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Saturday, 02 December 2023

Yahwehs Debauchery

Columns

Benson C Sail
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the Exodus, demands his share of virgins of conquered lands!

According to the Pentateuch, the Israelites were in the Sinai wilderness (or rather Arabian Wilderness as we now know) for 38 years or so, or approximately 40 years (this periodicity we have long debunked though and demonstrated that the wilderness years  totalled  13 at most). It was at this stage Ishkur-Adad, the Anunnaki Jehovah of the exodus, decided his chosen people were now ready for the march on Canaan. First, Moses dispatched a team of 12 scouts to spy out the Negev region in Canaan whilst the Israelites were camped at Kadesh  Barnea in the Wilderness of Zin.  Upon their return, they filed a militarily bad and therefore demoralising report, whereupon Adad had ten of the spies killed save for Joshua and Caleb.

To signal their protest against Adad’s draconian ways, and to move against Adad’s decree that the rebellious Israelites would never enter the Promised Land, a contingent of the Israelite army broke away and decided to launch their own invasion of Canaan. THIS WAS THE ISRAELITES’ FIRST OFFENSIVE AGAINST A CANAANITE NATION.  The Canaanite state the dissident Israelites targeted was that of the giant-sized Amorites, the descendants of Canaan the son of Ham, in what would become the Kingdom of Judah, and the Amalekites.

"The Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah," Moses recounted to the Nation of Israel in DEUTERONOMY  1:44.  The dissidents were routed and had no option but to ingratiate themselves back into Moses’ good graces.

The Promised Land was way north of Kadesh Barnea and having barred his people from proceeding there, Adad ordered them to trek southwards, in the opposite direction,  to Ezion Geber on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, the eastern wing of the Red Sea. “Now turn around, and don’t go on toward the land where the Amalekites and Canaanites live,” Adad said to Moses.  “Tomorrow you must set out for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea”  NUMBERS 14:25.

EDOMITE KING SNUB ISRAELITES

The Israelites did not linger long at Ezion Geber. Remember, they did not have territory they could call their own: the expanse of wilderness within which they wondered was Ishmaelite land – the domain of the Arabs. So at some stage, they returned to Kadesh Barnea with a view to proceeding northwards and make their first offensive foray into  Canaan as a united army.

The obstacles, however, were mammoth. From the place they were stationed, they did not have direct passage to Canaanite territory. Canaan was surrounded, clockwise, by the kingdoms of Bashan, Heshbon; Ammon; Moab; Edom (now southwestern Jordan); and Arabah. Presently, the Israelites were camped near the Edomite border town of Petra, immediately south of Edom. It was therefore  of necessity that Moses seek permission from the Edomite King to traverse his territory. Moses’ optimism derived from the fact that the Edomites, being descendants of Esau, Jacob’s half-brother, were cousins to the Israelites.

Edom, also known as the Land of Seir, was a rich state with luxuriant fields and vineyards and plentiful   wells. Moreover, it was located on what was known as the King’s Highway, a main road and well-traversed trade route.  In the message Moses sent to Edom’s King, he stressed that his caravan would restrict itself to the King’s Highway. However, the King refused to give Moses the green light, fearful that this great horde of people would either stun them with an attack or devour their crops. The King even had the Edomite army stand guard along the southeastern border.

What that entailed was that the Israelites had no option but to use the much longer route along Edom’s eastern border but via the land of the Nabateans, who were neighbours to Edom. The trek was made all the more arduous because the Israelites had to make a decoy southernward journey (done to hoodwink the Edomites)  to Ezion Geber before they set course northwards again.

Moses wanted to attack Edom with a view to bulldozing his way through the country but Adad told him to desist because  “I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land”, DEUTERONOMY 2:5.  Adad had allocated Edomite land not on his own behalf but on behalf of the Enlilite godhead, who he fronted by deliberate design. Otherwise, the Edomites’ specific god was Nannar-Sin, Adad’s older brother who is today known as Allah.
 
    ISRAELITES INCH CLOSER TO PROMISED LAND    

As Commander-in-Chief of the Israelite army, Moses did register key and decisive victories. These were four in total, three against Canaanite nations and one against a coalition of Midianite kings.      The order in which the conquests are recorded in the biblical Book of Numbers is not necessarily accurate, but that does not subtract from their significance.  

Now, although the King of Edom initially refused the Israelites passage through his territory, he at long last relented and gave them the nod after Moses badgered him. This was  after having covered considerable distance on the roundabout route. The Moabite King, the central figure in the Balaam story, also did likewise in heed of Balaam’s warning that anybody who tried to stand in the way of Yahweh’s chosen people automatically invited a curse.  

The Israelites were now camped at a place known as Arnon, on the border between Moab and Amorite lands and  east of the Jordan River.   The Amorites were the most dominant nation of Canaan, with the result that the terms Amorite and Canaanites are often used interchangeably in the Old Testament.  The light-skinned (not white-skinned) Amorites – Amaru in Sumerian – were descended from Canaan, Ham’s fourth son. They have gone into the annals of history as the first Europeans as they were the first to settle north of the Mediterranean Sea (Europe is actually E-ru-Pan, meaning “Land of Fair-Skinned People”).

The Amorite ruling elite came from the Nephilim race – the offspring resulting from matrimonial unions between the Igigi (space-based Anunnaki who at some stage settled on Earth) and Earthling women. The Nephilim, also known as Anakim, Rephaites, Emites, or Zamzumites, were gigantic in stature thanks to the more expressive Anunnaki genes in their blood. The Bible describes them as “of the height of the cedars” and “of the remnants of the giants”. One Amorite King’s bed measured  13 feet long and 6 feet wide.  The Amorites teemed in the lands west of the Jordan River though they occupied both Canaan (east of the Jordan River  basically) and Transjordan (west of the Jordan River in present-day Jordan). In the Bible,  they are  generally associated with Canaan.

MOSES OVERRUNS THREE CANAANITE STATES

The  principal Amorite states were Heshbon immediately north of Moabite territory and Bashan, the northernmost state  of Transjordan. Heshbon was ruled by King Sihon, whereas Bashan, which encompassed Gilead and Galaunitis,  was ruled by King Og. Heshbon had been captured from a Moabite King, which suggests the Amorites were people  of  substantial military mettle.  

All Moses wanted was to transit through Heshbon to further his march on Canaan, and so he sent a deputation to King Sihon to make that request. Sihon not only parried the overture but declared war on the Israelites pre-emptively. It was a gross miscalculation as the Israelites turned out to be a formidable foe. King Sihon’s army was routed and at the orders of Ishkur-Adad, the Israelites saw to it that the king was killed along with all his children. IN FACT, WHAT THE ISRAELITES ADMITTEDLY PERPETRATED AMOUNTED TO A GENOCIDE. “We conquered all of King Sihon’s towns and completely destroyed everyone – men, women, and children,” relates Moses in DEUTERONOMY 2:34-35. “Not a single person was spared.”

On hearing of the fate of his counterpart and his people, King Og of Bashan feared he and his people were next. He too decided on a pre-emptive, knockout  offensive at the Israelites. Big mistake: he was given a pasting and both his family members and his subjects, children included, were massacred. All of Bashan’s 60 towns were strewn with Amorite dead, the only living and breathing humans being Israelites. The Israelites now occupied the entire expanse of Amorite land.   

Just how did Moses pull off this twin feat considering that in the case of Bashan, for instance, “all these towns were fortified with walls and barred gates”?, (DEUTERONOMY 3:5).  It seems Adad either assisted them with aerial firepower, or the Ark of the Covenant’s military capacity was employed to full effect though it is not associated with these preliminary wars in the Pentateuch records. In delivering a walk-over victory to the Israelites, Adad must have employed  mind-manipulation stratagems in part.

For of   King Sihon,  Moses says, “the Lord made Sihon stubborn and defiant so that he could help us defeat him …  The Lord our God helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge and the town in the gorge and whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us.” Meanwhile, the King of Arad, a Canaanite state that was located around the Negev Desert, got wind of the Israelite army’s exploits   and its imminent approach. He decided to intercept them before they penetrated deeper into his territory.

The Israelites were stunned and a good number of them were taken as prisoners. Once again, Adad came to their rescue and somehow facilitated their eventual drubbing of the Aradians. The destruction of Arad was so comprehensive the place  earned itself a new name, Horman, which means “ruins”. Clearly, Adad must have used sophisticated weaponry in the kingdom’s routing.

MIDIAN CONQUERED, PLUNDERED

Next to quake in his boots at the military might of  the Israelites was the Moabite King. With Moses’ forces cutting a swathe through the region and putting everybody to the sword, King Balak was anxious that his own scalp might be next. But he didn’t have much confidence in his own forces to pit them against the mighty Moses. As such, he decided to employ the services of the most renowned sorcerer of the day  to utter curses against Israel and therefore pave way for a Moabite easy victory. That was how Balaam entered the lists, an episode we have already dwelt upon in detail.

In calling upon Balaam, Balak did so in league with the Midianites. At the time, Midian was a confederacy of five states, each ruled by its own king.  Having been prevented from placing a curse on the Israelites by Ishkur-Adad, Balaam had advised  King Balak to strategically lure Israelite soldiers into the worship of  the Moabite god using promiscuous women as the mercenary bait. It was hoped that in the process, the Israelites military prowess might be compromised and they would be easy pickings when hostilities commenced. About 24,000 Israelites were so seduced, both sexually and religiously, as a result of which Adad cracked the whip by visiting a unspecified deathly plague on them.  

A livid Adad ordered Moses to attack the Midianites for leading  his people into “idolatry”. Moses commissioned 12,000 soldiers, led by Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, into the  war effort and before long all of Midian had been overrun and all of its five kings executed. Balaam, who had lingered among the Midianites as their mercenary strategic tactician, was also ferreted out  and put to death.  

This time around, the Israelites did not  kill every living and breathing Midianite: they spared the women and children, who they presented as war trophies to Moses. BUT MOSES WAS NOT AMUSED: HE WANTED A WHOLESALE MASSACRE AND SO ORDERED THAT THEY ALL BE KILLED SAVE FOR VIRGINS. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor.

They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people.  So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves”, NUMBERS 31:15-18. Of course Moses was simply doing the bidding of his sadistic god Adad and if it were all up to him, he wouldn’t have resorted to this barbarism.   

Every time the Israelites conquered a state, they plundered it. From Midianite lands, the plunder consisted of 675,000 sheep and goats; 72,000 cattle; 61,000 donkeys; 420 pounds (190 kg)  of gold; and a wealth of jewellery in the form of armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, etc.  Of these, Adad demanded 675 sheep and goats; 72 cattle; and all the gold. As for the jewellery, Adad ordered that it all be handed over to him as atonement for whatever sin the soldiers may have committed whilst waging war.

Altogether, 16,000 Midianite virgins were spared. ALL WERE GIVEN AWAY TO THE SOLDIERS FOR A JOB WELL DONE SAVE FOR 32, WHICH ADAD DEMANDED FOR HIS OWN SEXUAL GRATIFICATION (NUMBERS 31:40), AN INCIDENT YOUR PASTOR WILL NEVER PREACH ABOUT. This was Jehovah folks, the god of Christendom, seeing to it that  he did not miss out on the indulgence jamboree with sexually innocent teens. This Earth, My  Brother …

THREE TRIBES ALLOTED CONQUERED TERRITORY

The Israelites were now poised to invade Canaan proper, the lands east of the Jordan River. Since this was the final and decisive offensive, Moses decided to conduct a census of fighting men. The 12 tribes (excluding the Levites, who were exempt from serving in the army) totaled 601,730, only slightly lower than the 603,550 who were tallied when the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai “40 years” before. As before, the most numerous was the tribe of Judah at 76,500 (followed by the tribe of Dan at  64,400) , and the tiniest was the tribe of Simeon  at 22,200 (followed by the tribe of Ephraim at 32,500).  

At this very  juncture, the tribes of Reuben and Gad asked Moses for permission to settle the lands the Israelites had wrested from the two Amorite kings being enamoured with their fertility. At first, Moses rejected their request, fearing that allowing the tribes to stay behind and avoid further military service would discourage fellow Israelites and lead to disunity among tribes. Moses also interpreted their request as a cover for their fear of  entering the Promised Land and suspected that it was a cleverly contrived way of pulling back from the brink. Moses believed that all the tribes should conquer the Promised Land together.

The Reubenites and Gadites responded by emphasising their commitment to the community and their willingness to fight alongside their fellow Israelites until everyone had attained the land they were promised. Moses listened to their arguments and eventually accepted   their solemn promises to engage in battle for the collective conquest of the Promised Land before returning to their settlements outside Canaan. That’s how the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Mannaseh eventually came  to occupy what used to be the Kingdoms of Bashan and  Heshbon.
   

NEXT WEEK:   DEATH OF A COLOSSUS

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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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