From The United Irishman, March 2, 1901.
I apologise to the Turk. In Byronic days, when my soul warmed at Grecian fires, I spat upon his beard and called him dog. Youth and ignorance be my excuse. Valiant old Vandal, with a god beneath his skin and a sword on his thigh he chipped Pagan marble to buy a Mohammedan paradise. To my beloved and esteemed friend, Ahmed Effendi, now of Stamboul, with whom I disputed in bazaar and mosque, and sipped coffee nightly under the Moslem moon on the pilgrimage from holy Guardafui to the cross-roads of the Three Continents, I inscribe the following plain narrative, that he may comprehend the nature of the Anglo-Saxon beast which I tried to picture for him that evening near Sinai when he gently refused to believe that the wailing howl for the slaughtered Christian usurers of Armenia came from a throat clotted with the blood of my Christian countrymen. And enlighten with my words, I pray you, dear friend, your grave and courteous countrymen: –
In my country of Ireland, Ahmed, scarce a four-hours’ camel journey from Dublin, there stands a hill more sacred in the eyes of Irishmen than Guardafui is in yours. It is called of the English Tara, and on it, two thousand years before the Hegira – nigh three thousand years before the foundations of your Empire were laid – the noble city of the Kings of Ireland was built – Hero Kings with blood in their veins, who feared nothing save dishonour, captains of a race of earth-shakers, worshippers of Truth and Chivalry and Beauty. Indeed, Ahmed, I do most sincerely believe that in that city man and woman were near to the Immortals. But it sank when my ancestors began to feed on clay, and the grass has grown above it these three thousand years. Still through the night the hearts of our faithful turned to it as the hearts of yours turn to Mecca. And even as the true believers amongst your people visit the sacred city before they die, so did the true believers amongst mine. Grass-grown and desolate, its outlines still remained for all to see – a living reminder of the former glory of an enslaved and half-debased nation. And now, what think you, Ahmed? An Anglo-Saxon, one of the animals I spoke to you of – who has, the people tell me, made much money by selling the entrails of pigs to his fellow-countrymen – is obliterating the traces of this ancient city, guarded while he works from the fury of the unarmed people by armed members of a force called the Royal Irish Constabulary (a body exactly similar to what the janissaries were), and the Anglo-Saxon Government is taxing the Irish people to pay the wages of the guardian janissaries.
You will naturally ask are there no associations of wise and learned men in Ireland to protest against the horrible sacrilege, and rouse the indignation of the world as the wise and learned associations of Europe did against your country for doing less in Greece. No, dear Ahmed, the associations which impose themselves on the world as representing the wisdom and learning of Ireland are associations of men receiving pensions from the Anglo-Saxon Government, or descendants of Anglo-Saxons who settled here and fattened on the labour of the natives, or old dotards whose veins are full of dirty water, or idiots whose heads are as empty as the vase of the Prophet was when he returned from the Seven Heavens – these associations call themselves Royal Irish Academies and Royal Societies of Irish Antiquaries and other such names. One of them did, indeed, say it was a shameful thing, and applied to a Government body, called the Board of Works, which consists of foreigners, to intervene. But the foreigners bade it hold its peace, and it did, and broke bread with the pig-man. You may also ask, Ahmed, why is it that the persons known as the Irish members of Parliament keep silent? These men are no more Irish, my dear friend, than the Armenians are martyrs. But, you may urge, the Irish have newspapers. They have, indeed, Ahmed, and ignorant slaves to edit them. You may also ask what reason is assigned by the Anglo-Saxons for destroying this ancient and glorious monument. Well – you will laugh – they are seeking the Ark of the Covenant!
I am quite serious. I could not jest about the destruction of Tara. Many years ago a secret society of Anglo-Saxon Jingoes – you know what that word means – calling themselves Anglo-Israelites, was formed in London. This society pretended to believe the Anglo-Saxons were the – happily – lost tribes of Israel, that the Jew D’Israeli was a man of destiny, that their Queen was descended from David, and that England was destined to seize your country, enslave its people, and rule the world. The knaves who founded the Anglo-Israelite society gathered many fools to their support, and these fools prophesised terrible things. They discovered signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and these signs and wonders illuminated them till they beheld Russia, Germany, and France crushed out of existence by the Empire which is not able to stand up against 10,000 armed peasants in South Africa; and by the simple method of measuring the Great Pyramid with an inch-tape they fixed the destruction of all the world except the holy English for the 6th of August, 1882. D’Israeli is dead, France, Germany, and Russia are still existent, the world revolves on its axis, but the Anglo-Israelite will live on while he boasts a shred of khaki to serve the purpose of Adam’s fig-leaf. To pretend that the English were Israelites it was necessary to pretend that Queen Victoria – a descendant of Guelph the Hun and Thierry the Goth – was of the House of David, and to pretend that she was of the House of David they thought the easiest way would be to pretend her descent from the Kings of Ireland through Tea Tephi, the beautiful wife of Heremon, who, according to the Anglo-Israelites, was a sister-in-law of Jeremiah of the Lamentations and a daughter of King Zebediah. Jeremiah travelled with her to Ireland, carrying with him Jacob’s Pillow, David’s Harp, the Tables of Stone, and the Ark of the Covenant, the three last of which he buried at Tara. The flaws in the story are that Jeremiah is believed to have been murdered by his own countrymen, who were fond of prophet-killing; that the Ark of the Covenant, according to the Book of the Maccabees, was buried by him at Pisgah; that Tea Tephi was not the daughter of King Zedekiah, and that she was dead and buried twelve hundred years before Jeremiah was born into this Vale of Tears.
I stood last week, Ahmed, on the Hill of Tara – on the site of the Sacred City of my people – and saw portion of it irretrievably destroyed by barbarians, compared with whom the Huns were civilised. The work of destruction has been interrupted by the winter, but a few weeks hence and the pork-seller, guarded by the guns of England’s janissaries, will resume his sacrilege. Tell your countrymen through the columns of the paper in which your brilliant articles appear what the Anglo-Saxon is, and tell my old friend and yours, Abdul, whose delightful book on the Ottoman Empire I have just read, that I recognise how wrong I was when I said at Aden that the Turk was – in lack of reverence for the antiquities of subject peoples – no better than the Anglo-Saxon. Your countrymen, at least, never handed over the monuments of Greece to a pig-dealer to destroy, and protected him with guns for which you made the Grecian pay.