“The Armenian Genocide”
In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention, and in doing so defined the term “genocide” as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole, or in part, a national, ethical, racial, or religious group” (Totten and Parsons 4). Indeed by many scholars, this is thought to be the case as to what happened to the Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Rouben Paul Adalian, author of the critical essay “The Armenian Genocide” published within the book Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts edited by Samuel Totten and William S. Parsons, claims this belief to be true. In his essay, Adalian describes what life was like before 1915, reasons why the genocide happened, how the genocide was committed, and the impact the genocide left on society. Before 1915 the Armenian people had lived freely in the region of Asia Minor for around 3000 years. However, around the 11th century Turkish tribes invaded the Armenians and took over the area while settling down permanently there. Because the Ottoman Empire eventually expanded their territory to Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, they needed an improved political system in order to govern everyone effectively (Adalian 55). As a result, Adalian notes that the Ottomans “imposed a strictly hierarchical social system that subordinated non-Muslims as second-class subjects deprived of basic rights” (55). In spite of the Armenians being deemed second-class citizens socially, they were actually a middle-class group economically, leaving jealousy amongst the Muslims. Even though life for Armenians was serviceable, it would soon take a turn for the worst. There are a few reasons as to why the Armenian genocide became certain by 1915. The first reason was because of the decline of power in the Ottoman government. Because the Armenians could see that the government could not guarantee the protection of their property and life, the Armenians looked for...
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