Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar organized the 15th Scientific and Professional Conference „Vukovar 91 – Twenty-One Years After“ with the topic of Truth and Controversy. Between Science and Manipulation of Conflict Resolution Problems. In addition to Croatian experts, researchers from different countries participated in the forum. This year, the framework of the conference also included genocide against the Armenians. In Vukovar, Armenia was represented by a young scientist, Doctor of Culture, Editor-in-Chief of the Moscow Journal Žam Anna Givargizyan.
Armenian national-cultural Genocide. The Century-Long Struggle for Justice.
The article is devoted to the problem of Armenian national-cultural Genocide. During the whole time of existence of the Turkish Republic, not only of the Ottoman Empire, purposefully erased traces of Armenians on their own land. How much would it nor denied.
The fact remains. In 1914 the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople consisted of more than 200 monasteries and 1600 churches, the vast majority of which were destroyed in the period of genocide and after. To this must be added the many monuments of Armenian architecture, which up to the last stone were destroyed with a view to erase the evidence of thousands of Armenian culture.
Half a century later, scientists finally have raised the question of registration and rescue of monuments of Armenian culture, but it was already too late. In the 70-s there appeared a study, as a result of which historians have identified hundreds of Armenian churches and monasteries in Turkey, however, many monuments have not survived – part has been destroyed, some died from abandonment.
The policy of destruction of cultural monuments is punishable. On the territory of Western Armenia remained only 3% of the monuments that existed before the genocide of Armenians.
„To serve Armenia is to serve civilization.“
William Ewart Gladstone
„It is simply in the nature of Armenian to study, to learn, to question, to speculate, to discover, to invent, to revise, to restore, to preserve, to make, and to give.“
The author of these words is the son of Armenian immigrants from Bitlis, Ottoman Empire, William Saroyan the greatest American writer. His words accurately describing the nature of the revival of Armenia and the Armenian people. The people of Armenia revived from the ashes of the wars. The people of Armenia is creating his beautiful and unique culture in response to the burned books and destroyed the Church, in response to the defeated Holy.
The atrocities committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during WWI are defined as the Armenian Genocide and the first genocide of the XX century. When WWI erupted, the Young Turk government, hoping to save the remains of the weakened Ottoman Empire, adopted a policy of Pan Turkism – the establishment of a mega Turkish empire comprising of all Turkic-speaking peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia extending to China, intending also to Turkify all ethnic minorities of the empire. The Armenian population became the main obstacle standing in the way of the realization of this policy.
Although the decision for the deportation of all Armenians from the Western Armenia (Eastern Turkey) was adopted in late 1911, the Young Turks used WWI as a suitable opportunity for its implementation against their own citizens. The genocide of Christians – Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians – should not be considered as only massacres of several millions civilians, but the genocide of human civilizations and cultural background of the nations.
Genocide is the organized killing of a people for the express purpose of putting an end to their collective existence. Because of its scope, genocide requires central planning and an internal machinery to implement. This makes genocide the quintessential state crime, as only a government has the resources to carry out such a scheme of destruction.
On 24th of April in 1915, Red Sunday , the first phase of the Armenian massacres began with the arrest and murder of nearly 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders mainly from Constantinople, the capital of Ottoman Empire. The date 24 April, Genocide Remembrance Day, commemorates the Armenian notables deported from the Ottoman capital in 1915, as the precursor to the ensuing events.
The second phase of the ‘final solution’ appeared with the conscription of some 60.000 Armenian men into the general Turkish army, who were later disarmed and killed by their Turkish fellowmen.
The third phase of the genocide comprised of massacres, deportations and death marches made up of women, children and the elderly into the Syrian deserts. During those marches hundreds of thousands were killed by Turkish soldiers, gendarmes and Kurdish mobs. Others died because of famine, epidemic diseases and exposure to the elements. Thousands of women and children were raped. Tens of thousands were forcibly converted to Islam.
Finally, the fourth phase of the Armenian genocide appeared with the total and utter denial by the Turkish government of the mass killings and elimination of the Armenian nation on its homeland by cultural genocide.
The cultural genocide continues but the world remains silent and indifferent. Where is the civilized world?
Where is UNESCO?
The civilized world will become more than a beast if it does not condemn what is happening.
The Armenian highlands, the cradle of the Armenian nation, has a rich heritage which derives from the depths of its historic culture over thousands of years. This heritage was created by the Armenian nation, indigenous to the highlands. This heritage wasn’t hidden by the Armenians but was generously shared with the rest of the world. The Armenian nation communicated with waves worshipping the light with many ancient tribes and nations and their contribution to history resulted in world civilizations. Hence, providing them with wisdom from a more sacred height, like the biblical mountains of Ararat, which are gifted with a spiritual charge and from where the rivers of Yeprat and Tigris start and who invite us to their source, wherein lies paradise.
Acts and measures undertaken to destroy any nations or ethnic groups’ culture is called, ‘cultural genocide’. The word ‘Genocide’ coined by Raphael Lemkin, does not only refer to the physical extermination of a national or religious group, but also its national, spiritual and cultural destruction. The concept of a cultural genocide has not yet been accepted into the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. When the Armenian genocide is not recognized by Turkey and the world as a whole, history is in fact being manipulated and obscured and hence it is continuing to the present day.
Many proven facts concomitant with the massacres and deportation are witness to the fact that the Young Turk government premeditated and planned a systematic method aiming to destroy the material testimonies of the Armenian civilization. Realizing the role of the church and Christian faith within the Armenian nation, they knowingly massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries and other church property along with thousands of medieval handwritten illuminated manuscripts. The Turkish government of today have the same policy and are descended from the same political camp as those perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. There are many testimonies to what happened, from the 18th century to the present day, from various European dignitaries and newspaper reports (The Times), including an Arab eye witness to the Armenian Genocide, Fayez el Husseyn, who wrote in his memoirs: „After the massacres of the Armenians, the government established commissions who were engaged in selling the leftover property. Armenian cultural values were sold at the cheapest prices… I once went to the church to see how the sale of these things is organized. The doors of the Armenian schools were closed. The Turks used science books in the bazaar for wrapping cheese, dates, sunflowers.“ In 1912 the Armenian patriarchy of Istanbul presented an account of the churches and monasteries in Western Armenia and in the Ottoman Empire. More than 2300 were accounted for including the early unique Christian monuments of the 4th and 5th centuries. The majority of them were looted, burned and destroyed by the Turks during the genocide (1914-1923). The policy of destruction adopted by the „Young Turks“ with regard to Armenian historical and cultural heritage was continued in Republican Turkey where these relics were viewed as undesirable witnesses of the Armenian presence. A Systematic Method of Destruction At the end of 1920s, Turkey began the process of changing the names of certain locations in Western Armenia. Presently 90% of the Armenian cities, towns and buildings in Eastern Turkey, Western Armenia have been „Turkified“. Armenian geographical sites’ names have also been replaced with Turkish names. Devising a systematic method of destruction, hundreds of architectural monuments have been destroyed and all Armenian inscriptions erased.
In 1974 UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Armenian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of repair. Armenian architectural buildings are consistently being demolished using dynamite and are used as targets during Turkish military training exercises; the undamaged stones are used as construction materials. In some rural places, Armenian monasteries and churches serve as stables, stores, clubs and in one case, even a jail. On many occasions the Turkish government converted Armenian churches into mosques. On June 18, 1987 The Council of Europe adopted a decree wherein the 6th point mentions that: “The Turkish government must pay attention to and take care to heed the language, culture and educational system of the Armenian Diaspora living in Turkey, simultaneously demanding an appropriate regard to the Armenian monuments that are situated in Turkey’s territory”. The manner in which the Turks describe the entirety of the Armenian Highlands, is in fact denying and manipulating the geographical and physical concept and especially today, in Western Armenia, they have falsely called it (Eastern Anatolia). They just want to call it by a geographical name but not with the holy sacred spiritual significance of the Armenian Highlands. The Turks invaded Armenia whereas the nomad Kurds, who were supported by the Turks at the time of the Ottoman Empire to evict the Armenians, are illegal usurpers. Armenia has never been part of (Anatolia or the Caucuses). The geographical and spiritual position of Armenia consists of the sacred Armenian Highlands. German and British researchers, biographers and historians from as early as the 19th century have confirmed this. When some of the world’s most powerful and significant countries. e.g. Great Britain, Israel, USA, Spain etc still do not recognize that the Armenian genocide took place, they are in fact supporting the Turkish crime.
Alliance of Civilizations
The Alliance of Civilizations is an initiative of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who in 2004 proposed in the framework of the United Nations, with support from Turkey. The Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, assured the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Spain „supports and will support“ the entry of Turkey into the EU. Zapatero and Erdogan also relied on the „success“ of the Alliance of Civilizations.
The proposed program has points about fundamental counter terrorism cooperation, correcting economic inequalities and cultural dialogue. Rodriguez Zapatero said he was “sure” that the business forum will serve to increase trade relations with Turkey, a country with which Spain has to have “unique way” in the economic field. „Friendship, culture, art and knowledge unites people and makes them grow.“
The U.S. government joined the Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations on 13 May 2010, under the presidency of Barack Obama, recognizing: „the value of the Alliance of Civilizations as an important initiative that seeks a better understanding between cultures and peoples“.
The United States joined 119 countries and international organizations that are members of the Friends of the Alliance. On 6 and April 7, 2009 The Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations took place in Istanbul with the presence of 83 countries and 17 international agencies. It highlighted the presence of United States President Barack Obama to a cocktail before dinner in September hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the heads of the delegations participating in the Forum.
If the Crimes are Not Recognized…
If Turkey annihilates a civilization and does not recognize its crimes and the damage it has done to civilization, how is it possible to assume Turkey’s role in The Alliance of Civilizations? This is a new form of politics which has been cultivated by Turkey and its allies to hide their falsifications and crimes, both internal and external. The civilized world has not yet entirely recognized the Armenian genocide (1914-1923). It seems unbelievable that every national State considers itself as civilized. Is the participation of Germany in the Armenian genocide civilized and is the refusal of Great Britain, Spain and the USA to recognize the Armenian genocide civilized? What alliance? What civilizations? What friends? What initiatives can be talked about or can seek a better understanding between cultures and people when in reality all this is to the contrary? The Turkish invader who confiscated Armenia is presently carrying out its last black deed of genocide by continuing to ruin and to raze to the ground the Armenian monuments before the eyes of the civilized world. Many of them have already been destroyed. Some have either entered the depository of the world’s architectural history or a few of the preserved monuments have been maliciously and immorally violated and converted into mosques by them. All this testifies to the fact that the genocide continues to be implemented politically. What assurance do we have that Turkey won‘t maliciously continue the genocide which affirms the official falsification of Armenian history by Turkey which has been spread throughout the world by spending vast amounts of money on information and publications?
The destruction of Armenian cultural heritage at state level is a crime not only against the Armenian nation but against all civilization. Al the world should be made aware of this reality, and in order to be civilized, we must first condemn those crimes against civilization and not conceal them under the name of friendship. (We must put an end to the politics of these official bandits.) Recognition of the Armenian genocide is not merely just remembering what has happened, but more positive action should be implemented – by way of getting the Turkish to admit to what they have done, be punished for their crimes and then to formerly identify and recognize the Armenian homeland within Turkey, where Armenians have lived and established a culture over thousands of years. Students should be educated about the Armenian genocide in the same way in which they learn about the holocaust. The Armenian genocide is not just a tragedy for Armenians, but for the rest of the world as a whole.
And I want to finish again with the words of William Saroyan, the greatest American writer: „I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race; this small tribe of unimportant people whose history is ended, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, whose literature is unread, whose music is unheard, whose prayers are no longer uttered. Go ahead, destroy this race. Let us say that it is again 1915 there is war in the world. Destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them from their homes into the desert. Let them have neither bread nor water. Burn their houses and their churches. See if they will not live again. See if they will not laugh again. See if you can stop them from mocking the big ideas of the world. You sons of bitches. Go ahead, try to destroy them.“
Ph.D. in Culturology
Editor-in-chief of „Zham“ magazine www.zham.ru
The associate Professor at the Moscow State Pedagogical University http://en.мпгу.рф