Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Near-East Mediterranean civilization’ Category

Any good news in and out?

After Iraq invasion. (December 7, 2008)

Let me offer new facts and then older facts that were not disseminated; then I will ask the question “Why the Bush Administration needed a major war?

Then the follow up question “Why Iraq specifically?”

Then the resolution question “What where the results of this pre-emptive war, what after Iraq, what of the millions of Iraqis who suffered this harrowing invasion?”.

Since the Wall Street crash, the USA has lost over 550,000 jobs and as many in the developed States and there is no end to that trend.  

In 1989, the world experienced a nasty financial crash that destabilized the Asian markets and then Latin America and its ripple effect hit the US as Bush was being inaugurated.  

Thus, before the Twin Tower disaster the US was financially unstable and the joblessness rate was very high and increasing.  

After the 9/11 attack the stock market in the US hit its lowest and the rate of decrease was about 36%, almost as bad as today.  

The major difference was that the financial disaster then was not publicized and the whole affair turned to the necessity of preventing further terrorist activities and defending the “Nation”.

The US needed badly a major war.

First, to absorb the unemployed, especially the Latinos, and

Second, to divert attention from acute economical and financial problems that the Republicans were not equipped to handle under their free, non controlled capitalist policies.

Why Iraq then?  

Afghanistan was a non entity and very poor to launch a major war and invest so much on it. 

 Iraq had no Qaida elements within its territory, simply because Dictator Saddam Hussein was a Sunni leader and would not permit other Sunni organizations to eat from his own dish.  

Iraq had no nuclear weapons; the Nuclear Control Agency said so; the European leaders said so; the UN said so and refused to support this foolish pre-emptive war.  

The Bush Administration went solo against the World community. Why?

Iraq was a State with the highest reserve in oil and second to Saudi Arabia in potentials for production.

Iraq was strategically located amidst the oil producing countries in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia is a staunch ally to the US.  Iran is too big to swallow.  

Iraq was about right since it had been seriously weakened after 10 years of economic embargo by the Bush Father and Clinton. (Over 2 million babies died in Iraq in that period of embargo for lack of powder milk and basic medicines).  

The neighboring Arab States were easy prey for frequent US financial blackmail to invest in Treasury bonds and other financial gifts such as purchasing redundant military hardware at the highest prices.

For the long term, the US planned to blackmail powerful China, avid of oil, by controlling directly the distribution and production of oil.

When the US forces entered Baghdad, Bush Junior declared “Victory”.  

Two years later Bush Junior revised his declaration “Victory was way premature”.  Recently, Bush Junior was begging the Iraqis to accept the “Security Agreement” to save face for the retreat of his troops.  

What would you expect from an Iraqi government, appointed by the US forces, but to obey its Masters?

What were the results of this long pre-emptive war?

First, over one thousand Iraqi scientists in all fields have been systematically assassinated by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad.  

The names and professions of these scientists and professors are published on the internet. Israel was greatly relieved: The huge brain potential of the Iraqi people was a nightmare for tiny Israel; and backed by huge oil reserves and fertile lands and prosperous industries.  

It is said that the Egyptians write books, the Lebanese publish and the Iraqi read the books.  For over ten years now the “Arabs” have not been reading their published books!

Second, a catastrophic ecological situation has befallen Iraq: the oil that could not be processed or distributed was re-directed to be dumped in valleys; vast areas are lost for ever and ever to any reclamation.

Third, over one million Iraqi civilians died and three fold that number crippled.

Fourth, oil production never reached the level of ten years ago.

Fifth, the US has stolen, highway robbery, the oil produced in Iraq with nothing to show for it but destruction, miseries, and sectarian warfare.  

Security in Iraq is the last thing in the mind of the Bush Junior Administration; the Iraqis can go to hell and why? Why?

Sixth, China re-directed its investment for oil fields toward Africa and the US is totally impotent.

Seventh, China has struck deals with Russia and India and the oil pipelines are almost finished and freed from maritime transport and US blackmailing tactics.

Eight, the hatred and animosities against the US policies in the Arab and Muslim people has reached the zenith and no public image gimmicks would do.

Nine, Russia has checked the US-NATO expansion toward its borders.

Tenth, the US is totally bankrupt and humiliated economically, financially, and militarily.  Shall I go on?

The cycle is back from where we started.  

The financial conditions are worse than in 2001 and unemployment rate even worst.  What then?  

Which country is now ripe for another pre-emptive war in order to suck in the jobless population and to blackmail the Arab State for financial secure?   

Saudi Kingdom is ideal: nobody like this savage, ignorant, narrow minded Wahhabi sect of this theocratic monarchy family.  

The world can do without this hotbed of terrorism, salafist, wahabi sect which is the source of the Al Qaeda and its numerous branches; except the USA obviously.

Don’t you hate this hypocrite of a monster claiming that he was against war but the CIA lied to him?

The case is to be handled by the International Tribunal of war crimes and perpetrators of genocides on a wide scale.  

If the International community fails its duty towards this massacre of the decade and persists in acting biased toward the developed colonial nations then the underground organizations will take over in the name of justice and for a long, long time.

Free-Trade Zones? How this works? Can they work in the Middle East?

Note: Re-edit of “Free-Trade Zones of December 2, 2008

Are Free-Trade Zones in the Middle East being worked out? (December 1, 2008)

I have no idea how a Free-Trade Zone works, and what are its advantages, but it sound good, since it is Free? Free trade to whom and how the common people of the States can benefit from these deals?

I doubt anything labelled “free” can be of any value, except free public education to all, free preventive health care, and free institutions to open opportunities for the people to find jobs and field of studies.

Most probably, these zones are meant to enrich the richer countries and degrade the economic production of the weaker nations.

The advantage in the long-term is that it prevent military confrontations, facilitate the travel and trade between the State, inhance exchanges among the people, enlarge the market for added value entreprises, and break-up mythical ideas.

I like to envision the creations of 11 free-trade zones in the Middle East, among the States of Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Cyprus.

Though this idea is Not feasible as long as the superpowers and colonial powers are dead serious of keeping the Middle-East divided, destabilized and wracked with mythical/religious enmities.

The colonial powers, mainly USA, England and France implanted their Israel colony in Palestine in order to disturb daily routine trade and communication, Not only in the Near-East (Nation of Syria), but the Middle East altogether.

Israel is strategically our existential enemy.

With Israel still supported by the colonial power, our region will constantly be destabilized and divided to conduct and resume any sustainable trade and create an economic cycle for self-reliance and autonomy.

Why free-trade zones?

Most of the recognized States by the United Nations in the Middle East were Not naturally and normally constituted, and the borders are artificially delimited: The States  were divided up by the mandatory European nations of Britain, France and the active participation of the USA, after the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire lost the war in the WWI by siding with Germany.

Consequently, there are many ethnic, emotional, economic, linguistic, and historical intermingling and rivalries among these States.

Since “victory” military confrontations are out of the question, and since daily trade and social relations are binding certain bordering zones then, creative alternatives should be studied to form viable trade zones that otherwise would be left unmanaged and precariously volatile.

First, between the States of Turkey and Syria there are many legitimate claims that should be resolved on their borders.  There is the possibility of several free-trade zones such as (Cilicia, Iskandaron, and Lazkieh (Latakieh)) and the Kurdish common zone of Hassakeh and Diar Baker and Van.

Second, between Turkey and Iraq there is an ideal free-trade zone in their common Kurdish region around Mosul.

Third, between Iraq and Iran: two zones can be contemplated (the common Kurdish region, and the region around the Persian/Arabian Gulf.

Fourth, between Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait the Basra region could alleviate recurring conflicts.

Fifth, between Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, where their frontiers intersect artificially, a free-trade zone would encourage commerce in that desolate area.

Sixth, between Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon there are shared bordered around the Golan Heights.

Seventh, between Syria and Lebanon there are potential two zones (the northern Lebanese frontiers of Akkar, and the south-eastern Bekaa Valley with Shebaa Farms).

Eight, between Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus a free-trade zone in Cyprus would iron out differences and encourage maritime commerce.

What are the processes for initiating these free-trade zones?

After a period of three years of ironing out details and instituting regulations with special passports or identity cards for the inhabitants of the zones, then all the zones between the states can be merged.

It is only normal that contiguous zones common to three States could eventually be merged and a belt of uninterrupted contiguous zones would form the natural borders of the Middle East.

As was done in Europe, let commerce and industry form the basis for these zones, which should generate rational cooperative decisions for our future.

The concept of a free-zone is to create a magnate cities, self-autonomous city, with laws and regulations agreed upon among the States.

Ultimately, an economic union could emerge, based on a set of procedures and processes that works, which form a firm ground to negotiating common interests, and disseminating common laws and regulations valid in the various lands.

Ur Salam (City of Peace): Jerusalem

Recent archeological works by Kathleen Kenyon (2009) discovered a wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem dating from the 18th century BC; water was diverted through underground canals from the fresh source of Guihon to Siloe cisterns inside the walls.

The sea people called Philistines had devastated the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, destroyed the nascent Greek fleet and settled in Gaza and the southern coastline of Palestine around the 12th century.

The entire eastern coastline from north Syria to Sinai was dominated by the Canaanites.

In southern Palestine, the Canaanites had to flee northward and retreat inside toward Jerusalem, one of their 25 City-States. Jerusalem was then inhabited by over 10,000 urban dwellers, a huge number for the period.

Around 11th century BC, Moses (a myth) arrived with his nomadic tribes to the borders with Canaan.  His successors endeavored to settle in part of Palestine and battled with the Philistines.  The Canaanites aristocracy aided David to enter Jerusalem and this class was his administrative supporters. (Just faked stories from the Jewish book written in 200 BC in Alexandria)

David thus had two high priests (Evyatar and Sadoq), two military leaders (Joab and Benayahu), and two heirs apparent (Adoniyyahou and Salomon).

David had also two formal sanctuaries for the Jews and the Canaanites.  David adopted the God of the Land El and the demi-Gods of the Sun (Shahar) and the Moon (Shalem) were worshipped.

The Jewish Yahweh (God of thunders) was relegated to the background and played a support function in times of urgent need.

The Jews had no such concept of “throne” and the Canaanite aristocracy provided a throne to David and his solar God was Justice personified and a divinity of the order “Sadeq”:  Milki Sadeq was the King of Jerusalem when Abraham came to Canaan and paid the tenth (one tenth) to Melki Sadeq.

Salomon supporters of the Canaanites assassinated Adoniyyahou and Joab and Ebyatar was pursuit.

Salomon relied on the King of Tyr to build his Temple for the Sun God facing east.

The dedication read: “The divinity of the Sun has announced: Yahweh has decided to live in the shadow. A house has been renovated for his dwelling”.  The God Sun sent two messengers of Right and Justice to destroy Sodom.

In this event as in others, Yahweh shares the responsibility as a subordinate to the Sun God.  Slowly but surely, Yahweh acquired a convincing divinity by the period that preceded the exile to Babylon.

In 587 BC, the Babylonian King Nabuchodonosor destroys part of the Temple.

The Persian King Cyrus repatriates the Jews in 538 and restores the temple.

Alexander enters Jerusalem in 332 and Judea falls under the Ptolemy dynasty.

The Seleucid dynasty dominates Jerusalem from 200 to 142.

Judas Maccabeus revolted in 164 and enters Jerusalem which falls to the Hasmonide dynasty until the Roman Pompey takes Jerusalem in 63 BC.

The zealot Jews take over Jerusalem for two years in 66 AC. The Roman General Titus enters Jerusalem in the year 70 and burns the Temple.

Jerusalem is then named Aelia Capitolina.

Bar Kokheba recaptures Jerusalem in 131.  Emperor Hadrian enters Jerusalem and the Jews are definitely dispersed and forbidden to enter Jerusalem.

Emperor Constantine consecrates the Anastasis (The Saint Sepulcher).

The Persian King Chosroes destroys Jerusalem in 614.

Emperor Heracles retakes the city in 628.

The Caliph of Islam Omar enters Jerusalem in 638. The Dome of the Rock is built in 691.  The mosque Al Aqsa is built in 705.

The crusaders enter the city in 1099.  The Sultan Salah el Din enters the city in 1187 and chased out the crusaders.  The Turkish Sultan Selim 2 enters the city in 1244 and gives Jerusalem a religious function and dots it with many religious schools (madrassa).

The Ottoman Empire captured the city in 1516.

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds the walls and enlarges the city with newer walls.

In 1967 the Zionist State of Israel enters Jerusalem.  Begin declares that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel in 1980.

The State of Israel is flaunting all UN resolutions to stop destroying Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem that is proposed to be the Capital of the Palestinian State.

What’s your concept for a Nation?

The Nation is relatively a new concept that developed after the French revolution when every “citizen” was forced to join the war activities, especially during Napoleon expansion in Europe..

For long time, frequent wars were launched to acquire “rights” of a monarch to other parts of countries as a result of marriages and other excuses to expand territories.

Countries that experienced frequent wars managed to give the illusions to soldiers that they belong to a Nation and must expect to be asked to join the war activities when required, him and his family members.

Apparently, this notion of Nation has withstood the turmoil in the last 2 centuries: 2 World Wars, Communism, multinationals, The European Union, the End of History… and kicking madly to conserve their “identities”

This article is comparing Antoun Saadi and Michel Aflak (Baath) notions of what constitute a Nation

مفهوم شخصية الأمة ما بين عفلق وسعادة
بقلم: نضال القادري

إن النظرة الإيديولوجية لمفهوم الوحدة والأمة هي أساس التباين بين الحزب السوري القومي الإجتماعي من وجهة نظر مؤسس حركته أنطون سعادة، وبين حزب البعث العربي الإشتراكي من خلال أفكار الأستاذ ميشيل عفلق الذي تأثر بالشيوعية وانخرط فيها وسرعان ما تركها لينهي حياته مسلما.

إن أهمية الطريقة العفلقية في الطرح الأديولوجي أنها خاطبت العقل العربي بمقولة جمعت بين المنطق والعاطفة حتى ليصح فيه قولا أن المهادنة المنطقية العاطفية كانت حاضرة وبقوة في أفكاره،

ورغم التناقض الحيوي بين اللفظين فهما تحملان خصوصية العقل العربي الذي عمل له إغراقا لنتائج رعت تطلعاته الفكرية والعاطفية، فإن توقه نحو التحرر من الأجنبي كان حلمه الأول،

ولكي تتم عملية التحرر، وجب أن يتوحّد ومن أجل أن يتوحدّ بسرعة، حتما وجب إزالة الرموز العميقة التي تعيق هذا التوحد،

ولكن كل هذه العملية لم تكن سوى بإسقاط حتمية الأمة العربية في فكره، فهو الذي نادى بالعروبة، وبالعلمنة.

ميشيل عفلق الذي اضطر تحت التعذيب إلى كتابة رسالة يعتذر فيها لحسني الزعيم ويتعهد له بعدم ممارسة العمل السياسي تعتبر إهانة لديمقراطية الإنقلابات والجنرالات في الشام.

ميشيل عفلق الذي مات مسلما دون أن يترك أثرا ثابتا في كيفية الجمع فيما بين اللفظين (المنطق والعاطفة)، وزاد من جرحه أن أخرجته أجنحة البعث السياسية إلى النفي والعزلة والموت فيما بعد، مشوها بالعسكرة والإنقلابات والتصحيحات التقدمية تحت ذريعة الأنسنة والوحدة بشعارات القومية المبتكرة،

ويجدر أن عفلق كان قد ترشح في 17/7/ 1947 حين حصلت أول انتخابات نيابية بعد الاستقلال، فسقط فيها مع رفيقه صلاح البيطار كممثلين عن البعث.

لقد برزت المسألة القومية المرتبطة بمفاهيم البعث في كتابات عفلق، وهو الذي علل في البدء تقديمه للقومية في مضمونها الإنساني الإيجابي قائلا:”لم نر أن من واجبنا البدء في تقديم البراهين على قوميتنا ومبررات وجودها، لأننا لم نتصور هذه القومية تصورا سلبيا، لم نتصور أنها وجدت لتخاصم غيرها، ولكي تثبت وجودها وحقها إزاء قوميات أخرى، أو لكي تدعي التفوق وحق السيطرة على غيرها أو لتدفع التهمة عن نفسها”. ثم أضاف لاحقا: “إن مشكلة القومية ليست في البرهان على وجودها، وإنما في تحقيق مضمون إيجابي حي لها”(1).

ثم أضاف في محاضرة تحت عنوان (القومية حقيقة حية ذات مضمون إيجابي إنساني) قائلا:” لم يظهر لنا التاريخ الإنساني بعد أن القومية شيء طاريء عابر سطحي يمكن أن يتلاشى تبعا لتبدل الظروف السياسية أو الإجتماعية أو الإقتصادية، بل إن ما يرينا إياه التاريخ هو أن القومية تتغلب على شتى التبدلات الساسية والإجتماعية وغيرها، وتظل حية حتى في حالة ضعفها وتراخي روابطها. والنظرة المتعمقة ترينا أن القومية،

وإن كانت تتأثر وتتغذى بكثير من العوامل الإقتصادية والإجتماعية إلا أنها تظل أعمق من هذه العوامل وأرسخ قدما وأبعد غورا في التاريخ، فهي من صنع أجيال وقرون وهي نتيجة تراكم طويل وتفاعل عميق أوصل إلى خلق صفات مشتركة وروابط روحية ومادية بين مجموعة من البشر أصبحت هي الشخصية المعبرة عن هذه المجموعة وهي المجال الطبيعي والحياتي الذي تنطلق فيه هذه المجموعة في تحقيق إنسانيتها”(2).

لقد رأى الأستاذ ميشل عفلق شخصية الأمة دفعة واحدة، لكنه لم يناقش أو يبدي البرهان على وجودها، ورأى أنها تتغذى بكثير من العوامل وبخاصة الإقتصادرية والإجتماعية.

أما المفكر أنطون سعادة، فهو لم ينظر إلى الأمة التي تكلم عنها غيره من ناحية اللغة أو الدين أو السلالة، ولم يطرح فكرة أسلمة الشرق كحل شامل لقضايا هذا المجتمع ليمكنه من الذوبان أو التفاعل مع غيره من بقاع “الأمة”

بخاصة عندما قال الأستاذ عفلق في نقده للواقع العربي:” ثمة ثلاثة تحديات تواجه الواقع العربي هي: التجزئة، والتخلف وفقدان الإتجاه الحضاري الواحد. فعندما تحسم مسألة القومية بإقرار وحدة الأمة، وعندما تحسم مشكلة التخلف بالخيار التقدمي الواضح الحاسم، يبقى موضوع روح الحضارة، وعندئذ نقرر الحقيقة التالية: أن الإسلام يشكل النسيج الروحي والحضاري للأمة العربية. فحركة الوحدة العربية، وهي حركة تاريخية، لم تتعثر حتى الأن، إلا لأنها لم تطرح بمضمونها الكامل على الجماهير العربية. أي بخياراتها الثلاثة: القومية العربية، والتقدم، والإسلام الحضاري”(3).

وهنا أسقط سعادة رهان الأستاذ عفلق، وذهب إلى العكس من ذلك تماما،

فأصر قولا أن حيث تخيب الرابطة القومية، لا يمكن أن تصيب الرابطة الدينية، لأن الرابطة الدينية تهمل الجغرافية والتاريخ والسلالة والاجتماع والاقتصاد والنفسية الاجتماعية، أي جميع العوامل التي توجد الواقع الاجتماعي وتتكفل بحفظه وسيرورته الواحدة في جغرافية الزمان والمكان،

ثم ربط فكرة الأمة بقيام وحدات على أسس علمية واضحة تتشكل فيها دورة التواصل المجتمعي على أسس إقصادية وسياسية لها مدلولها وشخصيتها المستقلة. أيضا،

لم يسقط سعادة مفهوم الأمة بطريقة عاطفية دون أن يناقش محتواها أو يهادن في مقدمات أو أسباب تخلفها، فلقد أقر بواقع المجتمعات العربية وشخصياتها المنفصلة عن بعضها، ووضع السيل الأيلة للتعاون فيما بينها على أسس السيادة الوطنية مقرا بشخصية الأمة السورية التامة كواقع علمي وإقتصادي وسياسي المكتسبة لشخصيتها عبر التاريخ.

ولأنه أعتبر أن لهذه الأمة رسالة عظيمة وضعها في غاية الحزب وخطته من حيث المبدأ قائلا:”إننا لن نتنازل عن مركزنا في العالم العربي ولا عن رسالتنا إلى العالم العربي. ولكننا نريد، أن نكون أقوياء في أنفسنا لنتمكن من تأدية رسالتنا. يجب على سورية أن تكون قوية بنهضتها القومية الإجتماعية لتستطيع القيام بمهمتها الكبرى”(4).

إن هذا لم يكن تنظيرا أو سهوا أو محاباة لأحد،

لقد فسرها سعادة على الشكل التالي:”النظرية السورية القومية الاجتماعية في هذه المسألة هي: النهوض القومي الاجتماعي بسورية أولاً، ثم سلك سياسة تعاونية لخير العالم العربي. ونهضة الأمة السورية تُحرّرُ القوة السورية من سلطة الأجانب وتحوِّلها إلى حركة فعالة لإنهاض بقية الأمم العربية ومساعدتها على الرقيّ.

وهذه العروبة السورية القومية الاجتماعية هي العروبة الصحيحة الصريحة غير الملتوية. هي العروبة العملية التي توجد أكبر مساعدة للعالم العربي وأفعل طريقة لنهوضه.

إنها ليست عروبة دينية، ولا عروبة رسمالية نفعية، ولا عروبة سياسية مرائية: إنها عروبةٌ مثليّةٌ لخير العالم العربي كله”(5).

إنها عروبة سعادة التي تجمع ذوي الأصول السريانية والكردية والأشورية والفينيقية والداغستانية والكلدانية واليزيدية والتركمانية والكنعانية والشركسية،

وتمنحهم الشعور بالإنتماء إلى وحدات قومية يستميتون من أجلها في عالم عربي تكون فيه الأمة السورية التامة صاحبة دور ريادي في التكامل والرقي والتقدم. أيضا،

إنه سعادة الذي جمع الماروني والسني والشيعي والرومي والدرزي والبروتستنطي والنصيري،

وهو القادر على جمع ابن رام الله، والحسكة، وانطلياس والبصرة، وأربد ودمشق..

وهم الفلسطينيون والشاميون واللبنانيون والعراقيون والأردنيون، الذين مزقتهم مقدمات التخلف والنكبات الكيانية في عالم عربي،

لا خلاص له إلا بالعلمنة المؤمنة بالقومية شعارا وممارسة للحياة، كما أرادها سعادة من دون خوف في الولوج بأسباب السبات والتخلف.

إذا، لا يمكن أن نسقط التاريخ لصالح أهدافنا دون النظر إلى إرهاصاته الأولى ومكسباته عمليا،

من هنا أقول أنه لا يمكننا أن نجعل حدود اللغة والدين “حدوداً جغرافية”،

وكذلك الشعوب التي لم تكتسب وعيها القومي أو التي لا قدرة لها على اكتساب الوعي القومي، فهي ليست أمماً ولا أجزاء من أمة، بل جماهير لا شخصية لها، تنخر تاريخها وتتقدم نحو مستقبل الفشل الحتمي، وهي كارثة على مجتمعها من كل النواحي.

من هنا، إن نعتها بالجماهير ليس شانا إنشائيا بحتا، إنه الأساس في المبنى الذي قامت عليه مدرحية سعادة التي قالت بالإنسان ـ المجتمع، وربطتها بالعقل الوالج نحو التطور والإرتقاء، وبعملية المعرفة التي أناط الشرع الأعلى (العقل) عند سعادة مصدر القوة بها

فقال:”إن المجتمع معرفة والمعرفة قوة”.

وإن الإشتراك في بعض مناحي الحياة، قد يخلق إجتماعا بسيطا لا يرقى بمفهوم سعادة إلى مستوى الأمة التي لها وعيا لشخصيتها المكتسبة والموروثة (الأنسنة الملازمة للأمة والعقل الذي هو الشرع الأعلى)،

وأبرز موضع يدلك على ذلك في رسالته إلى السيدين أنيس ومحي الدين النصولي عندما يقول:”إن الأمة ليست الشعب وأن الشعب جزء من الأمة، وأن هذا أصل وذاك فرع”. أما نحن فنقول للسيدين النصولي أن اعترافهما بوجود شعوب في العالم العربي لا شعب واحد، يوازي الإعتراف بوجود أمم في العالم العربي لا أمة واحدة. ذلك لأن كل أمة شعب..

فإذا كان العالم العربي شعوباً لا شعباً واحداً فهو ليس أمة واحدة لأن الأمة هي الشعب الواحد المستفيق لنفسه والمكتسب شخصية سياسية.

وقد اكتسب الشعب السوري وعيه القومي فهو أمة. واكتسب الشعب المصري وعيه القومي فهو أمة أيضاً. أما الشعوب التي لم تكتسب وعيها القومي أو التي لا قدرة لها على اكتساب الوعي القومي فهي ليست أمماً ولا أجزاء من أمة، بل جماهير لا شخصية لها”

How North Africa countries viewed pandemics through the years?

Al Maghreb al “Arabic” (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and past of Libya): There are more indigenous people slang in North Africa then Arabic speaking language as first language

Les épidémies vues par les auteurs du Maghreb et du Moyen-Orient au cours des siècles

Pandémies et pestilences sont depuis longtemps des sujets abordés par les écrivains, historiens et poètes.
Ceci est d’autant plus vrai au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord, qui possèdent une tradition pluriséculaire d’œuvres dédiées aux maladies
Mustafa Abu Sneineh.  Vendredi 8 mai 2020

Épidémies, pandémies et pestilences sont depuis longtemps des sujets abordés par les écrivains, historiens et poètes ; du Décaméron médiéval de Giovanni Boccaccio et du Journal de l’année de la peste de Daniel Defoe à L’Aveuglement de José Saramago, lauréat du prix Nobel, plus récemment.

Poésie arabe : les dix auteurs classiques et modernes à lire absolument


L’une des œuvres les plus célèbres est La Peste de l’écrivain pied-noir Albert Camus. Publié en 1947, l’action se déroule dans la ville algérienne d’Oran et repose sur l’épidémie de choléra qui a submergé la ville en 1849 (Camus a choisi de placer son roman dans l’ère moderne).

Beaucoup ont interprété son récit comme une métaphore de la résistance à l’occupation nazie pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

La même année, Nazik al-Mala’ika a brisé les conventions en poésie avec son récit du choléra au Caire ; un millier d’années auparavant, Ibn al-Wardi fulminait contre la peste au travers d’une ode, avant de succomber lui-même à la maladie deux jours plus tard.

Toutefois, les œuvres liées aux épidémies dans la région ne se cantonnent pas à la fiction : au-delà de l’artistique et de l’impressionnisme, on trouve également des guides d’hygiène, des livres de voyage et des hadith (paroles, actes ou permissions tacites attribués au prophète Mohammed et utilisés comme des conseils pour la vie quotidienne).

Les travaux de l’écrivain Ibn Abi al-Dunya au IXe siècle, ainsi que ceux d’Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani un peu plus tard donnaient des conseils sur la façon de combattre la maladie – tout comme, au XXIe siècle, nous nous tournons vers l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) et d’autres instances spécialisées pour nous guider.

1947 : Choléra en Égypte

Le Choléra, de la poétesse irakienne Nazik al-Mala’ika (1923-2007), dépeint la mort, le chagrin et l’agonie qui se sont abattus sur l’Égypte pendant les derniers mois de l’année 1947.

L’épidémie de choléra de 1947 a dominé les médias égyptiens de l’époque
L’épidémie de choléra de 1947 a dominé les médias égyptiens de l’époque

Cette épidémie, qui a durement frappé le pays, est considérée comme l’une des plus graves apparitions de la maladie en Egypte au XXe siècle, tuant environ 10 276 personnes sur les 20 805 cas recensés.

Pendant cette période, l’Égypte fut coupée du reste du monde, avec des restrictions de circulation et l’isolement forcé des patients et des communautés.

Bien que l’origine de l’infection n’ait jamais été prouvée, de nombreux Égyptiens pensaient qu’elle avait été importée par des soldats anglais de retour de garnison en Inde (de nombreuses garnisons britanniques étaient toujours stationnées en Égypte, qui était autrefois une colonie britannique, à la fin des années 1940).

(The German physician Kock , dispatched to Egypt, discovered the cause for the cholera: Usage of polluted well, where people drank and washed their clothes)

Nazik al-Mala’ika conjure les images vivaces de véhicules transportant les cadavres et le silence qui s’abat sur les rues égyptiennes ; elle utilise également des expressions familières à propos de la maladie, comme « al-Shota » et « al-Heyda », qu’on peut traduire par « rapide » et « vif ».

Le Triomphe de la Mort, œuvre peinte en 1562 par Pieter Bruegel l’Ancien (musée du Prado, Madrid)

Son style a été salué par les critiques à l’époque et qualifié de révolutionnaire dans son utilisation des vers libres plutôt que le format traditionnel de l’ode arabe, qui remonte désormais à presque 1 500 ans.

Le Choléra a ainsi inauguré un nouveau chapitre de la poésie arabe et inspiré une nouvelle vague de poètes arabes – surnommée la Génération pionnière – qui a expérimenté différentes formes.

Dans les années 1990, Nazik al-Mala’ika a déménagé au Caire, où elle a passé ses dernières années.

L’aube s’est levée.
Écoute bien le bruit des pas de ceux qui sont en marche
Dans le silence de l’aube,
prête attention aux processions en pleurs
Dix, vingt morts
Ne cherche pas à les dénombrer
Partout un corps que pleure un affligé
Pas un instant d’éternité, pas de silence
L’humanité se plaint, se plaint de ce qu’a commis la mort
Sous la forme du choléra, la mort se venge.
Même le fossoyeur a baissé les bras, il n’y a plus d’auxiliaire.
La mosquée, son muezzin est mort,
Et le mort, qui en fera-t-il l’oraison funèbre ?
Ô Égypte, ce qu’a fait la mort m’a déchiré le cœur.

1784 : Épidémie en Afrique du Nord

La représentation populaire des pandémies se concentre sur les épidémies telles que la peste noire ou l’épidémie de grippe de 1917-1920, qualifiée à tort de « grippe espagnole ». Mais les épidémies peuvent également être locales.

La peste a exacerbé les tensions entre Sfax et Venise : ici, les forces placées sous le commandement d’Angelo Emo bombardent le port tunisien (en haut à gauche)
La peste a exacerbé les tensions entre Sfax et Venise : ici, les forces placées sous le commandement d’Angelo Emo bombardent le port tunisien (en haut à gauche)

L’ouvrage Voyage à Tripoli ou Relation d’un séjour de dix années en Afrique a été rédigé par une certaine « Miss Tully », belle-sœur de Richard Tully, consul britannique à Tripoli à compter de 1784.

La ville portuaire, située aujourd’hui en Libye, a été touchée par la peste en 1785. Tully évoque la paille brûlée utilisée pour la fumigation des maisons – ainsi que ce qu’on qualifierait aujourd’hui de mesures de distanciation physique.

On ne communique plus ensemble maintenant qu’en tenant un flambeau de paille, entre la personne admise dans la maison, et celle qui lui parle. On ne reçoit plus un ami que dans un appartement garni de nattes, et au fond duquel il va s’asseoir sur une chaise de paille, que l’on ne touche ensuite que lorsqu’elle a préalablement subi une fumigation.

Mais la situation était tout aussi grave dans ce qui est aujourd’hui la Tunisie. Le 29 avril 1785, Tully écrit :

Depuis quelques semaines, plusieurs courriers ont traversé le désert qui se trouve entre Tunis et cette ville, et ont répandu ainsi la peste sur leur passage ; aussi tous les lieux environnants en sont-ils infectés.

L’épidémie a atteint la ville portuaire de Sfax en 1784 et y a tué 15 000 personnes selon les estimations, dans une ville qui comptait 30 000 habitants, le double de Tripoli.

Sfax avait déjà été touchée par des épidémies en 1622 et en 1688, mais le nouveau foyer, près d’un siècle plus tard, était plus meurtrier, tuant une grande partie de l’élite, notamment des responsables politiques, des juges… et des poètes.

Tout a commencé lorsque des marchands sont arrivés par la mer après avoir fui l’épidémie à Alexandrie, à l’est. Bien que l’entrée de Sfax leur ait été refusée, des marins sont parvenus à violer l’interdiction.

Plus tard, la guerre allait succéder à l’épidémie. Un navire marchand vénitien fut incendié par les forces du bey (dirigeant) de Tunis, par crainte qu’il ait été infecté par la maladie. À compter de l’automne 1784 et l’année suivante, la flotte vénitienne bombarda certaines villes dont Sfax.

1349 : Pestilence en Syrie

Ibn al-Wardi (1292-1349), historien syrien, est né à Maarat al-Nouman. Il a évoqué de façon vivace la peste noire, qui a balayé le monde au milieu du XIVe siècle, de l’Asie au Moyen-Orient puis jusqu’à l’Europe.

Une carte du monde datant du XIVe siècle par Ibn al Wardi (Bibliothèque du Congrès)
Une carte du monde datant du XIVe siècle par Ibn al Wardi (Bibliothèque du Congrès)

Ibn al Wardi vivait à Alep lorsque l’épidémie a touché la ville en 1349, la dévastant pendant 15 ans et fauchant 1 000 vies chaque jour. Sa Lettre témoignant de la peste est un récit historique de son impact au Levant.

La peste a commencé au pays des ténèbres. La Chine n’en a pas été préservée. La peste a infecté les Indiens en Inde, le Sind, les Perses et la Crimée. La peste a détruit l’humanité au Caire. Elle a arrêté tout mouvement à Alexandrie. 

Ensuite, la peste s’est tournée vers la Haute-Égypte. La peste a attaqué Gaza, piégé Sidon et Beyrouth. Ensuite, elle a dirigé ses flèches vers Damas. Là, la peste était assise comme un lion sur un trône et se balançait puissamment, tuant chaque jour mille personnes ou plus et anéantissant la population.

Oh Dieu, elle agit par Ton ordre. Décharge-nous de cela. Cela se produit où Tu le souhaites ; préserve-nous de la peste.

Al-Wardi a également écrit deux strophes de poésie à propos de la pandémie :

Je ne crains pas la peste noire comme les autres
Ce n’est qu’un martyre ou la victoire
Si je devais mourir, de ces rivalités je serais reposé
Et si je vis, mon œil et mon oreille seraient guéris

Il est décédé deux jours plus tard de la peste noire, qui provoque une inflammation des glandes du cou, des aisselles et de l’aine.

Xe siècle : Fièvre en Égypte

Visiteuse de la nuit, l’ode du poète irako-syrien al-Mutannabi (915-965) à la fièvre, est largement considérée comme l’un des chefs-d’œuvre de la poésie arabe classique.

La mosquée et université al-Azhar au Caire : la construction a commencé peu de temps après que le poète irako-syrien al-Mutannabi a vécu dans la ville
La mosquée et université al-Azhar au Caire : la construction a commencé peu de temps après que le poète irako-syrien al-Mutannabi a vécu dans la ville

Né à Koufa, en Irak, Ahmed bin al-Hussein al-Kindi est surnommé al-Mutannabi, qui se traduit par « celui qui se prétend prophète ». Il traite la poésie avec zèle et son inspiration s’appuie sur les sens et les expériences plutôt que sur de simples abstractions.

Visiteuse de la nuit dépeint la maladie comme une amante timide, se faufilant dans le lit de Mutannabi après la tombée de la nuit. Le lecteur peut ressentir viscéralement et voir cette invitée importune, car une strophe donne une idée de la façon dont la fièvre fait délirer sa victime, la laissant en sueur et fatiguée.

Les métaphores de Mutannabi et le jeu sur la langue étaient uniques à l’époque, notamment l’idée de la fièvre – qui n’est jamais définie sur le plan médical – comme une visiteuse de la nuit.

Mutannabi était anxieux quand il a écrit ce poème en Égypte, après s’être brouillé avec son meilleur ami Sayf al-Dawla, le dirigeant d’Alep, après des dissensions intellectuelles à la cour royale.

Il a été tué par des bandits en 965 alors qu’il voyageait depuis Ahvaz dans l’Iran moderne. Son influence à l’époque était telle que la nouvelle de sa mort retentit comme un tonnerre dans le monde musulman.

Ma visiteuse, comme frappée par une honte,
ne me visite que dans l’obscurité.
Je lui ai offert mes membres et mes organes
pourtant elle a préféré mes os.

Ma peau nous oppresse tous les deux
et mon mal ne fait que s’accroître.
En me quittant elle me lave si bien
comme pour nous laver d’un grand péché.
Le matin la chasse sans ménagement
Et en larmes elle fuit aux quatre coins.
J’attends avec angoisse son retour
tel un nostalgique anxieux.

IXe siècle : Conseils en Irak

L’un des premiers érudits à avoir écrit un livre sur la peste noire est l’Irakien Ibn Abi al-Dunya (823-894).

Admiré comme enseignant, il fut précepteur des califes abbassides, qui gouvernaient un territoire s’étendant à travers l’Afrique du Nord, la péninsule arabique, le Levant ainsi que l’Iran et l’Afghanistan d’aujourd’hui.

Le calife abbasside al-Ma’mun (à gauche), qui a régné pendant les premières années de la vie d’al-Dunya, était un fervent partisan de l’érudition (manuscrit du XIIe/XIIIe siècle/Bibliothèque nationale de Madrid)
Le calife abbasside al-Ma’mun (à gauche), qui a régné pendant les premières années de la vie d’al-Dunya, était un fervent partisan de l’érudition (manuscrit du XIIe/XIIIe siècle/Bibliothèque nationale

Aux premiers siècles de l’islam, peu de choses ont été écrites sur la peste : jusqu’au IXe siècle, aucun savant sérieux n’avait consacré un livre à ce sujet ou suggéré des mesures à prendre pour éviter la contagion.

Ibn Abi al-Dunya est le premier à y remédier : comme il avait accès aux dirigeants les plus puissants de l’époque, sa parole avait du poids (il était, en fait, ce qui se rapprochait le plus de l’OMS pour Bagdad).

Dans Le Livre des pestilences, il a inclus un hadith sur la fièvre :

Le Messager d’Allah, que la paix et les bénédictions soient sur lui, est entré dans la maison d’Umm Sa’ib et a demandé : « Qu’est-ce qui te fait souffrir, Ô Umm Sa’ib ? Tu frissonnes. »

Elle a répondu : « C’est une fièvre. Allah ne l’a pas bénie. »

Le Prophète a dit : « Ne maudis pas la fièvre. En vérité, elle ôte les péchés des enfants d’Adam, tout comme un four enlève la saleté du fer. »

Le Livre des maladies et des expiations, quant à lui, donne des exemples de la façon dont les gens ont guéri de la maladie, y compris le prophète Mohammed, aux premiers jours de l’islam.

Son travail a ensuite été cité par Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1372-1449), né dans la ville palestinienne d’Askalan, qui est devenu un érudit réputé au Caire, l’un des principaux sièges d’apprentissage du Moyen-Orient.

Son livre Donner l’aumône dans la grâce de la pestilence allait s’avérer l’une des œuvres les plus populaires sur la peste noire, qui venait de balayer l’hémisphère oriental.

639 : Hadiths en Palestine

Le village palestinien d’Emmaüs se situe entre Jérusalem et Ramleh.

En 639, il a été touché par une peste qui s’est propagée à travers le Levant et a coûté la vie à de nombreux compagnons du prophète Mohammed.

Une copie du Coran, qui daterait de la fin du VIIe siècle (Musée d’art islamique, Qatar)
Une copie du Coran, qui daterait de la fin du VIIe siècle (Musée d’art islamique, Qatar)

Environ 25 000 personnes ont péri lors de la peste d’Emmaüs, dont ses compagnons, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Muadh ibn Jabal, Shurahbil ibn Hasana et Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan. En conséquence, des érudits musulmans ont écrit sur ce qu’était la peste, les mesures que les résidents devraient prendre, la meilleure nourriture à consommer, l’hygiène personnelle et comment se déplacer d’une ville à l’autre.

L’un des hadith largement cités du prophète Mohammed dans les livres sur les fléaux conseille :

Si la peste est dans un pays, n’y entrez pas, mais si vous êtes dans la contrée où elle sévit, restez-y.

Un autre hadith dit :

Les personnes atteintes de maladies contagieuses doivent être tenues à l’écart de celles qui sont en bonne santé.

Isolement et confinement : aussi pertinents aujourd’hui qu’ils l’étaient il y a 1 400 ans.

Traduit de l’anglais (original) par VECTranslation.

Nothing new in financial transactions: As old as 8,000 years ago

The Near-East civilization invented the alphabet, the currency and how to coin the correncies, it even created trade financial transactions without exchanging hard currencies.

The coined currencies done in Tyre was used as far as Persia for many centuries, and Carthage currency was handled for 5 centuries, even after the destruction of Carthage.

Carthage traded through letters of credit to its various settlement and countries they had established “contoire” in them.

وللحديث تتمة…

الشعب الحثّي- الكنعاني – الفينيقي سكن أرض لبنان منذ 8000 سنة قبل المسيح…

وإخترع هذا الشعب العظيم “الأبجديّة” لتسهيل تواصله مع العالم،

وإخترع بعد الأبجدية ” العملة” أيّ ” النقد”، وإستنبط فنون صكّ العملة…

وقدّ تميّز النقد الحثّي الكنعاني الفينيقي بدقّة الصنع، وضبط الأوزان، وكان عملة عالمية كالدولار الأميركي اليوم… وكان يحمل رموزاً وأشكال الآلهة والسفن والميثولوجيات والعمران والرمزيّات.

وبقيّت عملة صور ببلاد فارس، إيران اليوم، حتى القرن الثاني بعد المسيح، وكانت مدينة صور تصّك كلّ عملات الشرق.

وبعد صور، أتت مدينة قرطاجة، بنت صور، وصكتّ العملة على الجلد المختوم بخاتم الدولة، وإستمرّ التداول بهذه العملة القرطاجيّة حتى القرن الخامس بعد المسيح.

أمّا أهمّ إختراع لقرطاجة فهو إختراع ” التحويل المالي” بالمراسلة.

ونحن أحفاد هذا الشعب… وما زلنا نستفيد من هذان الإختراعان،

الأول وهو النقد وإستبدلناه بعشقنا للدولار الأميركي، والثاني بتهريب الأموال إلى خارج الوطن بواسطة ” التحويل المالي” المستتر…

لا جديد تحت الشمس، والتاريخ يعيد نفسه…

دال الحتي
3 أيار 2020

A National identity? Lacking this identity? Again, what is this new notion?

Note: Re-edit of “Lacking a National identity? Is it a big deal?”

We don’t need to unite under an identity:  All national identities everywhere were invariably built and sustained on myths, historical falsehood, and faked stories.

Any powerful colonial nation that gained an “identity” was forced upon its “citizens” by waging wars for fictitious claims and suffering millions of young soldiers fallen in battlefields.

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and to applying our expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unite against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to work against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

What identity are we claiming?  

Are we to emulate other Nations that based their “identity” on myths and falsehood?

Youth was sacrificed to institute a Nation and were never taken seriously because they are viewed as just meat for the canon and a burden to a stable political system…

There are sections in Lebanon (mostly Christian Maronites) advancing the French mandatory alternative of a “Phoenician” ancestors.

Currently, there are Lebanese testing their blood for DNA evidences of any physical “Phoenician inheritance“.

A few are wary that they won’t be found to have any Phoenician stain/strain and be caste off as “strangers”.  What a load of crap.

The Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean Sea in 1,200 BC and the string of their City-States extended from southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, up to Haifa in Palestine.

The Phoenicians were famous for maritime trade and commerce and established many trading centers around the Sea.  The written language has been around for 3,000 years, but the Phoenicians in the City-State of Byblos are credited for inventing the alphabet (currently in use with slight modifications.)

Before the Phoenicians and afterward, the Near East region of the Mediterranean (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) has been invaded by a dozen warrior empires, many invaded us repeatedly.

For example, the empires in Iraq (Akkad, Babylon, Assyria), Egypt, Persia under various dynasties (at least four of them), Greece, Roman, Byzantium, Arabic, Ottoman, and finally the colonial powers of France and Britain.

All these warrior empires didn’t build anything worth showing as representative of civilization, until they invaded our region “The Land” and rounded off and hoarded the educated and master craftsmen to their capitals.

We are a region of multiple identities if we have to rely on occupation empires.

How about we identify with education and craftsmanship?  I love this identity.

Let us focus on affordable efficient schooling system; let us encourage technical and craftsmanship schooling system.

Let us focus on building commercial ships; let us invest in railways and fast communication facilities; let us open up to knowledge facilities all over the world.

I love this identity; let us get to work and planning.

Another sections of Lebanese, mostly Muslim-Sunnis, would like to have an Arabic identity and pushing it too far to claiming that we are from the Arabian Peninsula. Are we Arabs?  What that means?

The Islamic Arabic army that came from the Arabian Peninsula to fight the Byzantine Empire and later the Persian Empire barely numbered 7,000 men of war.  The other three-fourth of the army that backed and supplemented the “Arabic army” was constituted from people and tribes living in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan wanting to defeat the Byzantium unforgiving Orthodox Church and domination.

How can we be descendant of the sparsely populated Arabian Peninsula?

The “Arabic identity” group would claim that our culture and civilization is Islamic Arabic. How that?

The cultural development during the Arabic Empire was shouldered by the scholars in Syria, Iraq, and Iran and they were mostly Christians. They would like to rely on the Arabic language as basis for our identity.  Excellent idea.

Let us prove that the Arabic language is a viable foundation; let us infuse a new spirit in that dying language; let us translate the worthy manuscripts; let us invent new terms that have No religious connotation and spread the Arabic language as a universal language, valid to sustain modern civilization with fresh brains and advanced sciences and technologies.  I will be for it and will support it vehemently.

But first, let these “Arabic” scholars recognize that the Arabic language has roots in the slang of the Land: Aramaic, and Syriac languages…

There are other factions wanting to claim that we are Muslims.  How about the dozen minority religious sects?  Are we to agree on a theocratic identity?

Turkish Ataturk cancelled the caliphate in 1925 and there is no caliphate anymore, anywhere.  Tiny Lebanon has 19 “officially” recognized self-autonomous religious communities running our civil life.  Let us get real.

A theocratic State will never pass and will never find unity for identity.

Should we hide behind a reality of disparate communities to establish the concept of plurality community government?  Should 19 wrong sectarian identities constitute a valid identity?


What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.  

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to working against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

Last Supper: In context of the customs in the Land

Note: Re-edit of “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.

Note: The probable cause for Judas switching camp might be his Non comprehension for Jesus Not taking advantage of this mass support and proclaiming himself the Chief Rabbi and leader of the revolt against the Roman occupation of the Land.

In social idiosyncrasies, the Devil is NOT in the Details

Note: Re-edit of “The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)”

Details are the basis for any program execution.  Do details bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises?

Strong with draft details, can each organization start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture? Why it is never the way around in social behavior?

The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.

I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

First case:

After the crucifixion of Jesus, many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct.

What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another. Actually, they tended to isolate their community from “outside” influence

Military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; and entire “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety.

The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.

Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract superstructure on concepts was imposed.

Concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persian Sassanid Dynasty).

The Nestorian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca. The uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible.

Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East, the Orthodox Church .

The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”: for Constantinople, Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region.

It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts.

For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantine Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

Second case:

The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River.

This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI.

The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws.

( For example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind).

Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals.

The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.

Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation. 

We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.

Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally.

Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

The City-States in the Near East (Tyr, Sidon, Byblos, Ugarit, Mary …) competed in commerce and trade but never attacked one another militarily.  In Greece, City-States frequently waged military wars against one another.  The Near Eastern people adopted defensive strategy; even Carthage in its apogee refrained to antagonize Rome militarily.

Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.

The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek translating Syrians authors who spoke Aramaic.

Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria.

The Byzantine Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty.

The “Arabs” were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.

The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan.

The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.

France and England retreated “officially” within two decades but kept deep footprints in the laws and the administration structure. 

Implanted colonial Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern State in social behavior, regardless of Israel propaganda attempts to seeking European image.

Consequently, failing to writing a draft on a possible administrative program for the Syrian Nation opened the door to abstract concept instead of working out negotiation and dialogue on pragmatic matters that concerned the people.

An unpublished coherent biography? Jesus The Nazarene

Note: Re-edit of “The Nazarene: An unpublished coherent biography (December 16, 2008)”

Preamble: Over a hundred of different manuscripts (Bibles) have been written on Jesus and his message in the early days of Christianity and before the four New Testaments (that were written by Matthew, Luc, Mark and John) that the Council of Nicea (Turkey) in 325 decided to select as the official representatives of the story of Jesus.

(Ironically, the selected Bibles were written in Greek; maybe the language was one of the main factors for retaining them. the other factor was to show Jesus a serious person who didn’t travel wide and large during his younger years. So far, no early manuscripts were made available or even recognized as valid).

There are evidences that the Bible of Mathew was originally written in Aramaic, the language of the Land, before being translated into Greek. Many of these early manuscripts were written by the disciples of Jesus and close companions like Barnaby (the spiritual guide of Paul and who accompanied Paul in his first apostolic trip in the interior of Turkey), Thomas (not necessarily the twin brother of Jesus who established the first Christian community in the port of Deb on the Indus River), Philip, Bartholomew, and others.

There are many folk tales that are to be considered as more valid than the canonical “truths or facts”.

What we know is that Jesus had his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and he sat among the priests and had a discussed with them.  Actually, this event was done in the Carmel at the Eseens Grand Temple in Galilee.

In between this event and his preaching adventure (over 25 years) the Church has nothing to offer but that Jesus obeyed his parents.  Even the story of his birth until his Bar Mitzvah is not reliable and could be considered as one of the acceptable version.

It is said that Jesus was 33-year old when he was crucified; that is the minimum age because Jesus was older and probably close to be forty. Marie got wed very young at 15 or 16 as tradition required and she died at age 56 and Jesus was her eldest son. Do the calculus.

How Jesus spent the time in between (a span of at least 20 years) and where did he live and grew to maturity?

As is the custom in Judaism, boys were married at 13 and Jesus was not to be an exception but he had an outlet to tradition:  Nazareth, which didn’t even exist before Jesus lived there for a while until Joseph passed away and removed to Qana to live with his mother town. That is why the Jews of Jerusalem mocked Jesus as The Nazarene. 

The Essenes sect main location was in Qumran (not far from the western side of the Dead Sea).

The Essene sect (cabala) lived in a closed community; women were not included, and the members vowed celibacy;. They were vegetarians, ate together, distributed their wealth to the community, and each member worked according to his skills.

The members wore a unique white dress code in summer and another outfit in winter. The members of this community were known to be excellent healers. This sect was also labeled the “Baptist”, the “Nazoreen” and “Ossene” (the Strong).

The teachings of Buddhism had reached this community two centuries ago because King Ashoka of India had dispatched Buddhist monks to this region.

It is very plausible that Jesus opted to join the Qumran community to avoid being wed. The Essenien caste had branches in Alexandria (Egypt) called Therapeutic or healers and also in Syria.

John the Baptist cousin of Jesus, was Essenien.

The fact that the canonic testaments reveal that John the Baptist didn’t recognize Jesus at the first sight might suggests that the two men didn’t meet in the community of Qumran at the same periods or that Jesus had left the community long time ago: Jesus was a traveler and not a community dweller.

There are evidences that Jesus was a wide traveler, knew many languages and was highly versed in religions and other legal aspects of the land.

It is very plausible that Jesus visited Alexandria, Syria, and even reached India; he lingered in India and Persia before returning to Syria and Galilee.

A manuscript named “Himis” was discovered in Kashmir, close to the city of Leh, which described the “Lost years of Jesus”.

In that manuscript it is referred to Jesus as Issa (an Aramaic name that the Arabs adopted) who traveled to most of the Holy Cities in India such as Juggernaut, Rajagriha, and Benares, and was frequently chased out by the clergies (sacerdotal officers).

The manuscript relates multitudes of pronouncements and teachings by Issa that are compatible to the canonic Bibles.

Issa fled to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Persia.  It is plausible that a Christian sect in the vicinities of Kashmir wrote that narrative. It is also plausible that Jesus survived his wounds during crucifixion and headed eastward: the shroud of Milan have marks of a body still hot and not of a cadaver.

I frankly cannot see why this story should be thrown out; countless adolescents tour the world nowadays; it was even more common in those times for young people trekking to learn and attend renowned schools.

Jesus knew more than three language; Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (the language of the educated of the time) and Latin since he spoke to Roman centurions and Pontius Pilate.

It is also narrated that Jesus lived for a time in Sidon (a Lebanese port) teaching in its famous law school.  His mother Mary and part of her extended family were original of the town of Qana in the district of Tyre, and moved to a town nearby when Jesus was a lecturer in the law school.

It is no fluke incident that Jesus and Mary attended a wedding in Qana (a town close to Sidon); it is also very rational that Jesus decided to start his message after Qana when his mother removed the cover of secrecy and exposed his supernatural gifts of turning water to wine.

Jesus was a high priest in the Essene sect and preached a message based on symbolism and fables and was highly spiritual and staunchly anti-Pharisee.  The Jewish cabala sect is a branch of the Essene sect and is founded on the Sumerian theology and myths. 

Albert Schweitzer, a theologian, physician, thinker, organ player and Nobel Peace laureate offered his version on Jesus.

Schweitzer said, based on the first two Bibles of Matthew and Marc, that Jesus preached his message to the general public in the last year before his crucifixion.  Six months, all in all, was the period that Jesus was accompanied by the public; the remaining months he spent them among his close disciple around Caesarea of Philippi.

In the beginning, Jesus accepted the label of a prophet among the prophets but then he reached the belief that he is the Messiah of the Jews.

Thus, he sent his disciples two by two to preach the message of the end of time, as was the custom of every “prophet”.

Jesus was very surprised when all his disciples returned safe and sound; he expected his disciples to suffer terribly and be put to death if the “prophecy of end of time” was to be accomplished.

Jesus then decided that God would accept his sacrifice and save his close disciples from atrocious deaths before the first coming of the Messiah.  The version of what happened in Jerusalem and Jesus crucifixion can be followed in my article “Judas Iscariot“.

Note 1:  Jesus had a large extended family; he had many brothers and sisters and his grandmother Ann married a second time and had many boys and girls.  Matthew made a valiant attempt through 42 generations to link Jesus to David. If we have no records of Jesus own family then how could we go that far back in genealogy?

The Christian Jews wanted a Jewish King very badly.  Actually, several early Christian communities unified the New Testament into one coherent book and had eliminated Matthew’s ridiculous endeavor.

Note 2: The first Christian communities emulated the monastic and ascetic life of the Essene sect. A few early Christian sects went beyond the ascetic of the Essenians. For example, the author Amine Maalouf, in his book on Mani, mentions a community called in Aramaic “Halle Haware” or white garment clad people.

This caste did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white garments from top to bottom, they were scared of fire (symbol of evil), and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.

Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.  Travelers of this community carried with them the unleavened bread and produce of their home grown community because outside food was not pure.

Many monophysist Christian sects (Jesus is only divine) such as the Jacobite and Nastourian (a name originated from the name Nazareth) had reached China before Islam (around 600 AC). They translated their Bible into Chinese and were permitted to preach their brand of religion and build churches.  T

The Nestorians built churches all along the Silk Road and many of these edifices can still be found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Persia.

It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad learned about Christianity from these sects that were marginalized by the official Byzantine Church.

Note 3: What the disciples of Jesus retained most from all the teaching of Jesus was that “the second coming” will take place shortly after they died, so that they will be resurrected as Jesus was.




December 2020

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