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LETTER xxxiir   OUTRAGES ON CHRISTIANS                  375

general lawlessness prevails over much of this region.
Caravans are stopped and robbed, travelling is, for
Armenians, absolutely unsafe, sheep and cattle are being
driven off, and outrages, which it would be inexpedient
to narrate, are being perpetrated. Nearly all the villages
have been reduced to extreme poverty by the carrying
off of their domestic animals, the pillage, and in some
cases the burning, of their crops, and the demands made
upon them at the sword's point for every article of value
which they possess, while at the same time they are
squeezed for the taxes which the' Kurds have left them
without the means of paying.

The repressive measures which have everywhere
followed " the Erzerum troubles" of last June,—the
seizure of arms, the unchecked ravages of the Kurds, the
threats of the Kurdish Beys, who are boldly claiming
the sanction of the Government for their outrages, the
insecurity of the women, and a dread of yet worse to
come,—have reduced these peasants to a pitiable state.

The invariable and reasonable complaint made by the
Christians is, that though they are heavily taxed they
have no protection from the Kurds, or any advantage from
the law as administered in Kurdistan, and that taxes are
demanded from them which the Kurds have left them
without the means of paying. They complain that they
are brutally beaten when they fail to produce money for
the payment of the Government imposts, and they
allege with great unanimity that it is common for the
zaptiehs to tie their hands behind them, to plaster their
faces with fresh cow-dung, and throw pails of cold water
at their eyes, tie them to the posts of their houses and

flog them severely. In the village of-------, which has

been swept bare by the Kurds, the people asserted that
the zaptiehs had tied twenty defaulters together, and had
driven them round and round barefooted over the thistles