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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

33.223191, 43.679291

Thurs Ap 13. [13 April 1911] The sun struggled out before 7 and we
went on with our drying. At 6.30 temp 60, Bar 27.8. We got off at 8.30
with 2 zaptiehs, Muhammad from the Khabur, a Jeburi, and 'Ali newly
come from Mosul [Mawsil, Al]. I went down to see the Yezidi shrine of
Pir Zeki but it had all been rebuilt. Big trees. At 9 we were due N of
Tanisarka which is perhaps Kurkuka[?] of the WO map. It is some
way off - 3/4 hr perhaps or more. At 9.25 due N of Dehuk [Dahuk].
The Mosul road lies right out in the desert, but N of Tamisarka. They
have recently built a small Khan at Ain el Ghazal; no other till Tell Afar
[Tall 'Afar]. At 9.50 Kizil Keud to N under the hill. At 10.30 we passed
the lower Gabara, on the W side of the Ghadir, newly built, a colony of
Gabara which we saw up in the mouth of the gorge. At 11.15 we were
N of Werdiyyeh which is reinhabited. These villages on the lowest
slopes are rapidly increasing with the growth of security. Muhammad
confirmed the story of Jeraif raids. There were 2 of them 3 years ago
and they did a lot of damage. The present govt is trying to put an end
to raids between Yezid and Arab but Muhammad thinks the work wd
have gone on quicker if they had darabu a few Yezid villages. Till a
year or two ago this road was pestered with robbers. He told me a
tale of a Pasha travelling through a Ferik, one of whose escort wilfully
shot a Yezidi. The village demanded the culprit that they might kill
him. The Ferik gave blood money and promised to give him up to
justice. When they reached the Khabur he found Muhammad and
directed him to take the man back to Mosul. M. said that if he took him
through the Sinjar [Sinjar, Jabal] neither he nor the man wd get through
alive. The Ferik agreed and allowed M. to take him round by Deir
and Nisibin [Nusaybin (Nisibis)]. M gets his pay regularly £T2 and 3
mej a month minus 15 ps for his hudum. This is better pay than in the
Istibdad when he got £T1 a month and the keep of his mare, but very
irregularly paid. He explained that the whole work of the govt, tax
collecting, escorts, post etc lay on the Jon Durma who were never at
rest; that is why they are called Jon Durma. At 11.50 Gaddala to the N
in the foothills. The map is not good from here. It does not give the
first southern line of low hills at all. At 1.30 Majmeniyyeh, a ruined site
with the 2 ziarah of the sons of Sheikh 'Abdul Kadir (wrong in map).
Tell Haval lies a little to SE. At 2.25 Kiran Sekeniyyeh on the Nahr
Kiran which cuts through the low foothill. The village lies just inside it.
There is no road here over the high ridge behind except for foot
passengers. We went on till 3.35 when we turned up into the foothill
near the end of the high ridge. We met some men with donkeys and
one ran after me and asked for a dawa for the hurmy with them, who
was apparently suffering from dyssentery [sic]. I gave him some D.....
powders. Immediately after entering the hills we saw Shillu to the right
under the high ridge; now ruined. We rode up a dry water course and
near the water parting came to Samukha which lay above us under
the butt end of the high ridge - 5 o'clock. It is deserted now as the
people are out in the plain with flocks. It consists only of walls which
they cover with tent roofs in summer. It is a yaila. So is Bara, about
1/2 hr further on. We camped below it at 5.30 by a ruined mill. Yezidi
tents some way above us on an Alp. I cd hear nothing of the
Khatuniyyeh marked here on the map. The only Khatuniyyeh is that in
the lake - also called Bkharra. But there is a Khatuniyyeh yaila some
4 hrs from Samakha. Kharefera and Shwutte[?] are also unknown.
Heavy rain. M. told me a tale of an old blindman who came back to
the Sinjar and walked from right out in the desert to the town with his
head bent to avoid the tree branches till his sons told him the trees
were gone. The Kaim. told me that he had heard of traces of palm
groves to the of Jebel Sinjar [sic].

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