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Moses Brazen Serpent

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

It was his symbol of Pharaonic authority way back in Egypt

Moses’ divorce from Miriam, his half-sister wife, took place at Hazeroth. From there, the Israelites moved to Rithmah  just slightly further north  within the broader Kadesh-Barnea  region, also known as the Wilderness of Zin or the  Wilderness of Paran,  but towards the border with Edom.

Here, Adad, the Anunnaki Jehovah of the exodus, ordered Moses to spy out the land he had pledged to the Israelites – Canaan. This gesture was crucial if they had to know the strength of the enemy and acquaint with the fertility and vegetation of the land they would eventually come to possess.Moses assembled a crack 12-man espionage team, one from each tribe. The team was led by Joshua from the tribe of Ephraim and Caleb from the tribe of Judah.

They were instructed to survey the Promised Land from the Negev Desert in the south to the “hill country” in the north (where the Jebusites, Hittites, and Amorites were concentrated).  The spies were expected to bring back with them specimens of crops that flourished in that land just to assure the doubting Thomases among the Israelites that the place of their bequest was indeed worthwhile, that it was worth dying for in the inevitable and in fact looming land-grab war.

The mission took 40 days to complete, which was reasonable for a rather spare piece of territory that was 240 km long and 96 km wide. The spy scouts were impressed with the fecundity and greenery of the Promised Land, which those days was not as arid as it is today. Particularly noteworthy was the valley of Eshcol, whose lush hillsides were awash with figs, grapes, and pomegranates. The fruits were so humongous in our time that would only be possible if they were GMOs, that is, genetically modified foods. 

A single cluster of grapes, for instance, had to be carried not by one person but two. When the scouts returned, they, on that basis alone, gave a very good report to Moses which was in affirmation of the fact that the Promised Land was the utopia it was touted as. “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.” Sadly, that was the only good news they had in store for their compatriots. The rest was far from encouraging. Exactly what was that and what followed thereafter?

ADAD PRONOUNCES 40 YEARS OF PENAL WANDERINGS ON HIS PEOPLE

The scouts reported that most of the Canaanite cities were fortified. They were surrounded by walls as much as 20 feet thick and 25 feet high, with guards stationed on watchtowers. One city in particular struck fear in the hearts of the scouts. This was Hebron, as the Israelites would later call it, but at the time it was known as Kiriath Arba. Hebron was inhabited by a race of giants known as the Anakim, from whom the infamous Goliath arose. 

The Anakim, we have long learnt, were also known as the Nephilim, the offspring resulting from intermarriages between Earthling women and the Igigi, the space-based Anunnaki.  “We saw giants there, the descendants of the Anakim,” the scouts recounted. “All the people we saw were huge. Next to them, we were like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought too. We can’t go up against them: They are way stronger than us.”

There was yet another black mark against the Promised Land, the scouts reported. It   “devoured those living in it”, meaning it was prone to earthquakes, an observation which indeed had merit 
as Israel sits along the Syrian-African fault line, which runs along the border with Jordan. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that extends from northern Syria to Mozambique. The broader region has consistently experienced large-scale earthquakes every 80 to 100 years for centuries and a number of less deadlier ones in-between. About 30 years before the exodus, in 1365 BC, a serious earthquake had hit the Holy Land.

When news of the scouts’ report seeped through, a loud lamentation went up from the community of Israel in a manner akin to a mass funeral. They accused Moses and Aaron for setting them up so they ended up in the lion’s den and told the duo to their face that they would no longer recognise them as their leaders but would instead elect a new leader who would take them back to Egypt. When Joshua and Caleb took the floor and tried to reassure the people that contrary to the testimony of the other ten scouts the Israelite army was capable of defeating the Anakim in that they had an all-powerful god in Adad, the people thought the two were raving mad and even braced to have them stoned.

Having gotten wind of these goings-on, a livid Adad summoned Moses and there and then read the riot act. He said he was going to disinherit the Israelites, that is, disown them, since they were incapable of trusting him despite the many “wondrous” feats he had performed on their behalf.  Prostrating himself before Adad, Moses implored against this extreme measure, arguing all too vehemently that Adad would lose face in the eyes of the  Egyptians if he so did as he would come across to them as a capricious and feckless  god who left his people in the lurch after having brought them this far.

To his credit, Adad relented upon hearing Moses’ entreaties. However, he made two comeuppance pronouncements nonetheless. First, all the ten scouts who filed the  negative report about the reconnaissance mission would be struck dead – for telling the truth (what a god!): only Joshua and Caleb, who spoke with an optimistic tone, would be spared. Second, he was going to banish the Israelites to endless, back-and-forth wanderings in the wilderness for 40 years, one year for each day of the duration of the espionage mission.

During the course of these 40 years, he would in one way or the other kill off those who were 20 years and older, save for the clans and offspring of Joshua and Caleb. Only the relations and progeny of Joshua and Caleb  would set foot in the Promised Land. On hearing this, the protesting elements changed tack. They now decided to detach from the Israelite contingent and invade Canaan on their own independent of Moses: that way, they would,  if successful,  avoid Adad’s diabolical scheme to systematically and methodically  erase them from the face of the earth. Sadly, they were  too few and as yet inexperienced.

BESIDES, THEY DID NOT HAVE THE ADDED BATTLEFIELD ADVANTAGE OF THE ALL-POWERFUL ARK OF THE COVENANT. They were soundly defeated and repulsed by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. Moses was gracious enough to welcome them back as they showed genuine penitence. Meanwhile, Adad made good on his promise to punish the ten spies whose negative report caused disquiet and panic among the Israelite population. He visited an unspecified  “plague” on them in which they all  perished. Exactly how Adad focused these plagues on his intended victims is a mystery.   

ADAD CONTINUES TO BARE HIS FANGS

Thus far, a pattern was emerging in relation to the dynamics between Adad, Moses, and the Nation of Israel.  The Israelites simply never learnt lessons despite the fact that Adad ruled them with an iron fist. They were an implacably stubborn lot.  The more Adad struck terror in their midst with his summary executions, the more hardened they became in  their resolve to defy him. It seemed they had become accustomed to witnessing terror wrought by their own god and therefore grown insensitive to it.

On his part, Adad was determined to exact retribution on them, sworn that he would never brook any nonsense. The slightest intimation of displeasure with him would be met by a disproportionately  but consistently heavy-handed response,  invariably capital punishment. If Adad’s killing spree was somewhat kept in check, it was thanks to the relative restraint forced upon him by Moses. Every time Adad pronounced doom on some ranks of the Israelites, Moses threw himself at his feet and begged him to either exercise mercy or show leniency.

Otherwise, had Moses been Adad’s yes-man through and through, his people would have long been decimated thanks to his god’s penchant for the perpetration of gloating evil. Moses, however, could only temper Adad’s excesses, not reverse them full circle.  Adad continued to unleash his cruelty and ferocity on his hapless people. To him,  if his chosen people did not learn lessons, that was all the more reason to hit them harder with each transgression.  

 
Four more killing episodes followed after Rithman while Moses was still their leader. The first concerned a man  who was found gathering wood on the Sabbath. Adad had decreed that no work of any kind must be done on the Sabbath. He ordered that the man be stoned to death, in line with EXODUS 35:2. The second had to do with what became known as Korah’s rebellion. Korah (a priest), two fellow ring leaders, and 250 others confronted Moses in a bid to impeach him for what they thought was his rather inept leadership.

Korah  was particularly disillusioned that the Promised Land wasn’t going to be had soon enough but it was now a thing of a very uncertain future considering what Adad had pronounced.  When Adad heard of what was happening, he had the three ring leaders “swallowed up by the ground on which they stood”. Again, this was no miracle. What simply happened was that they were frog-marched to a mudcrack site (which have a very hard crust but are very soft underneath, like thin ice on a pond, and abound in some parts of the Arabian desert especially around oases), where they were made to drown in the quicksand.

(It is clear the story was not exactly as related in the Book of Numbers. For example, NUMBERS 16:32 says the three died along with members of their families, but some of the psalms, which became fashionable during the reign of King David about three hundred years later, are attributed to the “sons of Korah”, suggesting they did not die along with their father).   Their  250 followers Adad terminated by strafing them with a fierce blaze from his flying saucer.

The following day, when the people swarmed in on Moses and set about accusing him of his being a supine accomplice of his god in the deaths of Korah and his loyalists, Adad sent a plague that killed 14,700 people. The third took place at a place known as Shittim, where the Israelites were camped, in the country of the Moabites. It so happened that some Israelite soldiers were plucking around with Moabite women. The Moabite  women not only lured the soldiers into a sex cult but enticed them into worshipping a Moabite god, that is,  an Enkite god. Once again, Adad had made it clear that “idolatory” would be punishable by death.  He ordered Moses to round up all the culprits and execute them in broad daylight. Altogether, 24,000 soldiers were killed.
     
MIRACLE OR MIRAGE?
 

Finally, there was the incident of the “snake bites”. The Israelites were en route to the Moabite country having set off from Mount Hor. The journey was an arduous one in that it was rather long-winded: they had to skirt the boundaries of Edom as the King of Edom had refused them permission to pass through his country. In the process, some among the Israelite army were so overcome with fatigue  they began to plot against Moses for bringing upon them such untold hardships.

The soldiers not only were famished, being sustained on the usual Tamarind manna, but they had parched throats owing to a dire shortage of water, as a result of which they grew nostalgic of  Egypt as they always were prone to do. According to the Pentateuch writers, Adad reacted by unleashing on them a swarm of highly venomous snakes in an incident that came to involve the famous Bronze Serpent and in which many soldiers are said to have succumbed to the snake bites.   

The story of the Bronze Serpent is one of the unseemliest of the Bible. It goes as follows according to NUMBER 21:4-9. “They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;  they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’ The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 

So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people.  Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a  serpent of copper, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.’ And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.”     

The story has two major anomalies. First, Adad had forbidden the Nation of Israel from making graven images. So how could he have instructed Moses to make a simulacrum of a snake when ordinarily such a gesture would have carried a death penalty meted out by he himself? Second, THE SNAKE WAS THE SYMBOL OF ENKITE GODS, more so Enki, Marduk, and Ningishzidda. These not only were sworn Enlilite rivals but they were the butt of  Enlilite jokes. Every  time Enlil sneered at Marduk, for instance, he referred to him as “the Great Serpent”. So how could Adad have gotten Moses to exalt a clan of rival gods? It all simply defies logic. Given the aforesaid contrarieties, how do we explain the incident?
 
BRONZE SERPENT WAS MOSES’ PHARAONIC STAFF

First, although the Pentateuch writers cast the swarm of snakes as a miraculous plague Adad visited on the Israelites, that was far from the case. The place in which the Israelites were trekking through after a successful military campaign against the Canaanite king Arad was the Arovar Valley, just below the twin-peaked Mount Hor. THEN AS NOW, THE BROADER SETTING OF THIS AREA WAS INFESTED WITH SNAKES AND SCORPIONS.

In the 7th century, a log of the Assyrian army under King Esaharddon when campaigning in this area described it as “a remote district, a desert plain of salty land, a region of droughts, with snakes and scorpions which cover the soil like ants.” Indeed, DEUTERONOMY 8:14-15 underscores the naturalness of this snake phenomenon in the area in these words: “The LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint.”

This was Moses talking in his valedictory speech to the Nation of Israel. SO THE EVENT WAS PERFECTLY NATURAL: THE ISRAELITES JUST HAPPENED TO FIND THEMSELVES IN AN EXPANSE OF WILDERNESS RIDDLED WITH HIGHLY POISONOUS SNAKES AND SCORPIONS. If people were mass-beaten by snakes (as they slept mainly as the Arovar snakes can simply pop out of the sand and strike), then the necessity of their healing did certainly arise. Exactly how were they healed?

The Pentateuch writers would have us believe that once again, Adad performed a miracle, by having Moses raise up a bronze snake to which every victim of a snake bite simply had to look and instantly be restored to full health. That is  a stretching of the truth: it is an embellishment of  the facts of the matter.  You will be aware by now that among the exodus caravan were Egyptians. And among these Egyptians were trained healers, known in Egypt as the Theraputae.

As Egyptians, the Theraputae worshipped or venerated Enki, who alongside his genius son Ningishzidda was reputed as the god of healing.  IT WERE THE THERAPUTAE WHO SPRANG INTO ACTION AND ADMINISTERED THE ELIXIRS THAT NEUTRALISED THE SNAKE POISON. For the Theraputae to perform such a duty, they insisted that their god, Enki, had to be at least momentarily exalted in the circumstances that prevailed, whereupon Moses had no option but  to cave in.

Now, the medium of exaltation was not a bronze pole that had to be set up on the spur of the moment. MOSES IMPROVISED WITH HIS OWN PHARAONIC STAFF THAT HE HAD COME WITH FROM EGYPT.  A pharaonic staff  was the symbol of a Pharaoh’s authority and was topped with a snake sculpted in bronze. Thus as the ranks of the Theraputae were busy doing their medical rounds, Moses held up his pharaonic staff for every patient to symbolically gaze upon.

Sadly, the story over time was infused with godly and miraculous overtones so that even during the time of Hezekiah King of Judah 600 years later, the Israelites were paying religious homage to Moses pharaonic staff in commemoration of the Arovah “miracle healing”! But there is still more to the bronze snake symbolism. That we unpack next week.

NEXT WEEK:   COPPER AND ENKI

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THE KEY TO HAPPINESS

10th February 2023

Speaking at a mental health breakfast seminar last week I emphasised to the HR managerial audience that you cannot yoga your way out of a toxic work culture. What I meant by that was that as HR practitioners we must avoid tending to look at the soft options to address mental health issues, distractions such as yoga and meditation. That’s like looking for your lost bunch of keys, then opening the front door with the spare under the mat.  You’ve solved the immediate problem, but all the other keys are still missing.   Don’t get me wrong; mindfulness practices, yoga exercise and taking time to smell the roses all have their place in mental wellness but it’s a bit like hacking away at the blight-ridden leaves of the tree instead of getting to the root cause of the problem.

Another point I stressed was that mental health at work shouldn’t be looked at from the individual lens – yet that’s what we do. We have counselling of employees, wellness webinars or talks but if you really want to sort out the mental health crisis that we face in our organisations you HAVE to view this more systemically and that means looking at the system and that starts with the leaders and managers.

Now. shining a light on management may not be welcomed by many. But leaders control the flow of work and set the goals and expectations that others need to live up to. Unrealistic expectations, excessive workloads and tight deadlines increase stress and force people to work longer hours … some of the things which contribute to poor mental health. Actually, we know from research exactly what contributes to a poor working environment – discrimination and inequality, excessive workloads, low job control and job insecurity – all of which pose a risk to mental health. The list goes on and is pretty exhaustive but here are the major ones: under-use of skills or being under-skilled for work; excessive workloads or work pace, understaffing; long, unsocial or inflexible hours; lack of control over job design or workload; organizational culture that enables negative behaviours; limited support from colleagues or authoritarian supervision; discrimination and exclusion; unclear job role; under- or over-promotion; job insecurity.

And to my point no amount of yoga is going to change that.

We can use the word ‘toxic’ to describe dysfunctional work environments and if our workplaces are toxic we have to look at the people who set the tone. Harder et al. (2014) define a toxic work environment as an environment that negatively impacts the viability of an organization. They specify: “It is reasonable to conclude that an organization can be considered toxic if it is ineffective as well as destructive to its employees”.

Micromanagement and/or failure to reward or recognize performance are the most obvious signs of toxic managers. These managers can be controlling, inflexible, rigid,  close-minded, and lacking in self-awareness. And let’s face it managers like those I have just described are plentiful. Generally, however there is often a failure by higher management to address toxic leaders when they are considered to be high performing. This kind of situation can be one of the leading causes of unhappiness in teams. I have coached countless employees who talk about managers with bullying ways which everyone knows about, yet action is never taken. It’s problematic when we overlook unhealthy dynamics and behaviours  because of high productivity or talent as it sends a clear message that the behaviour is acceptable and that others on the team will not be supported by leadership.

And how is the HR Manager viewed when they raise the unacceptable behaviour with the CEO – they are accused of not being a team player, looking for problems or failing to understand business dynamics and the need to get things done.  Toxic management is a systemic problem caused when companies create cultures around high-performance and metrics vs. long-term, sustainable, healthy growth. In such instances the day-to-day dysfunction is often ignored for the sake of speed and output. While short-term gains are rewarded, executives fail to see the long-term impact of protecting a toxic, but high-performing, team or employee. Beyond this, managers promote unhealthy workplace behaviour when they recognize and reward high performers for going above and beyond, even when that means rewarding the road to burnout by praising a lack of professional boundaries (like working during their vacation and after hours).

The challenge for HR Managers is getting managers to be honest with themselves and their teams about the current work environment. Honesty is difficult, I’m afraid, especially with leaders who are overly sensitive, emotional, or cannot set healthy boundaries. But here’s the rub – no growth or change can occur if denial and defensiveness are used to protect egos.  Being honest about these issues helps garner trust among employees, who already know the truth about what day-to-day dynamics are like at work. They will likely be grateful that cultural issues will finally be addressed. Conversely, if they aren’t addressed, retention failure is the cost of protecting egos of those in management.

Toxic workplace culture comes at a huge price: even before the Great Resignation, turnover related to toxic workplaces cost US employers almost $50 billion yearly! I wonder what it’s costing us here.

QUOTE

We can use the word ‘toxic’ to describe dysfunctional work environments and if our workplaces are toxic we have to look at the people who set the tone. Harder et al. (2014) define a toxic work environment as an environment that negatively impacts the viability of an organization. They specify: “It is reasonable to conclude that an organization can be considered toxic if it is ineffective as well as destructive to its employees”.

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Heartache for Kelly Fisher

9th February 2023
T

o date, Princess Diana, General Atiku, had destroyed one marriage, come close to ruining another one in the offing, and now was poised to wreck yet another marriage that was already in the making. This was between Dodi Fayed and the American model Kelly Fisher.

If there was one common denominator about Diana and Dodi besides their having been born with a silver spoon in their mouths, General, it was that both were divorcees. Dodi’s matrimonial saga, however, was less problematic and acrimonious and lasted an infinitesimal 8 months. This was with yet another American model and film actress going by the name Susanne Gregard.

Dodi met Susanne in 1986, when she was only 26 years old. Like most glamourous women, she proved not to be that easy a catch and to readily incline her towards positively and expeditiously responding to his rather gallant advances, Dodi booked her as a model for the Fayed’s London  mega store Harrods, where he had her travel every weekend by Concorde.  They married at a rather private ceremony at Dodi’s Colorado residence in 1987 on New Year’s Day, without the blessings, bizarrely, of his all-powerful  father.  By September the same year, the marriage was, for reasons that were not publicised but likely due to the fact that his father had not sanctioned it,  kaput.

It would take ten more years for Dodi to propose marriage to another woman, who happened to be Kelly Fisher this time around.

 

DODI HITCHES KELLY FISHER

 

Kelly and Dodi, General, met in Paris in July 1996, when Kelly was only 29 years old. In a sort of whirlwind romance, the duo fell in love, becoming a concretised item in December and formally getting  engaged in February 1997.

Of course the relationship was not only about mutual love: the material element was a significant, if not vital, factor.  Kelly was to give up her modelling  job just  so she could spend a lot more time with  the new man in her life and for that she was to be handed out a compensatory reward amounting to   $500,000. The engagement ring for one, which was a diamond and sapphire affair, set back Dodi in the order of    $230,000. Once they had wedded, on August 9 that very year as per plan, they were to live in a $7 million 5-acre  Malibu Beach mansion in California, which Dodi’s father had bought him for that and an entrepreneurial purpose.  They were already even talking about embarking on making a family from the get-go: according to Kelly, Dodi wanted two boys at the very least.

Kelly naturally had the unambiguous blessings of her father-in-law as there was utterly nothing Dodi could do without the green light from the old man. When Mohamed Al Fayed was contemplating buying the Jonikal, the luxurious yacht, he invited Dodi and Kelly to inspect it too and hear their take  on it.

If there was a tell-tale red flag about Dodi ab initio, General, it had to do with a $200,000 cheque he issued to Kelly as part payment of the pledged $500,000 and which was dishonoured by the bank. Throughout their 13-month-long romance, Dodi made good on only $60,000 of the promised sum.  But love, as they say, General, is blind and Kelly did not care a jot about her beau’s financial indiscretions. It was enough that he was potentially a very wealthy man anyway being heir to his father’s humongous fortune.

 

                                              KELLY CONSIGNED TO “BOAT CAGE”                 

 

In that summer of the year 1997, General, Dodi and Kelly were to while away quality time  on the French Rivierra as well as the Jonikal after Paris. Then Dodi’s dad weighed in and put a damper on this prospect in a telephone call to Dodi on July 14. “Dodi said he was going to London and he’d be back and then we were going to San Tropez,” Kelly told the interviewer in a later TV programme.  “That evening he didn’t call me and I finally got him on his portable phone. I said, ‘Dodi where are you?’ and he said he was in London. I said, ‘Ok, I’ll call you right back at your apartment’. He said, ‘No, no, don’t call me back’. So I said, ‘Dodi where are you?’ and he admitted he was in the south of France. His father had asked him to come down and not bring me, I know now.”

Since Dodi could no longer hide from Kelly and she on her part just could not desist from badgering him, he had no option but to dispatch a private Fayed  jet to pick her up so that she join him forthwith in St. Tropez.  This was on July 16.

Arriving in St. Tropez, Kelly, General, did not lodge at the Fayed’s seaside villa as was her expectation but was somewhat stashed in the Fayed’s maritime fleet, first in the Sakara, and later in the Cujo, which was moored only yards from the Fayed villa. It was in the Cujo Kelly  spent the next two nights with Dodi.  “She (Kelly) felt there was something strange going on as Dodi spent large parts of the day at the family’s villa, Castel St. Helene, but asked her to stay on the boat,” writes Martyn Gregory in The Diana Conspiracy Exposed. “Dodi was sleeping with Kelly at night and was courting Diana by day. His deception was assisted by Kelly Fisher’s modelling assignment on 18-20 July in Nice. The Fayed’s were happy to lend her the Cujo and its crew for three days to take her there.”

Dodi’s behaviour clearly was curious, General. “Dodi would say, ‘I’m going to the house and I’ll be back in half an hour’,” Kelly told Gregory. “And he’d come back three or four hours later. I was furious. I’m sitting on the boat, stuck. And he was having lunch with everyone. So he had me in my little boat cage, and I now know he was seducing Diana. So he had me, and then he would go and try and seduce her, and then he’d come back the next day and it would happen again. I was livid by this point, and I just didn’t understand what was going on. When he was with me, he was so wonderful. He said he loved me, and we talked to my mother, and we were talking about moving into the house in California.”

But as is typical of the rather romantically gullible  tenderer sex, General, Kelly rationalised her man’s stratagems. “I just thought they maybe didn’t want a commoner around the Princess … Dodi kept leaving me behind with the excuse that the Princess didn’t like to meet new people.” During one of those nights, General, Dodi even had unprotected sexual relations with Kelly whilst cooing in her ear that, “I love you so  much and I want you to have my baby.”

 

KELLY USHERED ONTO THE JONIKAL AT LONG LAST

 

On July 20, General, Diana returned to England and it was only then that Dodi allowed Kelly to come aboard the Jonikal.  According to Debbie Gribble, who was the Jonikal’s chief  stewardess, Kelly was kind of grumpy. “I had no idea at the time who she was,  but I felt she acted very spoiled,” she says in Trevor Rees-Jones’ The Bodyguard’s Story. “I remember vividly that she snapped, ‘I want to eat right now. I don’t want a drink, I just want to eat now’. It was quite obvious that she was upset, angry or annoyed about something.”

Kelly’s irascible manner of course was understandable, General,  given the games Dodi had been playing with her since she pitched up in St. Tropez. Granted, what happened to Kelly was very much antithetical to Dodi’s typically well-mannered nature, but the fact of the matter was that she simply was peripheral to the larger agenda, of which Dodi’s father was the one calling the shots.

On July 23, Dodi and Kelly flew to Paris, where they parted as Kelly had some engagements lined up in Los Angeles. Dodi promised to join her there on August 4 to celebrate with her her parents’ marriage anniversary.  Dodi, however, General, did not make good on his promise: though he did candidly own up to the fact that he was at that point in time again with Diana, he also fibbed that he was not alone with her but was partying with her along with Elton John and George Michael. But in a August 6 phone call, he did undertake to Kelly that he would be joining her    in LA in a few days’ time. In the event, anyway, General, Kelly continued to ready herself for her big day, which was slated for August 9 – until she saw “The Kiss”.

 

THE KISS THAT NEVER WAS

 

“The Kiss”, General, first featured in London’s Sunday Mirror on August 10 under that very headline. In truth, General, it was not a definitive, point-blank kiss: it was a fuzzy image of Diana and Dodi embracing on the Jonikal. A friend of Kelly faxed her the newspaper pictures in the middle of the night and Kelly was at once  stunned and convulsed with rage.

But although Kelly was shocked, General, she was not exactly surprised as two or three days prior, British tabloids had already begun rhapsodising on a brewing love affair between Dodi and Diana. That day, Kelly had picked up a phone to demand an immediate explanation from her fiancé. “I started calling him in London because at this time I was expecting his arrival in a day. I called his private line, but there was no answer. So then I called the secretary and asked to speak to him she wouldn’t put me on. So Mohamed got on and in so many horrible words told me to never call back again. I said, ‘He’s my fiancé, what are you talking about?’ He hung up on me and I called back and the secretary said don’t ever call here again, your calls are no longer to be put through. It was so horrible.”

Kelly did at long last manage to reach Dodi but he was quick to protest that, “I can’t talk to you on the phone. I will talk to you in LA.” Perhaps Dodi, General, just at that stage was unable to  muster sufficient  Dutch courage to thrash out the matter with Kelly but a more credible reason he would not talk had to do with his father’s obsessive bugging of every communication device Dodi used and every inch of every property he owned.  The following is what David Icke has to say on the subject in his iconic book The Biggest Secret:

“Ironically, Diana used to have Kensington Palace swept for listening devices and now she was in the clutches of a man for whom bugging was an obsession. The Al Fayed villa in San Tropez was bugged, as were all Fayed properties. Everything Diana said could be heard. Bob Loftus, the former Head of Security at Harrods, said that the bugging there was ‘a very extensive operation’ and was also always under the direction of Al Fayed. Henry Porter, the London Editor of the magazine Vanity Fair, had spent two years investigating Al Fayed and he said they came across his almost obsessive use of eavesdropping devices to tape telephone calls, bug rooms, and film people.”

Through mutual friends, General, Porter warned Diana about Al Fayed’s background and activities ‘because we thought this was quite dangerous for her for obvious reasons’ but Diana apparently felt she could handle it and although she knew Al Fayed could ‘sometimes be a rogue’, he was no threat to her, she thought. “He is rather more than a rogue and rather more often than ‘sometimes,” she apparently told friends. “I know he’s naughty, but that’s all.” The TV programme  Dispatches said they had written evidence that Al Fayed bugged the Ritz Hotel and given his background and the deals that are hatched at the Ritz, it would be uncharacteristic if he did not. Kelly Fisher said that the whole time she was on Fayed property, she just assumed everything was bugged. It was known, she said, and Dodi had told her the bugging was so pervasive.

 

KELLY SUES, ALBEIT VAINLY SO

 

To his credit, General, Dodi was sufficiently concerned about what had transpired in St. Tropez to fly to LA and do his utmost to appease Kelly but Kelly simply was not interested as to her it was obvious enough that Diana was the new woman in his life.

On August 14, Kelly held a press conference in LA, where she announced that she was taking legal action against Dodi for breach of matrimonial contract. Her asking compensation price was £340,000. Of course the suit, General, lapsed automatically with the demise of Dodi in that Paris underpass on August 31, 1997.

Although Kelly did produce evidence of her engagement to Dodi in the form of a pricey and spectacular engagement ring, General, Mohamed Al Fayed was adamant that she never was engaged to his son and that she was no more than a gold digger.

But it is all water under the bridge now, General: Kelly is happily married to a pilot and the couple has a daughter. Her hubby  may not be half as rich as Dodi potentially was but she is fully fulfilled anyway. Happiness, General, comes in all shades and does not necessarily stem from a colossal bank balance or other such trappings of affluence.

Pic Cap

THE SHORT-LIVED TRIANGLE: For about a month or so, Dodi Al Fayed juggled Princess Diana and American model Kelly Fisher, who sported Dodi’s engagement ring.  Of course one of the two had to give and naturally it could not be Diana, who entered the lists in the eleventh hour but was the more precious by virtue of her royal pedigree and surpassing international stature.

NEXT WEEK: FURTHER BONDING BETWEEN DIANA AND DODI

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EXTRAVAGANCE One of The Scourges in Society.

9th February 2023

Extravagance in recent times has moved from being the practice of some rich and wealthy people of society in general and has regrettably, filtered to all levels of the society. Some of those who have the means are reckless and flaunt their wealth, and consequently, those of us who do not, borrow money to squander it in order to meet their families’ wants of luxuries and unnecessary items. Unfortunately this is a characteristic of human nature.

Adding to those feelings of inadequacy we have countless commercials to whet the consumer’s appetite/desire to buy whatever is advertised, and make him believe that if he does not have those products he will be unhappy, ineffective, worthless and out of tune with the fashion and trend of the times. This practice has reached a stage where many a bread winner resorts to taking loans (from cash loans or banks) with high rates of interest, putting himself in unnecessary debt to buy among other things, furniture, means of transport, dress, food and fancy accommodation, – just to win peoples’ admiration.

Islam and most religions discourage their followers towards wanton consumption. They encourage them to live a life of moderation and to dispense with luxury items so they will not be enslaved by them. Many people today blindly and irresponsibly abandon themselves to excesses and the squandering of wealth in order to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.

The Qur’aan makes it clear that allowing free rein to extravagance and exceeding the limits of moderation is an inherent characteristic in man. Allah says, “If Allah were to enlarge the provision for his servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds.” [Holy Qur’aan 42:  27]

 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Observe the middle course whereby you will attain your objective (that is paradise).” –  Moderation is the opposite of extravagance.

Every individual is meant to earn in a dignified manner and then spend in a very wise and careful manner. One should never try to impress upon others by living beyond one’s means. Extravagance is forbidden in Islam, Allah says, “Do not be extravagant; surely He does not love those who are extravagant!” [Holy Qur’aan 7: 31]

The Qur’aan regards wasteful buying of food, extravagant eating that sometimes leads to throwing away of leftovers as absolutely forbidden. Allah says, “Eat of the fruits in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. And waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” [Holy Qur’aan 6:  141]

Demonstrating wastefulness in dress, means of transport, furniture and any other thing is also forbidden. Allah says, “O children of Adam! Wear your apparel of adornment at every time and place of worship, and eat and drink but do not be extravagant; surely He does not love those who are extravagant!” [Holy Qur’aan 7:  31]

Yet extravagance and the squandering of wealth continue to grow in society, while there are many helpless and deprived peoples who have no food or shelter. Just look around you here in Botswana.

Have you noticed how people squander their wealth on ‘must have’ things like designer label clothes, fancy brand whiskey, fancy top of the range cars, fancy society parties or even costly weddings, just to make a statement? How can we prevent the squandering of such wealth?

How can one go on spending in a reckless manner possibly even on things that have been made forbidden while witnessing the suffering of fellow humans whereby thousands of people starve to death each year. Islam has not forbidden a person to acquire wealth, make it grow and make use of it. In fact Islam encourages one to do so. It is resorting to forbidden ways to acquiring and of squandering that wealth that Islam has clearly declared forbidden. On the Day of Judgment every individual will be asked about his wealth, where he obtained it and how he spent it.

In fact, those who do not have any conscience about their wasteful habits may one day be subjected to Allah’s punishment that may deprive them of such wealth overnight and impoverish them. Many a family has been brought to the brink of poverty after leading a life of affluence. Similarly, many nations have lived a life  of extravagance and their people indulged in such excesses only to be later inflicted by trials and tribulations to such a point that they wished they would only have a little of what they used to possess!

With the festive season and the new year holidays having passed us, for many of us meant ‘one’ thing – spend, spend, spend. With the festivities and the celebrations over only then will the reality set in for many of us that we have overspent, deep in debt with nothing to show for it and that the following months are going to be challenging ones.

Therefore, we should not exceed the bounds when Almighty bestows His bounties upon us. Rather we should show gratefulness to Him by using His bestowments and favours in ways that prove our total obedience to Him and by observing moderation in spending. For this will be better for us in this life and the hereafter.

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