Sunday, January 22, 2006


I read something quite ghoulish yesterday, a story recounted by Zahra Freeth, Colonel H.R.P. and Dame Violet Dickson's daughter. (For those that might not know, Col. Dickson was a British Political Agent to Kuwait in the 1920s-1930s, who then worked for Kuwait Oil Company after he retired from the British govt. The Dickson House on Gulf Road, across from the Souq Sharq fish market, was their family home until 1991, when Dame Violet, also known as Umm Saud, passed away at the age of 92.)

This is a story told to the Dicksons by some residents of Jahra in the 1930s, and is on the aftermath of the battle against the Ikhwan in Jahra (Red Fort) in 1920.

"During the days that followed...before the dead could all be buried the fingernails fell off the corpses, and for a period after the battle whenever the wind rose human fingernails were blown like husks around Jahra, eddying and drifting among houses and tents, creating a wierd rattling sound which was vividly described by those who had heard it." (Zahra Dickson Freeth, A New Look at Kuwait, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1972.)

What an awful image!


  • Ok...thats freakish...almost Blair Witch project-like.

    By Blogger Jazz Central, at 1/22/2006 5:37 pm  

  • OH. MY. GOD.
    That is so disturbing.

    By Blogger Raine, at 1/23/2006 7:42 am  

  • that is disturbing!

    By Blogger Rampurple, at 1/23/2006 12:27 pm  

  • Gonna have nightmares tonight...

    By Blogger Caffeinated, at 1/24/2006 12:15 am  

  • that is a creepy image ... shouldn't have read that just before i'm going to sleep ...

    Can you recommend any good books on Kuwait - especially the history of Kuwait. You're definitely the best person to ask :)

    By Blogger PlumPetals, at 1/31/2006 11:55 pm  

  • A good layman's guide to Kuwaiti history is by a lady named Anne Al-Bassam and is called "Footsteps in the Sand: Kuwait and Her Neighbours, 1700-2003." You can get it at the Kuwait Bookshop in al-Muthana Complex. I know Anne personally and she worked on this for about five years, using all sorts of primary source materials like personal papers and travel accounts of British political agents to Kuwait, etc (read the acknowledgements carefully if you get it!). The books by the Dicksons are also great but are out-of-print and can only be purchsed from rare bookstores and are really expensive. A fantastic book on Kuwaiti society and politics is "Stories of Democracy: Politics and Society in Contemporary Kuwait" by Mary Ann T├ętreault, a brilliant academic on Kuwait and also a good friend of mine. :) Other authors on Kuwait (historians and otherwise) are: Alan Rush, Simon Smith, Frederick Anscombe, Abdul-Reda Assiri, Jill Crystal, Haya Al-Mughni, Michael Herb, and Ahmed Mustafa Abu-Hakima (the last one being the most popular of the old school historians on Kuwait but whose work has some errors in it). And finally, you can't go wrong with Kuwait's first proper historian, Abdulaziz Al-Rushaid, but his work is published in Arabic. Hope this helps!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 2/13/2006 4:08 am  

  • Thanks so much!! Will check them out -- and I did look at Footsteps in the Sand ... it's really good!

    By Blogger PlumPetals, at 2/15/2006 9:23 am  

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