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Turkish Horrors In Persia -nyt19151011d
TURKISH HORRORS IN PERSIA
American-Educated Native Asks Aid for Thousands of Victims
OCTOBER 11, 1915
Sherman Malek Yonan, a well-to-do Persian who was graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1913 and returned to his native city of Uremia, has sent an appeal to the country that gave him his education to help the thousands of sufferers about him.
Mr. Yonan, whose nickname is college was Prince and who as a track athlete established the Washington and Lee record for the broad jump, makes his appeal in a letter written to a classmate on July 25, 1915, in which he describes as much of his terrible experience as the censors would pass. The letter is addressed to F. W. McWaine and has been printed in The Ring-Tum Phi, the Washington and Lee college weekly. It says in part:
It would take volumes, as big to the world a picture so horrible. No such things have happened since Creation.
"When Turkey declared war against the Allies, the Russians had a small army in Uremia. A couple of months later the army was withdrawn from Uremia. Now the sought chance had come to the Mussulmans. Oh, they did what they had contemplated, and a hundred per cent more.
"From that day commenced our tortures and evil days. Honestly, as I am writing, the tears are running down my cheeks. I can't help crying. Thousands and thousands of our people--men, women and children, have been butchered in cold blood. Thousands of girls from seven years up have been destroyed by the Moslems. Thousands have been forced against their will to become Mohammedans. Our churches are converted into stables--three-fourths of them burned. More than a hundred and twenty villages of Christians have been turned into ashes. Today there is no habitation left for us. Our own houses have been burned--property taken away-absolutely nothing left. Not being satisfied with this, the cruel Moslems imposed a heavy fine upon certain persons. There was a heavy fine on me. I couldn't find the money. Then I was warned to hide myself. If not I would mount the scaffold. I had to borrow the money to pay the fine.
"Well, I suppose you would think perhaps that was enough for me. But this was merely an introduction to the greater horrors. My folks had fled to Russia when they had a chance. My little brother and myself were left behind--found it impossible to go, so we had to stay.
"For exactly four months I hid myself. A Moslem friend of mine hid me. Imagine four months in a dark room, not being able to see even sunlight. Three times I escaped the capture. God himself saved me. The authorities were hunting me hard. Why they were so diligently hunting for me I do not know.
"The Christianity has absolutely perished here. About twelve thousand have perished by famine, murder and typhoid. Thanks to the American missionaries: they did a heroic work. It was their efforts which saved the remaining Christians.
"As a friend college mate, and classmate. I appeal to you for help. we are making appeals everywhere. The people are starving to death."
In submitting the letter for publication Mr. McWaine accompanied it with an appeal in Yonan's behalf, saving that contributions might be sent to him at Lexington Va., or direct to Shleeman Malek Yonan, Urumiah, Persia.
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