Homs and Another Siege

The New Appeal and The Refugee Crisis: Somewhere between 2500 and 4000 civilians reportedly trapped in the city which is about 25 miles North of Qusair. Homs is like the Southern (Lebanese border) counterpoint to Aleppo (Turkish border).

Ramadan (a 30 day fast) starts early next week – technically Monday night here.  Those that are fighting should lay aside their weapons, and let the people out so that it can be a time of prayer for them.  The refugee link shows about 1 million refugees, and 3 million projected by the end of the year.  So, assuming that these remaining 2 million are in need as well, that is about 300 Muslims to sponsor 1 Syrian in need during this time of charity (sadaqah صَدَقَةٍ- or فَضْلِهِ this is very much like the Hebrew word).  I think I picked the right word(s) out from the suras.

Although there are 2 prohibitions that I find overbearing if not intolerable in orthodox Muslim culture – those against secular music, and those regarding the status of women, I find this to be no reason to reject the culture as a whole.

Beautiful music:

Remembering this year’s Mount Everest climb by a Saudi Arabian woman.

102_2846Someone put a block on my computer so I couldn’t download anything from youtube and listen to music.  This prompted a trip to the grocery store for ice cream.  I had planned a nice day of studying algebra, arabic, and music, followed by an evening of contemplating the night sky if it cleared.  We have been short of rain for over 2 weeks now (none but a tiny sprinkle 2 weeks ago).  So hot and dry, the unwatered trees have started to die.  I am watering them now too.  I hope against all odds for rain tonight, but remain dubious that the advertised 60% chance will materialize.  Back now, after a side trip to the dog park for a walk, and a little more mellow, I realize that simply rebooting my operating system, and reinstalling the firewall (which had been turned off), solved the problem.  Actually, I don’t think the firewall has anything to do with it.  The Arabic block was activated again when I tried to look at the Qu’ran online.  Rebooting solves the problem (maybe because I reinstall the lucid pup operating system every time from a CD when I reboot).

I spent a little time on the Arabic alphabet, noting the similarity between the sin and shin in Hebrew and the sin and shin ش‍,شin Arabic, and the existence of ayin ع‍,‍ع‍,ع and ghayin   which is an accented ayin that sounds like the French r in restaurant. It kind of looks like a backwards script tzadi .  The block form of the tzadi is of course very close to the block ayin which is silent in Hebrew.  The tzadi equivalent in Arabic is the Sad ص‍,ص, and it retains a closer relationship to the sin by simply closing it at the beginning (and removing one “flame”).  Hebrew script mem sofit and lamed could relate to mim  م and lam ل, although the mim really looks more like a script lamed with an inversion point to the right of it, and the lam a script nun.  The names of the letters lamed and lam both have the mem sound in them.  The rolling r ra’ ر could be a script resh rotated to the right.  If one puts a dot over it (ز),  it becomes a z.  The Hebrew hei script equivalent may be the kaf ك‍,ك which is a hard k sound.  There is no v, p or hard g sound in some versions of Arabic, although p does exist in Urdu.  Arabic has a tzeirei accent in some of its consonants, a segol accent, and a cholam chaser in others.  The Hebrew script bet could be the hard b with the bottom part going the other way, or also the ba as a rotated “symmetrical” block bet with the dot on the other side (bottom) (ب) to make it hard.  If you put 2 dots on top, it becomes t (ت) and 3 dots it becomes a th (ث) .   The Arabic pei (ف) is pronounced f, and looks and is pronounced like a rotated Hebrew pei without the dot. As far as I can tell, there are 6 vowels.  The 3 called short ones are a, i, u and are pretty easy.

They wear a white skull cap which may be somehow related to a kipah.

I note with chagrin and really outrage that the recent ruling on ending the Tal in Israel thereby forcing most of the Haredim to perform military service may be depriving us of this.

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