A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 2, 2012

The 97th Anniversary of the "Battle of the Wozzer"

It's April 2, the 97th anniversary of the day in 1915 when elements of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps destroyed much of the red-light district in Cairo in what became known as the "Battle of the Wassaa," or as it is prounounced Down Under, the Wozzer. Last year I produced a rather lengthy historical discursus, nay, well-nigh unto a dissertation, quoting extensively from accounts of the "battle," and discussing the context — a notorious red-light district, an Army of young men about to be shipped off to Gallipoli, significant quantities of beer, etc. But it's not just fun and games: I also went into the gruesome details of widespread venereal disease and the underside of the red-light district as described by the British police. Go read it.

It's a lengthy tale and a largely forgotten one. I won't summarize it here but will include, as teasers, some of the illustrations from the original, and urge you to read the whole thing.

The ANZACs trained near the pyramids

Crowding the trams into Cairo from the camps
A press account

Some of the Damage

After the Rioting

After the Rioting

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