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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

36.2021047, 37.1342603

Fri. Feb 12. [12 February 1909] Went to the Khourys with Mme Koch.
He had some lovely Rakha fragments with most interesting
Sassanian decoration, the wing pattern quite complete only lacking
the king's head of the coins. But as he asked £20 for them I did not
buy. Then to the Greek Catholic church where there is very beautiful
decoration under Arab influence. The canopy over the altar fine;
pillars with rinceaux of flowers and leaves running diagonally round
them and Arab entrelac on the cornice. Then to the ruined Maronite
church which is now a dye house (basmaji). It has been a basilica
with 4 aisles; the caps and woodwork fine Arab. Photographed a
beautiful house in the Saliby and lunched with Mme Koch. Wrote after
lunch, inspected my tents and shopped. To tea with Mme Koch and
Mygin. Dined with Elias HindiÈ and went after to the house of Nasry
Homsi. There I met a very interesting man, Mikhail Shakar, who was
learned in Arab literature. We talked politics and they all asked me
whether we wd not intervene and send "teachers" into the provinces
for the govt was weak and could do nothing by itself. Everyone
needed training. One of the young Homsis asked why there should
not be a Xian Vali in Beyrout [Beyrouth (Beirut)] but Homsi said I was
right in saying it was impossible. They all think the govt. will break
down. They said the Moslems wd not allow them a single member for
Aleppo [Halab] vilayet. I asked whether they had all agreed upon a
candidate. No, they had brought forward as many candidates as the
Moslems did; the Xian sects could not be induced all to vote for the
same man. Finally Shakar admitted that if they had all agreed on one
man perhaps they wd have got some of the Moslems to vote for him
though he had said at first that in any case the Xians were too few in
number to carry a member and the Moslems wd not help them. Mr
Christie subsequently told me they certainly would have carried a
Xian because they would have had the whole Jewish vote.

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