#AngelofAleppo began life as a play to commemorate the #ArmenianGenocide centenary in 2015. In my research into the #Genocide, I found a startling connection with Anzac Day. The official starting date of the #Genocide is April 24, 1915. But its immediate origins date back half a century beforehand.
From the second half of the nineteenth century, #Armenians had been agitating for fair treatment under hostile #Ottoman rule. The Hamidye were formed by Sultan Abdul Hamid and given carte blanche to attack #Armenians and steal their crops and livestock. The state-sponsored #terrorism went unchecked throughout the middle part of the 1890s. Many #Armenians fled abroad.
Tired of being bullied, extorted, exploited and treated as second class citizens, political groups evolved to lobby for equality and justice. They articulated a dream: an autonomous #Armenian homeland. At the same time, external threats to the #Ottoman Empire loomed from the Russians to the east and the Christian nations of Europe.
It was no coincidence that the #Genocide commenced in earnest literally the day before the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. #Ottoman Minister for the Interior #Talaat Pasha needed a distraction that would screen the rounding-up and slaughter of #Armenian community leaders – business families, teachers, writers, academics, leading clerics – in Istanbul, step one in his outrageous plan to ‘cleanse’ the empire of its the major #Christian minority – the #Armenians – as well as their Assyrian and Pontian Greek counterparts.
From March, 1915 onwards, it was clear that the British and French had been massing naval forces and troops in the eastern Mediterranean for an attack on the Dardanelles. The Anzacs landing at Gallipoli had no idea that their baptism of fire would provide #Talaat Pasha the distraction he needed to activate his plan.