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Archive for April, 2018

Joseph’s journal;

9 Tevet, 4816 (December, 1066)

The situation worsens. I was not harassed on the way to the palace this morning, a departure from what happened all this week. However, I could hear the shouting and screams of pain from the direction of the Jewish quarter of the city. My bodyguards hustled me along while glancing nervously over their shoulders. I was unable to determine if they, the guards, were more concerned for my safety or for the danger to themselves should I be attacked.

As soon as I was inside my offices in the palace the guards all disappeared. I sent one of my clerks to ask if I could have an audience with King Badis. The clerk returned to report that Badis was away, at one of his horse farms, and was not expected to return for several days. I sent three apprehensive clerks out to discern which, if any, generals were in the palace. They all returned to report none of the generals were expected at the palace today. I then ordered the commander of the palace guard to come to my office.

After about twenty minutes the man sauntered in, a man I know well. Chief of the Lambuni Zanhadja tribe. His name is Yaha ibn Umar al-Lambuni and I have crossed verbal swords with him on several occasions. I know he speaks ill of me to King Badis.

Salem al echem sir,” I greeted him.

Salem al echem Vizier. What can I do for you this morning?”

“I was wondering what the situation is in the Jewish quarter and what, if anything, you are doing to gain control of that situation. On my way in this morning it was obvious rioting was occurring and people were being injured.”

“I was not aware there is a situation in the Jewish quarter, Vizier. Do you have information about what is happening?”

“Nothing specific. I know that the mood of the population of Granada is increasingly anti-Jewish and this morning on the way to the palace I could clearly hear evidence of unrest and violence emanating from the Jewish quarter.”

“Really, I am not aware of this. I will send some people to investigate. However perhaps your people have brought this on themselves with their superior attitude and stiff-necked insistence on exercising power and control over my people.”

I did not respond, simply stared at him waiting.

“Oh, very well, I will look into this for you Vizier and see what can be done.”

He turned and left, but not in a great hurry. Forty minutes later I could hear a crowd approaching the building. Somehow, they had gained entrance into the Alcazaba. They were gathering outside our building. Soon the shouting began:

“Kill the Jew, kill all Jews.” Their chant was repeated over and over, gaining in strength and volume.

As I write this I’m sitting at my desk, my clerks are huddled on the floor of my office. Outside the office the sounds of a confrontation can be heard. A strong voice with a Nubian accent orders the crowd to disperse. There is angry shouting interrupted by the rhythmic thumping of swords against shields and the sound of marching leather-soled sandals on the pavement. There is a cacophony as objects, clubs and perhaps swords, strike shields and helmets then the scream of someone stabbed and shouting from the crowd as they retreat.

The door to the outer office opens and I heard the Nubian commander order the door shut and barricaded. Then a knocking at the closed door to my office. A loud voice with a Nubian accent shouted through the door.

“Vizier, it is Captain Appou ibn Naojil I served your father Ha Nagid. Do you remember me?”

“Yes Captain, I remember you very well. Please come in, I am very happy you have arrived.”

I went over, unlocked and opened the door. A tall ebony man stood in the doorway his glittering white teeth bursting from his mouth in a wide smile.

“I have only twelve men with me but we are resolute. We will defend. We do not forget all you and your father have done for us. The situation is not good. The mob outside is huge and it will be impossible for us to force our way through it to bring you to safety. Unfortunately, many of the Berber soldiers are joining the rioters. We will do the best we can.”

“I understand Captain, and I am extremely grateful for your support.”

Epilog:

It was 9, Tevet, 4816 (December, 1066). A mob, numbering hundreds, stormed the Alcazaba. Captain Appou ibn Naojil and his twelve Nubian infantrymen cut and slashed and fought valiantly. The mob pressed ever forward, stepping on and jumping over their wounded and slain comrades. They took advantage of the close quarters of Joseph’s outer office. So many infuriated men were jammed into the small space, the Nubians, despite their skill, training and discipline, were unable to maneuver and fight with efficiency. They were smothered by the overwhelming number of men who, crazed by the wounding and death of their comrades, kept pressing into the office, slipping on the blood and bodies of the slain but pressing, pressing forward until the Nubians were unconscious or dead on the floor, their blood mixing with the blood and severed body parts of the mob.

Joseph, following the instructions of Appou ibn Naojil, barricaded himself and his clerks into the inner office. Once the Nubians were neutralized and dispatched the mob broke in the door using a doorjamb ripped from the wall of the outer office as a battering ram. Joseph stood in front of his desk, his clerks cowering behind it. He held the sword given to him by Appou ibn Naojil in his right hand, a dull ceremonial knife in his left. Driven by fear, frustration and rage he stabbed and slashed and screamed to God to make him as strong as Sampson. He managed to inflict superficial wounds on three attackers but using clubs, and weapons taken from the fallen Nubians, they beat him to the floor and continued striking him until he was unconscious.

They drug him into the courtyard where two beams from the now destroyed outer office had been fashioned into a large cross. Two ends rested on the pavement stones and a third bean held the cross upright at a twenty-degree angle. From an unknown source spikes and a hammer were produced. They stripped Joseph naked, nailed him to the beams, then stabbed him with knives in the abdomen and chest leaving him to die slowly.

Before crucifying Joseph, they beat to death all of his clerks, none of whom were Jewish. While the murder of Joseph was taking place mobs, incited by rabid Imams and disenfranchised Arabs and Berbers, rampaged through the Jewish quarter of Granada, murdering an estimated four thousand Jews, destroying homes and shops and a synagogue. In front of the synagogue the mob ignited a bonfire of religious scrolls and books. No troops were ever dispatched to control the mobs or to deter them.

Joseph’s wife Sarah managed to flee the city with their son Azariah. Mother and son arrived safely at Lucena where they were taken in and protected by the Jewish community of that city. Azariah died of an unknown illness before his Bar Mitzvah.

There is no written record of King Badis’ or Prince Abdallah’s response to Joseph’s death. Badis continued to rule until his death in 1073. Abdallah inherited the kingdom and ruled from 1073-1090.

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