Mr. X or Captain Pogossian

If such a school had really existed and had moved somewhere during that period, then it could only have been an Aïsorian school, and if it should still exist, then it must be among the Aïsors and, taking into consideration the indicated three days’ journey from Mosul, it must now be situated somewhere between Urmia and Kurdistan, and it should not be too difficult to find out where it was. We therefore decided to go there and try at any cost to find out where the school was situated and then enter it.

The Aïsors, who, as I have said, are descended from the Assyrians, are now scattered all over the earth. There are many of them in Transcaucasia, north­western Persia and eastern Turkey, and one finds groups of them throughout the whole of Asia Minor. It is estimated that in all there are about three million of them. Most of them are Nestorians, that is, they do not acknowledge the divinity of Christ. The minority consists of Jacobites, Maronites, Catholics, Gregorians and others; among them are also Yezidis, or devil­worshippers, though not in great number.

Missionaries of various religions have recently manifested great zeal in converting the Aïsors to their different faiths, and one must give the Aïsors their due in that they have no less zealously ‘converted themselves’, outwardly changing their faith and even deriving from these conversions so much material benefit that this has become proverbial. In spite of all the differences of faith, almost the entire race is under the authority of the patriarchate of the East Indies.

The Aïsors live mostly in little villages ruled by priests; several villages, or a certain district, constitute a clan which is ruled over by a prince or, as they call him, a melik. All the meliks are subordinate to the patriarch, whose office is hereditary, passing from uncle to nephew, and is said to derive originally from Simon, the Brother of the Lord.

It must be said that the Aïsors suffered very much in the last war, having been a pawn in the hands of Russia and England, with the result that half of them perished from the vengeance of the Kurds and the Persians; and if the rest survived, it was only thanks to the American consul, Dr. Y, and his wife. The Aïsors, particularly those in America—and there are many of them there—ought, in my opinion, if Dr. Y is still living, to organize and permanently maintain at his door an Aïsorian guard of honour, and, if he is dead, without fail to erect a monument to him at his birthplace.

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