Palestinian Problems

I was a little into my cups in this vid.

So, I went to Jerusalem a couple of years back with my girlfriend and another friend.  We had a good time strolling through the old city. We saw a lightshow in the Citadel of David.  We grooved through all of the old Christian sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  It was easy on the Christian side.

The Jewish sites were open to the public and easily accessible.  No threatening presence.  No people staring you down for daring to enter their domain.

We walked  the Via do la Rosa.   The path of pain.  That being the path that Jesus, according to tradition, took from his judgement to his torture to his death via the most horrendous method of judicious murder ever devised by mankind — hanging on the cross.  It’s a strange tradition to follow the death of a man so closely but that’s Christianity.  It’s all about death.  They love their Jesus and celebrate his death.  I don’t understand it and especially do not understand why they don’t concentrate more on his life.

That said, there is not much known about his life.  If he actually existed.  There is no real proof that Jesus existed.  Most of the “proofs” have been found to be fakes or hoaxes.  The Shroud of Turin has been proved false.  Yet, folks still flock to see “his” death shroud.  More celebration of death.

On the Muslim side, it was a little bit more difficult.  The Muslim side is segregated.  Not only do women have their places and places that they can not go but the Muslims have made rules such that Infidels must pass through certain gates to enter their holy places.  Non-Muslims could not walk through certain areas and were prohibited from entering places like the Dome of the Rock.

The Muslims themselves looked to be near to breaking out in violence at all times.  They didn’t look happy even in their own little areas.  That’s not to say all of them.  But even the puniest punk tried to stare down folks.  That happened even in the markets.

It’s a shame as I know many Muslims who lead happy lives.  As happy as can be as most Muslims whom I know live in war torn nations.  Could there be a pattern to that?  Someone might want to think about that.

Why are most Muslim areas poor and violent?

I know.  America.  Right?  It’s all the fault of the Great Shaytan and the little Shaytan.  America and Israel.

Only that doesn’t account for the fact that Muslim areas have been in strife before contact with Europe or the existence of America.

Was Genghis Khan America’s fault?  Was Tamerlane the fault of America?  Were the Turkish tribes the fault of America or Europe?

Something to think about I suppose.

Overall, though, we encountered very few problems in Jerusalem.  Unless you count the impossibility of finding a good cheeseburger.

The Crusades through Muslim Eyes

Basically, the Crusades about which Muslims eternally whine were made possible by the internecine squabbles of Muslim rulers of the era and were conducted against a group of “Muslim” rulers who had taken control of Islam and the area in which the Crusaders attacked for one hundred years and less.

I find this ironic and humorous.

The Crusades through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf

Read it.  It’s an eye opener.

Basically, the Muslim world knows nothing of their own history.

Baghdad of this era was fought over by a group of brother rulers/caliphs over a period of 30 months.  In that time, Baghdad changed hands eight times for an average of every one hundred days.

Seljuk Princes were constantly squabbling with each other over the lands eventually taken by the “Franj” (Franks/Crusaders) which made it possible for the invading Europeans to take the Syria, Palestine and other areas piecemeal and quite literally at their [the Franj] leisure.

Muslim leaders also made and/or offered political alliances to the “Franj” against their brother Muslims.

Yet, the Muslims whine constantly about the Crusades.

Muslims learn your history before you whine again about the crusades.

From Cairo to Istanbul in 28 Days

https://hereticdhammasangha.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/pa172081.jpg

We flew from Bangkok to Cairo on the 21st of September.  On the first day, we tripped around to Giza and the City of the Dead.  Later that evening, we took the train to Aswan.  Along the way, we stopped at Abo Simbel, Luxor, Karnak, Philae, Deendeera, Abydos, Hurghada and finally flew to Alexandria.  We spent two days touring Alexandria.  Taking in the new Library of Alexandria and Fort Qutbay as well as the Greek and Roman Catacombs under the city.  We drove from Alex. back to Cairo where we toured the city in detail (Muhammad Ali Mosque, the Giza Plateau, Pyramids and Sphinx, Saladin’s Citadel, etc).  We also took in Sakkara and Memphis and viewed the Red and Bent Pyramids as well as the Alabaster Sphinx and the Statue of Ramses II along with the Ziggurat of Zoser and the surrounding pyramids.

Then we were off to Israel.  We spent about 5 days in Jerusalem viewing the old City and took day tours out to Nazareth, Akko (Acre), Ceaserea, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Masada.  We met an old friend (Mali) from my days in the MFO in the Sinai.  And we got the excellent airport treatment for which Tel Aviv is so famous.  But that’s a story for another day.

Finally, we were on to Turkey.  I wanted to see the Hagia Sofia.  Primarily.  That said, I was a bit anxious about Turkey.  I’ve been to quite a few Muslim countries and Islam hangs over them like a pall.  I don’t particularly care for it.  It’s quite heavy and puts a damper on things.  Israel did not have this except in the Palestinian areas of the Old City in Jerusalem.

We arrived in Turkey and I was quite pleasantly surprised.  Islam is an undercurrent in Istanbul.  They’re Muslim.  You know it.  They know it.  No one gives a damn.  I like that.  It’s how it should be with all religion and it’s how it is in most non-Muslim places.

It was refreshing.  I don’t think I saw but 10 Chadori/Hijab wearing women and they all seemed to be tourists.  Nothing oppressive in Turkey about religion.  They seem to all get along.  I met quite a few Nestorian Christians and they had the same attitude.  We’re Christians.  So what!  There’s none of the demand that their religion be respected at all cost.  I like that.

Turkey was clean as well.  That’s another thing about Muslim countries.  They’re dirty and run down.  Even newer places.  It’s as if Allah has declared that “thou shalt not do maintenance.”  lol  Cairo is the worst.  They built the city hundreds of years ago atop ruins.  They didn’t remove anything.  They cleared no land.  Just started building atop the rubble.  When those buildings started falling apart, they just built around them.  And the dirt and grime.  It’s everywhere.

Not so in Istanbul.  It’s a beautifully maintained city.  Clean streets.

And the people.  Everyone was so nice.  And they smiled.  Very few mean spirited folks or scammers around.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember anyone even attempting a scam on us.  We asked directions when we were lost and we were simply given directions.

The food was great as well.  They had these pancakes with beef or veggies or jellies. Whatever you wanted.  AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.  Of course, the Lamb Kabob was excellent.  I ate so much kabob, I thought I was going to explode.

The Hagia Sofia or Aya Sofia was wondrous.  Incredible.  Amazing.  It was gargantuan.  The famous religious depictions were beautiful.  Centuries old Art.

The Blue Mosque or Suleimein.  One of the most beautiful structures I have had the pleasure to visit.  More lovely inside than the Mohammad Ali Mosque in Cairo.  Insanely intricate and well maintained as well.  Simply beautiful.  Can’t say it enough.

We walked around the city several times. Stopped by a few museums.  The Istanbul Archaeological Museum was huge.  Relics from Troy, Persia, the Ottomans, the Greeks, the Romans, and everything in between.  It was amazing.

Then we went up the hill to the Topkapi Palace.  I didn’t know much about it.  I knew it was supposed to be gorgeous and historical.  I hadn’t researched it.  We almost didn’t go.  Huge mistake.  If you make it to Istanbul, you must go to the Topkapi Palace.   Aside from it’s beauty and historocity.  It has what are called “The Sacred Trusts.”

The Sacred Trusts are actual artifacts handed down (or stolen) from Empire to Empire from the time of Mohammad.  His clothing.  His water bowl.  The plates off of which he ate.  And not only Mohammad.  There are relics from Fatima and “the Companions.”

That is some serious history.

There are also pieces of the Kaba’a from Mekkah and old keys and locks to the Kaba’a and the Grand Mosque there in Mekkah.

Treasures all.

I could scarcely believe my eyes when I walked in this room.  When I laid my eyes upon the Sword of Mohammad, I thought I was seeing things.  I had to rub my eyes.  Take my glasses off and clean them and take a second to let it sink in.

Imagine finding the sword of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great.  Imagine finding the actual clothing that Jesus wore or the actual cup and plate from the last supper.

I’m no believer in any of these religions, but, I have a keen interest in history.  As a personality from an earlier age and a great historical interest, I have much respect for Mohammad.  He built an empire from nothing.  He created a religion and a culture which has lasted for over 1300 years.  It’s not his fault that his religion and his culture has been hi-jacked by complete asses like Osama bin Laden, the House of Saud and the followers of al Wahhab.  That’s not to mention the Iranian fools.  And, still yet, it doesn’t take into account the idiotic Apologists in Europe and America who sell their lies to an ignorant populace.

At any rate, it was a singular experience for me to be able to gaze upon the Swords that Mohammad and his companions used to rise up out of the desert and plant the seed that created one of the worlds greatest empires.

I was awe stricken.

After Istanbul, it was on to Ephesus to see the Greek Ruins, the House of Mary where Jesus’ Mother supposedly lived out her last days and the Temple of Artemis.  Next day it was on to Pammakule.   These places are so full of history and culture that there is no possible way for me to do them justice.  The Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

In this trip, we’d been fortunate enough to visit 3 of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.  The Temple of Artemis, The Pharos of Alexandria (Fort Qutbay) and the Pyramids at Giza.

In my estimation, Abo Simbel is a great worthy of this acclamation as well.  Abo Simbel is a wonder of any age much less to marvel that it was built thousands of years ago.  But then again, Egypt is full of wonders that defy description, dazzle the eye and boggle the mind.

From Cairo to Istanbul in 28 Days.  This was a great trip and we all very much enjoyed ourselves.

Hope you enjoy the pictures…Dave

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(some of the pics in the slideshow are from earlier trips to Paris, Rome, Athens, Santorini, etc)