Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? – Adolf Hitler
In 1911 The Turks passed a national gun registration law with no apparent malicious intentions beyond increasing public safety – an argument we’ve heard before. When the Armenian genocide began in 1915, these gun registration lists were used to disarm the Armenian and other Christian populations. When they came to slaughter us, we were helpless.
“Turkish Army battalions cordoned off entire towns and villages and did gun sweeps. Once disarmed, the official state violence visited against the Armenians ratcheted up to murderous levels. Typically, on town-wide sweeps, all of the men and boys were taken away by the Turkish soldiers, never to be seen or heard from again.”
We have no Auschwitz. No memorial exists for us. Mention of the genocide is illegal and can get you shot in Turkey who deny it took place. They back Armenia’s enemies throughout the region, ensuring it’s isolation is complete. Iran is neutral without any intention of backup. We remain a diaspora of survivors scattered through the world.
Even those of us who remain in our homelands of thousands of years that were conquered by the Ottoman and Seljuk Turks and now make up modern Turkey are at risk of losing everything again. Our Muslim neighbors will desire to finish their conquest. It will never stop haunting us.
A few years ago, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to “deport” the remaining Armenian citizens in Turkey. Last year, he called “allegations” that he had Armenian blood “ugly,” insisting he was a “purebred Turk.”
With a mere scoop of your hand you can find our remains, bones, and skulls in the Der Zor desert. For Armenians who make the journey, it’s a painful one. To this day, most of us can’t trace our family histories. The Turks destroyed our churches where we kept our records of marriages and family tree – usually the first step when you want to remove the history of a people from the earth.
“My heart is like shattered homes and broken pillars thrown asunder . . . Wild birds will nest in our ruins . . . Let me throw myself into the water and be food for the fish’s babies . . . White waves lap upon the black sea about us and do not mix . . . In this melancholic, bewildered state, what can my darkened heart do?” – Lyrics translated by Armen Babamian from “Homeless” (Andouni), composed by Gomidas Vartabed in honor of Armenians broken and exiled by the Genocide
IF you want to remember and learn from the Armenian Genocide, make sure you are never fooled into supporting gun control, no matter the excuse. You might be a protected class today, but tomorrow could hold you a criminal. There was no one to come to our aid during the genocide. Reports and coverage were suppressed as much as possible by The Young Turks, thus most of our destruction had already been completed by the end of World War One. It wouldn’t just be us.
It happened to the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Copts, and countless others in the Middle East and Anatolia. Islam became a unifying factor in those who wished for our genocide. Promises of virgins for those who killed Armenians in the name of Allah were given. A headline from 1915 shouted the following, “The caliphate wages jihad against Christians. Victims are beheaded, crucified, and burned alive. Christian girls are sold into slavery. Centuries-old monuments are destroyed by jihadis.”
Of all the peoples of Christendom, our suffering and slaughter may be the worst, though the Greeks, Copts, Assyrians, Syrian Orthodox, Chaldeans, Lebanese, and other peoples of the middle east and northern Mesopotamia have suffered over the centuries under Islamic rule. Of course we haven’t forgotten how the people of Balkans fared under their Ottoman rulers. Even the local Muslims of the area lent their hand to murdering the Christians around them:
The degree of extermination and the brutality of the massacres indicate extreme pent-up hatred on the popular level. Christians, the so-called gawur [also giaour or ghiaour] infidels, were killed in almost all sorts of situations. They were collected at the local town hall, walking in the streets, fleeing on the roads, at harvest, in the villages, in the caves and tunnels, in the caravanserais [an inn with a central courtyard], in the prisons, under torture, on the river rafts, on road repair gangs, on the way to be put on trial. There was no specific and technological way of carrying out the murders like the Nazis’ extermination camps. A common feature was those killed were unarmed, tied up, or otherwise defenseless.
All possible methods of killing were used: shooting, stabbing, stoning, crushing, throat cutting, throwing off of roofs, drowning, decapitation. Witnesses talk of seeing collections of ears and noses and of brigands boasting of their collections of female body parts. The perpetrators not only killed but humiliated the victims…In several instances, decapitated heads of well-known Christians, such as Hanne Safar of Midyat and Ibrahim the Syriac priest of Sa’irt were used as footballs…In Derike, the Syriac Catholic priest Ibrahim Qrom had his beard torn off and was then forced to crawl on all fours with a tormentor on his back, while others kicked him, stabbed him, and finally cut him to pieces.
Virtually every deportation caravan and village massacre was accompanied by serial mass rape of the women. Young girls were abducted as sex slaves and children as household servants. Even when they were not killed outright, the women were often stripped of their clothes. The homes of Christians were broken into, plundered, furniture smashed, windows, and doors removed, set on fire. Sometimes a survivor had little to return home to.
The number of perpetrators of the local massacres was staggering. Apparently the local officials….or the local politicians…had no difficulty in motivating the populace for extermination. The officials established death squads from middle-aged Muslim men. National Assembly deputies…agitated among the Kurdish tribes and even managed to get notorious outlaws…to cooperate in return for loot, adventure, and a promise of amnesty. On a few occasions, Muslim women were present, for instance…at the public humiliation of Christian dignitaries, but mostly the perpetrators were males. There were literally thousands of perpetrators, most of them locals.
Most people never learn from history, if they know it at all. Countless times governments, conquerors, and masters have taken away the weapons of a people. What usually followed was slaughter, massacres, and genocide with little resistance. Still the buzzword sleazy calls for “reasonable common sense gun control” rain down from incel politicians, CEOs, and elites with armed bodyguards who are clearly more important the rest of us.
If only they knew how it felt to be disarmed and defenseless. If it were their entire families being subjected to genocide, surely they wouldn’t make the usual excuses for gun control we hear from Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, and many other progressive US politicians.
“It couldn’t happen here!” Many a people have heard that before.
An attempt to tell this story was finally brought to the big screen this April via a movie called, “The Promise“. Of course detractors rose to 1 star the movie on a massive scale. Upon the initial three screenings, 70k+ reviews – impossible when you consider the limitations of seating – were posted on IMDB. The Turks still are gunning for us even online.
“All I know is that we were in about a 900-seat house with a real ovation at the end, and then you see almost 100,000 people who claim the movie isn’t any good,”
How many more fucking people have to be slaughtered after being disarmed till we take the lesson to heart? I am forced to consider those who support radical gun control measures – regardless of reason or excuse – with the same potential level of threat that the Turks behind the 1915 genocide wrought upon us.
My Armenian ancestors who were disarmed, disposed, and then sent into deserts to die when they weren’t slaughtered enmasse in their villages and on the way to death are yet again forgotten. In fact, their slaughter is still a point of great contention and denial to the Turks and Azerbaijanis who stole our land, subjugated, and conquered us many times over just the last 500 years. (Note, Azerbaijan was even a country until 1918.)
The US is still afraid to press the issue as it won’t risk losing Turkey as a Nato ally. Yet again, our Armenian people catch the bad end of geographic diplomacy, not to mention an actual border war still being fought with Azerbaijan over land that has been ours for a thousand years. Again, we are isolated with no assured backup.
“Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, publicly vowed on Sunday to support Azerbaijan “to the end”. Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia, a rift dating back to the mass killings of Armenians by Turks towards the close of the Ottoman period. Erdoğan is also at daggers drawn with Russia over its support for the Syrian regime and Turkey’s shooting down last autumn of a Russian combat plane but he is unlikely to intervene militarily.”
Still, we are resourceful people determined to survive. My great grandfather Tarpinian made his way to the US. He began a family when he saw a picture of my great grandmother in an orphanage where she had been saved from rape and death by the Turks. Upon seeing this picture he sent her letters and eventually a wedding dress. They would be married with few possessions, but love and a determination to survive and live for those had been killed in the genocide.
My great grandmother actually came over illegally. She entered the US via Buffalo, New York from Canada. Four generations later, our family is all over the states and we are assimilated Americans who love our heritage and people, but are loyal to this country which gave us hope, safety, and a reason to live.
I am a 4th generation descendant. Half-Armenian and a mix of other European heritage. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the history of both sides of my family, its that government can not be trusted to necessarily protect us, let alone slaughter us. You never know when your enemy will take the reigns of power.
While the old government may have been neutral, if you have been disarmed of your rights and your weapons, you are at a great risk. Never again. I will repeat it; I am forced to consider those who support radical gun control measures with the same potential level of threat that the 1915 genocide wrought upon us.
Supporters of gun control mean well. History however never does when it comes to the victims. Don’t let yourself even become a potential victim. Learn from our genocide. At the very least, targeted groups in the future will stand a chance of defending themselves and their family. Just look at what insurgents have done in Iraq and Afghanistan have done with Ak-47s.