Perspectives Letter

Dear Mr. Sykes and Mr. Picot,

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing for my people, and owe you a great debt which I am willing to pay with my own life.  These past two years have been a dangerous time, what with what is now being called by scholars in my country the Armenian Genocide.  Nearly 600,000 of us Armenians have been killed, with many of us fleeing to other countries.  Your proposal to allow the Russians to control our territory is the best choice for us right now.  All we want is to be rid of the Ottomans once and for all.  It is true that the territory that you have allotted to the Russians contains parts of Turkey and Kurdistan, both of which contain ethnic groups other than Armenians, but this freedom from the Ottomans would definitely still be worth it.  Plus, I know that the Russians won’t mistrust us, as there is a large group of Armenians who volunteered to fight in the Russian Army.  And, the fact is, my parents have told me that when they were much younger, they had witnessed the Russians coming close to being their saviors from the oppression by the Ottomans after the Russo-Turkish War between 1877 and 1878.  The Ottomans ended up forcing them out of the Eastern Provinces of the Ottoman Empire, but the history remains in our minds.

I guess what I should really be thanking you for is the fact that your choice means that my family and I won’t have to leave home.  We won’t be forced into death marches into the Syrian Desert, and, as Armenian Apostolic Christians, we won’t be abused by the Muslims who are the majority in the Ottoman Empire.  True, such groups as the Kurds, who derive their religion from Islam, will continue to reside in the territory which includes Armenia, but they won’t be the ones in power, and thus won’t be the oppressors of the majority.

The only thing I would say now would be that you have to win the war against the Ottomans.  The Russians are already starting to work their way into Armenia in their aggression against the Ottomans, but if this terrible Empire isn’t eliminated, it will continue its atrocities and even more Armenians will die, perhaps even my family.  Mr. Picot: I am immensely grateful to your nation for sending to Armenia your French Armenian Legion to help in the fight against the Ottomans.  I know that if I can help the rest of my family be able to survive on their own and defend themselves, I will definitely join the resistance forces.  The prospective of an area that is ruled and occupied entirely by Armenians who speak Armenian and are Armenian Apostolic is a great one.  With my country’s beautiful mountainous terrain and widespread mineral resources, I know that a future free from the oppression of the Ottomans will be a successful one.  Once again, thank you for all you have done and continue to do.  You are truly making the world a better place one region at a time.

Yours truly,

Ajnag Chakmakian

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