President Names October 22 as Day for Giving – Thousands are suffering
The recent massacres of Armenians which caused President Wilson to proclaim October 22 as a day on which contributions for the victims should be taken in churches, were carried out systematically, according to reports from Armenia.
On a given day the streets of whatever town it might be were occupied by the local gendarmerie with fixed bayonets, and the Turkish governor summoned all able bodied men of Armenian race that had been exempted from military draft to present themselves now on pain of death. “Able bodied” received a liberal interpretation for it included any male between 16 and 76 years of age, and these were all marched out of the town by the gendarmes. They had not far to go, for the gendarmerie had been reinforced for the purpose from the jails, and the brigade and Kurds at large were waiting in the hills. They were waiting to murder the prisoners. The first secluded valley witnessed their wholesale massacre, and, acquitted of their task, the gendarmes marched back leisurely into town.
Bands of women and children were driven forth from their homes in an agonizing state of apprehension. There was a heroism about their exodus, for there was still a loophole of escape, apostasy. And in their case apostasy brought the certainty of life, because it meant their immediate entrance into the harem of a Turk. Life at the price of honor – most of them rejected it; and yet, if they had known all that lay before them, they might have judged it the better part. As it was, they clutched at the desperate chance of immunity, and presented themselves for the march. But the jail bred gendarmes had no intention of conducting the caravan intact in its destination. Many girls were sold into shame before the march began.