AND THE WAR
AN ARMENIAN'S POINT OF VIEW
WITH AN APPEAL TO BRITAIN AND
THE COMING PEACE CONFERENCE
A. P. HACOBIAN.
ARMENIA AS A PEACE PROBLEM-VIEWS OF THE "MANCHESTER GUARDIAN" AND THE "SPECTATOR"---CAN ARMENIANS STAND ALONE AMONG THE KURDS?--- AMERICAN OPINION AND THE FUTURE OF ARMENIA
ALTHOUGH the Allies have declared in their reply to President Wilson that one of their aims is "the liberation of the peoples who now lie beneath the murderous tyranny of the Turks," no official or authoritative statement has yet been made by the Allied Governments as regards the precise future status of Armenia. Mr. Asquith in his Guildhall speech spoke of "reparation and redemption." M. Briand in a letter to M. Louis Martin. Senator of the Var, published in the Courier du. Parlement (Paris) of November 12, 1916, says: "When the hour for legitimate reparation shall have struck, France will not forget the terrible trials of the Armenians, and, in accord with her Allies, she will take the necessary measures to ensure for Armenia a life of peace and progress." M. Anatole France, in his speech at the great "Homage à l'Arménie" meeting in the Sorbonne in April 1916, used these words:
"L'Arménie expire, mais elle renaîtra. Le peu de sang qui lui reste est un sang précieux dont sortira une postérité héroïque. Un peuple qui ne veut pas mourir ne meurt pas. Après la victoire de nos armées, qui combattent pour la liberté, les Alliés auront de grands devoirs à remplir. Et le plus sacré de ces devoirs sera de rendre la vie aux peuples martyrs, à la Belgique, à la Serbie. Alors ils assureront la sûreté et l'indépendance de l'Arménie. Penchés sur elle, ils lui diront 'Ma soeur, lève toi! ne souffre plus. Tu es désormais libre de vivre selon ton génie et foi!' "12
M. Paul Deschanel, the President of the French Senate, and M. Painlevé, Minister of Public Instruction, spoke in more or less similar terms.
The most recent authoritative reference to Armenia---and one which is of special importance, coming as it does from a member of the Inner Cabinet or War Council---is Mr. Arthur Henderson's statement in his conversation with the correspondent of the New York Tribune, reported in The Times of January 8, 1916, as follows: "Speaking of the part of Turkey in the war, Mr. Henderson said that though Armenian atrocities were not much talked about here, they had undoubtedly made a deep impression on the minds of the working population, who, he thought, were determined that never again should a Christian nation be under the yoke of the Turk." These are comforting words indeed to Armenians, as were those of Mr. Asquith at the Guildhall. Nothing could give the Armenian people more comfort and hope for the future than this assurance of the British working man's sympathy---of which they never had any doubt---and his determination to see them freed from the Turkish yoke once and for all.
But here again Mr. Henderson---no doubt for very good reasons---gave no intimation of the intentions of the British or Allied Governments concerning the new status of Armenia after its liberation from the Turkish yoke.
It has been suggested that American opinion would favour annexation by Russia as a means of putting an end to Turkish atrocities and misgovernment of Armenia. This reading of American opinion is not supported by President Wilson's statement in his historic speech to the Senate that "no right anywhere exists to hand peoples from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property." All the Allied countries, and probably all neutrals, are determined to see the end of the Turkish reign of terror in Armenia. But annexation by Russia or any other Great Power, before the blood is dry of hundreds of thousands of Armenians sacrificed for their faith and passionate adherence to their ideal of nationality, must seem particularly unjust to all fair-minded men in all countries, especially the great American democracy, who themselves put an end to misgovernment of. a much milder kind in Cuba, but did not annex it. Indeed, having herself, jointly with her Allies, solemnly laid down the "recognition of the principle of nationalities" as one of the terms of peace stated in the Allied Note to President Wilson, it seems unthinkable that Russia, on her part, would entertain the intention of annexing, and especially of annexing a country and people who have paid a terrible price largely on account of their sympathy with and support of the Allied cause, and rendered services the value of which Russia herself has generously recognized.
It is argued in some quarters that the Armenian highlands are a strategic necessity to Russia. There is a "scrap of paper" ring in such an argument, and I for one cannot believe that the justice-loving Russian people would allow such considerations to override a solemn pledge and the principle of common justice. An Allied protectorate with Russia acting as their mandatory would place these strategically important regions under practically as effective a Russian control as outright annexation, while it would have the additional advantages of giving real effect to the "recognition of the principle of nationalities," and avoiding injustice, injury and affront to the national sentiment of a people which has endured such grievous sufferings and sacrifices to uphold that sentiment.
As I write, two important references to the future of Armenia have appeared in the Press. One in the Manchester Guardian---that old and constant champion of wronged and suffering humanity---quoted by The Times of December 30, 1916, as follows: "Another word remains---Armenia---a word of ghastly horror, carrying the memory of deeds not done in the world since Christ was born---a country swept clear by the wholesale murder of its people. To Turkey that country must never and under no circumstances go back. . . ."
The other reference is made by the Spectator in its issue of December 30, in a leading article entitled "The Allied Terms." It says---
"The process of freeing nationalities from oppression must be applied organically to the Turkish Empire. The Armenians, or what remains of the race, whose agonized calls for help and mercy have been heard even through the din of the present war, will probably have to be placed under the tutelage of Russia. They could not stand alone among the Kurds."
If by "Russian tutelage" the Spectator means the setting up of a self-governing Armenia under Russian Suzerainty, that would amount, in my opinion, to the approximate realization of the hopes and aspirations of the Armenian people, provided that by "Armenia" is understood the six vilayets and Cilicia; provided also that Great Britain and France retained the rights of Protecting Powers as in the case of Greece. Anything short of this, any parcelling out of Armenia, either by annexation or "tutelage" of different parts under different Powers, would not only be irreconcilable with the "recognition of the principle of nationalities" which the Allies have solemnly declared to be one of their principal aims and terms of peace; it would imply an outrage upon the ideal of nationality which is the ruling passion of Armenians everywhere. Lynch, the great Armenian authority, has called the Armenians "the strongest nationalists in the world." This ideal of nationality has grown stronger, more alive and resolute than ever by their services and unimaginable sufferings and sacrifices in the war. "The little blood that is left them" has become doubly and trebly precious to the survivors. They rightly feel that they have established, and more than established, their title to autonomy and a strong claim upon the whole-hearted support of the Allied Powers to enable them to stand on their feet again and make a fair start on the road to nationhood. If Armenia is cut up and parcelled out without regard for this fervent living sentiment of Armenian nationalism, and their high hopes and expectations are dashed to the ground, it will conceivably engender in all Armenians a deep sense of wrong and injustice, an intense discontent with the new order of things, that are not likely to conduce to that contentment and that smoothness of relations between the governors and the governed that are the essentials and the fundamental preliminary steps towards setting these much-troubled regions on the road towards good government, progress and civilization.
The "principle of nationalities" and of "government by the consent of the governed" will be applied all along the line: Belgium, Alsace-Lorraine, Serbia, Poland, Bohemia, Transylvania, Arabia, Syria, Palestine, will have restored to them or will be granted the forms of government most acceptable to the peoples concerned. These true and righteous principles, which will herald the dawn of universal justice and morality in the treatment of their weaker brethren by the Great Powers of Europe, will cease to operate only when Armenia comes to be dealt with. Armenia alone. who has suffered the most tragic, the most grievous and heartrending Calvary, shall be denied an Easter. Why? Because the Armenian people have lost too much blood; because they have paid too high a price for their fidelity to their faith, the preservation of their distinctive national life and their strong support of the Allied cause. That would be an unspeakably cruel and bitter climax to the unending nightmare of Turkish tyranny, the Great Tragedy and martyrdom of the Armenian people. It will be nothing less than a confirmation of the death sentence passed by Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks on the ideal of Armenian nationality.
Let those who speak lightly of annexation by Russia put themselves in the place of the tens of thousands of Armenians who have lost wife and children, sons, brothers, fathers, near or distant relatives, both in massacre as well as in what they understood to be a sacred struggle for liberty, to say nothing of their complete economic ruin. They would be much more or much less than human if they did not feel a deep and smarting sense of wrong at seeing all their appalling sacrifices and important services result in a mere exchange of the Kaimakam for the Chinovnik. It is far indeed from my purpose to put the two types of official and the respective systems of government they represent on the same level. They differ as day from night. In my opinion and to my knowledge the vast majority of Armenians will welcome Russian suzerainty with sincere satisfaction. But, after the ordeal of blood and fire through which they have passed, they must feel, as I believe they do feel with ample justification, that they have a right to a voice and a liberal measure of participation in the government of their own country.
I cannot do better than quote here a passage from Mr. Gladstone's great speech on the Treaty of Berlin, which is applicable to Armenia, and than which there could be no wiser, more just or authoritative guidance for the formation of a sound and just view on the Armenian and kindred problems---
"My meaning, Sir, was that, for one, I utterly repelled the doctrine that the power of Turkey is to be dragged to the ground for the purpose of handing over the Dominion that Turkey now exercises to some other great State, be that State either Russia or Austria or even England. In my opinion such a view is utterly false, and even ruinous, and has been the source of the main difficulties in which the Government have been involved, and in which they have involved the country. I hold that those provinces of the Turkish Empire, which have been so cruelly and unjustly ruled, ought to be regarded as existing, not for the sake of any other Power whatever, but for the sake of the populations by whom they are inhabited. The object of our desire ought to be the development of those populations on their own soil, as its proper masters, and as the persons with a view to whose welfare its destination ought to be determined."
It may be argued that things have changed since 1878. The answer to that is that principles are immutable. The only change is the cruel reduction of the Armenian population. I ask, first of all: "Is it fair and right and just that we should suffer massacre and persecution for generations, and when the time for reparation comes, should be penalized because so many of us have been massacred?" Secondly, it should not be forgotten that although the Armenian element of the population has been reduced, the Turks and Kurds have also suffered very considerable losses. Thirdly, the Armenians are much more advanced intellectually to-day than they were forty years ago, while their neighbours---Turks. Kurds, and others---are stagnating in the same primitive state as they were forty---or, for that matter, four hundred-years ago. Another circumstance which adds materially to the chances of success of an autonomous Armenia is the existence of a number of flourishing Armenian communities of various sizes in other countries---in the Russian Caucasus and the Russian Empire, Persia, the United States, Egypt, the Balkans, France, Great Britain, India, Java, etc.---which are at the present time looking forward with enthusiasm and readiness for sacrifice, to "do their bit" in the sacred work of the reconstruction of their stricken and beloved Motherland.
Coming to the Spectator's contention that "they (the Armenians) could not stand alone against the Kurds," I can assure the Spectator that there is no cause whatever for apprehension on that score, if only the Russian Government and Army authorities will agree to allow the Armenians to organize under their guidance and supervision, immediately after the war, a number of flying columns from among discharged Armenian volunteers and soldiers in the regular army, for the specific purpose of carrying out a "drive" from one end of the country to the other and disarming the Kurds. The Armenian volunteers, of whom I speak in another chapter, have had a good deal of fighting to do with the Kurds during the war and have proved more than their match, in many cases against superior numbers.
The prevailing erroneous belief that the Armenians "could not stand alone among the Kurds" has its origin in the fact that for centuries (up to 1908) Armenians have been an easy prey to the Kurds by reason of their being prohibited to possess or carry arms on pain of death, while the Kurds were supplied with arms from the government arsenals, and encouraged and supported in every way by the central government to harass the Armenians. What chance would the bravest people in the world have under such circumstances? Since 1908, when the prohibition of carrying arms by Christians was relaxed, it is a well-known fact, attested by European travellers, that Kurds never attacked Armenian villages which they knew to be armed. Zeytoon and Sassoon have demonstrated beyond question that when Armenians have met Turks on anything like equal terms, they have proved their match. These isolated, compact communities of fearless mountaineers were never entirely subjugated by the Turks until the outbreak of the present war, when the Zeytoonlis were overwhelmed by Turkish treachery and the Sassoonlis died fighting to the last man and woman (see Blue-book, pp. 84 and 87).
In 1905 the Tartars, who are nearly twice as numerous as the Armenians in the Caucasus made a sudden attack upon the latter in the Hamidian style. But thanks to the equity of Russian government, Armenians in the Caucasus were as free to carry arms as Tartars, so the Tartars soon regained their "humane sentiments" and offered peace to stop further bloodshed. I would recommend those who entertain any fears of Armenians being able to defend themselves against Kurds or Tartars to read Villari's Fire and Sword in the Caucasus and Moore's The Orient Express.
At all events Europe will not be taking any risk in giving the Armenians the opportunity of proving that they can "make good" in spite of the Kurds, and also, as we hope, can gradually civilize the Kurds and other neighbouring backward races.13
As far as I know (in fact I have no doubt about it), Armenians are prepared to take the risk of "standing alone among the Kurds," provided that the Entente Powers afford them the necessary assistance during the first few years of reconstruction and initiation, and above all, provided that they enjoy the whole-hearted and benevolent good-will of Russia, for which, it is, as certain as anything human can be, their great protector and neighbour will reap a rich harvest in the future---as rich a harvest as that which Britain is reaping to-day for her act of justice and statesmanship in South Africa.
ARMENIA'S SERVICES IN THE WAR
I HAVE spoken earlier in these pages of the services of the Armenians to the Allied cause in the war. What are these services?
The Armenian name has been so long and so often associated with massacre that it has given rise to the general but utterly unfounded belief by those who have not gone deeper into the matter, that Armenians are devoid of physical courage and allow themselves to be butchered like sheep.14 Where this belief is not based upon ignorance of the facts and circumstances, it is, I am bound to say, a particularly dastardly piece of calumny upon a people who have groaned for centuries under a brutal tyrant's heel, with an indomitable spirit that has ever been and is even to-day the Turk's despair. The struggle that has gone on for five or six centuries between Armenian and Turk symbolizes, perhaps better than any event in history, the invincibility of the spirit of Christianity and liberty and the ideal of nationality against overwhelming odds of ruthless tyranny, the savagery of the Dark Ages and the unscrupulous and mendacious exploitation of religious passion. That struggle has been as unequal as can well be imagined, but we have not permitted the forces of darkness to triumph over the spirit of Light and Liberty, though the price paid has come very near that of our annihilation. Nevertheless, we have been able, in this worldwide struggle, not dissimilar to our own long struggle in the moral issues involved, to render services to the cause of the Allies, which is the cause of Right and Justice, and therefore our cause also, quite out of proportion, in their effect, to our numbers as a race or our contribution of fighting men as compared with the vast armies engaged, although that contribution has been by no means negligible.
On the eve of Turkey's entry into the war the Young Turks employed every conceivable means ---persuasion, cajolery, intimidation, the promise of a large autonomous Armenia, etc.---to induce the Armenian party leaders to prevail upon the Russian Armenians to join themselves in a mass rally to the Turkish flag against Russia. They sent a number of emissaries to Russian Armenia with the same object. The Turk must have a peculiar understanding of human nature, and not much sense of humour, to have the naiveté to make such overtures to Armenians after having persecuted and harried and massacred them for centuries. All the Armenian leaders promised was a correct attitude as Ottoman subjects. They would do neither more nor less than what they were bound to do by the laws of the country. They could not interfere with the freedom of action of their compatriots in the Caucasus who owed allegiance to Russia. They kept their promise scrupulously in the first months of the war. Armenian conscripts went to the dépôts without enthusiasm. How could it be otherwise? What claim had the Turks upon the sympathy and support of their Armenian subjects? Is sympathy won by tyranny, or loyalty bred by massacre? They (the Armenians) were placed in a most difficult position. They were naturally reluctant to fight against the Russians, and the position was aggravated by the fact that the Russian Caucasian army was largely composed of Russian Armenians. But in spite of these sentimental difficulties, mobilization was completed without any serious trouble.
Soon, however, Armenians began to desert in large numbers; the Young Turks had joined the war against their wish and advice; they had not their heart in the business, and, last, but not least, they were harried, ill-treated and insulted by their Turkish officers and comrades at every turn: there were exceptions, of course, but that was the position generally in the closing months of 1914. Let me add that there were large numbers of Turkish deserters also, and that the Armenian leaders did all they could to send the deserters of their own nationality back to the ranks, doing so forcibly in some cases. Then came the defeat of the Turks at Sarikamysh and the ejection of Djevdet Bey and his force from Azerbaijan. On his return to Van, Djevdet Bey told his friends: "It is the Armenians much more than the Russians who are fighting us."
The massacres and deportations began soon after the collapse of the Turkish invasion of the Caucasus and Northern Persia, and it is only after it was seen clearly that the Turks were determined to deport or destroy them all that the Armenians in many places took up arms in self-defence. There was no armed resistance before that, and the Turkish and German allegations of an Armenian revolt are a barefaced invention to justify a crime, a tithe of which not one but a hundred revolts cannot justify or palliate. This is proved beyond all question by Mr. Toynbee's concise and illuminating historical summary at the end of the Blue-book on the Treatment of Armenians by the Turks during the war. There was no revolt. But when the Armenians were driven to self-defence under the menace of extermination, they fought with what arms they could scrape together, with the courage of desperation. In Shahin-Karahissar they held out for three months and were only reduced by artillery brought from Erzeroum. In Van and Jebel-Mousa they defended themselves against heavy odds until relieved by the Russians and the Armenian volunteers in the first case, and rescued by French and British cruisers in the second. The Turkish force sent against the insurgents of Jebel-Mousa was detached from the army intended for the attack on the Suez Canal.
Of course ill-armed, poorly equipped bands without artillery, wanting in almost all necessaries of modern warfare, brave as they may be, cannot possibly maintain a prolonged resistance against superior forces of regulars well supplied with artillery, machine-guns and all that is needed in war. Nevertheless, some of these bands seem to have succeeded in holding out for many months, and it is believed in the Caucasus that there are groups of armed Armenians still holding out in some parts of the higher mountains behind the Turkish lines.15 It will be remembered that some weeks ago---I do not recall the date---a Constantinople telegram reprinted in The Times from German papers stated that there were 30,000 armed Armenian rebels in the vilayet of Sivas. This is an obvious exaggeration, and it may simply mean that a considerable number of Armenians were still defending themselves against the menace of massacre. When the Russian army entered Trebizond a band of some 400 armed Armenians came down from the mountains and surrendered themselves to the Russians. Quite recently a band of seventy men cut through the Turkish lines and gained the Russian lines in the neighbourhood of Erzinjian.
The Turks have repeatedly declared that the "Armenian revolt" threatened to place their army between two fires. The particle of truth that there is in this assertion is, as may be judged by the facts so far known as cited above, that the Armenian resistance to massacre and deportation proved to be more serious than they had anticipated, and that they had to detach large numbers of troops and in some cases artillery and machine-guns to keep these "rebels" in check. It is consequently undeniable that Armenian armed resistance to deportation and massacre has been a considerable hindrance to the full development of Turkish military power during the war and has, in that way, been of material, though, indirect assistance to the Allied forces operating against the Turks. To this may be added the demoralizing effect that the deplorable state of affairs created by the Turks in their dominions must have exercised on the morale of their people.
Such in general outline have been the services, of the Turkish Armenians to the Allied cause. It is not my purpose here to endeavour to appraise the possibly ill-concealed, but not by any means ostentatious or provocative, sympathy of the Armenians for the Allies, upon the sinister designs of the Young Turks. I will content myself with the description of a significant cartoon that appeared early in the war in the Turkish comic paper Karagöz in Constantinople. The cartoon depicted two Turks discussing the war. "Where do you get your war news from?" asked Turk number one. "I do not need war news," replied Turk number two; "I can follow the course of the war by the expression on the faces of the Armenians I meet. When they are happy I know the Allies are winning, when depressed I know the Germans have had a victory."
The following extract from a dead Turkish officer's notebook, reproduced in the Russkaia Viedomosti (No. 205), throws some light on the Turkish estimate of the value of Armenian support in the war. "If our Armenians had been with us," wrote this Turkish officer, "we would have defeated the Russians long ago."16
The services of the Russian Armenians to the Allied cause, but principally, of course to the Russian cause during the war, have been of a more direct and positive character and of far-reaching importance. They may be divided into two distinct parts, namely, military and political; and in order the better to explain the full meaning of the Armenian "strong support of the Russian cause" (in the words of The Times) , I will deal with each of the two parts separately.
The Armenian population of Russian Armenia and the Caucasus numbers, roughly, 1,750,000 souls, and there are probably another 100,000 to 200,000 Armenians scattered over the other parts of the empire. They are liable to military service as Russian subjects, and it is estimated that they have given to the Russian army some 160,000 men. Apart from this not negligible number of men called to the colours in the ordinary course of mobilization, the Armenians, as a result of an understanding with the authorities, organized and equipped at their own expense a separate auxiliary volunteer force under tried and experienced guerilla leaders, such as Andranik, Kéri and others, to co-operate with the Caucasian army. This force contained a number of Turkish Armenians, mostly refugees from previous massacres. Some twenty thousand men responded to the call for volunteers, though I believe not more than about ten thousand could be armed and sent to the front. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed. Armenian students at the Universities of Moscow and Petrograd and educational institutions in the Caucasus vied with each other in their eagerness to take part in the fight for the liberation of their kinsmen from bondage. Several young lady students offered to enlist, but I believe all but two or three were dissuaded from taking part in actual fighting. Boys of fourteen and fifteen years ran away from home and tramped long distances to join the volunteer battalions. It is recorded that an Armenian widow at Kars, on hearing that her only son had been killed in battle, exclaimed, "Curse me that I did not give birth to ten more sons to fight and die for the freedom of our country."
The volunteer force was not large, but it was a mobile force well adapted to the semi-guerilla kind of warfare carried on in Armenia, and the men knew the country. They seem to have done good work as scouts in particular, though they took part in many severe engagements and were mentioned once or twice in Russian communiqués as "our Armenian detachments." Generous appreciation of the services and gallantry of the volunteers as well as of Armenians in the army has been expressed by Russian military commanders, the Press, and public men. High military honours were conferred upon the volunteer leaders, and His Imperial Majesty the Czar honoured the Armenian nation by his visit to the Armenian Cathedral in Tiflis, demonstrating his satisfaction with the part played by Armenians in the war.17
There are, of course, many Armenian high officers in the Russian Army, including several generals, but so far they have not had the opportunity of producing in this war outstanding military leaders of the calibre of Loris Melikoff and Terkhougasoff. General Samsonoff, "the Russian Kitchener," was killed early in the war in East Prussia in his gallant and successful attempt to relieve the pressure on Paris.
The political effect of the strong and enthusiastic support of the Russian cause by Armenians has been to keep in check the discontented and fanatical section of the Tartars and other Moslems of the Caucasus, who would have been disposed to make common cause with the Turks whenever a favourable opportunity should present itself to do so without much risk to themselves. The Tartars and other Moslem elements of the Caucasus are as a whole genuinely loyal to Russia, but the existence of a minority who would welcome the success of the Turkish invasion cannot be denied. Some of the Ajars did, in fact, join the Turks during their invasion of Ardahan.
All things considered, therefore, those who have any knowledge of the racial and political conditions in the Caucasus will not, I think, regard it as in any sense an exaggeration to assert that the whole-hearted support of the Armenians ---and I may also add, though in a lesser degree, the Georgians---has contributed very materially to the success of Russian arms in the Caucasian theatre of the war. The absence of that support, or even mere formal or lukewarm support, would not only most probably have had serious consequences for the Caucasus, it would have left the whole of Persia at the mercy of the Turks; and who can say what the consequences of such a catastrophe would have been on Arabia, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan and even the northern frontiers of India itself?
Nearly all the able-bodied Armenians in France, between 1000 and 1500 strong, joined the French Foreign Legion quite early in the war. Some Armenians came from the United States to fight for France. Only some 250 have survived, I understand, most of whom are proud possessors of the Military Cross.
Propaganda in neutral countries has played an important part during the war. The just cause of the Allies has had no stauncher supporters or better propagandists than the hundred and twenty-five thousand or more Armenians in the United States, while the Great Tragedy of Armenia has incidentally added to the armoury of the Allies a melancholy but formidable moral weapon.
ARMENIA THE BATTLE-GROUND OF ASIA MINOR AND VICTIM OF CONTENDING EMPIRES
No country and people have suffered so severely from the clash of rival empires, both in war and diplomacy, as have Armenia and the Armenians, so far as is known to the recorded history of the world. Her geographical position has made Armenia the cockpit of ambitious empires and conquerors, and the highway of their armies in Western Asia, much as Belgium and Poland have been the battle-grounds of Europe. But whereas in these European battle-grounds the invading armies have generally moved east and west only, Armenia has endured the horrors of invasion, time after time, from north, south, east and west. Then, again, Armenia being a much older country, the record of her suffering from the invading armies of her stronger neighbours, "hacking their way" through her territory, extends over a proportionately longer period than that of Belgium and Poland. Armenia has been invaded and ravaged in turn by Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Parthians, Macedonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Tartars and Turks. Only during the first century B.C. did she succeed in subduing all her neighbours, and establishing a short-lived empire of her own, extending from the Mediterranean to the Caspian.
The analogy between Armenia and her European co-sufferers from the ills of aggressive Imperialism ceases altogether, however, when we come to the period of Turkish domination. The blood-stained history of that régime is well enough known. Periodic explosions have reminded Europe of the existence of the inferno of unbridled lust, corruption and predatory barbarism which this unhappy people have been fated to endure for centuries. What has not been brought into sufficient relief is the fact that this "bloody tyranny" could have long since been brought to an end, or, at all events, effectively curbed, if it had not been for the jealousies and rivalries of the great modern Christian empires. The history of the acts of European diplomacy in regard to Armenia and the Near East during the last sixty or seventy years is not one of which the diplomats and statesmen concerned can be particularly proud. Who can claim for them to-day to have served, in the sum total of their results, either the interests of the Christian subjects of the Porte, the progress of civilization, the material interests of the Great Powers themselves, or the supreme interests of peace?
Mr. Balfour says in his famous Dispatch to the British Ambassador to the United States that "Turkey has ceased to be a bulwark of peace," thereby implying, obviously, that Turkey had played that part before. Mr. Balfour is a great authority on political history, and when he avers that Turkey has been a "bulwark of peace" she must have filled such a rôle at some period of her history. But to his Christian subjects, at any rate, the Turk has never brought peace. He has brought them fire and sword and a riot of unbridled lust, rapacity, corruption and cruelty unparalleled even in the Dark Ages. The only peace he has brought them has been the peace of death and devastation. He has not even left trees to break the awful silence of desolation which he has spread over this fair and fertile land once throbbing with human life and activity. That is the price paid for whatever part Turkey may have played in the past as a bulwark of international peace. Professor Valran of the University of Aix-en-Provence estimates the Armenian population of Turkey in the beginning of the nineteenth century at 5,000,000.18 The population of the not too healthy island of Java was the same at the same period. Under the excellent rule of the Dutch, the population of that island has grown up to over 35,000,000 during the century. What has become of the Armenians, one of the most virile and prolific races of the world living in a healthy country? Let the friends and protectors of the Turk and his system of government give the answer. In particular let those answer who, with the Turks' black and bloodstained record of centuries before them, have, nevertheless, the effrontery to maintain, at this hour of day, that the Turk has not been given a fair chance. The blood of the myriads of innocents who have fallen victims to the Turks' incurable barbarism throughout these centuries, cries aloud against such a brazen and deliberate travesty of the truth.
One of the principal enactments of the Treaty of Paris was to admit Turkey into the comity of the Great Powers of Europe. To-day, after a probation of sixty years, at a fearful cost to her Christian subjects, it is at last admitted that Turkey has proved herself "decidedly foreign to Western civilization." Could there be a more crushing condemnation of the judgment of the statesmen responsible for that treaty in regard to the Turk? The more one studies the record of the Turk, the more one marvels at the unbounded confidence placed in his promises of reform by some of the greatest statesmen of modern times. In vain have I ransacked the history books in search of an instance where the Turk carried out, or honestly attempted to carry out, a single one of his numerous promises of reform. Every one of them was a snare and a pretence designed merely to oil the wheels of a cunning diplomacy or tide over a momentary embarrassment. Whether it was the Sultan or Grand Vizier or Ambassador, whenever the Turk made a promise to improve the lot of his Christian subjects, he had made up his mind beforehand that that promise would never be performed.19
Since the beginning of last century Russia has been, by reason of her geographical contiguity, practically the only Power which the Turk has really feared. In contrast with the near Eastern policies of the Western Powers, Russian policy has been almost invariably hostile to the Turk since the days of Peter the Great. Of course, this was not always pure altruism on the part of the rulers of Russia. But, whatever the motive, Russian policy certainly coincided absolutely with the interests of humanity and civilization. And while in the West the policy of "buttressing the Turk" (in the words of the Bishop of Oxford) often met with strong opposition among the democracies of England and France, Russian policy in regard to the Turk has always enjoyed the unanimous support of the Russian people, who being the Turk's neighbour and having had several wars with him, knew his true nature from prolonged personal contact. The one departure from Russia's traditional policy was Count Lobanoff's regrettable---and I may say inexplicable ---refusal to take joint action with Britain and France to put a term upon the butcheries of 1895-96, and adopt such effective measures as would perhaps have put it beyond the power of the Turk to indulge again in his diabolical orgies of cold-blooded barbarism.
His fear of Russia, which acted as a wholesome restraint upon the predatory tendencies of the Turk, was weakened by the Treaty of Paris taking away from Russia her effective protectorate over the Christian subjects of the Porte, and was removed altogether by the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention. The Turk was quick to understand that the Western Powers would not permit Russia to intervene on behalf of his persecuted Christian subjects. He saw that conditions were favourable for putting into execution his "policy" of getting rid of his Christian subjects, and he forthwith set to work to carry out his foul project.
Events have proved the Treaty of Berlin to have been the masterpiece of Bismarck's policy of "divide et impera." It created, as it was designed to create, a deep and bitter feeling of mistrust and antagonism between Great Britain and Russia, which gave Germany her chance of gaining a strong foothold in the Ottoman Empire.
The appearance of Germany upon the scene created new dangers, which have proved all but fatal to the Armenian people.
The Emperor William II, on his return from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, paid a visit to, and fraternized with, the murderer of 250,000 Armenians who had died for the sake of the very Christ from the scene of whose life the Christian emperor had just returned. This, by the way, was in characteristic contrast with King Edward's refusal of the Sultan's offer of his portrait about the same time. This act of the great and humane English king has touched the hearts of Armenians, who cherish a deep and reverent affection for his memory.
The result of the Emperor William's visit to Abdul Hamid was the Baghdad Railway and many other concessions, and no doubt a great scheme of a future Germano-Turkish Empire in the East.
I believe it was Dr. Paul Rohrbach, the well-known German writer on Near Eastern affairs, who suggested some years ago that the deportation of the Armenians from their homes and their settlement in agricultural colonies along the Baghdad Railway would be the best way to make that line pay quick and handsome dividends.
Some time ago I read in The Near East the account of a conversation between an American missionary and a German officer travelling together in Anatolia. The German officer confessed that what he had seen was horrible, more horrible than anything he had ever seen before; "but," he added, "what could we do? The Armenians were in the way of our military aims." Supposing that resistance to massacre by Armenian men was interpreted by the German agents in Turkey as being "in the way of their military aims," what possible excuse could there be for the abominable treatment, the torture, the slaughter, and the driving to misery and death of hundreds of thousands of women and children? Were they also in the way of their military aims?
While the Turks were butchering Christians in their hundreds of thousands, the German Emperor was presenting a sword of honour to the Sultan of Turkey and showering honours upon Enver Pasha at his headquarters. While thousands of Christian children and women were being mercilessly slaughtered and driven to death by Germany's ally, and their bodies thrown to the wolves and vultures in the Mesopotamian deserts, the German Government was making provision for the housing and tuition of thousands of Turkish youths in the technical schools of Germany to fill the places of the "eliminated" Armenians. What have Christian Germans to say to all this? Do the Johanniter Knights, of whom the Kaiser is himself Grand Master, approve of these proceedings? Do they think that He who said "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these little ones, ye have done it unto Me" knows of any distinction of race? How can German Christians, from their rulers downwards, face God and the Son of God in the intimacy of their prayers after sanctioning these black deeds which are the very negation of God and the teaching of Christ? Do the rulers of Germany and Turkey and the protagonists of the Reventlow doctrine believe that empires, railways, or any other schemes of expansion, built upon foundations of the blood and tears of hundreds of thousands of human beings, will endure and prosper and bring forth harvests of plenty and peace and happiness to their promoters, their children, and their children's children? They are mistaken. My word may count for naught to the rulers and leaders of mighty states; but it is true. We are an ancient people. "We have seen empires come and empires go." We have been ground for centuries in the mill of the ruthless clash of contending empires; but in spite of our long and bitter sufferings our belief to-day is as strong as ever in the existence of another mill, the mill of Divine Justice, which grinds in its own good time, and may grind slow, but "it grinds exceeding small." Who will doubt or deny that violence to women and children and unoffending, defenceless men, "every hair of whose head is numbered," will not be forgiven by their just and Almighty Creator; that the sacrifice of them for ulterior selfish objects will not be overlooked? Political and military acts of the mightiest empires, entailing injustice, violence and suffering to weaker peoples will bring Nemesis in their train in due course. The idol with feet of clay, sunk in the blood of innocents, cannot endure. Sooner or later it must fall.
THE BLUE-BOOK---THE EPIC OF ARMENIA'S MARTYRDOM, THE REVELATION OF HER SPIRIT AND CHARACTER--- "TRUTH" ON THE ARMENIANS: A DIGRESSION
To realize, even approximately, the unimaginable barbarities that have been committed by the Turks during the Great Armenian Tragedy of 1915, it is necessary to read the Blue-book itself. But the Blue-book is a bulky volume, and the average man or woman has so many calls on his or her attention in these stirring and momentous times, that I fear it will not be read as widely as it deserves to be read in the interests of humanity, Christianity, and civilization. I have, therefore, thought it desirable to quote a number of extracts which will give the reader some idea of the nature and magnitude of the horrors chronicled in that fearful epic of a nation's martyrdom, in the hope that they may thereby reach a wider circle of the public.
Apart from giving the reader a general idea of the atrocities themselves, I have selected and grouped the extracts with the object of calling attention to the incidental or subsidiary morals and lessons they convey, which have received little or no notice in the Press reviews. The Blue-book reveals the spirit, the character and the ideals which lay hidden under the unattractive outside appearance of the Armenians, upon which has been based their mostly superficial judgment of them by European travellers. Often under the influence of a sense of indebtedness for an escort of Zaptiehs "graciously placed at their disposal by a kindly vali" (in whose harem were probably languishing a dozen or more enslaved women), they have seldom paused to understand the tragedy of the dour, subdued, anxious mien of the Armenian peasant seen trudging wearily along in the highways and byways of Asia Minor. They little realized that the Armenian lived under the strain of constant terrorism; that he never knew when the honour of his wife or sister might be violently assaulted; when he might be stabbed in the back; when his cattle might be driven away or his crops burned or stolen. He was afraid even of a too attractive personal appearance, lest he should excite the cupidity and jealousy of his Turkish neighbour. If he fell upon his persecutor and slew him in defence of the honour of his womenfolk, it meant the wiping out not only of his family but of his whole village. His own government was his deadly enemy, bent upon his destruction. This has been the tragedy of the Armenian's life for generations. It has been little known in the West because Armenia is a long way off, and few European travellers have stopped to look below the surface. He has lived with the yatagan hanging over his head, like the sword of Damocles, from birth to death. Virile, industrious, patient, long-suffering, but never despondent, he has clung to his faith, his soil, his ancient culture, his nationality and ideals of civilization with a tenacity that centuries of "bloody tyranny" have tended only to steel more and more. That he has succeeded in preserving the ideals which have cost his nation such heartbreaking sacrifices is abundantly proved by the Blue-book. Here is one evidence: "Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, said, "I am amazed at the self-control of the Armenians, for though the Turks did not spare a single wounded Armenian, the Armenians are helping us to save the Turks" (p. 70).
But of all the tales of calm, dignified heroism in face of death recorded in the Blue-book, W. Effendi's letter (p. 133, and 504 of the Bluebook) written on the eve of his, his young wife's and infant child's deportation to what he knew to be certain death, will ever stand out as an impressive example of the noblest heroism, the highest conception of the teaching of Christ and a complete triumph of the spirit, unsurpassed in the annals of Christian martyrdom. "May God forgive this nation all their sin which they do without knowing," wrote this true follower of Christ, while he was making ready for his and his loved ones' journey to sorrow and death. It recalls the story of St. Stephen's martyrdom. W. Effendi's letter and Nurse Cavell's immortal words, "patriotism. is not enough," strike me as the two most remarkable utterances delivered spontaneously by heroic spirits in proof of the bankruptcy of the "frightfulness" to which they were on the point of falling victims.
There was a short notice in Truth of January 31, 1917, in connection with Armenia Day which contained the following remark: "Some people despise these 'eleventh Allies' as a mercenary race. but others, like Mr. Noel Buxton, depict them in a much more attractive light."
With the reader's indulgence I will digress for a moment to deal briefly with this totally unjustified stigma cast wantonly upon the character of a sorely tried nation.
In the unoffensive sense of the word the whole human family may be called "mercenary." I have not met or heard of a race of men in any of the explored parts of the earth, whatever their colour, creed, or degree of civilization, who had any conscientious objection to the acquiring of as much money as they could acquire by legitimate and honourable means. I do not suppose Truth itself is dispensing its very helpful "Rubber tips" week by week solely for the good of humanity. But if it is asserted that the Armenian race puts the love of gold before everything else in life, such an assertion at this juncture is a particularly ill-timed, offensive and unworthy aspersion. A mercenary race, forsooth! If the Armenian race had valued gold above its loyalty to its faith and nationality; if it had attached greater value to material prosperity than to spiritual ideals and principles, it would have accepted Islam centuries ago---Heaven knows the temptation was great---and won a predominant position for itself in Asia Minor. It would be counted to-day not by two or three, but by twenty or thirty millions. But under the longest and bloodiest pressure endured by any people in history, culminating almost in its extermination, it refused to sell its soul.
Thousands of Armenians could have saved their lives by feigning to accept Islam, but, with few exceptions, they refused to commit even that measure of spiritual dishonesty, which would perhaps not have been considered unpardonable under the circumstances. There is scarcely any instance of an Armenian woman trafficking her honour for money; which is, perhaps, the most eloquent refutation of the calumny.
What good object has Truth served by giving currency in its columns to this libel against an oppressed people, almost wiped out because of its Christian faith and its sympathy for and support of the Allied cause? Even if there were the remotest justification for it one would have thought that Truth would have shrunk, at this dark and bitter hour, from adding insult to the agony of a people plunged into sorrow and mourning for the loss of half its number. But the assertion that the Armenians are a mercenary race is not true. It is part of the propaganda carried on by a very few people who are either blinded by unreasoning prejudice, or have some special purpose to serve, or believe that they are discharging some kind of duty by whitewashing the Turk and blackening the Armenian. I believe that these admirers of the votaries of "bloody tyranny" on the Bosphorus are very few indeed in this country. Whoever they are and whatever their motives, conscious of my obligations to the generous hospitality of this country---for which I cannot be too grateful---but taking my stand on the broader ground of Humanity, I wish to say to them, "Though you are in Great Britain, you are not of it; though this great, humane and Christian country may be your physical home by accident of birth, you will find your congenial 'spiritual home' in the offices of Count Reventlow and the Tanine. Charity, after all, is a matter between a man and his conscience and his God. If you cannot give your money to a starving woman or child without massacring them morally, while the Turk is taking their life, pray spare your money and let the Armenian die; it will please the Turk and his allies. Perhaps it would be more in harmony with your sentiments and political faith to lend your money to your friend the Turk. When the war is over he may need a fresh supply of arms, for even the tender limbs of the countless women and children on whom he has practised his 'chivalry' may well have blunted and worn his old stock."
There are mercenary Armenian individuals as there are mercenary persons in every nation. It may be that, debarred from government posts except when he was indispensable, the town Armenian in Turkey, like the Greek and Syrian, has been compelled to direct his energies into commercial channels in a larger proportion than free and independent nations. Naturally, also, through generations of ruthless persecution, the Armenian nation has thrown up a flotsam and jetsam of indigents wandering far and wide in search of security and the means of earning a living. But to brand the whole Armenian race as "mercenary" is malevolent nonsense, or credulity due to a total ignorance of the facts. Seventy or eighty per cent. of the Armenians in Turkish as well as Russian Armenia are peasants, farmers and artisans. That is approximately true also of the Persian Armenians. Even in the United States the majority of the immigrants have taken to fruit-growing in California. Armenians who have the means to give their sons a good education almost invariably make them follow a profession in preference to commerce, as witness the number of Armenian university professors, doctors, lawyers and some artists and painters of considerable merit in the United States.20 Probably no people have made the sacrifices made by Armenians, in proportion to their means, for the relief of distress during the war. There have been a few exceptions among the very rich whose moral sense has been blunted by luxury and self-indulgence. They can be counted on the fingers of one hand. They belong to that class of cosmopolitan financiers and traders who are no more thrilled by the music of their country's or any country's name; who are unmoved by the cry of starving women and children of their own or any race; whose home is the world and whose god is gold; who are no more the masters but the slaves of money. But this, again, is not peculiar to Armenians; very far from it. It is a fraternity that embraces members of every, or almost every, race; and Armenians are barely represented upon it. It is palpably misleading as it is inaccurate to assert that these represent the Armenian nation. In fact, as far as my knowledge goes, the masses of the Armenian people are ashamed of them, because their worship of gold and vanity are alien to the national spirit, and bring discredit upon the nation. For generations Armenian educational and religious institutions have been maintained by voluntary grants; and I do not know that any European citizen bears a heavier burden for the needs of his nation than does the individual Armenian.
It must not be supposed from what I have said that all, or the majority, of rich Armenians have been deaf or indifferent to their country's need. That would be a mistake and an injustice. On the whole their response to the call of their afflicted country has been satisfactory, considering that they had obligations to the belligerent countries to which they owed allegiance. I know of one contribution of £30,000,21 while ten Moscow merchants raised a million roubles between them for their nation's needs. A prominent Armenian physician has relinquished a large and remunerative practice at Petrograd to superintend personally the administration of an orphanage at Erzerum, which he has opened on his own private account. The Catholicos's palace at Etchmiadzin was converted into a hospital for refugees in the early months of 1915. Almost every Armenian peasant family in the Caucasus have housed and cared for one or more refugees in their humble cottages ever since the influx of their distressed kinsmen from the other side of the frontier in the spring and summer of 1915. I have not marshalled these facts in a spirit of flaunting the virtues of my race---we certainly hold no monopoly of all the virtues, or indeed of all the vices, to which human nature is heir---but I know of no better way to disprove the baseless aspersions assiduously disseminated by some interested people for purposes of pro-Turkish propaganda and accepted by the credulous as true.
Lord Bryce has known the Armenian people longer and more intimately than any eminent European statesman, historian and diplomatist has ever done before, and his dictum will no doubt be generally accepted as that of a great and final authority. I therefore make no apology for quoting his lordship's most recent utterance on the subject reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, February 2, 1917--
"Having known a very large number of Armenians, he had been greatly struck, not only with their high level of intelligence and industry, but also by their intense patriotism. He did not know of any people who had shown greater constancy, patience and patriotism under difficulties and sufferings than the Armenians. He personally had always found them perfectly loyal. He had frequently had occasion to give them confidential advice and to trust them with secrets. and never on any occasion had he found that confidence misplaced. . . . As a proof of their loyalty and devotion to their country he might mention that the Armenians living in America had contributed sums enormous in proportion to their number and resources, for they were nearly all persons of small means, for the relief of the refugees who had been driven out by the Turkish massacres. No people during the war had done more in proportion to their capacities than the Armenians had done for the relief of their suffering fellow-countrymen. A large number of them were also fighting as volunteers in the armies of France, where they had displayed the utmost courage and valour in the combats before Verdun."
To return to the extracts from the Blue-book. Group 'A' affords a melancholy abundance of indisputable evidence that it was not Kurds and brigands alone who did Satan's work in Armenia, but that the chief culprits were Turkish officials, high and low, officers, soldiers, gendarmes and rabble; even a member of parliament took a turn! They not only played the principal part in the vast and revolting carnival of blood, lust and savagery, but they took a delight and pride in the part they played, and laughed at the sufferings and tortures of their victims.22
Group "B" bears evidence of a heroism and fidelity in torture and death, to faith, honour and the ideal of nationality, unsurpassed in the history of mankind, which must redound to the eternal glory of Christianity and to the honour of the Armenian name. I respectfully suggest for consideration by the Heads of the Christian Churches that a day should be fixed to commemorate annually the martyrdom of this vast number of Armenian Christians.
Group "C" contains proofs of the conduct of insurgent Armenians in the unequal struggles for self-defence, and it should be remembered that these are but a few instances, mainly of what was seen or heard of by foreigners. The ruined towns and villages, the silent fields and highways of this land of blood and tears, what secrets of desperate heroism in defence of wife and child, mother and sister, these guard will probably never be known. Group "C" also contains evidence of the fact that the Turks had to employ considerable bodies of troops to overcome the desperate resistance of Armenians in many places, such as Moush, Sassoon, Van, etc. A third feature in this group is that the Turks attributed their defeats in the Caucasus to the Armenians.23
Taken together, these extracts, and the Blue-book from which they are taken, form a better mirror of the characteristics of the two races than all that has been written on the subject for a century. They show the radical dissimilarity of their natures, and the vast difference between the respective stages of civilization in which the two races find themselves.
Was it Buddha or Confucius who said that the principal difference between man and the rest of the animal world is, that man possesses the feeling of pity for the pain and suffering of his fellow-men or animals? What would they think of this strange race of human beings who delight in torture and murder, sparing neither sex nor age, nor even unborn babes and their mothers; who inflict pain and jeer at their victims?
I remember reading in one of Mr. Lloyd George's speeches not long ago: "It is not the trials one has to go through in life, but the way one faces them that matters," or words to that effect. This is as true of nations as it is of individuals. "In the reproof of chance lies the true proof of men," and of nations. How has the Armenian nation conducted itself in this great upheaval and borne the terrible ordeal revealed by the Blue-book: an ordeal the horror and magnitude of which it is absolutely beyond the power of the human mind to imagine? The Blue-book itself furnishes the answer. From the first day of the war, Armenians in all countries understood the nature of the issues involved. They had no doubt on which side lay their sympathies, which were never influenced by the varying fortunes of the war. They were exposed to grave risks and paid a terrible price. Could there be a better proof of intellectual rectitude and the sincerity of sentiment? This, I trust, will silence for ever the dastardly reflections often cast upon the honesty of the Armenian people. There are some dishonest Armenians as there are some dishonest men in all nations. But, whether through prejudice, malice, or ignorance of the facts, to brand as dishonest a whole people who have been on the Cross for half a millennium for their religion and patriotism, is unworthy of civilized and right-minded men.
There are two other important facts which the Blue-book establishes beyond dispute. There was no revolt. Indeed, it would have been sheer madness on the part of the Armenians to attempt a rising when their able-bodied manhood was with the colours. The second fact the Blue-book reveals is, that the Armenian party leaders did their utmost to dissuade the Young Turks from joining the war. When the veil of war has lifted, and Europe comes to know more of what took place behind the scenes in Constantinople prior to Turkey's entry into the war, it will be seen how near the personal influence and eloquence of the Armenian deputy Zohrab came to turning the scale against the fateful and suicidal decision. This brilliant young jurist, an intimate personal friend of Enver and Talaat who sought his advice almost daily, was murdered by their orders on the way to Diyarbekir. Armenians have been charged with a lack of political aptitude as well as with treachery to the Ottoman Empire. I would specially call the attention of those who hold these views---Europeans, Moslems, and thinking Turks themselves---to the fact that, at a time of crisis, it was the Armenians who saw clearly the path of safety for the empire, and showed their loyalty to it, in spite of all they had suffered in the past, by their councils of prudence to which the Young Turks lent a deaf ear.
While on the subject of the Blue-book, I cannot refrain from saying that I noted with profound regret the distinction that was evidently made, in many cases, between Catholic and Protestant Armenians on the one hand, and Gregorians on the other, in the efforts that were made to save them from massacre or deportation. It is no secret that His Holiness the Pope and President Wilson intervened through their representatives in Constantinople, and possibly in Berlin and Vienna, to stop the massacres. I record this fact with the deepest gratitude. Of course no such distinction can possibly have been made by the Pope or President Wilson, or their ambassadors; it was probably due to the well-meant activities of subordinates or of local European or American residents.
No doubt it was better to save Catholics and Protestants than none at all, but the very idea of any distinction being thought of, under such fateful circumstances, is obviously contrary to the spirit of Christianity, and the passages referring to it make sad reading to a Christian.
EXTRACTS PROM THE BLUE-BOOK
THE Archbishop of Erzeroum, His Grace Sempad, who, with the Vali's authorization, was returning to Constantinople, was murdered at Erzindjan by the brigands in the service of the Union and Progress Committee. The bishops of Trebizond, Kaisaria, Moush, Bitlis, Sairt, and Erzindjan have all been murdered by order of the Young Turk Government" (p. 23).
"The shortest method for disposing of the women and children concentrated in the various camps was to burn them. Fire was set to large wooden sheds in Alidjan, Megrakom, Khaskegh. and other Armenian villages. and these absolutely helpless women and children were roasted to death. And the executioners, who seem to have been unmoved by this unparalleled savagery, grasped infants by one leg and hurled them into the fire, calling out to the burning mothers: 'Here are your lions' " (p. 86).
"The Turks boasted of having now got rid of all the Armenians. I heard it from the officers myself, how they revelled in thought that the Armenians had been got rid of" (p. 88).
"It was heartrending to hear the cries of the people and children who were being burnt to death in their houses. The soldiers took great delight in hearing them, and when people who were out in the streets during the bombardment fell dead the soldiers merely laughed at them" (p. 90).
"Every officer boasted of the number he had personally massacred as his share in ridding Turkey of the Armenian race" (p. 90).
"Mehmed Effendi, the Ottoman deputy for Gendje (Ginj), collected about forty women and children and killed them" (p. 94).
"Of the other children, a girl was taken away and only escaped many months later when the Russians came. Very reluctantly she poured out her story to the Stapletons, from which it appeared that she had been handed round to ten officers after the murder of her husband and his mother, to be their sport" (p. 225).
" 'See what care the Government is taking of the Armenians,' the Vali said, and she returned home surprised and pleased; but when she visited the Orphanage again several days later, there were only thirteen of the 700 children left---the rest had disappeared. They had been taken, she learnt, to a lake six hours' journey by road from the town and drowned" (p. 260).
"Sister D. A. was told, at Constantinople, that Turks of all parties were. united in their approval of what was being done to the Armenians, and that Enver Pasha openly boasted of it as his personal achievement. Talaat Bey, too, was reported to have remarked, on receiving news of Vartkes's24 assassination: 'There is no room in the Empire for both Armenians and Turks. Either they had to go or we' " (p. 261).
"A crowd of Turkish women and children follow the police about like a lot of vultures, and seize anything they can lay their hands on, and when the more valuable things are carried out of a house by the police, they rush in and take the balance. I see this performance every day with my own eyes" (p. 289).
"It was a real extermination and slaughter of the innocents, an unheard-of thing, a black page stained with the flagrant violation of the most sacred rights of humanity, of Christianity, of nationality" (p. 291).
"When the Governor was petitioned to allow the infants to be entrusted to charitable Moslem families, to save them from dying on the journey, he replied: 'I will not leave here so much as the odour of the Armenians; go away into the deserts of Arabia and dump your Armenia there' " (p. 328).
"P. P., the college blacksmith, was so terribly beaten that a month later he was still unable to walk. Another was shod with horse-shoes. At Y., Mr. A. D. (brother-in-law of the pastor, A. E., who suffered martyrdom at Sivas twenty-one years ago) had his finger-nails torn out for refusing to accept Islam. 'How,' he had answered, 'can I abandon the Christ whom I have preached for twenty years?' " (p. 378.)
"In Angora I learned that the tanners and the butchers of the city had been called to Asi Yozgad, and the Armenians committed to them for murder. The tanner's knife is a circular affair, while the butcher's knife is a small axe, and they killed people by using the instruments which they knew best how to use" (p. 385).
"The Ottoman Bank President showed banknotes soaked with blood and struck through with daggers with the blot round the hole, and some torn that had evidently been ripped from the clothing of people who had been killed---and these were placed on ordinary deposit in the bank by Turkish officers" (p. 386).
"One girl had hanged herself on the way; others had poison with them. Mothers were holding out their beautiful babies and begging the missionaries to take them" (p. 403).
"What was the meaning of all this? It was the deathblow aimed at Christianity in Turkey, or, in other words, the extermination of the Armenian people---their extermination or amalgamation" (p. 404).
"During the weary days of travel I had as my companion a Turkish captain, who, as the hours dragged by, came to look on me with less of suspicion, growing quite friendly at times. Arrived at ----- the captain went out among the Armenian crowd and soon returned with an Armenian girl of about fifteen years. She was forced into a compartment of an adjoining railway coach, in company with a Turkish woman. When she saw that her mother was not allowed to accompany her, she began to realize something of the import of it all. She grew frantic in her efforts to escape, scratching at the window, begging, screaming, tearing her hair and wringing her hands, while the equally grief-crazed mother stood on the railway platform, helpless in her effort to save her daughter. The captain, seeing the unconcealed disapproval in my face, came up and said: 'I suppose, Effendi, you don't approve of such things, but let me tell you how it is. Why, this girl is fortunate. I'll take her home with me, raise her as a Moslem servant in my house. She will be well cared for and saved from a worse fate---besides that, I even gave the mother a lira gold piece for the girl.' And, as though that were not convincing enough, he added: 'Why, these scoundrels have killed two of our Moslems right here in this city, within the last few days,' as though that were excuse enough, if excuse were needed, for annihilating the whole Armenian race. I could not refrain from giving him my version of the rotten, diabolical scheme, which., however, fell from his back like water" (p. 410).
"I learned here, too, of a nurse who had been in one of the mission hospitals, who two days before my arrival there had become almost crazed by the fear of falling into the hands of the human fiends, and had ended her life with poison. Were these isolated or unusual instances, it would excite no comment in this year of unusual things, but when we know of these things going on all over the empire, repeated in thousands of instances, we begin to realize the enormity of the crimes committed. I spoke again to the captain: 'Why are you taking such brutal measures to accomplish your aim? Why not accept the offer of a friendly nation, which offers to pay transportation if you will send these people out of the country to a place of safety?' He replied: 'Why, don't you understand, we don't want to have to repeat this thing again after a few years? It's hot down in the deserts of Arabia, and there is no water, and these people can't stand a hot climate, don't you see?' Yes. I saw. Any one could see what would happen to most of them, long before Arabia was reached" (p. 411).
"Crowds of Turkish women were going about insolently prying into house after house to find valuable rugs or other articles" (p. 411).
"The nation is being systematically done to death by a cruel and crafty method, and their extermination is only a question of time" (p. 432).
"Women with little children in their arms, or in the last days of pregnancy, were driven along under the whip like cattle. Three different cases came under my knowledge where the woman was delivered on the road, and because her brutal driver hurried her along, she died of haemorrhage" (p. 472).
"I saw one young woman drop down exhausted. The Turk gave her two or three blows with his stick and she raised herself painfully" (p. 484).
"I saw two women, one of them old, the other very young and very pretty, carrying the corpse of another young woman; I had scarcely passed them when cries of terror arose. The girl was struggling in the clutches of a brute who was trying to drag her away. The corpse had fallen to the ground, the girl, now half-unconscious, was writhing by the side of it, the old woman was sobbing and wringing her hands" (p. 564).
"Sixteen hundred Armenians have had their throats cut in the prisons of Diyarbekir. The Arashnort (bishop) was mutilated, drenched with alcohol, and burnt alive in the prison yard, in the middle of a carousing crowd of gendarmes, who even accompanied the scene with music. The massacres at Benia, Adiaman, the Selefka have been carried out deliberately; there is not a single male left above the age of 13 years; the girls have been outraged mercilessly; we have seen their mutilated corpses tied together in batches of four, eight, or ten, and cast into the Euphrates. The majority had been mutilated in an indescribable manner" (p. 21).
"Five hundred young men were shot outside the town without any formality. During the following two days the same process was carried out with heartless and cold-blooded thoroughness in the eighty Armenian villages of Ardjish, Adiljevas, and the rest of the district north of Lake Van. In this manner some 24,000 Armenians were killed in three days, their young women carried away and their homes looted" (p. 73).
"According to Turkish Government statistics 120,000 Armenians were killed in this district" (p. 95).
"The immense procession, sinking under its agony and fatigue, forces itself along and moves forward without respite. . . . No pen can describe what this tragic procession has endured, or what experiences it has lived through, on its interminable road. The least detail of them makes the human heart quail, and draws an unquenchable stream of bitter tears from one's eyes. . . . Each fraction of the long procession has its individual history, its especial pangs. . . . Here is a mother with her six children, one on her back, the second clasped to her breast; the third falls down on the road, and cries and wails because it cannot drag itself further. The three others begin to wail in sympathy, and the poor mother stands stock still, tearless, like a statue, utterly powerless to help" (p. 197).
"Babies were shot in their mothers' arms, small children were horribly mutilated, women were stripped and beaten. The villages were not prepared for attack; many made no resistance; others resisted until their ammunition gave out" (p. 36).
"A little bride and a slim young girl sidled up to our wagon to talk. In reply to our talk they told us that they were 'busy taking care of the babies.' We asked what babies, and they said: 'Oh, those the effendis stop here; the mothers nurse them and then go.' We asked if there were many, and were told that every house was full. We were watched too closely to make calls possible. Afterwards we found an officer ready to talk, who said: 'We take them off after a while and kill them. What can we do? The mothers cannot take them, and the Government cannot take care of them for ever'" (p. 359).
"This frightful suffering inspires no pity in the ruthless officials, who throw themselves upon their wretched victims, armed with whips and cudgels, without distinction of sex or age" (p. 414).
"Many Armenian women preferred to throw themselves into the Euphrates with their infants, or committed suicide in their homes. The Euphrates and Tigris have become the sepulchre of thousands of Armenians" (p. 14).
"While the Armenian refugees had been mutually helpful and self-sacrificing, these Moslems showed themselves absolutely selfish, callous and indifferent to each other's suffering" (p. 42).
"Many went mad and threw their children away; some knelt down and prayed amid the flames in which their bodies were burning; others shrieked and cried for help which came from nowhere" (p. 86).
"Several young women, who were in danger of falling into the Turks' hands, threw themselves from the rocks, some of them with their infants in their arms" (p. 87).
"Among the massacred were two monks, one of them being the Father Superior of Sourp Garabed, Yeghishe Vartabed, who had a chance of escaping, but did not wish to be separated from his flock, and was killed with them" (p. 96).
"In some cases safety was bought by professing Mohammedanism, but many died as martyrs to the faith" (p. 102).
"The mother resisted, and was thrown over a bridge by one of the Turks. The poor woman broke her arm, but her mule-driver dragged her up again. Again the same Turks threw her down, with one of her daughters, from the top of the mountain. The moment the married daughter saw her mother and sister thrown down, she thrust the baby in her arms upon another woman, ran after them, crying, 'Mother, mother?' and threw herself down the same precipice" (p. 274).
"Sirpouhi and Santukht, two young women of Ketcheurd, a village east of Sivas, who were being led off to the harem, by Turks, threw themselves into the river Halys, and were drowned with their infants in their arms. Mlle. Sirpouhi, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Garabed Tufenjjian of Herag, a graduate of the American College of Marsovan, was offered the choice of saving herself by embracing Islam and marrying a Turk. Sirpouhi retorted that it was an outrage to murder her father and then make her a proposal of marriage. She would have nothing to do with a godless and a murderous people; whereupon she, and seventeen other Armenian girls who had refused conversion, were shamefully ill-treated and afterwards killed near Tchamli-Bel gorge" (p. 325).
"Many began to doubt even the existence of God. Under the severe strain many individuals became demented, some of them permanently. There were also some examples of the greatest heroism and faith, and some started out on the journey courageously and calmly, saying in farewell: 'Pray for us. We shall not see you again in this world, but some time we shall meet again' " (p. 335).
" 'No, I cannot see what you see, and I cannot accept what I cannot understand.' So the oxcarts came to the door and took the family away. The wife was a delicate lady and the two beautiful daughters well educated. They were offered homes in harems, but said: 'No, we cannot deny our Lord. We will go with our father' " (p. .354).
"In a mountain village there was a girl who made herself famous. Here, as everywhere else, the men were taken out at night and pitifully killed. Then the women and children were sent in a crowd, but a large number of young girls and brides were kept behind. This girl, who had been a pupil in the school at X., was sent before the Governor, the Judge, and the Council together, and they said to her: 'Your father is dead, your brothers are dead, and all your other relatives are gone, but we have kept you because we do not wish to make you suffer. Now just be a good Turkish girl and you shall be married to a Turkish officer and be comfortable and happy.' It is said that she looked quietly into their faces and replied: 'My father is not dead, my brothers are not dead; it is true you have killed them, but they live in Heaven. I shall live with them. I can never do this if I am unfaithful to my conscience. As for marrying, I have been taught that a woman must never marry a man unless she loves him. This is a part of our religion. How can I love a man who comes from a nation that has so recently killed my friends? I should neither be a good Christian girl nor a good Turkish girl if I did so. Do with me what you wish.' They sent her away, with the few other brave ones, into the hopeless land. Stories of this kind can also be duplicated" (p. 355).
"The men were finally convinced of the uselessness of their efforts when one of the younger and prettiest girls spoke up for herself and said: 'No one can mix in my decisions; I will not "turn" [change her religion], and it is I myself that say it' " (p. 357).
"Mr. A. R, a colporteur, had been willing to embrace Islam, but his wife refused to recognize his apostasy, and declared that she would go into exile with the rest of the people, so he went with his wife and was killed" (p. 378).
"Again and again they said to me: 'Oh, if they would only kill me now, I would not care; but I fear they will try to force me to become a Mohammedan" (p. 403).
"When we consider the number forced into exile and the number beaten to death and tortured in a thousand ways, the comparatively small number that turned Moslem is a tribute to the staunchness of their hold on Christianity" (p. 413).
"If the events of the past year demonstrate anything, they show the practical failure of Mohammedanism in its struggle for existence against Christianity---in its attempt to eliminate a race which, because of Christian education, has been proving increasingly a menace to stagnating Moslem civilization. We may call it political necessity or what not, but in essence it is a nominally ruling class, jealous of a more progressive Christian race, striving by methods of primitive savagery to maintain the leading place" (p. 413).
"The courage of that brave little doctor's wife, who knew she must take her two babies and face starvation and death with them! Many began to come to her home---to her, for comfort and cheer, and she gave it. I have never seen such courage before. You have to go to the darkest places of the earth to see the brightest lights, to the most obscure spot to find the greatest heroes.
"Her bright smile, with no trace of fear in it, was like a beacon light in that mud village, where hundreds were doomed.
"It was not because she did not understand how they felt; she was one of them. It was not because she had no dear ones in peril; her husband was far away, ministering to those who were sending her and her babies to destruction" (p. 418).
"One woman gave birth to twins in one of those crowded trucks, and crossing a river she threw both her babies and then herself into the water" (p. 420).
"And how are the people going? As they came into B. M., weary and with swollen and bleeding feet, clasping their babes to their breasts, they utter not one murmur or word of complaint; but you see their eyes move and hear the words: 'For Jesus' sake, for Jesus' sake!' " (p. 478).
"Let me quote from W. Effendi, from a letter he wrote a day before his deportation with his young wife and infant child and with the whole congregation
" 'We now understand that it is a great miracle that our nation has lived so many years amongst such a nation as this. From this we realize that God can and has shut the mouths of lions for many years. May God restrain them! I am afraid they mean to kill some of us, cast some of into most cruel starvation and send the rest out of this country; so I have very little hope of seeing you again in this world. But be sure that, by God's special help, I will do my best to encourage others to die manly. I will also look for God's help for myself to die as a Christian. May this country see that, if we cannot live here as men, we can die as men. May many die as men of God. May God forgive this nation all their sin which they do without knowing. May the Armenians teach Jesus' life by their death, which they could not teach by their life or have failed in showing forth. It is my great desire to see a Reverend Ali, or Osman, or Mohammed. May Jesus soon see many Turkish Christians as the fruit of His blood.
" 'May the war end soon, in order to save the Moslems from their cruelty (for they increase in that from day to day) and from their ingrained habit of torturing others. Therefore we are waiting on God, for the sake of the Moslems as well as of the Armenians. May He appear soon' " (p. 504).
"Before the girls were taken, the Kaimakam asked each one, in the presence of the Principal of the College, whether they wanted to become Mohammedans and stay, or go. They all replied that they would go. Only Miss H. became a Mohammedan, and went to live with G. Professors E. and F. F. had been arrested with other Armenians, but in the name of all the teachers some £250 to £300 were presented to the officials, and so they were let free" (p. 370).
"The priests were among the first to be sent off. A Turk described how K. K. was killed. They stripped him of all his clothes, excepting his underclothing. With his hands bound behind his back, he knelt, with his son beside him, and they finished him off with axes, while he was praying. The same description was given of the execution of L. L.---how they took off his head by hacking down into his shoulders with axes and carving the head out like a bust" (p. 371).
"But the [Armenian] revolutionists conducted themselves with remarkable restraint and prudence; controlled their hot-headed youth; patrolled the streets to prevent skirmishes; and bade the villagers endure in silence: better a village or two burned unavenged than that any attempt at reprisals should furnish an excuse for massacre" (p. 33).
"Some of the rules for their men [the Armenian defenders of Van] were: 'Keep clean; do not drink; tell the truth; do not curse the religion of the enemy' " (p. 35).
"But, enraged as Djevdet was by this unexpected and prolonged resistance, was it to be hoped that he could be persuaded to spare the lives of one of these men, women and children?" (p. 39).
"Not all the Turks had fled from the city [Van]. Some old men and women and children had stayed behind, many of them in hiding. The Armenian soldiers, unlike Turks, were not making war on such" (p. 41).
"Our Turkish refugees cost us a fearful price. . . . Then, for four days more, two Armenian nurses cared for the [Turkish] sick ones at night and an untrained man nurse helped me during the daytime" (p. 42).
"Mr. Yarrow, seeing all this, said: 'I am amazed at the self-control of the Armenians, for though the Turks did not spare a single wounded Armenian, the Armenians are helping us to save the Turks---a thing that I do not believe even Europeans would do' " (p. 70).
"The Turks offered to the Georgians the provinces of Koutais and of Tiflis, the Batoum district and a part of the province of Trebizond; to the Tartars, Shousha, the mountain country as far as VladikavIaz, Bakou, and a part of the province of Elisavetpol; to the Armenians they offered Kars, the province of Erivan, a part of Elisavetpol; a fragment of the province of Erzeroum, Van and Bitlis. According to the Young Turk scheme, all these groups were to become autonomous under a Turkish protectorate. The Erzeroum Congress refused these proposals, and advised the Young Turks not to hurl themselves into the European conflagration---a dangerous adventure which would lead Turkey to ruin" (p. 80).
"The Turkish regulars and Kurds, amounting now to something like 30,000 altogether, pushed higher and higher up the heights and surrounded the main Armenian position at close quarters. Then followed one of those desperate and heroic struggles for life which have always been the pride of mountaineers. Men, women and children fought with knives, scythes, stones, and anything else they could handle. They rolled blocks of stone down the steep slopes, killing many of the enemy. In a frightful hand-to-hand combat, women were seen thrusting their knives into the throats of Turks and thus accounting for many of them. On August 5, the last day of the fighting, the blood-stained rocks of Antok were captured by the Turks. The Armenian warriors of Sassoun, except those who had worked round to the rear of the Turks to attack them on their flanks, had died in battle" (p. 87).
"In the first week of July 20,000 soldiers arrived from Constantinople by way of Harpout with munitions and eleven guns, and laid siege to Moush" (p. 89).
"The energetic Armenian committees have taken care of their own people, and have been unexpectedly generous to the Syrians who are quartered in their midst" (p. 107).
"He met an Armenian officer who had escaped from the Turks, who told him of the deportation and massacre of the Armenians. He said that the attitude of the Turks towards the Armenians was more or less good at the beginning of the war, but it was suddenly changed after the Turkish defeat at Sari-Kamysh, as they laid the blame for this defeat upon the Armenians, though he could not tell why" (p. 231).
"The fact cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was no 'rebellion' " (p. 34).
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