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and justice. It behoved them, while the band wandered over the country, to regard the honour of the inhabitants as their own honour, to be kindly in their dealings with them, to be guilty of no act of oppression, to thieve nothing, though urged by the pangs of hunger, and above all things to respect all the women of the country and to observe chastity. He explained that he would punish, without exception, any of his followers who in the above respects was a wrongdoer even in the slightest degree, and that the one penalty that he would inflict would be that of death; for the safety of the fatherland necessitated this severity. He told them that he had taken measures to provide for their immediate needs. He would give each man three Turkish pounds for the support of his family and two silver medjidiehs for his tobacco, and he undertook to procure food and clothes for them. “These are the stringent conditions of service,” he concluded. “Do you approve of them 2 If so, swear by the Unity of God that you accept them from your heart and soul.” In reply, the fedais raised an enthusiastic cry of “Wallahi, billahi" (in the name of God, yes!). Of the nine private soldiers who had marched from Resna under the belief that they were being led against the Bulgarians, four now asked permission to return. Niazi took their arms and
sent them back to the officer commanding the battalion of chasseurs at Resna, with a letter in which he explained that the men were in no wise to blame, as they had been deceived by himself. Of the civilians who had joined the band only one displayed timidity at this last moment, so Niazi allowed him to return to his home and entrusted the man with the letters and manifestos which he, Niazi, had written during the previous night, instructing him to deliver them to the mudir of the district; and to the mudir he sent a separate letter, ordering him, with threats, to forward these documents to the various people to whom they were addressed. Then the bugle sounded and the little band of zealots marched on again through the beautiful Balkan countryside, in the glorious summer weather, to their unknown destiny—a band of sworn ascetics who harmed no men save the agents of the Despotism who stood in their way, and these they slew without pity; to all others they were as brothers, protecting the weak and oppressed of whatsoever race or creed, preaching the gospel of justice and equality. The bands of the racial propaganda that had hitherto passed through the Balkans had terrorised the population with murder, robbery, and the violation of women, whereas this band gained the confidence of all and was welcomed in the villages. This was indeed as a company of knight-errants,
the aim of the fedais was the overthrow of the reign of tyranny and corruption; Niazi's bands and the other bands of the Committee of Union and Progress which followed its example, actually succeeded, as we shall see, not only in winning over the entire Moslem population of this region to the cause, but in uniting the various races that had been cutting each other's throats for years, so that the whole strength of the Macedonian peoples was brought together to oppose the Despotism.
Shemshi Pasha's attempts to destroy Niazi's band—The Committee's action—Niazi's progress through the Dibra district—His proclamation to the Bulgarians—Enver Bey takes to the mountains—The killing of Shemshi Pasha.
WITHIN a few hours of the departure of Niazi Bey and his band from Resna, the officials of the Yildiz had been informed by telegraph of the outbreak of the insurrection. After a consultation of the Sultan's advisers a telegram was sent to General Shemshi Pasha, then in command at Mitrovitza in the northern Vilayet—who was, as I have explained in a former chapter, a trusted officer, than whom none had greater experience in crushing revolt in Macedonia and Albania— recounting to him what had occurred, and ordering him with the least possible delay to move the necessary troops from Mitrovitza to Monastir, and to raise volunteers from among the people, “so as to surround and seize the ungrateful traitor Niazi, together with the officers, officials, private soldiers and civilians who are his companions.” The General was further informed that his Majesty expected him to prove his fidelity and loyalty by making these wicked men
a telling example to other seditious persons, and relied upon him to cleanse that portion of the Empire of this mischief and to prevent its spread by measures of the severest nature. The ill-fated Shemshi displayed his loyalty and zeal by working night and day to compass the destruction of Niazi and his band of sedais. On July 6 he arrived with two battalions at Monastir by special train ; another battalion was closely following, and seven other battalions were marching into the disturbed districts. The usual trickery of which the creatures of the Palace were so fond was also employed to support the operations of the troops. Thus, in order to excite Moslem fanaticism and persuade men to serve as volunteers, it was assiduously rumoured that the Christians were rising to massacre the Mussulmans, a falsehood that produced but little effect; while delegates were sent through the villages to tell the people that the Constitution desired by the Committee of Union and Progress and advocated by the bands under Niazi and others, was opposed to the religion of Islam, “its doctrines being as vile as that which permits women to go about unveiled.” The Palace also arranged with the local officials that attempts should be made to corrupt the members of Niazi's band, rank and money being offered to any of these who would kill him. In the telegrams in which he reported progress