Signs of Death in Turkey

Missionary Review of the World (October 1916)

Like the death throes of a wild beast are the frantic efforts of the ruling party in the Ottoman Empire to destroy their fellow countrymen-the Armenians and others who are of a different race and an opposing faith. The horrors of this march of death have been told only in part. They can not be fully described. Over eight hundred thousand Armenians have already been murdered or have died as a result of deportation and abuse. A like number have been deported to Mesopotamia and Arabia or have fled into Russia and Egypt. How many of these will survive can not be estimated, but the Armenian and Syrian Relief Committee (70 Fifth Avenue, New York) is endeavoring to raise $5,000,000 to feed and clothe the starving and naked and to enable survivors to become again self-supporting.

One who has recently traveled in northern Arabia and whose statements are reliable gives this vivid glimpse of the horrors he saw there:

"At Meskene I found 3,500 deported Armenians, and more than 100 orphans. A part of the people have settled here as bakers and butchers, etc., even though Meskene is but a halting-place. All the rest are begging. In every tent there are sick and dying. Any one who can not manage to get a piece of bread by begging, eats grass raw and without salt. Many hundreds of the sick are left without any tent and covering, in the open, under the glowing sun. I saw desperate ones throw themselves in grave-trenches, and beg the grave-diggers to bury them. The Turkish Government does not give the hungry any bread, nor any tent to those who remain outside. There came a caravan of sick women and children from Bab. They were in an indescribable condition. They were thrown down from the wagons like dogs. They cried for water, they were given each a piece of dry bread, but no one gave them water.

"I sought some one to care for the orphans and I found a young widow from Hadjin, who asked to take the children. She belonged to a good family, and gave herself with an intense love to the work for children. Ten days after my departure they had sent the woman with the one hundred children south. A few weeks later I found her in Sepka clothed in rags; she had lost her wits and wandered about the place asking every one; 'Where are my children?' Only two had survived.

"In Hama I found 7,000 deported, three thousand of them hungry and practically naked. Here there is no grass, for the locusts have consumed everything. The people were gathering locusts and eating them raw or cooked. Others were looking for the roots of grasses. They catch street dogs and, like savages, pounce upon dead animals whose flesh they eat eagerly without cooking.

"At Der Zor and in the neighborhood there are over 30,000 Armenians. The deportees are especially badly treated in the region of Der Zor. The people are driven back and forward with whip blows and can not even take their most urgent necessities. The people have the appearance of lost men. We often see a whole row of ghastly forms, raising suddenly out of a grave and asking for some bread and water. They have all dug their graves and lie waiting death. In Sepka a preacher from Aintab told me that parents have often killed their children. At the Government investigation it was shown that some people had eaten their children."

Such is the death struggle. It is inconceivable.

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