- Pathfinder

Reply To: Choose an event in Syria’s history that was covered in this course and describe how it has contributed to the religious and ethnic diversity present in Syria today.

Miriam Cavanaugh

Due to Syria’s strategic position at the eastern border of the mediterranean and in the fertile croissant at the crossroads between Africa, Europe and Asia, the country has seen the rise and fall of many different empires competing for its land.
In the modern era, when Syria was controlled by the Ottoman Empire the rise of ethno-nationalism became a huge threat to the “sick old man” (meaning here the Ottoman Empire). Specifically after the Balkan wars (1912-1913) and successful uprisings and national independence movements which stripped the Ottomans from territories in Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria, the Sublime Door was fearing a similar national uprising of the Armenian people, which led to the massacre of roughly 1.2 million Armenians in the Syrian Desert in 1914.
Here it is worth mentioning, that the politics of the Sublime Door beforehand were to send Governors to its territories far from Istanbul, but to let the different population continue most basically in their specific way of life. Also, there was a current in Ottoman political philosophy that claimed that the Empire was starting its decline and didn’t possess the same strength, as a new nation would have to form their own country. I am referring here to Asabiyya, a term that means social cohesion and that defines 5 stages of the history of a society.
Today, 2022, the Armenian Genocide is recognised by over 32 countries though still denied by Turkey.
The few people who survived the Armenian Genocide found a new home in Syria and thus gave their contribution to an ethnic and religiously diverse society.