Armenian flag raised at city hall

April 30, 2010
By

Keeping with her promise to open up city hall to the city’s many and numerous minorities, Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy last week took part in raising the Armenian Flag in front of Lynn City Hall.

Last week’s flag raising was especially symbolic as this week marks the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks was the first great European genocide of the 20th Century, followed of course by the extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

“I was especially proud to raise the Armenian Flag,” said the mayor.

Armenians have suffered in the past and then came back to make many contributions to American society.

Lynn has a small but vibrant Armenian community which has lived here since the great days of immigration to America after the genocide.

The genocide is commemorated on April 24 because on that night in 1915, the Turkish government placed under arrest 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. Hundreds more were apprehended after that. They were all sent to prison in Anatolia where they were executed, almost to a person.

Thus began the systematic arrest, deportation and excution of Turkey’s large Armenian population.

It is estimated that between 1915 and 1923 approximately 1.5 million Armenians were deported and executed in one of the most bloodthirsty genocides to have taken place.

Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to Turkish responsibility for the genocide, the Turks have refused to admit their complicity.

There is presently a bill in the Congress set to be debated acknowledging the Turkish genocide of the Armenians.

The Turks have threatened retaliation if the bill passes.

Russia and about 15 other European nations including France have already noted Turkish complicity as the cause of the genocide.

  • esinbir

    What is the first genocide of the 20th century?

    The Armenian diaspora not only claims those lived in 1915-1923 as a genocide, but as ‘the fist genocide of the 20th century and even the fist genocide of all the modern times’. Thus, they conclude that other nations exempified the Turks since the Turks were not punished.

    However, the first genocide of the 20th century is perpetrated by the German upon people of Herero and Nama , in Naminya (the then name: German Southwest Africa) during 1904-1907.

    These events were recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century in the Whitaker Report of the United Nations in 1985. In 2004 Germany admitted its crime and the then German Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had to say ‘As Germans, we acknowledge our historical responsibilities and mistakes on these events’.

    Detail: During the events which were called ‘Aufstand der Herero und Nama, the people of Herero revolted against their colonists (January 12, 1904). The reason was that the German misbehaved the people of Herero and took their lands which were the most productive lands of all and made up of the 1/3rd of the whole land and gave it to the German immigrants by force. The German grabbed their diamond mines also. The inability of the native people to pay their depts back to the German who borrowed them money with exccessive interest was the other reason.

    During the revolt which lasted till August 1904, German General Lothar von Trotha Waterberg, exterminated 80% of the Herero peple and drove the rest of them and their families to Omaheke Desert without discriminating between civil and milis.

    In October 1904, the Nama people revolted. The German exterminated 50% of the Nama people. Those who were driven to desert without any food and drink died. A few of them were let to reach the water, bu after mixing poison into it! Few children, women and children who could not escape were taken to prison camps where they were forced to work under bad conditions. The Dutch historian Jan-Bart Gewald stated that the German established new prison camps for thousands of newborn babies born to mothers raped by the German. According to the reports of missionary groups there, the German considered the native people as monkeys and humiliate them as monkeys (1,2)

    The letter of German General Lothar von Trotha Waterberg sent to the Herero people:
    ‘I, the victarious commander of the German forces, sent this letter to the Herero people. …You should know that the Herero will leave here. Any Herero within the German boundaries will be shot and killed immediately whether he is together with an animal or not.
    'From now on, we do not want neither your wife of child on this territory. I will either exile them or shoot at them. This is my decision about the Herero. Otherwise, I will give the order of shot’ (3).

    1) MacDonald F, Paren E, et al. Peoples of Africa, New York: Cavandish Corporation, 2003, p.371.
    2) Bridgman JM. The Revolt of Hereos, Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1981, p.62
    3) Thomas W Simon. The Laws of Genocide. Westport: Paraeger, 2007, p.66.

  • esinbir

    Why does the Armenian events in WWI not comly with the term genocide?

    1
    I
    Because of the following reasons the events which took place during the World War I between the Turks and Armenians can not be considered as genocide:
    1)After the Ottoman State was defeated in the 1st World War in 1918, the French and English arrested 144 high level Ottoman veteran or civil officials including the ex-prime ministers, ex-deputies, governors and many newspapermen, and banished them to Malta Island, assuming their guilt for the death of Armenians.

    However, the English High Commissary could not find any reliable evidence against these officials, neither in the English nor in Ottoman Archives. In chief of the Ottoman Archives was an Armenian official . Lord Curzon asked help of American government.

    Sir A.Geddes, Washington Ambassador of England reported on July 13, 1921 that his cooperative study with the American Foreign Ministry on all the reports of the American ambassadors about the Armenians' death unfortunately revealed no proof against the Turkish prisoners in Malta’.

    Therefore, no indictment could be prepared and the English Royal Attorney-General could not bring suit. So, the Malta prisoners all had to be made free in 1921. Note also that all the proofs that the Armenians still present to support genocide thesis including the diary of Ambassador Morgenthau, the telegrams of Aram Andonian and others were published long before these trials. But, the English and French invaders and the Americans did not accept them reliable and therefore looked for real evidences.

    2) When the deportation were under way, the Armenians of the big cities were exempted, Istanbul, Izmir, Aleppo, where there were a great population of Armenians lived. Additionally, Katholic and Protestan Armenians were also exempted.

    3) It is another striking point that on December 18, 1918, a law which let the Armenians return to their homes and claim their properties was issued by the Ottoman State. Then most of the Armenians who were relocated returned their homes.

  • esinbir

    Why do the Armenian events in WWI not comply with genocide?
    2
    According to a report of the Armenian Patriarchate in 1921, the Armenians who lived on the Ottoman territory in Anatolia, Middle East and those who returned to their previous locations were shown as 644 900. It was added that the Armenians who became Muslim, who were hidden and who did not encourage to return their homes were not included but they were assumed to be 20 000 (US ARCHIVES NARA, Mikrofilm No.T1192, Roll8; Department of State Papers….,860J.5811).

    4) The Ottoman government tried more than 1300 men for not having taken the necessary measures during the migration and convicted many and executed several in 1916, because of the documented and horrible massacres of the deportee columns (Reporting of Talat Pasha published in Berliner Tageblatt Newspaper on 4 May 1916 ; the order sent to provinces from the Ottoman government dated 1June 1915 from Prime Ministry Ottoman Archieve SHFR, nr 54/9)

    5) Not all the historians support the genocide thesis. See the declaration of 69 American scholars who object this label, published on May 19, 1985 in New York Times.

    6) The Armenians performed hundreds of revolts against the Ottomans, being organized by Armenian committees Hınchak and Dashnak and inflicted horrible massacres upon the Turks and Muslims, beginning late 19.century. 527 000 Turks were slayed by Armenian volunteers in the Russian Army.

    7) In 1915, there were 16 Armenian senators in the Ottoman senate. The Ottoman ministry of commerse and ambassador to England were Armenian till 1914. The Ottomans offered a chair to Armenian Bogos Nubar Pasha who later joined the talks of Sevres Treaty as the representative of the Armenians, but he did not accept.

  • esinbir

    Why do the Armenişan events in WWI not comply with genocide?
    3
    8) Genocide is the highest crime in human history. Under the 1948 UN Convention, the authority to prosecute and proclaim genocide is reserved for the International Court of Justice and the competent domestic courts of party States—not a legislative body.

    Holocaust was proven before the Nuremburg Tribunal with the trappings of due process, not by the parliaments. Why did the Armenians not bring their genocide allegation before the International Court of Justice?

    The answer is simple: Because they know that their thesis is not supported by historical facts and the documents they have presented to public consists of forgeries. It is also because of this that they fiercefully reject discussing the issue in a joint commission composed of Turkish, Armenian historians and additionally historians from other nations. Instead they lobby and urge parliamentary assemblies to recognize the so-called genocide.

    Is it not striking that Brian Ardouny of the Armenian Assembly of America has recently announced ‘We don’t need to prove the genocide historically, because it has already been accepted politically’’? And is it not also striking that the director of the Armenian Archives replied the director of Turkish Archives who suggested to examine both the Armenian and Turkish Archives jointly, that they did not care of the archives but all they cared of was what the world thought?

    And I wonder how long the supporters of the Armenian claims will go on being blind and deaf!

  • sebnem

    1
    What did happen on 24 April 1915?

    After the burst of Van Rebellion of the Armenians,on 24 April 1915, the Ottoman Internal Ministry sent a circular to 16 governors and 10 head official of districts (kaymakam) to close the agencies of the Armenian Committees Dashnaks and Hinchaks, within their management area. On the same day 235 leaders of 77 735 Armenians in Istanbul were arrested due to their crimes and were sent to Çankırı and were prohibited to leave the city.

    The date of April 24, commemorated by the Armenians abroad as the anniversary of genocide against Armenians, is the date of these arrests and has nothing to do with the replacement.

    Later on, some of those who were sent to Çankiri were set free; some of them were sent to Ankara-Ayas, and some to Zor Region. Only one of them died due to natural reasons (age) and two were murdered by two people who did not have any association with the Ottoman State. Essentially, these two people were arrested by the Ottoman State and were executed.

    What kind of genocide is it? It is clear that it is a big mistake to define these events as ‘genocide’

  • sebnem

    2
    The Etchmiasin Patriarch, a priest named Kevork, sent the following cable to the United States President upon this move on April 24:

    Mr. President, according to the latest news received from the Turkish Armenia, a massacre started there and an organised terror has put the Armenian lives in danger. In this precarious moment, I am addressing to the noble sentiments of the great American nation and ask you to intervene immediately through your Great Republic’s diplomatic representation for protecting my people left to the mercy of the violence of Turkish fanaticism, on behalf of humanity and Christian belief.

    Kevorg, Ecumenic Patriarch of all Armenians.

    This cable was followed by the Washington contacts of the Russian Ambassador.
    The incident here was merely the banning of Armenian committees and the arrest of the culprits. Yet, the Armenians endeavoured to display it as a massacre and to rally the United States and Russia into their ranks.

  • sebnem

    3
    Since the Armenian activities gained undarable dimension, the Armenians were decided to be sent to the south of Diyarbakır, valley of Fırat River, neighbourhood of Urfa and Süleymaniye, Musul, Zor, Halep and areas in Syria. The date of law of relocation was 30 May 1915. It is another mistake to consider the executive order of relocation of some of the Armenians as a genocide either.

    If the order dated 24 April 1915 to close the agencies of the Armenian Committees Dashnaks and Hınchaks, and arrest of their leaders is a genocide, or if relocation of the Armenians is equal to a genocide it is reasonable to ask why February 19, 1942, the date when the executive order 9066 was issued by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to relocate the Japanese Americans from their homes in the Pacific Coast in the US Relocation Centers, Assembly Centers and Justice Department Internment Camps is not accepted as an Japanese genocide inflicted by the Americans.

  • sebnem

    4
    At that time, 126 947 Japanese people were living in the main continent, 62.7% having been born in the USA; 157 905 people in Hawaii and 263 in Alaska.
    2260 Japanese were detained in these Justice Ddepartment Internal Camps, since they were considered dangerous. Some of these Japanese Americans were brought to these camps from Latin American countries. 1800 Japanese from Peru were brought to these camps in order that they would be used during Exchange of hostiges and 1400 of them were not set free, even after the war ended.

    De Witt who was assigned to substantiate this order stated: ‘Racist relations can not be removed by migration. The Japanese race is an ‘enemy race’ and the second and third generation Japanese have not lost their race characters, even though they were born on Americal territory and had Americanized’. De Witt also defined the Japanese as 112 000 potential enemies and said that a Japanese is Japanese.Missisippi Congressman John Rankin said: ‘The civilization of the White Man had become in confliction with the Japanese barbarianism and either of them should be annihilated’ (1-4).

  • sebnem

    5
    The differences between Japanese Immigration in WWII with the Armenian Immigration in WWI:
    1)The Ottoman did not have the understanding of a ‘superior race’ unlike the Americans
    The Armenians were relocated not because they belonged to another race; because of military and political reasons. Moreover, the Armenians of the big cities like Istanbul, Izmir, Aleppo, where there were a great population of Armenians lived were exempted. Additionally, Katholic and Protestan Armenians were also exempted.

    2)The major difference was that the Japanese had not rebelled and they were unarmed.The Armenians performed hundreds of revolts (24 revolts only in September to December 1895) against the Ottomans, being organized by Armenian committees Hınchak and Dashnak and inflicted horrible massacres upon the Turks and Muslims, beginning by late 19.century. In 1905, the Armenians killed all the Turks and Muslims who lived in Susha in Azarbaijan (5). Armenian Soviet historian A.A.Lalayan stated that the Dashnaks displayed extreme courage to massacre Turkish women, children and ill and old people (6). V.A. Gurko-Kryajin declared that the Muslim folk around Yerivan and Kars were eradicated and the districts Shuragel, Kağızman, Karakurt, Sarıkamış, Surmali were fired and destroyed so that the folk were forced to escape, in his book entitled 'Neareast and the States'
    Armenian Boghos Noubar Pasha, said: ‘150 000 Armenian volunteers in Russian Army were the only forces against Turks’ (7) . 527 000 Turks were slayed by Armenian volunteers in the Russian Army. Hamparsum Boyaciyan, a former Ottoman parliamentarian who led Armenian guerilla forces, ravaging Turkish villages behind the lines, 1914 (8).

    What would the Americans do if the Japanese on their territory rebelled against the Americans, and cooperated with the occupying powers, and if the American army become between two fires because of these Japanese cooperators.

    Therefore, Mr Obama and the Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy would be expected to acknowledge a devastating chapter of American history and be sensitive to keep the memories of the Japanese who were misbehaved and murdered by the Americans, alive, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, much before the Armenians.

    References:
    1) Daniels R, Taylor S,Kitaro H (et al. Japanese Americans from Relocation to Redress. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1986
    2) Spicer E, Hansen A, Luomala K, Opler M. Impounded people, Jao,panese-Americans in the Relocation Centers. University of Arizona Press;Tucson, Arizona. 1969
    3) Conn S. The decision to evacuate the Japanese from the Pacific Coast. 1994. Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians
    4) Bernstein JZ, Chair. Personal Justice Denied. Washington D.C. 1982.
    5) Russian newspaper Novoye Obozrenye 6 September 1905
    6) Contrarevolyutsionnıy 'Dasnaktsutyun' İ İmperialisti-cheskaya Voyna 1914-1918 gg.', Revolyutsionnıy Vostok, No.2-3, p.92, 1936
    7) Times of London , 1919 Jan 30 Link: http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/10/2013
    8) Cited from Mikael Varandean ‘History of Dashnaktsutiun’.

Recent Activity

Full Print Edition