Adonis Diaries

“In Damascus under the bombs, Year 1925” by Alice Poulleau

Posted on: May 19, 2013

“In Damascus under the bombs, Year 1925” by Alice Poulleau

In 1925, the French journalist and painter Alice Poulleau finished writing her book “In Damascus under the bombs”, a collection of 3 years of diaries,  and was published in 1926. The book was banned by the French authority in every colony and territories occupied by the French troops. The book was republished only in 2012.

The Syrians revolted against the French mandated power in 1924-26 and the troops pounded Damascus for 48 hours with heavy artillery shells and air raids. Entire blocks in Damascus were devastated and over 1,500 civilians were killed within 48 hours of insane hatred and arrogance of the occupying troops.

Alice dedicated the book to the mothers in France and Syria who suffer the same afflictions. She blamed the French writers and journalists who never set foot in Syria and never witnessed the calamities and horrible massacres and yet, insisted on diabolizing the Syrian people, relying solely on the High-Commissariat reports.

The devastation hit the antique and ancient souks of Hamideyeh, the block of the street of Midhat Pasha, the Via Recta, which was later called “Harika” to being burned to the ground…

It was the French mandated power that incited sectarian passions among the various religious entities in order to divide and rule. The occupation power favored the minorities such as the Christians, the Alawits… in the administrative positions…

Alice worked in the Nile Delta and occasionally pushed forward to discover parts of Palestine, such as Rafah, Gaza, Ludds… and further on into Haifa, Mount carmel…

In 1923, Alice had this revelation to investigate Syria and Lebanon. She visited the Houran province, Damascus, Baalbek, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, Bissan (south of the Sea of galilee), Samak…

Poulleau was under the spell of so much beauty and mythical environment until she got in contact with her French countrymen, officers and soldiers in Syria.

Her wrath grew by the days against the arrogance and ignorance of her French citizens in Syria. Her encounters opened her eyes to the calamities that the French brought in into Syria…

As Alice returned to Egypt in 1923, she wrote:

“I had this persistent and strong impression that France never attempted to investigate the level of acceptance of the Syrian people to the mandated power, and simply relied on the reports of the High-Commissariat.

I felt this growing disenchantment and the growling of discontent among the Syrians relevant to the one-sided decisions, mismanagement and high-handed reactions due to their baffling of human rights of the Syrians and their dignity…

This was the reason for me to return the next year 1924 to Damascus and witnessing the slaughterhood two years later…”

Note: More summaries and translation of these diaries will be forthcoming. 1,500 Syrian civilians died within 48 hours of bombing and air raids of the Capital Damascus by the French troops.

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