Zatik consiglia:
Iniziativa Culturale:



23 06 2007 - NAASR - Armenian Reporter
Genocide historian Professor David Gaunt, speaking at Merdinian Armenian Christian School on May 11, shed some light on the massacres of Assyrians and Armenians during the First World War. The lecture was the last stop in California for his series, "Massacres and Resistance: The Genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians Based on New Evidence from the Archives."

The event was sponsored by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF), and the Analysis Research and Planning for Armenia (ARPA) Institute.

Gaunt's speech included evidence he found through his own research in Ottoman archives in Istanbul. By piecing together a timeline with actual documents, Gaunt said he hoped to get a better idea of how certain individuals thought and communicated during this dark time in history.

"I'm more of a social historian than a political historian," he said. "My intention in doing this was to be more of a natural scientist and to see how many different kinds of documentation you can find in such a small area to see who are the perpetrators, instigators, planners, what are the motivations that are going through their heads, and how are people reacting."

Before diving into his research findings, Gaunt gave a little background on Turkey in 1915 and in the years before and after. Turkey was a melting pot, he said, with Assyrians and Armenians scattered throughout the empire. Ministers of the interior, including Talaat Pasha, forced minorities, including Armenians and Assyrians, to move. No village was to have more than two dozen individuals from a single minority, Gaunt said.

"This means it's impossible to keep your culture and religion," said Gaunt. "Not being in contact with your religious leader and it's very probably that you convert over to Islam in order to have some kind of religious life."

In 1915, Russia and Turkey were at war. Russian forces - Russian-Armenians among them - achieved an astonishing victory at the Battle of Dilman on May 2. Gaunt said this frightened the Turkish government and a massacre of Armenian and Assyrian Christians ensued.

Gaunt said that the Russian press kept records of the massacres. "Armenian journalists writing in the Russian press wrote about both the Armenians and Assyrians," he said. "It was a fairly amazing document."

Gaunt then moved on to demonstrating the importance of how documentation has kept the images of genocide alive for generations.

He discussed the manuscript, "The Calamities of the Christians," written by Ishaq Armalto, an Assyrian priest who chronicled the slaughters of villagers in the town of Mardin in June 1915.

Gaunt said one of the most important sections of this document, which weighs in at 600 pages, was a description of another Catholic priest Ignace Maloyan, and his last days of life.

Gaunt discussed how Armalto described how Maloyan was framed by Turks, who planted weapons in his church so he could be accused of aiding the Russians.

"No other book is as complete about the destruction of the Armenian community," said Gaunt.

Gaunt then talked about another priest who set up an orphanage in the city of Van after it was devastated by the Young Turks.

Gaunt said his account gave a numerical account of Armenians and Assyrians before and after the massacre.

Prior to the killings, there were 10,500 Armenians living in the Mardin area, according to the priest's account. After the massacre there were only about 300 left.

"These are extreme losses of life," he said. "It's possible there are other places with similar high proportions, but we just don't know at the moment."

While sifting through countless documents in the archives in Istanbul, Gaunt found an important telegram, he said.

It was a message discussing what should be done about Assyrians and Armenians. The message accused Armenians and Assyrians of being in revolt against the state.

"It said the revolt should be treated with the utmost severity," said Gaunt. "This comes from Enver Pasha, the minister of war."

Before bringing his speech to an end, Gaunt discussed his most recent brush with history.

In the fall of last year, a mass grave was found near Mardin. Local villagers claimed the grave contained the remains of 38 Armenians from 1915.

Gaunt said the head of the Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halacoglu, dismissed the theory and claimed they were remains from the Roman Empire.

But on the day Gaunt hoped to conduct a scientific investigation, he found the location of the grave empty, with only a few bones remaining.

Gaunt said the matter left him without a means to conduct an investigation and reach a credible solution.

While the site was questionably evacuated and Gaunt had become subject to ridicule in some Turkish newspapers, some individuals are starting to side with his skepticism about what really happened to the remains.

"I've managed to get a few journalists on my side," he said.

After the speech, some audience members said they felt more informed about a part of history about which they didn't know too much.

"I'm glad that people are talking about what he's talking about, I want to know more and come to future lectures about it," said Virginia Karnik, 33. "Our great grandparents are slowly dying and soon will not be around to tell us what happened in that part of history. We need to have that connection to the past."

[article used with the kind permission of The Armenian Reporter]

Last Stop on Successful Tour
The lecture at Sherman Oaks was the last of seven highly successful lectures by Gaunt given in California under the co-sponsorship of NAASR and the AANF in conjunction with a number of Armenian and Assyrian academic and community organizations and entities.

At most of the lectures Gaunt spoke to standing-room-only audiences, sometimes of several hundred people. The lecture tour included stops at Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Stanislaus; California State University, Fresno; Assyrian American Association of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; and the Merdinian School in Sherman Oaks.

NAASR and the AANF are indebted to the following for their cooperation and co-sponsorship of these lectures:

Advancement of Education Foundation

Analysis Research and Planning for Armenia (ARPA Institute)
Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History at UCLA
Armenian Student Association at UCLA
Armenian Student Association at Stanford
Armenian Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley
Armenian Studies Program, California State University, Fresno
Assyrian Academic Society - Bay Area Chapter
Assyrian Aid Society of America - Central Valley Chapter
Assyrian Aid Society of America - Southern California Chapter
Assyrian American Association of Modesto
Assyrian American Association of Southern California
Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock
Assyrian National Foundation of America
Assyrian Student Alliance at UC Berkeley
Assyrian Student Association at UCLA
Gorgias Press
Mesopotamian Museum
Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies at UCLA Zinda Magazine
The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research was established in 1955 by a group of sixty Armenian Americans and Harvard professors who wished to advance Armenian Studies in the United States. In the more than half a century it has been in existence, NAASR has achieved far-reaching results in fostering Armenian studies, research, and publication on a permanent, scholarly, and objective basis. Its pioneering successes have benefited scholars interested in Armenian Studies and related fields throughout the academic world.

As a result of the advances made in Armenian Studies since the creation of NAASR, the general public has gained easier access to an ever-increasing base of available knowledge regarding Armenia, its history, people, and rich 3000-year-old culture. Before the establishment of NAASR, Armenian Studies in the United States was the unrealized dream of only a few people; since the establishment of NAASR it has become a reality.

Having established the first two chairs in Armenian Studies in the United States at Harvard and UCLA (today the Mashtots and Narekatsi chairs, respectively), NAASR supported Armenian Studies at Columbia University for more than a decade and has provided funds for programs at a number of other American universities, among them the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Amherst, Wayne State University, Tufts University, California State University at Fresno, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, Bentley College, University of California at Berkeley, and Sage Colleges in New York.

NAASR has also provided grants to dozens of scholars to conduct research and publish their work. Through its Journal of Armenian Studies, Armenian Heritage Press, Book Store, and Lecture series and conferences, NAASR has served as an unmatched conduit of information between the world of scholarship and the Armenian community.

NAASR Press Release
David Gaunt Discusses Massacres and Resistance
The Armenian Reporter, May 19, 2007
Arin Mikailian
Sherman Oaks, CA


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
© Zatik - Powered by Akmé S.r.l.