Who Is Armenia! -ld19170901

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Published by Funk & Wagnalls Company (Adam W. Wagnals, Press.; Wilfred J. Funk, Vice-Pres.; Robert J. Cuddiby, Treas.; William Neisel, Sec'y), 354-360 Forth Ave., New York

The Literary Digest for September 1, 1917

SO LITTLE FIRST-HAND INFORMATION concerning the sufferings of the Armenian peoples reaches us that the letter of a British officer, printed in the New York Evening Post, deserves notice. The source of the letter is Bombay and the writer, who is ill in hospital there, declares that before he got his wound in the fighting beyond Bagdad he came in contact on several occasions with a highly educated Armenian who had escaped from the Turks and was being employed as an interpreter. The stories he told of the inhumanities inflicted upon his compatriots were so appalling that the officer made notes of his conversations and reproduces them "in something like his own language," so that "you can get at the heart of the man and realize what he and all educated Armenians feel." This is his story:

"What you have read and heard about Armenia is not a hundredth part of the truth. Dante's 'Inferno' was a heaven compared with the hell that the Turks have made of my country. Something of the awful reality of the past twelve months I have myself seen in passing through on the way to the front.

"At Aleppo there are four factories in which, under the supervision of deported Armenians, two thousand Armenian women are being employed under terrible conditions. The women are all deportees. One of them said to me: 'On a halt during our deportations I saw a gendarme bury a sick woman alive. Cold-blooded murders were an every-day occurrence. Our guards had orders to kill on the spot any one who lagged a pace behind on the journey. Often several were killed at once, and there was ditch together and covered. It was all horrible to behold, but our eyes eventually became hardened to the sight.'

"Bab, Messguene, and Zor are three places never to be forgotten by us Armenians. I have visited them. Do you know what happened there a few months since? By the order of Governor Afif, nearly one hundred of my brothers were murdered, massacred by armed Circassians.

"At Bosanti, I saw six railway trucks of little Armenian children being dispatched 'to an unknown destination.' What had these little innocents done to offend? Was it the mere fact of being alive and children of our thrice unhappy race?"

The German soldiers that one sees around the station in Armenia, he describes as "generally of a low type and not far behind the Turks in their disregard for the rights of our people":

"Their cruelty is a little different from that of the Turk, but the difference is only one of kind. The Turk, for example, often respects certain things which we have learned to associate with our religious or racial belief; the German has no respect for anything, nothing is too sacred from his profane hands. The Turk frequently used to show some respect and deference to the upper-class Armenians, the educated people, regarding them as perhaps capable of being useful even in a Turkish dominion. The German, as soon as he arrived here, pointed out the educated Armenian as the most dangerous of all, and instigated the Turks into organizing a ruthless persecution of the intellectual classes of Armenians.

"One day I walked from a place thousands of innocent women, girls, and children were bivouacked, suffering nameless miseries. I walked away because I could not bear any more to gaze upon them, and I came to a hill where I saw a little child. I was in Turkish uniform. The child came near and cried in Turkish: 'Give me for God's sake a piece of bread. For five days I have eaten nothing but this.' He pointed to some melon-skin that had been left lying on the road. I answered him in Armenian and the poor jumped up into my arms, saying: 'Art thou Armenian?' He remained there a minute uttering no other word. But I felt warm tears falling down my cheek.

"The waters of the Euphrates, the sands of the deserts of Mesopotamia, are the grave of the Armenian nation. I can no longer weep. My tears have frozen in my eyes."

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