May 1- A correspondent of The Chronicles describes the Turkish massacres in Armenia as follows:
The recent Armenian massacres in which it is feared that from 800,000 to 1,000,000 victims have perished, or are destined to perish in exile, represent the wholesale extermination of a race. That perhaps a quarter of a million escape to Transcaucasia does not alter the fact that the Young Turks intended to make away with them with the exception of the Armenian colonies of Constantinople, Syria, and one or two other ports.
The reasons alleged by their executioners are that the Armenians had been incited to revolt by the Entente Powers in co-operation with the Russian offensive movement; that their wholesale deportation was a measure dictated by Imperative military accessity; and till June when they rose in Van and other places in the war zone and joined hands with the enemy.
As a matter of fact, the deportation of Armenians from places so widely removed from the theatre of war commenced as early as April and synchronized with the systematic massacre of most of the able-bodied males, so that at one blow the remainder of the population were deprived of their natural defenders.
The residue, consisting for the most part of old men, women and children were taken from their homes and sent across Asia Minor, the great majority on foot with such as survival reached their destination in the deserts of Syria. The tortured progress of these unfortunates at the mercy of their brutal guardsmen or of the savage Kurdish tribes who attacked them on the roads, affords the most poignant in history.
The present writer, who spent two years in Armenia, in an official position, can safely say that, even in normal times, the conditions was altogether unendurable. They were treated as a suspect and inferior race and could get neither justice nor protection. Their only hope, never realized in the face of determined Turkish opposition. Nor could they look for external help as could the Greeks and Bulgaria, to rescue them from Turkish tyranny.
It is not surprising therefore, that when Turkey declared war upon the Entente, the Armenians secretly prayed for the success of the Allies, though they remained perfectly quiet well knowing that any premature coalition of sympathy would bring a swift retribution.
All the insurrections which took place occurred in consequence of the measures taken by the government against the Armenians. Such as escaped the massacres, filed to the mountains and joined others in like case.
The Armenians of Van, when in the month of April they saw massacres occurring in districts in the northwest of the lake, rose in arms in self-defense, entrenched themselves in the garden quarter of the town, and help out until the arrival of the Russians in June.
The semi-independent mountaineers in Sasun resisted desperately to the last, until all were exterminated. In one or two other places the Armenians where they had arms, resisted. In all cases where resistance was made, wholesale massacres ensued.
Elsewhere in Anatolia, the Armenians only existed as scattered communities and were forced to submit to murder or deportation without any show or resistance.
In the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896, as a rule, only the males slain, and the Protestant and Catholic communities were spared. In the present case vast numbers of women and children were butchered or carried off to a fate worse than death, and the Protestants and Catholics all aimed in the common fate of their race.
The fine work done by the Americans who numerous schools and colleges were oasis of western thought and civilization. In a vast desert of ignorance and savagery, has been brought to nought at a signal from the bandits.
The following description given by an Armenian woman of the upper class, is typical of the rate suffered by hundreds of other hands:
After describing the murder of every male over the surprise attack by the Kurds, and how their horses, valuables, and food were taken, she continues:
“Very many women and girls were carried off to the mountains, among them my sister, whose one year old baby they threw away. My mother walked until she could go no further, and dropped by the roadside on a mountain top. We found on the road many who had been in the previous batches; some women were among the killed with their husbands and sons. Many persons were obliged to start off on foot, and with that they could carry on their backs. Such persons naturally became so weak that they fell behind, and were bayoneted and thrown into the river. All the Euphrates, the brigands throw into the river all the remaining children under 15 years.”
Of the districts assigned to the Armenians- a Professor Hagopian has the following to say:
“These unhappy deported people have been chiefly deposited in two places- one section of them in a swampy region which has hitherto remained uninhabited on account of the deadly malaria; while the remainder have been sent to a still more unhealthy place in the direction of the Persian Gulf, so bad that they have begged to be sent to the swamps, but their petition has not been granted.”