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Tragic King Tut

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ill-fated Moses’  son succeeds to throne after short-lived rule by Aaron

At the time Moses was Pharaoh of Egypt, was his grandfather Joseph alive? He most likely, or almost certainly, was.  The Bible says Joseph was 110 years old when he died, but that is just a symbolic number.  It simply was a reflection of Egyptian tradition, from whose annals the Genesis casually extracted the number. In his book, CHRISTIANITY, AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION, Ahmed Osman puts the number 110 in context as follows:

“As the average age to which people lived at the time was about 30, Ancient Egyptians considered old age to be a sign of wisdom, and those who attained long life were looked upon as holy figures. Both Joseph (of the Bible) and Yuya (Joseph in Egyptian records) were considered wise by Pharaoh. Of Joseph, he said: ‘There is none as discreet and wise as thou art’ (GENESIS 41:39). Yuya is also described on his funerary papyrus as ‘the only wise, who loves his god’.

The age Egyptians ascribed to those who lived to be wise was 110, irrespective of how old they actually were when they died. Amenhotep, son of Habu, an Egyptian magician in Yuya's time, was said to have lived 110 years although the last information we have about him puts his age at 80.”

Grafton Elliot Smith, the British anatomist who examined Joseph’s embalmed and well-preserved remains in 1905,  put his age at the time of his death at about 60. Smith could venture a reasonable guess because the body was in such good condition that it was like Joseph had died only a few days before. But Smith was quick to add the disclaimer that,  “it must be understood that the mention of such a figure is little more than guesswork”.

Smith’s caution was spot-on. For if we are to go by Egyptian records, Joseph was well beyond 60 when he died but no more than 75 years old at most. The one piece of instructive information scholars have overlooked is an inscription that was found once on Joseph’s royal funeral statuette and more than 20 times on his funerary papyrus. It says, “Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands”. WHAT THIS STATEMENT SUGGESTS  IS THAT AT THE TIME JOSEPH DIED, HE WAS  A PARENT TO THE REIGNING PHARAOH. The term “Two Lands” was an epithet for Egypt (as it comprised of Upper and Lower Egypt) and pharaohs were referred to as Lord.  Was Joseph a father to a pharaoh?

YES HE WAS. HIS SECOND-BORN SON EPHRAIM (Aye to the Egyptians)  DID BECOME PHARAOH ALRIGHT, THE FOURTH FROM MOSES.  With this piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place, we’re now in position to reckon the approximate age at which Joseph died. He  was taken to  Egypt when he was 17 and thirteen years later, at age 30, he became viceroy to Pharaoh Tuthmosis IV. The pharaoh Joseph found in office was therefore Tuthmosis IV’s predecessor, Amenhotep II, who  ruled for 23 years.

We don’t know for sure  when Tuthmosis became King, but we know he ruled for  about 10 years, so that when his successor Amenhotep III took over, Joseph was 40 years old. Moses, who succeeded Amenhotep III, was in power for 17 years, by which time Joseph was 57 years old. The next 3 pharaohs after Moses (all four of whom are referred to as the Armana Kings by Egyptologists)  ruled for a total of 16 years. Ephraim, the very last of the Armana Kings, was in power for only 4 years.

Since Joseph died during the rule of Ephraim, he couldn’t have been more than 73 years old whilst on his death bed. The long and  short of the story is therefore that Joseph was alive when Moses was pharaoh and he must have agonized to see his grandson being forced to quit the thronal seat of the world’s most powerful country of the day.

JOSEPH BURIED IN ROYAL GRAVE

When Joseph died, he was embalmed, or mummified, meaning his body was chemically preserved to guard against  wasting away by way of decomposition, so that even when his  body was unearthed in   1905, it looked as though he had been buried less than a week prior. Mummification was a lengthy,  painstaking process.  In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote that it took 70 days altogether, with 40  of these days dedicated to dehydration of the body. Furthermore, mummification was a very expensive undertaking. As such, only royals, initially, and nobles later, could afford it.  At some stage, well-heeled ordinary people were able to embalm their dead too.

Why was mummification deemed necessary? Writes Ahmed Osman: “From their earliest times, the Egyptians tried to preserve human as well as animal bodies after death. They believed that the spiritual element in a person leaves the body at the time of death, but would one day return provided that the body had not been destroyed. It was because of this belief that, from the early days of the Old Kingdom, they worked at developing the techniques of mummification.”

The Bible and Egyptian archives are in accord that Joseph was embalmed. Having so affirmed, the Bible then shoots itself in the foot: it says that Joseph was buried in Shechem in Canaan and that what was carried to Canaan were mere “bones” (JOSHUA 24: 32).  Both these are blatant lies. We know that Joseph was buried in Egypt, in the Valley of Kings: that is incontrovertible truth since that was where the body was found.

As for the aspect of “bones”, it is clear  the Jewish scribe who wrote the passage was totally ignorant of what mummification entailed. When a body is mummified, it does not reduce to bare bones: it looks like that of a full-bodied person simply asleep, with the skin and all external features as intact, for the most part,  as they were on the day he died. The biblical editors without shame or scruple concocted the  story of Joseph being buried in Canaan simply because they did not like the idea that the Patriarch was still buried in the land of the oppressors when the Exodus had become the cornerstone in the new religion of the Jews.

Now, if convention had been followed, Joseph would have been buried in the Valley of the Nobles. In his case, however, convention was flouted and he was buried in the Valley of Kings, the only non-royal  to be accorded such a privilege. The reason of course had to do with  the fact that he was practically co-Pharaoh under two Pharaohs (Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III) and that he died during the reign of his own son Pharaoh Ephraim.

It was Ephraim  who must have insisted,  against the objections of the conservative Egyptian establishment,  that his father be given such a dignified burial. The Valley of Kings tomb typically was the preserve of the Pharaoh, the Queen, princes, and princesses. Joseph’s wife Tuya was also buried alongside him in the Valley of Kings.

Amongst the items Joseph  was buried with were a golden necklace of lapis lazuli, given him by Thutmosis IV, and a chariot to commemorate his status as Commander of the Chariotry, the horse mounted branch of the Egyptian army. “It was the custom in ancient Egypt,” writes Osman,  “to place in a tomb objects that had a special significance in the life of the dead person.

This particular chariot is too small to have been Yuya's, yet too big to have been a model. It is possible that it belonged originally to Tuthmosis IV when he  was the young crown prince or to the young Amenhotep III, who was only about 12 when he came to the throne. This would explain why, although ornamented in gold, it was not inscribed.”

MOSES’ HEIR IS KING

Following the forced abdication of Moses, he was, as we saw last week, succeeded by his maternal cousin Aaron, or Smenkhkare to the Egyptians. Aaron, however, was simply holding fort for Moses’ heir, Tutankhaten,    so that he ruled for only three years, whereupon Tutankhaten took over at only age 13, the teenage threshold. Let us at this juncture put Tutankhaten, who is generally referred to as King Tut,  in perspective.

Moses had two prominent wives. They were Nefertiti, the “Great Royal  Wife”,  and her deputy (also known as the “Younger Lady”) Mery-Khiba,  meaning “Beloved of Khiba”. The name Khiba (pronounced Kiya) came from her mother’s side, her mother being Gilukhipa, Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s third wife. Gilukhipa was a princess, the daughter of King Shutana of Mitanni. Khiba (most likely Ninmah, as the Anunnaki deities went by different names in different  parts of the world) was a Mitannian  goddess.  Mery-Khiba, it turns out, was Moses’ half-sister.  

That she was called Mery-Khiba is not simply a nominal  style. She was described as the “Royal Favourite” in  that she did for Moses what Nefertiti failed to do – produce a heir for him. Nefertiti only had daughters, six in all, namely Merytaten, Maketaten, Ankhsenpa-aten, Neferneferu-aten the younger, Neferneferure and Setepenre.  As important, Mery-Khiba had a dual royal legacy being  an offspring of Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings.

Towards the end of Moses’ rule, Mery-Khiba had practically supplanted Nefertiti as the main wife in terms of the roles, both civil and political,  she played  in the affairs of Egypt. Her official title was Mery-Amon, meaning “Beloved of Amon”, that is, Marduk, the national god of Egypt. IN THE BIBLE, MERY-AMON IS PRONOUNCED AND SPELT AS MIRIAM. The Bible correctly describes Miriam as Moses’ sister; what it deliberately omits to make mention of is the fact that Miriam was at once a half-sister of Moses and his wife.

Moses had two children with Miriam, a boy and a girl.  The boy, the heir, was known as Tutankhaten, which demonstrates the centrality of the Cult of the Aten in his father Moses’ code of values. Scholars have interpreted his name as “Living Image of Aten” but they are only partially right as far as  I am concerned. Tut was the abbreviation for Thoth, the Anunnaki god of life (that is, master geneticist) alongside his father Enki. The Ankh was the Egyptian symbol of life.

Aten was Nibiru, the planet of eternal life. Thus the name Tutankhaten stressed the link between temporal life and the afterlife, with Tut himself being the Saviour – the human agent of eternal life. There was nothing peculiar about this denomination  as all Egyptian princes were referred to as “Son of God” and pharaohs were referred to as “God” in that they were deemed to be the everyday representatives of Marduk.  

Tut was born in the 7th year of Moses’ reign and therefore was 10 years old when Moses was ousted.  In order to bridge dynastic politics, Tut married his half-sister Ankhsenpa-aten, Moses’ third daughter with Nefertiti. For the first four years, largely,  of his reign, Tut ruled from Amarna. Then sometime in year 4, he moved to Memphis and finally to Thebes. HIS RELOCATION TO THEBES WAS MARKED BY A NAME CHANGE – FROM TUTANKHATEN TO TUTANKHAMUN, MEANING “LIVING IMAGE OF AMON”.  The name change had far-reaching religious ramifications which  ultimately led to his own death.

KING TUT RESTORES FREEDOM OF WORSHIP

Young Tut was pharaoh in name only: the real ruler of Egypt was Ephraim, his  paternal great-uncle, the second son of Joseph, who was acknowledged as the most powerful man in the Egypt of the day.  Ephraim not only was Tut’s vizier and principal adviser but he was head of the armed forces as his titles Commander of the Chariots, Master of the King's Horses,  and Chief of the Bowmen plainly attest.

Ephraim made it clear  to Tut that if he too adhered to and accentuated the Cult of the Aten, the ideologically powerful Theban priesthood would orchestrate his overthrow, just as they did  in the case of his father Moses.  Tut wasted no time in paying heed to his great uncle’s exhortation.

Tut’s reverse reforms – which went against the grain of his deposed father’s – began as early as his third year in power. He reopened all the Amunite temples  Moses had closed, thus restoring polytheism – the worship of multiple gods. But he did not prohibit the cult of the Aten: instead, he subtly  elevated Aten.  He said he had allowed the worship of other gods because they all were mediators  between mankind and Aten, Aten being, as we have already discussed, the planet Nibiru, the headquarters, as it was believed, of the universe. That’s how the plural term “gods” came to mean angels  

That Tut had not entirely sidelined Aten was evidenced by  the scenes on the back panel of his throne, where the symbol of the Aten took pride of place. Also, a text on the furniture found in his tomb  describes him as “the eldest son of the Aten in Heaven”. With old temples reopened, the Theban priesthood reinstated to their influential status, the capital moved back to Thebes and both  the King and Queen having changed their names to exalt the national god Marduk, religio-politico morale in the country was at its zenith.

The Theban priests in fact welcomed Tut to Thebes by conducting a new coronation of him. However, it was not Tut who got the credit for this reversion to the status quo: it was General Ephraim, who touted himself as the saviour of both  the army and the temple. However, Ephraim was not held in particularly high esteem  by the traditional-mined mainstream Egyptians.

Many suspected him, wrongly, for having   engineered the ouster of Moses. Thus they continued to refer to Moses (Akhenaten) as the “Royal Mosis”, literally meaning, “Royal Son” but “Real King” in paraphrase. It was the term “Mosis” (Moses)  the Bible settled for as the appropriate name for Akhenaten with a view to concealing his epic as an Egyptian King.   

KING TUT’S VIOLENT DEATH AT TENDER AGE

Tut was not destined to rule for a long time, let alone enjoy length of years. He died in the 9th year of his reign, aged 21 years. His mysterious death has been the subject of speculation on the part of scholars. What is clear is that he died a callously slow, drawn-out violent death. He was exposed to severe physical torture before he was hanged. What sin did he commit? Who exactly murdered him and in what circumstances? We may never know.

Typically though, such  grisly deaths are suffered at the hands of die-hard  enemies within the establishment itself. It would  be a stretch  to say  his death was engineered by his own great-uncle, Ephraim, who was in charge of the armed forces.  But Ephraim, even if he  maniacally craved power, would not have had his own nephew  killed in such a barbaric and cruel way. The people who must  have killed  Tut were patriotic and conservative elements within the army, who abhorred rulership by the Josephite dynasty, who were technically Hyksos and not indigenous, full-blooded  Egyptians.      

Tut’s mummy, recovered from the Theban Valley of Kings, was minutely examined by R G Harrison, a professor of anatomy at Liverpool University, and A B Abdalla, his counterpart at Cairo University, in 1968. The examination included the taking of X-rays. The duo in part reported thus:

“When the bandages around the remains were removed, it was immediately obvious that the mummy was not in one piece. The head and neck were separated from the rest of the body, and the limbs had been detached from the torso … Further investigation showed that the limbs were broken in many places as well as being detached from the body.

The right arm had been broken at the elbow, the upper arm being separated from the forearm and hand …  The left arm was broken at the elbow, and in addition at the wrist …  The left leg was broken at the knee. The right leg was intact …  The heads of the right humerus [bone of the upper arm] and both femora [thigh bone] had been broken off the remains of the bone … The head and neck had been distracted from the torso at the joint between the seventh cervical and first thoracic vertebrae.

The tissues of the face are contracted on the skull so that the cheekbones appear very prominent …  The teeth are tightly clenched together (from excruciating pain obviously)  … The radiographs of the thorax confirmed the fact that the sternum and most of the ribs on the front of the chest had been removed.” The youthful King, a juvenile basically, was killed like a beast of prey by savages who passed themselves off as civilised humans. This Earth, My Brother …

NEXT WEEK:   PHARAOH OF THE OPPRESSION ASSUMES THE REINS

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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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