.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, October 27, 2005


The Greek Revolt continued for several years after its onset in 1821. NeoPhytos reports that "there was great unrest" in 1823 as well, in the Levant, "due to the arrival of eleven Greek ships at Beirut."

The Christians and the Catholics suffered greatly from the threats of `Abdallah Pasha, the Governor of Ptolemais [= `Akko, Acre], who believed that they were conspiring against him [and that the ships were part of the plot].

When the news of the arrival of the eleven ships reached Jerusalem, the Turks were disturbed for they believed that besides those ships, some others were coming with troops to conquer Jerusalem. They even tried to imprison the Orthodox in the church of the Holy Sepulcher as they had done in 1798 on the coming of Napoleon Bonaparte.

They abandoned their intention on being informed of the flight of the ships. Then they cursed and threatened us every day and swore: "You wrote to the Greeks to come here and capture this place. But if they appear in these parts, we will slay all of you, from the oldest to the youngest, and we will destroy your church." With God's help we kept them quiet. By borrowing money at high rate of interest and by mortgaging our property we "put silver and gold into the mouths" of the Notables.

In the same year, `Abdallah Pasha of Ptolemais caused great mischief to the Christians. He invented means whereby he imprisoned the Metropolitans of Ptolemais, Athanasios, and Benjamin of Beirut. He demanded such great sums of money that the payment left them both impoverished and in serious straits. That not sufficing, he still continued to threaten and annoy them, until they finally escaped to the mountains of the Lebanon.

This tyrannous, Christian-hating Pasha, beheaded an Orthodox pilgrim on a charge of espionage. He also imprisoned the Superior of Ramleh. This caused all the Orthodox Notables of Gaza, Jaffa and Ramleh to move, together with their wives and children, to other districts and provinces.
[Neophitos [NeoPhytos], Extracts from Annals of Palestine, 1821-1841 (Jerusalem: Ariel Pubs., 1979); pp 17-18; reprinted from Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society, vol. XVIII, 1938]

Sultan Mahmud did not have the manpower at his disposal to put down the Greek revolt, so he reluctantly brought in his rival, Muhammad Ali of Egypt, his nominal vassal.

The Sultan now realized that he must look for aid elsewhere, and his thoughts turned to his nominal vassal, the virtually independent Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt. But to invoke Mehemet Ali's help would mean paying a high price and for some time [Sultan] Mahmud remained in two minds about paying it. Since 1822 Crete had been in a state of sympathetic insurrection which had proved partly successful. The insurgents had swept the Moslems from the hilly open country and confined them to the towns. But the Hellenic victories had been followed by the usual dissenssions and divisions. The price demanded by Mehemet Ali of the Sultan would include the annexation of Crete to the pashalik of Egypt and the appointment of his son Ibrahim as Pasha of the Peloponnese. A preliminary step had been taken in 1822 when operations against Crete had been put under Mehemet Ali's command and a force of Albanians landed there. Yet little occurred until the spring of 1824, when the Egyptians mounted a violent campaign against the people of Crete, whose transient independence was slowly destroyed. In that same year Ibrahim was appointed Pasha of Peloponnese.
[Joseph Braddock, The Greek Phoenix (New York: Coward McCann & Geoghegan, 1973), pp 127-128]
Ibrahim Pasha did go to the Peloponnese [also called Morea] with an Egyptian army but did not succeed there and it was lost to the Ottoman Empire, as this area became part of the heart of the new Greece. So being Pasha of that area became meaningless for him.

Arab troops took part in suppressing the Greek freedom struggle, just as Arab auxiliary troops and Arab legionnaires had fought on the Roman side to suppress the Jewish revolts of the first and second centuries. Sounds like collaborating with imperialism, doesn't it? Muhammad Ali wanted to extend his own incipient empire to Crete and mainland Greece, as we see.

Sometimes NeoPhytos uses the name Turk for Muslims in general. Likewise, Saracen --originally the name of an Arab tribe called Sarakenoi in Greek-- later was used for Arabs in general or sometimes for Muslims in general. In Spain, the word moro [= Moor] was used for Arabs and other Muslims. When Spaniards took over the Philippines, they called the Muslims they found there moros, although the word had originally meant the Berbers of Mauretania [today, Morocco, roughly speaking]. Other ways of referring to them were Ishmaelite or son of Ishmael or son of Kedar (Qedar) [especially in Hebrew] and in Greek Hagarenes or children of Hagar [the slave mother of Ishmael]. This latter term was obviously sneering.


Post a Comment

<< Home