The Greatest of Religious Massacres
[The Independent; October 18, 1915]
The most extensive, the most atrocious of religious massacres which the world has seen for centuries is now being perpetrated in Turkey. It had seemed that the measure of her iniquity was full. Almost before she had had time to get over the first intoxication of her revolution which promised liberty, equality and fraternity to Moslem, Christian and Jew alike, the massacres of Adana and the vicinity occurred. But now the fury of slaughter has spread from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus. This is no frenzied dream, but the authenticated fact. We have it from many sources which must be credited. Our mission boards are receiving the story. Very slow were they to publish the facts, for missionaries must not be involved in political affairs, and massacre is political. Our old friend, Ambassador Bryce, confirms the unmentionable details and calls on America to do anything she can to save those who remain. This is no local affair; it is so general that it is intended, planned and ordered, thru the opportunity of war, to exterminate the Christians, Greek and Armenian, Protestant and Catholic. The tale comes from Marash and Ruitab on the west, from Trebizond on the north, from Bitlis and Van on the east, of men slaughtered by the tens of thousands, of women and girls buried in Moslem Harems to bear future soldiers, for the Turkish Government and the Moslem faith. Others are driven in herds from their homes, families separated, to go they know not where ,and to perish by hunger on the road—first deprived of property and then of life. No massacre of modern times compares with this.
What can we of the United States who have given so much money and so many devoted lives for the regeneration of Turkey do in this fearful emergency? Indeed, what! Turkey is in the throes of the great world war. We cannot reach Turkey with army or navy. Mightier armies than ours are now attacking and defending her. Indeed, Turkey is not her own. The munitions defending Constantinople come from Germany. The Turkish army is led by German officers. Germany's will rules at the Porte. Are we then to say that Germany is responsible for these massacres? Surely, surely, not directly. She could not have desired them. But she has been busy in the war, and it has not occurred to the War Office to forbid or prevent them. The Armenians do not love Turkey, doubtless they would help the Allies if they could. Many thousands have fled and are fleeing over the line to meet the Russian army in the Caucasus. The Armenians hate the Turks, and no wonder, and the Turks are taking the opportunity to give the old alternative of death or the Koran. But the one and only power that can stop these massacres is Germany. We are powerless, the allied nations are powerless, the neutral states are all powerless. Only Germany can do it.
We appeal to Christian Germany to forbid Turkey utterly, to exterminate Christianity in her empire. We call upon every organ of public opinion in this country to join in this appeal. The public conscience of the world may not be listened to in Constantinople, but it must be heard at Berlin. . .
But the doom of Turkey must be near at hand. The world has endured the intolerable Turk to the end. Her crime cries to Heaven for punishment. Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints!
© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013
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THE HEADLONG FURY
A Novel of World War One
By J. Fred MacDonald