PART I - The Rising Tide of Color
BROWN MAN'S LAND
BROWN MAN'S LAND is the Near and Middle East. The brown world stretches in an immense belt clear across southern Asia and northern Africa, from the Pacífic to the Atlantic Oceans. The numbers of brown and yellow men are not markedly unequal (450,000,000 browns as against 500,000,000 yellows), but in most other respects the two worlds are sharply contrasted. In the first place, while the yellow world is a fairly compact geographical block, the brown world sprawls half-way round the globe, and is not only much greater in size, but also infinitely more varied in natural features.
This geographical diversity is reflected both in its history and in the character of its inhabitants. Unlike the secluded yellow world, the brown world is nearly everywhere exposed to foreign influences and has undergone an infinite series of evolutionary modifications. Racially it has been a vast melting-pot, or series of melting-pots, wherein conquest and migration have continually poured new heterogeneous elements, producing the most diverse racial amalgamations. In fact there is to-day no generalized brown type-norm as there are generalized yellow or white type-norms, but rather a series of types clearly distinguished from one another. Some of these types, like the Persians and Ottoman Turks, are largely white; others, like the southern Indians and Yemenite Arabs, are largely black; while still others, like the Himalayan and Central Asian peoples, have much yellow blood. Again, there is no generalized brown culture like those possessed by yellows and whites. The great spiritual bond is Islam, yet in India, the chief seat of brown population, Islam is professed by only one-fifth of the inhabitants.
Nevertheless, there is a fundamental comity between the brown peoples. This comity is subtle and intangible in character, yet it exists, and under certain circumstances it is capable of momentous manifestations. Its salient feature is the instinctive recognition by all Near and Middle Eastern peoples that they are fellow Asiatics, however bitter may be their internecine feuds. This instinctive Asiatic feeling has been noted by historians for more than two thousand years, and it is just as true to-day as in the past. Of course it comes out most strongly in face of the non-Asiatic - which in practice has always meant the white man. The action and reaction of the brown and white worlds has, indeed, been a constant, historic factor, the roles of hammer and anvil being continually reversed through the ages. For the last four centuries the white world has, in the main, been the dynamic factor. Certainly, during the last hundred years the white world has displayed an unprecedentedly aggressive vigor, the brown world playing an almost passive role.
Here again is seen a difference between browns and yellows. The yellow world did not feel the full tide of white aggression till the middle of the last century, while even then it never really lost its political independence and soon reacted so powerfully that its political freedom has to-day been substantially regained. The brown world, on the other hand, felt the impact of the white tide much earlier and was politically overwhelmed. The so-called "independence" of brown states has long been due more to white rivalries than to their own inherent strength. One by one they have been swallowed up by the white Powers. In 1914 only three (Turkey, Persia, and Afghanistan) survived, and the late war has sent them the way of the rest. Turkey and Persia have lost their independence, however they may still be painted on the map, while Afghanistan has been compelled to recognize white supremacy as never before. Thus the cycle is fulfilled, and white political mastery over the brown world is complete.
Political triumphs, however, of themselves guarantee nothing, and the permanence of the present order of things in the brown world appears more than doubtful when we glance beyond the map. The brown world, like the yellow world, is to-day in acute reaction against white supremacy. In fact, the brown reaction began a full century ago, and has been gathering headway ever since, moved thereto both by its own inherent vitality and by the external stimulus of white aggression. The great dynamic of this brown reaction is the Mohammedan Revival. But before analyzing that movement it would be well to glance at the human elements involved.
Four salient groupings stand out among the brown peoples: India, Iran, "Arabistán," and "Turkestán." The last two words are used in a special sense to denote ethnic and cultural aggregations for which no precise terms have hitherto been coined. India is the population-centre of the brown world. More than 300,000,000 souls live within its borders - two-thirds of all the brown men on earth. India has not, however, been the brown world's spiritual or cultural dynamic, those forces coming chiefly from the brown lands to the westward. Iran (the Persian plateau) is comparatively small in area and has less than 15,000,000 inhabitants, but its influence upon the brown world has been out of all proportion to its size and population. "Arabistán" denotes the group of peoples, Arab in blood or Arabized in language and culture, who inhabit the Arabian peninsula and its adjacent annexes, Syria and Mesopotamia, together with the vast band of North Africa lying between the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert. The total number of these Arabic peoples is 40,000,000, three-fourths of them living in North Africa. The term "Turkestán" covers the group of kindred peoples, often called "Turanians," who stretch from Constantinople to Central Asia, including the Ottoman Turks of Asia Minor, the Tartars of South Russia and Transcaucasia, and the Central Asian Turkomans. They number in all about 25,000,000. Such are the four outstanding race-factors in the brown world. Let us now examine that spiritual factor, Islam, from which the brown renaissance originally proceeded, and on which most of its present manifestations are based.
Islam's warlike vigor has impressed men's minds ever since the far-off days when its pristine fervor bore the Fiery Crescent from France to China. But with the passing cycles this fervor waned, and a century ago Islam seemed plunged in the stupor of senile decay. The life appeared to have gone out of it, leaving naught but the dry husks of empty formalism and soulless ritual. Yet at this darkest hour a voice came crying from out the vast Arabian desert, the cradle of Islam, calling the Faithful to better things. This puritan reformer was the famous Abd-el-Wahab, and his followers, known as Wahabees, soon spread over the length and breadth of the Mohammedan world, purging Islam of its sloth and rekindling the fervor of olden days. Thus began the great Mohammedan Revival.
That revival, like all truly regenerative movements, had its political as well as its spiritual side. One of the first things which struck the reformers was the political weakness of the Moslem world and its increasing subjection to the Christian West. It was during the early decades of the nineteenth century that the revival spread through Islam. But this was the very time when Europe, recovering from the losses of the Napoleonic Wars, began its unparalleled aggressions upon the Moslem East. The result in Islam was a fusing of religion and patriotism into a "sacred union" for the combined spiritual regeneration and political emancipation of the Moslem world.
Of course Europe's material and military superiority were then so great that speedy success was recognized to be a vain hope. Nevertheless, with true Oriental patience, the reformers were content to work for distant goals, and the results of their labors, though hidden from most Europeans, was soon discernible to a few keen-sighted white observers. Half a century ago the learned Orientalist Palgrave wrote these prophetic lines: "Islam is even now an enormous power, full of self-sustaining vitality, with a surplus for aggression; and a struggle with its combined energies would be deadly indeed.... The Mohammedan peoples of the East have awakened to the manifold strength and skill of their Western Christian rivals; and this awakening, at first productive of respect and fear, not unmixed with admiration, now wears the type of antagonistic dislike, and even of intelligent hate. No more zealous Moslems are to be found in all the ranks of Islam than they who have sojourned longest in Europe and acquired the most intimate knowledge of its sciences and ways.... Mohammedans are keenly alive to the ever-shifting uncertainties and divisions that distract the Christianity of to-day, and to the woeful instability of modern European institutions. From their own point of view, Moslems are as men standing on a secure rock, and they contrast the quiet fixity of their own position with the unsettled and insecure restlessness of all else." (W. G. Palgrave, `'Essays on Eastern Questions," pp. 127-131 (London, 1872).)
This stability to which Palgrave alludes must not be confused with dead rigidity. Too many of us still think of the Moslem East as hopelessly petrified. But those Westerners best acquainted with the Islamic world assert that nothing could be farther from the truth; emphasizing, on the contrary, Islam's present plasticity and rapid assimilation of Western ideas and methods. "The alleged rigidity of Islam is a European myth," (Theodore Morison, "Can Islam Be Reformed?" Nineteenth Century, October, 1908.) says Theodore Morison, late principal of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, India; and another Orientalist, Marmaduke Pickthall writes: "There is nothing in Islam, any more than in Christianity, which should halt progress. The fact is that Christianity found, some time ago, a modus vivendi with modern life, while Islam has not yet arrived thither. But this process is even now being worked out." (Marmaduke Pickthall, "L'Angleterre et la Turquie," Revue Politique Internationale, January, 1914.)
The way in which the Mohammedan world has availed itself of white institutions such as the newspaper in forging its new solidarity is well portrayed by Bernard Temple. "It all comes to this, then," he writes. "World-politics, as viewed by Mohammedanism's political leaders, resolve themselves into a struggle - not necessarily a bloody struggle, but still an intense and vital struggle for place and power between the three great divisions of mankind. The Moslem mind is deeply stirred by the prospect. Every Moslem country is in communication with every other Moslem country: directly, by means of special emissaries, pilgrims, travellers, traders, and postal exchanges; indirectly, by means of Mohammedan newspapers, books, pamphlets, leaflets, and periodicals. I have met with Cairo newspapers in Bagdad, Teheran, and Peshawar; Constantinople newspapers in Basra and Bombay; Calcutta newspapers in Mohammerah, Kerbela, and Port Said." (Bernard Temple, "The Place of Persia in World-Politics," Proceedings of the Central Asian Society, May, 1910.)
These European judgments are confirmed by what Asiatics say themselves. For example, a Syrian Christian, Ameen Rihani, thus characterizes the present strength and vitality of the Moslem world: "A nation of 250,000,000 souls, more than one-half under Christian rule, struggling to shake off its fetters; to consolidate its opposing forces; replenishing itself in the south and in the east from the inexhaustible sources of the life primitive; assimilating in the north, but not without discrimination, the civilization of Europe; a nation with a glorious past, a living faith and language, an inspired Book, an undying hope, might be divided against itself by European diplomacy but can never be subjugated by European arms.... What Islam is losing on the borders of Europe it is gaining in Africa and Central Asia through its modern propaganda, which is conducted according to Christian methods. And this is one of the grand results of 'civilization by benevolent assimilation.' Europe drills the Moslem to be a soldier who will ultimately turn his weapons against her; and she sends her missionaries to awaken in the ulema the proselytizing evil." (Ameen Rihani, "The Crisis of Islam," Forum, May, 1912.)
Typical of Mohammedan literature on this subject are the following excerpts from a book published at Cairo in 1907 by an Egyptian, Yahya Siddyk, significantly entitled "The Awakening of the Islamic Peoples in the Fourteenth Century of the Hegira." (I.e., the twentieth century of the Christian era.) The book is doubly interesting because the author has a thorough Western education, holding a law degree from the French university of Toulouse, and is a judge on the Egyptian bench. Although writing as far back as 1907, Yahya Siddyk clearly foresaw the imminence of the European War. "Behold," he writes, "these Great-Powers ruining themselves in terrifying armaments; measuring each other's strength with defiant glances; menacing each other; contracting alliances which continually break and which presage those terrible shocks which overturn the world and cover it with ruins, fire, and blood! The future is God's, and nothing is lasting save His Will!"
He considers the white world degenerate. "Does this mean," he asks, "that Europe, our 'enlightened guide,' has already reached the summit of its evolution? Has it already exhausted its vital force by two or three centuries of hyper-exertion? In other words: is it already stricken with senility, and will it see itself soon obliged to yield its civilizing role to other peoples less degenerate, less neurasthenic; that is to say, younger, more robust, more healthy, than itself? In my opinion, the present marks Europe's apogee, and its immoderate colonial expansion means, not strength, but weakness. Despite the aureole of so much grandeur, power, and glory, Europe is to-day more divided and more fragile than ever, and ill conceals its malaise, its sufferings, and its anguish. Its destiny is inexorably working out! . . .
"The contact of Europe on the East has caused us both much good and much evil: good, in the material and intellectual sense; evil, from the moral and political point of view. Exhausted by long struggles, enervated by a brilliant civilization, the Moslem peoples inevitably fell into a malaise, but they are not stricken, they are not dead! These peoples, conquered by the force of cannon, have not in the least lost their unity, even under the oppressive régimes to which the Europeans have long subjected them.... I have said that the European contact has been salutary to us from both the material and the intellectual point of view. What reforming Moslem Princes wished to impose by force on their Moslem subjects is to-day realized a hundredfold. So great has been our progress in the last twenty-five years in science, letters, and art that we may well hope to be in all those things the equals of Europeans in less than half a century....
" A new era opens for us with the fourteenth century of the Hegira, and this happy century will mark our renaissance and our great future! A new breath animates the Mohammedan peoples of all races; all Moslems are penetrated with the necessity of work and instruction! We all wish to travel, do business, tempt fortune, brave dangers. There is in the East, among the Mohammedans, a surprising activity, an animation, unknown twenty-five years ago.... There is to-day a real public opinion throughout the East."
The author concludes: "Let us hold firm, each for all, and let us hope, hope, hope! We are fairly launched on the path of progress: let us profit by it! It is Europe's very tyranny which has wrought our transformation! It is our continued contact with Europe which favors our evolution and inevitably hastens our revival! It is simply History repeating itself; the Will of God fulfilling itself despite all opposition and all resistance.... Europe's tutelage over Asiatics is becoming more and more nominal-the gates of Asia are closing against the European! Surely we glimpse before us a revolution without parallel in the world's annals. A new age is at hand!" (Yahya Siddyk, "Le Réveil des Peuples Islamiques au Quatorzième Siècle de l'Hégire" (Cairo, 1907).)
If this be indeed the present spirit of Islam it is a portentous fact, for its numerical strength is very great. The total number of Mohammedans is estimated at from 200,000,000 to 250,000,000, and they not only predominate throughout the brown world with the exception of India, but they also count 10,000,000 adherents in China and are gaining prodigiously among the blacks of Africa.
The proselyting power of Islam is extraordinary, and its hold upon its votaries is even more remarkable. Throughout history there has been no single instance where a people, once become Moslem, has ever abandoned the faith. Extirpated they may have been, like the Moors of Spain, but extirpation is not apostasy. This extreme tenacity of Islam, this ability to keep its hold, once it has got a footing, under all circumstances short of downright extirpation, must be borne in mind when considering the future of regions where Islam is to-day advancing.
And, save in eastern Europe, it is to-day advancing along all its far-flung frontiers. Its most signal victories are being won among the negro races of central Africa, and this phase will be discussed in the next chapter, but elsewhere the same conditions, in lesser degree, prevail. Every Moslem is a born missionary and instinctively propagates his faith among his non-Moslem neighbors. The quality of this missionary temper has been well analyzed by Meredith Townsend. "All the emotions which impel a Christian to proselytize," he writes, "are in a Mussulman strengthened by all the motives which impel a political leader and all the motives which sway a recruiting sergeant, until proselytism has become a passion, which, whenever success seems practicable, and especially success on a large scale, develops in the quietest Mussulman a fury of ardor which induces him to break down every obstacle, his own strongest prejudices included, rather than stand for an instant in the neophyte's way. He welcomes him as a son, and whatever his own lineage, and whether the convert be negro, or Chinaman, or Indian, or even European, he will without hesitation or scruple give him his own child in marriage, and admit him fully, frankly, and finally into the most exclusive circle in the world." (Meredith Townsend, "Asia and Europe," pp. 46-47.)
Such is the vast and growing body of Islam, to-day seeking to weld its forces into a higher unity for the combined objectives of spiritual revival and political emancipation. This unitary movement is known as "Pan-Islamism." Most Western observers seem to think that Pan-Islamism centres in the "Caliphate," and European writers to-day hopefully discuss whether the Caliphate's retention by the discredited Turkish Sultans, its transferrence to the rulers of the new Arab Hedjaz Kingdom, or its total suppression, will best clip Islam's wings.
This, however, is a very short-sighted and partial view. The Khalifa or "Caliph" (to use the Europeanized form), the Prophet's representative on earth, has played an important historic role, and the institution is still venerated in Islam. But the Pan-Islamic leaders have long been working on a much broader basis. Pan-Islamism's real driving power lies, not in the Caliphate, but in institutions like the "Hajj" or pilgrimage to Mecca, the propaganda of the "Hablul-Matin" or "Tie of True Believers," and the great religious fraternities. The Meccan Hajj, where tens of thousands of picked zealots gather every year from every quarter of the Moslem world, is really an annual Pan-Islamic congress, where all the interests of the faith are discussed at length, and where plans are elaborated for its defense and propagation. Similarly ubiquitous is the Pan-Islamic propaganda of the Habl-ul-Matin, which works tirelessly to compose sectarian differences and traditional feuds. Lastly, the religious brotherhoods cover the Islamic world with a network of far-flung associations, quickening the zeal of their myriad members and co-ordinating their energies for potential action.
The greatest of these brotherhoods (though there are others of importance) is the famous Senussiyah, and its history well illustrates Islam's evolution during the past hundred years. Its founder, Seyyid Mahommed ben Senussi, was born in Algeria about the beginning of the nineteenth century. He was of high Arab lineage, tracing his descent from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet. In early youth he went to Arabia and there came under the influence of the Wahabee movement. In middle life he returned to Africa, settling in the Sahara Desert, and there built up the fraternity which bears his name. Before his death the order had spread to all parts of the Mohammedan world, but it is in northern Africa that it has attained its peculiar pro-eminence. The Senussi Order is divided into local "Zawias" or lodges, all absolutely dependent upon the Grand Lodge, headed by The Master, El Senussi. The Grand Mastership still remains in the family, a grandson of the founder being the order's present head. The Senussi stronghold is an oasis in the very heart of the Sahara. Only one European eye has ever seen this mysterious spot. Surrounded by absolute desert, with wells many leagues apart and the routes of approach known only to experienced Senussi guides, every one of whom would suffer a thousand deaths rather than betray him, El Senussi, The Master, sits serenely apart, sending his orders throughout North Africa.
The Sahara itself is absolutely under Senussi control, while " Zawias" abound in distant regions like Morocco, Lake Chad, and Somaliland. These local Zawias are more than mere "lodges." Their spiritual and secular heads, the "Mokaddem" or priest and the "Wekil" or civil governor, have discretionary authority not merely over the Zawia members, but also over the community at large - at least, so great is the awe inspired by the Senussi throughout North Africa that a word from Wekil or Mokaddem is always listened to and obeyed. Thus, beside the various European authorities, British, French or Italian as the case may be, there exists an occult government with which the colonial authorities are careful not to come into conflict.
On their part, the Senussi are equally careful to avoid a downright breach with the European Powers. Their long-headed, cautious policy is truly astonishing. For more than half a century the order has been a great force, yet it has never risked the supreme adventure. In all the numerous fanatic risings against Europeans which have occurred in various parts of Africa, local Senussi have undoubtedly taken part, but the order has never officially entered the lists.
These Fabian tactics as regards open warfare do not mean that the Senussi are idle. Far from it. On the contrary, they are ceaselessly at work with the spiritual arms of teaching, discipline, and conversion. The Senussi programme is the welding, first of Moslem Africa, and later of the whole Moslem world, into the revived "Imamat" of Islam's early days; into a great theocracy, embracing all true believers - in other words, Pan-Islamism. But they believe that the political liberation of Islam from Christian domination must be preceded by a profound spiritual regeneration, thereby engendering the moral forces necessary both for the war of liberation and for the fruitful reconstruction which should follow thereafter. This is the secret of the order's extraordinary self-restraint. This is the reason why, year after year, and decade after decade, the Senussi advance slowly, calmly, coldly, gathering great latent power but avoiding the temptation to expend it one instant before the proper tune. Meanwhile they are covering Africa with their lodges and schools, disciplining the people to the voice of their Mokaddems and Wekils - and converting millions of pagan negroes to the faith of Islam.
And what is true of the Senussi holds equally for the other wise leaders who guide the Pan-Islamic movement. They know both Europe's strength and their own weakness. They know the peril of premature action. Feeling that time is on their side, they are content to await the hour when internal regeneration and external pressure shall have filled to overflowing the cup of wrath. This is why Islam has offered only local resistance to the unparalleled white aggressions of the last twenty years. This is the main reason why there was no real "Holy War" in 1914. But the materials for a Holy War have long been piling high, as a retrospective glance will show.
Europe's conquests of Africa and Central Asia toward the close of the last century, and the subsequent Anglo-French agreement mutually appropriating Egypt and Morocco, evoked murmurs of impotent fury from the Moslem world. Under such circumstances the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 sent a feverish tremor throughout Islam. The Japanese might be idolaters, but the traditional Moslem loathing of idolaters as beings much lower than Christians and Jews (recognized by Mohammed as "Peoples of The Book") was quite effaced by the burning sense of subjugation to the Christian yoke. Accordingly, the Japanese were hailed as heroes throughout Islam. Here we see again that tendency toward an understanding between Asiatic and African races and creeds (in other words, a "Pan-Colored" alliance against white domination) which has been so patent in recent years. The way in which Islamic peoples began looking to Japan is revealed by this editorial in a Persian newspaper, written in the year 1906: "Desirous of becoming as powerful as Japan and of safeguarding its national independence, Persia should make common cause with it. An alliance becomes necessary. There should be a Japanese ambassador at Teheran. Japanese instructors should be chosen to reorganize the army. Commercial relations should also be developed." (F. Farjanel, "Le Japon et l'Islam," Revue du Monde Musulman, November, 1906.) Indeed, some pious Moslems hoped to bring this heroic people within the Islamic fold. Shortly after the Russo-Japanese War a Chinese Mohammedan sheikh wrote: "If Japan thinks of becoming some day a very great power and making Asia the dominator of the other continents, it will be only by adopting the blessed religion of Islam." (Farjanel, supra.) And Al Mowwayad, an Egyptian Nationalist journal, remarked: "England, with her 60,00O,000 Indian Moslems, dreads this conversion. With a Mohammedan Japan, Mussulman policy would change entirely." (Ibid.) As a matter of fact, Mohammedan missionaries actually went to Japan, where they were smilingly received. Of course the Japanese had not the faintest intention of turning Moslems, but these spontaneous approaches from the brown world were quite in line with their ambitious plans, which, as the reader will remember, were just then taking concrete shape.
However, it soon became plain that Japan had no present intention of going so far afield as Western Asia, and Islam presently had to mourn fresh losses at Christian hands. In 1911 came Italy's barefaced raid on Turkey's African dependency of Tripoli. So bitter was the anger in all Mohammedan lands at this unprovoked aggression that many European observers became seriously alarmed. "Why has Italy found 'defenseless' Tripoli such a hornet's nest?" queried Gabriel Hanotaux, a former French minister of foreign affairs. "It is because she has to do, not merely with Turkey, but with Islam as well. Italy has set the ball rolling - so much the worse for her - and for us all." (Gabriel Hanotaux, "La Crise mÈditerranÈenne et l'Islam," Revue Hebdomadaire, April 13, 1912.) But the Tripoli expedition was only the beginning of the Christian assault, for next year came the Balkan War, which sheared away Turkey's European holdings to the walls of Constantinople and left her crippled and discredited. At those disasters a cry of wrathful anguish swept the world of Islam from end to end. Here is how a leading Indian Moslem interpreted the Balkan conflict:
"The King of Greece orders a new crusade. From the London Chancelleries rise calls to Christian fanaticism, and Saint Petersburg already speaks of the planting of the cross on the dome of Sant' Sophia. To-day they speak thus; to-morrow they will thus speak of Jerusalem and the Mosque of Omar. Brothers! Be ye of one mind, that it is the duty of every true beIiever to hasten beneath the Khalifa's banner and to sacrifice his life for the safety of the falth." (Arminius VambËry, "Die t,rkische Katastrophe und die Islamwelt," Deutsche Revue, July, 1913.) And another Indian Moslem leader thus adjured the British authorities: "I appeal to the present government to change its anti-Turkish attitude before the fury of millions of Moslem fellow subjects is kindled to a blaze and brings disaster." (Shab Mohammed Naimatullah, "Recent Turkish Events, and Moslem India," Asiatic Review, October, 1913.)
Still more significant were the appeals made by the Indian Moslems to their Brahman fellow countrymen, the traditionally despised "Idolaters." These appeals betokened a veritable revolution in outlook, as can be gauged from the text of one of them, significantly entitled "The Message of the East." "Spirit of the East," reads this noteworthy document, "arise and repel the swelling flood of Western aggression! Children of Hindustan, aid us with your wisdom, culture, and wealth; lend us your power, the birthright and heritage of the Hindu! Let the Spirit Powers hidden in the Himalayan mountain-peaks, arise. Let prayers to the god of battles float upward; prayers that right may triumph over might; and call to your myriad gods to annihilate the armies of the foe!" (VambËry, supra.) In China also the same fraternizing spirit was visible. During the Republican Revolution the Chinese Mohammedans, instead of holding jealously aloof, co-operated wholeheartedly with their Buddhist and Confucian fellow citizens, and Doctor Sun-Yat-Sen, the Republican leader, announced gratefully: "The Chinese will never forget the assistance which their Moslem compatriots have rendered in the interest of order and liberty." (Arminius VambËry, "An Approach Between Moslems and Buddhists," Nineteenth Century, April, 1912.) The Great War thus found Islam deeply stirred against European aggression, keenly conscious of its own solidarity, and frankly reaching out for colored allies in the projected struggle against white domination.
Under these circumstances it may at first sight appear strange that no general Islamic explosion occurred when Turkey entered the lists at the close of 1914 and the Sultan-Khalifa issued a formal summons to the Holy War. Of course this summons was not the flat failure which Allied reports led the West to believe at the time. As a matter of fact there was trouble in practically every Mohammedan land under Allied control. To name only a few of many instances: Egypt broke into a tumult smothered only by overwhelming British reinforcements, Tripoli burst into a flame of insurrection that drove the Italians headlong to the coast, Persia was prevented from joining Turkey only by prompt Russian intervention, and the Indian Northwest Frontier was the scene of fighting that required the presence of a quarter of a million Anglo-Indian troops. The British Government has officially admitted that during 1915 the Allies' Asiatic and African possessions stood within a hand's breadth of a cataclysmic insurrection.
That insurrection would certainly have taken place if Islam's leaders had everywhere spoken the fateful word. But the word was not spoken. Instead, influential Moslems outside of Turkey generally condemned the latter's action and did all in their power to calm the passions of the fanatic multitude. The attitude of these leaders does credit to their discernment.
They recognized that this was neither the time nor the occasion for a decisive struggle with the West. They were not yet materially prepared, and they had not perfected their understandings either among themselves or with their prospective non-Moslem allies. Above all, the moral urge was lacking. They knew that athwart the Khalifa's writ was stencilled "Made in Germany." They knew that the "Young Turk" clique which had engineered the coup was made up of Europeanized renegades, many of them not even nominal Moslems, but atheistic Jews. Far-sighted Moslems had no intention of pulling Germany's chestnuts out of the fire, nor did they wish to further Prussian schemes of world-dominion which for themselves would have meant a mere change of masters. Far better to let the white world fight out its desperate feud, weaken itself, and reveal fully its future intentions. Meanwhile Islam could bide its time, grow in strength, and await the morrow.
The Versailles Peace Conference was just such a revelation of European intentions as the Pan-Islamic leaders had been awaiting in order to perfect their programmes and enlist the moral solidarity of their peoples. At Versailles the European Powers showed unequivocally that they had no intention of relaxing their hold upon the Near and Middle East. By a number of secret treaties negotiated during the war the Ottoman Empire had been virtually partitioned between the victorious Allies, and these secret treaties formed the basis of the Versailles settlement. Further more, Egypt had been declared a British protectorate at the very beginning of the European struggle, while the Versailles Conference had scarcely adjourned before England announced an "agreement" with Persia which made that country another British protectorate, in fact, if not in name. The upshot was, as already stated, that the Near and Middle East were subjected to European political domination as never before.
But there was another side to the shield. During the war years the Allied statesmen had officially proclaimed times without number that the war was being fought to establish a new world-order based on such principles as the rights of small nations and the liberty of all peoples. These pronouncements had been treasured and memorized throughout the East. When, therefore, the East saw a peace settlement based, not upon these high professions, but upon the imperialistic secret treaties, it was fired with a moral indignation and sense of outraged justice never known before. A tide of impassioned determination began rising which has already set the entire East in tumultuous ferment, and which seems merely the premonitory ground-swell of a greater storm. Many European students of Eastern affairs are gravely alarmed at the prospect. Here, for example, is the judgment of Leone Caetani, Duke of Sermoneta, an Italian authority on Oriental and Mohammedan questions. Speaking in the spring of 1919 on the war's effect on the East, he said: "The convulsion has shaken Islamitic and Oriental civilization to its foundations. The entire Oriental world, from China to the Mediterranean, is in ferment. Everywhere the hidden fire of anti-European hatred is burning. Riots in Morocco, risings in Algiers, discontent in Tripoli, so-called Nationalist attempts in Egypt, Arabia, and Lybia, are all different manifestations of the same deep sentiment, and have as their object the rebellion of the Orienta1 world against European civilization." (Special cable to the New York Times, dated Rome, May 28, 1919.)
The state of affairs in Egypt is a typical illustration of what has been going on in the East ever since the close of the late war. Egypt was occupied by England in 1882, and British rule has conferred immense material benefits, raising the country from anarchic bankruptcy to ordered prosperity. Yet British rule was never really popular, and as the years passed a "Nationalist" movement steadily grew in strength, having for its slogan the phrase "Egypt for the Egyptians," and demanding Britain's complete evacuation of the country. This demand Great Britain refused even to consider. Practically all Englishmen are agreed that Egypt with the Suez Canal is the vital link between the eastern and western halves of the British Empire, and they therefore consider the permanent occupation of Egypt an absolute necessity. There is thus a clear deadlock between British imperial and Egyptian national convictions.
Some years before the war Egypt became so unruly that England was obliged to abandon all thoughts of conciliation and initiated a regime of frank repression enforced by Lord Kitchener's heavy hand. The European War and Turkey's adhesion to the Teutonic Powers caused fresh outbreaks in Egypt, but these were quickly repressed and England took advantage of Ottoman belligerency to abolish the fiction of Turkish overlordship and declare Egypt a protectorate of the British Empire.
During the war Egypt, flooded with British troops, remained quiet, but the end of the war gave the signal for an unparalleled outburst of Nationalist activity. Basing their claims on such doctrines as the "rights of small nations" and the "self-determination of peoples," the Nationalists demanded immediate independence and attempted to get Egypt's case before the Versailles Peace Conference. In defiance of English prohibitions, they even held a popular plebiscite which upheld their claims. When the British authorities answered this defiance by arresting Nationalist leaders, Egypt flamed into rebellion from end to end. Everywhere it was the same story. Railways and telegraph lines were systematically cut. Trains were stalled and looted. Isolated British officers and soldiers were murdered. In Cairo alone, thousands of houses were sacked by the mob. Soon the danger was rendered more acute by the irruption out of the desert of swarms of Bedouin Arabs bent on plunder. For a few days Egypt trembled on the verge of anarchy, and the British Government admitted in Parliament that all Egypt was in a state of insurrection.
The British authorities, however, met the crisis with vigor and determination. The number of British troops in Egypt was very large, trusty black regiments were hurried up from the Sudan, and the well-disciplined Egyptian native police generally obeyed orders. The result was that after several weeks of sharp fighting, lasting through the spring of 1919, Egypt was again gotten under control. The outlook for the future is, however, ominous in the extreme. Order is indeed restored, but only the presence of massed British and Sudanese black troops guarantees that order will be maintained. Even under the present rÈgime of stern martial law hardly a month passes without fresh rioting and heavy loss of life. Egypt appears Nationalist to the core, its spokesmen swear they will accept nothing short of independence, and in the long run Britain will realize the truth of that pithy saying: "You can do everything with bayonets except sit on them."
India is likewise in a state of profound unrest. The vast peninsula has been controlled by England for almost two centuries, yet here again the last two decades have witnessed a rapidly increasing movement against British rule. This movement was at first confined to the upper-class Hindus, the great Mohammedan element preserving its traditional loyalty to the British "Raj," which it considered a protection against the Brahmanistic Hindu majority. But, as already seen, the Pan-Islamic leaven presently reached the Indian Moslems, European aggressions on Islam stirred their resentment, and at length Moslem and Hindu adjourned their ancient feud in their new solidarity against European tutelage.
The Great War provoked relatively little sedition in India. Groups of Hindu extremists to be sure, hatched terroristic plots and welcomed German aid, but India as a whole backed England and helped win the war with both money and men. At the same time, Indians gave notice that they expected their loyalty to be rewarded, and at the close of the war various memorials were drawn up calling for drastic modifications of the existing governmental regime.
India is to-day governed by an English Civil Service whose fairness, honesty, and general efficiency no informed person can seriously impugn. But this no longer contents Indian aspirations. India desires not merely good government but self-governnent. The ultimate goal of all Indian reformers is emancipation from European tutelage, though they differ among themselves as to how and when this emancipation is to be attained. The most conservative would be content with self-government under British guidance, the middle group asks for the full status of a Dominion of the British Empire like Canada and Australia, while the radicals demand complete independence. Even the most conservative of these demands would, however, involve great changes of system and a diminution of British control. Such demands arouse in England mistrust and apprehension. Englishmen point out that India is not a nation but a congeries of diverse peoples spiritually sundered by barriers of blood, language, culture, and religion, and they conclude that, if England's control were really relaxed, India would get out of hand and drift toward anarchy. As for Indian independence, the average Englishman cannot abide the thought, holding it fatal both for the British Empire and for India itself. The result has been that England has failed to meet Indian demands, and this, in turn, has roused an acute recrudescence of dissatisfaction and unrest. The British Government has countered with coercive legislation like the Rowlatt Acts and has sternly repressed rioting and terrorism. British authority is still supreme in India. But it is an authority resting more and more upon force. In fact, some Englishmen have long considered British rule in India, despite its imposing appearance, a decidedly fragile affair. Many years ago Meredith Townsend, who certainly knew India well, wrote:
"The English think they will rule India for many centuries or forever. I do not think so, holding rather the older belief that the empire which came in a day will disappear in a night.... Above all this inconceivable mass of humanity, governing all, protecting all, taxing all, rises what we call here 'the Empire,' a corporation of less than l,500 men, partly chosen by examination, partly by co-optation, who are set to govern, and who protect themselves in governing by finding pay for a minute white garrison of 65,000 men, one-fifth of the Roman legions - though the masses to be controlled are double the subjects of Rome. That corporation and that garrison constitute the 'Indian Empire.' There is nothing else. Banish those 1,500 men in black, defeat that slender garrison in red, and the empire has ended, the structure disappears, and brown India emerges, unchanged and unchangeable. To support the official world and its garrison - both, recollect, smaller than those of Belgium - there is, except Indian opinion, absolutely nothing. Not only is there no white race in India, not only is there no white colony, but there is no white man who purposes to remain.... There are no white servants, not even grooms, no white policemen, no white postmen, no white anything. If the brown men struck for a week, the 'Empire' would collapse like a house of cards, and every ruling man would be a starving prisoner in his own house. He could not move or feed himself or get water." (Townsend, op. cit., pp. 82-87.)
These words aptly illustrate the truth stated at the beginning of this book that the basic factor in human affairs is not politics but race, and that the most imposing political phenomena, of themselves, mean nothing. And that is just the fatal weakness underlying the white man's present political domination over the brown world. Throughout that entire world there is no settled white population save in the French colonies of Algeria and Tunis along the Mediterranean seaboard, where whites form perhaps one-sixth of the total. Elsewhere, from Morocco to the Dutch Indies, there is in the racial sense, as Townsend well says, "no white anything," and if white rule vanished to-morrow it would not leave a human trace behind. White rule is therefore purely political, based on prescription, prestige, and lack of effective opposition. These are indeed fragile foundations. Let the brown world once make up its mind that the white man must go, and he will go, for his position will have become simply impossible. It is not solely a question of a "Holy War"; mere passive resistance, if genuine and general, would shake white rule to its foundations. And it is precisely the determination to get rid of white role which seems to be spreading like wild-fire over the brown world to-day. The unrest which I have described in Egypt and India merely typify what is going on in Morocco, Central Asia, the Dutch Indies, the Philippines, and every other portion of the brown world whose inhabitants are above the grade of savages.
Another factor favoring the prospects of brown emancipation is the lack of sustained resistance which the white world would probably offer. For the white world's interests in these regions, though great, are not fundamental; that is to say, racial. However grievously they might suffer politically and economically, racially the white peoples would lose almost nothing. Here again we see the basic importance of race in human affairs. Contrast, for example, England's attitude toward an insurgent India with France's attitude toward an insurgent North Africa. England, with nothing racial at stake, would hesitate before a reconquest of India involving millions of soldiers and billions of treasure. France, on the other hand, with nearly a million Europeans in her North African possessions, half of those full-blooded Frenchmen, might risk her last franc and her last poilu rather than see these blood-brothers slaughtered and enslaved.
Assuming, then, what to-day seems probable, that white political control over the brown worId is destined to be sensibly curtailed if not generally eliminated, what are the larger racial implications? Above all: will the browns tend to impinge on white race-areas as the yellows show signs of doing? Probably, no; at least, not to any great extent. In the first place, the brown world has within its present confines plenty of room for potential race-expansion. Outside India, Egypt, Java, and a few lesser spots, there is scarcely a brown land where natural improvements such as irrigation would not open up extensive settlement areas. Mesopotamia alone, now almost uninhabited, might support a vast population, while Persia could nourish several times its present inhabitants.
India, to be sure, is almost as congested as China, and the spectre of the Indian coolie has lately alarmed white lands like Canada and South Africa almost as much as the Chinese coolie has done. But an independent India would fall under the same political blight as the rest of the brown world - the blight of internecine dissensions and wars. The brown world's present growing solidarity is not a positive but a negative phenomenon. It is an alliance, against a common foe, of traditional enemies who, once the bond was loosed in victory, would inevitably quarrel among themselves. Turk would fly at Arab and Turkoman at Persian, as of yore, while India would become a welter of contending Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Gurkhas, and heaven knows what, until perchance disciplined anew by the pressure of a Yellow Peril. In Western Asia it is possible that the spiritual and cultural bonds of Islam might temper these struggles, but Western Asia is precisely that part of the brown world where population - pressure is absent. India, the overpeopled brown land, would undergo such a cycle of strife as would devour its human surplus and render distant aggressions impossible.
A potential brown menace to white race-areas would, indeed, arise in case of a brown-yellow alliance against the white peoples. But such an alliance could occur only in the first stages of a pan-colored war of liberation while the pressure of white world-predominance was still keenly felt and before the divisive tendencies within the brown world had begun to take effect.
Short of such an alliance (wherein the browns would abet the yellows' aggressive, racial objectives in return for yellow support of their own essentially defensive, political ends), the brown world's emancipation from white domination would apparently not result in more than local pressures on white race areas. It would, however, affect another sphere of white political control - black Africa. The emancipation of brown, Islamic North Africa would inevitably send a sympathetic thrill through every portion of the Dark Continent and would stir both Mohammedan and pagan negroes against white rule. Islam is, in fact, the intimate link between the brown and black worlds. But this subject, with its momentous implications, will be discussed in the next chapter.