“By the end of the war 90 percent of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were gone.” (Suny xxi)
While currently reading “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else” A History of the Armenian Genocide by Ronald Suny, I can say it’s a great choice of book to read. Prior to reading this book, I had only briefly heard of the Armenian Genocide. It was never taught or talked about in any of my history classes throughout high school which I find surprising. The Armenian Genocide was an intense, violent, and tragic war that I think should be more recognized as a part of history. However, the war is often lied about and many people still refuse to acknowledge that it is was a true event, mostly being the Turkish state and historians. They say that there was “no genocide” and that the “Armenians were to blame for it.” Therefore, Ronald Suny gives the whole truth about the war in full detail.
Power, land, and more power, were the key motives for empires and the Ottomans were in trouble and wanted a comeback. This led to the massacre of over 1 million Armenians. The Armenians did try to fight back and managed to kill a couple thousand Turkish soldiers but it wasn’t enough to stop the violence from the Ottoman’s. A big contribution to all of this was the fact that Europe was undergoing massive imperialism and expansion. There was a lot of competition which motivated the Ottoman’s more and made them more fearful that their empire will crumble. The war never really had a clear “end” because the Armenians continued to suffer and struggle for many more years to come. There was also a big religious component that played in the war. “Dhemmi” or zimmi” meant you were protected religously. The Christians consisted of the Armenians, Greeks, Serbs, Croatians, and Bulgarians while the muslims were mostly the Kurds and Arabs. Although the three major fights were between Ottomanism, Islamicism, and Turkism. Ottomanism wanted equal rights for all, Islamism wanted equal muslim entities, and Turkish was secular and ethnic. In the end, I think this genocide should be brought tonight more and acknowledged better.
“Those who observed the killings, as well as the Allied powers engaged in a war against the Ottomans, repeatedly claimed that they had never witnessed anything like it.” (Suny xxi)
1915 Armenian Genocide map- Turkish Empire