Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  A Convoy, Marching and Massacred  
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 Many uprooted Armenians were forced to travel on foot to the locations they were being transferred to. Was this so that the "extermination plan" could be made easier?

The U.S. Consul in Mersin, Edward Natan, said in an August 30, 1915 report to Ambassador Morganthau that the railway route from Tarsus to Adana was full of Armenians; and that they traveled from Adana onwards with a ticket; and despite some difficulties due to crowds of people, the government organized this process in the most orderly fashion; and that the Government did not allow any act of violence or disorder, provided sufficient number of tickets to the immigrants and assisted those who were in need.

Armenians transferred by railway

Armenians being transferred by rail; from the PBS
show, "The Great War"

So we know Armenians were transported by rail, and given that the limited rails were used for war efforts and were congested, the process must still not have gone too badly, since most Armenians made it to their destinations (over 500,000, satisfied, and even going about making their livings, as an Armenian representative reported to Ambassador Morgenthau, in Sept. 1915).

Unfortunately, this was the bankrupt "Sick Man," and the railways only went so far. As Arthur Tremaine Chester elaborated, "The Turkish Government ordered the Armenians deported from the districts they menaced That they did not have railways and other means of transportation was not their fault, and the deportation had to be carried out on foot. That this was not done in the most humane manner possible is undoubtedly a fact, and the Turkish Government has condemned the unnecessary cruelties that occurred."

It was when the unfortunate Armenians travelled on foot that massacres occurred, often by lawless bands. For example, when missionary Mary Graffam accompanied a convoy from Sivas, she reported that the ones doing the attacking were the Kurds. Others, too, behaved criminally, including Circassians, Arabs, and Turks as well.

But this was not a situation that was created to make life difficult for the Armenians. Dadrian theories like Special Organization forces lying in wake aside, this was just... the way. Marching, in areas without railways, was the only means available for large groups of people, to get from Point A to Point B.

Even Turkish soldiers had to resort to such a primitive means of transportation.

Why don't we resort to the epic motion picture, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, to get the idea of what it must have been like?



There goes the Turkish force, on foot, under the hot desert sun. (And this was not the kind of desolate desert the Armenians were transferred to, as Armenian propaganda would have us believe; Armenians were moved to areas known as "The Fertile Crescent.")


exhausted soldiers

The soldiers are exhausted or wounded, hungry and thirsty

The convoy moves slowly



The Turkish soldiers are surprised

Uh-oh! The film's "Arab extras" take note of the impending trouble


Lawrence takes aim

It's that darned Lawrence of Arabia, ordering "NO PRISONERS!," and 2,000 Arabs, swinging swords



the soldiers give up

Lawdy! They came out of nowhere. Not much to do but surrender...

the convoy is surrounded

It's a complete massacre. And all because José Ferrer had his way with the fair Lawrence.


Sure, these were soldiers, and neither the Arab rebels nor the Ottoman forces were respecting the Geneva Convention, as they went at each other. We're not comparing the lot of these men with those of defenseless, innocent civilians. (Yet, as is painfully clear, even soldiers can be pretty defenseless, and cut down like sheep.)

The point here is, when you have partisan, "chette" bands with violence on their minds, there really wasn't much that could be done. They suddenly swooped down, and had their way. The only way to have minimized such pain with the Armenians would have been to make sure the convoys were guarded with enough gendarmes, behaving professionally. Unfortunately, there was a critical shortage of such manpower... and what took precedence was that the Armenians had to be moved away, since the Armenians were too rebellious to remain where they were, during a desperate life and death struggle threatening the existence of the nation itself. So the Armenians were moved out without adequate protection, which the Ottoman government certainly bore responsibility for.

This is the way the armed Armenian bandits had their way in defenseless villages, when nearly every able-bodied "Turkish" man was away at the multiple fronts. Colonel Wooley of the British Army estimated the Armenians had done away with 300,000-400,000 Ottoman Muslims in just such a fashion, in Van and Bitlis alone. (As recorded in the U.S. Archives, 12.9.1919, 184.021/265.) The Ottomans were just as inefficient with protecting these Muslim people, as well. (Of course, these particular victims must have mostly been killed while Armenians and Russians were in control. But there were plenty of examples of such Armenian-directed slaughter on poorly-guarded Ottoman-controlled lands.)

This is why it is so important to prove, in the case of massacred Armenians, whether they were victimized by the government on official orders, or by lawless gangs and other criminals behaving on their own. This is the factor lying at the very heart of the "genocide" issue.


 Did Armenians Also Attack Military Convoys, Like the Arabs?

Young Armenians, after attacking an army convoy carrying arms, had succeeded in killing five hundred soldiers who had pursued them. Eventually the rebels, facing twenty thousand Turkish troops, took refuge in the mountains.

Levon Meguerditchian to Boghos Nubar, May 28, 1915, in Ghazarian, Boghos Nubar's Papers. p. 65. Guenter Lewy, "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey—A Disputed Genocide," p. 102, 2005

"[T]he Armenian population in the zone of operations overtly exhibited a common cause with the Russians...some migrating to Transcaucasia... [and] frequently attacking Turkish convoys."

French General M. Larcher; see footnote 33.

"An armed band headed by a villain by the name of Doryon Dono, from the Armenian village of Bashnak in the district of Silvan, suddenly attacked on June 28, 1915 a convoy of more than 500 mules carrying goods under the command of Militia Officer Haci Hamid Effendi, protected by a sufficient number of gendarmes and militiamen, at a place called Seytan Kaya, while fording a brook, and cruelly martyred most of them."

From the conclusions of the investigation conducted by the provincial authority regarding the atrocities committed by Armenians in Diyarbakir and its environs, as reported in "Archive Documents about the Atrocities and Genocide Inflicted Upon Turks by Armenians"


Lack of Transportation for Turkish Troops Most in Need


All that winter (of 1915-16] sick and wounded Turkish soldiers came from the front to Mamouret-ul-Aziz. Notwithstanding what we know about the way Turks treated the Armenians, it seemed incredible that their own soldiers fared better. They were sent away from Erzerum and other distant places in midwinter, without food and with little clothing. They were told to go to the hospitals in Mamouret-ul-Aziz, which were the nearest to them. As no means of transportation was provided, they were obliged to make the journey of several weeks on foot, begging or stealing something to eat in the villages through which they passes [sic] and occasionally stealing a donkey on which to ride. I often met them as they were approaching the town. All but the hardiest ones, of course, had died on the way... Those who did arrive were often so exhausted that nothing could be done for them.

Leslie A. Davis, February 9, 1918, reprinted in Sarafian, United States Official Documents on the Armenian Genocide, vol. 3, pp. 98-99. Similar descriptions in Jacobsen, Diaries of a Danish Missionary, pp. 48, 52, 59, 161. From Guenter Lewy, "The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey—A Disputed Genocide," p. 57, 2005; the author goes on to write: "Those fortunate enough to reach the hospitals were not necessarily on the road to recovery, for conditions in most of those hospitals were horrendous."

 Holdwater: What does it say about Leslie Davis to have known of these awful conditions affecting everyone, and still have gone on to designate the bad treatment of Armenians as intentional slaughter, presumably by the government?


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