Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ANZAC Day and Armenia

The 25th of April is ANZAC Day, a public holiday observed in Australia and New Zealand (and a few Pacific island nations: Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands). ANZAC is an acronym of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and the holiday commemorates the disasterous landing of ANZAC forces (amongst many others) at the Gallipoli penninsula in Turkey on 25th April 1915. It is also a day to remember all those who have served in the armed forces.

I was going to write a post about Australian identity or militarism (common reflections on this day), but having just stumbled across this post by Christopher, I have started doing some reading on the Armenian genocide instead (see also here).

Starting the day before the Gallipoli landing (24th April 1915) and continuing until 1923 (with a break between 1918 and 1920), the predominately Christian Armenians were killed or relocated in their hundreds of thousands. The total death toll may have been around a million, though figures vary widely. The Turkish government continues to deny that the violence was systematic and centrally organised. The terms 'crimes against humanity' and 'holocaust' were coined to describe these events, which were widely reported in the West.

I feel ashamed at my ignorance of the whole affair. As Christopher says: Lest we forget.

9 comments:

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Patrick Sokheddo (chair of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that helps Christian converts from the muslim world) spoke on this and similiar events at CMS Summer School in 2006. I can send you the talks if you like ;)

Moffitt the Prophet said...

I think there was also a few hundred thousand Orthodox Bithinyan Greeks eterminated in 1915 by the Ottomans too.

Christopher said...

Here is an interesting open-letter addressing the Anti-Armenian Pogroms in the Soviet Union from the who's who of philosophy in 1990.

Christopher said...

Another interesting point is that the NSW Parliament officially acknowledged the genocide in 1997. The Federal Government hasn't as far as I can tell, or the other States.

I wonder if this is due to relevance or politics?

byron said...

Matt - how large/long are the talks? I'd certainly be interested. And really, a few hundred thousand? Do you have any links with more information?

Christopher - Thanks for the link. And yes, I'd heard that NSW had acknowledged it, but not the Federal govt. In the US 40 states have formally acknowledged it, but the White House avoids doing so because Turkey is too important as a NATO ally. Sad really.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

It is the Greeks who lived in Pontus until WWI. It has been recognized by Greece, Cyprus, a few American States, and raised in the Victorian Parliament. I first saw it in...a Daily Telegraph history article.

You can find it on wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontian_Greek_Genocide

byron said...

Thanks!

Moffitt the Prophet said...

And i'll send you that talk tomorrow

byron smith said...

How to be really offensive on ANZAC Day.