Films of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
Edited By John J. Michalczyk and SJ Raymond G. Helmick
The Armenian Genocide: History and Turkish Government Denial: Dikran M. Kaligian
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 leadership 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 Revolution. Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and the other non-Turks in the Empire greeted the revolution with joy because, under the Constitution, they would legally be equal citizens, independent of their religion or ethnicity. The leading Armenian political party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), even became an ally of...
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