Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER
Inanna’s son launches quest to live forever like the “gods”
The one prize in life that has eluded man from the very foundation of the world is immortality, or eternal life. Man has always wanted to live forever but the enabling genie of this age-old wish has simply refused to show up.
The so-called Elixir of Life, in the main conjured up in the mind as either the Plant of Life or the Fountain of Youth, has so exercised man’s imagination he has launched quests for it from time to time only to draw a blank. Alexander the Great sought it. Christopher Columbus made two voyages to the Americas on behalf of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, the first being an exploratory voyage and the second being a quest for the Fountain of Youth.
In Anunnaki times, the quest for the Elixir of Youth was even more obsessive. The Sumerian records repeatedly tell how the so-called demigods, who were part-Anunnaki, part human – the ruling elite – undertook highly hazardous journeys in search of the Elixir of Life. Their Anunnaki fathers or mothers just never died of natural causes and even if they did age they did so almost imperceptibly. The demigods wanted to be like the Anunnaki too. They wanted to be like their “gods”.
Why did the Anunnaki live practically indefinitely? We have already pronounced on this subject but it merits restating. The one overriding factor was genetics. The Anunnaki’s Nibiru or Sirian-Orion genes gave them extraordinary longevity. However, here on Earth, they aged much faster compared to the rate at which they did on Nibiru and so they resorted to longevity-enhancing tricks. One such trick was Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of gold. Another was Ambrosia or Star Fire, an extract of menstruum.
The Anunnaki did avail Ormus or Star Fire to privileged Earthlings but they didn’t turn into the immortals the Anunnaki were. True, they did live considerably longer than ordinary humans courtesy of Ormus or Star Fire – in tens of thousands of years initially and in hundreds of years latterly – but they did die eventually. The demigods didn’t want to die: they wanted to live “forever” like the “gods”. And what was it they were certain would make them live indefinitely like the Anunnaki, the ultimate Elixir of Life? It was the shem, the rocketship.
Metropolitan Earthlings believed that if they travelled to Nibiru by rocket, which they called “Heaven”, they would be given the Plant of Life and the Water of Life by King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, and upon their return to Earth, they would live forever like the Anunnaki. The story of Enoch was one such inspiration. Now, to get on a shem, one had to do two things fundamentally. First, they had to seek permission for the opportunity to ride on it from the God of Aviation – Utu-Shamash. Second, they had to travel to Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula. This was the spaceport, the nearest place rockets were found (the other was half a world away in South America around Lake Titicaca).
The Anunnaki did from time to time give demigods the green light to endeavour to get to Tilmun and ride into space in a shem, but they made the process so lengthy and the endeavour itself so perilous – by deliberate design – that very few demigods attempted the venture at all. It was the equivalent of what the Illuminati today call “A Most Dangerous Game” (in which according to video and bibliographical testimonies by surviving victims the likes of Bill Clinton and George H W Bush –read: “Reptilians” – have played their part in hunting their enslaved humans in a restricted grove for fun, capture them, and kill them: This Earth, My Brother …). Of the demigods who did venture, two names immediately come to mind. They are Lugalbanda and Gilgamesh.
LUGALBANDA HEADS FOR BAALBEK
When Lugalbanda set out on his own quest for the Elixir of Life, it was not a shem to enable him travel to Nibiru he sought. All he wanted was to be given his own “Bird of Heaven”, an aircraft. Apparently, Lugalbanda was told by his own mother Inanna-Ishtar that if he were to search long and hard right here on Earth, he’d find the Elixir of Life himself. All he needed was his own “Sky Chamber” to scour every inch of the planet.
Remember, all Earthlings, including demigods, were barred from owning flying vessels of any kind or even learn how to pilot them. The demigods could fly on them too but only as passengers: ordinary humans could fly on them too but only as cargo. The reason for this prohibition was that Enlil wanted to retain and embed in the psyche of mankind the mystique of flying vessels as “holy chariots” only pure Anunnaki were entitled too.
Besides, he didn’t want any kind of vehicular technology to be mainstreamed to Earthlings for fear that they might begin to harbour delusions of grandeur and set about challenging the supremacy of the Anunnaki. It explained why Marduk was loathed by the Enlilites as his aim when he became the new Enlil was to bring Earthlings on par with the Anunnaki knowledgewise.
If it was an ordinary aircraft he sought, Lugalbanda didn’t have to venture as far as Tilmun. Baalbek in Lebanon, the so-called “Landing Place”, sufficed for this purpose in that it was Earth’s principal airport. All Anunnaki aircraft, except personal ones, were kept there and all Anunnaki aircraft were maintained there. The Anunnaki did not need the across-the-globe proliferation of airports we have today.
Flying craft were the preserve only of Anunnaki royalty who were very few in number and passenger service was restricted only to the Anunnaki race, who numbered no more than 6000 on the entire planet. And most Anunnaki planes were designed in such a way that they could land anywhere – on flat land, on mountainous terrain, and even on a body of water – and not on a conventional runway only (most aircraft were equipped with antigravity devices which made it possible for them to come to a halt in mid-air and hover for a while).
So it was that Lugalbanda, accompanied by a sizeable retinue that included medics, the security detail, astronomers, navigators, and diarists, set course straight for Baalbek from Uruk, a distance of 1245 km, equivalent, approximately, to travelling from Gaborone to Monze in southern Zambia. Although the strictly overland journey was not exactly hazardous, it was policed in some spots.
Marduk had planted his chopper-borne intelligence spooks along the way just to make sure demigods with Enlilite blood were not unduly favoured by Enlil and Utu-Shamash with access to strictly Anunnaki privileges. The role of the spies, who were dismissively referred to as “snakes” or “scorpions” by Enlilites, was to deprive the traveller of any benefit he may have been conferred if he did succeed in reaching Baalbek or Tilmun, both of which were controlled by Enlilites.
“GET LOST YOU LULU”, LUGALBANDA TOLD
Lugalbanda managed to get to the “awesome place on Earth where the Anunnaki, gods of the mountain, inside the Earth like termites had tunnelled”, his own description of the Cedar Mountain – today known as Lebanon Mountain – atop which was the expansive Baalbek platform. Lugalbanda referred to the Cedar Mountain as “Mount Hurum, whose front Enlil as with a great door had closed off". When he was about 10 km away, he set off alone toward the mountain pass, leaving his entire entourage behind as per the protocols of approach. The mountain pass was manned by heavily armed Anunnaki.
Also within the precincts of the mountain pass was a huge paramilitary aircraft designed to instil instant fear, known as the Anzu Mushen, meaning the “Divine Black Bird”. Lugalbanda, or his scribe, naively describes the Anzu Mushen as, “a monster bird whose teeth are like those of a shark fish and its claws like a lion's and who can hunt down and carry a bull”. The allusion to a bull says something profound about Lugalbanda – he was an Enlilite to the core as the bull was the symbol of Enlil. After introducing himself, Lugalbanda was immediately challenged by the gatekeeper, maybe the inspiration to the legendary Simon Peter who mans the pearly gates of Paradise.
“If a god you be, the (pass) word to you I will tell, in friendship will I let you enter,” the gatekeeper declared. “If a Lulu you are, your fate I will determine myself for no adversary into the Mountainland is allowed.” Lugalbanda had to state under oath that he was a full-blooded Anunnaki to be admitted into the presence of Utu-Shamash. Otherwise, he’d be treated like a Lulu – a term which in the post-diluvial era had now assumed a derogatory connotation. Note that at this stage, the Enlilites regarded mankind as an “adversary”, another euphemism for an Enkite, because they tended to side more with Enkites than Enlilites.
Lugalbanda’s candid response was that he was a treasured son of Inanna, like “divine Shara”. Shara was Inanna’s firstborn son with an Earthling and therefore was better known to the Anunnaki than Lugalbanda. Lugalbanda went on to say that he had come to seek Shamash, his uncle, with a view to secure his own “Bird of Heaven”. He pleaded thus: “Like Utu, like Inanna, like the Seven Stormers of Ishkur in a flame, let me lift myself off and thunder away! Let me go wherever my eyes can see. Wherever I desire, let me set my foot: wherever my heart wishes, let me arrive.”
When asked as to who his father was, Lugalbanda replied with the same candour: he said Enmerkar, who was half-human, half- Anunnaki, was his father. That did it as far as the gatekeeper was concerned. Lugalbanda had flunked the “One-Drop-Rule”, which stipulated that if one had just a single drop of human blood in them, they were not Anunnaki but Earthling. Lugalbanda was there and then turned back and told point-blank that “you might reach far lands and even make Uruk and yourself famous but wherever you want to go, it will always be on your big flat feet.” Lugalbanda would never come to own a plane in his life. He wept as he turned round to rejoin his entourage and break the harrowing news.
EPIC OF GILGAMESH COMMENCES
If Lugalbanda had only sought an aircraft to employ as a means to make a reality of his search for the Elixir of Life, his more ambitious heir went a step further: he wanted to ascend to Nibiru in a shem to partake of the Plant and Water of Life and not simply to go on a wild goose chase in a “sky chamber” here on Earth. In fact, the story of Lugalbanda’s son’s quest for eternal life is the most famous in ancient annals. It is the most widely documented and referenced of mankind’s most spirited endeavours to attain immortality.
When Lugalbanda died, he was not immediately succeeded by his firstborn son. For reasons that are not fully explained in the Sumerian chronicles, there was an interregnum in which somebody going by the name Dumuzi ruled Uruk before Lugalbanda’s heir did. Since by this time Dumuzi had long been dead, this Dumuzi was in truth “Dumuzi Jr” – his son.
This is no doubt the King of Aratta, who the Sumerian tablets crystal-clearly refer to as Dumuzi’s son by an Earthling woman, not by Inanna. It appears that for some reason, Inanna asked Dumuzi Jr to base himself in Uruk and rule both Uruk and Aratta for a specified period of time. Perhaps fed up of shuttling forth between Uruk and Aratta just to be humped, Inanna now wanted him just next door to the Eanna and therefore at her immediate sexual beck and call.
Lugalbanda’s heir is best known as Gilgamesh but this is an abbreviated form of his full, theophoric name – Gishbilgamesh. According to the Anunnaki’s matrimonial decorum, it fell to the female spouse to name a child. As such, Ninsun, Lugalbanda’s goddess wife, named her firstborn son after her half-brother Gibil, Enki’s third-born son with his official wife Damkina. Indeed, Gishbilgamesh means, “To Gibil, God of Smelting/Casting Dedicated”.
The name is most fitting given that Uruk was a leading metallurgical centre and Ninsun obviously intended her son to grow to be a great metallurgist and a knowledgeable overseer of Uruk’s metal foundries. With a name that evoked a son of Enki, it goes without saying that Gilgamesh was looked upon favourably by the Enkites and possibly earmarked as a future ally. In the Sumerian chronicles, Gilgamesh is also described as “of the essence of Ninurta”. This should not be interpreted to mean he was Ninurta’s offspring as some of the scholars have wrongly posited.
What it all suggests is that he did have Ninurta’s genes in him. Remember, Ninurta and Ninsun shared a common mother – Ninmah: only their fathers were different, with Ninurta’s being Enlil, and Ninsun’s being Enki. But it was Shamash who was Gilgamesh’s godfather. Wary that the Enkites could try to brainwash and indoctrinate him with Enkite propaganda, Shamash took Gilgamesh under his wing from a very early age.
He thus grew up not under the tutelage of Uncle Gibil but under that of Uncle Shamash. Although he juggled several aviation-related portfolios that required him to be at the terrestrial Landing Place at Baalbek, Mission Control Centre at Jerusalem, and the two spaceports at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula and at Lake Titicaca in South America, Shamash did make sure he spared time to be with his charismatic and imposing Earthling nephew.
GILGAMESH SPURNS OOZY INANNA
In his formative years as the 5th King of Uruk, Gilgamesh almost overnight gained a reputation as a benevolent, pro-poor, and high-achieving monarch. Beyond fortifying Uruk further and adorning the Eanna, Inanna’s temple-house, he enhanced Uruk’s renown as an international trade crossroads and as a standout military power that made its neighbours quake in their boots. Better still, he was very much a man of the people who liberally wined, dined and sported with his subjects.
Unlike his Lilliputian father Lugalbanda, Gilgamesh was a man of vast proportion, having been favoured by his mother’s side of the gene pool. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a famous Sumerian text which documents his exploits, describes Gilgamesh as “lofty, endowed with a super-human size”, meaning he was of Anunnaki build, something of a cross between Samson and Goliath.
His favourite pastime was to challenge the hulks among Uruk youth to a formal wrestling match, all of whom he frequently defeated by pinfall, submission, or outright surrender. And once in a while, he would take on a beast, such as a bull, buffalo, or lion, and tear it to shreds with his bare hands. These extraordinary feats coupled with the common-touch camaraderie with ordinary folk would over time make him the most reminisced about of Uruk’s 12 kings.
Because of his great, graceful physique and sheer virility, it was a matter of course that he would no sooner attract the amatory attentions of who other than his own grandmother – the evergreen Inanna, who still had enormous sex appeal that belied her age of shars. One day, whilst Gilgamesh was taking a mid-day swim in a secluded brook in a nearby woods (he liked roaming the wilds), Inanna stalked him. She materialised just at the time when he was emerging from the water stark naked.
Transfixed by both his great, muscular body and his colossal groin apparatus, Inanna took off her clothes forthwith and sashayed toward him. “Glorious Ishtar raised an eye at the beauty of Gilgamesh,” the Sumerian epic says. “Come Gilgamesh, be thou my lover,” she propositioned, her face flushed with desire. “ Grant me the fruit of thy love. You be my man: I shall be your woman.” Inanna went on to promise Gilgamesh all sorts of treats if he responded to her advances in the affirmative and administered to her her first “fix” right on the spot so senselessly aroused was she.
They included a golden chariot adorned with lapis lazuli; a magnificent palace; and lordship over other kings and princes. “Kings, princes, and nobles would bow to you; your flocks would double and quadruple; the produce of field and mountain shall be your fill,” she assured him as she breathlessly stroked his mammoth manhood with two clasped hands. Above all, she undertook to give him that ordinarily unattainable prospect that was mankind’s greatest craving. “I will obtain for you eternal life,” she vowed, pointing to the skies as a metaphor for Nibiru, mankind’s idea of Heaven.
Gilgamesh, however, was no dupe. He was aware that although Inanna was unsurpassed as a romantic, her relationships never endured. In fact, the only single affair that lasted was the one with Dumuzi; otherwise, all others quickly fizzled out. She discarded lovers as easily as she seduced them. Worse still, she was never one to devote to a relationship. She shuffled men willy-nilly like a pack of cards. Spelling out the names of five such men Inanna had “as a shoe which pinches the foot of its owner” dumped unceremoniously for reasons only she knew, Gilgamesh countered thus:
“Which of your lovers lasted forever? Which of your masterful paramours went to Heaven? if you will ‘love’ me, you shall treat me just like them.” Inanna was hurt, disappointed, and chagrined by the Gilgamesh rebuff. But as far as she was concerned, that was not the end of the matter.
NEXT WEEK: SAMSON Vs HERCULES!
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!
“I Propose to Diana Tonight”
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 – The Blessed Month of Fasting
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.