Tuesday, March 04, 2008

From Time magazine in 1954: "THE French cut off the medina with three cordons of troops, through which no Arab could escape. Inside the medina were detachments of Foreign Legionnaires, colonial infantry with tanks, barefoot Berber goumiers, whose hatred of the Arabs is legendary, and French police from whose wrists swung weighted truncheons. Police men, working with maps, split the medina into half a dozen sectors. Then the legionnaires, working systematically, began breaking down the doors of every house. Once a door was smashed, in went the goumiers and drove out every male, except small boys. Women cried out in terror, and were beaten back with clubs or gun butts. On top of a low hill in Port Lyautey's medina is a dusty sheep market. Legionnaires drove the Arab men there and herded them under the muzzle of a Patton tank. A dozen policemen formed a gauntlet, six on either side. One by one, the Arabs were thrust forward, each with his hands on his head. "Entrez done, Monsieur," said a reserve police colonel. "The session is about to begin." He smiled broadly, then hit a middle-aged Arab with his right fist, below the belt. As the Arab went down, the colonel kneed him in the groin. The Arab tried to get up; another cop caught him across the jaw with a club. Down went the Arab and the next cop kicked him, twice. He got up again and ran into the arms of still another policeman, who poked him into a sitting position with the muzzle of a carbine. Crying "Allah." Altogether, more than 20,000 Arabs were routed out of their homes to run the gauntlet that day. Slugging, clubbing and beating that many men is an exhausting job, so the police spelled one another. They invited civilians to lend a hand, and one brute of a youngster accepted and enjoyed himself." (thanks Laleh)