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Showing posts from September, 2012

Explain To Me: The Thousand Yard Stare

Chances are that, if you read about wars and the effect it has on soldiers, you may have inadvertently seen the "Thousand Yard Stare". The first sign of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in many cases, it defined as "a vacant or unfocused gaze into the distance, seen as characteristic of a war-weary or traumatized soldier", by Oxford dictionaries

The origin of the phrase comes from Time magazine's publishing a painting titled "Marines Call It That 2,000 Yard Stare", made by World War II artist and correspondent Tom Lea, although it was not explicitly called that. The painting is a 1944 portrait of a Marine at the Battle of Peleliu in Palau (Pacific theater). About the real-life Marine who was his subject, Lea said:
He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will retur…

Gamal Abdel Nasser: History Figure of the Month (September 2012)

Who was Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein? A colonel in the Egyptian army in the early 20th century.

Why is he notable? Because he led the 1952 Egyptian Revolution that overthrew the Muhammed Ali (not the boxer!) dynasty and by doing so, drastically changed the Middle Eastern political scene forever.

He was an Arab Nationalist and believed in Pan-Arabism (that is, the unification of Arab states into a single country). During his terms in office, he oversaw the outbreak of the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day war and the "War of Attrition".

He co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement (group of states which are not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc) alongside Yugoslavia's Tito Indonesia's Sukarno, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and India's Jawaharlal Nehru.

He was also the president of the short-lived United Arab Republic (a union with Syria that lasted from 1958-1961).

Life, the Revolution and Egyptian Presidency:

Gamar Abdel Nasser was born in Bakos, Alexandria, Egypt…

September 11 in History - Churchill's Forgotten Speech

Churchill's "Every Man to His Post" speech:
On 5 September the Luftwaffe (Nazi Germany's air-force) switched tactics. Suddenly the weight of enemy attack was concentrated no longer against the bases of the Royal Air Force (of Britain), but against the civilian population of London and other major cities.
Churchill here gives full rein to his outrage and re-avows his determination to secure victory. And so, on 11 September, 1940, Winston delivered one of his iconic inspirational speeches though less famous compared to other speeches.
Full text of his speech is here.

A Brief Introduction to Medieval Scottish Culture

Right after Ireland, Scotland is probably my second-favourite European country (yes, I have an uncontrollable bias towards Gaelic nations, pity me). Though nowadays, there's much clamour about the upcoming "Vote For Independence" which could see Scotland seceding from the UK for the first time since the Treaty of Union in 1707. While I'm no political commentator (I'd be horrible at that, in fact), it would be simple ignorance to say Scotland couldn't survive on its own. For much of its history, Scotland was first a collection of petty kingdoms and then a unified kingdom under a succession of houses of royalty.. A unique Scottish culture emerged, rivaling that of their English neighbours to the south. In this post, we'll examine the unique culture of Scotland during the Medieval ages.

 Celtic languages were divided into distinct categories:
P-Celtic, which included Welsh, Breton, Cornish and Cumbric.Q-Celtic, from which come the Goidelic languages…

Vintage Maps of the Arabian Peninsula

Some rather old maps of the Arabian peninsula, details under each respective map.

Embedded text: This map of the Arabian Peninsula, published in 1720, shows Arabia Felix, Arabia Deserta, and Arabia Petraea. Other regions included are Palestine, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Persia, Aegyptus, and Aethiopia. A large number of towns are shown. The title cartouche includes nine vignette coins. The tribal and town names on the map are those used by Ptolemy. Some are used more than once, with variations. Thus “Indicara,” “Iacara,” “Ichara,” and “Aphana” all could indicate the same place: the spot where Alexander the Great intended to build a capital on an island in the Arabian Gulf, enabling him to control the trade of the region and extend his empire (a scheme that he was unable to accomplish before he died).

 Archeological research suggests that this place was Failakah Island in present-day Kuwait, although some historians place it at Abu Ali Island. The map shows a peninsula near pres…