ISSN 1829-4618

THE SELF-DEFENSIVE BATTLES FOR SURVIVAL OF THE WESTERN ARMENIANS DURING THE YEARS OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE (1915-1923) ACCORDING TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE EYEWITNESS SURVIVORS

By: Verjiné Svazlian, Doctor in Philology, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, NAS RA

From the very beginning of World War I (1914), the Young Turk government had collected the arms of the Armenians, even the kitchen knives. The Armenians were disarmed and during the battles for survival, they were fighting against the Turkish armed forces with self-made arms. The Turkish government had drafted into the Turkish army the Armenian youths and able-bodied males aged 17-45, who were taken to secluded places and brutally killed out of sight. Therefore the self-defenders were reduced in number. The government had collected the talented intellectuals and had crushed their skulls with stones in the deserts, so that the Armenians would be deprived not only of self-defenders, but of the leading minds as well. The Armenian people never have started the fighting; however, when injustice and violence were done to them, they requited the enemy according to what they had done. The Armenian self-defenders acted separated from one another. The Armenians have been unyielding towards the enemy, but humane with regard to the unarmed population, women, children and old people, in contrast to the Turks, who tortured to death the women, old people and even infants. The Armenian people have suffered great losses (human, material, cultural, territorial, etc.). Their aim has always been to live peacefully and with a creative life in their millennia-old cradle.
Although the Turkish government cruelly suppressed the two dozen heroic self-defensive battles of the Western Armenians started in the various localities during the years of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), nevertheless, the devoted Armenian heroes, who fought for their elementary human rights for life and for the physical survival of their nation, recorded brilliant pages in the history of the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people, about which the eyewitness survivors have also testified.

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