Book Reviews

Book Review: Sasun

Sasun, a region in southeastern Anatolia under the Ottoman rule, is often described as the site, where in 1894, Turkish soldiers and Kurds massacred large numbers of Armenian farmers. Some estimates (there are no official records) range from 1000 to 3000 others more.

Several European governments namely British, French, and Russian sent consular investigative teams to the region to verify the veracity of claims. In addition, several American and European missionaries investigated the massacres on behalf of their charitable organizations.

The narrative tries to explain that British and American media were biased, missionary reports were based on hearsay, and a joint committee of three countries (French, British and Russian) believed Armenian witnesses more than Turkish and Kurdish witnesses.

While the text flows well, the proffered proofs that events were reported were false, provide no evidence.

It is hard to believe that consular and experienced officials could be misled to believe exaggerations as described in this book by two Turkish history professors, and one American who are known to be deniers of these terrible events.

The vice-consul of Britain, Hallward, travelled to Sasun, and field a report on October 9, 1894, stating that Ottoman commanders and other officials prevented him to travel to Armenian villages in order to see damages caused and proof of deaths (page 195).

This four-and-a-half report clearly states the history of how Armenian dwellers of the region had to defend themselves against Kurds, ad how the army of the Empire marched in to help Kurds rather than try to end the conflict.

Justin McCarthy and two Turkish historians are known to be on record to deny everything reported contrary to evidence.

Sasun massacres cost thousands of Armenian lives contrary to claims of these authors.

History buffs, especially Middle Eastern history buffs, should read this lengthy book to conclude for themselves how facts can be twisted, as were the in this publication.

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