Monday, November 20, 2006

Deja Vu

A few days ago a woman I know told me about a relation of hers named George Horton. George Horton was the US Consul to Smyrna during WWI who wrote a book which describes eyewitness accounts of the Turkish massacre of the Armenian Christians in Smyrna. This book, The Blight of Asia, is no longer in print in the U.S., but is available online courtesy of a retired Greek Admiral.

After I found the book online, I began to read, and discovered some strange “coincidences.” First, if one reads the Introduction, one will find a reference to the date which the Turks set fire to Smryna:

I was in Smyrna in May of 1917, when Turkey severed relations with the United States, and I received the oral and written statements of native-born American eye-witnesses of the vast and incredibly horrible Armenian massacres of 1915-16— some of which will be here given for the first time; I personally observed and otherwise confirmed the outrageous treatment of the Christian population of the Smyrna vilayet, both during the Great War, and before its outbreak. I returned to Smyrna later and was there up until the evening of September 11, 1922, on which date the city was set on fire by the army of Mustapha Khemal, and a large part of its population done to death, and I witnessed the development of that Dantesque tragedy, which possesses few, if any parallels in the history of the world.

Hmmm, perhaps no coincidence that they set fire to Smryna on September 11. After all September 11 is the day which Jan Sobieski defeated the Turks in the Battle of Vienna. Mustapha Khemal chose that date for that reason, I’m sure, as did the terrorists on our 9/11.

However, in Chapter 33, I found this:

There is less hope today of pan-Christianity than of pan-Islamism. Says Kurtz, already referred to: “To-day Mohammedanism is the one rival of Christianity to become a world religion,” and a writer in the “Moslem World” for January, 1925: “The Christian Church, after thirteen centuries of hard struggle finds Islam still a most baffling problem. It is true historically that Islam has been born after Christianity and has displaced it almost wherever it has spread. The history of the whole of North Africa, Palestine and Syria, and present Asia Minor shows this plainly.

The Reverend George Bush in his “Life of Mohammed”, published by the Harpers in 1830, makes the following reflection:

“Indeed in this, as in every other instance where the fortunes of an individual are entirely disproportionate to the means employed, and surpass all reasonable calculation, we are forced to resolve the problem into the special Providence of God. Nothing short of this could have achieved such mighty results”

If there is no other explanation of Mohammedan success, it is evident that the Divine intention has not varied in the last ninety years. This is the view-point of the deeply religious man, who believes in God’s personal management of all the affairs of this world, attributing to reasons of Divine wisdom matters too deep for human penetration. The student of history will understand the spread of Mohammedanism at the expense of Christianity, and the chief reasons have appeared or will become plain in the course of this narrative.

The Reverend George Bush? Now I don’t think the name George Bush would be all that uncommon. But it did give me pause to think that this name would be associated with Islam in a book written over 80 years ago concerning an event which occurred on September 11. Uncanny.

The Consul also writes of the bias of the American media towards the Turks and against the Christian Armenians:

I was sitting in the wardroom of one of our destroyers moored in the harbor of Smyrna. At moment when the massacre had begun to assume alarming proportions, a newspaper correspondent, a passenger on the same naval unit, entered the room, opened his typewriter and began to write. When he had finished about half a page, he read it carefully, took it out of the machine, and said:

“I can’t send this stuff. It’ll queer me at Constantinople. I must get busy on Greek atrocities.” I have often wondered what he meant. I was sitting quite close to him and heard him very distinctly.

That journalist must have worked for the New York Times.

In that same chapter he summarizes:
Let us briefly review the situation which enabled the Turks in the year of our Lord, 1922, to complete the extinction of Christianity in the Near East: The Germans were, as long as they lasted, the active allies of the Turks, and during this period nearly a million Armenians and many thousands of Greeks perished; after the Armistice and during the period which led up to the destruction of Smyrna and the accompanying massacre, the French and Italians were allies of the Turk, and furnished him moral and material support; the British gave no aid to the Greeks, but contented themselves with publishing an account of the dreadful events that had been taking place in the Ottoman Empire; the Americans gained the reputation of being pro-Turk, true friends, who would ultimately, on account of this friendship, be given the permission to put through great schemes, which would result in the development of the Ottoman Empire and, incidentally, fill certain American pocketbooks. The Turks confidently believed that commercial avarice would prevent us from interfering with their savagery, or even strongly condemning it.

Never in the world had the Turk so good an opportunity to glut his lust for Christian blood without fear of interference or criticism.

Some things never change, do they?

Mr. Horton prophesies:

If, as the Reverend Bush remarks, the wonderful spread of Mohammedanism can only be explained as some special Providence of God, He may be inspiring the Sennussi to spiritualize their religion and develop the better features of it. If the Christian faith has had so feeble effect upon the conduct of Christian nations and has so little harmony that it lacks the force to convert Mohammedans, then the only alternative open to wisdom, finite or infinite, would be to make the best of some other creed. When our missionaries have finished putting the Turkish administrations “on a sound basis,” they might come home and teach us to be better Christians. Unless Christianity is saved in those countries where it still has a nominal existence, it is doomed, and their civilization will go with it. The Bolsheviks understand this, as witness the war they are waging against religion.