Films of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
Edited By John J. Michalczyk and SJ Raymond G. Helmick
Part Two: Armenian Genocide: “Who Remembers?”
PART TWO Armenian Genocide: “Who Remembers?” I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. First to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action. —Raphael Lemkin, on the origins of his work on genocide, from a 1949 CBS TV interview The Armenian Genocide: History and Turkish Government Denial Dikran M. Kaligian In the early morning of 24 April 1915, Ottoman police went from home to home in the capital city of Constantinople and arrested 235 of the leading Armenian intellectuals, politicians, educators and professionals. The leader- ship of the Armenian community was exiled into the interior of Anatolia, and was, with a handful of exceptions, murdered. Thus began the Armenian Genocide, the only genocide that today has a national government spending tens of millions of dollars conducting an international campaign denying that it ever occurred. The Armenians were an ethnically, linguistically, and religiously distinct population whose historical homeland was divided between the Ottoman and Russian Empires. With the rise of nationalism in the late nineteenth century, the Armenians began demanding reforms and greater rights under Ottoman rule because they were clearly second-class subjects. In response, Sultan Abdul-Hamid initiated a series of massacres between 1894 and 1896 that killed hundreds of thousands and served as a warning that demands for reforms that would diminish the superiority of Muslims, and particularly ethnic Turks, would be dealt with severely. The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP, also known as the Young Turks) overthrew the Sultan in the 1908 Constitutional...
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