Tag Archives: Turkey

Genocide by any other name

German Flag in a Heart
Image courtesy of PinkBlue and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many of you who will read this may not recognize their names. Some, including myself, can never forget them – for their sadistic acts were part of my nightmare for years: Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrick, Joseph Mengele, Ilse Koch, Adolph Eichmann, Talaat, Enver, Cemal Pasha.

And, I can recall, before one of my book talks in Wisconsin, a gentleman told me I should be thankful for what the Turks (Talaat, Enver, Cemal) did, “…after all, it brought your parents to America. And you were fortunate to be born in the United States.”

This kind of ignorance burns in my heart.

But, before we turn back the history pages to the 20th Century, let us glance at some current, contemporary political affairs that have dominated the wire services, newspapers, and TV. A tabled German resolution pertaining to the 1915 Armenian Genocide which has been gathering dust for nearly a year, was finally dusted off last week and brought to the floor of the Bungdestag for a vote.

The German legislators overwhelmingly passed the resolution affirming that, indeed, the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks was, in fact, an act of genocide. Only one politician voted against the resolution and a second abstained.

Obviously, it was not news to the German–speaking first and-second generation German-Armenians who had stormed the legislative session to await the vote. Their fathers and mothers and grandparents were among the victims of the “death marches”, executions, deportations, carried out, en masse, beginning May 24, 1915. Talaat Pasha, the Minister of the Interior, had sent his directives to all regions that the Armenians must be wiped out and that those who refused to carry out the directives would face the ultimate punishment.

Germany’s military elite knew what its ally’s plans were, and did nothing to stop them from carrying them out. In fact, they honed their killing skills in the Turkish fields of death.

How convenient.

The truth is, not only could Kaiser Wilhelm II have stopped the killings, his troops aided and abetted in the crime of genocide against the Christian Armenians. Germany, after all, is a Christian nation. But, the Kaiser was no fool; the German monarch needed the Turks to fight alongside their troops against the Russians, the British, French, and the Arabs.

And now the onus is on President Barrack Hussein Obama. Despite a campaign promise to the Armenian people that he would declare the 1915 Turkish massacre of the Armenians a genocide, Obama has failed to fulfill the vow. He apparently believes that Armenians have short memories. (He should have discussed our long-term memories with the present Turkish regime, instead of begging them to allow the US to maintain military bases in the country.)

Armenians never forget a friend. And, to our last breath, never forgive our enemies.

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bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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Why We Will Never Forget

Noravank Monastery, Armenia
Scenic Novarank Monastery in Armenia

She seemed tall, I was so small, and board-shouldered, with raven-black and shining hair, that reached all the way down her back when she took it out of a bun, nestled at the nape of her neck. The lines on her round face added to her somber air. She has seen too much. She had endured too much. Yet, as far back as I can remember, I struggled to catch up to her in the kitchen of our apartment in southwest Detroit. And she would pick me up from the linoleum, kiss me on the forehead, then put me down gently, savoring for the moment the promise of life continuing, and quickly tended to the streaming pots that were always singing some tune over the gas-lit stove.

I didn’t know what it was to be poor or what it meant to be “a starving Armenian,” for Nana, that was what my grandmother was called by everyone, made sure that there was food on the table. Not only for our family – but for anyone who needed a meal.

When dad came into the kitchen it was never for food; he came because he needed money, gold coins from the hem of Nana’s black housedress. The kitchen was Nana’s and my mother’s domain, and no one dared trespass. They knew the consequences. But, it was – I would later learn – the time of the Great Depression and everyone apparently was out of work and father had lost everything – the coffee houses where the survivors of the genocide would come for a cup of suorge, Turkish coffee, and discuss how they would get revenge. After all, Armenian villages were “cleansed” by the Young Turks who made sure that “the Armenian Problem” would not be a problem forever more. “Turkey for the Turks” – was their nationalistic blood cry, and, as the world stood by, one million five hundred thousand of my ancestors were wiped off the map of Turkey.

After one hundred one years, Armenians will not and cannot forget. Henry Morgenthau, Sr., US Ambassador to Turkey, noted, “I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this…the great massacres of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenia Race in 1915.” In his memoir he described the deportations and atrocities as a “cold-blooded, calculating state policy,” in the chapter on the Armenians “The Murder of a Nation.”

But that was, after all, in 1915. It’s a long time ago. Haven’t the Armenians, devout Christians, learned from the Bible, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed .” (Psalm 103:6).

In response to a comment from a reader who wrote:

“Since the atrocities were committed under the Ottoman Empire, I have never understood why the new modern Republic of Turkey can’t acknowledge and apologize for the Armenian Genocide. It may be similar to the relationship between the U.S.A. and the Indigenous Native Americans or, even, the institution of slavery in our own country. But while we can’t change history, by acknowledging and apologizing for it, we can move forward, having admitted to the wrong-doings and promising not to allow them again, anywhere.”

Billions upon billions of words have been written about the Armenian Genocide. And some of the finest and most knowledgeable scholars and researchers have offered proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this horrible crime against the Armenians and humanity was perpetrated by the Turkish regime.

To apologize would make them culpable, there is no statute of limitation for murder.

If I had it in my power, I would demand that Turkey cede the six Armenian provinces in what was once the Armenian Plateau to the Motherland. Within those six provinces is the former capital of Armenia, Ani. Paul Salokep (who wrote a special feature for the National Geographic Magazine as he walks around the world) commented on that part of the highlands, “I have seen no place on my journey more beautiful or sadder, than Ani…”

At one time in its long history, 1001 churches dotted the landscape of Ani. Today they stand in ruins…and a visitor would be hard-pressed to find even one of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who, since the year 351 bowed in reverence, praying to Jesus Christ, their Savior, for this is now a land of Islam.

For the record, Germany paid more than $70 billion in compensation to the families who lost their loved ones to the beasts of the Nazi regime. How much should Turkey pay to the victims of the Armenian genocide?

There are but a handful of survivors left on earth.

Turkey is no fool. They know that time is on their side…

Or is it?

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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Never, Never Shall We Forget

Armenian Genocide Rally

There were bits and pieces of information spreading throughout the Armenian communities. It was whispered that the Turks were rounding up and arresting Christians. But no one would confirm the rumors. With each passing moment, more information was being shared, but the community leaders were not available to confirm or deny.

The Armenians, in the beautiful city of Constantinople, were in a panic. Their fathers and mothers had told them stories of the massacres under Abdul Hamid I and Abdul Hamid II, but that was a generation previous. Were not we, Christian Armenians, fighting alongside our Islamic neighbors against those horrible Allies…England, France, Italy, and Japan? Were not our sons dying for the glory of Turkey?

The elders told all to “stay calm”. But there were those among them who had lived through the horrors of Abdul Hamid II’s pogroms, when more than 200,000 of their brothers and sisters were slaughtered. And that was a mere two decades ago.

It is April 24, 1915.

Just a year previous an orange glow accompanied the sun as its rays sliced through the clouds like a dagger. The gold cross which had once crowned the majestic dome of the Roman Catholic Church where Emperor Constantine had worshipped, had been replaced with the symbolic “new moon” of Islam on the renamed Blue Mosque and now heard the prayers of those whose knees bowed to Mecca.

Europe was in flames.

A coalition made up of Germany, Austria, and Hungary –which had seduced Turkey to fight on their side with a promise that all of the Arabian Peninsula would be annexed by the Ottomans once victory over the Allies was secured. The Allies included England, France, Italy, and Japan. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife lit the powder keg that exploded into World War I. On August 1, 1914, Germany had declared war on Russia.

But America was at peace.

The US economy was booming thanks to the war in Europe. President Woodrow Wilson, the first Democrat to occupy the White House in 20 years, enjoyed overwhelming support because he had “kept America out of the war.” Wilson can thank Roosevelt for ending the Republican monopoly on the Presidency.

Because he did not agree with his handpicked protégé (William Howard Taft), Theodore Roosevelt decided to run as an independent for the Progressive Party, the Bull Moose Party, which split the electoral votes in favor of Wilson. The popular vote in 1914 gave Wilson -6,294,293; Roosevelt -4,117,000, and Taft 3,486,110. Incidentally, the Socialist in that race, Eugene Debs, garnered 897,011 votes.

Americans were flocking to the movie houses that year to see D.W. Griffith’s phenomenal film, “Birth of a Nation”, a classic three-hour drama of the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period. According to reviews, Lillian Gish starred as a Southern Belle, who is terrorized by a Negro. Her honor is avenged by the Ku Klux Klan who comes to the rescue like knights in shining armor.

But no one came to the rescue of the Armenians.

As Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, pointed out, the Turks had a hidden agenda. On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government began and ruthlessly carried out the general massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia Minor. The clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act could be, on a scale so great. There is no reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions…Churchill asserted.

On that day, April 24, 1915, orders issued by Talaat, the Minister of the Interior, and Enver, the Minister of War, instructed the Ottoman military to round up the Armenian political leaders, religious leaders, and intelligentsia in Constantinople. The detainees were driven from the city and later executed. Armenians who had held ranks in the military, and those who held posts in government, as well as soldiers, who had fought alongside their Turkish counterparts, were disarmed, relieved of their duty, taken to labor camps and later slaughtered. Talaat’s order to his governors read: No Christian Armenian in the province who refused to accept Allah and the Koran shall be spared.

Women and children and the elderly were driven from their homes at bayonet point, rounded up into caravans and led on death marches with little to no food, starving and killed when they were too weak to stay in line. Before the end of the decade, there were no Armenians remaining in Turkey.

More than one million, five hundred thousand Armenians died in what civilized people have called the first genocide of the 20th century. That date, April 24, 1915 – one hundred and one years ago – is truly a day that has gone down in infamy.

No Armenians will ever forget April 24, 1915. The blood of our forefathers runs through our veins and our hearts.

And although I abhor referring to him or anything he has said or written, out of necessity I will. In launching his insane plot to wipe every Jewish man, woman, and child from the face of the earth, Nazi Dictator Adolph Hitler, in 1939, rallied his generals when they hesitated to carry out his command by saying, “After all, who today remembers the Armenians.”

We do. We shall never forget. We demand justice.

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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The Third World War

World War Three
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have joined many of you in prayer for peace and good will among nations. And, obviously, our prayers have yet to be answered.

I have sat at the dinner tables of the Soviet mother who lost all three sons fighting the Nazi invader, and watched my neighbor place the Gold Star in her front-room window, signifying that her son had died in the battle.

In my lifetime alone the conflict between nations has never ceased – World War II, Korean, Viet Nam, The Cold War, the Iraq and Afghanistan Invasions to name a few – the battlefields that have claimed millions of young men and women, and still mankind remains right on course in its insane attempt to commit suicide.

We choose to build rockets with atomic warheads, nuclear submarines, multi-million dollar aircraft carriers and drones, yet fail to provide our people with medical care, food, and clothing. We MUST defend our homeland but our troops are stationed in lands and cities whose names we can’t pronounce or find on our maps.

As Trygve Lie, the First Secretary General of the United Nations once noted…Wars occur because people prepare for conflict, rather than for peace.

If the word is more powerful than the sword, why then have we turned our backs on our knowledge to solve our political difference? Must we continue to be governed on the false and insane premise that might makes right.

For more years that most care to say, the United States has been fighting an “invisible” force of terrorists, known as ISIL, whose top officers consist of the deposed Iraq dictator. Their ranks are made up of the uprooted, disenfranchised, and the disillusioned whose leaders corrupt the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran. They spread their venomous teachings of hate and terror in hopes of creating a caliphate whose barbaric foundation would be to enslave all who do not believe in their monstrous views.

As if there isn’t enough pain and suffering today on earth, the world may again be plunged into another world conflict as the fragile cease-fire between Nagorno-Karabakh and its neighboring Azerbaijan has been violated. Even during the truce there have been killings. Rockets fired. Men and women killed.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of the Republic of Armenia, was part of ancient and historic Armenia that became a part of Azerbaijan shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, thanks to the generosity of the then Commissar of Nationalities, Joseph Stalin.

Armenia, which in 301 converted to Christianity making it the first nation to accept Christianity as a national religion, had no say in the decision and, the Nogorno Karabakh Armenians were governed by the Sunni Azeri’s until the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Christian Armenians of Karabakh had no desire to live under the heel of the Sunnis and fought for their freedom, which they won. The 192,000 Christian Armenians who composed approximately 75 percent of the population of the region dreamed of reuniting with Mother Armenia.

With 60,000 million Turks in the West and 16 million Sunni Azeris to the East, Armenia is sandwiched between two historic enemies. It is no secret that the Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin would side with the Christian Armenians. They have a mutual defense pact.

But Turkey is a longtime member of NATO, and the Turks, who slaughtered 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, would not hesitate to finish their bloodletting.

Add the countries who signed the Minsk Declaration, a mutual defense pact which includes 11 former members of the Soviet Union, plus the Russian military onto the battlefield…you have the makings of another world war. And that, I believe, is why Putin has dispatched his Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to talk with Armenia’s head of state, Serzh Sargsian.

And you thought the 20th was a violent century!

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save