"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blog at 105 and 106--flags of Arab Spring

Two new readers' countries showed up today on this blogs' stats, and they follow a trend of African and Mideast-areas. This makes them more intriguing to me, as usual--Tunisia and Bahrain, become the 105th and 106th countries in the world with people who have clicked on this blog. Number 105 was from Tunisia, where the reader is among a population of over 10 million people in the relatively small country, the smallest in .
A fertile 800-mile coastline to the the  north of Sahara has main it a "granary" of Europe for centuries. You know it best for Hannibal of Carthage, the city funded in the Ninth Century BC.  He and others fought several was with ascending Rome, which conquered in in 149 BC. 
In the centuries since, it became a part of the Ottoman Empire, until the French invaded in 1881 and it was settled by thousands of French and Italians. After WWII, where it helped play an important role in the defeat of Rommel,  it gained independence from France in 1956, but the so called elections put in power one of the most repressive regimes.
The "Arab Spring" that rocked the Arab world began here in 2010 when a street vendor set himself on fire to protest confiscation of his wares and government humiliation. The protests continued with a 2011 overthrow of an autocratic president and the first free elections. Its democracy is evolving.
The flag is the red dating from the 1830s kingdom, and the star and crescent recalls the Ottoman empire.
Number 106--Bahrain, a large island in the Persian Gulf with several small ones, was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628. There is a letter from Muhammad to one of the rulers. It has been occupied by the Portuguese, Persians and British. It declared independence in 1971, and declared a kingdom in 2002. In 2011, there has been a lot of sustained protests and unrest inspired by the "Arab Spring."
Nestled in a bay between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, an actual causeway connects it to the Saudis. Like its neighbors, it is rich in oil.

The flag is the red of the color of the Persian gulf states, The white on the hoist side is a band, with five points, representing the five pillars of Islam--belief, worship, charitable giving, fasting during Ramadan, and at least one trip to Mecca in a lifetime.
Below is a copy of the letter from Muhammad to the ruler of Bahrain, inviting him to Islam. Read the translation...notice the last few lines of tolerance towards others. Wow. 
I'm impressed, and honored to have readers from these countries with long histories.
"In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful: From Muhammad the Prophet of God to Munzir bin Sawa, may peace be on you! I praise God, who is one and there none to be worshiped but except him. I bear evidence to the oneness of God and that I am a servant of God and his Prophet. Thereafter I remind you of God. Whoever accepts admonition does it for his own good. Whoever followed my messengers and acted in accordance their guidance; he, in fact, accepted my advice. My messengers have highly praised your behavior. You shall continue in your present office. You should remain faithful to and his Prophet. I accept your recommendation regarding the people of Bahrain. I forgive the offenses of the offenders.
Therefore, you may also forgive them of the people of Bahrain whoever want to continue in their Jewish or Majusi faith, should be made to pay Jizia. Seal: God’s Prophet Muhammad"

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