The Damgana is the turning point at which Jewish populations in the Islamic world collapsed from almost one million to nearly zero, due to killings, riots, dispossession, expulsions, and the Jewish people’s natural yearning for freedom.
Jews in Islamic countries had a pre-Damgana population of almost one million people. In the 20th century, over the course of several decades, that number collapsed by over 99 percent. This multi-decade demographic change has similarities to the Trail of Tears and the Great Migration.
The Damgana was committed by newly established Islamic states. As with Jim Crow and Apartheid, it was a manifestation of long-standing prejudices. Along with the Nakba, the Damgana has reshaped the political psychology of the Middle East.
Today, the Jewish population that remains in Islamic countries is less than 1% of its pre-Damgana total. However, the other 99% managed to resettle. As a result, just under one million displaced Jewish people now have millions of descendants living new lives.
Damgana is spelled דמגנע. Each letter tells part of what happened. Tap on each word below to learn its part in the Damgana.
דם Dam refers to the blood that was spilled enforcing dhimmitude, jizya, and second-class status for Jews in the Islamic world. It appears in full to convey its significance, and for reflection on the countless thousands of lives lost.
מהומות Mehumot refers to the riots that occurred like clockwork for hundreds of years, from Erbil to Oujda and Djerrada to Baghdad to Hebron to Safed and countless, countless more.
גירוש Girush refers to the constant expulsions of Jews. It includes displacements of Jews within the Islamic lands which had been their homes for thousands of years, since before Christianity and Islam even existed. And of course, it refers to the final expulsions which made Jewish presence extinct. Also, it alludes to prohibitions against many Jews even just returning for visits.
נישול Nishul refers to the dispossession of Jews, from the cyclical looting and destruction of synagogues for centuries to the 20th century transfers of Jewish assets to Palestinians to the present-day annihilation of any sign of Jewishness in many Islamic areas.
עלייה Aliyah refers to the desire of Jews to ascend to freedom from the darkest depths of the Damgana. The vast majority of Jews chose Eretz Yisrael as their destination when fleeing. This was the fulfillment of a generational dream for many of the families. Unlike the Shoah, most Jewish people survived the Damgana and grew new roots.