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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The previous post on this topic [Part I] showed how the Greek Orthodox leadership in the Land of Israel was desperate to keep the news of the Greek revolt from reaching the Arab Muslim populace in the Land of Israel, out of fear of violent retaliation against their community. To cut off the news, they paid bribes ["presents"] to the local Muslim notables who appear to have fulfilled the Christian request. However, the news could not be held back indefinitely. The Sultan's official letters arrived on 25 April 1821, with instructions to all Muslims to take part in defense against the Christians. This call was answered by the Muslim populace.

. . . our hospice in Jaffa was occupied by troops from Ptolemais (Acre). The walls of the town were fortified and a strong garrison with a vigilant guard was placed inside. The Christians were compelled to transport cannons from place to place. A week later the same thing happened in Jerusalem on orders from the Pasha of Damascus [Jerusalem was then part of the Damascus vilayet or province], who sent troops to guard the Kalah (citadel)[what is now called the Tower of David]. On the 25th of April there arrived in Jerusalem royal letters from Sultan Mahmud expressly announcing the general revolt of the Greek Islands, and ordering that all Moslems should be armed immediately to guard the fortifications of the towns and the fortresses. Furthermore, he warned them that they should be careful and not believe anything from the Christians and especially from the Greeks (Romei) [this word originally meant Romans, and since the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire considered itself a continuation of Rome, Byzantine Greeks were called Romans, in Arabic Rum]. He also commanded that all arms should be collected from the Christians. Straightaway ours was a sorry plight here in Jerusalem. The children of Hagar [= Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, son of Hagar] had now the opportunity and the time to behave as they wished. Young men and old and even children armed themselves. [NeoPhytos or Neophitos, a Greek Orthodox monk in Jerusalem. More data on him and on his chronicle in previous posts]
What we see here may even indicate that traditional Arab-Muslim society was much like a colonial society. Who could possibly think such an outlandish thought? The Arab-Muslims were called upon by the emperor, the Sultan, to arm themselves in order to thwart any sedition by the Greek Orthodox, a population that preceded the Muslim Arabs in the country. Was their society really colonial or even colonialist? Just because the Muslims had special privileges denied to the dhimmis / ra`ayahs, who had to endure various humiliations and inequalities, is that enough to call Arab-Muslim society colonial or --even worse-- colonialist, or maybe an apartheid society? Who could think such thoughts?
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More to come on this topic


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