Important Incidents Between Circassian And Beduin Tribes

Important Incidents Between Circassian And Beduin Tribes

by Mohammad Khair Haghandoqua, ‘‘The Circassians’’

A messenger from Bani Sakhr to Circassians:

After the arrival of Circassians in Amman, beduin tribes continued to attack and provoke them, especially after the settlement of immigrants in their new homeland where they built houses and tilled the land.

Attacks increased during the harvest season. Circassians are known to be very keen to protect their crops against outside aggression. But beduin cowherds had intentionally led their cattle to the cultivated lands, as a result of which many incidents occured: many people were killed during the harvesting season. The tribes could not tolerate seeing the land cultivated, because it was originally the property of the inhabitants of Salt city, who were prevented from using it because of beduin aggression. Because of the known keenness of Circassians to defend their possessions against beduin attacks, the Bani Sahkr tribe dispatched a messenger to notify Circassians that they had to leave! Beduins could not tolerate strangers on the land adjoining their camping grounds because they considered such areas as grazing land for their cattle. Circassians sent back the reply that they would leave, but they needed transportation. They requested that the beduins send over their camels to the Circassians to enable them to move out.

The beduin leaders thought that this was a trick of the Circassians to seize their camels and stay put.

A few days later, further contacts were made and the Two parties reached a full agreement Tribal leaders held a grand banquet at Ras El-Am during which Circassians tasted the Jordanian Mansaf dish for the first time.

After the banquet a big meeting was held during which both parties pledged to support one another in case of aggression from a third’ party. The Bani Sakhr tribe took a neutral stand during the Balqa war and tried to compromise.

Some elderly people say that the tent of the agreement between Circassians and The tribes is deposited with the Zabin clan, but so far it has not been located.

The Balqa War

In 1910 Bat Hina, a Qabarday emigrant, made an agreement with some Circassians who had arrived in Amman in the year 1900 and lived in the Muhajreen Quarter, to the effect that they would harvest his crops. The reaping was done by hand then and took a long lime to finish because the sickle was the only method of harvesting. The harvesters took their families with them to the site, to live with them until the end of the harvest season.

Bat Hina was heading towards his land to supervise the harvest operation; suddenly he was stopped by beduin shepherds who wanted the food he was carrying for his workers Bat fought back fiercely but sustained a shot in the arm when he grabbed the rifle from a beduin in an effort to prevent him from shooting at him. The shepherds ran away, thinking that Bat Hina was dead, and encouraged their tribes, which later attacked the shacks of the harvesters and stole everything they found there, and took with them a young girl and a boy. When the news reached Amman, Circassians headed toward the beduin camp. There was shooting and several people were killed or injured. The Circassians surrounded the tribes and chased some of them to the limits of Sahab, and told them that the siege would continue until the release of the abducted children was obtained. The Bani Sakhr tribe mediated between the two parties, and the kidnapped children were released and an agreement was concluded between the Circassians and the Balqa tribes along the tines of the agreement with Bani Sakhr.

Bat Hina

This was the most important fight between Circassians arid Balqa tribesmen after which understanding and friendship prevailed among the brethren from both parties.

Circassians refer to this fight as ‘‘Balqawi Zawa’’ meaning ‘‘the war of Balqa’’. The cause of this war was the attack on Bat Hina.

The clash between Circassians and the Balqa tribes had far reaching effects. As many tribesmen were planning revenge and vendettas, the agreement that emerged from the clash prevented those acts and assisted in the spreading of friendliness and the prevalence of security, and put an end to aggression, plunder and abduction. In this respect, it is related that a resident of Jerash at that time was a guest of one of the Circassian families, who stood by the Circassians during the fight, but he was killed and his body never retrieved.

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