Saturday, January 2, 2010

Excerpts from Cilicia 1909 — The Massacre of Armenians, by Hagop H. Terzian. For more excerpts and complete book information, see this entry. Other excerpts can be found here.

From the chapter “Second Adana Massacre”:

Shortly afterwards, we saw hundreds of dead bodies in front of the Mousheghian School gates, people who had been struck down without mercy as they had ran out the night the school was burnt. Many of them were half-dead and in agony. We suddenly trod on a corpse in the narrow street opposite the school; looking before us, we saw that it was the body of a pregnant woman with her foetus spilled out from her slashed belly, and even the foetus’s heart had been bayoneted. A little further on, we saw the many street dogs that had gathered around the dead bodies which they were tearing to pieces and eating. Meanwhile, the savage mob, along both sides of the street, showered thousands of insults at us and wanted to attack us like wild beasts.

From the chapter “Massacre and Resistance in Adana Province: Koz-Olouk”:

After this sacrifice, the holocaust ceremony began. The mob began their animal festival. The axes shone in the air; their every blow meant the severing of a limb and a crime committed; with each blow an arm, leg, or foot was severed from a body, with men’s throaty howls, women’s shrill screams, and children’s cries.

* * *

“Only kill those who can escape,” roared one of the animals from close by. “The remainder, alive...” It was Abdul-Azim’s voice.

* * *

Just then a number of the animals wrapped the head of a black-robed old man they were holding with brushwood, with the object of playing a new game with fire. The brushwood caught fire and the wretched old person, like a moving torch, ran here and there for a time with wandering steps, and then fell down, burnt by the flames. That person was Koz-Olouk’s priest, whose wounded son was an eyewitness to his father’s death.

* * *

The wretched prisoners were piled one upon another, in whatever state they were in, be they half stabbed, limbless or shot; the majority of them were alive and well. They were piled up in a heap, looking like a hill held together with bloody mortar, the centre and circumference of which was filled with brushwood. This was necessary as kindling in the work of burning them alive.

All 45 souls, mostly grown orphans and young people, were burned together with their families, buried in the brushwood...

From the chapter “Massacre and Resistance in Adana Province: Abdoghlou”:

The murderers, after killing all the men, lined up all the women and selected about 100 girls and young women whom they divided among themselves and immediately began to violate them in public...Even the village dogs could not have acted in such a callous and pitiless manner.

* * *

It is worth relating the fate of the village teacher Aram Effendi Ouzounian, his students and the priest who were all killed in the same way with such barbarism. Shouting “Let us see you sacrifice yourself on the road to freedom,” they chopped up the poor priest with axes, while he constantly crossed himself. They then turned to the teacher Aram Effendi, whose abdomen was ripped open, then subjected him to further dreadful tortures. They then nailed the students, like crucifixes, to the church walls...

* * *

The Turkish lady of the house resisted the mob’s attack, but a little later her husband Shevke Effendi arrived and invited the mob in and they massacred all the Christians there by the most dreadful means. Among the dead was Dz. Vartabed Achabahian of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, who was subjected to the most terrible tortures. First, they plucked his beard out, then they scraped the skin off his face, gouged out his eyes, cut off his nose and, crying “Hurriyet rahibi hayde dova et bakalum!” (Freedom vartabed, let’s see you pray), they mocked him. Then they cut off his arms and legs, finally cutting him up into further pieces. During these tortures the poor vartabed kept on crossing himself and praying; when they cut off his right arm, he continued crossing himself with the left one. When that one was cut off, he gave up the ghost while whispering prayers.

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