Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Warrior empires

Syria: Fundamental and pragmatic discussions during and after the Assad regime…Part 1

The first part focuses on the fundamental social and geopolitical conditions of Syria and the Syrian people. The next article will approach pragmatically how the problems in Syria could be resolved, during and after the Assad regime…

1. Syria is Not determined by mountain chains and desert borders.  Syria is its rivers: The Euphrates, Tigre, Al Assay, Litany, and the Jordan rivers.  It is on the shores of these rivers and the Mediterranean Sea that the earliest known urban City-States (by the hundred) conglomerated and traded with one another and the outside world.

2. Syria is Arabic. Hundreds of tribes from the Arabic Peninsula settled Syria, many centuries before Islam was disseminated by prophet Muhammad.  These tribes were mostly Christians, the kind of sects labelled “heretics” by the Orthodox Church of Byzantium.  Many of these tribes were persecuted and they fled to high mountain chains, or retreated temporarily to the desert borders, and fled to the Persian empire (beyond the eastern shores of the Euphrates) in order to sustain their customs and traditions.

3. Those “Arabic/Syrian” tribes converted to Islam, an almost identical religion as theirs, and were the backbone of the “Arabic/Moslem” armies that vanquished Byzantium and swiftly expanded eastward to crush the Iranian Empire…

4. The two Arabic Empires of the Omayyad dynasty in Damascus and the western Arab empire located in Andalusia (Spain) confirmed the Arabic nature of Syria and spread the knowledge of sciences, medicine, cosmology and philosophy for over one thousand years, as the dominant civilization in the Mediterranean Sea basin and in Central Asia…

5. Arabic is not just the latest add-on to the Syrian civilization and identity: Arabic is what gave Syria its lasting and defining identity and sovereignty, and the Arabic language was “modernized”, made legible, and acquired its universal appeal thanks to the Syrian people. The current Arabic language is fundamentally Syrian, and its ancestor language is the Aramaic and later called Syriac…

6. Syria, including Lebanon and Palestine, is the hotbed of interactions among the three “monolithic” religions (Judaism, Christian and Islam). Without the presence of these 3 religions in Syria, Syria will be lost as a special entity in the Middle-East, an entity of the convergence of their very similar customs and traditions for thousands of years…

7. Most of the ancient myths, mentioned in Bibles and archaeological documents, originated from Syria, in this rich land of the earliest urban civilization…

8. Syria is the land where most of the persecuted religious sects, fleeing the oppression of the dominant religions of the periods, settled on the mountain chains and eked out a harsh living, raising goats and occasionally looting nearby urban centers… These minorities were ever ready to side with revolts against the pseudo central powers in Damascus, Baghdad, and occasionally Aleppo…Time to deal with minorities as essential in the fabric of the Syrian community

9. Almost all “Warrior Empires” originating in Central Asia, northern Iran, and northern Turkey…loosely occupied Syria, appointing military governors in the conquered provinces, just to collect the tax…The majority of the urban dwellers accommodated with the invaders, traded economically and culturally, and eventually transferred their culture to the warrior empires.  It the Syrian people, craftsmen, architects, artisans, and skilled workers who built the temples, palaces, schools, the infrastructure…in the lands of the invaders.  The archaeological findings in the warrior empires are the jobs of the Syrian people…

Of Peasants and Soldiers: Solitary life, myths, mystics, famine, wars…

I often stumble in literature on this regurgitated characterization of peasants and soldiers: such as “They are historically and psychologically similar groups, in deep affinity and congruence. I read that the trade of manipulating arms and the trade of cultivating the land are complementary, universal, and charged with representative values, myths, stories…”

So many romantic and general descriptions that refuse to account for the context, period, age range of the persons…

For example, you read on peasants:

1. They have a hard labor that leaves physical scars…

2. Their work schedule is not fixed…

3. They cannot enjoy vacation time…

4. They are mobilized at any moment notice…

5. They have strong corporate spirits…

6. They live under very constraining heritage…

7. Their job is psychologically solitary… and on

Do you think rice-paddy growers who work 360 days a year and have to wake up before sun up, can be classified as peasants compared to those who barely work a semester in total, just sawing and harvesting, and receiving lavish State subsidies?

You read on the soldiers:

1. They are poorly paid and ready to be sacrificed…

2. They come from the humblest of classes in remote rural regions…

3. They acquire a conscious of altruistic spirit…

4. They are mostly disinterested in society exotic pleasures…

Do you think a simple soldier who bear all the brunt of prosecuting a war is the same as an “Officer Soldier” who refuses to bear his responsibilities on errors he committed and keep putting the blame on subordinates, and never ceases to give orders, left and right…?

I find these descriptions originating from the logic of wild imaginations and too general to be of any value.

If these two trading groups were that similar, why history is charged with “warrior” Empires and urban setting civilizations? The poor people in warrior empires could hardly cultivate their arid and harsh lands, and they were easily hoarded into invading armies to loot the richer peasants and well-settled people…

These characterizations of similarity between the peasant life style and the soldier are wishful thinking: the modern States wanted the similarity to be true, for their vested capitalist interests… And there is nothing similar between the two trade historically.

For example, literature wants to demonstrate that an expanding nation or empire in antiquity reserved lands for their military officers after serving a number of years.  The Romans inherited the tradition of Carthage by lavishing lands at the limits of conquered lands to officers who served 20 years, so that a kind of colony is established to protect the borders…

Is an officer a peasant? Is the officer a simple soldier to take as example? Officers were recruited from the elite and noble classes to lead the City-States, and “manage the slaves” to death…Officers were never raised to high grades if the soldier was of a poor peasant family…

It is in this 19th century colonial expansion by the western European nations that peasants were recruited and sent to the colonies, after serving a few years in the military, in order to execute the utopia plans and programs of the thinking bureaucrats in foreign “barbaric” lands: Geometric parcels, designed as modern spaces, irrigation facilities…

Do you think an “agricultural person” owning vast fertile lands is a peasant? Shouldn’t he be labelled as “harvester operator” for his professional trade?  Shouldn’t he be classified as an upper Middle-Class person with all the subsidies he receives from Federal and State governments, in order for the State to keep its agricultural exporting monopoly in the developing nations and drive small peasants out of their lands and into the miseries of urban setting…?

Do you know of any soldier returning from the “war front” exhibiting a desire to return to rural regions, except if they are suffering from extreme trauma, and desiring to lick their wounds in isolation?  Most of them returning or “released” soldiers prefer to sit on side walks in urban cities, beg for a livelihood, and build a “camouflaged” shack from leftover construction materials found in the neighborhood, to suit their military camouflage vest and pants and the environment…

The motto of youth is: “Give me the wide horizon or give me death“, and not many will stay and engage in working the land if the slightest opportunity materializes as a possibility.  Many die before they ever had a glimpse of any horizon, and most of them delay the return to the farm after they fail in eking a living in urban centers…Why? I think it is their subconscious telling them: “Even your family will be disappointed if you gave up so easily and returned home so soon…It demonstrate a weak character…”

The modern States have harvested the sons of peasants in holocaust global wars, outside their frontiers, and relied profusely on the lower middle-class citizens to inflate the ranks for the body counts, fodder to preemptive imperialist war-machine, the “invisible” new citizens, too turbulent to control efficiently, and too many to be of any use to the capitalist structure…wars that never benefited the little people…

Note: Title of post and inspiration was inspired from a chapter n the French book “Les Sites Paysagers de la Memoire du Liban” by Raja Choueiri

Welcome, “walk on my eyes”: Iran

“Walk on my eyes” or (Qadamet ro cheschm) is an expression of politeness in Iran to welcome someone home.  The Swiss journalist Serge Michel and the photographer Paolo Woods have been covering Iran, on and off, since 1998, every time the Iranian government felt the urge to be kept alive in world public eyes.  Serge and Paolo were asked to leave, a few weeks after the latest election in June 2009.  They witnessed the upheavals during and after the Iranian Presidential election.

Serge and Paolo realized that the Iranians are fundamentally a happy people, well comfortable in their environment and their culture.  They had the idea of “Happy Iran” as title.  Serge did some historical search and discovered that the Iranians or Persians (as the Syrians ans Lebanese) were not warriors, but merchants, artisans, traders, mariners, poets, and peasants: They hired war mercenaries during the successive Persian Empires. Warrior empires such as the Moguls, Afghans, Macedonians, Romans, Turks, and central Asian people conquered Iran since antiquity and ended up meshing with the Iranian culture and blend nicely within Iran.

This article is the first installment in reviewing the book and I will focus on the eye-witness accounts of the journalists prior, during, and after the election process.

It would be useful for a gross brush of the conditions In Iran before the June 2009 election.

The opposition candidate, Hussein Moussavi, had for allies the urban upper and middle classes, the bazar merchants, and the urban clerics or mullahs:  The urban mullahs wanted to weaken the Rahbar (Supreme Guide) Kamenei in order to regain lost power and re-dip freely in the treasury.  President Ahmadinejad had for allies the countryside, the poor clerics in the countryside, the bassidjis (Revolution Guards), and the majority of the lower middle class (the patriots aghast with western powers’ pressures) residing in the poorer quarters in urban centers.  It is to be noted that urban centers dwellers are as populous as countryside people in Iran.  The army had no interest supporting the opposition since Iran was embarking on self-sufficiency in manufacturing the military hardware:  The army was in no mood of renegotiating the defense budget.

Teheran June 3, 2009 (A week before election):  I listened to the televised debate Moussavi/Ahmadinejad with friends.  Over 50 million Iranians must have been watching this first in 30 years. Ahmadi exhibited an illegible document proving the wife of Moussavi got her teaching job at the university by fraud; he challenged Moussavi to declare the sources of his campaign funds (Ahmadi could draw from the government treasury).  Moussavi replied: “Your foreign policies are humiliating the dignity of the Iranians.  You are an exhibitionist, superstitious, and extremist President.”

In front of the TV station on Vali-Asr street, hundreds of Ahmadi’s supporters are chanting and beating their chests as during Ashura. They have converged from the poorer southern parts of Teheran.  The richer classes are concentrated in the northern parts.

Shiraz June 5:  Moussavi’s supporters, wearing green attire, are driving in private cars, in a long caravan for miles, waving green posters and honking all the way; a first in Iran in the last 30 years.  I am interviewing a Pasdar (revolutionary guard); as we passed a shop selling western DVD movies the Pasdar said: “As the election is over, these kinds of shops will be closed.”

Teheran, June 8: A night manifestation by Moussavi’s supporters at Palestine Square.  They are chanting “Death to the little dictator”.  They are university students of Amir Abad:  In 1999, the bassidjis killed several students and a week-long of riots ensued.  The march ends at 4 am.

Teheran June 9:  Big gathering of Moussavi’s supporters at the Vali-Asr Square.  Everything is in color green: T-shirts, baseball caps, veils, flags, and ribbons.  Ahmadi had recently distributed potatoes to the needy quarters in Teheran.  The masses of Moussavi are chanting “Potato government.  I don’t want” and “Ahmadi bye-bye.”  It was a march of two hours.

Teheran June 10:  The election campaign is to end at midnight, but Moussavi’s supporters are enjoying a victory carnival.  Sound tracks are blasting and people are dancing in the streets.  A couple of female teenagers are chanting: “A week, two weeks that Ahmadi had not taken a shower.”

Teheran 12:  Election Day.  Moussavi’s supporters are joyous and confident in victory.  Long files on voting booths in the northern parts of Teheran.  In the evening, F calls me crying: “I am in Moussavi headquarter. The bassidjis attacked us with sticks and destroyed our computers.  They arrested the managers.  The police has sealed our center. It is a State coup.”  The bassidjis have clamped down on the Moussavi daily on Zartocht Street.  Columns of military trucks are celebrating.  Moussavi had declared at 11 pm: “The minister of the Interior told me that I won the election”

Teheran June 13:  The forces of order are massively present in front of the ministry of the Interior where the voting polls are counted.  The forces had disbanded a demonstration in the morning and arrested 20 people. A violent combat is taking place on Vanak Square and tear gas are used.  People burn newspaper sheets to counter the effects of tear gas. The night is witnessing pockets of resistance; buses are burned and grandmothers are burning waste bins on the streets.  A friend tells me a joke: “Ahmadi split his hair in two parts:  the right part for male lice and the left for the female counterparts.”

Teheran June 14:  Ahmadi delivers his victory speech at Vali-Asr Square; he lambasted his opponents as detritus and bad losers; hooligans after football games.

Teheran June 15: Maybe two million are marching from Enkilab (Revolution) Square toward Azadi (Liberty) Square.  Balconies are empty: everybody descended to the streets chanting: “Who voted for this monkey?”; “Yo, atomic athlete, you must be tired, Go home.”

Teheran June 16:  A young girl enters the fast food establishment and changes her green veil to a black one.  She told me: “I managed to escape the bassidjis”  After she ate her roasted chicken she paid with a 5,000 toumans  ($4) bill; the bill had a poem scribbled in a green ink: “The detritus is you; the passion is me.  Cruelty is you; impetuouss is me.  Iran is mine.”  Ahmadi’s manifestation took place at 3 pm and the Moussavi demonstration at 5 pm at the Vanak Place.

Teheran June 17:  Moussavi’s manifestation is marching from Haft-e Tir to the university.  The timing of the march is set 30 minutes after the portable phones are disconnected and the gathering place is known by word of mouth.  It seems that the Iranians rekindled old-time communication habits after the government began shutting down phone lines. A banner inscribed a poem by Hamid Mossadegh: “denounce the dishonests. Rekindle oriental solidarity.  If I get up and you get up, everyone will get up.”

Teheran June 18:  Moussavi is acclaimed as a rock star at the Ferdowsi Place.

Teheran June 19, a Friday:  Kamenei deliver a speech at the mosque.  Everyone already know what is the message and that England will be the target.  Ahmadi leaves in a 4*4 and briefly waves: a thunderous acclaim greets him.

For a month, the “green movement” never missed an occasion or an event to gather on mass.  In Iran, every week has major events to celebrate or to remember: religious dates, anniversaries of martyrs, Jerusalem Day… During Ashura, Moussavi’s supporters chanted “Mir-Hossein” instead of “Ya Hussein.”  Every night, chanting emanate from rooftops “Death to the dictator” and “Allah Akbar”.  For the anniversary of the revolution in Feb. 2010, the TV was asked not to show sections of demonstrations against the Shah: they reminded the people of the current furors.

Adonis49 opinion:  Ahmadi won the election.  The small margin was not appreciated by the Rahbar Kamenei.  The crackdown on the Moussavi’s “green movement” at the eve of the result counting and the following weeks was mainly a preemptive show of force meaning: “We have won.  Do not count on us to negotiating sharing power”.  More precisely, the Rahbar Khamenei was sending the strong message: “You, mullahs and Ayatollahs of urban centers in Teheran, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Isfahan, you go to hell.  I am the Supreme Guide and I won’t be sharing power.””

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 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 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?

What nation has 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 Moslem-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.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,376,057 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 720 other followers

%d bloggers like this: