chapter  33
7 Pages

The Image of the Leadership

A figure of authority was Salim al-Jaza'iri, the leader of the officers within al-Qahtaniyya. He was an officer with typically military manners, who was never involved in disciplinary offences (unlike 'Aziz 'Ali al-Misri, for example). Al-Jaza'iri's military career did not prevent him from simultaneously writing a book on logic and inventing pocket compasses intended for various types of drawing. He spoke Arabic, Turkish, French and Zawawa (an African language), and he also knew a little German, English, Armenian and Russian. In his autobiography he related: "I was born very sensitive and with a nervous temperament, but my body can withstand all sorts of hardship." He insisted that all of his orders be carried out to the letter and that the activities of the society took place in an orderly manner, for he believed that only activities run in an orderly way (nizam) would succeed. Khalil Hamada, al-Jaza'iri's partner in founding the society, did not succeed to the same extent among the civilian members of the society, and there were those who doubted the wisdom of the lines of action he chose.3