by LEO HOHMANN
Could it happen again?
That’s the question many ask when contemplating the Armenian Genocide on this, its official 100th anniversary. Could the Islamic world, now 1.5 billion strong, again turn on its Christian neighbors in a massive way as it did so horrifically in Turkey during World War I? And could the government of Turkey actually make it happen again? Some historians say yes.
Unlike the Nazi Holocaust, the perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide denies it ever happened. Because Turkey has not exorcised those demons, it’s a bad omen for the future, especially as Turkey continues to gain prominence in the Muslim world, say some scholars and Christian leaders.
In fact, the slaughter has already begun in the Middle East, on a smaller scale but with cold-blooded precision similar to the systematic elimination of Armenians and other Christians by the Ottoman Turks.
This should serve as a reminder that Muslim tolerance of non-Muslim conquered peoples has ranged over the centuries from lukewarm to non-existent. And with ISIS’ success in establishing a new, Ottoman-like caliphate in terms of its brutality, the very word “tolerance” seems like a quaint memory to Christians living in this part of the world.
With no concerted Western action to eliminate ISIS, it only grows in strength. And its primary enabler is, interestingly, Turkey, says noted Bible teacher Joel Richardson, author of the New York Times-bestselling “Islamic Antichrist” and director of the documentary film “End-Times Eyewitness.”
“Because we’ve reached the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, it’s getting all sorts of new attention in the press, and with that it’s drawing out many of the deniers,” Richardson told WND in a phone interview. “Even on my own website or on Twitter I’ve had several people claiming that the Armenian Genocide never took place. Worst of all of these deniers is the modern-day government of Turkey.”
And the deniers come out not just on little-known Twitter accounts, but in the hallowed halls of the establishment media, even in so-called conservative publications.
National Review opinion editor Patrick Brennan posted an April 21 article saying it was “quite reasonable” for President Obama to resist the pressure to acknowledge the Armenian massacre as a genocide because that might “offend an ally.”
Brennan himself appears to question the validity of calling the Armenians’ “great suffering” a genocide.
“Indeed, there are a number of eminent historians who believe that the horrors either did not amount to genocide or that the evidence is too unreliable to say,” he wrote.
Brennan must have forgotten to read the more than 100 New York Times articles of 1915 that documented the forced death marches. He must have neglected to look at the countless photos, film archives and personal stories of horrific execution by beheading, shooting, hacking and burning that lasted for decades and included more than just Armenians. Syrian, Greek, Chaldean and Assyrian Christians all suffered greatly under the brutal Ottoman caliphate.
And Brennan must not have read any of the many books, including eyewitness accounts such as that of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau, meticulously documenting the well-planned butchering of Armenians by Turkish soldiers, as well as accounts of how normal Turkish Muslim citizens were incited by imams to kill their Christian neighbors.
‘And then they were all killed’
WND Managing Editor David Kupelian, who lost several family members in the genocide, grew up hearing stories from his grandmother that the killings were so well orchestrated that they began and ended at the sound of a bugle ringing out from the local mosque.
In fact, the killing started well before 1915. Some 300,000 Armenians were killed in Turkish massacres during the latter part of the 19th century, and continued on into the 20th century.
In 1909, Kupelian’s great-grandfather, a Protestant minister named Steelianos Leondiades, was traveling to the Turkish city of Adana to attend a pastors’ conference. Here’s how his maternal grandmother, Anna Paulson, daughter of Steelianos, describes the scene that day:
“Some of the Turkish officers came to the conference room and told all these ministers – there were 70 of them, ministers and laymen and a few wives: ‘If you embrace the Islamic religion you will all be saved. If you don’t, you will be killed.’”
Kupelian’s grandfather, acting as spokesman for the ministers, asked the Turks for 15 minutes so they could make their decision. During that time the ministers and their companions talked, read the Bible to each other, and prayed. In the end, none of them would renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam.
“And then,” Anna recalled, “they were all killed. They were not even buried. They were all thrown down the ravine.”
The only reason Kupelian’s family knew any of the details of this particular massacre is because one victim survived the ordeal.
“One man woke up; he wasn’t dead,” his grandmother said. “He woke up and got up and said, ‘Brethren, brethren, is there anybody alive here? I’m alive, come on, let’s go out together.’”
Not just genocide, but ‘jihad genocide’
With virtually no pressure from President Obama or the U.S. Congress, Turkey apparently concludes it can go on living in denial and thumbing its nose at history. The Turkish leaders have the most powerful government in the world covering for them, and plenty of apologists to continue throwing doubt upon the validity of what happened 100 years ago.
But there are consequences beyond the war of words, Richardson says. Those who minimize or revise history are more likely to repeat it.
“In order to see that such genocide is never repeated, the first step is to acknowledge its reality. Whenever a government denies something so morally abhorrent and historically demonstrable, then that person or government is most likely to be responsible for future atrocities,” Richardson said.
Pope acknowledges Armenian ‘Genocide’
Pope Francis recently made a strong statement about the Turks’ guilt in carrying out the atrocities of 1915, becoming the first pope to use the word “genocide.” His comments prompted an immediate, angry condemnation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who summoned the Vatican ambassador and recalled his own, warning the pope not to repeat his comments about the Turkish murder of millions in the early years of the 20th century.
The official annual commemoration of the genocide is April 24, the date of a particularly egregious 1915 massacre in Constantinople of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals, writers and artisans. As of April 23, the silence coming from Washington has been deafening, Richardson said.
“The entire world needs to stand up in the face of the increasingly bullying and dictatorial government in Turkey and begin by acknowledging and renouncing the Armenian Genocide,” he said. “We’re happy the pope has shown the moral fortitude to denounce this genocide, but as American Christians we are ashamed our own president, out of political expediency, has allowed himself to be bullied by Turkish President Erdogan.”
Obama made a public statement while running for office in 2008 that he would acknowledge the Armenian Genocide but, once in office, he backtracked.
The White House did issue a statement from Obama late Thursday that decried the “horrific acts of violence” and “first mass atrocity of the 20th century,” conveying sympathies to the Armenian people on the centennial of this “dark chapter” in history. But Obama stopped short of calling it a genocide. Nor did he mention that the atrocities were carried out by Muslims against Christians.
“So while the deniers are the greatest threat, it’s the leaders such as president Obama that don’t have enough moral courage to stand up that are actually the enablers of such atrocities throughout history,” Richardson said. “This is a truly shameful thing that all Americans, whether conservative or liberal, should demand that our president make a clear moral statement on.”
Cowards on Capitol Hill
Dr. Andrew Bostom, a Jewish physician and scholar who has written five books on the history of Islam, including “Legacy of Jihad” and “Sharia Versus Freedom,” is equally disappointed with the failure of not only Obama but Congress. Even when the genocide is mentioned by a U.S. politician, it is rarely in the context of Islam’s history of jihad, he says.
“The major reluctance is to describe the genocide as a specific form of genocide: a JIHAD genocide,” Bostom wrote in an email to WND. “Nazi genocide, and communist genocides have been exposed and denounced as 20th century totalitarian ideologies that resulted in genocidal killings … But not the totalitarianism of Islam’s JIHAD.”
Bostom, referring to Obama’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year, noted that Obama, rather than condemn Muslim-led jihads, would rather compare them with the Christian crusades of 1,000 years ago in an effort to detract and deflect attention away from the current atrocities of ISIS. The underlying message of this type of comparison, said Bostom, is that all religions are capable of horrendous evil,and that Islam is no different than Christianity.
That is not only historically inaccurate, but Bostom, a Jew, sees it as a deceptive attempt at moral equivalency. Christian leaders of almost every stripe have long since apologized for any and all offenses possibly committed during the crusades, despite evidence that these wars were launched as a defensive action against 450 years of bloody Islamic jihads directed against Eastern Christians.
There has been no similar sense of mea culpa among Muslims for centuries of jihad, among which the Armenian Genocide stands out as one of the most brutal and barbarous.
“A century later, it is now readily apparent such a long overdue, mea culpa-based Muslim self-examination will never begin if the non-Muslim, especially Christian, targets of jihad genocide, remain in their own abject state of jihad denial,” Bostom said. “U.S. politicians could help facilitate that Muslim re-evaluation process by not only demanding recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but further identifying those mass killings as a jihad genocide.”
In Turkey today, it remains a crime to teach about the Armenian Genocide, or for journalists to report on it from an “anti-government” perspective.
“We now have a government in Turkey that is arresting 13-year-old and 14-year-old kids for insulting the president,” Richardson said. “We have a president (Erdogan) who is accusing the Jewish community of being the mastermind of all global wars and problems, who is spouting out the worst form of racist conspiracy theories. This is the monster that President Obama is caving into.”
Ronald Reagan was the last American president to use the term “genocide” in describing the slaughter of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks.
Why is Obama refraining from using the “g” word in reference to the Armenian slaughter?
“First of all, he’s a coward. But second of all, he would argue that Turkey is still our greatest ally in the region, walk softly and carry a big stick, etcetera, but the truth is there are times in history that demand that moral men take a stand, and this is absolutely one of those moments,” Richardson said.
The rise of ISIS and the renewed emphasis on wiping out the Christian presence in the Middle East makes this a pivotal point in history.
Dire warnings from prominent Christians
Some Christian leaders are sounding the alarm.
Franklin Graham recently said Christians need to “wake up,” and that “a storm is coming” to America that will be fueled by Muslim hatred.
James Dobson likewise came out and said conservative Christians are soon to become a “hated minority” in America.
In another bad sign, Muslim attacks on Jewish targets in Europe have reached the highest level since World War II.
“Particularly when we have people openly calling for genocide of the Jewish people right now, and there are vicious attacks on Christians, the beginnings of a genocide being carried out on Christians right now throughout the Middle East, and we cannot even acknowledge the genocide of our recent history, just 100 years ago, so we are doomed to repeat it,” Richardson said.
U.S. college campuses boiling with Muslim rage
Pamela Geller, an activist blogger and author who speaks out against Islamic anti-Semitism and hatred of Christianity, has experienced first-hand the growing hostility of Muslims toward anyone who would question their view of history and current events.
At a recent speech on the ISIS threat given at Brooklyn College in New York City, Geller was met with 80 percent Muslim students who packed the meeting hall and continuously heckled, jeered and laughed at her.
When she mentioned that ISIS “continues to grow,” at least one student shouted, “Thank God!”
With that kind of bloodthirsty fervor prevalent among Muslims on U.S. college campuses, Geller believes another genocide against Christians and Jews is possible.
“Absolutely, yes, it could happen again. Islamic jihadists frequently declare their genocidal intentions,” she told WND. “In response, Western leaders do nothing but insist that this has nothing to do with Islam. Obama’s denial is part of this – we are not confronting the genocidal ideology, and so it will only spread.”
Has the next holocaust already started?
This is what Richardson refers to as “the moral slippery slope.”
And Turkey’s questionable stance toward ISIS does not help quell fears that a new holocaust could be brewing.
“We need to recognize that the government of Turkey is the primary supporter of ISIS, logistically, financially, and in every way, that’s slaughtering Christians across the Middle East, so the world needs to take a stand and stop pretending that the Turkey of today is the Turkey of a decade ago,” Richardson said. “Because they are not our allies. Turkey has been taken over by a radical Islamic government and the government has experienced its own Islamic revolution, and we have a modern-day Adolf Hitler right before our eyes. We are living in the mid-1930s right now with history repeating itself and what we need right now are Bonhoeffers, not Chamberlains.”
“It’s so easy for Christians in the U.S. or in the West to not see the importance of the Armenian Genocide for themselves, but if we sit by and idly do nothing, then there will be nobody to stand up and speak for us when persecution comes to us and to our own shores,” Richardson said.
Richardson said Erdogan’s ultimate goal is to re-establish the very Ottoman caliphate that proved so brutal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“By 2022, his goal is to have the Ottoman Empire revived,” Richardson said. And the Turkish influence is already being spread beyond Turkey’s borders, to far-flung places like Somalia in East Africa.
“In the public square (of Mogadishu), you have the Turkish flag flying above the Somali flag in Somalia. It’s just crazy, so their imperialism is being affected by financial grants, construction projects, and all kinds of money pouring into all these poor countries and then they’re sending missionaries into these countries, not only for Islam, but for Turkish Islam,” he said.
“They’re doing it in the Balkans and Middle East, and that’s why they’re trying to take out Bashar Assad (in Syria). Over the next 10 to 15 years, the two nations to watch are Iran and Turkey. After that, we’re going to see a massive Turkish engagement throughout the Middle East, and I think borders are going to change. That’s you’ll have the threat of genocide during that time, because Erdogan is irrational, he’s crazy, and when someone is filled with that level of narcissism and irrationality, there’s no question there is the threat of another genocide. And the world hasn’t woken up yet to that possibility.”