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Showing posts from December, 2011

Explaining the complexity of Republika Srpska and the Bosnian War

For those of you who don't know, the 90s has seen the dissolution of Yugoslavia into several successor states, one of which was the Republic of Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as Serbia.

Bosnia comprised of 43% Muslims (calling themselves Bosniaks), 31% Bosnian Serbs and 17% Croats, in the 1991 census.

A referendum for independence was boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs (who were against secession from Serbia, then-considered the main successor of Yugoslavia).

Violence ensued.

Following the declaration of independence, Bosnian Serb forces, supported by the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attacked the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to secure Serbian territory and war soon broke out across Bosnia, accompanied by the ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population, especially in Eastern Bosnia.
It was principally a territorial conflict, initially between the Serb forces mostly organized in the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) on t…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Can you believe it ? We've managed to come through 2011 and now we're just less than a week away from 2012. All I can say is : What a year !

It has been incredible. Both on a personal note and on an overall note. We'd be stupid to say that 2011 was a just a normal year.

Nope. It was special. What year would you ever see loads of revolutions, earthquakes, the Royal Wedding ?

Cairo was rocked. Christchurch was crushed, Japan was faced with earthquakes and a tsunami, a fairytale-like Royal Wedding in Westminister, a Bin Laden-live tweeted-assassination, a new Sudan was born (and now Algeria is the largest country in Africa!), a divided Libya was reunited, the world has officially reached 7 billion and counting, and to top it off, the Iraq war is over.

This was the year of Steve Jobs' passing, of Qadaffi's death, of Bin Laden's end, of Socrates' departure and of many others as well.
We may feel like some deserve it and others do not. But ultimately, death can j…

Must-Read Book for Bahrain History enthusiasts

I've spent the past week reading this book about the history of Manama.

Written by Abdul Karim al Orrayed , who is a lifelong artist and historian (born in the 1930s!), he also received the Shaikh Isa Medal for his contributions in art in 2007.

The book was originally written in Arabic and was translated by Loona al Orrayed (the author's daughter). The book is 358 pages long , so mind you, it is a good long read.

To make it easier to explain the book, I'll list the positives and negatives of the book.


The book talks about Manama history and it is, according to the author, written via numerous accounts from eye-witnesses and people who lived through those timesThe book is well sourced (although the references are written in Arabic)The book generally explains Bahraini customs in a satisfactory method (and often detailed).The book has 6 Chapters dealing with Manama history, detailing each and every village that used to exist in the present location of Manama , often wi…

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post II)

A lot of things have been going on since last week and this all should be a good summary of it :

Did Malaria cause the Fall of Rome?

There has never been any real proof of Malaria having been present at all in the Roman Empire. While there are several mentions of a disease sounding very similar to malaria in historical documents from Roman times, there has never been any hard evidence of its presence.

But last year, for the first time, a British scientist proved conclusively that the most dangerous type of malaria was a killer in imperial Rome. The scientist relied on the latest DNA techniques that are revolutionizing the understanding of the role of disease in ancient times.

The malarial DNA from a Roman site, dating from around AD 450, is the oldest definite evidence of malaria in history. The finding of malaria was a remarkable and complicated piece of detective work, which spanned the last ten years.

At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland in the norther…

A photo from yesteryear: The first Muharraq-Manama bridge

For Bahrainis nowadays, the idea that mainland Bahrain and the island of Muharraq were not connected with any roads, seems like a pretty unbelievable thing.

But for almost all of Bahrain's history, this was the case. No roads whatsoever.

If you wanted to go to Muharraq, you would have to get a boat ride (or if you're strong enough, you could swim!).

Then, in the 20th century, history was made. Muharraq and Manama, reconnected for the first time since the formation of the Bahrain islands!

Though, the bridge built was no highway. As you could see from the photo above, it was a single lane bridge, and had a relatively simple complex when compared to modern bridges.

Nonetheless, I blog this because I found this picture to have been a reminder about how Bahrain has progressed throughout the ages. How much Bahrain has modernized and grown. Shopping Malls come and go, so do sports events and stuff like that. But history remains forever.

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post I)

Every Friday, I shall be posting the latest news from the field of archaeology and hopefully, I won't miss a single Friday! So, lets start off with this week:
Ancient Stone Markings in Jerusalem stuns Experts:

On the seventh of December, 2011, Archaeologists discovered what seemed to have been a rather odd find in an excavation in Jerusalem. The archaeologists uncovered a complex of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently found the markings:  Three "V" shapes cut next to each other into the limestone floor of one of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. There were no finds to offer any clues pointing to the identity of who made them or what purpose they served. he shapes were found in a dig known as the City of David, a politically sensitive excavation conducted by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish group under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusale…