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Transformed LandscapesEssays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi$
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Camille Mansour and Leila Fawaz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789774162473

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774162473.001.0001

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The Great War and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

The Great War and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

(p.105) 6 The Great War and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past
Transformed Landscapes

Camille Mansour

Leila Fawaz

American University in Cairo Press

Much less material has been available from the Ottoman side, particularly the Syrian provinces. Soldiers' diaries, especially those from the First World War, are powerful reminders of the horrors of war. One such diary begins in 1915, the “Year of the Locust” in the popular memory of Palestinian peasants and townspeople alike. Ihsan's diary is the only one that provides detailed observations of a foot soldier, written with intimacy and simple but keen reflections on a besieged city. The First World War brought about a radical break with the Ottoman past in the entire Arab East, not only with regard to the established constitutional regime but also in the system of governance, local administration, and identity politics. The consequence was an erasure of four centuries of a rich and complex Ottoman patrimony in which popular narratives of war and nationalist ideology colluded.

Keywords:   Locust, peasants, First World War, regime, patrimony

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