Imagens da página

district, by means of what bribes or promises I cannot say, to hunt down and capture Niazi and the other leaders of the insurrection. It is undoubtedly the fact that the Greek bands, assisted by hired Mussulman desperadoes, were displaying great activity at this period, and that the Greek clergy were directing a vigorous persecution of the Bulgarian exarchists. The Committee of Union and Progress dealt firmly with this one disturbing element in an otherwise peaceful and united country. For example, the Committee carried away the Greek Bishop of Vodena as a hostage and let it be known that he would be put to death in three days unless by that time all the bands in that neighbourhood had been broken up. On July 22, by which time, as I shall show, the young Turk leaders had come boldly into the open to demand from the Sultan his abdication or a Constitution, the Committee of Union and Progress in Monastir issued a manifesto, of which copies were sent to the Greek Committee in Athens, the spiritual head of the Greek community in Monastir, and to the chiefs of the various Greek bands in the neighbourhood. This manifesto, after stating that “the Yildiz, in opposition to the will of the people, had attempted to bring about a diversion against the Young Turk movement by effecting a union between the Hellenes and the Patriarchate, and with that object had sent Munir Pasha to stir up

feeling in Greece against the Committee, and that this scheme had been attended with some success,” proceeded as follows: “You know that our Committee of Union and Progress, having worked in secret for the welfare of all races and creeds in Turkey, has now come forth to openly proclaim its aim—the winning of liberty for the nation. The tyrannical Government has sown the seeds of sedition and has brought about conflicts and bloodshed between the various races and creeds in the land. We being all brothers, working together for the salvation and happiness of the country, ask of you, our Greek fellow-countrymen, that you no longer use differences of race and creed as an excuse for the shedding of blood. If your real object is to obtain equality, well-being, and liberty, be with us and seek no outside advice; be even as our Bulgarian brothers, who by their sincerity and by their deeds have proved their sympathy for our high aims. If you will not unite with us, we ask of you at least to remain neutral, and we call upon you in the name of humanity to cease this shedding of blood. We warn you against the dangers of Hellenism. If you Greeks in the Monastir Villayet do not put a stop to your Hellenic agitation, your brother Greeks in Anatolia, who are much more numerous than yourselves, will suffer as well as yourselves. Secret negotiations between the Yildiz and the

Patriarchate will lead, not to your happiness, but to your injury and destruction. We advise our Greek brothers not to be deceived by these shameless artifices which the Yildiz has oftentimes practised. We ask that the Greek bands should no longer go hither and thither shedding blood in their mistaken racial and religious zeal. Let the Hellenes among them return to their homes in Greece. Let them scatter. It is also intolerable to us that these bands have low Moslems in their pay who commit atrocities. We will find out and kill these Moslems if they do not at once abandon the Greek bands. We call upon you to have these Moslems sent away, else with you will be the responsibility for the blood that will be shed, and you will be condemned by the civilised world. With much affection we invite our Greek compatriots to unite with us in striving for our main objects—the restoration of our Constitution and the gaining of equality for all. We cannot doubt that God, who has created us all, will grant success to those only who work for humanity and civilisation.”


Niazi is summoned to Ochrida—An important mission—The Committee decides to strike its blow—The gathering of the fedals—The march of the two thousand on Ochrida— A mascot–Monastir is captured by a night surprise—A bloodless victory—General Osman Pasha a prisoner of the Committee.

AND now the hour was drawing near when Niazi was to be called upon to do the deed that would bring the insurrection to a head and send the Despotism tumbling down like a house of cards. Leaving Istarova on July 17, Niazi and his band of fedais set out for Resna. After a fatiguing march across the mountains (in the course of which the provisional administration was introduced into several friendly Moslem and Christian villages, and some detours had to be made in order to avoid collision with a battalion of chasseurs, whose officers and men, being strangers to the country and not members of the Committee, were likely to be dangerous) the band entered Labcha, the first village, it will be remembered, that Niazi had visited and organised on the day of his setting out from Resna. Here, as in

Istarova, the sedais were among staunch friends 2O2

and were enabled to sleep in security; there was no necessity for sending out patrols or for posting sentries, for these duties were performed by the villagers themselves, who were proud to guard the saviours of the nation as they rested. The village was also protected by a detachment of troops which, like many another little garrison in the three Vilayets, had mutinied, its officers and men becoming the sworn associates of the Committee. On the following day, July 19, there was a great gathering of people in Labcha, wild hillmen, shepherds, deserters from the army and others, who had come in to see Niazi and his band and to declare their readiness to take up arms for the Committee. Niazi addressed the people, told them how successful had been the mission of his own and of the other bands, and assured them that the sand had all but run out of the glass, and the day was very near when the Despotism would fall and liberty prevail. That glad day was indeed nearer than Niazi himself imagined; for that very evening there came a messenger into the village with a letter for Niazi from the Ochrida Centre of the Committee of Union and Progress. In this letter the Committee informed him that very important and grave intelligence had been received from Monastir, and ordered him to set out at once for Ochrida. He

was to leave his band outside that town and come

« AnteriorContinuar »