Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2009

Siesta: Try it (March 27, 2009) In many States, the siesta interval is official and sacred; commercial stores and public offices close from around 1 to 4 p.m. (give or take an hour) before resuming their jobs until eight. Siesta means to sleep for an hour after lunch and relax in the shade until the heat of the day subsides. In Africa, South and Central America, and Spain appreciate siesta resting period. I recall that when my parents, working in Africa, visited us on summers forced siesta on us kids; it was a struggle to makes us just lay in bed. Kids would never feel the need for siesta. The rest of us should start experimenting with a resting period in bed after lunch. Those that encourage napping for just 15 minutes because more than that it no longer beneficial, well I don’t trust them; they either never tried a 15 minutes nap or they are trying not to alienate the Anglo-Saxon readers and maintaining their credibility. A short nap sitting on a chair or a sofa is not what I have in mind. I recall that I had meetings with tenure track professors at 1 p.m. and they kept dozing during the meetings. I comprehended perfectly well their need for siesta but I could never reconcile insisting on scheduling meetings after lunch when they could enjoy a well deserved siesta. Those who claim that daylight is reserved to working are hypocrites; they forget that since time immemorial the worker in the field used to sit under a large fig tree or grape vines and take well deserved naps under the shade. Workers used to start before dawn and end their day at sunset, more than 12 hours work but they enjoyed extended breaks at meal times. Those who regard employees taking naps as lazy workers are hypocrites: they simple want to exercise repressions. I recall once during secondary school that I had barely a nap for 5 minutes after lunch (we lived at walking distance from school) and I woke up as if I slumbered in for three hours with dreams and all. That was an exception because it never recurred and that is why I can recall it so vividly. Siesta or even enjoying a nap means to lay in bed, having a blanket spread over your head, and closing your eyes and not feeling worried that you might sleep for two hours. How can anyone claim to nap when he is constrained with time and in tight schedule? When it rains or it feels cold I enjoy a good two hours siesta with dreams; usually, I had started my day before 5:30 a.m. I realized that if I don’t take siesta within 15 minutes from lunch then I cannot sleep: it seems that my brain has recovered from the slumber of the meal and it is crowded with ideas to write down; all that I do is get in bed, cover my head with the blanket and close my eyes for an hour to rest my body; that goes also when I have a bowel movement because I feel too relaxed and good afterward and don’t need to fall asleep, even if I decide otherwise. If you try a good one hour nap in bed then you find out that you are fresh and ready for productive eight hours of steady work. I blame those who have to succumb to the dictatorship of management for preventing well deserved naps. I know that the afternoon tasks are the worst in accuracy, productivity, and good will. You have the impression that what the morning produced was the most essential and the remainder of the day work is an official incarceration, like school kids being punished for truancy. I never trusted the professionalism of those who submit to drive more than 30 minutes to work and return to work immediately after lunch breaks; unless they can afford to rent a studio close to work for well deserved lunch breaks and isolation. I am amused with all the funds extended to researchers for rediscovering the wheel that lunch naps go a long way to recovering sanity, health, and productivity.

No more Caches for Fiscal Evaders (March 27, 2009)

The financial havoc has generated another capital consequence. All these tiny islands and tiny States that were the heavens of offshore companies where money were stashed away to avoid taxes are no longer safe heavens. The safe heavens were pressured to enact laws that permit any State government to investigate accounts that were immune under “banking secrecy regulations”. There are five main regions were these safe heavens concentrated their activities.

First, the Caribbean islands of about 14 of them, singly or set of smaller islands, are: Turks, Caicos, Anguilla, and Montserrat (controlled by Britain), then Virgin Islands (controlled by the USA, then Aruba and Antilles (controlled by the Netherlands, then the Bahamas, Caimans, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominic, Sainte Lucie, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Grenada, Panama City, and Belize.

Second, in Europe we got the city of Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Isle of Man, Isles of Guernsey and Jersey, Gibraltar, Monaco, Saint Marin, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Cyprus, and Switzerland.

Third, in the Far East we have: Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Fourth, in the Arab Gulf we have: Dubai and Bahrain.

Fifth, in East Africa we have: Maurice, Seychelles Republic, Maldives, and then Liberia in West Africa.

For example, the Caribbean islands and particularly the Caimans has residency for 70% of hedge funds and manage about two trillion dollars or 2,000 billions; Jersey Island is the prime British offshore center and managing 300 billions; Liechtenstein with 165 billions; Switzerland with two trillions of offshore money or the third of the world’s caches and which generate a third of the State’s income. The safe heavens in the Virgin Islands are mostly invested in China.

Now most of these safe havens are in the process of regulating their financial activities because most States want the money of their citizens repatriated in order to be taxed. The problem is that the fiscal laws in most States are so exorbitant and complicated that it is not worth repatriating any money. People are just waiting for lenient and simple fiscal laws to be enacted before they get the courage to transfer their money to their home states. For example, taking into account penalties on bad faith (40%), interests in arrears, tax on revenue, social contribution and other rights and penalties a French citizen having one million dollars in Switzerland should expect to pay 1,300,000 dollars, far more than what he has saved in the safe heaven.

France has evaluated to 20 billions dollars of lost revenue is fiscal fraud, which amount to the total budget for the department of Research and higher Education. The case of Switzerland banking secrecy laws started in 1934. In 1932, France confiscated from the Commercial Bank of Bale ten books containing 2000 French clients; the socialist deputy Fabien Albertin divulged the names of the clients representing a wide spectrum of influential personalities from magistrates, to ministers, to deputies, and to bishops. The State of Switzerland reacted. Only in 1998 did the wall of banking secrecy fall in Switzerland when the US exercised pressures to recoup 1.25 billions dollars saved by Jewish families during the Nazi period.

There are four criteria to categorize a State a fiscal paradise: first, absence or lack of fiscal laws; second, lack of transparency; third, the economy cannot support that much funds (basically, a post office State); and fourth, refusal to exchange judicial and fiscal information.

Lethal Spiritual Myths (March 24, 2009)

 

As people delve into spirituality, a dangerous phenomenon is generated, mainly a firmer intolerance toward the spirituality of others. As if our newly acquired spirituality cannot develop without the debasement of other alternative spiritual methods. As if spirituality obeys the rule of demand and supply, or an accounting register that shows debit should match credit.

 

Myth one: Only one way leads to God.  This is the most dangerous and lethal myth that was the cause, and mostly the main excuse for many wars, persecutions, genocides, and judgments of our neighbors. 

 

The weakness in our spirituality is to blame the authorities or sacerdotal castes for the calamities that we perpetrate on others: We always fails to shoulder our individual responsibility for our belief system. 

 

That is why the authorities have an easy job of enslaving our spirit and guiding us whichever they wish us to do.

 

Myth two:  The spirit can cure-all.

There are countless individuals who realized that physicians can overcome illnesses that all our spiritual gimmicks could not cure. 

 

Many times, it is better to pray that the experienced surgeon still rely on God to guide his hands during operations.  How many were victims of curable illness simply because of taboo spirituality?

 

Myth three: Red meat obstructs divine light

There are many trends for “purifying our body” by eating the most appropriate kinds of food and how it should be cooked for various reasons, and basically and implicitly, based on religious doctrines.

 

There are sects that prohibit ale, onion, tomatoes, dairy product, leavened products, and sugar on the ground that they disturb focus in contemplation and meditations. 

 

Others sects prohibit other kinds of condiments on the ground that they are poison to the body ‘that shell that is sanctified by God“.

 

Jesus said “Evil is not in what enters your mouth but what goes out”.  Vegetables and flowers grown in greenhouses might be purer for the consumers, but they are incapable, as naturally grown vegetables, to resist minor weather variations. 

 

Vegetarians are still eating live condiments that obey the cycle of life, as we will also end up being food for lower creatures and fishes.

 

Myth four: God is sacrificial.

People seek self-sacrificial ways by claiming that the road to heaven is through physical suffering.  If this world is a benediction of God then, why not take the opportunity to enjoying our life? 

 

Jesus Christ suffered for three days but he enjoyed most of his life traveling, meeting people, sharing his bread, and disseminating his message of tolerance and charity.

 

The Prophet Muhammad said “Unhappiness is contagious; if you are unhappy you extend it to your neighbors”

 

Myth five: God is a concept that became real, like the number zero and the imaginary number in mathematics, for constructing moral values that suit Nations. 

 

This myth is intrinsically related to myth one: God was rendered indispensable for mankind, was reduced to serve man, malleable to man’s desires and his will for power. 

 

God is used to harangue armies to war and to escape the resolutions of real problems.  Man manipulates God as the arbiter in nuclear debates and even in school systems. 

 

God is used to lambast totalitarian regimes, Marxist regimes, opposition political parties, discriminating among the evil and good States, and West versus East.

 

God is made use of to justify repression, apartheid, genocide, and racism.

 

God is used as a moral police force to subjugate recalcitrant opinions. 

 

God is even used in sciences under masked names such as “I don’t know, it escapes human cognitive power, providence, organized chaos, other irrational causes, and so on”. 

 

Religions have instituted sacerdotal castes with power to dominate and regulate civil life from birth to death.  As long as institutions and State governments use God to do business then, God is another useful commodity and versatile enough to be transacted any which way. 

 

No, God is an individual necessity and has nothing to do with collective usage.  God never needed an institution to promote Him. 

 

Man had the firmament of stars, of nature, of the huge varieties of animals, vegetables, fruits, insect, seasons, thunderstorms, volcanoes, tidal waves, the sun, and the moon to believe that there is a God,.

 

Is that another myth that nothing man does will not fructify if God did not participate in the process?

The Jante Law: Mediocrity is King, (March 24, 2009)

In Scandinavia, the Jante Law said: “You are worthless.  Nobody is interested in what you think. Mediocrity and anonymity are your best choices.  If you act according to the Jante Law, then all your problems will vanish”

This Janti Law is the most common and most adhered to principle by most countries and people, though it was never formulated as clearly or known as the Law of the Lands of Mediocrity. 

The Janti Law was stated in the novel “A refugee surpasses his limits” by Aksei Sandemose in 1933.  This law was disseminated recently when the Norwegian Princess Martha-Louise married the writer Ari Behn.

Ari Behn was a recognized and acclaimed writer before he wedded the princess.  After the marriage, Ari was vehemently critiqued and lambasted by writers for no other reason but for daring to surpass his class status.  That is how the world got familiar with this Scandinavian Law. 

By the way, Princess Martha-Louise embroidered her gown with the names of who counted in her life for her 30h birthday, and many started to emulate her generous spirit.

People always claim that many wars would not have started if an anti-Janti Law was preponderant:

1. That people knew that they are worth far more than what they think. 

2. That what you do on earth is far more important than what you believe in;

3. That acting against injustice and expressing your opinions against tyrants will ultimately prevail.

That might be so, but it was still an abstract notion until 2003, when the King of Mediocrity, George W. Bush, prevailed against all the world community and launched his preemptive war against Iraq.

The Spanish PM Aznar defied the wishes of 90% of the Spanish citizens and so did the British PM Blair. The UN did not cover the operation.

Turkey declined 26 billions dollar in aid and denied the US troops a right to cross the Turkish land or launch military operations against its neighboring State.

Colin Powell was forced to forge falsified proofs, documents, and aerial photographs that Hans Blix, the inspector of Iraq disarmament on nuclear and chemical engines of war, contested for many months.

Britain Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, went as far as justifying this war on moral grounds.

The European Nations and their people were against this war.  The Arab States unified to decry this war.  The entire world demonstrated for two months but the King of Mediocrity prevailed.

No, it was not all in vain. Things have changed even if a few leaders still feel shy to denouncing the genocide that the Zionist State perpetrated against the Palestinians in Gaza.

The results of democratic elections are recognized, even if they don’t suit the philosophy of a few powerful nations.  A new urgency for diplomatic resolutions is taking over in world politics.  Sure, financial and economic downturns are helping that climate of overture, but Mediocrity is subsiding among nations.

The common people of nations are reawakening to known fundamentals that terrorism and religious extremism are the symptoms of fear, inequality in rights, injustices, and lack of freedom of speech coupled with anemic economies and lack of opportunities and professional diversity in jobs.

In order to establish just, prosperous, and democratic political systems around the world we have got to believe that it is very possible because it is right and urgent.

Note 1:  The theme of this post was inspired by “Like a Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho with re-arrangement.

Note 2: This post was published over three years before the Arab mass uprising and the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US and in Europe

I left my scent in every corner (March 24, 2009)

 

Vera Anderson lived in Medford, Oregon all her life; you may say she lived in a place, and when she married then she relocated to the other side of Main Street. 

Vera had dreamed of touring the world when she retires, but she died before her plan takes off. 

Vera’s testament was to be cremated; her ash was distributed to 241 pouches; 50 to the chiefs of the main post offices in the 50 States and 191 to every recognized States by the UN. 

These pouches of ash were to be scattered to places that Vera would have liked to visit.  All around the world communities assembled to decide of the best locations to visit and her ash was dispersed accordingly.

 

No matter what we claim of what happens after death, deep down no one is certain. 

Otherwise, death would not be the single all encompassing truth that our spirit and thought and actions revolve around, consciously or unconsciously. 

Without death, there would not be that great variety of religions, belief systems, and philosophies. 

I like to be on the optimists’ side and hope that we shall revisit earth.

For what is worth legally, I like to leave on this post my testament:  I want my body cremated and my ash sent to the UN.  The UN should disperse my ash in every region on earth where famine, genocides, civil wars, and utter poverty are rampant. 

It is only fair: like any wise animal, it is excellent to leave my scent in every corner of my domain Earth, in regions I failed to set foot on.

The kid that kept asking questions (March 24, 2009)

 

            The French Colonel Jean-Paul Setau was contributing money to the sick in under-developed States.  He specifically adopted (medically) a girl suffering of leprosy from India.  He visited this girl at the special hospital in France and the nun asked him to deliver spiritual (religious) education for the children.  Jean-Paul prayed and got the answer “go and find out the questions that kids might want answers for”.  Jean-Paul received a list of written questions from kids; a sample follows:

1)      Where do we go after death?

2)      Why are we afraid of strangers?

3)      Do extraterrestrials exist?

4)      Why accidents occur to even people who believe in God?

5)      What God means?

6)      Why we are born if we have to die?

7)      How many stars in the sky?

8)      Does the Lord listen to those who believe in other Gods?

9)      Why there are poor and sick people?

10)  Why God created mosquitoes and flies?

11)  Why the guardian angle is not close by when we feel sad?

12)  Why we love a few people and hate other?

13)  Who named colors?

14)  If God is in heaven with my dead mother, how come God can still be alive?

 

I have a couple of questions. First, if we are honest and sincere, then which one of the questions can you provide an answer to?  Second, if you indeed can answer a question, then how are you going to translate your comprehension to kids?  As for the first question I have no response; but I do have one for my second concern.  I suggest that you speak in stories and parables as Jesus did, but with a twist, that your stories are extracted from our current time and civilization such as video games, school life, urban situation, a few trip in nature, computer, internet navigation, biking, movies, pop songs, and what else do kids do to fill up the void and vacuum nowadays.  If you can come up with such kids’ stories that answer a few of the above questions then you can get rich, filthy rich.

 

            Okakura Kakuzo commented in his book “The Tea Ritual in Japan”:  When I judge someone I am conscious that the tribunal was set up for me: I am judging myself.  We do not see meanness in others: we can only notice our meanness. We can never forgive those who prejudiced us: We believe that we will never be forgiven.  We tell the harsh truth to our brother: We want to hide it in ourselves.  We show our force and power: We do not want others to witness our frailty.

            The ceremony of tea drinking is the adoration of what is beautiful and simple. The effort is focused on the imperfect gestures of everyday with the aim of attempting the perfect task.  The beauty is in the complete respect of what is being done. A day offers dozens of opportunities for perfecting awkward tasks.

Customs in the Levant: Figures of speech in the Bibles (March 24, 2009)

Note: The Bibles, New and Old, are packed with parables, stories, and figures of speech based on the customs of the Land in the Levant. 

In the Levant we understand intuitively these figures of speech that the West has hard time to comprehend.  

In the Levant we understand and readily accept the meaning, though it takes a life time to assimilate the true meaning.  

The Bible is packed with stories representing the customs and traditions of the in-land people because the Jews or Hebrew barely had any communication or trade with the coastal urban centers that had versatile and cosmopolitan customs.  Fact is in the time of Moses, Jerusalem was already an urban center 800 years ago. Jesus was born and raised in mostly coastal urban centers such as Haifa, Sidon and Tyr (District of Lebanon at the period)

Jesus said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who is convinced that there is a treasure hidden in a piece of land. He gathers all his saving to buy the land” The preachers in Western civilization would like to interpret this sentence as a gold or silver mine in the land that need to be excavated and they go at great length into legal terms to differentiate among the words “hidden and buried”. 

The customs in our Land was to bury the jar of saved gold and silver coins in the garden on an unclaimed piece of land because the habitat was small (barely one large room where the entire household sleep and eat in) and could not sustain serious hiding places.  Tribes would hide their treasure in the desert before waging a battle and many would never survive to dig up their treasures.

Thus, the individual who bought the land thinking the jar was hidden in it, he would have to dig up most of the land anyway to find the jar of treasure, if he were correct in his information. 

The meaning is “in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven you would have to go through the same process of fulfilling a dream by investing money, time, and effort most of your life”. Consequently, faith is a good starting point to sustain the duration in the long haul, but it is not enough if you lack charity in your heart; you have to learn to care and love and support your brothers and neighbors. It is a hard and long endeavor to pass through the “hole of the needle

For example, many predicators in the West tried their best to explain the concept of “a hole in a needle” when Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the hole of a needle than a rich person to go to heaven”.  The preachers in the west invented a more plausible and palatable explanation by saying that “the hole in the needle” was the small door in the huge gate reserved for the passage of individual. They said that a camel could pass through if not loaded with baggage; another nice figure of speech though not correct.

In the languages of the Land, Arabic, Aramaic, or Hebrew the names of the small doors in gates were never called by anything that referred to needle. The language in the Levant is extravagant for describing the almost impossible tasks that require perseverance and ingenuity.

“Kingdom of heaven is like a land that was sawn with good grains of wheat.  At night, an enemy comes and saw “zouan” (a grain that resembles wheat but causes pain, dizziness, and suffering for many days when mixed with wheat grains; it is mostly used to feed chicken). The cultivators (slaves) asked the master permission to sort out and pull out the “zouan” from the field. The master said that it is useless since the whole field is ruined.”  

In dire periods of famine, many would mix “zouan” with wheat to make profit regardless of the consequences.  The honest master would not take the chance of being perceived as a fraud if his good grain was inadvertently adulterated with “zouan”.

In another verse, Jesus told the servants to patiently and meticulously remove the “zouan” from the wheat, then gather around a bonfire to burn the “zouan”

The same idea relates with leaven that was saved in a bag of wheat in order not to rot quickly; in another verse in order to leaven the entire bag of wheat flour.  In ancient periods, people would eat unleavened bread because it was very hard and difficult to keep usable leaven in hot and desert regions.  Thus, leaven had the bad connotation of a spoilage agent, such as when Jesus warned his disciples “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” but the contemporary people do not understand this figure of speech: they are living at an advanced and urban period when leaven is no longer associated with spoilage but as a good catalyst. 

Consequently, the parable of Jesus “Kingdom of Heaven is like a leaven that a woman hide in 3 bags of wheat flour until all the bags were leavened and ready to bake, refers to the good use of small quantities that can affect large lots.  Thus, a term could be used to convey contradictory meaning if we are not conversant with the customs and period of the saying.

In the Levant, cultivators believe that “zouan” will grow among wheat no mater how careful we proceed in sawing fields. Consequently, it is advisable to rotate the field to grow other kinds of harvests in order to have the opportunity to pull out all the “zouan” that spoiled the field for later wheat harvests.

Jesus said in the Lord prayer “Lord, give us our daily bread” The people in the Levant believe that their daily bread is not just from their labor:  The Lord had participated from start to finish to offering the daily bread.  I cannot help but offer a current and political rapprochement: the successive US Administrations and the media “talking heads” would like us to believe that whatever prosperity is befalling other States it is simply because of US contributions. On the other hand, whatever calamities and miseries the world is suffering should not be laid on the USA: the USA does not bear any responsibility and should not be blamed.

Jesus said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a woman who had misplaced one of her ten coins.  She searches all nights and all days (when the husband is not home), she searches in every nook and cranny and she sweep the floor until she finds the missing coin.  Then this woman would call up her neighboring women friends to join her and celebrate” (Most of the time they spend more on these gathering than what the coin was worth).

People worked hard to earn a coin and the man of the house would invariable express his displeasure for a missing coin and every women had gone through the same experience many times in their lives and it was a real occasion for women to gather, recount, and recall their daily troubles. 

There are times for anxiety and relentless searches and times for relaxation and sharing.  There are moments for prioritizing our quests and leaving many tasks undone to focus on an urgent one, such as saving our soul in order not to anger our Lord. 

This story is almost identical in meaning to the shepherd who leaves 99 head of sheep grazing unattended in order to find the lost one.

The Last Supper: Customs in the Levant; Chapter 3.  (March 22, 2009)

 

Obeying parents is not just a filial feeling in the Levant (Near East region of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine) but a religious duty. 

The command is “Obey your mother and father” and God punished Adam for simply disobeying him, period.  The story of St. Luke when Jesus, at aged 12, was found discussing among the priests in the Grand Temple of Carmel as the clan went on pilgrimage is revealing: Jesus had priority to obey his Father; he reminded his parents that he has a duty to obey his God El first. 

In the Levant, no family starts or leaves on a trip before counting and making sure of the presence of all the members of the family. 

After the count, Jesus decided to return to the Temple. After the count, his family didn’t worry about Jesus because he was supposed to be amid the wider clan of relatives and because the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (not Jerusalem) was a familiar visiting place and no more than half a day walk to the town of “Bethlehem Efrateh” (Not the one close to Jerusalem) where they lived (on the east side of Mount Carmel in Upper Galilee) which was within the administrative district of Tyre (and not the Bethlehem in Judea).

 

At the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples are eating on the roof of a house.  In the Levant, most roofs have a grapevine dangling over an open shed called “aliyat“. The family gathers in that shed during the hot seasons that extend for seven months from Mid May to mid September.

Jesus and the disciples are sitting in a circle around several large platters of various dishes; everyone extends his hand to dip his piece of bread in the platter of his liking; there are no spoons or forks. 

The scene is not as represented by Leonardo Da Vinci in the customs of Florence where you see a server pouring wine in a single cup, starting by the most ranked in the gathering. 

In the Levant customs, before drinking the cup in one shot, the guest wishes long life to his friends and ask them to remember him if he is about to leave them for an extended trip; then he selects the guest sitting next to him to drink in the same single cup. After supper, the cup is passed around and everyone takes just a sip.  Jesus said “I longed so much to eat this supper with you before I suffer”

            Jesus said: “The first one to dip his bread in my platter will deliver me tonight” was confusing to the disciples because they all dipped in Jesus’ platter one time or another. Judas was always the second in command and must have arranged to have his favorite platter close to him and Jesus for easy access. Thus, Judas was the most plausible one to first dip his bread in Jesus’ platter.

Young John loved Jesus and expressed his feeling as to the customs of the Levant by reclining his head on Jesus’ shoulder. 

Jesus adhered to the customs of eating supper; his saluting expressions about eating his flesh or drinking his blood in remembrance of him had a spiritual undertone and suggesting that he was to leave his disciples for good. 

Jesus dipped a piece of bread in a platter and specifically offered it to Judas as a symbol of friendship, no matter what is in Judas’ heart and mind.

Jesus presented the box of money to Judas, the treasurer, as a sign that nothing is changed in Jesus’ faith to Judas loyalty in matter of financial transactions. Anyway, Judas was from a rich family and didn’t need small changes.

            In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus expresses his feelings of sorrows and pains as a Levantine; he lets his feelings pour out and wants his closest friends to share his feelings. 

Three times he invites Peter and the sons of Zebedee to keep the wake with him because “my soul is sad to death”.  Jesus was praying with such earnestness that his “sweating was of blood”. Jesus had no choice but to obey his Father and urged his God by saying: “Father, if it were possible to take away this bitter cup, but it is not as I wish but as you want”

            Judas approached Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and kissed him several times on the cheeks. Judas was thus telling Jesus, according to the Levant customs that, as of this instant, they are on a par in ranks and that Judas decided that he no longer considers Jesus as the Messiah.

Some one of a lower rank would shake hands and fake to kiss the right hand, but the higher ranked person would fake a kiss on the cheek. Judas was using a custom for greetings that was used as a sign for the soldiers to get hold of the leader.

Who are the Israelites?  Origins of Jesus Christ; Chapter two, (March 20, 2009)

Joachim (Youwakeem) Omram and Hanna, the parents of the Virgin Mary, were from the village of Qana (10 kilometers south of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters; this Qana was called Qana of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires in the Near East (Levant). The administrative district of Upper Galilee extended from Tyr to Acre).

Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and the neighboring region and was an Essenes high priest. He had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents. Joachim took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.  Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia).  When Mary was 3 years of age she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple of the Carmel.  Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of God Eil“. (The Hebrews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).

Joseph was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance. Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current Haifa within the district of Phoenicia (not in the Bethlehem of Judea).  Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant.  Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification; Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.

Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died, Mary returned to her hometown of Qana where her father and grandparents were buried; Jesus spent his youth in Qana. 

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” after the death of Joseph to distinguish him from the other people named Jesus. (The Hebrews of Judea never referred a son to his mother). Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob”.  Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to many offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently named Jacob

Jesus was also called Emanuel (Amanoueel) which means (The God El is among us),  thus, God was made human.  All the names that start with El or finish with El refer to the God El, the all-encompassing God of the Land.

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited.  Jesus came up from Lake Tiberias to join the wedding.  After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Capernaum by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then were part of Jesus’ party from then on.

Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The folk tales and early manuscripts demonstrate that Jesus studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon).  Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar’s census started in the year 10 BC. Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

Jesus dressed in the same long white robe that the Essenes sect of Mount Carmel wore; the consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers.  The Essenes had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick. 

John the Baptist, close relative of Jesus and just 6 months older, never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.


 
Note 1: Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel and dedicated to the Virgin Mary while still alive.  A church was built within the town of  Qana by the disciples and excavations showed a church from the first century.  The Moslems had veneration for the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran”.  When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

Note 2: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996 and then hit that same town in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ and the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further. Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations or the Gentiles for the Hebrews) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the lapidation of the first martyr Etienne (Estefanos).

Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

Note 4: The astrophysicist Reznicoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the mages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

Note 5:  There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was to be crucified.  No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural chock when he witnessed business and usury transactions within the temple. Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: “It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves”.

Who are the Israelites?  From Abraham to the Macabe Kingdom (Chapter one); (March 19, 2009)

 

Note: It might turn out to be a lengthy essay: I will split it in a series of small chapters.

 

There is huge confusion and out of matter relations between the abstract belief concepts among the Christians and the context of their religion.  No wonder that Christianity generates as many splits as abstraction can sustain.  Without firm comprehension of the customs and traditions in the Levant and the geographical, historical, and religious context the Christians, in the entire spectrum of sects, will stay disoriented and out of touch with their identity.  It is beneficial to set the geographical and historical background of the Levant (mainly, current Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria).

I will have, reluctantly, to skip thousands of years of major civilizations in the Near East and Mesopotamia in order to focus on the subject.  Thus, I start from the period that Abraham and his successive clans settled in the Land of Canaan, then the period that the Hebrews of Moses sneaked in Palestine, then the Kingdom of David and Salomon that lasted less than a century, then the split of Salomon’s Kingdom into 12 districts or tribes, then the schism between the Samaritans and the Hebrews of Judea, then the deportations of the Samaritans and then the Hebrews of Jerusalem to Babylon, then the contribution of Cyrus of Persia to the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC, then the Seleucid Dynasty that lasted two centuries, then the revolt of the Macabeans and their Kingdom that lasted less than a century, then the conquest of Pompeii, the Roman General, to the Levant, then the advent of Jesus Christ, the first Christian communities, the conclave of Nicee (Turkey) in 425 during Emperor Constantine, then the establishment of the Ashkenazi Hebraic Kingdom in the Caucasus till its destruction in 950, then the schism between Papal Rome and Constantinople around the year 1000, then the Crusaders’ campaigns that lasted a century, then the schism between Papal Rome and Martin Luther and Calvin in late 15th century, then the emergence of the various sects in England and then in the USA such as the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Baptists, and the New Conservative sects in the south of the USA, and finally, the re-colonization of Palestine by the Central Europe Ashkenazi Zionists in the 20th century.

 

Period one: Abraham was very familiar with the customs, traditions, and culture of the Land when he decided to settle in Canaan. Abraham was a genuine leader of the Land.  He paid the tribute, the tithe, to the highest priest of the Land Melki Sadek and recognized the high sacerdotal rank of Melki Sadek who worshiped El (pronounce Eel) as the all unifying God of the Land. Issac and Jacob also paid the tithe to the highest priest of the Land.

For example, 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.

 

Period two:  Moses led all the strangers in Egypt who were ordered to leave because they supported the previous monarch Akhenaton. The tribes of Moses were swelled by other foreigners who left in a hurry with “unleavened bread”, meaning at night. Those Egyptian Hebrew tribes were not familiar with the culture and traditions of the Land.  They occupied land by the sword and committed genocide in every town they entered. For example, “Joshua (Yashou) son of Noun entered the town of Makid, and exterminated its inhabitants as he did with the king of Hebron (Ariha), then progressed to Lebna, then Lakish, then Horam, the Ajloun, then Habroun, then to Dabeer and killed the kings, destroyed the towns, slaughtered the handicapped, the babies and even the animals; any breathing inhabitant was massacred in these towns and villages”

The God of the Hebrew was called Jehovah, sort of a totem to discriminate themselves from the tribes of the Land.  The God of the Land was El and all the other minor Gods were sorts of patron saints to syndicates and towns that felt the need for an identity.  The Hebrew wanted Jehovah to establish a Kingdom on earth in any way available because their culture was different from the culture of the Levant.

Solomon got to appreciate the culture and civilization of the Land.  He cooperated and negotiated with the King of Tyr Ahiram to build the temple in Jerusalem and also to build a sea fleet.  The fleet was wrecked at its first attempt to take to the sea; they say “Les Hebraiques n’avaient pas the pied marin” (they had not the mariners’ feet). In fact, no Kingdom in Judea ever controlled the sea coast.

The Hebrews in Judea sank into abject materialism and developed 640 Laws to regulate their daily life.  Thus, the Hebrews of Moses viewed the inhabitants of the Land as their enemies to be subjugated and cowed into submission for the loot. The detailed gory tales in the Bible are mostly from that bloody period.

 

Period three: The original Jews of the Land and the indigents before the settlement of the Hebrews of Moses where chased out of Judea.  They regrouped in Samaria and Galilee “of Nations” and formed their own fiefdoms which were called Israel or the “Tribes of El” in Aramaic.  The “tribes” of Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali settled in Galilee and merged with the culture of the land. 

The Hebrews of Judea considered the districts of upper and lower Galilee as “Goyim” or gentile of many “Nations” but they viewed the Samaritans as Jews hostile to the strict Hebraic Laws and worshiping El instead of Jehovah. For a palpable political appreciation you may consider the split between the Sephardim and the Ashkenazi in current Israel. The Ashkenazi of Central Europe dominate the economic and policy making; a fresh immigrant from Europe can contemplate to rise quickly in the political and economic landscape while the Jews of the Arab and Moslem World have to fight the good fight for the crumbs. It is of no wonder that the Ashkenazi decided for Hebrew to be the national language that in no way compared to the versatile and rich Yiddish German/Slavic language they used to write and communicate with.  Hebrew was simply selected for its political connotation.  Galilee generated four prophets though the Pharisee caste mocked Jesus saying that “no prophets can come from Galilee”.

 

Period four: In 167 BC, the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epifanus banned the worshiping of Jehovah, forbid circumcision, and ordered burning the Bible; those decrees were executed efficiently and occasionally by harsh measures. Only the Hebrews of Judea revolted against these decrees; they were led by the priest Matatia of the Hashmonid tribe. Matatia’s son Judah, nicknamed Macabe (the handler of ax), resumed the revolt until he vanquished the Seleucid King.  From 166 to 63 BC the zealot Macabe Kingdom ruled the Land. In 103 BC, Aristopoulos, son of Simon Macabe, ordered every citizen to be circumcised and to abide by Moses’ Law.  Consequently, the non-Jews of Galilee were subjected to these rules, including the ancestors of Jesus Christ who lived in upper Galilee (current south Lebanon).  It is worth mentioning that much later, in 132 AC, Emperor Adrian banned circumcision and the Hebrews in Judea revolted; the revolt of Barcoba (son of the star) was squashed and the remaining Jews experienced the greatest dispersion.

During the Hellenistic period, God El was called Helios (the Greek added an H before an E at the beginning of a word; for example Heliopolis means the city of El)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2009
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