- Armenian Literature, History, Religion in in Russian

Rose Lambert


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[page 28]


Liberty Proclaimed

TEN years had passed since the orphanage was first started and although many of our girls were married and the boys able to support themselves, at this time still nearly three hundred orphans were being fed, clothed and educated.

We had seen the oppression of the Armenian people, the oldest Christian nation on earth by their Mohammedan rulers and in our hearts the cry would arise, " How long, Lord? How long?"

The Turkish officers treated us always courteously and respectfully as their equals: but the Armenians always as inferiors and the poorest Mohammedan beggar thanked " Allah " (God) that he was one of those who were " resigned to God" and not an unbelieving " Ghavour " (Christian).

A Turkish military officer who called on us and appeared friendly to the mission argued the point that the uneducated Armenians made better citizens than the educated. 28

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He was answered, " Whatever your opinion may be with regard to education, when it comes to caring for the orphans, it is not only the privilege but also the duty of both Mohammedan and Christian to care for them as the Koran and Bible teach us. Besides this, the government needs educated men to fill positions and surely an educated man is worth more to any government than an illiterate one."

He answered, " Ah! you do not understand. Give a donkey a handful of straw and a kick and he is satisfied."

After asking how this could be applied to the Armenian he said, " You can tax and re-tax an illiterate Armenian and impose upon him as one chooses. He sighs but cannot help himself and one can do as he pleases. Educate this same man and when thus treated he asks for an explanation or proves that this is unjust."

At this time, July 26, 1908, a telegram reached Hadjin. It was sent by an Armenian doctor on the coast to his father who was the city mayor, and read, " Rejoice, we are a free people. Liberty has been proclaimed." The telegraph operator who was a Turk was alarmed as was every one else to think that one would risk his life by sending

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such a message. But it was followed by others which said, " All Turkey and Adana are celebrating. Hurrah for Liberty, Equality, Justice and Fraternity."

The officers heard of these strange messages only to be exceedingly alarmed. But the next message said, " Why do you not celebrate ? Turkey will think you are traitors if you do not appreciate and welcome the message."

After consulting each other, the officers finally decided that neither one nor the other would be responsible individually; but that all of them would frame the message in reply and act in accord. In case it was a false report they would all have a share in the punishment.

But as every one knows, it was not a false report. The new government at Constantinople had proclaimed that there was to be liberty, equality, justice and fraternity hereafter, regardless of religion or race.

The people were hilarious. Every man wanted to possess the things which had been forbidden them and especially a weapon. Although the Mohammedans were always armed heretofore, it was considered an offense for a Christian to possess a firearm or sword. Speeches on liberty were delivered

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by Armenians and Turks, and Union Liberty meetings were not unusual.

It chanced this year that there was again a shortage of crops and in the autumn between three and five thousand men, many of them taking their families with them, moved to the plain.

At different places these little Armenian villages were started and the uncultivated fields cultivated. They were thriving and prospering everywhere and many who had scarcely known what it was to have sufficient food now wrote they had a plenty and to spare.

Those who remained in Hadjin suffered from poverty as well as sickness, for there was an epidemic of typhoid fever and many other diseases raging.

The Rev. Mr. Barker and family were in America on furlough and Mr. Barker's health was poor. Miss Tschumi was spending a few months in Switzerland, trying to regain her strength and health.

Mrs. Maurer, the doctor, succumbed to typhoid fever while Miss Honk was bedfast with the same disease and could not even attend the funeral.

Our circle which had numbered seven had dwindled to three and one of them very weak

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from the effects of the fever. Upon Miss Tschumi's return in the fall our circle again numbered four, but only a few weeks later Miss Honk had a complete breakdown and was finally taken to the Beirut hospital by Miss Tschumi, and accompanied to the coast by Mr. Maurer, where the Misses Bowman were awaiting their arrival and ready to come to our assistance, having just arrived from America.


Source: Rose Lambert. "Hadjin, and the Armenian Massacres"; New York, Chicago, Toronto, London and Edinburgh, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1911
Provided by: Karen Vrtanesyan
Scanned by: Irina Minasyan
OCR: Irina Minasyan

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