Armenian Persecution Mounts

The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe that shaped our modern world. Erik Sass is covering the events of the war exactly 100 years after they happened. This is the 177th installment in the series.

April 8, 1915: Armenian Persecution Mounts 

Although many historians date the beginning of the Armenian Genocide to April 24, 1915, when 250 prominent Armenians were arrested and later murdered in Constantinople, in fact violent measures were already underway across Anatolia and the Caucasus region in February and March 1915, gathering speed in early April. 

The origin and order of events during this period remain hotly contested to this day, as partisans from both sides still try to shift blame for the horror that followed. Many Turkish historians assert the repressive measures only came in response to an incipient Armenian uprising, and there’s no question some Armenian militants, emboldened by the Russian victory at Sarikamish, were planning a rebellion to help the advancing Christian conquerors. On the other hand, many Armenian and Western historians argue scattered Armenian revolts during this period were themselves a response to the incipient genocide, rather than vice versa. 

Whatever the exact order of events, it’s clear what happened next, as Turkish army units and Kurdish irregulars unleashed a campaign of systematic violence against the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population. Generally speaking they focused first on Armenian soldiers serving in the Ottoman Army, removing a potential source of armed resistance, before moving on to civilians. The killers were aided by the empire’s huge size and primitive communications, which slowed the spread of news. 

In February War Minister Enver Pasha laid the groundwork for the first step—getting rid of Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman armies—by ordering them to turn in their weapons and report for duty in labor battalions which would supposedly be employed building military roads. This provided an excuse to remove the disarmed soldiers from public view to remote areas, where they were then murdered en masse, usually by shooting. 

However some Armenian soldiers guessed what was coming and fled before they could be killed, sometimes engaging in armed resistance (contributing to the ambiguity about the immediate origins of the genocide). For example, according to the British diplomat Arnold Toynbee, on March 8, 1915, a group of about two dozen Armenian deserters ambushed a battalion of Turkish soldiers, stole their weapons, and then holed up in the ancient Armenian monastery near Zeitun (today Süleymanlı) an Armenian town of about 10,000 inhabitants located in the Taurus Mountains of southern Anatolia (top). 

On April 8, 1915, the Turks destroyed the monastery and began deporting the town’s inhabitantsthe first large scale-deportation to take place. The Turks claimed they were merely responding to the ambush and armed resistance, but Toynbee believed they had been planning crush Zeitun for some time beforehand, citing the movement of irregular units to the vicinity in preparation. 

Meanwhile reports spread of mass arrests targeting Armenian political leaders, while gangs of Turks and Kurds looted the possessions of Armenian civilians, especially in the provinces of Bitlis, Erzurum, and Sivas. To the east, in Van province stories of mass killings with victims in the thousands circulated along with fleeing refugees, while in the south deportations from Zeitun continued into the second half of the month. However all these incidents remained in the realm of rumor until April 24, 1915, when the Armenian genocide began in earnest. 

See the previous installment or all entries.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It


When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Which Friends Character Would Earn the Most Money in the Real World?

Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Friends went off the air in 2004, the iconic sitcom continues to attract new fans who've discovered the show via re-runs and streaming networks like HBO Max.

To play into this devoted fan base, the professional resume writers at StandOut-CV conducted a fun experiment: They asked more than 3000 fans to predict where Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica would be today, career-wise. They also took the time to figure out how much each character would earn in their respective fields in the real world. Could we be more curious?

Bringing in the highest salary is Joey, whose acting exploits are projected to earn him approximately $61,022 a year. Next comes Dr. Ross, whose career as a paleontologist brings in an estimated $59,023. After that comes fashion designer Rachel, earning $54,563 a year, followed by Chandler's writer/editor salary of $47,039 annually. Phoebe comes next, with her musical career bringing in an annual salary of $43,604 (although the site doesn't mention how her massage therapy business might factor into her life today). Surprisingly, Monica would bring in the least amount of money; she'd earn an average of $43,165 per year as a head chef.

As far as where fans think the Friends gang would be today, the answers are pretty great: They believe Joey would have expanded his acting career to include his own reality series called Keeping Up With Joey Tribbiani. Monica, meanwhile, would have taken the next step in her culinary career by opening up her own restaurant, and her husband Chandler would have continued his passion for writing at a comics magazine. The last season of Friends follows Rachel as she works as an executive for Ralph Lauren, and fans theorize that she would have used her breadth of experience to start her own fashion brand. It's believed Phoebe would have continued her music career, perhaps even becoming a music teacher, while Ross would have spent time writing dinosaur-themed children's books.

Hopefully, the upcoming Friends reunion special will give fans a final answer on what the characters would be up to today.