Filed under Moslem history

A Great Churchman and Preacher

This is again from Highways and Byways of Dorset: “Robert Frampton, Bishop of Gloucester, ws born at Pimperne in 1622. His father was a farmer. As a Royalist he joined in the attack upon the Clubmen in their riiculous defence of Hambledon Hill. His next move in life was curious. He wa appoined chaplain to … Continue reading

Misreading the Middle East

Journalists and politicians often talk nonsense on the Middle East. I shouted at a newspaper article by Howard Jacobson who claimed the Jews have been persecuted by Christians for 2,000 years, and recently an MP stated that shiites and sunni Moslems had been fighting each other for over 3,000 years. After the wonderful book by … Continue reading

Women of Tyre

Here’s a final piece from Charles Glass’s ‘Tribes with Flags’, here on female modesty in public. “We had stayed at the worst hotel in Lebanon, the only beach-front hotel in the world without a single window facing the sea. Much of the old laisser-faire ambience of Tyre, with its mixed Shiite, christian and Palestinian population, … Continue reading

A Crossroad fo Gods

There is so much in Charles Glass’s book, ‘Tribes with Flags’ that should be engraged in stone somewhere. He had a long conversation with a Maronite priest in Lebanon which is full of wisdom and compassion. Here Glass writes “I reminded him of a parable recorded by Michel Chiha, a Chaldean christian whose family originaly … Continue reading

Eating from the Same Earth

I am still struggling my way through Charles Glass’s book on his travels in the Middle East, ‘Tribes With Flags’. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, rather there is so much to take in. I have sort of teid to follow Middle Eastern politics over the years, mostly via the various wars and bombings, … Continue reading

Mark Twain in Damascus

Some more from Charles Glass, in his ‘Tribes with Flags’. I knew Train travelled to Britain, but I had no idea he had done the Grand Tour to the Middle East as well: This is Twain on Damascus in 1867: “She measures time not by days and months and years, but by the empires she … Continue reading

A Woman Whose Life’s Poetry Never Sank to Prose

Yet another excerpt from Charles Glass’s ‘Tribes with Flags’. He discovered the story of Lady Jane Digby El Mesrab, and went to visit her grave. The above quote comes from her friend Richard Burton, translator of the Arabian Nights. “She settled in Damascas at the age of 45 and married the shiekh of a Syrian … Continue reading

The First Consuls

This is from Charles Glass’s ‘Tribes with Flags’: “The consular tradition in Aleppo, and the world, began in 1517, when the Ottoman sultan Selim I granted Venice, and then England and France, the right to maintain diplomats in Aleppo. On the silk Route between China and the Mediterranean, Aleppo had resdent merchants from al over … Continue reading

Arab Housing

Another quote from charles Glass’s ‘Tribes with Flags’. He visted Sehem Turjuman who was campaigning to preserve traditional housing in Damascus. “The Arab house has been built in an intellectual way. In wintertime, you can have the sun inside your rooms to feel warm. and in summertime, you are against the sun. At the same … Continue reading

Strange Timekeeping

Another anecdote from Charles Glass’s ‘Tribes with Flags’: This descibes the clock tower in the centre of Aleppo “Not one ofthe four clocks, one on each face, toldthe same time. the hands of each dial, unlike the moving, flowing, shouting, running confusion below, was frozen. Each clock had died at a different moment. the time … Continue reading