Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cerpen Berita Harian Ahad 27 April 2014 - Coronavirus



Cerpen :  Coronavirus 
Oleh : Fudzail


(1)
Hujan terus mencurah.Berselang seli kilat dan guruh berdentum.
Saujana padang pasir, curahan hujan seakan fragmen imaginasi. Luar biasa. Ruang yang seakan sureal. Pertama kali buat Naim, pertama kali yang menguja. Menyentuh sanubari dalam menggamit nostalgia.
“Seakan musim tengkujuh di tanahair!”
Menghantar SMS kepada isteri. Matanya masih melekat pada titis-titis hujan. Menderap bagai lagu keroncong. Menjamah hati sang perantau. Tiba-tiba dijamah seribu musim yang telah menjauh. Bayangan datang bersama muzik-muzik latarbelakang.
Naim tersenyum sendirian. Terkenang musim tengkujuh di pantai timur, musim yang seringkali membawa banjir dan terpaksa berpindah ke penempatan sementara. Dalam keadaan serba kekurangan, kadang-kadang di penempatan itu, rezeki melimpah-limpah. Para pemimpin, selain banyak pertubuhan dan agensi kerajaan, selalunya datang membawa pelbagai bantuan. Selain muncul di dada akhbar dan kaca TV sebagai mangsa banjir.
Dari GPS, lokasinya tidak jauh dari kota Sharjah, yang menjadi tempat tinggal bersama keluarga. Dalam perjalanan pulang dari Emiriyah Fujairah.  Setelah bermesyuarat dengan sebuah syarikat minyak dan gas berpengkalan di situ.
Sudah beberapa kali berulang alik. Kali pertama cuba melalui off-road. Tidak melalui Lebuhraya Dhaid seperti biasa, mahukan sedikit advencer. Lebuhraya moden sepanjang 45 km sudah dirasakan begitu monotonous dan menjemukan.
Kali pertama juga, cuba melalui off-road berpandukan GPS. Lantas erperangkap dalam hujan lebat dalam musim dingin yang sudah tiba di penghujung. Keadaan cuaca sepanjang tahun juga berubah. Suhu sejuk yang membawa salji di beberapa tempat untuk pertama kali semenjak puluhan tahun. Ada mengatakan, dunia sudah sampai ke punghujung kerana salji turun di padang pasir!
Perubahan cuaca cukup ketara kerana dalam musim dingin kerana semakin kerap hujan turun, sesuatu yang jarang-jarang berlaku sebelum itu, semenjak tiga tahun menetap di Emiriyah Arab Bersatu (UAE). Ramai memberitahu yang semenjak lama, hujan hanya dua atau tiga kali setahun, sebab itulah hampir semua negara-negara Arab tiada sistam perparitan dan longkang. Tidak perlu.
Naim memberhentikan kenderaan pacuan empat rodanya. Hujan yang semakin lebat menyebabkan pandangan semakin berbalam dan sukar  memandu tanpa mengetahui apa yang di depan. Berdebaran pula. Terasa kenderaannya bergoyang-goyang oleh angin yang juga semakin kuat. Dari cermin tingkap depan, ternampak titisan hujan air batu yang mula menutup pandangan.
Dia cuba menelefon isterinya.
Setelah beberapa kali, dia gagal. Apabila melihat di skrin telefon bimbitnya, tiada signal talian! Bermakna hubungan telekomunikasi terputus. Naim menghembus nafas perlahan-lahan, mengurangkan degupan jantung, entah kenapa, pertama kali juga, dia merasa gementar dan panik. Lebih panik daripada berdepan dengan kenaikan air banjir setiap musim tengkujuh di kampung.
Panik dan ketakutan, berseorangan dalam cuba mengenal pasti lokasi, menghubungi sesiapa sahaja dalam kecemasan di saujana padang pasir yang kegelapan, berselang seli kilat sabung menyabung, diikuti siri guruh menggegarkan ke serata tubuh dan denyut nadi!
(2)
Di kaca TV, berita mengenai keadaan cuaca terkini sedikit menyentap hati Samiyyah. Di semua emiriyah dalam UAE, hujan lebat dan angin kuat. Keadaan yang sama di Saudi Arabia, Oman dan Qatar. Banjir mendadak menyebabkan kesesakan trafik di semua bandar besar. Seakan kelam kabut, haru biru kerana para pekerja berebut mahu pulang ke rumah masing-masing.
Malah sudah ada lapuran kemalangan jalan raya yang mengorbankan jiwa. Kebanyakan pemandu mungkin tidak biasa mengendali kenderaan dalam hujan lebat, angin kuat dan banjir kerana sentiasa panas dan kering  hampir sepanjang tahun.
Dia terus cuba menelefon suaminya, Naim. Berdebaran dalam memastikan ada ruang untuk bertenang kerana dia yakin, Naim masih selamat berada di Fujairah.
Setiap kali panggilan, hanya masuk ke mesej suara, bermakna gagal menghubungi. Hanya pesanan SMS terakhir yang diterima. Berkali juga menghantar SMS dan whatsapp.
Samiyyah sempat menjenguk ke dalam bilik kedua anak ramajanya, tidur keletihan selepas pulang dari sekolah. Apalagi dalam suhu yang sejuk dan hujan yang turun, memang melenakan.
“Kita selalu mendengar bencana dari perubahan cuaca dan iklim, pemanasan global yang akan mengurangkan kadar hasil pertanian, menambahkan gelombang panas dan menenggelamkan banyak komuniti, seakan semuanya akan memusnahkan, hanya apokalips semata-mata!”
Terdengar seorang saintis muda mengulas di satu program TV antarabangsa. Kebetulan, isu perubahan cuaca dan pemanasan global menarik minat Sumayyah sebagai pendidik dalam Geografi. Menjadi bahan untuk mengajar.
“Perubahan cuaca juga membawa kebaikan dalam banyak hal lain. Kalau suhu semakin naik, bermakna akan berkurangan tempoh sejuk dan mengurangkan kematian disebabkan oleh kesejukan. Hampir semua kawasan di muka bumi, hawa sejuk membunuh lebih ramai manusia dari hawa panas, pastinya perubahan cuaca bererti semakin kurang manusia mati disebabkan suhu terlampau!”
Apa yang diulas oleh saintis muda dari sebuah negara Afrika itu menyentap pemahaman Samiyyah selama itu. Perubahan cuaca dan pemanasan global sering bermakna kehancuran dan kemusnahan alam sejagat.
Lantas cuba menfokus kepada isu yang dibicarakan, daripada memikirkan keselamatan suaminya, yang mungkin terputus hubungan telekomunikasi oleh gangguan elektrik di pemancar gelombang mikro.
“Jangan hanya mendengar pendapat sehala kerana ahli ekonomi juga ada yang cuba menyanggah dengan melihat kesan perubahan cuaca dari kedua sudut positif dan negatif. Contohnya, suhu lebih panas akan memusnahkan tumbuhan di banyak kawasan iklim panas, tetapi juga menyebabkan pengeluaran hasil pertanian lebih baik di negara-negara sejuk. Dan, karbon dioksid menjadi baja, rumah-rumah hijau komersil akan mengepam tambahan karbon dioksid untuk membesarkan tomato misalnya. Secara purata, kita boleh menjangka hasil pertanian mendapat untung jangka pendek dan sederhana!”
Sumayyah mengangguk, memahami apa yang diperkatakan. Fikirannya kembali kepada apa yang masih merisaukan.
Jarinya segera menekan alat kawalan jauh TV, menukar ke rangkaian TV Dubai.
Berita terakhir mengenai keadaan cuaca.
“Laluan lebuhraya Fujairah ke Dubai dan Sharjah terputus oleh tanah runtuh di kawasan perbukitan berhampiran Dhaid. Beberapa kawasan sekitar juga terputus hubungan telekomunikasi disebabkan gangguan elektrik di banyak pencawang!”
Seketika itu juga, Sumayyah menyambar telefon dan mendail.
(Tiga)
Naim pasti, waktu maghrib telah masuk. Dengan talian telekomunikasi dan Internet terputus, dan hujan masih lebat turun, dia tidak pasti bagaimana untuk bersolat dalam kenderaan pacuan empat roda.
Dia bertawakal, solat duduk walau tanpa berwuduk. Ironi, hujan lebat mencurah, air di mana-mana saujana padang pasir, dia tidak berwuduk kerana darurat. Solat jamak maghrib dan isyak.
Kemudian kembali cuba menghubungi isteri dan sesiapa sahaja yang nombornya ada dalam memori telefon. Terus gagal.
Matanya jauh ke ruang berbalam, ada nampa pokok-pokok gurun.
“Kau tahu, semenjak merdeka, kerajaan dibawah Sheikh Zayed telah menanam lebih seratus juta pokok di UAE, sebab itu kehijauan menghiasi di merata tempat!”
Teringat perbualan dengan seorang sahabat Emirati, Maktoum yang sering kali berkata, sudah ada perubahan ekologi di bumi UAE kerana pokok-pokok bukan sahaja mengubah landskap, bahkan cuaca juga. Pusingan air dari hemisfera menambahkan hujan apabila pokok-pokok yang semakin banyak menyerap air dan mengalirkan semula lebih kerap.
“Air adalah nadi kehidupan, bayangkan tiada air, berapa lama manusia boleh hidup, ianya disebut dalam Quran, tahukah kamu air disebut 53 kali dalam 50 ayat Quran?” tergiang-giang pertanyaan Maktoum.
Memang ironi, keseorangan dalam air yang melimpah tiba-tiba di gurun yang beribu tahun kering kontang, Naim disambar kesyukuran yang mendalam. Di UAE, bekalan air bersih datang dari sulingan air laur yang menelan bilion dirham setahun kerana tiada sumber air bumi. Masih tiada bekalan air terputus atau catuan, tidak seperti banyak negara tropika, pembangunan pesat, kemusnahan hutan dan pembaziran air menyebabkan semakin kurang simpanan air.
Maktoum pernah menghantar melalui whatsapp ayat 99 surah Al An’am:
Dia yang turunkan dari langit, air; dan dengannya Kami keluarkan tunas segala tumbuh-tumbuhan, dan kemudian Kami keluarkan daun-daun hijau, dan keluarkan daripadanya biji-bijian yang bersusun rapat, dan keluar daripada pohon palma, daripada seludangnya, kurma-kurma bertandan lebat yang boleh dicapai, dan kebun-kebun (jannah) anggur, dan zaitun, dan delima, yang serupa sesamanya dan tidak mutasyabihat (serupa) sesamanya. Perhatikanlah pada buah-buahnya apabila mereka berbuah, dan masak. Sesungguhnya pada semua ini adalah ayat-ayat bagi kaum yang percayai.
 Ayat yang sedikit sebanyak mengambarkan pentingnya air dalam kehidupan. Sesuatu yang di tidak ambil endah, ambil mudah kerana sentiasa melimpah dengan air.
Sambil matanya masih pada skrin telefon, dalam hujan nampak sedikit reda, Naim membuka pintu dan cuba keluar. Memastikan keadaan laluan untuk berpatah balik ke Fujairah yang lebih hampir dari Sharjah menurut GPS.
Dalam kesuraman malam, terbeliak mata Naim melihat ke serata arah. Air melimpah di mana-mana. Kenderaannya menjadi pulau jadian ditengah lautan air hujan yang tiga jam sebelum itu adalah padang pasir. Tiba-tiba juga, terasa sukar untuk bernafas!
(5)
“Perubahan cuaca memang turut membawa strain dan variant baharu virus, sebab itu penularan wabak Novel coronavirus atau Middle East Respiratory Syndrom Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) sukar dikawal dan dibendung!”
Dr. Kausar menerangkan kepada Sumayyah, sambil matanya meninjau ke arah Naim yang terbaring di katil dalam wad ICU hospital Universiti Sharjah. Dia masih kelihatan cemas setelah diselamatkan oleh sekumpulan tentera UAE yang kebetulan melalui padang pasir tempat Naim terperangkap dalam banjir. Mereka pulang dari latihan ketenteraan yang tergendala oleh cuaca buruk dan terserempak Naim dalam kenderaan dengan tidak sedarkan diri. Terus dibawa dengan helikopter tentera ke hospital.
“Pihak Kementerian Kesihatan sedang memantau situasi terkini jangkitan yang boleh menyebabkan jangkitan respiratori secara akut dan serius iaitu demam dan kesukaran bernafas!”
Sumayyah terus mendengar dengan serius, dalam hatinya fokus pada keadaan Naim. Suaminya disyaki dijangkiti MERS, mungkin ada strain dikutip dari atmosfera pelabuhan Fujairah. Mumgkin dari pekerja-pekerja kapal yang berlabuh atau burung-burung yang berhenti dari pelayaran migrasi. Masih ditahap awal dan terkawal, kata Dr. Kausar yang berasal dari Palestin. Sememangnya, tetap membimbangkan apabila perubahan cuaca dan pemanasan global semakin real.
Dan diluar, hujan lebat kembali turun untuk sekian kali di padang pasir yang tiba-tiba semakin hijau, saujana mata memandang di kampus Universiti Sharjah!

Friday, April 25, 2014

What does Jewish name mean?

For most millennia, Jews had no surnames other than 'ben'. Now, thanks to Spanish inquisitors starting the trend, they do.

Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II
Many Jews stayed away from surnames until the late 18th century, when Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II forced German surnames on all his subjects. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
There are a lot of myths and fairy tales out there about Jewish family names — where they came from and what they mean, to name but two issues that often get mangled. Here we set the record straight.
For millennia, Jews contented themselves with a given name and when needed, tacked on the names of their fathers, for example Shmuel Ben- (“son of”) Avraham. That’s how people were named in the Bible, the Mishnah, the Talmud and the rabbinic writings of the Middle Ages and the early modern period.
The process by which Jews took on surnames was gradual and varied from place to place. Some Jews continued to go just by given names well into the 20th century.
Spinoza of Espinosa
Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 were the first to assume last names en masse.
As they settled in their new homes, they often affixed the names of their old hometowns to their given names, thus creating last names. The surname of Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, for instance, harkens back to his family’s origins in either the town of Espinosa de los Monteros or Espinosa de Cerrato. Members of the Batsri family can know their forefather lived in the Iraqi city of Batsra.
Such names, derived from locations, are called "toponyms." Toponyms aren't always taken from people's places of residence, though, other associations with a places, say through trading, can be enough.
From the 1500s, Jews in Central Europe and Italy slowly began adopting last names from other sources. The “Rothschild” name, for instance, comes from the German for “red sign.”
Most other Jews stayed away from surnames until the late 18th century, when, as part of a modernization process, Austrian Emperor Joseph II forced surnames on all his subjects to help account for them. He decreed the names had to be German.
At the time, much of Eastern Europe was under Austrian control, and many Jews who didn’t know a word of German acquired Germanic names.
The process of surnaming the Jews, often resented or ignored by its targets, continued into the 19th century and spread to other countries, such as France and Russia, where non-German names were given.
From the second half of the 19th century, masses of Jews emigrating from Europe to the United States changed or anglicized their names. Zonszeins became Sunshines, and so on.
A small number of Eastern European Jews migrated to Palestine where, as a part of the Zionist movement and the rebirth of the Hebrew language, some translated their names to Hebrew. Or they just took on Hebrew names that either sounded like their old names, or didn’t. This process was actively encouraged by the government in Israel’s first decades.


Game of the name
Jewish names can be filed under seven categories: Lineal, patronymic, matronymic, toponymic, artificial, nicknames and Hebrew names. Here is a list explaining the categories and providing some of the most common names in each of them.
Note that many names appear in more than one category: The same name can originate in different ways. For example, in some cases, the name Goldberg is simply ornamental, meaning “gold mountain”; but in others, it's a toponym related to the town of Goldberg, Germany, or Silesia, Poland — called Goldberg in German.
Lineal names
The two most common Jewish names are Cohen and Levi.
Cohens descend from the priestly caste — Cohen is the Hebrew word for "priest." Levis descend from the priestly tribe of Levi. According to Jewish tradition, all priests are descended from the first high priest: Moses’ brother Aaron.
There are many variations on “Cohen”: Kogan, Kahane, Koren, Kahaneman, Kaplan — and the acronyms Katz ("kohen zedek," or "true priest") and Maze, ("mezera Aharon Hakohen, or "from the seed of Aaron the Priest).
The name Levi also has many variations, such as Levin, Levine, Levitt, Levinsky, Levinson and Lewinsohn.
Patronymic names
Basing family names on fathers' given names is very common among Jews and gentiles alike. Practically every Jewish given name has been used as a surname in this way — sometime as is and sometimes by adding the Hebrew word for son — "ben" — before it.
It is also common to add a suffix indicating “son of” or “of,” as in the Germanic: "-son," "-sohn"; the Slavic "-ich," "-off," "-ov," "-sky," and "-owitz," and the Persian "-zada." Patronyms use Hebrew names; their Yiddish, Arabic, Russian or other-language equivalents, or animal names that have become synonymous with Jacob's sons. In the Book of Genesis 49:1-27, the patriarch blesses his sons, in some cases mentioning animals. Hence, Juda is a lion (Löwe), Naphtal is a deer (Hirche), Benjamin is a wolf (Wolf) and Issachar was a donkey, but due to the low regard for donkeys in Europe, later became a bear (baer).
Here are some of the most common patronyms arranged by the Hebrew given name of the father:
Jacob: Jacobson, Yaacov, Yankel, Koppel, Yanko, Yankels, Yankelevich, Koppels, Koppelmann, Cooperman, Kopelovich, Kopf, Kauffman, Ya’akovi or Yakovitch
Abraham: Abramovich, Abramson, Avraham, Aknin, Vaknin, Abrahams, Abrams, Abramoff, Abramsky, Ben Avraham, Avrahami or Abramzada
Naphtali: Naphtali, Hirsch or Hershkovich
Isaac: Isaacson, Isaac, Isakovich or Itzhak
Meir: Meir, Meirson, Meirovich or Meiroff
Judah: (Leib, or "lion"): Yehudah, Leib, Leibovitch, Leibeles, Laybl or Liebenson
Issachar(Baer, or "bear"): Dov, Baermann, Baer or Berkovich
Benjamin(Wolf): Benjamin, Binyamin, Ze’ev or Woolf
Solomon(Frid, or "peace"): Freed, Freedman, Solomon, Shlomo, Frid, Friedman or Shalom
Moses: Moshe, Ben Moshe or Mosenson
Menachem: Mendel, Mendelson, Mendelevich or Mendeloff
Simon: Shimon, Simon, Bensimon or Shimoni
Mark: Markov or Markovich,
Haim: Haimov, Haimovich, Hemo, Yehiya, Ben Haim, Haim, Avidan,Biton, Ohayon, Fiszman, Fishman, Fisch or Fiser
Ephraim: Fiszman, Fishman, Fisch or Fiser
David: David, Davidov, Davidovitch, Davidson or Ben David
Reuben: Rubenstein, Robin or Roby
Hemo: Ben Hemo
Malka: Melekh or Malka
Frank: Frenkel
Other common patronyms include: Baruch, Asher, Harari, Menashe, Peretz, Mordechai, Becher, Hillel, Maor, Ovadia, Yifrah, Barzelay or Peri
Matronymic names
Some Jewish surnames derive from women’s given names, either a mother or a wife. In some cases when the wife’s name is used, the suffix "–man" is affixed to the end to the wife’s name.
Bluma: Blum or Blumstein
Sarah: Soros or Sorotskin
Rachel: Richles
Shifra: Sprinzak
Rebecca: Rivlin or Rivkin
Goldie: Goldman
Bella: Beilin
Pearl: Perlman or Margolis
Lea: Laikin
Haya: Haikin
Mira: Mirkin
Esther: Esterman
Zipora: Zipkin or Zipres
Edel: Edels
Hana: Ohanna
Shoshana or Rosa: Shushan, Sasson, Ben Sasson or Rosenberg

Occupational names
Another common naming pattern among Jews and gentiles alike is based on occupation. Sometimes, the name of a tool or material is used instead.
Tailor: Hayat, Schneider, Portnoy, Kravitz, Nudel, Needleman, Fudem, Fingerhut, Scherman, Schneidman, Hefter, Demsky, Talisman or Bouskila.
Smith: Schmidt, Haddad, Schlosser, Blechman, Koval, Sayag, Goldschmidt, Zlotnick or Argentero
Scribe: Sofer, Schreiber, Schreiberman or Sas (an acronym of "sofer stam," or "a writer of religious texts")
Synagogue attendant: Shamash
Rabbi: Rabin, Rabinowitz, Rabiner, Rabi, Hacham or Lamdan
Ritual slaughterer: Shohet , Schecter, Shub Treiber or Menaker
Scholar: Zehnwirt, Talmud or Mishnayos
Synagogue administrator: Shames, Gabbai, Shkolnik, Parnas or Nagid
Cantor: Cantor, Chazzan, Hassan, Singer, Zinger, Schulzinger, Meshoyrer, Soloway or Soloveitchik
Teacher: Melamed, Lehrer, Mualem, Morenu, Mor, Mula; Darshan, Maggid, Belfer or Behelfer
Henna merchant: Ohanna
Baker: Becker or Habaaz
Builder: Bauman or Amar
Glazier: Glazer, Glassman or Sklarsky
Money changer: Halfan or Wexler
Miller: Milman or Melnik
Carpenter: Najaar, Tishcler, Zimmerman, Stoler, Plotnick or Nagar
Soap maker: Zeifer, Saban or Midler
Merchant: Tajjar, Hendler, Kremer, Wazaan, Kupietz or Kaufmann
Shoemaker: Schuster, Schumacher or Ciubotaru
Dyer: Sebag or Farbiarz
Painter: Dahan, Farber, Mahler or Sabag
Doctor: Rofe, Tabib, Hakim, Doctor or Arzt
Shepherd: Schaeffer
Fisherman or fishmonger: Fiszman, Fishman or Fisch
Tent maker: Elkayam
Drum maker: Abutbul
Yuke maker: Buzaglo
Translator: Tujeman
Butcher: Szechter, Boucher or Shochet
Wheat dealer: Weitzman, Koren or Korn
Farmer: Bauer, Feld, Feldman or Hoffmann
Artificial names
Artificial or ornamental names indicate nothing except for the fact that their bearers are Ashkenazi Jews. The names were mostly given to Jews by government officials of the Austrian Empire in the late 18th and early 20th centuries. The officials used a small bank of German words, either alone or in pairs, sometimes with the suffix "-man."
In some cases, the names predate this forced naming, which usually indicates they are derived from medieval house signs. A prominent example is the Rothschild family, whose name, as we said, means “red sign.”
There are too many ornamental names to list. So, instead, here are their components.
Colors: Green, Grun, Grin, Gruen ("green"), Roth, Roit ("red"), Weiss ("white"), Schwarz ("black"), Gel, Gelb, Geller ("yellow"), Blau or Blaub ("blue").
Materials: Gold ("gold"), Zilber, Silver ("silver"), Kupfer, Copper ("copper"), Eisen ("iron"), Holtz ("wood"), Gluz, Glas ("Glass") or Stein ("stone")
Gems: Diamante ("diamond"), Rubin ("ruby"), Sapir or Saphir ("sapphire")
Plants: Boim, Bau ("tree"), Blatt ("leaf"), Blum, Bloom, Blit ("flower"), Boz, Roiz or Ros ("rose")
Places: Wald ("forest"), Thal ("valley"), Berg ("mountain") or Feld ("field")
Drinks: Wasser ("water") or Wein ("wine")
Animals: Löwe ("lion"), Baer, Ber ("bear"), Fouks ("fox"), Adler ("eagle") or Fisch ("fish")
Others: Stern ("star") or Perl ("pearl")
Toponyms
Toponymys come from geographic locations: towns, cities, districts, countries or regions. Often people can trace their ancestry to their namesakes, especially with Spanish toponyms. But sometimes the names only mean the people who received them were associated with places, say by having relatives there or trading with them on a regular basis.
Horovitz or Gorovitz: Horovice, Czech Republic
Ginsberg or Gunzburg: Günzburg, Germany
Deutsch: Germany
Ashkenazi: France or Germany
Polak: Poland
Goldberg: Goldberg, Germany or Silesia (Goldberg), Poland
Shapira, Sapir, Saphirson, Saphir, Shapiro or Shefer: Speyer, Germany
Kadis: Cádiz, Spain
Berenstain: Pełczyce (Berenstain), Poland
Pinto: Pinto, Spain
Ravinsky: Rawicz, Poland
Denino: Doñinos de Salamanca, Spain
Rosenthal: Rosenthal, Germany (there are many); Rožmitál pod Tremšínem, Czech Republic; Bartoszyce (Rosenthal), Poland, or Rožna Dolina (Rosenthal), Slovenia
Iloz or Illuz: Iloz, Spain
Lugassy: Lugas, Spain
Dreyfus: Trier, Germany
Libowitz, Lipman, Lifman, Lifszyc: Liben, Czech Republic; Lubomierz, Poland, or Liebenwalde, Germany
Deri or Edry: The Daraa Valley, Morocco
Eisen or Barzelay: Eisenstadt, Austria
Weinberg: The region of Mt. Weinberg in Westphalia, Germany; Weinberg, Germany; the Weinberg suburb of Gdansk, Poland, or Weinberg, Czech Republic
Epstein: Ebstein, Austria or Epstein, Germany
Alfasi: Fez, Morocco
Zarfaty: France
Shushan, Sasson or Ben-Sasson: Susa, Iran
Dadon: Ouled Daoud, Morocco
Vaez or Baez: Baza, Spain
Spharadi or Spharad: Spain
Assouline: The Ait Tizguin Assouline tribe, Morocco; Derb Assoul in Marrakech, Morocco; or Azoulin in Coilo, Morocco
Greenberg: Grünberg, Germany or Zielona Góra (Grünberg), Poland
Maman or Ben-Maman: Miaman, Spain
Sharabi: Sharab, Yemen
Rosenberg: Rosenberg, Germany; Sosz (Rosenberg), Poland; Olesno (Rosenberg), Poland, or Rožmberk nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
Suisa: Sous, Morocco or Suesa, Spain
Becher: Becher Luxembourg
Ohanna: Kasba des Bo Hana, Morocco
Azulay: Asilah, Morocco
Elbaz: the Albisin neighborhood in Granada, Spain or the Jewish neighborhood of Albaz in Ghararah, Algeria
Ohana: Ifrane, Morocco
Mizrahi: “The East”
Malka or Melekh: Malaga, Spain
Nicknames
Sometimes called "eke-names," nicknames describe some personal characteristic of their bearers.
Brave: Shitrit
Dear man: Lieberman
Nice: Harosh
Good: Gottman, Bueno, Gutman, Almalih or Almaleh
Devote: Heilig, Gottesman or Kadosh
Sweet: Matuka, Halu or Zuessman
Happy, lucky, relaxed or slow: Maymon
Tall: Lang, Gross or Tawil
Short: Klein, Kurtz, Katan or Malik
Redheaded or red bearded: Roth, Geller
Redheaded or blonde: Shukrun
Dark haired or dark complexioned: Schwarz, Negarin, Shakhor, Braun or Brown
Pretty or handsome: Shein, Shen or Yaffe
Pot-bellied or scarred: Buchbut
Hebrew names
As part of the Zionist movement, many Jews who settled Palestine in the late 19th century and the early 20th century adopted Hebrew names. The names were either translations of former names, sounded like the old names but were Hebrew or were biblical toponyms.
For example, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, was originally named Perlman. He could have translated his name to the Hebrew Pnina or Margalit, both of which mean "pearl." Or he could have taken a name that sounds sort of like his former name — say the very odd name Par Limon (lemon bull). Instead, he chose Ben-Yehuda ("son of Judea").
Kaspi: of silver
Zehavi: of gold
Paz: gold
Even or Tzur: stone or flint
Kokhavi: star
Vardi or Vered: rose
Shoshan: Lilly, but often used for rose
Dagan: wheat
Shani: red
Golan: toponym
Gilad: toponym
Zion: toponym
Hen: beauty
Tal: dew
Shalom: peace
Shachar: dawn
Israel: toponym
Lev: heart
Gal: wave
Keren: horn
Avital: biblical name
Dvir: the Holy of Holies
Shamir: dill
Ron: song
Raz: secret
Nir: plowed field
Dekel: palm tree
Gil: joy

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ready to have your mind blown? Education is FREE in these Countries:


Imagine all the time and money you would have if you didn’t have to pay for your education and higher education… Well, you can do just that in the following countries. These countries are leading the way, showing the world another option. Just think, someone poor or homeless could actually be the next Einstein or Tesla, but without money they don’t stand a chance at getting an education. Well, that’s not true all over the world. So maybe it’s time we take notes and make changes or move country!
countries with free education


Free education refers to education that is funded through taxation, or charitable organizations rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, for example, all education is mostly free (often not including books (from primary) and a number of administrative and sundry fees in university) including post-graduate studies in the Nordic countries.
From 2013 in Northern Europe Estonia started providing free higher education as well. In Argentina, Norway and Finland, no fees apply for foreign students enrolling at a university, although they may not be eligible for a monthly study allowance and loan. However, bachelor degree programs in Norway are solely taught in Norwegian. Master degree programs in Norway are offered in either Norwegian or English depending on the program and/or university.
Sweden, until recently, (bring it back!) provided free education to foreign students but changes have been introduced to charge fees to foreign students from outside of the European community.
Denmark also has universal free education, and provides a monthly stipend, the “Statens Uddannelsesstøtte” or “SU”, to students over 18 years of age or students who are under 18 and attending a higher education. Bachelor and master degree programs in Denmark are offered in either Danish or English depending on the program and/or university.
Greece and Argentina provide free education at all levels, including college and university.
Seriously, how many of you didn’t know this stuff? And how many of you would love to have free education for yourself or your children. Just think of all the money you would save. So, why pay thousands for learning when you can get it free. So lets go over that list again just to make this clear. If you want free education move to one of these countries:
Norway
Sweden
Denmark
Greece
Argentina
Estonia
Finland
Please share this article with others so they know about their options!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

These ancient parchments discovered by chance in desert caves by the Dead Sea tell mysteries about the mysterious Jewish sect that wrote them, and debunk a myth about Goliath's height while about it.


In 1947, a group of Bedouin stumbled upon a number of clay jars in Khirbet Qumran, a site of caves overlooking the Dead Sea. Inside the jars were beautifully preserved scrolls with ancient Hebrew writing.
The scrolls turned out to be one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.
Despite the oft-repeated story that the finders chopped the scrolls up into tiny bits and sold the pieces one by one on the market to maximize their profit, in reality they took relatively good care of the parchments and received a mere pittance for them.
Once archaeologists had authenticated the scrolls, and dated them to some 2,000 years ago, a mad dash began to the caves of Qumran (pronounced koom-RAN). Archaeologists combed the honeycomb of desiccated desert landscape for more, and indeed, many were found. All were made of parchment, with the exception of the Copper Scroll, which is held in Jordan and as its name implies was made of copper.
Fragments do turn up from time to time. The Israeli Antiquities Authority does its best to obtain them, arguing that they are Israeli state property in any case.
Academics have since been painstakingly piecing together the thousands of fragments to make sense of the great mass of text. Among the mysteries that the Dead Sea Scrolls have cleared up are who Nahash was anyway, and the true height of that terrifying Philistine, Goliath of Gath.
The library of the Essenes
Meanwhile, the long wait - and the exclusivity of the small group of academics granted permission to work on the scrolls – birthed a number of outlandish conspiracy theories. A popular one suggested that the scrolls contained some shocking revelations about early Christianity that were being suppressed by the Catholic Church or some other powerful group a-laDan Brown’s Opus Dei.
Finally the work was done and the entire collection was made public in 1991. The scrolls do not in fact mention Jesus or Christianity.
What they were was essentially the library of a Jewish sect called the Essenes. Very little had been known about them before the Qumran find, apart from brief references to them by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder, and the Jewish writers Josephus and Philo.
The Essenes lived during the Second Temple period. They were a pious Jewish sect, which apparently formed when the Hasmonean kings usurped the authority of the High Priest, becoming not only the monarchs but the top religious power as well – even though by Jewish tradition, they were not eligible to hold that position. They may have been kohanim, but not Zadokite Kohanim, members of the priestly family that traced its ancestry to Moses' brother Aaron, who had monopolized the position up to then.



The writings of the Essenes are full of allusions to an “Evil Priest,” who was probably one of these early king/high priests.
Battle between Essene good and everything else
The Essenes seem to have existed in two classes: some living in the cities, marrying, praying at the Temple in Jerusalem and living relatively normal Jewish lives. The other group lived in the arid desert of Qumran, in a sort of commune.
The Qumranites were all unmarried men. They practiced extreme purity rites, washing in ceremonial baths, mikvehs, after every bowel movement. Being accepted into the Essene community was an extremely arduous process, taking two years. All Essenes, whether urban or members of the commune, went through an annual appraisal by the community leaders.
Their theology was quite different from that of the other two contemporary Jewish schools of thought, the Pharisees and the Zadokites, on the question of free will versus determinism.
The Pharisees, the forerunners of rabbinical Judaism, believed that some things were predetermined while others were left to free will. The Sadducees believed that all is left to free will.
The Essenes took the extreme position that all things are predetermined. This belief extended to the belief in a kind of physiognomy - one’s facial features would tell whether someone was good or evil. They applied this method when taking in new members.
According to Essene theology, the world was a battle between good and evil. They, the few members of the Essenes, were the good and everyone else Jews and gentiles alike were evil.
Furthermore, according to a book discovered in Qumran and named by scholars "War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness," they believed that a war between good and evil was imminent, and that God would intercede on their side and kill all the evil people, essentially all of humanity.
Multiverse of biblical tales and Nahash the Ammonite
In addition to shedding light on this fascinating community's beliefs, the scrolls are also extremely important to our understanding of how the Masoretic Bible came to be.
Many of the scrolls are biblical texts. There are at least fragments of every book in the Torah, with the exception of the Book of Esther, which isn't there.
Before the discovery of the scrolls, it was believed that there were three versions of the bible in antiquity, from which the Hebrew bible and the early Biblical translations to Greek arose. Qumran showed that the story was more complicated than that; and that the biblical texts at the time were more fluid, existing in many different variations.
The biblical texts in Qumran - some 1,000 years more ancient than the oldest manuscript of the Hebrew Bible known prior to their discovery – also helped resolve some mysteries.
The most famous and interesting example of this is in the case of the story of the mysterious "Nahash the Ammonite" in the Book of 1 Samuel.
Chapter 10 ends with people deriding the newly-crowned King Saul “And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” (27) The next chapter begins abruptly, mid-story, as if some part had gone missing. “Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-Gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.” (11:1)
That leap in narrative had puzzled scholars for some time. We weren't told who Nahash is or why he was suddenly laying siege to Jabesh-Gilead. Elsewhere in Samuel, when a new king is introduced, his title and territory is given, for example “Agag the king of the Amalekites” (15:8).
And indeed it turned out that a paragraph had been missing, and now we know what it is, because it appears in a manuscript found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. A translation of it was added into the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, published in 1990: “Now Nahash king of the Ammonites had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash king of the Ammonites had not gouged out.”
Another case where the scrolls shed light on the Bible is in the matter of Goliath's height. The Masoretic text and the text of the Septuagint, the earliest known translation of the Bible, are in disagreement. The Masoretic cites Goliath as being six cubits and a span tall, which is roughly three meters, while the Septuagint says he was four cubits and a span tall, or roughly two meters tall.
The text in the Qumran sides with the Septuagint: it seems that Goliath wasn’t superhumanly tall after all.
Most of the scrolls are on display at the Israel Museum's Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, a building designed to look like the clay lids that covered the jars in which the scrolls were originally found. But you don’t have to go to Jerusalem to see the scroll (though it is truly moving experience to read Hebrew off a 2,000-year-old piece of parchment).Many of the scrolls can be read online. The Israel Museum and Google, which collaborated on the Dead Sea Scrolls project, plan to have the entire collection online by 2016.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New York legalizes Pedophilia – Since Jews Must Suck on Baby Penises




Death penalty for pedophiles would most probably exterminate the entire Jewish race… Have you seen a more bizarre and repulsive ritual?
New York has instituted a new law that legalizes the Jewish ritual known as ’Metzitzah b’peh’, the act of a Jew mohel SUCKING ON A BLOODY BABY PENIS!But only if the Jew parents of the baby give their written consent.
On Thursday, the health department voted 9-0 to require mohels, or ritual circumcisers, to obtain signed consent forms from parents outlining the risks of communicable disease before engaging in “metzitzah b’peh” — a circumcision ritual in which the mohel uses direct oral-genital suction of the infant’s blood[y penis].

Yes, Jews really do suck on baby penises, THEY REALLY ARE A RACE OF COCK-SUCKING PEDOPHILES!
Orthodox Jews have expressed outrage. They don’t think that written consent should be necessary. Tens of thousands of Jew families in New York need to get their babies sucked off in association with the traditional mutilation of new-born Jew babies penises, say the orthodox Jews.
Following the vote, the haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America said it was “profoundly disappointed” with the measure.
“Tens of thousands of families in New York City” require metzitzah b’peh, the statement said.
The pedophiliac ritual of Jews have several times led to the death of the baby being sucked, since the cock-sucking Jew rabbi often infect the babies with herpes.
Listen to this Jew rabbi explain why Jews must suck on baby penises:

Friday, April 18, 2014

When Islam shone its light on Europe

One thousand years ago, Muslims, Christians and Jews sauntered down the same cobbled pathways in the sun-drenched cities of southern Spain, living, flourishing and contributing to Andalusia’s fashionable society and culture.
The Moors ruled the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years — a long, glorious period of eminence and prosperity, with a vibrant economy, splendid architecture and a growing body of knowledge that made it the centre of the world for centuries.
But all this changed, once a growing strain of intolerance took hold of the Muslim rulers. Add to this the fear that religious movements such as the Crusades had of a Muslim society flourishing as a beacon of learning for the rest of the world, and glorious Spain was soon swept away.
Iyad Al Baghdadi, a researcher based in the UAE, says that “the fact that the downfall of Andalusia can be attributed to intolerance and fanaticism, holds important lessons for us”.

Eventually, Islam disappeared from the Peninsula, with the Muslim population dwindling to zero once the expulsion orders came. As the Portuguese Dominican monk, Damian Fonseca, said, this was no less than an “agreeable holocaust”.
The coming of the Moors
In the year 711, a Christian chief sent out a letter to Mousa Bin Nusayr, the governor of North Africa, requesting assistance to get rid of the tyrannical Visigoth ruler of Spain, Roderick. Mousa responded by sending the young Muslim general Tarek Bin Ziyad with 7,000 North African Berber troops under his command.
This story does not resonate well universally, for while all historians agree that Tarek did invade Spain, most believe that the reasons behind the invasion were not as noble, and had more to do with expanding Muslim territory.
By 720, the Moors (as the Arab-led Muslim troops were called) had conquered most of Spain and Portugal, almost unhindered and unopposed in their takeover.
An important reason for their conquest at breakneck speed was their generosity in terms of their conditions for surrender. In return for the loyalty of local officials, the Moors allowed them to retain their positions of authority.
But because the Muslim forces were made up of different nationalities, it was difficult to find coherence in them. And it did not help that although Muslims are all equal in the eyes of the Almighty, the Arabs treated the Berber tribesmen as second-class citizens, usurping all the best lands and riches.
There was much tumult, uncertainty and even a Berber revolt, in the period immediately following the Moorish conquest. This anarchy allowed for the survival of three important Christian states: Leon, Castile and Aragon.
But stability returned to Spain by 750 with the formation of a heartland for Muslim rule in southern Spain: the Andalusia region.
Abdurehman, the sole survivor of Umayyad Dynasty, who escaped the Abbasid dynasty’s fierce coup, found his way to Spain. He is credited for binding together all the Muslim groups that had conquered Spain, and establishing a degree of control over the frontiers. He was extremely ambitious, ruling with authority after shifting the capital from Toledo, the old Visigothic centre, to Cordova, making it the new capital of the Umayyad Caliphate.
The golden period
By the year 1000, the Muslim rulers had turned Al Andalus into the greatest economic, social and cultural power in the world — founding a civilisation based on knowledge and faith. The population of Iberia at this time was more than five million — mostly Muslim.
The Moors were highly skilled agriculturalists, and their engineers mastered the construction of extensive irrigation and waterwheel systems, some of which have survived to this day. They introduced cotton, rice, lemons and strawberries in addition to the peaches, pomegranates, apricots and oranges already growing there, boosting the agriculture industry.
The government was able to lower tax rates even more as the economy flourished. It then turned to the growth of urban industries, utilising the mineral wealth of copper, gold, silver, tin and lead, and also making way for the establishment of the silk, glass, woollens and paper — and book-making industries. An indication of Moorish prosperity is that government revenue was said to have reached 6.5 million gold dinars (about Dh4.3 billion) per year in those times.
But the greatest legacy of the Moors to Europe was the establishment of Al Andalus as the cynosure of knowledge. At a time when the rest of Europe was in “darkness” so to speak, Muslim Spain was a shining light — the centre of learning.
Education was widespread in the 10th and 11th centuries, with 17 established universities in Moorish Spain. The finest of these were located in Almeria, Cordova, Granada, Juen, Malaga, Seville and Toledo.
Scholars, scientists and artists formed learned societies, and scientific congresses were organised to promote research and extend the reach of knowledge.
Moorish Spain boasted more than 70 libraries, of which the one in Cordova (said to be Hakam II’s personal collection) housed more than 6,000,000 volumes. These books were purchased and painstakingly brought from Baghdad, Basra, Kufa, Damascus, Cairo, Makkah and Madinah.
Sadly, this precious, priceless collection was destroyed — not in the Spanish Inquisition — but long before that; Al Mansour, a subsequent Muslim ruler who was ultra-orthodox, deemed the library useless and full of “ancient science” books, passing the order that they be burnt.
Hakam II, the second ruler of the caliphate, also ordered the translation of several ancient Greek and Latin works, earning the title of a patron of knowledge in the Muslim world. Ground-breaking achievements were made in the areas of mathematics, medicine, astronomy, geography and philosophy. Famous thinkers from this period, such as Ibn Massara and Ibn Rushd and the Jewish Mosheh Bin Maimoon (Maimonides) — the most prolific scholar of Torah — eventually helped usher medieval Europe out of the Dark Ages.
In fact, Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes in the West, devoted his life to reconciling faith with reason, focusing especially on Aristotle’s philosophies, and laying the true foundation for Europe’s Rennaisance.
“Ibn Rushd is considered a key figure in modern secularism,” Al Baghdadi says. “Unfortunately, [due to the Almohads, and their intolerance and fanaticism] Maimonides fled to Egypt where he lived, taught and died; Ibn Rushd also lived during the Almohad period, and he was banished and his books burnt.”
In “The Golden Ages of History”, Joseph McCabe, a prolific British writer on science, religion, politics, history and culture, describes Cordova of those times, in some of the book’s most beautiful passages:
“In Cordova, the old packed Cordova, they would find a city of 250,000 houses … Its streets were paved — so soundly, indeed, that in some of them you tread the same stones today, just as you cross the Guadalquivir on the same noble bridge — drained by large sewers, … and lit by lamps at night … It had 900 public baths — we are told that a poor Arab would go without bread rather than soap — and more than 1,000 mosques, the largest of which is still one of the architectural wonders of the world in spite of later Spanish disfigurements.”
This was hundreds of years before there was a paved street in Paris or a street lamp in London. And public baths were an amenity that was enjoyed by the inhabitants of Moorish Spain when Christian Europe regarded cleanliness as a sin.
The bridge that McCabe refers to is the elegantly-arched Puente Romano (a vestige left over from the centuries spent under Roman occupation). Besides offering some fabulous views of the Mezquita, it has also been built over a significant waterway of Spain.
The mosque that he refers to is the Great Mosque of Cordova, now referred to as the Mezquita-Cetedral. It dates back to this caliphate, with expansion work carried out in four stages lasting two centuries to give the world the most adept form of Moorish architecture.
Under Hakam II, the second ruler of the caliphate, the capital enjoyed unparalleled ethnic, cultural and religious harmony. He ensured that the Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in peace.
“While the government of the times is to be credited with building this tolerant society, it is also true that the Umayyad Arabs were a minority and therefore had to treat other social groups with tolerance and a relatively light hand; meanwhile the Almohads and Almoravids that followed were Berbers and had a relative numerical majority and that contributed to their relative tyranny,” Al Baghdadi explains.
Although historians worry about the extent to which people tend to over-romanticise this as the “golden period of coexistence”, there was indeed a respect for one another’s sacred texts. Yet the reality was perhaps a bit more complicated.
In “The Jews of Islam”, the eminent historian Bernard Lewis says that non-Muslims in Moorish Spain were second-class citizens. But he adds that “second-class citizenship, though second class, is a kind of citizenship. It involves some rights, though not all, and is surely better than no rights at all ...”
Before 1050, Jews and Christians contributed a great deal to the culture and society of Al Andalus, were retained in the civil service of the Muslim rulers, and were not prevented from earning a living in any particular sector or industry.
The non-Muslims of Spain were not forced to live in ghettos, or any special areas. Their movements were unrestricted, and there were no forced conversions. Non-Muslims could follow their belief system, as long as they paid jizya, a tax levied on all non-Muslims.
The position of non-Muslims in Spain depreciated considerably by the middle of the 11th century, as intolerance began to find its way into the government.
However, things became far more difficult for minority-faith groups once Christianity replaced Islam in Spain.
Decline and downfall of the Moors
In the 1000s, the caliphate split up into small factions that came to be known as “taifas”. Distrust and disunity in these city-states made them vulnerable to invasions and conquests by the Christian kingdoms in the north, although the Almovarid and Almohad movements from North Africa tried to check this growing tide.
But despite Christian conquests, the Muslim rulers maintained their independence, even though they to pay tributes to the Christians who conquered their states.
The Almovarids can be blamed for sowing the seeds of hostility in Spain. They refused to allow for any breaches of Islamic law, and were absolutely intolerant of the Jews and Christians. Meanwhile, the Christian princes grew more aggressive, desperate for revenue that they had been generating from Muslim states in the form of tributes before the Almovarids put a stop to them. Also the church reform movement wanted to channel the energies of the Europe’s nobility into campaigns such as the wars in Spain and the Crusades to serve its own interests.
By the mid-13th century, Moorish rule was confined to Granada, where a ruling dynasty that came to be known as the Nasrids established their kingdom in the 1230s.
For more than 250 years, Granada remained a tributary to the powerful Castile kingdom, paying a sum annually to remain independent.
Poetry, art and architecture continued to flourish here, even as the influx of refugees from the north continued to increase. Some of the jewels of Islamic architecture are found here — the remains of the glorious Al Hambra complex of palaces and the Generalife gardens.
When he visited Spain in the 1800s, the American historian Washington Irving wrote, “They (the Muslims) deserved this beautiful country, for they won it bravely, and they enjoyed it generously and kindly. Everywhere I meet traces of their sagacity, courage, urbanity, high poetic feeling and elegant taste. The noblest institutions in this part of Spain, the best inventions for comfortable and elegant living, and those attitudes and customs which throw a peculiar and oriental charm over the Andalusian mode of living may be traced to the Moors.”
Granada’s luck ran out in the 1400s, with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. The union ended the internal disputes of the former rivals, Aragon and Castile — the two most powerful Christian kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula.
Together, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella waged a war aimed at destroying the last vestige of Muslim power in Spain. Mohammad, the son of the sultan of Granada, helped them in this cause. A year into the siege of Granada, he rebelled against his father, and later, uncle, in the hope of being allowed to rule independently once the war was over.
Just when he had settled in the ruling seat, he received a letter from King Ferdinand ordering him to abdicate.
He realised too late that he had been used as a pawn to weaken Granada. He sought help from Muslim kingdoms throughout North Africa and the Middle East but none came.
Sultan Mohammad was exiled after signing the handover treaty papers. On his way out of the city, he stopped at a mountain pass to look back. He started to cry. Unimpressed by his sudden remorse, his mother chided him: “Do not cry like a woman for that which you could not defend as a man.”
In the end, constant infighting, a focus of Muslim rulers on strengthening only themselves rather than stressing on unity, and a lack of support from other Muslim empires, closed the chapter of Moorish rule in Spain forever.
After the Reconquest, as it is called, the marginalised Muslims were faced with a new, daunting prospect — a choice between forced conversion and expulsion.
Plight of religious minorities
For some historians, the campaign of ethnic cleansing that raised its ugly head once the country was “reunited as Christian Spain” has become associated with the persecution of the Jews, while the plight of the Moors is mostly ignored.
Yet nowhere was racial and religious tolerance so pronounced as it was in the Christian Spain of the 1600s — and this was so for both the Jews and Muslims.
Despite a clause in the handover treaty that allowed the new subjects of the crown to preserve their mosques and religious practices, and retain the use of their language, within seven years, the terms were broken. The Jews faced almost immediate persecution and expulsion orders once the takeover of Granada was complete.
But the Muslims fared no better.
Roger Boase, writing in “History Today”, says, “In medieval times the status of Muslims under Christian rule was similar to that of Christians under Muslim rule: they belonged to a protected minority which preserved its own laws and customs in return for tribute. But there was no Scriptural basis for the legal status of Jews and Muslims under Christian rule; they were subject to the whims of rulers, the prejudices of the populace and the objections of the clergy.”
The Catholic Church made it a priority to convert Muslims, now that they were not protected by the state. Muslims could choose between being baptised and leaving the country. Most Muslims chose the former, although secretly remaining attached to Islam. These supposed “converts” were called the Moriscos, a derogatory term but used by historians to define the Arabs who remained in Spain after the fall of Granada.
When it became clear to the Christian rulers that the Muslims remained adherent to their beliefs, they were harassed and tortured to ensure their “true” conversion. Their wealth and properties were confiscated, all Arabic texts (except medical ones) burnt, children separated from their mothers, and rebels reduced to slaves. Even then, if Muslims were found abiding by their beliefs, they were imprisoned.
The church dictated royal legislation at just about every stage. Juan de Ribera, the ageing Archbishop of Valencia, convinced King Philip that the mere demographic factor would have the “Moriscos outnumbering the Christians in no time”.
Hence, about 100 years after Granada’s fall, the King of Spain signed an edict that expelled all the Moriscos from Spain. They were given three days to pack up and leave.
And so the Muslims were removed from Spain in 1610. The Spanish government gave clear orders to the Christians to harass, or even kill, as many of them as possible before they left.
According to Roger Boase, “The full tale of the sufferings endured by the Moriscos has never fully been told: how those who survived the journey arrived at their destination starving and destitute because the bare necessities and money that they were permitted to take with them had been extorted from them by thieves and swindlers; how those travelling overland to France were forced by farmers to pay whenever they drank from a river or sat in the shade of a tree; how thousands of those who resisted and survived ended their days as galley-slaves; how those waiting to board ship were starved so that they would agree to sell their children in exchange for bread; how it was the official policy of the church to separate Morisco children from their parents.”
Ribera’s suggestion that the thousands of Muslim children leaving with their parents be held back so that they could be trained as priests found much appreciation in the royal courts. He also suggested that they be brought up only by farmers or artisans, and definitely not be allowed to study literature. That way, it was hoped that all memories of Muslim Spain would be wiped out for ever.
How many Moriscos eventually reached North Africa and parts of the Ottoman Empire are unknown, for no Muslim historian has dealt with the subject. But Stanley Lane-Poole, the British orientalist and scholar, says that no less than three million Moors were banished after the fall of Granada.
Many modern Western historians, in their aim to banish the dark pages of their side of history, and lay all the blame of savagery on the Muslims, quote the number in merely thousands. And most claim that they were transported on specially arranged boats and ships from the Spanish naval fleet. Again, how small or overloaded these boats were, and the precarious conditions of this travel find little mention in their books.
In fact, some historians such as Henry Lapeyre and P. Conrad go even further, justifying the expulsion (read extermination) as a need of the times.
According to Al Baghdadi, “For many years after the final fall, Arabs would suffix their mention of Al Andalus with a short prayer, ‘raddaha Allah’ (may God return it). Five centuries later, Al Andalus is to Arabs a symbol of magnificent glory and irrecoverable loss. The mention of Al Andalus brings to the contemporary Arab deep feelings of both great pride and heart-rending sorrow. Some see parallels between the final expulsion of its people and the displacement of the Palestinians from their homeland, raddaha Allah.”
There is nothing in Islamic history that matches the story of the rise and decline of Al Andalus. Spain has paid a heavy price for denying the country’s Jewish and Muslim cultural roots for so long.
In today’s Europe, home to more than 30 million Muslims and 1.5 million Jews, it is perhaps time to revise and rewrite history so the Moorish legacy can be granted its rightful place — a place so aptly defined by R.B. Smith, in his book “Mohammed and Mohammedanism”: “Yet even now, the traveller in Spain feels as he approaches Andalusia that he is breathing a clearer atmosphere, that he is brought into contact with a finer literature, and is contemplating a far nobler architecture than any which the more northern parts of the peninsula can boast. Moorish, not Catholic, is everything that appeals to his imagination and to his finer feelings; Moorish are the legends and the ballads of the country; Moorish are the Alcazar and the Giralda of Seville; Moorish everything that is not discordant in the once matchless Mosque, now the interpolated Cathedral of Cordova; Moorish all the glories of the Alhambra. And as the traveller passes the hill which is still called, with such deep pathos, ‘the last sigh of the Moor’, he feels that the day which saw the fall of Granada is a day over which every Spaniard may well sigh for what it cost Spain, and every European for what it cost humanity at large.”
Rabia Alavi is a Dubai-based writer. You can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RabiaAlavi
A church inside a mosque
  • The Patio de los Naranjos (Courtyard of the Orange Trees) forms the only entrance to the Mezquita, open to the public now. At the fountain here the worshippers washed before entering the mosque, but of course that was before it was consecrated and converted into a cathedral.
  • The incongruity of the situation is striking — there is a church inside the mosque. But despite the fact that many inhabitants of Cordova refer to it as the Mezquita, the former Grand Mosque is a Christian place of worship — where mass is held, and which accommodates a cathedral nave right in its centre. It has several chapels with pictorial depictions and statues of events and people, and a bell tower (exquisitely splendid on its own) that has taken place of the former minaret. It is now the pealing of the bells that wakes people up every morning — not the muezzin’s call for prayer.
  • While some overzealous Muslims try to sneak two rakahs of prayer inside, the truth is that this grand monument of Islamic history has been handed over, albeit unwillingly, to the Christians.
  • In fact, it is perhaps the mosque’s conversion into a church that it has been spared the ruthless destruction of Islamic heritage in other parts of Spain. Even Al Hambra, the jewel of Granada, was pillaged and plundered for centuries after the Christian takeover, before foreigners and historians emphasised the importance of preserving the architecture. The new rulers were indeed not very magnanimous towards the city’s Muslim and Jewish inhabitants.
  • The enormous prayer hall of the Mezquita is a vast forest of nearly 900 red and white onyx and marble pillars supporting double arches, arranged cleverly to run in absolute symmetry. It is dark inside, for the windows of coloured glass that let in sunlight in the past are now sealed, making room for windowless chapels on all four sides of the rectangular building.
  • The richly guilded mihrab is a domed shrine, and still a masterpiece of art, with intricate Quranic verses and designs of plants and flowers carved into the mosaic. But somehow, it seems less grand when compared to the oddly protruding structure, but nevertheless exquisite.
Carved into the landscape
  • After centuries of neglect and vandalism, some parts of the Al Hambra palaces are now well restored. A myriad of enticing marble colonnades, arches and stuccoed domes lead to solid wooden doors that stand intact, as does a most perfect dome of mocárabes, an Arab form of decoration. The most famous fountain of the complex is also found in the centre of one of the courtyards — a basin held up by a circle of 12 lions that throw in jets of water.
  •  The Generalife gardens are adjacent to the Palace buildings. A masterpiece of horticulture, they were designed as a place to rest and relax for the Nasrid rulers. Said to have undergone several alterations since they were first built, the gardens retain their splendour. Roses in full bloom line flower beds running across the length of the gardens while carefully trimmed green shrubs such as willow and cypress give the gardens both uniformity and privacy. An intricate network of canals and aqueducts, some of which have survived from the Nasrid period, extend for about eight kilometres. It brings an incessant supply of water from the Daro river to keep the fountains running and the gardens alive.