Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 15th, 2009

“Girls: Customs in the Levant” by Mai Ghoussoub

Note: As a series on customs in the Levant I decided to publish an article by late Mai Ghoussoub  titled
“Missed Opportunities”.

“It took me a long time to understand why my mother loved to tell the story of the doctor who delivered me. Whenever there was a willing audience, she would tell it. I must have heard it a thousand times.For her story to make sense, you need to know that I am the second female born to my parents and that my sister and I are their only progeny.’When Dr Razook left the delivery room, his face was tense and he walked past your father without looking at him. Your father was waiting anxiously for the baby to be delivered so that he could join me. (In those days, husbands were never allowed to witness the birth of their child). The attitude of the doctor terrified your father, who thought that something terrible must have happened to me and to our baby. When he knew that I had given birth to a healthy baby girl, he was delighted. Dr Razook did not like to deliver girls, especially if the parents were his friends, and he felt his reputation as a gynaecologist was perturbed by every female he brought into the world. As for your dad and me, we did not care one way or the other, boy or girl’.The story of my birth as told by my mother is a perfect metaphor for my country of origin. It is the story of juxtaposed values and contradictions. Yes, it is OK to be born a girl but the story never ends here. There is a ‘but’, a Mediterranean ‘but’ and a westernized OK that have to coexist, and modernized citizens somehow have to juggle and survive within the spaces of this coexistence. And they have to do it with grace and honour, My parents are from the generation of Middle Easterners who lived at the time of transition from the traditional values of large families to the westernized nuclear family with a maximum of two children, raised and educated in the best schools you could afford. They dreamt of bringing up free, responsible individuals – individuals who were nonetheless constantly reminded that they were the custodians of their family’s honour, especially if they stood on the female side of the gender border; individuals who had to watch constantly for ‘what the neighbours say’ about them and their parents, their uncles, cousins and other relatives.

My story, the way I tried to live my life, is a desperate, not always unhappy, effort to reconcile at least two epochs, two modes of behaviour, two value systems that prevailed simultaneously and very concretely in pre-war Lebanon.

Let me come back to my mother. A clever woman, she was considered very marriageable thanks to her good looks and was consequently withdrawn from school, in the late 1940s, by her parents at the age of sixteen. She had loved her school and treasured the knowledge she had acquired there, mainly in the sciences. She had no say about her parents’ decision and anyway she had fallen in love with my father. My father, a modern young man, cared very little about the difference in their religious confessions and courted her openly because he had ‘good intentions’. They felt madly in love and married when she was seventeen and he twenty years old. They despised marriages of convenience or calculation, believed in true love and had the Hollywood movies, already triumphant over the screens of Beirut, to confirm the rightness of their romantic choice. There were a few couples like them in Lebanon in those days, but they were not the rule. Nine months after their wedding, they brought my older sister into this world. They were delighted; they adored her. One only has to look at the infinite number of pictures they took of her, and at the journal my mother kept, in which are recorded every smile, every tooth that appeared on the baby girl’s face. It occurred to me once that the same Dr Razook had delivered my sister, and that he may have been as disappointed by his deed as he was when it was my turn to show up. But, for some unexplained reason, it was only my appearance that seemed to be a worthy story for my mother to narrate. The reason should have been obvious to me. It may not matter to the parents if the newborn is male or female, but in the wider society there is nothing to boast about when you bring only girls into this Middle Eastern world. You have to be very keen on bringing up a small, well-cared-for family to stop after the second child and not try for the special one that will perpetuate your name and speak for the virility of the father and the blessing of the mother.

Garçon manqué was the term I kept having about me. Tomboy. The French expression is more revealing. A boy missed. An opportunity missed. But the values, which the post-industrial societies had introduced in our Levant reality, were tangible enough and no third child was to be expected. So my story meets that of my society. I am female, accepted as such but unconsciously or very silently wished different. The context in which I was born, the Lebanon of the 1950s, was a paradigm of this dichotomy. Some named the two poles in this combination modern and traditional, others used the labels east and west, now the term post-modern is frequently used.

I can think of a perfect metaphor: un garçon manqué, a missed boy, and “une opportunité manquee”, a missed opportunity. A country that has missed its democratic and tolerant potentialities. A happy alternative. But …

To go back to my gender and its implications: like any child who finds him/herself at the centre of attention, I started to play the role that made me successful among the members of my family and their friends. I started to behave as a tomboy. I wrote to Father Christmas asking him for a cowboy outfit. When I played with my dolls I did so discreetly, for the pleasure of mothering or dressing them was hampered by a sharp feeling of guilt and the fear of disappointing the grown-ups. I joined the boys in the courtyard after school to play football and all was free and fun until Sit Zalfa, an imposing old neighbour, saw me fighting physically over the score with one of the boys. She used to terrify us with her severe chignon and her Turkish and Italian vocabulary. ‘Pronto,’ she screamed, pointing her stick at me and then in the direction of my home. She visited my parents and told them that it was not ‘right’ for a nine year-old girl m mix with the boys of the neighbourhood. That was the end of my street life. What the neighbours said proved more powerful than the cute image of a garçon manqué. The neighbours’ opinion had a decisive influence on my parents, who still insisted that it did not matter to them if I were a girl or a boy. We were already in the early 1960s, and Lebanon enjoyed the rule of a functioning parliament; a coop d’état had been defeated and my mother as well as my aunts dressed in the latest Parisian fashion. My mixed school was preparing to separate the girls from the boys: yes, even the French Lycée adapted its rules to the Arab Mediterranean reality of Lebanese society. Religion and religious teaching were not allowed inside the secular institution, but girls who were approaching puberty had to be separated from boys. A garçon manqué in a girls’ school did not make much sense. A segregated secular Lycée would have been an anomaly in France, but we were not in France, even though we spoke French and believed, in the values of the Enlightenment.

I had heard my parents calling me a tomboy, and now I started hearing my mother asserting that I was very good in the sciences, the objective ones. Accordingly I became good at mathematics and physics. My grades in French literature, a subject I adored, did not impress my mother, whereas her face would beam with joy whenever she saw me resolving some geometry or calculus problem. This was a safer way of replacing the boy who was never to be born; safer than playing and fighting with the boys over a football kick. For sciences do not jeopardize virtue or reputation. At school, when I was not yet fourteen years old, I read The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir and heard of free love, but a concert by Johnny Halliday, the French pop star, was cancelled by the Minister of interior, the ‘progressive’ Kamal Jumblatt, who believed that ‘western degenerate images’ did not suit our moral values and might be harmful to our youth. Along with all the citizens of the Lebanon in the 1960s, I learned to live with these conflicting attitudes and values. jugglers we became: with more or less graciousness, sometimes over some broken eggs, we wove our way through mini skirts and scarves, chanting anti-imperialist slogans as well as the Beatles. The kitsch singer Taroub sang for an Arab public, while her sister Mayada set Arabic words to western pop songs. When a dance called the Hully Gully invaded the night-clubs of Lebanon, the famous Diva Sabah sang Hully Dabke Yaba Of:

Hully Gully est connu chez tous les occidentaux,
Hully Dabke Yaba Off est connu chez les Orientaux, presque le même et tout le monde l’aime.

Neither we nor Sabbath could have guessed that the Occident and the Orient were going to sing to totally different tunes. From Radio Cairo the mesmerizing voice of Umm Kulsum was asking for a rifle – A’tini Bunduqiya’ – a rifle to liberate Arab land. We were reading Jean-Paul Sartre and starting to demonstrate for the liberation of Palestine.

By the early 1970s l was studying mathematics and French literature. Male and female subjects. Feminism was on the agenda: George Tarabishi translated Sheila Rowbotham, Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch was available in the bookshops and Sonia Beiruti, a TV broadcaster, invited a few of us to her TV show to debate women’s emancipation. Two scenes from that period keep recurring in my memory. First scene: on this Tv show, I said I wanted to be a free woman and to be independent, to work so that I would not live off my father’ or a future husband’s money. My father, who was watching the programme, felt deeply humiliated. He took the words as an insult to his honour. Second scene: during a student demonstration, a few women jumped on the shoulders of their colleagues to lead and chant revolutionary slogans. Everybody in this demonstration had seen the pictures of May 1968 in France and the dynamic images of the women lifted above the crowds by their co-objectors. ‘Scandalous,’ screamed some passers-by, as well as a few demonstrators. The women were put down very quickly. We may have been influenced by May 1968 but we were not in the Latin Quarter of Paris; we were still on the shores of the Mediterranean.

We were a parliamentary democracy we had no kings and no army generals ruling over us, but many of our politicians were the sons of landowners or sons of other politicians. They all spoke of democracy and we called for our right to independence as women while armed militias were being formed and operations to restore women’s virginity were easily available. Somehow, I see a parallel between my studying mathematics at the American University and French literature at the Lebanese National University, between my gender that held me responsible for the family’s reputation on one hand and my county’s coexisting contradictions on the other.

Feminism was an obvious route to follow for somebody like me – a woman who had believed that men’s spaces were not totally impermeable, not mysterious or difficult to handle. You play with boys, enter their classrooms, obtain better grade than many of them and then you are asked to obey them or accept an inequality that places them above you? This was very difficult to swallow, especially if Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex has been widely read among your French educated friends and her assertion that ‘on ne naît pas une femme, on la devient’ (one is not born a woman, one becomes one) is a cool slogan to raise. Old feminism, that of the pioneers such as Hoda Shatrawi or the active lawyer Laure Meghayzel, felt inadequate to our youthful impatience We did not want only equality, the right to be professional while ensuring that we were first and foremost ‘good mothers’: we wanted to claim loudly and shamelessly that nothing could stop us from realizing our wishes and that our bodies belonged to us.

Engels, Reich and Alexandra Kollontai’s teachings gave a social dimension to our belief that ‘all is possible’. The country itself believed that its rise as the financial-tourism heaven of the Middle East and its enriched Gulf region was unstoppable, that the Palestinian resistance fighters were the local expression of the Vietnamese freedom fighters. We spoke out loudly against the hypocrisy of our society. We were getting more radicalized in our beliefs, and so were the contradictions and the conflicts in Lebanon.

A time came when, in the middle of the bloody and cruel sequences of the civil war, I started to miss the so-called hypocrisy of pre-war times. The feeling that ‘I want everything and I want it now’ dissipated. I looked with different eyes on the liberalism of my parents who had to bite on their Mediterranean wound and let me be. They tolerated my freedom of movement, even though my tomboy image was long dead and buried under the powerful influence of Sitt Zalfa and her ilk.

I moved to the other side of the Green Line, where I thought people would be free from the prejudices of my own milieu. There I found a reversed mirror detonating with the same kind of intolerance. What we called hypocrisy before the war was the best form of compromise people had found for living together. The taboo preventing one from spelling out one’s dislike for the other had been a good discipline. Look around you and see how ugly it all becomes when people feel no inhibition in their intolerance. I am not calling for censorship, far from it. People have the right to express their feelings, however despicable we may think them, but this should not discourage us from doing all we can to relate hatred for the other’s colour, race or sexual choice to the notion of bad, uncivilized and immoral and to link the violent expression of this hatred to legal judgment and action.

Yes, it took me a long time to realize why my mother loved to tell the story of Dr Razook and my birth. It took me longer to realize that the contradictions my parents had to live through opened great new spaces for me. And if they had not hoped for me to jump over the limiting fences my gender imposed on me, I may have been confined to living, all my life, on one side of the border(s) and I would have never learnt that we were all as human or as bad as ‘the other’ during the ugly years of our civil war. If my mother had not told this story, would I have had the confidence, some eighteen years ago, to face the London bank manager who was reluctant to deal with me as one of the directors of Saqi Books and ‘would rather see my male boss’? Would I have had the courage to bend the long aluminium rod that holds my sculptures, would I have been capable to be ‘the other’, to integrate among the others without pain and often with plenty of fun? I may have been a missed opportunity for Dr Razook and others like him; I still believe that I am better off missing the narrowness of the choice that would have been my secure lot and instead taking the risk of following my individual routes.


Mai Ghoussoub
Writer and artist who has written widely on culture and Middle Easter issues. Her latest publications include Leaving Beirut and Imagined Masculinities (co-edited with Emma Sinclair Webb).

The Last Gorilla: The Environmental Branch (Fiction short story, Part 2). (Written in March 14, 2005)

Note: This part concerns the environment. The two parts of this story are a gross brush for a novel. 

            It was a time when those well established “Green Peace”-like movements were integrated within the UN. The genuine “Green Peace” proletarian groups were consistently being tamed by many subterfuge, such as trickling of financial aid, embargo policies, threats, sabotage, lack of State funding, misleading economic/ecological research results, which were funded by multinationals and hostile multinational mass media.

The consequence was that equatorial forests were practically deforested to make room for the lucrative industrial bio-agriculture, genetically modified to resist diseases, and which supposedly produced better and several crops around the year, and were void of any health risk in nutrition or natural diseases. 

An individual knew his nutritional type and could select the bio-food that suited his condition.

            For that aim, a centralized powerful organization, within the UN called “Defense of the Environment“, was created to encourage bio-diversity and promote vegetarian eco-systems.  The goal was poetic and laudable, but the secret plan was malignant and executed by ruthless mercenaries for bounty. 

Already, elephants and whales were exterminated because they polluted the seas and ravaged the vast cultivated lands in India and Africa; they were validated as of no use for mankind, and were easy to locate and exterminate. 

Many species were exterminated on the ground that the analyses of their genomes were completed, thoroughly known, and samples extracted for future reproduction on demands for private billionaires or lucrative zoos. 

The young generations had plenty of digital pictures, videos, documentaries, virtual animations, and cartoons of the animal world to keep them happy and busy.  Grown ups were too busy and militarized to care about this nonsense and redundant animal world, as long as they could keep dogs and cats as pets. 

Sheep, cows, chickens, and pigs were deemed essential for the time, until artificial meat products with various taste were chemically feasibly produced for mass consumption. The slaughtering of animals for meat-eaters, on daily basis, increased from 50 to 100 billion heads per year. Vegetarian people were cornered in specific regions in the world in order for cattle to feed on free lands and be exported to the northern States…

            Chimps, macaques, and their sorts were on the verge of extermination.  The problem resided in killing the gorillas

It was easy killing gorillas, but the UN had to account for the increasing number of suicide acts among the trackers and hunters. Testimonials and statistics proved that those who committed suicide looked directly in the eyes of gorillas.

Mind you that chimps are closer genetically to mankind than to gorillas, but myths are meant to last…

The imposing gorillas sat as statues, majestic, and intelligence piercing the eyes of the bounty hunters; the mute conversation said “You may kill me; I am ready but I pity you.  After you kill me you know that you will be next to go.  If you can kill intelligent and meek mammals then your own kinds will ruthlessly kill those of you who fail to obey orders”. 

The executive branch of the “Defense of the Environment” was ordered to desist momentarily in the plan to exterminate gorillas. This department was glad with the decision, since it had more serious categories to exterminate and they required qualitative tactics for mass extermination. 

For example, the department was disbursing plenty of grants to figure out how to subdue rodents, ants, and cockroaches.  The final selection of strategic methods zeroed on sterilizing the female insects.  One study suggested growing crops that would not hurt man but would sterilize those bloody females that plagued earth sensibilities.

Soon, restaurants were ordered to leave specially grown crops in strategic locations. 

Soon, every morning, people were traumatized with thousands of dead rodents and roaches, belly up, any which way they walked.  The people were very understanding and looked at this mess valiantly for a month; a few communities participated in the collect alongside the “sanitary” personnel or garbage men, wearing all sorts of gloves, masks, robes, and spraying in all directions, particularly towards their own body . 

Soon, people remembered stories of the plague and the dreadful and painful dying process when infected with cholera.

The worst story came from medical research: Published papers broke the surprise news that rodents, and roaches in particular, were mutating and defeating the genetically altered crops.  Other kinds of crops were to be researched, but this time the crops had to be slightly poisonous to mankind.

In the meantime, lethal new generations of anti-biotic were to be researched and produced in abundance to cope with a plausible cholera epidemic.  Old patent medical archives have to be dusted off in search of antibiotics that did not pass Federal regulations or were not commercialized for one reason or other, or were stopped at critical phases in the testing.

These untested drugs were immediately shipped to under-developed States for re-confirmation of the validation process, 

Things were getting out of hands and doom was greatly exaggerated by the scary, weak, and puny spirits who never had confidence in sciences in the first place.

Predicators took to the streets wearing all sorts of sacerdotal outfits or plain expensive three-piece suits and shiny red or yellow shoes that emulated cardinals or bishops or pagan shamans.

The favorite theme of the predicators and preachers was the “Coming of Time“, depending of which stage of the coming they forecasted and according to which religious sect they were proselytizing.

The Last Gorilla: The Confederation Branch (Short Story, Part 1) (March 14, 2005)

Note: I borrowed the title and a section on the environment theme to Christian Jacq.  The two parts of this story is a gross brush for a novel.  Keep your comments coming.

            It is the year 2050. A decade ago, the world community has lukewarmly agreed that earth is governed by a dozen superpowers from all continents that imposed their weight in size, population, technology, agricultural and energy self sufficiency.  These were the heavy weight dominating world economy, finance, military deterrence, and technologies: the USA, China, India, Russia, Brazil, the European Union, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Viet Nam, and Nigeria.  The UN has been re-structured and two departments were extended practical executive responsibilities: the department of “World Confederation Regulatory Body”, and the department of “Defense of the Environment”

      It was a time when nuclear bombs or mass destructive devices were banned in the world and all the documentations burned and erased from computer storage; theories about their feasibility prohibited by law. Small nuclear energy generators were the norm and special lower level lethal fuel invented.  The only equipments for waging war at a distance were under the control of an international army, equipments such as tanks, ballistic missiles, long range guns, torpedoes and airplanes.  Civil wars could still take place: perceived injustices and famine were still inevitable; but killing has to be at short range, preferably man to man.

      It was a time where people could request an International passport, issued by an international committee after due process.   Holders of these special passports had to relinquish affiliation to any political party or citizenship of any country.  They were permitted to visit any country for short duration, and if they decide to work in any specific place, they could do it for up to 4 years on condition never to return, even to take care of business or visit relatives and families.  The issue of how to establish any kind of profitable enterprises in such a short period was a taboo; it was inconsequential; it was not the committee’s affairs.  It was assumed that people had to get into the internet or die.  Face to face business and paperwork were regarded pre-historic endeavors and these were third class people and barely classified as working people.  A new name was assigned to these low lives:  Bad Breath Creatures or Bugs.


               It was a time oligarchies were accepted, even encouraged, as long as the dynasty had accredited genes; the concept of nobility versus common people experienced strong resurgence in the UN corridors.  People could still revolt against their leaders; this inalienable right was to stay, at least on paper, because the USA insisted.  The rebels knew that such acts would result in a lukewarm intervention from the Confederation as long as the revolt is not directed against class hierarchy.  The leaders of States were pressured to act benevolent, peace loving, and especially, staunch believers in the new world order and very cooperative with the delegation of the Confederate.

            Slowly but surely, these superpowers negotiated a future for survival of the planet, based on rational models of sustainability that excluded any factors of sentimentality in the equations.   The world population was growing quicker than estimated and it was expected to reach 9 billions; regardless of discreet euthanasia policies (thought to be efficient) and prosecuted in the under-developed States that were considered to be just mouth to feed but no return in brain power or willingness to fight for survival.  Even within those sovereign super states, those hopelessly 10% of handicapped and unproductive citizens were systematically and legally made to have their normal longevity abridged by 10 years.

It was a time when leeches and bleeding were not administered for every ailment.  Most children were vaccinated according to a protocol, whether parents agreed or not.  Infants were still allowed to die in their sleep, but their genes were known and their death could be predicted within a couple of months, also according to a well established protocol.  Breast cancer was under control and the loss of bone tissues decelerated considerably.  Thus, women could be predicted to outlive their spouses by 20 years, simply because men revolted against the prohibition of eating meat, drinking milk, and smoking; men staunchly abstained from regularly eating vegetables and fruits.  Instances of men just helping their mates to conceive and then die within months were common occurrences:  The patterns of the Queen insects killing or eating their mates after the job is done was very appealing to the public consciousness.  The ideology of men waiting till they are diagnosed with terminal illness before they copulate was widespread and even encouraged.

As of the Bible: Customs in the Levant, part 1.  (March 14, 2009)

Note: I translated from the Arabic versions of the Bible because they convey more accurately the meaning of the life style and aphorisms in the Land of the Near East.  I intend to post a series of articles on the theme: “Customs and traditions in the Near East”    

All these customs and traditions of the Land in the Levant were practiced thousands of years before Judaism came to be.  The Jewish religion adopted the customs of the land and wrote in the same style of imagery, maxims, and aphorism. The original manuscripts describe accurately the culture of the land and in the same style.

Abraham had no piece of land in Canaan; his clan let their goats and sheep graze in unclaimed lands. As there was a death in the family Abraham resolved to prepare for his burial; he sent a third party to ask Afroun son of Sohar of the tribe of Hath for a small piece of land to bury the dead. Abraham said: “I am a guest in your land. Could you give me a swath so that I may bury what is in front of me?”  Every village had a burying ground facing east and guests, by the custom of hospitality, could be enjoying the same facilities. Afroun replied: “Abraham you are a reverend and I shall bury the deceased in the best of our graves” Abraham had set his mind to settle in Canaan and wanted his own burial ground, thus he asked to buy a piece of land.  Afroun replied: “A land of no more than 400 silver shekels should not be an obstacle” Abraham got the hint and sent the amount.  This polite and diplomatic negotiation is part of the Levant customs thousand of years before Abraham came to Canaan.

            Abraham told his head slave “Lay your hand under my thigh. Pray never let my son marry a Canaan girl amidst whom I am living but one from my tribe” This custom of placing hand under thighs is the custom of the land representing an oath; nowadays we insert the hand under the belt.  The custom also requires that the most respected in the family or clan is to propose on behalf of the father for the hand of a wife to his son.

            In the Levant, women leaven their dough overnight in clay pottery for the next day baking; the baking lasted a whole day for a week ration. The neighboring families would select a day to using the special oven dug in the ground.  The Jews were ordered to leave Egypt immediately.  They carried their unleavened dough in wooden boxes, as done in Egypt, and had to eat their bread barely leavened.  The shepherds in the fields in the Levant cook their own unleavened bread while at work.

            Gideon wanted to avoid paying tax on his wheat harvest.  The grape was not ripe yet and thus, Gideon used the top of his house to beat the wheat where grapes were pressed by feet.  He was hoping that the Midyanites would not discover his subterfuge.

            When Gideon gathered his “large army” to fight the Midyanites, God ordered Gideon to select the soldiers that stooped in front of the stream and drank off the palm of their hands.  That was the custom of the noble citizens in the land; the common people knelt and drank directly off the stream.  Thus, Gideon ended up with 300 soldiers who were deemed courageous, sober, and worthy to fight.

            Handicapped persons have a hard life in the Levant; they are nicknamed according to their handicaps and up very recently they were hidden from the public.  A handicapped woman got her courage and dared to touch the robe of Jesus and was cured.  Jesus told her: “Woman, it is your faith and not my cloth that cured you. Go in peace” Jesus was alluding to the custom that touching anything holy would cure or satisfy a want.

            “Thus spoken God; they will come carrying the little girls over the shoulders.  Kings will be your vassals and queens will nurse you” The custom of carrying kid girls over shoulders is not practiced in the west but in the Levant mother resume her daily tasks while the kid girls sit their shoulders and getting a hold on the head. The prophet Ashaya speaks in imageries that the “noble” class in the Levant expect the common people to practice in their presence.

            The same is true when John the Baptist said about the coming Messiah “I will be most honored if he permit me to untie his shoe lace” because feet were considered dirty parts of the body and stooping near feet is not acceptable and thus, the custom of sitting by the feet of a nobility is a mark of homage bestowed on him.

            Carrying the cross Jesus said “Sisters of Jerusalem, don’t cry over me.  Those who manhandled moist branches what they wouldn’t do with the dry ones?”  If the sacerdotal caste could sentence to death an innocent man then what you, sisters of Jerusalem, expect them to do with you and your children?  You should be starting to cry over your coming miseries and injustices.  Aphorisms on moist things versus dry ones, or bitter versus sweet tasty foods are many in the Levant

Note 2: The people in the Levant are people of faith; they refrain from rationally structuring their religion into dogma.  The early Christian communities relied on the custom of brotherhood and faith in the community. It is only when Christian communities were established in Greece and Rome that structuring got underway.  Hundreds of Christian sects mushroomed in the Levant according to a few alterations in the re-structuring of the dogma that spanned into political and self autonomous sects.  After the conclave of Nicee (Turkey) in 425, during the pagan Emperor Constantine, the Church got highly structured and hierarchical; the pagan ceremonies, symbols, and pageantry were introduced to win over the pagans who were in the majority.  Since then, persecution of the “heretic” Christian sects started and is still alive into modern time.




March 2009

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