AND THE WAR
AN ARMENIAN'S POINT OF VIEW
WITH AN APPEAL TO BRITAIN AND
THE COMING PEACE CONFERENCE
A. P. HACOBIAN
WITH A PREFACE BY THE RT. HON. VISCOUNT BRYCE, O. M.
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
"They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak:
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think:
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three."
"To serve Armenia is to serve civilization."
W. E. GLADSTONE.
"We have put our money on the wrong horse."
THE MARQUIS OF SALISBURY.
[After the massacres of 1895-1896, Lord Salisbury, who bad himself taken a prominent part in the consummation of the Treaty of Berlin and the Cyprus Convention, frankly admitted the failure of the policy which gave birth to these treaties, and the futility of relying upon Turkish promises.]
". . . a Government incurably barbarous and corrupt."
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL.
". . . the Ottoman Empire . . . decidedly foreign to Western civilization"
ALLIES' NOTE TO PRESIDENT WILSON,
January 11, 1917.
THE end of the war will leave Great Britain and her Allies the practical arbiters of the destinies of Europe and the Near East. The predominant part played in the prosecution of the war by Great Britain and the British Empire will entitle them to an equally decisive voice in the councils of the Peace Conference. That proud position carries with it a supreme privilege as well as a heavy moral responsibility. That the voice and weight of Britain and Greater Britain will be cast, on all occasions, on the side of justice and liberty, there cannot be the slightest doubt. But however just and fair-minded a judge may be, it is impossible for him to dispense justice without hearing all sides of the case before him.
That is my plea for placing this statement of the cause of my afflicted country before the British public, confident that, with its inherent love of fair play, it will give my pleading a fair hearing.
I am anxious to make one point clear. I hold no authority and claim no right whatever to speak for the nation or any national or local organization of any kind. The views set forth in this little volume are the views of an individual Armenian who feels, as do no doubt all his compatriots, that the Armenian blood that has flowed so freely in this war, imposes upon every living Armenian the sacred duty of employing all legitimate means in his power to secure to the survivors the justice and reparation to which their numerous fallen relatives have given them an overwhelming and indisputable title. They are my views, and the responsibility for them rests on myself and myself alone.
I have stated my views frankly. One or two of my friends were kind enough to express the opinion that that might injure our cause. While I appreciate their interest and solicitude, I do not share their fears. I am convinced that the truth can never be unpopular with the British public or prejudice a good cause.
I have, of necessity, had to quote freely from many sources, and I take this opportunity to express my apologies and indebtedness to the authorities quoted, in particular to Lord Bryce and Mr. Arnold J. Toynbee for very kindly permitting me to quote extracts from the Blue Book.
A. P. HACOBIAN.
OF all the peoples upon whom this war has brought calamity and suffering, the Armenian people have had the most to endure. Great as has been the misery inflicted by the invaders upon the non-combatant populations of Belgium and Northern France, upon Poland, upon Serbia, the misery of Armenia, though far less known to the outer world, has been far more terrible.
When the European War broke out, in 1914, the Government of the Turkish Empire had fallen into the hands of a small gang of unscrupulous ruffians calling themselves the Committee of Union and Progress, who were ruling through their command of the army, but in the name of the harmless and imbecile Sultan. By means which have not been fully disclosed, but the nature of which can be easily conjectured, this gang were won over to serve the interests of Germany; and at Germany's bidding they declared war against the Western Allies, thus dragging all the subjects of Turkey, Muslim and Christian, into a conflict with which they had no concern. The Armenian Christians scattered through the Asiatic part of the Turkish dominions, having had melancholy experience in the Adana massacres some years previously of what cruelties the ruling gang were capable of perpetrating, were careful to remain quiet, and to furnish no pretext to the Turkish authorities for an attack upon them. But the rulers of Turkey showed that they did not need a pretext for the execution of the nefarious purposes they cherished. They had formed a design for the extermination of the non-Mohammedan elements in the population of Asiatic Turkey, in order to make what they called a homogeneous nation, consisting of Mohammedans only. The wickedness of such a design was equalled only by its blind folly, for the Christian Armenians of Asia Minor and the north-eastern provinces constituted the most industrious, the most intelligent, and the best-educated part of the population. Most of the traders and merchants, nearly all the skilled artisans, were Armenians, and to destroy them was to destroy the chief industrial asset which these regions possessed. However, this was the plan of the Committee of Union and Progress, and as soon as they began to feel, in the spring of 1915, that the Allied expedition against the Dardanelles was not likely to succeed, they proceeded to execute it. They first disarmed all the Armenians in order to have them at their mercy; and in some cases, in order to make it appear that the Armenians were intending to take up arms, they actually sent weapons into the towns and then had them seized as evidence against the Christians. When such arms as the Christians possessed had been secured, orders for massacre were issued from Constantinople to the local governors. The whole Armenian population was seized. The grown men were slaughtered without mercy. The younger women were sold in the market place to the highest bidder, or appropriated by Turkish military officers and civil officials to become slaves in Turkish harems. The boys were handed over to dervishes to be carried off and brought up as Muslims. The rest of the hapless victims, all the older men and women, the mothers and their babes clinging to them, were torn from their homes and driven out along the tracks which led into the desert region of northern Syria and Arabia. Most of them perished on the way from hardships, from disease, from starvation. A few were still surviving some months ago near Aleppo and along the banks of the Euphrates. Many, probably thousands, were drowned in that river and its tributaries, martyrs to their Christian faith, which they had refused to renounce; for it was generally possible for women, and sometimes for men, to save themselves by accepting Mohammedanism. By these various methods hundreds of thousands---the number is variously estimated at from 500,000 to 800,000---have perished. And all this was done with the tacit acquiescence of the German Government, some of whose representatives on the spot are even said to have encouraged the Turks in their work of slaughter, while the Government confined its action to propagating in Germany, so as to deceive its own people, false stories which alleged that the Armenians had been punished for insurrectionary movements.
All these facts, with many details too horrible to be repeated here, are set forth in the Bluebook recently published in England, containing accounts based upon incontrovertible evidence, and to which no reply has been made, though some denials, palpably false, have emanated from the Turkish gang, and some others from the German Government.
The victims who have thus been put to death, a large part of the whole Armenian people, belong to what is one of the oldest nations in the world, which has been Christian and civilized ever since the third century of our era. If any people ever deserved the sympathy of the civilized world, it is they who have clung to their faith and the traditions of their ancient kingdom ever since that kingdom was overthrown by the Turkish invaders many centuries ago. They now appeal to the Allied Nations who are fighting the battle of Right and Humanity against the German Government and its barbarous Turkish allies, asking that when the end of the war comes their case may be considered and they may be for ever delivered from the Turkish yoke. Nowhere is their hard case better known than in the United States, for it is the American missionaries who have, by their admirable schools and colleges planted in many cities of Asiatic Turkey, done more for them than any other country has done, giving them light, consolation and sympathy.
The author of this little book is an Armenian gentleman belonging to a family originally from Ispahan in Persia, but now settled in England. He speaks with intimate knowledge as well as with patriotic feeling, and states the case of his countrymen with a moderation well fitted to inspire confidence. Upon the arguments he puts forward I do not venture to express any opinion in detail. But those who know something of Asiatic Turkey will recognize with him that the Armenians are, by their intelligence and their irrepressible energy, the race best fitted to restore prosperity to regions desolated by Turkish oppression. The educated Armenians, notwithstanding all they have suffered, are abreast of the modern world of civilization. Among them are many men of science and learning, as well as artists and poets. They are scattered in many lands. I have visited large Armenian colonies as far west as California, and there are others as far east as Rangoon. Many of the exiles would return to their ancient home if they could but be guaranteed that security and peace which they have never had, and can never have, under the rule of the Turk. May we not confidently hope that the Allied Powers will find means for giving it to them at the end of this war, for extending to them that security which they have long desired and are capable of using well?
|ARMENIA AS A WAR ISSUE---GREATEST SUFFERER FROM TURKO-PRUSSIAN "FRIGHTFULNESS "---EFFECT ON AMERICAN OPINION
|ARMENIA AND REPARATION---ARMENIA'S MARTYRDOM---CONDEMNATION AND DEMAND FOR REPARATION INADEQUATELY EXPRESSED
|"THE GENTLE AND CLEAN-FIGHTING TURK"
|ANGLO-RUSSIAN FRIENDSHIP A VITAL NECESSITY FOR PEACE AND PROGRESS IN ASIA---MOSLEMS AND TURKISH RULE---ARMENIANS PROGRESSIVE AND DEMOCRATIC BY TEMPERAMENT
|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
|ARMENIA'S SERVICES IN THE WAR
|ARMENIA THE BATTLE-GROUND OF ASIA MINOR AND VICTIM OF CONTENDING EMPIRES
|THE BLUE-BOOK---THE EPIC OF ARMENIA'S MARTYRDOM, THE REVELATION OF HER SPIRIT AND CHARACTER---"TRUTH" ON THE ARMENIANS: A DIGRESSION
|EXTRACTS FROM THE BLUE-BOOK
|GREAT BRITAIN AND ARMENIA---THE LATE DUKE OF ARGYLL'S VIEWS---AN APPEAL TO BRITAIN
|AN APPEAL TO THE COMING PEACE CONFERENCE