Connect with us

Go to Abode of Gods

Benson C Saili

Enkidu urges death-plagued bosom-friend Gilgamesh    

The anti-Gilgamesh spooks in the ranks of Uruk’s intelligence community had been alerted about the arrival in town of Enkidu and so were already primed to provide him with all the requisite material support.  Because of his towering size and arresting looks, Enkidu was quick to catch the attention and fascination of the Uruk populace: practically overnight, he was the buzz of the city-state. Word spread about   this mammoth being who was reputed to have fought bears, chimpanzees, and gorillas and wipe the floor with them. Soon there was talk of him challenging Gilgamesh to a wrestling match in a historic clash of the titans.

With Enkidu making waves in his own domain, Gilgamesh got to hear of him but he totally ignored him with typical monarchical ego.  It did not take long, however, for their paths to cross.  A wedding was due and Enkidu was strategically invited as one of the guests of honour. Gilgamesh automatically made a showing with an eye to do his usual deed only this time around there was a spanner in the works.  For when the newly-weds retired to their pad that evening, Enkidu offered to stand guard at their gate to ensure the King did not harass the bride. The couple were ecstatic at the prospect of consummating their marriage without the intrusion of a usurpist third part.

Turning up at the house later in the evening to demand his due, Gilgamesh was stoutly opposed by Enkidu, who told him in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome. The King was surprised at Enkidu’s cheek and boldness. Ordinarily, he’d have let loose his security detail on him but he beckoned to them to hold their ground so that he himself teaches the giant rascal a lesson. Stepping forward, Gilgamesh laid into Enkidu and a fight ensued. “They grappled each other, holding fast like bulls,” the Sumerian chronicles relate. “Walls shook, doorposts shattered as the two wrestled.”

The two behemoths tangled for about 45 minutes as a concourse   of onlookers cheered them on, most of them rooting for Enkidu as opposed to their thuggish King. At some stage in the tussle, Enkidu pinned Gilgamesh, putting him in a rather precarious position whereby he had no option but to tap out in submission. For the first time in his life, Gilgamesh had lost a wrestling scrap. The sense of ignominy was harrowing.

The following day, the King’s defeat was the number one  topic of conversation throughout Uruk. There was even conjectural talk that Gilgamesh was so mortified he was contemplating stepping down from the throne to give way to Enkidu. Meanwhile, wherever Enkidu went, he was lauded, feted, and serenaded like a kind of messiah. In a bid to reclaim his fame as a gladiator, Gilgamesh issued a challenge to Enkidu for them to clash again in a Samson-versus-Hercules affair, this time in a formal wrestling setting and not the impromptu one in which he was routed. Enkidu gleefully accepted the challenge.

It was the most heralded and best-attended wrestling match in Uruk’s history, with some people travelling from neighbouring Sumerian city-states to come and witness the contest first hand. They got their money’s worth:  it was a pulsating and engaging  see-saw match in which both men fought their lungs out. Sadly for Gilgamesh, he was made to tap out in surrender once again even after weeks of preparation, with the chant “Enkidu! Enkidu!” rending the air: as always, the popular Hercules had beaten Samson hands down.

Shortly after the umpire had lifted Enkidu’s hand in triumph, Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s mother, came into the ring and announced that she did not wish Gilgamesh and Enkidu to be foes but the very best of friends. Paying heed, a humbled Gilgamesh walked over to Enkidu, gave him a bear hug, and told him from that day on the two would be inseparable, to which Enkidu nodded heartily and the audience applauded in cheerful acknowledgement. Gilgamesh’s dream of yesteryears had come to pass: it  was the beginning of a Damon and Pythias kind of friendship.

Enkidu turned out to be Gilgamesh’s luck-bringer. As time went by and as he matured mentally, he showed “wisdom and broad understanding” and being an everyday companion of Gilgamesh, the latter immensely benefitted from his invariably sage advice. Gilgamesh would over time become known as “The wise one, he who has experienced everything”. Gone now were the days when Gilgamesh made an art of sexually molesting brides and teenage girls thanks to Enkidu’s restraining   influence: once again, he was back in the good graces of his subjects as   an exceedingly popular King,  in fact going on to  become Uruk’s first and only celebrity monarch ever.

We noted last week that like his father Lugalbanda before him, Gilgamesh loved and enjoyed life. He wanted to waltz on Cloud 9 in perpetuity. But there was a catch: there would come a time when he’d grow old and at long last die, leaving this wonderful world  behind. But why should he die? The question began to haunt him again just as it did when he saw Utu-Shamash about it last time around.  He wasn’t an ordinary human being: he was at least two-thirds Anunnaki, almost a full-fledged god and gods never died. Surely, with so much Anunnaki blood in him, he was deserving of immortality wasn’t he?  Why should he “peer over the wall” (ancient metaphor for “dying”) like an ordinary mortal?

     Thus plagued non-stop by the death conundrum, this time Gilgamesh decided to approach   his mother Ninsun, rather than Uncle Shamash, to seek clarity on the matter and to find out from her whether it was possible for him to retain eternal youth.
     “Mum,” he said, “I am about three-quarters god. Gods don’t die. Why therefore should I be fated to die? Why can’t I live forever like you do?”

     “Well son,” Ninsun answered, “You too could live as long as we do. All you need to do is travel to the Celestial Eden (planet Nibiru) and stay there for at least one full shar. The secret to our longevity lies in the long orbital period of our planet. You want to live forever son? Come to our planet: join us there.”   

     “Wait a minute Mum,” Gilgamesh said.  “I am told that Ziusudra (Noah), the Hero of the Deluge, didn’t go to Heaven (Nibiru) but he’s still alive. He lives somewhere around the Land of Mines (Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula, the site of the spaceport) with his wife in total bliss. I don’t need to go to Heaven to live forever like Ziusudra do  I?”

     “His is a special case son,” Ninsun replied. “As you say, he was the hero of the Deluge. He did something really extraordinary to merit that idyllic situation in which he finds himself.”
     “Suppose I wish to travel to Heaven, what do I need to get there?”

     “You will need a Fiery Stone we call a shem (rocketship). And since you cannot pilot a shem, you will need Eagles (astronauts) to take you there.  Only at Tilmun are Eagles and shems found. However, it is unlikely that Shamash, who is in charge of Tilmun, would give you the green light to venture to Tilmun and proceed to our planet.”  

     “Why not Mum?” Gilgamesh wondered aloud. “Adapa was taken to Heaven. So was  Enoch and so was Etana. All these were demigods like I am. So why can’t I be taken to Heaven too?”
     “I am afraid those questions can best be answered by the likes of Enlil and Shamash son,” Ninsun regretted. “Much as I’d love you to  travel to my planet and acquire immortality,  my hands are tied: there’s utterly nothing I can do. I’m a goddess all right but I’m insignificant in the greater scheme of things. I’m not even among the Pantheon of the Twelve great gods and goddesses. In fact, we goddesses hardly have any sway over the agenda for this planet and its people: it’s the gods who call the shots.”


As Gilgamesh and Enkidu bonded, they confided in each other their secrets as well as their most pressing   preoccupations of mind. On the part of Gilgamesh, his major obsessions still were his fear of death and the implication of the Handiwork of Anu, the rocket booster he encountered in his dream. Gilgamesh told Enkidu about his mum’s interpretation of the dream, which had already been fulfilled in the person of Enkidu, and his own  – that it was King Anu’s way of inviting him to the “Divine Abode”(Nibiru) to gain immortality and that it was essential that he honours the Heavenly Father’s wish. All he needed was access to a shem. “O Enkidu,  even the mighty wither;  they meet the fated end,” he lamented of the human condition. “Even the tallest man (metaphor for a human being like him who had a lot of Anunnaki blood in him) cannot stretch to Heaven (go to Nibiru).”

The emotion Gilgamesh showed as he uttered these words moved Enkidu. “The eyes of Enkidu filled with tears, ill was his heart, bitterly he sighed,” the Sumerian records relate. Once both men had regained their calm, Enkidu at first seemed to concur with his best friend’s view of the fate of a human  being. “Who, my friend, can scale Heaven?" he paused a rhetorical question. “Only the gods, by going to the underground place of Shamash. Mankind's days are numbered; whatever they achieve is but the wind.”

Enkidu then proceeded to relate the snippets he had picked up whilst he was under the tutelage of Enki, that there was a place on Earth where Gilgamesh could access a shem. This place, which  was overseen by Shamash and was known as the Abode of the Gods, was located somewhere in the Cedar Mountains. But since it was a foregone conclusion that the gods would never permit Gilgamesh to  venture there, the only way to do so was to force his way there.

Enkidu, however, was not exactly spot-on. He was talking about Baalbek, the Landing Place, but Baalbek was not the spaceport proper: it was the Heathrow Airport of the day.  The spaceport proper was at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula. The mix-up was understandable since Enkidu wasn’t that conversant in these matters. What he said nevertheless did  ring a bell to Gilgamesh: he too had heard about the Land of the Living located not very far from the  Land of Mines (Tilmun) where Noah, his wife and other  consecrated Earthlings  lived happily ever after  in eternal youth. “It is the abode of the forefathers who by the great gods with the Purifying Waters were anointed,” he explained to Enkidu. “There, partaking of the food and beverage of the gods, have been residing princes born to the crown who had ruled the land in days of yore. Like Anu and Enlil, spiced meats they are served; from waterskins, cool water to them is poured.”

There was a chance, Gilgamesh reasoned,  that the Land of the Living and the Abode of the Gods Enkidu was talking about were one and the same given that the Anunnaki were notoriously tight-lipped about these matters: they just never talked about them for fear of triggering a Paradise-bound stampede from Earthlings. Thus both Baalbek and Tilmun were largely received as legends by the greater majority of Earthlings.

Roused by the Enkidu cue, Gilgamesh decided there and then that he must undertake a daredevil’s journey to the “underground place of Shamash” in the Cedar Mountain so as to “scale Heaven” in the manner the gods did come what may.  “The Land I will  enter. I will  set up my shem. In the place where the shems have been raised up, I a shem I will  raise up.” Gilgamesh put it to Enkidu that even if he perishes in the enterprise, he will have made history anyway. “Should I fall, ‘Gilgamesh against fierce Huwawa had fallen' they will say long after my offspring will be born.” But before he set out on this adventure, it was imperative that Gilgamesh take soundings with the Council of the Elders, the King of Uruk’s highest advisory organ.


Gilgamesh was just about to call an assembly of the elders when Enkidu stopped him in his tracks. “You know what buddy?” he said as he clasped the great Uruk King’s hand in his. “Let me go check out the Abode of the Gods before you do so that if there are any snares or perils of sorts, you get to know them in advance.  Let me go ahead of you. Let your mouth say to me, ‘Advance Enkidu: fear not’.”

The idea was appealing but Gilgamesh was reluctant to countenance it. It didn’t seem right to throw his best friend into the breach, to use him as cannon fodder. What if something sinister happened to him?  Enkidu, however, was so insistent Gilgamesh at long last caved in.  When he set off, Enkidu was not all alone: he was with a retinue of auxiliary men who were armed to the teeth. And for every day Enkidu was away, Gilgamesh kept an eye out for his safe return.

About a month later, Enkidu was back and in one piece. But he didn’t have particularly good news. He reported that the Cedar Mountain was not easy to breach as it was guarded by a seemingly invincible monstrous creature known as Huwawa, whose principal brief was to keep humans from foolhardily scaling the mountain and stealing into the Abode of the Gods.  Huwawa, said Enkidu, was a “feared monster with the fiery Killer Beam that shoots out from its forehead”. Enkidu also made mention of “weapon-trees that kill”. He said, “I went down into its (the Cedar Mountain) midst. For many leagues extends the forest. The place is guarded by the Cedar Forest's watcher.

The Fiery Warrior is a mighty, never resting guardian artfully created by Enlil, a siege engine whose mouth is fire, whose breath is death, whose roaring is a flood-storm.  The monster's name is Huwawa. As a terror to mortals Enlil has appointed him. And no one can even come near him, for at sixty leagues (330 km) he can hear the wild cows of the forest.”

Exactly who was Huwawa and “weapon-trees that kill”?  From the way he is described, he clearly was not flesh and blood. He was one of a mechanical “race” of cyborgs – sophisticated robotic creatures installed under the aegis of Enlil. Huwawa was programmed to pick up the thermal (infra-red) image of an Earthling as he approached the Cedar Mountains and obliterate him with a Killer Beam, that is, a fatal laser beam, that shot out from the middle of his brow. The “weapon-trees that kill” were tall, upright, laser-equipped remote-controlled surveillance masts that were disguised as trees.  

In Huwawa, also spelt Hwahwa, can be detected an echo of Cyclops, in Greek and Roman mythology  a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. The equivalent of Huwawa in Setswana is gu-gu, meaning a “nondescript creature”. In African lore, a scary, nondescript creature which preys on mankind in one way or the other is variously known as a demon, ghost, apparition, or vampire.  In Zambia’s most dominant language, Bemba, a ghost is referred to as a wa without determinatives, or ici-wa (literally “fallen creature”) with a singular determinative. This nomenclature no doubt stems from the Sumerians’  Huwawa. Just as Huwawa was conceived and commissioned as an enemy of mankind, ghosts are also believed to be enemy tormentors/killers  of mankind.  


Once again, Gilgamesh decided to announce  his intended mission to the Council of Elders and hear their take.  Naturally, they were alarmed at their king’s certain encounter with the death-dealing Huwawa. “We hear that Huwawa is wondrously built,” they voiced their anxiety. “Who is there to face his weapons? Unequal struggle it is with the siege-engine Huwawa.”

A doggedly determined  Gilgamesh assured them that he could take care of himself in the face of Huwawa and that in any case, he was ready to die in his quest to attain immortality. Noting that their great King just would not budge, they proceeded to render him some piece of advice – that he obtains the consent and protection of Shamash before he set out on the journey. “If the Land thou wish to enter,  inform Utu. Inform Utu, the hero Utu! The Land, it is in Utu's charge. The Land which with the cedars is aligned, it is the hero Utu's charge. Inform Utu! Let Shamash grant thee thy desire: what thy mouth hath spoken, let him show thine eyes. May he open for thee the barred path, the road unclose for thy treading, the mountain unclose for thy foot.”

The King duly hearkened to the advice of the elders. He made a sacrifice to Shamash as was the custom before a mortal saw a god. Then entering the god’s presence and led by a high priest,  the King intoned thus on his knees: “O Utu, my hands are raised in prayer. Bring me to the landing place. The Land which with the cool cedars is aligned I wish to enter, be thou my ally:  let me go, O Shamash! To the Landing Place give command … Establish over me your protection!  Let me enter the Land. Let me set up my shem. In the places where the shems are raised up, let me raise my own shem. Be thou my ally! By the life of my goddess mother who bore me, my step direct to the Land.” Would Shamash heed the desperate King’s prayer?


Continue Reading



28th March 2023

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!

Continue Reading


“I Propose to Diana Tonight”

28th March 2023

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.”


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.


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.


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

Continue Reading


RAMADAN – The Blessed Month of Fasting

28th March 2023

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.

Continue Reading