Sunday, May 08, 2005

Blog Quiz #2 - Answers

The main source of information for the quiz was the paper "Patrons, immigrants and ma'tams in Pre-modern Bahrain", by Nellida Fuccaro, and a series of papers written by Hasan Abdulla here and here. The former uses a book by Abdulla Sayf as its source. The answers are open to debate, and any input or corrections i'm sure would be useful to the authors of the papers. A few of you did manage to get some write, well done!
  1. When did the first Ashoora procession take place in Bahrain?
  2. In 1891 Muhammad Mirza Ismail, a Persian merchant, used his position as agent for the British India navigation company to lead the procession in front of the Ma’tam bin Rajab, one of the oldest of the city. This was a momentous event for Manama’s Shi’i communities. People flocked behind an heavily armed Mirza Ismail who confident of British protection made his way through Manama streets defying the veto imposed by the Sunni rulers on public manifestations of Shi’i devotion.

  3. What ‘new’ tribal town was established in 1809?

  4. Muharraq, was a ‘new’ tribal town established in 1809 on an island facing Manama.

  5. Name a Bahraini who started off working as an as an interpreter for the British Agency in 1893 and then went on to become an extremely wealthy businessman.
  6. For some foreign merchants political connections yielded spectacular results. Ahmad bin Yusuf Kanu, an Arab originally form southern Iran, started his career in 1893 as an interpreter for the British Agency. Acting as middlemen for the Agency and for British companies he became an enormously rich and influential businessmen, and adopted a cosmopolitan outlook and lifestyle. Shaykh ‘Isa resented so bitterly his association to the British that in 1920 Major Dickinson, the Politcal agent, remarked that ‘he undoubtedly would get into serious trouble if [the] British ever withdrew from Bahrain’. As Yusuf Kanu’s example suggests 19th Manama was a city of self-made immigrants where merchant capital and outside connections were far more important than decades of prominence on the local scene. Even when Manama’s notables like Yusuf sat on one of commercial councils convened by the ruler in Muharraq (particularly the majlis al-‘urf), their appointment did not automatically grant them access to new sources of wealth and influence. Rather, it expressed Shaykh ‘Isa’s recognition of their ability to control the material and human resources of Manama and to contribute to the often depleted treasury of the royal family, particularly with cash loans.

  7. By 1905 Manama had 13 main ma’tam buildings , 11 controlled by the Baharna (Arab population of the city) and two by the Persian. What was the first ma’atam to be established in Manama and who established it?
  8. Ma'atam Bin Rajab in the 1840s? was this the first. i'm not sure.

  9. In what period of the 19th century did the collapse of the pearl industry occur with an ensuing poverty and famine decimating the urban population?
    In the late 1920s, beginning 1930s, as a result of the world depression, which reduced demand for Bahraini pearls, and as a result of the Japanese development of a cheaper way to “breed” pearls, or make cultured pearls.
  10. Who gave this illustration of the 'intricate role of weapons of the weak' in local politics:
    '.... Bus- and taxi drivers went on strike. They copied the technique of the Beirut taxi-drivers who constantly went on strike. They caused an almost total dislocation of traffic by organising bands of small boys -and sometimes girls- who strewed the roads with nails, struck through Coca-Cola bottle tops, which punctured the tyres of hundreds of cars. The boys used to dash out from narrow lanes, lay a few nails and watch the results from dark alleys where they could easily retreat. It may sound absurd that the activity of lads and children caused such serious trouble, but it was very difficult for the police to catch them, and although a number of boys who were caught were suitably dealt with they were not deterred. The strike was to some extent due to the high premiums which were demanded by British and other insurance companies. When the Government gave permission to a local company to compete with the foreign companies most of the opposition died away and the strike ended. However having once learned 'the nail game' small boys found it such a fascinating occupation that they engaged in it whenever there was any trouble in Bahrain, and sometimes they played it for their amusement'.
  11. While 'everyday forms of resistance were originally associated with peasants it is not strictly a peasantry affair. Susan Ekstien notes (1989: 8-9) that all subordinates social groups may resist conditions imposed by dominant groups in roughly similar ways. Sir Charles Belgrave (1960), the British advisor to the rulers of Bahrain 1926-57, gave the illustration above which is an example of this.

  12. When was the first prolonged and organised industrial strike in the oil industry?

  13. Although work conditions in the oil industry were by far better than those of their former occupations, oil workers carried sporadic work stoppages to demand improvements. The first prolonged and organised industrial strike was in December 1943. The strike was successful, partly because the British feared its influence on the war effort in the region. (See: Abdulla Khalid, 1979:104-121).

  14. Which Sheikh was said to have had a Jewish prostitute called ‘Mas’ooda’ who was used to lure the sons of noblemen to her house after which the Sheikh’s men would blackmail them for large sums of money or expose the scandal and imprison them.

  15. Abdulla bin Isa Alkhalifa, the rular of the Sanabis and Jidhafs fiefdoms. A letter written by the British Agent, Mr Daley (?) dated 3/1/1922 records some of this Sheikhs misdimeanours.

    1- أن الشيخ عبد الله يحتفظ بعاهرة اسمها مسعودة، وهي يهودية استدرجها لذلك العمل و كانت خليلته لبعض الوقت، وكان له مع هذه المرأة ترتيب معين تقوم بمقتضاه باستدراج شباب من العوائل المحترمة إلى بيتها، و هناك يهجم عليهم فداوية الشيخ عبد الله ثم يطلب منهم دفع مبالغ كبيرة في مقابل عدم الكشف عن القضية و عدم سجنهم
    2- خلال موجة الحر الماضية، اختطفت زوجة خياط من السنابس و احتجزت عدة أيام في بيت الشيخ عبد الله، و هدد الزوج، مع العلم بأنه لا يستطيع الشكوى إلا لدى الشيخ عبد الله نفسه ( حاكم السنابس المطلق).3- أن الشيخ عبد الله هو حاكم منطقة جدحفص و وزيره هناك شخص اسمه عبد الله بن رضي، و يقوم هو و زوجته بتصريف شئونه هناك، وقد اجبر العديد من النساء على زيارة الشيخ في بيت الوزير، وقد خطفت ابنة ##### و حبست عدة أيام، و كذلك ابنة ##### و في كل حالة تم تهديد الأباء مع العلم بأنهم لن يحصلوا على حكم عادل في كل الأحوال، وفضل الأباء كذلك عدم فضح المسألة حفاظا على شرف العائلة و سمعتها، و منذ ذلك الوقت قام أباء هاتين البنتين بإرسالهما إلى القطيف كل عام في موعد زيارة الشيخ عبد الله لجدحفص. ( القضية معروفة في
    المنطقة لتاريخ نشر هذه الورقة ).

9. In what year were the first ever public calls for an elected legislative chamber (parliament), and reforms in the police and judicial courts?

    Late 1930s read below for more details.

    في سبتمبر 1938م سافر الشيخ حمد بن سلمان للعلاج في كشمير و خلف ابنه سلمان وليا للعهد، و كان السيد يوسف فخرو يجوب المناطق لتحبيب الشيخ سلمان ( في مقابل عمه عبد الله بن عيسى الذي لازال يطمع في الحكم ) للناس، و قد سعى الشيخ سلمان للتقرب من الشيعة، مما حدا بعدد من شخصيات الشيعية للتعاضد مع إخوانهم من أهل السنة و التقدم بالمطالب الإصلاحية و هي تكوين مجلس تشريعي منتخب ( برلمان ) و إصلاح الشرطة و المحاكم و غيرها، بالاضافه إلى مطالبتهم بتعين الشيخ سلمان وليا للعهد بصورة رسمية.

    و كانت هذه الحركة هي أول حركة وطنية مطلبيه منظمه تطالب بإصلاح سياسي لتواكب الإصلاحات الإدارية السابقة، و قد تصدرت شخصيات وطنية سنية ( علي بن خليفة الفاضل، محمد الفاضل، خليل المؤيد، يوسف كانو، عبدالرحمن الزياني، سعد الشملان، احمد الشيراوي ) و شخصيات وطنية شيعية ( محسن التاجر، محمد علي التاجر، السيد سعيد السيد خلف، عبدعلي العليوات، منصور العريض، السيد احمد العلوي، الشيخ عبد الله بن محمد صالح، حاجي احمد بن خميس ).

10. One of the companions of the Prophet (swt) is buried in Bahrain after being banished from Kufa by Muawiya. What is his name and where is he buried?

    Sa'sa'ah ibn Sowhan Al-abdi died in 60 hijri and is buried in Askar (see map below for other notable persons buring in Bahrain- the english is pretty poor translation of the arabic, but its a useful map)

عاش صعصعة فترة طويلة من الزمن وعاصر الرسول الأعظم والخلفاء الراشدين . وقد اصطدم في اكثر من موقف بالخلفاء الطغاة حتى جاء معاوية بن أبي سفيان وقال له : " والله لأجفين بك الوساد ، وأشردن بك في البلاد . " فأمر معاوية المغيرة بن شعبة بابعاده عن الكوفة ونفيه إلى جزيرة أوال ( البحرين حاليا ) . وعلى هذه الأرض ، أرض أجداده جاء أجله فدفن في قرية عسكر سنة 60 هـ وعمره 70 سنة .

وقد رثى صعصعة الإمام علي (ع) عند مماته بكلمات منها :

هل خبر الغبر سائليه أم قر عينا بزائريه

أم هل تراه احاط علما بالجسد المستكين فيه

لو علم القبر من يواري تاه على كل من يليه

يا موت ماذا أردت مني حققت ما كنت أتقيه

An important event which I touched on in Blog Quiz #1 was the Battle of Dul3 which occurred in 1869. I offer a simple translation from Hasan Abdulla's papers:

Mohd bin Khalifa was known for his extreme tyranny in Bahrain, Qatar and Eastern province. The situation got so bad that the British had to directly intervene, ousted Mohd bin Khalifa, banished him and replaced him with Ali bin Khalifa. This period was marked by in-fighting in the Al-khalifa family, the main battle of Dul3 in the 1869, in which the Abdulla bin Ahmed branch of the family regained power for a short period of time, after which the British intervened again to oust and banish this branch of the Al-khalifa (Mohd bin Abdulla, Nasser bin Abdulla and his son Ali bin Nasser and other sons) to Qatar and Hassa, where that branch remains till today.

What happened was that Ali bin Khalifa asked the British to allow his brother Mohd to return following the coup which ousted him, argueing that it would be easier to keep an eye on him in Bahrain. However, Mohd continued to plot to overthrow his brother when he returned to Bahrain and so was exiled to Kuwait and then he moved to Qateef. There he forged an alliance with Nasser bin Mubarak (the grandson of Abdulla bin Ahmed) and together planned to attack Ali bin Khalifa. In 1869, both men led a sea campaign consisting of five boats and 500 men, attacking Bahrain shores and in East Rafa3 there ensued the Battle of Dul3 in which Ali bin Khalifa and his son were killed.

This divided the Al-khalifa family in half. Nasser bin Mubarak bin Abdulla went to Qatar to seek recourse from the Ottomon rular of Qatar, Qassim the Second. Following warnings from Britain to Qassim and Nasser not to intervene in Bahraini affairs, Qassim cunningly, decided to wed his daughter, Mariam, to Nasser for political purposes.

What I find most interesting about this event is to understand the role the colonialist powers played in domestic politics and their role in propping up a ruling family in order to gain domestic stability. At that time, there was a mass exodus of Bahrainis escaping the terror of the rulers at the time. Baharna communities sprung up around the world from Zanzibar, to the Seychelles, and even as far as some European countries. I've seen photos of Baharna fighting in the Saudi army against the Ottomons because thousands of Baharna had fled Bahrain and settled there.

Unfortunately, it hard to come by any detailed information of this event. I don't know if anyone has dug up the British documents on this. Maybe my curiosity arose purely because this event has been totally covered up and the current members of the family wish to see it totally wiped off the history books. As they say history is written by the winners, maybe this blog quiz was a simple attempt to highlight certain events that the 'winners' would rather not dwell on. If you look at nearly all accounts of Bahrain's history online, you will see that there is a giant gap from pre-islamic Bahrain to the Portuguese conquests, afterwhich Alkhalifa appear on the scene. Literally, over a 1000 year gap. In one account, it was said that this period was 'characterised by relative tranquility'. Ok, so nothing happened in that 1000 years worth mentioning at all? Some would like us to think that life in Bahrain began when Ahmed Alfatih 'liberated' Bahrain, as if Bahrain was living in an age of darkness before the current rulars came along and then a torch shone over Bahrain for the next two centuries.

A total whitewash of our history is unacceptable. Bahrain was a great civilisation, lived through a glorious post islamic-period, produced some respectable philosophers, was home to many noble men, and saw a string of dynastic elites rule the country for centuries. All of which are considered not worthy teaching in school, or even naming a road after.

Posted by BB @ 5/08/2005 11:34:00 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Tough ones !
I can't answer a single one ;)
Look, save us the trouble and do us all a favour and a great service:
Can you please give us detailed answers and the sources they came from, if possible.
Are these things documented?
I am genuinely concerned with documenting our history and would time, effort and more on an objective project like this.  

Posted by Silly Girl

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/03/2005 11:47:00 AM #

SBG: how about u save ME the trouble by helping out!

I'll put up all the answers in due course. Writing the questions is the easy part. The answers require alot more effort and I haven't done it yet.

Ok one clue, try searching in Arabic. There is alot more out there in Arabic than the English. Sources in English just seem to use one source and repeat it over and over again missing out the all important details.

There is a forthcoming book coming out soon on the Urban History of Bahrain which should be quite good. I've had a sneak preview. 

Posted by Bahrania

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/03/2005 01:02:00 PM #

This is confusing me... How do u come up with the qs if u have no idea what the answers are ?
And Arabic ? I can read and write Arabic alright but I can't type Arabic, so I can't search in Arabic !! Being much older than you, I am from the old school !! Arabic did not exist then.
Are there any "books" people can buy and read ;)  

Posted by Silly Girl

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/04/2005 12:12:00 PM #

Hey, is there any chance that we could get full answers to Quiz 1? I'd like to start adding the info to BahrainWiki, and it would be nice to have a few sources.

This second quiz is too tough for a clueless expat like me. The only one I can answer is the last one which is Sa3sa3a who is buried in Askar. 

Posted by Chan'ad

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/05/2005 05:01:00 PM #

SBG: I do have the answers! They're just in a scatty all-over-the-place format in many different sources. I'll sit down and write them all up one day.

Chan'ad: Right answer for number 10!
I must point out however, that judging by the response to these quizzes, a "clueless expat" like you knows more than many Bahrainis themselves!! 

Posted by Bahrania

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/05/2005 06:26:00 PM #

Thanks for proving my hubby wrong !!
He was adamant that the companion in question is buried at Al Khamis Mosque !

To enabled me add insult to injury, can you tell us who exactly is buried at Khamis Mosque?

Regards ;)  

Posted by Silly Girl

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/06/2005 04:04:00 PM #

number 3 is Kanoo
first ma'atem was Al-Qassab, no idea who established it (it could also be ma'atem Al-Hatab?)

that's it for me...

Posted by Blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif @ 5/02/2005 09:46:00 PM #

If I could only get an extension of another week for this ...

Posted by Blogger Evil Odd @ 5/04/2005 03:58:00 AM #

4.(مأتم ابن أمان) في حي المخارقة وسط العاصمة قبل حوالي قرنين، وشارك في تشييده أبناء الحي من البحارة والبنائين. وقد تم تجديده بعد وفاة الحاج (عبد الأعلى أمان) عام 1869.

8. الشيخ عبدالله بن عيسى بن علي.. ابن حاكم البحرين آنذاك

10. صعصعة بن صوحان بن الحارث بن الهجرس بن صبرة بن خدرجان بن عساس بن ليث بن حداد بن ظالم العبدي .

Thats all i have time to right now.. The rest on another day.. Good Quiz Btw.. ;)

Posted by Blogger moodZ @ 5/04/2005 05:29:00 PM #

7. أول اضراب شهدته بابكو كان عام 1938م

Posted by Blogger moodZ @ 5/04/2005 05:51:00 PM #

Bahrania - Thanks for the answers.

I have access to the following books, could you please let me know if you have read or recommend any of them?

- Skeletons And Social Composition : Bahrain 300 BC-AD 250 / Judith Littleton

- Language variation and change in a modernising Arab state : the case of Bahrain / Clive Holes

- Dilmun and its Gulf neighbours / Harriet Crawford

- Bahrain, 1920-1945 : Britain, The Shaikh, And The Administration / Mahdi Abdalla Al-Tajir

- Bahrain And The Gulf : Past, Perspectives And Alternative Futures / edited By Jeffrey B. Nugent & Theodore H. Thomas

- Bahrain, Gulf Heritage In Transition / Michael Jenner

- First Light : Modern Bahrain And Its Heritage / Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa (is it him?)

- The Life And Times Of Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa : Ruler Of Bahrain, 1942-1961 / Andrew Wheatcroft

- Pearls In Arabian Waters : The Heritage Of Bahrain / Peter Vine

Posted by Blogger Evil Odd @ 5/10/2005 01:43:00 PM #

Thanks for the answers! Now what u have to do is quiz us again same time this year and see if we come up with the answers ourselves!

Odd A asked: "First Light : Modern Bahrain And Its Heritage / Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa (is it him?)"

Answer: Yes, it is!

Posted by Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl @ 5/10/2005 07:36:00 PM #

Odd, in my opinion, i'd say read anything and everything you can for informational purposes keeping in mind the author's background and how it fits into the bigger historical timeline.

Of all the books you mentioned, it's clear from the title at least that (like how i mentioned in the post) that they focus on either Dilmun, or the Khalifite era of Bahraini history - a total whitewash of the 1000 year gap in between.

You've got a book about language, pearls, two on dilmun, 3 about khalifa sheikh, the oil boom and economic development, transition in the 2nd half of 20th century. If that is what you want to read about then that's great.

I want to read about anthropology, sociology, politics (although i suspect the Tajir book does touch on political aspect) and most importantly the history of my ancestors, the glorious post-islamic era of Awal, the land of a million palm trees, the oasis of the gulf.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 5/11/2005 12:50:00 PM #

I made a list of some intersting books I like about Bahrain.

Have a look at them here

Posted by Blogger Bahraini by nature @ 5/11/2005 03:58:00 PM #

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