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Old 11-14-2015, 10:15 AM   #1
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Prison City of Akka

Hi all,

I tried to find some non-bahai materials about how daily life was in the prison city of Akka during the time of Bahaullahs imprisonment there. What struck me as odd is that there are no references of Akka being a prison city (that I can find). In fact, it is only in the Bahai literature that Akka is stated to be a prison city for thieves, burglars, murderers and political prisoners. Why is this? Was it not a prison city of the Ottoman Empire or am I just missing some obvious things? If it was a prison city where the worst of the worst were sent, why did then quite affluent people such as Udi Khammar and Abdullah Pasha choose to build quite fancy houses for that time there in the prison city and choose to live in such a desolate place?

What am I missing?

thanks
 
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Old 11-14-2015, 10:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashkul9 View Post

What am I missing?

thanks
Probably that nobody but Bahá'ís have cared to even look into these matters. Try entering the Library of Congress records and look for books like Daily Life in 19th Century Akká or Social Stratification in Akká 1850-1890 or The History of the Ottoman Prison System in Northern Palestine or even The Encyclopedia of the Late 19th Century Levantine Penal System.

Why don't those books exist? Could it be that out of all the things in the world that people might wish to study, non-Bahá'ís apparently haven't been sufficiently motivated to spend time on those issues? There are lacunae in the vast field of human learning, and they will forever continue to exist.

Best from

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 11-14-2015 at 10:44 AM.
 
Old 11-14-2015, 10:34 AM   #3
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According to Wikipedia, the prison of Akka was active until the 20th century :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acre_Prison

But I wonder if refering to Akka as a "prison city" isn't a bit exaggerated.

However, the story of this city is interesting. It was the last city ever hold by the Westerners during the Crusades.
 
Old 11-14-2015, 02:00 PM   #4
dash
 
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Acre (Akko) | Virtual Israel Experience

Quote:
The British used the ancient fortress, which had never been breached, as a high-security prison to hold (and execute) members of the various Jewish underground groups. On May 4, 1947, members of the Irgun staged a dramatic rescue (dramatized in the film Exodus). Though few Jews escaped, the audacity of the raid was a serious blow to British prestige and a tremendous boost for the morale of the Jews. Today, the fort is the site of the Underground Prisoners Memorial Museum, which depicts the history of Acre and the prison. You can go into the death cell where the condemned were kept and the gallows where a noose still hangs above an open trap door.
It took be less than a minute to find one non-Baha'i reference of a prison city in Akko from a non-Baha'i source. There are others, if anyone with access to google and a moment cares to try.

Cheers
 
Old 11-15-2015, 07:13 AM   #5
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Hi,

I tried to find the books in the Congress Library and by using Google but I cant find these books. Not sure why but ill try with the local library, perhaps I have better luck there. Thank you for the titles (gnat).

As to my question, perhaps I need to clarify. There are many references to the prison during the British mandate but I am specifically about the time of Bahaullah (before the British mandate).

It seems from what I have found, based on my usage of Google and a moments of caring, that it mainly refers to the Barracks as the prison, not the whole city. It seems that Akka was a city, much like any other and it had a prison, not that the whole city was a prison. It also seems that the barracks were not used as prison during the time of Bahaullahs arrival. In fact, they were supposed to be incarcerated in the police house but Abdul-Baha (I think) refused. If the whole city was a prison, how come quite affluent persons such as Udi Khammar bought and built houses there and how come citizens of the "prison" could exit and enter the city by using the land gate?

I am just curious as to how things worked there. Was it a small city like any other but located in a desolate place with no influence and the Bahais were imprisoned as if the city was their prison but it was not an official prison for others?

Ill try to find the books and share if I find anything interesting.

Thanks for the help.
 
Old 11-15-2015, 09:41 AM   #6
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The Most Great Prison was just that.

Having seen it, I suspect it was as described within the Bahai writings and recorded History of the Bahai Faith, after all I know they were not prone to exaggeration.

Regards Tony
 
Old 11-15-2015, 01:48 PM   #7
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Perhaps there is a misunderstanding of terms. For example, in the U.S. there are many prison cities and towns. In these cities, there are prisons and they often make up an important part of the local economy. But a prison city does not mean a city which in its entirety is a prison, or a prison that is so large it is a city unto itself; there is no such thing. Anyone who has made this mistake has misunderstood a common English expression rather than been misrepresented by Baha'is.

But during the time of Baha'u'llah, and during the Ottoman rule of Akka, it was the most remote part of the empire, and it was a terrible place largely neglected by the government. There was a part of it that was used to imprison people, such as Baha'u'llah and his family. If you visit, you can see where Baha'u'llah was held; there is no doubt it was a cell. The part of it that was not a prison, was a horrible squalor of a city where it was difficult to live because of is state of neglect lacking in the things necessary to life in a properly administered city. You can find this things by reading about the history of Akko online. Try looking at the Israeli sources.

Cheers
 
Old 11-16-2015, 01:53 AM   #8
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Thank you Fadl, that makes much more sense. Yes, I have simply misunderstood what "prison city" means. Thank you for clarifying this.
 
Old 11-16-2015, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kashkul9 View Post
Hi,

I tried to find the books in the Congress Library and by using Google but I cant find these books. Not sure why but ill try with the local library, perhaps I have better luck there. Thank you for the titles (gnat).

As to my question, perhaps I need to clarify. There are many references to the prison during the British mandate but I am specifically about the time of Bahaullah (before the British mandate).

It seems from what I have found, based on my usage of Google and a moments of caring, that it mainly refers to the Barracks as the prison, not the whole city. It seems that Akka was a city, much like any other and it had a prison, not that the whole city was a prison. It also seems that the barracks were not used as prison during the time of Bahaullahs arrival. In fact, they were supposed to be incarcerated in the police house but Abdul-Baha (I think) refused. If the whole city was a prison, how come quite affluent persons such as Udi Khammar bought and built houses there and how come citizens of the "prison" could exit and enter the city by using the land gate?

I am just curious as to how things worked there. Was it a small city like any other but located in a desolate place with no influence and the Bahais were imprisoned as if the city was their prison but it was not an official prison for others?

Ill try to find the books and share if I find anything interesting.

Thanks for the help.
Dear kashkul9,

I'm afraid there was a slight misunderstanding here. If I may allow myself to quote my own words, I said

”Why don't those books exist? Could it be that out of all the things in the world that people might wish to study, non-Bahá'ís apparently haven't been sufficiently motivated to spend time on those issues? There are lacunae in the vast field of human learning, and they will forever continue to exist.”

Maybe I should have written ”Why have those books never been written?” What I meant to say is that there are fields where practically everything that has been written has been produced by Bahá’ís, for the simple reason that nobody else would ever attach any significance to such subjects. That’s the hard fact: almost all of the material available comes from Bahá’í sources.

Best from

gnat
 
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