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In 1915 Turkish radicals exterminated between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians— more than half of the Armenians in the world. The Trail of Tears in A rmenia by James Ray The Armenians have suffered more than most people in the world. In 1915 at the outbreak of World War I, there was a great slaughter of the Armenian people. Today, all Armenians remember the day, April 24, and they refer to it as “the Red Massacre.” A group of Turkish radicals used the opening of hostilities in Eu- rope to mask their own plan to exterminate Armenians. On Sep- tember 15, 1915, the Turkish inte- rior minister telegraphed a memo that read: “You have already been informed that the government has decided to exterminate entirely all the Armenians living in Turkey. No one opposed to this order can any longer hold an administrative posi- tion. WITHOUT PITY for women, children and invalids—without heed- ing any scruples of conscience, their existence must be terminated.” 8 • NATIONS A contemporary historian wrote: “In every town and village of Turkish Armenia and Asia Minor, the entire Armenian population was ordered out. The men were usually led away and shot just outside their village…. The women and children were forced to walk southwards in huge convoys to the burning deserts of northern Syria. Few survived the death marches. For months after- wards, the roads and tracks of Tur- key were littered with corpses and skeletons picked clean by vultures.” Armenian Nurses with Bibles The Armenians suffered the Turk- ish genocide, but more suffering fol- lowed when the nation experienced a devastating earthquake. Entering the city of Spitak, the evidence of a ma- jor earthquake immediately became apparent. Large mounds of rubble, once multi-story apartment build- ings, were frequent scenes. I tried to imagine the horror of being in those buildings when “the earth moved.” I shuddered to think of it. The tons of concrete had crashed in from ev- ery direction killing, smashing, and turning what had been homes into instant chambers of death.