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Saturday, 02 December 2023

I Have Earth-Shaking News

Columns

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER 
   

She was the world’s most recognisable face since Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson and was tipped to be the symbolic heir to Mother Theresa on account of her scintillating philanthropic passion. About 20 years ago, Diana Princess of Wales met her fate in a road mishap in a Paris underpass.

Was it really an accident or a tactical elimination? In a new series titled Lady Die, BENSON C SAILI with typical meticulous research peers behind the veil to expose a sophisticated plot woven together by British and French intelligence and aided and abetted by Mossad and the CIA.   

Dear General Atiku,
 
It is said the good die young. Jesus, according to the dud, mainstream version, was nailed to the stake at 33. Alexander the Great too shuffled off his mortal coil at age 33. Thomas Sankara, Africa’s greatest son as you may be aware General, was cruelly cut down by the Devil-Incarnate Blaise He-Will-Go-To-Blazes Compaore two months before he turned 37. 

Ernesto Che Guevara, forever the gold standard of revolutionary fortitude and zealotry, was killed in cold blood at the behest of the CIA barely four months after he attained his 39th birthday.  Jack Kennedy, America’s finest president ever, was dispatched in a hail of gunfire when he was only 48 years old, still a spring chicken really.  My own personal hero, Christopher Hani, was just on the cusp of 51 when he met his fate at the hands of that diabolical Pole whose name I will not deign to mention.

The subject at issue, Princess Diana Spencer, was sacrificed at age 36. The emphasis is deliberate General. Of course you may wonder, General, at my employment of the term “sacrifice”. Granted, it is a bold and audacious assertion. Am I laying it on a little too thick General? Am I recklessly stretching the truth? Is it all mumble jumbo, nothing more than unanchored speculation? Is it a classic case of peddling the sensational and the superficial?

Well, General, I elect not to go into the polemics of my standpoint, particularly at this early stage of the narrative when I’m just getting on my marks, when I’m just about to shoot off from the blocks.  Rather, I leave it to you, and indeed to the wider readership, to draw your own, considered conclusions on the basis of the perspective I am about to set down. Just as beauty, General,  is in the eyes of the beholder, whether a view that has been posited  makes sense or belongs to the refuse bin is all up to the discerning, objective, and level-headed observer.   

You will agree with me, General, that the death of any young person, particularly in chillingly tragic circumstances, is an apocalypse. The Bible, which I reference purely from a philosophical point of view and not as the inerrant and infallible “Word of God”, says,  “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh”. It is said the “Good Lord” often or invariably withdraws a soul from this reality when it has fulfilled its purpose early and not necessarily when it has attained the allotted Three-Score-And-Ten. Talk about hogwash!

Princes Diana as you well know General was a marvellous human being, arguably the sweetest soul amongst the ranks of people of her generation who strutted the public stage.  True, she was not a Mother Theresa or a Dalai Lama: like you and I General, she was fraught with a whole host of shortcomings. A martyr she was; a saint she wasn’t. Pulchritudinally, she wasn’t even half as gorgeous as your greatest obsession Marilyn Monroe,  nor was she a fraction the enchantress that is the inimitable Beyonce Knowles Carter. 

Yet there’s no denying the fact that she simply was one of a kind. A legacy is etched into the hearts of others and the stories they share about you.  Princes Diana was truly the Queen of Hearts: she carved her name not on tombstones, like George W Bush and Antony Blair, but on our hearts. Sadly, she was a flower that bloomed just as it wilted, that began its life with an all too early ending. Having burnt so brightly before she went to Glory, her brightness shines for all time anyway.  

Certainly, by dying young, a person stays young in peoples’ memories. This is one of the most memorable moral precepts she enunciated forth: “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”  The acts of kindness she wrought were multifarious, multifaceted, and therefore priceless. She had many more such  acts to edify the world with in the fullness of time. She went too soon General.  If there is a god who as some suppose prised her from the world when  she hadn’t even reached the noon of her life, I’m afraid that  god is a Devil finish and klaar.

Everyone, including you General, plays their own song in their pilgrimage in life. They sing their story to the world and leave behind a melody of memories. Diana left such memories galore General. To me, and possibly to you too General, her death was such a loss it remains an enduring bereavement: she was such a ray of sunshine who illuminated and buoyed up the spirits of many a  depressed, dejected, and downtrodden  people from across the length and breadth of the globe. Indeed, she was a beacon of genuine goodness that tragically is “frowned upon by people who reside  on the opposite side of the moral spectrum”.

Yet I must hasten to underscore, General, that this series is not meant to canonise or otherwise deify her, that it is far from her apotheosis. In fact, it is not so much about her as about the intrigues of the Illuminati – the archontic forces who rule the world from behind the drapes. And since it is you General who proposed the series, I have the pleasure  of informing you  that  it is not only dedicated to you: it is also addressed to you!

If you recall General, I did undertake to you during our brief dialogue on social media that in penning the saga and fate of the great Princess, I would sing like a canary. Well, here is my song General …

I remain General,
Ever Your Boon Companion,
Benson C Saili,  
Gaborone.
January 2020

“MY HUSBAND WANTS ME DEAD”

You will  be aware, General, that when the curtain closed on the infuriatingly short life of Princess Diana on August 31, 1997, it was in the context of a car accident. As she drew her last breath, the princess must have mentally sighed, “Well, it was certain to end like this wasn’t it?”

I intuit as such, General, because ten months before she died, Diana had been secretly tipped as to how her demise might unfold. In October 1996, exactly ten months after her divorce from Princes Charles was finalised, she wrote a note to her butler Paul Burrell in which she expressed anxiety that Charles was plotting her death. “This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous,” she despaired in the note.   “My husband is planning an accident in my car – brake failure and serious head injury.”

Even earlier, in 1995, the princess had in a soul-baring note to  her solicitor, Lord Mishcon, expressed the same fears: she forecast that she would  die in a planned road crash in 1996. Lord Mishcon passed the note to Lord Paul Condon,  the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, who sadly but deliberately  sat on it. Charles wanted her dead, the princess  went on in the Paul Burrell note, “in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy.”

Tiggy Legge-Bourke was Charles’ royal nanny, curiously hired only  a month after he and Diana  separated in December 1992. She was employed under the pretext of looking after the young princes William and Harry, then 10 and 8 years respectively,  but Diana was aware it was all a smokescreen.  She would in due course let it be known through the British media that Tiggy, who openly admitted to having had a “schoolgirl crush” on Charles, had in fact fallen pregnant by  him but had aborted the baby.

Of  course Diana’s hypothesis, it turned out,  was dead wrong: it was Camilla Parker-Bowles Charles  was destined to marry after Diana and not Tiggy. In the same note the princess scribbled for her butler, she said she hoped he would guard it jealously and only avail it to the world in the event that her road accident death indeed came to pass. Burrell, however, was not the “rock” she deemed him to be General: when the princess was killed in the Paris car crash, he baulked at fulfilling her wish.  It was not until 2003, six years too late, that he made mention of the note in his book A Royal Duty.  

Although the accident in which she perished – prima facie, that is – did not happen in exactly the same way she envisaged it, it was close enough. In any case, the end result  still was murder. But why was the princess murdered General? What crime did she commit against the forces that hold omnipotent sway in this world?”

DIANA’S BIGGEST SECRET

On March 17, 1997, Princess Diana, then the world’s most famous woman, fulfilled a long-held personal yearning when he met Nelson Mandela, then the most recognisable political face on the globe, at his holiday home in Cape Town.  As the two socio-politico celebrities conferred, Diana poured out her heart to Madiba, recounting to him all the trials and tribulations that had been her daily potion since her divorce from Prince Charles.

Touched by what he had heard from the tear-sodden princess, Madiba recommended the great Zulu shaman, Credo Mutwa, for a form of spiritual therapy. Madiba  himself  had consulted Credo from time to time for spiritual illumination of some  sort. No sooner had the princess returned to London than she called the great Zulu sanusi. In doing so, she took care to make the call from a telephone booth at Marks & Spencers, a major UK department store located in the vicinities of Kensington Palace, her home, with a view to circumventing the obviously MI-6-tapped domestic line.

“I was stunned when I got her call,” Credo told a Western journalist. “But the more I listened, the more I realised she needed help.” Exactly what was it, General,  that Diana called the then 76-year-old Credo about? According to the prolific British author and researcher David Icke, a long-standing close friend of Credo, Diana told Credo that “she had something to reveal that would shake the world and she wanted his advice on how best to do it”.

When Icke asked Credo as to whether the dirt Diana wanted to dish was about the House of Windsor and its unabashed connection to global trafficking, the Zulu colossus laughed and shook his head. “Oh no, it was much worse than that,” he said. “She was about to tell the world something very important.”  In his 1999 book, The Biggest Secret,  Icke was guarded about hitting the nail squarely on the head in respect of Credo’s elucidation on the matter but in the closing chapters of the book, he finally came clean on the biggest secret Diana wanted splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the world and for which she had sought  the legendary Zulu shaman.

This biggest secret, General,  was that the Windsors, the British royal family,  were not human but Reptilians. This is what Icke says in Chapter 19 of The Biggest Secret: “While researching this book, I was introduced to Christine Fitzgerald, a brilliant and gifted healer, who was a close friend and confidant of Diana for nine years … It is clear that Diana knew about the true nature of the royal family’s genetic history and the Reptilian control. Her nicknames for the Windsors were ‘The Lizards’ and ‘The Reptiles’ and she used to say in all seriousness: ‘They’re not human’.”

By his own admission, Credo Mutwa had been initiated into secret knowledge about the Reptilians, who he calls the Chitauli, and their covert control of the entire world since days immemorial. It thus was fitting for Diana to seek to consult an expert in the ways of the Chitauli before she spilt the beans. The fact that she didn’t is evidence in itself that Credo warned her about the danger to her life of exposing the Windsors as such. But the mere intimation of having toyed with the idea of exposing them was blasphemy, General.  It was one of the many straws that broke their backs: five months later, the princess was no more.

CREDO SEES HORROR IN PRINCESS’ DESTINY

Princess Diana, General, was keen to know precious much about the Reptilian race (humans who carry at least 50 percent of the genes of the Reptoid/Lizard  race, originally from the Draco  star system, about 100 to 380 light years from Earth). So in April that very year, she flew back to South Africa to meet Credo in person at his home in the Shamwari Game Reserve near Port Elizabeth.

As the shaman tutored her about the Reptilian agenda for global domination and its vampirism of mankind, the princess besought Credo to “cast the bones” to help her find meaning in her life.  “Throwing the bones” is a way of divination that is informed by the pattern the bones – in Credo’s case ancient bones of the lion, leopard, and elephant handed down from the legendary Zulu warrior king Shaka of Mfecane fame – form once they are randomly cast on the ground. Credo obliged her and did likewise. The result was at once chilling and uplifting.  

"She wanted to know about her future,” Credo, who called Diana “Little Sister”, said to the same Western journalist referred to above.  “What I saw in the bones for her was both wonderful and terrifying.  It scared the stuffing out of me. First, I saw great happiness for her. She would meet and fall in love with a foreigner. I saw she would leave Britain after they married and she would come to live for part of the year in South Africa. But one of the bones that came up was a battle axe that showed a terrible weapon of destruction was poised upon her. I saw she would die a terrible death, before her happiness would be fulfilled.”

But like every other right-thinking person, General, Credo did not make known to her the nether aspects of what he foresaw. “I certainly could not tell her,” he says. “How could I?” You will agree with me, General, that telling her would simply have exacerbated her misery and possibly made her    contemplate suicide as a less grim way out.

The princess was ecstatic that she would at long last find love after years of affairs and flings that led to nowhere and which only served to break her heart to a  point where it could no longer mend. Over the next few months, she kept up a steady exchange of discreetly couriered letters with Credo even as she developed a great interest in spiritualism, picking the brains of clairvoyant upon clairvoyant in London.

CREDO PROPHECY COMES TO PASS

In July, the princess and a rich, handsome Arab playboy crossed paths. For the Arab, it was love from the get-go General. In the princess’ case, the first question that obviously came to mind was, “Is this the man Credo alluded to? Is he my knight in shining armour?” Although she too   was more than platonically drawn to him, she wanted to size him up first for a reasonable length of time before she snuggled up with him.

But in only a matter of weeks, General, she was head over heels about him: there certainly  was love in the air, with the wedding bells set to ring much more sooner than later. The Arab playboy there and then began mending his ways, unceremoniously dumping his celebrity girlfriend of years just by the stroke of a pen. The princess was so impressed with the rapid fulfilment of Credo’s Nostradamus act that she scheduled a personal  introduction of her new beau to him for that September. 

A reservation for a room with a four-poster bed in the  Pretoria Suite of the secluded Shamwari Lodge complex and with the asking price of  £524 per night was made by the  princess for September 14th.  The head chef had even laid up a special African menu for the couple, which included the traditional Kudu Wellington – venison (deer meat) wrapped in pastry.  

But there was more. During their trip  to South Africa, Diana and her man were to engage in discussions concerning the making of a nature conservation movie titled  Mambo, which was about children striving to safeguard an  elephant from a culling.  The movie would star Gene Hackman and Embeth Davitz of Schindler’s List fame, with Credo himself making a cameo appearance too. Diana’s de facto  fiancé, who was a movie producer of some note himself, undertook to bankroll the movie to the tune of £20 million.

A euphoric Credo had even picked an 800-year-old necklace of love beads for a present for the two love birds when they pitched up at his Shamwari compound. Then it all unravelled General. In the early hours of the morning of August 31, 1997, exactly two weeks before the princess and her Arab Romeo were to visit Credo, his wife and high priestess Mama Nobela went into a trance-like state. 

“She started screaming and rolling on the ground saying, ‘Ufile, ufile, umfazi we Kiwa!’ (‘She is dead, the white woman! The Princess has gone!’). Just then, there was a knock on our door and a woman told us that Princess Diana was killed in a car accident.   I was so stunned my knees just went to water. It was one of the most traumatic moments of my life.” It was all over for the princess, General, who unbeknownst to much of the world was a bloodline descendent of Jesus of Nazareth! Exactly what happened General?  How was her death orchestrated? To which god was she sacrificed General?

NEXT WEEK:  THE GRAIL SAGA BEGINS     

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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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