Skip to main content

Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xxvin      ROBBERY BY "DEMAND"                     2*79

made under threat of death. The latter mode of robbery
is called "demand." The servants of a Kurdish Bey
enter and ask for some jars of oil or roglian, a Kashmir
shawl, women's ornaments, a jewelled dagger, or a good
foal, under certain threats, or they show the owner a
bullet in the palm of the hand, intimating that a bullet
through his head will be his fate if he refuses to give up
his property or informs a,ny one of the demand.

In this way (among innumerable other instances) my

host at-------/ a much-respected man, had been robbed of

five valuable shawls, such as descend from mother to
daughter, four handsome coats, and 300 krans in silver.
In the last two years ten and fifteen loads of wheat have
been taken from him, and four four-feet jars filled with
oil and roghan. Four hundred and fifty sheep have like-
wise been seized by violence, leaving him with only fifteen;
and one night while I was at his house fifty-three of the
remaining village sheep, some of which were his, were

1 The complaints to which I became a listener were made by malefcs,
bishops, priests, headmen, and others. Exaggerations prevail, and the
same story is often told with as many variations as there are narrators.
I cannot vouch for anything which, did not come under my own observa-
tion. Some narratives dissolved under investigation, leaving a mere
nucleus of fact. Those which I thought worthy of being noted down
—some of which were published in the Contemporary Eeview in May and
June in two papers called The Shadow of the Kurd—were either fortified
by corroborative circumstances, or rest on the concurrent testimony as to
the main facts of three independent narrators.

In some cases I was asked to lay the statements before the British Consul
at Erzerum, with the names of the narrators as the authority on which
they rested, but in the greater number I was implored not to give names
or places, or any means of identification. " We are in fear of our lives if
we tell the truth," they urged. Sometimes I asked them if they would
abide by what they told me in the event of an investigation by the British
Vice-Consul at Yan. " No, no, no, we dare not!" was the usual reply.
Under these circumstances, the only course open to me is to withhold the
names of persons and places wherever I was pledged to do so, but as a
guarantee of good faith I have placed the statements, confidentially, with
the names, in the hands of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs.