BRITISH AND ALLIED TROOPS SACK THE CRIMEAN CITY OF KERCH
[ 24 May 1855 ]
On 24 May 1855, thousands of terrified citizens of the Crimean city of Kerch had their homes broken into and their possessions looted, while men and even children were slaughtered and hundreds of women raped.
IRAQI THROWN IN PRISON FOR READING OUT A NATIONALIST POEM
[ 24 May 1920 ]
On this day in 1920, a young Iraqi, Isa Abdul Qadir, read out a nationalist poem at the Abdul Qadir Jilani Mosque in Baghdad. Arnold Wilson, Britain’s civil commissioner in the city, deemed the reading to be ‘dangerous to public order’ and ordered Abdul Qadir’s transportation to a prison in Basra.1 The poet’s arrest led to what an India Office communique described as ‘slight disturbances’, including an ‘armoured car which was fired upon, and replied with a few shots.’2
EMPTY ENVELOPES PROVOKE HARSH BRITISH REPRISALS IN NICOSIA
[ 24 May 1956 ]
Today in 1956, Martin Clemens, the British Commissioner of Nicosia, ordered the closing down of shops across several streets, and the expulsion of all inhabitants for three months as a collective punishment for failure to cooperate with the colonial authorities.
- At least three different names are given for the man who read the poem, although all agreeing that his first name was Isa. The alternate names were Isa Asfnadi and Isa Effendi al-Raizali. Ian Rutledge, Enemy on the Euphrates: The Battle for Iraq, 1914 – 1921, Saqi Books, London, 2015, p. 184 and p. 431. The name of the mosque is given simply as ‘Jalani mosque’ but was probably the Abdul Qadir Jilani mosque.
- ‘Baghdad Fighting: Inflammatory Speeches in a Mosque,’ The Aberdeen Daily Press, 1 June 1920, p. 5 and ‘Disturbances at Baghdad,’ The Scotsman, 1 June 1920, p. 5.
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