Adonis Diaries

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“Have no fear searching for truth in sciences“: Averroes, Ibn Rushd

Note: Re-edit of “Averroes (1126-1198): Civilization after Ibn Rushd of Cordoba”

Truth cannot contradict truth; sciences is in accord with God’s revelations.  God has nothing to fear when you use your rational intelligence to discover the universe and the causes of phenomenon.

How unjust is the one raising obstacles between man and science:  Science is the road to perfection.  Opposing learning and applying science is contrasting with God’s purpose, since the divine project is to realize such perfection”

That is basically what Ibn Rush (known as Averroes) tried to convey to civilization through his abundant writings in medicine, sciences, astronomy, philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology.

Ibn Rush would be known as “Al hafeed” (the grandson): his grandfather Muhammad Ibn Rushd was a well-renowned judge in Cordoba.

A brief background:

Cordoba in Andalusia, southern Spain, was the main center of culture and civilization in that century:  Muslims, Christians and Jews were living in harmony and tolerance was the rule, while Europe is battling among its various Christian schisms.

Baghdad was declining and the Mogul hordes will soon sack and destroy this famous city in about 1250.

The Western Roman Empire had vanished, and the Byzantine Empire was weakening and soon will be reduced to a vassal condition to the Ottoman expanding power in Turkey.

Papal Rome is being selected by the Germanic monarchs as well as the bishops, and in many occasions, two popes are elected and backed by various monarchs.

The political and military confrontations among the many Christian religious schisms on the nature of Jesus have taken their toll on Europe.

The crusaders are loosing their grips in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Turks are counter attacking and recapturing lost territories.

The Catholic Prince of Castile and Aragon (Spain) had started the “reconquista” and the Andalousia was wracked by wars among the multiple small kingdoms of Islamic monarchs; these internal wars were called “wars of Tawaif“.

In 1070, the monarch of Seville conquered the tolerant republican Cordoba.

In 1112, Ibn Tumar, a literate Berber from Algeria who spent ten years in Iran, returned to proclaim that he is the awaited “hidden” Mahdi (since 874) of the Islam sect the Shias and formed the Almohades (Al Muwayidun) or united Islam.

The Spanish Catholic monarch Alphonse 7th put siege to Cordoba in 1148.

The Caliph of Cordoba Abd Mu2min calls on the Almohades for rescue and outset the Almoravids dynasty (Al murabitun) or the ones in vigilance.  The Almoravids originated from Mauritania and were a powerful tribe of traders in the western Sahara that captured Morocco.

In 1154, Ibn Rushd is presented to the heir of the Almohades monarch Abu Yaacub Yussuf by his friend Ibn Tufayl.

Abu Yaacub Yussuf asked Ibn Rushd to condense the works of Aristotle in a clear commentary so that most literate Moslems could read and understand.  Prince Abu Yaacub Yussuf had read the translated Aristotle’s works into Arabic but needed intelligent interpretations of difficult topics.

That is how Ibn Rushd ended up producing 88 volumes in 20,000 pages of Aristotle’s’ works from philosophy to zoology.

Ibn Rushd program was to decipher the Koran, discovering the means to comprehending the universe, and thus, extracting the truth.  For that end, he had to read the works of all philosophers, and first among them Aristotle. Complex concepts generated such remarks from Ibn Rushd:

If Aristotle didn’t study this topic, it would be very difficult to comprehend it.  Aristotle is such a norm in nature, a model that nature invented to seeking human perfection

Ibn Rushd is so versed in Aristotle rational thinking that he corrected many errors in translated versions.  To Ibn Rushd, rational thinking and revealed knowledge are independent and one method cannot explain the other:  the two ways lead to the same truth.

Al Farabi, a much earlier Islamic philosopher affirmed that reason should have the first and last word in matter of faith.

As Ibn Rushd commented: “Theologians distort sacred texts and interpose between the common people and men of knowledge to control the people. They are the kind of teachers who don’t teach art but the results of arts.  They don’t teach how to fabricate shoes but rather offer varieties of shoes to select from.”  They are our modern salesmen who ejaculate technical words but have no idea what they are talking about.

Dialectical and rhetorical reasoning cannot compensate for demonstrative reasoning.

Ibn Rushd wrote: “generally, common people confuse inferences with conclusions that are drawn from several premises.

For example:  common people say “this person is a thief because he was seen wandering at night” and do not evaluate all the other factors that determine a thieving behavior.  

Common people conclude that they will see God as we see the sun when they are told that God is light.  

Learned people comprehend that beatitude and grace increase knowledge.  

Truth is not intuitive and we have to accumulate knowledge; we cannot become astronomer without learning and assimilating geometry and mathematics.”

Ibn Rushd is not professing the existence of two truths:  The Koran is a guide toward acceding to truth, which is necessarily scientific.

What conforms to truth, which we receive from the Aristotelian scholars, we accept with joy and recognition. What does not conform to truth we will signal it so that to be on our guard and we excuse them for the untruth.

He stated that what counts in a method in satisfying the conditions of validity and that is sufficient in scientific methods, which he calls “sacrifice”:  Reason has the job of eliminating errors in order to re-establishing order in society.

Forbidding people from applying scientific methods on the ground that they lead to errors, abuse, and blasphemy is like forbidding someone from drinking lest he dies of thirst on the excuse that some people die from drowning.  

Scientific methods of reasoning is not meant to define God or the operations that lead to the creation of the universe:  It attests to its existence.  We cannot apply to God the categories and human concepts

Ibn Rushd believed in a collective soul “the abstract intellect” after death but not on individual basis; thus, after death individual memories and imagination power are lost for ever

Ibn Rushd dared reflect and answer all the corny questions that civilization was dealing with in order to finding order, coherence, and harmony between religious dogmas and rational thinking.

Reading, interpreting and commenting Aristotle’s works were back in fashion in Cordoba at the instigation of a new Sultan Abu Yaakub Yusuf, with Capital in Fez (Morocco).

Ibn Rushd wrote: “The future is dependent on the education of women and equality between genders.

Nations where the capabilities of women are ignored, where women are considered just good for procreation and maintaining the upkeep of the family are cancelling the other important activities of women.

As a female are not recognized human virtues they are reduced to vegetative status.  One of the main reasons that these nations are in poor economic situations is that women are terrible burden to development of the society.”

The successor of Sultan Yusuf came under heavy pressures from the salafist, very conservative Muslims to crack down on Ibn Rushd liberty of expression.

Ibn Rushd was banned from publishing books or communicating what he wrote for his own pleasure.  The pressures resulted to initiating public bonfires burning the scholars manuscripts.

Luckily, copies reached Cairo and southern France where they were read and translated in Hebrew, Latin, and local languages.

Moise ibn Maimuna (Maimonides), 12 years younger than Ibn Rushd and originally from Cordoba, was at the period settled in Cairo and was the official physician of the Caliph.  Maimonides relied on Ibn Rushd’s works to perpetuate the rational and scientific trend.  He wrote:

We may dispense of Plato’s works:  Aristotle’s works suffice since they are the foundations and roots of scientific rational methods.  Aristotle’s works cannot be comprehended without the commentaries of Ibn Rushd.”

In 1497, Papal Rome encouraged the institution of a university in Padoua (Italy) to teach Aristotle’s works and be translated directly from ancient Greek.  It was a strategy of ignoring the influence of Islamic culture that was spreading in Catholic Europe.

The Renaissance scholars dared not communicate the sources of their knowledge and learning. Since then, European scholars have continued this custom of deliberately ignoring seven centuries of Islamic civilizations when accounting for western Europe civilization.

Ibn Rushd medical textbook “Kulliyat” known as Collegiate was taught in Europe for many centuries.

Another famous scholar, Ibn Sina, known as Avicenne, wrote in the 10th century, 300 manuscripts, of which 50 are in scientific fields and 40 in medicine. His “Canon of medicine” was taught in Europe till the 18th century as a fundamental textbook.

Note:  I refused to approach the theological questions and Ibn Rushd’s responses because I am not interested in abstract concepts that lack demonstrative methods for confirming or denying veracity.

The daybreak of feminism.

A Summary of meu314 from wordpress.com

Note: I added a few notes in parenthesis and broke down long paragraphs to match my reading style. You can always read the original of meu314

(Versión en Español aquí)

Christine de Pizan was studying at home, like many other nights, when she run into Matheolus’ Lamentations.

At first, she was completely sure that all the misogynistic statements of the book were nothing but nonsense, but then, she remembered some other great writers and philosophers who said the same things, and she wondered whether she was wrong in her perception of women, being herself one of them.

This thought made her fall in despair.

At that point, the Three Virtues (Lady Reason, Lady Rectitude and Lady Justice) decided to appear to Christine to make her see that she was Not the wrong one and to help her build a city where any woman in the same situation of Christine could go and seek for refuge.

This way, a long conversation between the Three Virtues and Christine started, where they refuted and explained all the misogynistic ideas of that time.

Introduction to the book and influences

Firstly, I ought to mention that this book was written between the end of 1404 and the beginning of 1405.

Even though it has more than five hundred years, some of the subjects treated are still ongoing and the perspective with which they are treated is very progressist, even for today’s society.

Nevertheless, we cannot forget when the book was written, as there are some other ideas that could look old-fashioned to us, but they were a complete breakdown at the time. (where the book was published? In Spain?)

The title of the book (in French is “The City of Ladies”. How odd, the title is English) is a clear reference to the book The City of Godwritten by Saint Augustine, and even the idea of Christine´s book receives a clear influence from Saint Augustine’s, where he makes an defense of the Christianity by confronting a Christian city against a pagan one, and uses this to explain theological ideas.

Christine also receives a strong influence from the exemplum, books that started to become popular a couple of centuries before and which aim was to lecture the reader in a religious way.

We see that the Book of the City of the Ladies draws from centuries of theological thinking to refute the misogynistic ideas spread mainly by the Church.

As a matter of fact, Christine uses the major theological authority, one of the four Doctors of the Church, to precisely dismantle the reasoning of bishops and priests, and even those of the same Doctor. It is simply brilliant.

The first thing that caught my attention when I started the book was the fact that almost all women that appear there were Ancient History figures, Christian or pagan.

I was expecting for a collection of women contemporary to Christine, I was hoping to discover a lot of unknown Renaissance women.

There is indeed a moment when Christine explicitly says that not only foreign are to enter the city, and she mentions some contemporary women that are at the same level as all the other she has mentioned before, but this is not a big part of the book.

Why, if there were contemporary women who could serve as an example to refute these sexist ideas, does Christine decide to use women so distant in time? Even though at first this was shocking, now I can understand that the impact of the book would have been smaller had Christine not used these figures.

First of all, being able to show this knowledge of history, Greek and Roman mythology, biblical stories … It gives Christine authority. She is not a woman saying that her neighbors are good people, she is a scholar giving us hundreds of examples that show how the established ideas are a nonsense.

In addition, bishops and theologians often used mythological or biblical examples to build sexist arguments, like Judith´s story or the myth of the Gorgon which we will discuss later.

It makes sense that she uses the same source as the people she wants to refute. Same as she did with the simile with Saint Augustine’s book, Christine is showing her ability to pick up the weapons used against women and to use them in their favor.

We also have to take into account that she wrote the book in the Renaissance (Not quite the Renaissance yet), when Roman culture and their myths were in the spotlight. Also, the value of these figures was unquestionable, so she could avoid any kind of clash of interests with the examples she is making to refute an idea.

In addition, she is showing that women have been subdued to the same pressure since the beginning of time, and it is not related with their attitude or their religion.

Finally, Christine is also able to turn out some myths which were used to support the idea that women were evil, she reinterprets them to also show that a misogynistic interpretation is not the only way to see the world.

Christine’s value as a historian by interpreting, analyzing and reinterpreting myths and stories is incalculable, and again, she is able to use all of it to defend her ideas, creating a book that after more than five hundred years is still on point.

Some of the themes treated

Due to the huge number of subjects treated in the book, I am not going to go in depth in all of them, I will focus only in those I find more interesting. Nevertheless, I shall also mention some other themes treated, just to let us have an idea of what we will find in the book.

The book is divided in three partsthe three conversations with Lady Reason, Lady Rectitude and Lady Justice.

The Reason personified as a woman is an initial allegory to break down the idea that women were purely emotional beings and that they were unable to think logically, unable to use reason.

It already shows us that Lady Reason will be in the charge of building the foundation of the City, i.e. she will be in the charge of breaking the main ideas society had about women.

In this conversation with Lady Reason, they speak about why men want to badmouth women as a group, and they mention some books which were specifically written to speak about how mean women are or even about the bad functioning of women’s bodies.

Lady Reason points out that the fact that men did not allow women to read these books is an argument per se about how unconvincing these statements are, as any person who reads these books and knows a little bit about women would realize about the absurdity written.

Also, in this first part, Christine puts in the center of stage the abilities that women are supposed Not to have, such as intelligence, braveness, strength, leadership, creativeness, …

And she fills the book with women who have every single one of these skills. Here again, I was surprised that most of the examples of good rulers are from Middle East or Merovingian Franks queens.

Maybe, it has something to do with the fact that pre-islamic civilizations were matriarchies.

Merovingian Frank society, on the other hand, was not a matriarchy, but their legislative body was not very developed, so the power of personal influence was sometimes higher than the power of a title.

That left some accessible power for those women intelligent and ambitious enough who also had the luck of being born in a wealthy family.

We can see examples of this in the figure of the Queen Mother, who was a very respected figure who, in times of uncertainty or when there were weak kings, had complete power.

I think one of the arguments with Lady Reason is a good example of the mood of the book: Christine asks Lady Reason if there is some sense in the saying “women are only good for talking, crying and knitting.”

Against all odds, the answer of Lady Reason is that the saying is completely true, but she also explains why those are not characteristics to be ashamed of, but on the contrary skills to be proud of. 

Lady Reason shows several examples (all of them biblical) where a woman got the favor of Jesus over any man because of her tears or her talk (such as the Samaritan woman, Mary Magdalene, Lazaro’s sisters…). In this way, Christine chose to praise female “characteristics” instead of rejecting them.

The second part of the book is the conversation with Lady Rectitudea rhetoric figure created by Christine.

In French, Christine chooses to call her “Droiture” and not Rectitude like in the English translation, as rectitude can be associated with religious rigidity, and she wanted to avoid it.

Droit means straight, erect and so Droiture is a reference to the straight lines of the buildings that form the City, which in this analogy is a reference to the persistence and the good sense. 

In the conversation with Lady Rectitude, they discuss about the skills of the women who will be allowed to enter the city: filial, maternal and conjugal love, persistence, chastity and fidelity among many others.

Christine also makes a statement in defense of marriage, and she tells us that she had a happy marriage full of respect, although she is aware that she was incredibly lucky for that.

Again, by defending marriage and those skills, Christine is praising characteristics associated to women. Even though she is constantly speaking about examples of women who do not follow the stereotypes, she chooses to recognise women as a collective with common qualities that are different from those of men, and she decides to make a case for these skills.

We have to think that, if still today is difficult to deconstruct gender roles, in 1405 it was impossible to even think about them as a social construct.

In this part, Christine also speaks about abuse and rape.

When she is speaking about marriage, Christine says that there are women who have to suffer abuse from their husbands on a daily basis, and she lauds those women that continue with their role as a wife and mother in the family unity, as they are able to leave their sorrow and they chose the maternal and conjugal love instead.

This is obviously something crazy to say today. (Please, if somebody is in this situation you have to get out of there, ask for help and leave as soon as possible).

But in 1405 it was a complete break down with all the ideas they had.

Firstly, Christine is showing the reality that some women have to live in, and also, she is making the statement that, even though the situation is brutal for them, those women chose to honor the sacrament of marriage.

The ideas Christine presents about rape could form part of a book written today.

First of all, she refutes the idea that women do enjoy being raped by showing examples of women who committed suicide after being raped.

The most interesting example is that of Lucrecia’s rape which led into the fall of Roman Monarchy.

With this example, Christine also makes the point that clothes or attitude have nothing to do with being raped, as Tarquinius met Lucrecia when she was knitting with her slaves, wearing demure clothes and she did not even notice Tarquinius presence. This last point is also addressed to women who believe that whenever they maintain the “proper” attitude they will not suffer vexations from men.

Christine also makes the point that we should not judge a woman because she wants to feel beautiful. 

As an example of how appearance should not be judged she speaks about the Apostol Bartolomeo. He enjoyed dressing in silk, and this fact has nothing to do with all the good acts performed by him when he was following Jesus.

I think she makes an interesting point here, and it is very related with nowadays society, where the title “feminist” is given or taken according to whether you decide to wear make-up or wax yourself, same as the title of “respectable women”, which is more related with the length of the skirt.

Before going to the third part, I would like to speak about the reinterpretations of biblical or mythological stories made by Christine. There are more in the book, but I am going to mention only two of them: The story of Judith and the story of the Gorgon, both used to make the point of how evil and dangerous women are.

So, the legend of Judith tells us that, trying to stop the siege of Betulia, her city, Judith seduced Holofernes, the leader of the enemy army. After getting him drunk, she cut his head. It is clear how this story was used to warn men against beautiful women. Nevertheless, Christine focuses on how brave was Judith, as she risked her life by going to the enemy camp and seducing Holofernes.

She also focuses on the wittiness of Judith and in the fact that God was with her, as she succeeded with her plan, and so, she saved God´s chosen people. Then, Christine presents Judith as a hero, and not as an evil seductress.

About the Gorgone, a figure that was used to warn men against women seductive weapons, Christine explains that the origin of this myth was a woman with such deep eyes that made all who look at them to stop breathing for a moment, and due to jealousy people made up the legend.

In the third part of the book, Justice shows Christine who is going to rule the city and who shall be living in the most beautiful towers. Those are the Virgin Mary and all the (female) Saints. 

It is normal that is Justice who should speak about this, as at that time justice was linked with religion. Again, Christine is sending a message to the Church: now the city is full and ruled by worshiped women.

Finally, I think is very interesting to mention that the book is full of Christine´s monologues where she demands to those ungrateful men to shut up and to stop badmouth women.

In these monologues you can see the weariness and the unease Christine is feeling:

[…]Let them be silent! Let them be silent from now on, those writers who malign women and who talk about them in their books and poems. Let them be silent, in their books and poems. Let them be silent, all their accomplices and supporters! They should lower their eyes in shame for having dared to express criticism in the face of the truth, which contradicts their words […]

It is worth saying that she always mentions priests and bishops in these parts, so we can see that for her they lead the oppression against women.

To finish

To finish this entrance of the blog, I would like to leave some parts of the last chapter of the book:

Most honorable ladies, praise be to God: The construction of our city is finally at an end. All of you who love virtue, glory and a fine reputation can now be lodged in great splendor inside its walls, not just women of the past but also those of the present and the future, for this city has been founded and built to accommodate all deserving women.

My dearest ladies, the human heart is naturally filled with joy when it sees that it has triumphed in a particular endeavor and has defeated its enemies.

From this moment on, my ladies, you have every reason to rejoice -in a suitable devout and respectable manner- at seeing the completion of this new city.

It will not only shelter you all, or rather those of you who have proved yourselves to be worthy, but will also defend and protect you against your attackers and assailants, provided you look after it well.

For you can see this is made of virtuous material which shines so brightly that you can gaze at your reflections in it, especially the lofty turrets that were built in this final part of the book […]

I would like to finish the post by thanking Christine de Pizan for everything she started, even though today is still not near the end, and thanks to Victor for all our conversations that little by little are helping me to build my little city.

Note: In that period, many “Arab” authors in Andalusia had treated that subject in their poems. Toledo, though under the dominion of Spanish monarch,  was the center of radiation of translation, culture, education and the living together of all religious sects, to all of Europe

A CITY WHERE EVERYONE WORKS. THERE IS NO POLICE.

AND THE SALARY IS 1200 EUROS

image: http://www.the-open-mind.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Marinelada-e1423377793345.jpg

Marinelada

With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia.

Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian village in southern Spain that is prosperous thanks to its farming cooperative.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros01-600×223.jpg

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On the face of it, the Spanish town of Marinaleda is indistinguishable from any other in its region. Nestled in the picturesque Campiña valley, the surrounding countryside is made up of rolling green hills, miles of olive plantations and golden fields of wheat stretching as far as the eye can see.

The town is pretty, tranquil and typical of those found in Andalusia, Spain’s poorest and most southerly province.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros02-600×427.jpg

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It’s also a democratic, anti-capitalist village whose mayor actively encourages shoplifting.

Since the financial crisis began in 2008, Marinaleda has shot to fame — and so has its maverick mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, who earned the nickname,”The Spanish Robin Hood,” after organizing and carrying out a series of supermarket raids in a direct action protest last August.

Basic groceries such as oil, rice and beans were loaded into carts, wheeled from the store and taken to a local food bank to help the poor, as helpless cashiers looked on, some crying.

In an interview after the event, Gordillo, the democratically elected mayor since 1979, said it was not theft, but a non-violent act of disobedience.

“There are many families who can’t afford to eat,” he argued. “In the 21st century this is an absolute disgrace. Food is a right, not something with which you speculate.”

In this province alone there are 690,000 empty properties due to bank foreclosures. But not in Marinaleda, because Gordillo has a solution: anyone who wants to build their own house can do so for free.

Materials and qualified workmen are provided by the town hall, and the generous allowance of 192 square meters means the homes are spacious. Families then pay just 15 euros ($19) per month for the rest of their lives, with the agreement that the house cannot be sold for private gain.

In Andalusia, unemployment now stands at 37% (a staggering 55 percent for young people). But Marinaleda, population 2700, has virtually full employment through the town’s farming cooperative, where laborers earn equal wages of 1200 euros ($1600) per month.

Here, in a region where 1 in 3 people are unemployed, this achievement cannot be understated.

image: http://www.livetravelenjoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a-city-where-everyone-works-there-is-no-police-and-the-salary-is-1200-euros03-600×400.jpg

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“We need to rethink our values, the consumer society, the value we place on money, selfishness and individualism,” Gordillo remarks. “Marinaleda is a small example, and we want this experience to extend throughout the world.”

Robbing supermarkets: An excuse to filling Robin Hood’s shoes?

A Spanish mayor who became a cult hero for staging robberies at supermarkets and giving stolen groceries to the poor sets off this week on a 3-week march that could embarrass the government and energize anti-austerity campaigners.

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, regional lawmaker and mayor of the town of Marinaleda – population 2,645 – in the southern region of Andalusia, said food stolen last week in the robberies went to families hit hardest by Spain’s economic crisis.

Marinaleda's Mayor and Izquierda Unida (IU) Parliamentarian Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo poses for a photograph next to tents at the Turquillas land in Osuna, southern Spain, late August 9, 2012. REUTERS-Jon Nazca
Marinaleda's mayor and Izquierda Unida (IU) Parliamentarian Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo (2nd R), General Secretary of the SAT (Andalusian Union of Workers) Diego Canamero (L) and a member (2nd L) of the SAT walk after talking with Spanish Civil Guards (R) at the Turquillas land in Osuna southern Spain, late August 9, 2012. REUTERS-Jon Nazca
Marinaleda's Mayor and Izquierda Unida (IU) Parliamentarian Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo (R) embraces to a member of SAT (Andalusian Union of Workers), Andres Amaro, 43, as he arrives with Francisco Molero (not pictured) after they were released from a court in Ecija, at the Turquillas land, in Osuna, southern Spain, August 9, 2012. REUTERS-Jon Nazca

1 of 3. Marinaleda’s Mayor and Izquierda Unida (IU) Parliamentarian Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo poses for a photograph next to tents at the Turquillas land in Osuna, southern Spain, late August 9, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Jon Nazca

 Paul Day published on Aug. 15, 2012 (Reuters)

“Robin hood” Spanish mayor becomes hero for robbing supermarkets

Seven people have been arrested for participating in the two raids, in which labor unionists, cheered on by supporters, piled food into supermarket carts and walked out without paying while Sanchez Gordillo, 59, stood outside.

He has political immunity as an elected member of Andalusia’s regional parliament, but says he would be happy to renounce it and be arrested himself.

“There are people who don’t have enough to eat. In the 21st century, this is an absolute disgrace,” he told Reuters this week in an interview in the Atocha train station in Madrid, tugging on his graying Fidel Castro-style beard.

Sanchez Gordillo says he wants to draw attention to the human face of Spain’s economic mess – poverty levels have risen by over 15 percent since 2007, a quarter of workers are jobless and tens of thousands have been evicted from their homes.

The conservative government says an official has no business flouting the law.

“You can’t be Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham,” said Alfonso Alonso, spokesman for the ruling People’s Party (PP) in the national Parliament. “This man is just searching for publicity at the cost of everyone else.”

Media coverage of the supermarket stunt has made Sanchez Gordillo a national celebrity. While talking to Reuters he was approached by supporters who shook his hand and thanked him for his stand against the conservative government.

MARCH

His home province of Andalusia is one of the parts of Spain worst hit by its crisis: one worker in three is jobless.

On Thursday he begins his trek from Jodar, the town with Andalusia’s highest unemployment rate, planning to march across the region in blistering summer heat to persuade other local leaders to refuse to comply with government reforms.

He plans to tell mayors to skip debt payments, stop layoffs, cease home evictions and ignore central government demands for budget cuts, a message that infuriates Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government as it tries to convince investors in Spanish bonds that he can fix the battered economy.

The EU has demanded Spain shrink one of Europe’s highest budget deficits to prevent the continent’s debt crisis from spreading.

Rajoy, in power since December, has ordered spending cuts and tax hikes. With poverty rising at one the fastest rates in Europe, protests have gained momentum.

Despite the small size of the town where he has been mayor for 30 years, Sanchez Gordillo has long been a fringe figure on the national stage, known for criticism of the mainstream political parties.

He has introduced a cooperative farming system in Marinaleda and has repeatedly tried to take over land for farming, the latest target being 1,200 hectares of land owned by the Ministry of Defense.

His message used to draw only a small following during Spain’s boom years when many farm workers, especially in agricultural Andalusia, abandoned fields to work in the profitable construction sector.

But now he has won far more attention as the collapse of a housing bubble forced thousands of unskilled workers back onto farms, while the government sank billions of euros of taxpayer funds into weak banks.

They say I’m dangerous. And the bankers who are let off for fraud? That’s not dangerous? The banks which borrow from the ECB for 1% then resell that debt to Spaniards for 6 percent – they’re not dangerous?” he said.

Note: The more developed story https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/a-model-village-in-spain-and-communist-too/

 

Averroes (1126-1198): Civilization after Ibn Rushd of Cordoba

Have no fear searching for truth in sciences.

Truth cannot contradict truth; sciences is in accord with God’s revelations.  God has nothing to fear when you use your rational intelligence to discover the universe and the causes of phenomenon.

How unjust is the one raising obstacles between man and science:  Science is the road to perfection.  Opposing learning and applying science is contrasting with God’s purpose, since the divine project is to realize such perfection”

That is basically what Ibn Rush (known as Averroes) tried to convey to civilization through his abundant writings in medicine, sciences, astronomy, philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology.

Ibn Rush would be known as “Al hafeed” (the grandson): his grandfather Muhammad Ibn Rushd was a well-renowned judge in Cordoba.

A brief background:

Cordoba in Andalusia, southern Spain, was the main center of culture and civilization in that century:  Muslims, Christians and Jews were living in harmony and tolerance was the rule, while Europe is battling among its various Christian schisms.

Baghdad was declining and the Mogul hordes will soon sack and destroy this famous city in about 1250.

The Western Roman Empire had vanished, and the Byzantium Empire was weakening and soon will be reduced to a vassal condition to the Ottoman expanding power in Turkey.

Papal Rome is being selected by the Germanic monarchs as well as the bishops, and in many occasions, two popes are elected and backed by various monarchs.

The political and military confrontations among the many Christian religious schisms on the nature of Jesus have taken their toll on Europe.

The crusaders are loosing their grips in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Turks are counter attacking and recapturing lost territories.

The Catholic Prince of Castile and Aragon (Spain) had started the “reconquista” and the Andalousia was wracked by wars among the multiple small kingdoms of Islamic monarchs; these internal wars were called “wars of Tawaif“.

In 1070, the monarch of Seville conquered the tolerant republican Cordoba.

In 1112, Ibn Tumar, a literate Berber from Algeria who spent ten years in Iran, returned to proclaim that he is the awaited “hidden” Mahdi (since 874) of the Islam sect the Shias and formed the Almohades (Al Muwayidun) or united Islam.

The Spanish Catholic monarch Alphonse 7th put siege to Cordoba in 1148.

The Caliph of Cordoba Abd Mu2min calls on the Almohades for rescue and outset the Almoravids dynasty (Al murabitun) or the ones in vigilance.  The Almoravids originated from Mauritania and were a powerful tribe of traders in the western Sahara that captured Morocco.

In 1154, Ibn Rushd is presented to the heir of the Almohades monarch Abu Yaacub Yussuf by his friend Ibn Tufayl.

Abu Yaacub Yussuf asked Ibn Rushd to condense the works of Aristotle in a clear commentary so that most literate Moslems could read and understand.  Prince Abu Yaacub Yussuf had read the translated Aristotle’s works into Arabic but needed intelligent interpretations of difficult topics.   That is how Ibn Rushd ended up producing 88 volumes in 20,000 pages of Aristotle’s’ works from philosophy to zoology.

Ibn Rushd program was to decipher the Koran, discovering the means to comprehending the universe, and thus, extracting the truth.  For that end, he had to read the works of all philosophers, and first among them Aristotle. Complex concepts generated such remarks from Ibn Rushd: “If Aristotle didn’t study this topic, it would be very difficult to comprehend it.  Aristotle is such a norm in nature, a model that nature invented to seeking human perfection

Ibn Rushd is so versed in Aristotle rational thinking that he corrected many errors in translated versions.  To Ibn Rushd, rational thinking and revealed knowledge are independent and one method cannot explain the other:  the two ways lead to the same truth.  Al Farabi, a much earlier Islamic philosopher affirmed that reason should have the first and last word in matter of faith.

As Ibn Rushd commented: “Theologians distort sacred texts and interpose between the common people and men of knowledge to control the people. They are the kind of teachers who don’t teach art but the results of arts.  They don’t teach how to fabricate shoes but rather offer varieties of shoes to select from.”  They are our modern salesmen who ejaculate technical words but have no idea what they are talking about.

Dialectical and rhetorical reasoning cannot compensate for demonstrative reasoning.

Ibn Rushd wrote: “generally, common people confuse inferences with conclusions that are drawn from several premises.

For example:  common people say “this person is a thief because he was seen wandering at night” and do not evaluate all the other factors that determine a thieving behavior.  

Common people conclude that they will see God as we see the sun when they are told that God is light.  

Learned people comprehend that beatitude and grace increase knowledge.  

Truth is not intuitive and we have to accumulate knowledge; we cannot become astronomer without learning and assimilating geometry and mathematics.”

Ibn Rushd is not professing the existence of two truths:  The Koran is a guide toward acceding to truth, which is necessarily scientific.

What conforms to truth, which we receive from the Aristotelian scholars, we accept with joy and recognition. What does not conform to truth we will signal it so that to be on our guard and we excuse them for the untruth.

He stated that what counts in a method in satisfying the conditions of validity and that is sufficient in scientific methods, which he calls “sacrifice”:  Reason has the job of eliminating errors in order to re-establishing order in society.

Forbidding people from applying scientific methods on the ground that they lead to errors, abuse, and blasphemy is like forbidding someone from drinking lest he dies of thirst on the excuse that some people die from drowning.  

Scientific methods of reasoning is not meant to define God or the operations that lead to the creation of the universe:  It attests to its existence.  We cannot apply to God the categories and human concepts

Ibn Rushd believed in a collective soul “the abstract intellect” after death but not on individual basis; thus, after death individual memories and imagination power are lost for ever

Ibn Rushd dared reflect and answer all the corny questions that civilization was dealing with in order to finding order, coherence, and harmony between religious dogmas and rational thinking.

Reading, interpreting and commenting Aristotle’s works were back in fashion in Cordoba at the instigation of a new Sultan Abu Yaakub Yusuf, with Capital in Fez (Morocco).

Ibn Rushd wrote: “The future is dependent on the education of women and equality between genders.

Nations where the capabilities of women are ignored, where women are considered just good for procreation and maintaining the upkeep of the family are cancelling the other important activities of women.

As a female are not recognized human virtues they are reduced to vegetative status.  One of the main reasons that these nations are in poor economic situations is that women are terrible burden to development of the society.”

The successor of Sultan Yusuf came under heavy pressures from the salafist, very conservative Muslims to crack down on Ibn Rushd liberty of expression.

Ibn Rushd was banned from publishing books or communicating what he wrote for his own pleasure.  The pressures resulted to initiating public bonfires burning the scholars manuscripts.

Luckily, copies reached Cairo and southern France where they were read and translated in Hebrew, Latin, and local languages.

Moise ibn Maimuna (Maimonides), 12 years younger than Ibn Rushd and originally from Cordoba, was at the period settled in Cairo and was the official physician of the Caliph.  Maimonides relied on Ibn Rushd’s works to perpetuate the rational and scientific trend.  He wrote:

We may dispense of Platon’s works:  Aristotle’s works suffice since they are the foundations and roots of scientific rational methods.  Aristotle’s works cannot be comprehended without the commentaries of Ibn Rushd.”

In 1497, Papal Rome encouraged the institution of a university in Padoua (Italy) to teach Aristotle’s works and be translated directly from ancient Greek.  It was a strategy of ignoring the influence of Islamic culture that was spreading in Catholic Europe.

The Renaissance scholars dared not communicate the sources of their knowledge and learning. Since then, European scholars have continued this custom of deliberately ignoring seven centuries of Islamic civilizations when accounting for western Europe civilization.

Ibn Rushd medical textbook “Kulliyat” known as Colliget was taught in Europe for many centuries.  Another famous scholar, Ibn Sina, known as Avicenne, wrote in the 10th century, 300 manuscripts, of which 50 are in scientific fields and 40 in medicine. His “Canon of medicine” was taught in Europe till the 18th century as a fundamental textbook.

Note:  I refused to approach the theological questions and Ibn Rushd’s responses because I am not interested in abstract concepts that lack demonstrative methods for confirming or denying veracity.

The barbaric Catholic Church;(October 13, 2009)

There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

By 324 AC, the Roman Emperor Constantine had defeated the three other co-Emperors and is the sole ruler of the Mediterranean Sea Empire, including England, France, northern Africa, Egypt, Turkey, and the Near East to the Euphrates River. Emperor Constantine ordered the Bishops of all the Christian sects in his Empire (they were a dozen at least) to meet in Nicea (Turkey) to adopt a unifying “dogma” for a central Orthodox Church based in Constantinople. By a slight majority, bishops who agreed to Constantine’s radical abstract dogma (he was a new convert) started to persecute the “heretic” Christian sects who fled to the western side of the Euphrates River that was under Persia Empire.

From 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanid Dynasty.  For four centuries, the Christians of the Orient under the central power of the Church of Constantinople shied rational thinking and sciences were halted.

The Arabic Empire, around 650 AC, did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria. The Christians of the Orient, especially the heretic sects, converted to Islam that represented a pragmatic common denominator religion away from the Orthodox Church. Rational thinking got a boost; translation of foreign knowledge and Greek manuscripts to the Syriac and Arabic languages got underway; it was about time.

In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

The Koran was translated in Constantinople in the 9th century. It was translated in Toledo (Spain) in the 12th century but was not disseminated in Europe.  Europe got aware of Islam’s concept of decentralized religious power in the 16th century when printing made it feasible; this was the period when the Catholic Church of Rome experienced its decline on holding on absolute religious and civilian power.

Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?

Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

Greece after Aristotle did not produce much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessa, Ugarit, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East.  It is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not.

It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, and the most recent French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.

It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.

Europe would have remained barbaric if it was not superseded as a superpower by the USA and Russia after WWII. The recent colonial dominations and the slaughtering of indigent people is a striking proof.  The single streak that the USA inherited mostly from Europe is its barbaric pre-emptive wars against smaller nations and its racist tendency for hegemony whenever the chance knocks.

Thus, the break up of the “heretic” protestant sects with the Catholic Church of Rome opened the way for Europe’s renaissance and the transfer of Islamic scientific discoveries and scientific methods with sound mathematical discipline. Strong with new sciences the “heretic” Protestant sects created models of nationalism to civilize the “barbarians” of the world.  Renaissance of Europe turned out not to be driven toward humanitarian purposes but based on exclusive nationalism proprietary that exhibited its brutal and ugly racist behavior for many decades.

After the 18th century, Papal Rome tried hastily to catch up with the scientific trend and put up a face of progress and the conservator of scientific investigation.  This obscurantist religious central power initiated and backed all European invasions; it supervised the extermination of aborigines under the guise of “Christianize” the pagan barbarians.

Note: I use shock titles to lure readers; those who patronize my blog comprehend that my posts are highly rational: They are the work of much analysis and reflection. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture and language”.

Islamophobia is anathema to rational thinking; (October 18, 2009)

 

            Islam is quickly becoming an integral religion in the Western world.  There is a growing sense of uneasiness for Islam devotees: they pray at least three times a day facing Mecca (the Kaaba) and take seriously the fasting month of Ramadan. The various Christian sects barely practice their religion; the “Christians” mostly use their religion as political platforms during voting seasons to discriminate among cultures for the “proper way of life”.  A recent scandal broke out in England: the government is wire taping the Moslems on ground of social study.  In France there was an attempt at disqualifying Arabs as carrier of any philosophical civilization that could have impressed on European Renaissance.  The Arabic media didn’t respond to “Aristotle on Mount St. Michelle” simply because the book talked of philosophical import and didn’t discuss the scientific aspects.

            The main confusion in Europe or in the Arab/Islamic world is about what Empires we are alluding to: Arabic Empires (culture) or Islamic Empires (civilization) and how to discriminate among the cultures of each one of the Empires.  The modern nationalistic models (brainchild of emerging Europe) could not correspond to ancient models of thinking and thus, the attempts to explaining past Empires with modern models of what constitute a nation is confusing research and biasing facts with awkward interpretations.

            In all periods, elites of Empires needed an ideology to assure the articulation of various heritages (Arab, Persian, Byzantium, Roman, Greek, and Aramaic).  The unstable structure of ancient Empires frequently pressed upon its elites to rethink the new culture of the emerging Empire and re-construct it via a mould where diverse elements were poured in (ethnicity, community, belief systems, and language).  Thus, social thinkers struggled to present a coherent understanding of the new Empire; the purpose was not an erudite analysis for posterity but to get the new Empire functioning properly.

            This post is meant to investigate the allegation that European civilization is fundamentally the heritage of ancient Greece civilization.  I have examined the contention that “Europe civilization is because of Christianism”, a proposal that I refuted in a previous post (read “The Barbaric Catholic Church of Rome”) where the centralized church prohibited the influx of “heretic” scientific manuscripts to Europe from the Near Eastern Byzantium Empire and later from the Islamic Empire till way the 16th century.

            The best route for this examination is to consider two civilizations that imbibed the Islamic Empires.  The first Umayyad Arabic Empire 650 to 800 AC had for Capital Damascus; the culture in the Near East in that period was principally Hellenistic in the sense that scholars and educated people wrote in two languages, the Greek and Syriac languages (Aramaic dialect developed in Edesse, current Turkey) ; the common people spoke the language of the land or Aramaic.  Aramaic is the root language for Hebrew and the various local languages, especially the two Arabic branches that were spoken in Mecca and in Yemen.  It is in this period that lasted 150 years that translation of Greek and Syriac manuscripts into Arabic received its impetus.  Translation of Greek works to Syriac continued way into the 9th century. The people easily assimilated the spoken Arabic of Mecca and gave Arabic its proper alphabet and grammar.

            The second period can be called the Islamic Empire when the Capital was re-located to the newly erected city of Baghdad (Baghdad was to become the largest metropolis in this Empire of over one million inhabitant); this Islamic civilization was marked by the Persian culture and language with high import from India: trade was cut off with Europe for many centuries first during the Mamluk Empires after kicking out the last remnant of the Crusaders and later the early Ottoman Empire as Constantinople fell in around 1450. 

            The Umayyad Dynasty exported to Islamic Persia the embryo of the current scientific works and the nascent Islamic philosophy (falsafa); the more developed scientific works were later mostly written in Persian language; the same scholars wrote the disciplines that were related to religion, philosophy, rhetoric, legal, mathematics, and algebra, in Arabic because they were needed for the proper function in the administration of the Empire.  Educated and cultured people who were familiar with Greek works met in “salons” (majalis) to discuss on various subjects, philosophical incursions into the possible, the intellect, the sensibility and the soul. 

            Schools of learning were erected and knowledge was no longer the prerogative of the initiation of master to disciple for rich people. By the first century of Islam (8th century), schools were exploding everywhere with targeted practical disciplines (algebra, geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, jurisprudence, theology (kalam), science of tradition (hadith), history, linguistic, lexicography, math combinatorial analysis, cryptography, and grammar) mainly to support the functions of the Empire administration and train cadres for offices such as fiscal, heritage, religious calendar, and army logistics. The schools were inspired by different traditions such as Greek, Persian, Indian, and Syriac).  By the second century of Islam specialized schools in theoretical mathematics, medicine, physics, optics, and astronomy were booming.

            The first acknowledged Moslem philosopher Al Kindi (9th century) admitted that Aristotle was the most eminent Greek philosopher and wrote: “We have to thank the prior thinkers who shared with us what is right; they made it more accessible to us researching the truth and they provided the premises that leveled the way for what is true.  Offering reasons and demonstrations are part of the acquisition process in the sciences for veracity. Those strangers to scientific inquiries are trafficking in religion even though they have got no religion: indeed the one who sells one thing does no longer belong to him.”

            Personally, I tend to attribute the name of Islamic civilization for the import of scientific disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, optics, and chemistry.  Arabic civilization should be restricted to the Umayyad Dynasty period in matters of rhetoric, legal, practical mathematics, Kalam (reflection on the world according to the Koran paradigm), grammars, language, and the import of any outside scientific knowledge that the Old World reserved in Constantinople, Persia, India, and China.

            A follow up post will demonstrate that European Renaissance in the 16th century was fundamentally Islamic scientifically; the decentralization of the Christian power away from Rome was also inspired by the decentralization nature of Islam as a religion.  The title is “Europe’s Renaissance is Islamic”.  It is worthwhile for researchers not to confuse the recent period of Islamic radical decadence with early Islamic civilization that lasted from 650 to 1100 AC in the Orient and then re-surfaced in Andalusia (Spain) from 800 till 1400 AC.  After 1400 AC Christian Spanish monarchs chased out the Moslems and Jews from their kingdom; the Catholic Church in Rome instituted the Inquisition to harass the new converts to Christianity.

The barbaric Catholic Church; (October 13, 2009)

 

            There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

            Since 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. It was basically a Mediterranean Sea Empire.  To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanide Dynasty.  The Arabic Empire did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria.

            In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

            Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?  Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

            Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

            Greece after Aristotle did not produced much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessee, Ugharite, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

            Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East; it is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not. It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.  

            It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.

 

Note: The title was meant to be catchy to drive through the purpose of the topic. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture”.

Arab Sex Art: Star of the Internet (June 14, 2009)

In her Preface of “Love in the Moslem Countries Fatema Mernissi wrote:

“My editor wanted to publish an investigation on love in the Moslem countries that I had written 20 years ago and that I had published in the magazine ” Jeune Afrique” (Young Africa).  I told my editor that no one is interested to read Ibn Hazm (an expert on sex and seduction during the Arab Andalusia period around the year 1000).

My academic friend that I had invited for lunch to extract information from said to me: “You are disconnected of the digital galaxy. The translated book of Ibn Hazm is the best seller on the internet.”

Fatema felt a surge of anger: her male friend was only 7 years younger; then how come he is connected and I am so far beyond in technology?

Fatema learned that the search engine of Google had mentioned Ibn Hazm 200,000 times in less than 0.1 second.  There is a site based in Paris Iqra Shop Com that offers CD to learn Arabic, the Koran and the Hadith for the francophone people and other clothing garments.

The book of Ibn Hazm “The affinities of love and The Necklace of the dove” is sold for 12 Euro and described as a must read reference on the subtleties of love proper to Moslems.

Thus, Fatema re-caled her editor and said “Ibn Hazm was right. Love is eternal.  I will have to add a chapter on love in Islam in the time of Internet”

The Al Jazeera channel (the Arab counterpart of CNN) is based in Dubai and has Qaradawi as star commentator on love and sex in Islam.  Imam Qaradawi calls on an army of experts in religion, fekh, shari3a, psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and physicians of both genders to answer the thousands of questions that flood his bureau.  Qaradawi posts his answers on the net (al internet wal-hub) and publishes booklets at low cost in matters of marriage and love for the adolescents and their parents.

Islam Online has competitors in Muslima.com to aid searching for the appropriate partner in friendship, discussion, romance, and marriage.  In the subject of romance the choc of civilization is a non issue because it is universal as the object of world ethic.

For example, estimate in 1999 indicate that aging people had invested over a trillion dollars for rejuvenating their look, especially growing hair on their bolding skull.

Ibn Hazm was born in Cordoba (994-1064) of an aristocratic family.

His father was vizier and he became vizier in Valencia.  Ibn Hazm was polyvalent in erudition; he was grammarian, scientist, philosopher, and a religious jurist. He lived in a period as troubled as ours; he led the Zahirite movement against the rigid Malekite sect.

He was made vizier twice and was incarcerated several times when power kept shifting among the warring factions in Andalusia. He came to the conclusion that the best remedy for the decomposition and disintegration of society was to learn authentic love and experience the power of “falling in love”

Other famous Arab authors in seduction are Ibn Al-Jawzi “Denigration of Love” (Dammu Al Hawa) and Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya “The Garden of lovers” Rawdat al muhibbeen).  If all fails, you may fall back to “One thousand and one nights” where you find all kinds of detailed psychoanalytical description of emotions and sexual desires.

It appears that oil may deplete but the medieval archive of Arabic manuscripts on love, sex, and seduction is here to be mined, translated, published, and disseminated in all form of media because romance is for the eternity.

The Arab civilization was the richest in the field of sexual desires; it dissected sexual desire in all its forms, shapes, and varieties; they explained sexual desire in the minute details, pornographically, physiologically, anatomically, and psychologically and left us scientific manuscripts in that field with accurate terminologies.

Note: I opened another category in my blog Adonis49 (Seduction/Love/Sex).

You may start with the links for those interested in following the conversation: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/seduction-tales/ https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/love-tales/ https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/07/sex-tales/

Love Tales (June 8, 2009)

The Moslem Caliph of Baghdad, Haroun Al Racheed, had expanded the Arab Empire to its apogee.  He still had insomnia thinking on the meaning and sensations of amorous passion; he wanted to learn more about love and desires, though he had all kinds of concubines.

Caliph Al Rasheed fell in love with his cousin Zubaida, and married her in 781, and she conserved her privilege in Haroun’s heart because of her intelligence and refinement.

The erudite Al Asmai described to the Caliph what love is:  “A light that illuminates the mind and permits life to vibrate through its radiation.”  Apparently, the caliph was satisfied enough to bestow a fortune to the interpreter.

Al Rasheed was the son of a powerful love affair between Caliph Al Mahdi and his concubine Khizarane whom he married.  The early caliphs liked to communicate with women more than with men: they had realize that women made the effort to increase knowledge in varieties of disciplines that Caliphs shared interest in such as poetry, playing musical instruments, medicine, theology, astronomy, and mathematics.

Ibn Hazm who lived in Andalusia (994-1064) was a prolific writer, scientist, statesman, and politician; he wrote the famous “Treatise of Love” which was translated in all kinds of languages and was the main source for Medieval Europe to educate their sentimental and chivalrous behaviors.

Have you ever fallen in love?  How do you know that someone is falling in love? Examples of Ibn Hazm description of falling in Love:

“When I get up to leave you, my gait resembles the one who is taken to be executed.  When I rejoin you, I hurry as the moon crosses the sky.  When I say good bye I am as slow as the fixed stars.”

When you move I follow you.   I take the same direction as yours as the chameleon trails after the sunshine. When you stop I contemplate you intently: the eye is the wide open door for the soul’s secrets.

When I speak to you I utter incongruities. I listen intently at anything you say, I am astonished of whatever you divulge to me, I acknowledge your opinions, and I believe your lies.”

“I feel sensational pleasure being squeezed with you in enclosed quarters.  I extend my hand toward the same object you desire to grab.  I love to drink from your same glass, where you placed your lips.  I am constantly aching to touch your hand and to lean on you.”

I am discovering that with you, what I loathed is gorgeous and colorful; what was hard is pretty easy to take and do.  My inert heart is burning amidst this storm.  I am ready to open up on my deepest secrets. If I had not met you I would have never known why my mother conceived me.”

The energy released by Eros is devastating and all consuming.  Falling in love is a transforming source of energy; it excites inert and dessicated hearts; it pacifies frenzied tendencies.

It is a bad sign when your lover acts normal when he meets with you or speaks evenly.  It is a bad omen when you realize that your lover has excellent appetite and is gaining weight.

Are you a man who likes mostly the company of men?

Are you a woman who likes mostly the company of women?

Then, most probably, you are seeking love in the wrong spheres of society.  Falling in love within the same gender is easier than facing the challenge of knowing a different type of love partner; routine communication is the sure way to killing a relationship.

Remember, in matter of feeling, an experienced man is twice better than a regular man; an experienced women is four times better than a novice girl.

Note: I translated many sections from the French manuscript “Love in the Moslem countries“. You may refer to my post “Seduction Tales” on how the French writer George Sand and the French novelist Stendhal describe “falling in love


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2020
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