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Old November 19th, 2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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Sultan abdulhamid ii paranoia


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The Ottoman Empire of the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century was a classic tyranny: any dissent and any element of progress was brutally suppressed. Sometimes it ran into absurdity: Sultan Abdul Hamid II banned not only usage of the word “Armenia,” but also… the H2O formula. The Sultan decided that the chemical formula water heavily hinted that “Hamid 2 is a complete zero.”
A book published in 1903.

The Independent - Google Books

Quote:
The Sultan after the inhuman massacres of 1895-1896, realizing that the Armenians were unable to pay any poll tax and wishing to show himself charitable to European Powers, which were then rather excited, released the Armenians from this burden for two successive years. But now that some time has elapsed, and the European Powers have lost interest in the situation, the Sultan, in an imperial Trade, has ordered an immediate payment of these arrears. He thinks that the Armenians have received relief enough from Christian Europe to pay their poll tax. This is not a new story; indeed, owing to its incessant repetition, it no longer shocks European and American ears. But here is something new: The Sultan, being convinced that the extirpation of the Armenian nation by force is next to impossibility, has fallen on an ingenious method of coercing its national spirit. He has put the Armenian school text-books and the Armenian press under strict censorship. Before this he had inhibited the use of the following words: Star, because its Turkish translation means Yeldiz, which is the name of the Sultan's palace; astronomy, because of its relation to the. word star; the chemical symbol of water, H2O, because this might be construed into H = Hamid, 2 = second and O = Cipher—that is, Hamid Second is nothing; the word Armenia, so that the American missionaries who had founded a college in Armenia by the name of "Armenian College " were obliged to change its name into " Euphrates College; " and, lastly, the words liberty, freedom and home. Now Abdul Hamid (The Servant of the Praised) adds to the index several other words, such as nation, sacrifice, thistle, obstacle, stumbling, hope, faith, emancipation, Lincoln, struggle, right, tyranny. No verses are to be published in the daily papers; the Boers are not to be sympathized with; Americans never praised ; Germany never criticised, and Russia never mentioned.
1903

To-day in Syria and Palestine - William Eleroy Curtis - Google Books

Quote:
The censor at Constantinople in 1903 ordered that the text of the seventh and eighth verses of the first chapter of Thessalonians be amended by striking out the name Macedonia and inserting "the Vilayets of Salonica and Monastir." There is another story that the censor objected to the sign H2O in an English book of chemistry, because he suspected it to be a revolutionary cypher, meaning "Abdul Hamid II is naught," or "powerless."
1919

The Century - Google Books

Quote:
From 1880 to 1908 Turkey was governed under a stark tyranny worthy rather of the ninth than of the nineteenth century. The new pashas who dared to hint of genuine reform or of
an attempt to galvanize the institutions of the empire were imprisoned or obliged to flee into exile. The grand vizirs became simply the first ministers of despotism. Liberty of press became such a farce that virtually no one would read a Turkish newspaper, because everything of the least interest, even on non-political subjects, was carefully excised by the vigilant censor. A distinguished American, traveling through Turkey, was invited to address a religious meeting of native Christians. He chanced to use the word "freedom." The interpreter dared not translate the phrase containing it; the act might have landed him in a dungeon. Indeed, a certain side of Abdul-Hamid's government seemed as if taken from plain farce comedy. An American mission college imported some elmentary chemistry text-books from England. The consignment was held up in the customs-office, and the professor in charge was informed that the volumes were "highly seditious." When he expressed surprise, he was told a dangerous cipher against the sultan had been discovered, and he was shown the familiar formula for water, H2O. It was gravely explained to him that "H" undoubtedly indicated [Abdul] Hamid, and "2" even more clearly connoted "Second," while "O" was a palpable covering for "nothing." The cipher therefore obviously read "Abdul Hamid Second equals, or is good for, nothing," a deliberate incitement to treason!
Another sage deduction of the sultan affected the entire city of Constantinople. Long after the use of electric light was common elsewhere, the city of padishahs was illuminated by gas. The reason for this was that AbdulHamid lived in perpetual fear of death by dynamite, and the difference between a "dynamo" (needful for electricity) and "dynamite" never became clear in the mind of the Commander of the Faithful. He prudently prohibited them both in order to be on the safe side.
1920

New England in the life of the world: a record of adventure and achievement - Howard Allen Bridgman - Google Books

Quote:
Of course the suspicious Turkish censor has had his eye out all these years lest the germs of heresy and sedition should lurk beneath the apparently innocent literary symbols. One day in the reign of the infamous Abdul Hamid, Mr. Censor got hold of a new set of chemistry books ordered from America by one of the colleges. The mystic letters H2O immediately arrested attention and aroused his apprehensions. Of course H2O could not stand for water! Oh, no, it must have a sinister squint in the direction of the Turkish throne. What else forsooth could those letters signify than that Hamid Second is nothing. One bows before the cleverness and penetration of the Turkish official mind!
1922

A short history of the Near East: from the founding of Constantinople (330 A ... - William Stearns Davis - Google Books

Quote:
All this was vastly to Abdul-Hamid's liking. He used his new opportunity and friendship with Germany by going the limit in trying to repress within his dominions every suggestion of those unpleasant Giaour agencies which threatened the Ottoman world with another unwelcome change. His were the days when the press censorship in Constantinople was so severe that almost no one would read a Turkish paper—it could contain nothing worth reading; when electric lights could not be used in the capital, because to operate them there was needed a dynamo; the Padishah dreaded dynamite bombs and prohibited dynamos lest (through similarity of names) they partake of the same atrocious nature; and when chemistry textbooks shipped to American mission-colleges were held up in the Turkish customs lest they contain dangerous political ciphers disguised under scientific symbols.2
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3 The most familiar story is perhaps that of the questioning of the chemical symbols H2O, the well-known formula for water. The sultan's censors promptly discovered that "H" must be the symbol for [Abdul] Hamid, "2" was clearly "II." and "O" was of course the same as "Cipher" or "Nothing"; and the chemistry students were therefore being taught "Abdul-Hamid II equals [or "is good for"] nothing!"—a manifest case of high treason!
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