genocides

 

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TALKING ABOUT GENOCIDE - GENOCIDES

 
 


ARMENIA 1915

- before the genocide
- the genocide
- after the genocide
- witness
- issues

GENOCIDES
NAMIBIA
ARMENIA
UKRAINE
the HOLOCAUST
CAMBODIA
GUATEMALA
RWANDA
BOSNIA

before the genocide

The Armenians are an ancient people whose home has been in the southern Caucasus since the 7th century BC. Mongol, Persian, Russian and Ottoman (Turkish) empires have fought on and over this region for many centuries. In the 4th century AD one of Armenia's kings became a Christian, and Christianity has been the Armenian state religion ever since. After Islam was founded in Arabia in the 7th century AD, it became the state religion in all the countries surrounding Armenia (including Iran, which was the strongest influence on Armenian culture). But the Armenians continued to cherish their Christian church, although politically they lived under a series of foreign regimes and as a result often experienced hardship, persecution, discrimination and abuse.

At the end of the 19th century, Turkey and Russia were recovering from a war with each other. In the west, 2.5m Christian Armenians were governed by the Turks; eastern Armenia was in Russian hands. A surge in Armenian nationalism gave the Armenian leaders confidence to demand political reforms. This was unwelcome to both Ottoman and Russian powers, afraid of armed partisan resistance or even the revival of interstate war. They began to repress Armenians even more harshly. In some Turkish Armenian provinces large-scale massacres were carried out from 1894 to 1896. In Russian Armenia, the Tsar closed hundreds of Armenian schools, libraries and newspaper offices, and in 1903 confiscated the property of the Armenian church.

In 1909 the Ottoman Sultan was overthrown by a new political group: the 'Young Turks', eager for a modern, westernised style of government. When the First World War broke out, the Young Turks supported Germany, which brought the country into conflict with Russia once again. It was easy for the Young Turks to expect Turkish Armenians to conspire with pro-Christian Russians against them (though many Turkish Armenians denied any such intention). As far as the Young Turks were concerned, what had long been 'the Armenian Question' had to be answered, now.

next the genocide 

 

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