The days are passing by in seconds and I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that we are ending our Armenian adventure in less than two weeks. The flight is booked for the 1st of december and we are now in the phase of puzzling together all the things we still haven’t done and farewell-dinners, parties and shopping for the things we want to bring back home. Somehow it feels like we haven’t done anything at all the last months because there are just so much left we want to do. Yesterday we decided to tick of one of the less joyful yet most important visits on our list – the Genocide museum.
For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about – I understand you. I have to admit that before me and Leo met I had never heard of the Armenian genocide, which I shamefully learned is the second largest genocide where it is estimated that over one million people were murdered by the Ottoman Empire before and during World War I. I was both ashamed and a bit shocked to learn that I had not heard about this, especially since I really like history (both when in school but also afterwards) and I even went to a high school that had courses focusing mainly on the build up to WWI and WWII. But the sad part is that I wasn’t the only one – many more people in my surroundings that I find very knowledgeable had not heard of it either. This is the very issue of the Armenian genocide, that very few countries have acknowledged it and some (especially Turkish government) proclaims it is a made up story and denies it ever happened.
The Genocide museum, and also the part of the Genocide in the National History Museum, with its evidence of what has happened can actually give some understanding to the people refusing to acknowledge what has happened. The facts gave me goosebumps (not the good kind) and nausea just for being human and I get it, life must be much easier thinking that mankind could never do such a thing. But the evidence are too many, too varied, too sick to even begin thinking someone had just made it up.
The thing that got me the most after visiting the museum, was to learn how the murders had happened. Having visited museums and both concentration and death camps of the Holocaust, I couldn’t help not to compare the two atrocities. The murders from the holocaust were made in an optimised, cold industrial way to enable as many deaths as possible with as little effort as possible. Just a few men were needed to kill thousands. The creativity in how they invented new methods to do it sickens me, but not in the same way as the murders of the Armenian genocide. The systematic thinking weren’t as developed (thank god probably) so each murder was individual and personal. It was more like an eye for an eye, meaning it was so many more people carrying out the deed, and in the ways they did it.. You could read how pregnant women wereu used as target practice, how women were tied to the tail of their horses and dragged after the horse, and more obscene methods I don’t even tried to remember. Reading about this absurd creativity of murder and thinking about how individuals came up with this with their victims infront of them – it got me question humanity in new ways even though I already do it for so many other despicable events.
A “fun” fact is that some of the Turkish decision makers during the Armenian genocide later moved on (unpunished) to Germany and helped Hitler designing the holocaust procedures.
I am in no way saying that one genocide is worse than the other, just that they differ and it scares me to see that we can be completely without empathy in so many different, horrible ways. And then deny it all and go on without learning a thing.