Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Crimea War

“In the City of Gold and Silver (Lucknow, India)” by Keneze Mourad

Between 1756 and 1856, the British had annexed two-third of the States in India and three-forth of the population.

During the Mogul Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. the representatives of the various Moslem, Hindu, Buddhists and Christian sects debated at length in order to agree on common denominator principles for a universal syncretic religion combining the beliefs of all these religious teaching and called the Din-i-Ilahi, the religion of the Divine

In 1848, the British contemplated the annexation of the richest northern State of Awadh (currently the Uttra Pradesh province), half the size of France, with Capital Lucknow. This decision was 20 years late to put into execution because the British Empire was not at war anywhere to require massive infusion of stolen wealth from India. The British kept amassing a file of charges against the Awadh State that went against the treaty. Most of these charges were fabrications and the British government knew that the reports were falcification of the facts.

Charles Grant, one of the early Governor of the British Company in India wrote: “Converting the Indians (to Protestantism) will raise their morality, but more importantly, will expand our commerce, which is our initial project…”

The annexation of Awadh was officially pronounced by the British General Governor in Calcutta , Lord Dalhousie, on Feb. 7, 1856.

England was having great difficulty in the Crimea war against Russia and the capture of Sevastopol. And the British Empire wanted all the wealth it could put its hands on in India. The richest State in north India and the land of the bounty was targeted to be annexed and directly “administered”.

The lands of the rajahs, taluqdars, and nawabs were confiscated, high taxes imposed on the peasants and who were cornered to famine and flocked to Lucknow.

Wajid Ali Shah was the king of Awadh who once said: “All the miseries are mainly caused by ignorance. Only knowledge of the culture of the other communities can we learn to respect and appreciate the values of the different cultures…

Wajid Shah was to stay master on his royal palace and his harem and receive 150,000 rupees per year…

On June 1856, the British Resident of Awadh, Henry Lawrence, “confiscated the royal treasury confined in the Palace of Kaisarbagh, on the ground of robbing the insurgents from financial facilities. Captain Birch wrote: “The jewels are impressive. The pearls and emerald were as big as eggs…”

All the royal palaces were evicted and stolen…

Wajid Shah decided to pay a visit to the Governor in Calcutta to negotiate a fairer deal with the intention of traveling to London to meet Queen Victoria. Instead, Wajid was made prisoner in Calcutta and his mother was permitted to sail to England. The mother queen lingered two years in England and was unable to meet Victoria even once. Mother queen sailed to Paris where she died two months later.

Henry Lawrence decided to fight the rebels converging to the city of Nawabgani. He was encircled in the town of Chinhut and barely was able to retreat after loosing half his troops. Henry fortified the residence and managed to repel two massive attacks and waited 6 months before General Campbell came to the rescue.

Ironically, the residence was now overflowing with more soldiers and civilians to feet and shelter and in a worse state than before. Begum Hazrat Mahal, the fourth wife of Wajid, and original name Mohammadiyeh, was acclaimed the regent and her 11 year-old son Birjis Qadar the new king.

The Mahal is attached to the name of the royal wife who gives birth to a male son

Hazrat Mahal allowed the British to retreat safely from Lucknow. The .State of Awadh was liberated for a time from any British soldier

The British sent many troops who managed to re-enter cities, such as Delhi, Kanpour, Jhansi, Gwallor… only to retreat again.

This wide and mass insurrection lasted two years, until England amassed more than 30,000 soldiers and strong with their allies of Sikhs and Gurkas from Nepal.

After the fall of Lucknow, Hazrat Mahal was forced to retreat further north to cities of Bithauli, Baundi, Butwal and resumed the insurrection by supporting more revolts in central India.

Hazrat Mahal and her troops had to cross to the Terai land in Nepal, land of swamps and dense forests, and refused to surrender to the British.

General Jang Bahadour of Nepal had deposed and killed the king and was a staunch allies to the British. He refused political asylum to the troops of Hazrat Mahal and delivered them to the British who hanged their leaders. Bahadour did dare send his army to fight the troops of Hazat because she was already a symbol for freedom to the people.

At the decision of annexing Awadh on ground of defaulting on a few clauses of the treaty, Colonel Simpson had said:

“I lived in India for 25 years and collaborated with Major Bird and the Resident Colonel Richmond during the first two years of the reign of Wajid. The king tried vigorously to reform the army, the administration, the justice system as demanded by the British Governor. Richmond vetoed all these reforms. We may say that the Company did everything in its power to block and railroad every contemplated reform in Awadh.

The newly appointed General Governor Dalhousie would not adhere to the reforms, claiming that any reform should be applied immediately to all the State od Awadh…”

The Times of London wrote: “The begum of Awadh (Hazrat Mahal) proved to have more strategic sense and courage than all her generals combined…”

The Scottish General Grant confirmed that over 150,000 Indians were killed during these mass insurrections, and over 120,000 were mainly peasants who joined the fighting against the “infidel” occupiers.

Lieutenant Majendie wrote:

“The civilization of the 19th century is no way close to appreciate humanity: The British soldiers and the Sikhs watched Indians being roasted alive, in spectators. Indians were on purpose blown to pieces by canon balls. Why? They didn’t fear death on account of an after life, but being blown denied them that their soul will remain intact…”

William Russell wrote in The Times of London in March 1858:

“I looked at the city of Lucknow from a hill before the British army invaded the city. This city was far more splendid than Paris, Rome and Constantinople. Thousands of palaces, Mosques, Temples, green parks…

After the British occupied it, Lucknow was a ghost and a dead city. The soldiers cared for gold and silver. Everything else was smashed, burned, destroyed: Jades, mirrors of Venice, crystal candelabras, furniture encrusted with ivory, musical instruments,  ancient manuscripts, all the fine master works… The soil was littered with debris of glasses and precious work of arts…

The British considered this uprising not as an insurrection against occupiers, but one of the revolts of the lower races, the black people who should be spilling their blood to serve their white masters

All the magnificence of Lucknow…How could such a civilization be blamed as corrupt and inept to govern itself.

General Havelock delivered false report on the the manner the British prisoners in Bibighar prison were assassinated in the city of Kanpour.  The prisoners, mostly female and children, were not raped or disemboweled… The British spilled blood on the walls of the prison and wrote abject sentences in order to incite the British soldiers into utter rage and the ultimate barbarity in revenge against Indian civilians…”

Rajmat Hazrat Mahal died in April 7, 1879 at the age of 48 in Kathmandu (Nepal). The British tried on many occasions to lure Hazrat to return to India, but she knew better of the hatred and revenge of the British who killed, hanged and assassinated every leader of the mass insurrection. Only Prince Feyrouz managed to escape to Kandahar (Afghanistan) and died miserably in Mecca.

The military chief Jai Lal was hanged after a mock trial that lasted two years.

Tantia Tope (military chief of another State), maulvi Ahmadullah Shah (an extremist Shiaa cleric), Rana Beni Madho, rajah Mahmoudabad, begum Lakshmi Bai, rajah of Gonda… all assassinated.

King Wajid Ali Shah died poisoned in 1887 at the age of 65 in Calcutta.

Birjis Qadar, son of Hazrat Mahal, died poisoned in Lucknow, one year after his returned from his 32 years  spent in exile.

In 1957, at the occasion of the centennial of the mass insurrection, Nehru changed the name of “Queen Victoria Park” in Lucknow to “Begum Hazrat Mahal Park” and erected a memorial in honor of the “Soul of the Revolt

Note 1: In the 19th century, north India and many States in the center were mostly Moslem Shiaa who veneered the 5 pillars: Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, Ali the husband of Fatima and the cousin of Muhammad, Hassan and Hussein, the sons of Ali and Fatima.

Even now, India has over 250 million Moslem Shiaa, more than four time the combined Shiaa in Iran, Iraq, Morocco and anywhere else.

Note 2: William Dalrymple wrote: “The British discovered in the 1857 insurrection what the US are about  to learn (in the Arab and Moslem world): Nothing can radicalize a people or frustrate moderate Moslems than direct aggressive intrusion, occupying land and forcing people to adopt alternative ideas under arms duress…”

Note 3: The “purdah” or the separation of genders in houses and public spaces were applied by both Moslems and Hindus. This culture of gender separation in the Moslem world was inherited from northern India. Mind you that commerce and trade of goods, culture, organization, art, and learning… by the early Arab Moslem Empires and later the Ottoman Empire were mainly done with India.

Europe was backward and these empires were frequently expanding into Europe.

Note 4Keneze Mourad, born in Paris 1939 is the daughter of a Turkish princess and an Indian rajah.

She was at journalist at the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur till 1970, and a reporter of the Middle-East and of the sub-Indian continent. She covered the agitations in the Iranian Islamic republic, Ethiopia upheavals, and the civil war in Lebanon.

Mourad published in French “From the part of the dead princess, 1987″, the “Garden of Badalpour, 2003″, and “The perfume of our land

Mutual genocide: Armenians and Turks

 Note: The Armenians in Lebanon demonstrated yesterday against the potential accord between Armenia and Turkey.  What is the story?

            There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.  This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities; for example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas. 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus; the Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

            The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century. In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.  In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecutions.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, led by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three-quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted. In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey; the Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassments, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Armenia and Turkey owe each other deep apologies for the mutual genocide they perpetrated in history.  I applaud the rapprochement between the two neighboring states as a start for serious active and pragmatic apology and remuneration.

Cursed Cities: Karss (April 14, 2009)

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas.

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.

I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and is a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades.

The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus.

The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.

The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The absolute monarchic Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century.

In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.

In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecution.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and Shamel was defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.

Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians.

After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted.

In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.

Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey. The Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul), and the people in the Adana region shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.

The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum.

An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassment,  genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Cursed Cities: Kars

 

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically, located on the cross roads of invading powers. 

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas… 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Kars in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol). 

Kars is built by the river Kars and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus. The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Kars region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Kars region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk.

In the 17th century, the Kars region was predominantly of Moslems and Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century.

In 1827, Russia entered Kars and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827. 

In every Russian invasion to the Kars region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecussion.

During the Crimea War, which confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Kars in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Kars region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Kars to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians.

Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Kars.  Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Kars and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days.

The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Kares where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted.

In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Kars region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey. The Armenians who were settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution. Only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Kars region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) re-occupied the Kars region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Kars were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Kars region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Kars. The imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassments, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing. 

The Armenians had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States. 

Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Cursed Cities: Karss (April 14, 2009)

 

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon… and where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas. 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol). 

Karss is built by the river Karss and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus. The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire.

The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century. In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.  In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecutions.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid pre-empted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted. In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey; the Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassment, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing. 

They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,428,105 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 775 other followers

%d bloggers like this: