Ottoman Jerusalem in the Jawhariyah Memoirs: Volume One of the Memoirs of the Musician Wasif Jawhariyah, 1904-1917
These diaries cover a critical period of modern Jerusalem at the end of Ottoman rule. The author describes many aspects of daily life in Jerusalem and its suburbs, including religious ceremonies and secular celebrations, and ranging over a number of remarkable events, such as the introduction of electricity, the automobile, the phonograph, and cinema, as well as the welcome given by the inhabitants of the Baq'a neighborhood of the first Ottoman airplane to land in the city. These diaries also chronicle the author's life as an officer in the Ottoman army, his tour of duty at the Dead Sea, and his relationship to notable personages in the city of Jerusalem, such as Husayn al-Husayni. They also contain a colorful evocation of the fabric of life in the neighborhoods of Sa'diyyah and Misrarah. The book includes numerous historical photographs from the Jawhariyah collection, as well as appendices that document various aspects of the prevailing socio-economic system in Jerusalem at the time. The Jawhariyah diaries supply us with a unique glimpse of daily life in Jerusalem at the beginning of the twentieth century. Wasif Jawhariyah's lively voice is sarcastic at times, tame and pluralistic at other times, but always unmistakably secular. His memoirs provide a much-needed alternative view of Ottoman Jerusalem, amidst an abundance of studies that depict the city in this period as though it lay outside history and as though its entire existence was steeped in a set of religious identities. Thus, these diaries are not merely modern in character, but rather depict a city in the process of entering into modernity.