Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?
- Adolf Hitler, 1939
Have any of you heard of the Armenian Genocide? Did you know that in 1915 the Ottoman Empire (the predecessor of modern day Turkey) planned and carried out the mass extermination of 1.5 million innocent men woman and children? Did you know that only twenty one countries in the world recognise this genocide today?
As the rest of world was distracted by the First World War, Turkey took the opportunity to once and for all solve the Armenian problem. The Turks rounded up the Armenians and forced them on marches. During these marches they were beaten, starved, shot and raped. They were then sent to concentration camps were they were murdered, often by being burnt alive. Does this story sound familiar? Change the First World War to the Second World War, and the Turks to the Nazis and the Armenians to the Jews and we have the Holocaust.
How many of you reading this knew about this genocide? Despite the fact that it was the first modern genocide, in terms of its organisation and execution, many of us have never heard of it. Ben only discovered it had taken place in 2005, whilst walking through the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Jared only discovered it had taken place today.
Can you believe that only twenty one countries out of 193 have recognised that the massacre of 1.5 million people? Turkey has applied pressure to ensure that it is not held responsible for these murders and it states that there was no genocide. Can you believe this?
The quote at the top of the blog post, was from a speech made by Hitler in 1939 to the commanders of the German army. He was using the world's bad memory to justify his plans to exterminate millions of people across Europe. As we have said, Hitler made that speech in 1939. The Armenian genocide officially ended in 1923. This speech was made just sixteen years after the end of the genocide. How quickly did the world forget? In 1975, Pol Pot the leader of Cambodia started massacring his people. In total 1.7 million people were murdered. That was just twenty years after the end of the Holocaust.
One of the main objectives of From Yesterday, For Tomorrow. is to encourage people to learn from the past. People often read the quote that 'Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it', this is quite clearly true. We must know the past, the entire past. We cannot just learn the history of the Holocaust, it is part of a bigger story of prejudice. We must respect the dead and provide hope for the future by understanding the fate of millions of different people from different continents before we can ever think of bettering the world.