Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three more excerpts from “The First Adana Massacre,” a chapter from Cilicia 1909 — The Massacre of Armenians, by Hagop H. Terzian. For complete book information, see my previous entry.

Suddenly news was heard: “The young Greek men, after driving the Turks from their quarter, are coming to join us.” Some of our young men, cradling their rifles, went to greet the Greeks. Unfortunately, a few minutes later our men returned with a great number of wounded, having suffered heavy losses. We understood that this was another enemy ploy; they had equipped themselves with European hats, making them look like Greeks, so as to advance among us. This happened while the Greeks sat peacefully in their homes giving a thousand thanks that they weren’t born Armenian, and they turned over to the mob any Armenians who had sought safety in their homes…

* * *

On the second day of the ceasefire, word came that the government was demanding our weapons. The people didn’t want to surrender them, but the British consul arrived, saying, “I can promise you, in the name of my government, that nothing further will happen. Surrender your weapons.” Because the British consul gave us his assurance, the Constantinople Patriarchate locum tenens, without knowing what was happening, advised immediate obedience with a pressing telegram. It was under these circumstances that we were forced to surrender all our weapons. Had we not have handed them over before the arrival of the Ottoman Army, there is no doubt there would not have been a second massacre, because despite our lack of military stores, the enemy was very suspicious and had great fears about our strength. Thanks to this imprudent act, the second massacre, which was a hundred times worse than the first, took place and destroyed Adana.

* * *

Warships arrived one after another starting two days after the end of the first massacre at Mersin. They were the French “Victor Hugo”; the British “Swiftsure”; the German ship “Loreley”; the Italian “Piedemont.” Two days after they arrived, a Russian cruiser and two American armoured ships appeared. All of them remained witness to events and occupied themselves with music recitals and plays while at sea and were occasionally lit up, thus conveying their presence from Mersin to Adana. But their presence, and especially their idleness, provided even more encouragement and enraged the mob, and thus had a great bearing on the repeat of the massacre.

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