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'abdu'l-hamid's Committee






One year before 'Abdu'l-Hamid was dethroned, he sent an extremely
overbearing, treacherous and insulting committee of investigation. The
chairman was one of the governor's staff, Arif Bey, and with him were
three army commanders varying in rank.

Immediately upon his arrival, Arif Bey proceeded to denounce me and tried
to get proof strong enough to warrant sending me to Fizan, or throwing me
into the sea. Fizan is a caravan station on the boundary of Tripoli where
there are no houses and no water. It is a month's journey by camel route
from Akka.

The committee twice sent for me to hear what I had to say in my own
defence and twice I sent back word: 'I know your purpose, I have nothing
to say.'

This so infuriated Arif Bey that he declared he would return to
Constantinople and bring back an order from the Sultan to have me hanged
at the gate of Akka. He and his committee set sail with their report
containing the following accusations:--'Abdu'l-Baha is establishing a new
nation of which he is to be the king; 'Abdu'l-Baha is uplifting the banner
of a new religion; 'Abdu'l-Baha has built or caused to be built
fortifications in Haifa, a neighbouring village, and is buying up all the
surrounding lands.'

About this time an Italian ship appeared in the harbour sent by order of
the Italian Consul. It had been planned that I was to escape on it by
night. The Baha'is in Akka implored me to go but I sent this message to
the captain: 'The Bab did not run away: Baha'u'llah did not run away; I
shall not run away, so the ship sailed away after waiting three days and
three nights.

It was while the Sultan's committee of investigation was homeward bound
that the first shell was dropped into 'Abdu'l-Hamid's camp and the first
gun of freedom was fired into the home of despotism. That was God's gun,
said 'Abdu'l-Baha, with one of his wonderful smiles.

When the committee reached the Turkish capital, they had more urgent
things to think of. The city was in a state of uproar and rebellion, and
the committee, as members of the government staff, were delegated to
investigate the insurrection. Meanwhile the people were establishing a
constitutional government and 'Abdu'l-Hamid was given no chance to act.





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