Armenian Genocide Could Have Been Prevented

John Keusseyan, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), Chairman, Armenian Compatriotic Union of Urfa, Los Angeles, 10  Dec 2010
In memory of a great Armenian hero, Megerditch Yotnaghperian on the 95th anniversary of Urfa Herosamard
 
Why were a million-and-a-half of my ancestors slaughtered like sheep? What could we have done differently to prevent this horrific crime from happening? Why didn’t our leadership foresee this coming? Did they fall asleep at the wheel?  Even after experiencing the same crimes (but at much smaller scale) few years earlier: in Adana, Sassoun, Urfa and other Armenian cities where tens of thousands of innocent Armenians were butchered. These are the questions that I have been asking myself ever since I learned about these crimes against humanity.
 

John Keusseyan, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), Chairman, Armenian Compatriotic Union of Urfa, Los Angeles, 10  Dec 2010
In memory of a great Armenian hero, Megerditch Yotnaghperian on the 95th anniversary of Urfa Herosamard
 
Why were a million-and-a-half of my ancestors slaughtered like sheep? What could we have done differently to prevent this horrific crime from happening? Why didn’t our leadership foresee this coming? Did they fall asleep at the wheel?  Even after experiencing the same crimes (but at much smaller scale) few years earlier: in Adana, Sassoun, Urfa and other Armenian cities where tens of thousands of innocent Armenians were butchered. These are the questions that I have been asking myself ever since I learned about these crimes against humanity.
 

Fortunately, a brave Urfatsi by the name of Megerditch Yotnaghperian had the foresight that history would be repeating itself. A decade or so earlier, in 1895, Sultan Abdul Hamid (the red sultan) had massacred over 10,000 innocent Armenians in Urfa. Even though Megerditch had very little education, but he was street smart. He used to disguise himself as a Turk and mingle among Turks and Kurds and gather intelligence. He knew ahead of time that the Turkish and the Kurdish mobs would be attacking the Armenian neighborhood soon. To prevent bloodshed, Megerditch started arming the Armenians of Urfa. Under the guise of a street vendor, he used to travel to Aleppo to purchase weapons.

Megerditch received intelligence that the mobs were getting ready to attack. He had the town evacuated and organized a group of about 300 young men and women to defend the town against the mobs. In the middle of September, 1915, the Turkish mobs started attacking the Armenian section of Urfa (as predicted by Megerditch), looting and burning Armenian stores and homes. Megerditch had positioned his men in strategic locations of the town. When the mobs approached their positions, he gave the order to fire. The Turks were surprised. They did not expect this from Armenians; because Armenians have always been an easy prey for them. After giving a dozen or so casualties, they withdrew.

The news of the Armenian uprising in Urfa was heard all the way in Istanbul. Fakhry Pasha, who was in Aleppo at the time, was ordered to go to Urfa with his Army unit and stop the uprising. Within few days, Fakhry Pasha arrived in Urfa and surrounded the town with his 6000 soldiers. He ordered the Armenians to surrender. But Armenians refused. They preferred to fight and die with dignity than surrender and be slaughtered like sheep. They defended the town for 33 days against Fakhry Pasha’s 6000 strong Army. Unfortunately, after 33 days Armenians ran out of ammunition and used the last bullets to kill themselves rather than surrender to the Turks and be humiliated and then killed.


A street in old Urfa
 
At the conclusion of the battle of Urfa, Fakhry Pasha, after seeing the heroic fighting of the Urfatsi Armenians, asked: “What could we have done if we had half a dozen Urfas to confront with?”

If a simple man like Megerditch who had no education and no military training and limited budget, could organize and put up a heroic fight against superior Army units, outnumbered and outgunned, why didn’t we organize a united front to defend all of our people? Like Fakhry Pasha said, what if we had half a dozen Urfas? Some people say: “well we were people with no leaders, because the Turks first arrested and killed all of our leaders”. But this did not happen until April, 1915. The massacres had started in 1890s, the latest one being the Adana massacres which took place in 1909. What was our leadership doing all this time? Did they need a signed letter from Talaat telling them that they will deport and massacre all Armenians? My answer to those people is simple: no, we had no leaders. We had people in leadership positions but they were no leaders because they failed to do their job which was to lead, and help the people organize to defend themselves. A true leader would have vision. They would have the foresight to predict the future and take the necessary actions to confront it.

Let us learn from our past mistakes and be proactive rather than reactive. Let us help Armenia and Artsakh to become stronger economically and militarily so that they can defend themselves against the Barbarians in civilized clothing. Losing the war in Artsakh is not an option. We only have to lose once and it will be 1915 all over again.

3 comments
  1. A Popular Hero With Brains

    If the most influential Armenian Revolutionary Faction had the Wit & Foresight of  an "uneducated" & "street smart" HERO Meguerdich Yotneghperian, it wouldn’t have become "brothers" & allies starting 1907 (the year when Gen. Antranik Ozanian spit and quit this party) with the Deonme Young Turks, Ittihad ve Terrakke, disarming the Armenian Youth and urging them to rush for the defence of the "Ottoman Fatherland", becoming mean tools in the hands of  Talaat, Enver, Javid, Jemal & Behaeddin Shakir, thus involuntarily paving way to the Great Armenian Genocide.

    By not using brains but acting by instincts instead, they became the Main Accomplices of the Genocide organizers. This is the Horrible Truth. It’s time for Armenians to quit demagogy.

    1. As a matter of fact, Zohrab

      As a matter of fact, Zohrab and Vartkes were arrested and sent to Prison in Urfa waiting for trial.  Megerditch went to their cell and offered to free them from prison and they refused.  He told them that the Turks are going to kill them.  But Zohrab told him that there has been a misunderstanding and that Talaat was going to free them soon and the rest is history…

      Zohrab who was Sorbone educated lawyer did not have the foresight of this simple man.

      1. Deficit of Frankness

        Dear Lt. Colonel, the important lesson that 99.99% of Armenians either stubbornly or unconsciously refuse to learn is that the Sorbone educated Zohrab (add to him Vartkes, Aknouni and most of the leadership of the revolutionary organization that they represented in the Ottoman Parliament) were long deluded by the Freemasonic "brotherhood" linking them with the Ittihad & Terrakke, i.e. Messrs. Talaat Pasha & Co. Instead of foresightedly & steadily, without adventurous show-offs, preparing the population of Western Armenians for  the upcoming cataclysms, they were in a love affair with their brothers in Freemasonry – the Young Turks. This fatal treason cost not only their lives but also paved free way to the Dark Forces’ (you know whom I mean) plans to remove the Armenian obstacle.

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