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BTW, flags

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — along the lines of yoga chitta vritti nirodha ]
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Obviously. I am going to be interested in the DoubleQuote in the Wild juxtaposition to two flags in a political cartoon commentary on last week’s events in the US, but I still find it very hard to decide whether the appropriate DoubleQuote to embed it in is this:

SPEC DQ flags 2

where the “ISIS flag” is in fact a satirical play on the IS flag with silhouetted sex-toys in place of the calligraphy…

Or this — well, actually, no contest, this one gets my vote by a zen mile!

SPEC DQ flags 1

Because, well..

SPEC DQ flags 3

I guess that’s my analytic bottom line, right there in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras.

**

Sources:

  • This week in flags #lovewins
  • CNN Claimed to Spot an ISIS Flag at a Gay Pride March. It Was Actually a Drawing of Sex Toys
  • Not the wind, not the flag
  • Yoga Sutras: ‘Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah': ‘Yoga is the Cessation of Modifications of Mind’
  • Miraculous!

    Thursday, June 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — miracle in Egypt, human perfection in Russia ]
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    It’s not entirely clear, then, why he would need to be “shriven ” — have his confession heard and be granted absolution — by Abbot Ephraim

    To be fair, though — Putin‘s exact words, as reported in the body of the Independent post:

    It appears that the Lord built my life in a way that I have nothing to regret.

    Not quite the same thing as “God wanted him to be perfect” — although, doesn’t God want that for everyone? Matthew 5.48, at least in the King James version.

    **

    Meanwhile in Egypt:

    Jabhat al-Nusra and IS: same hadith, same message

    Friday, May 22nd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — just a curiosity ]
    .

    SPEC DQ same hadith JN IS

    The hadith quoted in the upper panel is from p. 11 of the new issue of Dabiq, the magazine of the Islamic State.

    Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi captions the hadith in the lower panel:

    “When a son of Adam dies, his deeds are cut off except for three things: ongoing charity, knowledge from which one can obtain benefit, or the supplication of a righteous son for him.” [hadith on the authority of Abu Huraira]

    His post attributes it, along with many other examples, to Jabhat al-Nusra.

    **

    Sources:

  • Islamic State, Dabiq issue 9, p 11
  • Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Archive of Jabhat al-Nusra Billboards and Murals
  • Insight into Iraq in Seierstad’s bio of Anders Breivik

    Monday, April 27th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — another example of what I call “landmines in the garden” ]
    .

    I wouldn’t have picked a bio of Anders Breivik as a likely source for insights into Iraq, but Åsne Seierstad‘s bio, One of Us, provides one all the same… first quoting the Qur’anic sura Al-Anfal (upper panel, below) in her epigraph to a chapter —

    SPEC DQ Al-Anfal

    — then commenting on that quotation (lower panel, above) a page later.

    **

    What interests me here is Seierstad’s last sentence as quoted in the lower panel:

    By naming the campaign of extermination after a sura of the Qur’an, the Iraqi government sought to legitimate its executions as a war against believers.

    We have seen jihadists quote scripture often enough to suggest they have divine sanction for their acts of violence. Here it was Saddam Hussein in 1988 whose interpretation of the Qur’an provided that sanction. And I emphasize the word “interpretation” since Sura 8, Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War), was received shortly after the Battle of Badr, which it is understood to describe in detail, and its applicability by analogy to completely different circumstances such as Saddam’s campaign against the Kurds (and also, as Wikipedia notes, Assyrians, Shabaks, Iraqi Turkmens, Yazidis, Jews, and Mandeans) is indeed interpretive and subjective rather than “authoritative”.

    Saddam Hussein’s “authority” in Quranic exegesis would be questionable at best — so long as one was not overheard questioning it in Iraq at the time.

    Specifically, the very next verse of Al-Anfal clarifies the context. It does not say “When you find the unbelievers living in their villages and towns” — it says:

    O believers, when you encounter the unbelievers marching to battle, turn not your backs to them.

    But it is a little late for anyone to presume to give Saddam Hussein lessons in the book he once ordered written in his own blood, least of all myself.

    **

    My overall point here is that the world’s scriptures in general offer paths towards paradise, pardes, pardis — a tranquil garden or orchard. Not infrequently, though, they also contain texts which can blow up in our faces if read not in historical context but with contemporary violent intent.

    Landmines in the Garden.

    Caveat lector.

    It’s not quite Easter yet (for the Orthodox)

    Saturday, April 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — so I trust you’ll forgive me posting a couple of stunning movie crucifixion images ]
    .

    My first image comes rom the forthcoming Ernst Haas book, On Set, and features his sbehind-the-scenes shot of the crucifixion in The Greatest Stiry Ever Told:

    On Set crucifixion Haas

    The second image turned up while I was researching the Armednian Genocide for a forthcoming article. It’s taken from a 1919 documentary, Auction of Souls, and it brings crucifixion into the twentieth century:

    Crucifixion 2 Armenian Genocide

    **

    For crucifixion in antiquity, see A Tomb in Jerusalem Reveals the History of Crucifixion and Roman Crucifixion Methods:

    Examination of Yehohanan’s bones showed one of the many Roman crucifixion methods. Both of his feet had been nailed together to the cross with a wooden plaque while his legs were bent to one side. His arm bones revealed scratches where the nails had passed between. Both legs were badly fractured, most likely from a crushing blow meant to end his suffering and bring about a faster death. Yehohanan was probably a political dissident against Roman oppression. In death his bones have helped fill in gaps in the history of crucifixion.

    Crucifixion in the Qur’an is one of several severe “hudud” punishments {Q 5.32-34):

    Therefore We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he ha given life to mankind altogether. Our Messengers have already come to them with the clear signs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth. This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement, except for such as repent, before you have power over them. So know you that God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

    The Qur’an also states that Jesus was not crucified (q 4.157):

    And for their [the Jews] saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’ — yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them.

    It should be noted that this suggestion is similar to that in the (Gnostic) Acts of John, #97:

    I, then, when I saw him suffer, did not even abide by his suffering, but fled unto the Mount of Olives, weeping at that which had befallen. And when he was crucified on the Friday, at the sixth hour of the day, darkness came upon all the earth. And my Lord standing in the midst of the cave and enlightening it, said: John, unto the multitude below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto thee I speak, and what I speak hear thou. I put it into thy mind to come up into this mountain, that thou mightest hear those things which it behoveth a disciple to learn from his teacher and a man from his God.

    For crucifixions today, we must turn to the Islamic State. A Fox News report noted that while “IS crucifixion” photos have been circulating, what is meant by crucifixion here may not be what we assume it means:

    The series of photographs show different men bound to crosses in what appears to be a public square area, though it could not be independently confirmed that the subjects were dead or, if they were, by what means the executions had been carried out. The pictures do not show any apparent signs of the men nailed to a cross, nor are there any obvious, visible signs of fatal wounds.

    crucifixion Fox

    **

    Plenty of room for thought herein.

    Tomorrow: Christos aneste!


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