Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Homs

Monastery of Deir Mar Moussa: Pilgrims (Christians and Moslems) eat and sleep free of charge

Deir Mar Moussa is located half an hour from the village of Maaloula and 2-hour walk in the desert of Nabak from the highway joining Damascus to Homs.

Maaloula is the village whose people still speak Aramaic (the language of Jesus). Last year the terrorist Al Nusra faction kidnapped a dozen of Orthodox Christian nuns and liberated them 6 months later for about $8 million (Paid by Qatar?)

The church of Mar Moussa (named after the monk Moise of Ethiopia al Habashi) is organized as a Mosque: Carpets, cushions, you leave shoes at the entrance, a traditional cylindrical stove with large pipes as at homes, Bibles of different languages, low tables covered by candles and flowers, walls embellished by medieval icons and fresco… You just feel at home and comfortable.

Surprisingly, there is a “mihrab” inside the church for the Moslem pilgrims to face and pray.

You find various kinds of musical instruments, guitar, oud, tambourine… and the underground library contains manuscripts  in Arabic, French, Italian, magazines…and new books, poetry and novels left by tourists and pilgrims.

There is this feeling of brute primitive environment surrounded with warmth and intimacy.

You could sleep in the church when the dormitories are filled.

No one is asked to fill pages of information or shows his identity card or passport.

No one is asked to pay anything for the lodging and food offered at noon and in the evening.

Everyone is invited to partake in the cooked dishes of rice, lentils, bourgol…served in big caldrons, sort of self service buffet.  Meat, vegetables and fruits are rare: everything on the table is grown by the monastery.

In the evening, you are served cheese, marmalade, Syrian bread. zaatar and olive oil. You dip a piece of bread in the oil and then re-dip it in the za3tar.

There are no shops of any kinds and everything served is free.

You may volunteer to help in the kitchen and the washing of the dishes.

This church is a far cry from the European Cathedrals. You have to pay a hefty fee just to enter. When you enter a Cathedral, you have to follow directional arrows, sit on hard benches, cold sips through your bones, you are denied to speak and converse, you are looked upon with suspicion if you are not faking to pray: the place is not a cool place for taking a short break.

And all kinds of shops surround the Cathedral, at exorbitant prices.

Deir Mar Moussa is a representation of Syria. That’s Syria before this ugly civil war and the hordes of Wahhabi-type religious sects terrorizing the Syrians.  Extremist religious factions funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Arab Gulf Emirates.

Note 1: It is a good read of Stephan Chaumet’s “Au bonheur des voiles“, (Cruising amid women’s veils in Syria)

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/the-host-the-guest-the-fear-the-ghetto-and-the-mosque/

Syria has the vastest reserves in gas: Time to reconstruct on credit?

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), basically a subsidiary of the Zionist lobby the American Israel Public Affairs Committee  (AIPAC), confirmed that Syria has the vastest gas reserves in the world, not counting the even vaster reserves in the offshore.

In August 2011, Syria oil minister declared that discovery of gas in Qara, near the entirely destroyed city of Homs, that can produce  up to 146 million cubic meters per year.

In July 2011, Iran signed contracts that will link Iranian gas with pipelines to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq and Syria, opening up a new geopolitical strategic debouches to Iran.

Syria was getting ready to be the main Gas producer and major passage way for the export of gas in the world.

Israel has already started exploiting its offshore gas, nibbled on Lebanon sovereign sea portion, and sighed a contract with Cyprus for an under sea pipeline, to be eventually linked to Greece, and to Europe…

Turkey is aghast with Iran for selecting Syria for its pipeline strategy, and wants its share of this bounty, one way or another…

The US and the western European States don’t care who come to power in Syria: They don’t want a strong central power in Syria that will negotiate fair deals for the exploration and exploitation of the gas and oil in this region.

Russia and China do care: They don’t want radical Islamists to come to power and disseminate their brands in Russia and China with large Moslem minorities.

Now that Syria is going to need over $60 bn for the reconstruction of what has been destroyed, and the central power is too weak to constitute any obstacle to biased deals, it is time to stop the civil war and extend the needed “credits” and keep Syria hostage to foreign debts, and harsh conditions…

The US is demanding from the neighboring States to Syria to desist smuggling arms to the insurgents.  Time to talk “business”

The century for gas is in full bloom, and wars are louder than fair negotiation deals…among the superpowers with the little nations…

Why stop at $60 bn for reconstruction expenses? Maybe there are no excess funds in these difficult financial period to lend more than that amount to Syria?

Or time is running, and exploitation of gas has to start right now?

Note 1: I expanded on an article written in French by Khalil Toubia on Fb

Note 2: This article has been reblogged in several places

Note 3: For pragmatic resolution of Syria crisis https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/syria-pragmatic-discussions-during-and-after-the-assad-regime-part-2/

Who are we, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean Sea shores? (March 1, 2008)

I have this theory, backed by historical accounts and substantiated by archaeological and ontological finding, that the Near East has been the crossroad for the innumerable waves of immigration from East to West and to a lesser extent from Eastern Africa via Egypt.

This is a valid hypothesis that could be adopted as an alternative direction and guide to studying our people.

I consider the first premise that most locations had their own indigents for various reasons going far back to thousands of years. This premise is only just, logical and convenient.

I also offer the second premise that emigrants prefer moving toward areas with abundance of water and greener pastures. The successive waves of immigration have started in full bloom before the 7th millennial of our calendar.

 People from Central Asia tended to march towards Northern Iran and the Turkey Anatolian plateau rich in rivers and water reserves from the melting of snow covered mountains.

The populations in Iran were inclined to settle the shores of the great Tigris River (Dujlah) in Iraq. From there they forked either south along the mighty river or northward.

Moving south was initially the preferred route because the climate is warmer and because it is almost impossible to navigate upward the Tigris River in its northern section.  They settled and built the ancient and mighty Empires around Ur and Basra on the mouth of the Tigris River that empties in the Arabic Gulf and then they expanded along the Arabian Gulf shores; these ancient Empires constituted the trading centers from the Arabian Gulf to the coasts of the Western Indian Ocean.

The Prophet Abraham is said to have moved out with his tribe from the great city of Ur toward greener pastures and most probably south-west along the Red Sea coast. Later, the mighty Empire of Babylon based its capital further north of Ur on the Tigris River.

Aramaic was the main mother language with various dialects for each region because Iraq was the hotbed of civilization for over 4 millennial before Christ, starting by the kingdoms of Sumer, Akad, Babylonia and Ashur.

All the regions from Iran, Kurdistan, the Arabic peninsula, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the western part of Turkey were under the hegemony of either one of these empires; the main religion and Gods, and the same manner of trading and doing business and administrations were homogeneous.

Moving north the Tigris River the hardy immigrants settled and built mighty Empires like Assyria in Nineveh (Ninawa) around Mosul and in the current Kurdish homeland.

Those immigrants who moved north the river overflowed to the Anatolian Plateaus in Turkey and settled along the mighty Euphrates River (Al Furat) and built the Hittite Empire that discovered iron and invaded Egypt, where they were called the Hyksos, and settled there for a long time until they signed a peace treaty with Ramses II.

It is known that prosperous Troy was vanquished by the Greeks, after ten years of siege, because the Hittite Empire was endeavoring at that junction to reach the sea and thus aided the Greek invaders to destroy their natural enemy.  The more recent power coming from the Anatolian plateau that conquered the Middle East is the Ottoman Empire.

The waves of immigration descended along the Euphrates River and jointed the Oronte River (Al Assy) and built many cities along these rivers and many reached the Mediterranean Sea.

It is known that the Oronte and Euphrates shores were studded with numerous large and prosperous cities like Homs, Hama, Tel Amarna, Van, and Mary because it was the preferred land trade route towards Iraq, Persia and ultimately China.

The alternative more direct route was through the Syrian Desert passing by Palmyra (Tadmor) but it was way too harsh and inconvenient.

Actually, almost all invasions coming from further East and North used this corridor to loot and conquer Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and ultimately Egypt. All these immigrants might have initially fled from persecutions and tribal warfare and also because of changing weather conditions and draughts.

The waves coming from Eastern Africa settled first in Egypt and fled for many reasons to the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea toward the Maghreb regions and also to the eastern shores and settled in the sea cities of Canaan that includes Palestine, and Lebanon.

A large number had to emigrate very often from the cities of Canaan after repeated invasions of the Moguls, Persian, Iraqi, and Egyptian Empires; these Empires made it a routine to invade and loot the rich Canaan cities for their accumulated treasures and for their skilled workers.

All these immigrants ended up in Syria and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea of Canaan and some settled in Egypt.

The ancient city of Byblos extended its civilization and built the cities of Sidon and Beirut and other sea towns and invented a new alphabet of 22 letters.  Sidon built Tyr and Akka.

As the Empires in Iraq, Persia, and Egypt invaded these cities the settled inhabitants of these prosperous seashore cities had to immigrate again to the southern and western shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

They built trading posts all around this sea promoting commerce and exercising their own brand of beliefs and traditions. Tyr, under Elissa, simultaneously built Carthage in Tunisia and Cadis (Cadesh) in Spain, thus controlling the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean.

Carthage aimed for a higher level of trade by taking hold of the strategic isthmuses in the Mediterranean Sea such as Messina, Sicily and the strait of Gibraltar that leads to Portugal, Britain and Ireland so that no maritime commerce could be undertaken without landing in one of their “contoires” or trading posts. Carthage then conquered most of the islands like Sardinia, Corsica, Cyprus, and Sicily and settled in southern Spain.

The Phoenicians dominated all the Mediterranean Sea trade for over one thousand years.  The maritime power of their Greek competitor had been destroyed by invasions coming from the north and left the Phoenicians masters of the sea.  The barons of this tertiary industry or the commissioning of maritime and even land transports of goods from one producing country to consuming countries were located in either Tyr or Sidon.

These barons hired rammers and soldiers and workers from all over the region and had also their own sophisticated depots and handled the transactions from beginning to end and exported contracting jobs and skilled workers.  The main Phoenician cities, and especially Tyr and Sidon, concentrated on the secondary industries where semi finished goods were transformed into quality products.

The Phoenicians applied the current colonial trade strategies thousands of years ago without the backing of indigenous military power such as the Greek and especially the Roman Empires.

It is worth mentioning that the Canaanite entrepreneurs didn’t focus much on the artistic part in their culture or in their constructions during periods of autonomy but lavished their ingenuity when they were under the domination of powerful Empires so that they could rely on “State funding” for great and beautiful monuments.

The Arab Islamic conquest of this region didn’t contribute much in the numbers of immigrants since the Arabian Peninsula was scarcely populated and the glory of this Empire in the sciences, medicine and the translation of ancient cultures were rooted first on the scholars in Syria and Lebanon during the Umayyad dynasty, then the Persians during the Abbasid dynasty and the various dynasties that ruled Spain and mainly Andalusia.

Thus, the main inhabitants of northern Africa, Spain, the southern parts of France and Italy and the eastern countries of the Mediterranean Sea are essentially immigrants from Central Asia, Iran, East Africa and Egypt after having settled in Canaan for several centuries.  

The wave of immigration were East to West except in few periods were the skilled workers were transferred under duress by conquering Monarchs to build new emerging capitals by the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, and Genkis Khan the Mogul.

I tend to consider that the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea that includes Greece and northern Turkey were mostly immigration waves coming from Eastern Europe but the culture, the religions, and the trades were mainly the endeavors of the Canaan’s population, of which the Phoenicians are the famously known mariners and comprador traders.

The current Christian residents of Mount Lebanon are a mixture of two big waves of immigration: 

The first wave occurred after the conclave of Nicee in 325.  In that epoch, the new friend of the Christians, Emperor Constantine, who lived as a pagan most of his life summoned to the conclave all the bishops.   This major event transformed drastically the Christian doctrine and dogma as well as the church institution.

The conclave decided by a slight majority to confer divine nature to Jesus, declared his mother Mary a virgin, selected only four Books to represent the New Testament as orthodox and banished the hundreds alternative versions that were available at the time and banished women from the clergy institution and ordered the bishops to done luxurious attire and then gradually introduced the pagan symbols to lure in the pagans to the newly adopted religion and gave the pagan festivities Christian meanings and connotations.

Most of the so-called heretic Christian sects that were comfortable with the temporal nature of Jesus and Mary and had their selected preferred versions of the New Testament had to flee persecutions to inaccessible mountains.  Those living in Turkey moved to the Anatolian Plateau, Kurdistan, Armenia and the Caucasus and those in Syria and Palestine moved to Mount Lebanon.

The second major modern wave of immigration occurred since the Mameluks dynasties came to power in Egypt.  The Mameluk Empire had dislodged the last remaining Crusaders’ strongholds and stopped the drive of the Mogul invasion in Palestine. I believe that the new fundamentalist converts to Islam in Central Asia and Kurdistan, the regions of which the Mameluks originated from, exercised great zeal to chasing out the numerous Christian sects.  Mount Lebanon was a refuge for these Christian immigrants and the archeological finds show that women wore multi layers of colorful dresses as currently wore in these remote regions. 

This natural Nation, comprised of the current States of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, is self-contained; self sufficient and well delimited by natural borders but was never able to constitute an independent political entity in modern time.

This natural Nation by any criteria of what define a Nation simply was opened to the expansion of far more populous Nations under highly centralized governments on all its borders and because it proved to be a major crossroad for immigration westward.  It is the case even today at a more accelerated pace after the US invasion of Iraq and the strategic plan of the US to controlling the Greater Middle East in a Pax Americana.

Note: Before the Arab hegemony that started in around the year 640 almost all the family names and cities were Aramaic or having Aramaic roots.  The fourth caliph, Imam Ali, once wrote that his ancestors before “Kusai” had Aramaic names and that his tribe Kuraich (an Aramaic name) came from “Kawssa” nearby current Kufa in Iraq.

The Aramaic language survived the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods until way into the Arabic period.  The Arab language, the language of the Koran, is basically a branch of Aramaic and the spoken Arab is a dialect. It is well known that Christ spoke Aramaic and before Jesus died on the crucifix he addressed his God Eely for abandoning him to his destiny.

Eel was the name of the Aramaic God and not Jehovah, a tribal God, of the strict Jews in Judea. The Koran uses an Aramaic root for Eel such as Elle and Allah.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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