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Posts Tagged ‘Timorlank

Prophesies of “end of time”: In “Rainbow over the Levant”

Note:  This article is a section of chapter 17 of  the fiction novel “Rainbow over the Levant”: The Exile

In 1400, Timorlank was closing in with his Tatar hordes toward Northern Syria. The Viceroy of Aleppo was frantic and sent messengers after messengers for directions from his master the Mameluk Sultan of Egypt.  He requested reinforcements and financial support but Cairo did not stir.

The Viceroys of Damascus and Hama were of no help either, and as completely in the dark as to the policies of the Sultan of Egypt.  The agents of the First Emir of Lebanon reported that Egypt’s position was not to intervene at this stage either financially or militarily and to concentrate its resources in Egypt for the time being.

It seems that the advisers to the Sultan reminded his Majesty that these hordes, like the Moguls before them, never ventured into Egypt, and most of the time they retreat after capturing Damascus. They also reminded the Sultan that when Holago the Mogul decided to advance to Palestine a century and a half ago the Mameluks defeated him easily in 1260 at two major battles.

These counselors assured the Sultan that the Mameluks would repeat the previous military feats if Timorlank dared advance toward Palestine with his already exhausted forces and stressed on the facts that the previous Fatimide and Ayubid dynasties had deteriorated and their hold on power had begun to decline when they had tried to stretch their dominions into Iraq.

The Mameluk’s Viceroys in Damascus and Hama decided not to put up a fight against the Tatars and invested their time in hoarding as much money and riches as they could gather and flee in due time.  Aleppo was destroyed and Timorlank entered Damascus in 1401 without a fight and transferred all its remaining artisans to Samarqand, his Capital, within a year.

Prophesies of the end of time

There were other factors accounting to this social uneasiness, apathy and helplessness.  Any society facing changes in its structural order is usually ripe to the cyclical apocalyptic prophesies of the ultimate end of the World.  The Levant (people living in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) had already experienced one such depressing mood during the lifetime of the First Emir and twice in the previous century, with a slight delay of such rumors since they were emanating from Europe.

The Fatimide dynasty in the 11th century reigned in Egypt and claimed its right to the Caliphate of the Moslems by proclaiming the imminent coming of a disappeared Imam. The decline of the Crusaders’ hold on the Levant, and lack of subsequent infusions of men and financial support, combined with the occurrence of pests or plagues prompted one of these cataclysmic beliefs within the Levant Crusaders.

The other period happened when news of the Mogul invasion were imminent and the fact that indeed Holago erased the Capital Baghdad in 1258.

In the mid 14th century, society remembered the plague that devastated Aleppo half a century before, a catastroph which added to the fear of an imminent recurrence of a Tatar invasion led by Timorlank toward Syria.  These apocalyptic prophesies were shared by both Christians and Moslems.   the Shiaa Moslems would preach the coming of either the 6th disappeared Imam or the 12th Imam to unite the Moslems to some kind of victory and the Christians would rely on the eschatology of Christ returning and reigning for one thousand years over a peaceful and happy World before the end of time would take place.

Antichrist finger pointing, or which power was represented by Satan, was convenient and successful in fomenting pockets of extremist sects within each religion.  Actually, a century later, with the Renaissance upheaval in Europe, Luther was able to establish his religious Reforms by capitalizing on the fears spreading in Europe of the coming of the end and using the advancing Ottoman armies toward Vienna as the sign of an angry God punishing the Christians for following the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church who forgot the Word of God.

After the devastation of Aleppo, the First Emir realized that his stay might induce Timorlank into driving a hard bargain over the Levant; he determined that his high profile in the region was a liability to the Levant.  He nevertheless ordered Gergis to join Ibn Khaldoun’s mission waiting to meet with Timorlank encamping around Damascus and to try reaching an agreement that would spare the Levant from further distresses.

Ibn Khaldoun was the famous 14th century Arabic North African author of “History of Civilizations” and he met with Timorlank camping outside Damascus and made him promise not to exact his vengeance on the population; a promise that Timorlank never kept.  Most of the craftsmen and merchants had evacuated Damascus and fled to Lebanon and Egypt while the remaining craftsmen were denied exiting this city after the hordes of Timorlank sacked it and would be transferred to Samarqand the Capital of the Tatar.  In disgust at his helplessness and the inaction of Cairo the First Emir decided to travel overseas for an extended period until the political situation was stabilized.

Although the societies in Syria, Lebanon and part of Palestine suffered economically and organizationally, the Mameluks in Egypt retained their cohesion and managed to survive another century before they were defeated militarily by the ascending Ottoman Empire in 1516.

Rituals of Human Sacrifices, (March 10, 2009)

One of my lately recurring dreams is that a secret association (cultist sect), constituted of elites and former leaders of the superpower Nations, is planning to stage a yearly “ritual of human sacrifices“.

The sacrificial humans are selected from samples in the 6 continents in order to stave off the forecasted calamities.

The very few Primitive tribes, even now, and every year, launched their warriors to cut off heads of their enemies as sacrifice for better harvest. (I wish one of the conditions was that the bodies of the enemies were to be eaten so that the sick, elderly, disgusting looking, and dying enemies would be saved)

Rituals of human sacrifices are as old as history.

These rituals were practiced in almost all ancient civilizations, before man settled in towns and managed to plan ahead of time for basic necessities. 

Most of these rituals were of the slow-death kinds of sacrifices, meant to generate profits, like during carnivals. 

The sacerdotal castes, in every religion, instituted religious sex trades and enticed little virgins, by myths and by pressure, to sell their services in temples. 

Most of these victims were to die prematurely, mostly of sexually transmitted diseases, after their youth had no value. 

During the early Babylonian Empire, sexual diseases were diagnosed as transacted by “concubine priestesses“.  I am not hot in theology or for the study of theology.  I still have this distinct impression that among all prophets, or messiahs, or messengers, or predicators, Jesus is the unique one who fought the good fight against sacrifices in all shapes and forms, including animal sacrifices,  that were practiced by the Jews.

Jesus’ disciples were well rooted in the Judaic customs and traditions and could not accept the new religion dissociated from the Judaic laws. They tried hard to force circumcision among the ‘gentiles” Christians, which is fundamentally a sacrificial ceremony of part of our body to “our creator” before a complementary health excuse was attached to it. 

Only Saint Paul comprehended Jesus’ message and the need to remove the heavy burdens of daily laws, which govern and enslave the life of believers and rob them of happiness and hope.

Unfortunately, the Prophet Muhammad was very impressed by the customs and traditions of the early Christian-Jews sects, practiced around Damascus and he adopted the sacrificial ceremonies of animals. 

Even today, there is this custom among most religious sects that, when even a third level leader visits a town or a village, for no important reason, the municipalities feel that it is appropriate to slaughter sheep in public and on the path of the “personality” coming to town.  A totally disgusting and depressing custom that makes me believe that Jesus is already dead in the East.

Timorlank, the Turkish Central Asian conqueror from 1350 to1405, ransacked the prosperous city of Isfahan in Iran.  This brutal commander divided his armies into sections of the city, with a quota of heads chopped off allocated to each soldier.

Since Timorlank and his army were recent converted Moslems, many soldiers were not into personally killing their coreligionists.  Instead, they bought heads from other non scrupulous soldiers for 20 dinars the head in order to come up with the daily quota.

Soon, the men vanished from the city, but the soldiers were not instructed to kill women or children.  Consequently, women were made to be shaved and then decapitated.  The price per head dropped to only one dinar and the business was no longer worth pursuing and the city of Isfahan was salvaged after 70,000 of its citizens perished and the heads mounted on 45 minarets of human sculls.

The multinationals are performing live sacrifices on billion of people every day in slave shops and slave exploitation of all kinds, with the blessing of their superpower government… Those million of people dying of hunger and of curable diseases are the modern-day sacrificial entities on the alter of the less than 1% richest elite in every nation…

Rainbow over the Levant: Self exile of the First Emir, (fiction novel)

The self-exile of the First Emir

The First Emir felt that the organization of the Aram National Party was well rooted throughout the Nation and he needed to analyze the future of this Nation from a different perspective, away from the daily tribulation.  He needed to study the various political trends in the World from close range, and their effects on the stability of the systems, and how adjustments are remedied to the fluctuation of society changes.

His sister Latifa was appointed as Regent to the Nation and Gergis Al Ustaz, his current Foreign Affairs minister, as Viceroy for the duration of his exile:  The Emir could not trust his minister of defense or internal security chief for not accumulating undue power in his absence, and also because Gergis was more able to keep the neighboring kingdoms appeased through his web of diplomatic relations.

The First Emir boarded a luxury ship to Cyprus and stayed there for a month signing commercial agreements with the Templar’s Knights of the remaining Crusaders in the region and entertained the Levant immigrants. The next stop was in Venice where he was received as an equal Dojo and was reserved the best villa close to St. Marcus square.

The First Emir traveled to Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples before returning to Florence and settling there for four months. Florence was a small town and developing fast so that the First Emir petitioned the Prince to purchase a villa and contemplated to open a consulate there and dedicate Florence as a sister town to Mtein.

The First Emir asked permission from the Duke of Florence to travel to Cordoba in Andalusia.  He toured many of these Arab City-States such as Seville and Toledo and prepared the ground for formal diplomatic recognition and establishment of consulates in these provinces.

A united Arab and Moorish Andalusia could have been a stabilizing leverage to the Levant, but its “clan” mentality around a City-State political system prevented major interrelation and cultural sharing with the Levant, a prospect that the First Emir endeavored to remedy with no significant success. The First Emir returned to Florence via Barcelona, Marseille and the Piedmont province.

This overseas journey lasted over a year, the time that Tamerlane stayed in Damascus.

Latifa’s Regency

As soon as the Sultan of Egypt received news of the First Emir trip abroad that he downgraded the title of the Levant Ambassador to Cairo to Trade Consul, rather than closing down the Embassy for the simple reason that the Egyptian noble class craved luxury items that should be kept flowing in through Alexandria.  A trade embargo for all non luxury products imported from the Levant was strictly enforced.

The total number of the Levant civil foreign servants was maintained for three months, the time for the Mameluke to sort out the potential agents among them that might serve their interests; only fifteen members out of 45 were permitted to remain in Egypt.

When news reached the Grand Vizier of Egypt that the First Emir had landed in Andalusia, he masterminded a frantic backlash on the Levant immigrants in Egypt.  The prosperous and those with solid ties with the noble class were forewarned and fled to Yemen and Arab North Africa.  A few ended on some European ports to resume their mercantile trades as best they could.  Only the dispirited immigrants returned to the Levant praying that Tamerlane would not contemplate to devastate Mount Lebanon.

Latifa was conservative and shrewd.  She was not kept up to date with government details and did not follow closely the changes taking place in the kingdom, but she retained a high understanding for the power struggle that was in the offing.  She knew that the power seat had shifted to Beirut because of its location for trade, diplomacy and industrial development, but figured that with the First Emir’s absence, the historic Capital of Mtein could recapture the leverage it exercised at the beginning of the insurgency through its symbolic power for the Nation.

Latifa ordered that the Capital, during the Regency, would be Mtein and managed to transfer branches for most of the government ministries to be established in the historic Capital and its vicinity.  Since barely 20% of the kingdom’s budget was allocated to the mountain regions of over 800 meters in altitude, and only 15% were actually spent there, Latifa second major decision was that, within 2 years, half of the Nation’s budget had to be allocated in her mountainous regions.

In the mean time, 50% of the budget allocated to education, infrastructure, health and agriculture had to be spent in the mountains, with priority given to its population in the civil services.

The work on the highway crossing Mount Lebanon from south to north at 1000 meters altitude was rescheduled to resume with scares resources, and security garrisons interspersed the rest areas along the highway, to provide comfort and help to travelers until private businesses bid for the facilities.

The Christian Orthodox managed to secure a higher rate in numbers as civil servants, commensurate to their proportion and that was partly due to increased pressure from the Regent, and also because they were the most educated generally.

 Latifa had a tender passion and affection for the town of Zahle in the central Bekaa Valley that she visited once, before the insurgency and twice afterwards; she also understood its central location for internal and overland trades as well as being the main town with a sizable Christian concentration in the Bekaa.  Consequently, the Regent exhibited determination so that Zahle enjoyed a period of investment in real capital which renewed and expanded its warehouses for agricultural and textile goods, resort facilities around the Berdawny River crossing the town and enlarging the main trade roads leading to town.

During Latifa regency, the Christian clergy regained most of their power through reduced tax breaks and a renewed zeal for religious beliefs.   Monasteries were repaired and embellished, religious schools increased and churches regained their luster with acquisitions and renovations.

Mariam finally set her mind to build herself a beautiful and large house in Mtein, so that she could stay in constant touch with the Regent and keep close eyes on her associations and the political opportunists buzzing in the Capital.  Her main responsibility was to be the intermediary among Latifa, the Viceroy Gergis ,and the ministers in Beirut and Baldat El Mir.  Her male companion Ignatios Doumani was already appointed director of a new branch of the Linguistic Institute in Mtein, and he supervised the construction of the house which included a spacious annex for accommodating overnight guests and high-ranking functionaries.

Before Latifa’s Regency, most of the youth in villages and towns in the mountains were enthusiastic about the activities and opportunities offered by the Aram National Party.  They inflated the membership of that Party since there was no other political party to challenge or compete with.  The other alternative to attract and organize youth was the religious community services headed by very old people who lacked ingenuity and diversity in activities.

With the advent of Latifa to the Regency a new political twist was offered to the religious zealots who minded very much the relative secular principles of the Aram Party and labeled them as heretical.  With the support of Latifa, the clergy endeavored to create another political party counterpart called “Mount Lebanon First” which emphasized the integrity of allegiance to the Metn and with some arm twisting extension to the regions of Mount Lebanon that had Christian majority.

The new confessional party was thrust among the youth through key words such as tradition, allegiance to the Regent, Christian faith, mountain customs, and respect of and obedience to the clergy, respect of family unity and attendance at all religious events and ceremonies.

One critical factor for the sudden successes of this “Mount Lebanon First” party was the decree which ended the seclusion of the traditional noblemen in their encampments.  Many of the younger generations of former noblemen had been integrated in society, in the army, in the civil service or members of industries and trade without any feudal titles or financial or social privileges that they had enjoyed before the insurgency.

The older generations had managed to develop the lands assigned to them in the towns of confinement but many had nostalgia for their former villages and wished to be allowed to transfer there.

The clergy worked relentlessly on Latifa to rescind the old decree concerning the imprisoned noblemen because this political gesture would strengthen the validity of the new party as a staunch supporter of traditions. The government of the Levant reached a consensus with Latifa to free the old feudal classes with the following stipulations: first, the freed feudal persons would not be permitted to leave Mount Lebanon and second, their feudal titles could not be inherited and they could keep the title of “Cheikh”, if they wished, till their death.  A fresh period of forgiveness and unity was proclaimed by the Regent which was at best skin deep and would eventually harm the future of the Nation and wipe out the many political and social gains of the revolution.

Within two years, every village was more or less split between these two political factions; a village was divided into parts with majority in allegiance to either Parties and local ceremonies were marred by conflicts and physical confrontations.  The traditional harmony of apathy and stillness in village life transcended the clan and tribal affiliation to encompassing fundamental political divergences.

Mariam had sensed early on that the source of that schism was less a religious recrudescence of faith, but rather a direct vengeance of Latifa for Mariam’s ascendancy in the heart and mind of the youth and, especially, the female renewed activities for their rights in society.  Mariam launched political counter offensives in the mountain and increased the Aram Party involvement in regions far from Latifa’s personal influence and authority biding time for the return of the First Emir from his exile.

Mariam invested on the children attending the boarding schools, and expanded their activities by planning marching trips of a week-long.  The children were chaperoned by teachers and “Mkerehs” the merchant guides.  The “Mkereh” guided the caravan through well trodden shortcut routes by mules and donkeys; they taught the kids the tricks of the trade, such as what to bring as supplies and where to select resting location, and how to respect the properties of others, and the traditions of what trees and fruits are permitted to eat as travelers. The selected teachers were to instruct the kids on the geography of the land and encourage them to observe and note down the different customs, way of life, songs and folkloric dances in Mount Lebanon

The children were usually lodged in small groups with families in the villages, bringing with them gifts of packets of fresh and dried fruits and seasonal staples. The guest families were given advanced notice of the arrival of the school convoys and they cleaned their homes thoroughly as hospitality obliged, and they cooked abundant portions to feed the voracious kids.

These trips were to allow social learning of the customs of other regions of Mount Lebanon and circumvent ignorant myths spread by isolation.  Mariam’s programs were successful in many respects, however, the seeds of confessional tendencies were planted and many religious sects tried to create their own “first allegiance” parties with slight variations.

Prophesy of end of time: Rainbow over the Levant, (part of a fiction novel)

Women participate in the electoral system

Women were to be allowed to be candidates in any electoral system for the municipality or the chamber of deputy.  The voting right to every citizen who was eighteen years of age regardless of the voter’s marital status such as being single or staying with his parents or not having a steady income was to be the law of the land. Any religious laws that abridged women rights were discussed and critiqued. The bottom line was that if God provided men with specific rights like marrying more than one woman in some religions, then women had equal rights to marry more than one man in other religions.  This concept did not make much logic in our tradition but offered a fertile ground for dialogue that was totally lacking on gender discrimination.

The concept of taxation without representation was being argued as illegitimate and pressures for political reforms to elect representatives who were cognizant with the laws were making steady inroads in the status quo.  The First Emir was secretly behind this wave of demands and encouraged the exchange of ideas by staying above the fray and admonishing the sanctity of freedom of expression as the ultimate weapon for change and development.

The new political party had to cater to the intellectuals in order to disseminate the new principles and social values.  The First Emir then promulgated the urgency to build and staff art schools of music, acting, painting and sculpting in every major town.  He also worked on the intellectual vanity by erecting two imposing museums in Byblos and Beirut for artifacts, industrial machineries and achievements in all sectors of artistic endeavors.

This was the most glorious period in the cultural development in the Levant society; freedom of expression was carried far which almost broke many taboos in topics for discussions; formal cultural circles were spreading among elite families and endeavoring to dissect documents, articles and positional treaties.  Reason was pinned against religious dogmas and the seed of dissention was taking roots within the polarized extremist positions.

Part 5: Latifa Regency (1400-1402)

Chapter 17: The Exile

In 1400, Timorlank was closing in with his Tatar hordes toward Northern Syria. The Viceroy of Aleppo was frantic and sent messengers after messengers for directions from his master the Sultan of Egypt.  He requested reinforcements and financial support but Cairo did not stir.  The Viceroys of Damascus and Hama were of no help either and completely in the dark as to the policies of the Sultan of Egypt.  The agents of the First Emir reported that Egypt’s position was not to intervene at this stage either financially or militarily and to concentrate its resources in Egypt for the time being. It seems that the advisers to the Sultan reminded his Majesty that these hordes, like the Moguls before them, never ventured into Egypt and most of the time they retreat after capturing Damascus. They also reminded the Sultan that when Holago the Mogul decided to advance to Palestine a century and a half ago the Mameluks defeated him easily in 1260 at two major battles.

These counselors assured the Sultan that the Mameluks would repeat the previous military feats if Timorlank dared advance toward Palestine with his already exhausted forces and stressed on the facts that the previous Fatimide and Ayubid dynasties had deteriorated and their hold on power had begun to decline when they had tried to stretch their dominions into Iraq.  The Mameluk’s Viceroys in Damascus and Hama decided not to put up a fight against the Tatars and invested their time in hoarding as much money and riches as they could gather and flee in due time.  Aleppo was destroyed and Timorlank entered Damascus in 1401 without a fight and transferred all its remaining artisans to Samarqand, his Capital, within a year.

Prophesies of the end of time

There were other factors accounting to this social uneasiness, apathy and helplessness.  Any society facing changes in its structural order is usually ripe to the cyclical apocalyptic prophesies of the ultimate end of the World.  The Levant had already experienced one such depressing mood during the lifetime of Antoun and twice in the previous century with a slight delay of such rumors emanating from Europe.  The Fatimide dynasty in the 11th century reigned in Egypt and claimed its right to the Caliphate of the Moslems by proclaiming the imminent coming of a disappeared Imam. The decline of the Crusaders’ hold on the Levant and lack of subsequent infusions of men and financial support combined with the occurrence of pests or plagues prompted one of these cataclysmic beliefs within the Levant Crusaders; the other period happened when news of the Mogul invasion were imminent and the fact that indeed Holago erased the Capital Baghdad in 1258.

Shortly after Antoun was born, society remembered the plague that devastated Aleppo half a century before which added to the fear of an imminent recurrence of a Tatar invasion led by Timorlank toward Syria.  These apocalyptic prophesies were shared by both Christians and Moslems; the Shiaa Moslems would preach the coming of either the 6th disappeared Imam or the 12th Imam to unite the Moslems to some kind of victory and the Christians would rely on the eschatology of Christ returning and reigning for one thousand years over a peaceful and happy World before the end of time would take place.

Antichrist finger pointing or which power was represented by Satan was convenient and successful in fomenting pockets of extremist sects within each religion.  Actually, a century later with the Renaissance upheaval in Europe, Luther was able to establish his religious Reforms by capitalizing on the fears spreading in Europe of the coming of the end and using the advancing Ottoman armies toward Vienna as the sign of an angry God punishing the Christians for following the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church who forgot the Word of God.

After the devastation of Aleppo the First Emir realized that his stay might induce Timorlank into driving a hard bargain over the Levant; he determined that his high profile in the region was a liability to the Levant.  He nevertheless ordered Gergis to join Ibn Khaldoun’s mission waiting to meet with Timorlank encamping around Damascus and to try reaching an agreement that would spare the Levant from further distresses.  Ibn Khaldoun was the famous 14th century Arabic North African author of “History of Civilizations” and he met with Timorlank camping outside Damascus and made him promise not to exact his vengeance on the population; a promise that Timorlank never kept.  Most of the craftsmen and merchants had evacuated Damascus and fled to Lebanon and Egypt while the remaining craftsmen were denied exiting this city after the hordes of Timorlank sacked it and would be transferred to Samarqand the Capital of the Tatar.  In disgust at his helplessness and the inaction of Cairo the First Emir decided to travel overseas for an extended period until the political situation was stabilized.

Although the societies in Syria, Lebanon and part of Palestine suffered economically and organizationally, the Mameluks in Egypt retained their cohesion and managed to survive another century before they were defeated militarily by the ascending Ottoman Empire in 1516.


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