Armenian Persecution Mounts

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that shaped our modern world. Erik Sass is covering the events of the war exactly 100 years after they happened. This is the 177th installment in the series.

April 8, 1915: Armenian Persecution Mounts 

Although many historians date the beginning of the Armenian Genocide to April 24, 1915, when 250 prominent Armenians were arrested and later murdered in Constantinople, in fact violent measures were already underway across Anatolia and the Caucasus region in February and March 1915, gathering speed in early April. 

The origin and order of events during this period remain hotly contested to this day, as partisans from both sides still try to shift blame for the horror that followed. Many Turkish historians assert the repressive measures only came in response to an incipient Armenian uprising, and there’s no question some Armenian militants, emboldened by the Russian victory at Sarikamish, were planning a rebellion to help the advancing Christian conquerors. On the other hand, many Armenian and Western historians argue scattered Armenian revolts during this period were themselves a response to the incipient genocide, rather than vice versa. 

Whatever the exact order of events, it’s clear what happened next, as Turkish army units and Kurdish irregulars unleashed a campaign of systematic violence against the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population. Generally speaking they focused first on Armenian soldiers serving in the Ottoman Army, removing a potential source of armed resistance, before moving on to civilians. The killers were aided by the empire’s huge size and primitive communications, which slowed the spread of news. 

In February War Minister Enver Pasha laid the groundwork for the first step—getting rid of Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman armies—by ordering them to turn in their weapons and report for duty in labor battalions which would supposedly be employed building military roads. This provided an excuse to remove the disarmed soldiers from public view to remote areas, where they were then murdered en masse, usually by shooting. 

However some Armenian soldiers guessed what was coming and fled before they could be killed, sometimes engaging in armed resistance (contributing to the ambiguity about the immediate origins of the genocide). For example, according to the British diplomat Arnold Toynbee, on March 8, 1915, a group of about two dozen Armenian deserters ambushed a battalion of Turkish soldiers, stole their weapons, and then holed up in the ancient Armenian monastery near Zeitun (today Süleymanlı) an Armenian town of about 10,000 inhabitants located in the Taurus Mountains of southern Anatolia (top). 

On April 8, 1915, the Turks destroyed the monastery and began deporting the town’s inhabitantsthe first large scale-deportation to take place. The Turks claimed they were merely responding to the ambush and armed resistance, but Toynbee believed they had been planning crush Zeitun for some time beforehand, citing the movement of irregular units to the vicinity in preparation. 

Meanwhile reports spread of mass arrests targeting Armenian political leaders, while gangs of Turks and Kurds looted the possessions of Armenian civilians, especially in the provinces of Bitlis, Erzurum, and Sivas. To the east, in Van province stories of mass killings with victims in the thousands circulated along with fleeing refugees, while in the south deportations from Zeitun continued into the second half of the month. However all these incidents remained in the realm of rumor until April 24, 1915, when the Armenian genocide began in earnest. 

See the previous installment or all entries.

Pop Chart Lab
The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Your $10 Donation Can Help an Underprivileged Child See A Wrinkle in Time for Free
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Theater chain AMC is teaming with the Give a Child the Universe initiative to help underprivileged kids see A Wrinkle in Time for free through ticket donations. The initiative was started by Color of Change, a nonprofit advocacy group that designs “campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.”

"Color of Change believes in the power of images and supports those working to change the rules in Hollywood so that inclusive, empathetic and human portrayals of black people and people of color are prominent on the screen,” the initiative’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, said in a statement:

Director Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time is the perfect subject for the group because, as Robinson puts it, “By casting a black teenage actress, Storm Reid, as the heroine at the center of this story, the filmmakers and the studio send a powerful message to millions of young people who will see someone like them embracing their individuality and strength to save the world.”

The movie touts a diverse cast that includes Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine. The most important member of the cast, though, is 14-year-old Storm Reid, who plays the main character Meg Murry, a young girl who tries to save her father (Pine) who is trapped in another dimension. The movie is based on the acclaimed 1962 fantasy novel by author Madeleine L'Engle.

If you’d like to donate a ticket (or more), you can just head over to the Give a Child the Universe website and pledge an amount. AMC will provide one ticket to children and teens nationwide for every $10 given to the cause.

And if you’re interested in seeing the movie yourself, A Wrinkle in Time opens on March 9, 2018.

[h/t E! Online]


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