Palestinian Youth Groups: Ottoman Era

Ottoman youth groups
Figure 1.--Here we see a Ottomam youth group parading in Jerusalem during 1914, we think just before the Ottoman Empire declared war. There were boys with similar, but dark colored uniforms in the same parade. It had Muslim and Turkish orientation. We are not sure how popular the group was among Palestinians Arabs given the Turkish orientation. We see them described as Kudüs'de Osmanli Izcileri. Google tranlation suggests, "Osmanli Traitors in Jerusalem", but surely that can not be correct. We think Osmani may mean Ottoman, Or perhaps that is how Palestinians today view them.

We have very little information abput youth groups in Palestine during the Ottoman era. We do note that the Ottomans began organizing youth groups in the early 20th century. This appears to have been an influence to the founding of youth groups in Europe especially the Wandevogel in Germany and the Boy Scouts in Britain and other countries. There Ottoman groups seeking to modernize the Empire and among other ininatives were these efforts to establish European-like youth groups. We have no information on the 19th century, but notice some activity in the early 20th century before and during World War I. What might be called a Boy Scout movement appeared in the Ottoman Empire on the eve of World War which turned into a paramilitary movement. It had a basically Turkish and Moslem orientation. While we have found information about Ottoman groups in the capital and Turkish areas of the Empire, we have found very little information on the non-Turkish populated areas like Palestine. Islam was not a problem among the Arabs in Palestine, but Turkism was another matter. Palestinian Scouts today on their website claim that the Scouting was founded very early (1912). We have some photographic vidence of this, but have not been able to find and documentary details (figure 1). It appears to be Muslim group. We do not know of any Christian or Jewish youth groups which may have been regarded with suspion by the Ottoman authorities.


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Created: 2:02 PM 3/24/2017
Last updated: 2:02 PM 3/24/2017