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  • Andranik

    I think Andranik needs a thread here. He is one of the most courageous and interesting characters in our history. Here is a article in the Gaurdian written by someone who interviewed Andranik.


    February 25, 2015



    Mr. Scotland Liddell, the correspondent of the British press, in a
    dispatch from Gerusi, Caucasus, dated February 1, says:-

    Following on my visit to the Mussulman villages in the Zangezurski
    Province, I rode here last night, crossing in the dark from the Tartar
    district into country inhabited by Armenians. I came alone without
    an escort, and as is usual when crossing such boundary lines at the
    present time, I was fired on. The darkness was fortunate.

    To-day I had lunch and an interview with General Antranik at his
    headquarters in the town. Antranik, a handsome man of 53, has
    personality. The Mussulman with whom I have been living these past
    ten days declared him to be a bandit. But much has been done in
    Antranik's name of which he is quite innocent. My meeting with him
    has strengthened this belief.

    For thirty-three years Antranik has fought against the Turk. On one
    occasion he and 49 men were besieged in a monastery at Arakelots. They
    held out for twenty-two days against 4,000 Turks, and escaped in
    safety. In the Balkan War of 1912 Antranik went with his small band
    of warriors and fought with the Bulgarians against Turkey. In 1914
    he was at Varna. On August 25 of that year he left for the Caucasus,
    where he raised a volunteer army of Armenians. In the two years
    1914-1916 he and his men marched nearly 5,000 miles and fought 39
    battles, but it was not until 1917 that the Russians gave him the
    rank of officer in their army.

    It is difficult to write briefly of Antranik's doing in the past
    two years. Bolshevism ruined the once splendid Russian army and the
    Russian soldiers left the front. Antranik remained to carry on his
    great struggle against his country's oppressors. He fought against
    cruel odds. He had no artillery and no machine-guns, there was little
    bread, and many of his men deserted. There were thousands of Armenians
    refugee women and children who had to be protected. Antranik held
    out, and even when Armenia made peace with the Turks last year he
    did not cease to fight. It was, he told me, a shameful peace, and
    to that he would not agree. Finally, when the armistice was signed,
    he returned to Gerusi.

    Antranik is the one great Armenian national hero. They have a
    superstition that nothing can harm him, and it is certainly a very
    remarkable fact that in all his long years of fighting he has never
    once been wounded.

    All this information as to his career I received by frequent
    questioning. Antranik himself talked only of the present and the future
    state of Armenia. Some of the figures he gave me were appalling. Nearly
    1,000,000 Armenians have been massacred during the war by the Turks. In
    the Caucasus alone there are over 250,000 Armenian refugees at the
    present time. At Erivan there are upwards of 8,000 orphans. In the
    Crimean and in the Southern Russian Black Sea districts there are
    at least another 35,000 refugees who fled from Armenia. If no help
    is given immediately, the Armenian refugees in the Caucasus will
    die of hunger. They must be sent back to their former holdings, and
    they must have the necessary agricultural machinery to enable them
    to raise their crops. Unless help is forthcoming before the spring
    most of the people will be lost.

    Race Threatened with Extinction.

    "I am shocked," said Antranik, "at the indifference of the whole
    world to the sufferings of Armenia. Not only the Allies but also
    all the European countries are heartless and without pity. I am not
    referring to the present time nor even to the past four years, but I
    speak now of the past thirty or forty years, when the whole world has
    been shockingly callous and indifferent to our sufferings. The Allies
    have done nothing. All the Armenian intellectuals have either been
    murdered or they have emigrated. We are in need of leaders for the
    poor people. Unless we have help, and unless Armenians will come from
    Europe and America to assist us, our whole race will die out. Those who
    have the means will themselves emigrate, and the poorer folk will die.

    "The great question of the future, as far as we are concerned, is
    who will be master here. Without the protection of another country
    Armenia cannot exist. She cannot rule herself. There would always be
    unrest and little combats with the Tartars over racial matters."

    Antranik defended himself against the charges of having wantonly
    destroyed Tartar villages. The fault, he said, lay with the Tartar
    leaders, who chose to sympathise with the Turk instead of with the
    Allies. They opposed him in every way, so he was compelled to combat
    against them. Incidentally he told me this: "I believe that there was
    a German Turkish scheme to raise 300,000 men in the Caucasus last
    year, and to send these men through Persia to threaten India." In
    that case it was Antranik's intention to work his way down to Persia
    and to join the British forces there. The collapse of Turkey put an
    end to the scheme.

    Antranik is shortly going to retire. He has travelled in Europe before
    - Paris, Antwerp, Berlin, Rome, and he has been in England. He tells
    me he has already got a future home in view - Manchester.-Press
    Association War Special.

    The Manchester Guardian (aka The Guardian now)

    Thursday, March 13, 1919 Page 8

    (This article was posted By Katia M. Peltekian)
    Hayastan or Bust.