Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Aramaic language

Tidbits and Notes

In 1995, Ward Cunningham makes the first “wiki,” from the Hawaiian word for “quick” and inspired by Apple’s HyperCard programming language.

In 2001, American entrepreneurs Larry Saunders and Jimmy Wales register the domains wikipedia.com and wikipedia.org.

The Aramaic language was the language of the Middle East for over 3,000 years; it was spoken by the people of all Empires in that region from current Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western part of Iran known as Ilam in ancient history or (Arabestan for late Saddam Hussein regime). Aramaic is the root language of Arabic; the Arab nomads spoke several Arabic dialects but wrote in Aramaic as all the urban centers in the Middle East.

Women in Japan are encouraged to commit suicide to safeguard their “honors”, but they are cleverer than the stupid males; they leave such honor to the competitive militaristic disciplined males.

I try to draw democracy. I start with people voting and asserting their rights. And it strikes me that people are being possessed with an overarching ideology that a leader transmits, that they are held by their throats to be able to survive financially, that they have to rebel and kill and watch their children get killed to be heard.

La fureur, comme nous fument traite’ depuis l’ Independence du mandat Francais: Cette bequille qui refuse de me decevoir, cette hargne qui me tient vivant.

People  (mainly children) in Yemen are dying 10 times more from diphtheria than from cholera. Yemen was denied inoculation (vaccination on deadly viruses) from basic illnesses in the last 3 years

Every 2 weeks a language dies and with it, the history and knowledge of a culture.

There are some 7.000 languages in the world today. Around 40% are in danger of never being spoken again. Most of them are indigenous languages. 2019 marked the International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness about these languages and their contribution to global diversity.

For seven years, China has been the world’s biggest travel spender and it will soar in 2020.

The ten billionaire gainers added a total of $555 billion to their fortunes over the past 10 years

The wealth of the 500 richest people on Earth surged 25% in 2019.

Protest groups in India have planned demonstrations across 20 cities as anger mounts over a citizenship bill that discriminates against Muslim migrants. Internet, voice, and text services have been shut down in parts of Delhi (as have metro stations and major roads), and curfews imposed in other parts of the country. This is a reminder of Israel offering citizenship to any Jews demanding it.

Enterococcus isn’t an inherently dangerous bacteria; most humans have some living in their gut. But some enterococcus strains have evolved into a virulent form, called vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, or VRE, that affects more than 540,000 Americans every year. They are especially prevalent in hospitals, where they flourish among patients with weakened immune systems. Patients who have been taking antibiotics and don’t have a healthy population of other gut bacteria are also susceptible.

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 143

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

The Aramaic language was the language of the Middle East for over 3,000 years; it was spoken by the people of all Empires in that region from current Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western part of Iran known as Ilam in ancient history or (Arabestan for late Saddam Hussein regime).  Aramaic is the root language of Arabic; the Arab nomads spoke several Arabic dialects but wrote in Aramaic as all the urban centers in the Middle East.

Every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, especially for public figures of intellectuals and politicians.  “What is your stand on the Palestinian cause” was the main litmus test for decades. It has come back after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem

Genetic predisposition, upbringing, education, levels of hormones, brain structure, attractive features, stature, social status… all contributed to what you are and were capable of achieving.

Sure, most Lebanese families ruin themselves to have their children graduate. From my experience, at best 3% of the students are serious and dedicated to learning at universities. Most probably, they never witnessed any one of their parents read or write at home or show much of intellectual activities and engagement to study seriously.

The third level in considering “performance” should answer: “How these various performances criteria correlate?  Can we sort them out between basic performances and redundant performance criteria?”.

The Omayyad dynasty, founded by Mu3awiya, selected Damascus for the Capital of the Arab Empire and the people in the Near East spoke Aramaic as well as most of the “Arabic” tribes that settled in and around the urban centers of Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon.

If there is an Arab civilization then it was created during the Omayyad period since the people in that part of the Near East could comprehend and write Aramaic.  The classical Arabic language was established and spread during the Omayyad dynasty. After this period, we can call it Islamic civilization

For the Arab Nations (about 22 States) to exist in the future they have to mind their classical language and enrich it with various modern “Arabic” slang words and expressions to be viable among the Arab people.

Al sokhra bte7lo2 7elakat. Al 7ejjat: 3am netmarran lal competition in 2 weeks, bayn ba3dna. Whatever that means: khod forssat

Ma badkon tabko qawaneen al club? Bass waa7ed yeste7eh wa yekoun 3endo laba2at ye3zom elleh ba3d ma le3eb. wa bikoulo bmashkelha

Maskharat al masakher: mo3zamhom yastakbiroun ennahom al afdal, bidoun jadarat ma7ssoussat

Kenna 12-1. The game finishes at 13 points. wa7ed min farikeh 7ered wa karrar yekhssar. le72o al tani. Team 3edo some potential tan7ar baddo yekhssar.

Current Oldest Spoken Languages?

(Apparently, the mentioned languages are also written)

Language evolution is like biological evolution – it happens minutely, generation by generation, so there’s no distinct breaking point between one language and the next language that develops from it. (There are breaking points in evolution)

Therefore, it’s impossible to say that one language is really older than any other one; they’re all as old as humanity itself. That said, each of the languages below has a little something special—something ancient—to differentiate it from the masses. (How many current spoken languages there are to talk about masses?)

Hebrew

Hebrew is a funny case, since it essentially fell out of common usage around 400 CE and then remained preserved as a liturgical language for Jews across the world.

Along with the rise of Zionism in the 19th and 20th century, Hebrew went through a revival process to become the official language of Israel. While the modern version differs from the Biblical version, native speakers of Hebrew can fully comprehend what is written in the Old Testament and its connected texts.

As the earliest speakers of Modern Hebrew often had Yiddish as their native language, Modern Hebrew has in many ways been influenced by this other Jewish language. (Hebrew is a subset language of the Aramaic language, as is Arabic and Syriac. Aramaic is still spoken in a few towns in Syria and its written text are being revived)

Tamil

Tamil, a language spoken by about 78 million people and recognized as an official language of India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, is the only classical language that has survived all the way through to the modern world.

It is a member of the Dravidian language family, which includes a number of languages native mostly to southern and eastern India. Researchers have found inscriptions in Tamil dating back to the third century BCE, and it has been in continuous use ever since.

Unlike Sanskrit, another ancient Indian language that fell out of common usage around 600 BCE and became mostly a liturgical language, Tamil has continued to develop and is now the 20th most commonly-spoken language in the world.

Lithuanian

The language family that most European languages belong to is Indo-European, but they started splitting apart from each other probably around 3500 BCE. (Indo-European term is a faked colonial invention).

They developed into dozens of other languages like German, Italian, and English, gradually losing the features that they had all shared. One language, however, up in the Baltic language branch of the Indo-European family, retained more of the feature of what linguists call Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which is the language that they postulate was spoken around 3500 BCE.

For whatever reason, Lithuanian has kept more of the sounds and grammar rules from PIE than any of its linguistic cousins, and can therefore be called one of the oldest languages in the world.

Farsi

In case you haven’t heard of Farsi, it’s a language spoken in modern day Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, among other places.

You’ve probably heard of Persian, and it probably conjures up pictures of genies coming out of bottles. They’re actually the same language, under a different name. Farsi is the direct descendant of Old Persian, which was the language of the Persian Empire.

Modern Persian took form around 800 CE, and one of the things that differentiates it from many modern languages is that it has changed relatively little since then. Speakers of Persian today could pick up a piece of writing from 900 CE and read it with considerably less difficulty than an English speaker could read, say, Shakespeare.

Icelandic

Icelandic is another Indo-European language, this time from the North Germanic Branch (just for comparison, English is also a Germanic language, but from the West Germanic branch).

Many Germanic languages have streamlined themselves and lost some of the features that other Indo-European languages have (you’ve probably never heard of a case, for example, unless you’ve studied Latin or a Slavic language), but Icelandic has developed much more conservatively and retained many of these features.

Danish governance of the country from the 14th to the 20th century also had very little effect on the language, so it has mostly gone unchanged since Norse settlers brought it there when they came to the country, and Icelandic speakers can easily read the sagas written centuries ago.

Macedonian

The Slavic language family, which includes Russian, Polish, Czech, and Croatian, among others, is relatively young as far as languages go.

They only started splitting off from their common ancestor, Common Slavic (or Proto-Slavic), when Cyril and Methodius standardized the language, creating what is now called Old Church Slavonic, and created an alphabet for it.

They then took the language north with them in the 9th century as they went to convert the Slavs to Christianity. They came from somewhere just north of Greece, probably in what is now Macedonia, and Macedonian (together with its very close relative Bulgarian) is the language that is most closely related to Old Church Slavonic today.

Following the comments concerning the intricate historical relationship between Macedonia and Bulgaria, we at The Culture Trip would like indicate that, despite the complexities, the prevailing academic consensus outside of the region is that Bulgarian and the language known as Macedonian are autonomous and have separate dialectical bases.

Basque

The Basque language is the ultimate linguistic mystery. It is spoken natively by some of the Basque people who live in Spain and France, but it is completely unrelated to any Romance language (which French and Spanish are) or indeed any other language in the world.

Linguists have postulated over the decades about what it could be related to, but none of the theories have been able to hold water. The only thing that’s clear is that it existed in that area before the arrival of the Romance languages – that is, before the Romans got there with the Latin that would eventually develop into French and Spanish. (Have the linguists compared it to the language spoken by Carthage?)

Marj Henningsen shared this link
theculturetrip.com|By Lani Seelinger

Finnish

Finnish may not have been written down until the 16th century, but as with any language, it has a history that stretches back far earlier than that. It is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family, which also includes Estonian, Hungarian, and several smaller languages spoken by minority groups across Siberia.

Despite that, Finnish includes many loan words, which were adopted into Finnish from other language families over the centuries. In many cases, Finnish has retained these loan words closer to their original form than the language that they came from.

The word for mother, aiti, for example, comes from Gothic – which, of course, is no longer spoken. The word for king, kuningas, comes from the old Germanic word *kuningaz – which no longer exists in any Germanic language.

Georgian

The Caucasus region is a real hotbed for linguists. The main languages of the three south Caucasian countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, come from three entirely different language families – respectively Indo-European, Turkic, and Kartvelian. Georgian is the biggest Kartvelian language, and it is the only Caucasian language with an ancient literary tradition.

Its beautiful and unique alphabet is also quite old – it is thought to have been adapted from Aramaic as far back as the third century AD.

While not a language island in the same sense as Basque, there are only four Kartvelian languages, all spoken by minorities within Georgia, and they are all unrelated to any other languages in the world.

Irish Gaelic

Although Irish Gaelic is only spoken as a native language by a small majority of Irish people nowadays, it has a long history behind it. It is a member of the Celtic branch of Indo-European languages, and it existed on the islands that are now Great Britain and Ireland well before the Germanic influences arrived.

Irish Gaelic was the language from which Scottish Gaelic and Manx (which used to be spoken on the Isle of Man) arose, but the fact that really lands it on this list is that it has the oldest vernacular literature of any language in Western Europe. (Check with the Phoenician language who first occupied most of these islands))

While the rest of Europe was speaking their own languages and writing in Latin, the Irish decided that they wanted to write in their own language instead.

Syrians in Lattaquieh speak the Ugarit (city-sate) slang (of 3,500 BC ago)

Another proof that Arabic is a slang of the Aramaic language prevalent in the Near-East region for many thousands of years. The language spoken by Jesus.

Most probably, the Greek and Latin ALPHABET are ordered according to the Byblos Alphabet.

 The cuneiform Sumerian alphabet used in Ugarit
‎Syria Heritage صفحة التراث السوري‎'s photo.

Syria Heritage صفحة التراث السوري

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مملكة اوغاريت – (هدية من مسؤولة الصفحه بمناسبة 86 عام على اكتشاف اوغاريت )…
التشابه بين اللغة الاوغاريتية (1500ق.م) واللهجة العامية حاليا في
اللاذقية:

هذا التشابه واضح في أكثر من مجال … هناك بعض المفردات وبعض أشكال من قواعد الصرف قد بقيت في اللغة المحلية الدارجة من النصوص الأوغاريتية، مثال جملة (شبع بكي ) وبالإضافة إلى ذلك إسقاط حرف النون في اللغة الأوغاريتية كما هو الحال في لغة اهل اللاذقيه حاليا: ( بت ) عوضاً عن ( بنت )، ( أت ) عوضاً عن (أنت )….. أف ( أنف)…. حطة (حنطة). الأوغاريتية التي ما تزال تعيش بيننا كثيرة جداً، فإذا سمعت ابن اللاذقية يقول حتى اليوم: «ما فا الدَّجِن بببيتنا» فهو يقصد «لا يوجد الدجن في بيتنا» والدجن اسم آلهة القمح «داجن»، ويُقصد به في اللاذقية الخبز.

وكلمة (عَيّن ) في اللاذقية تعني انظر ، مثال ايضا كلمة :أَيْلِيى (التي تستخدم في الجبال للتعجب ) هي بالحرف :يا إلاهي .
“إيل ” هو كبير الهة الكنعانيين و من ثم الفينيقيين والياء ضمير المتكلم (بدليل آخر كلمة قالها المسيح على الصليب كما ورد في الاناجيل . متى ٢٧/٤٦: «إِيلِي، إِيلِي، لِمَا شَبَقْتَنِي؟» أَيْ: إِلهِي، إِلهِي، لِمَاذَا تَرَكْتَنِي؟ )…..
أبجدية أوغاريت مكونة من ثلاثين حرفاً وتأخذ شكل الترتيب الأبجدي المعروف (أبجد هوز حطي كلمن……
ولا تختلف عن العربية إلا في غياب الضاد عنها وفي وجود حرف سين ثاني…
أبجدية جبيل دونت في القرن العاشر قبل الميلاد ، وهي مكونة من 22 حرفاً وهي تطوير لأبجدية أوغاريت ويقول جبرائيل سعادة (هو علاّمَة في الاثار وكاتباً وأديباً وموسيقياً من اللاذقية):” إنه لأمر باعث على التأثر أن نفكر بأن أطفال اليوم في عدد كبير من البلدان يتعلمون حفظ الأبجدية بالترتيب الذي اختاره لها كاتب من أوغاريت منذ 34 قرناً من الزمن”…..
يوجد بعض الحارات في اللاذقيه ينطقون بكلمات عاميه في نهايتها ( هنه) مثال : اخدوهنه …ضربوهنه ….جابوهنه..يعتقد ان الاوغاريتيين كانوا يضيفون (هنه الى بعض كلماتهم )
كلمات أوغاريتية صرفة لا نزال نستخدمها في العاميه:
خزق :مزق
إجر: رجل
شلف: رمى
شقل: حمل
دبلان: مريض
هوبر: بمعنى صرخ
كسم : شكل
بعدين :ثم
سكّر: أغلق
جورة : حفرة
حشك : حصر
الزراعة بعلا: (بعل كان اله الخصب والزراعة والنمو والحياة في اوغاريت)
بعض الأفعال الاوغاريتية: أحب ، أخذ ، أكر ، قبل ، قابل ، سأل ، سقى ، بنى ، كتب، شرب ، ورث ، فرش، صلى ، صاح ، سكن ، سار ، فتح

وبعض الأسماء: برق ، دمع ، كبد ، كلب ، شعر، كرم ، ملك ، ذئب، إصبع ، وحيد ، يتيم ، نجار ، نسر ،مطر ، نفس ، لسان ، لبوة ، كأس ، قصيدة،ظلمة ، تنين ، ذبيحة ، سماء، شرع ، حكمة ، حليب.
……………….منقول من عدة مصادر بتصرف …مسؤولة صفحة التراث السوري IBN

 

Illusionest Sand's photo.

Illusionest Sand to مجلة علم و عالم…/

هل تتذكرون كيف كان تدريسنا اللغَةَ والاحرفَ يتم في مدارسنا :” ابجد هوّز حُطّي كَلَمَن قرشَت ” الخ …
السبب الاساس هو ان اقدم ابجدية صنعتها امتنا الحضارية كانت مرتبة بهذا الشكل ، اعني ابجدية اوغاريت ثم ابجدية جبيل ، وقد اخذت الابجدية اليونانية عنها الترتيب نفسه فجاءت احرفها الاولى : الفا بيتّا غامّا دِلتا ”
كذلك فان اللغات الاوروبية تتبع الترتيب نفسه مع بعض التعديل فنجد ان الاحرف الاولى هي :A B C D ثم نجد “كلَمَن ” و ” قرشَت” بالترتيب التالي :K L M N وQ R S T .
إن ترتيب الاحرف الاوغاريتية جعل احرف كل لغات العالم تسمى ” ابجدية ” او “ALPHABET” نسبةً الى الفا بيتا او الف باء .
وهناك امورٌ حضاريةٌ اخرى : فمنا كان اول ” سفر تكوين ” واول” قصة خلق “للانسان من الطين واول قصة عن” الطوفان” واول ميثولوجيا عن “الصراع بين الخير والشر” ، وكانت “الافعى” دائماً هي رمز الشر وهي التي تحرم الانسان الحياة والخلود .وعندنا كان اول تنظيم للزمن وعرفنا ان الارض تدور حول الشمس في 365 يوماً و5 ساعات ونظّمنا الاشهر والايام والاسابيع كما اشرنا سابقاً .وعندنا كانت اول مدرسة واول مستشفى واول بطارية لعلاج القلب واول شرائع وقوانين واول علوم وامور كثيرة …
هذه بعضٌ من بصماتنا الحضارية مطبوعة في العالم الى اليوم ولكن صرنا متخلفين عن العلم والابداع بسبب الغزوات الهائلة التي تعرضنا لها وما زلنا نعاني منها ونصارع للبقاء ثم للإنطلاق في نهضة جديدة تعتمد العقلَ والعلمَ والمعرفة

 

Easter or Ishtar: Same pagan and beautiful celebration of fertility March 30, 2013

Most of the Christian religious ceremonies and customs were inherited from the pagan Empires, particularly Byzantium, after Christianity was recognized as an official religion.

More than a century elapsed (year of 425) before Christianity became majority or over 50% of the population and spread in many sects.

The Oriental sects carried on the customs and traditions of the Land of the Levant (Near-East region), while the Christian in Rome emulated traditions relevant to the pagan Rome Empire.

For example, this year, the Christian Orthodox Church will celebrate Easter a full month after the Catholics or on May 3.

The stories would like us to believe that Jesus was tried, crucified and resurrected within the span of a week. This is not possible:

1. The Roman judicial procedures were exhaustive and well-oiled.

2. Jesus was not considered a Jew by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem

3. Jesus was born and lived in the administrative Tyr district, which included Upper Galilee, and thus, the trial process needed far more time to prosecute….

Photo
Whether Easter is taken from Ishtar or a German Goddess Eoster, most Christian ceremonies and customs have roots in previous pagan traditions.
Culture and civilization are a continuation process and build upon previous mankind habits and routines.

Do Not curse a God you don’t worship.

Written in the Aramaic language of Tadmor (Syria) over 2,500 years ago on a pagan Temple.

كُتب على أحد المعابد في تدمر باللغة الآرامية التدمرية عبارة:" لا تشتم إلهاً لا تعبده"..<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> هذه العبارة التي كتبت قبل ألفين وخمس مائة عام تقريباً، لم يكتبها عبثاً أجدادنا الذين تباهوا بتعدد آلهتهم، بل إنهم عندما حفروها على الصخر، هم أرادوها رسالة لتقرأها كل الاجيال<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> التي كانت ستولد على أرض سورية الجميلة الملونة..<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  لماذا "إلها لا تعبده" ؟؟<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  لأنك عندما تشتم إله الآخر (دينه ، طائفته ، عشيرته ..إلخ)، فإنك بذلك الفعل تخلق منه عدواً. إنك بذلك تحشره في زاوية ضيقة وتبعث لديه كل الاحساس البدئي بالدفاع عن النفس ..شتم دين الآخر او طائفته او اتجرأ على القول (قناعاته)، يوقظ المشاعر الماقبل مدنية، ويخرب المجتمعات ويفكك الأوطان ..<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> منقول

Peace words‎’s photo.

كُتب على أحد المعابد في تدمر باللغة الآرامية التدمرية عبارة:” لا تشتم إلهاً لا تعبد

هذه العبارة التي كتبت قبل ألفين وخمس مائة عام تقريباً، لم يكتبها عبثاً أجدادنا الذين تباهوا بتعدد آلهتهم، بل إنهم عندما حفروها على الصخر، هم أرادوها رسالة لتقرأها كل الاجيال
التي كانت ستولد على أرض سورية الجميلة الملونة..
لماذا “إلها لا تعبده” ؟؟
لأنك عندما تشتم إله الآخر (دينه ، طائفته ، عشيرته ..إلخ)، فإنك بذلك الفعل تخلق منه عدواً. إنك بذلك تحشره في زاوية ضيقة وتبعث لديه كل الاحساس البدئي بالدفاع عن النفس ..شتم دين الآخر او طائفته او اتجرأ على القول (قناعاته)، يوقظ المشاعر الماقبل مدنية، ويخرب المجتمعات ويفكك الأوطان ..
منقول

To Hassan Nasr Allah, SG of Hezbollah: An Open Letter

I have the highest respect for the Hezbollah organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade.

Since Hezbollah is the most powerful political and social movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness, it has the potential to either drive Lebanon to a secular democratic system or strengthen the multi-theocratic structure that the Lebanese have been subjugated to since independence in 1943.

This important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon, depending on open dialogue and communication among all Lebanese political parties.

With Hezbollah, I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN, but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

Either we keep apprehensive of a planned “Wilayat Fakih” strategy, a stronger centralized theocratic system, or Hezbollah can be the catalyst for the Lebanese society to build a State that gives a meaning to the modern citizen, regardless of religious affiliation, genders, or “tribal and feudal” chattel mentality.

Either Lebanon eases its way to a unified modern State, with secular civil laws and equitable election laws, or we will end up with two drastic different groups:  The theocratic parties, representing the archaic current political structure, or the secular and democratic political parties representing the aspiration of the new generations.

There are roadblocks to the institution of a modern Lebanese political system. These roadblocks can be surmounted by open dialogue if “theocratic fundamentals”, from all religious sects, are not set are immune to discussion and out of the realm of rational dialogue.

First roadblock.  The Lebanese aspire to freedom of expressions, opinions, and gathering.  That the ambassador of Iran feels he is entitled to meddle in our internal affairs and pressure the authorities to censure a movie produced in Iran is not acceptable and for the following reasons:

First, Hezbollah is targeted by many enemies and has already a big load to confront on many fronts.  To offer a free handle for the enemies to confronting Hezbollah as anathema to free expressions is not productive.

Second, suppressing free opinions regarding Iran political system, or discussing gender discrimination, give the strong impression that Hezbollah is stooges to the Khomeini “Wilayat Fakih” theocratic concept.

Third, the more freedom of expressions are suppressed, the more opinions go underground,and the more the censured materials are spread and viewed as representing the facts and truths.

Second roadblock.  Hezbollah needs to lay off its “theocratic” myths.

The first religious myth is the “dress codes” to both male and female. Dress codes shouldn’t be a religious matters. Dress codes for man and woman have nothing to do with religious dogma.

In Mecca, during the life of Prophet Mohammad, only noble ladies wore the veil outside their homes, as a discrimination dress code of their rank from the other working women.  When the companions of the Prophet fled to Yathreb (Medina), at the onset of persecutions, the veil was not used in Medina:  Women had vast freedom; and they had their own mind.  Actually, it was a shock for the women of Yathreb seeing a few of the companions’ wives wearing veils, as if they considered themselves of nobler ranks! (see note 1)

I suggest to Hezbollah to take the bold decision of toning down the importance of dress codes and desist of spreading this myth. Women, who have no convictions that dress codes are of the domain of religious belief, should not be pressured to cheat on their convictions.  Extending liberty to exercising the power of individual rational thinking is the best asset for higher confidence in leadership and tighter cohesion in the ranks in dire circumstances. The leaders of Hezbollah should give examples within their own family and relatives of relaxing the dress code.

The second myth to get rid off is combining political and religious responsibilities.  It certainly is a proof of internal weakness in the organization when the Secretary General feels the need to offer the face of an Imam.

The Prophet Muhammad was upset with the central “Orthodox” Church of Byzantium (Constantinople) because it labeled one of the Christian sects in Mecca (the Ebionites) as “heretic”: Muhammad’s uncle Ain Warkat was the Patriarch of this Christian-Jew sect and he taught Muhammad to read and write in the Aramaic language, the language of the Bible that the sect read in.

Muhammad abhorred central religious power and viewed it as the enemy for harmony and peace among the believers.  That is why the Prophet declined to name an Imam before his death, so that Islam should not be regulated by any religious central power; he could have named Ali as Imam and Ali would have been an excellent religious guide.

Preaching at every religious event as if in a Friday prayers, Hassan Nasr Allah is definitely sending the wrong message to the Lebanese:  The mixing of politics and religion is bound to lead to disaster.

We need to hear Hassan Nasr Allah political messages and wish he spares us his religious belief that is not the concern of the people at this junction.

What the Lebanese people, and many members of Hezbollah, understand is that Hezbollah is a shifty religious sect following the sect of the Iranian Guide in power.  For example, taking a religious story to drive through a political message, every now and then, is appropriate rhetorically, but when the entire speech is religious, the people get tired of too much chatting in matters they care less about.

Everyone should have his specialty, responsibility, and his target audience.

State business, political organization, and religion should not mix.

Lebanon has 18 formally recognized sects and we need not exacerbate our caste problems.  We need to be the vanguard to the other Arabic and Islamic States in running our life and strengthening our individual freedom for rational thinking.

Third religious myth. There is this boring and unsettling tendency at Hezbollah’s leadership to start their speeches with a long litany of the “honored” descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.

I understand that most diseases are inherited, but I have not stumbled on studies characterizing intelligence, learning, and wisdom attributed to inherited genes.  Actually, research have demonstrated that offspring of highly intelligent men to be born idiots, and vice versa. (See note 3)

Maybe it is time for Hezbollah to desist forcing on people untruths of super great offspring generated by the Prophet.  We must be inclined to pray even more forcefully for the offspring of the Prophet, because the odds are that they suffered immensely by the high expectations impelled upon them by ignorant and lazy-minded followers.

Maybe it is time to expect the next “Mahdi” to be born from the common people instead of some “noble” creed?

Fourth religious myth.  My fourth worry is this trend of re-writing history to please cultural propaganda of a nascent Islamic regional power such as Iran.  Shiaa have lived in northern Palestine, Lebanon, and northern Syria many centuries before the Turkish Safavid Empire ruled Iran in the 17th century and decided to adopt the Shiaa sect as the Kingdom religion.  The Shiaa had to flee the Arabic Sunni Caliphate Empire for two centuries and suffered frequent persecutions during the Ottoman Empire.

The Shiaa took roots in India and in the Maghreb in North Africa. From the Maghreb they converged to Egypt and ruled during the Fatimid Dynasty for over a century and enjoyed many converts in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria when Baghdad’s central power was very weak.  For example, the city of Aleppo and its district was a major focal point for the Ismailia Shiaa.

The Shiaa also converged from India to Herat (west Afghanistan) and to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before spreading to East Iran and the eastern shores of the Arabic Peninsula.  Consequently, the Shiaa in the Near East are its inhabitants and form an intrinsic part of the fabric of this region: they adopted the same customs and tradition.

If for political exigencies Hezbollah needs to select leaders who attended religious schools in Qom of Iran, then it does not follow that this short–term need should be the trend.  Hezbollah has no advantage to alienate the main religious center in Al Najaf or Kufa, simply because its members are Near Eastern and not Persians.

It will pay in the medium-term for Hezbollah to re-write the history of the Shiaa in Lebanon and changing their tradition for a far away civilization, and taking official sides for this Iranian Ayatollah or that, or this Iraqi Ayatollah or that.

The fact is that is Hezbollah is a Lebanese resistance movement, a resistance against any invader to Lebanon because it is the Lebanese people and not a branch, or an extension, or a mercenary force to any regional power. Changing culture and history of the Shiaa in Lebanon can be as a dangerous trend that might foment civil war.

Third roadblock.  Hezbollah has to desist challenging the international community:  It is counter productive to declare that no power on earth can execute the UN resolutions, not for 300 years.  These declarations are redundant, since they have been stated several times and the Lebanese knows what can be executed on the ground.

What Hezbollah can do is re-establishing the independence and credibility of Lebanon’s judicial system and let our legal institutions handle the legal process in Lebanon.  People brought to trial may have the choice of selecting Lebanon judicial system or the International Court procedures.  Hezbollah has to relax its speeches on this hot matter:

First, the submission of official names by the International Court (IC) on Lebanon  relieves Lebanon from this masquerade that has been dragging on for over 6 years:  The 4 names have been out of Lebanon for the last 30 years, and two of the names are believed to be virtual names, not registered as Lebanese “citizens”. The IC “bomb” landed but didn’t explode: Lebanon went on as usual.

Even if the US and Israel detonate the bomb by remote control, most likely the bomb is totally outdated and rotten and will do no damage that the Lebanese have endured in the last decade.

Second, the blade of the sword of the International Court on the assassination of late Rafiq Hariri PM has been blunted:  Hezbollah did a good job discrediting this politicized court.  The Lebanese have learned that the legitimacy in the institution of this special International Court is to be desired. Why? (See note 4)

Lebanon is a very tiny, highly volatile, unstable society, and NOT immune to radical revolts. Let us declare Moratorium on:

 First, a Moratorium on spreading religious myths

Second, a Moratorium on absolute monarchs and dictators who have been spreading the poison that Arabs and Islamic people are not fit for democratic systems and rational thinking.  The “Arab Spring” uprising are one step in that direction.

There are many other roadblocks to a unified Lebanon on the highway of modern Statehood, and I might expand on this open letter.

Note 1: Prophet Muhammad did not bring the issue of dress codes until he married many women for political exigencies.  Sexual rumors spread about a few of his wives: Muhammad had to ask his wives to wear veils and long dresses when stepping out of their homes in order to minimize their recognition by the public.  Thus, a particular and local case needs not be extended to whole communities and to people of different cultures.

Note 2:  Mecca Patriarch Ain Warkat translated his “Bible” into the Aramaic slang spoken in Mecca, which was called Arabic.  The Prophet goal was to unite the “heretic” sects under common denominators by discarding the abstract notions that divided among them; after all, they all followed the daily rituals of the Jewish customs that they inherited by tradition.

Note 3:  The Prophet Muhammad did not die suddenly; he felt terribly sick for 8 days and realized that he is to die soon.  The Prophet was fully conscious many times and he said the Morning Prayer before he died in the arms for his beloved and young wife Aicha. If the prophet wanted a close relative to inherit the title of Imam he would have done so; he still had two daughters and two son-in-laws and many close relatives who were Moslems. (Muhammad had four daughters, all married, and two sons; two of the married daughters died before him and his two sons died in infancy before reaching the age of 4).

Note 4: The entire International Court on Lebanon is not legitimate:

First, the UN has no basis to seeking chapter seven:  Lebanon was not experiencing any civil war, and no massacres were witnessed.  A “legitimate” government was running the country.  What of the far more serious cases of “crimes against humanity” of President  Bashir of Sudan that UN is waiting to be captured and yet being warmly welcomed in China? What of Qadhafi and his son…? What of Bush Jr., Ramsfield, Tony Blair,…

Second, the Lebanese government of Seniora PM was barely representing 30% of the people when it demanded for the institution of this court.  All the Shiaa ministers (representing 60% of the people) had quit the government.  And the ministers of the Christian political party of the Tayyar (representing more than 50% of the Christians) had also quit the government.  By the Constitution, if one of the main religious group is out of the government then, the government is not “legitimate”…

Note 5:  You may read the second part of the open letter https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/part-2-open-letter-to-hassan-nasr-allah-general-secretary-of-hezbollah/

In the Near East (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) there is barely 30 miles stretch of land in width separating the seashore line to the in-land chains of mountains.  It might seem currently ridiculous to claim that this distance can constitute a dividing line between two cultures within a nation.  Fact is, during Jesus time, before, and for centuries after, the Near East had two separate cultures representing the urban coastal line dwellers and what I call the in-land people.  You might even distinguish two more cultures:  the northern fertile in-land people (north of Jerusalem such as Samara, Galilee, Houran, Damascus…) and the desert nomadic people around Jerusalem and to the south.

The urban coastal dwellers stretching from north Turkey to Gaza were exposed to centuries of openness and negotiations with countless cultures and civilizations:  They acquired flexible tendencies to appreciating and valuing varied customs and traditions coming from overseas civilizations.  Their culture has overgrown the oral language traditions of the in-landers into the written language and complex written business contracts.

The Jews and Jewish tribes living in Judea (around Jerusalem and to the southern desert) failed to communicate and engage in direct trade with the urban people on the seashore cities.  They relied on the coastal middlemen or merchants to buying and transacting their products (mainly sheep and goats).  Their culture remained an oral tradition as nomadic tribes communicated their myths, customs, stories, and superstitions.

The Old Testament was basically a collection of stories describing the customs and tradition of in-land people in Palestine.  The scholar Jews in Alexandria (200 BC) decided to write a history of the collected oral stories, myths, and superstitions of the in-land people residing in Palestine.  The Jewish scholars felt an urgent assignment to convert the frustration, anger, alienation, and superstitious culture of the Jews in diaspora into a cohesive historical account that smack of fictitious facts or accurate dating.

Fact is, after 60 years of independence and zealous endeavors to discovering any archeological sites proving the existence of an ancient Jewish kingdom, Israel was unable to find anything related to urban dwelling of any respectable size.  There were no ancient Jewish kingdoms:  Jerusalem was built over one thousand years before Moses set foot on the borders with Palestine.  The Israelites were simply disparate nomadic tribes trying to connect with urban cultures and afraid of being diluted and absorbed in these advanced civilizations.

Jesus was an urban cultured person:  He was born in the Bethlehem of Mount Carmel, lived his childhood in Qana (Lebanon), and was educated in Sidon (Lebanon).  In the last year of his proselytizing, Jesus had decided to disseminate his message to the in-land people and ventured to the lion’s den in Jerusalem (the bastion of rigid rules and superstition). 

It must have been a terrible shock to Jesus and most of his disciples when they witnessed the customs in Jerusalem.  The people and Jewish “zealots” marched behind Jesus wanting a king.  The Jewish clerics of the various sects were comfortable with the state of affairs under a Roman governor, securing order at no expense to the clerics and never meddling in their internal quibbles.

Israel is adamant on not facilitating the construction of a maritime port in Gaza and on opening easy links and land accesses from the West Bank to Gaza for an obvious reason:  Israel wants to reverse the trend and be the urban culture versus the in-landers.

Note 1:  The Near east region shared several characteristics:

First, they had a common oral and written language called Aramaic (spoken by Jesus).  Aramaic was later called Syriac as the Omayyad dynasty of the Arab/Islamic Empire selected Damascus for Capital.  The various Arabic spoken slangs and Hebrew are variations of Aramaic.  Aramaic is still spoken in many regions in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq

Second, They shared the same religion during paganism periods; every city had temples for the favorite Gods from around the land.  The pagan period extended till 500 AC.  Most of the Christian sects in the Near East were considered heretics by the Orthodox Church of Constantinople because they refused the Catholic dogma of three Gods in one; that Jesus is the son of God; and they refused the excessive pageantry exhibited in ceremonies, in bishops rituals, and displaying icons and pictures of saints in churches.  Thus, when Islam invaded the land, the Christian heretics allied with this new religion that was compatible with their dogma.

Third, the topography of the land did not present any serious natural barriers for external warrior empires.  Once a warrior empire (Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, Greek, Mogul, Turks, Ottoman…) entered one corner, it conquered the entire land within a year.

Note 2:  People living on a sea-shore see vast horizons ahead of them and enjoy temperate climate, plenty of fish for nourishment, and variety of goods arriving to ports:  They are open to new ideas, styles, and customs.  People living in deserts have a vast horizon in front of them but lack the adequate climate, the potable water, the animal resources for daily consumption, and most of them lack ready and frequent contacts with other varieties of customs and traditions.  In-land people with fertile lands (Damascus, Aleppo, Hama) get accustomed to a world of limits, barriers,  concentric design of cities, and central views for governance and administration.

Moratorium on spreading myths: Hezbollah and “Wilayat fakeeh” (part 1)

            I selected Hezbollah for my topic for three reasons: first, I need to have a specific target in order to minimize tendencies for generalization; second, Hezbollah is the most powerful movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness and thus, this important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon, depending on open dialogue and communication among all Lebanese political parties; and third, because I have a high respect for this organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade.

Yes, with Hezbollah, I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN, but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

            The first myth that Hezbollah needs to lay off is “dress codes should be a religious matters”. Dress codes for man and woman have nothing to do with religious dogma. In Mecca, during the life of Prophet Mohammad, only noble ladies wore the veil outside their homes, as a discrimination dress code of their rank from the other working women.  When the companions of the Prophet fled to Yathreb (Medina), at the onset of persecutions, the veil was not used in Medina:  Women had large freedom; and they had their own mind.

Actually, it was a chock for the women of Yathreb seeing a few of the companions’ wives wearing veils as if they considered themselves of nobler ranks!

            Prophet Muhammad did not bring the issue of dress codes until he married many women for political exigencies.  Sexual rumors spread about a few of his wives: Muhammad had to ask his wives to wear veils and long dresses when stepping out of their homes in order to minimize their recognition by the public.  Thus, a particular and local case needs not be extended to whole communities and to people of different cultures.

            I suggest to Hezbollah to taking the bold decision of toning down the importance of dress codes and desist of spreading this myth. Women who have no convictions that dress codes are of the domain of religious belief should not be pressured to cheat on their convictions.  Extending liberty to exercising the power of individual rational thinking is the best asset for higher confidence in leadership and tighter cohesion in the ranks in dire circumstances. The leaders of Hezbollah should give examples within their own family and relatives.

            The second myth to get rid off is combining political and religious responsibilities.  It certainly is a proof of internal weakness in the organization when the Secretary General feels the need to offering the face of an Imam.             

            The Prophet Muhammad was upset with the central “Orthodox” Church of Byzantium (Constantinople) because it labeled one of the Christian sects in Mecca (the Ebionite) as “heretic”: Muhammad’s uncle Ain Warkat was the Patriarch of this Christian-Jew sect and he taught Muhammad to read and write in the Aramaic language, the lanhuage of the Bible the sect read in.

Ain Warkat translated his “Bible” into the Aramaic slang spoken in Mecca, which was called Arabic.  The Prophet goal was to unite the “heretic” sects under common denominators by discarding the abstract notions that divided among them; after all, they all followed the daily rituals of the Jewish customs that they inherited by tradition.

Muhammad abhorred central religious power and viewed it as the enemy for harmony and peace among the believers.  That is why the Prophet declined to name an Imam before his death so that Islam should not be regulated by any religious central power; he could have named Ali as Imam and Ali would have been an excellent religious guide.

            Preaching at every religious event as if in a Friday prayers, Hassan Nasr Allah is definitely sending the wrong message to the Lebanese:  The mixing of politics and religion is bound to lead to disaster.  We need to hear Hassan Nasr Allah political messages and wish he spares us his religious belief that is not the concern of the people at this junction.

What the Lebanese people, and many members of Hezbollah, understand is that Hezbollah is a shifty religious sect following the sect of the Iranian Guide in power.

            Taking a religious story to drive through a political message, every now and then, is appropriate rhetorically, but when the entire speech is religious then the people get tired of too much chatting in matters they care less about. Everyone should have his specialty, responsibility, and his target audience. 

            State business, political organization, and religion should not mix.  Lebanon has 18 formally recognized sects and we need not exacerbate our caste problems.  We need to be the vanguard to the other Arabic and Islamic States in running our life and strengthening our individual freedom for rational thinking.

            That is my first installment on myths, from all religious castes, to confront head on our calamities for a harmonious and stable Lebanon. The next follow up post is entitled “Hezbollah to desist spreading myths: Encore

The Syrian Christ (Book Review, March 12, 2009)

In 1916, Abraham Mertie Rihbany published “The Syrian Christ”; eleven editions have so far been printed.  This manuscript was a compendium of articles submitted to the Atlantic Monthly from 1914 to 1916.  Rihbany wrote: “When I read the Bible, I have the distinct impression that I am reading a fresh letter arriving from my parents and relatives in Lebanon”.

Abraham Rihbany undertook to explain to the western Christians the customs and traditions of the civilization in the Levant (Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) that are almost unchanged since Christ and an exhaustive explanation of the written and verbal style of the Bible.

The target audience is the American Christian (mostly among the Protestant sects) who tends to accept every word in the Bible integrally without much openness, analysis, or comprehension of the customs and traditions of the Levant that are described in the Bible. The purpose is to describe the environment and daily life in which Jesus lived, grew up, roamed, was nurtured, and the language (Aramaic), the maxims, the aphorisms of “The Sacred Land” that Jesus spoke.

It was the author’s premise that assimilating the Syrian customs and traditions allows the western Christians to comprehend the verbal imageries of the Bible and appreciate their real values and how the multitudes of stories start to make sense.

The verbal and written style in the Levant is characterized by direct pronouncements expressing feeling and describing what is seen and heard.  The sentences are not encumbered by prefixes such as “I think”, “I believe”, “I am not sure”, “It is possible”, “There might be other versions”, “I might be wrong”, “It is my opinion”, or what the western writers have adopted from the Greek rational style.

The written style in the Levant sounds of utter confidence, categorical, and conveying the total truth, though it does not mean that the people cannot discriminate or feel the variations and uncertainties.  The writers in the Levant simply feel that all these attachments are redundant since it is a fact of life that nothing is categorical or certain.  Thus, superfluous additions disturb the flow of thoughts and the ideas that need to be conveyed.  Rihbany feels that the western readers of the Bible should tone down their uneasiness with “outrageous” direct pronouncements and sentences in the Bible.

The manuscript is of six chapters in 187 pages.  The first chapter is about Jesus the Syrian man, his birth, the star, obedience to parents, holyday and Eucharist.  The second chapter is on the Levant verbal style, the daily parlance, the curses, love of the enemy, “the untruthful eastern person”, impression when challenged by professionalism, speaking in maxim and aphorism, and swearing. Chapter three is on bread and salt, the sacred food, “our daily bread”, “forcing invitation to eat”, “retarding a leaving guest”, and family reunions.  Chapter four is on boarding and sleeping overnight, the “souk”, the rooftop of the house, the grapevine and garden, and the shepherd.  Chapter five is on the sisters of Marie and Martha, women in the Levant, Saint Paul and women, Jesus and his mother, and “a gentle woman”.  Chapter six is called “here and there” in the Bible.

You will realize that the custom was, especially for widows, to be persistent in their demands, sit by the judge feet and keep urging him until the judge relents and gives in.  The custom was for a traveler to stop at the main Carrefour of a town and wait for the first passerby to invite him to stay the night and be fed; if the wait was prolonged then the town would be blemished of infamy for centuries. The custom was to refrain from sharing “bread and salt” until the conversation settle all the differences and the parties are satisfied that they are friends and loyal.

You will learn that visiting a shrine of a Saint was targeting a specific demand; the mother or the family would sleep overnight and sometimes for many days until the Saint or his “ghost” shows up to deliver the good message. The author explains the external form of patriarchal attitude and the internal customs within a family; the custom of keeping doors open until the time to go to bed.

People in the Levant know the cause and effects of phenomenon but they also believe that if God wishes then the effects will not take place no matter what. This is a far cry of the western mind that insists that God has nothing to do with errors or failures and some other supplementary causes have to be investigated when the appropriate effects do not materialize.

(All these customs and traditions of the Land in the Levant were practiced thousands of years before Judaism came to be.  The Jewish religion adopted the customs of the land and wrote in the same style of imagery, maxims, and aphorism. The original manuscripts describe accurately the culture of the land and in the same style even though a few wrote4 in Greek, the language of the highly literate of the period. The writers of the Bible and the New Testaments were people of the land and spoke in the language of the land. Thus, it would be beneficial to be cognizant of the culture and civilization of the land in order to fully appreciate Christianism and the teaching of Jesus. The Bible is a wonderful source for learning the customs of the Land if read to that purpose)

Note 1: I read the Arabic translation by Ussama Ajaj Al Mohtar ISBN: 9953-417-05-9. When I get hold of the original English version then I might have another go for a thorough detailed review.

Note 2: The author Abraham Metrie Rihbany was born in 1869 in the village of Chouwir in Lebanon, one of 11 kids. He integrated a Protestant school in Souk al Gharb in 1886 and was appointed to teach the elementary classes for 3 years in order to cover the expenses. He immigrated to the USA in 1891 and contributed in editing the first Arab daily in the USA “Kawkab al Shark” (The Eastern Planet). Rihbany ventured into a new job of talking in churches in the evening about the “Sacred Land” for contributions. He was selected to represent the Syrian associations in the USA to the Peace Conference held in Paris in 1919. Abraham Rihbany met with the delegates and King Fayssal for 4 months and published a book on that event “Wise Men from the East and from the West” in 1922.

In 1918, Rihbany published “America Save the Near East” urging the USA to deny France and Britain any mandate status over the States in the Levant and warned on the organized Zionist movement to settling in Palestine.  Rihbany published eight books in total among them “Militant America and Jesus Christ” in 1917 and an autobiography “A Far Journey” in 1913 after he visited Lebanon with his wife in 1898.  Rihbany died in 1944; he was 75 of age.

Note 3:  Tourists to the Levant, visiting the urban centers, might not recognize the basic characteristics shared by the population.  Whatever differences seen by tourists are at best skin deep.  The behaviors of the urban citizens are basically the same as in the villages regardless of the verbal proclamations and intentions expressed to the contrary. , March 12, 2009)

 

 

What is this “Greater Syria Nation”? (December 3, 2008)

Syria, “Syrie”, or “Souria” is Su Rya in the Sanskrit language which means the “Land of the Sun“.

There are other names for Syria such as Suraqia (a combination of Syria and Iraq) or the Fertile Crescent.  The Arabic/Islamic occupation called it “Al Sham” or the land on the left side of Mecca or westward.

This potential nation is bordered from the East by the Zahgross and Bakhtiyari Mountain Chains (in present Iran and facing the Arab/Persian Gulf) that link with the Kurdistan Mountain Chains up north and the Taurus Mountain Chains in present Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea.

The south east merges with the western desert of the Arabian Peninsula; the south is bounded by the Arabian Sea; the south west by the Sinai Desert and the west by the Mediterranean Sea.

Thus, this potential nation included present States of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, part of west Iran, and part of south Turkey.

The Syriac or Aramaic language calls it Shu Riash, the Assyrian (Ashur) and the Ancient Testament of the Jews called this land Aram with qualifiers. For example, we have Aram of the two Rivers (Iraq), Aram Damascus, Aram Soba (Bekaa Valley in Lebanon), Aram Maakat (Hasbaya, Banyas in Lebanon), Aram Rahoub (Golan Heights in Syria).

Theoretically, “Greater Syria” has formidable delimited natural borders.

Practically, the topography of the inner land was wide open and there were no difficult barriers for any invader to move in with a large army.

Unfortunately for “Greater Syria” it was a most fertile land with mighty long rivers and multitudes of rich, skilled, and self contained City-States “merchant Republics” that were willing to pay the requisite tribute in order to be left in peace to resume their way of life and for accumulating more treasures.

The “Land of the Sun” has the sun shining most of the years and its ancient religion adored the Sun as the highest unique God (fundamentally monolithic) in the name of Eel or Enlil (Babylon) or Allah in the Arab Peninsula.

All the ancient Empires in that region adopted the same religion with slight variations.  Each religious sect had an assortment of minor Gods (males and females) with specialties and attributes such as Baal, Ashtarout (Astarte), Nabu, Hubal, and Lat and so on.

All the Empires in Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome adopted the same structure for their religions.

The specialized minor Gods overshadowed the generalist mightiest Unique God. 

Thus, each City-State was jealous of it minor God or totem on whom it lavished qualities of its main trade.

I think that is how caste systems were created: each City-State considered its self-autonomy as symbolic to its minor God or sect.  Trade exigencies were the only reasons for these City-States to communicate among one another or associate with for duration.

These City-States were “merchant republics” with democratic institutions within city limits; they were unable to unite or form any long lasting Empires against the invading warlike Empires coming from Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Rome, the Crusaders, and finally the European colonizers.

A few City-States confronted mighty Empires and sometimes managed to defend themselves victoriously like Sidon (Saida).  Many times the City-States burned themselves and their cities (again Sidon) and Cartage.  Tyr accepted that Alexander enters the sanctuary of Baal but refused him the permission to enter with his officers.

Syria was unified most of the time under foreign Empires of domination.

The first time that Syria enjoyed unity as a Nation was under the Seleucus dynasty (one of Alexander officers) with Capital in Antioch for barely 3 centuries.  It was a nation of compatible cultures with the Greek City-States mentality.

Even then, Syria was unable to institute a central army. That was the period when Hannibal was defeated in Zama (Tunisia/Cartage) by the Romans.

Cartage, the typical City-State of caste system and founded by Tyr, signed cooperation treaties with the Seleucus empire against their common enemy Rome, but the support failed to materialize when needed against Rome.  It was after his defeat that Hannibal fled to Syria; but it was too late to check mighty Rome militarily.

Before Islam, Syria was a prized region for frequent razzias by the Bedouin tribes, originating in the northern part of desert Arabic Peninsula.  Many of these Arabic tribes settled in Syria and a few converted to Christianity before Islam conquered Syria.

There were two other periods when Syria had a special nation status during the Arabic Omayyad dynasty and Saladin Al Ayyubi with Capital in Damascus.

Mostly, Syria was divided in small kingdoms or fiefdoms as extensions to City-States variations.  Thus, Syria is a mix of various nationalities and ethnic groups that have common cultures and language but never managed on its own volition to form a central government with a central army. 


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