Monday, August 09, 2004

SYRIA PART II

Syria or Bilad Alsham as it is also called used to encompass Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and some parts of Iraq, before being sliced into morsels by the colonialists. Syria can also boast being the cradle of civilization even before being a biblical land. Syria is also called Bilad Al’awliya or home of the Saints, because an incredible number of prophets and saints are buried there going back to Adam. To the eye of a Westerner, you may be a little bit disappointed at the greyish tinge of pollution and smoke covering Damascus’s buildings but to me it is all part of the package you cannot help but fall in love with the place. Meandering in the old city, the souks, the shopping areas, the residential areas, the food stalls or 5 star restaurants everything is a joy. The women are beautiful with a natural beauty, and the men are still chivalrous. I’m not painting an overly romantic picture of the place because I am aware that there is poverty, dirt and backwardness, I’ve seen that with my own eyes …but still I love it all and most of all the delicious food. The meat in Syria tastes differently than in Libya, because sheep and cattle graze organic pastures, unlike in Libya which has to rely on imported feedstock even for chicken. Only camel meat in Libya still tastes lovely because it is allowed to graze freely and fish taste wonderful and unadulterated still. The vegetables and fruits are a joy to the eye in the Syrian markets, especially for someone like me who comes from a parched country. Europeans are amazed at the diversity and choice of fruits and vegetables in the Syrian markets and stalls, and the prices are ridiculously low. Almost everyone can eat decently and healthily there. The Syrians love food and they share common dishes with Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey. The people are extremely hospitable, though not overbearing or nosy about foreigners.

The Ugarit civilization in ancient Syria dates to the second millennium BC , it has been discovered in 1929, it is considered a part of the long Arab history, its rites are still being practiced in our modern society, and its language is relevant to our modern Arabic in terms of Alphabet, vocabulary, syntax etc..Many documents dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries BC have been discovered these include literary texts, epics, mythologies, religious rites, pedagogic principles, and laws, political, economic and agricultural texts. The people of Ugarit, our ancestors, were the first to have developed the language from mere shapes to a systematic alphabet, and into letters rather than syllables; thus changing the course of history. It is worth noting that with the discovery of Ugarit and its language, 8 other languages have been discovered in Ras Shamra. It is true that there have been other pioneer alphabets in the world but up to this day and as several undoubted studies confirm, Ugarit’s alphabet is the oldest and the most perfect alphabet discovered yet. Historical evidence proves that inhabitants of the Syrian coast carried this knowledge to Greece and from there to other places in the world. The Greek historian Herodot referred to this when he said that the ‘Phoenicians who came from Qadmous (in Syria) , brought the Greeks a lot of their cultural achievements ,writing is one of them’.


2 comments:

Bob Griffin said...

mn rkhq ktbt lk,
From afar I have written thee,

The Ugaritic alphabet appears to be preceded by the Sinai inscriptions, as it utilizes the same letters, without using the well-known names. As far as can be told, the names of the letters were given as the letter followed by a vowel.

Several of the sounds which also occur in Arabic are not common in West Semitic. I don't believe those letters (dhal, Dad, tha, ...) are represented in the Sinaitic inscriptions. At any rate, they aren't found in the Canaanite, Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramean alphabets from which derive most modern alphabets (including Arabic--check out the Nabatean inscriptions).

The Ugaritic alphabet is the only cuneiform alphabet, presumably formed due to the dominance of cuneiform-using cultures.
Il yshlmk wyghrk
May God give you peace and guard you,
Bob Griffin

Highlander said...

Bless you Bob and thanks for the info .. I'm still learning