28 January 2007
Marmaduke Pickthall is described as "a British author, expert on the Middle East, former Chaplain to the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, and eminent British expert on and later-convert to Islam," from one of the articles below. It was the rare Westerner who could manage to rise above his or her anti-Turkish/Muslim prejudice, and Marmaduke Pickthall was a remarkable man. Today's bigots may dismiss him as saying, "Well, he converted to Islam, and what can you expect," since to these folks all Muslims are mindless fanatics. But people with larger brains will see Marmaduke Pickthall took the trouble to scratch beneath the surface as a true intellectual, and his views are based on nothing less than reason and the genuine facts. That is what makes the articles of this thoroughly enlightened man so uncommon, and important.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) Massacres and the Turks: The Other Side
2) The Turkish Awakening (extract)
3) Challenge to an Armenian
Massacres and the Turks: The Other Side
"Turkish history has been more systematically falsified by the simple method of suppressing half the truth, and magnifying the other half."
(As published in Foreign Affairs, Special Supplement, July 1920, pp. xiv-xvi. Thanks to Serdar for the transcription, and to M. Mersinoglu for the article.)
Massacres and the Turks: The Other Side
By MARMADUKE PICKTHALL
[We take no sides in this controversy, but, as the Turkish side is never stated, we are glad to give to an Englishman who frankly sympathises with the Turks, and whose knowledge is considerable, the chance of stating it. Moreover, It is of great importance at the present critical moment that the Turkish view should be heard.-Ed. Foreign Affairs.]
It would astonish English people who regard the Turks as cruel monsters to be told that in so thinking they are the dupes of a traditional myth which can be traced back to the Byzantine Chroniclers who often dealt in pure invention in the way of calumny, as Hammer in his classic work on Turkish history demonstrated long ago. The myth was revived and furbished up in modern times in order to commend to “Christian” minds the so-called “civilising mission” of the Russian Tsars. The Turks have never even put their case before the world, which has been plied assiduously with the allegations of their enemies. Their language — to say nothing of their religion — has always been a bar to European understanding. And so a race which has produced a literature worthy to be compared with that of Ancient Greece (in the opinion of a modern Greek, no partial critic) has come to be regarded as uncultivated and “incapable of civilisation”; a nation famed for tolerance, to be regarded as fanatical. In our own time Turkish history has been more systematically falsified by the simple method of suppressing half the truth, and magnifying the other half.
In 1821 the Greeks rebelled against the Turkish Government, and incidentally exterminated all the Muslims in the Morea and many thousands in the northern part of Greece with hideous cruelty. This massacre was followed by anti-Greek riots in Constantinople, and a massacre of Greeks in the island of Chios, where a Turkish army was suppressing a rebellion in the following year.
The Serbs had done precisely the same thing previously. Both these rebellions represented years of work by Tsarist agents.
"There are persons and amongst them, I grieve to say, Englishmen, who boast that they invented these (horror) stories..."
In 1876 the Bulgarians rebelled and were severely punished. The cry of Turkish atrocities then raised by Mr. Gladstone has not yet died away in England. But in the following year (1877) the British Ambassador at Constantinople wrote in a letter to Lord Derby (the Foreign Secretary): “The English people cannot, perhaps, yet bear to hear the truth of the events of last year; but it its my duty to state it to your lordship. The marvelous ability shown by Russia and her agents in misleading public opinion in England and elsewhere has been amply rewarded. It will probably be long before that which is true can be separated from that which is false; when history does so it will be too late. The Porte has taken no effective means to place its case before Europe. It neither employs the press nor competent agents for such purposes. Its appeals to the Powers, and the State Papers that it issues to refute the charges against it, are so prepared that they are more calculated to injure its cause. A great portion of the English public are, probably, still under the impression that the statements upon which the denunciations against Turkey were originally founded are true — the 60,000 Christians outraged and massacred; the cartloads of human heads; the crowd of women burnt in a barn and other similar horrors. There are persons and amongst them, I grieve to say, Englishmen, who boast that they invented these stories with the object of “writing down” Turkey, for which they were impelled by a well-known hand. People in England will scarcely believe that the most accurate and complete inquiries into the events of last year in Bulgaria now reduce the number of deaths to about 3,500 souls, including the Turks who were, in the first instance, slain by the Christians. No impartial man can now deny that a rising of the Christians which was intended by its authors to lead to a general massacre of the Mohammedans was in contemplation, and that it was directed by Russian and Pan-Slavist agents.”
In 1912, during the first Balkan war, there was a systematic massacre of the Muslim population, and some three hundred thousand destitute Muslims fled to Asiatic Turkey.
The Turks have learnt from very harsh experience that Christian risings always mean, for them, the menace of extermination, and that they must look for their defence to their own arms since no Christian Power cares what becomes of them.
And now we come to the Armenians. Seeing the success which Serbs and Greeks and Bulgars had attained by dint of murder and sedition and the cry of Christianity, some of the Armenians less than half a century ago resolved to use the same means to create “Armenia.” Their task was harder, for there is no region of the earth in which Armenians live as a compact majority. It was the activities of these Armenian revolutionaries (including massacres of Muslims), which brought on the punishment of 1895-6, the severity of which, like everything that tells against the Turk, has been enormously exaggerated. Of those activities some ten years afterwards, an English traveller (the late Sir Mark Sykes) wrote:
“Anything more fiendish one could not imagine—the assassination of Muslims in order to bring about the punishment of innocent men, the midnight extortion of money from villages which have just paid taxes by day, the murder of persons who refuse to contribute to the collection boxes, are only some of the crimes of which Muslims, Catholics and Gregorians accuse them with no uncertain voice”
1 Ignatieff (?)
2 “240,000 killed in Western Thrace alone “ I was cheerfully informed at the dinner table by a gentleman who professed to draw his information straight from the F.O.
Holdwater: "F.O." signifies the archived documents of the British Foreign Office. Ignatieff was a Russian general.
...The Armenian revolutionaries are the propagandists of “Armenia” in the West.
The Armenian Revolutionary Committees co-operated with the Turkish Committee of Union and Progress in the revolution of July 1908, and one then hoped that these disorders would cease. And so they might have done if Europe had supported the new Turkey. But within a few weeks of the revolution Bulgaria threw off the suzerainty, Austria pounced on Bosnia and Herzegovina; it became clear to the criminal element in the Christian “nationalities,” which was accustomed to look to Europe for orders, that Turkey was still to be destroyed. (I am now writing of the things which I have seen and know). In the early spring of 1909, the arrogant and warlike attitude of the Armenian Revolutionaries in the vilayet of Adana and a discovery of bombs, enraged the Muslim population and made them listen to the preaching of reactionary agents, who failed in every other province of the empire to provoke disorders. The result was a panic struggle ending in massacre.
It is important that English people should realise that the vast majority of the Armenian race in Turkey feared and hated the Armenian revolutionaries whose aim was to bring on foreign intervention; and that the Armenian revolutionaries are the propagandists of “Armenia” in the West.
The murder of Mahmud Shevket Pasha (then Grand Vizier) in June 1913, was a heavy blow to peaceable Armenians. One saw Armenians crying in the streets. One, who brought the news of the assassination to the house where I was staying, seemed quite broken down. He kept saying:
“It is the end for our unhappy race. There is no one now who can protect us from the revolutionaries backed by Russia.”
Mahmud Shevket had collected overwhelming evidence of the criminal intrigues of Tsardom in Eastern Anatolia -which it pretended to wish to pacify -and was going to hurl that evidence at the Powers, when he was murdered.
Later in the same year England refused to provide inspectors for Eastern Anatolia at the Turkish Government’s request based on the Cyprus Convention.
In September 1914 a Turkish National Assembly held at Erzeroum to consider the attitude of Turkey towards the European war, asked the Armenian organisations for an expression of solidarity. The reply was that the Armenians were neutral. From that time onward there was a constant trickle of Armenians (Turkish subjects) into Russian territory where they joined the Armenian battalions which afterwards formed the vanguard of the Russian army which invaded Turkey. Pastermajian, an Armenian deputy of the Turkish parliament, marched to the frontier with an armed force burning Muslim villages and massacring the inhabitants.
Then Turkey came into the war. Her troops invaded Russian territory and sustained a serious defeat at Sari Kamish. It was at that moment of disaster for the Muslim arms that the Armenians in the vilayets of Van and Bitlis (Turkish subjects siding with the enemy) rose, seized a considerable tract of territory and held a regular battle with the Muslim population, the majority of which was helpless owing to the absence of the able-bodied men.
The Armenian propagandists now deny that there was any rising of Armenians in the vilayets in February-March 1915. I can only say that some Tiflis Armenian papers of April 1915 tell a very different story, gleefully boasting of the way in which the Ottoman Armenians “stabbed Turkey in the back.”
All this happened before a single Armenian (on the evidence) suffered at the hands of the Muslims. You will seek in vain for any hint of it in the Bryce Report.
Of the subsequent atrocities committed by the Armenians on the Muslim population throughout the territory which the Russian army occupied, there is abundant evidence from Russian official sources. They will not bear quotation in a newspaper. My object in this article is not to horrify the reader, nor to ‘show up’ the Armenians. It is simply to point out that there is another side to the whole question which has not yet been heard. The Turks have asked repeatedly for an impartial commission to inquire into the truth of these events; the Indian Muslims demand such an inquiry; and it seems to me that justice demands it. Why can it not be held?
There is one thing more I must say:
The people of Anatolia are warm-blooded, tragic people. The Anglo-Saxons are cold-blooded, comic people who seem to Easterns only half alive. The sentimentality of England and America is not, never can be, in reality adopted by peoples of a warmer blood and stronger feelings. It is a cruelty for the Englishman to judge the Oriental by his own (i.e. the Englishman’s) mentality. Now, the Armenian is a native of Asia Minor. He can give points to the Turk in cruelty, and is as bad as any Kurd when at a certain heat. His neighbours might not think the worse of him for that, when peace returned. What they can never pardon is his pose of lamblike innocence before the sentimental peoples of the West, his feigned adoption of their sentimental outlook, his making political capital against the majority of his fellow-countrymen, out of events which in that country were the natural consequence of his own desperate acts. He provokes a struggle in the most offensive manner and when he gets the worst of it he whines and lies to England and America. You will find kindness and cruelty — all kinds of violent extremes and contradictions — among Asiatic peoples, but you will not find vulgarity or meanness, as a rule. It is the meanness of a section of Armenians which has made the neighbouring races look on them as vermin. I am sorry for the word, but no other could convey the mental attitude. In these circumstances favouritism shown to the Armenians by the Allies must be disastrous to the former. Only even-handed justice can preserve them. They were everywhere in a minority before the war, remember that. Of the wider issue as between Islam and Christendom, I will only say that the fall of Tsarist Russia opened the way to reconciliation; but our present rulers seem to prefer the way of oppression pursued by Tsarist Russia for two centuries. Surely the fate of Tsardom might have warned them!
Holdwater: Boy, he really hit it on the head, didn't he? Look at that description of the Armenians in the last paragraph. The same tricks and strategies used by them in this day and age, and Westerners still beat each other off, getting in line to believe their lies.
"There is another side to the whole question which has not yet been heard." What would Mr. Pickthall have said if he knew nearly a century later, this other side is still not heard, or worse, when heard, ignored?
The Turkish Awakening
"The Turk is thus the worst possible champion of his own cause. Anyone in possession of the facts could state his case much better than he can state it"
The Turkish Awakening (extract)
On July 10, 1919, Marmaduke Pickthall, a British author, expert on the Middle East, former Chaplain to the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, and eminent British expert on and later-convert to Islam, and writer for The New Age, a British intellectual journal edited by a French Jew, Alfred Richard Orage, commented on the inability of the Ottoman government to make its case at the Paris Peace Conference:
“As I have often had occasion to remark in these columns, the Turk never sticks up for himself in the controversy against Europe. He does not know how to do so. With a strong case which any advocate could make convincing, he puts himself in the wrong from a tendency to accept the point of view of his opponents — a tendency which results from a sense of material defeat or helplessness. It is natural for a warlike people to accept the condition of defeat in war, and to think that by accepting that condition they appeal most strongly to the generosity of the conqueror. There is also the feeling that it is a waste of time to seek to demolish prejudices so robust as those which Europe cherishes regarding Turkey, even though those prejudices may be based upon false information. The Turk is thus the worst possible champion of his own cause. Anyone in possession of the facts could state his case much better than he can state it. … [In Paris,] they have thrown away their own true case, and accepted the mere ‘propaganda’ case of the Allies; instead of taking the offensive in discussion, as they had the right to do, for the treatment Turkey had received from the Allies conducing to the war was downright infamous, they assumed a deprecating, defensive attitude and apologetic tone, and positively asked for what they got — a snub the more offensive for its bland hypocrisy.”
Günay Evinch, "The Armenian Cause Today," The Turkish American, Summer 2005
Challenge to an Armenian
(As published in Armenian Review, Autumn 1984, Volume 37, Number 3-147, pp 67-70; thanks to M. Mersinoglu and Serdar.)
A Correspondence Between Marmaduke Pickthall ‘and the Armenian Bureau of London
E. V. Gulbekian
MARMADUKE WILLLAM PICKTHALL (1875-1936) was an English novelist who was converted to Islam in 1914, at which time he adopted the name “Mohammed.” At the beginning of 1919 he was appointed an imam at the mosque in Woking, England and during that year he worked for the Islamic Information Bureau in London. This Bureau had been opened in 1918, financed apparently by Moslem Indians. As part of its activities the Bureau published a weekly newsletter entitled The Muslim Outlook, which Pickthall edited during 1919. He left the Bureau in December of that year. 
His naive political attitude is apparent in a letter he writes from Bombay on March 24, 1921. In the letter he states: “I have been made extremely sad by the news of the murder in Berlin of Talaat Pasha, who was a great friend of mine. . . . There was a memorial meeting for him in the old cemetery in the Muslim quarter, at which I presided and had to address more than ten thousand people. I tried to tell them what a brave man Talaat was, and how sudden death was what he would have always chosen, and how such a death . . . was really a most glorious martyrdom.” Later, be edited the Bombay Chronicle from 1920 to 1924 and he entered the education service of the nizam of Hyderabad in 1925. His writings include With the Turk In War Time (1914) and The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (1930). 
1 Anne Premamle, Loyal Enemy (London, 19381, pp. 251 and 296.
2 Ibid.,p. 346.
3 Who was who 1929-1940 (London, 1967), p. 1077.
Although Pickthall could be regarded as an English eccentric, his views — and his letter to the Armenian Bureau — do reflect the prime concern of British foreign policy during the first half of the twentieth century, namely the retention of India within the British Empire.
The Armenian Bureau of London provided information on Armenian matters during the First World War, publishing a series of documentary booklets. For a time the Bureau was directed by the Raffi brothers, the sons of the famous nineteenth century novelist Hakob Melik Hakobian whose pennarne was Raffi. Aram Raffi was the Secretary of the Bureau for almost two years, withdrawing in 1918 or 1919 due to iII health, at which time his brother Arshak took his place.  Aram died in November 1919 and his brother resigned as Secretary soon after. The correspondance with Pickthall was not continued thereafter.
The booklet which gave rise to Pickthall’s letter was entitled The Armenian Question in the American House of Representatives (London, 1918). Pickthall’s letter is typewritten, with corrections by hand on plain unheaded paper. The Armenian Bureau’s reply, signed “A. Raffi, “is transcribed here from the signed and corrected handwritten draft; it was probably written by Arshak.
The correspondence illuminates the principles by which the Raffis ran the Armenian Bureau as well as the methods by which Ittihad ve Terakke propaganda was distributed in Great Britain.
(Information for Footnote 4 was missing.)
The Islamic Information Bureau
33, Palace Street,
October 16th 1919.
Our attention has been called to the following statement contained in a pamphlet issued by your Bureau.
“Under the Koran strictly interpreted, every Christian is an outlaw and can be killed at sight”. (The Armenian Question p.23). The words, I am aware are not your own, but since your Bureau has passed them without comment or qualification, and is circulating them among the British public as no unimportant part of the Armenian case, I ask you, in the name of 150,000,000 British subjects, whose religion they misrepresent, kindly to give me the chapter and verse of the Koran which, strictly interpreted means that “Every Christian is an outlaw and can be killed at sight.”
An early answer will oblige.
The Secretary, The Armenian Bureau,
153, Regent Street,
Reply from the Armenian Bureau, 153 Regent Street, London W. 1.
The pamphlet to which you refer consists of a speech delivered before the American Congress by the Hon. Lt. Col. Edward C. Little. This speech aroused great interest in America first because it is the longest speech ever made in any House of Parliament on behalf of the Armenians. It was reprinted from the official Parliamentary debates in America in pamphlet form, and we have reprinted it here as a document. There are many other points besides that which you mention, that I did not agree with, but I could not interfere with a State document.
Not only have we never carried on any campaign against Islam but we have always avoided any hostile reference to Islam. So much so, that when we have received telegrams from the Caucasus in which the word “Musulman” occurred, which word in Russian is synonymous with Tartar, to distinguish from the ‘Tatarin’ of Kazan, we have changed it to Tartar, in order not to create any misunderstanding by causing the word to mean Islam.
I am myself an oriental scholar and am acquainted with Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other oriental literatures and have great admiration for anything Eastern. I have great respect for the teaching of Islam, although I do not profess to be an expert on religions.
The work of our Bureau is to provide studies of the Armenian Question emanating from high authorities. We never resort to agitation and the tactics of your Bureau, especially the method of your writing in condemnation of the whole Armenian race trying to make people believe that it is the Armenians who have massacred the Turks, not the Turks the Armenians, though you have brought forward no facts in support of your allegations.
The baselessness of all your attacks on the Armenians could be established by quotations from the Turkish newspapers. The guilt of the Turks is admitted by the Turkish government, and documents ordering the extermination of the Armenian race, signed by Talaat and Enver, are in existence and are accepted as genuine by the Turkish government and the press.
An Islamic or Ottoman Committee established on the lines followed by our Bureau would do great service to Turkey. Years ago, with some Mohammedan friends I was trying to establish a Society composed of Mohammedans and Christians, who would endeavour to study the Eastern Question and promote a mutual understanding between the two. I was supported by my Mohammedan friends, but my travels to Near East and soon after the outbreak of the war prevented the realization of this scheme.
Holdwater: It's almost heartwarmnig that Armenian tactics have changed so little throughout the years. Let's see now... in Gulbekian's biographical description of Pickenthall, everything is about how "Moslem" the man was (including having adopted the name "Mohammed" in 1914, which was certainly not the way he chose to sign his name in these later articles and letters), sure to alienate readers, because most would think, Who in their right mind would become a Moslem?), and his friendship with Talat, sure to infuriate the mindless many who had concluded Talat was nothing more than a clone of Adolf Hitler. Pickenthall is called an "eccentric," meaning the man must have been loopy (along with a dash of his having been a "denialist"); finally, the writer for Armenian Review, tells us that this letter by Pickenthal was an example of "methods by which Ittihad ve Terakke propaganda was distributed in Great Britain," without explaining how a private letter (the publication of which its author had no control over) would have been construed as "propaganda," in addition to the fact that the CUP (Ittihad ve Terakke) was a dead horse by 1919, and the puppet successor government was pointing fingers at the CUP's policies and not defending them. (A fact that was actually alluded to in the Armenian response to Pickenthall, in the form of the 1919-20 kangaroo courts!) Naturally the point of the Armenian writer is that Pickenthall must be ridiculed, because he was nothing more than an "agent of the Turkish government."
In short, Armenian extremists choose to concentrate on the messenger, not the message. Hey, all the guy was asking for was back-up on an ugly claim that was made; why not concentrate on the issues, instead of taking these cheap shots? That is because for Dashank-minded Armenians, as the missionary Cyrus Hamlin correctly observed in 1893: "Falsehood is, of course, justifiable where murder and arson are." Since Armenian stories are so often based upon falsehoods, these end-justifies-the-means extremists have become experts in building smokescreens.
Yet, as Hawthorne wrote, to paraphrase, No man can wear one face for himself and another for the multitudes without getting bewildered. No doubt many of these propagandists start believing in their own lies.
Now let's see how Raffi, an Armenian extremist from an even earlier era, squirmed his way around the issue. Remember, all he had to do was explain why his rag endorsed a false statement making Moslems out to be demons ordered by God to kill.
Raffi's tactic, predictably, was to first play innocent. His organization simply reproduced what someone else said. Yet here is the situation: if you're in the position of putting out a "fact book" on a cause, in this case injustices against Armenians, in a society where the villains have already been demonized, it would be totally unprofessional and unethical not to include a disclaimer, even if the words published don't emanate from the publisher. The responsible editor would see to it that his publication would not be a party to add to a hate campaign already strongly in existence. Particularly if the idea behind this pamphlet was educational, where the unassuming reader would be in a greater position of accepting claims at face value.
Raffi didn't come right out and admit the "Every Christian is an outlaw and can be killed at sight" statement from the Koran was a complete lie; that might have set a dangerous precedent, as he may have then needed to face up to all the other lies of his propaganda organization. Not only did he not apologize, he then went into the familiar Armenian "attack mode." The best defense, after all, is a good offense, and there are fewer experts in offense than pro-Armenian propagandists.
Before lashing out, Raffi naturally had to vouch for Armenian innocence. He very disingenuously wrote that hostile references to Islam have been avoided by his publishing organization, while everyone knows Armenian propaganda exploits Western hostility to Islam at every turn (that concept rests at the propaganda's very foundation, as the idea has always been to sucker fellow Christians into believing the poor, Christian Armenians were being victimized for religious reasons); he then begins the attack by accusing Pickenthall of claiming Armenian massacres of Turks. As if this knowledgeable Armenian had no idea of the atrociously murderous crimes committed by Armenians on a wide scale, that had been going on for years before late 1919. (The publication that Gulbekian informed us Pickentall served as editor of during 1919, The Muslim Outlook, came up with at least one devastating example of evidence the following year; we can rely on its accuracy, coming from a Russian source that would have had no reason to be untruthful.)
Finally, Raffi resorts to the 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts-martial as his own evidence for Turkish guilt, the evidence that the British themselves rejected during their own Malta Tribunal process; and the ones current pro-Armenian propagandists such as Vahakn Dadrian and Taner Akcam have relied upon for their bread-and-butter. Raffi even went as shamefully far as asserting that "documents ordering the extermination of the Armenian race, signed by Talaat and Enver, are in existence and are accepted as genuine by the Turkish government and the press." This was stated in the year before Aram Andonian's forgeries, created exactly for lack of such signed documents. Now why do you suppose one of the sons of the famous Raffi, this A. Raffi, would have permitted himself to get caught on record with such a terrible lie?
There is a riddle for use by the Sphinx. Not solely for the case of A. Raffi, but across-the-board for so many, many Armenian and pro-Armenian propagandists.
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows: