National Geographic : 1918 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE seas and made Sidon and Tyre the world centers for commerce. The Greeks, put ting out from their islands near by the Asia Minor shore and from Ephesus and other cities of the mainland, were the great carriers and traders of ancient times. We read that King Solomon, taking ad vantage of his location beween Egypt and Assyria, carried on a great business of mercantile exchange between these em pires and became a merchant prince, whose renown spread to the corners of the earth. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, the people of those lands, the Syrians and Greeks and Armenians, have established a reputation as traders the world over. The great trunk lines of commerce be tween the north and the south and the east and the west should pass across this country. In years gone by all the nations of Europe maintained commercial repre sentatives and warehouses in the city of Aleppo. This center was the mart of ex change between Europe and the eastern lands. That position could easily be re covered and surpassed, for the city lies at the natural point of meeting of the great world trade routes. SPLENDID NATURAL HARBORS There are natural harbors which with little engineering could become suitable terminals for the land routes. In con structing the Bagdad Railway Germany had obtained a concession to construct a harbor and stores at the city of Alexan dretta, near to the place where Alexander defeated Darius, King of Persia. Ger many was also to have the privilege of policing this port with her own subjects. The importance of Beirut, Tripoli, and Smyrna as ports has already been recog nized and they are destined to increase. Constantinople is perhaps the finest har bor in the world, and at this point must pass most of the trade between Europe and Asia. Asia Minor has been and still should be not the bankrupt nation, but the banker nation of three continents. With each of the topics here presented there has always been an "if" or an "ought to be" or "might become." Turn ing the pages of history, one reads what this country has been. Reading the daily papers, one knows what the country is. Letting imagination dwell upon the re sources provided by nature and the capa bilities of the people, one can form a vision of the country's future if only one great change can be brought about. In 1453 Mohammed the Conqueror surrounded the city of Constantinople and finally caused the downfall of that city, which had stood for eight centuries as the eastern outpost of Christendom. In 1517 the city of Jerusalem and the land of Egypt also fell. The succeeding 400 years have wit nessed the. gradual degradation of the land. The cotton and corn fields of Mes opotamia are now deserts and swamps. The mines once worked have been aban doned. The cities, once busy with the trade of the world, are today but bazaars for petty bargains and deceit. The peo ple, with the history of a great past and with capacities second to none, are by in justice and persecution driven from their homes to foreign lands or subjected to a determined plan of extermination by de portation, massacre, and famine. The one change that must precede all others, therefore, in order to take the first steps toward realizing the possibilities of which this land and these people are ca pable is to rid the country of its present rulers. It is not merely to "'drive the Turk out of Europe," for that has prac tically been done already, but to deprive him of every vestige of authority. Not only have the Christian races suffered at his hand, but the common Turkish people themselves have suffered almost equal wrongs. Before all bars of judgment, because of his incapacity, his inefficiency, and his atrocities, he has forfeited every right to rule. THE PARABLE OE THE UNPROFITABLE SERVANT The parable tells of the servant who, having failed to develop the one talent entrusted to him, had this judgment passed upon him: "From him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness." And there is no longer one judgment for individuals and another for governments.