378 JOUENEYS IN KURDISTAN LETTEK xxxm
to retrieve their fortunes,—" to let the sheep's wool grow?
as their phrase is,—and then to rob them again, is the
simple story of the relations between Kurd and Christian.
They are well armed with modern rifles and revolvers.
I have rarely seen a Kurd with an old-fashioned weapon,
and I have never seen a Christian with a rifle, and their
nearly useless long guns have lately been seized by the
Government. The Kurds hate and despise the Turks,
their nominal rulers; but the Islamic bond of brother-
hood is stronger than the repulsion either of hatred or
contempt, and the latent or undisguised sympathy of
their co-religionists in official positions ensures them, for
the most part, immunity for their crimes, for the new
Code, under which the evidence of a Christian has
become nominally admissible in a court of law, being in
direct opposition to the teaching of the Koran, to the
practice of centuries, to Kurdish fanaticism, and to the
strong religious feelings and prejudices of those who
administer justice, is practically, so far as the Christians
are concerned, a dead letter.1
I am writing in an odah in the village of Harta, after
a wild mountain ride in wind, sleet, and snow. The very
long marches on this journey have been too much for me,
and I made a first and last attempt to travel in a mqffir
or covered wooden pannier, but the suffering was so great
that I was glad to remount my faithful woolly Boy. We
had a regular snowstorm, in which nothing could be seen
I In a Minute by the late Mr. Clifford Lloyd (Turkey, No. 1, 1890-91,
p. 80) the condition of the Christian peasant population of Kurdistan is
(' Their sufferings at present proceed from three distinct causes—
"1. The insecurity of their lives and properties, owing to the habitual
ravages of the Kurds.
II 2. The insecurity of their persons and the absence of all liberty of
thought and action (except the exercise of public worship).
" 3. The unequal status held by the Christian as compared with the
Mussulman in the eyes of the Government."