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376                  JOUKNEYS IN KUEDISTAN    LETTER xxxm

of the threshing-floor, flogging them with their heavy
whips. My zaptieTis complain of the necessity they are
under of beating the people. They say (and I think
correctly) that they can never know whether a man has a
hoard of buried money or not without beating him. They
tell me also that they know that half the peasants have
nothing to pay their taxes with, but that unless they
beat them to "get what they can out of them" they
would be punished themselves for neglect of duty.

On the plains to the west and north-west of the lake
of Van, where the deep, almost subsoil, ploughing and
carefully-constructed irrigation channels testify to the
industry of a thrifty population, great depredations are
even now being committed, and though later the intense
cold and tremendous depths of snow of the jirmenian
highlands will proclaim the " Truce of God," the Kurds
are still on the alert. N"or are their outrages confined to
small localities, neither are they the result of " peculiar
local circumstances/' but from the Persian frontier near
Urmi, along a more or less travelled road of several
hundred miles, there is, generally speaking, no security
for life, traffic, or property, and I hear on good authority
that on the other side of Erzerum, even up to the
Eussian frontier, things are if possible worse.

I have myself seen enough to convince me that in the
main the statements of the people represent accurately
enough the present reign of terror in Armenia, and that
a state of matters nearly approaching anarchy is now
existing in the vilayet of Erzerum. There is no security
at all for the lives and property of Christians, law is being
violated daily, and almost with perfect impunity, and
peaceable and industrious subjects of the Porte, taxed
to an extent which should secure them complete pro-
tection, are plundered without redress. Their feeble
complaints are ignored, or are treated as evidence of