The Proclamation of Baghdad, issued by Major-General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, March 17 1916, a week after the city’s occupation by the British. (via Harpers, seven years ago)
To the People of Baghdad Vilayet:
In the name of my King, and in the name of the peoples over whom he rules, I address you as follows:-
Our military operations have as their object the defeat of the enemy, and the driving of him from these territories. In order to complete this task, I am charged with absolute and supreme control of all regions in which British troops operate; but
our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators. Since the days of Halaka your city and your lands have been subject to the tyranny of strangers, your palaces have fallen into ruins, your gardens have sunk in desolation, and your forefathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage. Your sons have been carried off to wars not of your seeking, your wealth has been stripped from you by unjust men and squandered in distant places.
Since the days of Midhat, the Turks have talked of reforms, yet do not the ruins and wastes of today testify the vanity of those promises?