دوو شه‌ممه‌ , ئایار 27 2024
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Understanding the Truth, Issue 1, January 1, 1918

Understanding the Truth, Issue 1, January 1, 1918

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Têgeyştinî Rastî (Understanding the truth) was a semiweekly newspaper published by the command of the British army in Iraq in 1918–19. At the time, Britain was at war with the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled Iraq since the 16th century. When British forces began advancing north toward the Iraqi Kurdistan region in the spring of 1918, the paper became the mouthpiece of the British Empire, propagandizing in support of British positions when dealing with political, social, and cultural issues. The paper sold for one ana, or four fils, a very small amount at the time. The paper’s headquarters was in Baghdad, on present-day Nahr Street, in the same building as the Jareedet Al-Arab newspaper. The paper’s masthead contained no mention of the names of the owners, editor-in-chief, or editorial board, and articles were not published under bylines. It is known, however, that a Major Soane was the editor-in-chief, and that he prepared the entire paper for publication. Soane had mastered Kurdish, and he was assisted in his work by the poet and literary figure, Shukri Fadhli. Intended to serve as a media and propaganda arm for mobilizing the Kurds against the Ottoman Turks, Têgeyştinî Rastî attacked the Ottoman Empire in its news stories and articles. It also used the glorification of Islam and the promotion of Kurdish national feelings to try to win the hearts and minds of the Kurdish people. It went so far as to publish the names of several British officers who had converted to Islam and adopted Islamic names. The paper took a hostile stance toward the October Revolution in Russia; tried to appeal to tribal leaders, elders, and other leaders with influence in the Kurdish community; and depicted the British army as a liberator of the Kurds from Ottoman control. It promoted Kurdish literature and the poetry of Al-Haj Qadir Al-Koobi and Nali Rimhawi Ka, and it was the first Kurdish paper to write about the history and origins of the Kurdish people.
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5927124 ‘Kurds who fought on the side of the Assyrians at Urumia’, 1918 (b/w photo) by Unknown photographer (20th century); National Army Museum, London; (add.info.: ‘Kurds who fought on the side of the Assyrians at Urumia’, 1918.

Photograph, World War One, Caucasus, (1914-1918).

The Baku oil installations were deemed vital to the Allied war effort so after the Russian armies in the Caucasus collapsed following the October Revolution (1917), the British attempted to bolster the Allied position there by despatching a military mission called Dunsterforce.

Dunsterforce officers trained local levies in order to oppose the Ottoman army and various Turkish backed-tribesmen. The British found it difficult to work out who among the myriad tribes and faiths in the region were allies or enemies. Leith-Ross noted that the Kurdish group shown here, called the ‘Shekoik… fought with the Christians against the Shiah Moslems, but later they proved traitors and were shot. They look like the treacherous people they actually were’.

From an album of 334 photographs compiled by Major W Leith-Ross, Army Staff and 13th Frontier Force Rifles, 1918-1920);  out of copyright.

Modern history of Kurdistan

1918: Sheikh Mahmoud Barzinji becomes governor of Suleimaniah under British rule. He and other Kurdish …

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