Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Near East Relief  
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Major Players
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems


The Relief Organization engaged in an eight-year policy of vilifying Turks, from 1915 to 1923.

Professor Justin McCarthy

Prof. McCarthy tells us more about the Near East Relief


"Lest We Perish"; poster for the Near East Relief

"Lest We Perish"

     President Woodrow Wilson concurred and also encouraged the formation of the organization known as Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which contributed over $113,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian survivors. (Peter Balakian wrote in "The Burning Tigris" the amount would be worth around one billion dollars today. In an interview, he claimed $2.5 billion. Here is another example of half- Balaked numbers.)

The Armenian Refugees (Lord Mayor's) Fund was the smaller counterpart charity set up in Great Britain.

Holdwater, here: When I started this page, it was really to highlight the wonderful photographs I discovered of the period, and I confused the goings-on with the Near East Relief (although some of the documentation is relief-oriented.) The Near East Relief issue deserves a much better page exploring what lay behind it, and so far this is not it. However, I will be adding more direct Near East Relief information, as such comes my way.

For example:

Here is how an American colonel reacted, when he was the High Commissioner for Relief... which I presume was associated with the Near East Relief. (In this other report, where the colonel's reaction is equally fierce, it's said he was with the Red Cross.)

 This page features photographs taken by Francis W. Kelsey during his Near East Expedition of 1919-1920. It is from a web site with the following description:

In 1919, University of Michigan professor Francis W. Kelsey launched an expedition to Europe and the Near East. He was seeking to acquire early Christian manuscripts and photograph sites of archaeological interest. This exhibit contains a collection of images taken during the expedition. Contextual information about the expedition and individual photographs is also provided. 

Francis W. Kelsey was a professor of classics and archeology. He seemed to be fascinated by ethnic types, given the mug shots he took of the area's residents. He traveled pretty extensively.

These photos are of interest to see how the Armenians were coping a few years after the violence and resettlement.

Agenda of the Near East Relief

By the end of October, the late Miss Annie T. Allen and Miss Florence Billings, the Near East Relief's representatives in Ankara (Angora), compiled a report on the state of the Turkish villages which the Greeks had burned during their retreat and forwarded it to the Near East Relief's headquarters in Constantinople. But the Near East Relief has never published that report, just as Mr. Lloyd George never published the Bristol report on Greek misdeeds at Izmir (Smyrna)

Clair Price, The Rebirth of Turkey, New York 1923 (p. 189)

Francis W. Kelsey and the Near East Expedition of 1919-1920

Priest and some Armenian refugees

"Priest and some refugees, many of the refugee tents
in the background."

How do you suppose that priest survived? I would have thought the Christian-hating Turks would have targeted them first, in their feeding frenzy.







A part of the Armenian refugee camp

"A part of the Armenian refugee camp. Some children
in front of the tent."

That's the "YMCA" logo on top of the tent. The Armenians sure owe the Americans a debt of gratitude for taking care of them this way. Their Turkish countrymen were not having a picnic at this time.









General view of part of Armenian refugee camp at Adana

"General view of part of Armenian refugee camp at Adana.
Armenians were moved here from Aleppo. Tents
were "ditched" and comfortably dry."

These Armenians were brought in from Syria, where they had been sent to resettle. Seems to me like a good healthy chunk survived, for a people to have been nearly wiped out.

(The white strip at right, by the house, is a row of more tents.)











Line up of Armenian refugees for the bread ration

"Line up of refugees for the bread ration."

Only women, children and old men were left, we're sometimes told. Where did these younger fellows come from?







  The Prettiest Armenian Girl "Anywhere"



Armenian girls and women working on cotton

"Nine of the older girls and women working on cotton. The Armenian girl
in the back row, at the extreme right, was the prettiest Armenian
girl we saw anywhere."



The prettiest Armenian girl that caught Francis Kelsey's eye

"The prettiest Armenian girl we saw. With distaff in hand, shawl on shoulders, sort of cap on head"

Well, here she is, in a 

closer view, at left. What

do you think? Hmmmm.

Not to say Armenian women

can't be beautiful, but I don't 

know why the professor got

so bent out of shape over

this lass.











A better representation of good looking Armenian womanhood. (Hasmik Mardirosian, best model from Armenia in 2001, by dreamstage7.com

A better representation of
good looking Armenian womanhood.
(Hasmik Mardirosian, best model from
Armenia in 2001, by dreamstage7.com)

Demir Delen, in his observations of the film, ARARAT:

The message given is that because the film was based on a book written by Clarence Ussher, an American, it must be reliable and historically correct. This is the proof of "Armenian genocide." Mr. Ussher was a Protestant missionary in Van in 1915. The Armenian campaign of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) was their most successful missionary campaign. This campaign collected $116,000,000 based on the propaganda of slaughter of Christians by evil Turks (Muslims). If one calculates this in today's money, this would be the most successful private charity campaign in U.S. history. Mr. Ussher wrote his book on 1917 in Boston and published it before the U.S. entered the war. It was in the missionaries' interest to write a propaganda book depicting only the Armenian suffering, ignoring completely the Muslim deaths and suffering. The raising of funds depended on helping Armenian victims. The more the victims, the more the funds.

Holdwater: The fact that these missionaries ignored Moslem suffering and singled out solely the Armenians made them pseudo-Christians. Aside from the breaking of a couple of commandments, like bearing false witness against a neighbor.



Shoe shop run by Armenian orphan boys

"Shoe shop run by orphan boys. We would call slippers
what they call shoes."

"We would call slippers what they would call shoes."  Well, excuse me, Mr. High and Mighty American!









Three Armenian girls and their rug

"Three Armenian girls and the rug they
were working on. The rug above is not
the one being made -- just hung up to
show. The one being woven shows
below. At Miss Kelley's."












Maj. Arnold, Miss Cushman, and scores of orphan children

"Maj. Arnold, Miss Cushman, and scores of orphan children,
not the younger ones. Under Miss Cushman's charge."










Five Armenian girls whose cheeks and chins had been tattooed

"Five Armenian girls whose cheeks and chins had been tattooed
in blue by their former Arab owners. Tattooing does not show
nearly so plainly in the picture as it did to the eye."


This is the most "incriminating" photo in the lot ... these girls were tattooed by their "former Arab owners." During my research for this site, I came across mention of this oddball tattooing custom once, and the Turks were (naturally) accused of doing the tattooing. Nowhere in my knowledge banks did I ever come across a fondness for tattooing by Turks, and that seemed suspicious to me. Now, thanks to this description, I surmise this is an Arab thing.

As far as the "Arab owners" business, that implies Arabs (like I've heard so often about Turks, through all the wild genocide claims) took these girls in as slaves. Is that true? I'm not saying there wouldn't have been some unscrupulous creeps who took advantage of others' misfortune, when they got half the chance; but perhaps the Arabs took these stranded girls and helped care for them... and maybe the tattooing was one of the strange things people of other cultures do... that we in the West have a way of sniffing at.  

I really don't know... it's possible these Arabs were the horrible slave-owners the description implies. The one thing that raises my eyebrows here (besides my knowledge of the Christian community of this period making all sorts of accusations to show the Moslem people in this part of the world to be evil and barbaric) is ... if Arabs took these girls in as slaves, how could so many of these girls (there are five here, but no doubt there were more) have escaped their masters' evil clutches? Isn't it the job of an "owner" to hold on to his property? I doubt the authorities would have gone on a house-to-house search to reclaim these girls, and even if they did, any slave owner worth his salt would know how to stash away his property. Could it be the word "owner" was used with malice? The book is still open for me on this one.  



To get a terrific overview on what lay behind the Relief Organization (they weren't just a charitable organization, but had a mean agenda in mind), headed by James Barton (who wrote the reply to the famous Mark Bristol letter), please visit the excellent presentation Professor McCarthy gave on the subject, where the link was provided above.


See Also:


Mission Work Reports



"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


This Site