Beware of Europeans Bearing Gifts

Samples of German Friendship, Anyone?

"The German consul visiting Moulai Hafid:

May I submit to you some samples of German friendship?
-No thanks! My brother was very poorly served, although your boss came himself."

Kalem, October 1, 1908.

Funeral of the Eastern Question

"Funeral of the Eastern Question"

Kalem, September 18, 1908.

The first image was likely borrowed from the German satirical publication, Simplicissimus. The placement of the staunchly anti-European Abdelhafid of Morocco ahead of a desperate-looking German consul is telling of Morocco's attempt, at the time, to turn away from European influence. Abdelhafid came to power by accusing his older brohter, Abdelaziz, of having made too many capitulations to Europeans. However, Abdelhafid would eventually fall prey to similar influences. Abdelhafid's words in the caption are a damning statement of Muslim leaders' mistrust of European powers, well beyond the Ottoman Empire.

The second image is a prescient reference to the death knells of the Ottoman Empire, although it was not intended to be such. Armand Fallières and Wilhelm II, among other European leaders, march alongside the remains of the Eastern Question, a diplomatic and strategic idea that the "sick man of Europe"––the Ottoman Empire––was on its way out. It is likely that the editor-directors of Kalem intended the funeral to indicate the success of the Young Turk revolution to return the Ottoman Empire to the Second Constitutional Era and an increasingly "free" society. Unfortunately, the Ottoman Empire would fall within the following 15 years. The cartoon was more perceptive than anticipated at the time.

Related reading: The Cambridge History of Turkey, volume 3.

Beware of Europeans Bearing Gifts