If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Friday, December 20, 2013

Composer or Pasta?

Composer or Pasta?

Think you can tell your pasta from your composers? It's time to put your knowledge to the test with this Composer or Pasta quiz!
Is it a composer or is it a type of pasta? Find out with this amazing game - take the quiz and test your knowledge. Do you know your Rigatoni from your Respighi?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yolanda Aftermath

Tragedies bring out the best and worst in people.

As tons of garbage left by the storm surge caused by super typhoon Yolanda still litter villages, the stench of the dead have started to pervade the air. Despite this, some have opted to go back to what's left of their houses to begin the process of rebuilding.

Yet, behind the efforts of many Tacloban residents to rise up, thousands are unable to do so. Many can't even identify the pieces of their houses from the mountains of debris. Many are waiting for help from the government, primarily for food and water.

Each person has his own way of coping with crisis.

For Tacloban residents, coping with the destruction wrought by super typhoon Yolanda means finding ways to adjust to the harsh reality they are now facing, especially when the government they are desperately looking to for relief, cannot cope with the magnitude of the post-disaster work.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Bird's Eye View of Haiyan Devastation


Drone video reveals dramatic scale of devastation the Philippines.

Watch here: http://cnn.it/I1a9Z3


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Deplorable Proposition

A Deplorable Proposition

Napoleon Crossing the Alps

The General

In 1798, General Napoleon addressed his troops who were preparing to do battle with Mamluks, a slave-warrior caste which had directly and indirectly ruled Egypt for over five hundred years.

Myrbach-Charge_of_the_Mamluks Battle of the Pyramids

His goal was to wrest Egypt from the Ottoman Empire and obstruct Britain's access to India.

Pointing at the Great Pyramids of Giza that stood before them, he cried out: "Soldats! Du haut de ces Pyramides, 40 siècles nous contemplent".
(Soldiers! From the top of these Pyramids, 40 centuries look down upon us.) This estimate of Napoleon's of the antiquity of the pyramids was all guesswork on his part as no one at that time really knew the age of the pyramids. 

As it turns out, even this seemingly generous figure underestimated their true age by half a millennia (not a bad guess but).

Bonaparte Before the Sphinx_Jean-Léon_Gérôme
It is noteworthy that Napoleon Bonaparte was born in the same year as Mohammad Ali, for it was he would actually set the stage for Mohammad Ali's rise to power in Egypt. 

In 1798, Egypt was an Ottoman province ruled by the Mamluks. However, in that year, Napoleon invaded Egypt and conquered the Mamluk army at the Battle of the Pyramids.

Battle of the Pyramids on 21 July 1798 Louis-François_Baron_Lejeune
This short occupation of Egypt by the French had a very lasting effect on the country and for that matter, on Egyptology, but after a sea battle with the English off Egypt's Mediterranean coast, Napoleon was forced to withdraw back to France.  Some of his military forces remained to occupy the country, but they too were soon withdrawn, leaving behind a power vacuum in Egypt.

Muhammad Ali Pasha or Mehmet Ali Paşa

The Pasha 

After defeating the Mamluks in Lower Egypt, Napoleon failed to consolidate his control over the entire country.

Nelson managed to descry his fleet and in 1799, Napoleon left Egypt on a more pressing matter: to assume mastery of France. Two years later the French quit Egypt entirely.

This left a power vacuum which lead to a civil war and in 1805 control of the country fell to Muhammad Ali, an Albanian commander, who claimed to be reasserting the suzerainty of the Ottomans over Egypt but in practice began to rule the country as an independent nation.

Mohammad Ali Pasha, the first and most famous of this line of Egyptian kings was actually born in Kavala, a small Macedonian seaport on the coast of the Aegean, what is now known as A much younger Muhammad Ali, in this drawing by Chris Hellier, is referred to as Mehmet Ali Pasha Greece, in 1769. 

At that time, Kavala was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The son of the local police chief, his father, Ibrahim Agha, when Mohammad Ali was still quite young, and so the boy was taken in to service by the governor of the city, where much of his early training took place.

He was Turkish by origin and Turkish speaking, yet trained in a European province of the Ottoman Empire, so he brought with him political skills honed in the century-long conflict between the three great empires that disputed control of the Balkans.

Commonly called Mehmet Ali, as a young man he worked for a while as a tobacco merchant, before taking a commission in the Ottoman Army.

Slaughter of Mamluks

Muhammad Ali liquidated the Mamluks, first by assassinating their leadership (the old feast and daggers trick) and then through outright massacre of the troops, destroying their power forever.

Massacre of the Mamelukes at the Cairo citadel

He then went on to create a modern professional army which was based on peasant conscription, education institutions and a series of massive infrastructure projects designed to boost Egypt's economy and develop it into a formidable industrial and military power. 

SUEZ CANAL Cotton market at Zigazag Egypt


He built roads, canals, dams along the Nile and established Egypt as the world's largest cotton producer.

Through these tireless efforts at modernization and his ruthless exploitation of the peasantry, Muhammad Ali sought continually to strengthen his autocratic grip on the country and his de facto independence from Istanbul.

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali was built over 24 years, from 1824-48, and it was modelled on the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The mosque made a statement of Muhammad Ali's independance from the Ottoman Sultan.