Thursday 10 October 2013

25th - 27th July, 1947 - Ron is fascinated by the locals and their religion.

Friday, 25th July, 1947
An old woman came to the station today and said a boy had hit her.   A boy or child of this age is criminally not responsible so she was sent away unsatisfied.
She was interesting only in that her hair was red* which for such an aged one rather suggested to me she had dyed it.  I questioned a Palestinian about this & he said it was so.  A powder made from a special tree is put into the water & the hair washed.  In the morning it is again washed in clean water and is now red.  He further told me that as a sine (sic) of pending wedlock the bridegroom dyes his right hand and wrist red.

I have re[a]d somewhere that a Moslem is not allowed to show signs of age so white hair on head & face should be dyed.  This is not adhered to I think.

*Henna presumably...

Saturday, 26th July, 1947
There was no work today so spent what I the time reading.

This evening Roughton & I went for a short walk down Wadi El Faria.  I here tasted my first pomegranate no great experience & rather laborious.

Sunday, 27th July, 1947
I spent this morning sitting in a shaded place before the station talking to some of the Palestinians here.  I always find such a time well spent both in Arabic I learn & the ways of living of the Arabs.

Insert: Poem “Call to Prayer”

                                                        Call to Prayer
                                  Valley bare below bare mountain,
                                                        Scorched all day by Sun’s high arc,
                                  Searching, on the winds it cometh,
                                                        Calling to the faithful heart.
                                  From a high tower over dome top,
                                                        Looking on the roofs below,
                                  Calling, searching, for the faithful,
                                                        “To the East bow thyselves low.”
                                  In the valleys; on the mountains,
                                                        All do stop in fear and awe,
                                  Listening to the voice that tells them,
                                                        “Time is here; a prayer for all.”
                                  Rich men from the shops go forward,
                                                        From the houses they come out,
                                  To the city of their Prophet
                                                        Go hearts with no trace of doubt.
                                  Mosques they cannot stay to enter;
                                                        No time workers spare for that,
                                  Nor time off from their labours
                                                        So the earth their prayer-mat.
                                  Thus for centuries have they heard it.
                                                        And for centuries to come;
                                  Till upon this earth they finish
                                                        When their Armageddon comes



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