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Friday, 19 April 2024

Abe Shields Space-Related Sites

Columns

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
General Abraham secures Jerusalem and Sinai spaceport, then marches on Egypt

In GENESIS 15:18, this is what we’re informed: “On that day,  Yahweh contracted a covenant with Abram,  saying, ‘To your seed,  I give this land, from the stream of Egypt as far as the Great Stream, the stream Euphrates’.” I wonder how many Christians have read this passage and vividly grasped its implications.

To those who have not, thankfully we’re on hand to lend a hand. In the passage, Yahweh, the Anunnaki supremo Enlil, undertakes to Abraham, his chosen Shepherd-King for the forthcoming astrological Age of Aries, that he would give his offspring a huge swathe of land stretching from   the stream of Egypt to the Great Stream known as the Euphrates. In case you are a newcomer  to this series, the Stream of Egypt was  the name of the Nile River in antiquity.

There are two curious aspects about Enlil’s promise to Abraham. First, why was Abraham rendered such a promise? What did he do to merit it? When  you read the greater context of Genesis 15, you find yourself at a loss. The promise comes after Abraham performs a ritual in which he sacrifices a heifer, a goat, a ram, and a turtledove to Enlil, which Enlil acknowledges with a stove-hot “fiery torch”that consumes the sacrifices.

It is typical of the Genesis writers, when they want to fudge a matter, to obfuscate things so that the reader is left guessing. But the Sumerian chronicles, from which the Genesis writers researched, are more matter-of-fact.  The land in question was promised to Abraham subject to his fulfilling a most momentous assignment – the conquest of northern Egypt.

That brings us to the second curious aspect about the promise.  It is common knowledge that the river Nile is in Egypt. So why were Abraham’s people, the Hebrews or Hebraic Jews, promised a portion of territory that did not belong to them?  Egypt was not a domain of Enlilites: it was a domain of Enkites. Enlil had no hegemonic jurisdiction over Egypt and Abraham was not an Egyptian at all: he was a Sumerian. So why did Enlil include the whole of Egypt east of the Nile River as part of his future bequest to Abraham and his descendents?

Once again, the Bible far from hits the nail squarely on the head.  But the Sumerian accounts and researchers of Egyptian records are much more revealing. At the time of Abraham, northern Egypt was dominated by Hebrews of Indian origin known as the Hyksos. These were Enlil’s people. We have already related that the Hyksos were planted in northern Egypt by Enlil at a time when Abraham was Pope of India and was based in the part of that country known as Maturea. This was a long-term scheme by Enlil to occupy a part of Egypt (and ultimately possibly overrun it altogether) just as Enkites inhabited vast areas of Canaan and regions of Sumer such as Babylon and Eridu.

In 2048 BC, Marduk had with the guileful assistance of the Hittites seized Harran, a Hebrew stronghold,  forcing the whole of Abraham’s family save for Nahor to depart the city.   It was at this stage that Enlil decided on a counter-penetration of Egypt which should culminate in the annexation of northern Egypt by the Hyksos under the command of Abraham.   

ABE WAS A MILITARY GENERAL

Meanwhile, Abraham was on a roll.  Reading Genesis, one gets the impression that Abraham was no more than a phenomenally successful pastoral farmer. A clutch of bible-based movies that have been made over the years also loyally toe this biblical line. Sadly, it’s all disinformation, if not outright bollocks, which is very common in much of the Old Testament. Firstly, Abraham was not a farmland shepherd: he was a member of a highly influential royal and priestly family. Secondly, Abraham was not simply the leader of the Hebrew race: he was an accomplished military general.

Just like every male member of the British royal family has to do service in a branch of the armed forces, Abraham too was trained as a warrior from a very early age. We see this phenomenon even in African history.  Sechele and Kgosidintsi, the foremost BaKwena princes, as well as Khama the Great and Linchwe I  were all trained warriors and played active parts in wars. In AD 70, Flavius Titus, the Roman general who razed Jerusalem to the ground, was the heir to Roman emperor Vespasian.  

According to the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Abraham was at the command of “318 officers under him, with unlimited manpower at his disposal”.  These 318 officers were both his warriors and his personal security detail. Abraham lived n a garrison house and all his soldiers were not only trained by him, with the assistance of Ninurta’s Elamite elite troops,  but were born in the garrison itself.  The Sumerian records also say that Enlil equipped Abraham with “the best chariots, finest horses, 380 well-trained soldiers and weapons that could smite an army of ten thousand men in hours.”

Abraham’s troops were the most formidable of the day. They also were a numerable  force. If, for argument’s sake, each of the 318 officers had 40 men under him, we’re talking of a 12,000-men-strong army. And like his father Terah, Abraham was very well-versed in astronomy and astrology. 

Writes Josephus: “Berosus (the great ancient writer who was once a priest of Marduk) mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he says thus: ‘In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skilful in the celestial science’." Josephus also sets apart Abraham as an extremely wise man.  He was a person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his opinions; for which reason he began to have higher notions of virtue than others had …”
    
GENERAL ABE CONQUERS DAMASCUS
    
When Abraham departed Harran after Marduk was lured into taking the city by Ishkur-Adad, he was accompanied by his father Terah and his nephew Lot, the only son of his departed older brother Haran. At some stage after the death of Haran, Abraham had adopted Lot as his own son, a state of affairs the slanted Genesis authors skirted completely. Says Josephus: “Now Abram, having no son of his own, adopted Lot, his brother Haran's son, and his wife Sarai's brother.”

What that meant was that legally, Abraham was not childless before Isaac was born: he already had a heir in the person of Lot. But as they say, blood is thicker than water and so it was the Isaac factor that largely contributed to a parting of ways between Abraham and Lot, which story we will address at the appropriate time.

When Abraham set off from Harran, he was accompanied by his troops. Enlil’s immediate brief to him was to rush and secure Tilmun, the spaceport, and Jerusalem, the Mission Control  Centre. These two space-related sites were potentially vulnerable to capture by Nabu’s people given that the Canaanites were rallying en masse to Nabu’s banner.

Writes Zechariah Sitchin: “Starting in 2047 BC, the sacred Fourth Region (the Sinai Peninsula, the location of Tilmun) became a target and a pawn in the Enlilite struggle with Marduk and Nabu … The ancient sources indicate that from the safety of the sacred region Nabu ventured to the lands and cities along the Mediterranean coast, even to some Mediterranean islands, spreading everywhere the message of Marduk’s coming supremacy.”

After travelling for about 1000 km, Abraham reached Damascus, in today’s Syria, and noting that it was very strategically located, he decided to take it. Exactly how this conquest panned out is not related in the Bible nor in the familiar Sumerian records.  It is Josephus who enlightens us in this regard. This is what he writes, quoting a certain  historian going by the name Nicolaus of Damascus:  

“Abram reigned at Damascus, being a foreigner, who came with an army out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans: but, after a long time, he removed from that country also, with his people, and went into the land then called the land of Canaan, but now the land of Judea, and this when his posterity were become a multitude … Now the name of Abram is even still famous in the country of Damascus; and there is shown a village named from him, The Habitation of Abram.”

TERAH IS PRIEST-KING OF JERUSALEM

Abraham directly reigned at Damascus throughout 2048 BC. Then at the onset of 2047 BC, he received instructions from Enlil that he proceed to Canaan. Obliging, he installed a viceroy to hold the fort whilst he was away and commenced his trek southwards.    Abraham’s first port of call was Shechem. Located in the middle of vital trade routes, Shechem was a key commercial centre, trading in local grapes, olives, wheat, livestock and pottery.

As important, it was a bastion of the Canaanites, who as we have already indicated gravitated more toward Marduk than Enlilites. Abraham was therefore determined that he convert the city’s population to Enlilite allegiance. As such, he built an altar there which he dedicated to Enlil. A pleased Enlil once again reiterated the promise he had made to him – that he and his people would inherit the entire land of Canaan.

Next, Abraham moved about a few kilometres south of Shechem and a little beyond a small town known as Shiloh. There, about 12 miles north of Jerusalem,  he again built an altar to Enlil in the vicinities of Mount Moriah and its sister mountains Mount Zophim and the famed Mount Zion.  All these three mountains were located around Jerusalem and housed the Anunnaki’s inter-space travel Mission Control Centre. This can easily be gleaned from the very names of the mountains – Mount Moriah meant “Mount of Directing”; Mount Zophim meant “Mount of Observers”; and Mount Zion meant “Mount of Signal”.   The altar Abraham built here he called Beth-El, meaning “God’s House”.

It was at this time that Terah was ordained as the Priest-King, or Melchizedek, of Jerusalem by Enlil. He was 146 years old having been born in 2193 BC.  Note that with substantial Anunnaki blood coursing through his veins, Terah was not walking on a cane or confined to a hammock: he was still fit and his faculties were intact. Unlike other Canaanite cities, Jerusalem was one particular place where the Enlilites had enormous clout.  

Leaving his father in charge of Jerusalem, Abraham proceeded to Hebron (in today’s West Bank), about 30 km south of Jerusalem. Like Shechem, Hebron was an important economic centre owing to its strategic position on the crossroads  between the Dead Sea to the east, Jerusalem to the north, and the Negev Desert and Egypt to the south. Hebron was also significant in two other ways. Firstly,  nestling in the Judean Mountains, it was militarily well-fortified.

Secondly, it was the one place in the whole of Canaan where the Nephilim (also known as Rephaites) were concentrated. The Nephilim were a gigantic race that had resulted from intermarriages between Earthlings and the Igigi. Unlike demigods, who were also part-Anunnaki, part-Earthling, the Nephilim were not treated as royalty but were in fact spurned as a race of rascals because of their predatory and cannibalistic treatment of mankind in the globalwide famine that preceded the Deluge of Noah’s day.

Abraham was desirous that the Nephilim be won over to the Enlilite cause too. Thus at Hebron too, he built an altar to Enlil. Altars were places where homage was paid to a god, the equivalent of today’s churches. They were not temples or synagogues: they were simply platforms.
 
GENERAL ABE SECURES SPACEPORT

Having secured Jerusalem and having accomplished his devotional ends at Hebron, Abraham moved on.  His destination this time around was the Negev Desert, the principal focus of his mission. The Negev, which meant “The Dryness”, a name that suited its aridity, was a parched region where Canaan and the Sinai Peninsula merged.

The specific place Abraham stationed was known as the Oasis of Kadesh-Barnea. Kadesh-Barnea went by several names, which included Ein-Mishpat, Bad-gal-dingir (the name by which Sumerians called it), and Dur-Mah-Ilani (what Sargon the Great called it). Kadesh-Barnea was the gateway to Tilmun, the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula. No Earthling was allowed to go beyond Kadesh-Barnea without special permission from the gods Utu-Shamash or Nannar-Sin.  Kadesh-Barnea was the furthest place Shulgi reached when he militarily campaigned in Canaan.  The iconic Gilgamesh also sought the green light to proceed into Tilmun at Kadesh-Barnea.

From Kadesh-Barnea, there was only one other place to touch before Tilmun. This was El-Paran, meaning “God’s Gloried Place”. Also known as Nakhl, El-Paran was the official retreat of Nannar-Sin and his wife Ningal (from whom the name Nakhl derived). It was an isolated and highly fortified oasis in the great, desolate plain that was the Sinai Peninsula. It was at El-Paran that Sin and Ningal eventually retired post-2024 BC, after the upheavaling of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It was at Kadesh-Barnea that Abraham ensconced himself with his troops, practically ring-fencing the spaceport from possible seizure by Nabu’s forces.  It was whilst Abraham was at Kadesh-Barnea that two things happened. First, Amar-sin was crowned as the new King of Sumer-Akkad, succeeding his father Shulgi, who had died in a death engineered by Enlil the previous year (2048 BC). In Genesis, Amar-Sin is referred to as “Amraphel King of Shinar,” Shinar being the Hebrew name for Sumer.  As can easily be gleaned from his theophoric name, Amar-Sin (meaning “Adorer of Sin”) was a protégé of the god Nannar-Sin. Second, Abraham received new instructions from Enlil. He was to advance on northern Egypt, sever it from the rest of Egypt, and append it to Canaan.

GENERAL ABE SETS FOR EGYPT

Regarding Abraham’s foray into Egypt, the Bible does own up on the event. It does state unequivocally that from the Negev Desert Abraham did head for Egypt.  The  story is related from GENESIS 12:10-13:2. The passage says Abraham left the Negev for Egypt to seek grain there as there was famine in Canaan. Josephus echoes it very closely in the following words:

“Now, after this, when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan, and Abram had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing condition, he was disposed to go down to them, both to partake of the plenty they enjoyed, and to become an auditor of their priests, and to know what they said concerning the gods; designing either to follow them, if they had better notions than he, or to convert them into a better way, if his own notions proved the truest.”

What emerges as curious is that  when Abraham gets to Egypt, he’s received not by agricultural traders but by a Pharaoh. Even more curious, when Abraham returns from Egypt, he is not accompanied by wagons of grain or any other agricultural produce. Instead, what we’re told is that he emerges from Egypt as a filthy rich man – “heavily stocked with cattle, with silver and with gold”.  

Clearly, there’s more than meets the eye, which the Genesis writers deliberately left out. They do not even state how long Abraham stayed in Egypt because had they done so, the readers would have become curious as to why a person who left in an emergency situation (in the midst of famine and the vital safeguarding of the all-important spaceport)  should have taken so long in a foreign country.

It is only when we turn to the Egyptian records and read intimations  in the Sumerian chronicles that we get the  true circumstances of Abraham’s journey to Egypt.  The insights we thus again are that the Genesis story took place when Abraham travelled from northern Egypt (ironically called Lower Egypt in Egyptian chronicles) to  southern Egypt (equally referred to as Upper Egypt in Egyptian chronicles). At the time, Abraham was no longer a Canaan-based military general: in what turns out to be one of the Bible’s best-kept secrets, Abraham  was a Pharaoh of a part of Egypt.

NEXT WEEK: ABRAHAM’S FORAY INTO EGYPT

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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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