Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 19th, 2008

Hallucinations of Alexander

 

During his more than occasional bouts of comatose states, Alexander’s memories underwent ravaging re-structuring.  Alex woke up one morning with a focused objective: going to China.  Alex’ irascible and blunt character made room to a thoughtful and diplomatically minded personality.  He recognized two noble nurses to be the closest concubines to the Persian Monarch and started to fake feverish nightmares and recounting his projects for far away adventures.  The concubines did not fail Alex and relayed these nightmares with details to please both parties.  The favorite concubine Scheherazade was a fine story teller and embellished details with her soaring imagination and frustrated dreams for adventure.  The Persian Monarch was made to believe that Alex is contemplating very risky adventures across desert and year-long snow covered chain of mountains.  Scheherazade recounted that Alex wanted to discover rich new connections with unknown civilizations, the multitude of problems to ponder on, and the creative solutions that would provoke him. Scheherazade went on, to the bewilderment of the God Incarnate, that Alex is excited to meet the mythic dragons and to reach that scary sharp cliff where the surface of earth ends, and to dive into the unknown of the other world for his ultimate curiosity.  Alex was to take with him scores of scholars and scribes and painters to record everything on their passage.

Concentration camps

 

            The Macedonian army lost irremediably 25 % of its effective and 40% was injured.  The remaing fit 35% were split into three groups to train three divisions of new Persian recruits in Macedonian war techniques. The Greek prisoners offered a direct insight to a different culture. The injured prisoners with slight handicapped, but no longer fit for the war business, were packed and shipped to remote camps that undertook large scale infrastructure projects.  Many of the handicapped Macedonian officers were elevated to the rank of foremen.  Language was no barrier: the Macedonian foremen realized that most of their subordinates were highly learned and cultured people; they even conversed in pure Athenian, later labeled “Hellenistic”, slang.  The skirmishes between the Macedonian and Athenian slang talkers’ war dragged on for some time and mistreatments were based on slang differences and not on mishandled jobs.  A few Macedonian officers who were “Hellenistic” from the mother side were very grateful to enlarge their knowledge or acquiring new horizons in clemency and wisdom.

            The Macedonians learned, to their amazement, that most of the foreign prisoners in the concentration camp spoke more than two languages; they came from cities and towns on the coastal shore of the Mediterranean Sea such Izmir, Tarsus, Antakia, Ugarit, Lazkieh, the Island of Arwad, Tripoli, Betroun, Jubeil, Beirut, Saida, Sur, Akka, Haifa, Yafa and Askalan.  The Macedonians were even more surprised to hear that these people were incarcerated because they had something to say, and worse that they had something to write about; that many could no longer sustain a civilization that has been stagnating for decades and expressed their opinions for reforms!  The camp was truly Babel of languages, cultures and customs; the Macedonian officers felt overwhelmed and inspired “respect” by brute force.

            There was a rational for this huge number of foreign prisoners.  To recall, Alexander in his push toward Egypt was obstructed by two City-States, Tyr and Askelon. Al the remaing City-States mentioned in the previous paragraph aided Alexander one way or another to get rid of Persian dominion.  Tyr and Askelon were totally destroyed and the Son God Incarnate didn’t help in the reconstruction.  All the other rebellious City-States had to pay heavy ransoms and many of its citizens directed to Persia, especially the skilled professionals.  This has always been the “historical” stories of the Mediterranean City-States; they never attempted to organize a central army because they could afford to buy, hire and rent what they wanted in people and raw materials and products.  They were not into the military looting mentality of the antiquity period. They were satisfied, rich and prosperous and very literate.  Consequently, all the warlike Empires targeted first of all these rich City-States for the loot.  After the wars are ended then the City-States will again regain their ascendance and influence the invading Empires in culture, commerce, manufacture, economy, art, and finance.

Note: I am aware that I am translating an angry voice in my mind.  I am very worried. President Bush is leaving an economy in shamble and potentially detonating foreign policies.  The world economy is going into recession while President Obama will have to cater for the USA internal financial and economic stability before his foreign policies are taken seriously.  In the meantime, the world political and economic difficulties cannot wait that long.  Dispatching special envoys to States in crisis for the duration of the crisis will not exacerbate the US Administration problems because it should neutralize the powder kegs and stabilize the climate of disarray.

Outlandish expectations on Obama: ignorance or midget impetus to press on for reforms? (November 18, 2008)

 

Beside instituting general health coverage and minding the recession inside the USA, President Obama and his team need to take their time to analyze the devastating policies of the eight-year tenure of George W. Bush. The pre-emptive wars around the globe have left a bitter taste that only consistent, long term policies of equitability and fairness can make a dent in toning down the suspicions that the World Communities have on the intentions of the successive US Administrations. 

How can we interpret President Obama stand for the rights of the American people to carry fire arms?  Does that mean that the US is not yet a safe place to live in?  Does that mean that the US common people are not educated and cultured enough for clemency and have no tendency to abiding by the legal system?

How can we interpret President Obama concurring to the same financial strategy as the Bush Administration?  Are Wall Street practices just a fluke of a market gone wild that was expected every 30 years?  Why the hurry in pouring billions from the tax payers’ money before taking into account the recommendations of the other rich States? 

Violence is said to be the last refuge of incompetence, but if it was always the first choice then how incompetent was the Bush Administration?  May be incompetence is not the correct term; let us say it bluntly: it was pure racist and bigot inclinations and the US citizens let it pass for so long.  An apology is required by Obama to the World Community for the decisions and actions perpetrated by Bush that ruined the character of the US citizens for seven years.  If violence benefits the “terrorists” then what quality of terrorism can be generated if a superpower selects violence as first choice in dealing with under-developed States?

If President Obama believes that the miseries suffered by millions of people would be forgotten just because he was voted in, then he is overextending the magnitude of his charisma.

Gandhi said it best “Whatever good violence might offer it is at best transitory while the hate generated is permanent”. Toppling the regime of  Saddam Hussein by an all out war of invasion and destruction that left more than a million casualties is not good enough an achievement; the Iraqis cannot help but resent the inefficiency and brutal ignorant behavior of the military on the field and the successive more than ignorant administrators. The Iraqis would retain a long term hatred and antagonism for the USA. 

Over sixty years of total one-sided support for Israel’s pre-emptive wars and encouraging Israel’s apartheid system will not be forgotten even if a separate Palestinian State is finally installed and recognized by the UN.  The establishment of Israel that was forced on the Palestinians would not be forgotten by good intentions or one shot good gesture.  Millions of Palestinians have been living in refugee’s camps since 1948; the UN resolution 193 for their right of return has not be activated and even forgotten by the World Community.

Humiliating thousands of resident Arabs and Moslems in the US and reducing them in home confinement as terrorist potential suspects for over 7 years is not going to be erased from the psychic of these residents just because Obama wants to withdraw the troops from Iraq quicker than Bush.

There are hot spots of crisis in foreign lands.  President Obama would do the right thing by quickly sending special envoys to every hot spot. The envoys should stay there for the duration of the crisis; they should communicate with all parties on the field and exert initiatives whenever a climate of convergence is feasible.  Under-developed States are unable to deliver on super imposed ideal wishes that suit the interests of the rich States.

I recall a statement by Jean Rostand “Science created Gods in us before we merited the status of human” It is terrible that politics and mismanagement are exacerbating this gap!

 

Note: I am aware that I am translating an angry voice in my mind.  I am very worried. President Bush is leaving an economy in shamble and potentially detonating foreign policies.  The world economy is going into recession while President Obama will have to cater for the USA internal financial and economic stability before his foreign policies are taken seriously.  In the meantime, the world political and economic difficulties cannot wait that long.  Dispatching special envoys to States in crisis for the duration of the crisis will not exacerbate the US Administration problems because it should neutralize the powder kegs and stabilize the climate of disarray.

Mount Lebanon: a few fallacies (November, 20, 2008)

Mount Lebanon is a refuge: correct.  Since time immemorial Mount Lebanon was an ideal ecological place in weather and abundance of fresh water.  Fruit trees and milk and honey and snow covered mountain chains and virgin forest were trade marks of Mount Lebanon among all the invading Empires.  Mount Lebanon was a refuge and a sanctuary for the mystics and ascetics.  It is said that the Sufis believed that there are 70 “Abdal” (people who spend their life in prayer and in communication with God to extend peace on earth) at any one moment; 30 of these “abdals” were believed to reside in Mount Lebanon and the remaing in all over Syria.

 

Mount Lebanon was mainly a refuge from persecution:  All kinds of sects and tribes have found refuge in Mount Lebanon but it was not exclusively because of persecution or persecution on religious ground. The inhabitants of Mount Lebanon are not a homogenous ethnic group within sectarian differences. Mount Lebanon had experienced the absorption of many different ethnic tribes to serve the interests of the Empire of the period. Mount Lebanon had tribes transferred from Persia (Caliphate Muaweya installed Persian tribes in Kesrwan), Iraq, and Turkmenistan (during the early ottoman dynasties), Kurdistan (during the Mamelouk dynasties), Ciskasians, and Greek from Byzantium to name a few.  In fact, the name of the Maronite county of Kesrwan originates from the root of Khosro or people coming from Persia. There are many discoveries in caves that prove that the female inhabitants used to wear the attire of Central Europe with multilayered colorful dresses.

 

The Christians of Mount Lebanon are refugees from Moslem hegemonies: utterly wrong.  There were four major waves of Christian sects fleeing persecutions but not from Moslems and not all toward Lebanon and Mount Lebanon.  Three waves were caused by other Christian sects who were affiliated to Byzantium with Constantinople as Capital. The last wave was caused by extremist and salafist sect originating from the Arabia Desert. 

Since the Council of Nicee in 325 (during the reign of Emperor Constantine) all the Christian sects who refused the new dogma or foundation of Christianity were persecuted.  Emperor Constantine was a pagan by heart and nominally converted to Christianity for political reasons; he wanted his own Imperial religion and indivisible.  Many sects found refuge in Aleppo, Iraq, Armenia, Kurdistan, around the Oronte River (Al Aassy) and some in the Northern part of Mount Lebanon. 

The next major wave occurred around the year 1000 AC (one hundred year before the Crusades) when Byzantium had regained control of Syria and the schism between Constantinople and Rome had taken roots. The Christian Greek Orthodox persecuted the Greek Catholics and the Maronites (having allegiance to Rome or the Pope); the Greek Armenians persecuted Armenian Catholics. Many of these persecuted Christian sects moved in to Mount Lebanon.  The third wave was during the Crusade campaigns as counter persecutions to Constantinople.  The forth wave of mostly Greek Orthodox who were predominant in Syria and Damascus flee the successive razias incursions of the Wahabites bedwins coming from the Arabia Desert of Hijjaz around 1800. The Ottoman Sultan then sent Mehmet Ali who crushed the Wahabit and razed their capital between around 1835.  Mehmet Ali will later rule Egypt and his dynasty will survive until the military revolt of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956.  The “Moslem” Wahabit sect has been ruling Saudi Arabia since 1935.

 

The Druze in Mount Lebanon are refugees of persecutions: wrong.  The Druze Moslem sect members in Mount Lebanon were never refugees from no where. They lived in Mount Lebanon and were of various sects; they converted to the Fatimide Moslem sect who ruled Egypt for over a century around 950.  The Fatimide dynasty were fundamentally a Chiia sect (Moslems who refused a Moslem Caliphate, especially a Sunni Caliphate) and had Sufi tendencies and other esoteric beliefs.  During the Sunni Mamelouk dynasties, Druze fled Aleppo to the Golan Heights and in Lebanon, but not necessarily to Mount Lebanon.

 

The Chiaa in Mount Lebanon are refugees of persecutions: mostly correct. The Chiaa inhabited most of Mount Lebanon during the Ommayad Dynasty and ever since.  The Sunni Caliphates made it a trend to persecute the Chiia at every opportunity.  Many tribes from Turkmenistan, Persia, and Kurdistan were relocated in Mount Lebanon to balance the Chiia and keep them in check.  The Chiia were persecuted by the Ottoman, especially lately when associated with the Safavid Persian Dynasty that was on the ascendance since the 16th century.  The tribal sects of the Maronite and then very late the Druze (in the 15th century) managed to have a centralized religious authority but not the Chiias; thus the Chiia tribes were not cohesive enough to share authority in Mount Lebanon.

  

Mount Lebanon was a land of freedom:  Not exactly.  It was mostly and frankly a social chaos of tribal rules with loose connections to a central authority, except paying the tribute.  The climate to a foreigner felt a sense of freedom but not liberty outside the tribe. Uprisings against the central authorities of the successive Empires were very rare and not locally initiated.

 

Mount Lebanon was militarily impregnable: utterly wrong.  Mount Lebanon was not immune to military reactions from the Empires of the period.  All uprisings were crushed easily and quickly.  Mount Lebanon was relatively at peace because the local tribes did not make waves and were left alone as long as they paid the tributes and appropriate taxes. The few uprisings were instigated by foreign powers, Byzantium and later the European powers. Thus, Mount Lebanon was an ideal subject to central powers and was left undisturbed most of the time, except when local skirmishes necessitated local Emirs to support the Pashas of Damascus or Akka in men of war with their own armaments, mules, horses and supplies.

The prized prisoner

 

            Artax summoned his best physicians to treat Alex and save him at any cost, lest the physicians lose their heads.  Alexander was catered by beautiful and gentle concubines of the Monarch’s court.  The noble nurses fell irrecoverably in love with this livid, hairless and blonde specimen in a coma.  There is nothing like a motionless myth to engross imaginations into frenzy. After three months in convalescence and in total confinement in a kingly spacious apartment, only the energy of youth saved Alex from certain death.

 Artax could then sit down at a sizable distance from Alex’ bed and engage in formal discourse.  Artax was aching for closer interviews but formalities were unavoidable and “de rigueur”.   By and by, Artax out of celestial pride or out of celestial astute meanness to humiliate his foreign enemy, though not necessarily his arch enemy which many earned that celestial honor among his inner circles and very close to the throne, to send Alex a profitable and fatherly proposal.

 Alex was to be appointed Vice Military Advisor to the leader of one of the countless caravans heading to China, India, the Spice Islands, and even into the heart of Africa.  The mention of China made the head of Alexander swirl and then the title of “vice something” set Alexander in a feverish semi coma.  For four days and nights the noble nurses, glad to be on demand, kept hearing the living myth repeating in his sleep “vice, vice, vice”.  The noble nurses were beside themselves for knowing details of what kind of vices the living myth meant.  There is nothing like ambiguity in key words and uttered by a living feverish myth to keep the gentle noble ladies chatting hotly and interminably.

Artax was trembling of fear, all these grueling days, for the life of his prized prisoner, not for financial gain since Greece was no land of milk and honey, but for a larger plan that he dreamed of long before Alexander landed in Turkey.  As Alex regained consciousness the Monarch sent Alex a very friendly letter wishing him long life and expressing His displeasure, in a firm tone, for the displaced interpretation of His proposal.  Artax then endeavored a follow up counter proposal: since caravanserai is a complex business that requires learning and training for years and thus His Majesty, the Incarnate of God on the Whole World, would be honored for Alexander The Two-Horned King to be His guest of honor for any one of the long distance caravans with no authority in any decision save in the management of his transported comfortable oversized tent-like house. 

The humiliation kept drilling at deeper depths in Alex’ spirit; he was not aware that the whole affair was mainly a sort of cultural or communication gap with no evil intentions.  Nevertheless, Alexander sank again in coma!  Going into comatose state was getting a nasty habit but the noble nurses with silky touches never complained. Artax was quickly reaching a conviction that Alex is a crazy person with serious afflictions that might cancel the long range plans He had for the cooperation of Alex.

The Defeat

 

The whole strategy of Artax was almost going down the drain if the fresh troops were not far away to witness the massacre. The stories of the few escapees were in hyperbolic terms and the intelligence officers suspected that the escapees didn’t even participate in battle. Artax was in no mood of gathering his staff; he could hear the screams in the silence of his generals; he could hear them saying in their mind “Foul, foul of a Monarch.  Your new war techniques are not worth a dime.  You are sending our best soldiers as sitting ducks in slaughterhouse battle fields”

Artax came to the realization that this initial failure was a psychological error.  The main army could barely see the encampments of their cavalries and felt totally isolated in front of an outnumbered battle trained enemy and morale must have sunk to its lowest level; the worst case scenario for engaging battles.  Consequently, Artax decided that the next formation would relocate the cavalries at closer distances of the main army and the number would be increase to double the previous effective. Yes, Artax would experiment with his technique no matter the cost and would prove his generals wrong in their expectations!

Alexander analyzed the tactics of his unorthodox enemy and did not like it.  Alex had to think harder and learn the mind of his enemy before engaging any further battles. Thus, Alex would have to control his impatient temperament and play reverse psychology.  The Macedonian Two-Horned King ordered a relaxed and organized retreat.

The next day Artax could not locate the army of Alex and got very confused and scared.  Certainly a few of his officers are traitors and leaking intelligence and he had first to dislodge the cowards and then re-examine his plans. 

After three days of hide and seek the two armies decided on a battle field for serious confrontation this time around.   Artax the Persian had changed his “imaginative tactics” and settled for the traditional frontal assault with enough troops to overwhelm his enemy.  Artax was sure of his victory but wanted badly to take Alex the Macedonian prisoner and alive;  for that objective he ordered his soldiers not to achieve any fallen enemy soldiers. This order was difficult to carry on in the heat of battle and could undermine the morale of his troops but Artax believed completely on his wining star and that his wishes are ordered by the Gods.

The Persian generals were over pleased that the Monarch re-adjusted to their traditional concept of war strategy; they strutted all night long in front of their troops and solemnly giving oath of Divine victory.  By dawn and facing the barbaric enemy the Generals, Princes, Governors of two dozens of provinces and countries had mixed feelings. This was the definitive moment to win or die; it would be more honorable to die in battle than facing the executioners.  The battle raged for two days and two nights. There were many crucial incursions by the Macedonians and the Persian Princes, governors, and generals lead their regiments, battalions, clans and tribes into the foray; many died trampled: they were so out of shape.  Alexander was made prisoner, though believed to be mortally wounded


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

November 2008
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