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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

33.5138073, 36.2765279

Friday 20. [20 January 1911] Went out with Fattuh early and bought a
tent. Joined Mr Devey and Mrs Naville at the next door hotel and went
with them to the Vali Ghalib Bey. He was busy with preparations for
the arrival of Sami Pasha; we waited 3/4 of an hour to see Madam
Pasha and then were told that she was busy too! So I went off to Mr
Hannoner[?] and we walked out together and explored the temenos
of the old temple. He has got the E door - triple - and the street of
columns leading to the temple door, the present E door of the
mosque. He has traced the outer colonnade of the inside of the
temenos NE and N (and NW perhaps) The N door of the temenos is
then beyond the Madrasseh of Malek ez Zahir. Beyond it lies a
quarter called Beir es Surein and beyond it what looks very like the N
gate of the city wall. This N door of the temenos corresponds with the
S door I found yesterday, it led into the outer arcade of the temenos.
Moreover there are traces of columns in the pavement down the
street leading from the middle of the S side of the mosque (the walled
up triple gate) to the Straight St and it looks as though that walled up
gate were Antonine. Moreover the inscription was clearly inserted
later. He thinks he has traced the street from the E end of the outer
temenos arcade to the Straight St and near the latter a minaret is .........
on a square base of old masonry which he takes to be the remains of
a four arched point[?]. Most interesting of all the SW temenos gate
(mine) which is Roman work, is clearly inserted into an older wall
which he thinks is Seleucid. It cuts through half a pilaster. The W side
of this temenos wall, all pilastered, is visible at the angle but it has
been pulled about, for it is not straight and it has an ....... But the pulling
about is old. This raises the point as to whether the pilastered temple
wall is not Seleucid, which would account for the curious Egyp.
pilaster caps. The wall above it is Arcadius or Justinian - I incline to
Arcadius, as Procopius says. Little about Justinian's work here. The
Straight St is the E-W main city street. The W gate exists. No trace of
the gates of the N-S street. Lunched in the bazaar and came in to find
that Selim Tabit had called. Drove down to the Kadem[?] station to
see the Perrins and met on the way all the procession coming up with
Sami Pasha including Ali Pasha and Tabit. Following it the soldiers
of the garrison admirably clothed and set up. Mr Perrin told me the
whole story of the holding up of the train at Katraneh. Before the
station master was killed he had time to telegraph to Dera' [Dar'a] for
assistance. The Arabs (they were the Mujelli) searched the train for
railway officials and were told there were none - no guards or
anything! Then for Turkish officials and found a doctor with a Turkish
order whom they shot. There was a rly clerk in plain clothes with his
wife and they hesistated whether to kill him but a merchant near him
claimed him as his secretary. They then robbed everyone (3
merchants coming up from Mecca [Makkah] had £10000 between
them) stripped them naked and turned them out into the night. After
which they burned the train and the station. The travellers wandered
naked along the line for 8 or 10 hours, when they were picked up by a
relief train sent down from Dera. The rly was systematically
destroyed in many places, the telegraph posts cut down and burnt in
various ways (there were 3 bands at work) and many rly stations
burnt, the officials either killed or stripped and turned out. One man
was given 9 stabs by 3 different parties of Arabs, stripped and left
lying for 4 days. He recovered. The rails were thrown into ravines or
buried and the keystones taken out of the bridges. The equipment of
Sami's troops admirable; they had search lights and cannon and all
modern improvements including field hospitals. It was a walk over
with little or no resistance. Mr Perrin notices anti foreign feeling very
strong. Turkey for the Turks and no foreign employees. But they still
can't do without them. Anti English feeling marked; they fear the
Germans and want their help but will throw them over when they have
got all they want. Deutsche Palest. Bank cutting out the Ottoman. It
gives 1% higher interest and does its business much more
expeditiously and more carefully. The Ottoman bank closes for every
holiday of all creeds; the other almost never. He has much trouble
with the Turks, and has constantly to bother about the pay of the men
in his shops. They wd like to bother him into resigning but he won't (so
that they might not have to pay the sum due to him if they break the 4
years contract). He reckons the loss on the rly at £80000 to £90000. It
is all being repaired at once. Back by train and found Selim Tabit at
the neighbouring hotel, with his Umar and Tahir. Had a very
satisfactory talk with Tahir about my journey. Dined with Talit Beg
who related his quarrel with the French monks over a land question
and said the Turks were determined to back him, the time had gone
when the foreigners cd do what they liked - our country for ourselves.
The Hauran question absolutely settled. It began with quarrels
between the Druzes and Moslems in the Hauran and Bosrah [Busr'a
ash Sham]. But when they saw Sami P. with 30000 men and cannon
they gave way at once. Only Selim el Atrash fled to the Ghor [El Ghor]
(he says, not the Wadi Sirhan [Sirhan, Wadi]) where also the remnant
of the Majelli are. Abp Kadi had been much blamed for advising
Yahya to come in but it was now seen that he had been right. Yahya
is not expected to receive a heavy sentence. He says 1400 Druzes
have gone as soldiers, he say them at Beyrout [Beyrouth (Beirut)]
singing and shouting. The arms have been largely seized -
truckloads of arms and ammunition came in said Perrin. Salkhad is to
be fortified and a string of forts along the Sufa [Safa] if Sami's plans
are carried out. The Jebel Druze [Duruz, Jabal ad] will now be
civilized. As for the Arab business, the Druzes had nothing to do with
it, Sami P. has declared. The late Vali Ismail Beg very jealous of the
Arab Sami and determined to have his own orders carried out. He
ordered that the Mujelli of Kerak [Karak] should serve as soldiers.
They had been accustomed to be treated with great consideration -
one waas head of the municipality. They called in the others. The
Mutesarrif not killed but retired with his soldiers into the citadel. The
Commandant is much blamed for the inaction and will be
courtmartialled. Mutesarrif had begged that conscription shd not be
insisted on at this moment but he wrote to Sami and it made the Vali
more determined than ever. True that the Hajj bakhshish had been
withdrawn but it had not effected the Mujelli much and the tribes it
affected had not risen. A little more diplomacy might have been used
however. The Mujelli have been punished even more than they
deserved. The Beni Sakhr took no part. Went round to see
Muhammad Pasha Jerudi who was sitting all alone in a great coat
doing nothing in a room all windows warmed by one brazier. Great
rejoicing over Sami P as an Arab. He is of a Baghdad family, a
cousin of Mahmud Shevket.

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