ANZACs and Armenians

In Australia and New Zealand April 25th is Anzac Day, a moment in which Australians and New Zealanders remember the sacrifice made by their soldiers in their ultimately failed attempt to overcome the Turks at Gallipoli during World War I. It's a day of solemnity in some way similar to our own Veterans' Day or Memorial Day.  

This Anzac Day in the Australian Jesuit Magazine Eureka Street, rather than reflect specifically on the cost of that battle for Australia, author Nick Toscano looks instead at how Gallipoli functioned as the first step in the Turkish efforts to exterminate the Armenian people.  

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...At the Gallipoli landing, the Turks conscripted hundreds of Armenians in the momentous battle for nothing more than cannon fodder. As they ran unarmed into our troops' firing line, it was mass-exeuction. 

The Ottoman government execut ed 600 of the Armenian educated-elite in Istanbul on 24 April, the very day before the Gallipoli landing, and, immediately afterwards pursued the rest in the Anatolian highlands.... 

Toscano goes on to describe in detail the crimes perpetrated upon Armenians in the years that followed.  It's a harrowing account.  Click here for the full story.  

 

Jim McDermott, SJ

 

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