Today marks the 129th anniversary of the horrific and tragic killings of 6,000 Armenians by Turks in Kurdistan on November 16, 1894. This dark chapter in history is part of the larger Hamidian massacres that took place during the late 19th century, characterized by widespread violence against Armenian and Assyrian communities in the Ottoman Empire.
The events of November 16, 1894, unfolded as part of a series of targeted attacks against Armenian populations, orchestrated by the Ottoman Empire under the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The larger Hamidian massacres, spanning from 1894 to 1896, resulted in the loss of around 6,00,000 lives and left deep scars on the affected communities.
Related: The Assyrian Genocide
The root of these massacres can be traced back to religious and political tensions, as well as the rise of Islamic jihadist ideologies during that period. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, known as the "Red Sultan," embraced a pan-Islamic and nationalist agenda, using it to consolidate power and suppress dissent within the empire. The Armenian and Assyrian communities, largely Christian, became targets of violence as they were perceived as a threat to the Ottoman vision of a homogenous Islamic state.
The November 16 massacre in Kurdistan was particularly brutal, with reports of mass killings, forced conversions, and displacement of survivors. The tragedy serves as a somber reminder of the consequences of religious and ethnic strife, as well as the misuse of political power for ideological purposes.
On this anniversary, the global community reflects on the historical injustices committed during the Hamidian massacres and emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and learning from such dark periods in order to foster understanding, tolerance, and peace among diverse communities. Commemorative events and discussions are being held worldwide to honor the memory of the victims and to promote awareness of the ongoing need for reconciliation and justice.