Mandate Jerusalem in the Jawhariyah Memoirs: Volume Two of the Memoirs of the Musician Wasif Jawhariyah, 1918-1948
Jawhariyah’s memoirs have a special significance since they reveal, ridicule, and celebrate, all at once, a set of social practices, some of which are ordinary and routine, while others are concealed and illicit. These revelations are what make these memoirs so valuable. The memoirs focus on the hidden private lives of Jerusalem notables and prominent figures, as well as on the conduct of the Ottoman and British military and political elites. Jawhariyah also uncovers both the failures and heroism of the ordinary people with whom he was raised and among whom he lived. He thereby transforms the ordinary and routine into something wondrous, enabling us to see it with fresh eyes. New social configurations and practices arose in urban Palestine during the First World War and they were crystallized during the Mandate. At the beginning, famine, epidemics, and collective exile conspired to effect major changes in the social fabric in a number of population centers. In Jerusalem, new public spaces took shape outside the walls of the Old City, which embraced new social values. Meanwhile, the state sector contributed to the creation of new gatherings of state employees, and it also invested in the public sector, which led to the stimulation and development of new concentrations of the middle class in the coastal areas of Palestine.