By Grigoris Balakian, Peter Balakian
By no means ahead of in English, Armenian Golgotha is the main dramatic and entire eyewitness account of the 1st sleek genocide.
On April 24, 1915, the priest Grigoris Balakian was once arrested in addition to a few 250 different intellectuals and leaders of Constantinople’s Armenian group. It used to be the start of the Ottoman Turkish government’s systematic try to get rid of the Armenian humans from Turkey; it used to be a crusade that persisted via international struggle I and the autumn of the Ottoman Empire, in which time greater than 1000000 Armenians have been annihilated and expunged from their ancient fatherland. For Grigoris Balakian, himself condemned, it used to be additionally the start of a four-year ordeal in which he might undergo witness to a likely never-ending caravan of blood.
Balakian sees his countrymen despatched in carts, on donkeys, or strolling to stand sure demise within the barren region of northern Syria. Many wouldn't even continue to exist the adventure, discomfort hunger, sickness, mutilation, and rape, between different tortures, prior to being slaughtered en path. In those pages, he brings to existence the phrases and deeds of survivors, overseas witnesses, and Turkish officers all in favour of the bloodbath procedure, and likewise of these few courageous, righteous Turks, who, with a few of their German allies operating for the Baghdad Railway, resisted orders calling for the demise of the Armenians. Miraculously, Balakian manages to flee, and his flight—through woodland and over mountain, in hide as a railroad employee after which as a German soldier—is a suspenseful, harrowing odyssey that makes attainable his singular testimony.
Full of clever insights into the political, old, and cultural context of the Armenian genocide—the template for the next mass killings that experience solid a shadow around the 20th century and beyond—this memoir is destined to develop into a vintage of survivor literature. Armenian Golgotha is bound to deepen our figuring out of a catastrophic crime that the Turkish govt, the Ottomans’ successor, denies to today.
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Extra info for Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918
AUGUST In the cities of the western coast, vandalism and looting of Armenian and Greek shops takes place. Many Greeks are driven out of western Turkey. MID-SEPTEMBER Balakian returns to Constantinople from Berlin. NOVEMBER 5 Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire. NOVEMBER 9 In Constantinople the Sheikh-ul-Islam proclaims jihad against Christians to incite religious war against the Allies, but also igniting animosity toward the Armenians at home. 1915 JANUARY The Russian army routs the Turkish army in the Battle of Sarikamish.
Embedded in the density of the Anatolian terrain, Balakian lived like an animal for close to four years, sleeping in mud, rain, and snow. In the forests of Injirli, he sustained himself with cedar sap, wild grasses, and the water he could suck from bark. This same knowledge of nature shows us how shrewdly the Turkish government used the severe and rocky terrain of Anatolia—with its cliffs, ravines, canyons, and gorges—to kill hundreds of thousands of Armenians and leave their corpses where they would be hidden from view.
Yet for all this, one might suggest that no single book has brought us closer to the experience of this event, as social and political process, than Armenian Golgotha. It is a seminal text, personal, and much of the scholarship of the succeeding decades corroborates and is corroborated by it. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish legal scholar who pioneered the concept and conceived the term “genocide,” did so in large part on the basis of what happened to the Armenians. Reading Armenian Golgotha, one gets a deeper insight into why Lemkin was so focused on the Turkish extermination of the Armenians, and why the Armenian event was, for him, a template for genocide in the modern era.