Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Greek

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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 priest, the warrior, and the peasant; (August 22, 2009)

Another alternative title could be more realistic and comprehensive such as “Elder, male, and female” but it is not catchy enough.

George Dumezil, a French researcher who can speak over 20 languages, says “The first 10 languages are the hardest to learn; the remaining languages come pretty easy because it is the same routine and same thing”.

George Dumezil wrote the trilogy “Myth and Epic” that describes the mythologies in Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Germany, Roman, Greek, Ossetia (Caucasus region), and then links all these mythologies to their hierarchical transmission from the Indian Mahabharata and Bhagavat mythology.

Dumezil calls this unifying mythology “The Indo-European mythology” and end up with a summary that this mythology is based on 3 fundamentals the Priesthood, Warrior, and Peasant classes with their respective Gods.

After over 40 years of detailed research to reach this common sense conclusion is a monstrous let down.

Da! This classification of society is common to all cultures and civilizations and going pretty strong nowadays. (The main Gods in all civilizations were of Justice, War, and Fecundity. The all-encompassing unifying God was barely worshiped by the people because not symbolizing their trade or class).

The Romans had the (Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus). The Scandinavian counties had Odinn reigning over the Val-Holl of (Porr, Mimir, and Odrerir) and  Ases was their unifying God. The Germans had Wotan reigning over their Walhalla.  In the Near East mythology we had (Shamsh, Baal, and Ashtarout); El or Allah in the Arab Peninsula was their unifying God.  In the Nile civilization we had Amon (Sun), Osiris, and Isis.

The major let down is this conventional direction of researchers of thinking top down or hierarchically.  Well, after the Scandinavian got their mythology from Ossetia that got their mythology from Northern India, then from whom did the Indian receive their mythology?  If there are any written records that go many thousands of years in antiquity (not probable) we might discover that mythology transmission is no longer hierarchical but cyclical.

Adopting the easy hierarchical line of reasoning is basically wrong. It is the wrong logic to consider: simply because it stick to the conventional that the King/Priesthood classes are the transmitters of culture and civilization. The Priesthood class is mainly the conservative maintainer of the status quo and barely the transmitter of much anything.

A more realistic and promising line of reasoning is to consider that it is the warrior classes that transmitted rituals, myths, and customs.

It is the soldiers and sub officers who were in direct and daily contact with the conquered people: they are the ones who interrogated prisoners, facilitated trade and communication, and learned by osmosis the new culture and civilization of the subjugated people.  The soldiers and sub officers returned to their hometowns and villages and disseminated their story telling testimonies and accounts of their war period.

The dissemination was quick because most soldiers were mercenaries from the neighboring countries to the powerful Kingdom. Once the war was over, the soldiers were disbanded to return mainly to their families and spread the news of alternative rituals, myths, customs, and techniques of the conquered culture.

Since frequent communication of central government of Empires with their neighboring vassal countries was not sustained, it stands to reason that the peasant classes managed to occasionally change their traditions before the government realized the changes.

When central government is strong then either of two possibilities was activated:

1.  If the mercenary warriors sided with the peasants then the King/Priesthood was defeated and the newer traditions and mythologies took roots.

2.  If the King/Priesthood vanquished then many varieties of sects and cults mushroomed in the neighboring kingdom.

Empires come and go, but the tank sources for mercenaries were constant.

These warriors came from mountain chain regions and high plateaus or desert regions.  In “Indo-European civilization” the mercenaries flocked from the Turkish Anatole Plateau and its extension in the Caucasus of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ossetia, Chechnya, Albania, and Romania.  The people were known as Cherkessk, Kurd, Tatar, Parthian, Scythe, and so on.  The other sources of mercenaries came from Central Asia such as Turkmenistan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, and Mongolia.

The main central EMPIRE was Persia that extended many times from coastal Turkey to all of Afghanistan and part of Pakistan.

Babylon and later Assyria empires were counties of current Iran that moved the Capitals to their provinces as central power weakened in Persia. The same is true for the Hittite Empire in Anatolia that expanded to Egypt and signed the first recorded peace treaty with Egypt after the battle of Caddish. The Hittite aided the Greek by all means to defeat the Empire of Troy: Troy was a major handicap to extending to the coast and building a navy.

The urban centers in plains, rich with major water resources and large river,s hires mercenaries to defend or expand empires. The Near East region was constituted of City-States) that hired mercenaries for the war effort to defend the cities. A City-State was the center for Priesthood/learning class and peasant/skilled artisans class (the bread basket).  Empires that could not maintain autochthonous soldiers as majority of their armies vanished in no times.

When studying civilizations and their continuity we should never dismiss the main factor: climate.

There are the cold, mild, and hot weather civilizations. Within these 3 categories there are the plain and mountain region people. Talking about “indo-European” languages or civilizations is stretching the imagination a tad too far and forcing issues.

It is not with the antiques written records of the elite class that civilizations and dissemination of culture can be described and comprehended, but with archeological finds of daily living, rituals, and customs within homogeneous climatic regions.

Note 1: I had the topic from “Smell of the Time” (Odeur du temps) by Jean d’Ormesson who published three articles on George Dumezil. I didn’t read “Myth and Epic” and hope that d’Ormesson did.

Notes 2:  The nomadic desert Jewish tribes could not invent but one God “Yahwa”; Jehovah ended up to be their warrior God. When the Jews of Moses got in contact with the Canaanites in Palestine, Yahwa was set aside during peaceful period to be resurrected during war period and his statues and temples moved closer to God Baal in order for the Jews to be hired as mercenaries.

Turkey and Iran: Same and Different (April 25, 2009)

 

Brief history

hroughout antiquity till our modern days, three main empires dominated the landscape of the Middle East. Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were vast empires and advanced urbanely and economically before the advent of Islam.

Turkey and Iran managed to enjoy a semi-continuous existence of empires but Egypt had large vacuums of many centuries in between empires since the Pharaohs.

Egypt enjoyed special status during the Greek, Roman, Arab, and Ottoman empires and was a world apart as wheat basket and advanced civilization. Turkey and Iran could benefit from stable “national” entities but Egypt experienced foreign leaders as kings or sultans and relied on foreign officers to lead its armies, the latest dynasty was from Albania with Muhammad Ali

The three empires are currently mostly Moslems and they were in general lenient with the minority religious sects. 

The three empires have vast lands, rich in water, and have currently about the same number of population of around 70 millions and increasing at high rates, especially Egypt (90 million).

The Iranian empires relied on the Afghanistanis and the central Asian tribes for their armies.  As the frequent Mogul raids descended on Persia its armies went on the defensive.

The Turkish and Ottoman empires relied on the Caucasus tribes from current Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia States, and also from Albania and Romania.  As Russia started to expand southward and occupied many of these regions then Turkey curtailed most of its vast military campaigns and went on the defensive. 

The Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia is still a hot spot for domination among Russia, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran, especially with the oil and gas pipelines that pass through them.  My post “Cursed Cities: Kars” would shed detailed historical accounts on that tragic triangle.

 

Modern Status

In around 1920’s two military dictators ruled over Iran and Turkey

Rida “shah” in Iran and “Ataturk” in Turkey were attempting to modernize their infrastructure and civil administrations by emulating the European examples.  Ataturk went as far as changing the Turkish alphabet to Latin and abolishing the Caliphate in Islam. 

Both dictators confronted the religious clerics for establishing secular States with unequal long term successes.  Iran has reverted to religious oligarchy after Khomeini came to power.

While Iran was historically more clement with its minorities it appears that Turkey is practically taking steps to outpacing Iran in that advantage. For example, Turkey is translating the Koran into the ethnic languages such as Kurdish. 

Women in Turkey are prominent in businesses such as Goler Sabanji; 9% of women are represented in the Parliament.  In Iran, Shireen Abadi is Nobel laureate for defending women’s rights; Iranian women represent only 3% in the Parliament though they represent 65% in universities.

In the 70’s Iran was flush with oil revenue while Turkey was struggling to establish an industrial infrastructure. It appears that in the long term oil is definitely a curse for emerging nations because wealth is not invested on the human potentials and stable modern political structure.

In 2008, foreign investment in Turkey was 14 billions dollars and increasing while it amounted to just one billion in Iran.  Turkey has expanded its representation in Africa by opening 12 new Embassies and 20 new consulates.

Nisreen Ozaimy is from Iran by origin and fled to Turkey; when her family lived in Turkey it was impressed by the confidence that the Turks valued their various ethnic nationalities and they implicit feeling that Turkey is in fact a bridge between East and West.  The Turks managed to blend harmoniously the secular and religious inclinations.

The current crisis in the middle-east is changing the landscape: Turkey has alienated most of the Arab world by getting involved and engaged in “Arab” spring upheavals, siding with the Moslem Brotherhood movements, while Iran is heading the resistance front against extremist islam.

Lions and lionesses along the Fertile Crescent ancient Empires, (August 16, 2008)

 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.

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.

Young lions that attained two years, after being chased out of the clan, prowl 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 in order 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 on average to be 10 year-old, while the lioness can outlive him by 7 years and manages to 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 of Egypt excluded, were established along the Fertile Crescent longing the main Rivers of Litany, Al Assi, 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 Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Pharaonic Egypt, Hittite, Greek, Seleucia, Roman, and later Byzantium, Sassanid, Arab (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid), Seljuk, Crusaders, Mamelukes, 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 the good fight 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.

A few citizens of City-States like Sidon and Tyr, and much later Carthage, burned down their cities and then set fire on themselves to avoid servitude and surrender. While the young occupying 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.

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

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

Fact is, Persia had no such Temple at Kourush’s time; even if the Persian King paid for the monuments and palaces at the expense of the invaded people, that should not be a basis to claim achievements of other civilizations.

This is the same repeat story with the temples in Baalbek.  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 foramen and craftsmen and master workers were from Tyre during King Hiram or “Ahiram”.

Euclid, Zeno, 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), Beirut, Byblos, Ugarit, Antakya, 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, simply because they learned the Greek language, even if they didn’t enjoy the privileges of Greek Athens citizens?  Scores of our famous people were labeled Romans simply because we were under Roman hegemony.

For example, the eminent legal masters during the third century Papinian and Olympian lived in Beyrouth (Beryt); Olympian is indeed the martyr of jurists because he adamantly refused to offer a legal opinion in favor of Emperor Caracalla for killing of his brother Jetta.  If this is the case, then why Jesus is to be simply a Jew and not Roman?  St. Paul was actually a Roman citizen 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, even before the Renaissance period, purposely have chosen to start their civilization from Ancient Greek in 600 BC because they claimed to be democratic nations and had to emulate the democratic system in Greek City-State 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. Why within city-State limits?  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 and plays, via their verbal communications, 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 these City-States 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 civilizations of 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 1:  Many USA and Western diplomats have described Lebanon during its civil war (1975-1991) as a special quarantine area, sustained by the super powers to retaining the quarantine, in order to prevent the spread of the Middle East social and political diseases of feudalism, sectarianism, tribalism, caste systems, and extremist ideologies in the Arabic and Islamic States to the surrounding and eventually the Western nations.

These diplomats failed to add the disease of apartheid which is the trademark of the State of Israel. This quarantine lasted for more than 17 years and in the meanwhile the USA administrations in the 80’s and 90’s created, financed and trained a potent disease in Afghanistan.

Note 2: Every stated rescue mission to Lebanon was not meant for the stability and security of the Lebanese people, but for the purpose of larger strategic geopolitical interests in the Middle East with the land of Lebanon as a staging base.  It is the Lebanese who encouraged the other nations to look at them, not as a Nation, but anonymous people living on a piece of land that the UN admitted among the “independent” States.

This is so because all the successive Lebanese governments never behaved as administering a Nation, but as fief hoods for sectarian leaders who rule over modern serfs.  Even after an unimaginably lengthy and terrible civil war, which lasted 17 years, every single monster of war-lord was pardoned by a decree from the Parliament and the ferocious sectarian leaders were inducted into the successive governments and Parliaments.

Note 3: Arnold Toynbee said that for certain people, history necessarily repeat itself because they are lazy students. Most probably, it seems that history repeats itself because philosophical concepts or paradigms on life, death, the nature of Gods, free will, predestination keep repeating themselves.

The Lebanese certainly are not very hot on archiving their history and even less on reading and revisiting their past: we have the tendency to say that what is past is past and we don’t care but for the present, and how to live a good life. This saying is true for the public consumption because, on the individual level, family feuds never vanish or are forgotten, or forgiven:  Grandchildren still hate the grandchildren of another family simply because they overheard that their grand-grand parents were in feud.

Lebanon and Palestine have suffered the same calamities of past history again and again. These two States might never had chance for lasting peace and stability. Syria could have fallen in the same trap because it was seriously targeted by the super powers if this dictatorship in Syria didn’t manage to re-read its history and learn from past adversities at the expense of democracy. Syria never managed to bed with theocratic systems, except Damascus.

In ancient history, the City-States in  “inland Syria” barely put a fight to a powerful invader, as if it learned to normally change skins and share in the dominion of the new Empire that displaced the former, as if Syria believed it was actually the new invader.

Note 4:  At the current rate of modernization and deforestation, most of the aborigines tribes would disappear within a few decades. Many civilizations have vanished but a few have managed to survive precariously so far.  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).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2020
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