Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 11th, 2009

Black and White (April 11, 2009)

 

            Human nature has been indoctrinated through religious ideologies that permeate daily living to view contentious events in black and white; you are either totally with us or you are an enemy and spy to our foes.  This is true regardless of cultural differences, western or oriental, rich or poor.  The only difference is that you have got States that managed to institute private or semi-private social and political facilities to function almost independently of the power to be; even within the political structures and constitutions there are alternatives for check and balance among the executive, legislative, legal, and the press.  These modern States enjoy possibilities for change, critical thinking, rules and regulation to evaluate, recomand, and change policies and programs.  Thus, regardless of human tendencies institutions come in place to rectify and reform any one sided views and policies.

            In the Middle East, people cannot hope for better rational future; not because of religions but because we failed to erect autonomous institutions backed by appropriate funding and constitutional laws that preserve the continuity and development of institutions that could be taken seriously.  When we say that everything is politized we don’t mean it in a positive understanding of reality but as an extremely bad negative connotation of very restricted and short term policies of individual or sectarian interests.  Even medium-term policies do not fly off and are killed before taking off and we have ready made excuses that foreign meddling in our affairs were the main causes for any failure.  We always want to fool the citizens that our shortcoming is not an inherent failure of institutions but because of outsider causes that hate us to develop and progress.  The truth is every political party or coalition that comes to power target institutions that were established by the previous political power because black and white atitudes have be transferred to institutions as well.

            For example, International Zionism had plans for a State; within Palestine, Zionism had a balck and white attitudes to any British policies and reacted violently accordingly through terrorist attacks; but its foreign policy could sustain many shades of gray requiring taking into account joint interests.  Ironicaly, after Israel secured its State internal policies accept wide arrays of gray but its foreign policies are completely balck and white; either a government is pro Israel or against and in such case hell fires are launched by the Zionists lobbies and anti-semitic labels are thrown right and left.

            It is redundant to confirm that the Bush Junior Administration was a cult and that its policies were in black and white; either you are with the Bush Administration or you are a debil and archaic State.

            On the Palestinian side is almost the reverse. Sure, before the recognition of Israel in 1948 the majority of Palestinians could not see but black and white, except Ragheb Nashashibi who wanted to negotiate with the British on step by step resolutions for future stronger positions. As the State of Israel got established the internal policies within the Palestinian factions remained black and white but their foreign policies was too gray and lenient with no substantive power to back any comprehensive policy.  The policies of the Arab States were no different than the Palestinian attitude and the failures are succeeding at great speed. There are no sustainable institutions that proceed regarless of political changes.  There is no sense of institutional continuity with autonomous status. It is fundamentally always sort of a one-man show of dictators, oligarchs, monarchs, and one party rule.

            For example, the Communist parties in the Middle East had black and white directions; what Stalin wanted was good and what Satlin refused was wrong regardless of the effects of the Soviet policies to our region.  Even today, communists could not change their language to ease off the apprehension of people in a highly religious region. It is as if “scientific materialism” is necessarily an atheistic ideology because it is in struggle with sacerdotal ideologies.

Amine Rihani: A Pragmatic activist Writer (April 10, 2009)

 

Amine Rihany is a well learned, educated, activist, and pragmatic author born in Lebanon. He wrote many wonderful books and I read most of them.

Rihani had published in the New York Times since 1901; he was one of the founders of the “Association of Writers” (Al Rabitat al Kalamiah) of the Lebanese immigrants living in Boston. This association included Jubran Khalil Jubran, Michael Nouaimeh and Michael Nakhleh.

Amine Rihany was an undaunted and avid traveler and published books on his travels. He visited North Africa, the Arabic Peninsula of Yamen, Hijaz, Najd, and Kuweit and became close friends and counselors to many monarchs and leaders such as Abdalah bin Seoud, El Huseiny, al Sabbah and others.

Rihani published “The Heart of Lebanon” (Calb Loubnan) and dedicated to Charles Korm; he recounts in the minute details his trips within Lebanon in Mount Lebanon, from the Cedars, to the districts of Jubeil, Kesrowan, Faraya, Metn, Chouf, Jezzine, Marjeyoun, the south and Jabal Amel.

           

Amine Rihani is of Lebanese origin from the village of Frikeh close of my hometown of Beit-Chabab in the Metn district. He became a US citizen and lived in the USA for many decades. He died of a bicycle accident in Frikeh in 1940.  The family of Rihany established a museum in his honor.

           

Rihany was in frequent correspondence with US Presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt till 1908, Congressmen, and with the US Foreign Affairs to whom he sent reports on his various trips and conditions of the countries he visited.  Apparently, the US had no formal central intelligence services (CIA) until after the Second World War.

Before the First World War and the early part of the 20th century, the USA had no major vested interest in the Middle East, a region controlled and administered by the colonial powers of Britain and France. The US missionaries had instituted a university in Beirut around 1866, several schools and managed to convert a few Lebanese to Protestantism.  The USA had a policy of isolationism and non interference when it had no vested interests in a region.  For example, the US invaded Cuba and the Philippines and replaced the Spanish colonial power.

           

The US got interested in the Middle East in the twenties when Britain discovered vast deposits of oil in Iran, Iraq, and the Arabic Gulf. Britain had secured many treaties with Kuweit, Bahrein, and the Sultan of Najd for exclusive oil explorations.

Frank Holm, the British officer from New Zealand, managed to secure many contracts for oil explorations and Amine Rihany was part owner and counselor for his job of communicating and convincing the Arab leaders into signing these contracts in Saudi Arabia and Kuweit. 

The US Foreign Affairs started to exercise pressures on Britain to have shares in the multinational oil companies.  For example, the Turkish Oil Company had to re-distribute shares and thus, Britain/Iran got 23.75%, Dutch Shell 23.75%, France 23.75%, the US Jersey Standard and Socony 23.75%, and the mediator Kaloust Gulbankian 5%. The multinational company was renamed Iraq Petrolium Company (IPC).  Holm/Rihany secured another contract from the prince of Bahrein and sold it to the US Standard Oil and registered the company in Canada in 1928 to circumvent the British restriction treaties.

           

In 1931, King Abdel Aziz Al Seoud has conquered Hijjaz and signed a contract with Standard Oil of California (later named ARAMCO) for oil explorations.  Amin Rihany had a role in the negotiations.  Rihany played a role in securing the contract of exploration in Kuwait for the benefit of the US Pennsylvania Gulf Oil in 1934 after many political struggles between the US and Britain.

The tangible facts prove that Amin Rihany meant for the US to strategically transplant Britain and France in the Middle East.  At the time, the Palestinians were confronting the Zionist movement that planned to establish a State in Palestine and Britain had mandate over Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan.

The British Empire had permitted thousands of Jews to settle in Palestine and to establish colonies.  France and Britain aborted a nascent Arab State in Syria and Lebanon and another one in Iraq for the purpose of controlling directly this strategic region in oil and trade with Europe. 

Thus, France and Britain confiscated the political will of the people for independence and allowed the promise of Britain Foreign Affair Balfour in 1917 to establishing a Zionist state in Palestine.

The Unpublished Unifying Book (April 10, 2009)

 

Note: I got the theme of this essay from the manuscript of “The Parson and the Prophet” that I have reviewed and posted.

 

Historical Context

 

            Before Moses there was no such religion as Jewish.  Abraham, Isac, and Jacob worshiped El, the all encompassing God of the Land from Mesopotamis, to Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.  Abraham, Isac, and Jacob paid the tithe to Melki Sadek, the highest grand priest and King of Jerusalem.  The mother of Melki Sadek had a revelation and her son Melki was dedicated to the temple; this story is repeated exactly through the ages such as with Hanna (mother of the Virgin Mary), Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), and to the Virgin Mary; they all dedicated their sons and daughters to the temples (nazeer, and thus nazarean). The title of Virgin given to Mary is an earned sacerdotal label to virgins who served the temple from age of 3 till marriage. The Bible mentions many prophets who were dedicate to temples as revelations descended on their mothers.  It was common to the noble and sacerdotal families to dedicate sons or daughters to temples.  Thr rank of Melki Sadek was the highest and it was for life and he could transfer that rank to anyone of his choosing by anointment (mesheeh), thus Messiah.

            Moses led nomadic tribes and the scribes of the Bible in Alexandria (in the second century before Christ) mentioned that Moses received a revelation and the ten commandements from Yahweh (Jehovah); thus (Yahood or Jews).  Again, it is the same repetition of revelations and the descent of written messages and commandements through the ages to the chosen prophets.  Moses’ commandements had to be given by a supreme being for ignorant nomads who constantly needed to rely on a supreme being to alleviate their fears; these commandements and hundreds more were already included in the civil codes of laws of the Land since before King Hamourabi of Babylon.  The relatively urban towns and cities in the Levant and Mesopotamia had more sophisticated abstract concepts that could sustain diversities in belief systems.

            Invariably, religions would like the believers to understand that their Prophets were illeterate in order to prove that only God could have interceded with the prophet for the message.  These allegations are pure fabrications. Abraham was educated, Moses was highly educated and a grand priest and Muhammad aided his uncle parson Warkat bin Nawfal in translating into Arabic the Bible and the special Aramaic version of the New Testament Mathew.  All the prophets had read in the Books of their times.  Jesus was highly educated and was a “nazeer” in the Great Temple of Mount Carmen since the age of six; but Jesus didn’t need translated versions of the Books because he was Aramean and a messenger of the Land.

            Translation of Books to another language was not done literally; the meaning was retained as honestly as desired but the context and style were compatible with the cultures and customs of the targeted people for better understanding and memorization.  That is why reading in Books was done by chanting (tarteel) so that musical intonation could support the retention process.

            Jesus mission was to win over “the lost sheep among the tribes” in Judea, Benjamin, and the Hasmonides because they staunchly continued to worship Yahweh, their unspiritual God for earthly dominion by the sword. Jesus wanted to unite all the tribes of Israel (Tribes of El) and not of Yahweh.

 

The Kuran of Mecca:

 

            The purpose of the Prophet Muhammad was to gather common denominators for the belief systems among the main Christian and Jewish sects in the Arabic Peninsula: they all worshiped One God, the Creator of all things, and they believed in Heaven and Hell.  In that direction, the Prophet accepted the premise that the monotheist sects shared Abraham (who was neither Jewish not Christian) as their first prophet who had the Orthodix “haneef” belief; Muhammad acknowledged all the prophets that succeded Abraham. Muhammad accepted in their integrality all the mythical stories in the Bible of the Creation, Noah, the Deluge, Joseph in Egypt and all the rest (these stories were indeed the myths of the Land for thousands of years before Abraham).  Muhammad was apprehensive that one of those diverse sects might think that he particularly sided with one of Israel sects since they are all Moslems in God.  The prophet said “You are not believers until you value the Bible and the New Testament and what were descended on you. The Book descended on two previous religions but we were not aware of them” (because not written in Arabic)

Muhammad proclaimed Jesus as one of the latest and most spiritual prophet of all because he carried the Holy Ghost of Allah. Muhammad avoided the corny issues of the Trinity, the Virginity of Mary, the crucifiction and death of Jesus that divided the Christian sects. Muhammad venerated the Virgin Mary as the mother of the prophet who received revelations as well as John the Baptist.  In fact, Mary is the only female name mentioned in the Koran and Jesus (Issa) was mentioned as “Son of Mary”, thus Issa ibn Mariam. In the Koran Muhammad proclaimed that the Christian-Jewish sects in Arabia were Moslems before he started his message and the teaching of the Koran was initiated because they relied on a unique God and didn’t admit that anyone else is part of him (shirik) such as Jesus or the Holy Ghost. The word Koran “Kuraan” has Aramaic roots “kuru” which means reading, reciting from a book.

            During the Mecca period of proselytizing (about 13 years), what is known as the Koran of Mecca, there were Jewish sects and Muhamad never mentioned the Jews in his verses. Only the Christian-Jews three main sects (Ebyonites, Cerinthe, and Elxai, see notes) were referred to as “Nassara” (those Christian nazeers who were dedicated to monasteries to pray, read the Books and meditate) and they read in the Book of the only and unique God.  In fact, after Muhammad settled in Yathreb (Medina) the Nassara sects would pay him visit from Mecca to mediate among them. The Prophet Muhammad was taken aback and said what amount to “They read in the Book that can answer all their questions and yet they come to me for mediation” The Prophet did not face any obstacles from the Nassara sects in Arabia simply because the Koran of Mecca was almost a cabon copy of the Books they read in and had translated into Arabic. It is to be noted that these Nassara sects were considered “heretics” by the Orthodox Christian religion in Constantinople because they would not admit the divinity of Jesus and followed the Jewish daily laws and customs.

The Jews in Yathreb and in Khibar revolted against the teaching of Islam who accepted Jesus as a prophet and got apprehensive of the growing power of Moslems in their midst.  The non-Moslem tribes of Mecca asked the Jews of Yathreb to cooperate with them and the Jewish leaders descended to Mecca to plot against the Moslems. Armed struggles decided the difficulties to the advantage of the Moslems.  The prophet considered the Jewish sects as tyrannical and not behaving with charity toward the orthodox religions, complicating the belief system, and blasphemic the Virgin Mary and Jesus.  “God created man weak and He wants to make it easy on him and not complicate his life. We have sent a prophet to every nation” so that nations can read the message of One God in their own language.

 All the sects in Arabia were united around one religion that was made easy (khefat) and reductive “moktassadat” to be comprehend by nomads and desert people who lacked knowledge of abstract theological concepts and it was easy to memorize by short rimed sentences and disseminated by chants.  Thus, Muhamad warned the Christian sects (such as the Jacobites, Nestourians, and Melkites) who believed in the divinity of Jesus, of the son of God, the trinity, and the resurrection to desist in their exaggerations and overestimation in religious beliefs (ghelou fi al deen) and accept the simple fact of One God as a unifying reality that unite the tribes of the believers in One God.

 

In Mecca, Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, and the parson Warkat bin Nawfal, the patriarch of the Christia-Jew sect of the Epyionites, transcribed Muhammad’s revelations and verses during his epileptic fits.  In Medina, Aicha bint Abu Bakr, the educated and most beloved wife of the Prophet, was almost exclusively in charge of recording the revelations when the Prophet Mohamad had his bouts of seizures. She would cover him with warm blankets and write down the verses until he falls asleep.  Aicha has dedicated her life into gathering, organizing the revelations and meeting with scholars and close friends of the Prophet to keep a complete record. Aicha saved her copies very jealously until the third Calipahte Othman bin Affan ordered the archive to be handed over to him. Aicha didn’t trust Othman and she kept copies of all her documents.  At the time, only rich people could afford to write down documents because they were recorded on special leather in the Arab Peninsula. Thus, rich educated people had the task of transcribing the verses for better retention, memorizations, and an act of devotion.

By the time Othman decided to issue an official Book for Islam (The Koran of Medina) most of the Byzantium and Sassanide Empires were conquered; Egypt was part of the Arab Moslem Empire. The formal or official Book had to take these political realities into accounts, realities of victors and vainquished.  The Caliphate Othman sorted out the verses and selected what suited the political interest of the new Islamic Empire; many verses were burned and disappeared, others were tampered with such as adding “nassara” (Christian) after Jews though the sentence would break the rime (sajaa).  Othman arranged verses by order of length and the gathered book was considered the official Koran. For example, the shortest revelations or verses are the first chronologically and represent the message of Islam in the first 13 years (The Koran of Mecca) before the relocation to Medina or Yathreb in 633.  The longest came afterward and dealt mostly with civil management, daily routine, penal codes, and organization of the converts to Islam.

It is my contention that Aicha bint Abu Bakr had hidden and distributed copies of her complete archive.  If there is the will there is a way to reconstitute the message of the Prophet Muhammad in its historical and chronological contexts taking into account the fundamental principle of working on the common denominators in the belief system among the majority of the monotheist religions; and hopefully discovering a copy of the original archive as the work is in progress.

The Prophet Muhammad was crystal clear in his message: making the religion easy, light, acceptable to most sects, and readable by the language of every nation.  It is about time we focus on the value of life and let the abstract limiting and restrictive theological conepts (ideology) to the few power monger sacerdotal castes.

 

Note 1: The Epyonite Christian-Jew sect was discussed and commented on by the early Christian scholars and Bishops like Irene, Epiphane, and Origene.  The name Epionites refers to the “poor” in Aramaic such as “Blessed be the poor”; this sect considered Jesus one of the great prophets. Jesus was not God or Son of God who received the revelations after John baptized him and thus, the messiah spirit entered him till he was crucified.  Jesus message was teaching and preaching the revelation but didn’t include saving or forgiving our sins. The Aramaic Testament of Mathew is their only book in addition to the Bible; this New Testament of Mathew used by the Epionites was revised slanted and distorted according to Epiphanous. This sect persevered on frequent washing for purification, not eating meat, and to focus on aiding and feeding the needy, widowers, and people of passage.  After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, many of the priests in Komran immigrated to Hijjaz in the Arab peninsula.

 

Note 2:  The Christian-Jew Cerinthe sect proclaimed that Heaven resembled life on earth where the body will get its fill of every passion it needed to satisfy; that the role of Jesus was to free his people from the Romans; that Jesus message was political and social.

 

Note 3:  The Christian-Jew sect Elxai was Gnostic (knowledge).  It preached that Jesus is another human and the Mesiah in him vacated his body before martyridom.  The Holy Ghost is the mother of Jesus and the Angel Gabriel depending on events. Jesus received the Bible from the angel and Gabriel taught Jesus wisdom and the ability to foreseeing the future.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2009
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