Having lost the vital Plant of Eternal Youth, Gilgamesh was so sickly depressed he asked his escort Urshanabi, Noah’s boatman, to accompany him all the way to Uruk so he could comfort him. Urshanabi kindly obliged him. The two set sail in a chartered royal ship on which they were the only passengers other than the crew.
Throughout the seaborne journey, Gilgamesh kept weeping as he feverishly paced up and down the deck, wondering why he should be so unfortunate as to let the Rejuvenation Herb slip through his fingers. Exactly who filched it from his chariot? Was it the Enkites of the Enlilites? The propaganda pitch that soon spread far and wide was that he was sabotaged by the agents of Enki given that Utu-Shamash, an Enlilite, had done all he could to help him attain eternal life.
It must be borne in mind, however, that the Enlilites, were not in one accord concerning Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality. Ishkur-Adad, for instance, had frowned upon the idea. Nannar-Sin was non-committal. So to single out the Enkites as the party that put the spanner in the works was rash. Moreover, although the Anunnaki who guarded the spring where the Rejuvenation Herb grew were called Snakes, a metaphor for Enkites, they were not necessarily Enkites. In fact, they were in all probability Enlilites in that it was Enlil who had decreed that the plant be jealously guarded.
If it had been up to Enki alone, Gilgamesh would have clinched the Rejuvenation Plant given that it was Enki who created mankind and his personal wish was to see mankind live as long as the Anunnaki did. That is not to mention the fact that being the son of Ninsun, Enki’s daughter, Gilgamesh was a grandson of Enki. As such, Enki wouldn’t want to administer a demolition job to his quest for an indefinite lifespan.
GILGAMESH HONOURS ENKIDU
After an absence of about one year, Gilgamesh was back home. When he saw the grandeur and splendour of Uruk, “with its cultivated fields and orchards and its towering ziggurat devoted to Ishtar, all of it enclosed by intricately wrought walls”, all his sorrows were immediately subsumed by a sense of pride and awe.
A great number of his people had long set up camp on the shores of the Persian Gulf awaiting his uncertain return and when they saw him, they thronged him, shedding tears of joy in their ecstasy. All the Uruk elders were sent for to come and receive him and accompany back to Uruk as per official protocol.
After he had been debriefed on the happenings in Uruk whilst he was away by his council of elders, Gilgamesh informed them, with a catch in his voice, that his quest for immortality had not been successful and that he would soon sit down to write all his experiences, including his meeting with Noah, the hero of the Deluge. The Noah encounter particularly excited the elders, whereupon Gilgamesh recounted to them all that had transpired in Noah’s subterranean Paradise. Then he asked the elders to get all the people of Uruk to assemble at a public square.
When the people accordingly gathered, Gilgamesh announced to them the death of Enkidu. They all broke down in loud lamentation in a manner akin to a mass funeral. “Gilgamesh proclaimed his grief,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh. “Everyone mourned, including the creatures of the field and plain, the elders of the city, and the prostitute who domesticated Enkidu. The pathways to the Cedar Forest, the rivers Ulaja and Euphrates, and the farmers and shepherds in their fields all mourned Enkidu’s death.”
Gilgamesh proceeded to summon the craftsmen of Uruk, comprising metalworkers, stone carvers, goldsmiths, and engravers, and commanded them to raise a statue of Enkidu to honour his deeds and celebrate his fame. That done, he assembled a team of scribes to help him document his story and the accompanying depictions on clay tablets and cylinder seals. That was how The Epic of Gilgamesh came to be.
The chief scribe introduced the epic thus: “Let me make known to the country him who the Tunnel (Noah’s abode) has seen: of him who knows the waters (where the Plant of Rejuvenation grew) let me the full story tell. Secret things he has seen, what is hidden from man he found out. He even brought tidings of the time before the Deluge.
He took the distant journey, wearisome and under difficulties. He returned and upon a stone column all his toil he engraved … When the gods (the Anunnaki) created Man, wide understanding they perfected for him. Wisdom they had given him. To him they had given Knowledge. Everlasting life they had not given him.” And so it was that for generations thereafter, scribes copied and translated, poets recited, and storytellers related the tale of the first determined but futile search for immortality by a mortal.
ENLIL ORDERS ACCOMPANIED BURIAL FOR GILGAMESH
For the remainder of his years, Gilgamesh continued to lament the fact that he had failed to secure immortality like Noah and that death for him was an inevitability. But he never gave up hope. Now advanced in years and lying on his death bed, “pursued by the Angel of Death”, he made one final appeal to Enlil to relent and confer immortality on him, especially seeing that both his Anunnaki mother Ninsun and his Anunnaki grandmother Ninmah still looked as youngish as he had always known them. It was his godfather Utu-Shamash who he urged to approach Enlil on his behalf.
Enlil’s response was a foregone conclusion: Gilgamesh wasn’t getting a new lease of life but was rejoining his ancestry. What Enlil, the Jehovah of the Bible, did next illustrated what a diabolical being he was. He decreed that since Gilgamesh was “special” – a demigod who was at once king of a great city-state in Uruk – he was not going to the Nether World, the world of the dead, alone. He was to be accompanied by “his beloved wife, his beloved son, his beloved concubine, his musicians, his entertainers, his beloved cupbearer, the chief valet, his caretakers, and the palace attendants” as compensation for his denial of immortality.
Thus it was that on the day of his burial circa 2600 BC, all the above-mentioned people were given a drug which scrambled their senses and in what is called a “accompanied burial” were buried alive in the same huge grave in which Gilgamesh was laid to rest. Jehovah, folks, hardly had any regard for the sanctity of human life: to him, we were little more than animals.
We were expendable apes. When British missionaries came to Africa in the 19th century and learnt that Shaka the Zulu, on his mother Nandi’s death, ordered that ten handmaidens be buried alive with her, they denounced his legacy as that of a savage. Yet the very god they worshipped was guilty of exactly the same barbarity and even worse if Old Testament accounts of his penchant for mass murder are anything to go by.
Altogether, Gilgamesh lived for about 300 years, having been born circa 2900 BC, and ruled for 126 years. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Ur-Lugal, who in turn was succeeded by his son Utu-Kalamma. The two ruled a combined 45 years. Five more kings followed after Utu-Kalamma and they ruled for a total of 95 years. At the time kingship was transferred from Uruk to Ur, Nannar-Sin’s cult city, 12 kings had sat on Uruk’s throne for a total of 2310 years, beginning with Enmerkar, the grandfather of Gilgamesh.
But of all the 12, the greatest was no doubt Gilgamesh. It is he who is the most comprehensively documented. Even his father and predecessor Lugalbanda pales in comparison to feats wrought by Gilgamesh. Yet Gilgamesh owed his greatness not to he himself as such but to his bosom friend Enkidu, who was genetically engineered into existence by Enki with a view to help mould him into a better person. Before Enkidu’s advent, Gilgamesh was a despicable king who ruled his domain like a thug.
THE CONTENDING FOR BAALBEK
The thunderclap failure by Gilgamesh to obtain immortality did not deter other mortals from trying their luck. In their case though, their pilgrimage was restricted to the Landing Place at Baalbek in modern-day Lebanon, where Gilgamesh, accompanied by his great friend and mentor Enkidu, had his first futile attempt at securing access to a Nibiru-bound shem circa 2860 BC. Tilmun, the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula, was too remote and doubly difficult to access than the Cedar Forest in Lebanon.
Even when the Anunnaki had officially departed Earth, Baalbek remained of great symbolic and religious value compared to Tilmun, which the Anunnaki obliterated with a nuclear blast in 2024 BC, an event we shall relate in detail in due course. Since Baalbek was, courtesy of the saga of Gilgamesh, associated with man’s efforts to live forever, the terrestrial allegory of Heaven (that is, Nibiru), it became a religious monument over which ancient superpowers fought.
When it came under the control of the Greeks in 331 BC, they built a temple they dedicated to their god Zeus, that is, Nannar-Sin, Enlil’s second-born son, who is today best-known as Allah. When the Romans occupied the place in 63 BC, not only did they erect a vast, 4000 ft-above-sea-level horizontal platform there but they also built a temple for the worship of their god Jupiter. Jupiter was actually Enki but the Romans wrongly (or was it deliberately) used the name to refer to Nannar-Sin.
Constantine the Great (A.D. 306-337) upon turning Christian (deceptively) accordingly turned Baalbek into a Christian shrine after scrapping all the works that had been going on there to date. In 440 BC, Roman Emperor Theodosius II “destroyed the temples of the Greeks. He transformed into a Christian church the Temple of Heliopolis (Baalbek as it was called by the Greeks) to that of Baal Helios (Utu-Shamash, Nannar-Sin’s most prominent son)”. In 637 AD, it was the turn of the Muslims, who “converted the Roman temples and Christian churches atop the huge platform into a Mohammedan enclave. Where Zeus and Jupiter had been worshiped, a mosque was built to worship Allah”. The names had changed but it was still the same god, Nannar-Sin.
In the Bible, the prophets Ezekiel and Amos referred to Baalbek as “The Place of the Gods” (note the plural, suggesting that these were the Anunnaki being spoken about) or “The Eden Abode”. At the time, Baalbek was in the hands of the Phoenicians, not the Israelites, but the prophets still venerated it as the holy place of the gods because it had been a space facility of the Anunnaki and was therefore a consecrated place. Rockets, along with a place where rockets landed and took off, were synonymous with the gods or holiness in that rockets were a means by which eternal life could be conferred by way of travel to Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki.
FATE OF THE KING OF BABYLON
Post-Gilgamesh, the mortals who like him set their sight on Baalbek to try their luck at gaining immortality were Nebuchadnezzar, Ithobalus III, and Alexander the Great. We will start with Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar (634-562 BC) was the King of Babylon from 605-562 BC. It was Nebuchadnezzar who presided over the Babylonian captivity – the capture of the Jewish people in 582 BC and heir deportation to Babylon, where they were held for 70 years as punishment by their god Enlil for repeatedly defying his decrees.
Unlike Gilgamesh, Nebuchadnezzar did not set foot on the Baalbek platform or ride in a shem: he was in the process of setting out for Baalbek when he was tactfully intercepted by Ishkur-Adad, Enlil’s third-born son, who at the time was the most powerful Enlilite. Nebuchadnezzar could not be allowed to come near Baalbek, a “holy place”, because he was a protégé of Marduk, an Enkite, and Baalbek was controlled by the Enlilites.
As such, what he planned to do as the most powerful king of the day was force his way to Baalbek, commandeer a shem, and blast off to Nibiru to be conferred eternal life by King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”. But Adad stopped him in his tracks by afflicting him with a disease that made him deranged, roam among animals, feed on grass, and finally die in ignominy. Isaiah’s mockery of Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the throes of death at the time of the pronouncement, is recorded in ISAIAH 14:12-20, which partly reads as follows, with my own comments in brackets:
“O, how fallen from heaven (kingly glory in a mocking way) art thou, a Morning Star, son of Dawn! (literally ‘Shining One’, how the Anunnaki were characterised because of their light-skinned complexion and their surpassing knowledge. This is spoken in jest by the prophet as being an Anunnaki was what Nebuchadnezzar prospectively fancied himself as). Felled to the ground is he who the nations enfeebled.
Thou didst say in thine heart, ‘I will ascend unto the heavens (the cosmos on way to Nibiru), above the planets (the solar system) of El (Enlil) I shall raise my throne. (This is a false accusation: Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Marduk and so there was no way he would have wanted to exalt himself above any of the Anunnaki gods.) On the Mount of Assembly (Baalbek) I shall sit, on the Crest of Zaphon (Baalbek). Upon the Raised Platform (BaaIbek rocket-launch tower) I shall go up (ride in a shem), a Lofty One (an Anunnaki) I shall be!’ But nay, to the Nether World (where evil people go at death) you shalt go, down to the depths of a pit (Hell).”
Tragically, this very earthly incident has been over-spiritualised by the hopelessly ignorant Christian clergy. It has been span as talking about the fall of Satan in Heaven! What hogwash. Why? Because in the Vulgate, a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin by Jerome, one of the church fathers, “Morning Star Son of Dawn” is rendered as “Lucifer”, now a byword for Satan or Devil. But what these same Christian preachers will not admit to you is that Jesus is also referred to as Lucifer in REVELATION 22:16! The term Lucifer thus has no evil connotations whatsoever as it even applies to the planet Venus, the brightest object in the dawn and evening sky. It is the Illuminati who corrupted the term Lucifer to represent prime evil.
FATE OF THE KING OF TYRE
Tyre (today part of Lebanon) was a wealthy Phoenician city on the eastern Mediterranean coast as well as a strategic centre. In the 6th century BC, Ishkur-Adad instructed the prophet Ezekiel to pronounce doom on the King of Tyre. This diatribe against the king is recorded in EZEKIEL 28:12-19. Once again, the Christian clergy have falsely interpreted the above passage as referring to the fall of Satan in Heaven.
According to the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the object of Adad’s wrath was King Ithobalus III of the city-state of Tyre, who reigned from 591-573 BC. This was in the waning days of the Anunnaki’s direct rulership of Earth. As his name implies, Ithobalus (meaning, “With Baal”) was a protégé of Utu-Shamash, who the Canaanites called Baal. Just as he had done with Gilgamesh, Shamash facilitated Ithobalus’s visit to the Baalbek aero-facility but went further: he got him to ride in a shem – a shuttlecraft, not an interplanetary rocket. This time around, Shamash managed to obtain the express blessings of Adad, who was the overall god of Lebanon. So it was under the aegis, ultimately, of Adad, that Ithobalus was allowed to set foot in the Landing Place and board a shem.
But Ithobalus in due course rubbed Adad the wrong way. Having been to Baalbek and having ridden in a shem (but only as far as Earth’s lower orbit, not all the way to Nibiru), Ithobalus became swell-headed: he literally grew wings. He began to boast to mankind that he had now become a god, that is, an Anunnaki. Like the Anunnaki, he bragged, he too had become immortal. This of course was false in that one only became like the Anunnaki (that is, was able to live nearly as long as they did) if he had travelled to Nibiru or partook of either the Rejuvenation Herb (the one that eluded Gilgamesh) or Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of Gold. Ithobalus did none of these.
“Thou hast been to a sacred mount (Baalbek),” Ezekiel said to Ithobalus on behalf of Adad. “As a god (Anunnaki) werest thou, moving within the fiery stones (the shems) … And you became haughty, saying, a god am I, at the place (Baalbek) of the Elohim (the Anunnaki ruling pantheon) I was. But you are just man, not god.”
Because of being so full of himself and for propagating falsehoods, Ithobalus was to die at the hands of strangers. “I will cast you to the ground (be dethroned),” Adad said of Ithobalus through Ezekiel. “I will lay you before kings, that they may behold (mockingly) you … I will bring forth a fire (symbol/metaphor of judgement) from the middle of you (that is, from among his own reign). It shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.” Adad was the cruellest and most irascible of the Anunnaki royalty: once you offended him, you were a goner.
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.