Skip to main content

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

See other formats

LETTER xxxin        THREE NATIONALITIES                     373

the wild mountains of Kurdistan, and especially in
the Hakkiari country, which is sprinkled with their
rude castles and forts. An incurable love of plunder,
a singular aptitude for religious fanaticism, a reckless-
ness as to the spilling of blood, a universal rapacity, and a
cruel brutality when their passions are roused, are among
their chief vices. The men are bold, sober, and devoted
to their kinsmen and tribe; and the women are chaste,
industrious, and maternal. Under a firm and equitable
Government, asserting vigorously and persistently the
supremacy of law and the equal rights of race ajid creed,
they would probably develop into excellent material.

The village Turk, as he is described by Europeans
well acquainted with him and speaking his language,
and as I have seen him on a long journey, is a manly,
hospitable, hard-working, kindly, fairly honest fellow,
domestic, cheerful, patriotic, kind to animals, usually a
monogamist, and usually also attentive to his religious

The Christians, who, in this part of Kurdistan, are
all Armenians by race, live chiefly on the plains and in
the lower folds of the hills, and are engaged in pastoral
and agricultural pursuits. My letters have given a faith-
ful representation of them as dwelling with their animals
in dark semi-subterranean hovels. The men are in-
dustrious, thrifty, clannish, domestic, and not given to
vices, except that of intoxication, when they have the
means and opportunity, and the women are hardworking
and chaste. Both sexes are dirty, hardy, avaricious, and
superstitious, and ages of wrong have developed in them
some of the usual faults of oppressed Oriental peoples.
They cling desperately to their historic church, which is
represented among the peasants by priests scarcely less
ignorant than themselves. Their bishops constitute their
only aristocracy.