Armenia (1919), starred a survivor of the genocide, Aurora Mardiganian, and was produced by MGM at a time when Turkey did not have the clout to stop such productions. The box office proceeds went to the aid of Armenian orphans through the Near East Relief. Unfortunately, the film was eventually lost and only recently turned up as a fragmentary copy in post-Soviet Armenia.
The films that followed, such as Henrik Malyan’s Nahapet (1977), Atom Egoyan’s Ararat (2002), Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Lark Farm (2007), and Fatih Akin’s The Cut (2014), were unable to reach a mass American audience. Distributed by Warner Bros., Elia Kazan’s America America (1963) vividly depicted the persecution of Armenians and Greeks under Ottoman rule. However, its main focus was the protagonist’s quest to emigrate to the United States.
Given this history, Armenian-American philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian believed that the time had come .for a Hollywood film on the genocide. Kerkorian, who passed away in 2015, first conceived of the idea in 2010, but it acquired momentum in 2012 when Kerkorian set up Survival Pictures. He entrusted his close friend Eric Esrailian to the task of bringing the story of the genocide to a general American audience, and enlisted veteran producers Mike Medavoy and William Horberg.
“We wanted to carefully find the right people—committed people with sincere intentions in their hearts—to come together,” said Esrailian. “Thankfully, we were successful, and the result has been everything we hoped for. In addition, we also grew together as a family of people, both in front of and behind the camera. The entire project is thanks to the courage and dedication of Kirk Kerkorian, and people around the world will be thanking him for generations to come.”
An All-Encompassing Epic
The Promise is an all-encompassing epic that captures every aspect of the Armenian genocide and of the historical time and place in which the tragedy was situated. Early proposals for films on the genocide tended to focus on specific subjects and stories, such as the heroic defense of Musa Dagh or the suffering of the Armenian composer Komitas. The Promise does not limit itself in this regard. Instead, it presents an entire composite picture of the history. All elements of the genocide are brought together into one concise narrative. Ara Sarafian, the director of the Gomidas Institute in London and the leading authority on the history of the genocide in the English language, noted that The Promise “encompasses specific events, as well as generic ones, that defined the destruction of the Armenians.” “The geography of the film, the locations, the movement of people, were all in good order,” he noted. “The cinematography is amazing, and the actors are really good. They hold the narrative together. However, most importantly, the key themes were historically accurate. The producers did not take license to go beyond the historical material at hand yet they managed to capture much of the enormity of the Armenian genocide.”
The film’s story centers on the aspiring doctor Mikael Pogosian (well-portrayed by Oscar Issac) who leaves his native village in southern Turkey to study medicine in Constantinople. Betrothed to a young woman in his village, Mikael falls in love with the beautiful Ana Khesarian (Charlotte Le Bon), a French-Armenian woman, in Constantinople. However, she is also involved with Associated Press reporter Chris Myers (Christian Bale). In the midst of this love story, all three of the characters personally experience the genocide unfolding before them in different ways. Overall, though, it is clearly Isaac’s character, Mikael, who emerges as the main protagonist of the film. He is almost like a hero in a work by one of the great Armenian national writers like Raffi or Khachatur Abovian, yet his experiences are based entirely on actual historical events.
“The film’s main characters are fictional, but they are an amalgam of profiles,” said Esrailian. “We wanted to involve the viewer in the film’s story and to open the door to interest in historical events that have been denied and suppressed for decades. We also wanted to highlight the patterns of man’s inhumanity to man that are sadly being replicated in the world today.”
Director Terry George succeeds masterfully in concisely capturing the entire scope of the history of the genocide. The fictional village of Siroun (meaning “beautiful” in the Armenian language) in Southern Turkey, in an area that Armenians know by the name “Cilicia,” perfectly represents the pre-genocide Ottoman Armenian village life. It captures an idyllic time, highlighting the continuity of local Armenian life and customs before they were destroyed. The aspiring doctor Mikael represents the hope of the Armenian community for a better future in the Ottoman Empire.
Mikael’s journey to Constantinople (Istanbul) reveals yet aspect of Ottoman Armenian life before the genocide: the prosperous intellectual, political, and financial class of Armenians in the Ottoman capital. The film shows their prosperous homes, churches, and trading communities. Sporting the latest European fashions, yet part of the fabric of Ottoman cultural and social life, these Armenians lived between Europe and Asia in a city straddling both continents.
The film also alludes to the prosperous life of the historically significant Armenian diaspora community in France, as personified by Charlotte Le Bon’s character, Ana. However, Ana’s character is representative of even more. Just as Mikael represents the aspirations for Ottoman Armenians, so does Ana represent the affinities of the prosperous Armenian urban class for Europe. Although played by a French actress, Ana’s distinctive “Armenian” appearance also adds to the sense of idyllic, almost melancholy nostalgia of pre-war Ottoman Armenian life.
Another character, Mikael’s friend, the Turkish playboy Emre (Marwan Kenzari), represents the friendships that existed between Armenians and Muslims before the genocide and those Muslims who, later, went out of their way to save their Armenian friends and neighbors. “The inclusion of righteous Muslims as represented by Emre who saves his Armenian friend and is shot or the sub-governor (kaymakam) who helps Armenians escape was a historically important aspect of the film,” noted Sarafian.
However, it is against this backdrop of the pre-war Ottoman Empire that storm clouds begin to form. At a party overlooking the Bosphorous, a drunken Chris takes aim at Ottoman officials and their German guests for the entrance of German ships in Turkish waters leading up to the Ottoman entry in the war. When the Ottoman Empire does enter the war, the angry demonstrations in the streets against the Entente foreshadow pogroms against Armenians in Constantinople later in the film. Soon, arrests against Armenian elites begin in Constantinople, including the arrest of Komitas, which is also highlighted in the film. In a village in the interior of Turkey, Chris finds traces of a massacre against Armenians and photographs the carnage, recalling the work of Armin T. Wegner, a German medic who documented the genocide in photographs. Off in the distance, he sees a caravan of Armenians being marched to their death into the desert.
As the film progresses, the grim reality of the full scale of the genocide becomes even more apparent. Basic humanity is openly disregarded. Mikael is eventually arrested and, with other Armenians, forced into slave labor to build a railroad in the Amanus Mountains. In these scenes, Armenians are wantonly shot and beaten. A former Armenian clown from a Constantinople circus has become reduced to a sad shadow of his former self. Mikael escapes, but encounters cattle cars transporting Armenians to the so-called “resettlement zone” in the Syrian Desert. From these cattle cars spring forth hands of thousands of Armenians, men and women, young and old, who desperately relish the mere touch of rain water. It is a powerful, yet chilling image.
One of the film’s saddest and most difficult scenes depicts the massacre of the Armenian villagers from Siroun, causing Mikael to break down and sob. Such scenes are sensitively and tastefully done, but in the words of Sarafian, are “not ‘toned down’ to accommodate Western sensibilities.”
If nostalgia and suffering are major themes of the film, then so is courage. The film depicts the experience of American and European Christian missionaries in saving Armenian orphans and of righteous Muslims and Turks who protect Armenians. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr. also appears in the film and engages in a tense discussion with Talaat Pasha, the architect of the genocide. The film also depicts perhaps the greatest act of bravery of all: the defense of Musa Dagh by a hundreds of Armenian men, women, and children. The final scenes illustrate the French rescue efforts to save these Armenians. The frantic escape of these refugees to the Mediterranean coast and onto the French ships is a story familiar to most Armenians who fled the genocide. Although a more hardened and mature Mikael contemplates revenge for everything he has experienced, Ana insists that “our survival will be our revenge.”
Although The Promise is a masterfully done film, it will undoubtedly face challenges. Even prior to its US release, Turkish nationalists have already taken to IMDb, Twitter, and Facebook to block and downgrade the film as much as possible.
“Whether or not the filmmakers managed their blend to appeal to today’s easily distracted audiences is something that the box offices will show,” said Sarafian. “Undoubtedly, the final result will also depend on the success (or failure) of misinformation campaigns that the denialist lobby will organize. After all, the denial of the Armenian genocide, unlike the denial of the Holocaust, is unfortunately still fair game.”
Still, for many Armenians who have long awaited a Hollywood film on the genocide, this is it. The Promise is an epic motion picture that will introduce general audiences to a tragic chapter of history that has been shamefully denied for far too long. It is an accomplishment to which many Armenians will respond with a rousing “apres” (“well-done”).
Posted by addisethiopia on June 2, 2016
The Turks always shout and threaten when someone wants to acknowledge the facts of history: that one and a half million Armenian Christians were the victims of Turkish Ottoman genocide in 1915. But did Sultan Erdogan really think that Germany – of all nations – would choose to be a Holocaust denier?
Well, the German parliament has voted by a quite extraordinary majority to declare the Armenian genocide a genocide – which the whole world (except, of course, for the Turks) knows it to be. There were the usual menaces to Germany – a danger to cultural/trade/military “ties” – from the government in Ankara and flocks of vicious e-mails to German MPs, but the parliamentary resolution rubbed in the fact that Ottoman Turkey was an ally of Germany when it perpetrated the atrocities and that Germany itself did not do enough to stop the genocide.
Poor Angela Merkel – who still prays that Sultan Erdogan will stand by her Operation Bribery campaign and keep back the refugees from the EU for a whopping €3bn and an offer of visa free travel in the eurozone – chose to stay absent from the vote. So did her vice-chancellor and her sad foreign minister, who would not have voted for the motion anyway. The greatest irony – utterly ignored by all politicians and journalists – is that the refugees and migrants whom Europe is now so frightened of come, in many cases, from the very towns and deserts in which the Turks committed their acts of horror against the Armenians 101 years ago.
The skulls and bones of Armenians still lie in the sands south of the Turkish border which Isis now controls; and when al-Nusrah captured parts of Deir ez-Zor, they blew up the Armenian cathedral of the Syrian city, took the bones of genocide victims from the vaults and scattered them in the streets. Several German officials who witnessed the original genocide went on to use their ‘expertise’ during the Jewish Holocaust in the Nazi occupied Soviet Union. And Hitler, preparing to invade Poland in 1939, asked his generals: “Who…is today speaking of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
Needless to say, we saw the usual weedy fence-sitting by the news agencies (especially by those with offices in Ankara and Istanbul) who emphasised the Turkish denial of the genocide and the “hotly disputed” nature of an international crime against humanity which – were those same agencies writing of the Jewish genocide – they would rightly never dare to ‘balance’ by quotations from deniers.
France and Russia and at least 18 other nations now accept the Armenian genocide as a fact of history, along with good old Pope Francis – the only major exception being the one whose name we would all guess: the US. An almost annual visit to Washington by a coterie of Turkish generals is usually enough to bring the White House to heel. Doesn’t America need those important air bases in south-eastern Turkey from which the US wages war against Isis (and from which, speak it not, Turkey now wages war against Kurds)?
But thank God, once more, for Germany. Here was one vote for which the country would be certain to snap obediently to attention.
Posted by addisethiopia on May 14, 2015
And he is the third member of the band “”, representing Armenia in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest with “Don’t Deny.” Born and raised in Ethiopia, he will represent the continent of Africa in the project.
Vahe Tilbian is an Armenian-Ethiopian artist with an enthusiastic and bright character. He has a unique style: from rock to techno, from reggae to R&B, from Armenian to Ethiopian, and all that mixed with a lot of Latin music. This blend of cultures expresses Vahe’s personality and makes him stand out as an exclusive artist and a passionate dancer.
Genealogy will be uniting the new generation of Armenians spread through 5 continents (Europe, Asia, America, Africa, and Australia) around the world in the year of 1915. The group consists of 6 artists with Armenian origin – 6 destinies with 1 story.
An Armenian Artist from Africa
While Vahe was born and raised in Ethiopia both his parents are of Armenian origin. Vahe heard the call of the stage as a singer only after he graduated from University of British Columbia in Vancouver. After working in the business sector for over three years as a young college graduate, Vahe left his job in 2008 and started working in music full
He joined the band Z Beyaynetus and soon, Kenny Allen, performer and producer from DC residing in Ethiopia, heard him at one of the local bars and asked to sing backing vocals for his album release show with the 251 Band. Shortly afterwards Vahe decided to diversify his genre and repertoire joining a salsa band called Eshee Havana and worked on original remixes of Ethiopian songs into salsa music. In 2011 he reached the final auditions of Big Brother Africa.
Vahe wrote the lyrics to his first song called Life Or Something Like It in 2010. This gave him the enthusiasm and courage to write more songs. In November 2012 Vahe released his first album titled Mixology. In May of 2013 Vahe released Yene Tizita, a new rendition of the an old Ethiopian style of song.
A graduate of the Vancouver University, Canada, Vahe began demonstrating a serious interest in music upon obtaining his bachelor’s degrees in biology. He commenced as a senior tenor in the choir “The Motley Singers”.
The young singer’s first song, “Life or Something Like it”, was released in 2010. In 2012, his single “Don’t Stop” won the third place in the Armenian Pulse Music Award.
Later the same year, he completed the disc “Mixology” which was released for free.
In 2013, the singer released the song Yene Tizita (Nostalgia or Memories), which was a reproduced version of an old Ethiopian prototype. Its director and producer are Aramazd Kalajian and Mulugeta Amaru.
For the past two years, Vahe has been the soloist of Zemen Band. He has collaborated with singers Zeritu Kebede and Michael Belayneh, and the Nubian Arc Band. The ethnic Armenian singer has also been a back vocalist and first concert performer for Abby Lakew, Nhatty, Tsedenya Gebremarkos, Eyob Mekonnen and Shewandagn Hailu. He has performed concerts with Oliver Mtukudzi and Vee and Liz Ogumbo during tours in Ethiopia.
Vahe has been a correspondent for the Ethiopia-based Zoma Magazine; he can freely expresses his thoughts in Armenian, English, Amharic, Italian and French.
The young singer now intends to release two more discs, of which one will be completely Armenian, while the other will feature the Ethiopian musical culture, at the same time presenting a mix of equivalent elements.
The Eurovision 2016 semifinals are due on May 19 and 21. The final concert will take place on May 23.
Posted by addisethiopia on May 14, 2015
At the beginning of March, a Requiem was offered for my parents and for the Sevadjian clan, and it transported me back 40 years to when I had last been to a service in the magnificent church of my childhood: the St. George Armenian Apostolic Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The church and the cross on its dome stood out against a perfect blue sky. I went in and lit a candle. The altar curtain was pulled across as it was Lent. I looked up at the azure ceiling and the chandeliers. Light was streaming through the stained glass windows into the chorister’s gallery. It was a moving and beautiful experience. The sonorous tones of Vartkes Nalbandian and the clear soprano of Salpi Nalbandian made me very emotional. It was not possible to have a full Badarak as Vartkes is a deacon, and there is no longer an Armenian priest in residence in Ethiopia.
I stood and listened and prayed. I thought of all the Yetovbahayer who had prayed in that church, who had made up the richest and most vibrant foreign community in Ethiopia, their numbers now dwindled to less than 100 souls. Philanthropists, industrialists, businessmen, talented men and women, and most of all, artisans, artisans, and more artisans. What a great number of them there were!
Boghos Markarian, who arrived in 1866 and supplied goods and arms to the courts of Emperor Yohannes and later Emperor Menelik II, was one of the first Armenians to settle in Ethiopia in modern times. By the late 1960’s, the Armenians numbered some 1,200.
There had been Armenians in Ethiopia long, long before then, as early as the 13th century, but a real community with significant numbers was only established in the early 1900’s when many left their ancestral homes in the Ottoman Empire and found a safe haven in Christian Ethiopia. Another wave of Armenians arrived in the 1920’s. Thereafter the numbers increased as people married, invited cousins and other relatives to join them from wherever they had ended up—mostly Syria and Lebanon—after the genocide.
The Armenians who settled in Ethiopia before the 1920’s, and those who arrived after 1945, were mostly well educated; they were doctors, dentists, chemists, architects, engineers, lawyers, and accountants. Many of those who arrived in the 1920’s as a direct consequence of the genocide were artisans; they were tailors, watchmakers, cobblers, and carpet makers. Thus in almost every trade, profession, and industry, there were Armenians in Addis Ababa. They had come from a very wide area of the Ottoman Empire and brought with them the special expertise of their hometowns.
Addis Ababa boasted a large number of remarkably skilled jewelers. One of the first was Dikran Ebeyan, who had arrived from Constantinople. He had the distinction of making the coronation crowns of Emperors Yohannes in 1881 and Menelik II in 1889.
Should you visit any jewelry shop in Addis Ababa today, you will see filigree work in gold and silver. This skill was introduced and taught to Ethiopian artisans by Armenian craftsmen.
A visit to the Armenian cemetery gives an idea of the origins of the three major waves of Armenian immigrants, mirroring the tragedies that befell their homeland: First came those from Constantinople, Aintab, Arapkir, Kharpert; then Adana and Van; then Marash, Sparta, and Smyrna.
It is difficult to overestimate the contribution that Armenians made in their 100 years in Ethiopia. Armenians moved with Emperor Menelik II from Harar to Addis Ababa and helped build a modern capital city. There is not enough space here to describe all their important and lasting contributions, in trade, industry, and government, but a few must be mentioned as they are truly exceptional.
Firstly, there were two great philanthropists whose legacies live on today. One was Mihran Mouradian, a merchant, who built the church that was consecrated in 1935. The other was Matig Kevorkoff, who in 1923 built a modern school to unite the two schools that had previously divided the community. Kevorkoff was a French citizen who grew up in Egypt and moved to Djibouti at the age of 29 to pursue a highly successful career as a merchant of tobacco and other commodities. During the fascist occupation of Ethiopia (1936-41), because of his French nationality, all of his assets were confiscated by the Italians as “enemy property.” Kevorkoff died in penury in Marseille in the early 1950’s.
Among a number of amusing stories of the arbitrary ways Armenians ended up in Ethiopia is that of the Darakdjians. Stepan Darakdjian left Kharpert in 1912 and made his way to Egypt, hoping to immigrate to America. A requirement for a visa to America was an examination for trachoma. While waiting to be seen by the eye doctor, he went to an Armenian cafe, where he fell into conversation with a man named Hovhannes Assadourian, who had just returned from Ethiopia. Assadourian said, “You are a tanner. Why go to America? Go to Ethiopia where they need shoes!” So Stepan Darakdjian made his way to Harar and set up a tannery in partnership with another Armenian called Karikian. Later on, his son, Mardiros, moved to Addis Ababa where he founded a modern tannery in Akaki and a shoe factory called Darmar (Darakdjian Mardiros). Later still, he branched out into many other businesses and became very wealthy. The factory and shops still exist with the old sign of a lion (which looks very much like the Metro Goldwyn Mayer one), but the shops are now called Ambassa (lion).
Two of the earliest settlers, Hovsep Behesnilian and Sarkis Terzian, made their fortunes by supplying arms to Emperor Menelik II during his 1896 war against the invading Italians. The Behesnilian name lives on in perhaps the largest and most successful conglomerate in Ethiopia, HAGBES, founded by Hovsep’s nephew, Hagop Behesnilian, still privately owned, and employing some 1,000 people.
Posted by addisethiopia on April 13, 2015
“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
Some notes on the below video:
The St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Apostolic Holy Orthodox Church of Addis Abeba was built in 1935, replacing a chapel that existed since 1923. According to the book, “Old tracks In the New Flower, a historical guide Addis Ababa”, the Archbishop Asanian came from the Constantinople (the present Istanbul) in person in 1928 to set the first stone this church, the construction of which was funded by the Armenian Mouradian in memory of his father, George. The founding ceremony was also attended by Empress Menen under a gilt, fringed umbrella, with Ras Tafari in a red cloak, and by the Ethiopian Echegue.
Before the construction of this church, Armenians traditionally often made use Ethiopian Orthodox churches for their weddings and funerals.
Armenians had an active community. A large slice of the economy was in their hands, bringing wealth both to themselves and their host country. The Djerrians, Garrbedians, Hagapians, Avakians, Pareginas, and others were famous in the city as educated and cultured families who owned shoe factories and cinemas, eyeglass and watch repair business, as well as many of the oldest buildings in Piazza where their shops were located. As importers, electricians, goldsmiths and technicians, the Armenians were useful productive citizens.
Armenian goldsmiths, traders and architects were invited to settle in Ethiopia more than 150 years ago by Emperor Johannes IV. Buoyed by the ties between Ethiopian and Armenian Orthodoxy, the community thrived.
After the Armenian Genocide in 1915, Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s regent who later became Emperor, opened his arms to the Armenian people even wider, adopting 40 orphans as wards of court. In return, the Ethio-Armenians proved fiercely loyal.
One trader used his European connections to buy arms for Ethiopia’s resistance movement against the Italian occupation during World War II. Others ran an underground newspaper. Several gave their lives in service of their adopted homeland.
Pope Francis described the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Turks as the “first genocide of the 20th century” on Sunday, touching off a diplomatic furor with Turkey and entering into a tense historical debate with wider implications for the Vatican’s relations with Islam.
Turkey, which has long rejected the term genocide to describe the killings, swiftly called its ambassador to the Vatican back to Ankara for consultations after the pope’s remarks. Turkey’s foreign ministry also summoned the Vatican’s envoy to Ankara, informing him that the government was “disappointed and saddened” by the pontiff’s comments, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
The pope, speaking at a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the 100 years since the killings, addressed the massacres in the context of the contemporary persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. That subject has become an increasingly pressing theme for Pope Francis—who, before becoming pontiff, had close ties to Buenos Aires’s overwhelmingly Christian Armenian community.
Even as he has continued to call for better relations between Catholicism and Islam, the pope has urged Muslim leaders to denounce the actions of extremists and pushed Christians of different churches to stand together in the face of anti-Christian violence.
The pope’s statement is a boost for Armenia’s decadeslong campaign to define the killings as genocide, as well as a setback for Turkey’s efforts to fend off the accusations of systematic killing.
Armenians—the vast majority of whom are Christians—say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed during World War I in today’s eastern Turkey, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
A number of countries officially recognize the killings as genocide. But Turkey contests Armenian claims about the scale of losses; it argues that hundreds of thousands actually died in warfare and famine, and that many Turks were also killed by Armenians. Turkey argues that the question of genocide should be left to historians rather than politicians.
Pope Francis said Sunday that “it is necessary, and indeed a duty,” to “recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forbears had to endure…Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”
Turkey accused the Vatican of using history for political aims: by singling out Armenians and not mentioning all lost lives in Anatolia during World War I. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the comments were “not fitting of the Pope.”
“The Pope’s declaration, divorced from historical and legal facts, is unacceptable. Religious posts are not positions to stoke hatred and grudges on baseless claims,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a message from his official Twitter account.
It wasn’t the first time a pope has called the 1915 deaths genocide. Pope Francis, in referring to “the first genocide of the 20th century,” was quoting a 2001 common declaration by Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who was also present at Sunday’s Mass, along with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
Pope Francis went further than the 2001 declaration, calling the killing of Armenians one of “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” in the 20th century. “The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism,” he said. The latter reference was to the 1932-33 man-made famine in Ukraine, part of Joseph Stalin’s effort to collectivize Soviet agriculture, which killed as many as 7.5 million people.
The pope also spoke of the 1915 killings in connection to recent attacks on Christians, with an impassioned reference to “so many of our defenseless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death—decapitated, crucified, burned alive—or forced to leave their homeland.”
The pope has become increasingly vocal about the persecution of Christians around the world, especially in Muslim-majority countries. He has called on Muslim leaders to denounce the actions of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. At a Good Friday ceremony on April 3, he deplored the world’s “complicit silence” about such persecution, including the previous day’s killings of nearly 150—many of them Christians—by a Somali insurgent group in Kenya.
The Good Friday ceremony prominently featured Christians from Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt and China, countries in which Christians experience varying degrees of violence and official discrimination.
In a separate written message to Armenians released by the Vatican on Sunday, the pope appeared to suggest that other leaders should join him in adopting the language of genocide: “All who are heads of state and of international organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.”
A group of 40 members of Congress introduced a resolution to formally recognize the Armenian genocide in March, a move likely to strain U.S.-Turkish relations. Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), lead sponsor of the resolution, praised the pope’s remarks, saying he hoped they would “inspire our President and Congress to demonstrate a like commitment to speaking the truth about the Armenian genocide and to renounce Turkey’s campaign of concealment and denial.”
President Barack Obama pledged during his 2008 campaign that he would formally recognize the genocide though he hasn’t followed through. In remarks last year, Mr. Obama called the killings “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” without referring to them as genocide.
“Obama and other leaders will now face significant pressure,” said Henri Barkey, a former State Department official who currently teaches international relations at Lehigh University. “Until now, Turkey always tried to prevent Western recognition. The pope’s sermon is a serious crack.”
Posted by addisethiopia on April 25, 2014
William Saroyan, an Armenian-American writer, wrote in his short story “The Armenian and the Armenian,” “I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are not more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it.” The timeline of the 20th century bears the scars of some of the ugliest and most brutal events in human history. World War I, the “war to end all wars,” proved anything but, as brilliant minds devised brilliant means of murder and discrimination-fueled crimes against humanity were committed indiscriminately, beginning with the Armenian genocide. On April 24, 1915, hundreds of Armenian intellectuals were arrested and killed in Istanbul by Ottoman officials, marking the beginning of the first genocide of the 20th century. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottomans, if not straight away, then during mass deportations. Hostility toward Armenians began to mount increasingly toward the end of the Ottoman Empire. In the late 19th century, Sultan Abdul Hamid II grew increasingly wary of Armenians’ demands for civil rights and instituted pogroms to quell their protests. In 1908, a group called Young Turks overthrew Hamid and re-instituted a constitution, instilling hope in the Armenians for reform. However, the Young Turks had a vision to “Turkify” the empire. In 1914, they sided with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. Perceiving Armenians as a threat to the empire, the Young Turks were already skeptical of them. These suspicions were confirmed after Russian forces with Armenian soldiers defeated the Young Turks during a confrontation in the Caucasus. As a result, the Young Turks launched a campaign against Armenians, thereby initiating the 1915-1923 Armenian genocide. In 1914, about 2 million Armenians lived in the empire. By 1922, less than 400,000 remained. After the murders of Armenian intellectuals, the Ottomans next targeted Armenian men who were rounded up and forced to join the Ottoman army. Soon after, their arms were seized and those who had not already died from brutal labor were slaughtered. Without any Armenian intellectuals and leaders to plant seeds of revolt in the minds of Armenians, and without the men to try and fight back, they were left weak and helpless. Accordingly, the Ottomans then turned to their last target: women and children. Women and girls were raped, beaten and some were forced into slavery to work in harems. Armenian children were kidnapped, forced into converting to Islam, and then given to Turkish families with new, Turkish names. In an article from The Independent, Robert Frisk describes the methods Turks undertook to “Islamize” Christian Armenian children, writing that, “some of the small, starving inmates stayed alive only by grinding up and eating the bones of other children who had died.” The largest number of deaths resulted from the mass deportations of Armenians out of Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia). Ottoman officials ordered Armenians out of their homes under the guise that they were being resettled in non-military zones for their safety. In reality, they were sent on death marches across the Syrian Desert to concentration camps. Once food supplies finished, the Ottomans refused to provide more. They were not permitted to stop for a rest, and those too weak to continue were shot on the spot. Ottoman officials oftentimes forced Armenians into caravans to strip, then walk naked under the blistering sun, thereby hastening their deaths. About 75 percent of Armenians on these marches died, and countless unburied bodies scattered the Syrian Desert. In fact, there were so many bodies that even today, in the Syrian town Deir ez Zor, the bones of Armenians can still be found by merely scratching at the surface of the desert sands. The Armenians were also gassed. Crude gas chambers were created by herding them into caves and asphyxiating them by lighting bonfires at the entrances. Other atrocities that took place include burning Armenians alive, crucifying them, drowning them and throwing them off cliffs. Adolf Hitler understood the importance of wide recognition of the past when he asked, in a speech impending the invasion of Poland, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” The crimes of our past serve as warnings for our future. Well, just about a century later, we are speaking today of the genocide of Armenians. No matter how hard one tries to edit history or censor truth, the ghosts of our past will haunt us until they are resolved. The current population of the Armenian Diaspora is estimated to be around 10 million people, forming Armenian communities all around the world. Saroyan concludes his poem, “Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” Source Prominent Kabbalist: The Russian Invasion of Crimea is a sign of Impending Redemption On Purim (Monday March 17th), Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, Head of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem, allowed a secret to slip out. He peeled back the curtain and offered a peek into a tradition handed down from his grandfather, the Vilna Gaon, a prominent 18th-century Kabbalist: “Even though I am careful not to share the mysteries, I feel that this is something I am permitted to reveal..This was something Rabbi Isaac had received directly from those who heard it from the mouth of the Vilna Gaon, who said, shortly before his passing: “‘When you hear that the Russians have invaded Crimea, you will know that the bells of Redemption have begun to ring. When you hear that the Russians have reached Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey, as it is called today), you can already don Sabbath clothes and await the appearance of Moshiach.’ “Last week the Russians invaded Crimea and the world slept… According to our tradition from the Vilna Gaon, this is a sign of impending redemption … Perhaps what the Gaon meant by ‘bells of the redemption’ is like a bell that signals the arrival of someone or something.” Source
Posted by addisethiopia on December 30, 2011
እ.አ.አ ከ1914 እስከ 1917 ዓ.ም ባለው ጊዜ፡ 1.5 ሚሊየን የሚሆኑ አርመናውያንን በቱርክ ምድር በመጨፍጨፍ ለመፍጀት የበቁት ኦቶማን ቱርኮች ይህን አሳዛኝ ታሪካቸውን ስህተት እንደሆነ ለመቀበል እስካሁን ድረስ ፈቃደኞች አይደሉም።
ቀደም ሲል የግብጽን፡ ሱዳንና ሱማሊያን ሙስሊሞች በማገዝ በኢትዮጵያ ክርስቲያኖች ላይ ከፍተኛ መከራና ሥቃይ ያደረሱት ኦቶማን ቱርኮች አሁንም፣ በቁጥር አነስተኛ በሆኑት ክርስቲያን ቱርኮች፣ በአረመናውያን፣ ወንድማቸው በሆነው በኩርድ ሕዝብ ላይ፣ እንዲሁም ባዳርፉርና ደቡብ ሱዳን ሕዝቦች ላይ ጂሃዳዊ ጭፍጨፋቸውን በረቀቀ መልክ ቀጥለውበታል።
ባለፈው ሳምንት ወደ ቱርክ ጎራ ብዬ ነበር፡ በዚህች አገር በክርስትና እና በክርስቲያኖች ላይ የሚታየውን ጥላቻ ለመግለጽ ብዙ ቃላቶች ያስፈልጉኛል፡ ለማንኛውም፤ ቱርኮች እጅግ በጣም አሳዛኝና አደገኛ የሆነ ሁኔታ በአገራቸው ላይ በመፍጠር ላይ ይገኛሉ። በቅርብ ተደርጎ የነበረው ጥናት እንደሚናገረው፡ 2/3ኛ የሚሆነው የቱርክ ነዋሪ የክርስቲያን ጎረቤት እንዲኖረው አይሻም።
ቱርክ በ 1970ዎቹ ዓመታት የቆጽሮስ ደሴትን ህገወጥ በሆነ መንገድ በመውረር ሰሜናዊውን ክፍል ለመያዝ ከበቃችበት ጊዜ ጀምሮ፡ ብዛት ያላቸው የግሪክ ኦርቶዶክስ ተከታዮች ተጨፍጨፈዋል፡ አብያተ ክርስቲያኖቻቸው፡ አድባሮቻቸው እና ገዳሞቻቸው ቀስበቀስ ፈራርሰው እንዲጠፉ እየተደረገ ነው።
ቱርክ በአገራችንም ትምህርት ቤቶችንና ፋብሪካዎችን እንድትከፍት እየተፈቀደላት ነው። እነዚህ ትምህርት ቤቶችና ፋብሪካዎች ኢትዮጵያውያንን በክርስቲያን እና እስላም ሰፈር በመከፋፈል፡ ክርስቲያን ተማሪዎችንና ተቀጣሪዎችን ባገራቸው ለመቀበል ፈቃደኞች አይደሉም። ገንዘባቸውን ከፍለው ወደ ቱርክ ትምህርት ቤቶች ለመግባት የበቁት “ክርስቲያን” ኢትዮጵያውያን ሕጻናት ቁራእንን እንዲያነበንቡ፡ እንደ እስላም እንዲሰግዱ ይገደዳሉ። ይህን አሳፋሪና አሳሳቢ ጉዳይ የአዲስ አበባ ነዋሪ በሚያስገርም ትእግስት እየታዘበ ነው። የሚመለከታቸው መንግሥታዊና መንግሥታዊ ያልሆኑ ድርጅቶች፡ በተለይም በውጩ የሚገኙት ኢትዮጵያውያን ይህን እንደ አፓርታይዷ ደቡብ አፍሪቃ በአገራቸው ሕዝብ ላይ አድሎ እየፈጠረ ያለውን ሁኔታ በእንጭጩ የመቅጨት፡ ብሔራዊና መለኮታዊ ግዴታ አለበት። እዚህ ዓይነት ደረጃም ላይ ለመድረስ መብቃታችን እጅግ በጣም አሳዛኝ ነገር ነው። ይህን ያህል ሞኞች እንድንሆን ያበቃን ምን ይሆን?
እንደሚታወቀው፡ ቱርክ ወዳጃችን ሆና አታውቅም፡ ወደፊትም ልትሆን አትችልም፡ የራሷ ችግሮች ምናልባት ከኛ እየከፉ ሊመጡ ይችላሉ፡ መምጣታቸውም የማይቀር ነው። ስለዚህ ቱርክን ሆነ ባካባቢው የሚገኙትን ጠላቶቻችንን በጣም ማስጠጋት ትልቅ ስህተት ነው። ጠላትህን ከራስህ አብልጠህ ውደድ የሚል ነገር ያለው ምናልባት በኢትዮጵያን ዘንድ ብቻ ሳይሆን አይቀርም የተለመደው። ኢትዮጵያ በሁሉም መስክ ልዩ የሆነና በጊዜው መሪ ከነበረው ዓለም ጋር የሚወዳደር ሥልጣኔ የነበራት እኮ ካካባቢው ታሪካዊ ጠላቶች ጋር ግኑኝነት አቋርጣ የክርስትያኖች ደሴት ለመሆን በበቃችበት ዘመን ነበር። “ወዳጅህን ቅረብ፤ ጠላትህን ደግሞ በጣም ቅረብ!” የሚለው ስልታዊ አባባል፡ እንደ አዳምና ሔዋን ዘመን ለሞኝነት ለበቃነው ለኢትዮጵያውያን አይሰራም። የሚሰራው እንደ እስራኤል ነቅተው እራሳቸውን ለመቻል ለበቁት ብልጥ አገሮች ነው።
የእስራኤል ፓርላማ (ክነሰት) ኦቶማን ቱርኮች በአርመን ሕዝብ ላይ ያካሄዱትን ፍጅት “Genocide” ነበር ብሎ ለመወሰን ሰሞኑን እየተነጋገሩበት ነው። እስካሁን አለማጽደቃቸው የሚገርም ነው፡ ከሁሉም በፊት መቅደም የነበረባቸው እነርሱ ነበሩ፡ ምክኒያቱም የአርመን ጀነሳይድ በሂትለር እንደምሳሌነት ተወስዶ ድሞቻቸውና እህቶቻቸው በናዚዎች ለመጨፍጨፍ በቅተው ነበርና።
ይህን የአርመኖች ፍጅት “Genocide” እንደነበር፡ ይህንም የሚክድ ለብዙ ዓመታት እስራት እና ለገንዘብ መቀጮ እንደሚበቃ የፈረንሳይ ፓርላማ ባለፈው ሳምንት ወስኗል።
በመጪው የአሜሪካ ምርጫም ይህ ጉዳይ ቁልፍ የሆን ሚና ሊጫወት ይችላል። ፕሬዝደንት ኦባማ እጩ በነበሩበት ወቅት ገብተው የነበረውን ቃልኪዳን እስካሁን ለመተግበር አለመቻላቸው አሳዛኝ ነገር ነው።
እስካሁን ድረስ የሚከተሉት አገሮች የአርመኑ እልቂት፤ “Genocide” እንደነበር በይፋ አስታውቀዋል፦
- The Netherlands
- Vatican City
በተጨማሪም 39 የተባበሩት አሜሪካ ግዛቶች ተቀብለውታል፡ መንግሥቱ ግን ወለም ዘልም በማለት ላይ ይገኛል።
የኢትዮጵያና አርሜኒያ ሕዝቦች በታሪክ፡ በእምነት እና በቋንቋ በጣም የተሳሰሩ ናቸው። የአርመን ፊደለታ (የጆርጂያ አገር ፊደላትን ጨምሮ) ከኢትዮጵያኛው ቋንቋ (ግእዝ) እንደተዋሰ የቋንቋ ሳይንስ ጥናት ተመራማሪዎች አሳውቀዋል፡ አርጋግጠዋል። አርመናዊቷ ቅድስት አርሴማ ከአርመንያ ይልቅ በኢትዮጵያውያን ዘንድ በጣም ከፍተኛ ክብር አላት፡ ባማልጅነቷም ብዙ ኢትዮጵያውያን ተዓምራትን አይተዋል፤ ይህም የሚያሳየው በዓለም የመጀመሪያዎቹ ክርስቲያን ሕዝቦች የሆኑት አርመናውያንና ኢትዮጵያውያን በመንፍስም በጣም የተሳሰሩ መሆናቸውን ነው።
ከሁለት ሣምንታት በፊት በኢትዮጵያ አገራችን ሙስሊሞች የቅድስት አርሴማን ቤተክርስቲያን ለማቃጠልና ለማፍረስ በቅተው ነበር። ይህን አሳዛኝና ሰይጣናዊ የሆነ ድርጊት ቅዱሳን ዝም ብለው የሚያልፉት ይመስለናል? በፍጹም! ቅድስት አርሴማ ሥራዋን እየሰራች ነው፤ ያው የአርመኖች ጉዳይ ይህ ድርጊት ከተፈጸመ ከጥቂት ቀናት በኋላ ነበር በፈረንሳይና በእስራኤል የተቀሰቀሰው። በቱርክ ላይ እየመጣ ያለው መዘዝ ቀላል አይደለም፤ ስህተቱን፡ ኃጢአቱን ለመቀበል ፈቃደኛ ያልሆነ፡ ሊማርና ሊታረም ብሎም ለንስኅ ሊበቃ አይችልም፡ ሌላውን እየወነጀለ የዘራትን መርዝ መልሶ ይቅማታል እንጂ።
ኢትዮጵያ የአርመናውያንን እልቂት፡ አዎ! ጀነሳይድ ነበር ብላ የማወጅ ግዴታ አለባት።