Denshawai incident is the name given to a dispute which occurred
in 1906 between
1 Causes 2 Incident 3 British response 4 Consequences 5 Legacy 6 See also 7 References 8 Bibliography
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
There were many tensions that led up to the
Denshawai incident. The
Egyptian people had a growing sense of nationalism long before the
British occupation of
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Egyptian Pashas and Beys appeal for forgiveness of Denshway incident prisoners to Khedive
On 13 June 1906, a group of British officers upset the residents of Dinshaway by hunting pigeons for sport. Since the pigeons that the officers were shooting were raised by the villagers and served as a local source of livelihood, the villagers sought to protect their property and attacked the soldiers. A scuffle broke out, and an officer’s gun was fired, he claimed unintentionally, wounding a female villager who was the wife of a Muslim prayer leader. This provoked further outrage from the villagers, who attacked the British officers. One of the officers managed to escape from the scene and fled back on foot towards the British camp in the intense noontime heat. He later collapsed outside the camp and died, probably of heatstroke. A villager who came upon him there tried to assist him but, when other soldiers from the camp discovered the villager alongside the body of the dead officer, they assumed or claimed that he had killed the soldier, and so they killed the villager. British response
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Concerned about growing nationalism, Egyptian officials decided to
respond to the
Denshawai Incident. The next day, the British army
arrived, arresting fifty-two men in the village identified as members
of the mob, including Abd-el-Nebi, Hassan Mahfouz, a man called
Darweesh, and Zahran. At a summary trial, with both Egyptian and
British judges, responsibility for the incident was determined.
Hassan, Darweesh, Zahran, and one other man, were convicted of
murdering the officer who had died of sunstroke, since their actions
had put him in that deadly position. They were sentenced to death. One
of the judges was Boutros Ghali. Abd-el-Nebi and another villager
were given life sentences of penal servitude; twenty-six villagers
were given various terms of hard labour and ordered to be flogged.
The officers stated that they had been "guests" of the villagers and
had done nothing deliberately wrong.
Hassan was hanged in front of his own house, which was
uncharacteristic of the usual protocol in capital punishment. This
action by the Egyptian and British officials was portrayed by the
nationalist press as especially cruel and an outright symbol of
dominance over the Egyptians.
Darweesh said from the gallows: “May God compensate us well for this
world of meanness, for this world of injustice, for this world of
The Egyptian police official who had accompanied the soldiers to the
village did not confirm their story. He testified in court that after
Abd-el-Nebi’s wife had been shot, the alarmed officers had fired
twice more on the surging mob. For his testimony, he was dismissed,
and a court of discipline sentenced him to two years imprisonment and
George Bernard Shaw
[T]hey had room for only one man on the gallows, and had to leave him hanging half an hour to make sure [he was dead] and give his family plenty of time to watch him swinging, thus having two hours to kill as well as four men, they kept the entertainment going by flogging eight men with fifty lashes each.
He then went on in the same vein:
If her [England’s] empire means ruling the world as Denshawai has been ruled in 1906 – and that, I am afraid, is what the Empire does mean to the main body of our aristocratic-military caste and to our Jingo plutocrats – then there can be no more sacred and urgent political duty on earth than the disruption, defeat, and suppression of the Empire, and, incidentally, the humanization of its supporters…
Fifty years later, the Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
said "the pigeons of
Denshawai have come home to roost", to describe
the eventual defeat of the Anglo-French strikes in
^ Abdalla, Ahmed. "The Armed Forces and the Democratic Process in
Egypt". Third World Quarterly. 10.
^ Dinshaway Incident
^ Islam in History, by Bernard Lewis, Open Court Publishing, 1993,
^ see Salama, Mohammad R. (2011). Islam, orientalism, and intellectual
history: Modernity and the politics of exclusion since Ibn Khaldūn.
London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9781848850057. pages 162-164.
^ Ziad Fahmy, Ordinary Egyptians: Creating the Modern Nation through
Popular Culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), p.
^ "Saint Joan before the Cannibals":
George Bernard Shaw
"Why Haditha Reminds This Historian of an Awful Chapter in British History". History News Network. Retrieved 6 September 2006. By Keith David Watenpaugh Fahmy, Ziad. Ordinary Egyptians: Creating the Modern Nation through Popular Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011.IS