Other “Huns” and Other Louvains
The previous article under this heading dealt with a state of affairs which existed on the Congo under the Belgians in times of peace—or shall we say in pursuance of ordinary business ; the present article deals with the actions of nations at war. Its object is to show that “Huns” and “Louvains” are a common feature in every war, and are not monopolised by this or that nation. It also shows again the hypocrisy of the capitalist Press campaign against German methods of warfare. Whatever can be said of German methods can with equal truth be said of British, French, Russian, Japanese, Italian, or any other nation’s methods. War is war, and all the Hague Conferences will leave it at what it is—a horrible and bloody display of all that is vicious and barbaric in mankind. No act of barbarism has been committed in the present war that has not been equalled in almost any other war.
A lot of noise has been made of Germany violating Belgian neutrality, tearing up scraps of paper, etc. This is nothing new. Every one of the above-mentioned cations has ignored such agreements, and is prepared to do so again when its interests are served in that way. Begbie, of “Fall in” fame, told the truth when he said that “At everypractical business. (“Daily Mail,” Aug. 14th, 1899.)
At a meeting of the Consolidated Gold Fields Company of South Africa held at Cannon St. Hotel, London, Nov. 14th, 1899, Mr. J. H. Hammond, the Company’s engineer, stated that under English rule he hoped to cut down the wages of the Kaffir by one half, At the same meeting he justified his calculation by saying:
“With good government there should be an abundance of labour and with an abundance of labour there will be no difficulty in cutting down wages, because it is preposterous to pay a Kaffir the present wages. He would be quite as well satisfied—in fact he would work longer—if you gave him half the amount. (Laughter). His wages are altogether disproportionate to his requirements. (Renewed laughter).” (“Financial News,” Nov. 21st, 1899.)
What these gold-mongers wanted, then, was to lay hold of the reins of government in the Republics, remove the burden of taxation from the mines, introduce cheaper labour, force down the wages of the labourers already there, and to increase their profits.
As to the conduct of British soldiers in war read the follow ing extract from De Welty’s “Three Years’ War” (pp. 242-3):
“Proclamations had been issued by Lord Roberts prescribing that any building within ten miles of the railway where the Boers had blown up or broken up the railway line should be burnt down. This was also carried out, but not only within the specified radius, but also everywhere throughout the State. Everywhere houses were burnt down or destroyed with dynamite . . . the furniture itself and the grain were burnt, and the sheep, cattle and horses were carried off. Nor was it long before horses were shot down in heaps, and the sheep killed by thousands by the Kaffirs and the National Scouts or run through by the troops with their bayonets. . . . The devastation became worse from day to day. . . . Could anyone ever have thought before the war that the twentieth century could show such barbarities ? No. Anyone knows that in war, cruelties more horrible than murder can take place, but that such direct and indirect murder should have been committed against defenceless women and children is a thing I should have staked my head could never have happened in a war waged by the civilised English nation. Yet it happened.”
On page 287 the same author says: “The enemy, moreover, did not spare our cattle, but either drove them off or killed them for food, As for our women-folk—any of them who fell into the hands of the enemy were sent off to the concentration camps.” The treatment of women “is such a serious matter that it would require whole chapters to deal with it adequately.”
Regarding these concentration camps, General. L. Botha declared on May 30th, 1902, that no less than twenty thousand women and children had died in them up to that time. (Ibid, p. 492.)
Gen. Botha, in reply to the proclamation of Lord Roberts referred to above by De Wet, said :
“It is already known to me that barbarous actions of this kind are committed by your troops under your command, not only alongside or near the railway, but also in places far removed from railways. Wherever your troops move, not only are houses burned down or blown up with dynamite, but defenceless women and children are ejected, robbed of all food and cover, and all this without any just cause existing for such proceedings. ‘
The Lord Roberts proclamation stated that “all provisions, cattle, etc., shall be removed.”
But lest any critic should object to these statements as they came from “the enemy,” let us see what other evidence can be found. A Canadian officer (E. W. B. Morrison) on the conduct of the war wrote as follows :
“There were a number of very fine farmhouses near by and we eaw the Boers leaving them and making off. The Provost Marshal came up from the main body, removed the Boer women and children with their bedding, and proceeded to burn or blow up the houses. From that on during the rest of the trek, which lasted four days, our progress was like the old time forays in the Highlands of Scotland two centuries ago. The country is very like Scotland and we moved on from valley to valley ‘lifting’ cattle and sheep, burning, looting, and turning out the women and children to sit and cry beside the ruins of their once beautiful farmsteads. It was the touch of Kitchener’s iron hand. And we were the knuckles. …. We burned a track about six miles wide through these fertile valleys and completey destroyed the village of Willpoort and the town of Dulstroom. . . .
“The column marched into Willpoort, a pretty little village surrounded by hills. The guns were placed on the hills and trained on the place and the cavalry and mounted infantry rode into it and burned every house and shop except one belonging to a British subject . . . When the mounted troops rode back they looked like a gang of dissolute pedlars. Their saddles were hung like Christmas trees with shawls, clocks, mandolines, tea-kettles, lamps—every sort of imaginable article—besides chickens, geese, sucking pigs, vegetables, and agricultural products galore.” (“Manchester Guardian,” Feb. 23rd, 1901.)
Sir H. Campbell Bannerman described the methods of the British in South Africa as “methods of barbarism.” (“Times,” June 16th, 1900.)
The writer could quote evidence of burning and looting and the rest of the horrors of the South African War from almost all the prominent papers that are to-day shrieking about German vandalism, as if such things had never been heard of in modern English history.
Let us move now to that magnetic spot which has for years been attracting the great commercial robbers of the whole world, viz., China. The endeavours of the European Powers, along with America, to open up China as a market for their manufactures together with a continual nibbling at her territory, and the meddling of missionaries, led in 1900 to what is known as the “Boxer” rising in Shan-Tung. Like a flash Britain, America, France, Germany, and Russia were at her throat, and a terrible massacre ensued. The following is taken from leading articles of the “Manchester Guardian,” Dec. 27th, 1900 and Jan. 4th, 1901:
“European civilisation was in a certain sense on its trial in China when the military operations of the powers began. Yet it is well known that there was hardly a crime against civilisation that this international army of civilisation did not commit. The rules of warfare laid down at the Hague Conference, to which China was a party, were all disregarded. Non-combatants were slaughtered wholesale ; towns were systematically pillaged ; women were treated worse than the men.”
The “Daily Telegraph,” Sept. 14th, 1900, says :
“The French and Russians have committed frightful atrocities at Tung Chow, outraging and slaughtering women and killing children.”
Of the Russians, Germans, and French the leading article of the “Morning Leader” (Dec. 31st, 1900) says, they
“. . . . seem to have revelled in rapine and murder. ‘A band of brigands who kill, burn, ravish and loot,’ is Sir Robert Hart’s description. ‘ Bloodshed, rapine, and rape’ is the terse summary of Dr. Dillon. It is he who has described the cold-blooded massacre of three hundred ‘perfectly innocent’ coolies by the Russians at Taku. … a Japanese journalist draws some terrible pictures of the French and Russians at Tung Chau. Nor does his evidence stand alone. Dr. Dillon has already told us in the ‘Fortnightly Review’ that ‘In Tung Chau and Pekin girls and women of all ages were raped first and bayoneted afterwards.’ ”
Just one more quotation relating to the Zulu rising in Natal in 1906 which was suppressed by the British.
“About nine o’clock a.m., Mudhlogo-zulu, the paramount chief, approached carrying a white flag. Some two or three hundred accompanied him. He arrived a few yards in front of a sergeant and explained that he wanted to give in. The reply of course was a bullet that must have sent his brains some fifty yards off. His followers . . . stood back and shrieked for mercy. Mercy came quicker than they expected—in the shape of a Maxim. What a sight ! The bundle dropped lifeless in less than a minute. Several women were among the slain as well as a lot of young boys. … A faithful Kaffir was looking about the fallen when he found Bombaata (a chief) and at once took steps to have his head brought into camp for identification. Well, the first thing the doctor ordered was to have the matter kept secret, and also to ihave it stuffed at once. . . . We carried the head with us for about a week, when it waa dissected and the skull will probably ba be made into a nice tobacco jar for someone. … I think it is the finest picnic I have ever been at.” —”Daily News,” Aug. 16th, 1906.
In conclusion, after reading the above evidence the reader should ask himself the question “Why is it, then, that the capitalistic Press of this country is straining all its resources to gather information regarding German atrocities ?” The reply is not hard to find. These reports, whether true or false—they care not— are pushed before our noses in order to engender racial hatred. At any other time the Germans or anyone else can and do commit all manner of atrocities and they are only mentioned incidentally or not at all.
J. W. P.