zealots who bend over backwards to affirm their precious genocide are anything
but historians. For example, Vahakn Dadrian is a sociologist and
mathematician; his lap dog protege, Taner Akcam, also is a sociologist. So is
his fellow Turncoat Turk, Fatma Muge Gocek. Peter Balakian is a poet and
Yet there is no shortage of these “genocide nuts” who come to the
forefront and profess to be historians. A real historian (of which there is
arguably a shortage of even among those who have studied history) examines
both sides of the story in as detached a way as possible.
Prof. James R. Russell
I was struck by two pieces written by a Harvard
professor named James R. Russell, both of which will be analyzed on this page.
His articles were so far out in la-la land, I had to take a look at who Dr.
Russells is. He is a “Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies.” (You won’t
find that first word in even the more comprehensive dictionaries; at first, I
thought it was a film/TV show about the Korean War for kids, but it has to do
with a very specific branch of Ar-Mania.) His area of expertise is languages.
Dr. Russells is so wrapped up in all matters Armenian, I have to wonder
whether he is one of those ethnic Armenians who has (or his family had in
prior times) changed his name to a more generic variety (as Dr. Robert John’s
family changed their name from “Hovhanes.”) Not that it matters; there are
a good number of non-Armenians who outdo Armenians in their Armenophilia...
such as Christopher
So we have yet another example in Dr. Russells of a non-historian pretending
to be a historian. Let’s examine the first of two articles where his
passions allowed him to put his foot squarely in his mouth.
York Review of Books
Dr. Russell appeared outraged over an article in the New York Review
of Books, written by Christopher de Bellaigue ["Turkey's Hidden Past,"
NYR, March 8], and he fired off a heated response in their Volume 48, Number 13, August 9,
2001 issue (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14417). Mind you, Christopher de
Bellaigue prepared an over-review on three separate books dealing with Turkish history in
general, and Dr. Russell made it into a wholly Armenian matter. As if the Armenians did
not comprise just a small part of Turkish history.
One wonders why the New York Review of Books would feel so cowed as to publish Dr. Russell’s
letter that really hadn’t much to do with Christopher de Bellaigue’s review? Do you
suppose it’s because the “Armenian Genocide” topic has become such a powerful arena
that the publication felt the Armenians had to get more than equal time? Since the
well-financed big guns of the genocide industry are so pro-Armenian, perhaps the New York
Review of Books wanted to cover itself, so as not to be accused of defending the views of
a “denialist”? (In other words, anyone who deviates from the Armenian point-of-view
[even as slightly as Christopher de Bellaigue might have], now so closely aligned with the
cause of the Holocaust, becomes a potential neo-Nazi.)
Dr. Russell himself provides a reason as to why the New York Review of Books felt intimidated, in his "Burning
Tigris" review, which we'll be getting to below.
Dr. Russell begins his attack by accusing Christopher de Bellaigue of doing “his part to
keep Turkey's past hidden, with these two references to the Armenians”: “‘Under
['Abd al-Hamid's] rule thousands of Anatolian Armenians died while rioting against Ottoman
Muslims during the 1890s.’ Actually 200,000 Armenians (none rioters) were systematically
massacred in 1895–1896.”
NO, Dr. Russell. The 200,000 to 300,000 figures are strictly provided by Armenian
propaganda, and only Ar-maniacs listen to them. Scholars in particular should be careful
to research all sides of a story. Even the Turk-hating Johannes Lepsius estimated less
than 89,000, an already exaggerated figure. The truer casualties lie in the vicinity of from less to 20,000 to no more
than 30,000, and the reason why these Armenians died (contrary to Dr. Russell’s naive or
deceptive assertion that they were all non-rioters) was because the Dashnaks and Hunchaks
were picking up steam during these years. (Along with other terror organizations such as
the Black Cross, operating no differently than the Ku Klux Klan.) Their M.O. was to massacre Turks/Muslims, in order to
incite counter-massacres, enabling the western powers... now looking for any excuse to
intervene in the affairs of the “Sick Man,” whose lands they eyed greedily. What is
never said about the Abdul Hamid years is the fate of the 5,000 Turks the Armenians had
"The aims of the revolutionary committees are to stir
up general discontent and to get the Turkish government and people to react with
violence, thus attracting the attention of the foreign powers to the imagined
sufferings of the Armenian people, and getting them to act to correct the
Graves, the British Consul in Erzurum,
reporting to the British Ambassador in Istanbul, on January 28, 1895.
British Blue Book, Nr. 6 (1894), pp. 222-223
The Armenophile then mentions the second reference by Christopher de Bellaigue:
"A Turkish identity had emerged out of the ethnic conflict, particularly the
conflict between Turks and Armenians, some half a million of whom died during the
deportations and massacres of 1915." His response:
Three times that many were murdered, in a premeditated genocide.
NO, Dr. Russell. How dare you make such a slanderous accusation when even the British
could not find the proof for a “premeditated genocide” during the Malta Tribunal, when nearly all of the
evidence pro-Armenians rely on today was ready and available? A moral and ethical person
does not make defamatory accusations, unless the proof is ironclad. No doubt Dr. Russell
would not appreciate it if he patted a female colleague on the back and he was then
accused of sexual harassment or even rape. Hearsay does not constitute real evidence;
but it certainly succeeds in damaging reputations.
the Ottoman-Armenian population
And NO, Dr. Russell. Three times as many were not “murdered.” A
million Armenians survived, according to the Armenians. (Which means the figure was
more likely closer to 1.2 million.) The pre-war population estimates ranged from 1-1.6
million according to “neutral” (that is, western and pro-Armenian) sources. It would
be impossible for 1.5 million to have died, if that was around the total number of
Armenians to begin with.
And NO, Dr. Russell. These Armenians were not all “murdered.” The majority died of
famine and disease, causes that claimed the lives of most Turks/Muslims, in the graveyard
of the desperate Ottoman Empire... where even the racist Ambassador Henry Morgenthau had
his ghostwriter report thousands of Turks were dying daily. (Because every man was needed
at the multiple fronts, and few were left behind to farm. Just as few were left behind to
defend innocent villagers from the bloodthirsty attacks of the Armenians in vilayets like
Van.) Even Turkish soldiers were dying of starvation in the thousands.
intellectuals and journalists have become viciously intolerant of non-Armenian-origin
colleagues who do not accept their biases and who venture to question Armenian
statistics or try to examine ... historical records according to recognized standards
of objectivity and respect for methodology."
Paul Henze, “The Roots of Armenian Violence:
How Far Back Do They Extend?,"1984
Dr. Russell goes on to embarrass himself further by
De Bellaigue's curious usage, "Anatolian Armenians," makes it seem as
though they were from elsewhere. The Turks were. Armenians are the natives.
See, this is what happens when an obsessed partisan leaves himself open to serious
charges of scholarly inadequacy. The Armenian author of Promartyrs de la
Civilization (1964, p. 27), Ruppen Courian wrote: "The Armenians are the
former inhabitants of today's Switzerland" There are theories that the
Armenians are cousins of the Albanians... The thing is, we don’t know the genuine
history of Armenians, because pretty much only Armenians write their own history,
and we know what a tendency they have to “exaggerate.”
Were the Armenians the natives of Anatolia, the cradle of civilization? The
Armenians have been around for roughly 2,500 years... let’s say (adding another
half-century), conservatively, since 1,000 B.C.
First, there were the Hatti (3000-2000B.C.), who co-existed with the people of Troy
(3000-2500) and Troy II (2500-2200) (and Troy III-V [2200-1800B.C.]) these folks
mainly concentrated on northwestern Anatolia. Then there were Indo-European
migrations, covering the part of “Armenian territory,” over the Caucasus into
Anatolia. The Nesi people settled in Central Anatolia, the Pala in Paphlygonia, and
the Luwians in Southern Anatolia. The new arrivals gradually formed first the Old
Hittite Kingdom (1660-1460 B.C.), and then the Great Hittite Kingdom(1460-1190
These are all pre-Armenian, PRE-1,000 B.C. Then there were The Urartu Kingdom
(860-580 B.C.) and The Phrygians (750-300 B.C.), focusing in southeastern and
eastern Anatolia. Were there any Armenians in sight? I don’t know. All I know is
the Armenians were NOT “the natives” of Anatolia, as Dr. Russell wrongly informs
There were other Anatolian peoples around this time, such ones from Lydia, Caria and
Lycia... all preceding the arrival of the Romans (30 B.C. - 595 A.D.). So since both
Turks and Armenians came from “elsewhere,” one thing is for certain: The
Turks were the first people to dwell in all of Anatolia. (The Hittites,
Phrygians and Greeks lived in only part of the peninsula.)
first Armenian leaders called for “our just and indisputable rights to the (Turkish)
occupied lands.” This is deception because history clearly reveals twenty-nine other
civilizations have an even greater claim to the land. The Armenian logic was and is
nothing more than coveting thy neighbor’s land. History is very clear on this point:
Armenia didn’t have Turkish land to be deprived of as Hovannisian wants the world to
believe. Ottoman Turks possessed those lands for some eight hundred years. Before that
these lands were possessed by the Byzantine Empire and before that the Romans
controlled the land. There had been no such “Armenian lands” for perhaps as long
back as three thousand years. The Armenians were not a majority population in the
places they claimed as their “ancient” homeland. In fact, the Armenians in their
tiny state area had only been there for perhaps seventy-five years when Hovannisian
makes his claims.
Samuel Weems, Christian scholar and judge, in his analysis of Richard Hovannisian’s
“The Republic of Armenia”; “Armenia -- Secrets of a ‘Christian’ Terrorist
State,” 2002, pg. 89. Hovannisian is a perfect example of a “historian” who does
not follow the professional non-partisan rules of telling history.
“Armed opposition to Ottoman rule
was slight. Armenians were mostly unarmed: they could not defend themselves against
Turkish depredations.” Oh, really? Is that why Boghos Nubar bragged about the 50,000 Ottoman-Armenian soldiers who betrayed their
country, added to the 150,000 from Russia, many of whom came from the Ottoman
neck-of-the-woods to begin with? Practically every Armenian household was armed,
especially with sophisticated “Mauser” pistols that operated like machine guns. Caches
of weaponry were stored throughout the empire, awaiting that glorious day of treacherous
rebellion... paid for by the immensely wealthy Armenians, grown prosperous through the
graciousness of their Turkish homeland (when Muslims were regarded as practically inhuman
in Europe and the United States), along with 242,900
rubles granted by Czar Nicholas? (Kind of like the one billion dollars the Russians
granted the Armenians before the takeover of Karabakh some seventy years later.)
“In April 1915, the leaders of the Armenian community at Constantinople were arrested
and murdered, leaving the nation headless.” And this comes from a man who
purportedly read Peter Balakian’s book, which we’ll be getting to in a moment. Even
“Peternocchio” gives witness to the survival of some of these, and we don’t know how
many were “murdered.” Such inflammatory language by one who possibly couldn’t know,
unless he owns a time machine.
And why were they arrested? When a sizeable minority revolts and betrays your country
during desperate wartime, who is going to be arrested but the leaders?
Now get this:
“Telegrams to provincial governors then coordinated the extermination of the
That must have involved a LOT of telegrams in the far corners of the empire. So how come
even one telegram couldn’t be found that says the Armenians needed to be exterminated?
Unless we’re talking about the forgeries of Aram Andonian, or wording that Vahakn
Dadrian has tweaked to mean what the obsessed Dadrian wants them to mean?
“Young men were drafted into slave labor
battalions and worked to death or killed. The rest were assembled at collection
points for deportation. In Van there was some warning: Armenians resisted till the
NO, Dr. Russell. Young Armenian men were drafted into the army the way young men are
drafted into any army. It was only when the Turks realized the Armenians were
deserting in droves to the enemy with their weapons, or were behaving treacherously
as in the case of firing blanks, the Turks had to play it safe by disarming them.
Since they were stuck in the army, what would you have had them do... play cards and
go for a dip in the pool? Naturally, they had to serve some function, and thus the
“labor battalions.” No picnic, but better than going to the front and risk
getting shot or maimed.
Now we don’t know what happened to all of these “slaves” (aren’t all
soldiers “slaves”?), but it is irresponsible for Dr, Russell to blindly follow
the propaganda line and tell us they were “worked to death or killed.” Was he
there? No. Neither were you or I. That is why we need that annoying little matter
known as “proof.” Granted, some of these Armenian soldiers were
mistreated and murdered. Curiously, though, there were times the perpetrators were
tried and punished, some to the point of execution DURING the war. What kind of a
genocide allows your own men to be punished for carrying on with intentional
extermination work? Is there even one example of Hitler’s punishing an SS man for
hurting a Jew?
Armenians in Van did NOT resist “till the Russians came.” The treacherous Van
Armenians rebelled (the major uprising took place in April 13, an event which must
have played a major part in the April 24 Ottoman decision to move this treacherous
community elsewhere; there were uprisings in Van before, the first only days after war broke out) and
held the province and/or city until the enemy arrived. In doing so with their
sophisticated weaponry (while the few Turkish men not sent to the front mostly had
rusty old rifles that broke down after firing a few shots), they had a field day in
committing atrocities against the innocent Turkish/Muslim women and children. It is
unbelievable that anyone who looks into this chapter even a little bit can still be
so willing to perpetuate an outright lie as this one... now, in the 21st century.
“Everywhere else, from Izmit to Erzurum, the genocide was total. In towns far
from any border, death marches ("deportations") were the means of murder;
on the Black Sea coast, it was drowning. Nearer Russia and escape, people were
burned in barns. In 1918 Turkey invaded Russian Armenia and Iran to finish the
holocaust. In the east, Azeris began to massacre Armenians in Artsakh (Karabagh).”
Dr. Russell is going berserk. He has even implicated the Azeris in his mythical
genocide, when it was the Armenians who declared war on Azerbaijan in 1919 (after
getting their butts kicked with their 1918 declaration of war on Georgia.) Those
Karabakh Azeris were defending themselves from the bloodthirsty Armenians, and a
reading of true history will tell us who was perpetrating genocide upon whom. Even
Richard Hovannisian in his “The Republic of Armenia” admitted the Armenian “atrocities”
against Azeris in p. 181 of his book.
attacked Azerbaijan in 1918, Vladimir Lenin referred to the three-day period of
March 30 to April 1, 1918 (recorded in history as the 'March Events'); the Soviet
leader said that commissar S. Shaumyan, the chief architect of the massacres
throughout Azerbaijan, “turned Baku into an Armenian operated henhouse
[slaughterhouse].” According to Justin McCarthy's “Death and Exile,"
"Between 8,000 and 12,000 Muslims were killed in Baku alone.…”)
It is a stretch to conclude the “deportations"
(which Dr. Russell offers as a euphemism for “death marches”; actually, “deportation"
is the slanderous code word for “resettlement.” Banishing outside a country’s
borders is what “deportation” means, something one would hope a scholar on
language would know) were an intentional method to knock off the Armenians. Both
Toynbee (in 1916) and Morgenthau (1915) are on record telling us 500,000 relocated
Armenians were alive before the policy came to an end in 1916. The ones who died did
so from the same reasons the Turks died en masse: starvation, and disease. In 1977,
the French newspaper Le Figaro came up with a figure of “15,000 Armenians dead
from shootings, sickness and deprivation on the march." As far as the “drowning”
method, even some Armenians dispute that
claim. (although some Armenians were drowned by fanatical Turks who took matters
into their own hands.)
“But war crimes trials at Constantinople
stopped when Mustafa Kemal ejected the Allies.”
How could a “scholar” ... especially one who is part of the faculty of HARVARD
UNIVERSITY... be so, so wrong with just about every claim? Did Dr. Russell
investigate the British archives of WWI’s “Nuremberg,” the Malta Tribunal?
This war crime trial took over two years, with every Ottoman document on hand in
occupied Istanbul. Once even the far corners of the United States archives proved a
wash, the British decided to end the affair... after retaining the accused Turks as
“hostages” (their word) for British POWs Ataturk captured, in retaliation. Every
Turk was freed (before the Allies were “ejected”) because even the
British, with their mountains of hysterical wartime propaganda evidence, could find
NO REAL EVIDENCE.
“(Ataturk) declared the Ottoman leaders heroes: there had been no Armenian
genocide; there had never been any Armenians.”
Actually, Ataturk was not a fan of the Ottoman
leaders who drove their country to near-suicide; his near-contempt for Enver Pasha
is well known, for example. And has Dr. Russell read any of Ataturk’s speeches?
Ataturk acknowledged the massacres (although of course he wouldn’t have used the
word “genocide,” as the word wasn’t invented yet; even if it had been
invented, since there is no proof of a systematic extermination plan, of course he
would have said there was no Armenian genocide; just like any rational person
would arrive at the same conclusion, once the objective and genuine facts are
observed)... and where did Ataturk say exactly that there were no Armenians?
Since the Armenians brought their disaster upon themselves by firing the first shot
and following their fanatical leaders, plenty left. Some out of fear of
repercussions (even though Ataturk generously allowed their return with the signing
of the Treaty of Gumru... a generosity the “friends” of the Armenians, the
Russians, did not offer), and many enticed with the possibility of greener pastures,
as a sympathetic United States of America (among other nations) welcomed them with
open arms. Many of the relocated Armenians decided to stay in their new Arab homes,
in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. Therefore, if the Armenians were no longer where they once
were in large numbers within Turkey, why shouldn’t the towns be given Turkish
names (another complaint of Dr. Russell’s; probably there were Turkish names to
begin with, and the professor is appalled the informal Armenian names used by the
Armenians are now nowhere in sight.) Is not New Amsterdam called New York today?
What about the more
than 400 geographical names in modern Armenia that were renamed from Turkic to
And the Turks have done a phenomenal job in preserving old Armenian churches for the
most part... another beef of the professor’s. Imagine, some of these buildings
stood for centuries! How many mosques have survived in Armenia? (He complains of a
Cross-stone of the tenth century near the monastery of Narek, which he had
photographed that was later “destroyed by the police” after his visit.)
“Turkey uses the struggle for
self-determination in Karabagh as a pretext for blockading the Armenian Republic.
Tens of thousands have died as a result, and hundreds of thousands more are
emigrating. This is a continuation of the genocide.”
What can one say? The man is completely shameless, and exists on another plane of
reality. “The struggle for self-determination in Karabagh”? Is that what
he calls Armenia’s sneak, cowardly surprise attack in 1992, massacring over 800
civilians in their sleep, and chasing away nearly a million Azeris from their homes,
stealing land that does not belong to them? If “tens of thousands have died as
a result, and hundreds of thousands more are emigrating,” WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?
Once again, the Armenians have to deal with the strategies of their greedy,
fanatical leaders. They fire the first shot, as always, and when things go awry...
they always look for someone else to blame.
|[One of the main aspects of
Armenian] "national psychology... [is] to seek external causes for [Armenian ]
Hovhannes Katchaznouni, First Prime Minister of the
Independent Armenian Republic, The
Manifesto of Hovhannes Katchaznouni,1923, Page 8.
Will there ever come a time when Armenians will be MAN enough to accept the
consequences of their own actions?
“If a reviewer wrote that only a third of the actual number of Jewish victims of the
Holocaust had died, or that their deaths came about because they had rioted, or elected to
make war against the German government, would you print it? No. But if the Nazis had not
been defeated, and had successfully promoted their falsified version of the Holocaust, one
might write of the crime against the Jews this way, with a clear conscience. The big lie
is easily swallowed. But France has not swallowed it.”
Now I’m beginning to think the professor is in need of psychological help. He is so
immersed in his “Ar-Mania,” he appears incapable of separating fact from fiction. It
sounds like he really believes 1.5 million Armenians were “murdered.” Since one
million survived according to the Armenians themselves, that would mean 2.5 million had to
be inhabiting the Ottoman Empire before the war. Even Armenian patriarchs (Varjabedyan:
1,150,000 in the 19th century; Ormanian: 1,579.000, shortly before the "1915"
period; propagandistic wartime patriarch: 2,100,000 or less) didn’t go that high. (The
Ottoman census lay exactly at the middle of what most tell us: 1,300,000.)
And there is the all-important parallel to the Holocaust. A moral person cannot attempt to
prove an allegation by pointing to a proven crime. That would be like the woman who, let’s
say, accused Dr. Russell of rape just because Dr. Russell brushed against her... and her
attempting to prove it by pointing to the Mike Tyson rape case. These are apples and
oranges, and must be taken on their own merits. Dr. Russell has no idea how much he is
doing an injustice to WWII’s Jewish victims, degrading their fate by comparing the
Holocaust with a mythical scenario. (Of course, we shall forget about the monumental
injustice he is doing to the Turks, falsely accusing them of a terrible crime.)
The reason why France — and I don’t know if the paltry number of
politicians who remained (reportedly a whole nine-tenths of the French Assembly stayed
away during that session) to vote on their meaningless Armenian genocide resolution would
represent all of France — swallowed the genocide bunk is because of their pre-ingrained
bigotry and the deep pockets of France’s half a million Armenians. We’ve got
ethnic-politic playing representatives like Frank Pallone (rhymes with “baloney”) in
the United States who do exactly the same. In order to determine whether a real genocide
occurred, objective historians have to sort through all the facts. Who cares what a
politician has to say?
Armenians and their allies now turn our energies from combatting
Holocaust denial to pursuing justice. Turkey howls as though its world —an edifice
erected on a lie—were coming to an end. Maybe it is.
I think there’s a much better chance of those like Dr. Russell being exposed for their
shameless perpetuation of manifold falsehoods. The truth has always had a tendency to
prevail. Careful, Doc; what's left of your reputation is on the line.
Book Review of The Burning Tigris
I was going to get into
Dr. Russell’s “review.” The reason why I put that in quotation marks is that
he doesn’t really give a review; he uses the opportunity mainly to get on his own
Armenian soapbox. This is funny, because when Peter Balakian protested the review of his book by Dr. Andrew
Mango, he mentioned that a review should really be about the book. (“It
would seem that a reviewer's first obligation is to explain to the reader what a
book is about.”) I have a feeling “The Forward” never received a similar
protest by the poet-turned-pseudo historian.
Now I’m a little Russell’ed out, so I’ll just give an overview.
He starts out his review by giving the same Holocaust analogy that he ended his
letter of complaint with. Imagine if the Nazis sort of won, and the Jews tried to
press their case and blah blah blah.
Of course, he’s riding on the coattails of the sympathy for the very established
Holocaust. A common tactic for Armenian “genocide” advocates.
He offers the same “facts” as he did with his above letter. First, the 1895-96
massacres, caused by “government tax-collectors and Kurdish marauders.” (No
mention of the real reason, the Armenian terrorist organizations that first started
forming in the 1870s... roughly coinciding with the defeat of the Turks in the
Russo-Turkish War. In earlier times, there was never any serious trouble between the
Armenians and the Turks. Afterwards, the Armenians subjected their countrymen —
Turks AND Armenians — to a nearly forty year spree of terror, until their
monumentally traitorous straw that broke the camel’s back in “1915.”)
“I replied to these lies and defamations in letters to the editors of both
periodicals. Neither was published without phone calls, more letters and reminders
stretching out over months, in the case of the Review, which cut my original letter
down to 700 words — half its original length..” My goodness! Does the word
“Obsessed” come to mind?
(He’s referring to his above letter to the New York Review of Books, which we now
learn was originally twice as long. Now we have a better idea why the New York
Review of Books felt compelled to print Dr. Russell’s effort. After such a
concentrated campaign of pestering, they wanted to do anything to shut him up!)
(This is why the Armenians and those who blindly support them are so good at getting
their views known. They are a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” kind of people,
like the Greeks. The opposite of the Turks, strong and silent.)
|Pierre Loti put it beautifully
in “Fantome d’Orient” (1928):
“One should be blind to history not to understand the
Turks. The dignified silence of the Turks against the mounting unjustified attacks and
mean slanders can only be explained by their pity for the blind. …How beautifully
this attitude of theirs answers the undignified calumnies.”
With this assigned review of The
Burning Tigris, he lets his frustrations loose, knowing the chances were good that
whatever he came up with would see print. He gives us the same nonsense of his letter, but
with more detail. He even pays lip service to the Turks’ view: “The official
Turkish line is that the Armenians are not there now because they never were; and if there
were any, well, then it was they who did the massacring — of their Turkish neighbors.
But the Armenians were also dangerous foreign elements, a fifth column, so the genocide
was justified. Though it didn't happen.”
“The Armenians are not there now because they never were”?? Isn’t that
bending the truth just a bit too far, even for Dr. Russell? The Ottoman census of 1914,
for example, estimated 1,300,000. That is anything but an invisible population. I don't
recall coming across ANY report written by a Turk claiming the Armenians were "never
(there)." Astounding. Perhaps the professor is trapped in some kind of Twilight Zone.
“Some Armenologists have come to believe that the domination of this single issue has
frozen out other aspects of Armenian life and culture.” FINALLY! The professor tells
us something we can believe. The “genocide” has sadly become a religion among many
Armenians. They even select their April 24 “date of doom” in ethnic parades, as if
there was nothing else to celebrate in their 2,500-3,000 year-old history.
After highlighting Peter Balakian’s awakening of Ar-meanness with “Black Dog of
Fate,” Dr. Russell tells us: “So it may have been inevitable that from this
newly enraged conscience on fire, ‘The Burning Tigris’ would flow. It is a mighty
work, a slow burn of muted eloquence, dense with scholarship.”
Doesn’t that take the cake. It’s only appropriate for a non-scholar to credit another
“bird of a feather” with the virtues of scholarship. Scholarship, gentlemen, involves looking
at all sides of a story dispassionately. Peter Balakian did anything but that with his
execrable book (he even went so far as to write in his book, "Today Turkey would
like the media and the public to believe there are 'two sides' to the Armenian
Genocide," as if there is a story in existence that does not have another side
— especially a hotly contested, politicized and complex myth as the "Armenian
Genocide"), and we are discovering how much Dr. Russell suffers from the same malady.
At least Dr. Russell gets off his personal soapbox for a moment by briefly getting into
the contents of the book. He tells us “Armenia was a pivotal moral issue in American
society,” explaining that sympathy for the Armenians was not “an expression of
Christian chauvinism,” but rather the beginning of human rights, and “likened
repeatedly to that of the Jews enduring the Tsar's pogroms.”
Is that true? My understanding of Balakian’s book has an Armenian colonist (Ohannes
Chatschumian) infiltrating (in 1893) the ranks of Massachusetts (what soon became
"Armenian country," where Dr. Russell calls home) intelligentsia. This “innocent
victim” told his sob stories to hypocritical Bostonian liberals (liberals are usually
compassionate; but in order to avoid hypocrisy, you don’t “choose” victims you deem
worthy), playing the Christian card, and having one of them fall in love (Alice Stone
Blackwell, whom Dr. Russell cites). From there, the domino effect of influencing all
American publications and public opinion fell in line, ultimately resulting in America’s
greatest historical charity, the Near East Relief. I’d doubt the Jews’ suffering was
on these people’s minds to any great extent (once again, Dr. Russell grasps at “Holocaust”
straws), and in fact, the creation of the Turkish monster by the Allies was perpetuated in
part because ally Russia was still persecuting the Jews around the time of WWI. So if
anyone was thinking of the fate of the Russian Jews (around the time of WWI), that
particular episode was quickly forgotten when the Armenians re-entered the national
consciousness. (The main reason for creating the Turkish monster among the Allies was to
justify the land-grab scheme already in place through secret treaties.)
This is precisely why “eyewitness reports of the arrests, death marches and mass
killings (that) poured in from American diplomats and missionaries, journalists and
physicians” are mostly irrelevant. (The physicians don’t deserve to belong in a
separate category, as they were mainly missionaries.) All of these people had their
anti-Turkish prejudices, ingrained since the days of the Crusades, fortified once the
mindless pro-Armenian campaign got underway from the late 19th century. None of these
sources can be deemed without conflict-of-interest, almost all of what they had to report
amounted from the hearsay of Armenians and missionaries (and, furthermore, fed off each
other). There were certainly no eyewitness reports of “mass killings.” None. If
corpses were discovered afterwards, there was no way of determining who the killers were;
roving, lawless bands, Kurds out to get revenge for what the Armenians had done to their
families, or... to come closer to proving a genocide... government agents.
“Turkey invaded the
Transcaucasus, continuing to massacre the Armenians even after its own capitulation.”
I’m getting the feeling Dr. Russell is beyond hope in determining any semblance of
objectivity. American witnesses, including biased Near East Relief workers, tell us
there were no massacres, Kars as an example. (Luckily citizens of the USA were
around to corroborate; in many of
these massacre tales, the Armenians have had free rein to make up their tales of
fancy, with the western world always ready to be suckered in.) If the Turks were
hellbent on massacring the Armenians for the love and joy of it, who believes there
would have been an Armenia left, once the two nations went to war in 1919-1920?
“American policy in the 1920s was more concerned with achieving a foothold in
the Muslim Middle East, and access to oil, than in a nation of which a third were
refugees, another third under Soviet rule and the rest extinct.”
Unlike what Peternocchio Balakian led us to believe in his book, the Turks
themselves had no access to oil. Now look at the inflammatory language: “extinct.”
In other words, the connotation of willful murder. like the dodos who were forever
cleaned out by new arrivals from the United Kingdom. If up to 600,000 Armenians died
from a pre-war population of 1-1.6 million, mostly from famine, disease and combat,
responsible scholars don’t use emotional words like “extinct.” What of the
2.5-3 million Turks/Muslims who died from the same causes, out of a pre-war
population of 10-13 million? Particularly the one-half million who were directly
slaughtered by blood-frenzied Armenians, with a little help from their Russian
“Turkey ... ruled millions of Christian subjects, all of whom were second-class
citizens at best. At worst, they were the victims of frequent extortion and pogroms.”
The perpetuation of the propagandistic notion that Christians were always persecuted
is nothing short of disgraceful... in an amazingly tolerant land that even master
WWI propagandist Arnold Toynbee (in his later, respectable years) likened to the
closest ideal to Plato’s Republic. Armenians rose to the highest ranks of
government and society, and became among the wealthiest members of the empire, along
with their economic rivals, the Greeks and the Jews. That’s a lot more first-class
than second-class... with the average Turk comparatively poor. All during a time
when Muslims were barely regarded as human beings in “civilized” Europe, and (as
Lord Curzon pointed out in an 1854 book on Armenia) the USA was ‘a land of
liberty, where every free and independent citizen had the right to beat his own
|"It is advisable for comparative
study to notice the parallel participation of the other principal
non-Turkish elements of the population. Summing up the participation
of the communities other than Armenian, it is clear that none of them
had such a large and permanent co-operation with the Ottoman
Government in the public affairs of Eastern Anatolia and Syria as the
Mesrob K. Krikorian, Armenians in the Service of the Ottoman
Empire (London 1977) p.107
Dr. Russell even takes a
shot at “the oppressive and retrograde character of its official religion,
Islam.” As soon as the Turks defeated the Christian Byzantine Empire back in
1071, Armenian historians were singing the
praises of the freedoms granted by the Turks. Where did this lack of oppression
come from, but from the ideals of the religion that treated humans as human beings?
The Byzantines tightened a noose around their co-religionists’ necks by contrast,
and the Armenians didn’t live an idyllic life under the Russians in later years, either.
“It is well-known, of course, that Ottoman Turkey afforded a welcome, by the
standards of the age, to the Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition.” That’s
not well known at all. But it should be. (And what does that mean, “by the
standards of the age”? No Christian country [save for the city of Amsterdam]
opened their doors to the desperate Jews, so what the Ottomans offered was the
worthiest of welcomes, by the standards of ANY age. For centuries the Jews prospered
and lived in safety in the Ottoman Empire, instead of suffering under the
persecution of what the west considers more civilized nations.)
“Turkish scholar Taner Akcam has
pointed out: Falsification of history leads to other kinds of repression.” We
get a plug for Turkish turncoat Taner Akcam’s being a “Turkish scholar,”
especially since he follows the same
rules of scholarship Dr. Russell approves of: affirm the mythical Armenian
genocide at any cost. And is Akcam correct in what he says? Let’s see; the
Armenian falsification of history has been mindlessly accepted by the west for a
century and longer, resulting in endless sympathy. The “poor, innocent”
Armenians go on their Karabakh rampage, repressing and killing many, many people.
The west barely blinks an eye. Maybe Akcam has a point.
Dr. Russell ends his review by telling us, in effect, that thank God Armenians got
arms and did what they did in Azerbaijan... and it’s only the Russian nuclear
arsenal that protects them from getting exterminated by the vicious Muslim hordes
that surround them. He forgets who fired the first shot, and which country offered
the warmest friendship once Armenia regained independence, after the fall of the
Soviet Union. That friendship had to be reconsidered once Armenia did what Armenians
do best: Attack.
At this point, I have two questions.
Why would “The Forward” choose such a zealous genocide partisan to offer a
review for such a shameless genocide book? Was the publication not compromising
its own integrity by doing so? The best reviewers are those who offer
Secondly, is Dr. Russell the way he is because he passionately believes in Ar-Mania?
Or are we to assume an intelligent man who has earned a doctorate is not capable of
even the most surface scrutiny of the real facts in this case? Only he would know in
his heart the answer... but whatever the answer is, he is a person who has
compromised his credibility immensely. I would hate to be a student in one of his
classes. Imagine if you get on his wrong side... will he judge your grade purely on
your accomplishments, or will he let his out-of-control emotions be his guide?
Detailed Rebuttal of The Burning Tigris