(Voice of the Persecuted) In this month of April, the commemoration days of 3 past genocides take place.
April 7th marked the anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. The 1994 genocide resulted in the systematic massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in less than 100 days. The events occurred while the international community closed its eyes.
Last week, April 15th marked the observance of the Jewish Holocaust, genocide inflicted on Jews by one of the most dreaded tyrants in history, Adolf Hitler. When the Nazi’s assumed power in 1933, they used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to Jews. They used centuries of antisemitism as their foundation. By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children had perished in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps.
Today, it is very sad that when asking the question “Have you heard of Adolph Hitler?”—many of our youth/young adults don’t know him, nor the atrocities he committed.
It is also disturbing how many claim the Jewish and Armenian Holocaust never happened. With these horrible and permanent scars on humanity, one would believe mankind would learn from it and ‘Never again, would mean never again. But sadly, genocide kept happening—Cambodia-1975, Bosnia-1991 and Rwanda-1994 to name a few. What massacre will the future hold?
This Friday, April 24 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide also known as the Armenian Holocaust, Armenian Massacres and the Red Sunday. Traditionally, it’s known by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern the “Great Crime” which was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. Though it began much earlier, the starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert.
At least 500,000 Greeks, up to 750,000 Assyrian Christians throughout Mesopotamia were also eliminated. Turks must bear most of the guilt, but Kurds and Arabs were also involved.
Little known fact: Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in between late 3rd to early years of the 4th century (the official date is 301 AD), becoming the first Christian nation. (source)
In the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, Elizabeth Kendal wrote an excellent article, GENOCIDE: THEN AND NOW.
She touched on the point that Britain’s economic interests in keeping the Ottoman Empire united and strong for the purpose of free trade and believed was the key to world peace. And geo-strategic interests in keeping Russia hemmed in. So Britain and France entered the Crimean War on the side of the Ottoman Turks. In exchange for British support the Sultan agreed to enact reforms aimed at improving the situation of his Christian subjects. The reforms, guaranteeing religious freedom and equality before the law, were aimed at bringing an end to the Christians’ status as dhimmis (second class citizens, without rights).
She shared that Muslims rejected these reforms as anti-Islamic. And removing of jizya(protection money) was seen as permission for jihad.
In 1860 some 20,000 Christians were slaughtered in Syria and Lebanon. In 1876 up to 25,000 Eastern Christians were massacred in the ‘Bulgarian horrors’. In 1895-96 as many as 200,000 Armenians were murdered in Turkish Armenia. Keen to maintain its pro-Muslim policies, Britain adopted a ‘conspiracy of silence’ regarding the killings, along with running a campaign of propaganda vilifying Eastern Christianity. So the killings continued.
Then in 1915, as World War I raged and the Ottoman Empire unravelled, Turkish authorities exploited the chaos to launch an orchestrated campaign of ethnic-religious genocide, knowing full well that it was not in the interests of any Western power to stop them.
After the war the remnant Christians were denied their right of self-determination by pro-Muslim European powers who were convinced that the best way to modernise and soften Islam was to ‘dilute’ it with Christians. So it is a story not only of genocide, but of abandonment and betrayal, and the stoking of God’s wrath. Read full article here
Each year, Armenians across the globe remember the dead. Over 20 nations will join them, including Argentina, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, and Sweden, to name a few. The U.S. with the second-largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia—does not. US congressmen—representatives Robert Dold of Illinois, Adam Schiff of California, David Valadao of California, and Frank Pallone of New Jersey—introduced a bipartisan resolution to formally recognize the Armenian genocide at the federal level. Per the press release, the Armenian Truth and Justice Resolution “calls upon the administration to work toward equitable, constructive and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide.”
During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to recognize the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians who were mainly Christians.
“The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” “As president I will recognize the Armenian genocide.”
This month, forty-nine members of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to finally recognize the mass killings of the Armenians by the Ottomans in 1915 as genocide.
Rep. Robert Dold, the initiator of the letter said, “As the world’s greatest advocate for freedom, the United States’ has an obligation to fully acknowledge one of humanity’s most horrific crimes. An unequivocal statement of recognition would not only reinforce our own resolve, but it would also help prevent future genocides by reaffirming that we will not tolerate affronts to human dignity.” View letter HERE
To this day—disappointing many, Obama has not kept that promise. And this year will be no different.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman, Ken Hachikian said, “President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,”
“With the world’s attention drawn this April 24 to worldwide Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations, President Obama will, tragically, use the moral standing of our nation not to defend the truth, but rather to enforce a foreign power’s gag-rule. He has effectively outsourced America’s policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan,” said Hachikian.
“As Americans of Armenian heritage–despite the repeated surrender of President Obama to foreign pressure–we will, with our allies, continue to work, with increased vigor and determination, to build American support for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” he added.
According to Jake Flanigan, a journalist who writes about foreign affairs and human rights reported,
what’s kept the US government from recognizing the Armenian genocide all these years is: the Republic of Turkey. The successor state to the Ottoman Empire has adamantly denied the Armenian genocide for decades—preferring to characterize the violence as part of the broader chaos that broke out in the wake of World War I. (Read the full report here)
Time does not erase the scars of mass murder. If mankind is to to affirm, “Never Again,” devoted to preventing future genocide—knowledge, remembrance and support are imperative for all generations. And silence is not an option.
Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
In 1996 Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, presented a briefing paper called The 8 Stages of Genocide at the United States Department of State. In it he suggested that genocide develops in eight stages that are “predictable but not inexorable”.
The Stanton paper was presented at the State Department, shortly after the Rwanda genocide and much of the analysis is based on why that genocide occurred. The preventative measures suggested, given the original target audience, were those that the United States could implement directly or use their influence on other governments to have implemented. source
The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in December 1948, and has been in force since January 1951. Article II of the convention defines genocide as ANY of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group.
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
(e) Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.
The United States ratified the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1988.
Many fear we will witness a Christian genocide. And some believe it has already begun.
Last Friday, a conference was held at the United Nations titled, “Not Peace but a Sword: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East as a Threat to International Peace and Security. Religious leaders also attended and the threat of genocide was discussed. Recorded conference (5:20:56)
“It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant,” The Pope added to his message, “Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”
Every Christian should be concerned for ALL believers in Christ suffering in the world, today. They are our ‘family’ in Christ. We should ardently defend, support and bring hope through aid for their survival. We must be their VOICE when their cries are not heard. We must work to shield them from a possible genocide. The rest of the world may remain silent, but we cannot.
The numbers of persecuted are staggering. Too many are still unaware that Christians are persecuted or at risk of extreme persecution in these modern times. Sadly, too many Christians know nothing of their brethren suffering to the extreme or losing their lives. Yes, it can be tough to hear of the abuse or read the news of a new attack. But we can no longer look away. And we certainly must remember them daily in our prayers. When we have been injured, we do what we can to care for and protect the wounded body part. Folks, the Church is being attacked. We, as the Body have been injured and the wound must be tended, not ignored.
We are our brother’s keeper. Stand as ONE with them!
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.-
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.