Page:A short guide to Syria (1943).djvu/14

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easier the pilgrimage to the holy city. No "unbeliever" is ever permitted to enter Mecca.


How to Get Along in the Villages. On entering a village or farming district, there are definite rules of procedure in regard to introductions. No matter how small the detachment, the leader should find out whether or not the area is controlled by a landlord, called a "malik il-ard" (maa-lik il-ard). If so, he should call on the landlord and seek his cooperation and friendliness. If the area is controlled by an absentee landlord, find out who is his representative, or "wakeel" (wa-keel) and make yourself known to him.

Every village, whether or not it is controlled by a landlord, has its mayor, who is called the "mukhtar" (mukh-tahr). On entering a village, the leader should introduce himself to the mayor and call at his house. If he cannot find the mayor, he should make himself known to the eldest man in the village, or to the priest in a Christian village, or the "imam" (i-maam) or "sheikh" (shaykh) in a Moslem village.

You can usually tell a Christian village from a Moslem village by the simple method of observing whether the village possesses a church or a mosque. A mosque always has a minaret or tower from which prayers are called.


If you find both a mosque and a church in a village, you will know that the community is composed of both Christians and Moslems. In all probability, each group has its own section of the village. If you find yourself in one of these communities, be careful not to favor one group more that the other. If you buy goods, for instance, be sure to patronize both groups. Treat the priest and sheikh with equal respect.

The friendliness and cooperation you will get depend largely on your dealings with the influential citizens who have been mentioned — the landlord, bailiff, mayor, sheikh, or priest. They are the persons with the most authority and are the respected members of the community. All transactions regarding supplies, quarters, etc., should be carried on through them. To disregard these local leaders would be considered a serious breach of Syrian etiquette and would incur the ill will of the whole