Prove Hitler wrong

Remember Ottoman Turkey's slaughter of Armenian Christians

WORLD Magazine
October 23, 2004
Page 52

By Marvin Olasky ([email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)

Editor's warning: This article contains graphic material.

VAN, Turkey -- As Turkey moves toward eventual membership in the
European Union (see Madisonian Turkey from this week's issue), this
Muslim nation should also come to grips with a terrible crime that has
gone largely unpunished.

Armenians, many of them Christian, lived in this area of what is now
eastern Turkey for about 2,000 years. Despite suffering massacres in
1894 and 1895 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, they still numbered
well over 1 million in 1914. Ten years later only scattered handfuls
were left.

Adolf Hitler used what is now called the Armenian holocaust as his model
for an even greater holocaust. Ottoman Turks developed techniques later
used by the Nazis, such as piling 90 people into a train car with a
capacity of 36, and leaving them locked in for days, terrified,
starving, and often dead.

Hitler was even more impressed with how the Turks got away with
genocide. When Hitler on Aug. 22, 1939, explained that his plans to
invade Poland included the formation of death squads that would
exterminate men, women, and children, he asked, "Who, after all, speaks
today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

In recent years some have. Books such as Peter Balakian's The Burning
Tigris (HarperCollins, 2003) tell of the Armenian tragedy in a way that
also helps us to understand radical Islam. That's because the key
incitement to massacre came on Nov. 14, 1914, when Mustafa Hayri Bey,
the Ottoman Empire's leading Sunni authority, urged his followers to
commence a jihad: One pamphlet declared, "He who kills even one
unbeliever . . . shall be rewarded by Allah."

The jihad proclamation received wide dissemination. When a priest asked
a Muslim army officer how he could participate in killing several
thousand Armenian women, Captain Shukri's answer was simple: It was
jihad time, and after the murders he could "spread out my prayer rug and
pray, giving glory to Allah and the Prophet who made me worthy of
personally participating in the holy jihad in these days of my old age."

The Ottoman Turk government set up and paid special killing squads. The
Ministry of the Interior gave instructions to "exterminate all males
under 50, priests and teachers, leave girls and children to be
Islamized." Historians and journalists have estimated that Turks killed
800,000 to 1 million Armenians in 1915 alone, and an additional 200,000
to 500,000 over the next seven years.

Here in Van 89 years ago, provincial governor Jevdet Bey gained the
nickname "the horseshoe master" because he nailed horseshoes to the feet
of Armenians. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to Turkey,
described in 1918 testimony of torture he had heard: "The gendarmes
would nail hands and feet to pieces of wood--evidently in imitation of
the Crucifixion, and then while the sufferer writhes in his agony, they
would cry, 'Now let your Christ come help you.'"

Aurora Mardiganian, the only member of her family to survive, told of
killing squads that planted their swords in the ground, blade up, at
intervals of several yards. Killers on horseback each grabbed a girl,
rode their horses at a controlled gallop, and tried to throw the girl so
she would be impaled on a sword: "If the killer missed and the girl was
only injured, she would be scooped up again until she was impaled on the
protruding blade."

The silent film Ravished Armenia, based on Aurora Mardiganian's account,
caused a U.S. sensation--but British officials demanded before showtime
in London the deletion of a scene of Armenian women being crucified.
Miss Mardiganian agreed that the scene, which showed the women being
crucified on large crosses with their long hair covering their nude
bodies, was inauthentic.

The scene was inaccurate, she said, because the crosses in the film were
large, but in reality they were little and pointed: "They took the
clothes off the girls. They made them bend down. And after raping them,
they made them sit on the pointed wood, through . . ." Americans, she
said, "can't show such terrible things" (and I can't write about them in
full detail).

After the World War ended in 1918 several Turks, including "the
horseshoe master," were executed for war crimes. Hundreds of
perpetrators went free, and to this day Turkish textbooks cover up the
slaughter of Armenians, as they also cover up the slaughter of Greek
Christians in western Turkey during that same era.
Prove Hitler wrong. Governments are to wield the sword to bring justice,
so remember Armenian and other victims of governments that killed their
own people, and thank God that the United States has worked to protect
innocent people in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.


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