Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Byblos

This time around: How to survive Lebanese American University (LAU) Byblos

It’s been a month or so since North LAU-ers, otherwise known as LAU Byblos students, kicked off their fall semester in style.

And after bringing you How to Survive LAU Beirut and How to Survive AUB, it’s time we give North LAU-ers their very own college survival guide.

Note: make sure to add the following guide to your syllabus collection.

1. Making your way among upper-gaters at lunchtime can be awkward. This is why you’re highly advised to drop by the kiosks either before or after lunch, unless you particularly like to wait ten extra minutes for your food and maybe gain some upper gate swag.

2. Learn to embrace the compelling aesthetics of the Attic, half of your exams will take place up there anyway.

3. You may indulge on designer bags and flamboyant sneakers as much as you want but please, do not pick up the outrageous habit of wearing Juicy Couture sweatsuits to uni. The latter trend, perpetuated by LAU girls for years now, needs to end already.

4. Looking for a calm place to study? Head to the Health Sciences library. You might have to walk a few extra miles, but it’s always quieter than the Byblos Library. Even better? An empty class always does the trick (that’s if you’re lucky enough to find one).  (Has the library been transferred from the old basement?)

5. Take as many Psychology courses as you can. The classes and faculty are simply AWESOME (huge shoutout to all).

6. And if you ever need a 1-credit free elective, sign up for the Business Etiquette and Protocol course. You’ll learn a whole bunch of useful social, professional and practical skills. Oh and you get to organize a real-life event/dinner with your classmates as your final exam (you also get to dress up and all).

7. Never come to uni without an umbrella when you have classes in Frem or Dorm A, during the winter.

8. Take advantage of the library, the book collection is absolutely tremendous, not to mention the equally compelling DVD selection (yes, they have series too, you know what to do when you’ve got plenty of time to kill). (For years I submitted the requirement to bring in Human Factors and Ergonomic publications, at no avail. I was supposed to be teaching a few courses in these disciplines, but the students lacked any valuable references.)

9. Be careful what you do when you’re standing at the med school terrace. We see you.

10. Always plan your schedule ahead of time and make a list of potential alternatives in case any of the classes you want to take happens to be full (which is very likely to happen if you’re a freshman/sophomore). This will save you an awful lot of time and confusion during registration.

11. Attend the career/internship fairs and presentations. They’re a great opportunity for you to grow your professional network and meet potential employers. (Unless you are first in your class: the USA will demand you continue your graduation there)

12. Join MUN, even if it’s only for a year. It’s always good to hang around young diplomats on weekends.

13. High heels are a definite no. You’re in sneaker-land, baby.

14. Pray that it doesn’t rain on election day, the road will be closed and you wouldn’t want to get mercilessly swayed by the winds and end up fully drenched by the time you’ve reached lower gate.

15. Do NOT pick civil marriage, same-sex marriage, or legalizing drugs as a topic for your English paper, EVER. The professors have had enough, so has the whole academic universe.

 

Beirut, Baalbek, Byblos, the Cedars and what else?

The other amazing places to visit in Lebanon

Pamela Hakim shared a link.
From pristine beaches to incredible mountain views, Lebanon has something to offer for everyone’s interests.
stepfeed.com|By Jason Lemon

Lebanon is an incredible tourist destination with its fascinating historical landmarks, pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, stellar night life and picturesque mountains. The country truly offers something for everyone’s taste.

(If you manage to be healthy during your visit, (drinking boiled water, not eating in restaurants…) you can tour Lebanon in less than 2 weeks)

Unfortunately, a lot of tourists miss out on some of the most interesting and unique sites and activities Lebanon has to offer, sticking to a relatively routine travel plan. Visitors get stuck in Beirut and maybe take a day trip south or north, just to say they left the city.

Well, Lebanon definitely has a lot more to offer. Here are 14 of the coolest places to visit in Lebanon that are a bit off the beaten path.

 

1. Zaarour

https://instagram.com/p/3ZVfzxQ1ph/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/yIYuZzvdzx/embed/

Visit Zaarour to take in the breathtaking mountain views and do some off-roading. In the winter you can hit the slopes and enjoy the snow.

 

2. Chekka

https://instagram.com/p/6E95ZEAmAV/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/3zJNHuKtO5/embed/

There are few places quite like Chekka in the summer. You can enjoy a relaxing day casually swimming in some of the bluest waters Lebanon has to offer or you can take a leap on the adventurous side.

 

3. Bsharri

https://instagram.com/p/6HM773wlDa/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/owG5Q1KXn5/embed/

Enjoy the incredible scenery of this mountain village, famous as the hometown of Lebanon’s favorite author and artist, Gibran Khalil Gibran. You can visit Gibran’s former home, now transformed into a museum in his honor.

 

4. Tripoli

https://instagram.com/p/yl18pRF6np/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/05HefaF6nE/embed/

Beirut’s northern neighbor often suffers from bad press but Lebanon’s second-largest city definitely has a lot to offer in culture, cuisine and historic landmarks. Visitors will not be disappointed. The unique architecture International Fair complex designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is a must-see attraction.

 

5. Zahlé

https://instagram.com/p/4yNH2bCKsw/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/4BlhXcANUJ/embed/

Zahlé sits picturesquely nestled in a mountain valley of Lebanon offering great locations for scenic strolls, wine tasting and all the comforts of city life at your fingertips.

 

6. Tannourine

https://instagram.com/p/15pPQNFO2e/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/zk6AlCFO29/embed/

For the outdoor enthusiasts, Tannourine offers an excellent location for hiking, camping, picnicking and even more adventurous activities like rock climbing. And of course, the famous waterfall can’t be missed.

 

7. Rashaya

https://instagram.com/p/5PVCM8CA4L/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/5JnGAzRFfa/embed/

The village of Rashaya, in eastern Lebanon, is home to the Citadel of Independence, a fortress where the founding leaders of modern-day Lebanon were imprisoned by the French before the nation was granted independence. Enjoy the history and then take a scenic drive through the surrounding area.

 

8. Baskinta

https://instagram.com/p/56RQ-fDcfa/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/5PvubdsG3R/embed/

Take a break, breath and relax while you enjoy the slow pace of village life in Baskinta, located in Lebanon’s lush green mountains.

 

9. Saida

https://instagram.com/p/1bHamxE87g/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/5w3dX5te5M/embed/

Between Beirut and Tyre along Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, Sidon boasts historic landmarks, beaches and a great place to stroll along the corniche. Maybe some of the local fishermen will even allow you to join them.

 

10. Nahr Ibrahim

https://instagram.com/p/6NNL6PmOtD/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/57oTExMpbe/embed/

It doesn’t get much better than a relaxing day spent by the river. Enjoy rafting lazily with the current and maybe even make it a weekend affair by bringing your camping gear a long. Just remember, take care of your trash and leave things cleaner than you found them.

 

11. Tyre

https://instagram.com/p/4pEIAvRsx4/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/5P1_LYrk_P/embed/

With some of the most pristine beaches Lebanon has to offer, sea turtles and a vibrant city culture, Tyre is an ideal places to spend your summer days.

 

12. Miziara

https://instagram.com/p/5PM-JisVr4/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/5PLLWCyte1/embed/

Perhaps one of the strangest places in Lebanon, Miziara is home to some massive and unusual homes including one constructed out of an old airplane. This wealthy northern village also boasts incredibly well-maintained and organized streets, something not always the norm throughout the country.

 

13. Deir al Qamar

https://instagram.com/p/odk8RDuPpJ/embed/

 

https://instagram.com/p/sC3Cf3hE8v/embed/

Tour the 17th century Fakhreddine Palace, the residence of the famed Druze Prince Fakhreddine. After you snap some selfies with the wax statues inside the palace, head out for a stroll in the alleyways and streets the village.

 

14. Jounieh

https://instagram.com/p/6PuXnvncNp/embed/

https://instagram.com/p/3BYKPRFmcw/embed/

Nestled along the coast to the north, Jounieh’s nightlife rivals the famous party culture of Beirut. During the day, enjoy the beach or try your hand at some water sports. In late afternoon head up, into the mountains so you can paraglide into the sunset before spending your evening dancing in the streets or testing your luck at the Casino du Liban.

10 Ancient Cities Where People Still Live

MICHAEL VAN DUISEN APRIL 8, 2014

Even though much that links us to their founding years is gone, cities that reach back to the earliest human civilizations retain an undeniable allure. These 10 examples include some of the oldest cities in history, and people still call each one of them home.

10Ife (Nigeria)
Founded circa 350 B.C.

01

Photo credit: Tropenmuseum

The Yoruba people consider Ife the mythical birthplace of mankind. Two of their deities are said to have created the first humans out of clay, with one of them becoming the first king of the Yoruba.

By the 11th century, the city had become the capital of a kingdom, with its residents producing the region’s famed terra-cotta heads during the following two centuries.

Nearly destroyed as a result of a late 18th-century war, as well as by decades of trauma related to the slave trade, Ife is now home to one of Nigeria’s major universities, as well as the Historical Society of Nigeria. In addition, the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people, known as the Ooni, lives in a palace in the center of the city. Ife now has over 600,000 residents.

9Balkh (Afghanistan)
Founded circa 500 B.C.

02
Known as Bactra (Bactria) in its pre-Afghan days, the city of Balkh was the capital of the Greek territory of Bactria after its capture by Alexander the Great.

After several invaders conquered the city, it eventually became the capital of Khorasan, a political entity created by the Sasanian Empire of Iran. It was under their rule that Balkh became famous as a center of learning, earning itself the title “mother of cities.” In addition, the Zoroastrian religion is said to have been founded there.

Most of the city was destroyed during an invasion by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. It lay in ruins until the early 15th century, and the city is more of a village today, with a population of only a few thousand. But a handful of the original buildings have survived, including a number of ancient Buddhist reliquary mounds and the outer walls of the city.

Khorasan was the origin of the warriors who played big roles in deposing Caliphs in Baghdad.

8Luoyang (China)
Founded circa 1050 B.C.

03

Photo credit: Gary Lee Todd

One of the 8 Great Ancient Capitals of China, Luoyang was founded in the middle of the 11th century, at the start of the Zhou Dynasty.

In fact, 9 different dynasties, stretching over centuries, have used Luoyang as their capital. Unfortunately, the city underwent a great economic depression that lasted from a revolution in the eighth century up until the middle of the 1900s. Assistance from the USSR and industrialization brought Luoyang back from the dead.

One of the greatest architectural and spiritual treasures in the city is the White Horse Temple, the “cradle of Buddhism in China.” Built during the first century A.D., it was the first of up to 1,300 different temples, as Luoyang became the spiritual center for Buddhism in China.

In addition, the city is home to the Longmen Grottoes, a series of Buddhist caves that is a UNESCO heritage site and one of the masterpieces of Chinese Buddhist art.

7Patras (Greece)
Founded circa 1100 B.C.

04

Photo credit: Conudrum/Wikimedia

While evidence says people lived in the area as far back as the third millennium B.C., Patras as an actual city didn’t begin until about 1,000 years later.

Three small settlements existed in the area and remained there for hundreds of years, until the Achaeans, and the eponymous Patreus, combined them into one large city and named it Patras.

Relatively insignificant for much of its early existence, the city later became a major part of the founding of the second Achaean League, a confederation of various Greek city-states.

Thanks to its location by the sea, Patras played a huge role in Greek trade, even up to modern times. Unfortunately, very few buildings have survived from its early history, with the oldest surviving example being the Patras Roman Odeum, a small theater built by the Romans sometime in the early second century.

There is also a prehistoric acropolis, known as the Wall of Dymaeans, dating back to the 14th century B.C. It is said to have been built by Heracles himself.

6Kutaisi (Georgia)
Founded circa 1400 B.C.

05

Photo credit: Andrzej Wójtowicz

Among the oldest and largest cities in the nation of Georgia, Kutaisi was the capital of multiple ancient kingdoms, most notably Colchis from the sixth to first century B.C. That kingdom is perhaps best known for being the final destination of Jason and his Argonauts during their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Afterward, the city and the area around it suffered numerous invasions, including by the Mongolians and the Ottomans.

In the 12th century, during the reign of David IV, Kutaisi became the capital of the United Kingdom of Georgia and underwent a period of construction unrivaled in its history.

This time saw the construction of the Gelati Monastery, one of the most famous buildings in the city and a great example of medieval Georgian architecture. Remarkably well preserved, it is one of Georgia’s UNESCO heritage sites.

5Tyre (Lebanon)
Founded circa 2750 B.C.

06

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

An ancient Phoenician port city, with a large number of mythical occurrences to its name, Tyre has seen its fair share of historical action as well.

Extremely prosperous thanks to its ideal location, the city was besieged by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who unsuccessfully tried to conquer it over the course of 13 years. However, Tyre did fall to the army assembled by Alexander the Great, which resulted in most of the buildings being razed to the ground.

It was here (or perhaps nearby Sidon) that people were first able to create dye with a purple pigment, leading the Greeks to call them Phoinikes, which means “purple people” and is where we get the name “Phoenician.”

One of the most important Phoenician cities, Tyre used to be an island, but Alexander the Great demolished buildings to create a causeway linking it to the mainland. Now known as Sour in the country of Lebanon, the city is home to many significant ancient Roman sites, including the second-century hippodrome, one of the largest existing in the world.

4Sidon (Saida, Lebanon)
Founded circa 3000 B.C.

07

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

Derived from the Greek word for “fishery,” Sidon was an ancient Phoenician port city and is famous for its fishing and trade industries, as well as its glass manufacturing—the Greek author Homer had a lot of praise for the people of Sidon when it came to that specific fact.

Like its sister city Tyre, Sidon was captured by Alexander the Great, yet it was spared complete destruction because it surrendered without a fight.

Commanded by multiple kingdoms, Sidon flourished under Ottoman rule, though it has been ravaged and rebuilt multiple times. One of the oldest pieces of architecture in the city is the Temple of Eshmun, dedicated to the Phoenician god of healing and dating back to the seventh century B.C.

3Argos (Greece)
Founded circa 5000 B.C.

08
Perhaps the oldest city in Europe, Argos was originally a Greek city-state.

Thanks to its bountiful natural resources in the fertile lowlands known as the Plain of Argos, the city rose to prominence during the Mycenaean period at the end of the second millennium B.C.

In fact, until Sparta’s rise, Argos was the dominant city-state of the region.

Unlike many of its Greek partners, Argos flourished under Roman and Byzantine rule, as evidenced by the monumental civic works undertaken during these eras. The city and surrounding area played a huge role in Greek mythology, with the heroes Perseus, Diomedes, and Agamemnon believed to have been born there.

The present city of Argos is built over much of the ancient city, with very little architecture remaining from its early years.

The ruins of the Heraion of Argos, a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera, form probably the oldest existing structure in the area, dating back to the seventh century B.C.

2Byblos (Jbeil, Lebanon)
Founded circa 6000 B.C.

09

Photo credit: BlingBling10/Wikimedia

The oldest existing Phoenician city, Byblos was home to much scientific and technological advancement during its existence.

Historians credited it as the place where the Phoenician alphabet was conceived, and the city’s name derives from the Greek word for “paper,” a major export.

Byblos was burned to the ground near the end of the third millennium B.C. by invading Amorites, yet traces of that period still exist.

Originally, Byblos was an Egyptian protectorate, supplying crucial timber and other goods in exchange for protection. By the 11th century B.C., it was independent and became Phoenician territory. It remained relatively important for much of its existence, first losing its importance as capital of Phoenicia to Tyre and then fading to obscurity just after the Crusades.

The present-day city of Jbail, Lebanon is partially built on the ruins of much of Byblos, with the remaining ruins being designated a UNESCO heritage site.

1Jericho (Tell es-Sultan, Palestine)
Founded circa 9000 B.C.

10
Perhaps the oldest (and currently the lowest by altitude) city in the history of humanity, Jericho is located in the West Bank, just past the northern half of the Dead Sea.

Thanks to a spring that supplies the area with extremely fertile soil, Jericho made a great place for early hunter-gatherers to settle down and begin domesticating animals.

After about 2,000 years of loosely being considered a city, Jericho’s first walls were erected, forming the earliest known example of urban fortifications.

Known as Tell es-Sultan in its early days, Jericho flourished for many years before being completely destroyed by nomadic tribes toward the end of the second millennium B.C.

Fire destroyed it again a few hundred years later. The modern city of Jericho comprises part of this ancient area, as well as space that used to be out of Tell es-Sultan’s city limits. Jericho was also said to be home to many spiritual events from Judaism and Christianity.

Note 1: From a link on FB Pamela Hakim via Ama Sadaka

Note 2: Most of the city-states on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea are still inhabited since antiquity.  Ashkelon, Akka, Yafa, Haifa, Beirut, Tripoli, Tartous….

Probably, Damascus is the oldest city that has been inhabited since mankind civilization. Most of the trade caravans ended in Damascus, to span in smaller caravans. Aleppo is also another of the oldest of cities, and Jarash in Jordan and Jerusalem.

What’s with ancient Athens? (Feb. 10, 2010)

            There is this Western civilization tendency of focusing mainly on ancient city-state Athens as the roots of its knowledge (with extension to all kind of knowledge and everywhere!).  The European and northern America civilizations insist that the “Greek miracle” between the 6th and 5th century BC was the cornerstone for dissemination of knowledge and the improvement of human cultures.  Worse, this tendency would like you to believe that enlightenment of city-state of Athens is a unique experience that was never witnessed before, later and in nowhere else at any periods of history!

            Based on that comforting assumption, most scholars gave up attempting to explain this phenomenon and just applied to describing this status as fact.  First, we can explain it pretty rationally. The City-Sates of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, and countless other eastern Mediterranean cities preceded Athens in enjoying their Golden Ages at least one thousand years before Athens was built. Competition among the City-states for dominance in trade, industry, and schools of learning, and mastery of the seas was the main factor for the changes in their political-economic structures that shifted from monarchy, oligarchy, or democratic systems within the City-State limits. The constitutions were valid for the City-State residents.

            It happened that before Athens’ Golden Age the Phoenician city-states were subjugated by one of the Persian kingdoms.  Scholars and traders immigrated to Athens and transmitted their know-how in trade, learning, forms of governments, and schools of thoughts to the Athenians.  The pre-Socratic philosophers and the sophist teachers were the founders of rhetoric and sciences among the aristocratic Athenian classes who were required to be eloquent and learned in order to vying for political positions.

            This is the same process that occurred to many other Golden Age cities and nations.  For example, Venice and Genoa captured the scholars and artisans fleeing or emigrating from Constantinople after the sack by the second European crusaders.  It is what happened to Germany when the French armies sacked Rome and scholars bolstered the Reformist movement of Martin Luther and disseminated the Bible in the German language and encouraged printing.  It is the same when the French aristocracy fled France to London during the French Revolution and carried with them their knowledge and money and started a new era for the coming industrial revolution.

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”.

The devil is NOT in the details; (October 16, 2009)

 

            Details are what bring people together to communicate, dialogue, and negotiate to reach compromises.  The main wall that separate among communities is the concrete wall mixed with myths, general concepts, and abstract notions.  Strong with draft details each organization can start to sort out the differences and comprehend the big picture; it is never the way around in social behavior. I will discuss two cases, one religious and the other of political nature.

            After the crucifixion of Jesus many Christian sects were born in the Near East in the first four centuries.  Fundamentally, these sects were almost identical in applying the Jewish daily rituals or the Jewish 650 laws of “correct” conduct. What separated these sects were abstract concepts that did not harm their peaceful coexistence in separate communities of believers: they never attacked by force one another; military persecutions started when the Church acquired central power in Constantinople; whole “heretic” sects and entire communities had to flee to safety. 

            Thus, The Mighty Wall was erected after 325 AC when Byzantium Empire decided to adopt Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.  Thus, the central power concept of the Empire dictated that church should be centralized.  Instead of focusing in negotiating on the details that split the various sects an upper abstract super-structure on concepts was imposed; concepts such as the dual nature of Christ, the deity of the threes (the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit), the virginity of the mother Mary and on.  This time around, the sects were to join the Orthodox Church by force if need be: a central Empire cannot permit disunity, even on totally nonsense abstract conjectures!

            Consequently, the labeled “heretic” sects had to flee beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates River (to the Persia Sassanide Dynasty).  The Nestourian sect reached China and translated “their” Bible into the Chinese language. Many other “heretic” sects settled in the Arabic Peninsula; the Christian-Jewish “Ebionite” sect was firmly entrenched in Mecca; the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Ain Warkat, was the Patriarch of this sect and Muhammad learned to read in the Aramaic Ebionite Bible; Muhammad aided his uncle in the translation of this specific Bible into the Arabic slang of Mecca.  Thus, Islam is originally a common denominator “heretic” Christian sect, one of many Christian sects in the Arabic Peninsula; the Prophet had to delete all the abstract notions to unite the sects; it was named Islam or the belief in the One and only God.

            The strong animosity of the Catholic Church of Rome against Islam was not directed at a religion such as Buddhism or Mazdean but at a new “heretic” Christian sect usurping its central power in the Near East. The Orthodox Church in Constantinople was more lenient with Islam because it understood its genesis and the causes for the need of this new “heresy”; for Constantinople Islam was the oriental counterpart of Protestantism to Rome when Islam became the dominant religion in the region. 

            It is said: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”; this Machiavellian principle was lost to obscurantist Catholic Church. Rome was too far away and fought Islam with the ignorance of abstract concepts. For the Catholic Church in 1,000 AC, Islam was doubly “heretic” instead of just the counterpart to the central Orthodox Church of the Byzantium Empire: it failed to realize that if Islam spread so fast and so widely it is mainly because most the labeled Christian heretic sects quickly converted to Islam as representing their system of belief against the monopole of Constantinople.

 

            The other case is the concept of a Syrian Nation with well delimited natural borders including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq to the west of the Tiger (Dujlat) River. This concept was highly widespread among the people of the region as the Ottoman Empire was dying during WWI.  It was still even more alive during the mandate of France and Britain to the region (Near East) after WWI. The people in the Syrian Nation speak one language and have the same customs and tradition.  This nation was as natural as ABC; the immigrants were first called Turks during the Ottoman Empire and then they were all called Syrians regardless of location or religion.

            The main problem is that the political parties spent two critical decades proving the evident (according to the newer definitions of the West for a Nation) instead of making the effort to developing draft detailed programs on the type of political administrative structure for this nation, the social representation, and election laws; (for example, is it a Federal structure like the USA where each mandated State is fully autonomous with local government and local parliament, or provinces tailored made to religious, ethnic, and sectarian majorities, or loosely united States with open borders, common money, central army, or centralized foreign affairs; is Syria to be a monarchy and what kind). 

            Instead of discussing detailed programs, political parties mushroomed with abstract concepts not based on facts or pragmatic long-term goals. The colonial “mandated powers” of France and England had field days of “dividing to rule”.  Every sect established its political party in every potential State claiming either total independence, or seeking a pan-Arabic Nation of Arabic speaking majorities in States, or Islamic Nation.  We watched the emergence of communist parties disclaiming the notion of affiliating to a nation, to sectarian parties claiming democracy, socialism, and progressive. The worst propaganda that was encouraged by the colonial powers is to incite citizens against the Syrian people with the objective of discrediting the word Syria and giving it a bad connotation.

              Natural borders of chain of mountains, desert, or large rivers do not necessarily protect from invasions; natural borders certainly encourage people to trade and interact inside the borders.  It is the internal rough geography and terrain that protects from outside military incursions.  Once a force crosses the border then Syria is an open land all the way to Egypt. Syria, or the Near East, was continuously occupied by foreign armies: these foreign invaders had to retreat quickly or get absorbed culturally. Whatever monuments, constructions, temples, sport arena, or scholarly works that were attributed to invading nations (Persia, Egypt, Greek, Rome, or Arab) are basically the work of the Near Eastern civilization, their scholars, their craftsmen, and their adventurous business acumen.

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

            Egypt and Persia frequent invasions in the Near East did not last long.  The Greek were absorbed: what Europe claim as Greek civilization is nothing less than the civilization of the Greek writing Syrians who spoke Aramaic.  Rome was finally absorbed: the Roman Laws are of the legal minds from the school of Beirut and the latest Emperors were born, raised, and educated in Syria. The Byzantium Empire was fundamentally a Near Eastern Empire.  The Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula were absorbed when Damascus was selected as Capital during the Umayyad Dynasty; the Arabs were absorbed by the Persian civilization when the capital shifted to Baghdad.  The Mogul retreated quickly but established long lasting Empires in India and Afghanistan. The Ottoman conquered this land and could not be absorbed: the Syrian people were already exhausted from many years of successive invasions, religious obscurantism, and immigration by scholars to greener pastures.  France and England retreated within two decades.  Israel failed to retreat on time and is now being absorbed as Near Eastern regardless of Israel attempts to seeking European image.

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

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”.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,428,253 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 775 other followers

%d bloggers like this: