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Armenian Genocide   Leave a comment

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In April 1915 the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Armenian population of the Ottoman state was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923 virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.

The Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Turks who had conquered lands extending across West Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe. The Ottoman government was centered in Istanbul (Constantinople) and was headed by a sultan who was vested with absolute power. The Turks practiced Islam and were a martial people. The Armenians, a Christian minority, lived as second class citizens subject to legal restrictions which denied them normal safeguards. Neither their lives nor their properties were guaranteed security. As non-Muslims they were also obligated to pay discriminatory taxes and denied participation in government. Scattered across the empire, the status of the Armenians was further complicated by the fact that the territory of historic Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Russians.

via Armenian Genocide.

2/21/1914 Time line

A Turkish boycott of Armenian businesses is declared by the Ittihadists. Dr. Nazim travels throughout the provinces to implement the boycott.


The police spy David notifies Reshad Bey, Chief of the Political Section of the Constantinople Police Department that he is providing the names, biographies, pictures, and speeches about reform, as well as other data, of two thousand leading Armenians.


Parliamentary elections held in Turkey with only candidates approved by the CUP winning seats.


The Ittihadist Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, the vice-governor of Seghert, is appointed governor-general of Bitlis Province.


Negotiations are started between the Turkish and German Imperial governments.


Germany declares war on Russia. Beginning of World War I.


A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany virtually placing the Turkish armed forces under German command.


The Turkish government sends sealed envelopes containing a general mobilization order to district and village councils, with the strict instructions that they were not to be opened until further notice. A fortnight later, with the approval of the Ittihad Committee, instructions are issued to open the envelopes.


Censorship of all telegraphic communication is announced by the government.


Looting is reported in Sivas, Diyarbekir, and other provinces, under the guise of collecting war contributions. Stores owned by Armenian and Greek merchants are vandalized.


1,080 shops owned by Armenians are burned in the city of Diyarbekir.


The male population between the ages of 20 and 45 is conscripted by the Turkish armed forces.


Turkish troops are garrisoned in Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province. In the city of Sivas, 56,000 soldiers of the 10th Army Corps are quartered in and around the Christian districts.


The Turkish government abrogates the Capitulations (the commercial and judicial rights of the Europeans in the Ottoman Empire).


The Armenian National Assembly, composed of civil and religious representatives, meets in Constantinople and advises Armenians in the provinces to remain calm in the face of provocation.


The Dardanelles Straits are closed to foreign shipping.


News reaches Constantinople about the demand made by the government of the Armenian population in Zeitun to turn in its weapons, including all types of knives.


The government distributes arms to the Muslim residents of the town of Keghi in Erzerum Province on the excuse that the Armenians there were unreliable.


All foreign postal services in Turkey are closed on government order.


Nazaret Chavush, the most notable Armenian leader in Zeitun, is murdered on the order of Haidar Pasha, governor of Marash.


News reaches Constantinople of looting under the guise of war contributions in Shabin-Karahisar.


News that ‘the war contribution’ looting of Armenians was continuing in Diyarbekir Province.


In Zeitun, all the Armenian notables are called to a meeting. About three score attend and are immediately arrested.


News of requisitions imposed on Armenian businesses as ‘war contributions’ reaches Constantinople from every province.


News reaches Constantinople of starvation and the spread of disease in Sivas Province because of the desperate conditions created by the ‘war contributions’ campaign conducted against the Armenians.


Bands of chetes begin looting, violating women and children, and large-scale murdering in Erzerum Province


Leaders of the Armenian nationalist Dashnak party organization in Erzerum are arrested.


Enver authorizes the combined German-Turkish navy to carry out a stealth attack on Russia without declaration of war.


Hostilities are opened between Turkey and Russia with the shelling of the Russian Black Sea coast by Ottoman naval vessels under German command.


Russia formally declares war against the Ottoman Empire.


News from the interior of Turkey reaches the Armenian community of Constantinople that persecutions already exceed earlier actions against the Armenians.


A Proclamation of Jihad, directed against England, France, and Russia, is issued in Constantinople legitimating the formation of the chete organizations.


Unfounded accusations are launched against the Armenians that they had revolted and were preparing to join the Russian forces.


The village of Otsni in Erzerum Province is attacked at night by chete forces. The local Armenian priest and many other Armenians are killed. Every house is looted. The first attacks by chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum are reported.


The Jihad Proclamation is read in all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire.


Mass executions of Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army takes place in various public squares for the purpose of terrorizing the Armenians, while with voluntary contributions, Armenians were building several hospitals for the use of the Turkish army through the Red Crescent Society.


Orders are issued from Constantinople instructing the provincial administrators to oust all Armenian functionaries in the service of the Ottoman government.


In Mush, Ittihadist agents distribute arms to the Turkish population after arousing them with false stories of Armenian outrages.


Previously undisturbed Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province, together with many private residences, are requisitioned by the Turkish army for use as barracks. The carts, horses, and other travel equipment of the Armenian villagers in the provinces are confiscated.


Robbery and looting on a large scale is reported in Van Province.


The War Ministry distributes explosives, rifles, and other equipment to the irregular forces of the Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa).


Enver’s uncle, Halil Pasha, the military governor of Constantinople, begins organizing Special Organization units in Constantinople by enrolling criminals released from prison.


Halil Pasha instructs the governor of Izmid (Izmit) to identify leaders for Special Organization units and to release criminals from prisons to join these bands.


The vice-governor of Izmid (Izmit) arms the Special Organization with weapons supplied by the War Ministry.


Chete forces consisting of intentionally released convicts are armed by the government in Van Province. In the region of Van requisitions take the form of open robbery and looting.


Having completed his job organizing the Special Organization in Artvin, Behaeddin Shakir is instructed to move on to Trebizond.


The central command of the Special Organization sends instruction for supplying the chete bands with money, vehicles, and others equipment.


The beginning of a series of isolated murders to terrorize the Armenian population.


Reports reach Constantinople that raids by irregular chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.


Turks loot the properties of subjects of Allied nations.


The Ittihad Inspector of Balikesir sends a message to Dr. Nazim of the central committee of the Special Organization via Midhat Shukri, the Central Secretary of Ittihad, that the Interior Ministry and the Ittihad Committee, in accordance with issued orders, are busy organizing the irregular chete bands.


Reports continue reaching Constantinople that chete raids on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.


Armenians are put to use as porters of army supplies in Erzerum, Trebizond, and Sivas Provinces under the worst of cold winter conditions for the purpose of letting them die of overwork and illness.


The Turkish Cabinet charges Enver with command of the offensive on the Caucasian front and assigns Talaat the position of Acting Minister of War while retaining his position as Minister of the Interior.


An attack by the Ottoman Third Army corps opens the Battle of Sarikamish on the Caucasian Front.


Foreign missionaries abandon the interior of Turkey as crosses on missions are broken by the Turks and replaced by crescents.


Sahag Odabashian, the newly appointed Prelate of Erzinjan, while traveling from Constantinople via Sivas to Erzinjan, where he was to be installed in office, is slain in the village of Kanli-Tash, near Shabin-Karahisar, by six chetes organized by Ahmed Muammer, the governor-general of Sivas Province.

The Ancient Armenians

For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The area, known today as Anatolia, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian homeland, when not independent, was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols.

Despite the repeated invasions and occupations, Armenian pride and cultural identity never wavered. The snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat became the focal point of this proud people and by 600 BC Armenia as a kingdom sprang into being.

The First Christian Nation

Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. A golden era of peace and prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, the flourishing of literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century, Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the ‘city of a thousand and one churches.’

Under Muslim Rule

In the eleventh century, the first Turkish invasion of the Armenian homeland occurred. Thus began several hundred years of rule by Muslim Turks. By the sixteenth century, Armenia had been absorbed into the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire. At its peak, this Turkish empire included much of Southeast Europe, North Africa, and almost all of the Middle East.

But by the 1800s the once powerful Ottoman Empire was in serious decline. For centuries, it had spurned technological and economic progress, while the nations of Europe had embraced innovation and became industrial giants. Turkish armies had once been virtually invincible. Now, they lost battle after battle to modern European armies.

As the empire gradually disintegrated, formerly subject peoples including the Greeks, Serbs and Romanians achieved their long-awaited independence. Only the Armenians and the Arabs of the Middle East remained stuck in the backward and nearly bankrupt empire, now under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid

Armenian Refugees

An Armenian woman kneeling beside dead child in field “within sight of help and safety at Aleppo.”

Food relief

Woman with baby

Transport of Armenians

Transport to Greece

Transport to Greece


In Van

Tents in Aleppo

Armenian refugees marching across the Syrian desert.

Aleppo, Syria.


Near East relief a common sight among the Armenian refugees in Syria


Port Said, Egypt.



Armenian refugee children near Athens, 1923, after the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

Near East Relief 5,000 children from Karput en route on donkey back and foot

This iconic photo, taken by the German medic Armin Wegner, shows Armenian refugees marching across the Syrian desert

    Armenian genocide resolution dies in US House | Earth Times News   Leave a comment

    Washington – A US House of Representatives resolution declaring that the World War I-era slayings of more than 1 million Armenians by the Ottomans was genocide appears to have died after it failed to reach a vote on Thursday.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not schedule the resolution for a vote on the last day of House activities before recessing for the holiday break, effectively killing the measure until at least next year.
    The White House and State Department have lobbied hard against it, fearing it would badly damage relations with Turkey. Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Washington after a House committee approved the resolution in March.
    “We have made clear our opposition to that resolution,” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said earlier this week.
    House Democrats have been pushing for the resolution for years but have never been able to bring it up for a final vote. The proponents have vowed to try again next year, but it will be more difficult with Republicans poised to take control of the House in January following the outcome of November’s elections.
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Washington that passage of the resolution would badly damage relations between the two NATO allies. The Obama administration also worries the resolution could derail the ongoing reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia.
    Armenians contend that up to 1.5 million of their people were systematically killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. Turkey has long denied the genocide claim, saying the number of Armenians killed is much lower than claimed and the deaths were the result of civil unrest.

    Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in Uncategorized

    Billy the Kid: New Mexico governor weighs pardon for Billy the Kid –   Leave a comment

    Billy the Kid (1860 – 1881). Image mirro...

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    Reporting from Albuquerque — Nearly 130 years after the death of Henry McCarty, alias William Bonney, but better known as Billy the Kid, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will take some of the final hours of his administration to decide whether to pardon the baby-faced gunslinger.

    Richardson will review evidence that in 1881, one of his predecessors promised to pardon Bonney for killing a sheriff in return for his testimony in a murder case. The record suggests that New Mexico territorial Gov. Lew Wallace later reneged on that promise.

    via Billy the Kid: New Mexico governor weighs pardon for Billy the Kid –

    Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in History, social

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    Shipwrecked 2,000-Year-Old Pills Give Clues to Ancient Medicine   Leave a comment

    Map of the regione Toscana.
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    Scientists are trying to unravel the mystery of whether pills found in a 2,000-year-old shipwreck were, in fact, created and used as effective plant-based medicines.


    And the bigger question: Could the ingredients of these ancient tablets still work to help with modern illnesses?

    Around 130 B.C., a ship, identified as the Relitto del Pozzino, sank off Tuscany, Italy. Among the artifacts found on board in 1989 were glass cups, a pitcher and ceramics, all of which suggested that the ship was sailing from the eastern Mediterranean area.

    via Shipwrecked 2,000-Year-Old Pills Give Clues to Ancient Medicine.

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    Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in global

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    Cop who ticketed Brooklyn rabbi on Sabbath for jaywalking transferred   Leave a comment




    Jewish law prevents observant Jews from writing or forming any meaningful characters on the Sabbath.


    via Cop who ticketed Brooklyn rabbi on Sabbath for jaywalking transferred.

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    Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in global, religion

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    Natural Medication: Foods from the Countryside – Moorland and Meadow   Leave a comment




    Wherever you hunt for free foods, remember not to strip one plant of all its leaves or berries, but take small amounts from several so as not affect their appearance or health.


    via Natural Medication: Foods from the Countryside – Moorland and Meadow.

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    Posted December 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment

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    Stalin's 131st Birthday | Video | Multimedia | The Moscow Times   Leave a comment

    Joseph Stalin
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    Stalin’s 131st Birthday | Video | Multimedia | The Moscow Times.

    A group of Russians laid over 4,000 roses on Josef Stalin’s grave Tuesday to commemorate the Soviet dictator’s 131st birthday. Stalin is still one of the most popular historical figures in Russia nearly 19 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Posted December 21, 2010 by dmacc502 in global, History

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    Lunar eclipse sees crowds come out with their telescopes | Science |   Leave a comment

    ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 21:  In this handout ...
    Image by Getty Images via @daylife


    The shadow of the Earth is seen on the Moon during a total lunar eclipse seen from near Calvine, Perthshire, Scotland

    via Lunar eclipse sees crowds come out with their telescopes | Science |

    Posted December 21, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment, global, science

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    Starling 'ballet' in danger as bird population declines – Telegraph   Leave a comment

    Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus i...
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    The sight of up to 100,000 starlings coming to roost before setting off on their winter migrations is a popular spectacle across Britain. Often the dark clouds of birds, known as a ‘murmuration’, make fantastical shapes as the flock wheel and dive through the air.

    The most famous roost is Brighton Pier but the birds also roost in massive numbers in Snape, Suffolk and Gretna Green. Flocks of smaller starlings are also spotted by nature lovers near their homes.

    via Starling ‘ballet’ in danger as bird population declines – Telegraph.

    Posted December 21, 2010 by dmacc502 in environment

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    Galileo and the Church   Leave a comment


    Galileo and the Church

    By John Heilbron

    John Heilbron is a historian of science and Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His latest book is “Galileo” (Oxford, 2010).

    What Galileo believed about providence, miracles, and salvation, is hard to say.  It may not matter.  Throughout his life he functioned as the good Catholic he claimed to be, and he received many benefits from the church before and after the affair that brought him to his knees before the Holy Inquisition in 1633.

    First among these benefits was education.  Galileo studied for a few years at the convent of Vallombrosa (a Benedictine order) near Florence.  He loved the place and had entered his novitiate when his father removed him from the temptation.  Later the Vallombrosans gave him his first important job teaching mathematics.  He probably lived briefly at the Benedictine convent of Santa Giustina in Padua just after taking up a professorship at Venice’s university there in 1592.  He may have taught at Santa Giustina and from its ranks recruited his most faithful disciple, Dom Benedetto Castelli.

    The largest and ablest collection of mathematicians in Italy belonged to the Society of Jesus.  When he started serious study of mathematics, Galileo sought and obtained the advice and approval of their leader, Father Christopher Clavius.  He had to break off relations in 1606, when the Venetian state expelled the Jesuits from its territories.  Galileo restored the connection soon after returning to Florence in 1610 as “Mathematician and Philosopher to the Grand Duke of Tuscany.”  Again he had an urgent need for Clavius’s endorsement.  The astonishing discoveries he had made in 1609/10 by turning his telescope on the heavens challenged credulity.  By the end of 1610 he had the confirmation he wanted.  Clavius’s group of mathematicians invited him to their headquarters in Rome to celebrate the “message from the stars,” as Galileo had entitled the book in which he had announced his discoveries, and to toast the messenger.

    Galileo’s other benefits from the Church included the large salary he enjoyed as court mathematician and philosopher, which came from ecclesiastical revenues, and a papal pension for his son.  The son declined on discovering that its beneficiary had to wear a tonsure, and Galileo, having no such reservation, took it himself.  In the hope of relieving his chronic illnesses, he made pilgrimages to Loreto.  To relieve himself of his two illegitimate daughters, he put them in a nunnery.  When old and blind and confined to his villa, members of religious orders comforted and read to him.  And throughout his life he had many friends, disciples, and patrons among ecclesiastics.

    His late-in-life comforters were not Jesuits.  Obliged to teach the physics of Aristotle, in which the earth stands still at the center of the world, they could not endorse the Copernican system, which Galileo believed his discoveries proved.  That did not stop them from becoming experts in telescopic astronomy.  Galileo did not like the competition and attacked the Jesuits unfairly.  That was a mistake.  They did not help him when he ran into an order of priests who did not like mathematics.  These were the Dominicans, who ran the machinery of the Inquisition.

    Some of their firebrands preached that since Copernican notions conflicted with Joshua’s order to the sun to stand still, they might be heretical.  Galileo hurried to Rome in 1615 to clear himself and Copernicanism.  Early in 1616 the Inquisition found that Copernicanism was contrary to scripture and philosophically absurd; the Congregation of the Index thereupon banned Copernicus’s masterpiece pending correction and other works altogether; but it did not mention Galileo.  Instead, on papal orders, the chief theologian of the Inquisition, the Jesuit Cardinal (now Saint) Robert Bellarmine, summoned Galileo to hear the decree of the Index and to receive, in private, a personal injunction not to teach or hold the Copernican theory in any way whatsoever.

    Galileo obeyed this instruction until the election in 1623 of his old friend Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VIII.  As a member of the Congregation of the Index in 1616, Barberini had opposed the condemnation of sun-centered astronomy, not because he believed it, but because he held that no astronomical system could be known to be true.  An omniscent omnipotent God could contrive to produce astronomical appearances in ways different from the one preferred by astronomers.  Condemning any astronomical system would give all of them a status they did not deserve.

    Galileo now argued that to counter the sneers of Protestants, Catholics should make clear that they had understood the astronomical arguments at stake in 1616.  Urban liked the idea.  Apparently he agreed that Galileo could develop the strongest arguments he could for a moving earth and stationary sun, provided that he flanked them with a preface containing the motivation (we reopen the question to show we are not ignorant) and a postscript containing Urban’s epistemology (nonetheless, we cannot affirm the truth of any astronomical system).

    Galileo’s Dialogue on the two chief world systems (1632) takes place between two of his dead friends and a genial Aristotelian blockhead named Simplicio.  It begins with the stipulated preface, continues with the knockdown arguments, but stops without the postscript. It ends with Simplicio declaring Urban’s epistemology.  Instead of securing his prize—the endorsement by Italy’s greatest mathematician and philosopher of his prophylaxis against all assaults on scripture mounted from natural knowledge—Urban had the mortification of having his philosophy of science expressed by a fool.

    Galileo was charged with “vehement suspicion of heresy” for defending a theory he knew contravened scripture and had been ordered not to teach.  He confessed, ascribed his error to excessive pride in his cleverness, and underwent, candle in hand, the prescribed procedure for abjuration ex vehementi.  Reading the prepared text, he said that he detested his Copernican ideas and “all other errors and heresies.”  (This seems to be the first official public indication that Copernicanism might be a heresy; if so, it became one by poor editing, not by official proclamation.)  Continuing with his text, Galileo gave himself over to the Inquisition to do with as it pleased.  Urban pleased to place his former friend under perpetual house arrest.  Customarily people who abjured ex vehementi obtained their freedom after a year or two.  Galileo and his friends petitioned for his release, but to no avail.  Urban continued to believe that Galileo needed quarantine, not because he taught that the earth moves, but because he thought that the human mind unaided by revelation could attain to truth.

    In 1979, Urban’s successor several times removed, Pope John Paul II, appointed a committee to re-examine the merits of the case against Galileo.  Their report, issued a decade later, blamed and exonerated both parties:  the Inquisition had understood the scientific issues at stake, but not the principles of exegesis; Galileo had employed a sound hermeneutics, but not an acceptable standard of scientific proof.
     Their no-fault collision arose from a “tragic mutual misunderstanding.”  People restricted to ordinary modes of thought may have trouble accepting this resolution and the associated assurance that there is no essential opposition between science and religion.


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    Posted December 21, 2010 by dmacc502 in Uncategorized