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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 Khalil 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. – Khalil 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 Khalil 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

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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