Enkites give him a whitewash whilst Enlilites bay for his blood
The marriage of Dumuzi, Enki’s lastborn son, and Inanna-Ishtar, Enlil’s granddaughter, was at once illustrious and tumultuous. It was illustrious because they were so fervently in love. Say the Sumerian chronicles:
“A love that knows no bounds engulfed them, a passion their hearts inflamed. Many of the love songs that for a long time thereafter were sung, Inanna and Dumuzi were the first to sing them, by song their love they recounted.” At the same time, the marriage was problematic owing, primarily, to Inanna’s rapacious sexual drive: as such, Dumuzi just could not cope. Thus deprived, Inanna was forced into dalliances with anybody she fancied, whether Anunnaki or Earthling, brother or uncle.
Enki, who is the horniest Anunnaki male on record, was one of her conquests, never mind the fact that he was at once her own father-in-law and her grandfather given that her mother Ningal, Nannar-Sin’s wife, was Enki’s daughter. In one of her love poems, Inanna boasts, in a slightly cryptic way, how her own twin-brother Utu-Shamash made her climax 50 times (befitting, so she implied, of the Enlilship ranking of 50) in only one night of pulsating passion thus: “My beloved met me, took his pleasure of me, rejoiced together with me. My brother brought me to his house, made me lie on its sweet bed … In unison, the tongue-making in unison, my brother of fairest face made [got me to come] fifty times.”
Inanna was particularly attracted to men who had freakishly outsized pricks and of that Shamash was very highly spoken of, a gift he actually loved to flaunt without a care in the world as to who was watching. Indeed, one meaning of the name Shamash is “Rocket-like”, an obvious allusion to his fire hydrant-sized penis. Because he was so enormously gifted in this department, Shamash, who was known as Apollo to the Greeks, is depicted stark naked in commemorative statues (Paradoxically though, the statues do not do him justice as his vitals come across as laughably ordinary). Inanna’s legendary sexcapades had the inevitable result that the couple diddled as much as they engaged in shouting matches with each other.
Whatever differences they had, Dumuzi and Inanna always patched them up with a torrid round of love-making. This energy-sapping copulation, however, did not yield the most desired result – a baby. A baby was essential: if Dumuzi was going to be to be the god of Egypt, not to mention Africa as a whole, a heir was of desperate necessity. It is a mystery why Dumuzi and Inanna just could not produce a child together when each had kids pre-wedlock, post-wedlock, or even extramaritally.
One unnamed King of Aratta, a region around today’s India where Inanna would later rule, is simply identified as “a seed planted in the womb by Dumuzi”. That the king’s mother is not mentioned suggests she must have been no more than an inconsequential concubine, most likely an Earthling as opposed to an Anunnaki. As for Inanna, a text titled The Tale of Zu names a certain “Shara” as “her firstborn,” implying she did have several children. True, other children, which she had with demigods, included Lulal, Aeneas, and Lugalbanda.
The crux of the matter though is that Dumuzi, notwithstanding the fact that he never fired blanks, and Inanna, who was demonstrably fertile, were unable to procreate with each other. This was to be a constant source of friction between the two love birds. If even reproductive fundis such as Enki and Ningishzidda could not, apparently, help, the only explanation could be that the couple were under a spell, in all probability cast over them by Marduk. Otherwise, there was a whole host of scientific means at their disposal, such as in-vitro fertilisation and a surrogacy pregnancy.
DUMUZI SET UP FOR A FALL
Not long after Dumuzi and Inanna came together in “holy matrimony”, the Enlilites began to tout Dumuzi as the prospective “Shepherd of the Age of Ram”, that is, the forthcoming astrological Age of Aries. In other words, they set out to promote Dumuzi as the next Enlil at the expense of Marduk, who the Enkites had tipped for the loftiest title on Earth. This was not only because Dumuzi was married to an Enlilite: Dumuzi’s mother was not Damkina, Enki’s official wife, but Ninsun. Ninsun was a daughter of Enki with his half-sister Ninmah. Thus to the Enlilites, Dumuzi was more politically palatable, if not manipulable, than Marduk, who was a true-blue, steadfast Enkite.
Whereas other Enkites hardly gave a damn about the matrimonial union of Dumuzi and Inanna, two were as concerned as they were resentful. This was Marduk and his half-sister Geshtinanna. The two knew the marriage for exactly what it was – a petticoat government in which Inanna wielded disproportionately more influence. Wary as to the ramifications of Inanna’s hegemonic ambitions which knew no bounds, Marduk and Geshtinanna had a tete-a-tete in which they plotted a thunderclap scandalisation of Dumuzi that would make him forfeit all pretences to the Egyptian throne. The success of the plot all hinged on Gestinanna’s cooperation, whose certainty she undertook.
Now, Geshtinanna did have a vested interest in Dumuzi’s possible fall from grace. She was Zidda’s consort (not legally-wedded wife) and if Zidda was not going to rule Egypt anymore, then Dumuzi, who was much younger than Zidda, ought not to. As significant, Geshtinanna had no Enlilite blood in her being the daughter of Ninmah and therefore had no ties-of-consanguinity sympathies for Inanna whatsoever. So it was that one day whilst Inanna was on tour, Geshtinanna invited herself to one of Dumuzi’s palaces on Philae Island on the Nile River in today’s Aswan, southern Egypt.
There, she wasted no time in hitting on Dumuzi thus: “My brother, with you I will lie down. A legitimate heir by a sister born you must have. Inanna’s son to succession shall not be entitled.”Geshtinanna’s reasoning struck a chord in Dumuzi. According to Anunnaki succession rules, it was a son born to a half-sister who ascended to the throne and not a son with a legal spouse who was not related to her husband. It followed, therefore, that even if Inanna perchance were to conceive, her son would not inherit after Dumuzi: he would have to give way to Dumuzi’s son with Geshtinanna.
Dumuzi was persuaded and long story short, he had “poured his semen into his half-sister’s womb”. For some reason, however, Geshtinanna suddenly felt for Dumuzi, maybe because he had given her such shattering sexual satisfaction or the fact that Dumuzi was actually the son of her sister by blood (Ninsun) seared her conscience. She burst out into tears and when Dumuzi asked her what was wrong, she with an effort owned up to her little scheme with Marduk. “Marduk of raping me he will accuse you,” she sobbed frantically. “Evil emissaries will arrest you. To try and disgrace you he will.”
At first, Dumuzi did not panic though he was cross that Geshtinanna was complicit in setting him up. Geshtinanna nonetheless assured him nothing would come of the conspiracy as she would be his about-face witness when the matter came to trial. Her assurance registered and Dumuzi drifted into a calm sleep after another, reassuring body-twitching round of intimacy . But at around midnight, Dumuzi had a nightmare in which he saw “seven evil bandits come into his dwelling” and brace to confiscate all his royal property and insignias of office. “They chased away his ewes, his lambs and kids they drove away,” the Sumerian records relate.
“The headdress of lordship they took off his head, the royal robe off his body they tore, the staff of shepherding they took and broke, his cup from its peg they threw down. Naked and barefooted they seized him, in fetters they his hands bound. In the name of the Princely Bird (Marduk) and the Falcon (Horus, Marduk’s son/grandson) they left him dying.” Geshtinanna’s pleas that he puts a brave face on the matter and regard the dream as simply that fell on deaf ears: seized by a fit of trepidation and of foreboding, he hastily put on the clothes and shouting “Betrayal! Betrayal!”, he hurried out of the house to dodge the hovering dragnet but the dream was already bearing out even as he moved. Marduk’s seven sheriffs had already closed in. Dumuzi was hardly inches away from the threshold when the cuffs were tightly nipped onto his wrists. He was then remanded in a makeshift cellar pending airlifting to Marduk’s palace in Egypt.
DUMUZI DROWNS IN RIVER NILE
Producing a warrant of arrest, Marduk’s sheriffs announced to a manacled Dumuzi that they were acting under the imperial authority of their master “En Bilulu (His Holiness the Lord Bel), the Master of the Kur (Giza Pyramid),” both of which were Marduk’s epithets. Then they pronounced forth the basis of his arrest – having raped his half-sister Geshtinanna. That done, they proceeded to render him “naked … bareheaded … empty-handed …” and “barefooted”. That is to say, they removed his crown, divested him of his royal robe, pulled off his sandals, and confiscated his staff – his entire regalia as the monarch of Nubia. However, the sheriffs hit a setback. When they interrogated Geshtinanna, she denied that she had been violated and insisted that the sex was consensual. Then she asked that she sheriffs allow her a private confabulation with Dumuzi, which petition was granted.
Entering the makeshift cellar within the palace precincts, Geshtinanna found Dumuzi in a piteously disconsolate state. The moment he saw her, he requested the use of her portable communication device, which was worn on the wrist and doubled as a timepiece, and contacted Utu-Shamash. “O, Utu,” Dumuzi cried into the wireless communication device. “You are my brother-in-law. I am your sister’s husband … Change my hands into a gazelle’s hands. Change my feet into a gazelle’s feet. Let me escape the evil ones.” In another words, Dumuzi was entreating Shamash to rush and get him out of harm’s way.
It’s clear from the Sumerian chronicles that both Inanna and Shamash were presently too far away to scramble a rescue force to get to where Dumuzi was timeously. But Shamash did provide some very viable tips to both Dumuzi and Gestinanna that made it possible for Dumuzi to make a getaway. Still in cuffs, he made a beeline for the Nile, jumped into a boat, and shot off like a bullet in the dead of night, in the process losing his outsmarted pursuers. He managed to reach “the great dyke in the desert of E-Mush”, or “Home of the Snakes” as the Sahara Desert was then known, the snakes being a metaphor for the Enkites. This was the First Cataract of the Nile, where the Aswan High Dam is today located. It is the only place throughout Egypt where the Sahara Desert and the Nile River converge at a great dyke.
Encountering heavy rapids, Dumuzi abandoned the boat a long while before daybreak and hid on a boulder behind a thick cascade of a Nile waterfall so that he wasn’t seen by his pursuers. Then at daybreak, Inanna, his mother Ninsun and a search party pitched. Whilst Ninsun was frantically looking out for his son from the shores of the Nile, Inanna hovered in a chopper. Unfortunately, Dumuzi was already dead by then. Being in handcuffs, his manoevering was erratic. As he tried to climb down the rock on which he had taken refuge, he slipped and was instantly swept away by the rapids, drowning in the process. “Where the gushing waters the rocks to slippery smoothness made, Dumuzi slipped and fell,” say the Sumerian cuneiform texts. “The onrushing waters his lifeless body in a white froth swept away.”
The above was the official version. But what really happened was that he panicked when one of his pursuers closed in on him in the relative dark of pre-dawn and that’s how he faltered into the Nile waters. It took several days, if not weeks, for his body to wash up on the banks of the Nile at Memphis, about half way between the Great Pyramid of Giza and Lake Moeris. "There did the boat-wrecking waters carry the lad towards Kur,” the Sumerian records relate. “To Kur did the boat-wrecking waters carry the espoused of Inanna." Sadly, by that time, it was too late for the likes of Enki and Zidda to restore to life the now substantially decomposed body of Dumuzi.
MARDUK NO CASE TO ANSWER?
Dumuzi’s remains were retrieved from the banks of the Nile River by his brother Ninagal and taken to the abode of Nergal and Ereshkigal in today’s South Africa where the body was to lay in state before it was taken to Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki and the Bible’s “Heaven”, for interment. When Enki heard of his youngest son’s tragic demise, he was gutted. He wondered why fate so frowned upon him with such sadomasochistic regularity. “Enki rent his clothes, on his forehead he put ashes,” say the Sumerian records.
“My son! My son! for Dumuzi he lamented. What have I sinned to be so punished? out loud he asked.” Enki catechised himself as to whether his other name “Ea” had something to do with this unending rhythm of woe where the deaths of members of his clan were typically associated with water. . “When I to Earth from Nibiru came, Ea, ‘He Whose Home Is Waters’, was my name. With waters did the Celestial Chariots obtain their thrust power. In waters I splashed down. Then by an avalanche of waters the Earth was swept over. In waters did Asar (Osiris) my grandchild drown. By waters my beloved Dumuzi is now dead! Everything I had done, for righteous purpose did I do it. Why am I punished, why has Fate against me turned?”
In one vein, Enki’s lamentations must elicit sympathy. No single Enlilite died throughout the Anunnaki’s 443,000-year official stay on Earth. Meanwhile, the widowed Inanna had kicked up a hell of a storm. She demanded no less than the death penalty for Marduk. “There has been death enough,” she wept before Enki. “Bilulu (Marduk) must be killed.” At the time, authority as to the dispensation of justice no longer vested in the entire Anunnaki pantheon comprising of Enlilites and Enkites. If, for instance, a crime was committed by an Enkite to an Enkite, jurisdiction was to be exercised by Enkites alone, without the involvement of Enlilites. Accordingly, Enki convened a judgement panel which included all his sons bar Marduk – Nergal, Gibil, Ninagal, and Zidda, who was recalled from his domain in the Americas just for this purpose.
As the Enkites deliberated on Marduk’s case, Inanna continued with her fits of fury. “To high heaven she a wailing raised,” relates the Sumerian texts. “Justice! Revenge! Death to Marduk! she cried.” Such was her hysteria and agitation that the Enlilites were forced to convene their own “war council” to unilaterally decide on the fate of “The Great Serpent” as Marduk had been branded by the Enlilites. Inanna insisted that the Enlilites were entitled to a say on the matter as being Dumuzi’s widow the injustice of his death had lasting repercussions on her. As far as she was concerned, it didn’t matter whether Dumuzi’s death was an accident or otherwise: what mattered was the fact that he died whilst in flight from an injustice contrived by Marduk and Geshtinanna was an insuperable witness in that regard.
All the Enlilites were pro Inanna’s sentiments. “Ninurta for strong measures argued … Of Marduk, an evil serpent Earth must be rid, Enlil with them agreed.” The Enlilites then sent an ultimatum to the Enkites demanding that Marduk be handed over to them forthwith for justice. Unlike the Enlilites, the Enkites were not unanimous on the fate of Marduk. Enki moved for his unconditional acquittal as there was no hard evidence that he was directly responsible for the death of Dumuzi. “Marduk an instigator was, but murder he committed not!” Enki pointed out. “Though for my beloved Dumuzi I am still grieving, Marduk's rights I must defend! Though evil did Marduk instigate, by ill fate, not by Marduk's hand, did Dumuzi die. Marduk is my firstborn, Ninki is his mother: for succession he is destined. From death by Ninurta's gang by us all he must be protected!”
Gibil and Ninagal sided with their father. Zidda, who scarcely saw eye to eye with Marduk, voted for outright retribution. Nergal, whose relationship with Marduk kept blowing hot and cold, endorsed the idea of handing Marduk to the Enlilites but undertook that if the Enlilites voted for capital punishment, he would oppose it to the death. It was a 3-2 decision in favour of Marduk and so he was to walk free. Sadly, the Enlilites were not prepared to take the verdict lying down.
In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device). But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration. Consider these examples:
Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs. Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.
Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli. As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.
And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.
Of course, hackers target governments or business giants but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches. Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.
This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability. A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.
Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge. Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email. Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.
Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity. Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi, sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.
BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps. Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore. Ransomware attacks are on the increase, predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.
Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise – whereby cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.
Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt, consult your IT security consultants. You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!
About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.
As he trudged the woods, Williams had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”
Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”
The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative Unit.
The report read as follows:
“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”
Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.
Meanwhile, General, even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”
DIANA AND DODI AT THE RITZ
Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal. Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.
At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet. The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates. Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.
Rita, General, was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well, she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.
As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”
Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.
THE“TELL ME YES” RING IS DELIVERED
Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome. It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.
The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law, had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative Dodi transaction. Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree. With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.
Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana. There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious choice for her.
The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash, has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.
Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.
DIANA AND DODI GUSH OVER IMMINENT NUPTIALS
At about 7 pm, Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.
As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm and showed him the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.
Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.
Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are
Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).
‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an (2 : 185)
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.
Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.
Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.
The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.
Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”
This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.
Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.
Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.
The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.