Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/668

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which no infection shall be allowed to be exported. It is, however, idle to expect a Government such as that of Turkey spontaneously to undertake the task. The affair is too expensive to be undertaken by a ruler to whom ready cash is worth more than prospective suffering. Nor would his people support him in such a crusade. To them Allah is great, and cholera is his will; nor perhaps does the evil seem to them so grievous as it does to us. To those who have to suffer Turkish rule a little cholera now and then may seem but a flea-bite.

It seems probable that no single nation can effectually interfere, although if any one nation could do so, it would be England or Russia. The danger belongs, however, to Europe; and if anything is to be done, Europe collectively should take action without delay, with the aim to cleanse the ports of the Red Sea, reorganize Mecca and its greedy crew, and supervise the pilgrims in all their course.[1] With the increasing care, and the increasing intelligence with which that care is being exercised, in regard to cholera in Europe, and with the facilities given by the telegraph for watching the progress of cholera when it approaches via Russia, and the growing willingness shown by that great state to block the way when it invades her vast dominions, the Red Sea remains the route from which Europe and America have most to fear, and Mecca with its insanitary surroundings, its filthy rites, its crowds of devotees, stands as the half-way house between Europe and the home of cholera. Can we not for once think of the good of man rather than of nations? With railways and steamers linking us so closely in one family, we can no longer afford to fold our arms and look with indifference even at the strange

  1. There are many indications that such representations, made in a suitable manner and by authoritative personages to the Sultan, would be warmly backed up, not only by his own personal feelings and sentiments, but also by those of an enlightened and considerable portion of his subjects. The Scotsman of January 6th says: "Queen Victoria having the largest number of Mussulman subjects, the Government of Bombay was some years ago moved by the hardships and mortality to which so many of them were exposed on the pilgrim voyage to Mecca every year. A contract was accordingly made with Messrs. T. Cook and Sons, under which the Hajjees are conveyed to and from the Red Sea ports in safety and comfort. But that avails little if they are to perish from the filth of Mecca itself, and take from it those cholera germs which they .spread all over eastern Europe and Asia." Encouraged by an article on the subject in the Nineteenth Century, written by Mr. Ernest Hart, the Mohammedans of Madura, near Cape Comorm, have held a public meeting and memorialized his Imperial Majesty the Sultan of Turkey "to adopt suitable measures for improving the sanitation of Mecca and other places of pilgrimage." They make the sensible suggestion that every year during the Hajj the leading Hajjees from every country should meet and draw up a report on the state of the city and shrine to the Sultan and ask for the needed reforms. If the Sultan were not afraid of another war with the Shereef, who is the real master of Mecca, he would insist on such a share of the pilgrim fees and offerings as would make Mecca the healthiest place in his dominions.