Year of the Locust: A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

Year of the Locust: A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

Year of the Locust: A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

Year of the Locust: A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past

Synopsis

Year of the Locust captures in page-turning detail the end of the Ottoman world and a pivotal moment in Palestinian history. In the diaries of Ihsan Hasan al-Turjman (1893-1917), the first ordinary recruit to describe World War I from the Arab side, we follow the misadventures of an Ottoman soldier stationed in Jerusalem. There he occupied himself by dreaming about his future and using family connections to avoid being sent to the Suez. His diaries draw a unique picture of daily life in the besieged city, bringing into sharp focus its communitarian alleys and obliterated neighborhoods, the ongoing political debates, and, most vividly, the voices from its streets--soldiers, peddlers, prostitutes, and vagabonds. Salim Tamari's indispensable introduction places the diary in its local, regional, and imperial contexts while deftly revising conventional wisdom on the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

Excerpt

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

Lesley Poles Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

I fought the English troops at Gallipoli for an Ottoman country that no longer exists—even though I continued living on the same land.

Onbası (Umbashi) Muhammad Ali Awad, Palestinian
officer in the Ottoman army from the village of
Anabta who fought in Suez and in Gallipoli

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