The Arabian Ronin

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A short story about two historical events.

Submitted: July 03, 2018

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Submitted: July 03, 2018

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The other day, when I was watching the movie "47 Ronin", the number in the title attracted my historical as well as my regional memory.

The fantasy action film was portraying  a fictional version of  one of the Japanese legends. It was about an 18th-century unpleasant  events. Through the events,  the 1675-born, Asano Naganori, a lord of Samurai was conspired against and forced to commit Harakiri suicide in 1701. His 47 warriors became Ronin which means leaderless Samurai.

After avenging  his death they were too compelled to perform publically Seppuka or ritual suicide by stabbing themselves, drawing the blade from left to right, slicing their abdomens open. It was a  symbolic practice for loyalty, persistence and sacrifice performed by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies. Traditionally, loyalty was not necessary to a person,  but to the warrior code.

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On the other part of the world and time, Ajmy Al-Sadun was the lord of his tribe in Southern Iraq, just like Asano Naganori of Japan. He was born in 1888, a son for a ruling family in the Al-Mentefek southern autonomous emirate since 1530. Ajmy Al-Sadun grew up to become a legend in his bravery through occasional inter-tribal wars.

When the British occupied Basrah, the southern city and port  in 1917, they established strong military base in Al-Shaiba, 11 km south west of  the city. The Ottomans tried to stop the British advance north towards Baghdad. They sent a force under the command of Colonel Suleiman Askary. The Ottoman commander was aided by the Iraqi tribe-sheikhs like Ajmy Al-Sadun, Khyoon Al-Obaid, Mubder Al-Faron and others. In spite of their advice to blockade the base first, the Commander of the Ottoman force launched a major offensive. At least 12000 Arab tribesmen in addition to 2000 Kurds and Tourkman tribes men participated in the force, commanded by Al-Sadun and other Sheikhs.

The operation was failed, bogged down in confusion due to lack of coordination, allowing the British to mount a counteroffensive. However,  Ajmy Al-Sadun inflicted heavy casualties on the British continuously enforced troops, using hit and run raids,  skillfully attacked outposts, ambushed troops, and cut lines of supply and communication. He was the biggest trouble for the British.

Sir Percy Cox, the British chief political officer tried to bribe  Ajmy with 300 thousand gold pounds to abandon the Ottomans and switch to their side but he refused. Cox invited him to meet and negotiate but Ajmy  declined, saying there was nothing to negotiate with invaders of his land. The British spy  T.E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia) offered to install him as ruler of Iraq if he cooperates with the British but he refused the offer.

When the British gave up on him, they tried to assassinate Ajmy Al-Sadun through one of the traitors  but they failed too. In one of the battles, with his men, he rescued a whole Ottoman brigade from being captured and escorted it to Al-Nasyria city safely. For this he was given the title of Prince of Princes by the Ottomans.

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In a unique  panorama of persistence and sacrifice,  45 of Ajmy's tribesmen tied their knees with ropes so that they cannot move or escape, and tied a piece of cloth over their mouth so that they cannot scream of pain, then  fought the British invaders until they were all martyred in 1917.

No one knows the names of those 45 Arabian Ronin  whereas the Japanese's 47 Ronin are commemorated every year on mid December at the Sengakuji Temple in Tokyo where they were buried in 1702.


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