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Mecca, the 1979 Grand Mosque Siege

December 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — watch out for movements — of any belief — that arm themselves in preparation for an end times battle ]
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This is simply to alert you to a fine BBC recounting of the events at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on the first day of the current Islamic century — when two or three hundred heavily armed militants following a Mahdist claimant and his proclaimer —

BBC pull quote

really, think the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His John the Baptist, and you have some sense of the seriousness of the affair — took over the central mosque in all of Islam — think the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, or St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican perhaps — and held the place under siege, with considerable bloodshed, until finally four French commandos were allowed in to use gas and flush out the remaining followers of the Mahdi, himself now dead.

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End times arousals of this sort are far from over: ISIS espoused an explicitly eschatological ideology, while AL Qaida used an end times hadith to rally to their black banners in Afghanistan, and a 2007 Shi’ite insurgency near Najaf around a Mahdist claim, Shi’i-style, was serious enough for the government of Iraq to call in American air strikes.

Important stuff, therefore.

**

Recommended Readings:

  • BBC, Mecca 1979: The mosque siege that changed the course of Saudi history
  • Hegghammer & Lacroix, The Meccan Rebellion: The Story of Juhayman al-‘Utaybi Revisited
  • Hegghammer & Lacrois:

    Dart Boards and Hatred, a DoubleTake

    December 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — featuring a comparison between Osama bin Laden and Adam Schiff ]
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    From my private collection, now in storage, an image of counter-terrorist hatred:

    and a second image:

    ‘Nothing Less Than a Civil War’: These White Voters on the Far Right See Doom Without Trump

    forming together with the first what I call a DoubleTake, in this case featuring a parallelism that’s suggestive.

    What do you think?

    Secular and Saecula

    December 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — avoiding a tough piece of necessary writing by dealing with something simpler that conveniently fell into my hand ]
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    Why do I bother?

    Well, you know Nassim Nicholas Taleb, he gave us the concept of black swans, very bright guy because he questions, questions, and the answers he gets from reality don’t always match with the expectations routinely offered in answer to the same questions.

    **

    Well, Taleb‘s tweet cropped up in my feed within about a minute of Greg McMurry quoting the Oratorian priest Fr David Abernathy‘s tweeting a quotation from St Charbel, which seemed to convey a very similar notion, only expressed in terms of spiritual rather than secular ratios between loss and gain:

    **

    I bother because seeing parallelisms and oppositions and taking note of them is one of the prime “moves” in creativity, and I want to be as primed to recognize such parallelisms, particularly when they cross disciplinary boundaries, as readily as possible.

    Bonus point because both St Charbel and Nassim Nicholas Taleb are of Lebanese origin.

    A very slight play on words

    December 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a DoubleQuote that suggested itself to me today, posted here for your contemplative enjoyment ]
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    Stage one was provided by my opening screen, which contained three or four questions against a background of countryside and waterfalls. The question which caught my eye was this one:

    I’ve isolated it from a screen grab and placed it in the upper panel of my DoubleQuotes board, leaving the lower panel open for possible answers: Question and Answer, like Call and Response, would seem to be elementary forms of DoubleQuote play, just as DoubleQuotes are the elementary forms of HipBone Game moves, and HipBone Games elementary essays in rendering Hermann Hesse‘s fictional Glass Bead Game playable.

    **

    I then used Google to find the correct answer to our question, and placed it in the lower panel:

    That’s my play.

    **

    And why do I trouble you with such a trifle?

    Because asking a logophile what the word logophile means is an ouroboros — a serpent that bites its own tail — another of the elementary forms of the HipBone Games:

    A Merry Christmas to all Zenpundit readers

    December 25th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Christmas greetings, classical and jazz versions ]
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    If you’ve seen this picture of the interior of Notre Dame in Paris after the blaze..

    you might think of it as the Good Friday version of the great cathedral, central to France’s spiritual and national life, devastated by the fire that swept through the 800-year old structure in the heart of Paris in April this year.

    Today is Christmas day, however, so here’s a joyous Christmas version — from last year’s Christmas Mass, a great organ peal leads into the carol Adeste Fideles, here sung in Latin, but known in English as O Come, All Ye Faithful:

    Here’s wishing you a Merry (and if you don’t mind such things, a blessed) Christmas and Happy New Year!

    **

    And for those of you who prefer jazz to the classics, here’s a taste of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Church of St John Coltrane, held in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco this July:

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, happy holidays of your choosing!


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