Saturday, May 29, 2010

Israeli Pirates of the Mediterranean

700 activists from around world vow to deliver 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to break the blockade of Gaza.
Israel has cautioned that the Freedom Flotilla would be stopped, if necessary by force.
The nine-ship flotilla is by far the largest fleet of aid to try to reach the coastal Palestinian territory since Israel imposed its siege on it in 2007.

He restated UN opposition to the siege of Gaza and the lack of material to meet "basic needs, begin reconstruction, and revive economic life".

After the Israeli army announced a detention centre at Ashdod port for holding the activists, Greta Berlin, one of the flotilla organisers, said: "We have the right to sail from international waters into the waters of Gaza.
"The only illegal presence in the area is Israel."
Berlin said the Freedom Flotilla was on schedule to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Saturday with more than 10,000 tonnes of supplies, including water-filtration units and pre-fabricated homes.
EU call

Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, issued a statement on Friday, calling for an immediate end to Israel's blockade on Gaza.
"We would like to reiterate the EU's call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza," she said.
"The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive.
"The EU remains gravely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza."
'Absolute provocation'

Israel has vowed to divert the ships to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod.
It has said that Israelis on board would be arrested, Palestinians would be questioned by the Israeli secret service, and foreign nationals deported.

Hanin Zuabi, a member of the Israeli parliament who is on board the flotilla, told Al Jazeera that the activists intend to reach Gaza regardless of plans to stop them.
"If the Israelis try to stop us, this will be a huge diplomatic and political crises for them," Zuabi said.
"We have 50 states participating in this and are sending a very clear message to Israel - the international community is not accepting the siege on Gaza."
Peace laureates aboard
Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board the flotilla, said the activists travelling in the convoy included European parliamentarians, former US diplomats and Nobel peace laureates.
Berlin, the flotilla organiser, said: "This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it's about breaking Israel's siege on 1.5 million Palestinians."
Fintan Lane, an Irish activist, said that they were determined to break Israel's blockade and will not be intimidated.
"The people of Gaza have a right to access to the outside world and the right to determine their own future," Lane said.

 Huwaida Arraf, one of the organisers from the Free Gaza Movement, said: "Israel should not be under any illusion whatsoever that their threats or intimidation will stop us or even that their violence against us will stop us."

The world needs to know how you feel Jack Burkman!

One of the most fascinating insights into how a US Republican strategist views, Muslims, people living in the Middle East, and why the war on Iraq was the right thing to do.

You can watch the entire interview here:
Iraq at a crossroads - INSIDE IRAQ - Al Jazeera English

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Camel Spider

Camel spiders or also known as the solifugids have been considered as one of the great mysteries of the desert. Resembling the body of spiders but with the characteristics of arthropods such as the scorpions and centipedes, these camel spiders have greatly interested tourists as well as local residents in the desert areas of the Middle East.

Camel spiders are known to be large-sized spiders but are considerably safer than other arachnids in terms of venom strength. However, its strong jaws have the capability to deal severe damage due to infection. It naturally crawls on the ground since it does not have silk glands that can produce webs.

Many rumors have been spread about the dangers that camel spiders impose to desert travelers. However, not all of these are true. Although the camel spiders are classified as large spiders, as clearly seen on its size, the issues about catching a platter-sized solifugid is definitely just a hoax.
Other rumors about the camel spiders are its capability to kill desert animals and even humans. Even though the camel spiders look very intimidating with their size, they pose no threat to large animals and humans. These arthropods feed only on smaller insects and birds such as scorpions and other arthropods found in the desert.

How to ride a camel

Riding a camel is different from riding a horse or most any other four-legged creature.

They Are Mean.They Spit.They Smell.

But humans have been riding camels to get from hither to yon since long before recorded time. And if riding a camel is one of those Bucket List things to do in life, it might as well be done right.
How to ride a camel is different than how to ride a horse.

The problem with camels, besides their disposition, their body odor and tendency to expectorate unexpectedly, is the way they walk.

Horses, for example, lift a left front hoof as they lift a right back hoof, and so on. This keeps the center of gravity on the horse's back somewhat stable.

Camels, on the other hand, lift both front and back hooves of the left side, then front and back of the right side. This creates a very powerful swaying motion from right to left. Considering that most camels are about 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall, and the passenger sits on top of the hump, which is another 12 inches (30 cm) upward, that's a lot of motion high in the sky.

Getting on the Camel

Before riding a camel, one must actually get on the critter. The nice thing is that they will kneel down on their knees, if asked nicely. But there's still about four feet of camel hump and a saddle horn to swing a leg over. There are no stirrups on the saddle for the rider to place a foot and get that extra boost. It's an awkward position, particularly for shorter people. Thankfully, most camel owners will bring a small step stool and help those who have trouble getting on.

How to Sit on the Camel

The tendency for most inexperienced riders is to straddle the camel like a horse. Don't do that. Once on the saddle, grab the front horn tightly and draw knees up to a 90 degree bend. That bend provides additional balance and support to the rider as the camel rises to his feet and begins his swaying movements.

After the rider becomes adjusted to the sway and motionof the camel and the ride begins, the rider should throw one leg forward over the camel's neck. That will ease pressure on the lower back and hips as this 600 pound animal makes his way across the sand. Take a look at the locals riding camels. That's how they are doing it.

Getting Up and Down

The scariest part of the camel ride is when he gets up and down on his knees. Although the camel's movements are very slow and gentle, the rider is nonetheless pitched forward at about a 45 degree angle. Don't scream. That will be embarrassing.

But don't fall off either. That's even more embarrassing. The rider should continue to grip the camel's sides firmly with the knees and hang on to the saddle horn. If the camel is leaning forward, the rider should lean backward. If his behind is coming up last, the rider should lean forward. And hang on tight. It only lasts a few seconds.

Egyptian Irrigation Methods

Pot Chain Irrigation

Shadoof Type Irrigation Method

The shadoof consists of an upright frame on which is suspended a long pole or branch, at a distance of about one-fifth of its length from one end. At the long end of this pole hangs a bucket, skin bag, or bitumen-coated reed basket, while the short end carries a weight (clay, stone, or similar) which serves as the counterpoise of a lever.
When correctly balanced, the counterweight will support a half-filled bucket, so some effort is used to pull an empty bucket down to the water, but only the same effort is needed to lift a full bucket.

With an almost effortless swinging and lifting motion, the waterproof vessel is used to scoop up and carry water from one body of water (typically, a river or pond) to another. At the end of each movement, the water is emptied out into runnels that convey the water along irrigation ditches in the required direction.

It is estimated that a shadoof can raise over 2,500 litres per day. Typical discharge of the well is around 2 litres per second. Maximum water depth may be up to 3 meters. When larger depth is needed, the use of a sakia or noria is usually a better option. Alternatively, handpump [4], treadle pumps [5] or electrical deep well pumps may also be used.

Animal Driven Irrigation Method

The Moon in Ancient Egypt

by Jefferson Monet

Thoth as a sacred ibis

The moon has always played an important role in Egyptian religion, even through modern times, with it's symbolisms related to the Islamic faith. During ancient times, it was never as important to the Egyptians as the sun, though the moon was considered by them to be the nightly replacement of the sun. Within all of the known creation accounts, the Sun is always paramount. However, in the relationship between the Moon and the stars, the lunar god can be designated as "ruler of the stars".

However, unlike the solar Aten, it is uncertain that the disk of the moon was itself ever worshipped as a deity during the history of ancient Egypt. Rather, like animals, it was regarded as a symbol or manifestation of specific deities.

When depicted, the moon is most commonly represented as a combination of the full-moon disk with the crescent moon. Lunar gods were almost always shown with this symbol on their heads. At times, the full-moon disk could have a wadjat eye (either the left or the right), or a lunar god depicted within it. The moon was, like the Sun, frequently shown traversing the sky in a boat. The most complete extant depiction of the entire lunar cycle is found inside the pronaos of the temple of Edfu.

Thoth with the disk and crescent moon

The beginning of the lunar cycle was considered to be the new moon, and it ended with the moment of the full Moon. Therefore, the moon only became visible on the second day of the lunar month. The lunar cycle is represented either as a six day evolution up to the sixth day, or as a fifteen day evolution up to the ideal day of the full moon. The importance given to the sixth day is probably explained by the increasing intensity of moonlight at this stage of the cycle, though sometimes the seventh day is mentioned instead.

Interruptions in the usual lunar cycle were feared by the ancient Egyptians. A lunar eclipse was seen as a bad omen, evidenced from some Late Period texts that describe the sky swallowing the moon. The lunar cycle was also though to influence daily life, and the Egyptians dedicated stelae to it at Deir el-Medina, as well as forming personal names with the moon element.

In time, the moon became a symbol of rejuvenation, and given it's cycle, this is understandable. Later texts in fact describes it as "the one that repeats its form". Sometimes lunar gods were depicted as youths, though the entire lunar cycle could be compared to the life cycle of a man. It could also represent the old man who becomes once more, a child. During the New Kingdom, a pharaoh might be declared "young as the moon", and Amenhotep III fully identifies himself with the moon in his temple at Soleb.

Khonsu with the disk and crescent moon

In funerary beliefs, the lunar cycle was an image of cyclical renewal. The feast of the sixth day was associated with the victory of Osiris, and even though the moment of the full moon could have the same significance, the sixth day became particularly important in funerary rituals. In fact, by the time of the Pyramid Texts, the deceased is already identified with the moon. During the Middle Kingdom, funerary beliefs were especially concerned with the night sky, even though lunar associations were not common during that period. However, the Coffin Texts from Deir el-Bersheh nevertheless accord an equal place in the afterworld to the lunar god Thoth, next to Osiris and Re. During the New Kingdom and later, the roll of the moon in the afterlife remains rare, but is found for instance in chapter 131 of the Book of the Dead.

The moon also had other associations in ancient Egypt. For example, on account of the similarity in shape of the crescent moon and a bull's horns, it was compared to that that important animal. Hence, lunar gods are frequently described with "sharp horns". During the Greek period especially at Edfu and Karnak, the metaphor is developed by calling the crescent moon the "rutting bull", while the waning moon is an ox. Bulls in ancient Egypt were often seen as a symbol of fertility, and so the moon was "the rutting bull who inseminates the cows", but it was also said that "You unite with young women, you are an inseminating bull who fertilizes the girls", indicating a perceived relationship between female fertility and the moon.

These concepts of fertility extend to resources as well, and the ancient Egyptians understood that there was a relationship that existed between the Moon and the growth of plants and that sowing was best done at the time of a full moon. However, it was even thought that minerals in the desert came into being under the Moon's influence.

The moon and the sun were commonly referred to by the ancient Egyptians as "the two lights", and the weaker light of the Moon is compared to the evening Sun. Most frequently, the ancient Egyptians interpreted these two lights as the eyes of Re, or of the sky god Horus, whose left eye was the Moon and whose right eye was the sun. The left eye was weaker because it had been damaged, according to myth. This myth was elaborated upon in various cult centers, giving rise to special forms of Horus such as Khenty-Khety of Letopolis and the later Hor-Merty of Horbeit (in the Delta).

In fact, this mythology became very extensive, with a number of variants. Four primary myths can be identified surrounding the divine eyes. They included the eyes of the sky god, the injured eye of Horus, the solar eye and the distant goddess who is brought back. Variants of these myths were formed when elements form each were sometimes mixed and interchanged with the others.

By far, the predominant myth concerning the moon relates its cycle to the battle between Horus and Seth. In this famous battle over the inheritance of Osiris, Seth steals the eye of Horus and divides it into six parts, thus damaging it. Thoth later restores it "with his fingers", or by spitting on it. Within the temple at Kom-Ombo (scene 950), a series of medical instruments is depicted being used in the healing of the eye by the god Horoeris. This restored eye is called wedjat beginning in the New Kingdom, but the myth is actually much older and can be found in Spell 335 of the Coffin Texts. Onuris, Thoth, or Osiris as moon returns the complete eye to Horus. Thoth may also be said to catch the lunar eye in a net, acting together with the god Shu.

Horus the Hawk

"Filling the Wedjat eye", "entering into the left eye", or "joining the left eye" also means restoring the eye. This act, which was performed by Thoth together with a specific group of fourteen gods,  was performed on the sixth lunar day. During the Greco-Roman period, temple reliefs form the region between Dendera and Esna indicate that the group of gods who restored the eye were the Ennead of Hermopolis. Together with Thoth, these gods represented the fifteen days leading up to the full moon, and again the days of the waning moon. As representing the latter, they are said to exit from the eye. At Edfu and Philae, the gods Tanenent and Iunit of the Hermopolitan Ennead are replaced by Hekes and Hepuy.

A symbolic variant of this theme occurs in the temples at Edfu and Dendera, where a staircase with fourteen steps supports the fourteen gods of the waxing moon. At Edfu, Dendera and Ismant el-Kharab (Dakhleh Oaisis) there exist a list of a different group of thirty, mostly male, deities associated with the days of the lunar month. In these legends at Ismant el-Kharab, the first fifteen gods are said to fill the wedjat eye with a fraction each day, after which the moon's reduction is recorded up to the twenty-fourth day, when the intensity of the moonlight has all but disappeared.

There were, of course, other important myths. Because of the identification of the moon with the god Horus, the birth of Horus (or Harsiese) was celebrated on the second lunar day in the ancient Egyptian month of Pharmuthi. Therefore, at Edfu where it is stated that "When he completes the half month, he assumes control of the sky rejuvenated", the full moon could be equated with the adult Horus. At the moment of the full moon, Horus was declared "true of voice" and "joyful", because of his victory over Seth in the divine tribunal of Heliopolis. Based on this theme, the lunar cycle was linked to the renewal of royal powers at Karnak.

The opposition of the Sun and Moon in the sky on the fifteenth or sixteenth day of the month was the most important moment of the lunar cycle. This is evidenced by inscriptions at temples in Edfu, Dendera and Karnak. This moment in time was known as "the uniting of the two bulls", and was described in the New Kingdom Osireion at Abydos. A ritual in later temples was celebrated with the offering of two mirrors, symbolizing the two lights at this precise moment. The moment symbolized the rejuvenation of the sun god Amun-Re at Thebes, and also in the Dakhleh Oaisis, when his son and successor, the moon god Khonsu, received his heritage of cosmic rule.

Another important lunar god was Osiris, who may have only become identified with the moon as of the New Kingdom. The murder of the god Osiris and his resurrection were recognized in the lunar cycle, and the body of Osiris was equated with the moon. In this myth, Osiris' body was cut into fourteen parts by Seth, where were later reassembled and restored to life. Here also, the number of parts of Osiris' body were equated with the days of the waning or waxing moon.

In other areas of Egypt, the entire life cycle of Osiris were related to the lunar cycle, with the god's conception on the first day and his birth on the second lunar day. At Karnak, the temple of Pet was actually dedicated to this event. Osiris' murder and subsequent dismemberment were associated with the  period following the full moon. Hence, the second day of the month saw the reassembly of the god's parts and his "entering into the moon" on the sixth day. The rejuvenation and the defeat of the god's enemies occurred on the day of the full moon, when Osiris was declared victorious in the tribunal, and when Horus was awarded with his heritage.

The name of the lunar god Khonsu relates to the verb which means "moving in various directions". This characterizes the lunar orbit, and particularly in the earliest references, Khonsu is given an aggressive nature. Later Theban sources tell how Khonsu traveled every day from the east (his temple at Karnak) to the west (the temple of Djeme), in order to revitalize his deceased father, Amun. Specifically, it is the Theban theology that describes the moon god as the son of the sun god.

There were a few other gods with specific links to the moon, including Min and the Greek form of Isis. Goddesses were usually only associated with the moon when they were identified with the eye of Re, as were Tefnut and Hathor. The annual journey from Dendera to Edfu by the Hathor cult statue was timed in accordance with the phases of the moon.

Amazing moons over Sinai

ARABIC:(Qmar)  قمر

Full moon: (Badr) ندر

Amazing Sinai Sunsets

Egyptian Armed Forces (Part 3 )


Egyptian Sailor 1940's

Naval Officers 2000

Egyptian Armed Forces (Part 5 )

(Like US Navy SEALS)

Egyptian Armed Forces (Part 4 )


Motto 'Higher and higher for the sake of glory' (Arabic: إلى العلا في سبيل المجد‎, I‘la’ al-a‘là fī sabīl al-magd)