Armenian Genocide Remembrance Event, a noble cause

April 17, 2014 No Comments
Saturday, April 19, 2014, between 12 noon and 2 p.m. the Fight Shop on Miramar Road in San Diego will be hosting the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Event plus a free, two hour, open mat self defense presentation

Saturday, April 19, 2014, between 12 noon and 2 p.m. the Fight Shop on Miramar Road in San Diego will be hosting the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Event along with a free, two hour, open mat self defense presentation.

On Saturday, April 19, 2014, between 12 noon and 2 p.m. the Fight Shop on Miramar Road in San Diego is hosting the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Event along with a free, two hour, open mat self defense presentation 1) to remind folks of the monstrous, ghastly Armenian genocide that took place from 1915 until 1923 in the area formerly known as the Ottomon Empire, and 2) as an introduction to the various fighting sports disciplines of which the various instructors have become quite proficient.


 

After six months of planning, this Free No Gi seminar sponsored by the two Hayk & Bel Martial Arts Centers in Los Angeles will feature self defense instruction from the following:

Hayk Bel Harutyunyan from the Hayk Bel Martial Arts Center in Los Angeles, who will be your Master of Ceremonies and give instruction on Kung Fu self defense. 

Jason Bukich from The Arena MMA will give instruction on submission holds in grappling.

Michael Nazlikian, a head instructor from the Hayk & Bel Martial Arts Center in Burbank, CA., will give Jiu Jitsu instruction and

finally prominent Muaythai fighter Sevada Novrudzhyan will give a demonstration on his specialty Muay Thai.

Historic facts about the Armenian Genocide: 

Long before Rwanda, Bosnia and the Holocaust, the first genocide of the twentieth century occurred in an area formerly known as Turkish Armenia in 1915 and learning about genocide is important since we all have a responsibility to never become untroubled by acts of genocide, especially in the interdependent world in which we now live.

Armenian deportees were transported in cattle cars on the Anatolian Railroad. On October 30, 1915, Anatolian Railroad director Franz J. Gὒnther reported to Bank Director Arthur  von Gwinner sarcastically remarking: “Enclosed I send you a little photo showing the Anatolian Railroad as an upholder of  culture in Turkey. These are our so-called sheep-carts in which, for example, 880 people are transported in 10 carts.

The deportation of Armenians in cattle cars: On October 30, 1915, Anatolian Railroad director Franz J. Gὒnther reported to Bank Director Arthur von Gwinner sarcastically: “Enclosed I send you a little photo showing the Anatolian Railroad as an upholder of culture in Turkey. These are our so-called sheep-carts in which, for example, 880 people are transported in 10 carts.

How awareness of genocide contributes to the world’s sensitivity, compassion towards their fellow man: 

The Armenian Genocide was a planned campaign by the Young Turk government to annihilate the Christian Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Embarked upon in 1915, during WWI, the deportation and decimation of the Armenians across Anatolia, modern-day Turkey, continued until 1923. The campaign resulted in the complete destruction of Armenian society across the region and in the greater part of its historic homeland.

The Armenian Genocide was thoroughly documented and universally condemned as it was occurring. Yet the world soon forgot about those atrocities and recently we’ve seen a vile recurrence in other countries. 

In April, 1915 the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Armenian population of the Ottoman state was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923 virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.

Impressions of photographer Viktor Pietschmann on the Sushehri deportation caravan: “Here as well, one could see only very, very few men. Aside from the coachmen and the gendarmes, who escorted the caravan on both sides with guns ready, there were almost only women. Occasionally women even drove the carts, and if one could see men, they were old and frail very old men. And children, again and again children, half-grown ones and very small, who walked in the crowd with dark and sorrowful faces or were in tears and crying.”

Impressions of photographer Viktor Pietschmann on the Sushehri deportation caravan: “Here as well, one could see only very, very few men. Aside from the coachmen and the gendarmes, who escorted the caravan on both sides with guns ready, there were almost only women. Occasionally women even drove the carts, and if one could see men, they were old and frail very old men. And children, again and again children, half-grown ones and very small, who walked in the crowd with dark and sorrowful faces or were in tears and crying.”

(top, left) Photographer Martiros Sarian: “I noticed among a group of refugees a beautiful woman with her five sons. Every time I passed them by I could not hide my admiration and my sadness. One of the children had taken ill…I took him to the children’s hospital, but he could not be saved. One after the other three of his dark-eyed brothers also died. The mother sowed a shroud for each from her dress and arrayed them next to one another…I visited them a couple of days later. The mother was enshrouding her last child with the last shreds of her dress. She was practically naked. And as she had run out of string, she had pulled out a strand of amber dark hair from her braid, threaded it in the needle, and was sowing.”

(top, left) Photographer Martiros Sarian: “I noticed among a group of refugees a beautiful woman with her five sons. Every time I passed them I could not hide my admiration and my sadness. One of the children had taken ill…I took him to the children’s hospital, but he could not be saved. One after the other three of his dark-eyed brothers also died. The mother sowed a shroud for each from her dress and arrayed them next to one another…I visited them a couple of days later. The mother was enshrouding her last child with the last shreds of her dress. She was practically naked. And as she had run out of string, she had pulled out a strand of amber dark hair from her braid, threaded it in the needle, and was sowing.”

young teenagers along the road

Misery! Hungry and starved to death children die on a street in Mosul.

(top) Misery! Hungry and starved to death children die on a street in Mosul.

Consequences for someone of Armenian decent in 2014:

Many of the families during the genocide were completely wiped out. It was like the Grim-Reaper had entered each of their homes and ruthlessly ripped out the family members from the very root. Imagine today, not having a photograph of your great-grand parents or even your grand parents. For an Armenian this is a rarity.  

From as far north as the Black Sea and as far west as European Turkey, Armenians were forcibly removed from their homes to the Syrian desert. At select sites large-scale massacres were carried out. The survivors were dispersed across Syria, Iraq, and as far south as Palestine, where they were left in inhospitable places. Starvation, thirst, and epidemic diseases destroyed the vast numbers of those confined to these places of concentration. Many in these concentration camps were eventually killed through further massacres. 

The Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Turks who treated the Armenians, a Christian minority, as second class citizens subject to legal restrictions denying them the normal safeguards, neither their lives nor their properties were secure. As non-Muslims they were also obligated to pay discriminatory taxes and denied participation in government. 

Death Toll of the Armenian Genocide

From 1914 to 1923, when the Republic of Turkey was founded, it was estimated that 1.5 million Armenians had perished, a full three quarters of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. 

There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of W.W.I. Well over a million were deported in 1915 and hundreds of thousands were butchered outright. Others died of starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the concentration camps. Among the Armenians living along the periphery of the Ottoman Empire many at first escaped the fate of their countrymen in the central provinces of Turkey. Tens of thousands in the east fled to the Russian border to lead a precarious existence as refugees. 

The majority of the Armenians in Constantinople, the capital city, were spared deportation. In 1918, however, the Young Turk regime took the war into the Caucasus, where approximately 1,800,000 Armenians lived under Russian dominion. Ottoman forces advancing through East Armenia and Azerbaijan here too engaged in systematic massacres. The expulsions and massacres carried by the Nationalist Turks between 1920 and 1922 added tens of thousands of more victims. 

By 1923 the entire landmass of Asia Minor and historic West Armenia had been expunged of its Armenian population. The destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total.

640 all young boys

The Republic of Turkey’s denial

The present-day Republic of Turkey adamantly denies that a genocide was committed against the Armenians during W.W.I. Moreover, they dismiss the evidence about the atrocities as mere allegations and regularly obstruct efforts for acknowledgment. Affirming the truth about the Armenian Genocide, therefore, has become an issue of international significance. The recurrence of genocide in the twentieth century has made the reaffirmation of the historic acknowledgment of the criminal mistreatment of the Armenians by Turkey all the more a compelling obligation for the international community.

Why is the Armenian Genocide commemorated on April 24? 

On the night of April 24, 1915, the Turkish government placed under arrest over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. Hundreds more were soon apprehended. They were all sent to prison where most were summarily executed. Up to that point, the Young Turks’ true intentions had gone undetected. As the persons seized that night included the most prominent public figures of the Armenian community, everyone became alerted about the dimensions of the policies being entertained. 

Bottom line, this is a great opportunity for you, me and all of us to not only interact with some of the descendants who in their own way keep reminding us that tragedies like this should never, ever occur and perhaps being prepared to fight for what is right is the only way to prevent a recurrence.

 

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