Lebanon has a new president!

Michel Naim Aoun (Arabic: ميشال عون‎‎, Arabic) (born on 30 September 1933) was elected president on 31 October 2016 on the 46th electoral session of the Lebanese parliament. Lebanon had been without a head of state, after President Michel Suleiman stepped down as president at the end of his term in May 2014, resulting in a deadlock as the Parliament failed to elect a successor for 29 months and 45 previous parliamentary sessions did not achieve the necessary quorum for a presidential ballot.

My congratulations and prayers to His Excellency president Michel Aoun.  May God give him the wisdom, health and the strength. Insh Allah!

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

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His Excellency President Michel Aoun with Dr. Naji Gharios (Lebanese MP and Prince Gharios’ cousin)

What’s the problem with mankind?

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From the ancient Chinese philosophical principle of “Yin-Yang” we learn that everything has its positive and negative aspect. Electricity, and therefore the reading of this article, wouldn’t be possible without the positive and negative poles.

You don’t need much investigation to perceive the negative side of mankind. Just a quick look in the world news gives us a very dark diagnosis about it. In other words, what’s bad about mankind is really bad. However, although not very much announced, what’s good about mankind is really good. I still choke every time I remember reading about this American teenager that had cancer and had to shave his head. His classmates decided that the whole class should do the same. What a beautiful demonstration of solidarity! I’m sure the event was not as much covered than the beheadings of the Islamic State. “A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest.” That’s a very disappointing truth.

I honestly believe that the so-called “superiority” of our species it’s very relative. Genesis (1:27), states that God created human beings in His own image. That would easily explain the magnificent capacity we have to think and create amazing things. To find the cure of diseases and to put men on the surface of the moon. But also our “capacity” of stupidly destroying our planet, our very own habitat, compromising the future of our offspring reflects more a virus’ than a deity’s behavior.

But truly, what’s the problem with mankind?

In one word? Ignorance. We are ignorant. We don’t think long term. We cannot see, beyond our ego and interests, the big picture. We are not capable of comprehending the interdependence of the Universe. Meaning, we don’t ponder that by harming our fellow beings (human or not), we are harming ourselves.

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I know, that may sound like Pope Francis’ last speech or something taken from a Dalai Lama’s self-help book. But it can be easily proven in practice. I’m openly in favor of capitalism. However, I truly believe we are facing an extreme situation regarding the wealth distribution in the whole world. Am I a communist? Never! But you can see in cities like Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, how amazingly dangerous a bad wealth distribution can be.

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There you have the rich people living in “cages”, highly luxuriant apartments inside fortresses with electrified barbwire fences and 24/7 heavily armed security. Those people cannot enjoy a nice drive by the lovely beaches on their expensive cars with their windows down. They cannot freely smell the sea breeze without risking being robbed or even worse, kidnapped.  Since it’s very common for the drug dealers exchange bullets anytime of the day, their cars must be – no matter what – bulletproof.

Image result for carro de luxo blindado tiros rioThen, comes a reflection: what’s the use of having so much money if they cannot enjoy it?

Unfortunately, that sad reality won’t take much time to reach the United States and Europe. There’s nothing wrong about having money and nice things but we are losing the common sense, we are losing the balance. There’s not much difference between the life of a multimillionaire and of a billionaire. They both can afford the best homes, the best cars and the best lifestyle. But greed and ignorance makes them want more and more, usually not enjoying the money they already have because they spend so much time working for more.

The same with the environment. Regardless of the debate of if global warming is made by men or not, what’s the problem of living a most responsible life? A more conscious life about the planet we live in?

I always say that we have to change our mindset. We have to understand, once for all, that we are the janitors of this planet, not the landlords!  Image result for harmony

We are responsible for our fellow beings. There’s no true happiness if that’s based on somebody else’s suffering. Harmony is the word! Let’s find it! Instead of being radical right or radical left, let’s find the middle way! How can a rich person still be rich but being aware of the suffering of others and the well-being of the planet?

Adapting the famous speech by American president Bill Clinton, I honestly believe that there is nothing wrong with mankind that cannot be cured with what is right in mankind. So help us God!

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

The Real Majesty part 3 – Words of wisdom from the late Archduke of Austria

 

His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto von Habsburg (20 November 1912 – 4 July 2011), also known by his royal name as Archduke Otto of Austria, was the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary. The realm comprised modern-day Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. He became the pretender to the former thrones, Head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and Sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1922, upon the death of his father. The current head of the House (since 2007) is his son, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Karl Habsburg-Lothringen (born in 1961). HIRH Archduke Otto left us in 2011.

Both videos presented here, show the wisdom of a Catholic prince that sees beyond the labels. And sees the greater good with the eyes of a scholar and a real statesman. May we “drink” from the elixir of his wisdom.

With appreciation and admiration,

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

The historical prejudice against the Middle East

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The Day of Halima by HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor

Unfortunately, the historical cover up is seen in many forms written by the historians that consciously or unconsciously emanate prejudice on ink.

Using the Ghassanids as an example, instead of portraying them as the very evolved, tolerant and educated society that they were, bearing a royal tradition from biblical times, brought to Ghassan (present Syria) from Sheba, in Yemen; authors rather use the term “tribe” in a pejorative fashion. According to serious dictionaries, “tribe” means a group of people that has the same language, beliefs, customs and interests. However, those historians use the term “tribe” in a sense of indigenous, primitive and insignificant.

 “Despite their physical isolation, the southern Arabs were as technically and socially advanced as any other people in the Ancient World.”

 – Sitwell, p82.

They use the term “client” or “vassal” state, again to denote a lack of sovereignty that didn’t exist according to the original historical accounts, even the most bias against Ghassan like historian Procopius.

The Ghassanids respected the emperor and performed a service, for which they were paid with the called “salaria” or salary, to protect the northern Arabian Peninsula, including the Holy land, from the attack of the barbarians and nomads.

Instead of calling the Ghassanid kings as such, even though there are hard evidence corroborating with such assertion – they were known as “Malik” or “King” in Arab since their first appearance in today’s Syria in the 3rd century AD. The kings’ sons and daughters were called “Amir” (prince) and “Amira” (princess) and the local leaders were called “sheiks”. The prejudiced historians, preferred to call the kings as “Phylarchs”, a Byzantine sovereign title, which was additional and not a substitute to the kings of Ghassan. And even after 529 AD when the Byzantine emperor Justinian I bestowed upon the already Ghassanid King Al-Harith (Arethas) the Imperial title (Basileia) of “King of All Arabs” and also what’s known as the “Archyphylarchia” or the supreme sovereignty over all the princes and sheiks of the peninsula, the historians prefer to treat the mighty Kings – which according to several authors used to meet with the Byzantine emperors on equal grounds, as “comrades in arms”- as mere chieftains, tribal primitive rulers. So, the Byzantine emperor Justin II named his only daughter as “Arabia” just to please the “mere” primitive illiterate chieftain? It’s not likely. The most powerful man on earth at the time wouldn’t have to please a simple tribesman.

Many historians “burble in anxiety” to determine the end of Ghassan after the Islamic conquest, ignoring the well-known fact that many rulers – even Islamic – like the Rasulid sultans and the Burj Mameluks – in a counterproductive statement to a Muslim – claimed to be Ghassanid royal heirs 800 years after the fall of the first kingdom.

So, the history told by those pseudo-historians makes no sense and the light of the truth has to inundate the dry mind of ignorance of those irresponsible authors. Either by intention or negligence, someone has to silence their deceitful voice.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

visit HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor’s website HERE

Democracy: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”?

Ancient Greece: the cradle of democracy

Can we have real democracy? The majority really rules in a democracy? Is democracy just an utopia?

 At this point I’ll imitate the mighty Morpheus, the character of the movie “Matrix”, and offer you one of the two pills: the red one, you should stop reading, at once. The green one, you’ll know the truth.

 Assuming that you’ve chosen the green pill:

 In practice, there’s no such thing as democracy. Especially, for a people that is not politicized, educated and used to the system.

 What we see is an illusion. Usually, we misplace the word “democracy” by the word “freedom”.

One of the most important aspects of Muslim Arab politics is the difference of concepts. In the West, Democracy is (or should be) ‘the government of the people, by the people, for the people’.

Personally, I believe that what we call Democracy is the ideal form of government; however, it doesn’t work for every situation and culture. It’s more dangerous to have a bad democracy than a good dictatorship. Plato agrees with me. Well, I can explain. If a democracy is based on the deception of voters, it’s a bad democracy. In some 3rd world countries like Brazil, a candidate can easily buy a vote today by giving the voter a t-shirt and a pair of flip-flops.

Even the multi-party system can be a deception since it’s not rare in the world  having politicians from opposite idealistic sides making collusions to achieve personal and political favors.

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

 Winston Churchill

That principle can be easily verified in a very developed democracy, the United States. During the process of primaries to choose the candidate to run, for example, for the Presidency, all kinds of low attacks are made between the candidates. After the official candidate is appointed, they’re all best friends again and, usually, they’re part of each other’s administrations.

Back to the Middle East, since the very beginning, Islam was always associated with secular power; therefore, a purely secular Arab state sounds a little utopic after the Pan Arabism idea started to fade in the 60’s, although the separation of church and state in the region is around 300 years old.

According to Muslim politics, the sovereignty doesn’t belong to people but to God. That’s also conflicting with the monarchical hereditary regime, according to some scholars.

Professor Bernard Lewis said that we’ve this feeling in the West that Democracy is the natural and normal condition in humanity and any departure from it is “either a disease to be cured or a crime to be punished”. I agree with him, democracy is not for everyone. But freedom definitely is.

Nobody can deny that the called “Arab Spring” in 2011 was a hope of “winds of change”. However, the people’s mindset makes us believe that nothing significant will change. On the contrary, the quest for freedom will bring an unbalance to the region as the fall of Saddam Hussein did in 2003. And that brings us to a “golden rule” to understand the region.

Nothing is “black & white”.  Personally, I believe Saddam was a terrible person and tyrannical ruler. His regime was a burden to the Iraqis’ shoulders. No doubt, Iraq without Saddam is better than Iraq with Saddam, right?

 In theory yes, however the region went out of balance once Saddam’s regime used to “hold” one of the most important tension’s clusters of the Middle East: the Iran-Iraq.

According with Professor Chaney, from Harvard University:

“Will the Arab Spring lead to long-lasting democratic change? As Islamists perform well in elections across the Arab world, many have begun to predict that the recent uprisings will usher in a wave of Islamist-dominated autocracies instead of the democratic institutions many protestors initially demanded. These observers often point to the political trajectories of non-Arab states such as Iran and implicitly claim that Islamist-dominated states cannot be democratic. Others note that the emergence of democratic regimes in Indonesia and Turkey demonstrates that Islamists can play a constructive role in democratic institutions.” (Democratic Change in the Arab World, Past and Present, Prof. Eric Chaney, March 10, 2012, p.2)

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

 John F. Kennedy

I’m part of the observers that believe that the Arab Spring, although necessary, will bring unbalance to the region, at least in the first decades.

I agree with many things with Professor Chaney, however, I don’t think Turkey is a perfect example of democracy. It’s easy to see, for example, the constant censuring of the internet by the government, cannot be overlooked. Also, the lack of freedom of religion once the Patriarch of Constantinople, leader for the whole Orthodox Christian Church, has encroached over the years his freedom and also his monastery was closed by the government who also dictates the rules of succession in the Church of Constantinople which is, without a single solitary doubt, not their business.

The same with Lebanon, which was created to be a secular country with a Christian majority and now has less than 39% of Christians living there.

It’s very hard to have a real democracy if you have church and State together. A real democracy is not a rule of the majority but a regime where every single group of people is considered and equal.

For example, right after first Egypt’s presidential elections, Time magazine exhibits the following cover (July 9 2012):

 “The revolution that wasn’t – Why generals remain Egypt’s real rulers”

Inside (pg. 28), the article written by Jay Newton-Small (Washington) and Abigail Hauslohner (Cairo) starts:

“How military won the Egyptian Election – Mohamed Morsy may be Egypt’s first popular chosen President but a group of 19 generals are still the country’s real rulers”

Clearly, the power has changed hands, however for the people, very little will change. The worst form of dictatorship is the illusion of democracy. People think they’re choosing something but, in the end of the day, they’re just puppets in a pathetic but well-written play. In other words, they’ve no real freedom of choice.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

 Franklin D. Roosevelt

There’s absolutely no precedent of an Arab country that had dethroned a monarchy and got a democracy. Even the countries that started as democratic countries have their impartiality challenged by the Islamic interests.

I’m not against Muslim regimes; I’m against any religious regime. I’m in favor of secular governments with total freedom of religion. If you want to be a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, etc… God bless you! You should be able to worship with no fear.

To all of this, we can conclude that Democracy is a process, not some “magic trick”, and it’s only effective when the people / voters are relatively educated and politicized.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

visit HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor’s website HERE

Are the titles of nobility still relevant in the 21st century?

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The coronation of His Majesty Napoleon I as the Emperor of the French

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) was may be one of the greatest rulers of all times. He hired a servant with the sole task of walking behind him as he received the accolades of his citizenry; every time the emperor was praised, the servant had been instructed to whisper in his ear, “You’re just a man…” Even being the most powerful man on the planet in his time, he was known as a kind and unpretentious person.

His Majesty Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

In my humble opinion, a title of nobility is just a label, a beautiful golden label. We’re the product. You can have the most beautiful label in the world but if the product is bad, regardless of the label, it’ll still be bad. Personally, I rather a great product with a simple label (or no label at all) than a bad product with a great label. In the end, the product is what matters.

How could I dare to assume that I’m better than, for example, a fireman that saves lives (risking his own) every day for a minuscule paycheck just because I’ve a title? Nonsense.

The general people misunderstand the concept of Royalty. The sovereign (reigning or not) is the ultimate servant.

Two stories from the Brazilian Empire illustrate exactly my idea of Royalty:

Brazil was an empire from 1822 until 1889. The last emperor was Petrus II “the magnanimous” (1825-1891) known as the “greatest Brazilian”. His life taught me the real meaning of royalty. One day, he was receiving ovation from thousands in a public square and his then small daughter and heir, imperial princess Isabel asked the emperor: “one day they will all be mine?” And he wisely replied: “no dear, one day you will belong to them.”

His Majesty Brazilian Emperor Petrus (Peter) II

In 1888, the Princess now an adult and acting as regent, signs the law abolishing slavery in Brazil. She did it even after all the imperial ministers advised her that she’d lose the throne of her father if she signed it, since that was a terrible blow in the Brazilian’s elite back then. After the signing, the Baron of Cotegipe approached the princess and said: “You’ve freed a race but just lost the throne!” And she replied: “If a thousand thrones I’ve had, a thousand thrones I’d give to free the slaves of Brazil!”

That’s the real meaning of royalty to me.

A prince is not noble merely by the legitimacy of his claims but, above all, by his character and by the unconditional love for his people.

Her Imperial Highness Princess Isabel of Brazil

 A title from a deposed monarchy has little use in our world today. Socially, is more a bother, raising questions and jokes, than actually a privilege. There are better ways to get a good table in a restaurant or to be invited to cool parties.

The reason I’m keeping this tradition is simple: the world is lacking of historical secular advocates for the cause of the Middle Eastern Christians and they’re being exterminated as you read these words. There must be a worldwide enduring peace between Christians and Muslims. Also, because there’s a legacy that has to be preserved and that heritage belongs to over 15 million Ghassanids and descendants all over the world.

My office is important, my person isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not humble at all. You’ve to be really arrogant to think you can change the world. But I agree with the late Steve Jobs on the quote:

the ones crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

I hope I’m “insane enough”…

There’s a popular saying which states that the difference between the insane and the genius is measured only by success.

Well, the future will tell…

Now, on a more serious tone, I believe one day, if the persecution of the Middle Eastern Christians stops, also the prejudice for Muslims in the west and the real history of the Middle East can surface being notorious worldwide preserving the Ghassanid heirloom, maybe then will be no need for a Prince of Ghassan.  I really hope to live enough to see this day.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII

visit HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor’s website HERE