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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJacob’s Bridge Across Time*****

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Painting and Poem Jacob’s Bridge Across Time Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory –

All rights reserved  27 March 2013  –

Painting acrylic on canvas 60cm x 91cm

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Read my poem  *Jacob’s Bridge Across Time

here in DRAGONS DESERTS and DREAMS

 

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Dedicated to my Lebanese grandfather, Jacob Habib El Khouri Eleishah Fahkrey (Coory)

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Sketches by Kahlil Gibran, Lebanon’s most famous poet

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Poetry is not an opinion expressed. It is a song that rises from a bleeding wound or a smiling mouth. – Kahlil Gibran

Dedicated to all the poets and writers in the Middle East who have been murdered in their peaceful pursuit of freedom for their country.

 

Pity The Nation Of Lebanon…………my tribute to Kahlil Gibran……

Charles Freeman’s book about civilisations of the Ancient Mediterranean

I have just been reading Egypt, Greece and Rome; Civilisations of the Ancient Mediterranean by Charles Freeman , published 1999.  What an amazing book of 638 pages.

Not as much of a chore to read as you might think. The author breaks the book into easy to follow chapters and titled paragraphs.  He uses date charts, date lists, events and maps to great effect and to which I referred constantly during the reading of the book.

The book has given me a better insight into the pre-history of these amazing civilisations, and to their relevance today. Mr Freeman takes the reader on an epic journey from Egypt in 4,500 BC to Eastern and Western Empires up to 1000 AD.  He brings together the most interesting and salient stories. In one sense, not much has changed.  Constant wars, plagues, atheism, religious diversity,polemics, politics, the fight for democracy, all played a part.

Carthage (now Tunisia) , for instance, was a prosperous and thriving Phoenician city in the 5th Century BC, and Greece was pioneering philosophy and   theatre.   Greek philosophers travelled the Mediterranean teaching students to “look” at both sides of an argument.  Trading goods between the various states was the chief activity that brought so many disparate groups together.  What I also loved about this book, are the references to legend and myth, and how they intertwined everyday life across the Mediterranean world. I especially enjoyed the sections on Classical Greece, a favourite era of mine, and the references to its literature.

In Chapter 14, Mr Freeman expands on the 5th Century origins of drama (one of the greatest of Athenian Inventions, by no means a universal human experience),  poetry, tragedy, theatre with such names as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and Aristophanes, that satirical playwright extraordinaire.

During these times, beliefs in various gods were tied in with natural events,  human frailty and excesses.  Travel was relatively easy throughout Greece and the Mediterranean, and even non-citizens could find skilled work. Differing versions of the genealogy of gods wasn’t a hindrance, and most visitors ‘slotted in’ with local lore.

It was interesting to read the section on Sophists. The original meaning of the word ‘Sophist’ was anyone with exceptional talent.  However, members of this group were attacked  by both Plato and Aristophanes (satirically) for daring to present arguments  for and against any motion. Sophists can be credited with pioneering the study of religion as a social and anthropological phenomenon according to Mr Freeman. They disagreed strongly with the belief that there was some divine principle at work in the Universe. (Modern atheists, take note!) The Sophist, Protagoras, spent most of his life as a travelling teacher. He wrote: “Concerning the gods, I am unable to discover whether they exist or not, or what they are like in form; for there are many hindrances to knowledge, the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.”  He proclaimed: “Man is the measure of all things.”   Athens was implementing democratic governance at this time and Protagoras’ proclamation could be taken as the slogan of democratic Athens.  Other Sophists suggested that gods originated in man’s experience of nature. The various gods had been created as personifications of natural phenomena such as the sun, moon, rivers, water and fire. To the Sophists men of shrewd and subtle minds invented for man the fear of the gods, to “frighten the wicked even if they acted, spoke or thought in secret.”  By the end of the century free thinking on religious matters was less tolerated.  Pestilence, war, tyrants and destruction killed optimistic fervour.

I wonder, is this what is happening in our world now?

 

-Anne Frandi-Coory  1 February 2011

 

 

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Also here on Anne Frandi-Coory’s Facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/myhomelibrary/

Mary & Jesus? No, actually Ancient Greek statue Tyche or Fortuna, the centre figure of a flourishing cult

Muslims firebomb Christian Church in Egypt

Some Muslims are nothing more than thugs consumed by hate, disguised as religious fanatics. The problem is that there are thousands of them swarming across the Middle East and Christians are soft targets. At least Christianity has moved forward with the times, but Islam is still fomenting in the dark ages. No wonder the uneducated masses are following a religious belief system that is just plain stupid.

Muslims have been targeting Christians for hundreds of years.  Muslims were the reason my Lebanese ancestors fled from Iraq to the hills of Lebanon in the 14th Century. It is one of the reasons my Grandparents  left Lebanon for New Zealand in the late 19th Century.  More in  my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ .  Nothing has changed.  My heart goes out to the minority Christian communities in Iraq and other muslim countries.  Christmas, the focal point of Christian beliefs, is a time of fear for Christians in Muslim countries instead of a time for celebration and joy.  See world news item below:

BAGHDAD – Militants attacked at least four Christian homes Thursday night with a combination of grenades and bombs, killing two people and sending fear into the already terrified tiny Christian community.  It was the first attack against the country’s Christian community since al-Qaida-linked militants last week threatened a wave of violence against them. Christians went so far as to tone down their Christmas celebrations in what was a peaceful holiday, but the attacks Thursday night demonstrated the intent of militants to keep up their deadly pressure on the Christian community.

In the deadliest attack, assailants in southwestern Baghdad threw two grenades inside the home of a Christian family, killing two people and injuring five more, police said. In a different neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, militants planted a bomb near a Christian home. Two people were injured in that attack. Then another bomb planted near a Christian house in western Baghdad exploded, injuring one member of the family as well as a civilian who was driving by, police said.

Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed that two people were killed Thursday evening; he said a bomb planted near the fence of a Christian home in southern Baghdad also exploded but he had no information about casualties in that incident.  “The aim of these attacks is to prevent Christians from celebrating the New Year’s holiday,” al-Moussawi said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but such attacks have generally been the work of Sunni militants linked to al-Qaida.  The casualties were confirmed by hospital officials. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to reporters.  The attacks are sure to ratchet up tension in the tiny Christian community still living in Baghdad. At least 68 people were killed in October when militants stormed a Baghdad church during Mass and took the congregation hostage.

Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled to northern Iraq, fearing further attacks.  Father Mukhlis, a priest at the Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad where the Oct. 31 hostage incident occurred, called the Thursday attacks “direct oppression” against Iraqi Christians.

He said one Christian family already was staying at the church because they were worried about militants targeting their home. The family was planning to travel Friday to the Ninevah Plains area of northern Iraq which is home to a large Christian community and much safer than the rest of Iraq.  Last week, al-Qaida warned of further violence against Christians, leading many in the community to tone down their Christmas celebrations and cancel many events such as evening Mass and appearances by Santa Claus.

The Christmas holidays also coincide this year with the Shiite holy month of Muharam, an important holiday for the country’s Shiite Muslim majority.

Some Christians said they were also playing down the Christmas holiday this year out of respect for their Shiite neighbors, but other Christians reported intimidation by members of the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia backed by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who pressured them not to celebrate the holiday publicly.   Christian leaders estimate 400,000 to 600,000 Christians still live in Iraq, according to a recent State Department report. At one time before the war, that number was as high as 1.4 million by some estimates.   – Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed to this report.

Another interesting post from: seifandbeirut.com

Lebanon has alway been home for minorities in the Middle East. A haven for those persecuted, chased out of their homes, and face destruction in their original homes. The Armenians, Palestinians, Assyrians, and even many Syrians have taken refuge inside of Lebanon over the years… their treatment, whether good or bad, has always seemed irrelevant. We simply focus on the fact that “hey, we take in all the refugees of the Middle East”.

I think its time, finally, to tackle the treatment of refugees inside the country. We have almost 250 000 – 300 000 Palestinians inside Lebanon, almost 150,000 Armenians (who are now Lebanese citizens, and not considered refugees anymore), and now 50, 000 Iraqi refugees in Lebanon. This post, for specific reasons,  is going to focus specifically on the latter group as it is the most recent group of refugees in the country. Most, almost 79%, of Lebanon’s Iraqi refugees are Iraqi Christians who fled Iraq for their safety after sectarian groups threatened their safety. Now for the sake of making things clear, sectarian groups in Iraq represent very small portions of the population, keeping in mind Iraqi Christians and Muslims have lived along side each other for hundreds and hundreds of years prior to this time, with very little tensions and fighting.


 

Lebanon is dying

‘Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming  itself a nation’ – Kahlil Gibran.

The above picture illustrates what can happen in a Lebanese street when a fight breaks out over parking space; a four-hour street war leaving three people dead.  Members of  small, well armed private armies roam the streets of Beirut.

Photo from article written byAssociated Press Writer Elizabeth A. Kennedy

Not only are Lebanese separating themselves from the Arab world, but when asked who we are, we answer with “ana Shia” or “ana Sunni” or “ana Maruni” (meaning I am Shia, I am Sunni, I am Maronite). Within the small country of Lebanon there are around 16 major religions. As if  we could make ourselves any more complex, we specify not only if we are Arab or Phoenician, but what kind of Lebanese we are. This demonstrates how complex it is for some people to just say “Ana Libnani” (meaning I am Lebanese).

The separation within the nation has caused many disputes and countless deaths. Is it really that hard to just say you are Lebanese? – contribution from another blog

See  Understanding the Arab Mind

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