Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Armenians Prosper in Land of Tolerance  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
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 We always hear from Armenians about how they were persecuted in the Ottoman Empire.

For example, in this rare PBS-TV debate, Prof. Richard Hovannisian tried to pull the wool over the audience's eyes by declaring Armenians were "second class citizens."

If anything, the Armenians were FIRST CLASS citizens.

There was practically no limit to the aspirations of Armenians, as all levels of society and government were open to the Ottoman Empire's "Loyal Millet"... even in the latter years, when they ceased to be so loyal. These were mostly during the days when Muslims were not regarded as human beings in Europe, and as Lord Curzon put it (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 nigger."

In fact, more than simply being prosperous, Armenians were frequently in the upper classes. In this report detailing life in Van shortly before the "genocide years," the Armenians controlled the marketplace, and the Turks were the poor ones.

In this page, we'll examine the prosperity of some Armenians... keeping in mind the inconsistency of such permitted success during the days when the Armenians were supposed to be "annihilated."


29 Armenians achieved the highest governmental rank of pasha,
22 Armenians became ministers, including Ministers of Foreign Affairs,
33 Armenians were elected to the Parliament,
7 Armenians were appointed as Ambassadors, 11 as Consul Generals,
11 Armenians served in universities as professors.

There were 803 Armenian schools employing 2088 teachers with over 80,000 pupils within the Ottoman Empire in 1901-2

"...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 Armenian 'millet'."

Mesrob K. Krikorian, Armenians in the Service of the Ottoman Empire (London 1977) p.107

More Stats in TAT's Reference Page



The world renowned cymbal-drum-percussion company is the oldest corporation still active in America. It was founded in 1623.

The company's web site, at zildjian.com, informs us Avedis Zildjian first discovered a method of fusing copper, tin and silver to create unique musical instruments, in 1623 Ottoman Empire.

A nifty timeline on the site explains further; the pictures indicate cymbals were a fixture in Ottoman military bands, and Avedis was the "founder of the craft of Turkish cymbal making." The sultan (Osman II) appreciated the efforts of his loyal Armenian citizen, and gave Avedis 80 gold pieces along with the name "Zildjian." ("Zilci" means bell ringer in Turkish, and the suffix of "ian" (or "yan") means "son of." The site is not very forthright in the "background" page, crediting the word as "Armenian," but at least in the timeline the word's true origin is given credit.)

"In 1623, Avedis receives the blessing from Sultan Murad IV allowing him to leave the Ottoman palace to start his own cymbal foundry" in an Istanbul suburb, Samatya.

Son Ahkam succeeds the dad, and in 1680, the text implies Europe latched on to cymbals. So they had the Ottoman Empire to thank, for cymbals. (In the form of these talented Armenians, certainly.) During the 1700s Europe incorporates cymbals into their own military bands; "Mozart uses cymbals to represent the popular Janissary music in Il Seraglio," in 1782.

1851: Avedis II builds his own schooner and sails to Marseilles and then to London (1851, 1862) to exhibit his cymbals at International Trade Fairs."

WOW! What wealth, to afford the construction of sophisticated sea-craft. What freedom to travel outside the country. How peculiar for a "second class citizen."

1868: SUPPORT FROM THE SULTAN A series of fires renders the family unable to pay their debts or buy raw materials. "The Zildjians receive attractive offers to transfer the business to Paris but do not want to leave their homeland."

Isn't that nice? Yep, these were loyal Ottoman-Armenians who clearly loved their country.

"Reigning Sultan Abdulaziz intercedes, ordering that everything necessary be done to help the Zildjian family."

Isn't that nice? That's quite a fair shake granted to a "second class citizen."

Here we are entering the genocide period; hold on to your hats...


  Another Armenian Success Story

Alex Manoogian, behind the financing of most of PBS' Armenian programs through the years, emigrated from Turkey in 1920. The late auto-parts Detroit businessman saw his company mushroom to annual sales of $3 billion. After 1920, he was joined by his parents, his brothers Charles and George, and sisters Margaret and Aghavni. Sounds like the whole family joined, and... hey. Weren't the Armenians supposed to have been "annihilated" in the Ottoman Empire?


In 1909, an older son opts to get out of the family business, instead entering politics. He becomes the attorney general of Istanbul.

YES! During the days when a Catholic would have found it difficult to get elected dog catcher in the United States. We keep getting confirmation after confirmation of what a wonderful land of tolerance this Ottoman Empire was.

Avedis II's son Aram gets to run the business, and a "period of political upheaval" makes it difficult for him to continue manufacturing cymbals in Istanbul.

Now what could that mean? Do you think he was marked for massacre?

The next sentence provides the needed clue...

"After joining the Armenian National Movement, he is forced temporarily to flee to Bucharest (where he opens a second factory)."

Aram Zildjian

 Aram Zildjian

 So here's the deal. The Armenian revolutionary committees were actively involved in spreading terror, adding to the Sick Man's woes, having its hands full with the upheavals in the Balkans and such. What does the Zildjian of this period do? He forgets about all the kindness his family received through the centuries, and works to undermine his nation, while his nation was growing steadily weaker.

Granted, he could have been forced by the Armenian terror groups, in the same way a lot of wealthy and loyal Armenians were bled dry, or threatened with violence. During the brief three year period of 1904-1906, for example, there were two Armenian victims assassinated by Armenian terrorists for every one non-Armenian. As Heath Lowry put it, the purpose was intimidation, and "to frighten the overwhelming majority of peaceful Armenians into silence as regards the activities of the terrorists."

On the other hand, Aram could have been one of the many Armenians intoxicated by the zeal of the revolutionists, and to consciously have chosen to stab his nation in the back. And how did his nation punish Aram's potentially traitorous activities?

"Eventually Aram returns to his native country, where he exports cymbals around the world."

Not only were those Turks tolerant, they were extremely lenient.

Then the timeline ignores the genocide years (to the site's credit; Armenians rarely lose the chance to tell their sob story), and skips to 1927. Two years later, the family relocates to "Armenian country" in the United States, Massachusetts, thanks to a nephew who had already immigrated and was operating a candy factory. Lucky for the firm they were just in time for America's Jazz age.

Reader Mehmet who turned me on to this history (which he ran into in an issue of "The Economist") wrote:

Isn't it amazing how the "genocidal" Ottoman state allowed this business to flourish? It's even more amazing that this business was able to survive into the 21st century due to the "genocidal Nazi style persecution" of Armenians in early 1900s Ottoman Turkey. I guess this is just another example of the strength of the "Armenian spirit."






 Readers are invited to submit more "Armenian Success Stories" in the land of toleration, the Ottoman Empire.





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