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The Politics of Genocide Claims and the Circassian Diaspora

Submitted by on January 24, 2012 – 11:59 pm 47 Comments |  
Map of the Caucasian Language FamiliesAllegations of genocide are often politically charged. On January 23, 2012, the French parliament voted to criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. In Turkey, by contrast, it is illegal to assert that the same acts were genocidal. The Turkish government remains adamant, threatening to impose unspecified sanctions on France for passing the new law. Turkish critics meanwhile accuse France of having engaged in a genocidal campaign of its own against Algerians in the 1950s. France is one of twenty-one sovereign states to officially recognize the Armenian genocide, but is the only one to specifically outlaw its denial. Most countries offering recognition are in Europe and Latin America; many, France included, have substantial Armenian populations. Although the United States has not acted, forty-three U.S. states have passed Armenian genocide acknowledgement bills.

The mass killing of Armenians is not the only example of a politically contested charge of genocide in the Caucasus. In May 2011, the Georgian legislature voted unanimously to classify the Russian assaults on the Circassian (or Adyghe-speaking) community in the 1860s as acts of genocide. The only legislator to speak against the bill warned that it would offend Georgia’s Armenian community, considering the fact that Georgia has not acknowledged the Armenian case. Thus far, Georgia is the only country to officially consider the expulsion and slaughter of the Circassians as a case of genocide. Critics charge Georgia with self-interested behavior, noting that its intractable struggle with Russia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia provides incentive to denounce the past actions of the Russian government in the Caucasus. Hard-core Turkish partisans have also highlighted the Circassian massacres, in their case to downplay the Armenian example; according to one blogger, the Circassian genocide was “infinitely worse than what happened to the Armenians,” yet it has been almost entirely forgotten by the international community.

Controversies surrounding the “genocide” label are often definitional, hinging on whether actions must be consciously aimed to exterminate an entire people to be so classified. Yet regardless of the formal label used, the massacres and evictions of Armenians in the early twentieth century and of Circassians in the mid nineteenth century were horrific. Based on the original definition of the term, the “genocide” label does seem appropriate. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1943 in reference to the Nazi extermination of the Jews, but he began working on the idea much earlier, in response to the catastrophic expulsions of the Armenians and the massacres of Assyrians in northern Iraq in the 1930s. (Like the Circassian genocide, that of the Assyrians has garnered little international recognition, apart from Sweden in 2010.)

Wikipedia Circassian diaspora map The Russian-Circassian conflict dates back to the mid-1700s, part of a much broader struggle pitting the Russian Empire against the Ottoman Empire. After roughly 100 years of war, the Russian government decided in the early 1860s to drive the Circassians into Ottoman territory. Russian forces and Cossack irregulars systematically burned villages and slaughtered civilians. According to an article posted in the Circassian World website, these actions were “the first intentional large-scale genocide of the modern times. … It was also the largest single genocide of the 19th century.” By most accounts, some ninety percent of the Circassian population was either killed or driven out, effectively depopulating most of the northwestern Caucasus. A few Circassians, especially members of the eastern Kabardin group, were able to remain, and in time their numbers grew. Nonetheless the expulsion was devastating. Of an estimated 3.7 million Circassians worldwide today, only 700,000 live in the homeland. The remainder reside primarily in Turkey and other lands of the former Ottoman Empire, particularly Syria and Jordan.

The depopulation of the northwestern Caucasus in the 1860s is reflected in the modern linguistic map. The distribution of the northwestern Caucasian linguistic family today is markedly discontiguous. Whereas the northeastern Caucasian and the Kartvelian languages (Georgian and its relatives) cover relatively solid blocks of territory, the northwestern Caucasian languages appear in small pockets surrounded by areas in which people speak Russian and other languages. Even in the Russian republics of Karachai-Cherkessia and Adyghea, ostensibly based on Circassian ethnicity, Circassians constitute only about a quarter of the total population. Yet before the events of the 1860s, the Circassians and their relatives had occupied a large block of contiguous territory in the mountains and the adjacent lowlands of the northwestern Caucasus.

Map of Circassian Areas in Turkey The Ottomans generally welcomed the Circassian refugees, valuing their military expertise against the Russian enemy, and hence offered them haven in scattered locales. Yet in their unwilling diaspora, the Circassians have had some difficulty maintaining their language and ethnic identity. This has been particularly true in Turkey, where a politically enforced nationalism has meant categorization as Turks, regardless of self-identity. In the past, many Circassians in Turkey have been willing or even eager to assimilate; a result, the use of northwestern Caucasian languages in the diaspora has declined sharply.  Many younger Circassians in Turkey, however, are now reclaiming their identity. In April 2011, “Circassians in Turkey staged a rally … in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district to demand broadcasting and education rights in their native language…” One participant claimed that “The denials, exiles, betrayals, insults, policies of assimilation and social exclusion that have taken place during the 87 years that have passed since the foundation of the Turkish Republic nearly amount to a gallery of sins.”

According to some sources, Circassian identity has been more easily maintained in Jordan, Syria, and Israel, whether due to the less homogenizing political cultures of these countries or simply to the greater cultural distances separating the Circassians from their majority populations. In 2010 Jordan opened a Circassian academy, featuring classes in Adyghe. Such classes may be a challenge to pull off, however, as even in Jordan relatively few Circassians have preserved their language. In both Jordan and Syria, Circassians have tended to form privileged communities, marked by some political and even military clout, encouraging assimilation in the long run.

The position of the Circassian community in Syria, however, may be in danger. Like the Christians and Alawites, the Circassians have tended to support the al-Assad regime, which—brutal through it may be—has generally kept the lid on sectarian and ethnic strife. Several Circassian leaders in Syria are now seeking permission from Russia for re-migration to the northwestern Caucasus. Such a request reflects both the insecurity of present-day Syria and the lure of the homeland; as Circassian ethnic consciousness grows, many Circassian are concluding that long-term cultural survival is possible only within Circassia itself. Russia, however, has placed firm limits on return migration, angering Circassian activists. As we shall see in a later post, Circassian activism is increasing in Russia, generating concern in the country’s political establishment. Any returnees, moreover, might find disappointment; some of the Jordanian Circassians who recently moved to the Caucasus later returned to Jordan, having discovered that the reality of their homeland and their dreams about it did not coincide.

GeoCurrents will continue to explore the Circassians for the next week or so. The Circassians are of major—although woefully under-appreciated—world historical significance, and they were once well-known in Europe and North America. They may become noted again; Circassian protesters are already gearing up for the Sochi Winter Olympics, situated in what they consider to be the epicenter of their genocide. In winter 2014, the global press may have a few words to say about the forgotten Circassians.

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  • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

    It’s good that you list some of the less known genocides of Modern history. The Circassian, Assyrian and other genocides should feature prominently in historical awareness (never again!) yet they are most often ignored.

    We can’t forget either the colonial genocides, not less brutal at all: the extermination (or near extermination) of so many Native American peoples in the 19th century and still in the 20th century in some cases, the Australian Aboriginal genocide, the Herero genocide and the Palestinian genocide.

    Never again!

    • Yogi

       The Palestinian genocide? You mean their failure to fulfill their obligation to Hitler and exterminate the remnants of the Jewish people that fled to their ancient homeland – Israel? Is that really a tragedy – to fail to kill another nation?

      The Palestinians rejected a UN decision, and started a war of extemination in which they fully and openly expected to exterminate the Jews. They did manage to kill one percent of the Jews that were in Israel at the time, so it was not a total failure on their part. But starting and losing a war can hardly be called genocide.

      • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

        Hasbara junk, no thanks.

        First of all Palestinians are the native inhabitants of the country as far as we can tell (i.e. mythology aside) but most importantly, most Palestinians were driven out from what is now Israel and dumped in concentration camps like Gaza strip.

        There’s no much more to say to that story, except that the genocide continues today (unlike the other examples, which belong to history). I just reblogged today from Random Pottins (just an anecdotal example: it’s the same all days and is happening under our noses) on how the Israeli army was deployed in the night as if it’d be a war operation to demolish a Native Palestinian neighborhood, or, from Uruknet, the first person testimonies of victims of your self-righteous Neonazi Zionist settlers.

        You don’t need to be ethnic German to be a Nazi.

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Yes, one could be an ethnic Arab too!

          • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

            Why would you say that? In theory it could be but the obvious fact is that right now the main ongoing genocide on Earth is practiced by (some) Jews against the  Palestinian People. And it has been going on for the last several decades and shows no sign of abating but is actually worsening.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Yes, “in theory” one could say that, but in practice it’s the reverse that’s true. And has been ever since 1920s at least. But you won’t find out if you keep reading the pro-Palestinian propaganda junk…

          • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

            Do you mean that I should only read the Zionist propaganda junk? Maybe you also mean that I should only pay attention to Holocaust denialists, because that is exactly what you are asking me to do in the displaced by mirroring case of Palestine.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            In response to Maju: No, I would rather you visited Israel and saw for yourself. Have you?

          • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

            I don’t have the money nor the attraction, nor I’m certain I’d be allowed in. Does it matter? Do I need to experience Auschwitz in first person in order to believe it happened? Do you think that all these videos, first person accounts, that you also could read daily if you cared, if you’d have the guts to face reality, are false? No, at least 99.9% are true. 

          • Bilarion

            To Maju,There are some simple facts. First, Jewish population has been sustained in Palestine for the last 3,000 year while Palestinians appeared as a nation somewhere around 1930s. Actually, Newt Gingrich was right while claiming that such a nation does not exist. Its existence was not supported even by the neighbor Arab countries when they controlled nearly half of the Palestinian state in the Period between 1948-1967 and only after the Six-day war they recollected that there are Palestinians.Second, the same neighbor countries called the Palestinians to fled in 1948, while the Israeli government was begging them to stay.There is no genocide towards Palestinians everything they have now is actually deserved by the row of tremendous mistakes during the last 70 years. Besides, the nation responsible for over several thousands terror acts committed again civilians shall bare some consequences, HOWEVER, from this very mild consequences towards a genocide there is an infinite gap.Maju, if you want to see genocide yo have rather look at Syriya, Lebanon, Egypt and by the way Gaza…I am pretty that living a year or two with this guys would teach you a lot; however, you would probably not survive there for such a long period of time!

          • Bilarion

            Maju,

            I understand that you consider yourself as intellectual and quite possible you have such a right. 

            The trouble with the intellectuals is that they can only garsp the situation and analyze it in the frame of their quite narrow mental abilities. 

            If once in your well-established life you had experienced the feeling of intentionally bombarded civilian population (such as Sderot) or consider the real danger of not returning home from the job, due to some brain-washed suicide bomber, on his way to haven, or if you had lost some of your friends in such accidents, as nearly every Israeli did, YOU WOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            And by the way, are you aware of Jerusalem mufti al-Hussayni’s political declaration (now in UN archives),
            which he presented to the Axis allies of Nazi Germany and Fascist
            Italy, in the hope they would adopt it.  In paragraph 7 he would
            have Germany and Italy “recognize
            the rights of Palestine and other Arab countries (to) resolve
            the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and the other
            Arab countries in the same way as the problem was resolved
            in the Axis Countries” (the Holocaust)? And what do you think these two “leaders” were discussing in the infamous meeting in Berlin? Their mutual dislike for bacon? The proper Shabbath observance?http://jimena.org/faq/images/mufti_husseini_hitler.jpg

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            And by the way, are you aware of Jerusalem mufti al-Hussayni’s political declaration (now in UN archives),
            which he presented to the Axis allies of Nazi Germany and Fascist
            Italy, in the hope they would adopt it.  In paragraph 7 he would
            have Germany and Italy “recognize
            the rights of Palestine and other Arab countries (to) resolve
            the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and the other
            Arab countries in the same way as the problem was resolved
            in the Axis Countries” (the Holocaust)? And what do you think these two “leaders” were discussing in the infamous meeting in Berlin? Their mutual dislike for bacon? The proper Shabbath observance?http://jimena.org/faq/images/mufti_husseini_hitler.jpg

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            And by the way, are you aware of Jerusalem mufti al-Hussayni’s political declaration (now in UN archives), which he presented to the Axis allies of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in the hope they would adopt it.  In paragraph 7 he would have Germany and Italy “recognize the rights of Palestine and other Arab countries (to) resolve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and the other Arab countries in the same way as the problem was resolved in the Axis Countries” (the Holocaust)? And what do you think these two “leaders” were discussing in the infamous meeting in Berlin? Their mutual dislike for bacon? The proper Shabbath observance?

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig
          • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

            I am aware that the Hasbara machine has repeated that once and again – and is mostly a manipulation. I could not care less: it was legitimate for the Palestinians (or more exactly SOME Palestinians to collaborate with those who opposed the already planned genocide). Lots of people belonging to oppressed ethnic groups collaborated with the Nazis: Ukranians,  Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Croats and Bosniaks, Bretons, Welsh… The enemy of my enemy is my friend… or rather might be my friend and is legitimate to explore that avenue. I would not but I can understand that some put their ethnic interests first, specially if they were oppressed and at immediate risk of genocide, as was the case of Palestinians.

            So what? How does the alleged collaboration of a single individual in that particular context the ongoing genocide of Palestinians? How is that different from using the Protocols to justify the Holocaust? How is that different from using the alleged participation of ancient Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus to justify the Inquisition? How are the Zionists different from Hitler and Torquemada?

          • Olga

            Dear Maju,

            According to what you are writing, you know absolutely nothing about Palestinians, about Israel and about the meaning of genocide. So how about not talking about those things that you don’t understand?
            By the way, the Germans in the thirties also claimed that Jews constituted a threat to the nation, thereby justifying what they did to the Jews. Would you like to say that the Germans were right and their behavior was totally adequate?

    • Ricardo

      Very strange … your definition of genocide keeps changing to justify whatever is your point of view… when you wanted to accuse the Brits of genocide, you said the number of Irish people was significantly reduced, that’s what genocide means… For me you just hate the Brits, why don’t you just say it? 

      Now for the Palestinians, their numbers keep growing… then you say well, they are killed anyway by the Israelis … well even though a few died last year, that’s still genocide. 

      When the Palestinians kill Israelis they call it “War” or “Jihad” and they claim terrorism is a legitimate means of attacking Israel.  When they die, they say it is genocide, extermination, and so on… The way I read it, you just hate the Jews… So why don’t you just admit it? 

  • Leszek “Zgroza”

    I think that notwithstanding the gravity of charges against Russians, Americans and Turks the claim that the first modern genocide was the suppression of Vendée uprising is true.

    • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

      Unless you consider the Vendéens to be an ethnic group or nationality (nobody that I know does) the term ‘genocide’ (extermination of an ethnic group) does not apply. Another thing is whether it was a ‘democide’ (extermination of people in general), what is I guess arguable (unsure of how much killing of civilians was intended or merely collateral, as they say now).

      Instead I’d argue that the Irish famine (and other political-military repressive actions against the Irish) was indeed a genocide and one of the earliest and also latest in Modern Western Europe.

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        Irish famine a genocide? Caused by potato parasite? And curious you didn’t mention the Scots who suffered as much as the Irish from the famine…

        • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

          As Bertolt Brecht would put it:
          There are many ways to kill / They can stab a knife in your guts / take
          away your bread / decide no to cure you from an illness / put you in a
          miserable house / torture you to death with work / take you to war / etc
          / Only a few of these are forbidden in our state.

          I and many historians, and the most sharp and brilliant English writer, Jonathan Swift (on whose judgment I found mine on this matter largely), consider the British state responsible for that massacre, at least for not taking any measures to mitigate the harm. Let’s not forget that a few decades earlier that same British state was enslaving the Irish and sending them to the plantations of America.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            I agree that not being able to mitigate the harm from a natural biological agent isn’t the same as blowing up civilians in buses, shops, cafes, and discoteques, or murdering them by thousands in gas chambers. Why am I not surprised that it is the former and not the latter that counts as genocide in your book?

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            I agree that not being able to mitigate the harm from a natural biological agent isn’t the same as blowing up civilians in buses, shops, cafes, and discoteques, or murdering them by thousands in gas chambers. Why am I not surprised that it is the former and not the latter that counts as genocide in your book?

          • http://profiles.google.com/johnwcowan John Cowan

            During the whole of the Irish famine, Ireland was exporting food to England that could have been used to feed the starving, but since it belonged to the landlords (both English and Irish), it was not.

            “There is no such thing as a natural disaster.”  We in the U.S. saw that very clearly when Hurricane Katrina struck.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            What about earthquakes?

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Interesting comment, but that’s not technically a genocide since it’s not a nation or tribe that is being exterminated… Which doesn’t mean that it wasn’t gruesome or tragic…

    • http://geocurrents.info Martin W. Lewis

      The Wikipedia article on “Genocides in History” is a good starting point to examine these debates, and it does discuss the Vendee Uprising. But there are definitional problems as well with the term “modern.”  One good candidate for the “first modern genocide” would be the destruction of the Zunghar Khanate (and people) by the Qing Empire of China in the mid 1700s. Historian Peter Perdue makes a strong case that this was an example of genocide.  But, unfortunately, there are many many other examples that could qualify. Depending on how one defines “modern” (as well as “genocide”)  the destruction of the Guanches of the Canary Islands might count as well.  

      • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

        The destruction of the Guanches is a very good example. However it may have happened technically in the last decades of the Middle Ages. Let’s not forget that the common reference for the beginning of the Early Modern Age is Columbus’ journey and by that time the Canary Islands were already under Castilian yoke and surely the genocide was already pretty much finished.

        However there is a founding genocide of the Modern Ages and that is the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Iberia (coordinatedly Castile, Portugal and Aragon – but not Navarre, which acted as safe haven for two decades more). Most people have in mind physical extermination when it comes to genocide but actually the UN definition encompasses all forms of ethnic destruction, including forced assimilation or forced emigration. Technically the massacre or physical extermination is best described as democide (democide and genocide can indeed go together or, as in the Vendée case or the Iberian expulsion/forced conversion be rather distinct).

        • http://geocurrents.info Martin W. Lewis

          Interesting point about Navarre — I had not know about that. The distinction between “genocide” and “democide” is important as well — thanks for mentioning this.  As far as the Guanches are concerned, their destruction took some time. Tenerife did not fall to the Castilians until 1496. But I agree, it was not exactly a “modern” occurrence. 

    • Josenavarro00182

      The other refutations notwithstanding, one might also question if they people of the Vendée  constitute a separate racial, linguistic or ethnic group – although according to the following definition (Merriam-Webster), they would be a “political group” and would fall under genocide ["the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group"]. Although stretching the definition to “political” aggrupations or adherents of political positions would seem to be extending the definition too far. 

  • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

    Maju: why wouldn’t you be allowed in? Are you a Nazi criminal? A terrorist? Otherwise dangerous?

    • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

      Basque and pro-Palestinian, go figure! I know of people who’s been there but I also know people who’s been in Chiapas, Nicaragua and even India. All places I could never visit. And I know that nowadays a lot of people is arbitrarily forbidden entry to many places – a friend of mine was kicked from Puerto Rico while on vacation for example. Reason? No one that I know. Nor he knows: US authorities decided it upon arrival.

      Now tell me why can’t you read and watch pro-Palestinian sources, so you get a more balanced view. There are even Jewish pro-Palestinian sites.

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        Israelis don’t ask you what your beliefs are, only what you intend to do. And since when is being Basque a dangerous or negative thing?

        • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

          That’s what you want to believe. Seriously: read for a while something like Palestine Blogs Aggregator (a plural pro-Palestinian collection) or at least Jews sans frontieres and learn something.

          Being Basque (and leftist) can be a stigma, remember that we are (or used to be) at war with a NATO member state. You seem totally blind.

  • Bilarion

    To Maju,

    There are some simple facts. First, Jewish population has been sustained in Palestine for the last 3,000 year while Palestinians appeared as a nation somewhere around 1930s. Actually, Newt Gingrich was right while claiming that such a nation does not exist. Its existence was not supported even by the neighbor Arab countries when they controlled nearly half of the Palestinian state in the Period between 1948-1967 and only after the Six-day war they recollected that there are Palestinians.

    Second, the same neighbor countries called the Palestinians to fled in 1948, while the Israeli government was begging them to stay.

    There is no genocide towards Palestinians everything they have now is actually deserved by the row of tremendous mistakes during the last 70 years. Besides, the nation responsible for over several thousands terror acts committed again civilians shall bare some consequences, HOWEVER, from this very mild consequences towards a genocide there is an infinite gap.

    Maju, if you want to see genocide yo have rather look at Syriya, Lebanon, Egypt and by the way Gaza…

    I am pretty that living a year or two with this guys would teach you a lot; however, you would probably not survive there for such a long period of time! 

    • http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/ Maju

      The Palestinians exist as real people (group of individuals, I don’t care if you consider them a nation or just a region or whatever) since the Jews vanished from the region in the Roman era. That’s 2000 years of your 3000 years. In fact I’m of the strong opinion, based on genetics, that Palestinians are actually more truly descendants of ancient Jews than modern Jews, who display a Cypriot or Turkish type of genetics in fact (being probably a product of the Hellenistic diaspora, which was largely made up of proselytes from other stocks – Judaism only stopped proselytizing under the imposition of its sister religions: Christianity and Islam).

      Clarified that, I must say that most of what you say is Hasbara junk: Palestinians fled for whatever reasons (mostly Zionist terrorism and massacres) but as any refugees they have the right to return. Right systematically denied by the Zionist authorities. The issue with Hasbara doublethink is that any excuse is good to justify the genocide of Palestinians because it serves the purposes of Jewish colonial nationalism (Zionism). So if the Sheikh of whateveristan said something, that something is bent in order to justify the genocide without any shame because it serves the “greater good” of Zionist national interest (much as massacring Jews in Auschwitz served the “greater good” of Nazi national interest and for sure that the Nazis also thought that the Jews deserved the ovens for this, that or whatever “mistake” or “intrinsic fault”).

      I’m not interested, nor I think anybody is. What people of common sense and good will is interested in is in giving back full rights to the Palestinian People in Palestine (and that probably means dismantling Israel as we know it because it’s just the name for colonial apartheid and genocide in Palestine).

      “Maju, if you want to see genocide yo have rather look at Syriya, Lebanon, Egypt”…

      Why?

      “… and by the way Gaza…”

      Indeed Gaza is the most brutal evidence of the Zionsit genocide: 85% of the inhabitants are refugees (or descendants of refugees retaining legal refugee status) from what is now Israel. All them cramped in the largest concentration camp of Earth, for decades and decades, and then besieged and bombed and what not by the Zionist invader.

      And you have no shame and jump out in the defense of those neonazis, while Holocaust survivors instead join the crews of the ships who attempt year after year to breach the criminal siege.

      • Vitaliy

        From Bilbao there was a dude,

        To each post write a comment he would.

        And from any such comment

        One could see in a moment

        That he’s arrogant, angry, and rude.

      • Vitaliy

        From Bilbao there was a dude,

        To each post write a comment he would.

        And from any such comment

        One could see in a moment

        That he’s arrogant, angry, and rude.

  • http://geocurrents.info Martin W. Lewis

    Dear Readers, 

    I think that this discussion (below) has ceased to be useful, although I suppose that it does provide  evidence of my initial claim: “Allegations of genocide are often politically charged.” But the point of the initial post was to focus attention on the Circassians, a people whose plight, I think, has been unduly ignored by the global community. Other examples or allegations of genocide are certainly fair game in the discussion thread, but it does not seem that this is the best place to argue about the Israeli/Palestinian issue, except insofar as it directly bears on the Circassians. GeoCurrents will soon run another post on Circassians in Israel, and I do hope that the discuss here will keep the Circassians in the foreground!

    One of the goals of GeoCurrents is to bring public attention to issues, peoples, and places that are often by-passed by the global media. The Circassians certainly fit that description, and as a result we would like to shine a little more light on their situation. 

    The internet is filled with discussion boards that degenerate into harsh name-calling and insult flinging. I would hope that this one could focus more on the respectful exchange of information and ideas. I have learned a lot from readers’ comments — and I am pleased whenever anyone corrects my own mistakes — which makes it all very worthwhile for me.  But I am not learning much from this dreary discussion thread. 

    Thank you!

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  • http://caravanistan.com Steven
    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for the link, Steven!

  • http://caravanistan.com Steven

    For those interested, another update on the Circassian refugees and their struggle to get back into Russia:

    Circassian plans for rescuing their compatriots in Syria seem to be gradually acquiring substance as Moscow shows tentative signs of a willingness to accept Syrian Circassian refugees. Russian analysts say that by accepting Circassian refugees from Syria, Russia would significantly soften Circassian opposition to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The plight of the Syrian Circassians has received relatively little attention in the Russian media, which probably indicates that official Moscow is still weighing the pluses and minuses of repatriating them. In any case, Moscow will try to make Circassian repatriation as limited as possible, while capitalizing on it in a propaganda campaign. 

    http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39182&cHash=af37b9a5704e46cc0e3f455f1a5b935d 

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  • Apsuwa

    I have objection to the linguistic map of Anatolia and Caucasus. It depicts my hometown(Inegol) under green, but this town has 6+ Abkhaz villages around , 1 Adyge village and no Ubyh presense is known. The distribution is similar from İnegol to Duzce ( as i have seen).

  • Ken

    A small correction: The Armenian Genocide (like the Assyrian one, the “Sayfo”) did not take place in the Caucasus, as your article states. Rather, it was perpetrated in Asia Minor (including Constantinople) as well as in the Syrian Desert. The Ottoman army and allied Kurdish militias had no presence in Russia or Persia, hence the relative safety of the Armenian populations there.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for the clarification, Ken. That sense is indeed poorly phrased.