vendredi 31 décembre 2010

Examiner la déportation des Arméniens de 1915

Examining the Armenian deportation
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

In order to be able to judge whether the Armenian deportation of 1915 can be labeled as a genocide attempt, I think we first and foremost need to delve into the concept of “deportation.”

Here arises an important question: Was the Ottoman deportation of the Armenians the first of its sort in history? In other words, did the Ottomans rediscover America? Of course not...
As an example of exile cases that occurred prior to the 1915 deportation, one needs only to look as far as Czarist Russia and its forced migration policies implemented on those living in the Caucasus region throughout the 19th century. For later examples, one has only to analyze the actions of the U.S. government, which had similar concerns to the Ottomans, when it shoved thousands of Japanese citizens living in the United States into internment camps for the duration of World War II, or Czechoslovakia’s deportation of its Sudetenland German population right after the war.

There are, nevertheless, important nuances that separate the Armenian deportation from these examples and these nuances need to be praised rather than scorned. Let us list only three of them: First of all, the Armenians deported were allowed to return after the war. Secondly, the Ottomans even went so far as to allocate their Armenian exiles a daily stipend of three kurush for adults and 60 piastres for children. Last, but not least, upon the order of Talat Paşa, who is claimed to have been the one in the Ottoman government who personally planned the “Armenian genocide,” a total of 1,673 officials accused of abuse and neglect during the deportation process were court-martialed between 1915 and 1916. Of these, 524 were given prison terms, 67 were sentenced to death and 68 were sentenced to hard labor.

These trials alone clearly demonstrate that the deportation cannot be labeled as genocide. Even some Western scholars who support Armenian claims acknowledge the importance of Ottoman efforts in that regard. For instance, Hilmar Kaiser, after stating that we keep repeating ourselves over and over again about the small number of existing documents, and that most of the studies based on such documents are “ridiculous,” has confessed the undeniable importance of the archival documents regarding the so-called court hearings of the Ottoman Empire.

More importantly, there were other attempts by Ottomans to clear themselves. For instance, having become exasperated with all the massacre claims by the European states, the Ottoman government on Feb. 13, 1919, dispatched a memorandum to Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark in order for a commission to be set up, comprised of two neutral legal experts from each nation, “to investigate the deportation and identify its reasons.” However, these nations informed the Ottoman state of their refusal of this proposal on May 6, 1919.

Having said that, let us ask ourselves the simple question, “Are Western politicians such as Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi who vote in favor of “Armenian genocide” bills even aware of realities such as these?”

If you ask me, I really doubt they have even the slightest crumb of information as to what really happened in 1915.
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