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David The Last Pharaoh

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

    

Israel’s most famous king ruled in both  Egypt and Palestine

Circa 1413 BC, Jacob, aged 550 years, lay on his death bed in Egypt, which was now administered by his youngest son Iu-Sif, Joseph in English, Yuya in Arabic. Although this was about 115 years since the Hykso-Hebrews were driven out of northern Egypt (I-Sira-El) to Canaan, the memory of the event was still vivid in Jacob’s waning but far from senile mind, particularly the abominable deed that led to this outcome.  This was the murder of southern Egypt’s black Pharaoh, Seqenenre Tao II,  by Jacob’s own kids,  Simeon and Levi.

The ejection of the Hyksos from Egypt after a protracted see-saw war had greatly incensed Enlil-Jehovah as it resulted from a unnecessary provocation of southern Egypt by Simeon and Levi. The regrettable aftermath was that there no longer was an I-Sira-El (“El’s Shield”) in Egypt. Remember, I-Sira-El was vital because it denied the indigenous Egyptians,  Marduk’s people, direct access to the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula and to Canaan as a whole.

It was a kind of Iron Curtain between southern Egypt and Canaan. At the time of Jacob’s death, the spaceport was of course no longer in existence. But Jacob was still wroth about Simeon’s  and Levi’s macabre  deed, and so was Enlil, who simply never let bygones be bygones.  More than 115 years after the event, it was now payback  time on the part of Simeon and Levi..

First, Jacob blessed his other sons. When it finally was the turn of Simeon and Levi, he refrained totally; instead, he pronounced a curse upon them.  Jacob was in fact so disdainful of his two sons that he did not even address them directly. This is what the dying patriarch said to the duo as captured in GENESIS 49:5-6:  “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.  O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall.”

Jacob withheld blessings in respect of Simeon and Levi because they were “instruments of cruelty” who in the pursuit of self-serving interests had murdered  a man and “dug down a wall”. This man was not an ordinary man: he was Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II of southern Egypt. “Digging down a wall’ is a metaphor  for the Iron Curtain Simeon and Levi caused to be brought down when  Tao’s sons Kamose and Ahmose  ejected the Hyksos from northern Egypt and united the country into one pro-Marduk domain.  

Have you  ever wondered why the Jewish royal line is traced through Judah, the fourth-born, and not any of his three older brothers?   Why was the first principal  Jewish domain in Canaan named after Judah and why is Jesus sometimes referred to as the Lion of Judah?  Now you know the answer: Judah leapfrogged Simeon and Levi in the Jacobite succession because his two immediate older brothers were cursed. Of course Genesis tells some rather unflattering story about Reuben,  but it is pure hogwash: Reuben was nearly 300 years dead when Simon and Levi provoked that comeuppance from Kamose and Ahmose. There is as much legend in the Bible as there is truth.     

In the course of time, however, the Levites for one did redeem themselves. They were  entrusted the  temple priesthood by their god Enlil and took it  upon themselves to document the history of  the  Jews, which they did embellish here and there anyway.  The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, were not written by Moses: they were written by the Levites.      

HYKSO-HEBREWS USE JOSEPH AS TROJAN HORSE TO REGAIN RULE OF EGYPT!

Having lost northern Egypt in the time of southern Egypt pharaohs Kamose and Ahmose, the Hykso-Hebrews did not take the matter lying down. They once again regrouped and came up with a strategy to win it back by sleight of hand. This strategy took the form of Joseph, Jacob’s older son with his most beloved wife Rachel (the other son was Benjamin). Since we will talk about Joseph in detail at the appropriate time, here we will simply dwell on him superficially.

Firstly, be informed that Joseph was not sold into slavery by his brothers because they were jealous of him. True, Joseph was Jacob’s most beloved son but this was for one reason only – he was the son of Rachel, his most adored wife among his four spouses. To Jacob, Rachel was the effective senior wife, the Mohumagadi, in that although he married her older sister Leah first, he was tricked into doing so (another made-up story): the woman he wanted from the word go was Rachel. Thus it was his most beloved son that Jacob chose to infiltrate Egypt and ultimately regain rulership of the country. Joseph wasn’t sold into slavery to  Egyptians: he was tactfully planted as part of the Enlilites’ long-term strategy to blindside  the Egyptian pharaoh and ultimately prise the country from Enkite rule.

Exactly how did the Enlilites re-take Egypt?  They had Joseph, a genius, impress Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV through his uncanny ability to interpret dreams and a unique gift of far-sightedness. But the person Joseph impressed the most was Tuthmosis IV’s  heir, Amenhotep III. It was Amenhotep III who made Joseph Prime Minister of the whole of Egypt. But Amenhotep III went a step further: he married Joseph’s daughter Tiye.  Amenhotep III and Tiye had a child they named Tuthmosis V. In the Bible, he’s best known as Moses.

Moses, however, never ruled Egypt: it was his paternal  half-brother, Amenhotep  IV who did. Amenhotep IV’s other names were Akhenaten and Smenkhkare. In the Bible, he is best  known as Aaron. In due course, however, there were intermarriages between the children of Aaron and Moses. It was the resulting dynasty that ruled Egypt  all the way to the time of  David.   

DAVID WAS EGYPT’S PHARAOH PSUSENNES II

What further evidence do we have that the biblical patriarchs were actually Egyptian pharaohs? It is the Bible itself. In  RUTH 4:18-22, the ancestry of David, Israel’s most famous king, is outlined as follows: “These are the genealogical records of Perez.  Perez begot Hezron, Hezron begot Aram (Ram in Hebrew), Aram begot Aminadab, Aminadab begot Nahshon, Nahshon begot Salmon, Salmon begot Boaz, Boaz begot Obed, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.”

These names, folks, appear  in Egyptian pharaonic records but in the  equivalent Egyptian language. Perez in Egyptian annals turns out to be Pharaoh Rameses IX.  Hezron is Rameses IX; Ram is Rameses XI; Aminadab is Amen-Nesban-ebjed; Nahshon is Amen-em-nishu; Salmon is Siamun; Boaz is Bas-Osorkon; and Obed is Amen-em-opet.

What about Jesse and David?  In Egyptian archives, Jesse was known as Harsiese, or Psusennes I in Greek, and David was known as Psusennes II. But Psusennes was not David’s Egyptian name: his Egyptian name was Pasebakhaenuit (which can also be rendered as Pa-sheba-ka-en-at), which translates to “The Star of the City” or “Bright Star of the Lord”. Why star? In Egyptian lore, the “underworld”, where people were deemed to have gone after their death, was known as the Duat (actually Dyhwt, which in English is David).

In hieroglyphic imagery, the Duat was represented by a star in a circle. As for the city, this was Avaris, the Hykso capital in northern Egypt. Avaris was also known as Zoan, which is Zion in the Bible. Thus the Star of the City of Zion, the Duat, was King David. Indeed, when Pharaoh Psusennes II was buried, the cartouche inscription on his grave showed glyphs representing a star and a city to underscore the fact that he was the Star of the Hyksos’capital city.  

Similarities between Pharaoh Psusennes II and King David in fact abound. Pharaoh Psusennes’s daughter was called Maakhare MuTamhat, while David’s daughter was known as Maakhah Tamar. The Pharaoh’s army general was called Tchoeb, while David’s was called Joab. The pharaoh’s architect was called Herum Atif, while David’s was called Hiram Abif, the masonic hero. The fact that the Hebrew patriarchs were Egyptian pharaohs explains why there isn’t the slightest archeological evidence of their presence in today’s Israel.

DAVID IS KING OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH

Of the Hebrew patriarchs (that is, the leading Jewish figures from Abraham to David), only David ruled in both Egypt and Canaan. David was King for 33 years. He ruled Egypt for 7 years and Canaan (the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah) for 24 years. This was from 995 to 988 BC. The Hykso-Israelites had two bases. The major base was in northern Egypt, which they called I-Sira-El. Their secondary base was in Canaan.

Since the patriarchs operated from Egypt, they needed somebody to oversee Canaan in their stead. They thus appointed the so-called judges. Among these judges was the famous Samson, a man of reportedly superhuman strength and astonishing feats. The judges were appointed after the conquest of Canaan by the great Israelite general Joshua. The judges were unelected, non-hereditary leaders who served as military leaders in times of crisis. The era of judges came to an end when the Israelites installed the first king of Canaan. This was Soul.  Soul, of the tribe of Benjamin, was the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and Judah.

It seems when Saul was appointed king, it was only in a caretaker capacity. He was more of a viceroy than king, meaning he still was subordinate to King David, who at the time was ruling in Egypt.  In 988 BC, David travelled to Canaan, perhaps to check on how Saul was faring as his viceroy. During his absence, the Libyans descended on Egypt, seized power, and crowned their own man,   Shesong, as Pharaoh of Egypt.

Having lost Egypt, David decided to take the reins, substantively, of Canaan, but Saul gave him the middle finger, whereupon a ebbing and flowing civil war arose between David and he. It was David who triumphed to become the second Israelite King of Canaan.
Although David is the most revered of Israelite kings, he had a whole host of shortcomings.  One of these was a tendency to promiscuity, having married at least 8 wives and sired at least 19 children.

One upshot of his lecherous ways was that he had Uriah, one of his generals, deliberately abandoned at the battlefront and therefore killed all because there was one secret which he didn’t want the nation to get to know about. This was that he had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and made her pregnant. Worse still, Uriah’s wife was not an ordinary woman: she was a princess. This was Princess Bathsheba, King David’s own daughter. King David, folks, not only had an incestuous relationship with his married daughter but he also tied the knot with her after the tactical elimination of her husband.

HOW DAVID MARRIED HIS OWN DAUGHTER  BATHSHEBA

The story of David having schemed the death of Uriah over the matter of a pregnant Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, is a well-known one. It is related in 2 SAMUEL 11:1-26, 12:15-25. However, the biblical story is heavily doctored: it is not entirely authentic. As biblical scholar Elizabeth Fletcher rightly puts it, “The story of Bathsheba’s seduction as we have it in the Bible was edited by court story-tellers during the reign of her son Solomon, and doubtless influenced by Bathsheba and her son”. It was word that was put out by King Solomon that the scribes ran away with and not the real story.  So what is the true story?

Of David’s 8 official wives, one was known as Maakhah. Maakhah, we learn from the Bible, had a daughter known as Tamar. Her full names were Maakhah-Tamar. It was through one of Maakhah-Tamar’s male descendents, Joseph, that Jesus was born into this world. To history, Maakhah-Tamar is best known as Bathsheba. Bathsheba means “Daughter of Sheba”. What was/who was Sheba?

Sheba has two closely-related connotations. The first has to do with a city, actually a star city in that it housed the most important figure of the day in northern Egypt, King David. The city was Avaris, the capital of northern Egypt. The second has to do with David himself. As indicated above, David’s throne name was   Pashebakaenat. Pashebakaenat can be abbreviated as simply Sheba, meaning “Star”. Thus Bathsheba, it turns out,   was David’s daughter. She was the daughter of the Star (David) of the Star City (Avaris).

What happened was that whilst Bathsheba was married to Uriah, David made her pregnant (whilst Uriah was away on duty) and fearing the enormity of the  scandal if it became public knowledge,  he arranged for Uriah to be killed. After Uriah’s demise, David went on to marry Bathsheba,  his own daughter, secretly and in heed of  the preconditions she imposed on him declared her his seniormost wife. Thus whilst the palace personnel knew about what  had transpired, the body politic  had no idea. Remember, there were no newspapers, radio, or television  those days.  But  news has a way of filtering its way into the public domain; hence a secret doesn’t remain so forever.    

SOLOMOM INHERITS AFTER DAVID AGAINST ALL ODDS

It was by Bathsheba that King David had Solomon, even today reputed as the wisest man who ever lived, and another son of some fame, Absalom. Sometime after  Solomon  had succeeded to the throne, we’re told a certain “Queen of Sheba” paid a visit on him. That is the spin  the scribes  put  on the event. The Queen of Sheba was actually Queen Mother Bath-Sheba. Solomon was visited by his  mother Bathsheba. Josephus  reports that the queen who visited  Solomon  was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia.

An Egyptian Pharaoh,  as King David was, had jurisdiction over Egypt and other territories  up to and including Ethiopia. As King David’s widow, Bathsheba, who was David’s favourite wife, was  a queen. But at the time she visited King Solomon, Bathsheba was no more than Queen Mother as David had passed on.  

According to Josephus, Bathsheba presented Solomon with “twenty talents of gold, and an immense quantity of spices and precious stones”. That was simply a mother showing affection toward his son, who didn’t need such a lavish gift anyway as he was already the richest man in the whole wide world. The Bible also informs us that Bathsheba as a teenager was raped by his half-brother Amnon and that when the rape was reported to David, he did nothing.

Again that is totally false: Amnon  did not rape Bathsheba. It explains  why David didn’t act against  him. Amnon, who was  David’s eldest son and therefore heir apparent, wanted to marry Bathsheba with a view to inherit the Davidic throne hassle-free since for one succeed to a throne, he should have been married to  a half-sister. So Amnion kept pestering Bathsheba and Bathsheba seemingly was interested. However,  Amnon’s designs on  Bathsheba troubled  Absalom, as a result of which he had Amnon murdered. It was not about immorality: it all was politics. Amnon was too ambitious for Absalom’s liking.   
 


At some stage, Absalom rebelled against King David, incensed that David had anointed Solomon, who was at once his son and grandson, to take over from him upon his death. Absalom was killed in the uprising by King David’s general Joab.    Adonija, David’s surviving eldest son, then had a tilt at the throne too but he lacked the crucial endorsement Solomon received from the prophet Nathan, high priest Zadok, and head of King David’s Secret Service Benaiah. That  was how Solomon became King at the expense of  David’s other sons who were older than him.

NEXT WEEK:  ENLILITE INTRIGUE AGAINST MARDUK AND HIS SON NABU

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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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