Sait Cetinoglu Work on the Righteous during the 1915 genocide have been at the agenda with the articles“Urfali Haci Halil”written by Taner Akçam and “Righteous Muslims During The Genocide of 1915” by Racho Donef. Virtuous or conscientious Muslims began to be studied by researchers. The report written by Burçin Gerçek on the Righteous in 1915 is the latest and most comprehensive work on this subject and cast a bright light on a centenary black.
The fact that a century has passed since the genocide and that eyewitnesses are no longer alive made it impossible research from sources of first degree. There are attempts to open the door of truth from briefs andsecond and third degree oral sources.
It is not easy to wade through a territory looking for a word that will enlighten the history. The report courageously accomplishes the difficult task of research, study and highlighting the people that no witness exists today.
The work of Burçin Gerçek on the Righteous in 1915, despite the fact that it is a summary of her research, is considerably detailed. The language used is very neat and human. Thanks to this, the greatest crime committed against humanity and drama resulting are presented in a simple language. As the first comprehensive research on the subject, the report satisfies the reader and recounts the micro-history of ancient populations of a large territory.
It is difficult to classify human behavior during the genocide. The same person may appear as a savior while it can be also one of the authors of the genocide.Burçin Gerçek accomplishes the difficult task of distinguishing those behaviors. It was not easy in the conditions of 1915 to act according to virtue. People are faced with the possibility of accessing in one night a wealth that they could not see in their dreams. Instead, they choose to risk their lives by listening to the voice of their conscience. The Righteous can be used as another way of talking about the genocide and deserve to be commemorated with respect.
The righteous knew the consequences of their position and knew they risked a tragic end. Some of them have thus undergone a strange hatred against them. Burçin Gerçek gives many examples of this situation.
I am no stranger to the perpetrators and examples of Righteous as a person born in this country. In 1915, although the number was reduced, there were Righteous and conscientious people trying to help the victims of genocide, risking their lives. Because of their small number, they could not prevent the genocide suffered by the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and the people of Pontos.
As author of the biographical book "The Exterminators and virtuous Muslims during the 1915 genocide" based on the list prepared by Patriarch Zaven, I know how the topic is importantand complex.
As we noted above, the noble behavior of the Righteous is of great importance. But we should also note two risks involved in highlighting this issue, although it is also another way to deal with the genocide.
The first risk is to hide the perpetrators and the collective collaboration and social consensus during the genocide. There is a potential to reinforce this trend.
The second risk is the possible appearance of the subject of Righteous as a tool of defense of the Turkish state against the charges of crime against humanity and violations of law from the international public opinion, following the recognition of genocide in state and federal parliaments, in a period of high sensitivity to human rights. The conference proposals that I receive after the book "The Exterminators and virtuous Muslims" make me think that we must reflect on the meaning of the highlighting of the Righteous.
It should be noted that on the serious work of Burçin Gerçek do not contain such risks. Our concerns relate to the false heroes that the Turkish state wants to create and the meaning of theseinitiatives. It is pleased that these official initiatives that have nothing serious are not taken into consideration by a large audience.
At the centenary of the genocide, another reality is that the Turkish state is preparing a spread negation of four-year project. Armenian Turkish intellectual who can write and speak without fear, Sevan Nisanyan was sent to prison, first for four years. Subsequently,by forcing the legal system, the sentences were raised to 11 years, they could eventually reach 17 years. No one can calculate how many more years he will have in prison because he will refuse to pay the fines. Nişanyan could never get out of prison.
Nisanyan is in prison for almost two years.During this period he was exiled three times, suffered difficult conditions and his works were treated as confiscated Armenian properties. Nisanyan is in a journey into the unknown, likethe deported Armenian intellectuals during the genocide of 1915.
We must not remain silent about this shameful situation, which is a reflection of the 1915 genocide to today. We expect from people to act as Righteous and virtuous and that opposes to injustice. In this way, the spirit of the Righteous in 1915, although they were few, could reach the present.
2015 09 29