The Plight Of Armenians -mr191510
THE PLIGHT OF ARMENIANS*
TELEGRAMS and letters continue to describe the awful sufferings of the Christian population of Armenia at the hands of the Turks. A letter from a British resident of Constantinople says:
"Zeitun has ceased to exist as an Armenian town. The inhabitants have been scattered, the city occupied by the Turks, and the very name changed. The same is true, to a large extent, of Hadjin. The Armenians of the regions of Erzerum, Bitlis, and Erzingan have, under torture, been converted to Islam. Mardin reports 1895 (the year of the infamous massacre) conditions as prevailing there. The tale is awful to the last degree. . . . The inhabitants of cities like Zeitun and Hadjin are driven out like cattle, and made to march long distances under burning sun, hungry and thirsty. More than a thousand families from Hadjin recently arrived in Aleppo in the last degree of misery, and yet the purpose is to send them much farther."
So critical is the situation that Mr. Morgenthau, the American Ambassador at Constantinople, who, almost single-handed, is fighting to prevent a wholesale slaughter, has asked and obtained the cooperation of the Ambassadors there of Turkey's allies, Baron von Wangenheim and Margrave Pallavincini. They have joined Mr. Morgenthau in trying to convince the Turkish government that a renewal of the atrocities of the former Turkish regime would be a crime.
"Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened." These words of Christ give light and encouragement in the dark scenes now transpiring in Turkey.
"The atrocities being committed there surpass anything that has ever preceded, even in the days of Abdul Hamid II," so writes a special correspondent in Turkey. The massacres are carefully planned and executed, and include the most revolting torture, murder, and a cruel methods of deportation that separates families and sends large numbers of the victims to inevitable death. There are even rumors that Enver Pasha is responsible for the program, and that a massacre of Christians is even planned in Constantinople.
In one city of Armenian twelve of the leading Armenians were taken out upon the road under pretense of deportation and were then put to death. A few days later 300 more men followed the same path.
This same methods is being followed in many other cities and villages in the interior of Turkey. "Women and children, old men and invalids are driven from their homes at the point of the bayonet and sent along different routes covering many days, even weeks, of travel. No preparations for the journey are made or permitted. Children born upon the road are strangled by the mothers, who are forbidden to lag behind the caravan of death. Those too ill to proceed are left alone by the roadside to die.
"The women who survive the journey are scattered among Moslem households, where the alternatives before them are Islam or death. This method of extermination is going on from Smyrna to Persia and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Some entire Armenian towns have been depopulated, and Moslems from Macedonia have been brought in to occupy the houses." Can we wonder that these stricken ones join in the cry of the martyrs in Revelation: "How long, O Lord, Holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?"
A German official recently told an American who was traveling in the country that they were definitely planning to eliminate the Christian races in Turkey. They are succeeding, and there are few to raise a protest, for since the restraining influence of the Allied powers is not felt, Turkey is free to satisfy her thirst for the blood of the Christians in the Empire. Never in Moslem history has there been such a riot of crime and murder aimed at the annihilation of the Armenian and Greek race. Is it not time for America to act in behalf of these unfortunate people?
THE ARMENIAN OUTRAGES.
Evidence of terrible Armenian outrages in Turkey continues to grow in volume and authority. It is impossible to disprove such statements as those, for example, which we presented in these pages last week. Count Bernstorff, the German Ambassador, at first denied that were any Armenian atrocities whatever, and while he carefully avoided attaching the veracity of the Church in Turkey, he asserted that the latter's account of the atrocities could not be relied on because he was writing under the duress of the Russian Government. Now, the Catholicos of the Armenian Church as a prelate of distinction. To accuse him of conniving at false statements under duress is at least undiplomatic and indicates how little Count Bernstorff respects the Armenian Church. HE would hardly think of accusing the Pope of making false statements of atrocities in Italy under Italian duress. Great Christian prelates do not so conduct themselves, and it is unpardonable for so accomplished a diplomat as Count Berstorff to make such a statement.
The German Ambassador has now modified his attitude, and says that the reports are "Greatly exaggerated." He does not deny that the Turks have imposed severe punishments upon the Armenians, but says that this has been called down upon them by their own rebellious activities. A Turkish-American writes an interesting letter to the "Evening Sun," of New York, in which he assert that the requirements of military efficiency have demanded that unflinching measures be taken against the Armenians on the ground that they are traitorous. His argument is as follows:
It must be remembered in the time of war, when a nation is struggling for its existence, measures which ordinarily are considered as strict become permissible and imperative. Thus we see that Baron Bissing, a wealthy British subject of Germany. Turks have found that the Armenians of Van district have actually gone into the enemy's camp or have helped to facilitate the invasion of the enemy.
There would be some ground for this position if individual Armenians, proved to be traitors, were incarcerated in prisons or in detention camps: but when thousands of Armenians, including women and children, are killed, starved, and outraged such explanations as those of Count Bernstorff or Mr. Djevad Eyoub--the Turkish-American from whose letter we quote--are no explanation at all. Lord Bryce says over his own name that in Trebizond many hundreds of Armenians, including men, women, and children, were driven by Turkish troops into the sea and drowned. Would Mr. Eyoub or Count Bernstorff compared this to imprisonment in a concentration camp or defend it as being the necessary treatment of traitors in war?
A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922