Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘City-States

Lions and lionesses along the Fertile Crescent ancient Empires 

Major civilizations built empires and cities along major rivers such as the Nile, Euphrates, Tiger, Indus (Pakistan), Ganges (India), and the Yellow River in China.

At the current rate of modernization and deforestations most of the aborigine tribes would disappear within a few decades.  Many civilizations have vanished but a few have managed to survive precariously so far.

The best approach to explaining the succession of civilizations and Empires in the Fertile Crescent that raided and conquered the Near East civilizations such as in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria (Phoenicia, Canaan, Aram) is the analogy of survival among the lions and lionesses.

As a young lion attains two years, after being chased out of the clan, prowls the region for lionesses to mate and establish clans of their own.  Old lions are attacked and displaced and the cubs are eaten and slaughtered by the new King to quickly attract the lioness in heat and then new progenitors are formed.  The lioness fights valiantly to preserve her cubs but ends up giving up.

Since a lion lives to be 10 years old, on average, while the lioness can outlive him by 7 years and diffuse many progenitors of her owns then the survival of these mammal carnivores is mainly due to the survival of the lionesses.  The lionesses chase and bring meat to the clan and care for the cubs.

Almost all the ancient civilizations in the Middle East, (the Nile River excluded because in Africa), were established along the Fertile Crescent of the main Rivers of Litany, Al Aassi, Euphrates and the Tiger (for example, the people inhabiting Lebanon, Syria, the southern part of Turkey, the Western part of Iran and Iraq).

The warrior Empires were Akkad, Babylon (Iraq), Assyria (Kurdestan of Iraq), Persia, Pharaonic Egypt, Hittite (Inland Turkey), Greece, Selucian, Roman, and later Byzantium, Sassanide, Arab (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatemid), Seljuk, Crusaders, Mamelouks, and Ottomans.

The young male lions from emerging warrior Empires, during their conquests and expansion, reclaimed the civilized glory and achievements of the Near East people as their own proper.  The Near East people were constantly behaving like the lionesses: they first fight valiantly for their cubs, and when they inevitably fail against the young lions then they mate with the conquerors after the invaders had tried to kill all their progenitors.

The latest archeological discoveries located developed urban centers around the borders of Syria and Turkey that were 10,000 years old; it is these centers that later established the Sumer Kingdom in southern Iraq around 5,000 years ago.

A few citizens of City-States like Byblos, Sidon and Tyr and much later Carthage burned down their cities and then set fire on themselves to avoid servitude and surrender. While these young lions were strutting and showing off in the regions and adapting to the new civilizations, it was the constant duty of the lionesses to chase and bring the meat to the table and care for the household:  They fed and civilized the conquerors.

The Near East people were bringing the food to the tables and caring for the glamour and wants of the invaders whose sole job was to making war and killing on their war paths.

I read chapters from an Arabic book by Georges Masrou3a.  Masrouaa asked an archeologist about the Achmoun Temple in Sidon “Saida”, built around 550 BC and he replied that it was a Persian design from King Kourush I period.

Masrouaa then asked the archeologist why he claimed that it is Persian and the latter said because that is what the archeology archives claim to be.  Persia had no such Temple at Kourush’s time; even if the Persian King paid for it at the expense of the invaded people that should not be a basis to claim achievements of other civilizations.

This is the same story with the temples in Baalbak; the archeologists would claim that it was the work of the Romans since 200 BC but if this monument was of Roman style and glory then why the Romans failed to build something close to it in Rome or in Italy? 

We have the same contentions for the impressive horse track and humongous amphitheater in Tyr (500 by 200 meters) that was built before 500 BC according to Herodotus; if this amphitheater was the work and style of the Romans then why did the Roman wait another three centuries to build their Coliseum? The same goes to the Jerusalem Temple even though the architects, builders and foramens and craftsmen and master workers were from Tyre during King Hiram or “Ahiram”. 

Euclid, Zenon, Plotin, Tales, Homer, Pythagoras and scores of great thinkers were born and lived in our coastal City-States stretching from Palestine to Turkey such as Akka, Tyr, Sidon (called the eldest son of Canaan in the Bible), Beyrouth, Byblos, Ugarit, Antaqia, and so on and yet they were labeled as Greeks.  Is it simply because we were under Greek dominion that our famous thinkers should be Greeks, even if they didn’t enjoy the privileges of Greek Athens  City-State citizens? 

Scores of our famous people were labeled Romans simply because we were under Roman hegemony.  For example, the eminent legal masters, in the third century, Papinian and Olypian lived in Beyrouth (Beryt); Olympian is indeed the martyr of jurists because he adamantly refused to offer a legal opinion in favor of Emperor Caracala for the killing of his brother Jeita.

If this is the case then, why Jesus is to be simply a Jew and not Roman?  St. Paul was actually a Roman citizen that he inherited from his father and great father and yet Paul is said to be simply a Jew.  There is undoubtedly a systematic disinformation concerning the cultural heritage of the Near Eastern civilizations.

The Europeans purposely have chosen to start their civilization from Ancient Greek in 600 BC because they claimed Athens City-State to be democratic and they had to emulate the democratic system in Greek Athens.

Democracy was developed in the City-States of Byblos, Sidon, Tyr, Ugarit and Mary several centuries before Athens existed.  These City-States had democracy within their city limits as Athens and Rome emulated later on because communication and transport were limited and the administration of such a complex democratic system was not feasible at a larger magnitude at the time.   Thus, democracy was not translated to the colonies as Greek Athens also failed to do.

Theaters via their verbal communications in plays were the main medium for spreading democracy and the clashing of ideas of various opposition groups; plays created a citizen consciousness that is different from immediate civic consciousness of oratorical speeches.  The Near Eastern civilizations were ahead of Athens several centuries in theater plays; Athens got the attention because a few of its written literatures were preserved and translated.  For example, Aeschylus wrote over 90 works but only seven of his tragedies remained to prove the dynamics of Athens’ democratic system.

Although the City-States in the Levant developed commercial empires they never built theocratic warrior Empires because their citizens focused on civilized endeavors and opted in armed struggles to just defending their central Cities. Athens managed to defend its civilization outside its City limits and even asked the cooperation of other Greek City-States like Sparta and the famous Thebes that the Phoenicians had built centuries before Athens existed and which Alexander erased completely before launching his Asian campaign.

We can confirm that the Near East region was the bedrock of all the civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea in religion, philosophy, sciences, literature and arts.

Regardless of genetic sources, which are an amalgamation of many nations and which is not that important for the purpose of this article, anyone from current States in the Near East should take pride in their ancient civilizations and their original identity as the forefathers of contemporary modern democratic civilizations in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Sea regions.

Note:   Currently, we still have the ethnic Saamis (Norway and Finland), Inuits (Siberia, Alaska, and Canada), Ainous (Japan), Indians (USA and Canada), Zapotec (Mexico), Mosquitos (Nicaragua), Quiches (Guatemala), Cunas (Panama), Yanomamis and Guaranis (Brazil), Galibis and Akawaios (Guyana), Paez ans Guambianos (Colombia), Waoranis (Equator), Amueshas (Peru), Chimanes (Bolivia), Araucans (Chili), Touaregs and Bororos (Sahel in Northern Africa), Tigres (Ethiopia and Somalia), Dinkas (Sudan), Masais (Kenya and Tanzania), Pygmees (Zaire), Sans or Bushmen (Namibia and Botswana), Kalingas (Philippines), Kachins and Rohingas (Myanmar or Birmani), Hmongs (Laos), Santals and Gonds (India), Punans (Malaysia), Uzbeks and Tadjiks (Afghanistan), Aborigines (Australia), Maoris (New Zealand), Papous (New Guinea).

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. (Every empire seeks to have its own religion and persecute all other sects as heretics)

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 avoided any rational thinking and sciences were halted.

The Arabic/Islamic Empire, around 650 AC, entered Damascus and conquered Persia, but 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 abstract Orthodox Church, though this Islam adopted most of the Jewish mythical stories and even the customs of the Jewish desert life-style traditions.

Rational thinking got a boost because the Omayyad dynasty settled in Damascus as Capital endeavored to translate foreign knowledge and Greek manuscripts (by the Syrian scholars who mastered at least 3 languages) to the Syriac and Arabic languages got underway; it was about time.

It took almost 100 years for the Islamic empire to acquire enough knowledge to go ahead and produce scientific books.

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 Muslim Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

The Koran was translated in Constantinople in the 9th century.

It was also 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/Muslim civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1450 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… 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.

Jerusalem: Ur Salam (City of Peace) (May 2, 2009)

As biased history dust settles down, people will realize that it was the people of Canaan who hired as mercenary nomadic Jewish tribes coming from the desert to ward off the incursions of the “sea people” who settled in Gaza in the 18th century BC.

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

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

The entire eastern coastline from north Syria to Sinai was dominated by the Canaanites.  Thus, in southern Palestine the Canaanites had to flee northward and retreat inside toward Jerusalem, one of their inland 25 City-States.

Jerusalem was then inhabited by over 10,000 urban dwellers, a huge number for the period.

Around 11th century BC, Moses arrived with his nomadic tribes and his successors endeavored to settle in part of Palestine and battled with the Philistines.  The Canaanites aristocracy aided David to enter Jerusalem and who became their administrative supporters.

David had two high priests (Ebyatar and Sadoq), two military leaders (Joab and Benayahou), and two heirs apparent (Adoniyyahou and Solomon).

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

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

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

Solomon’s supporters for acceding to the throne were the Canaanites and they assassinated Adoniyyahou and Joab.  Ebyatar fled and was in pursuit.

Solomon relied on the King of Tyr to building his Temple for the Sun God facing east.  The dedication read: “The divinity of the Sun has announced: Yahweh has decided to live in the shadow. A house has been renovated for his dwelling”.

The God Sun sent two messengers of Right and Justice to destroy Sodom.  In this event as in others, Yahweh shares the responsibility as a subordinate to the Sun God.  Slowly but surely, Yahweh acquired a convincing divinity by the period that preceded the exile to Babylon.

In 587 BC, the Babylonian King Nabukhodonosor destroys part of the Temple.  The Persian King Cyrus repatriates the Jews in 538 and restores the temple.

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

The Seleucid dynasty dominates Jerusalem from 200 to 142.

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

The zealot Jews take over Jerusalem for two years in 66 AC.

The Roman General Titus enters Jerusalem in the year 70 and burns the Temple.  Jerusalem is named Aelia Capitolina.

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

Emperor Constantine consecrates the Anastasis (The Saint Sepulcher).

The Persian King Chosroe destroys Jerusalem in 614.

Emperor Heracles re-takes the city in 628.

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

The crusaders enter the city in 1099.

The Sultan Sallah el Din enters the city in 1187 and chased out the crusaders.

The Turkish Sultan Selim II enters the city in 1244 and gives Jerusalem a religious function and dots it with many religious schools (madrassa).

The Ottoman Empire captures the city in 1516.  Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds the walls and enlarges the city with newer walls.

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

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

Lebanon and Palestine: Same and Different (April 28, 2009, Part 1)

 

Brief ancient history:

Lebanon is a recognized State by the UN, in 1946 (2 years before Israel). Palestine was partitioned in 1947 between Palestinians and the minority Jews. Currently, all of Palestine is under occupation by this Zionist State called Israel.

Lebanon and Palestine were throughout antiquity under the domination of neighboring Empires such as in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq (Mesopotamia).  The people in the two tiny stretches of coastal lands on the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea were mainly mariners, traders, middlemen among Empires, and skilled artisans.

Under the nominal or explicit domination of Empires, Lebanon and Palestine had autonomous administration of their society as City-States that were highly democratic within the city limits as Athens emulated in the 7th century BC. 

The famous City-States from north to south are Ugarite, Tripoli, Jubail (Byblos), Saida, Sour (Tyr), Akka (Acre and Haifa), and Askelan. 

The City-State of Jubeil (inventors of the alphabet) built Saida; Saida built Sour and dominated the sea routes; and Sour built Akka and relayed Saida in sea domination and expanding the trading posts to Spain.  These City-States were the masters of the sea and traded with all Empires and build trading towns; they have resisted many overwhelming sieges, sometimes for years, and occasionally managed not to be entered and devastated.

Every empire that conquered Syria resumed its drive by dominating Lebanon and Palestine.  In general, when more than one empire co-existed at the same period and when the empire in Egypt was powerful enough then it governed the southern half of Palestine while the other empire governed the upper half, including Lebanon.  The strip of Gaza to Yafa was mostly under Egyptian cultural influence.

The coastal strip from north actual Syria to the Sinai was called Canaan. Then, the upper stretch to Akka was called Phoenicia or even Saida (in reference for the main City-State). The Sea People, called Philistines and probably coming from the Adriatic Sea, destroyed Greece fleet, devastated many coastal cities, and conquered Egypt before they were driven out and settle in Gaza and the southern part of Canaan, called Palestine ever since.

Moses (this mythical story) arrived with an amalgam of nomadic tribes and his successors attempted to occupy part of south Palestine.  These tribes worshiped Yahwa, thus, yahoud and Jews for the Latin people.  These tribes under Moses reverted to worshiping the all encompassing God of the Land called El., except a few tribes such as Judea and Benjamin.  During the Roman Empire, Tyr administered the upper half of Palestine.

 

Modern History:

            In the beginning of the 20th century, the military in Turkey deposed the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and started policies focused on Turk Nationhood.  Many in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine immigrated to Egypt. 

During the First World War famine fell on Lebanon along with a devastating wave of locust; they immigrated to the USA, Brazil, Latin America, and many were dropped in Africa by unethical ship captains. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, Britain had mandate over Palestine and Iraq; France had mandate over Lebanon and Syria.

Consequently, the bilingual Palestinians spoke English, and their counterpart in Lebanon spoke French. In 1930, Haifa grabbed the center of trades and many Lebanese flocked to Haifa and Palestine.  The reverse wave occurred when the State of Israel was recognized by a majority of one vote at the UN in 1948.  Lebanon received Palestinian refugees who were installed in camps on the ground that their stay is temporary!

 

In one chapter of “World Adrift” Amine Maaluf said “The western powers are now paying the price for failing to apply their values in the colonies”  The European colonial powers of Britain, France, Germany, and the  Netherlands had no intentions of spreading their moral values to those they considered not worthy of their pearls and gems.

The indigents were to be enslaved, exploited, and humiliated; the indigents who adopted the western values of equality, liberty, and democracy were persecuted and harassed and imprisoned; the colonial administrators negotiated with the conservative conformists who were ready to strike deals and cohabit with lesser human rights.  Dictators in Europe are abhorred but readily accepted in under-developed States.

Human values had different quality and flavors according to the whims and interest of the exploiting colonial powers.  Britain used astute diplomatic policies to subjugate their colonies more frequently than France did; France of the French Revolution had no patience negotiating and communicating with their colonial people and never skipped an occasion to stating its true purpose for domination.and exhibiting arrogant military posturing.

            The colonial powers installed infrastructures that were appropriate for exploitation of the colonies; they established the required administrations for smooth and efficient exploitation.  The other administrative offices for legislation and justices were carbon copies of the ones in their homeland but these codes could be disposed off and trampled at the first occasion that short sighted interest called for swift and immediate actions.

 

Contemporary history:

Current Lebanon was created by France during its mandate period and cut out from Syria; it is now a recognized State by the UN since 1943.  Palestine was divided but the Zionist movement conquered the allocated portion for the Palestinians by the UN in 1948. 

The Palestinians are now located in the West Bank of the Jordan River and in Gaza where Israel has built 150 Jewish-only colonies and increasing every year. 

The Palestinians who fled their towns and villages in the State of Israel are refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.  The UN resolution 193 demands the repatriation of these Palestinians to their hometowns but Israel has been rebuffing that resolution since 1948.

Lebanon suffered many civil wars and calamities for not being capable or unwilling of absorbing the Palestinian refugees; Israel has waged four devastating wars against the State of Lebanon on flimsy pretexts based on the Palestinian resistance trying to regain their rights for a homeland.

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. 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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