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02 June 2008

2483) A Shameful Act (Of Scholarship) & The Great Game of Genocide: Two Book Reviews by Sukru Aya




Dear All,
A very old and much affectionate (a quarter of my heart) Turkish Armenian friend of over 60 years friendship, currently living in USA, but visiting Turkey at least once a year, “did not like the idea of my writing a book on the Genocide fanfare”! Much that I would hate to offend the feelings of such a wonderful all time true friend; I had not sent him a copy of my book! Like most other “Americanized” Turkish Armenians somewhat flawed, he recently had two books sent to me. One was “A Shameful Act” of Taner Akcam, (which I partly knew) and the other “The Great Game of Genocide” by Donald Bloxham, which I had not
seen. Therefore, I consider it a matter of reciprocal courtesy, to put in writing, “what I think of the gifted books”. My two book reviews are hereunder. Readers of both books will observe a huge similarity (almost like a carbon copy), regarding the selective sources, and the habit of creating doubts with a mixture of outside excerpts and comments, still presenting no definite logical proof or document in respect of the author’s accusation of “genocide”.

Sukru S. Aya, June 2, 2008


1- BOOK REVIEW ABOUT “A SHAMEFUL ACT” (OF SCHOLARSHIP)! (ISBN-13-:978-0-8050-8665-2) Much that has been written and praised about the above book, which claims in the preface that Turkish Archives have been “pruned after the 1918 Armistice” (when all archives were under British control and an Armenian Haik Kazarian in charge) and challenges that “it will produce documents which the writer argues otherwise”, for those who have a notion of knowledge about the -ins and outs- of the subject, the study is impaired by serious shortages and therefore raises the serious question as regards, “what is the shameful act”? Is it the “unproven alleged fanfare of genocide” or is it the “biased presentations and presumptions” of the writer, using a large variety of “selected references” from which he makes his own conclusions, raising doubts and sounding “convincing” to the readers, by telling a “very little”, but “hiding too much”!

So much was enough for Orhan Pamuk to endorse the book immediately with his phrase “The definite account of the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians… No future discussion of the history will be able to ignore this brilliant book”. If all readers would have been “engaged for supportive assessments in settlement of certain favors, or has been as shallow, short sighted and biased to the extent of accepting this as “the definite account” making “future discussions unnecessary”, they would have taken such words of “scholars to be neutral and fair”. Unfortunately, from start to end “this is not the case”, and “definite accounts cannot be settled” unless parties lay down “documentary evidences and logical explanations” instead of distorted scenarios!

There is so much one sided comments, that if I were to write a review for the whole book, I am afraid that it will be almost as long, when I give my own contradictory references and explanations. The real question is, “if I should spend my time to pick up hundreds of deviations” and present the “opposite facts”. However, looking to the nonexistent Bibliography but scanning through the index, I have made the following short observations:

1- On page 465, the writer acknowledges the support he obtained from Zoryan Institute and his benefactor Prof. Dadrian, which partly explains, “why he has not read other contrary, neutral or pro-Armenian sources”, besides what has been put in front of him as supportive material ready for usage.

2- To my personal opinion, as much as a “decent judge cannot overlook other evidences submitted for the case and hear the defendant”, a “decent scholar, does not have the liberty of being selective on the sources of information related to the subject”. If we accept this “basic principle as the minimal thumb rule”, the study collapses (despite the praising comments of others who have not known any better) at the very start, and proves to be “unworthy of serious review and comparisons”. To my opinion, no historian, should try to write a book about the foundation of the United States, unless he read the works and books about the fathers of USA, to name but a few, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Grant, Adams, John Quincy, Harrison, Jackson, Garfield, Cleveland, Roosevelt, Wilson and others! No “decent and true scholar, should come out with a conclusive remark, closed to further elaboration, unless he read all other existing sources”, whether they suit or not! Moreover, even such “conclusions” can change with presentation of new documents later!

3- Within this context, the research, to my opinion is not lame, but it is footless, since it has not used any of the following imperative and direct sources: Ataov, Turkkaya – Grabill, Joseph – Pasdermadjian, Garekin - Lowry, Heath - MacMillan Margaret - Hamlin, Cyrus – Nassibian, Akaby – Kachaznuni, Hovannes – Lalaian A.A. – Karinian A.B. – Feigl, Erich – Mango, Andrew – Weems, Samuel – Shaikh M. Akhtar – Washburn, George – Lewy, Guenther – McCarthy, Justin – Pravitz Hilmar, – von Sanders, Liman, – von Schellendorf, Bronsart – Davis, Leslie (in true sense) – various Newspapers of those days, Magazines all of which are available in the free E-library

4- Counter evidence is submitted with full references from some of the above sources, leaving out sources named “denialist or pro-Turkish or state view”. In so far that my book is free to the readers, I do not think that it is my duty to refute the “presumptions or distortions” of the above book. Reciprocally, I would invite all readers or scholars to refute any of the evidencing excerpts I have quoted, to be untrue or “pruned”…

5- The writer, has intentionally “left out” the other sides of the incidents, bringing his own interpretation and adorn it with outside excerpts or remarks (whether they are valid or not) to make his case “convincing” and amidst all the cosmetics added, he could impress the readers, without showing the back of the same coin! Since the examples are by hundreds, I will give just a very few examples of the too many, such as:

A- Special Organization and Bahattin Shakir: (P.129 etc): A clear obsession of the writer and his benefactor Prof. Dadrian, is to show this Organization (which he claims that was founded in mid August 1914), instrumental in carrying the “genocide”. Whilst in some pages he claims that this force was organized from ex convicts and criminals, in other pages he explains that the mission of this force was to create “trouble and revolts” behind the enemy lines, such as in Russia, Iran, etc. which contradicts itself as regards the qualifications of this special intelligence and task force members. If the writer, had but only read the book of Pasdermadjian (P.16) he could have learned from this Armenian leader that Bahattin Shakir was among the 28 person team sent to Erzurum 8th Dashnak Congress, offering full Autonomy to Armenians, in return of their siding with Turks in the coming war. This full offer of autonomy (also guaranteed by Germans) was confirmed in at least four other books. The offer was rejected because the Federation in Tiblisi, brought the matter to the Russian Csar, who offered two more provinces to Armenians, other than the six provinces offered by Turks. This fact, raises serious questions as regards the logics of Bahattin Shakir and CUP’s intentions to “annihilate the Armenians, with whom they were trying to ally, in conformity with their past promises to CUP back in 1907”. On page 129, the writer refers to a letter dated March 25, 1919 supposed to be in the Aram Andonian documents, which are acknowledged by prominent historians to be “altogether fabricated and none in any sight”! Is this the type of “evidence” submitted to prove the validity of the explanations?

B- On pages 118-119, the writer refers to the Yenikoy Treaty signed with Russia dated Feb.8, 1914, which was to put the “reform project” into force and for which Dutch inspector-governor Westenek and Norwegian Colonel Hoff had already arrived in May, destined to their capital cities Van and Erzurum. The Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Ferdinand at the end of June signaled the oncoming war and the inspectors had to go back to their countries. The writer (on page 119) blames the Ottoman Government for abrogation of the agreement and declaring it invalid on Dec. 16, 1914! The Ottoman Empire was in war with the Allied countries (France-Britain-Russia) and by December 16, the Russians had advanced in Anatolia next to Erzurum with the guidance of the Armenian volunteers! Does it not sound strange to expect Turks to stick to their old agreement, towards Russian with whom they were at full-fledged war in December 1914? My logic stops, when a scholar (?) makes such a remark chronologically unfit, just to smear Turks!

C- The writer while accusing everyone for “genocidal intent of killing the innocents”, makes no references whatsoever to the multitude of photographs of the Armenian volunteers, showing them armed and being sanctified by priests in September-October 1914 even before the war started. As a careful reader, I must question the scholarly qualifications of a writer on “history” (not his special branch), without having read Garekin Pasdermadjian’s book, in which he wrote, that they “did not surrender like lamb and that they fought”, “they saved so many thousands Russians at Bardiz”, “that they killed so many thousands Turkish troops”, that they “slowed their advance and caused death by freezing for more than 30.000 soldiers” etc! I rightly ask as a reader, “if he had not read Akaby Nassibian’s book, how anything of value can be said about Britain’s involvements in the affair and/or their double crossing the Armenians”! Likewise, if he has not read Khachaznuni and A.A. Lalaian’s books, he cannot learn that in 1919, 1 million Armenians were alive in Armenia and 200.000 of them “died there because of starvation” during their short-lived republic! (This was also confirmed in the Relief Report, of April 22, 1922)

D- The writer, (as much as I could see) made no mention that the new Armenian Republic founded on May 28, 1918 after the break-up of the SEYM Federation, was declared to be “a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire”. They sent their delegation to Istanbul in August, and were received by Sultan Vahdettin in early September, with bilateral declarations of goodwill and thanks to Turks! The writer does not refer to this drastic paradox, “leaving accusations of genocide suspended in logical uncertainties”. Why the Armenians did declare a Republic under Ottoman Protectorate, and why did they send their envoy to the Sultan (who had killed them all?)! Aren’t the incidents, distorted 180 degrees?

E- A few other excerpts from the book are given hereunder, to show the types of twisted interpretations, into negative scenarios, which I evaluate as totally absurd and ill intended.

P.10 "…use of confiscated (?) Armenian property to finance the war and relocation of assets to create a Muslim bourgeoisie (?)…" (Comment: to create a “bourgeoisie” from Muslim population, which had no education, skills other than farming?… overlooking the fact that Muslims as well, were evacuated from the War zones, so there was no one left to take advantage? Financing a war with household articles? Pastermadjian wrote that properties stored in the Erzurum Cathedral were untouched, until they were looted by the Russian General Kalendine and other officers! Emigrants were free to sell or retain their lands or houses. There was no confiscation! The law was for a temporary relocation and repatriation when the war was to end!)

P.10: " … the issue of financial compensation is real." (Comment: Yes, everything is about MONEY and a huge treasure hunt)

P.11: " The Alphabet Reform of 1928, which changed Turkish script from Arabic to Latin letter served to compound the problem. With the stroke of a pen, Turkish people lost their connection to written history. Turkey is a society that cannot read its own newspapers, letters etc written before 1928 ". (Comment: This observation is typical smear and presentation of one of the best reforms of the Turkish Republic, as a big failure! The writer implies that Turks should have stuck to their old Arabic script with a literate average of 2-3%, instead of achieving the present rate of about 90% literate, thanks to Latin alphabet and the modern horizons it has opened. Languages change by time, and reading the old “Ottoman Turkish” with huge impact of Arabic and Persian languages, would have still been a huge handicap! The writer suggests that the Turkish Republic, should have stuck to their old writing style, special bureaucratic Ottoman language “just to learn the past, instead of preparing a future”)!

P.130: "Between May and August 1915, the Armenian population (!) of the eastern provinces was deported and murdered en masse." (Comment: The writer jumps over some important historic events, which made this deportation imperative. Armenians assisted Russians occupying Van in mid April, and declaring their own Armenian Republic of Van in May 1915. Photographs of the victor Armenian volunteers, next to Turkish cannons is given in the Pastermadjian’s book. On the western front, Dardanelles was being shelled in mid March and a landing became true on April 25. The order for evacuation of all war zones is dated April 20, 1914 and is signed by German General Bronsart von Schellendorf. There is no evidence of “murder en masse”. This remark is also belied by the diary of Ambassador Morgenthau in which he writes of the visit made to him by Protestant Armenians’ leader Zenop Bezciyan in early September. The ambassador was surprised to hear that “almost all groups arrived safely and that, Armenian people had settled and started to do business in Dar-Zor, which was supposed to be desert but proved to be a city on the Euphrates river. Bezciyan gave a detailed list of all camps and settlement of more than 400.000 persons in the area. Had the writer read at least this much about Ambassador’s diary, he would have been more cautious in his all-time negative “findings”! )

From the foregoing, it becomes evident that the writer is so obsessed or limited with what has been given to read and write to him! Besides several other source books or he is not even aware of the joint U.S. Congress/Senate report in which there is not a single line of atrocities; the cooperation and assistance given by Ottoman or Nationalist Turkish soldiers in relief work, is clearly visible! The Relief Committee declares that by the end of Dec. 1921, there are One million Armenians alive in Armenia (half of them in need of help), there are some 300.000 Armenians in Syria who evacuated Cilicia by their own choice, when the French troops pulled out! Apart from these people, there are 114.000 Armenians in various orphanages in Anatolia and/or supported!

P.126: " It was not a coincidence that the Armenian genocide took place soon after the Sarikamish disaster and was contemporaneous with the empire’s struggle at Gallipoli ". (Comment: The writer does not give any evidence as regards, when, how, where the alleged genocide took place! He neither mentions the role of the Armenian volunteers in the Sarikamish disaster and the Van Revolt which followed soon, ending with the Armenian occupation of the city in mid April and the fact that only 1.500 Muslims survived out of the 80.000 population which was killed and/or forced to emigrate.)

P.126: " A prediction made by German ambassador Wangenheim is worth mentioning. With the outbreak of the war in August 1914, Henry Morgenthau warned him that the Turks would massacre the Armenians in Anatolia…" (Comment:: 1- Germany and the Ottomans were allies, and Morgenthau, although appearing to be neutral was on the Entene side but nevertheless in diplomatic relations with “Protestant Germany”. By the end of August 1915, the relocation process has ended. How is it possible to interpret an “advance blank warning” of the U.S. Ambassador, as a “prediction” of a massacre, which is not proven, “having taken place”.)

P.11: "… former CUP members, including two who had been executed as a result of the Istanbul trials and those who had been assassinated by Armenian revenge killers". (Comment: The writer praises the Istanbul kangaroo courts after occupation and applauds the Armenian assassins as revenge killers! He also makes no reference to the 1916-1917 court martial of the CUP government!)

The book “The Slaughterhouse Province” by Leslie E. Davis, in itself looks like a biased book, showing one side of the coin! As a reader, I could not find answers too many questions, to name but a few:

A- How is it possible, that the book contains not a single phrase or line, about the Van Revolt, and what was happening in this next-door province? Was this because the editors (Greek Aristide D. Caratras) left out this portion, or is it that Morgenthau asked a report “only on the Armenian sufferings”? No one knows!

B- The author has omitted several important lines from the book, which raised other questions, such as:

P.15: “In the spring of 1915, local Armenian leaders in Harput, including several professors at the missionaries’ Euphrates College, were arrested and many tortured to death. At the end of June because of their alleged seditious activities, all Armenians were ordered by the central government to prepare for “relocation”. Missionaries, too, became targets. Several were arrested and deported”.

REPLY: No missionary, was ever arrested or deported! Armenians employed in official jobs or in artisan skills were excluded.

P.37: “There was never any commercial work of importance in this consular district even in normal times”!

Question: Why did USA opened a “Commercial Consulate” in a city where there was no commercial work?

P.46: “Typhus was very bad that winter, especially among the soldiers.As many as 75-80 of them died on same days.” Question: wasn’t typhus spread among civilian people as well causing deaths of all? Or were the Armenians immune?

P.48: “About this time it was rumored that bombs and guns had been found in the possession of certain persons who were thought to be members of Armenian revolutionary societies conspiring against Turkish government.”

P.59: “Most of the business of the region was in their hands. 95% of the deposits in the banks belonged to them”

P.96 “All the business of the region had been carried on by Armenians; all the work of missionaries had been among Armenians… Many had been kept by friendly Turks in their houses; some had been deported but returned”

P.108: “In the summer of 1916 all the Armenians who had been hiding in the Dersim, succeeded in escaping to Russia and others from Harput to Dersim in the hope of getting away.”

P.170: “Many people, mostly women, have been kept in the Turkish houses, especially in the villages that were partly Turkish and partly Armenian.”

P.183: “One of the disappointments in the terrible situation and one of the saddest commentaries on American missionary work among the Armenians is their lack of religious and moral principles and the general baseness of the race. During all that has happened during the past year I have not heard of a single act of heroism or of self-sacrifice and the noble acts have been very few.. From every point of view the race is one that cannot be admired although it is one to be pitied.”

“…claiming the weapons had been found in Armenian houses and churches…” “…people were tortured to confess that they had guns and pistols when in reality there was nothing…It are understood that all this had been planned months ago”!

Well, the author omitted altogether, below excerpt from page 195, of the very same book, which speaks for the objectivity and decency of presented evidence:

“At Harput, despite repeated affirmations of the Armenians and their bishop who protested loyalty to the Government and declared that they did not stockpile any arms, more than 5.000 rifles and revolvers and as many muskets, close to three hundred bombs, forty kilos of fuses for bombs and two hundred packages of dynamite were found, more than it would take to blow up the entire province. Among the effects of the bishop of Arapkir one found amongst bombs and arms, two complete derwish outfits with accessories. In January and February 1915, many Moslem sick and injured who were returning to their homes from the front, were pitilessly massacred in Armenian villages through which they passed. Before and after entry to war with Russia, the Armenians who made it their duty to aid Russian army against Turkey, had already formed battalions which were directed against van and the Persian border…”

(P.174): " Leslie A. Davis, the American consul to Harput, quoting an Armenian who had somewhat survived, states that eight hundred or so Armenians who were held in prison of Harput, were taken to the outskirts of town…either shot or bayoneted to death, in this case by the gendarmes."

(Comment: I have not noticed such a statement from Consul Davis’ book, but even if it were to be true, the Consul is not an eye witness of the alleged killings, which are quoted from an Armenian! About prisoners, on P.74 of his book, Davis writes: “The most important instance of all was the burning of the prison, which occurred on the morning of August 5th. The Armenians who were confined there, knowing (?) that they were almost certain to be killed anyway, set fire to it in the attempt to escape. Some of them were burned to death in the prison and all the rest were shot in the courtyard by the guards. Not one escaping”! Question: Which version is true? In return I quote the following clause from Davis’ book page 181:

“During the last two months quite a number of Armenian soldiers have been brought back in groups of two or three hundred from Erzurum. They have arrived in a most pitiable state due to their exposure on the way at this season of the year and the privations they had suffered”. (Comment: Can anyone give a logical explanation as regards why these soldiers were walked all the way from Erzurum to Harput under guard, and why they were not killed? Don’t we have two paradoxical stories about the “prisoners” and their innocence? As regards the deprivations and exposures they had suffered the following excerpt from page 118 of the same book is self explanatory:

“These muhadjirs (Moslem emigrants), who were homeless, were most wretched appearing people and although the Government sometimes gave them scant rations, they suffered from both hunger and exposure… They were camped out on the side of a mountain and were obliged to sleep on the ground, although the weather was cold and rainy”!

Personal impression: The book is a cornucopia of various half or diverted excerpts, presented as balls (of logically inconsistent) pieces of shreds, trying to impress the reader by raising doubts! This situation is well explained on page 351 of my book, by the following excerpt, which is self-explanatory:

"The most irreducibly bad thing about lies is that they contrive to interfere with, and to impair, our natural effort to apprehend the real state of affairs. They are designed to prevent us from being in touch with what is really going on. In telling his lie, the liar tries to mislead us into believing that the facts are other than they actually are. He tries to impose his will on us. He aims at inducing us to accept his fabrication as an accurate account of how the world truly is."

“ON TRUTH, Harry G. Frankfurt, Alfred A. Konpf, (p.76-77)”

CONCLUSION and READER’S QUESTION:

Which one is “A SHAMEFUL ACT”? “Distorting, diverting incidents and fabricating stories to support slanders” or abuse the blank confidence placed in persons “dressed in Scholar” gaunt, (like the above bishop had done) at times? Innocent Armenians!

Sukru S. Aya


2- BOOK REVIEW : “The Great Game of Genocide” - Donald Bloxham – Oxford Uni. Press – 2005

1. The very first thing that struck me was the “very limited and principally Armenian sources” (Dadrian, Akcam, Gocek, Hovanissian, Marashlian and many others), deliberately omitting a large number of international scholars, reputed for their proficiency on the subject. Also, in the rare cases where some of the outside references have been mentioned once or twice, the given references relates to very minor details, overlooking some of the more important or core matters. A handful of examples, selected at random are given further down! I sincerely believe as a serious reader, that scholars (like judges) do not have the liberty of being selective on the data and sources available to them! If they are to be honest and neutral, they must search, read and listen to the opposing comments. Glancing through the Bibliography and Index sections of the book, I am indeed surprised to note that the writer, did not bother to look in such sources, reaffirming the first impression that this is a biased propaganda work, starting with the conclusion first, later searching for evidences or presumptions to support this advance verdict! For example, he says, “The writings of Turkish nationalist and pro-Turkish Western historians on the genocide period itself have been analyzed extensively elsewhere”.

With this simple clear statement, the writer confirms that “anything submitted by Turkish nationalist and pro-Western historians” must be automatically discarded, regardless the authenticity of the evidence! He later, crosses out Stanford and Kural Shaw, for being a “standard work” and Justin McCarthy, guilty of being a student of Shaw! Frankly, I cannot visualize so much biased principles, when trying to bring out truth, from the darkness of the past and thousands of mythological stories, without any valid documentation!

2. With this one sided and “unfair approach” to the subject, the writer makes only one reference to Bernard Lewis; only one reference to the excellent work of Akaby Nassibian on British-Armenian relations; no reference at all to Turkkaya Ataov with his nearly 60 books (disclosing the various forgeries of Armenian propagandist, including the UCLA poster of 2005 showing Ataturk posing in front of a corpse), for a conference where Levon Marashlian was one of the speakers! More striking was the headline of the poster “FACE OF DENIAL DOES NOT LIE” which itself was a shameful lie and very base habit of doctoring documents, like the Andonian Papers, or the famous heap of skulls painting of Vassily Vereschagin. In the very same manner, all other scholars, whose works do not support the genocide fanfare are easily labeled denialist and unworthy of any evaluation!

3. In the very same manner the works of other historians such as Samuel Weems, Norman Stone, Heath Lowry, Andrew Mango, Selahi Sonyel and anyone disagreeing with the genocide fabrications (including thousands of pages of classified Turkish archival material) is easily disposed of, whilst none of the Armenian archives in Boston, Beirut or Yerevan are ever opened! Trying to goad the reader, eliminating all other possibilities, is a well established tactic successfully implemented by the Armenian diaspora, which works effectively most of the time, but not when the reader finds no answers to questions such as:

A. Akaby Nassibian,”Britain & the Armenian Question”: Here are a few remarks, he found not worthy of mentioning:

P.54-55: It will be seen that the cooperation between administration and the Armenophiles, culminated in the publication by the Foreign Office in 1916 of a BLUE BOOK; it was edited by Bryce and Arnold Toynbee….By the end of 1916, the broad lines of the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Britain, France and Russia had agreed on their territorial rewards for their effort in the east leaked out! The dream of autonomy for a united Armenia under Russian and Allied protection was fast evaporating. (Note: There was NO ARMENIA in the map!)

P.63: The aim of the fund was to attempt to stem in some degree the torrent misery caused by the war among the Armenians in Turkey and Persia and to provide medical supplies for the Armenian volunteers fighting…

P.64: The Churches in Britain closely cooperated with the Fund; many clergymen took active part in collections.

P.71: Over 150.000 Russian Armenians were fighting in the Russian armies and thousands more…

P.73: It also seems that by September 1915 it had become part of the policy of the British government to use the Armenian massacres as one of the means available to influence public opinion in U.S.A.

P.76: The German ambassador had once said: “they appear to be pure invention”. Action was wartime measure!

P.78: Throughout 1915-16, Bryce had been receiving first hand reports from the American missionaries in Turkey!

P.79: Laurence Collier of the War Department of the foreign office minute: “I suppose we are already making use of the Armenian question for propaganda in the U.S.”

P.80: A more senior official added: “I should be disinclined to make any donation for the benefit of Armenians in Turkey without publicly stating that we are doing it!

P.81: Half century after these events, Toynbee claimed that the British government had issued the Blue Book for a special purpose, of which he was unaware at that time, and, he believed, Bryce was also unaware. Asquith who was Prime Minister when the Blue Book was issued in 1916, and Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister in the 1920s, also had similar views…they stated that Bryce’s Blue Book was “widely used for allied propaganda 1916-17 and had an important influence upon the American opinion and upon President Wilson’s decision to enter war”

P.89: According to the statement, the removal of Armenians from certain region to others was a “measure dictated by imperative military necessity”.

P.92: A landing Cilicia, were it successful, might have also provided the Allies bogged down in Gallipoli, with some relief from the Turkish pressure. On Sept.7, 1915, the French Admiral of the Syrian coast cabled the High Commissioner in Cyprus that 6.000 Armenians were ‘bravely’ fighting against the Turks at Musa Dagh. On request, the Admiral supplied them with munitions and provisions, but they asked for the removal of their 5.000 old men, women and children to Cyprus.

P.95: Of about 150.000 Armenians in the Russian Army, less than 35.000 were there.(Caucasus)

P.104: By early 1918, the Armenian Corps consisted of two divisions of Armenian rifles, three brigades of Armenian volunteers, a cavalry brigade and some battalions of militia.

P.107: Across the border, in Turkey, the general Congress of Dashnaksuituin, sitting in Erzurum in the autumn of 1914, had been offered autonomy by Turkish emissaries if it would actually assist Turkey in the war.

P.119: During 1914-18, Britain was likewise guided by considerations of national interest, in the greatest war of the history she sought use all her resources, both material and moral, to defeat her enemies. So, she extensively made use of the Armenian holocausts of 1915 to discredit her enemies, Turkey directly and Germany indirectly.

P.121: During the war, the British government had sympathized mainly in its own interests with the suffering of Armenian people and their future… Even before the war, many Turkish troops had been in the most wretched condition. In 1916, some were fighting with no overcoats and no boots and thousands were deserting. By 1918 Turkey was in the grip of war weariness and bankruptcy; prices had risen by nearly 2000 per cent.

P.127: The British territories were thus set. There was no mention of Armenia at all. British had taken by far the larger part of burden of the war against Turkey.

P.133: Even before the armistice, Armenians had been alarmed at the rumors of abandonment.

P.136: The armistice temporarily brought power and prestige to the British. But it was an ominus event for the Armenians because it failed to provide the liberation of the Armenian homelands on the other hand, and for the proper disarmament of the troops on the other. The Armenian refugees and deportees could not return to their homes, and remained as a crushing burden on the tiny Republic of Erevan.

P.142: The British had no tangible interests of their own in the Armenian territories. Even staunch Armenophiles did not think of the possibility of such an arrangement.

P.144: …in settling proportional claims of these various elements in Armenia “the dead and exiles” should be taken into account.

P.150: British interests in Armenia were merely sentimental and humanitarian. Thus, Britain had no positive policy as regards Armenia. She would refrain from assuming responsibility.

P.154: But the newly born republics, infected by morbid nationalism, had jumped at each other’s throat over territorial disputes, immediately after the withdrawal of the Turkish and German troops.

P.156: The Turkish Armenian leader General Andranik and his partisans entered Zangezur in July, destroyed a number of Moslem settlements and brought the central region of the country under Armenian control..

P.163: The British withdrawal presented therefore an opportunity for the Kurd, Tatars and Turks of these disputed territories to try to sabotage and invalidate with active help of Turkish officers and arms, any territorial that might favor Armenia. In their turn, Armenian bands in Kars, without discipline and not under effective control, apparently pillaged insurgent Moslem villages and committed atrocities!

P.172: At the time when Russia went to pieces through the Revolution, no doubt these Armenians had for some months maintained the Entente cause in that part of the world. They had fought gallantly, but by so fighting they had merely exacerbated the views, which obtained in that part of the world and now they were treated as traitors!

P.179: As regards Turkish Armenia, the (British) General Staff in March pointed out that the extent of the front from Black Sea to Lake Van, close on 300 miles, was a task quite beyond the capacity of Armenian forces.

P.181: When giving the results of this arbitration on 22 November 1920 President Wilson, stressed that he had examined the question as he put it, with a mind to the highest interests of justice and in the light of most trustworthy information available. He decided that 42.000 square kilometers territory should be added to the Republic of Armenia from Turkish Armenia. Armenians were vibrant with patriotism all over the world. Kachaznuni would a few years later comment with the wisdom of experience: ‘The Treaty of Sevres had dazzled the eyes of all of us restricted our power to think, clouded our consciousness of reality’!

P.193: If surplus arms were not available in abundance, neither was money. Curzon turned down Armenia’s request for a loan of 1 Million Sterling. Neither flour nor arms could be sent to the Caucasus because the three

Republics had no sterling credit. Both Treasury and the War Office were asking previous payments of interest

P.194: …”It is not part of the policy of HM Government to prevent by force of arms the advance of the Bolsheviks into Georgia – among the difficulties in complying with the request was the question of payment! Parliament and public opinion would not support the gift of arms.”

P.212: But the Foreign Office easily found the justification needed for explaining Britain’s unwillingness and inability to help Armenia effectively. (William Haskell) on his way back home to the United States he had called at the Foreign Office to tell D.G. Osborne that: “The country is a desert and the people nothing but professional beggars… There is no administrative or political capacity in the country, no money, no resources to develop. Foreign Armenians who have amassed fortunes… Will neither contribute nor return to the national home”.

Reader’s Comment: The only excerpt from Nassibian’s book, quoted by the writer is a short comment (P.116) of Lloyd George, when he said during a Supreme War Council Meeting that ’Nobody was bound by a speech!’

I have quoted above only a very few of some two hundred excerpts I have reviewed from Nassibian’s work.

I leave it to the discretion of the reader as regards why the author of the book, picked up such a tiny and remote word, amidst a cascade of all-important remarks, showing the involvement of Britain and Armenia and the “innocence” of Armenian traitors!

B- Introduction, page 1:

* “The Ottoman Army was also involved in massacres” : REPLY: The source of this assessment is not given.

There is an overall order of Mahmut Kamil Pasha, commander in Chief of the 3rd Army, on July 30-31st, reminding his previous orders, that “during relocations, humiliating language should not be used and the goods of the emigrants well taken care of”. Is it not strange that such an order was given to an army “to commit massacres”?

* “Approximately one Million Ottoman Armenians died, half of the pre-war population and two thirds of those deported”. REPLY: The “French Armenian committee for Land Distribution Report” dated March 1, 1914 indicates the total Armenian Population as 1.280.000 with 542.421 living in East Anatolia. National Geographic Oct.1915, p.329 gives the figure of 2.000.000 including Russia and Persia; New York Times Oct.22,1915 gives the figure of 1.200.000, Encyclopedia Britanica -1914 is 1.500.000; Lepsius 1.600.000 which implies that the total Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire was not more than 1.500.000 in early 1914 or mid 1915! If anyone claims that One million died, then the remaining Armenian population should have been only 500.000.

Dr. F. Nansen head of the National Emigrants Committee (Nassibian book p.253) gives a total of 1.080.000 living in 1920. Hovannes Katchaznuni and historian Lalaian both give the figure of One million alive in 1918 in Armenia, 200.000 having died of starvation during the 2-year rule of the Armenian Republic. Boghos Nubar gave the figure of only 700.000 deported, 390.000 alive, or 310.000 losses “between 1915-1918.”

The American Relief Report dated April 22, 1922, gives the figure of total 1.000.000 living in Armenia, 300.000 living in Syria and 114.000 in various orphanages in Anatolia or a total of 1.414.000 living on Dec.31,1921!

* “Many of those who made it to the desert concentration centers, were massacred in series of attacks in 1916. Together these events comprise (!) the Armenian genocide”! REPLY: What an easy verdict, without showing cause, date, place, means, numbers legally valid documentation to prove an intent and decision?

REPLY, quoted from Diary of Morgenthau, Sept.1915: “Zenop Bezjian, Vekil of the Armenian Protestants called. Schimavonian introduced him, he was his schoolmate. He told me a great deal about the conditions in the interior. I was surprised to hear him report that Armenians at Zor were fairly well satisfied, that they have settled down to business and are earning their livings; those were the first ones that were sent away and seem to have gotten there without being massacred. He gave me a list where the various camps are and thinks that over 500.000 have been displaced”. Well, whom should we believe? Morgenthau and Bezjian, or the author?

C- Page 17, Pitfalls: One of the striking features of pro-Armenian historians and writers, is to create a world focused on only 1.5 million Christian Armenians (as God’s preferred people), out of a huge Ottoman Empire expanding over three continents, still with a population of about 18 million, fighting a war against Anzacs, French and British in the Dardanelles, against British south in Mesopotamia and Caucasus against Russians where some 35.000 Armenians within the Russian Army and over 20.000 Volunteers and brigands from Turkey stabbed the country in the back and fully cooperated with ALL her enemies!

The author writes: “The dangers of impersonalizing causation in the Armenian case are even more profound than with the Holocaust (!), because of the tendency in much Turkish and pro-Turkish scholarship to exculpate the perpetrators by the abuse pf context. In the most extreme form of this tendency, blame is shifted as in the work of Kamuran Gürün, Esat Uras and many others, onto Armenian revolutionaries, and nothing made of the history of state sponsored anti-Armenian discrimination and persecution”… “Here the actions of the Ottoman State are understood in a purely reactive frame work, the role of the state ideology completely ignored and the significance of Armenian revolutionaries greatly overstated.” REPLY: Such a strong, yet baseless and biased accusation makes me shiver to my bones, for the ruthlessness of a person supposed to be a “scholar of history” I cordially invite all readers to please download this Pastermadjian's Book, free of charge … and take the trouble of reading his various remarks of braveries, victories, photographs of various groups, heroes etc. etc. Even if we put aside various other comments of pro-Armenian writers about the “butcheries and excesses committed by the Armenian Revolutionaries or volunteers”, the lines of Pasdermadjian (Armen Garo) are too clear, well explained and evidenced by a multitude of photographs. Again, what are we to believe? The photographs and the book printed in 1918 by one of their most reputed leaders, or the mumbo-jumbo overtures intended to block our vision and judgment?

D- Pressure for Reform (p.33-38): The author made quite an unveiling of the terrible economic situation of the Empire and the pitfall of Capitulations (particularly the 1838 Baltalimani Treaty with Britain) and gave a rather grim and realistic feature of the times. The detail of the borrowings, the high interest rates and the spiral result of bankruptcy was even much worse than what the author has presented. However, the great paradox is that the Ottoman State is accused of being unable to execute the reforms promised in the 1878 Berlin Treaty (which of course needed money)! Apparently, all major states milked the Ottoman Empire which had yielded herself because it had no industrial and educational or secular backbone! Yet, one very important detail that will defy all charges of the “Ottomans being anti-Christian” and is not mentioned, is the fact that Sultan Abdulmecid, spent 1.5 million Dollars (a huge amount) for the repair of Sancta Sophia in 1850, which was damaged by earthquakes. The repair work took more than two years and done by famous Fossatis brothers, architects brought from Italy. This repair saved the monument, which is under continuous care owing to age. Another detail is that Sultan Abdulhamid II, who ruled for 33 years known as the “damned Sultan” built a wood walkway through the “mosque at that time”, so that Christians too could visit, without taking the shoes off! Do not these facts contradict the slanders of “Turks being anti-Christian?” (Refer to: “Constantinople” by Edwin A. Grosvenor, Boston 1900, Little Brown Co.)

E- Missionary schools and effects (p.38-45): The author refers to the schools opened by missionaries and involvement of Church, but gives no reference to the works and writings of Cyrus Hamlin, the great grand father of Protestant Armenians, who founded Robert College and translated the Bible into Armenian. If he had read Hamlin, may be he could have noticed his memoirs and his revelations to US newspapers, about the ruthless tactics of the Armenian Revolutionaries to collect money and kill their own people.

F- Ethnic Cleansing – Teskilat-i Mahsusa (p.69-79): One of the obsessions of Messrs. Dadrian, Akcam is their frequent reference to this organization as being instrumental in massacres. While no document was ever produced to prove this involvement, according to the author (p.70) this consisted of some “30.000-34.000 men drawn from the ranks of the Ottoman gendarmerie, Muslim bands and criminals released from prison”. The information given in other sources and Wikipedia, is that this was initiated in 1903 – 1907 during Balkan Wars as special resistance groups and that it was only in 1913, that it was officially set up, under the command of Enver Pasha, main duties being to suppress “subversion, collaboration with external enemy and to raise conflicts, troubles outside borders!“ According to Wikipedia, Enver Pasha employed “talented young officers” which makes reason but contradicts above degradation of its members. Available Turkish sources give a number as low as around 4.000 members, half of them already sent to Russian Caucasus and Arabia on duty. This paradox is confirmed by the author on page 78, where he admits that the leader for the Eastern front, Bahattin Shakir, was one of the leaders of the 28 persons emissary sent to Erzurum in August 1914, ARF 8th Congress, trying to convince Dashnaks, to fight on the Turkish side, against which, they were to be given the long awaited autonomy! It is quite illogical to claim that the “genocide unfolded in subsequent months and that he drove in his car from province to province for vigorous action against Armenians”! I do not know what type of car or roads was available in those days, but we have evidence that it took U.S. Consul Leslie Davis about 3 weeks to come from Trabzon to Harput by horse carts, which should have taken not more than 2-3 days, if he could have a car, gasoline and good enough roads! We know that the Russian advance in the Eastern Front started in mid November and by end of December, they had occupied a large area. On what ice-snow covered roads the open top car could go? We also know of the terrible Sarikamish defeat between Dec. 20 – Jan. 10th, the agitations in Van which started thereafter, revolts, shelling of Dardanelles in mid March, followed by the landing on April 25th. Is it not out of the limits of reasonable imagination to build all scenarios and events focused on Armenians (nuisance) and disregard the rest? Frankly, this much of bias would be better fit the word “paranoia”.

Again, on page 89, the author goes to other extremities such as: “Here, many of the females were subject to forced marriage and/or sexual slavery in the horrific form of colonization of the body”! As a reader, I am stunned to this sort of pornographic illusions when writing history! “…it is possible to speak of an accepted practice of general destruction that was maintained and extended until over a million Armenians were dead…” Shouldn’t the reader inquire if this simple statement or the figures in above paragraph (B) are true? “The killing of deportees was sanctioned on 14 June by Talat’s authorization to kill resisters and escapes from deportation columns.” Can I ask how many were shot, when trying to escape into nowhere, and what other armies would have done in a similar case?

P.93: “The deportation orders themselves contain no explicit sanction of mass murder! The CUP leaders did not want to leave incriminating documentary evidence…” So, this means that you have no documentary evidence of any sort, but find the CUP leaders guilty for not having provided these (to support your fabrications)!

“While it clearly played a role in the Armenian Genocide (spoken of so frequently but never disclosed how, why, when) the Regular Ottoman army had rarely been used to exterminate communities.”

Make up your mind Sir, is this sentence or the one in page 1 true, because they contradict each other!

The Genocide in Summary (p.94): “Once the strategic city of Van had been ‘liberated’, the distinction between the innocent and “guilty” Armenians was rendered meaningless both ideologically and practically in CUP eyes”.

If this statement by itself is not a confirmation of treason and extent of distortion, the author apparently may think that most readers have no brains! May I ask Sir, “the strategic city of Van is liberated from whom”? Is it liberated from the parent country Ottoman Empire by revolution, and the key given to the Russian commander? Existing photographs show that “not one building in the Turkish quarter was left standing” and that only 1.500 Muslims survived out of the 80.000 exiled and massacred! Why, you do not show this side of the bloody coin? The author, also charges the Ottomans (fight on three fronts and up to the limits in suffering and patience), why they did not “sort out one by one, guilty and innocent Armenians”? Why did British killed all Boers, why did Americans interned all Americans of Japanese origin when they had done nothing, why Americans shot the Japanese soldiers with hands up and took no prisoners? Why Germans shot innocent people on streets to revenge sabotages? Apparently, the author wants a “privileged law an order when it comes to Armenians, even if they betrayed their home country and openly sided with the enemy”.

“On June 9th the Ministry of Interior had issued the order directing the governor of Erzurum to auction off Armenian property; the deportees were clearly not expected to return”. REPLY: From G. Pastermadjian’s book “Why Armenia Should be Free” page 32-33:, excerpt: “The Cathedral of Erzurum was packed with the goods of exiled Armenians; when Russians captured the city in Feb., 1916. Ordinary human decency demanded that the Russians should not have touched the articles stored in that sacred edifice, especially as they belonged to the very martyred people whose professed sympathies for Russians were the cause of their being exiled to the deserts of Mesopotamia. But, the fact is that the commander of the Russian Army, General Kalendine himself set the example of desecration; he personally entered the cathedral first and selected for himself a few car loads of rugs and sundry valuable articles. Then the other officers of the Russian army followed this example! CONCLUSION: What are we to believe: the telegram or the fact that goods were preserved until Russians came to loot them!

About Hovannes Katchaznuni: The author in page 91 of his book, takes only the following phrase: “The first premier of the short lived Caucasian Republic of Armenia, H. Katchaznuni, discerned that some nationalist leaders ‘implanted our desires into the mind of others… by overestimating our modest worth we were naturally exaggerating our hopes and expectations”. Since the author has read Katchaznuni’s book, for the sake of sincerity and objectivity, he could have added a few more excerpts, such as:

P.39: “The press of all countries might be filled with horrible descriptions and details and the testimony of eye witnesses… The Turks knew what they ought to do and did it!”

P.40: “…”Russia was to vacate Armenia and later settle the Kossacs there and that Count Rostovsky’s widely known project ‘Armenia without Armenians’ was in progress”.

P.78: “Nearly one million Armenians are living outside the borders of the Republic in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Northern Caucasia, Iran, Syria, Constantinople, Balkans and even in all countries of the world”.

P.23: “We come across the evidence of another instance of plunder in the 105th issue of 1920 of daily Jogovurd. The writer named G. Muradian recounts from the Azerbaijani villages of the North bank of Lake Gorchy his impression of the Dashnag policy of plunder with admiration: {As a result of the work carried out by our government, the population of these villages have been expelled outside the borders of Armenia. I have seen abandoned villages with only a few cats and dogs were meowing or barking strangely with surprise at the death silence. The populations of these villages have left behind a considerable amount of potatoes, wheat and barley and seeds. The Government can collect from these villages, over two million puds of wheat and half a million of potatoes}”.

P.37: “In the fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer units organized themselves and fought against the Turks because they could not refrain themselves from organizing, or refrain themselves from fighting”

P.21-22: In a report, a Dashnak officer wrote from Beyazit-Vaaram region in 1920, narrates proudly their practices in the area: “I exterminated the Turkish population in Bashar-Gechar without making exceptions. One sometimes feels the bullets should not be wasted. So, the most effective way against these dogs is to collect the people who have survived the clashes and dump them in deep holes and crush them under heavy rocks pressed from above, not to let them inhabit this world any longer. So I did accordingly. I collected all the women, men and children and extinguished their lives in the deep holes I dumped them into, crushing them with rocks”

For a more detailed account and photographs about the Armenian atrocities and acts of treason, readers may refer to Pastermadjian's Book and read all pages of the “Genocide fanfare”!

German Involvements: The author refers on pages 123-124-125 to German ambassador Wangenheim with vague words such as “excesses”, “knowledge of genocidal intent”, that on July 7th he referred to CUP attempt to ‘annihilate’ the Armenians of the Empire. The author whilst giving other details overlooks the most important and valid documentation, which is first hand and wipes out any contradictory remarks, such as:

a. The Order of the Ottoman War Ministry dated 20 April, 1914, to immediately vacate war zones, is signed by General. Bronsart von Schellendorf acting as attorney of Enver Pasha!

b. The article of the same General who was the right hand and next to Enver Pasha at all times, dated July 24, 1921, which appeared in “Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung” No.342, gives the true detailed story, leaving no doubts! If the author has not seen these, then he did not study his written lecture, well!

Depreciation of Admiral Mark L. Bristol: The author has consigned several pages (P.185, 188-91, 193-203, 213) for Admiral Bristol, portraying him as an “anti-Armenian opportunist” and blaming him for safeguarding the interests of USA, uncooperative in Relief works and not “enough Christian”. Amongst pages of smearing this US Representative in the most delicate years of the war (1919-1927), I have not read any positive remark about this important actor in history. Those lengthy interpretations and presumptions whilst fogging the evaluation of the reader, does not provide any solid evidence, in the light of the below documents:

a- Relief Report # 192, unanimously approved by the joint US Congress/Senate Commission on April 22, 1922 and covering all their relief activities from 1917 to end of 1921, does not contain a single word of complaint about Turks, or any atrocities, or any wrong doings of the Admiral. This audited report with many signatures, was presented and signed by Missionary Dr. D. D. Barton, head of the Relief Organization and the most ardent defender of Armenians and anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim to the very last date. Below excerpted lines from the letters exchanged between Bristol and Barton are self-explanatory and should have been brought forward not by a reader, but the scholar, so persistent in his own biased pre-conclusions:

b- Letter: From Admiral Bristol, March 28, 1921 to D.D. Barton, “Secretary of the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions: (few lines only)

* “I believe the French should guarantee the safety of the Armenians in Cilicia and should evacuate from Cilicia and the moral influence at least of Europe and America was brought to bear on the Turks. I believe that the Armenians would be all right, except for individuals that have been active in opposition to the Turks during the past year. I see that reports freely circulated in the United States that the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in the Caucasus. Such reports repeated so many times, makes my blood boil. The Near East Relief has the reports from Yarrow and our own American people, which show absolutely that such Armenian reports are absolutely false. The circulation of such false reports in the United States, without refutation, is an outrage and is certainly doing Armenians more harm than good.”…”Is there something that you and Near East Committee can do to stop circulation of such false reports?”…”I certainly was surprised to hear from your letter that there is movement on foot to loan money to Armenia…We have already loaned Armenia over $ 50 million and that money is lost. I recommended against this loan at the time…Then finally Armenia turned Bolshevik and repudiated all her debts for the flour we had furnished on their word of honor to repay because they had no security to offer… The charge made by the Armenians in their papers that our organization was using 80% of all the receipts for work with Turks and Kurds, is, I am sure you will admit, in keeping with the accuracy of the statements that the Armenians are given to making. Don’t you think that we can stand any of the accusations by any races in this part of the country?”

c- Few excerpts from the reply letter dated May 6, 1921 from Barton to Admiral Bristol:

* “With reference to the false reports that come through reporting massacres of the Armenians by the Turks, there is no one who can deprecate this more than I do. However, there is brilliant young Armenian, a graduate of Yale University by the name of Cardashian. He is a lawyer, with office on Wall Street. He has organized a committee what he calls an Armenian publicity bureau… Not long since Cardashian came out with a pamphlet in which he charged the Near East Relief and the American Missionaries as being the greatest enemies Armenia has ever had… He is constantly reporting atrocities, which never occurred, and giving endless misinformation with regard to the situation in Armenia and in Turkey… They have a great faculty of making themselves disliked wherever they go…I probably suffered as much from the lack of appreciation on the part of Armenians as anyone. For 25 years, I have worked for them. I doubt if there is anyone in the country that has been more frequently attacked than have I from Cardashian down…”

Conclusion: Above excerpts from exchanged letters, should be more than enough to contradict the various presumptions of the author. It is confirmed in several places that 98% of all Relief went to Christians only! The relief operations were never hindered starting in mid 1916, ending 1922 and were guarded by famished Turkish soldiers! Port blockades were lifted only for relief ships; everything was distributed by their own workers and missionaries! No food was given to Turkish camps short of food, to feed the Armenian emigrants!

Reader’s Impression: The book is a “tailored study” depending heavily on very pro-Armenian sources. Few neutral sources are discriminated in context. Under the circumstances, “what is kept hidden and untold is more important than the cornucopia of various explanations, short of presenting valid documentation, cause, dates, places, numbers, burial places, murdering tools etc… All we have is only ‘some Armenian eye witness reports’ and abundant usage of the word ‘Genocide’ to brainwash the reader. The study presents an apparent shortage of available sources, as well as only “those who suited his interpretation” of the subject.

Sukru S. Aya June 2nd, 2008