Medal-Order of Osmanieh

Medal-Order of Osmanieh
Medal-Order of Osmanieh

When I graduated from college in 2015, I received a lot of kind gifts and congratulations from members of my family. Naturally, they all meant a great deal coming from people who had helped me navigate the first 20 odd years of my life. However, none meant more than a small green box given to me by my Grandfather. This box was at least one hundred years-old, and contained a medal associated with the “Order of Osmanieh,” which (I later discovered) was given by the Ottoman Empire to civilians and military personnel for service to the Empire. The medal was likely given to a member of my family anywhere between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Before passing to my grandfather, it was in the possession of a man whom I had never met, my Great Grand Father Mukarram. Mukarram, like many generations on my grandfather’s side of the family, lived on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad during (and later after) the period of Ottoman Rule in Iraq. Yet, what made this object personal and special to me was not just the person who originally received it, but the man who was giving it to me. My Grandfather and I have always shared a love of history. Growing up, he was always willing to spend hours talking with me and allowed me to borrow books from his library. Consequently, I not only see this medal as an object that connects me with my ancestors and their past, but with a man whom I know and respect. 

Place(s): Baghdad, Iraq, Tennessee
Year: 1958

– Matthew Gailani

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant