American author Susan Pattie recently published the work “The Armenian Legionnaires: Sacrifice and Betrayal in World War I”, which is dedicated to the creation of the Armenian Legion in the days of the WWI and its future activities.
In this book, the author tells about the activities of the Armenian Legion and the fates of its members. The presentation of the book was held in Washington in the hall of the church of Surb Khach.
“The book is more about the legionnaires than about the war. About the numerous people who had migrated after the massacre to the United States or France. They had become accommodated but nonetheless returned to this dangerous area,” the author said.
During World War I, world powers created national legions of foreigners that participated in combat. Among the military units created under the auspices of France and Britain was the Armenian Legion.
It comprised of Armenians who had arrived from different countries. Particularly active were the Armenians from Egypt who had ended up there after the Armenian Genocide with the support of the French. As of July 1918, more than 50 officers and more than four thousand soldiers had been drafted. Everyone had their own reason for being in the legion.
“They wanted to save their families or were eager to take revenge for the massacre. The reasons were different. Especially, they wanted self-government for Armenia and hoped that the British and French would help them,” said Susan Pattie.
In the future, according to the author, the fate of the Armenian Legion, like the fate of other military units created from national minorities, would turn out to be tragic.
Because of the events in Turkey, the major powers left the Middle East, abandoning to the mercy of fate the national military units they had created.
“The French did not have enough people there. Therefore, they relied on the Armenians. However, later, realizing that they could no longer maintain their control in the region, they abandoned first the Armenians and then the rest of the people, including the civilian population,” the author noted.
Today, a hundred years later, this region is again deprived of a peaceful life. And the problems of national minorities, according to the author, are solved according to the same logic.
“Unfortunately, little has changed in a century. Today, we see the example of the Kurds who sacrifice their lives in a war that is essentially not their war. However, they are also trying to help superpowers, hoping to get their support. However, there are no signs that superpowers will help them after the war ends,” said Susan Pattie.
The author considers justified the involvement of small nations in geopolitical projects of superpowers in exchange for support. However, in her opinion, these desires are not always realistic.
Original publication:Amerikayi Dzayn