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Alexanders Turn

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER    

World conqueror seeks immortality ala Gilgamesh but only to die at age 33

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) is almost unanimously acknowledged as history’s greatest military general. Having succeeded to the throne of the Greek Kingdom of Macedonia on the demise of his father King Phillip II in 336 BC, he went on to conquer the whole of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East – all lands that were deemed the hub of the mainstream world at the time. What is even more remarkable is that he accomplished these feats at the tender age of only 33!

There are two aspects to the breathtaking saga of Alexander.  There is the aspect that historians treat as viable history. Then there is the aspect they dismiss as pure myth or fantastical embellishment. This you will never find in the pages of one, single institutional textbook. Why? Because it talks about gods, angels, paradise, oracular visits, etc, which your modern historian simply would not reconcile with his myopic, single-track view of literal history.

To your university educated historian, gods, angels and paradise have supernatural connotations and therefore would not be part and parcel of this temporal world. How ignorant! For the gods and angels even of the Bible were not ethereal beings, now we know courtesy of the Sumerian tablets: they were flesh-and-blood beings like you and I. Clearly therefore, the gods and angels who feature in the Alexander story were not metaphysical beings: they were Anunnaki, finish and klaar.

What do we learn from the Sumerian chronicles in relation to the character and morality of the gods, as the Anunnaki were called? A typical blot about them was that they were unashamedly promiscuous – on the basis of our concept of morality as mankind, that is. For example, they fathered children with human queens or such members of the nobility behind the back of the king or some such aristocratic spouse, perhaps not so much for simple lust as for politically strategic purposes.

A case in point is Enki’s fathering of Noah by Lamech’s wife Batanash.  As a result, even during the era of the pharaohs, a number of them claimed they were demigods because they were surreptitiously fathered by gods. It turns out that in the case of Alexander too, King Phillip was his father in name only. His real father was a god, an Anunnaki.   

GREEK GOD ZEUS WAS NANNAR-SIN

Let us first of all demonstrate that the Greek gods and the Old Testament gods were one and the same but known by different names. In fact, the names were not different as such: they were simply linguistic variations of the same name. But the bottom line is that both the Greek and Old Testament  gods were Anunnaki.

The Greeks did not believe in only one god. In fact, no ancient  civilisations worshipped or revered one god. Even the Old Testament gods, it is now common knowledge, were disparate entities merged into the compound term Jehovah: that  we have demonstrated in our earlier articles. Even our primordial ancestors as Africans invoked not Modimo (Setswana for God) but Badimo (the living dead as a collective).  The  unitarisation of Badimo into Modimo is a recent fad.

The Greeks had a pantheon of twelve gods they called Olympians. At the head of these gods was Zeus. Who was Zeus? He was said to be the “King of the Gods”. In Sumerian records, the King of the  Gods was Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, the ruler of the planet Nibiru. But in Greek theology, Anu  was known as Uranus and he was said to be the father of Kronos, who in turn was the father of Zeus. Kronus thus was  the equivalent of Enlil in the Anunnaki pantheon. What that entails is that Zeus was the king of gods who were based on Earth,  not the cosmic king of the gods like Uranus was.   However, in the Anunnaki pantheon,  the king of gods on Earth was Enlil, or Kronus in Greek theology, not Zeus. So, who was the real ruler of Earth: Zeus or Enlil?

If you have been reading the Earth Chronicles, you will have noted that as the BC era wound down, Enlil, who was Earth’s initial Chief Executive, began to retreat from centre stage and delegated his duties mainly to Nannar-Sin, his second-born son. Thus to the Enlilites or people who worshipped Enlilite gods, Nannar-Sin was the de facto King of the Gods. So was Nannar-Sin equivalent to the Greek’s Zeus?

Literally,  the term Zeus, in its original rendering,  meant “He Who Is Here”. When addressed to a god, it meant  “The One (a title for a divine being) Who Rules Here on Earth”. In short, this is “Earth Lord”,  “Ruler of the World”, or “God of Earth”. The biblical term Jehovah is best explained in some African languages, one of which is setswana. In setswana, it is “Ye-o-fa”, meaning “The One Who is Here”.  Thus Jehovah and Zeus meant the same thing – the divine ruler of Earth.

Now, Greek theology tells us Zeus had scores of children  but the most significant were the twins Apollo and Artemis, a boy and girl. In the Sumerian  accounts, these, as we have explained, are Utu-Shamash and Inanna-Ishtar, the  children of Nannar-Sin. The Sumerian chronicles also tell us that Nannar-Sin had upwards of 70 children, the reason he was also known as Aten or Adonai in the Bible, both  of which meaning “The Fertile One” in a reproductive sense. Zeus, it emerges, was Nannar-Sin. But was it Nannar-Sin who was the real father of Alexander the Great? Certainly Not. Alexander’s real father was Marduk, the son of the great god Enki.       

A  GOD IN DISGUISE COMES TO TOWN

One day before Alexander was born, an impressive-looking personage called at the courts of King Phillip with an entourage that was of kingly proportions.  This dignitary identified himself as Nectanebo II Pharaoh of Egypt.    Nectanebo II ruled Egypt from 360-342 BC. Those days, there were no pictures, no phones, and no telex, fax, or email  and so it was easy for somebody to present themselves as somebody else, which this dignitary actually did. For he was not Nectanebo but the god Ammon. Ammon was the name by which Egyptians called Marduk.

Marduk’s intention was not simply to pay a courtesy call on Phillip. He wanted to plant his own seed in the very bosom of the Greek monarchy. At the time, that is, during the astrological age of Aries (2220 to 60 BC), Marduk was the Enlil, Earth’s Chief Executive (how that came to be we will dwell upon in future articles) and so was a very powerful figure. Marduk had calculated that the Greek empire was going to emerge as the mightiest on the globe and so he wanted Phillip’s heir to carry his genes. At least in this one regard, he tore a page from his father Enki’s amatory manual. Thus it was that as guest of Phillip, Marduk seduced his queen Olympias and the rest as they say is history: Alexander came to be.

When Alexander was born, Phillip was shocked at the “godly” features of his son, just like Lamech was startled by the Anunnaki-like features of the newly-born Noah. He launched into an investigation straightway and learnt that the man who had visited his palace was actually not Pharaoh Nectanebo II but the god Marduk in disguise. He now understood why Alexander looked the way he did. Since Marduk was the overall Lord of Earth, there was nothing Phillip could do about his bastard son other than to recognise him as his own.

Phillip, however, did not take the matter lying down. He kept accusing his wife of adultery and in fact went on to marry a second wife, the daughter of a Macedonian nobleman. Thus Alexander grew up aware of the scandalous circumstances of his birth. It is probable that King Phillip did make intimations of an intention to disinherit him for his assassination in 336 BC by one of his bodyguards remains a mystery. It need not be: Alexander and his mother Olympias obviously had a hand in it. Phillip was killed just after welcoming a new son with his second wife – a future threat to Alexander’s prospects of ascending to the throne.   

GO TO EGYPT, DELPHIC ORACLE URGES ALEXANDER

The first thing Alexander sought to do when he succeeded to the throne was to clear genetic uncertainties about  himself. Was he indeed the son of a god or that was no more than idle rumour? It is probable that his mother did own up to him as to who his real father was but he wanted hard facts. And if he was indeed the son of a god, then he would seek that god and ask to be conferred immortality.  Alexander’s teacher was Aristotle and Aristotle had related to him The Epic of Gilgamesh, which served to spur his own quest.  

In order to get a definite  answer to his own conundrum, Alexander journeyed to Delphi on Mt. Parnassus near the Gulf of Corinth. Delphi was a religious sanctuary, a temple, where important people went to consult the god Apollo (Utu-Shamash) through a priestess known as the Sibyl. When the Sybyl spoke, she first broke to Alexander the most unsavoury piece of news – that he would be a great man but he was not favoured with length of years: he’d die at a very young age. That really jolted the young king, who was only 20 at the time.

Then Alexander asked her whether he was the son of a god as it was rumoured in the palace precincts. The Sybil knew the answer to that question but she equivocated: she was the priestess not of Marduk but of Utu-Shamash and so she didn’t wish to embroil herself in matters relating to Marduk.  So she told him that if he wanted the answer to that question, he should travel to the Oasis of Siwa in Egypt, about 300 miles west of the Nile and engage with the priests there. In Egypt, Marduk was the main god, whereas in Europe it was mainly Nannar-Sin and Utu-Shamash.

ALEXANDER ROUTS THE PERSIANS

With the knowledge that his would be a short life, Alexander was not deflated as such: instead, he made it a point that he was going to dedicate a lot of effort to seeking the Elixir of Life. He also undertook to attain great military accomplishments before he died. With this volition, he devoted himself to forging a mighty military machine with which to conquer the whole wide world. In the process, he spent more time with his forces than at the reins.

In the next two years, he united the various Greek states, who had been feuding with each other, under the banner of his own city-state,   Macedonia. He trained them thoroughly and rigorously and in 334 BC, they were ready to take on the then superpower of the day, the Persians, who in the past had made repeated inroads into Greek territories and often had the edge. The immediate prizes to be gained were Asia Minor and the lucrative sea lanes in the eastern Mediterranean, both of which were under the Persian sphere of influence. Alexander was at the head of 15,000 elite foot and horse-mounted soldiers.

It was Europe’s first armed invasion of Asia. In the initial battle, the Persians, like the Greeks’ a confederate army led by Darius III, were repulsed as far as today’s Turkish-Syrian border. Then in the autumn of 333 BC, the Persians regrouped and launched a counterattack in what became known as the Battle of Issus. The counter-offensive backfired: Alexander captured the royal tent but Darius himself slipped through his fingers and retreated to Babylon, the then capital of the Persian Empire, which stretched all the way from Asia Minor, now seized by Alexander, to India.  

Had Alexander pressed on and chased after the remnants of the Persian army and their now unnerved king, it would have been all over since the great Greek general had thrown quite a scare into them. But Alexander called a halt to the advance and ordered his troops to head south. The destination was Egypt. His generals were astounded, but what they didn’t know was that Alexander was pursuing two purposes at once – the conquest of the world and the quest for the Plant of Eternal Youth with a view to prolonging his life and therefore nullifying the prophecy of the Delphic oracle.

ALEXANDER CONFIRMED AS MARDUK’S SON

Arriving in Egypt in 332 BC, Alexander expected the Persian viceroys who ruled Egypt to fight to the death but that was not to be: instead, the Persian garrison downed arms and euphorically welcomed him as their new King. Alexander then embarked on a three-week desert trek to the Oasis of Siwa, the seat of a renowned oracle of Marduk, in heed of the Delphic oracle’s ordinance.   The priests of Siwa indeed assured him that he was the son of Marduk, or Ammon as he was known in Egypt.

When Alexander broke these good tidings to the Egyptians, he was crowned as their Divine Pharaoh in a temple in Thebes.  To mark this occasion and to celebrate his now borne-out demigod status, Alexander issued new silver coins depicting him with  a ram’s horns. He henceforth became known in Egypt as the Lord of the Two Horns. The ram horns were in deference to Marduk, who was known as the Ram-God in that he presided over Aries, the astrological age of the Ram.

Having been confirmed as a demigod, Alexander now regarded his quest for immortality as a right and not simply a privilege. Once again, he had asked the priests of Siwa as to how he could get access to what he called the “Waters of Life”.  The priests, who respected him but were not in awe of him, simply told him that he should first go to Karnak and from there proceed to a “land south of Egypt” (today’s Sudan) and there meet Queen Candace for further instructions. 

According to Zechariah Sitchin, the significance of Karnak arose from the fact that it was “a venerated religious centre since the third millennium BC.  Karnak was a conglomeration of temples, shrines and monuments to Ammon built by generations of Pharaohs. One of the most impressive and colossal structures was the temple built by Queen Hatshepsut more than a thousand years before Alexander's time. And she too was said to have been a daughter of the god Ammon, conceived by a queen whom the god had visited in disguise!”

ALEXANDER MEETS ENOCH AND ELIJAH BUT DRAWS A BLANK

Queen Candace has been  described as one "whose beauty no living man could praise sufficiently”. But it was not her beauty Alexander was after: it was the secret of immortality. It is not clear in the Alexander chronicles whether she too had sought the Fountain  of Youth, but she did have an idea as to where it could be found and accordingly gave Alexander the directions and protocols of approach to  the place she described as a "the wonderful cave where the gods congregate."  He was instructed to “to seek out a certain mountain with subterranean passageways in the Sinai Peninsula for angelic encounters”, an echo of the route Gilgamesh took 2500 years before.  

Following the directions given him, Alexander and a few of his trusted companions  reached Mt Mashu in the Sinai Peninsula and there he was met by “winged men”, that is, Anunnaki astronauts who were manning a gate. Apparently, they were content with his  bonafides for they gave him the green light. Like Gilgamesh, he travelled in  a dark subterranean tunnel for 12 days  and nights, whereupon he met an “angel” who had a flaming fire in a place  with a star-lit haze and shining rooftops. The angels or gods, who had eyes that emitted beams of light,  were being served by solemn and silent humans. Alexander himself described the place as “where Paradise, which is the Land of the Living, is situated, the abode where the saints dwell."

The angel asked him, “Who art thou, and for what reason art thou here, O mortal?” Alexander identified himself and answered that he had come in  search of  the Waters of Life so that he might drink of them and evade his fate, having been told by  the oracle of Delphi that he had but a short time to live. The angel’s response was blunt and rather disquieting. He said, “"You shall live upon dying, thus not dying.” In other words, there would  be no immortality for him: only eternal post-mortem life as was the destiny of every mortal.

Alexander nonetheless insisted that he wanted to know more about the secrets of Heaven. The Angel then took him to another section of Paradise, where he found two men whose faces “were bright, their teeth whiter than milk.  Their eyes shone brighter than the morning star;  they were lofty of stature, of gracious look." One of the two, who lay in a couch, “was draped in a coverlet inlaid with gold and precious stones, and above it, worked in gold, were branches of a vine, having its cluster of grapes formed of jewels.” The two men are named as Enoch and Elijah, of whom even the Bible makes a point of informing us that they never died but went straight to “Heaven”.

The two saints told Alexander that God had “hidden us from death” in this place, “the City of the Storehouse of Life from where the Bright Waters of Life emanate”. On his part, Enoch, who  was the senior of the two,  re-affirmed what the angel had told him and proceeded to serve the warning that, “Do not pry into the mysteries of God: be content with  your lot.”

Alexander left Paradise a downcast man. He now set his sights on meeting Marduk in person so that he pleads his case with “my father”. Sadly, by the time Alexander conquered Babylon and met Marduk, the god was dead. And in the case of Alexander himself, the priestess of Delphi’s prophecy was fulfilled: he died, following a short illness,  on June 11, 323 BC, at the tender age of 33. As with Gilgamesh before him, the Plant of Rejuvenation completely eluded him.

NEXT  TIME: INANNA ON RAMPAGE

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GONE FISHING

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!

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“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.”

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

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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.

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