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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.802075, 38.996815

Tuesday March 2. [2 March 1909] Khalaf tried to make me promise
him last night £T4 for the journey to Der [Dayr az Zawr] and as I
refused to advance on the 6 mej. agreed on, he came this morning
and said his mare was lame. So he went back to Rakka [Ar Raqqah],
at a gallop, and I took an Arab called 'Ali from some tents near. All
this delayed us and we did not set off till 7.45, 'Ali, Jusef, Ma'lul and I.
At 7.50 we passed a bit of rising grass by the river called Khirbet
Hadawi - no visible ruins. At 8.5 Khirbet ed Dukkiyyeh, ditto. At 8.25
we were at Jedede where 'Ali said there were no ruins, and at 8.45 at
Abu Said where there is a Mazar of the 'Anazeh with tombs round it on
which are some fragments of columns and a great number of big
black basalt mills(?). From here we turned inland and rode over the
grass plains. We passed some tents of the 'Anazeh where I stopped
and greeted the tribe. One with a long spear came out and rode with
us. "Lady" said he at the top of his voice "my mare is ill; it is her
intelligence, her intelligence is sick. When you try to shoe her she
escapes." We got to Tell esh Sha'ir at 11.25 and stayed till 12.10.
There were a few stones on it dug out and set up one on the other, but
I do not think there had ever been a village {though} not that the Tell
could have been artificial. But the stones part of a landmark. But
there is nowhere any trace of water storage or conduits and my
impression is that this bit of the desert has always been desert. A few
shepherds of the 'Anazeh joined us and finished up our lunch. I saw
Jebel Baida a little east of N on the horizon. They said that J. 'Abd ul
Aziz [ 'Abd al 'Aziz, Jabul] lay behind it. Some way off to the E there
are 5 or 6 Jubbs beneath a Tell called J.'Ukula. More to the W there
is water at Abu Tata. So we rode back and got down to the river at 3
and to our tents pitched by an Afadh camp at 3.30 - on a tell which
marks the boundary with the Kaza of Der. The big Afadh Sheikh of
these parts is called Ajil el Hamry. The desert is beginning to be
scented with Jasum which is just growing. I had a long talk about the
Const. with Ma'lul who is very intelligent and the best informed soldier I
ever had. He comes from Kars [Kadirli[?]] and is a Turk - emigrated
when the Russians took it. He thinks it will be all right as to having
Xians in the army if there is not Khiana - disloyalty - a remark that goes
far. He wishes we wd send a Mafattish[?] (......) into every vilayet. All
the Effendis are corrupt and oppressors; when, says he, one of these
is sent as a deputy to C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)] his work will not
be good. But he places much confidence in the Jeunes Turcs.
Nearly everybody is for the Dastur. He cd live on his pay if he only
got it; at present he is owed 24 months' pay. The govt gives them
clothes once a year but these never reach soldiers in distant posts
like Rakka - they are eaten by the soldiers of Aleppo [Halab] or by
the officers - and he had had to buy his own. As yet there has been no
change for the better. The Effendis don't like the Dastur; they fear
Hurriyyeh and Hakm. Selim told me nearly everyone in Rakka has a
vote and casts it. As yet complete anarchy reigns everywhere. Ma'lul
and others have all heard that the king is going to C'ple and all hope
he will. He sang the praises of Anatolia and said the Turks
understood govt. and look all the constitution was from them. But the
Arabs not.

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