Essay About Armenian Genocide

The “natural,” divinely ordained hierarchy of Muslim superiority appeared challenged by these alien elements in their midst.Unbelievers were to "stay in their place" and not appear to be equal or better than the Muslims.

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Beginning in the late 1870s and through the following decade, the Armenians of the provinces petitioned in greater numbers to their leaders in Istanbul and to the European consuls stationed in eastern Anatolia.

Hundreds of complaints were filed; few were dealt with.

In early 1915 the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire decided to deport hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Assyrians from their homes into distant parts of the Empire, eventually into the deserts of Syria.

Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army were demobilized and massacred; women and children were driven on long marches, starved, beaten, and often murdered.

The leading Armenian political party, the Dashnaktsutiun, had been loosely allied with the Young Turk Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and continued to collaborate with them up to the outbreak of the Great War.

Nevertheless, the deep social hostilities between the peoples of the Empire persisted, indeed worsened, in the first two decades of the twentieth century.Armenians in eastern Anatolia repeatedly complained about armed Kurdish bands that took their livestock, land, and women.Occasionally Muslims rose in angry pogroms against Christians, and state authorities tended to excuse such behavior as an understandable response to Armenian rebellion.Armenians, like Assyrians, Greeks, Jews, and other non-Sunni Muslim peoples of the Empire, were not only an ethnic and religious minority in a country dominated demographically and politically by Muslims, but given an ideology of inherent Muslim superiority and the segregation of minorities, were also an underclass.They were subjects who, however high they might rise in trade, commerce, or even governmental service, were never to be considered equal to the ruling Muslims.Ottoman Armenians and other minorities joyfully greeted the “revolution” that brought the Young Turks to power.They hoped that the restoration of the liberal constitution would provide a political mechanism for peaceful development within the framework of a representative parliamentary system.They would always remain gavur: infidels inferior to the Muslims.Active persecution of non-Muslims was relatively rare in the earlier centuries of the Ottoman Empire, but discrimination was ubiquitous and sanctioned by law and religion.As imperialist Europe and nationalist movements threatened Ottoman control of the Balkans, hostilities and fears of decline ate away at the formerly cosmopolitan idea of an empire tolerant of its diverse constituent peoples.Even in the Tanzimat period (1839-1878), when reforming rulers and bureaucrats eliminated some of the most excessive practices against their subjects and attempted to create the basis for a Rechtsstaat in the Empire, the Christians only partially benefited from the movement toward equality under the law.


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