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Navigating the Wilderness of Egypt

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ishkur-Adad guides nation of Israeli through the Sinai wilds using a Flying Saucer

If you were to go solely by the Pentateuch story, you would come up with the impression that when Ramesses released the Hykso-Hebrews, it was without strings attached. It was like he was saying, “I have had enough of the pestilences visited upon my people by your God. Off you go!” That, sadly, is too simplistic a view. The fact of the matter was that there were several preconditions by which Moses had to abide to secure his peoples’ freedom.  First, Moses and his people would head southwards and not northward.

As we underscored in previous write-ups, Ramesses feared that if Moses opted for a northern direction, he would end up in Harran, where the Hykso-Hebrews of that  place would be reinforced by the freed Hykso-Hebrews of Egypt, thereby posing a potentially huge threat to  the Egyptians. Of particular significance in the terms of the departure was that Moses had to unequivocally recognise the sovereignty of Egypt over the Sinai Peninsula.

As such, he and his people were not to inhabit any inch of the Sinai for an unduly length of time en route to Canaan. They were to expressly head for Midian proper, that is, Arabia. And in order to see to it that that did indeed happen, Ramesses was to set up an observation post, a  watchtower, atop a rock at a place known as Migdol with immediate effect. Located at the intersection of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and, the Gulf of Aqaba – three bodies of water that part-surrounded the Sinai Peninsula – Migdol had an elevation of about half a kilometre and commanded a view of about 30 miles each way.   

What that meant was that Moses would not return to Serabit El-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, where he had hitherto been based as Egypt now had fully enforced its rights to the area, which dated back to circa 2000 BC. He would be shepherding his people straight to Arabia, where his jurisdiction as King on behalf of Jethro was now officially recognised. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT READERS TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT, FOR HISTORIANS HAVE WRONGLY PLACED THE NATION OF ISRAEL’S WILDERNESS WINDERINGS IN THE SINAI PENINSULA WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY IN ARABIA, which today encompasses Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Many a people are not aware that the Mount Sinai of the Sinai Peninsula was identified, or rather mis-dentified, as the scene of the wilderness of the Exodus not by way of research but on the whim, purely,  of Queen Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. Helena did this in AD 315, on the basis of a dream rather than objective inquiry. The Mount Sinai of the Exodus was actually Mount Jabal-Al Lawz,  which was located in Aabia, a view we find persuasive in light of our own research.

Even as relatively recently as the first century AD, the apostle Paul was very much aware of this fact: in GALATIANS 4:5, he points out that Mount Sinai was in Arabia. In the first century, when Paul was doing his writings, the Sinai Peninsula still was separate from Arabia: it belonged to Egypt until 106 AD when the Roman Emperor Trajan annexed it and appended it to Arabia, which he had seized in 105 AD.      

As I keep harping upon time and again, when a lie has been repeated for donkeys’ years, it assumes the status of fact simply because human beings are not that keen to interrogate bandied-about, foregone-conclusion “facts” that are in the mainstream. Thus every pastor will preach to you that the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula when in truth they were given at the Mountain of the Elohim in Arabia. But we’re getting ahead of our story.

OF ISRAELITES AND FLAT BREAD

Since the bulk of the Hykso-Hebrews who departed Egypt for Arabia were the descendants of Jacob, they called themselves Israelites. The name Israelites had two connotations. First, it evoked the patriarchal name of Jacob, who was given the name Israel by Nannar-Sin, Enlil-Jehovah’s second-born son. Second, it was a reminder that the Jews once had an own state in northern Egypt, called I-SIRA-EL, meaning ‘El’s Shield”.

El was how Nannar-Sin was referred to in Canaan, where he was the leading god. Northern Egypt, when it was ruled by the Hykso-Hebrews, served as a buffer that prevented southern Egyptians from directly accessing the strategic Sinai Peninsula, which housed the Anunnaki spaceport till the year 2024 BC when it was nuclear-bombed by Ninurta, Enlil-Jehovah’s firstborn son. Thus northern Egypt was Nannar-Sin’s shield against southern Egypt’s encroachment of the Sinai Peninsula. Of course at the time of the Exodus, circa 1333 BC, there was no I-Sira-El (Hykso-ruled northern Egypt) and the Sinai Peninsula was under Egyptian jurisdiction.

The departure of the Israelites from Egypt was unheralded: they were simply ordered by their god Ishkur-Adad to pack up and go one evening, in the month of Abib,  which in today’s calendar corresponds to the latter part of March and the early part of April. Note that the caravan did not comprise of Israelites only: some Egyptians, who in all probability had religiously converted to the Jewish faith or had lent the Israelites  the gold and silver they carried, came along too.

EXODUS 12:38 says, “A mixed multitude also went up with them”. Since they left in very hasty circumstances, the Israelites did not have time to bake bread using yeast, called leavened bread. Instead, they hurriedly prepared unleavened bread (flat bread both in terms of taste and shape because it has no yeast)) to consume whilst on their great trek. However, the main reason they settled for unleavened bread is not given in the Bible. THIS IS THAT UNLEAVENED HAS NUMEROUS HEALTH BENEFITS.

It is low in fat and calories and is a good source for energy-supplying carbohydrates. It is a good source of fibre, which is vital for maintaining heart health. It is rich in Vitamin B, which enables the body to obtain energy from the food we eat. Finally,  it is rich in manganese and selenium, two minerals that function as antioxidants in our bodies. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damage by chemicals known as free radicals. Thus unleavened bread was just the right sustenance for a people who were to spend weeks on the march.
    In due course, Adad would institute the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the Israelites, which they would celebrate once a year concurrent with Passover to commemorate the frantic manner in which they left Egypt. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, during which they ate bread without yeast, lasted for seven days.

ISRAELITES CROSS SEA OF REEDS AS OPPOSED TO RED SEA

The route the Israelites took on their way to Arabia (Midian) can be somewhat confusing if one were to strictly follow the Exodus account. For instance, in EXODUS 15:22, one would get the impression that the Israelites’ first stop was the Wilderness of Shur. However, we now know that the Wilderness of Shur was in Arabia. It was actually the penultimate stop as it marked the very cusp of their ultimate destination, Mount Jabal Al-Lawz, which is also referred to as Sinai or Horeb in the Bible. When the Israelites set off from Egypt, Moses told them they were headed for the Wilderness of Shur, the reason the region is listed first.

The entire journey from Goshen in Egypt to Mount Sinai in Arabia took 45 days.  Of these, 28 were travel days whereas 17 were camping days.  On average, the Israelites traversed 27 km a day. Goshen, which also went by the names Pi-Ramses and Avaris, is today’s Tel El Daba, in Egypt’s eastern delta. It is located approximately 100 km northeast of Cairo and in antiquity was an important commercial and military centre.

The first topical juncture in the Israelites’ peregrinations was the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. The Sea of Reeds is not the same as the Red Sea: the Sea of Reeds (Yam Suf in Hebrew) was then a shallow depression whose sea level variation averaged a mere 1.2 metres.  It is today occupied by the Suez Canal in the region of the tidal salt marshes and reed beds near the Bitter Lakes to the south of Ismalia. Historians have mistaken the Sea of Reeds for the Red Sea simply because the English version of the King James Bible wrongly translated the Hebrew Yam Suf to Red Sea instead of Sea of Reeds (EXODUS 15:22).

But does that mean that it was at the pitifully shallow Sea of Reeds that Moses parted the huge walls of water? And did the miraculous parting indeed take place? YES IT DID, BUT IT WAS NOT AT THE SEA OF REEDS: IT WAS AT THE STRAITS OF TIRAN ACROSS THE GULF OF AQABA. The Gulf of Aqaba separates the Sinai Peninsula from Arabia. But many a people are not aware that the Gulf of Suez, which  separates mainland Egypt from the Sinai Peninsula,  and the Gulf of Aqaba together constitute the Red Sea (EXODUS 10:19; EXODUS 23:31; NUMBERS 21:4; DEUTERONOMY 2:1; JUDGES 11:16; AND 1 KINGS 9:26 ). In fact, to the Israelites of Moses’ day, the Red Sea proper was the Gulf of Aqaba. More on the parting of the Gulf of Aqaba arm of the Red Sea later.  

ADAD SHOWBOATS HIS PATERNALISM

Ishkur-Adad was out to impress the Israelites – to rest-assure them that not only was he their protector through thick and thin but he was also their guiding light through and through. For as long as they obeyed and heeded his every admonition, he would stoutly stand by them and cater to their every need.      The Israelites wanted him to make his presence manifest even if they could not see his physical being, which he withheld from them as per the Enlilite pantheon’s accord.

Obliging them, Adad asserted his presence in two ways 24/7. During the day, either he himself or his Anunnaki pilots ( called “Messengers of the Elohim” in EXODUS 13:19) shuttled back and forth  overhead in an expansive Flying Saucer (referred to as the “Glory of God” in most biblical passages) which was encased in an ever-lingering smoke which gave the impression of a cloud. During the night time, he continued to hover by them aloft but this time around, the flying saucer illumined the immediate surroundings on the ground. The Bible refers to this rather brilliant illumination as fire.

In short, the nation of Israel were led by a cloud and by a pillar of fire as they trekked out of Egypt (EXODUS 13:21).  BOTH THESE ELEMENTS SYMBOLISE DEATH. A cloud  in this context is a metaphor for a shroud and fire denotes judgement or an agent/medium of destruction (LUKE 9:54; 2 KINGS 1:10. In REVELATION 13:13, a being who calls fire to come down from Heaven is described as “the Beast”, an agent of the Devil). Indeed,  during the nation of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, the hot-tempered Adad killed great numbers of Israelites at the slightest indiscretion as we shall later demonstrate.

Today, the charismatic church movements, also known as Pentecostals, refer to themselves as Fire Churches. When TB Joshua is busy exorcising demons, he chants, “Fire! Fire!”. But fire is not synonymous with good: it is synonymous with danger or destruction. The Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation is symbolic of the ultimate fate of the forces of darkness – their total annihilation or eternal damnation. So why should the charismatic churches obsess themselves with the mantra of “fire”?

Well, if you know the underlying orientation of the gods of the Old Testament, you will easily understand why they projected  themselves as a byword for fire. The Gnostics, the first century buffs of metaphysical knowledge, described the Reptilians (devils) as archons. They said the archons were made of “luminous fire”.  Fire, therefore, is fundamentally a euphemism for the forces of darkness. And the Enlilites, the Anunnaki faction that was headed by Jehovah-Enlil, were allied with  Reptilians, which explains their utter cruelty and their nefarious agenda for mankind.  

Sadly, the church has long been infiltrated by the regressive Enlilites and their Reptilian allies, two particularly  diabolical forces who jointly schemed the creation  of  religion. So when your pastor, bishop, or “prophet” chants “Fire! Fire!”, believe you me he’s simply saluting his Luciferian   gods who enable those “miracles”. This Earth, My Brother …

ISRAELITES REACH SHORES OF RED SEA

The Israelites’ first stop on the great trek toward Arabia was a place known as Succouth, about 120 km south of today’s Port of Suez. This was exactly 3 days after their departure from Goshen. The Succouth stop was not meant for an overnight rest. Within the Succouth region and near Serabit El Khadim were two Egyptian controlled copper and turquoise mines where Israelite slaves toiled without pay.  Thus Moses ordered a stop there to collect the Israelite miners, a gesture which was in keeping with the terms of the exodus he had negotiated with Pharaoh Ramesses.    

From Succouth, Moses led the nation of Israel to Migdol, the Egyptians’ three-way look-out point, which was about 500 km from Egypt. At Migdol, the Egyptians, who were keeping tabs on the huge Israelite procession, kept meticulously trained homing pigeons – organic couriers of messages between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptians had used courier pigeons since 2400 BC. The moment the Egyptian sentries observed the approach of Israelite hordes, they immediately dispatched one or two homing pigeons to Pharaoh’s palace to alert him accordingly. Homing pigeons flew at a speed of 100 km per hour and so in only 5 hours’ time, Ramesses would have received the message.  

From Migdol, the Israelites proceeded to Etham, where they reached “a dead end”. Etham was surrounded by mountains 300 metres high. This made the Israelites a sitting target in case the Egyptians pursued after them. With such a rude awakening, Adad had a rethink and had his people retrace their way back to the plain at the foot of Migdol, where they were to camp. It seems these back-and-forth manouevres were also a strategy on the part of Adad to confuse the Egyptians.  

Next, the Israelites moved to Pi-Hahiroth, around the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Pi-Hahiroth was located on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, that is, between Migdol and the eastern arm of the Red Sea.  Thus far, the Israelites had travelled for 17 days and camped for 8 days since departing Egypt. To date, the Israelites had been moving through the “Wilderness of Egypt”. The Wilderness of Egypt was the V-shaped area of land between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. Today, it is known as the Sinai Peninsula.

EGYPTIAN FORCES HEM IN ON ISRAELITE CONTINGENT

The Israelites camped for 8 days at Pi-Hahiroth. This is curious: if the Israelites were pressed for time to get to Arabia, why did Adad let them procrastinate for so long? The Bible itself provides the answer in EXODUS 4:14, which reads thus: “Thus I will make the heart of Pharaoh steadfast, so he will pursue after them. Then I shall indeed be glorified in Pharaoh and in all his army; and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh. Hence they did so.”

Once again, we see Adad’s mind manipulation artifice at work here.  Adad’s intention was to perform a great “miracle” that would astonish both the Egyptians and the Israelites – the parting of the Red Sea, that is, the Gulf of Aqaba. He wanted the Egyptians to be firsthand witnesses to this extraordinary feat so it could be the talk of the day. So what does he do?  He uses his long-honed mind-control tricks to work on the psyche of Ramesses so that he (Ramesses) makes a rash decision to give fervid chase after the Israelites.

So the moment Ramesses received the message delivered by the homing pigeons – that the Israelites were now camped at the foot of Migdol (before they set off for Pi-Hahiroth) – he sent a 600-man strong chariotry after them. His excuse was that the Israelites had tactfully (that is, by way of deceptive  borrowing) purloined a priceless amount of gold and silver from his people and he wanted this returned before they crossed the Gulf of Aqaba.

Since the Egyptian army were horse-mounted, they arrived at Pi-Hahiroth much faster than the Israelites did. But they  did not attack the Israelites there and then as they were intimidated by Adad’s formidable-looking flying saucer which kept vigil over the Israelites day in and day out. Seeing that the Egyptian forces were now on the scene, Adad decided to get his people to cross the sea using the Straits of Tiran, which linked Arabia to the Sinai Peninsula. To effectually do that humanly speaking, they would have required thousands of ferries, which would have taken months  to construct. The quickest passage was by way of none other than a miracle. How was this miracle to be effected?
    
NEXT WEEK:   ISRAELITES  IN ARABIA

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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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