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Inanna Topples Enlil!

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   

Jehovah’s authority over Earth usurped by his own wacko granddaughter

Returning to the Esagil, Marduk’s temple-residence, Marduk took his visiting brother Nergal straight to a “sacred” chamber called the Shuanna.  Shuanna means “A Celestially  Supreme  Place”. It was a high-tech chamber Marduk and his priests had set up to study and observe the cosmic scene.

When dusk came, Marduk sat down Nergal in the Shuanna and using both computer simulations and viewing instruments demonstrated to him that the Age of the Ram “is upon us” and therefore his time to replace Enlil as Earth’s sovereign had arrived.  “The heavens my supremacy bespeak,” Marduk said.  “The coming Age of the Ram, my sign, my rule proclaims.” As such, he would no longer depart Babylon but would await  his coronation there. He was not  imposing himself on the Earthly  perch: it all was in keeping with  the sequence of Enlilship as agreed between the Enkites and Enlilites just after the Deluge courtesy of the enigmatic Galzu’s decree.

Nergal immediately countered Marduk’s assertion that his  time had fallen due: he put it to him that his instruments were inaccurate. At the Eanna, Inanna’s palace at Uruk, he and Inanna had sat in the Ehalanki, the equivalent of the Shuanna, and using its equally sophisticated instruments had ascertained that  the Age of the Ram was nowhere near, that Taurus was still in progress. “The backdrop of the evening sky is still dominated by the constellation of Taurus,” Nergal insisted to Marduk. “Whilst you are entitled to succeed after Enlil, you cannot do so way ahead of schedule. Taurus has to completely vanish from the night sky before you exercise your right.”

Marduk thought that was nonsensical. He argued that an astrological Age lasted 2160 years and if they were to go by that reckoning, his accession was only about 75 years down the road given that the present year was 2295 BC and Aries was mathematically scheduled for 2220 BC. True, Taurus, being one of the largest constellations (it occupies more than 30 degrees of the celestial arc) was always visible for an extra 200 years (which meant it physically hovered for 2360 years) but it unjustly stole into Aries’ time. It was time that anomaly was righted by adhering strictly  to celestial time (the mathematical 2160-year maximum)  and not to zodiacal time (the actual time a constellation lingered in the skies).   

NERGAL CONVINCES HIS BROTHER TO EXIT BABYLON

It was a stalemate. Nergal said he was the one who was right and Marduk was adamant it was he who was right. In a situation like this, it was Marduk who had the advantage in that he was already ensconced in Babylon and had so fortified and equipped it  it was virtually impossible to dislodge him short of bombarding him into submission. But at this stage, the Anunnaki were tired of warring against each other and warfare was out of the question.    

Nergal thought quickly and came up with an  idea that could wheedle Marduk out of Babylon. “Okay, my brother you win,” he said. “But if you have to become the new Enlil, you need the relevant insignias and instruments of authority. You need the Holy Sceptre. You need the Oracle of the Gods, the mechanism with which to decree fates. Finally, you need the Radiating Stone which disintegrates everything (what we today call the nuclear button that is vested in the head of state). These have been entrusted to my custody.

I therefore urge  that you travel to the Abzu (in southern Africa where Nergal reigned) and collect them yourself as no one  else can do so in your stead. That done, you can return to Babylon just at the precise time when the Age of the Ram mathematically commences. Then you will have nobody opposing you, not Enlil, not Inanna.” Clearly, Nergal was spinning a yarn here. Enlil simply wouldn’t have deposited such vital instruments of Earthly authority to Nergal: no ruler in his right mind would do such a thing for as long as he was on the throne. But Marduk naively  trusted his brother, who had given him the impression he looked forward to an Enkite rising to supremacy. And when Marduk contacted Enlil for confirmation, Enlil indeed affirmed Nergal’s claim.

It was game, set and match: Marduk prepared to set off for Africa. Since Marduk would be gone for 75 years and as always he would be accompanied by his heir Nabu, whose gift of the gab and incisive thinking he valued greatly, who would rule Babylon in his stead whilst he was away? Who would ensure the exhaustive hydrological infrastructure he had laid down and “other works of wonder” operated in good nick?

“If anything goes amiss,” Marduk warned his brother, “the day shall be turned into darkness, the flow of river waters shall be disarrayed, the lands shall be laid to waste, the people will be made to perish.” In order to forestall such an eventuality, Marduk needed somebody with his industry and round-the-clock vigilance to rule in his absence.

Nergal was quick to offer his services. He said he would proficiently hold fort, seeing to it that everything was spick and span. Nergal’s assurance was convincing and after consultations with Enki and Nabu, Marduk accepted Nergal’s offer. “He’s family,” Enki said to Marduk. “You have had differences with him in the past for sure but this is not about Marduk or Nergal: it’s about our legacy as Enkites. Trust me, Nergal will make good on his undertaking.”

Before Marduk departed, he called a ceasefire in his hostilities with Inanna. Then after a lull of about a month, he ordered his engineers to restore water to all the lands of Sumer with immediate effect.  Shortly thereafter, he and Nabu and a retinue of aides and security men numbering in the hundreds  set course for the “Land of Mines” as Africa was referred to.  The year was circa 2295 BC.

NERGAL OCCASIONS DISASTER IN SUMER

For a few months, all was well in Babylon and the wider Sumer. Water was aplenty and irrigated agriculture was on a roll. Then all  hell broke loose. It seemed Nergal had fooled everybody and was simply biding his time. At exactly the precise time he and his equally diabolical ally Inanna appointed, Nergal  went into the Babylon control room in an underground chamber and ordered his men to wreck the intuitive, high-tech device that regulated the water reticulation system as well as the power supply (to the homes and facilities of the Anunnaki gods only)   throughout Sumeria.  “Nergal tore the luminescent radiating stone that gave the system energy from its socket and from its machine links.”  

It was a disaster. “Marduk’s devices stopped humming. Lights went out.”  Exactly as Marduk had warned, “the day turned into darkness (metaphorically speaking), the fields and canals dried out: parts of Sumer flooded," and soon "the lands were laid to waste, the people were made to perish."  Nergal had in his rage paralysed the fiefs of the very council of Enlilite gods  who had sent him to oust Marduk. It was like he had scored an own goal but did he care?

Nergal had calculated that all that would be sabotaged was Babylon only, so that the people would think they had been booby-trapped by Marduk when he left the city and as such rise against him once and for all.  But all the cities of Sumer were affected. “The people made sacrifices to Anu and Ishtar but to no avail: the water sources went dry." Soon all the gods other than Ishtar had subjected Nergal to angry tirades and Enki was implored to travel to Babylon and ram sense into his second-born son. The Babylonians were up in arms and were baying for Nergal’s blood, calling for the urgent return of Marduk, whose present whereabouts were not known.  

When Enki turned up at the Esagil, he was spitting fire. “What on Earth have you done?” he demanded of Nergal. “What a letdown you have been! To think I spoke so glowingly about you to Prince Marduk!” With Nergal unable to give an intelligible account of what had transpired, Enki gave him the marching orders straightaway. “Go away! Take off to where no gods ever go!" Enki also ordered that the golden statue that had been sculpted to Nergal’s honour not be set up at all in the Esagil as he had turned out to be such a disgrace.

With his powerful father quivering with rage, Nergal had no option but to depart Babylon but not without a spectacular parting shot: he destroyed all of Marduk’s personal effects and set fire to the Esagil. Nergal also ensured a sizeable number of his followers, the Gutians/Kutheans, remained stationed in Babylon and Agade, the former to see to it that Babylon remained subdued and the latter to bolster Inanna. Then he trekked back to Kutha, his Sumerian base, which was not very far from Babylon.    

INANNA EXALTS HERSELF ABOVE ANU AND ENLIL

About four years after Nergal was driven away from Babylon by Enki, a virtual leadership void ensued in the major regions of the world. Enlil travelled to Mars. Ninurta went to do business in “the lands beyond the ocean”, today’s South America. Marduk, after discovering that Nergal had sent him on a wild goose chase, decided to go to the Antarctica, where he was to remain for years, once again living up to his epithet of Amon, meaning “The Obscure One”. Ishkur-Adad was his typically aloof and indifferent self; Nannar-Sin his usual calm, collected, and withdrawn self.  Utu-Shamash was busy running the space-related facilities.  

Inanna thought this state of affairs presented an opportunity for her to step into the breach and assume supremacy over all Earth. First, she sat down to consider a new Earthling king who would do her bidding and assist her crusade to seize all the principal lands of the world. This person had to come from the Sargon bloodline naturally. After Sargon had died, she had replaced him with his eldest son Rimush on the throne of Agade. He ruled for only 9 years, having been killed by “his servants”. His younger brother Manishtushu took over as regent but he too lasted for only 15 years: he was killed in a “palace revolt”.  Inanna then installed Manishtushu’s  son in office.  

The new King of Agade was called Naram-Sin. His name meant “Beloved of Sin”, Inanna’s father Nannar-Sin.  Indeed, Naram-Sin’s daughter Enmenanna would in future succeed Sargon’s daughter Enheduanna as high-priestess of Nannar-Sin.  But Naram-Sin should ideally have been called “Beloved of Ishtar” in that Inanna had doted on him since he was a little kid as he showed the potential to be as great as his grandfather Sargon, whereas Rimush and Manishtushu were largely inclined toward peaceful co-existence with other nations, the reason they had been reluctant to wage war.

Inanna’s brief to Naram-Sin was that he should “seek   grandeur and greatness by ceaseless conquest and destruction of my enemies” with a view to expanding her empire. This time around, Inanna was not going to do pinpricks in her quest for world domination: she was going for the jugular. And in Naram-Sin, she had a most loyal and dutiful servant.

NARAM-SIN CONQUERS EGYPT, SEIZES SPACE-RELATED SITES

In his heyday, Sargon had his share of conquests under the aegis of Inanna, but he was wary that he did not encroach on the territories of either the Enkites or the most powerful Enlilites. For instance, he did not seize the Sinai Peninsula. He did not march into African lands. And in Sumer itself, he steered clear of Lagash, Ninurta’s cult city, and Babylon, Marduk’s domain.  The only sensitive area he captured was Baalbek.

Not so with Naram-Sin. His first target prize was Canaan. He captured Jerusalem, the Mission Control Centre; Jericho, the city of “Moon God” Nannar-Sin; and at long last the entire Sinai Peninsula, where Tilmun, the spaceport, was located. Having registered this triumph, Naram-Sin was so euphoric he depicted himself on a stella standing by a rocketship, as if to say he had now attained godly status. Thereafter, he ran rampage through the lands along the Mediterranean Sea to eventually annex Baalbek. “As a Flying Goddess, Inanna was quite familiar with the place,” say the Sumerian records.  “She burnt down the great gates of the mountain and, after a brief siege, obtained the surrender of the troops guarding it: they disbanded themselves willingly."

Naram-Sin mixed seizing supremacy with suppression of rebellions. The two Syrian cities of Arman (Aleppo) and Ebla (Tell Mardikh) were particularly stubborn. Naram-Sin set them ablaze and went on to boast that he was the first king to destroy these two great cities.  “Never since the time of the creation of mankind did any king whatever set Arman and Ebla to sword and fire,” he wrote in his annals. In fact, he so poisoned the lands of Lebanon by way of chemical warfare that future invading eastern kings scrupulously avoided it for the next one thousand years!

Having overrun the whole of Canaan, Lebanon, and Syria, Naram-Sin now set his sights on the lands of Marduk – Magan (Egypt) and Meluhha (Sudan and Ethiopia). Marduk was still away in the Antarctica and Nergal was the one flexing muscles over these lands. Since Nergal and Inanna were at once political allies and bedfellows, Naram-Sin did not break a sweat at all. At the say-so of Inanna, Naram-Sin had gone out of his way to  lionise Nergal with a view to a smooth landing in Egypt.

Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “The long text known as The Kuthean Legend of Naram-Sin (or, as it is sometimes called, The King of Kutha Text) attests that Naram-Sin went to  Kutha, Nergal's cult centre, and erected there a stela to which he affixed an ivory tablet inscribed with the tale of this unusual visit, all to pay homage to Nergal. The recognition by Naram-Sin of Nergal's power and influence well beyond Africa is attested by the fact that in treaties made between Naram-Sin and provincial rulers in Elam (west and southwest Iran), Nergal is invoked among the witness gods.

And in an inscription dealing with Naram-Sin's march to the Cedar Mountain in Lebanon, the king credited Nergal (rather than Ishkur-Adad) with making the achievement possible.” But Naram-Sin’s main trump card was Inanna, who guided, urged on, and armed him with her ''awesome weapons”.  Naram-Sin marched against three major kings of Marduk’s African regions and captured them in person, making a show of them as he thrust further into Marduk territory.

INANNA IS THE NEW ENLIL!

Inanna was on a roll. She was literally spitting fire. Such was her military might that she was virtually untouchable, with fellow gods in dread of her. Said a hymn that eulogised her.  “The great Anunnaki gods fled before you like fluttering bats. They could not stand before your fearsome face, could not soothe your angry heart."  Whereas before she launched her worldwide campaign she was called “Beloved of Enlil" and “One who carries out the instructions of Anu”, and portrayed in imagery as an enticing Goddess of Love, in the annexed territories she was now   depicted as a ruthless and savage conqueror, as a Goddess of War bristling  with weapons,  on  rock engravings.

For donkeys’ years now, she had been based in Agade since the days of Sargon the Great. Her erstwhile temple-abode in Uruk, the Eanna, she had vacated and re-commissioned as a sacred monument to King Anu of Nibiru. Now she targeted this “house of irresistible charm” for dismantling so as to bring to an end its standing as a symbol of Anu’s authority.  She set about knocking it down brick by brick whilst she assaulted its staff and threw them behind bars where they defied her.

But she was not yet done. She wanted to be the Goddess of Earth and therefore she needed to send a strong message to her grandfather Enlil, the reigning God of Earth, that she was now the Mistress of the Realm. Accordingly, she ordered Naram-Sin to storm the Ekur in Nippur. This was Enlil’s temple-residence.   Descending on the unguarded city, Naram-Sin crushed all who had served Enlil and “like a bandit he plundered it”.

Then arriving at the Ekur, he “erected large ladders against the House, smashed his way in, entered its Holy of Holies.” Extracting the Holy Vessels of an absent Enlil, Naram-Sin cast them into a blazing bonfire.  Then he “forged great axes, sharpened double-edged axes of destruction, levelled the Ekur down to the foundation of the land.” That done, he “docked large boats at the quay by the House of Enlil, and carried off the possessions of the city." The sacrilege, the coup against the all-powerful Enlil, was complete.

With the job done, Inanna declared herself the “Supreme Queen” and also assumed a new name, Anat, meaning “(Ruler) of the Cosmos”. In other words, not even King Anu had authority over her anymore. She would be, so she boasted in earnest, “greater than the mother who gave birth to me, even greater than Anu.”  She even countermanded all rules, regulations,   laws, and ordinances Enlil had promulgated for the planet and announced a new World Order in which her word would hold sway.  “The heavenly Kingship was seized by a female!" says a Sumerian text. "lnanna changed the rules of Holy Anu!"

Naram-Sin too did not shrink  from  lapping up his moment of glory. He declared himself “King of the Four Regions”. These were Sumer (the First Region); Egypt (the Second Region); the Indus Valley (The Third Region); and the Sinai Peninsula (The Fourth Region), all of which together constituted the nerve centre of the planet. He proceeded to proclaim himself a god and appropriated all the trappings of godship (Anunnakiship), donning a horned headdress in mimicry of the gods.

He called himself Dingir.Naram-Sin, meaning “Divine Naram-Sin”. This title was reserved for the Anunnaki but it was also conferred as a honorary title on a demigod subject to the approval of Enlil. In Naram-Sin’s case, it was bestowed by Inanna, the new Enlil!
Would Enlil and King Anu take all this lying down?

NEXT  WEEK: INANNA IN  LEAGUE WITH THE LIZARD RACE!

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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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