Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 6th, 2015

Temples at Palmyra destroyed: Khaled al-Asaad, Died Under Torture

A second ancient temple at Palmyra has been razed, with a satellite image appearing to confirm the destruction of the Temple of Bel, previously one of the best-preserved parts of the ancient city.

The revelation follows the release of images by Islamic State last week showing the Baalshamin temple had been blown up.

IS militants seized control of Palmyra in May, sparking fears for the 2,000-year-old World Heritage site. Ancient ruins are not all that has been lost.

Khaled al-Asaad, the 81-year old former director of the world-renowned archaeological site at Palmyra in Syria, was beheaded in August. His body was hung on a street corner by Islamic State for everyone to see.

Prior to his death, al-Asaad and his son Walid, the current director of antiquities, had been detained for a month. They had been tortured as their captors tried to extract information about where treasures were to be found.

Walid’s fate remains unknown.

Early Career

Al-Asaad had worked at the archaeological site for more than 50 years, spending most of that time as its director. He never really retired and was always very active, sensing that he had a kind of mission in Palmyra, the ancient city to which he had devoted his life.

He was interested in archaeology from a very young age, even though it was a relatively new field in Syria at the time.

When France took on its post-World War I mandate as administrator of Syria, Palmyra was a road junction between Homs and Deir ez Zor – a well-known stop where the Zenobia Hotel, run by a French intelligence officer, welcomed travellers who were in transit between the Euphrates, Homs and Damascus.

Khaled al-Asaad stood for the future of #Syria and her #heritage

— Matthew Ward (@HistoryNeedsYou) August 20, 2015

There was French airfield in the region and a squadron of French troops was stationed there.

The garrison chaplain, Jean Starcky, was so interested in the monuments of the site and in the Palmyran inscriptions that he became a world expert on them. It was he who published the first archaeological guide of Palmyra.

In 1930, Henri Seyrig, a young scholar who had been appointed director of antiquities in Syria the year before, had organised for the people who lived in the ruins of Palmyra [E. Will, Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (CRAI) 1993 N° 2 pp. 384-394, cf p. 387] to relocate to a new city to the north of the site – the current Palmyra.

Seyrig then organised the archaeological dig of the Temple of Bel with fellow archaeologist Robert du Mesnil du Buisson, who worked on the site and then led the dig at the Temple of Baalchamin.

But when France’s mandate ended on April 17 1946, the French soldiers departed. The scientists went with them.

The New Palmyra Museum

At that time, Khaled al-Asaad was studying in Homs.

In 1960, he enrolled to study history at the University of Damascus. With his degree in his pocket, he became a civil servant at the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Damascus. Then, in 1963, the young al-Asaad was named as chief curator of the new museum in Palmyra and director of the site.

His numerous excavations in Palmyra included temples and religious monuments, but also living quarters and tombs. He cleared some parts of the stone and marble fortifications that had been constructed at the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian around the monumental centre of the city.

The Temple of Bel. Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA

More recently, he excavated and restored the main street after evidencing the ancient paving buried under soil and a tangled network of pipes.

Khaled al-Asaad had an archeologist’s sense of responsibility and his excavations have always been followed by effective, discreet and smart restorations. He also wanted to bring Palmyran civilisation to the general public and sought to make the site welcoming for visitors.

But he was, above all, a scientist.

Since the first year of his appointment to the Department of Antiquities, he began publishing a number of books on the history of Palmyra and its surrounding region.

He wrote a guide to ancient Palmyra and a book about the famous queen Zenobia. He helped organise exhibitions on palmyran antiques, the first of which took place at the Petit Palais in Paris in 1974.

A Hero And Martyr

Khaled al-Asaad had an open mind and always actively supported French missions in Palmyra, as well as those lead from Germany, Poland, Japan and Switzerland.

He recently collaborated with a mission of the German Institute of Damascus in a geomagnetic exploration south of the torrent valley of Palmyra. This led to the discovery of a major residential area that nobody knew existed.

Until the end, he remained approachable to everyone.

This is especially true of the workers in Palmyra, who appreciated and respected him deeply because they recognised in him a generosity above and beyond what was required by his job.

Even after his notional retirement, Khaled al-Asaad remained a valuable expert. He remarkably read the Palmyran language and knew a remarkable amount about Palmyran civilisation. The directorate always consulted him when police discovered stolen statues to appraise.

Upon hearing of his death, Maamoun Abdel-Karim, director general of antiquities and Museums of Syria, said IS had “executed one of the foremost experts of the ancient world”.

Among the 5 reasons given to justify his execution, Khaled al-Asaad was also accused of being a supporter of the Syrian regime.

Like nearly all the leaders and employees of the Syrian archaeology sector, Khaled al-Asaad was keen to remain at his post.

In doing so, he did not see himself as being at the service of the Syrian regime, but at the service of his country. And in Syria, where patriotism is perennial, being at the service of the state is not an empty sentiment.

Abdel-Karim said after Khaled al-Asaad’s death: “We begged Khaled to leave the city, but he always refused, saying, ‘I’m from Palmyra and I will stay even if they have to kill me’.”

His courage was fatal to him. He died a hero and a martyr.

Pierre Leriche is Directeur de Recherche émérite au CNRS-ENS Paris at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Noor Khalil shared from I fucking love science 

This man was killed last month. Do you know who he was? His name should be celebrated around the globe. He was a hero.

A second ancient temple at Palmyra has been razed, with a satellite image appearing to confirm the destruction of the Temple of Bel, previously one of the…

Attempts to tempt the refugees to seek transfer to Arabic Gulf Emirates?

Those states that funded the terrorist extremist Islamic movements after the Arab Spring?

Gulf states under pressure to take Syrian migrants?

The same Palestinian diaspora process repeated 65 years later?

Rewan Al-Haddad – Avaaz posted:

This image of a Syrian baby lying lifeless on the beach is too heart-breaking to ignore.

But that is precisely what Gulf countries have been doing — refusing to give safe haven to desperate families fleeing war.

The Gulf’s refugee policy is our region’s shame. But now we have a chance to change that.

For years images of dead Syrian babies have covered our screens, but this image has shocked the world, and finally we have a chance to demand Gulf leaders respond with the humanity this crisis deserves.

Turkey has taken 1.8 million, Lebanon 1.2 (much more), and Jordan 600,000 Syrians, but Gulf governments haven’t taken a single refugee in the last 5 years!

The Gulf can do this, but won’t unless enough of us demand it.

Our community has over a million members across the region — if we all tell 10 friends, we could create the biggest Refugee Welcome campaign ever.

With no peace in sight to wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia… their choice to board a boat may be the only one they have.

Like millions of others, Baby Aylan’s family was desperate, so much that they were willing to travel all the way to Canada.

Their story is heartbreaking — they could’ve died from chemical attacks or barrel bombs, but instead Aylan and his family died drowning on their journey to safety.

If enough of us speak out, their tragedy can be the spark to help millions of others.

Gulf countries have given millions in humanitarian aid, and without that help, refugees in neighbouring countries would be much worse off. (Money Not going to the displaced people)

But money isn’t enough. Our region can share the burden of giving these families sanctuary.

And if enough of us support their cry for help, no more children need drown in the Mediterranean.

This is about our basic values and humanity. Governments everywhere are hearing the public’s outcry and opening their doors. It’s up to us to make it happen in our region.

Let’s demand that refugees get the safe haven they desperately need

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily shared this link from Katia Saleh

Gulf countries, Europe, you dirty hypocrites, why don’t you bare the consequences of your arms deals!!!? Stop drowning innocent children in the sea!

Alors que les drames des migrants se multiplient aux portes l’Europe, des citoyens des pays du Golfe se mobilisent sur les réseaux sociaux afin que leurs pays…

Alors que les drames des migrants se multiplient aux portes l’Europe, des citoyens des pays du Golfe se mobilisent sur les réseaux sociaux afin que leurs pays ouvrent leurs frontières aux réfugiés syriens.

“L’accueil des réfugiés syriens par les pays du Golfe est un devoir”.

Ce hashtag rédigé en arabe est devenu le slogan de ralliement d’un mouvement de jeunes des pays du Golfe sur les réseaux sociaux.

La campagne, qui cherche à interpeller les pouvoirs des pétromonarchies, a été lancée fin août, peu après la découverte d’un camion sur le bord d’une autoroute en Autriche, avec 71 cadavres de Syriens.

Selon un article publié sur le site de la BBC, ce hashtag a été utilisé plus de 33 000 fois sur Twitter au cours de la semaine dernière. Sur la page Facebook du mouvement, ses fondateurs expliquent que les pays du Golfe, en tant que nations arabes et musulmanes, sont plus “légitimes” que l’Europe pour accueillir les Syriens.

Ils rappellent que l’hospitalité est une valeur reconnue en Orient et qu’il faut surtout aider les Syriens au nom de l’islam.

La notion de solidarité islamique a toujours été présente, notamment en Arabie saoudite où des réfugiés politques islamistes avaient été accueillis dans les années 1970.

Deux autres hashtags en arabe sont également apparus : “ouvrez vos portes”, et “l’accueil des réfugiés syriens est une demande populaire “.

Ils ont été créées le jour où le monde entier découvrait horrifié la photo d’Aylan Kurdi, le petit garçon syrien mort sur une plage turque.

Des images choc, le fil twitter correspondant à cette campagne n’en manque pas. Les internautes s’en servent pour accentuer la pression sur les politiques : “au lieu d’inaugurer de nouveaux temples bouddhistes, accueillez les réfugiés syriens”, lance ainsi un internaute aux dirigeants des monarchies du Golfe sous un montage photo juxtaposant des images de l’inauguration et de migrants dans la misère.

“L’Arabie saoudite veut éviter de politiser sa société”

La campagne survient également au terme d’un été marqué par un afflux sans précédent de migrants et par plusieurs drames qui ont suscité l’indignation dans le monde et un vif débat en Europe autour de la question de l’accueil des réfugiés.

Un rapport d’Amnesty international, publié en décembre dernier, révélait que les monarchies du Golfe, Arabie saoudite en tête, n’avaient proposé d’accueillir aucun réfugié syrien.

Comment l’expliquer au vu de leur richesse ?

Dans un éditorial publié dans le magazine américain “Quartz” le 31 août dernier, le journaliste Bobby Ghosh estiment que ces pays devraient avoir honte. Intitulé “Salut l’Arabie saoudite : voilà ce que tu pourrais faire pour aider les réfugiés syriens”, l’article souligne que l’aide financière aux actions humanitaires ne suffit pas. Et qu’il serait d’autant plus logique que l’Arabie saoudite accueille des Syriens que le pays est habitué à gérer un grand nombre de visiteurs, tel que le pèlerinage de la Mecque.

Une position difficile à comprendre quand on sait que la monarchie saoudienne est un soutien déclaré de la rébellion en Syrie.

Seraient-ils rebutés par le système complexe en vigueur dans les monarchies du Golfe, qui exige des travailleurs immigrés qu’ils aient un garant local ?

Stéphane Lacroix, enseignant à l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (IEP) et chercheur au Centre de recherches internationales (Ceri), en doute.

“L’Arabie saoudite a cessé de délivrer des permis de travail aux ressortissants syriens depuis le début de la guerre en 2011”, explique-t-il.

Selon le chercheur, “il y a une dimension politique très importante dans l’attitude des autorités saoudiennes”. “En tant que monarchie sunnite, elle ne pouvait que soutenir la rébellion syrienne, qui, vue du Golfe, a une dimension très communautaire”, remarque-t-il.

“Mais dans le même temps, l’Arabie saoudite veut absolument éviter de politiser sa société : elle craint qu’en accueillant des personnes extérieures politisées elle n’importe du même coup une rhétorique de changement qui contaminerait sa société”, poursuit-il.

Il insiste sur le fait que la décision de soutenir les rebelles syriens dès le début de la crise, soit avant l’afflux de migrants et l’entrée dans le conflit des jihadistes, démontre bien que c’est l’idée révolutionnaire qui effraie.

(As if we need expert European opinions to confirm the obvious in our region)

ISIS Georgian Khazar Jew:  Working to create the “Greater Israel Project”

In context: The Khazar Jews established a kingdom in the Caucasus region around the 9th century and the nascent Russian Kingdom defeated them in the 10th century.

Khazar Jews were displaced in eastern and central Europe and are now known as Ashkenazi Jews, or East Europe Jews who didn’t speak Hebrew and were the first European colonist to institute settlements in Palestine starting in 1865.

Khazar Jews were skin-deep Jews who simply applied the Pharisee customs and traditions in their daily life.

Khazar Jews are like the skin-deep Jews of Galilee and south Lebanon during the first century BC when the tribes in Judea conquered this region during the decline of the Seleucid Kingdom.  The only difference is that Jesus was a native of the land and knew the culture and civilization of the Near-East, unlike the Khazar Jews.

This phenomena is similar to the new Moslem converts in Central Asia and Moguls (10th century) who were skin-deep Islamists and plainly applied the daily rituals of their new religion and relied on many faked stories on the Prophet Muhammad life related in the Al Hadith. They were the beginning of the decline of Islamic culture and civilization

Jose Ignacio Alvarez's photo.

Hello my name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, I am a Georgian Khazar Jew…

I was trained by CIA and MOSSAD.. my current asignment is one of the four generals of ISIS.

I go by my fake muslim name Abu Omar al-Shishani

We are working to create and expand the “Greater Israel Project” under the disguise of a false Islamic State.

To vilify muslims.

Yes, thats right we have fooled the world as we carry out our objective

Note: Those ISIS demolishing the archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq are guided by the Israeli Mossad. The rational is simple:

Since in the last century the Jewish archaeologists could not dig a single site that proved the existence of a Jewish culture or a civilization in the region, then No other vestige of civilization must remain in the Middle-East.

Adonis Bouhatab shared ‘s photo.
 150,000 Jews in New York marched against the apartheid policies in Israel
Mustafa Fakih's photo.

١٥٠ ألف يهودى تظاهروا اليوم فى نيويورك ضد اسرائيل وما من خبر فى اعلامنا المجيد!!!

Keep those cameras rolling:  Viral video of an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a 12-year-old Palestinian

You have probably watched the viral video of the Palestinian women snatching a Palestinian child from the hands of an Israeli soldier, as he was trying to arrest the boy for rock-throwing.

If you missed it, no worries: as long as Israel’s occupation of the West Bank continues, you will have many more opportunities to watch similarly disturbing images.

Because as long as the occupation continues, and combat soldiers are sent to police an occupied hostile civilian population, this ugliness is unavoidable.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“The children-chasing soldiers of the late 1980s now have children of their own, who today are chasing the kids of the Palestinians who threw rocks at their parents.

And so it goes.

Generations of occupiers and occupied, chasing each other on the same hills, throwing the same rocks, engaged in the same embrace of occupation, enmity and revenge.”

The viral video of an Israeli soldier trying to arrest a 12-year-old with his arm in a cast is an example of how technology is driving a change of public opinion|By Ori Nir

There’s nothing new about it. Journalists who covered the West Bank for 30 years saw these sights numerous times.

I recently stumbled upon a story that I wrote almost 30 years ago, describing the aftermath of a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian teens at a refugee camp near Ramallah.

It happened about two months into the first intifada.

At the end of the demonstration, soldiers dragged toward a bus several children who they had captured during the confrontation. Women gathered and tried to pull the children away from the soldiers. They failed.

As the bus left the scene, a couple of tear gas grenades were tossed from the window, sending the women back to their homes.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Palestinian women quarrelling with Israeli soldiers, trying to prevent their sons or brothers from being arrested.

There were even times when proud Palestinian teens being detained by the IDF would urge their moms to pull back so as not to be embarrassed before their peers.

From an Israeli military perspective, these scenes were as pathetic then as they are now.

The soldiers, annoyed and humiliated by rock-throwers but weighed down by military gear, would play cat-and-mouse with the kids.

They were typically able to catch only the slower ones, those who were either overweight or injured, such as the bandaged tween seen in the recent video.

The terrified kids sometimes wet their pants on their way to the military jeep. And the soldiers, often members of select combat units, complained that instead of fighting enemy armies, they had been reduced to chasing children and smacking them with sticks.

The children-chasing soldiers of the late 1980s now have children of their own, who today are chasing the kids of the Palestinians who threw rocks at their parents.

And so it goes. Generations of occupiers and occupied, chasing each other on the same hills, throwing the same rocks, engaged in the same embrace of occupation, enmity and revenge.

Still, there are some noticeable changes in this sickening dynamic.

One is that Palestinians today are much bolder. While Palestinian women have been pulling their loved ones away from Israeli soldiers for a couple of generations, I can’t remember the kind of fearlessness that we have seen in recent videos, images of Palestinian men and women having fist-fights with armed Israeli soldiers.

Where does this new courage come from?

It may in part be that Palestinians are in such despair, as the occupation is about to turn 50 and with no end in sight, that they increasingly feel they have nothing left to lose.

Without a doubt, though, what is radically different today is the ubiquity of cameras. And this is where I find hope.

Back in the 1980s, cameras were scarce in the West Bank. Video cameras were almost non-existent. Israeli soldiers knew that they could almost always get away with actions that were either illegal, embarrassing or both.

Last Friday’s “incident” in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh went viral thanks to multiple cameras and smartphones that focused on the soldier, on the child and on the Palestinian women.

The proliferation of lenses, of cameras constantly rolling, is the big difference between now and then. So keep those cameras rolling.

Keep sharing on Facebook and Twitter to remind us all – Israelis, their friends overseas, and the world at large – how devastatingly destructive the occupation is for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

By doing so, you are taking part in what may be the best hope for change.

Palestinian girl biting an Israeli soldier trying to release her brother from the hand of the soldier in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

The girl bites the soldier, trying to release her brother. Photograph: Mohannad Darabee/Demotix/Corbis

Note: This is the same fearless blond girl, now 14, who brandished her fist to the Israeli soldier, a couple of years ago, who was trying to arrest her younger brother.





September 2015

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