Assimilation, Acculturation, and Intergroup Relations
Acculturation and Adaptation
Multiculturalism and Pluralism
On the opposite end of the continuum from pluralism, immigrants from various countries have fled genocide, the systematic killing of an entire group of people. Thousands of Armenians escaped the the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1918 in the Ottomon Empire. Approximately 125,000 Germans, most of them Jewish, immigrated to the United States between 1933 and 1945, fleeing persecution and death at the hands of the Third Reich during World War II. Though estimates vary, somewhere between 180,000 and 220,000 European refugees immigrated to the United States between 1933 and 1945 (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Hundreds of thousands of Germans, mainly Jewish, were on the waiting list to emigrate from Europe, most of them never allowed to come into the U.S., though the U.S. accepted more refugees fleeing the Nazi regime than any other country in the world (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Escaping the Khmer Rouge genocide, Cambodian refugees fled their homeland from 1975-79 during the communist Pol Pot regime. Estimates of 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians were killed during this atrocious time. Between 1975 and 1994, nearly 158,000 Cambodians were admitted to the U.S. (Chan, 2015). "Refuge-seekers from other countries, including people from Iraq and Afghanistan where the United States has fought long wars, have also entered but in very small numbers compared to the (combined) millions of Cubans, Soviet Jews, and Indochinese (the last group includes Vietnamese, Sino-Vietnamese, Cambodians, lowland Lao, Hmong, Iu Mien, Tai Dam, and Cham)—all of them refugees from communism" (Chan, 2015).
World War One gave the Young Turk government the cover and the excuse to carry out their plan. The plan was simple and its goal was clear. On April 24th 1915, commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day, hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being summoned and gathered. The now leaderless Armenian people were to follow. Across the Ottoman Empire (with the exception of Constantinople, presumably due to a large foreign presence), the same events transpired from village to village, from province to province.
The remarkable thing about the following events is the virtually complete cooperation of the Armenians. For a number of reasons they did not know what was planned for them and went along with "their" government's plan to "relocate them for their own good." First, the Armenians were asked to turn in hunting weapons for the war effort. Communities were often given quotas and would have to buy additional weapons from Turks to meet their quota. Later, the government would claim these weapons were proof that Armenians were about to rebel. The able bodied men were then "drafted" to help in the wartime effort. These men were either immediately killed or were worked to death. Now the villages and towns, with only women, children, and elderly left were systematically emptied. The remaining residents would be told to gather for a temporary relocation and to only bring what they could carry. The Armenians again obediently followed instructions and were "escorted" by Turkish Gendarmes in death marches.
The death marches led across Anatolia, and the purpose was clear. The Armenians were raped, starved, dehydrated, murdered, and kidnapped along the way. The Turkish Gendarmes either led these atrocities or turned a blind eye. Their eventual destination for resettlement was just as telling in revealing the Turkish governments goal: the Syrian Desert, Der Zor. Those who miraculously survived the march would arrive to this bleak desert only to be killed upon arrival or to somehow survive until a way to escape the empire was found. Usually those that survived and escaped received assistance from those who have come to be known as "good Turks," from foreign missionaries who recorded much of these events and from Arabs.
After the war ended, the Turkish government held criminal trials and found the triumvirate guilty in abstentia. All three were later executed by Armenians. Turkey agreed to let the US draw the border between the newly born Republic of Armenia and the Turkish government. What is now called Wilsonian Armenia included most of the six western Ottoman provinces as well as a large coastline on the Black Sea. Cilicia, a separate Armenian region on the Mediterranean, was to be a French mandate. Mustafa Kemal's forces pushed the newly returned Armenian refugees and forces from these lands and forced a new treaty to be written which was an insult to Armenian victims. They were basically told never to return and that they would never receive compensation. The Kars and Ardahan provinces of Armenia were taken as well in an agreement with the Soviet Union.
On the 50th anniversary of the genocide, the scattered survivors of the genocide and their children around the world began commemorating the genocide on April 24th, the day which marked the start of the full-scale massacres in 1915. Many Armenian Genocide Monuments have been built around the world since, as well as smaller plaques and dedications.
The Turkish government has in the past few decades been denying that a genocide ever occurred and spending millions of dollars to further that view. This is adding insult to injury and will cause bad feelings to continue much longer than would otherwise be the case between the peoples. Those who say forget about it, it is in the past, are wrong. Unless crimes like this are faced up to and compensated for, they will be committed again and again by people who do not fear prosecution or justice. Read what Hitler said before beginning the Jewish Holocaust here.
A class action suit against New York Life insurance company by genocide survivors was filed in 1999. They were sued for not being forthcoming in paying up for policies of those killed in the genocide. The suit was settled in 2004 for $20 million, and payouts began to individuals and some Armenian charitable organizations.
A 2002 study by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), a New York-based human rights organization, ruled that the slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians fits into the internationally accepted definition of genocide. The study was commissioned by TARC - a group of Armenians and Turks set up by the US State Department.
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Emigration, Immigration, and Intergroup Relations
Push and Pull Factors in Emigration/Immigration
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