BEHEADING AS PORTRAYED IN CARTOONS FROM THE OTTOMAN TURKISH PERIOD
Armenian News Network / Groong
June 17, 2021
by Abraham D. Krikorian and Eugene L. Taylor
LONG ISLAND, NY
In a recent posting (3 June 2021) we focused on the evolution of the use, perception, and interpretation of real photos of severed heads. We emphasized that this could occur over a relatively short period of time. These photographs generally start with one fairly clear intention and develop relatively quickly into a considerably more generic usage, reflecting less discriminate usage. See: Evolution of a gruesome photo of decapitation: from instilling terror to typifying Turkish savagery by Abraham D. Krikorian and Eugene L. Taylor.
We made only a modest attempt at the end of that paper to emphasize that beheading, although as abhorrent as it is, and as clear as the message that it conveys is to any viewer, it is only one of many examples of the vicious, savage methods of suppression imposed on enemies by Turks. Figure 1. shows a scene reflecting such violence. It is a copy from an 1876 etching from a French journal featuring the burning alive [brûlés vifs] of Serbian male prisoners (See Fig. 1.).
“Events in the Orient. Serbian prisoners burned alive by the Turks. See pg. 634.”
[The men on horseback at the right look astonished but what they encountered was not unusual.
It will amuse some readers that Turkish denialists have said that ‘burned alive’ is a silly expression.
It is an oxymoron. Our response. Oh? Just take a look at any of several dictionaries!]
What we as writers are saying is that there is no limit to what can be found in the literature to portray or typify the range of violence inherent in the Turkish mentality as overlords, or at least holders of the upper hand.
In this article we will return to the theme of decapitation and beheading. Everything we have selected emphasizes that the theme of beheading and decapitation extended from photographs to the satirist and cartoonist. These two genres, real photos, and artist-drawn pictures, certainly complement each other and help provide a much broader perspective and insight than either medium might do on its own. In both cases, the medium communicates the clear message that subject peoples should not revolt or even get too uppity, or else!
Any careful examination of the cartoons shows that they are quite faithful to the facts. That is why we feel confident that cartoons are often viewed as molders of popular opinion. One thing we appreciate in particular about cartoons of the genre we will be focusing on, is that they do not confuse butchery and annihilation with drivel vocabulary that masquerades under the title “Social engineering.” Changing vocabulary is, of course, merely one of several desperate attempts by deniers of Genocide to throw readers off the track. Cartoons make no attempt to hide what the artist accurately sees - that is, one form or other of blood lust, clear and simple.
Whatever one might say about misidentifications or biases concerning identification of real photographs, it cannot be claimed that the very practice of beheading was not widespread among the Turks.
Displaying such violence was in fact routinely used as a mechanism of instilling fear and asserting dominance.
Many will know that there are quite a few cartoons that were produced in the “Hamidian period” by various caricaturists and satirists, especially in France, but many were also produced in England. One of our favorites, an early and rather rare one, appeared in the English weekly Judy. It captures a broad perspective as to why one should view with disgust and horror what was happening to Bulgarians at the hands of the Turks. Gladstone was held in contempt by the British establishment who did not want to rock the boat.
We present the cartoon in two parts. The first is in its entirety (Fig. 2a.) and is followed by an enlarged upper portion of the cartoon which makes it a bit easier to examine in detail (Fig. 2b.).
“The Greenwich Showman: Or a Way of Making Political Capital. Mr. Gladstone emerged from his [first] retirement to make the Bulgarian atrocities a foundation for an attack upon Lord Beaconsfield [Benjamin Disraeli] and his cabinet. Figure 2b below is an enlargement of the upper part of the cartoon. From Judy. The Right Hon. William Ewart Gladstone from Judy’s Point of View. As shewn by her cartoons during the last ten years. The date of the publication of the cartoon is given as September 19, 1876. Note the terrible Turk with the huge mustache choking two infants on the right-hand side of the cartoon.
Fig. 2a. cropped and enlarged.
Let us also say that people who were not fans of England’s very similar horrible but unacknowledged behavior were quick to draw cartoons that drew attention to any number of Britannia’s abhorrent behaviors. Heaven Help that they should be admitted in the open!
Figure 3. below shows a statue farcically named “Victory” which was offered by the “civilized world.” Note the huge club bearing the markings “India, Egypt, Transvaal, Ireland.” The profusion of skulls will not have escaped the viewers’ notice. For political cartoonist Orens, “Pots certainly had no right to call kettles black!”
From a Postcard we own dated 1903. The artist is the well-known French cartoonist Orens.
Cartoons can help tremendously in tracing a cycle of violence even as they seek to mock those viewers, contemporary or modern-day, who are deliberately insensitive or indifferent.
The reader/viewer should not expect any new information from any of these cartoons which will revolutionize understanding of the persecutions and genocide of the Armenians. Cartoons do, however, add to the collection of facts that comprise the ingredients for understanding the topic in its full perspective. They also help redress the imbalance of print sources. The massive number of victims implied in these cartoons is certainly not a number to celebrate.
All the cartoons show, to one degree or other, massacres and violent suppression of Christians by the Sultan of Turkey and his forces. Christians were generally viewed as unassimilable. At best, they were tolerable and exploitable. When they proved themselves to be non-compliant, they had to be put in their place.
It could be argued that the Macedonians, perhaps or even largely because of their geographic proximity to main body-Europe, were given particular attention so far as photographs and cartoons of beheadings were concerned. This harsh treatment by decapitation was part of an initial attempt to keep dissident Macedonians very aware that their activities would not be tolerated. This was, of course, a mere repeat of what had been inflicted upon the Armenians, and in fact continued to be inflicted on Armenians on a regular basis.
The views depicted in these cartoon postcards are completely interchangeable from the perspective of what ethnic minority was being represented, be they Macedonians, Armenians, Assyrians, or whomever.
A very cynical but painfully accurate cartoon published in 1897 and drawn by a man using the assumed name “BOBB”, talks of ‘free razor cuts in troublesome Crete coming up!’ (See Figs. 4a. and 4b.)
Copy of the front page of August 8, 1897, issue of the French satirical weekly La Baionnette (Paris) 8 année, no. 1116 showing Sultan Abdul Hamid II decked out with the accoutrements of a barber. He presents a sarcastic fee schedule posted for his work on the left around 10 o’clock. It includes the “Armenian razor cut.” Note the other European personalities who represent the main colluding European nations who cannot effectively unite against the Sultan because they fear their own selfish interests would be compromised. Abdul warns “Do not get impatient my good roumis [expression used by Turks for followers of the Greek Orthodox Church] … There is always a tomorrow when I will sign peace treaties imposed on me!” Well said, he had spoken what they all wanted to hear. He had no intention of follow-through on reforms. Talk was good enough!
Figure 4a. cropped to facilitate examination. Note the very damaged straight edge razor.
We need not bother here with the names of personalities.
Figure 5. is a rather explicit, gory cartoon by Léon Roze (1869 – 19??) dated August 1903. It was presented as part of an umbrella series entitled “Le Grain de Sel” [Grain of Salt]. It shows Sultan Abdul Hamid II with a knife in his mouth. He is holding severed heads with both of his arms. This cartoon is a good example of one which at first glance might seem to be very direct and easily interpretable, but it is hardly easy to dissect today.
Dramatic representation of decapitations in Macedoine.
The text on this postcard asserts that “In Macedoine, there is no danger of France intervening!” (We won’t go into further detail here since it would take too much space and take us off track) The caption is moreover, replete with double entendre or double meaning. Jean Antoine Ernest Constans, who usually went by Jean Antoine Constans 1833-1913, was the French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1899-1909. He knew quite well what was going on at the time concerning suppression of the Christian elements in the Empire but was also determined to maintain France’s advantages in its dealings with the Ottoman Empire, and did not, as we might say nowadays, want to rock the boat too much. (Constans had been Minister of the Interior in France from 1889 to 1892 and seems to have pretty much run his own ‘operation’ while in Turkey.)
The name “Fourmies” which is worked into the text of the image refers to the town in northern France very near the Belgian border where struggles on the part of the textile workers to gain better working conditions such as an eight-hour day, resulted in their being massacred in response to their peaceful demonstration. There is considerable literature about that fateful date of massacre on May first 1891. One will appreciate the connection with May 1 since it is identified nowadays internationally as International “Workers Day.” As it turns out, the extent of the massacre by standards of Ottoman massacres was modest – some estimates say only 9 were killed and 35 wounded; others give quite a few more victims.
The government of France was cool to the idea of Macedonian reforms and believed that reforms would give rise, and indeed did give rise to more unrest. This would undermine the cohesion of the Ottoman Empire and thus jeopardize the economic interests of France (cf. Bruce Felton, 2000, France’s Extraordinary Ambassador Ernest Constans and the Ottoman Empire, 1898-1909. French Historical Studies 23 (no.4), 683-706.)
Roze was clearly a talented artist and was a fairly well-known book illustrator in his day. Some of his work was risqué/pornographic. He is now barely recalled. As perhaps already noted by some readers, we do not even know for certain the date of Roze’s death.
One can appreciate that decapitations were part and parcel of the horrors meted out to all those who were perceived as being at odds with the Ottoman State, not just Macedonians.
Figure 6. provides a cartoon featuring a blood-stained Sultan Abdul Hamid II with a blood dripping hand and a gruesome, severed head at his feet. The card facetiously advertises the need for Armenians for ‘massacre games in the Orient.’
“Armenians wanted for Massacre Games in the Orient” says Sultan Abdul Hamid II on a blood red postcard produced in France. The cancellation date on another exact card we own is September 20, 1905. It is noteworthy that the Sultan’s nose is significantly smaller and much more aquiline in this image than the huge hooked ‘nose’ affair that one usually encounters in most other caricatures and cartoons of the Bloody Sultan Abdul Hamid II in that period. (See Taylor, E.L. and Krikorian, A.D. September 21, 2014. Groong, “Sultan Abdul Hamid II: What did he really look like? Caricatures versus photographs.” https://groong.org/orig/ak-20140921.html.)
The cartoonist Mille produced a number of cartoons published as postcards in the early 1900s but our efforts to learn more about him as a person and artist have been rather disappointing. We do know that his real name was Félix-Antoine Marmonier (1874-1914) but he signed himself ‘Mille’ for his art work.
Figure 7. shows a fairly well-known image which emphasizes the blood on the hands of Sultan Hamid who shows absolutely no contrition. Its wide circulation indicates its popularity.
From: Le Musée de Sires [The Museum of Lords].
Political caricature by French cartoonist Auguste Jean-Baptiste Roubille (1872-1955).
This image was issued in several formats and sizes, large and small.
Figures 8a.and Fig. 8b. below provide yet another glimpse of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the “Red Sultan.” Here the caricature image portraying his looks as interpreted by the artist is the more familiar one. It was drawn by Orens about whom we have written before. (See https://groong.org/orig/ak-20171004.html French Political Satirist Orens Denizard Decries Sultan Abdul Hamid II in his 1903-1904 Cartoons Depicting Ruthless Massacres by the Turks: Europe’s failure to stop the Armenian massacres of the 1890s was the go-ahead for “Abdul the Damned” to viciously suppress the Macedonians in 1903 by Eugene L. Taylor and Abraham D. Krikorian, October 4, 2017.)
Note the bloodshot eyes especially. Today, the expression “How they dance it”
[is not particularly meaningful to us but we could be missing the boat? We will welcome insights.]
There are many humorous Postcards of Turkish atrocities that are available today on the used market.
Some are by cartoonists who are well-known, and others are by those who are not as well-known but clearly pique one’s interest enough to encourage one to say that it would be nice to know more about them.
Figure 9a. below is a postcard that falls into this latter category. It is by Orens and is entitled Le Tȇtes de Turcs [a slang expression for a scapegoat]. It shows German Kaiser Wilhelm II with claws outstretched grasping Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s head. Figure 9b. provides an enlargement of the Turkish Sultan’s head sporting earrings of Armenian skulls.
Comparison of the two images show that one is more specific than the other.
Cropped and enlarged from Fig. 9a. - the postcard by Orens that we own.
Figure 10. shows another postcard by Orens that is a bit different from what one normally encounters because it is in color.
The more readily available version of this postcard on the paper ephemera market is in black and white.
This one in color shows Sultan Abdul Hamid II with Christian crosses. From our collection.
It seems appropriate to re-emphasize that the practice of beheading and decapitation was very old in the so-called “Orient” and persisted long after the practice had waned in Europe proper except in a few places like France where the guillotine reigned supreme legally and formally for many years well into the ‘1960s. It was the official, state-sanctioned mode of execution for convicted criminals. At least the executioner wore a hood, and the victim was often spared from seeing the crowd of spectators.
Cartoons featuring skulls, decapitation and heads paraded about on pikes and spikes were included in many contexts. No doubt that the skills and talents of the cartoonist developed over time but quite a few of the rather early ones were quite excellent in our opinion.
Talented American cartoonist Harry J. Westerman (1876-1945) captured the hypocritical essence of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in this cartoon.
As we put it, the Sultan talked a vastly better game than he played.
Note the heads being paraded on pikes. From Review of Reviews 1903.
Cropped enlargement of Fig. 11a. to facilitate reading of Sultan Hamid’s promises.
Of course they were never intended to be implemented, much less carried out or enforced.
Figure 12. below shows a chocolate trade card featuring the theme of which is decapitation of Greeks by Bashi-Bazouks or irregular troops during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. The decapitations in this instance follow, rather than precede the act of killing. Although the Ottomans won this so-called 30-day war, the autonomy of Crete became assured as a result of the terms of the cease fire, and promised autonomy for Crete rather than continued Ottoman rule.
A card from our collection.
Readers should not get the idea that cartoonists had necessarily seen beheadings. They may have only seen photographs.
A special issue of the French anarchist satirical weekly L’Assiette au Beurre [The Butter Plate] mocks and ridicules all religions.
Figure 13. below is a page from this issue that shows an outrageously negative portrayal of Islam by Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957). It reads in French “God of the Turks. Allah is Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”
The caption continues: “Allah knows how to assure his own existence by promising all sorts of pleasures to those who die and remove unbelievers.”
Given the general theme of this special issue on religion, the designation “Turc” refers to all Muslims. But the blood-red shield with the Ottoman Turkish star and crescent make it clear that “the Turk”/Turc specifically does not slip through any cracks. “The Red Sultan,” Abdul Hamid II, who was a strong advocate of Pan-Islamism, became quite well known for his association, even seeming penchant for beheadings. The upper left and right side of the image features the pleasures of Muslim Paradise. Exactly how “Unbelievers” were “removed” [supprimant in French] is shown by the sword and its victims. The Armenian massacres had taken place in 1894 – 1896.
“God of the Turks”
Accusations have been made from time to time of virulent anti-Muslim bias, and unreasonable prejudice by Christians against followers of Islam. Efforts were made routinely to promote the notion of Muslims being unfairly victimized on account of anti-Muslim bias and prejudice. This alleged prejudice, in the mind of the Turks, can be turned to good order in denying any of the late Ottoman Genocides. All they need to do is develop and exploit some skillful propaganda.
No doubt, some of the American Protestant Missionaries were indeed quite vitriolic in their hatred of the Muslim Turks, but it was by no means a general or widespread attitude. It was largely as a result of the Hamidian massacres that efforts were made by the Christian missionaries to explain what was happening and why it had happened. This led to emphasizing religious differences between Islam and Christianity and indeed, these differences surfaced with a vengeance.
Figure 14. below is from an advertising flyer seeking to elicit interest to foster sales for a book published in 1896. It was some 512 pgs. long, with 43 pages of unnumbered plates of illustrations etc. The author was Frederick Davis Greene who was born of missionary parents in 1863 in Broosa, Turkey. He was educated at Robert College, attended Phillips Academy in Andover Massachusetts, and graduated from Amherst College in 1885, earning his M.A. in 1888 from Amherst. He attended Yale Divinity School and did postgrad work at Andover Theological Seminary. After marrying Sarah Foster in 1889, both went to Van Armenia/eastern Turkey to serve as missionaries in the boy’s school there. From this brief background alone one can appreciate that he was an experienced observer of matters pertaining to Armenians in Turkey.
When massacres broke out, the Greenes escaped to Russia through Persia, hoping they could secure aid for the Armenians. He did succeed in his attempts to organize Armenian Relief in England and America. This was done with the backing of William Gladstone, Clara Barton, and Frances Willard. He returned to New York on July 7, 1894, and resigned from the mission.
We read that “in 1898 he became the secretary for the American Bible Society in New York. Because of his strong concern for social problems, he left this work to take up a career in social work. Contributions for the Armenians were sent through the National Armenian Relief Committee, whose office was at Bible House, New York City, and then moved to 11 Broadway in the Bowling Green Building. The President of the Committee was Hon. David Josiah Brewer, one of the Associate Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Mrs. Greene died in 1947, and her husband in July 1932 at the age of 99. They are both buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Andover, Mass. He served at Van from 1890 to 1894.
One would hardly conclude that such a gentleman with a well-developed social conscience would be classified as a person who hated Islam and Turks. Even so, the intensity of the flyer does indeed seem to reflect his outrage over what he had witnessed with his own eyes. Another point that we try never to forget is that oftentimes, publishers do not inevitably seek permission of an author in advertising strategies undertaken when selling books for a client.
A flyer to advertise and draw attention to the book entitled - Armenian Massacres:
or the sword of Mohammed…including a full account of the Turkish People….
1896, published in Philadelphia by International Publishing Co.
The flyer and its imagery and contents hardly need explanation or embellishment. From our collection.
The description of the volume is fairly detailed and reads:
Introduction / Josiah Strong – Preface – A chapter of horrors – General information about Eastern Turkey – The chronic condition of Armenia and Kurdistan – Ottoman promises and their fulfilment – The outcome of the Treaty of Berlin – The Sultan and the Sublime Porte – Previous acts of the Turkish tragedy – Islam as a factor of the problem – Gladstone on the Armenian massacre and on Turkish misrule – Who are the Armenians? – Americans in Turkey, their work and influence – Armenian village life – Appendix A: A bit of American diplomacy – Appendix B: Establishment of United States consulates in Eastern Turkey – Appendix C: Dr. Cyrus Hamlin’s explanation – Appendix D: The censorship of the press – The appalling condition of Armenia – Mr. Gladstone on Armenia – The cry from Armenia – The shame of Christendom – An appeal for Armenia – The massacre at Urfa – The last the worst – Russia and Turkey – The tyrant Turk and the craven statesmen – International politics at Constantinople – The blot on the century – The Armenians : who are they? – The Turkish question in Germany – Turkish oppression – Missionary work in Turkey – Turkey and the Turks – The Turkish government – Relief for suffering Armenia – Cause and extent of the recent atrocities – To the rescue – What one may see in Armenia – The Turks and their religion – History of Turkey and the Mohammedan power.
Figure 15. below shows a scan of an informative note published in the Christian Work Weekly vol. 62, Thursday May 27, 1897, pg. 839. It provides enough detail to give the reader a good idea of what was happening in Turkish Armenia. Note the wise approach to providing help directly to the needy, and the avoidance of risking the seizure of funds by the Turks.
Notice from the Christian Work Weekly, published in New York City,
vol. 62, No. 1580, Thursday May 27, 1897, pg. 839.
We shall now return specifically to the theme of decapitation. It provides yet another indication that decapitation was nothing to be embarrassed about so far as the Turks were concerned. Figure 16 shows a head on a platter in a framed image behind Sultan Abdul Hamid II who is sitting in a chair. Who or what the image represents is left up to the viewer.
[Sultan Abdul Hamid II] ̶
“Go see. What do they want? Is it the head of some Grand Viziers? Is it yours? I accept in advance, whatever they want will be done immediately. ̶ Will you be voiceless, for example? You say nothing. Would they ask me… [The Secretary]. ̶ It took time but he understood.” Note: The framed portrait on the wall, may well be of a beheaded relative, or perhaps a supposed friend or even government minister. From Le Rire (Paris) N.S. No. 329 22 mai [May] 1909.
This cartoon (Fig.16.) was published a few weeks earlier on the front page of the Ottoman Turkish Constantinople satirical weekly Kalem, 29 April 1909 no. 34. The Kalem was published in both Ottoman Turkish and in French between 3 Sept. 1908 and 16 June 1911. The Kalem has been praised by recent American interpreters of Turkish cartoons of the period as an example of a revolutionary step in the second constitutional period. By present-day standards we maintain that most of it is neither humorous nor self-evident. Even the title [The Pen] is not particularly edifying. The journal is a far cry from the humor magazines of Europe during this period. Some of the best cartoons in Kalem are from foreign sources.
Another image shown below (Figs. 17a. and 17b.) published in Le Rire is particularly noteworthy and tells much of the sordid story of Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
“On the Jubilee of the Red Sultan: The triumphal cortege [procession].”
By the time Sultan Hamid II was forced to abdicate, the cartoons were rather direct in portraying his legacy.
The one below from Der Wahre Jacob is very macabre.
“Abdul Hamid upon the trophies of his reign.”
From Der Wahre Jacob (Stuttgart) nr. 596, 25 May 1909 pg. 6241.
Der Wahre Jacob was a very popular publication among the German working class
and was strongly oriented towards Social Democracy.
Those hoping nowadays to make progress towards reclaiming a positive view of Sultan Hamid II and his reign will have major problems with cartoons like these.
There were many humorous images in journals and issued as postcards dealing with Sultan Hamid II’ behavior.
A few examples follow that were selected because they are especially expressive.
Figure 19. depicts the sacrosanct relationship between Sultan Abdul Hamid II and Kaiser Wilhelm!
It was well-known that the German Kaiser was the only power in Europe willing to openly side with
and acknowledge Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s position in the scheme of things.
The Kaiser backed Sultan Abdul Hamid II financially and politically. The caption reads “Slaughtering Christians in Macedoine.” “Him” and his friend.
There was no reason whatsoever to fear the Turkish Sultan’s atrocious behavior.
It came down to a matter of pragmatism. This cartoon defines the policy of the Ottoman Government
in matters of administration of Crete. Note the French Foreign Minister with his folder labeled
Foreign Affairs tucked under his left arm.
He is being told in no uncertain terms about how things are and will continue to be.
Figure 21. below is a cartoon from Punch seeking subscriptions for construction and erection of a monument for Sultan Abdul Hamid II being planned for Constantinople.
This cartoon from Punch seeking subscriptions for the construction and erection of a statue tells it all!
There are quite a few additional cartoons featuring Sultan Abdul Hamid II and his modus operandi. The one below says that one does not discuss with one’s adversaries, one eliminates them.
This Orens 1903 cartoon is quite clear.
Another cartoon by Orens likewise is very clear.
There is no shortage of imagery that features Sultan Hamid’s preoccupation with beheading.
Title page of booklet - Fig. 24.
Cropped from Fig. 24.
It is no wonder that a Sultan like Abdul Hamid II who spent so much time wielding his power of domination and imposing the fear of him into his subjects above all, himself was terrified of being exposed to the same treatment. A cartoon featuring a recurrent dream follows as Fig. 27.
From the title given at Fig. 25.
Some will recall that special status, especially among male heirs, meant nothing in Ottoman society. It was, in fact, quite common to have perceived competitors murdered. When Abdul got replaced on the throne by his brother Mehmed V, he in turn held Abdul Hamid II under house arrest. Abdul was lucky he did not get more severe treatment.
Cartoon from the cover of Assiette au Beurre featuring a fine rendering of the two brothers.
One looking in, the other looking out!
Before we finish this posting, we wish to provide a bit of additional perspective. Mention has been made that western cartoonists have been accused of being unduly critical of the Turks and have shown their bias even in their cartoons.
Turks were not the only ones, they say, who used beheading, both symbolically and as a traditional way of execution. Many times beheading was done first, but oftentimes the beheading was carried out after the killing of the victim had taken place. This beheading after the fact deserves more consideration and study, but obviously we cannot do that here.
Legitimate accusation can be made as well, that many Imperial Powers who for years had enjoyed the upper hand, did equally hideous things but never were openly, or at least sufficiently criticized for their heinous crimes. The bottom line was that “Everyone does it.” Some Powers are more polished in their execution, that is to say more refined and in control of the press and matters of public image. Moreover, there is a fundamental and widespread belief in the superiority of the white man over all others. No matter what one might try to argue, the determined steadfast belief was that ‘white and Christian’ were superior to anyone else who differed in ways that were seen as typifying major differences. They were not of course. But as usual, perception becomes reality.
A cartoon put out in Amsterdam in the 1890s emphasizes that while John Bull (Britain) was manufacturing and exporting dum-dum bullets to use in the murderous Boer wars - the so-called South African Wars - he had the nerve to say he was pleased that he was not involved in such terrible things as the massacre of Armenians by Turks, and the treatment of Jews in France. (The full cartoon and significant parts of it are shown in Figs. 29 to 32.
An 1899 July 23 Dutch cartoon entitled Brave John Bull. John Bull is shown busy making dum-dum bullets for South Africa. John Bull trumpets “Oh, these foreigners are so cruel. I thank Heaven I am not like them!” Turks are massacring Armenian in the upper left panel. To the right, is a panel that features the notoriously anti-Semitic Dreyfus affair in France. (From our collection.)
Cropped from Fig. 29. Wooden box showing shipping label for South Africa. On the right is a box labeled dum-dum bullets. The vicious expanding bullets called dum-dums ended up being outlawed in international law. Even so, various versions of them have emerged from time to time. So much for international bans and Interdictions!
French-captioned image, again stating that John Bull is busy making dum-dum bullets for South Africa. Again, John Bull trumpets “Oh, these foreigners are so cruel.
I thank Heaven I am not like them!” Delusional myopia?
Enlargement of the panel of Armenian massacres shown at the top left of Figs 29 and 31 shown above.
It will be appreciated that when one hears the expression Concentration Camp these days, inevitably the idea of a Nazi operation emerges. The fact is that Britain invented the concept of a concentration camp. Irish-born General Horatio Herbert Kitchener was first and foremost involved.
Below we see a depiction of Lord Kitchener as a ‘big ole fat frog’ with slews of Boer victims at his feet. This was a drawing by the talented artist Jean Veber and was published in an issue of the French satirical journal L’Assiette au Beurre. Les Camps de Reconstration au Transvaal. 28 Sep. 1901. (See Fig. 33.)
From Assiette au Beurre pg. 395 showing Lord Kitchener as a frog.
The text in French is taken from an official report from Kitchener that had been sent to the War Office.
We shall include some drawings below to expand on the theme of concentration camps being places of immense evil. The cover of a booklet published in Germany as late as 1915 (Fig. 34.) shows Kitchener as the fat frog with slain people around him. The cover reads “England als Henker Frankreichs [translated as ‘England as the hangman - executioner of France’, a struggle about the mastery of the world and its outcome.” This is a good example of the practice that we have mentioned again and again - namely, images can be recycled with different emphasis.
Published in Germany in 1915.
Other scenes that make it clear that Kitchener’s camps were places of horror.
Horrible scene in a Concentration Camp. From Assiette au Beurre pg. 414.
Kids being dragged off to the camps even as they pass a dead woman - possibly their mother.
From Assiette au Beurre pg. 406.
Hangings in a Camp. From Assiette au Beurre pg. 307.
Electric fence as a deterrent. From Assiette au Beurre pg. 396.
It may appear unkind to all those who seem wedded to the idea that one should be fair and balanced on all matters, that one should not exploit the physical appearance of a ‘leader’ of a country seen as an enemy country. But to be direct, the new Sultan of Turkey after the demise of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, was a dullard and a near-imbecile. Exactly where the theory that things should be fair and balanced came from is in itself a fantasy. There is no such theory. (If there is we would be more than pleased to know about it and its supposed origins.)
We ask here and now, “What is wrong with calling a spade a spade?”
Figure 39 below shows a so-called movable postcard. By pulling a tab at the bottom of the card, the position of Sultan Mehmed V’s eyes change. The 4 different positions are shown here in series. In no instance in our opinion is any position very flattering. The viewer can come to his/her own opinion.
From a moving postcard in our collection.
To be kinder, we show that he was viewed also as a person who enjoyed pleasures of hearth and home (Fig. 40).
Orens cartoon Mehmed V as a flying Monarch and his parachute.
Mehmet V as a mere dumpy monarch. Note the Iron Cross bestowed on him by the German Kaiser.
If one were inclined to be kind, he might be described as portly.
Mehmed V, Sultan and Kaiser, bestowing and exchanging Royal Tits for Tats – not quite real medals -
From Colliers vol 60 no 10 Nov 10, 1917, full pg. 11.
Cropped and enlarged from Fig. 42.
There are many slightly more polite versions alluding to the Sultan of Turkey, Mehmed V being as part of the family of nations united in the World War I efforts. Figures 44-47 are interesting because one can gain a ‘new’ perspective by turning the card around. We have done this here to aid the viewer see what the cartoon originator was aiming to achieve.
Cartoon En Famille 1914
The Kaiser is a cow. Emperor Franz-Joseph is a camel.
The Crown Prince is a pig. The Sultan is a boar.
The Sultan Mehmed V is at the top. The Turkish Sultan appears as a boar. Whether the selection of a boar with which to embellish the cartoon was based on deep erudition on the part of the cartoonist is not clear. One thing is for certain, bores and pigs were haram or forbidden to the Muslim mind. In fact, a prime insult and pejorative against Christians, was to call them dogs or pigs.
The Austro-Hungarian Emperor is at the top.
Crown Prince William, son of the Kaiser is at top.
A less-flattering view of the Triple Alliance. So much for the Alliance of “Brutes”!
In closing, we wish to draw attention to (but will not show due to copyright restrictions) a photograph from November 1919 which is of considerable interest to us. It is included in a book with the title La France et le Proche-Orient 1916-1946. Une chronique de la présence française en Syrie et au Liban, en Palestine, au Hedjaz et en Cilicie. The book is by Pierre Fournié et Jean-Louis Riccoli and published by Casterman (Tiurnai: Belgium).
The picture shows two heads on a table surrounded by a gendarmerie working at the behest of the Sherif (the chief administrator of Mecca in Ottoman Times.). It is definitely a photograph taken as a sign that French domination was not going to be tolerated by the Arabs in charge. The image is said to have been on sale publicly in Damascus.
The caption to the photograph says it was taken in Bekaa (Lebanon) and admittedly “un peu macabre” [ a bit macabre!]
So, here we have clear evidence that heads of undesirables - in this case supporters of the French - were available for sale in November 1919, to ‘threaten’ and show the French that they were not welcome. And indeed, we emphasize that Turks were not the perpetrators of the decapitations in Bekaa.
Finally. Some Turks and their supporters would say that all our cartoons are fraudulent. One of the arguments that ‘the Turks’ use even today is that all Armenians were not exterminated in the so-called genocide. If, they argue, the intent was to eliminate them all, there would not have been so many left.
Well, we have news for them. It is not our intention to educate the denialist masses. It will be sufficient for us to quote someone who knew Turks well.
What follows was published in 1918 and is quoted from Peet, W.W. (1918) “Effective distribution of relief funds in Turkey.” The World Court. A Magazine of International Progress (NY) vol. 4, no. 10, October 1918, pgs. 583-585 at pg. 585.
“It is characteristic of Turkish methods, be they good or bad in their aims, that continuity of action is seldom practiced. To one acquainted therefore with the Turkish character it is not surprising that a movement which appeared at the outset to have for its purpose the extermination of whole races of people, should later on lose its fury, and indifference and even toleration be displayed by the Central authorities, and especially by the local authorities, towards the efforts taken to ameliorate the condition of the victims of their hatred. The war in its progress brought a host of measures of more engrossing importance than the pursuit of work of full extermination of peoples already “reduced” and so it came to pass that those engaged in the distribution of relief have been allowed an increasing degree of freedom in their approach to the suffering peoples in their efforts to relieve their necessities. Each local committee is still within reach of the Central agency at Constantinople through the medium of the banks and other methods of financial exchange and thus the funds sent to Constantinople can be forwarded to the local committees, however distant, and although diplomatic relations with Turkey have been severed by the action of the Turkish government, the Committee in New York is still able through the considerate action of the State Department and the War Trade Board, to forward its funds to the Central Agency at Constantinople.”
For us, this goes far towards providing a very good perspective on the entire matter. We cannot build on or expand the body of what has been said, It provides the framework for what happened and thereafter.
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