I was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) over the weekend. It’s a funny movie. A minor background character in the film is the Greek grandmother, affectionately called “Yiya.” The only word you can understand her saying is “Turk.” She lives with her son and his family. She wanders the neighborhood looking for “Turks,” having lived through the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922.
Toula is explaining what makes her Greek family is so “weird”:
Toula: [narrating] A couple more years went by, and Dad brought his mother over from Greece to live with us. Because we weren’t weird enough.
Yiya: [spoken in Greek] Listen up, ugly Turk. You’re not kidnapping me!
[Toula’s father Gus laughs and tries to hug her, but Yiya suddenly hits him and runs out the door. Maria and Gus chase after her.]
Gus: Mama, please! The Greeks and the Turks friends now!
Toula: [narrating] We told my grandma the war was over, but she still slept with a knife under her pillow.
“Turks” is another name for Muslims. This is from the Prologue that appears in Samuel Eliot Morison’s 1942 book Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Columbus:
“At the end of the year 1492 most men in Western Europe felt exceedingly gloomy about the future. Christian civilization appeared to be shrinking in area and dividing into hostile units as its sphere contracted. For over a century there had been no important advance in natural science, and registration in the universities dwindled as the instruction they offered became increasingly jejune [dull] and lifeless. Institutions were decaying, well-meaning people were growing cynical or desperate, and many intelligent men, for want of something better to do, were endeavoring to escape the present through the study of the pagan past. Islam was now expanding at the expense of Christendom. . . . The Ottoman Turks, after snuffing out all that remained of the Byzantine Empire, had overrun most of Greece, Albania and Serbia; presently they would be hammering at the gates of Vienna.”1
What we’re seeing in Muslim-dominated nations is nothing new. Before the Greco-Turkish war, there was the 1915 Armenian Genocide,2 “an event still ignored by most modern history textbooks and officially ignored by the British government in its United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Day.”
“The Armenian Genocide, . . . also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres . . . was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. . . . The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million.”
Naturally, Turkey continues to deny that the Armenian genocide took place. If you want to read a full account of what was truly the 20th century’s first genocide, I recommend The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916.
Dr. Gary North, whose father-in-law escaped the Armenian genocide when he was a child, quotes from Arnold Toynbee’s summary of The Treatment of Armenians in “The Deportations of 1915: Procedure”:
“A decree went forth that all Armenians should be disarmed. The Armenians in the Army were drafted out of the fighting ranks, re-formed into special labour battalions, and set to work at throwing up fortifications and constructing roads. The disarming of the civil population was left to the local authorities, and in every administrative centre a reign of terror began. The authorities demanded the production of a definite number of arms. Those who could not produce them were tortured, often in fiendish ways; those who procured them for surrender, by purchase from their Moslem neighbours or by other means, were imprisoned for conspiracy against the Government.”
There were some who had noted the weak response from governments around the world. One of those persons was Adolf Hitler:
“Referring to the Armenian Genocide, the young German politician Adolf Hitler duly noted the half-hearted reaction of the world’s great powers to the plight of the Armenians. After achieving total power in Germany, Hitler decided to conquer Poland in 1939 and told his generals: ‘Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my ‘Death’s Head Units’ with the orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. Only in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays about the Armenians?’”
Thus ends the lesson.
- Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1942), 3. [↩]
- “The term ‘Genocide‘ was coined by Polish writer and attorney, Raphael Lemkin, in 1941 by combining the Greek word ‘genos’ (race) with the Latin word ‘cide’ (killing). [↩]
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