Armenia, the Beaten Homeland of Civilization – Élisée Reclus

Armenia, the Beaten Homeland of Civilization - Élisée ReclusJacques Élisée Reclus was a French geographer, historian, and sociologist. In several of his works, there are quite detailed characteristics of Armenians, their physical type, and the way of life.

In Vagharshapat in 1890, the book “Russian Armenia, or the Araks Basin, Lake Urmia, and the Near East” was published in Armenian.

Man and Earth

“The massacres of Armenians were organized so well that you cannot confuse them with the consequences of a revolution and a war between races. They were the most terrible of all modern atrocities.

The careful planning of the massacres from August 26 to 29, 1896, carried out in Constantinople testifies to the conscious will and cold-blooded calculation of the organizers of the murders.

On the previous day, the houses of the Armenians condemned to death were marked with chalk. Doomed, they could not even think of an escape. They could only patiently submit to the inevitable.

Then, at dawn, the butchers and people of the bloody craft began their campaign and without fuss, quickly began to cut their victims. Almost everywhere, the massacres took place in broad daylight, at the doorstep of their own houses.

Thus, thousands of people died in the prime of their lives. How many? Undoubtedly, official data will remain classified for a long time, but approximately, around seven thousand people were killed.

As for those Armenians who perished from the hands of the Kurds in the provinces of Van, Erzurum, Elâzığ, Bitlis, Sivas, Diyarbakir, and Aleppo, the approximate figures range between 3 and 500 thousand victims from 1894 to 1896 and then in 1900.

From the stories of the horrors of that time, one should single out the behavior of the inhabitants of Zeytun who, seeing how the situation had been developing, organized the defense of their mountains and took a garrison prisoner (October 28, 1895) and resisted the Turkish army until the European consuls settled the conditions of surrender (January 30, 1896).

This outcome “saved the prestige” of the sultan and protected Armenians from the tortures that threatened them. The inhabitants of Zeytun won their right to live.

At first glance, one would expect that the European powers wouldn’t tolerate such actions and would at least demand compliance with decorum.

But the untied hands of the monarchs have been a tradition. Moreover, governments with the same portfolio of actions more or less directly participated in the Turkish crimes by remaining silent instead of preventing it.

Not to mention these, let’s say, officials, these insignificant diplomats, who considered receiving decorations and titles from bloodied hands a privilege and honor. After all, wouldn’t it be beneficial for the Russian Empire to get rid of the freedom-loving people occupying their Transcaucasian borders, who also were in contact with active and dangerous Russian students?”

Armenia – ancestral homeland

“Is there a country in the world with a more exciting name than Armenia?

The humanity should always cherish the feeling of involuntary respect for the most ancient Asia. The glorious tradition and image of Ararat should be before their eyes.

Of course, the ancient belief in miracles disappeared. On Ararat’s glittering white top, the blackened debris of the ark, the shelter of our ancestor, are no longer searched for.

The symbols are now useless since the knowledge of scientists, ethnologists, and historiographers tells us how important Armenia is for anyone who studies flora, fauna, and the migration of peoples.

Armenia is the homeland of all and everyone, it is the birthplace of our individual families. All of us, the French, English, Germans, and Italians, still dream of seeing the coveted territory, the cradle of our ancestors, which faces the Caucasus in the highlands of Asia.

Alas, the inherited glory is not always friendly with luck. Is there a country and a nation with more disastrous history than Armenia and Armenians? Spread across the world, they haven’t found a true home.

They always lodged with strangers, and these strangers often turned out to be their oppressors and enemies. When will the so-called “national accord” overcome its cowardice and servility in the face of crowned executioners?

There are no more burdensome and painful humiliation. And the unfortunate Armenians in their naivety still honor us and cry out to us, to us, traitors, cowards, and hypocrites, and we, with bashful words, redirect this call from one benefactor to another one, that is, from death to slavery, from slavery to death.”

“Opinions of Europeans on the Armenian Question”, p. 391-92, “Droshak”, 2nd edition, 1908.


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