“How could you get one?” he asked.
“Oh, I have friends here in Saffed but I must be able to sleep in a nice place.”
“Of course; certainly. What would you suggest?”
“That hotel kept by the Jewish widow might do,” I replied.
More amenities were exchanged, the upshot of which was that my four friends and I were given permission to sleep at the inn—a humble place, but infinitely better than the mosque. It was all perfectly simple.
[ILLUSTRATION: SOLDIERS’ TENTS IN SAMARIA]
THE GERMAN PROPAGANDA
So passed the days of our training, swiftly, monotonously, until the fateful December morning when the news came like a thunderbolt that Turkey was about to join hands with Germany. We had had reports of the war—of a kind. Copies of telegrams from Constantinople, printed in Arabic, were circulated among us, giving accounts of endless German victories. These, however, we had laughed at as fabrications of a Prussophile press agency, and in our skepticism we had failed to give the Teutons credit for the successes they had actually won. To us, born and bred in the East as we were, the success of German propaganda in the Turkish Empire could not come as an overwhelming surprise; but its fullness amazed us.
It may be of timely interest to say a few words here regarding this propaganda as I have seen it in Palestine, spreading under strong and efficient organization for twenty years.
In order to realize her imperialistic dreams, Germany absolutely needed Palestine. It was the key to the whole Oriental situation. No mere coincidence brought the Kaiser to Damascus in November, 1898,—the same month that Kitchener, in London, was hailed as Gordon’s avenger,—when he uttered his famous phrase at the tomb of Saladin: “Tell the three hundred million Moslems of the world that I am their friend!” We have all seen photographs of the imperial figure, draped in an amazing burnous of his own designing (above which the Prussian Pickelhaube rises supreme), as he moved from point to point in this portentous visit: we may also have seen Caran d’Ache’s celebrated cartoon (a subject of diplomatic correspondence) representing this same imperial figure, in its Oriental toggery, riding into Jerusalem on an ass.
The nations of Europe laughed at this visit and its transparent purpose, but it was all part of the scheme which won for the Germans the concessions for the Konia-Bagdad Railway, and made them owners of the double valley of the Euphrates and Tigris. Through branch lines projected through the firman, they are practically in control of both the Syrian routes toward the Cypriotic Mediterranean and the Lebanon valleys. They also control the three Armenian routes of Cappadocia, the Black Sea, and the trans-Caucasian branch of Urfa, Marach, and Mardine. (The fall of Erzerum has altered conditions respecting this last.) They dominate the Persian routes toward Tauris and Teheran as well; and last, but not least, the Gulf branch of Zobeir. These railways delivered into German hands the control of Persia, whence the road to India may be made easy: through Syria lies the route to the Suez Canal and Egypt, which was used in February, 1915, and will probably be used again this year.