Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Phoenicians

You scratch one spot and it spreads: Can’t please this apartheid theocratic State of Israel

Note: an update from 2010 article. It is a virus: You scratch one spot and it spreads; (Jan. 29, 2010)

It is a virus; a sort of nasty mushroom that spreads al over your skin and inflicts crazy itching.

This itching affected me for over a month.

I finally saw a physician, not a skin specialist, in the town dispensary and she told me that she had witnessed many such cases lately.

The virus is in the air and that is how you are contaminated; many victims experienced lousy moments for many weeks.

The physician prescribed a single pill (costing $8) with effects that last for a week. Got to take another pill for a second week; that was supposed to take care of the mushroom. The physician said that without the pill the itching takes 6 weeks to subside.

In my case and with the pill I should be okay within days: I was healed the next day.

I decided for the second pill to make sure that the mushroom is dead once and for all.  I am not sure: three weeks later and I am itching; not necessarily of mushroom; but what do I know?

Itching is not the main topic of this article: it just gave me a perfect analogy.  The virus is Israel.

If you say Israel is an apartheid State because it subjugates the Palestinian people to a different set of laws of the land than the one applied to the Jews then Israel is upset.

If you say Israel is a theocratic State because it extends citizenship to any Jew who sets foot in Israel then Israel is angry.

Why,  over 600 religious laws that should govern daily life, as applied by the Pharisee during Jesus time, are still valid and harshly controlled.

The secular Jews agree that Israel is back to the Dark Age, but how to convince the US neo-conservative “Christians” that this is so?

If you say that Israel is comfortable with ghetto-like environment because it cordoned off all its frontiers by walls (frontiers that are not yet delimited in its Constitution) then Israel is appalled

If you say Israel is a Sparta State because it believes in military resolution for any contention with any neighboring State then Israel is incensed. Why?

Israel is worse than Sparta: after 3 years of forced military service the citizen has to submit to a month per year in “the reserves” service.

If you say Israel has been committing crimes against humanity since before its inception in 1948, and Gaza is the latest in evidence, then Israel rejects Goldstone’s report in all its sections.

If you say Israel has a peculiar kind of “democracy” that was called “apartheid democracy” in South Africa where laws are selectively and not equitably applied on all citizens; or if you say that the kind of democracy applied in Israel is barely a developed version of City-States democracies of Antiquity such as applied in Athens, Tyr,e or Sidon then Israel feels obfuscated.

I you say Israel refuses to grow up and abide by its responsibility as a member of the United Nations and respect UN decisions then Israel is furious: Israel constantly expects the US to cover up illegal activities with the veto power.

If you say the Arab States want peace for returning all the conquered lands in 1967 as proclaimed in 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut then Israel feels resentful and laughs it off.

If you say that Israel is a racist State because the UN declared “Zionism a form of racism” then Israel is up in arms to drop this statement.  Can you believe it?

Israel is investing money to demonstrate that Indians living in the region of Malihabad, (near Lucknow in the Uttar Pradesh), and known as Pathans Afridis are Jews from the tribe of Ephraim that lived in northern Galilee during Jesus time.

The Indian Shahnaz Ali was hired by Israel Institute of Technology to test the DNA of this “tribe” and hopefully extrapolate the results to include the Pashtoun tribes on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Is that a form of racism? Since when any religion was based on race?

I did a rough estimate: I figured out that the Phoenicians are over one billion, give or take one standard deviation, and are spread over the five continents!

If you say that Israel is “the vastest psychiatric ward in the world with no treating personnel” then Israel is ready to lambaste the Israeli author as a schizophrenic, leftist, and probably “anti-Semitic” mole.

If you say that Israel is indeed a very, very peace loving State then Israel is infuriated because you are mocking it.  It is a virus.

No matter what you say is non receivable.

Best attitude is to censure your opinions and refrain from mentioning Israel, Jews, Judaism, Hebrew, or the Diaspora.

One term is admissible: Jews were gazed by Nazism and the number better be exact: 6 millions no less and not one over that scientifically reached number.

Repeat: Jews were gazed and not shot, poisoned, killed, trampled, or exterminated in any other form of “final solutions”.

Repeat: Exactly 6 millions or the holocaust literature would have to be republished; any number over 6 millions and Germany would be infuriated and Merkel would have to cancel the seventh nuclear submarines, built for free for the State of Israel, at Germans’ tax payer expenses; and for what use are these nuclear submarines put in service?  Maybe to support NATO policies?

It is a virus: mushroom or no mushroom you feel itching like crazy and Barack Obama and George Mitchell first of all.

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 139

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

The Phoenicians built the city-State of Thebes in Greece, 3 centuries before Athens existed. This famous city generated the illustrious Amphion, Hesiod, Corinna, Pindar, Epaminondas, Plutarch…

Three out of the 7 Greek Wise-men were Phoenicians, and among them was Thales of Miletus: born in a Phoenician City-State.

Appolonius of Tyre (60 BC) is the stoic philosopher who provided a “Tabulated account of the philosophers of the school of Zeno and their books”

Water carriers in Mecca were despised because any overflowing of water would damage the streets and homes built out of sand.

Masse7 joukh wa 3awwed al naass 3al 7arad

The Black Stone  (Ka3ba in Mecca) enshrined about 360 idols brought from around the neighboring civilizations to entice pilgrims in from all around the regions of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and India.   Idol Allah was the chief among them but failed to generate profit to owner.

It is funny these repeat scenes in movies where someone is drawing a list of pro and con qualities on the partner, and they are wondering how come the friendship lasted that long. Your 5 senses will tell you if this friendship can be sustained.

The aging process requires some kind of solitude, of larger needs for more privacy, and of hiding growing deficiencies…

Many mathematicians and scientists earned Nobel Prizes for researching the phenomena of randomness and chaos in the universe and the extremely rare events located on the tails of the Bell Curve shaped graph of the probability for the occurrence of events.

Thomas Jefferson said: “If the America people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currencies, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their prosperity until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

New research has found that simply learning a new word can spark up the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated during pleasurable activities such as sex. No wonder there are so many bookworms and scrabble addicts out there.

Einstein ventures into saying that if the old Jewish traditions relied on fear tactics to impose its values then it has outgrown it (Israel is currently totally relying on instilling fear in the region on a State scale).

Zionists insist on calling the Palestinians “Arabs”; this is not a simple general label that the Europeans used, but an ideological Zionist indoctrination to rob the native Palestinians of any national identity.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices.[3]

The 9th Emergency Session of the General Assembly was convened at the request of the Security Council when the United States blocked efforts to adopt sanctions against Israel.[4] The United States responded to the frequent criticism from UN organs by adopting the Negroponte doctrine.

Masse7 joukh wa 3awwed al naass 3al 7arad

 

40 maps that explain the Middle East

by Max Fisher on May 5, 2014

Maps can be a powerful tool for understanding the world, particularly the Middle East, a place in many ways shaped by changing political borders and demographics. Here are 40 maps crucial for understanding the Middle East — its history, its present, and some of the most important stories in the region today.


Middle East History

    1. The fertile crescent, the cradle of civilization

      The fertile crescent, the cradle of civilization

      If this area wasn’t the birthplace of human civilization, it was at least a birthplace of human civilization. Called “the fertile crescent” because of its lush soil, the “crescent” of land mostly includes modern-day Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Israel-Palestine. (Some definitions also include the Nile River valley in Egypt.)

      People started farming here in 9000 BC, and by around 2500 BC the Sumerians formed the first complex society that resembles what we’d now call a “country,” complete with written laws and a political system. Put differently, there are more years between Sumerians and ancient Romans than there are between ancient Romans and us.

    2. How ancient Phoenicians spread from Lebanon across the Mediterranean

      How ancient Phoenicians spread from Lebanon across the Mediterranean

      The Phoenicians, who lived in present-day Lebanon and coastal Syria, were pretty awesome. (The Levant)

      From about 1500 to 300 BC, they ran some of the Mediterranean’s first big trading networks, shown in red, and dominated the sea along with the Greeks, who are shown in brown. Some sailed as far as the British Isles, and many of them set up colonies in North Africa, Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia. This was one of the first of many close cultural links between the Middle East and North Africa – and why Libya’s capital, Tripoli, still bears the name of the ancient Phoenician colony that established it.

    3. How the Middle East gave Europe religion, three times

      How the Middle East gave Europe religion, three times

      The Middle East actually gave Europe religion four times, including Islam, but this map shows the first three. First was Judaism, which spread through natural immigration and when Romans forcibly dispersed the rebelling Israelites in the first and second century AD.

      In the first through third centuries A.D., a religion called Mithraism — sometimes called a “mystery religion” for its emphasis on secret rites and clandestine worship — spread from present-day Turkey or Armenia throughout the Roman Empire (at the time, most adherents believed it was from Persians in modern-day Iran, but this is probably wrong).

      Mithraism was completely replaced with Christianity, which became the Roman Empire’s official religion, after a few centuries. It’s easy to forget that, for centuries, Christianity was predominantly a religion of Middle Easterners, who in turn converted Europeans.

    4. When Mohammed’s Caliphate conquered the Middle East

      When Mohammed’s Caliphate conquered the Middle East

      In the early 7th century AD in present-day Saudi Arabia, the Prophet Mohammed founded Islam, which his followers considered a community as well as a religion. As they spread across the Arabian peninsula, they became an empire, which expanded just as the neighboring Persian and Byzantine Empires were ready to collapse. In an astonishingly short time — from Mohammed’s death in 632 to 652 AD — they managed to conquer the entire Middle East, North Africa, Persia, and parts of southern Europe.

      They spread Islam, the Arabic language, and the idea of a shared Middle Eastern identity — all of which still define the region today. It would be as if everyone in Europe still spoke Roman Latin and considered themselves ethnically Roman.

    5. A map of the world at the Caliphate’s height

      A map of the world at the Caliphate’s height

      This is a rough political map of the world in 750 AD, at the height of the Omayyad Caliphate (“caliph” means the ruler of the global Islamic community). This is to give you a sense of how vast and powerful the Muslim empire had become, barely one century after the founding of the religion that propelled its expansion. It was a center of wealth, arts, and learning at a time when only China was so rich and powerful. This was the height of Arab power.

    6. The six-century rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire

      The six-century rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire

      The Ottoman Empire is named for Osman, its first ruler, who in the early 1300s expanded it from a tiny part of northwest Turkey to a slightly less tiny part. It continued expanding for about 500 years — longer than the entire history of the Roman Empire — ruling over most of the Middle East, North Africa, and southeastern Europe for centuries.

      The empire, officially an Islamic state, spread the religion in southeast Europe but was generally tolerant of other religious groups. It was probably the last great non-European empire until it began declining in the mid-1800s, collapsed after World War I, and had its former territory in the Middle East divided up by Western Europe.

    7. What the Middle East looked like in 1914

      What the Middle East looked like in 1914

      This is a pivotal year, during the Middle East’s gradual transfer from 500 years of Ottoman rule to 50 to 100 years of European rule. Western Europe was getting richer and more powerful as it carved up Africa, including the Arab states of North Africa, into colonial possessions. Virtually the entire region was ruled outright by Europeans or Ottomans, save some parts of Iran and the Arabian peninsula divided into European “zones of influence.” When World War I ended a few years later, the rest of the defeated Ottoman Empire would be carved up among the Europeans. The lines between French, Italian, Spanish, and British rule are crucial for understanding the region today – not just because they ruled differently and imposed different policies, but because the boundaries between European empires later became the official borders of independence, whether they made sense or not.

    8. The Sykes-Picot treaty that carved up the Middle East

      The Sykes-Picot treaty that carved up the Middle East

      You hear a lot today about this treaty, in which the UK and French (and Russian) Empires secretly agreed to divide up the Ottoman Empire’s last MidEastern regions among themselves.

      Crucially, the borders between the French and British “zones” later became the borders between Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. Because those later-independent states had largely arbitrary borders that forced disparate ethnic and religious groups together, and because those groups are still in terrible conflict with one another, Sykes-Picot is often cited as a cause of warfare and violence and extremism in the Middle East. But scholars are still debating this theory, which may be too simple to be true.

    9. An animated history of great empires in the Middle East

      An animated history of great empires in the Middle East

      You may have noticed a theme of the last eight maps: empires, mostly from outside the Middle East but sometimes of it, conquering the region in ways that dramatically changed it. This animation shows you every major empire in the Middle East over the last 5,000 years.

      To be clear, it is not exhaustive, and in case it wasn’t obvious, the expanding-circle animations do not actually reflect the speed or progression of imperial expansions. But it’s a nice primer.

    10. The complete history of Islamic states

      The complete history of Islamic states

      This time-lapse map by Michael Izady — a wonderful historian and cartographer at Columbia University, whose full collection can be found here — shows the political boundaries of the greater Middle East from 1450 through today. You’ll notice that, for much of the last 500 years, most or all of the region has been under some combination of Turkish, Persian, and European control. For so much of the Arab Middle East to be under self-rule is relatively new. Two big exceptions that you can see on this map are Morocco and Egypt, which have spent more of the last 500 years as self-ruling empires than other Arab states. That’s part of why these two countries have sometimes seen themselves as a degree apart from the rest of the Arab world.

    11. The 2011 Arab Spring

      The 2011 Arab Spring

      It is still amazing, looking back at early and mid-2011, how dramatically and quickly the Arab Spring uprisings challenged and in many cases toppled the brittle old dictatorships of the Middle East. What’s depressing is how little the movements have advanced beyond those first months. Syria’s civil war is still going. Egypt’s fling with democracy appeared to end with a military coup in mid-2013. Yemen is still mired in slow-boil violence and political instability. The war in Libya toppled Moammar Qaddafi, with US and European support, but left the country without basic security or a functioning government. Only Tunisia seems to have come out even tenuously in the direction of democracy.


The Middle East today

    1. The dialects of Arabic today

      The dialects of Arabic today

      This map shows the vast extent of the Arabic-speaking world and the linguistic diversity within it. Both go back to the Caliphates of the sixth and seventh century, which spread Arabic from its birthplace on the Arabian Peninsula across Africa and the Middle East. Over the last 1,300 years the language’s many speakers have diverged into distinct, sometimes very different, dialects.

      Something to look at here: where the dialects do and do not line up with present-day political borders. In places where they don’t line up, you’re seeing national borders that are less likely to line up with actual communities, and in some cases more likely to create problems.

    2. The Sunni-Shia divide

      The Sunni-Shia divide

      The story of Islam’s division between Sunni and Shia started with the Prophet Mohammed’s death in 632. There was a power struggle over who would succeed him in ruling the Islamic Caliphate, with most Muslims wanting to elect the next leader but some arguing that power should go by divine birthright to Mohammed’s son-in-law, Ali. That pro-Ali faction was known as the “Partisans of Ali,” or “Shi’atu Ali” in Arabic, hence “Shia.” Ali’s eventual ascension to the throne sparked a civil war, which he and his partisans lost. The Shia held on to the idea that Ali was the rightful successor, and grew into an entirely separate branch of Islam. Today about 10 to 15 percent of Muslims worldwide are Shia — they are the majority group in Iran and Iraq only — while most Muslims are Sunni. “Sunni” roughly means “tradition.” Today, that religious division is again a political one as well: it’s a struggle for regional influence between Shia political powers, led by Iran, versus Sunni political powers, led by Saudi Arabia. This struggle looks an awful lot like a regional cold war, with proxy battles in Syria and elsewhere.

    3. The ethnic groups of the Middle East

      The ethnic groups of the Middle East

      The most important color on this map of Middle Eastern ethnic groups is yellow: Arabs, who are the majority group in almost every MidEast country, including the North African countries not shown here. The exceptions are mostly-Jewish Israel in pink, mostly-Turkish Turkey in green, mostly-Persian Iran in orange, and heavily diverse Afghanistan. (More on the rich diversity of Iran and Afghanistan below.) That splash of red in the middle is really important: ethnic Kurds, who have no country of their own but big communities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. But the big lesson of this map is that there is a belt of remarkable ethnic diversity from Turkey to Afghanistan, but that much of the rest of the region is dominated by ethnic Arabs.

    4. Weighted Muslim populations around the world

      Weighted Muslim populations around the world

      This map makes a point about what the Middle East is not: it is not synonymous with the Islamic world. This weighted population map shows every country in the world by the size of its Muslim population. Countries with more Muslim citizens are larger; countries with fewer Muslim citizens are smaller. You’ll notice right away that the Middle East makes up just a fraction of the world’s total Muslim population. There are far more Muslims, in fact, in the South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The biggest Muslim population by far is Indonesia’s, in southeast Asia. And there are millions in sub-Saharan Africa as well. The Islamic world may have begun in the Middle East, but it’s now much, much larger than that.


Israel-Palestine

    1. Israel’s 1947 founding and the 1948 Israeli-Arab War

      Israel's 1947 founding and the 1948 Israeli-Arab War

      Left map: Passia; center and right maps: Philippe Rekacewicz / Le Monde Diplomatique

      Israel’s 1947 founding and the 1948 Israeli-Arab War

      These three maps show how Israel went from not existing to, in 1947 and 1948, establishing its national borders. It’s hard to identify a single clearest start point to the Israel-Palestine conflict, but the map on the left might be it: these are the borders that the United Nations demarcated in 1947 for a Jewish state and an Arab state, in what had been British-controlled territory. The Palestinians fought the deal, and in 1948 the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria invaded. The middle map shows, in green, how far they pushed back the Jewish armies. The right-hand map shows how the war ended: with an Israeli counterattack that pushed into the orange territory, and with Israel claiming that as its new national borders. The green is what was left for Palestinians.

    2. The 1967 Israeli-Arab War that set today’s borders

      The 1967 Israeli-Arab War that set today's borders

      BBC

      The 1967 Israeli-Arab War that set today’s borders

      These three maps (click the expand icon to see the third) show how those 1948 borders became what they are today. The map on left shows the Palestinian territories of Gaza, which was under Egyptian control, and the West Bank, under Jordanian control. In 1967, Israel fought a war with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The war ended with Israel occupying both of the Palestinian territories, plus the Golan Heights in Syria and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula: that’s shown in the right map. Israel gave Sinai back as part of a 1979 peace deal, but it still occupies those other territories. Gaza is today under Israeli blockade, while the West Bank is increasingly filling with Israeli settlers. The third map shows how the West Bank has been divided into areas of full Palestinian control (green), joint Israeli-Palestinian control (light green), and full Israeli control (dark green).

    3. Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank

      Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank

      Since 1967, Israelis have been moving into settlements in the West Bank. Some go for religious reasons, some because they want to claim Palestinian land for Israel, and some just because they get cheap housing from subsidies. There about 500,000 settlers in 130 communities, which you can see in this map. The settlements make peace harder, which is sometimes the point: for Palestinians to have a state, the settlers will either to have to be removed en masse, or Palestinians would have to give up some of their land. The settlements also make life harder for Palestinians today, dividing communities and imposing onerous Israeli security. This is why the US and the rest of the world opposes Israeli settlements. But Israel is continuing to expand them anyway.

    4. Israeli and Hezbollah strikes in the 2006 Lebanon War

      Israeli and Hezbollah strikes in the 2006 Lebanon War

      BBC

      Israeli and Hezbollah strikes in the 2006 Lebanon War

      This map shows a moment in the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon. It also shows the way that war between Israel and its enemies has changed: Israel now has the dominant military, but the fights are asymmetrical. Israel wasn’t fighting a state, but the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. It launched many air and artillery strikes in Lebanon (shown in blue) to weaken Hezbollah, destroying much of the country’s infrastructure in the process. Israel also blockaded Lebanese waters. Hezbollah fought a guerrilla campaign against the Israeli invasion force and launched many missiles into Israeli communities. The people most hurt were regular Lebanese and Israelis, hundreds of thousands of whom were displaced by the fighting.

    5. Which countries recognize Israel, Palestine, or both

      Which countries recognize Israel, Palestine, or both

      The Israel-Palestine conflict is a global issue, and as this map shows it’s got a global divide. Many countries, shown in green, still do not recognize Israel as a legitimate state. Those countries are typically Muslim-majority (that includes Malaysia and Indonesia, way over in southeast Asia). Meanwhile, the blue countries of the West (plus a few others) do not recognize Palestine as a country. They still have diplomatic relations with Palestine, but in their view it will not achieve the status of a country until the conflict is formally resolved. It is not a coincidence that there has historically been some conflict between the blue and green countries.


Syria

    1. Syria’s religious and ethnic diversity

      Syria’s religious and ethnic diversity

      Each color here shows a different religious group in the part of the eastern Mediterranean called the Levant. It should probably not be surprising that the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity is religiously diverse, but this map drives home just how diverse. Israel stands out for its Jewish majority, of course, but this is also a reminder of its Muslim and other minorities, as well as of the Christian communities in Israel and the West Bank. Lebanon is divided among large communities of Sunnis, Shias, Christians, and a faith known as Druze — they’re at peace now, but the country’s horrific civil war from 1975 to 1990 divided them. There may be a similar effect happening in Syria, which is majority Sunni Muslim but has large minorities of Christians, Druze, Shia, and a Shia sect known as Alawites whose members include Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and much of his government.

    2. Current areas of control in the Syrian Civil War

      Current areas of control in the Syrian Civil War

      This map shows the state of play in Syria’s civil war, which after three years of fighting has divided between government forces, the anti-government rebels who began as pro-democracy protestors, and the Islamist extremist fighters who have been moving in over the last two years. You may notice some overlap between this map and the previous: the areas under government control (in red) tend to overlap with where the minorities live. The minorities tend to be linked to the regime, whereas the rebels are mostly from the Sunni Muslim majority. But the anti-government Syrian rebels (in green) have been taking lots of territory. Syria’s ethnic Kurdish minority also has militias that have taken over territory where the Kurds live. Over the past year, though, there’s been a fourth rising faction: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (sometimes called ISIS, shown in blue), an extremist group based in Iraq that swears allegiance to al-Qaeda. They’re fighting both the rebels and the government. So it’s a three-way war now, as if it weren’t already intractable enough.

    3. Syria’s refugee crisis

      Syria’s refugee crisis

      Syria’s civil war hasn’t just been a national catastrophe for Syria, but for neighboring countries as well. The war has displaced millions of Syrians into the rest of the Middle East and into parts of Europe, where they live in vast refugee camps that are major drains on already-scarce national resources. This map shows the refugees; it does not show the additional 6.5 million Syrians displaced within Syria. Their impact is especially felt in Jordan and Lebanon, which already have large Palestinian refugee populations; as many as one in five people in those countries is a refugee. While the US and other countries have committed some aid for refugees, the United Nations says it’s not nearly enough to provide them with basic essentials.


Iran

    1. How Iran’s borders changed in the early 1900s

      How Iran’s borders changed in the early 1900s

      Iran is the only Middle Eastern country was never conquered by a European power, but it came pretty close in the 1900s. It lost a lot of territory to Russia (the red stripey part). After that, the Russian Empire and British Empire (the British Indian Raj was just next door) divided Iran’s north and south into “zones of influence.” They weren’t under direct control, but the Iranian government was bullied and its economy and resources exploited. This remains a point of major national resentment in Iran today.

    2. Iran’s religious and ethnic diversity

      Iran’s religious and ethnic diversity

      Iran is most associated with the Persians — the largest ethnic group and the progenitors of the ancient Persian empires — but it’s much more diverse than that. This map shows the larger minorities, which includes Arabs in the south, Kurds in the west, and Azeris in the north (Iran used to control all Azeri territory, but much of now belongs to the Azeri-majority country Azerbaijan). The Baloch, in the southeast, are also a large minority group in Pakistan. There is significant unrest and government oppression in the “Baluchistan” region of both countries.

    3. Iran’s nuclear sites and possible Israeli strike plans

      Iran's nuclear sites and possible Israeli strike plans

      BBC

      Iran’s nuclear sites and possible Israeli strike plans

      This is a glimpse at two of the big, overlapping geopolitical issues in which Iran is currently embroiled. The first is Iran’s nuclear program: the country’s leaders say the program is peaceful, but basically no one believes them, and the world is heavily sanctioning Iran’s economy to try to convince them to halt the nuclear development that sure looks like it’s heading for an illegal weapons program. You can see the nuclear development sites on here: some are deep underground, while others were kept secret for years. That gets to the other thing on this map, which was originally built to show how Israel could hypothetically launch strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. Israel-Iran tensions, which have edged near war in recent years, are one of the biggest and most potentially dangerous things happening right now in a part of the world that has plenty of danger already. Israel is worried that Iran could build nukes to use against it; Iran may be worried that it will forever be under threat of Israeli strike until it has a nuclear deterrent. That’s called a security dilemma and it can get bad.


Afghanistan

    1. How the colonial “Durand Line” set up Afghanistan’s conflict

      How the colonial “Durand Line” set up Afghanistan’s conflict

      So, first ignore everything on this map except for the light-orange overlay. That shows the area where an ethnic group called the Pashtun lives. Now pretend it’s the 1800s and you are a British colonial officer named Mortimer Durand, and it’s your job to negotiate the border between the British Indian Raj and the quasi-independent nation of Afghanistan.

      Do you draw the border right smack across the middle of the Pashtun areas, thus guaranteeing decades of conflict by forcing Pashtuns to be minorities in both states? If you answered “yes,” then you would have made a great British colonial officer, because that’s what happened. The “Durand Line,” marked in red, became most of the border between modern Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many Pashtun now belong to or support a mostly-Pashtun extremist group called the Taliban, which wreaks havoc in both countries and has major operating bases (shown in dark orange) in the Pakistani side of the border. Thanks, Mortimer!

    2. The 1989 war that tore up Afghanistan

      The 1989 war that tore up Afghanistan

      In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to defend the pro-Moscow communist government from growing rebellions. The US (along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) funded and armed the rebels. The CIA deliberately chose to fund extremists, seeing them as better fighters.

      When the Soviets retreated in 1989, those rebel groups turned against one another, fighting a horrific civil war that you can see on this map: the red areas were, as of 1989, under government control. Every other color shows a rebel group’s area of control. Some of these rebels, like the Hezb-i Islami Gulbuddin, are still fighting, though most of them were defeated when the Taliban rose up and conquered the country in the 1990s.

    3. How the Taliban overlaps with ethnicity

      How the Taliban overlaps with ethnicity

      This is to underscore the degree to which Afghanistan’s current war (the war that began when the US and allies invaded in 2001, not the 1979 to 1989 war against the Soviets or the civil wars from 1989 to 2001) is and is not about ethnicity.

      The Taliban does very broadly, but not exclusively, overlap with the Pashtuns in the south and east. That’s especially important since there are so many Pashtuns just across the border in Pakistan, where the Taliban have major bases of operation. But there are rebel groups besides the Taliban, not all of which are Pashtun. Generally, though, the north of the country is stabler and less violent than the south or east.

    4. The most important parts of the Afghan War, in one map

      The most important parts of the Afghan War, in one map

      The Afghanistan War is extremely complicated, but this map does a remarkable job of capturing the most important components:

      1) the Taliban areas, in orange overlay;

      2) the areas controlled by the US and allies, in depressingly tiny spots of green;

      3) the major Western military bases, marked with blue dots;

      4) the areas of opium production, which are a big source of Taliban funding, in brown circles, with larger circles meaning more opium;

      5) the supply lines through Pakistan, in red, which Pakistan has occasionally shut down and come under frequent Taliban attack;

      6) the supply line through Russia, which requires Russian approval. If this map does not depress you about the prospects of the Afghan War, not much will.


Saudi Arabia and Oil

    1. What Saudi Arabia and its neighbors looked like 100 years ago

      What Saudi Arabia and its neighbors looked like 100 years ago

      The Arabian peninsula has a very, very long history, and the Saudi family has controlled much of it since the 1700s. But to understand how the peninsula got to be what it is today, go back about a 100 years to 1905.

      The Saudis at that point controlled very little, having lost their territory in a series of wars. The peninsula was divided into lots of little kingdoms and emirates. The Ottoman Empire controlled most of them, with the British Empire controlling the southernmost third or so of the peninsula — that line across the middle shows how it was divided.

      After World War I collapsed the Ottoman Empire, the Saudis expanded to all of the purple area marked here, as the British had promised for helping to fight the Ottomans. (This deal is dramatized in the film Lawrence of Arabia). By the early 1920s, the British effectively controlled almost all of the peninsula, which was divided into many dependencies, protectorates, and mandates. But the Saudis persisted.

    2. Oil and Gas in the Middle East

      Oil and Gas in the Middle East

      The Middle East produces about a third of the world’s oil and a tenth of its natural gas. (It has a third of all natural gas reserves, but they’re tougher to transport.) Much of that is exported. That makes the entire world economy pretty reliant on the continued flow of that gas and oil, which just happens to go through a region that has seen an awful lot of conflict in the last few decades.

      This map shows where the reserves are and how they’re transported overland; much of it also goes by sea through the Persian Gulf, a body of water that is also home to some of the largest reserves in the region and the world. The energy resources are heavily clustered in three neighboring countries that have historically hated one another: Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

      The tension between those three is something that the United States, as a huge energy importer, has been deeply interested in for years: it sided against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, against Iraq when it invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, again against Iraq with the 2003 invasion, and now is supporting Saudi Arabia in its rapidly worsening proxy war against Iran.

    3. Oil, trade, and militarism in the Strait of Hormuz

      Oil, trade, and militarism in the Strait of Hormuz

      The global economy depends on this narrow waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. Ever since President Jimmy Carter issued the 1980 “Carter Doctrine,” which declared that the US would use military force to defend its access to Persian Gulf oil, the little Strait of Hormuz at the Gulf’s exit has been some of the most heavily militarized water on earth.

      The US installed a large naval force, first to protect oil exports from the brutal Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, then to protect them from Saddam Hussein in the 1990s Gulf Wars, and now to protect them again from Iran, which has gestured toward shutting down oil should war break out against Israel or the US. As long as the world runs on fossil fuels and there is tension in the Middle East, there will be military forces in the Strait of Hormuz.

    4. Why Egypt’s Suez Canal is so important for the world economy

      Why Egypt’s Suez Canal is so important for the world economy

      The Suez Canal changed everything. When Egypt opened it in 1868, after ten years of work, the 100-mile, man-made waterway brought Europe and Asia dramatically and permanently closer.

      The canal’s significance to the global order was so immediately obvious that, shortly after the British conquered Egypt in the 1880s, the major world powers signed a treaty, which is still in force, declaring that the canal would forever be open to trade and warships of every nation, no matter what. Today, about eight percent of all global trade and three percent of global energy supply goes through the canal.


Iraq and Libya

    1. The ethnic cleansing of Baghdad during the Iraq War

      The ethnic cleansing of Baghdad during the Iraq War

      BBC

      The ethnic cleansing of Baghdad during the Iraq War

      There are few grimmer symbols for the devastation of the Iraq War than what it did to Baghdad’s once-diverse neighborhoods. The map on the left shows the city’s religious make-up in 2005. Mixed neighborhoods, then the norm, are in yellow.

      The map on right shows what it looked like by 2007, after two awful years of Sunni-Shia killing: bombings (shown with red dots), death squads, and militias. Coerced evictions and thousands of deaths effectively cleansed neighborhoods, to be mostly Shia (blue) or mostly Sunni (red). Since late 2012, the sectarian civil war has ramped back up, in Baghdad and nationwide.

    2. Where the Kurds are and what Kurdistan might look like

      Where the Kurds are and what Kurdistan might look like

      The ethnic group known as Kurds, who have long lived as a disadvantaged minority in several Middle Eastern countries, have been fighting for a nation of their own for a long time. This map shows where they live in green overlay, and the national borders that they have proposed on three separate occasions, all of them failed.

      The Kurds have fought many armed rebellions, including ongoing campaigns in Syria and Turkey, and suffered many abuses, from attempted genocides to official bans on their language and culture. Their one major victory in the last century has been in Iraq: as a result of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurds have autonomous self-rule in Iraq’s north.

    3. A hypothetical re-drawing of Syria and Iraq

      A hypothetical re-drawing of Syria and Iraq

      This is an old idea that gets new attention every few years, when violence between Sunnis and Shias reignites: should the arbitrary borders imposed by European powers be replaced with new borders along the region’s ever-fractious religious divide?

      The idea is unworkable in reality and would probably just create new problems. But, in a sense, this is already what the region looks like. The Iraqi government controls the country’s Shia-majority east, but Sunni Islamist extremists have seized much of western Iraq and eastern Syria.

      The Shia-dominated Syrian government, meanwhile, mostly only controls the country’s Shia- and Christian-heavy west. The Kurds, meanwhile, are legally autonomous in Iraq and functionally so in Syria. This map, then, is not so much just idle speculation anymore; it’s something that Iraqis and Syrians are creating themselves.

    4. How Libya’s 2011 War changed Africa

      How Libya’s 2011 War changed Africa

      Noble as the cause was, the destruction of Moammar Qaddafi’s dictatorship by a spontaneous uprising and a Western intervention has just wreaked havoc in Africa’s northern half. This map attempts to show all that came after Qaddafi’s fall; that it is so overwhelmingly complex is precisely the point.

      The place to center your gaze is the patterned orange overlay across Libya, Algeria, Mali, and Niger: this shows where the Tuaregs, a semi-nomadic ethnic minority group, lives. Qaddafi used Libya’s oil wealth to train, arm, and fund large numbers of Tuaregs to fight the armed uprising in 2011. When he fell, the Tuaregs took the guns back out with them to Algeria and Mali, where they took control of territory.

      In Mali, they led a full-fledged rebellion that, for a time, seized the country’s northern half. Al-Qaeda moved into the vacuum they left, conquering entire towns in Mali and seizing fossil fuel facilities in Algeria. Criminal enterprises have flourished in this semi-arid belt of land known as the Sahel. So have vast migration routes, of Africans looking to find work and a better life in Europe.

      At the same time, armed conflict is getting worse in Nigeria and Sudan, both major oil producers. Qaddafi’s fall was far from the sole cause of all of this, but it brought just the right combination of disorder, guns, and militias to make everything a lot worse.


Points of Light

  1. Mapped by Internet connections (top) and by tweets (bottom)

    Mapped by Internet connections (top) and by tweets (bottom)

    Top map: Gregor Aisch; bottom map: Eric Fischer

    Mapped by Internet connections (top) and by tweets (bottom)

    These maps are two ways of looking at a similar thing: the digitalization of the Middle East. The map on top is actually a population map: the dots represent clusters of people, but the dots are colored to show how many IP addresses there are, which basically means how many internet connections.

    The blue areas have lots of people but few connections: these are the poorer areas, such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria. White and red show where there are lots of connections: rich countries like Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but also parts of Egypt and Iran and Turkey, the populations of which are increasingly wired, to tremendous political consequence.

    The map on the bottom shows tweets: lots of dots mean lots of tweets from that area. They’re colored by language. Notice where these two maps are different: Iran has lots of internet connections but almost no tweets; like Facebook, Twitter has been banned since the 2009 anti-government protests. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, lights right up: its modestly sized population is remarkably wired.

    The significance of that became clear, for example, with the 2012 and 2013 social media-led campaigns by Saudi women to drive en masse, in protest of the country’s ban on female drivers. The consequences of internet access and lack of access will surely continue to be important, and perhaps hard to predict, for the region.

  2. The Middle East at night from space

    The Middle East at night from space

    I’m concluding with this map to look at the region without political borders, without demographic demarcations of religion or ethnicity, without markers of conflict or oil. Looking at the region at night, from space, lets those distinctions fall away, to see it purely by its geography and illuminated by the people who call it home.

    The lights trace the rivers that have been so important to the Middle East’s history, and the world’s: the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates that run through Iraq and Syria, the Indus in Pakistan.

    They also show the large, and in many cases growing, communities along the shores of the Persian Gulf, the eastern Mediterranean, and the southern end of the Caspian. It’s a beautiful view of a really beautiful part of the world.

 

And why mankind is “homogeneous”?

How come with this tenuous evolutionary theory?

Current explanation defies a few of my common senses

Ice age covered most of Europe and reduced the green Sahara to a desert. And that was 200,000 years ago that almost wiped out all kinds of human species and barely 600 of them survived in 5 locations in Africa, mainly by the main Congo, Niger and the Nile rivers… That’s the current hypothesis.

The theory want us to believe that from these 600 left to survive, homo sapiens managed to colonized earth and all its continents. How? By following the herds, the edible vegetarian animals.

As if herds are about to leave their domain: They barely cross rivers in their shallow sections, and these scientists want us to believe that they crossed seas and oceans, one way or another.

Many kinds of bipeds species with brain size close to current man have been found in many continents. A few species had very small stature and much smaller brain volume, others had larger stature and larger brain, others grew as fast as Chimpanzees do (an 8 year-old skeletal looked as 14 of age)…

This centrist theory, as old as time, is pretty tenuous.

If mankind homo sapiens could develop in Africa, why it should be so far fetched for Man to have also evolved in Iran, India, South Asia, Latin America and in every major river basin?

If they managed to evolve in Africa, homo sapiens should be able to evolve in a few other locations with the appropriate climatic conditions, away from the poles.

In any case, if they evolved with a different DNA structure then they wouldn’t be of the same species. Would they?

Why the scientists keep insisting on this centrist concept?

If mankind on earth has the same genes structure, should it be because it came from a single source or branch?

How about considering this alternative: mankind has the same genes simply because this is the exact structure that made him everywhere he evolved?

If the Neanderthal  species survived for 400,000 years, twice as long as Homo sapiens,  why the researchers insists that this species disappeared 25,000 years ago simply because it failed to be flexible and adjust to climate change?

The scientist want us to believe a theory that the larger brain of the Neanderthal species had two lobes smaller than current man, simply based on the structure of the skull, a tenuous finding meant to degrade this evolved kind of species. The scientists claim that he lived mainly on meat and never ate fruits or vegetables.

If this is true, then the Neanderthal species must have domesticated animals in farms and thanks to plenty of protein they grew bigger than homo sapiens in body and brain: they had to consume twice the required calories.

Why the researchers stick to the notion that the Neanderthal failed to fabricate killing tools adapted for the large animals, when they were totally carnivorous species and needed twice as much protein as the better evolved Homo sapiens?

Actually, the tools the scientists discovered were of their latest phase before extinction and are not representative of 400 thousand years of evolution. Anyway, if they had short range killing tools, maybe it is because they domesticated animals and didn’t need to go after dangerous animals.

How about because they had domesticated the animals and didn’t need heavier weapons?

How about this species failed to survive more than 400,000 simply because the various branches didn’t merge in a few locations to improve their skills and culture for development?

And Why this current mankind seems homogeneous?

I conjecture that samples of many mankind species migrated to the most fertile centers after major calamities where they evolved and formed a melting pot of developed species.

I may consider at least 4 melting pot centers: The South-East Asia around the Mekong River, the Indus/Ganges Rivers, the Central America, and the Middle-East/Caucasus region.

The best plausible hypothesis is that of the advent of the “Reverse Migrations” from the main melting pot centers to the 5 corners of earth, each center migrating everywhere by successive phases, with preference to the closer regions and then onward.

If the Middle East is considered the cradle of civilization, maybe it is because many more than one branch of Homo sapience converged and linked in this land. This convergence generated higher development for intelligence and a variety of cultural know-hows for sedentary living.

If it has been proven that the Phoenician mariners landed and colonized America (north, middle and south) 3,000 years ago, why is it not possible that mankind colonized these continents, Australia and the Pacific islands from South Asia and India, many thousands years before the Phoenicians?

Be careful excavating the artifacts from archaeological centers in the Middle-East.

Mankind, be honest, generous and proud of your origins.

 

What Are The Hardest Languages To Learn? [INFOGRAPHIC]

It is not that hard to learn a second language.

The time to learn a foreign language is dependent on:

1. Seriousness to learn the language of a culture you are interested to read and converse in: All these new imagery, symbolism, connotation of terms that do not convey the same emotions and feeling…

2. Being convinced that learning a second language is acquiring a new rebirth: communicating with another civilization…

3. Being willing to try writing in the second language as an adoptive language

The hardest of languages are those that are very demanding on a failing memory to retain thousands of pictographs, and that is why the Phoenicians invented 22 sound alphabets or consonants.

Masters in Agriculture, Wine and Beer making, Food preservation, Textile, Dying, paper production… The Phoenicians

It is reported that Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, after visiting Carthage and returning to Rome with the most exquisite and delightful crops of the orchards in Carthage, he exclaimed with raging indignation:

“Carthage is back to its former glory and power. I am of the opinion that Carthage must be destroyed…”

And Carthage was sacked in 149 BC, let burn for 17 days, and perishing 50,000 inhabitants…

The Roman senate ordered to retrieve from the ruins the 28 volumes of Mago masterful “Treatise on Agriculture”.

This treatise of the “Father of Agriculture” was translated into Latin. The Phoenicians considered agriculture as a precise science.

The Roman scholar Silanus translated the chief parts of the volumes.

St. Augustine, who spoke the still living Punic tongue in the 4th century AC, wrote: “On the word of many scholars, there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books…”

Even in the 20th century, many illustrious chemists did their best to decode the Phoenician purple color  and their dying processes and failed.

The Phoenician textile industry was traded in every corner of the world, and silk, and cotton were common elements in the fabrics…

Papyrus and paper are derivation of the Phoenician term babir, and the City-State of Byblos, renowned for book production gave birth to  Bible, bibliotheca, bibliography…

The Roman Strabo wrote:

“In Sidon and Tyre, one could learn astronomy and arithmetic, which are necessary for navigation… And one could also study all branches of philosophy…”

Paul Valery wrote in “Architecture, 1923”: “This audacious Phoenician ceaselessly agitated the Ocean…

When archaeologists and paleontologists … claim that mankind civilization has the Near East as its hotbed, they mean:

“The Phoenician and Chaldean immigrated everywhere around the world and traded their goods, language, alphabet, industries… and left their imprint of high level civilization to future generations of mankind…”

Note 1:  Colonized the Americas? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/evidences-the-phoenicians-colonized-the-americas-and-new-zealand-part-3/

Note 2: Inspired from “6,000 years of peaceful contribution to mankind” by late Charles Corm 

Evidences the Phoenicians colonized the Americas and New Zealand…

Over 2,000 years before Columbus discovered America and the Portuguese circumnavigated Africa and Magellan ventured on the Pacific Ocean… the intrepid and adventurous mariners Chaldeans and Phoenicians of the Near East had effectively colonized the Americas (South and North) and established trading centers in the Pacific Ocean Islands and New Zealand.

You may first read the second part https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/6000-years-of-peaceful-contribution-to-mankind-by-late-charles-corm/

1. Phoenicians in Venezuela:

Prof. Dunkley explored the mouth of the Orinoco River. He discovered the “White Indians” tribe. This tribe appeared to have Germanic features, blond hair and blue eyes… They brewed and drank beer and were unseasoned primitive people. Emile Armand (1872-1962) argued that this tribe is of Phoenician origin who colonized this rich region in mineral to excavate and process. (The Phoenicians have colonized the shores of the Black Sea, currently known as the Caucasus region)

2. In Brazil:

Prof Ludovico Ciumhanej announced at a conference in 1929 that Phoenicians had been in Brazil at the time of the Trojan wars.

The Paraiba Stone gives this information: “We are Sidonian Canaanites from the city of the Merchant King. We embarked from Eztion-Geber into the Red Sea. We voyaged with 10 ships for 2 years around Africa. The hand of God Baal parted us. We landed on this island of mountains. We were 12 men and 3 women on this  “Island of Iron (barzel)”

Ludovico Ciumhanej presented evidences:

1. A stele discovered on a sandy bank of the River Serido in the province of Rio Grande do Norte said:

I came ashore a new harbor with my companions of 30 craftsmen aboard our 4 remaining ships. We marched for a few days inland to this mountain of mines. We worked here for 10 years and quarried gold, copper, and a wealth of precious stones. Sighed: Alkhton commander, Nada secretary”

2. In 1892, an inscription on a sarcophagus in Montevideo (Uruguay) read:

“During Olympic year, when Alexander, son of Philip, was king of Macedon, Ptolemy was sent forth on a mission”. Who but the Phoenicians could undertake such maritime missions to South America?

The Phoenicians excavated 4,200 meters of a network of tunnels to mine precious stones in the Amazon city of Maranon.

Maranon and Maranhao are corrupted cognate derivations of (Mar-ion) “The Great Lofty Archipelago

3.  New Zealand and Pacific Islands:

The historian James Cowan (1870-1943) argued that the Maoris of New Zealand belong to a distant branch of Caucasian people who had an important presence since antiquity. Cowan wrote:

“Customs are more persistent than languages, and most common habits of the Maoris are identical to the ancient mariners. The Maoris acquired their knowledge in astronomy from the Phoenicians with whom they have blood ties…”

Prof. A.H. Keane concurs that the “Polynesians of the East Pacific Islands (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Cook Islands… can trace their ancestry to historic boats that made it to their shores prior to the 14th century BC…”

4. England, Ireland, the Baltic Sea:

In the previous post I described the periplus of Himilco who set out from Carthage around 500 BC and reached England, Ireland (Holy Island), and the Baltic Sea

The Isles of Scilly (south England) is still called Cassiterides (from Kasdir or Tin, where Carthage mined the tin mineral)

Carthage also profited from the “murex” seashells in Neabra-in-Castle and established the purple dye industry.

Historian Will Durant argues that “The Phoenicians were nothing if not the Britons of antiquity…”

The German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) stressed that the Phoenicians’ amber necklaces found in Tirynsian tombs (over 3,000 years ago) were genuine and authentic amber of Baltic provenance

Note 1: Prior of the Phoenician Alphabet, writing consisted of simplified graphic images of objects and ideas, a system meant to commit to memory 10 of thousands of shapes and images.

The Phoenician alphabet entailed the simple use of phonetic images, characters representing sounds that most people utter. The characters were consonant and written from right to left

Consequently, a mere two dozen letters covered the sounds in all human languages…

The ancient Greek and Etruscan (north of Italy) adopted this alphabets around 800 BC and were almost identical with the Phoenician.

The Phoenician alphabet were transmitted along the maritime cities, first in Al Mina (current Turkey), Ras el Bassit  or Tell Sukas (north Syria), Lefkandi (Napoli) and Pithecusses (north Italy)…

Classical Greek alphabet and later Latin characters merely changed direction of the letters, sort of mirror images, added a few vowels, and wrote from left to right. (Thinking of driving cars on left or right side, just to impose rules as Empires grow stronger and uncomfortable living in the shadow of former more civilized empires)

Note 2: You may read Part 1 https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/the-most-ancient-and-intrepid-mariners-the-chaldean-of-the-near-east/

Lacking a National identity? Is it a big deal?

We don’t need to unite under an identity:  All national identities everywhere were invariably built and sustained on myths, historical falsehood, and faked stories.

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and to applying our expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unite against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to work against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

What identity are we claiming?  

Are we to emulate other Nations that based their “identity” on myths and falsehood?

Do you know any powerful colonial nation that gained an identity Without a strong army and suffered millions of soldiers fallen in battlefields for fictitious claims?

Youth sacrificed to institute a Nation and never taken seriously because they are viewed as just meat for the canon and a burden to a stable political system…

There are sections in Lebanon (mostly Christian Maronites) advancing the French mandatory alternative of a “Phoenician” ancestors.

Currently, there are Lebanese testing their blood for DNA evidences of any physical “Phoenician inheritance“.

A few are wary that they won’t be found to have any Phoenician stain/strain and be caste off as “strangers”.  What a load of crap.

The Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean Sea in 1,200 BC and the string of their City-States extended from southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, up to Haifa in Palestine.

The Phoenicians were famous for maritime trade and commerce and established many trading centers around the Sea.  The written language has been around for 3,000 years, but the Phoenicians in the City-State of Byblos are credited for inventing the alphabet (currently in use with slight modifications.)

Before the Phoenicians and afterward, the Near East region of the Mediterranean (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) has been invaded by a dozen warrior empires, many invaded us repeatedly.

For example, the empires in Iraq (Akkad, Babylon, Assyria), Egypt, Persia under various dynasties (at least four of them), Greece, Roman, Byzantium, Arabic, Ottoman, and finally the colonial powers of France and Britain.

All these warrior empires didn’t build anything worth showing as representative of civilization until they invaded our region and rounded off and hoarded the educated and master craftsmen to their capitals.

We are a region of multiple identities if we have to rely on occupation empires.

How about we identify with education and craftsmanship?  I love this identity.  Let us focus on affordable efficient schooling system; let us encourage technical and craftsmanship schooling system; let us focus on building commercial ships; let us invest in railways and fast communication facilities; let us open up to knowledge facilities all over the world.

I love this identity; let us get to work and planning.

Another sections of Lebanese, mostly Muslim-Sunnis, would like to have an Arabic identity and pushing it too far to claiming that we are from the Arabic Peninsula. Are we Arabs?  What that means?

The Islamic Arabic army that came from the Arabic Peninsula to fight the Byzantium Empire and later the Persian Empire barely numbered 7,000 men of war.  The other three-forth of the army that backed and supplemented the “Arabic army” was constituted from people and tribes living in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan wanting to defeat the Byzantium unforgiving Orthodox Church and domination.  How can we be descendant of the sparsely populated Arabic Peninsula?

The “Arabic identity” group would claim that our culture and civilization is Islamic Arabic. How that?

The cultural development during the Arabic Empire was shouldered by the scholars in Syria, Iraq, and Iran and they were mostly Christians. They would like to rely on the Arabic language as basis for our identity.  Excellent idea.

Let us prove that the Arabic language is a viable foundation; let us infuse a new spirit in that dying language; let us translate the worthy manuscripts; let us invent new terms that have no religious connotation and spread the Arabic language as a universal language, valid to sustaining modern civilization with fresh brains and advanced sciences and technologies.  I will be for it and will support it vehemently.

There are other factions wanting to claim that we are Moslems.  How about the dozen minority religious sects?  Are we to agree on a theocratic identity?

Turkish Ataturk cancelled the caliphate in 1925 and there is no caliphate anymore, anywhere.  Tiny Lebanon has 19 recognized self-autonomous religious communities running our civil life.  Let us get real.

A theocratic State will never pass and will never find unity for identity.

Should we hide behind a reality of disparate communities to establish the concept of plurality community government?  Should 19 wrong identities constitute a valid identity?

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.  

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to working against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

It is a virus: You scratch one spot and it spreads; (Jan. 29, 2010)

It is a virus; a sort of mushroom that spreads over your skin and inflicts crazy itching.

You start scratching one spot and you end up lapidating your entire body.  It has affected me for over a month.

I finally saw a physician, not a skin specialist, in the town dispensary and she told me that she witnesses many such cases lately.

The virus is in the air and that is how you are contaminated; many victims experienced lousy moments for many weeks.

The physician prescribed a single pill (costing $8) with effects that last for a week. Got to take another pill for a second week; that should take care of the mushroom.

The physician said that without the pill the itching takes 6 weeks to subside.

In my case and with the pill I should be okay within days: I was healed the next day.

I decided for the second pill to make sure that the mushroom is dead once and for all.  I am not sure: three weeks later and I am itching; not necessarily of mushroom; but what do I know?

Itching is not the main topic of this article: it just gave me a perfect analogy.  The virus is Israel.

If you say Israel is an apartheid State because it subjugates the Palestinian people to a different law of the land than the one applied on the Jew,s then Israel is upset.

If you say Israel is a theocratic State because it extends citizenship to any Jew who sets foot in Israel then Israel is angry.

Why, all of the over 600 religious laws that govern daily life, as applied by the Pharisee during Jesus time, are still valid and harshly controlled.

The secular Jews agree that Israel is back to the Dark Age, but how to convince the US neo-conservative “Christians” that this is so?

If you say that Israel is comfortable with ghetto-like environment because it cordonned off all its frontiers by walls (frontiers that are not yet delimited in its Constitution) then Israel is appalled

If you say Israel is a Sparta State because it believes in military resolution for any contention with any neighboring State then Israel is incensed. Why?

Israel is worse than Sparta: after 3 years of forced military service the citizen has to submit to a month per year in “the reserves” service.

If you say Israel has been committing crimes against humanity since before its inception in 1948, and Gaza is the latest in evidence, then Israel rejects Goldstone’s report in all its sections.

If you say Israel has a peculiar kind of “democracy” that was called “apartheid democracy” in South Africa where laws are selectively and not equitably applied on all citizens; or if you say that the kind of democracy applied in Israel is barely a developed version of City-States democracies of Antiquity such as applied in Athens, Tyr, or Sidon then Israel feels obfuscated.

I you say Israel refuses to grow up and abide by its responsibility as a member of the United Nations and respect UN decisions then Israel is furious: Israel constantly expects the US to cover up illegal activities with the veto power.

If you say the Arab States want peace for returning all the conquered lands in 1967 as proclaimed in 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut then Israel feels resentful and laughs it off.

If you say that Israel is a racist State because the UN declared “Zionism a form of racism” then Israel is up in arms to drop this statement.  Can you believe it?

Israel is investing money to demonstrate that Indians living in the region of Malihabad, (near Lucknow in the Uttar Pradesh), and known as Pathans Afridis are Jews from the tribe of Ephraim that lived in northern Galilee during Jesus time.

The Indian Shahnaz Ali was hired by Israel Institute of Technology to test the DNA of this “tribe” and hopefully extrapolate the results to include the Pashtoun tribes on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Is that a form of racism? Since when any religion was based on race?

I did a rough estimate: I figured out that the Phoenicians are over one billion, give or take one standard deviation, and are spread over the five continents!

If you say that Israel is “the vastest psychiatric ward in the world with no treating personnel” then Israel is ready to lambaste the Israeli author as a schizophrenic, leftist, and probably “anti-Semitic” mole.

If you say that Israel is indeed a very, very peace loving State then Israel is infuriated because you are mocking it.  It is a virus.

No matter what you say is non receivable.

Best attitude is to censure your opinions and refrain from mentioning Israel, Jews, Judaism, Hebrew, or the Diaspora.

One term is admissible: Jews were gazed by Nazism and the number better be exact: 6 millions no less and not one over that scientifically reached number.

Repeat: Jews were gazed and not shot, poisoned, killed, trampled, or exterminated in any other form of “final solutions”.

Repeat: Exactly 6 millions or the holocaust literature would have to be republished; any number over 6 millions and Germany would be infuriated and Merkel would have to cancel the seventh nuclear submarines, built for free for the State of Israel, at Germans’ tax payer expenses; and for what use are these nuclear submarines put in service?  Maybe to support NATO policies?

It is a virus: mushroom or no mushroom you feel itching like crazy and Barack Obama and George Mitchell first of all.

Who are we, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean Sea shores? (Part 2; March 1, 2008)

 

Sidon (Saida) and Tyr (Sour) in Lebanon built trading posts all around this Mediterranean Sea,  promoting commerce and exercising their own brand of beliefs and traditions.

Elissa, a daughter of the king of Tyr, fled and built Carthage in Tunisia.  Once Carthage solidified its institutions, it built Cadis (Cadesh) in Spain, and 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 Italy) and the strait of Gibraltar that leads to Portugal, Britain and Ireland.

 No maritime commerce could be undertaken without landing in one of Carthage “contoires” or trading posts. Carthage conquered most of the islands like Sardinia, Corsica, Cyprus, and Sicily and settled in 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 (the Philistine), 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. They 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 did.

 

It is worth mentioning that the Canaan entrepreneurs didn’t focus much on the artistic part in their culture, or in their constructions and monuments during periods of autonomy, but they 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. (Revenues generated from taxes they paid to the occupying force)

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 Moorish dynasties that ruled Spain (mainly Andalusia).

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 immigrations 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, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane the Moguls.

I tend to consider that the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, which includes Greece, 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 northern Turkish sea shore were natural extention to the eastern shores, though the central Turkish plateau witnessed successive waves of immigration from the Caucasus region. 

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

The first wave occurred after the conclave of Nicee in 325 during Emperor Constantine.  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 of the various Christian sects.   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 then 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 and unified 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 around the year 1000 when Byzantium recaptured the western shores of Turkey from the Seljouk dynasty and the “Orthodox” Christian sects chased out the other “heretical” Christian sects such as the Maronites living on the Oronte River.

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 solidifying the Sunni Moslem sect.  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 immigrations 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 the current city of 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

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