A docudrama of the Armenian Genocide: “Please Kill Him Now”

April 8, 2009


March 30, 1916 Sambayat, Turkey


The sky was azure blue and dotted with fluffy, white clouds. Beneath it, a convoy of young women and children shuffled into the town and down the main road. All bore the look of death. Some stumbled, some were helped along; some, the youngest ones, nearly skeletons, were carried in the bony arms of their mothers. Some wore ragged clothes. Some none. All were filthy. All stared down at their bare feet with cavernous eyes and sunken cheeks.

Those who were naked were helped by a gentle, surprisingly warm breeze blowing up from the desert to the south. Combined with the bright sun, it overcame the normal spring chill and made for a comfortable coatless day. The air was clear, and the breeze wafted along the smell of cooking food from nearby buildings.

It would have been a great day to be alive. Uniformed, bearded guards, carrying their long rifles with bayonets fixed, ambled along beside the convoy. The women could no longer be hurried.

An officer at the head of the convoy lifted his head at the smell of food, then turned and raised his hands for the guards to stop the convoy. He waved to the side of the road. The guards pushed and prodded the women to a grassy area, and two of them were ordered to watch over the women. The rest formed a circle in the shade of a sweet gum tree, opened their packs, and began to eat lunch. No food was given the women, but they were allowed to dip their hands in a nearby puddle and drink from them.

One woman limped off the road and stood stock still for minutes, holding her two shriveled little girls by the hand. Then she slowly fell to her knees and toppled over, dead. Her girls sat down at her side, obviously believing she was only asleep, and again clasped her bony, cooling hands in theirs.

Another woman gave no attention to the water. She held the half-putrefied cadaver of a newborn infant tightly to her chest, cooing softly to it.

Nearby, a naked woman lay on her back, her head turned away from the sun. Her haggard face still retained some of what must have been ravishing beauty. Her body bore the bruises and slime of frequent rape. As the light in her eyes gradually extinguished, they momentarily reflected her agony before turning vacant.

After a half-hour, the officer stood and signaled for the guards to reform the convoy. Reluctantly, some at the point of a bayonet, the women and children struggled to their feet and tottered back to the road. One woman took the hands of the two children whose mother had died, and pulled them struggling away from her. The guards checked those that remained on the ground for signs of life, poking some with their bayonets. Finally, the trudging mass of despair was taken out of town on an intersecting road, heading toward the south and the desert. The guards left the corpses for the townspeople to bury.

Two nargile smokers in the rear of the Ligor Kiraathanesi coffee house along that road, each sitting comfortably next to his traditional pipe, had watched the convoy come and go. They knew exactly what was going on. Not so the young man seated at a tiny table on the patio of the coffee house. Shielded from the sun by a large Syrian juniper, Peter Kahan watched, mouth agape, only moving when the discomfort of the hard wooden chair on which he was sitting demanded it. He had traveled to several towns and was now in Sambayat on his way to the ancient city of Adiyaman. He had just had lunch and, of course, Turkish coffee, and still held the small coffee cup as though it was frozen in his hand.

He was a foreign correspondent for The Times of London, which had sent him to Turkey because he spoke Turkish. He had learned it at home from his parents, who had immigrated to Britain before he was born. As always, The Times did not trust Foreign Ministry handouts. He was to interview members of the Young Turk government regarding Turkey’s two-front war with Italy over Libya, and with Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro. The Times also wanted him to appraise Turkish public opinion, and that was why he was traveling through this region. Peter had heard rumors about what he had just seen. Some Greeks swore to him that it was happening and that he must inform the world through his newspaper, but the government officials he queried about it denied it flatly. Oh, there were some deportations of Armenians from the east, they said. But they were only to relocate those sympathetic to Russia from the eastern border regions in case Russia joined the war against them. They insisted that the deportations were humanely done.

But now he had seen a deportation with his own eyes. He looked again at the two scrawny corpses, and the doner kebab—thick grilled bread stuffed with lamb shavings and cabbage, topped with a spicy sauce—he’d had for lunch weighed heavily in his stomach. It was beginning to revolt; he could taste the spicy sauce again. He quickly put the cup down and doubled over, spewing his lunch on a nearby bush.

Forty-three Miles Away

One after another, the muscular, heavily-built man hacked at their heads and necks with his axe. When they tried to shield themselves, he hacked off their arms first. His comrades, armed with their bayonets and knives, worked into the quaking, screaming crowd of women, children, and old men. He and the other soldiers were under orders to save ammunition.

Then he saw her. She stood silently, hugging her younger brother to her, her head resting on his. She was from his town of Okaris, and very beautiful. She was not one whose name he would forget, and he yelled to her above the tumult, “Quick, Siran. Come to me.”

She did not hear him.

He pushed several women aside, kicked over one who was praying on her knees, and came up alongside Siran. He put one bloody hand on her shoulder, and when she looked at him, he yelled above the terrible noise, “I will protect and save you. Release your brother, and follow me.”

She shook her head.

He grabbed her arm and tried to pull her away from her brother, but she held him tighter. The hacking, stabbing soldiers were getting closer.

“I give you life,” he urged.

Again she shook her head. She turned her head to look into his eyes, and finally shouted, “If you are so kind, I ask only this favor.”

“What? Quick!” he barked.

“I know you will not save my brother. Please. Kill him now. Please, before me. Then while I wait for you to kill me, I will not worry about him. I do not want him to suffer any agony, any torture.”

The muscular soldier vigorously shook his head, and again tried to pull her away. She resisted.

“Please,” she said.

It was too late anyway. He could feel his comrades at his back, and one was approaching from the side with his bayonet pointed toward her. He nodded.

Siran quickly turned her brother to face her, and whispered into his ear, “A temporary goodbye, my brother.” She kissed him. “We will meet in the next world and be in God’s hands. Do not fear. It is a matter of seconds.”

They kissed each other for the last time, and the boy stood apart, facing him without fear. The soldier now had no choice. Orders were orders. He quickly cleaved the boy’s skull open with the axe, and he collapsed at sister’s feet, dead. He turned to the girl. She stood with her hands at her sides. Her chin was uplifted toward him, and her eyes were misty. “Thank you,” she said, barely loud enough to hear. “Please, now, do the same to me. One blow. No torture.”

He nodded, heaved back his axe, then hesitated, looking into her eyes. He saw only acceptance. He brought the axe down on her head.

Link of Note

“Statistics of Turkey’s Democide:
Estimates, Calculations, and Sources”

By R.J. Rummel

Quote:

The infamy of executing [the last century’s] first full scale ethnic cleansing belongs to Turkey’s Young Turk government during World War I. In their highest councils Turkish leaders decided to exterminate every Armenian in the country, whether a front-line soldier or pregnant woman, famous professor or high bishop, important businessman or ardent patriot. All 2,000,000 of them.

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20th C. Democide
Books, articles, statistics


Repeat After Me — There Was An Armenian Genocide

April 3, 2009


click me^–>

[First published September 26, 2005] I’ve gotten more email from Turks or Muslims asking how I could make such a damning claim that Turkey committed genocide. I write back that they’ve been brainwashed.

Turkey did murder about 2,000,000 Armenians and 350,000 Greeks, the first such extensive genocide of the last century (the first was the German slaughter of 65,000 Herero in Namibia in 1904). I know, I know, my figure of Armenian’s murdered far surpasses the 1,500,000 most often given by Armenian and genocide scholars, but they are only counting that period during WWI when the Young Turks were in power. I included the post war period when the Nationalist under Atatürk continued the genocide of Armenians and added the Greeks, and so mentioning Atatürk enrages Turk students the most. After all, he is a hero to Turks and the father of modern Turkey.

There is no doubt this genocide occurred. Genocide scholars, without exception, agree on this, the relevant documents were generated by two court trials, there is voluminous reports from the American ambassador and other diplomats in Turkey, and refugee reports are consistent on this. Nonetheless, Turkey has succeeded in casting doubt on the genocide. Their story is that the Armenians were in rebellion and siding with Russia, which invaded Turkey during the war, and besides which they had killed many Muslim Turks, which they did. Thus, what is interpreted as genocide was an attempt by the Young Turks to subdue the rebellion, and deport Armenians away from the border with Russia.

Then there are the American academic experts on Turkey who agree with Turkey that there was no genocide, but in effect a civil war. But, one has to be careful with these people. Often they are doing research on Turkey under Turkish grants or support, and second they can be denied access to the Turkish archives. Its inner reaches are only available with government permission.

And with sorrow, I must add that the American State Department refuses to recognize this genocide even though our ambassador at the time, Henry Morgenthau, reported extensively on it. We know this because he wrote a book, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story , in which he detailed the genocide. In spite the of documentation that must fill a significant area of the State’s archives, why does it continue to deny what every researcher with the exception of Turkey’s sycophants know, and even what Congress is now considering as a concurrent resolution recognizing the genocide (go here)? Real politics.

Our relationship with Turkey is considered important, and being on the northern borders of Iraq and Syria, a Turkish support is critical, especially it swallowing the acerbic pill of autonomy for the Iraqi Kurds under the proposed Iraqi constitution — for Turkey a bad example to their own near 14 million Kurds (about 20% of the population). Repeatedly, the State Department has refused to recognize genocide, or even democide. Not by Turkey, not by Nazi Germany, not by Stalin, not by Mao, not by Pakistan (in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh), not by the Pol Pot, not by Rwanda, not by Serbia, not by Hussein (in his slaughter of the Kurds, often with poison gas), and at first, not of Sudan. Secretary Colin Powell did recognize this genocide, but notice that it is not part of the current vocabulary.

Real politics is always the dominant consideration. I’m tempted to call this the let-them-die policy that there are considerations that are more important then the lives of hundreds of thousands and even millions. State gets away with this because there is little general recognition of how much democide, and its component genocide, is carried out by dictatorships, and what a significant impact on these thug regimes and this awful practice America could have by calling such mass murder what it is, and pointing a trembling, outraged finger at it.

Link of Day

“Turkish Genocide of Armenians”

: A website museum of material on the genocide

Links I Must Share

“Turkish protest over genocide conference “:

Turkey avoided a damaging row with the EU on free speech at the weekend when a conference on the Armenian genocide was finally held in Istanbul after the organisers circumvented a court ban.

“He’ll Have To Go”:

Amidst rumours of his imminent flight from Nepal, King Gyanendra abruptly cancelled his scheduled visit to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting. . . . Kathmandu civil society’s opposition, spearheaded by the Citizen’s Movement for Democratic Peace, has unambiguously adopted the slogan of republican democracy.

The last throes of another monarchy and birth of democracy.

“China’s leaders launch smokeless war against internet and media dissent”:

China announced a fresh crackdown yesterday on the internet amid further revelations of a plan by Hu Jintao, the president, to suppress dissent.

“Senior U.S. Officials Criticize International Failure to Fight Terrorist Financing”

“Anti-War Harangue Feeds Muslim Murderers”

In a time of war, we used to call this treason.

“Please Kill Him Now”
A docudrama of the Armenians genocide