Friday, April 20, 2007

Trail of Tears, Yom Hashoah, Manzanar and the Armenian Genocide

Time passes and things happen. A friend of mine gave me a quote which I think is quite appropriate:

The best history is the history that is being made, and that is in the present.

As April comes to an end, please take the time to reflect and learn about these pivotal historical events and also remember that history is not a thing of the past but most often repeated tragic play, like an infomercial it can play on and on in the far off distant corners of the globe far away from you or me, but none the less recurring.

April 23, 1838 Trail of Tears

Ralph Waldo Emmerson writes to president Martin Van Bruen pleading him not to commit an "outrage on the Cherokee nation". In a move to try to bring the Union together and to take Georgia's claim off of western states, Harding agrees to remove the Cherokee Indians from their lands, striping the nations claim to large swaths of land. What followed was the sad forced removal of the Cherokee nation to the Kansas. It is estimated that 4000 people died during this forced trek.

In 2004, Senator Sam Brownback (Republican of Kansas) introduced a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 37) to "offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States" for past "ill-conceived policies by the United States Government regarding Indian Tribes." The United States Senate has yet to take action on the measure.

There were many other forced migrations of and you can read them at wikipedia.

April 27, 1942 Internment of Japanese Americans

Quite similar to the times we live in today, where Glenn Beck on CNN discussed how "a year from now 'American Muslims' will be staring back at us from behind barbed wire fences" tirade. I encourage other interested people of conciseness to join me in visiting Manzanar the site of one of the internment camps this coming weekend. You can read more here or on Hussam Ayloush's website.

April 24, 1915 Armenian Genocide

On the night of April 24, 1915 the Turkish Ottoman government ordered a swift order to arrest 250 key Armenian leaders. This would begin the spiral of what is argued to be the Armenian Genocide. Present day Turkey refuses to acknowledge it as genocide along with the US.

This was followed by the May 14 law that required the forced deportation of Armenians from the border of Turkey and Russia. The law and the genocide came from a historical animosity displayed by the Ottoman Turks toward the Armenians. However, in this situation Ottomans being at war with Russia and the allies- on the side of Germany- the Armenians were considered a 5th column and a danger to the war time efforts, all of which occurred after one of the most devastating losses to the Turkish army against the Russians near Baku.

It is estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 ethnic Armenians were killed in the camps, death squads, and the march through the Syrian desert. The events are quite controversial and very much in need of open and honest debate in the Muslim community. I recognize that there was a travesty done against the Armenian people, now its time to develop this in a conversation. Please check out the information at wikipedia on the genocide, however, it is not neutral and its good to develop points of reference so please share any books that are on this topic.

April 27, 1943 Yom HaShoah

The lack of a public prosecution of the organizers behind Armenian Genocide by the Allied powers was said to have largely influenced Nazi Germany's fascist leader Adolf Hitler. Among the most closest advisers and friends to the future German dictator was Scheubner-Richter, the vice-consul from Erzerum. In the aftermath of the war, Hitler and Scheubner-Richter sought to blame many of the ailing troubles Germany was suffering against the central government and Jews. Scheubner-Richter called for a "ruthless and relentless" attempt to "cleanse" the Jews out of the country. In 1923, when Hitler and his followers in the Nazi Party failed to seize power in a Munich beer hall, Scheubner-Richter was shot and killed by the police.

The extent of Hitler's knowledge of the Armenian Genocide is unclear, but he referred to their destruction several times. He first addressed their plight in 1924 and referred to them as "cowards".[50] The most notable quote attributed to Hitler on the Armenians was in a August 1939 conference with German military commanders prior to the invasion of Poland:

Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter -- with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command -- and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad -- that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness -- for the present only in the East -- with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [Lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?

This quote has been fiercely contended by Turkish scholars and historians who claim that the quotation is a fabrication and does not in fact exist. Yom Hashoah is in memory to the millions who perished at the hands of this despicable man.

However, its important to remember that Anti-Zionist religious Jews do not celebrate Yom Hashoah, instead remembering the victims on days that were already days of mourning before the Holocaust, such as Tisha b'Av in the summer, and the Tenth of Tevet, in the winter. Since I stand against Zionism, I do not find myself opposed to Yom Hashoah, since the day should not be politicized, however, I think many of you doing your research might disagree with me.

While you reflect on this: American injustices, German or Turkish, please remember that its not limited to a specific group of people, that it really isn't the fault of one person or that it is an issue of how history will be written. The fact is if you go back in Muslim history you will find Timur murdering hundreds of thousands of fellow Muslims in his bloody conquests across the Muslim world, as well as the British murdering millions, or the forced slavery of millions of Africans.

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