Mark Twain About Armenians After His Visit to Smyrna

Mark Twain About Armenians After His Visit to SmyrnaWe presenting excerpts from the famous “Black Book”. In this book of accusations, famous foreigners talk about the Turkish crimes of the late 19th century and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Mark Twain was one of the most famous and popular American writers. In one of his early travel books, “The Innocents Abroad”, among other things, the writer’s impressions of his stay in Turkey are reflected. These include, for example, some paragraphs devoted to Armenians.

“Smyrna is now flourishing… Mostly, the city is inseparably owned by the Turks, the Jews live in their quarters, the Franks in their own. With Armenians, it is the same. The latter, of course, are Christians.

Their houses are large, clean, spacious, the floors are beautifully lined with black and white marble slabs, many have inner yards and gardens with magnificent flowers and fountains sparkling in the sun, where the doors of all rooms lead to.

A spacious entrance hall leads to the front door, and here, women spend almost all day. When the day’s heat falls, they dress up in their best clothes and appear in the doorway. They are all pretty, unusually clean and neat, and look as if they have just been taken out of the box.

Some young women, I would even say many, are exceptionally gorgeous. As a rule, they are a little bit more beautiful than American women, forgive me for this anti-patriotic praise…”

Of particular interest are the paragraphs on the 1861 massacres of Christians in Damascus:

“…Then, we visited the graves of Muhammad’s children and Saint George. We reached a cave under a crag, which had sheltered Paul when he had been pursued. Then, we were shown a mausoleum erected in the memory of five thousand Christians killed by the Turks in Damascus in 1861.

Some say that the city’s narrow streets have been bathed in blood for several days. Indiscriminately, men, women, and children were killed, and hundreds of bodies were lying throughout the whole Christian district. Some managed to escape the city. As for those left behind, the Muslims didn’t wish to dirty their hands by burying the “unfaithful dogs”.

The thirst for blood obsessed the inhabitants of Hermon and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. 25 thousand more Christians were killed and their property plundered. There is so much hate of Christians in Damascus as well as the whole Ottoman Empire! They will pay the full price for their acts when Russia aims its cannons at them!

I feel relieved when vilifying Britain and France for their attempts of saving the Ottoman Empire from its fall, which it deserves. My self-esteem suffers when I see those pagans refuse to eat our food from our plates and drink from the wineskin desecrated by our unrighteous lips.

I didn’t hate a single Chinese as much as I hate these degenerate Turks and Arabs. I hope that when Russia is ready to wage war against them, Britain and France understand that their intervention is obscene and reckless.”

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