Connect with us
Advertisement

Solar System Takes Shape

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

The Sumerians, the world’s first known civilisation who thrived in Mesopotamia in modern-day  Iraq 6000  years ago recorded a great deal of the history of the Earth on hundreds of thousands of cuneiform clay tablets and cylinder seals, most of which are yet to be unearthed.  

The first such texts were discovered   by a prospecting team led by Sir Austen Henry Layard, a British archaeologist and global explorer, whilst they scoured among the ruins of the city of Nineveh (now called Mosul) in Iraq in 1849.  Altogether, a cache of 50,000 tablets was  found. Many more tablets and fragments of such were in due course found at Ashur, Kish, and Uruk and today nearly 31,000 of these ancient clay tablets are now housed in the British Museum, with most of them yet to be translated.

Arguably the most famous Sumerian text is the Epic of Creation. It is commonly referred to as the Enuma Elish, after its opening words which mean,  “When in the heights …”  During his 7th century BC reign, the famous Assyrian King Ashurbanipal sent emissaries far afield in search of ancient texts and recovered many invaluable records, including the oldest stories of Adam and Eve and the Flood. He copied many from cuneiform originals three thousand years older and sealed them within a vast underground library he had specially constructed for the purpose at Nineveh. The last and 7th stone exalts  the handiwork and greatness of “The Lord”. Hence  the comparison with the Seven Days of Creation found in the Bible, which borrowed its theme from the Babylonians during the Jewish captivity and they in turn from the Sumerians.

Recovered by the Layard party from the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh in 1849, the Enuma Elish was published by the pioneering British Assyriologist George Smith in 1876 under the title The Chaldean Account of Genesis. The Enuma Elish consists of about a thousand lines etched on seven clay tablets in Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. All the tablets, save for Tablet 5, are complete texts.  The first 8 lines of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish read thus: “When in the heights Heaven had not been named, and below Earth had not been called, naught but primordial APSU, their begetter;  MUMMU;  and TIAMAT – she who bore them all:  their waters were mingled together. No reed had yet formed, no marshland had appeared. None of the gods had yet been brought into being: none bore a name. Their destinies were undetermined. Then it was that gods were formed in their midst.”

Now, in every language, words have a contextual meaning. That is to say,  they do not mean the exact same thing every time they are used. The word “period” is a good example. In most situations, it refers to a range of time. In others, it  refers to a woman’s menses. By the same token, the word APSU, to use only one ancient word from the above passage as an example, means something  very different from what it does  in other contexts.

The Enuma Elish is at once an allegory and a factual story of how the Solar System came to be,  how it evolved, and how life arose on planet Earth, with the associated political and exopolitical dynamics. Most scholars, myopic and deluded as they are, have called it a myth, just as they do the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, which is unfortunate. The fact of the matter is that the Enuma Elish is a highly insightful historical chronicle.

THE FIRST FAMILY

What the first 8 lines of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish tell us is that the Solar System’s initial first members were a trinity of APSU, TIAMAT, and MUMMU.

APSU is described as the “begetter”, that is, the one who brought MUMMU and TIAMAT into existence.   This of course refers to the Sun, from which all the planets stem. Zechariah Sitchin translates APSU as “one who exists from the beginning”. The Sun indeed was the first celestial body to form in our Solar System. But it is from the Igbo language of Nigeria we get the more direct meaning. APSU is Akpu  Osa in Igbo and it means “Ball of Fire,” precisely what  the Sun is. APSU was also  known as BUIDA, meaning “Faraway One” (from bad [remote]) This is apt as from the point of view of Orion and the Sirius star systems, our Solar System lies on the peripheries of the Milky Way Galaxy.

TIAMAT is described as “she who bore them all”. This simply means primeval Mother. In other words, it was the first planet to arise in the Solar System.  TIAMAT stems from Tamtu, which means “place of killed life” (from Ami [life]; Ata [to kill]; and Tu [at the place  of]), or simply Tamu, which means “of killed life”. Tamu is rendered Tehom in Genesis. The planet TIAMAT  was also called DABUN, meaning “Great One From The Beginning” (from Da [great] and Abun [from the beginning]).  Why was DABUN also referred to as “the place of killed life”? That we will unpack in due course; just stay tuned and exercise a bit of patience.

Elsewhere in the Enuma Elish and other independent Sumerian texts, MUMMU is referred to as counsellor, minister, and messenger of his master APSU.   MUMMU means “one who was born”, that is, the first offspring born of APSU the father and TIAMAT the mother. This of course is the planet Mercury.  Mercury was also known as LACHABA, meaning “Speedy Runner” (from lach [speed, fast] and aba [to run]). Mercury has the fastest revolution around the Sun. It takes only 88 Earth days, when the next fastest, Venus, takes 225 Earth days. The ancient Greek and Romans referred to Mercury as the “fast messenger of the gods”, the term god in this context simply meaning “planets”.

The Sumerian tablets in very vivid language characterise APSU and TIAMAT as husband and wife, with MUMMU as their first begotten son.  The tablets read, “Alone did APSU reign in the void …   TIAMAT, the Mother of All, as a spouse for himself he fashioned. A celestial mother, a watery beauty she was indeed! Beside him APSU little MUMMU then brought forth.  As his messenger he him appointed, a gift for TIAMAT to present. A gift resplendent to his spouse APSU granted. A shining metal, the everlasting gold, for her alone to possess!” In Igbo, MUMMU is Omumu, meaning “those who were born”, which bears out the relevance of the name by which the ancients called Mercury.

When the first three celestial bodies of the Solar System came to be, “their waters were mingled together”.  “Waters” refer not to our familiar liquid water but space, which in ancient times was called the” ocean of the Ka”.  The Solar System’s portion of space  was intact in that at that stage it was not yet divided by the Asteroid Belt, which was not into existence then.  TIAMAT was at the time a barren planet, without a single “reed” or “marshland”,  as all planets are in their formative stages. It had no water bodies or vegetation: it became a “watery beauty” after millions of years. “Their destinies were undetermined” means the orbits (called destinies in Sumerian)  of  TIAMAT and MUMMU   were not stable: they were erratic. Again,  this is very much characteristic of planets in their infancy.  

THE BROOD EXPANDS

Line 10 of Tablet 1 of the Enuma Elish reads thus: “Then it was that the two their waters mingled, divine children between them to bring forth. Male and female were the celestials created; LAHMU and LAHAMU by names they were called. In the Below did APSU and TIAMAT make them an abode.”

The next two planets arose as a pair. They were the masculine LAHMU and the feminine LAHAMU. Both names derive from the consonantal stem LHM, which means “to make war”. They are the planets we today call Mars and Venus respectively. Indeed,  the ancients referred to Mars as the God of  War and Venus as the Goddess at once of Love and War.  LAHMU, Mars, was also called GHALODU, meaning the “Fiery One” (from ghal [fiery, fire] and odu [star]). This was because when seen from outer space, it appeared to give off a reddish, fiery light. Venus, LAHAMU, was also known as  COLMAN, meaning “Desolate Jewel” (from col [desolate, uninhabited, desolate] and man [jewel, gem]).  The ancients were aware Venus not only was uninhabitable but had a luminous jewel-like appearance. Our modern selves only became certain of Venus’s anti-life atmospheric conditions when the space probe Mariner 2 surveyed the planet up-close in 1962.  

Tablet 1 goes on to read thus in Line 11 and 12: “Even before they (LAHMU and LAHAMU) had grown in age and in stature to an appointed size, god ANSHAR and god KISHAR were formed, surpassing them [in size].”

The next pair of planets to be engendered from the “commingled” waters of the royal couple APSU and TIAMAT were ANSHAR  and KISHAR. They were born when Mars and Venus were not fully grown, meaning they weren’t that much older. But they grew to a much larger size than their two elder siblings. Clearly,  ANSHAR  and KISHAR  are  Saturn and Jupiter respectively, the Solar System’s largest planets,  Jupiter being the size of 1300 Earths and Saturn the size of 10 Earths.

Despite being much smaller than Jupiter, the Sumerians called Saturn ANSHAR, meaning “Foremost of the Heavens”. Why? Well,  these guys, folks, knew what they were talking  about. Although Saturn is smaller  than Jupiter, it occupies a larger portion of space because of its rings, which extend from 6,630 to 120,700 km above Saturn’s equator. The rings, which the Sumerians called  “lips”, are largely made up of ice particles. At the same time,  the Sumerians knew Jupiter was the largest planet in terms of compact land, that is, minus the rings (Jupiter also has rings, made up of dust, but they are not that pronounced). That’s why they called it KISHAR, meaning “Prince, Foremost of the Firm Lands”. Jupiter was also known as AUGHA (“The Giant”), whereas Saturn’s other name was DORU (“The Ringed One” or “The Majestic One”).

Line 13 to 21 when paraphrased reads thus: “As lengthened the days and multiplied the years, god ANU became their  (ANSHAR and KISHAR’s) son – of his ancestors a rival. Then ANSHAR first-born, Anu, as his equal and in his image begot NUDIMMUD.”

The above text suggests the next pair of planets took a great deal more time to come into being. The first was ANU, meaning “He of the Heavens”. This is the planet Uranus, which is four times Earth’s size.  The term “ancestors” refers to the initial planets, namely Mercury, TIAMAT, Venus, and Mars, which Uranus “rivalled” in size. Since Mars, Mercury,  and Venus are much smaller relative to Uranus, the only planet that could have rivalled  Uranus in size was TIAMAT, which according to Bode’s Law (a well-attested rule which explains why planets formed in the places they did)  is calculated to have been at least twice the size of Earth.

ANU was followed by NUDIMMUND (“artful creator”), “his equal” and who was his spitting “image”.   No doubt this is Neptune. Neptune’s other name was ANTU. Uranus and Neptune are essentially twin planets. The Sumerian’s other name for Uranus was KAKKAB SHANAMMA, meaning “Planet Which Is The Double” of Neptune. This astronomers of our day have confirmed. Let’s again quote Zechariah Sitchin in the same regard: “Uranus is indeed a look-alike of Neptune in size, colour, and watery content: both planets are encircled by rings and orbited by a multitude of moons … Both have an unusually extreme inclination relative to the planets’ axes of rotation – 58 degrees on Uranus, 50 degrees on Neptune … Neptune’s temperatures are similar to those of Uranus, which is more than a billion miles (1.6 billion km) closer to the Sun.”   Uranus and Neptune also have almost the same day-lengths: 16 hours for Uranus and 17  hours for Neptune.

Uranus’s other ancient name was JULU (“The Lying One”, which is fitting as it lies on its side having a horizontal instead of a basically vertical axis, the only planet which is as such in the Solar System). On the other hand, Neptune’s other ancient name was   KOKEN (“The Blue One”).

Collectively, the four giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – were referred to as the Four GEIGHUL, meaning the Four “Shining Globes” (from kei, gei [shine bright] and gule [globe, sphere]).  It goes without saying folks that the ancients were aware of the composition of the Solar System as what we read in their records has been affirmed by modern astronomy.

SOLAR FAMILY IS COMPLETE

So far, we have eight planets in existence. Three were inner planets, the planets closest to the Sun. They were Mercury, Venus, and Mars in that order. The region of the Solar System in which they were located the ancients referred to as the “Below”, meaning below the Asteroid Belt, which at the time though was not yet in existence: remember, they were writing retrospectively.

The rest were the outer planets, the planets furtherest from the Sun. Since these would later be at and above the Asteroid Belt, their location was referred to by the ancients as the “Above”.  These planets were Tiamat, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in that order.  

Where is planet Earth then? Well, at the time, Earth was not yet in existence in the way we know it today. We shall explain in due course why and how.

How about little Pluto? Pluto has an unusual orbit for an ordinary planet. Its orbit is not circular like other planets but it is somewhat elongated and to the extent that sometimes it finds itself not beyond Neptune, where it ordinarily should be, but before Neptune. When Pluto was “discovered” in 1930, astronomers posited the view that in light of its peculiar characteristics, the planet must have begun as a moon of Neptune before it “graduated” to a planet in its own right.   

Well, the Sumerians had said exactly that 6000 years ago but with a slight difference. They documented that  initially, Pluto, which they called GAGA, was not an independent planet. It was a satellite, or moon, of the planet Saturn. In their sketches of the nascent Solar System,  Pluto in fact is  shown not near Neptune  but between Saturn and Uranus. In the Enuma Elish, Pluto is described as   “ANSHAR’s emissary and counsellor” and also has ANSHAR’s second-born after Uranus, which simply meant it came into existence after Uranus.  In the primordial days therefore, Neptune was the outermost planet.

All this took place 4.6 billion years ago.

NEXT WEEK:  A “GOD” FROM THE “DEEP”

Continue Reading

Columns

STRESS TEST

14th December 2022

We have come a long way from the 19th century, when mental un-healthiness was not recognised as treatable. In those days mental health problems were viewed as a sign of madness, warranting imprisonment in often merciless and unhygienic conditions; and with that backdrop you would think twice before calling in sick because of stress or admit feelings of hopelessness or depression but that’s changing. That may sound like good news but it’s not.

Reasons why employees don’t show up for work can vary, but one thing is for certain; an organisation relies on its staff to get things done and when employees don’t show up for work it disrupts organisational plans, takes up the valuable time from management and lowers the company’s productivity. It’s always been that people miss work for several reasons, some understandable and legitimate and others less so but it’s important that we know the reasons so that such situations can be better managed.

Today stress is one of the most common causes of long-term absence and is especially prevalent amongst office-based staff. This is also related to absence due to depression or anxiety. Is this indicative of where we are as a society, a sign of the times which is that people are constantly pressurised and have less work-life balance?

The British Museum houses a tablet which provides a peek into work-life balance in ancient Egypt. It documents how many sick days and why 40 workers took time off from their workplace in 1250 BC. All sorts of fascinating reasons have been given for why people were away from their work, including a note about someone named Buqentuf, who needed time off for embalming and wrapping the corpse of his dead mother.

There were other reasons like some workers, such as a man named Pennub, missed work because their mothers were ill.  Others had causes that we wouldn’t expect to hear as often today, such as men who stayed home to help around the house due to a “wife or daughter bleeding” – a reference to menstruation. But no mention of mental health, not because it didn’t exist, but it wasn’t labelled thus not reported.

What was reported was a person such as Aapehti who was said to have been ill on a regular basis and also took time off when he was “making offerings to god”.  Workers also took days off when they had to perform tasks for their superiors – which was apparently permitted in moderate amounts. For example, Amenmose was allowed time away from work when he was “fetching stones for the scribe:  And what about other employees who had to excuse themselves from work to brew beer, an activity which was associated with some of their gods and rituals.

All fascinating stuff which provides insight into life at that time. But what insights can we gather from today’s sick leave records? One study recently undertaken gives us insight into the UK police force’s absenteeism. Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from police forces in the UK showed that the number of days absent due to mental health problems increased by 9% in one year, from 457,154 in 2020 to 497,154 in 2021.

And here is the shocker. Police have taken a record 500,000 days off due to mental health issues. Zoe Billingham, a former police inspector, suggested there was a greater prevalence of mental health issues among emergency services, due to what they faced during the pandemic of coronavirus. “Police and other frontline services have protected us during the pandemic,” she said. “The pandemic was a great unknown. People were really scared of dying and coming into contact with the virus, and a lot of people did.”

It is a ‘mental health epidemic’ among police. Alistair Carmichael, Home Affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Frontline police officers do an incredible job serving their communities. But we know that the stress of policing can take a heavy toll on the mental health of officers, in some cases leading to burnout.

Let’s look at another group. A poll by Gallup reported that in the last three years, 75% of young adults aged 18–22 have left their jobs because of stated mental health reasons. This study showed that employees (millennials and Gen Z) want employers who care about their wellbeing. Contributing factors to mental health stress centre around increases in uncertainty and include: Hybrid work environments and the side-effects: no socialization, no end time, no feedback, caring for others; changing rules around work often with poor communications & clarity;  inconsistency & incompleteness of rule implementation:  Uncertainty from these and other factors leads to anxiety and depression.

 

The real story here is not that burnout, stress, depression and anxiety are becoming the number one reasons for absenteeism but that for a large part they are preventable. We have the data telling us it’s the problem but still organisations are doing very little to proactively manage it. Sure, we have counselling services for staff who are struggling and wellness days to reinforce feelings of wellbeing, but this is not enough.

If we start caring and developing work cultures that do not create unintentional stress through how work gets done, that will go a long way to change the status quo. Simple things like ensuring your culture doesn’t thrive on fire drills and heroics to get things done and that emails do not come with expected responses after hours or over the weekend. If we can stop managers bullying, yelling or losing their cool when there is a performance or customer issue and begin giving people more control over their work – all of these are the kinds of stuff that contribute to weakened mental health and absenteeism.

To sum up, your staff’s stress levels are directly proportional to your business’s absentee levels.  Ergo, lowering the former, will also reduce the latter.  Stress down, productivity up and everybody wins out.

QUOTE

Contributing factors to mental health stress centre around increases in uncertainty and include: Hybrid work environments and the side-effects: no socialization, no end time, no feedback, caring for others; changing rules around work often with poor communications & clarity;  inconsistency & incompleteness of rule implementation:  Uncertainty from these and other factors leads to anxiety and depression.

 

Continue Reading

Columns

Diana Irks Queen

14th December 2022
I

In September 1978, General Atiku, Princess Diana had enrolled for a cookery course. That same month whilst she was staying at her parents’ home in Norfolk, her friends innocently asked about the health of her father  John Spencer, the 8th Earl. Hitherto, the Earl’s health had never been a matter of concern but Diana somewhat inscrutably voiced a somewhat portendous outlook. “He’s going to drop down in some way,” she said.  “If he dies, he will die immediately;  otherwise he’ll survive.”  

It came to pass,  General. The following day, the telephone bell rang to the news that her father had collapsed in the courtyard of his Althorp Estate residence and that he had been rushed to a nearby hospital after suffering a massive cerebral haemorrhage. The medical prognosis was bleak:  Earl Spencer was not expected to survive the night. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana Her True Story: “For two days the children camped out in the hospital waiting-room as their father clung on to life. When doctors announced that there was a glimmer of hope, Raine [second wife] organised a private ambulance to take him to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queen Square, Central London, where for several months he lay in a coma.”

Raine was so fiercely protective of her beloved husband that she had the nurses see to it that his own children did not come near him in this critical condition in his elitist private room.  ‘I’m a survivor and people forget that at their peril,” she would later tell a journalist. “There’s pure steel up my backbone. Nobody destroys me, and nobody was going to destroy Johnnie so long as I could sit by his bed – some of his family tried to stop me – and will my life force into him.” But if Raine had steel in her, General, so did the implacable Spencer children, more so the eldest of them all.  “During this critical time,” Morton goes on, “the ill feeling between Raine and the children boiled over into a series of vicious exchanges. There was iron too in the Spencer soul and numerous hospital corridors rang to the sound of the redoubtable Countess and the fiery Lady Sarah Spencer [the Earl’s firstborn child] hissing at each other like a pair of angry geese.”

As Diana had correctly predicted, her father was not destined to die at that juncture but healthwise he was never the same henceforth. First, he suffered a relapse in November that same year and was moved to another hospital. Once again, he teetered on the brink. He was drifting in and out of consciousness and as such he was not able to properly process  people who were visiting him, including his own daughters when nurses relented and allowed them in. Even when he was awake a feeding tube in his throat meant that he was unable to speak. Understandably, Diana found it hard to concentrate on the cookery course she had enrolled in a few days before her father suffered his stroke.

But Raine, General,  was determined that her husband survive come rain or shine. Morton: “When his doctors were at their most pessimistic, Raine’s will-power won through. She had heard of a German drug called Aslocillin which she thought could help and so she pulled every string to find a supply. It was unlicensed in Britain but that didn’t stop her. The wonder drug was duly acquired and miraculously did the trick. One afternoon she was maintaining her usual bedside vigil when, with the strains of Madam Butterfly playing in the background, he opened his eyes ‘and was back’. In January 1979, when he was finally released from hospital, he and Raine booked into the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane for an expensive month-long convalescence. Throughout this episode the strain on the family was intense.”

Altogether, Earl Spencer had been in hospital for 8 straight months. The lingering effects of the stroke left him somewhat unsteady on his feet when he escorted his daughter down the aisle at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981 for her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

 

R.I.P. EARL SPENCER

 

It was not until March 29, 1992, General, that Earl Spencer finally gave up the ghost. He was admitted in hospital for pneumonia but what killed him days later was a heart attack. Rumours of his death actually began to make the rounds the day before he passed on. At the time, Diana was on a skiing holiday in the  Austrian Alps along with  her estranged hubby Prince Charles and their two kids William and Harry.

When Diana was told of her dad’s death, she insisted that under no circumstances would she return to England on the same flight as Charles, with whom she was barely on talking terms. “I mean it, Ken,” she told her body minder Ken Wharfe. “I don’t want him with me. He doesn’t love me – he loves that woman [Camilla]. Why should I help save his face? Why the bloody hell should I? It’s my father who has gone. It’s a bit bloody late for Charles to start playing the caring husband, don’t you think so?”

Naturally, General, Charles was alarmed, particularly that his efforts to use one of his right-hand-men to reason with the Princess had been rebuffed. He therefore  prevailed over Wharfe to try and ram sense into his wife. “Lord Spencer’s death was a major news story,” writes Ken Wharfe,  “and if the Prince and Princess did not return to Britain together then nothing, not even compassion for the grief-stricken Diana, would stop the journalists from going for the jugular. The truth about the Waleses would be immediately and blindingly obvious to the most naive journalist … Returning to the Princess’s room, I told her bluntly that this was not a matter for debate. ‘Ma’am, you have to go back with the Prince. This one is not open for discussion. You just have to go with it’.’’

At long last persuaded, General, Diana said, “Okay Ken, I’ll do it. Tell him I’ll do it, but it is for my father, not for him – it is out of loyalty to my father.” But what in truth got Diana to change tack was the intervention of the Queen, who personally called her at Charles’ own request. That, however, General, was only as far as Diana was prepared to play ball: as far as engaging with Charles in conversation was concerned, that was simply inconceivable. “There was an icy silence for the rest of the two-hour journey,” writes Wharfe. “Nothing was said during the entire flight. The Princess did not want to speak to her husband and he, fearing a furious or even hysterical outburst, did not dare even to try to start a conversation. Whatever the discomforts of the journey, however, it was soon clear that the PR spin had worked. The next day it was reported that Prince Charles was at Diana’s side in her hour of need. Yet as soon as the Prince and Princess arrived at Kensington Palace they went their separate ways – he to Highgrove, and she to pay her last respects to her father.”

Lord Spencer was 68 when he died. He was a remote descendant of King Henry VIII.

 

PRINCE CHARLES FINALLY OWNS UP TO ADULTERY WITH CAMILLA

 

In June 1994, when Diana and Charles had been separated for exactly one-and-half years, Prince Charles was interviewed in a BBC documentary by Jonathan Dimbleby. The interview was billed as intended to mark Charles’ 25 anniversary as Prince of Wales but it was in truth a not-to-cleverly-disguised riposte to Diana Her True Story, the highly controversial 1992 collaboration between Diana and Andrew Morton.

In the interview, which was watched by 13 million people, Charles, General, openly admitted for the first time that he had committed adultery with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who he hailed as, “a great friend of mine who has been a friend for a very long time and will continue to be a friend for a very long time”. Diana had been requested to feature in the interview alongside her husband but she parried the overture on the advice of her aides, which was spot-on as she would have been greatly embarrassed by her hubby’s unsavoury confession in her own face and on national television.

The Prince’s candid confessional was followed weeks later by a book titled The  Prince of Wales: A Biography, which was written by the same Jonathan Dimbleby. The book was even frankier than the interview. In it, Charles put it bluntly that she had never once loved Diana and that he married her only because he was coerced into doing so by his  notoriously overbearing father. Charles also made it known that as a child, he had been bullied by his abusive father, virtually ignored by his mother, and persecuted by a wife he portrayed as both spoiled and mentally unstable.   Both Diana and his parents were revolted by the bare-knuckle  contents of the book though Dana need not have been irked considering that it was she herself who had fired the first salvo in the Morton book.

 

BASHIR INTERVIEW BODES ILL FOR DIANA

 

If Diana’s collaboration with Morton was a miscalculation, General, Prince Charles’ Dimbleby interview was equally so. For in November 1995, the wayward Princess hit back with her own tell-all interview on BBC’s  current affairs programme called Panorama. “She wanted to get even with Prince Charles over his adulterous confession with the Dimbleby documentary,” writes Paul Burrell, her final butler, in A Royal Duty.

The interview was conducted by journalist Martin Bashir who was attached to BBC, and was watched by 23 million people,  conferring it the distinction of having attracted the largest audience for any television documentary in broadcasting history. In the interview, Diana voiced concern about there having been “three of us in this marriage and so it was  a bit crowded”, the intruder obviously being Camilla. Diana also gave Charles a dose of his own medicine by confessing to her own adulterous relationship with James Hewitt, of whom she said, “Yes, I adored him, yes, I was in love with him”. Hewitt had at the time documented his affair with Diana in lurid detail in a best-selling book and Diana thought he had ill-conceivedly stabbed her in the back.

And as if to rub salt into the wound, General, Diana cast serious  doubts on her husband’s fitness to rule as future King and therefore his eventual accession to the British throne.   Unfortunately for her, the interview sealed her fate  in so far as her marriage was concerned. “In her headstrong decision to co-operate with Bashir,” says Burrell, “she had never considered, perhaps naively, the implications that Panorama had for her marriage.” Indeed, just four weeks after the interview, the Queen, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote personally to both the Prince and Princess of Wales requesting that they divorce sooner rather than later.

It was a dream-come-true for at least two parties to the triangle, namely Charles and Camilla. But did it also constitute music to the ears of Princess Diana too, General?

 

Pic Cap

SOWING THE WIND ONLY TO REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in a BBC documentary which aired on Monday 29 November 1995. The interview incensed the Windsors: the following month, Queen Elizabeth ordered Charles and Diana to sever matrimonial ties. In her vengeful resolve to hit back at her husband following his own interview the previous year, Diana had foolishly sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

NEXT WEEK: DIANA REVERTS TO SINGLENESS

Continue Reading

Columns

Rights of an Individual in Islam

14th December 2022

Islam is a way of life completed and perfected by the last and final Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Holy Quran along with the practical teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) forms the basis of Islamic law, social, economic and political systems of Islam – in short the basis of a complete code of conduct for the entire life of a Muslim

Regrettably in this day and age there are certain views in non-Muslims that have a very negative ‘view’ of Islam. The bottom line is that if a Muslim says that two plus two is four, others can ‘argue’ to say three plus one is four, or two times two is four or the square root of 16 is four. The bottom line is no matter what we may think we all are ‘correct’. The fact is that we are all on this earth for a ‘limited’ time. Regardless of beliefs, tribe, race, colour or our social standing in life, we will all die one day or the other and we will “all” be called up thereafter to answer for our behaviour, beliefs, and our life on this earth.

To a Muslim the Holy Quran is the Divine Revelation which is all encompassing and lays down in clear terms, how we should live our daily lives including the need for humans to allow fellow humans certain basic rights at all times. Due to the limited space available I can only reflect on some of the major fundamental rights laid down by Islam:

Right to life

The first and foremost of fundamental basic human-rights is the right to life. “Whosoever kills any human being (without any valid reason) like manslaughter or any disruption and chaos on earth, it is though he had killed all the mankind. And whoever saves a life it is though as he had saved the lives of all mankind” (Quran Ch5: v 32). It further declares: “Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due process of law” (Quran Ch6: v 151). Islam further explains that this sacrosanct right to life is not granted only to its adherents (believers), but it has been granted to all human beings without consideration of their religion, race, colour or sex

Right to Equality 

The Holy Quran recognises equality between humans irrespective of any distinction of nationality, race, colour or gender. “O Mankind We have created you from a male and female, and We made you as nations and tribes so that you may be able to recognise each other (not that you may despise each other). Indeed the most honourable among you before God is the most God-conscious”. (Quran Ch49: v 13). The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) further explained this: “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab…… You are all the children of Adam and Adam was created from soil”. If there is any superiority for a man it is based on his piety, righteousness, sense of responsibility and character. Even such a person with these noble qualities would not have any privileged rights over others.

Right to justice

Allah Almighty has bestowed on all human beings, believer or non-believer, friend or foe the right to justice.  The Holy Quran states: “We sent our messengers with clear teachings and sent down along with them the Book and the Balance so that society may be established on the basis of justice” (Quran Ch 57 : v 25). It further says “O Believers stand for the cause of God and as witness to justice and remember that enmity of some people should not lead you to injustice. Be just as it is nearest to God consciousness” (Quran Ch 5:v  8 ). This makes it obligatory that a believer must uphold justice in all circumstances, including to his enemies.

Right to freedom of conscience and religion

The Holy Quran clearly mentions that there is no compulsion in accepting or rejecting a religion. “There is no compulsion in (submitting to) the religion” (Quran Ch 2 : v 256). Every individual has been granted basic freedom to accept a religion of his or her choice. Therefore no religion should be imposed on a person.

Right to personal freedom

No person can be deprived of his or her personal freedom except in pursuance of justice. Therefore there cannot be any arbitrary or preventive arrest without the permission of duly appointed judge and in the light of a solid proof.

Right to Protection of Honour

Every person has been ensured basic human dignity which should not be violated. If someone falsely attacks the honour of a person the culprit will be punished according to the Islamic Law. The Holy Quran says: “Do not let one group of people make fun of another group”. It further states: “Do not defame one another”, the Quran goes on to say: And do not backbite or speak ill of one another” (Quran Ch 49  : v 11-12).

Continue Reading