CHAPTER XXIX

THE MAKING OF MUSTAPHA KHEMAL

 

THE building up of Mustapha Khemal by certain Christian countries was one of the unwisest, most pernicious and most dangerous deeds that Occidental diplomacy, intrigue and jealousy has ever perpetrated. It is a legend among Mohammedan peoples that the Turk is the “Sword of Allah,” “the Defender of Islam,” and “the Scourge of the Unbeliever.” As he is the lowest of Mobaminedans intellectually, with none, or at best few, of the graces and accomplishments of civilization, with no cultural history, the other disciples of the Prophet do not consider him as their intellectual or moral equal.

In only one particular has he always kept abreast of the age, and that is in the art of war. He is perhaps the only example of a great and scientifically warlike nation that is great in nothing else. He destroys but can not construct. Even the other Mohammedans, who have been subjected to his rude and blighting sway, have continually fought to be freed from it, and have only joined him in common cause against the Christians.

Of him, the historian Butler says:

“The Goth might ravage Italy, but the Goth came forth purified from the flame, which he himself had kindled. The Saxon swept Britain, but the music of his Celtic heart softened his rough nature. Visigoth and Frank, Heruli and Vandal, blotted out their ferocity in the very light of the civilization they had striven to extinguish. Even the wildest Tartar from the Scythian waste was touched and softened in his wicker encampments, but the Turk, wherever his scimitar reached—degraded, defiled and defamed, blasting with eternal decay Roman, Latin civilization, until when all had gone he sat down satisfied with savagery to doze into hopeless decrepitude.”

But Mohammedans do not forget that it was the Turk who took the great and splendid city of Constantinople, the last bulwark of Europe against the devastating and enslaving hordes of Asia; that it was the Turk who firmly established himself in Europe on the field of Cossova; that it was the Turk who destroyed the flower of the Hungarian chivalry—twenty thousand together with their king—on the stricken field of Mohacz in 1526, and three years later arrived at the gates of Vienna, which he besieged; that a little over a hundred years later a Turkish horde again stormed the Austrian capital, which only the timely arrival of a Polish army saved.

At the close of the Great War the Turk was beaten to his feet and his prestige ruined. “The Sword of Islam” had been broken. The victory over the Greeks, though with the aid of European officers and material, and the spectacular destruction of Smyrna with the massacre of its inhabitants, revived the legend of the conquering and avenging Turk. “The Sword of Islam” had been welded again, to conquer and destroy. The noise of that event resounded and is still echoing throughout the Moslem World, in Egypt, in India, in Northern Africa and in Syria.

And more than that, the rise of Mustapha Khemal, creature of divided Christendom, of the mutually jealous and internecine Occident, has given new courage to all the yellow and black and brown peoples, whom Kipling describes as “the White Man’s Burden,” who while they may cut one another’s throats over the question of Mohammed or Confucius or Buddha, are united in their hatred of the white man.

The ferment in the East is the bubbling up of a deeper feeling, than the careless or unobservant thinker wots of: It is the revelation of a profound and fundamental antipathy. The East is tired of being civilized by superior peoples; of being educated and converted; of being shoved off the sidewalks; of being called “Eurasians” and having their daughters ostracized if they marry whites; of having their children excluded from white schools; of being discriminated against in immigration laws.

One can not say that the West is entirely wrong in attempting to maintain its prestige and its Occidental civilization, but he can safely affirm that the hatred that has been steadily growing in the Orient is deep and implacable, and that the result will be murders, uprisings, little wars, big wars. The maker of this statement may be set down as an alarmist. So is the man who sticks up the sign at the railway crossing, “Stop! Look! Listen!” The dissension in the Western World that made it possible for the Turks to make a clean sweep of Christian civilization in the Ottoman Empire, to burn Smyrna and massacre its inhabitants in sight of a powerful fleet of European and American war vessels, has added unknown weight to the “White Man’s Burden.”

That a mutual hatred of the West is bringing together peoples hitherto antagonistic and of different creeds is confirmed by Lothrop Stoddard in his book, “The New World of Islam”, quoting the writer, H. Vambery, the authority on Moslem affairs:

“The change in Moslem sentiment can be gauged by the numerous appeals made by the Indian Mohammedans at this time to Hindus, as may be seen from the following sample, entitled significantly, ‘The Message of the East’:

“ ‘Spirit of the East,’ reads this noteworthy document, ‘arise and repel the swelling flood of Western aggression! Children of Hindustan aid, aid us with your wisdom, culture and wealth; lend us your power, the birthright and heritage of the Hindu! Let the Spirit Powers hidden in the Hinalayan mountain peaks arise! Let prayers to the God of Battles float upward; prayers that right may triumph over might; and call to your myriad gods to annihilate the armies of the foe!’ ”

Let the reader compare this appeal of Mohammedan to Hindu with the spirit of the article from the “Progres de Saloniqne” of July 22, 1910, quoted in an early chapter of this book, in which Turkish Mohammedans and Japanese Buddhists, etc., are conceived as having common cause against Western civilization. That Oriental peoples believe that their opportunity will come from the dissensions and wars of Western nations, which they are watching with much interest and satisfaction, was expressed as early as 1907 by Yahya Siddyk, an Egyptian judge and writer of Mohammedan faith, who seems to have foreseen the Great War:

“Behold these Powers ruining themselves in terrifying armaments; measuring each other’s strength with defiant glances; menacing each other; contracting alliances which continually break and presage those terrible shocks which overturn the world and cover it with ruins, fire and blood!”

 

 

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