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

374                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN     LETTER xxxm

They are grossly ignorant, and of the world which
lies outside the sandjak in which they live they know
nothing. The Sultan is to them a splendid myth, to
whom they owe and are ready to pay a loyal allegiance.
Government is represented to them by the tax-gatherer
and his brutalities. Of justice, the most priceless pro-
duct of good government, they know nothing but that it
is a marketable commodity. With the Armenian trading
communities of the cities they have slender communication,
and little except nationality and religion in common.

As a .rule, they live in villages by themselves, which
cluster round churches, more or less distinguishable from
the surrounding hovels, but there are also mixed villages
in which Turks and Armenians live side by side, and in
these cases they get on fairly well together, though they
instinctively dislike each other, and the Turk despises his
neighbour both for his race and creed. The Armenians
have not complained of being maltreated by the Turkish
peasants, and had there been any cause for complaint it
would certainly have reached my ears.

On this journey hundreds of stories have been told
to me by priests of both the Old and Protestant Churches,
headmen, and others, of robbery by demand, outrages
on women, digging into houses, killing, collectively and
individually, driving off sheep and cattle, etc., etc.1

On the whole, the same condition of alarm prevails
among the Armenians as I witnessed previously among
the Syrian rayaks. It is more than alarm, it is abject
terror, and not without good reason. In plain English,

1 It was not possible to ascertain the accuracy of these narratives, and
though many of them appeared to be established by a mass of concurrent
and respectable testimony, I forbear presenting any of them to my readers,
especially as the report presented to Parliament in January 1S91 (Turkey,
No. 1) not only gives, on British official authority, a mass of investigated
facts, but states the case of the Armenian peasantry in language far
stronger than any that I should have ventured to use.