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Eye-Witnesses

ARAB EYEWITNESS FAYEZ ALGHUSSEIN ABOUT THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE


Descended from the powerful tribe of Sulut in the Hauran district of Syria, Fayez Alghussein was a prominent Arab lawyer. He was the Governor of the Harpoot (Kharberd) Province for three and half years. In 1915, on the way to Erzerum, he was arrested by Turkish authorities without any cause, and spent one month in a Diyarbekir prison. As part of his probation, he stayed on in Diyarbekir for approximately 7 more months and was eyewitness to the atrocities committed by Turks against the exiled Armenians from Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Kharberd and other places. Later, Fayez Alghussein presented his testimonies in a book entitled “Massacres in Armenia”, published at first in its original Arabic in 1916, and then later, the book’s popularity resulted a French and English translation, “Temoignage d’un Arabe musulman sur l’innocene et le massacres des Armeniens, and “Martyred Armenia”, respectively.

...After great ordeals, during which I often saw death and slaughter, I reached Basra, and conceived the idea of publishing this book as a service to the cause of truth and of a people oppressed by the Turks, and also, as I have also stated in my conclusion, to defend the faith of Islam against the charge of fanaticism which will undoubtedly be brought against by Europeans, May God guide us in the right way...

...We then proceeded in carts from Seruj to El-Raha (Urfa). On the way I saw crowds going on foot, which from a distance I took for troops marching to the field of battle. On approach, I found they were Armenian women, walking barefoot and weary, placed in ranks like the gendarmes who preceded and followed them. Whenever one of them lagged behind, a gendarme would beat her with the butt of his rifle, throwing her on her face, till she rose terrified and rejoined her companions. But if one lagged from sickness, she was either abandoned, alone in the wilderness, without help or comfort, to be a prey to wild beasts, or a gendarme would end her life with a bullet...

...After leaving Urfa, we again saw throngs of women, exhausted by fatigue and misery, dying of hunger and thirst, and we saw the bodies of the dead lying by the roadside.
Upon our arrival near a village called Kara Jevren, about six hours travel from Urfa, we stopped at a spring to breakfast and get something to drink. I went closer, towards the source of the spring, and came upon a most appalling spectacle. A woman, partly unclothed, was lying face up, her blouse messy and bloody, and she had four bullet-wounds in her chest. I could not restrain myself and wept bitterly. As I drew out a handkerchief to wipe away my tears and looked round to see whether any of my companions had observed me, I saw a child not more than eight years old, lying on his face, his head chopped off [apparently] by an axe...

... In the evening we arrived at Kara Jevren and slept there till morning. At sunrise we went on towards Sivrek, and halfway down the road we saw a terrible sight. Corpses were lying in great numbers on both sides of the road; here we saw a woman outstretched on the ground, her body half veiled by her long hair; there, women lying on their faces, the dried blood blackening their delicate forms; I saw the corpses of men, parched to the semblance of charcoal by the heat of the sun. As we approached Sivrek, we were deluged by the number corpses, mostly children’s bodies. As we arrived at Sivrek and left our carts, we saw one of the servants of the khan carrying the body of an infant, with hair as yellow as gold, which he threw behind the house. We asked him about it, and he said that there were three sick Armenian women in the house, who had lagged behind their companions and that one of them had given birth to this infant but could not nourish it because of her illness. So it had died and had been thrown out as one might throw out a mouse...

...What, in God’s name, had these women done? Had they made war on the Turks, or killed even one of them? What was the crime of these hapless creatures, whose sole offense was that they were Armenians skilled in the management of their homes and the training of their children, with no thought beyond the comfort of their husbands and sons and the fulfillment of their duties towards them.
I ask you, O, Moslem – is this to be counted as a crime? Think for a moment. What was the fault of these poor women? Was it in their being superior to the Turkish women in every respect? Even assuming that their men had merited such treatment, is it right that these women should be dealt with in manner from which wild beast would recoil? God has said in the Koran: “Do not load one with another’s burdens”, that is, let no one be punished for another.
What had these weak women done, and what had their infants done? Can the men of the Turkish government bring forward even a feeble proof to justify their action and to convince the people of Islam, who hold that action unlawful and reject it? No; they can find no word to say before a people whose customs are founded on justice, and whose laws are founded on wisdom and reason...

...I observed that the crosses had been removed from the lofty steeples of the churches, which were now used as storehouses and markets for the keeping and sale of the effects of the dead...

...At Moush, a part [of the Armenians] were killed in straw-barns, but even a greater number by shooting or stabbing with knives. The government hired butchers who received a Turkish pound each day as wages. A doctor names Aziz Bey, told me that when he was at Marzivan, in the Vilayet of Sivas, he heard that a caravan of Armenians was being sent to execution. He went to the Kaimakam and said to him: “You know I am a doctor, and butchers, as doctors are mostly occupied in cutting up mankind. And as the duties of a Kaimakam at this time are also like our own – cutting up human bodies – I beg you to let me see this surgical operation myself”. Permission was given, and the doctor went. He found four butchers, each with a machete; the gendarmes had divided the Armenians into parties of ten, and had sent them up to the butchers one by one. The butcher told an Armenian man to stretch out his neck; he did so, and was slaughtered like a sheep. The doctor was amazed at their steadfastness in the presence of death, not saying a word, or showing any sign of fear.

The gendarmes used to bind the women and children and throw them down from very lofty heights, so that they reached the ground shattered to pieces. This place is said to have been between Diarbekir and Mardin, and the bones of the slain are there in heaps to this day...

...Shavket Bey, one of the officials charged with the extermination of the Armenians, told me, in the company with others the following story: “I was proceeding with our military party, and when we arrived outside the city walls of Diarbekir and began to shoot down the Armenians, a Kurd came up to me, kissed my hand, and begged me to give him a girl of about 10 years old. I stopped the firing and sent a gendarme to bring the girl to me. When she came I pointed out a spot to her and said, ‘Sit there. I have given you to this man, and you will be saved from death’. After a while, I saw that she had thrown herself among the dead Armenians, so I ordered the gendarmes to cease firing and stand her up. I said to her, ‘I have had pity on you and brought you from among the others to spare your life. Why do you throw yourself with them? Go with this man and he will bring you up like a daughter’. She said: ‘I am the daughter of an Armenian; my parents and kinsfolk are killed among these people; I will have no others in their place, and I do not wish to live any longer without them. Then she cried and lamented; I tried hard to persuade her, but she would not listen, so I let her go her way. She left me joyfully, put herself between her father and mother, who were at their last gasp, and she was killed there”. He then added: “If this was the behavior of the children, what was that of their elders?”

...The Turkish Government thought that European nations might get to hear of the destruction of the Armenians and publish the news abroad so as to excite prejudice against the Turks. So after the gendarmes had killed a number of Armenian men, they put on them turbans and brought Kurdish women to weep and lament over them, saying that the Armenians and killed their men. They also brought a photographer to photograph the bodies and the weeping women, so that at a future time they might be able to convince Europe that it was the Armenians who had attacked the Kurds and killed them, that the Kurdish tribes had risen against them in revenge, and that the Turkish Government had no part in the matter. But the secret of these proceedings was not hidden from men of intelligence, and after all this had been done, the truth became known and was spread abroad in Diarbekir...





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During 2015, within the framework of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the AGMI plans to organize nearly twenty different multilingual exhibitions of new scientific scholarship using modern technologies and design in different countries simultaneously. There will be accompanying exhibition leaflets, catalogues and booklets in Armenian and foreign languages. In parallel, the AGMI plans to publish memoirs and monographs in Armenian and foreign languages.

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Murad Kyurikyan - one of the famous figures of Hunchak party from Sebastia. He was arrested in 1915. After being subjected to unimaginable sufferings for 40 days,he was violently killed. Victim of Armenian Genocide.

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