Written by Diana Abgar and originally published in 1910
In the foregoing pages I have directed my humble efforts to sketch out what the Powers of Europe have done in the past, and how their actions have reflected on my unfortunate race.
It is considered good policy now by a certain class of European writers to ascribe all the horrors of the Armenian Massacres to Hamid the despot, to represent him as a tyrant as unassailable and unconquerable as he was implacable, in short as a sort of superhuman being who swept everything before him to the consummation of his own despotic will. The reason for this is not difficult to perceive. They would fain disavow the part Europe has played in the tragedy, and to do this successfully it becomes necessary also to present Turkey to the world now as a paradise (from whence the tyrant once removed) peopled only by saints and angels; so we have also many roseate colored word pictures of Constitutional Turkey.
The murders, deportations and imprisonments of the Turkish revolutionaries, or more correctly reformers, were undoubtedly the sole work of Abdul Hamid and his palace clique, but Abdul and his minions could not have carried out that hellish work of wholesale extermination of the Armenians without the perpetration and participation of the Turkish people. It is true the massacres were originated and organized in the Palace, the Palace clique stirred up religious fanaticism and race hatred, but the co-operation of the people was necessary; and the people co-operated in order to plunder and enrich themselves with the worldly goods that the Armenians always knew how to acquire by their own industry and toil; the appeal to their marauding and bestial instincts met with a ready response. It was moreover easy work for a race of brigands, especially as their numbers exceeded their victims by about ten to one and who were practically unarmed.
The first Armenian Massacres of Abdul Hamid were tentative; he began by feeling the pulse of Europe; he found that the six Signatories to the Treaty of Berlin accepted the situation, he was thus emboldened to carry out that long and awful list of horrors that stands without its parallel in history. Clearly it was in the power of Europe to have prevented both the massacres and all the agonizing sufferings that came in their train, but Europe took no preventive action.
Let us ask the question, Who and what are these Turks, whom Europe for her own sordid ends has petted and pampered and helped and supported? and the answer comes with striking force to-day over the lapse of a century, in the words of one of England’s greatest sons: “I have never before heard that the Turkish Empire has been considered any part of the balance of Powers in Europe. They despise and contemn all Christian princes as infidels, and only wish to subdue and exterminate them and their people. What have these worse than savages to do with the Powers of Europe but to spread war, destruction, and pestilence among them? The Ministers and the policy which shall give these people any weight in Europe will deserve all the bans and curses of posterity1.”
Today the Powers of Europe are armed to the teeth. To-day they are groaning under the burden of armaments which they are increasing with breathless speed although the burden grows heavier. Today all Europe is trembling lest the hell-hounds of war be let loose. Has any political student put his finger on the cause which began, the beginning and the source of the evil, the Alpha of the Omega. I have put my finger on it—the beginning and the source—The jealousies and rivalries of European Politics in the Turkish Empire. According to an Eastern proverb “The flies are always round the honey,” but sometimes the flies stick in the honey.
Politicians of the Governments of Europe have said in the pride of their hearts “There is no God.” Particularly has this spirit of cynicism and heartlessness governed the actions of Russian politicians after the death of Alexander II. Since 1881, they have looked upon the extermination of the Armenians just as the pathfinder in a forest would look upon a dense forest growth, the clearing away of which would make out a path for him and lead to running streams and harvest fields. In the eyes of Russian politicians the unfortunate Armenians have been the forest growth which has stood in the way of their advance to the South and into Persia, and they have looked on with intense satisfaction at the exterminating process of the Turk, which they have regarded as the helping hand that clears away the difficulty confronting them. But precisely whether Russia can grow strong by the pouring out of Armenian blood, and whether her empire will be extended by their hellish extermination remains to be solved by the future. One thing, however, the history of the world points out, that iniquity ends, not in strength, but in dissolution; and “The wages of sin is death.”
Politicians of Europe have, in the pride of their hearts, arrogated to themselves that power, which appertains to the Creator; they have imagined that they hold the world in the hollows of their hands, and the misery or happiness of millions of human beings has weighed as nothing in their estimation, against the interests of what they have designated “our sphere of influence,” but they have forgotten what they need to be reminded that the Creator is mightier than the creature and that the eternal law of heaven and earth changeth not for politicians.
“And the First Morning of Creation wrote;
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.”
“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
“They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
When the heavens and earth shall perish, shall wax old as a garment and be changed as a vesture; whence shall endure the power and principalities, the empires and spheres of influence of him who is called man?
“As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”