Monday, 24 November 2008

Coalitional signalling

There at the top, on the edge of the castle moat we found a group of Druzes, young men and boys, standing in a circle and singing a terrible song. They were all armed and most of them carried bare swords. "Oh Lord our God, upon them! upon them!" I too joined the circle with my guide. "Let the child leave his mother's side. Let the young man mount and be gone." Over and over again they repeated a single phrase. Then half a dozen or so stepped into the circle, each shaking his club or his drawn sword in the face of those standing round. "Are you a good man? are you a true man? are you valiant?" they shouted. "Ha! ha!" came the answer, and the swords glistened and quivered in the moonlight. Then several came up to me and saluted me. "Upon thee be peace" they said "the English and the Druze are one." I said: "Praise be to God! we too are a fighting race." And if you had listened to that song you would know that the finest thing in the world is to go out and kill your enemy.

Gertrude Bell, Letters