This week in Middle Eastern History – May 29th – June 4th

Rashid Karami, longtime Prime Minister of Lebanon

Events –

Cyprus Convention (1878) – The United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire signed a secret treaty that allowed for the United Kingdom to take de facto control over the island while the Ottomans would retain legal control.  This ended over three hundred years of Ottoman occupation and ushered in the modern age of Cyprus

Ali Khamenei is elected Ayatollah of Iran (1981) – He served as the Supreme Leader of Iran in the religious (and often political) sectors and was named the 26th most influential man in the world in 2010.  He has been instrumental in the Islamization of Iran and continues to support an anti-western stance for Iran’s government.   During the 2009 Presidential elections he came under intense criticism and had a falling out with President Ahmadinejad over reforms.

Farhud (1942) – A violent pogrom against the Jewish population in Baghdad erupted in the interim between the fall of Iraq’s pro-Nazi regime and the arrival of British troops.  The violence was the beginning of the end for Iraq’s Jewish population that had existed for over three thousand years and has been called the ‘forgotten event of the Holocaust.’

– Attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov (1982)- Shlomo, Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom was paralyzed in an attempted assassination while in London.  This attack, and the reaction to it, was a leading cause of the civil war that erupted in Lebanon soon after.

Births – Hassan Fathy (1900) – Pioneering Egyptian architect who brought back the traditional use of adobe bricks to replace the Western models of architecture that had come to predominate Egypt

Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa (1933) – the former emir of Bahrain who oversaw the development of Bahrain into one of the wealthiest countries in the world

Khawar Rizvi (1938) –  One of the most prominent Urdu poets of the 20th century who campaigned tirelessly for a progressive agenda based on freedom and liberalism.

Deaths – Nazim Hikmet (1963) – famous Turkish poet renowned for his anti-authoritarian stances that often led him to be thrown in jail

Rashid Karami (1987) – Prime Minister of Lebanon for over thirty years, most prominently during the Lebanon Civil War of the 1980’s.  He was instrumental in giving power to the recent Muslim majority in deference to the Christian population of the country.

2 thoughts on “This week in Middle Eastern History – May 29th – June 4th

  1. It’s certainly harder to find information on Middle Eastern history than for European history, which is a shame because its much older and more interesting. But its out there! Contrary to what people tell you wikipedia is a great place to start too.

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