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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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Sun. Feb. 7. [7 February 1909] Wet again. Went early to the
Consulate and photographed one of the two Mamluk lions there.
Then with Jusef into the town. Saw the lovely Khan Sabun and Khan el
Gumruk. In both the fine masonry and the discreet ornament is pare
passu like the best Greek work. Walked through the Balistan bazaar
and past the French consulate and then as it was raining, home.
Fattuh bought 5 horses for £T51. Shellem and Tajir came to see me.
Lunched with the Kochs where I met Herr Mygen, correspondent of the
Berliner Tageblatt. He has just come from Baghdad, Mosul [Mawsil,
Al], Van, Bitlis, Diarbekr [Diyarbakir (Amida)] and Urfa [Sanliurfa
(Edessa)]. He is on the whole optimistic. He attended in Bitlis a
meeting of all classes and religions and heard excellent speeches
advocating the building of roads and railways and better education
mines and forests also discussed. At Urfa the new Club is frequented
alike by Xians and Moslems. At Urfa everything is going excellently,
Diarbekr has always been a fanatical place, Xians and Moslems
equally fanatical. The Armenians at Xmas actually proposed a
boycott of all Moslem shops. His impression is that governors and
commandents all hesitate to convict themselves to definite action,
thinking this state of things will not last. At Van it was the fault of the
Armenians themselves that they were not better represented. They
selected a fanatical Armenian, the more moderate voted against him
and they and the Moslems carried a Moslem. At Mosul he spoke with
Chaldaeans and Kurds. Both declared that the Armenians if they had
stood out against the Xians would have maintained their position as
well as the Chaldaeans have done. They and the Kurds are
constantly at war but when the Kurds when they are short of money
and intend to raid a Chaldaean village, send back word that they are
coming in 3 days and the Chaldaeans send back word that they will
be ready. The Armenians are cowards and have gone under.
Moreover most of their leading men have gone to C'ple [Istanbul
(Constantinople)] to make their fortune and left the others without
guides and chiefs. It is true the Armenian villages are in ruins but so
are the Kurdish, owing to the exactions of the govt. He was unable on
one occasion to get zaptiehs from a Kaimmakam. When he got to
Diarbekr he telegraphed complaints to the Minister of the Interior. The
Vali apologized but said what was to be done? they still had to work
with the lower officials of the old rÈgime and could get nothing done in
consequence. They have not yet the men; in 10 years it will be
different. Went with Mme Koch to the Tekkiyeh of Abu Bekr, a
charming Mamluk building of the same date as Khan el Wazir about - I
suppose late 15th or early 16th c. An exquisite Mihrab and beautiful
Arab lace work windows and coloured glass. The wooden shutters
have charming panels, some of which are finely carved. Also a
hamman, square with an octogon above by means of pendentives
and finally the circle supporting a brick dome on 8 pendentives, a
delightful piece of construction. The Sheikh and his family live in 2
little rooms off it, very delightful. Then to the house of M. Andre
Marcopoli. He has 2 stones one of which is certainly Hittite, the other
a rabbit looking over its shoulder with a patterned background may
be Hittite. A good Assyrian relief, lots of tiles, and Chinese china and
one or two good pieces of Rakha. Also a great number of bits of a
very fine mosaic dug up at Bilkis. Then on to Mr Georges Marcopoli
but it was too late and dark to see his things. The Vali, Resid Beg
came to see me while I was out and also M. Homsi. Gave Fattuh
£T40. (£T65). Mr Longworth says there are some Xians on the local
committee but it is very inactive.

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