THE WRITTEN CONTENT​

In my written content, you can find a huge variety of things to read. For me, to get in the vibe of writing may be challenging. Writers block is truly a thing. I find that to simply sit down and start can be helpful.

Sometimes what I write may not turn out to be the way I want it to be. Whilst other times I feel as I have written something extraordinary. But it is indeed better to sometimes sit down and ‘force’ it out. Occasionally I also ‘write’ in my mind. This has also caused some issues for me.

Evidently, this has caused some issues. I have struggled with the tendency to write and missing points or assuming the reader will follow my line of arguments without explicitly writing them down. My mind works faster than my capacity to write, that however, is something which I am happy about. I am not a slow writer, but to think at that pace would be nothing other than dreadful. 

Ervik beach norway

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Russians walking passed a statue

Did Rasputin create the Soviet Union?

The statement above is a stretch. But if we can allow ourselves a ‘what if’ speculation then we can then see that Rasputin’s name deserves a place in our history books. Who was this infamous man? The story begins mid 19th century in Siberia. Rasputin was born with another name and was later given the name Rasputin. In Russian Rasputin means the “debauched one”. Rasputin grew into an enormous man, particularly for his time, reaching 192 cm. This caused some rumours that his male limber was an of equal proportion. Rasputin had made a name for himself in his Siberian hometown, where his hobbies included bar fights and casually sleeping around. He ended up marrying and having children. But he would end up leaving them, or put them aside for the ‘greater cause’.

"He remained preaching and still proclaimed that having sex with him had holy and purifying effects."

The Story begins...

At a young age Rasputin came across a cult called Khlysty (Flagellants). Rasputin took the cult’s beliefs as his own, meaning that he put a lot of sexual emphasis on spirituality, which later showed important. Essentially Rasputin proclaimed that having sex, particularly with him, could help you in various ways both in a physical and mental way. This is a rather outrageous statement even for the time. Can you imagine a country devoted to their church and values. It is difficult to see how Rasputin navigated these crowds. Rasputin started travelling around Russia. He was promoting his unorthodox methods and he was heading for St. Petersburg.

In the early 19-hundreds this was Tsar (Czar) Nicolas II, married to Alexandra a German princess.  They constituted the royal monarchy of Russia. Together they had five children Anastasia (who herself is urban legend and surrounded by mystic) and then their son the heir to the throne. Since the rest were women and thus not unable to succeed the throne. 

Alexis suffered from a genetic disease called haemophilia; that is a blood sickness which has the consequence that the blood is unable to form blood clots. This means that if little Alexis would cut himself the blood would continue to bleed until he bled out. His parents were devastated and sought the best professional help available at the time. The Doctors were unable to identify the cause of Alexis suffering and gave him medicine. The medicine given to Alexis acted as a blood thinner, which had a worse effect on him and his illness.

Rasputin arrives in the Capital

Rasputin reached St. Petersburg in 1903, being a man of the occult and mysticism he immediately gained popularity. At the time, these were popular hobbies among the Russian elite. They embraced the giant smelly odd man from Siberia. Two years after arriving in St. Petersburg Rasputin was introduced to the Tzar family. This was an incredible success for Rasputin. This became a legitimisation of his preachings.

Alexandra the empress immediately caught a liking to Rasputin. During one of her sons’ episodes Alexandra summoned Rasputin to aid her son. Rasputin started off by sending off all the doctors (and their medicine). He proceeded to ‘work his magic on young Alexis’. After this, Rasputin had the full confidence of Alexandra. This caused the Russian population to speculate and ridicule the Tsarina. They believed that she and Rasputin were having sex.  Considering what he was preaching, is this impossible? But, we will never know.

As mentioned before, the doctors were actually making Alexis more sick. Therefore, ironically enough, Rasputin made the boy better. Alexis parents were impressed and Rasputin had earned a place as royals the closest adviser.He remained preaching and still proclaimed that having sex with him had holy and purifying effects. This did upset the Russian elite and Rasputin was expelled. But Alexandra insisted on bringing him back, for her sons’ sake

The once bright future for Rasputin turns dark

Rasputin had one of the most desirable role in Russia. He was the right hand of the royal family and had huge influence on the Russian politics. Consequently, Rasputin gained a lot of enemies. The political decisions Rasputin made and influenced awful. He appointed incompetent ministers and his knowledge on waging war was beyond limited. This resulted in several murder attempts on his life and all were made in order to save Russia.

A small group of conservatives formed a conspiracy; to kill Rasputin and save the Russian monarchy. At the time the monarchy was hanging by a thread. The group lured Rasputin over for tea and cake. They set a trap to poison him. 

The group waited for Rasputin to collapse in front of them, but he did not. One of them got impatient and took a gun and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit Rasputin, but it did not kill him. Instead, Rasputin was able to run out on the court yard, probably desperate to find assistance. But, he got shot again and this time he was not able to run away and he was caught.  The group bound him and made a hole in the deep ice then threw Rasputin underneath it. The final and ultimate cause of death was drowning. This story has further added to the mystic of the giant Siberian man, and the conspiracy group were all disturbed by the occurrence.

The fall of the Russian Elite

The Russian elites’ decadent way of life caused an uprise in the Russian population. The Russian people were starving and forced into war. A few weeks after the death of Rasputin the Russian Revolution started. The heads of the Royal family would soon be rolling, but rumours have it Anastasia survived. This was perpetuated by claimants later on. However, this is not true. After the Soviet Union, all the remains of the last Romanov family were finally found, marking the end to their 300 year dynasty . Out of the revolution mayhem, Lenin would grasp Russia in an iron fist and a new chapter of Russian history should be written. 

Would this have happened without Rasputin’s influence? The real question is, what if the Russian people would have been happy? Then the revolution would not have happened. Because there would not be anything to revolt against. But, does Rasputin bare some of the blame? I don’t think it is fair to place all the blame on Rasputin, Russia was unkempt before that. In the early 1900 there had been a minor revolution, where the Tzar shot the participants. Perhaps ,this was the turning point for the Russian people. But one thing is certain, Rasputin was the final nail in the coffin. Making the Tzar family look foolish, stupid and unfit to rule Russia.

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Palestine's last breath?

The Tale of Palestine

During the beginning of the 80’s a lot of European countries pivoted from their previous pro-Israel attitude towards a more sympathetic position for Palestine. Alongside the sympathy, the political stigma increased into seemingly two camps, a pro-Israel mainly supported by USA. Opposing the European countries, who generally are more pro-Palestine, or at least the political establishment is.

The issue is intricate and it is important to note that there is no right or wrong to the claim of the territory. It is rather different claims to the territory., made on different grounds. Therefore it can be confusing why western countries side with different sides. Perhaps the sympathy for Palestine started with the wars waged by Israel, when they went from victims to perpetrators in the eyes of many Europeans. A bit oxymoronic when you are reviewing the history of Europe.

The international politics of the issue

It seems as within Europe being on the side of Palestine is equivalent to be a supporter of peace, because that means you are pro a ‘two-state solution’.  Many countries have therefore consequently recognised Palestine as a state. That would indicate that Israel is in the wrong and supporting Israel means supporting a non-peaceful solution. Is that really the case?

Both countries would probably be supporting a one state solution to their own benefit if that was an option.  There is only one country which have a likely claim to become one state and that is Israel. Yet, it is not unlikely that Palestine would make the same claim if they were in the same position. When you look at the question at heart; it is ‘who has a claim to a land?’.  Depending on how you look at it, both countries are in a right.

No right or wrong side

Strangely, Palestine is viewed as the ‘peaceful’ and ‘the underdog’, supported by the European Governments. When the Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas blames the holocaust on the jews. This becomes discrediting and demeaning for the European governments. However, it proves that there is no ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ side in the conflict. Both sides simply wants sole sovereignty over the same territory. History have taught us that this may happen from time to time. But, this situation has become very politicised. Would not an end if any end be a better outcome?  There will surely be terrorism present as a consequence. But, that is already a common occurrence.

It was not too long ago the UK and the IRF were in a similar conflict. There too, terrorism became a common occurrence. Perhaps the biggest difference is then that the IRA and UK conflict was not as politicised as the Israel-Palestine. A conflict where the different sides have such obvious political colours. Where the left sides with Palestine and the right generally sides with Israel. This has lead to the oversimplification of a complex issue. However, this might paradoxically have lead to the solution. A solution which have the left infuriated. The solution of Trump.

The making of history..

The 14th of May 2018, something considered the death blow to Palestine happened. USA moved their embassy to Jerusalem. A move which has great symbolic significance. This move symbolised that the USA do not believe in a two-state solution. They recognise the religious city of Jerusalem as a part of a jewish state, rather than a Muslim (or Christian).

As it stands today, Palestine is completely dependant on foreign aid. Around 80% of their annual turnover is foreign aid, this is due to the Oslo Accord. However, is it sustainable to have a country dependant on foreign aid to survive? Can it be considered a sovereign state? What happens when the world stops paying their bills? What is a nation’s right to survive? The only thing that is evident is that there is a human right to life, but it’s being breached by both states. As time passes a two state solution becomes increasingly unsustainable. If this was before globalisation and international power plays the stronger state (Israel) would have ‘eaten’ the smaller state (Palestine). Our era is beyond that, nowadays, we seek peaceful solutions. Have we succeed?

Veni Vidi Vici

The beginning of a 1000 years​

The European history spawns for almost 3000 years. It’s divided into the antiquities 1000BC (but really it was between 500 BC until 500 AD). This marks the start of the Medievals, which spawned for another thousand years, up until the renaissance during the 16th century. Since then modern history begins. Although this is ‘only’ 500 years, it is commonly accepted as a time distinction. The antiquities is the cradle of todays society and that includes the founding of the Greek democracy, a subject for another time. Today we will discuss the Romans and their influence on our modern society.

Romans have been portrayed as both protagonists and antagonists throughout history, presumably the truth is somewhere in-between. The Roman Republic started as early as 509 BC. Before that it was a royal monarchy. The plebis (the common, not noble people) revolted against the dominant patricians (the nobility and royals). This marks the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the republic. The development of the republic occurred gradually, spanning over hundreds of years. As the Republic developed, the plebis received their own assembly. Its function was to pass legislation, elect magistrates and other judicial matters. 

The new Democratic Processes

In the Roman Republic the magistrates had an important function. Amongst them there was a hierarchical order. Aspirants had to start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Serving the state had to happen at all the governmental departments and the highest magistrates were the consuls. There were always two consuls during one mandate to prevent absolute power. After the consuls had served their mandate they became indefinite members of the senate. Consequently, the senate had a lot of power and influence of the magistrates and the society as a whole.

The Colosseum in rome

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The Rise of Caesar​

The republic was flourishing and ever expanding at 100 B.C all of Italy and Greece were Roman and the western costs of the Mediterranean. In 44 B.C the land of the empire had doubled. The Romans had concurred the eastern parts of the Mediterranean, the Iberian peninsula and France. Caesar met his fate that same year and would perish from the world.

Why is ‘Caesar’ a name that has survived for 2000 years. Julius caesar is a capturing figure deserving a spot in the history books because he changed the course of history. Caesar got his mandate as a consul thanks to his political alliance with Crassus and Pompey. The three men formed the first ‘Triumvirate’. Where they made favours in order to receive favours from they others, probably best defined by corruption. 

Caeser, the consul

After his term as a consul, which only lasted a year, Caesar proceeded to conquer Gaul. But Crassus died and the roman empire was the brink of civil war, that led to the appointment of Pompey as the sole consul. Pompey and Caesar had a deep alliance, ever since Caesar offered his only daughter Julia in marriage to Pompey. Pompey accepted this proposal, but after 53 B.C this alliance was dead, Julia had died in childbirth. Caesar valued his alliance with Pompey and therefore he offered him his niece as a bride instead. But, too Caesars despair Pompey declined his offer. After that, their relationship turn bitter. Since both men were claiming power over Rome, on of histories most significant power struggles had just initiated. 

Caesar leaves Rome

Caesar soon found himself alone without allies. The political establishment in Rome had banned him from ever crossing the Rubicon river and enter Rome again. The power-hungry Caesar and his troops were aimlessly wandering the northern parts of the empire. This could have very well been the end of Caesars history. The ultimate goal of Pompey was to neutralize Caesar as a political enemy. However, in 49 B.C Caesars crossed the Rubicon River, a symbolic move, and this sparked the civil war in the Roman republic. As luck would have it Caesar and his legioned managed to conquer Rome. How this happened is a story on its own. Now Caesar ruled Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire and he was almighty.

A turn of events​

Caesar’s conquest depended at large by his political alliances. However, the political establishment and non of the parties involved wanted to have a full-blown civil war. Regardless, Caesar became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire, as his name has become the very word for ‘emperor’ in several languages. He teamed up with a man referred to as Mark Anthony, who plays a crucial role later on. The still unstable empire found some security in having a definitiv ruler. Before dealing with the ongoing uprise and civil war, Caesar had hi mind elsewhere. Caesar started to look around for new land to conquer, and a country across the Mediterranean was of particular interest, Egypt.

Letting his Gaze wander

Coincidentally, while Caesar had his eyes on Egypt he received a package from Egypt. From this package the ruler of Egypt emerged. Perhaps foreshadowing that Egypt would be next. The legendary Egyptian ruler Cleopatra had offered herself to Caesar, in order to save her country from the Roman dominance.

This move caused one of history’s most famous love stories. Indeed, Cleopatra secured the future of Egypt, at least for now. The two remained married to their previous spouses and did not seek to formalise their relationship. Cleopatra had continued the family tradition and her marriage was to her own brother. This was common practice in the royal dynasty she came from and this was not her first sibling marriage. Their marital status did not hinder the two to concubine, the two eventually had a child. Cleopatra thought that her son would be safe and with him the future of Egypt would unquestionably be secure. However, Caesar did not see it the same way. Regardless, Caesar had other things on his mind. In Caesars eyes Pompey, who where currently banished from Rome, he was the culprit of the civil war.

The Civil War & the Uprise​

The uprising all around the Empire was indeed devastating for Pompey. Caesar’s armies showed to be superior to those of Pompey, and Pompey ended up retreating. Pompey was murdered by an officer to King Ptolemy who was King of Alexandria, Which does indeed mean that King Ptolemy is none other than Cleopatra’s husband. Coincidentally, also her younger brother. The senate and the senators still had some powers vested within themselves. After Caesar had seized the power, the power of the senate was soon only be a memory. After fighting wars and living decadently in Alexandria for awhile Caesar returned to Rome. When in Rome, Caesar obtained the title as ‘dictator’ and he proceeded to fight minor uprisings but had finally begun to put his empire in order.

Caesar was impatient with a great clemency about him. This led to Caesar pardoning his enemies and giving them amnesty. Controversy, he committed many atrocities against the barbarians, which were people who were not Romans. In march 44 B.C Caesar met his faith. There were 60 conspirators and all from the senate, planned and committed the murder of Julius Caesar.

“…he was stabbed to death by some of the senators…”

Statue from Rome

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The end & a new beginning​

After his death the civil war was imminent, and the second Triumvirate was formed. This quickly developed in to conflict between two of the men, ironically history repeating itself. The first, Mark Anthony who had been a loyal friend to Ceasar, was now having a love affair with Cleopatra. The couple ended up having three children. Mark Anthony was now claiming the power of the ‘Caesar’. Opposed to him was Caesar’s adopted son, Octavius. Mark Anthony suffered many defeats against Octavius, and for Mark Anthony things were looking dim, then he got even worse news, Cleopatra had died. This caused Mark Anthony so much pain that he dragged his own sword in his torso. However, this was a cruel lie told by Cleopatra. Upon hearing that Mark Anthony actually killed himself she looked herself in her tomb with her servants and legend says she died by a snake bite.

The birth of Augustus, the sole emperor

At this point and time, Cleopatra’s brother, The King of Egypt had left the political stage long before this and the mighty Egyptian Kingdom became a part of the Roman Empire. There was now a sole ruler, the only one with claims to the dictatorship, Octavius. Whom at 14 B.C became Emperor Augustus. The republic was forever dead, this marked the start of the ‘principate’. Which had the famous Roman Emperors, such as Nero and Caligula, the true power games had just begun. Therefore, the infamous intellectual Caesar is a man who changed history, and who’s name is still relevant to this day..

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Goethe’s Faust; The contemporary Oedipus?

Who is Faust?

Faust is considered one of the German writer Goethe masterpieces, and it’s a play consisting of two pieces. Goethe and Faust is often mention in intellectual pop culture. I can guarantee that if you just learnt their names, you will from now on notice how often they are being referred to. The fictional Faust is loosely based on the life of Johann Georg Faust (c 1480–1540), an alchemist and practitioner of necromancy, a form of ‘black magic’. Yet, the primary question remains who or what is the legend of Faust?

Faust brings resonance in today’s society because of who he, or the legend was. Faust was very successful and had immense knowledge. Yet, he was very dissatisfied with life. The mythical Faust is frustrated by his inability to find the ‘true’ meaning of life despite his vast knowledge. Faust may be inherently human in that sense that he is not a perfect hero but rather someone who has flaws. Goethe has done so to make Faust represent humanity, thus, suggesting that the play is about something greater than a tale. Indeed, Goethe is considered an enlightenment thinker. 

“The mythical Faust is frustrated by his inability to find the ‘true’ meaning of life despite his vast knowledge.”

A Tragic Hero

Faust is a tragic hero. The greek portrayed their heroes where they used their tragedy for ‘Catharsis’ which can be translated to ‘cleanse’. Just as Sophocles’ Oedipus, who’s tragic life taught a lesson to the Greeks, it is in this light we oughta to read Goethe. The concept Goethe is conveying is how man ought to look at himself. Even though the story is extravagant, it is meant to teach and to cleanse the society of those feeling portrayed by  Faus

“Mephisto makes a wager with God, regarding Faust’s life.”

The setting of the play

The play starts up in heaven with the archangels and God then another character, Mephisto one of the devils lackies, enters. Cunningly, Mephisto makes a wager with God, regarding Faust’s life. They discuss the wretched ways of earth, God is found of Faust but Mephisto claims he can turn Faust in to evil and sin. Both of them make a wager whether Faust will remain a good servant to God or not and off Mephisto go to make a sinner out of Faust. At the time, Faust is in despair, life as he knows it is no more. He does not get any satisfaction in life anymore, Faust wants to commit suicide. 

Through his quest, Faust encounters the antagonist Mephistopheles (Mephisto) who is one of the demons of the devil. Mephisto is not crud, on the contrary, he is cultivated and witty. Perhaps that is why he enchants Faust. Goethe portrays some contemporary issues and does it with his introduction of Mephisto, who can be considered materialistic and nihilistic. Thus making a comment of the growing capitalism as a cause of industrialism. At the time of writing, the world was changing to something new. Faust is damned when he signs a covenant with Mephisto. He signs it with his own blood. 

Books in a bookcase

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The take-away from Faust

Just like the creation story where God creates Adam and Eve in his image, Faust is created in Goethes image. Not only have Goethe explicitly said so, but as  mentioned above Faust is incorporating the human agonies and flaws, particularly of an intellectual as Goethe himself. The storyline can be found in many other contemporary stories. Such as the polarity of Jakyll and Hyde or the human strive of Dorian Grey in Oscar Wildes novel. The theme is ever classic. There is something we could all learn from the story, and if you find it interesting you should read the play. For me I feel as the play portrayed that you should find peace and happiness in what we have and not search for it.

The Syrian Caliphate​

The becoming of IS​

Do you remember that spring of 2015, when ISIS seemed unstoppable and their middle-eastern dominance imminent? Today their caliphate is a fading memory and the Syrian war is once again the rebels and the Assad regime.

ISIS, IS and Daesh are all names the terrorist group carries. The former abbreviation stands for ‘Islamic State Iraq Syria’ suggesting the geographical significance of Iraq and Syria. That Iraq has been at war and a war-zone for the past ongoing 2 decades comes as no news to most. That terrorist groups thrives in such environments is not unbelievable to most either. This is where we will leave Iraq, perhaps it will be of interest another time. Syria is a different story, and that story is much more interesting for many reasons. One being that it ultimately most part of the nation became subjected to ISIS and the city of Raqqa became the self-proclaimed Capital of the illegitimate ‘State’ called ISIS.

The Story of Syria

In order to fully comprehend what happened in Syria and to some extent what is still happening. We will first look back at the history. Syria gained independence from France shortly after world war II, 1946 to be precise. Fast forward to early 1950’s and an important man enters the political stage, Ḥafiz al-Assad. Surely the name sounds familiar? Ḥafiz al-Assad was active in politics already from a young age. Upon returning from his years in exile he joined the ‘coup d’état’ in February 1966 and became minister of defence. Perhaps the story could have ended there, and the name Al-Assad would not string a cord in westerns ears. Yet, there was another war that was approaching this time with Israel. As the defence minister Ḥafiz al-Assad was responsible for losing vast Syrian territories during the 6-day war with Israel.  

Who can seize the power?

A power struggle broke out within the cabinet. Ḥafiz al-Assad managed to out-maneuver the political opposition and seize power. By 1971 he was President in Syria and would remain in that position as a totalitarian ruler until his death 2000. Then his son, the eye-doctor with the UK-education succeeded him; Bashar Al-Assad. Which would eventually be the cause of the civil war and the upraise of ISIS.

A new Syria​

Who was this new leader for Syria and why is his name associated with ISIS? Although, there were objections to the transferal of power from father to son, Bashar’s western background brought some optimism for the critiques. At the time for the power shift Syria had some issues such as stagnating economy and an overlapping systematic surveillance of the population. Bashar did indeed loosen the tight grip of the population and the Syrians enjoyed some liberation in regards to freedom of expression. Bashar released some prisoners as a consequence, yet, the totalitarian state remained and Bashar ran as president unopposed and received 100% off the votes. In other words, Bashar rejected the western concept of ‘democracy’ or rather ‘rule’. Yet, Bashar’s fathers stricter rule seemed to be a fading memory.

“Bashar rejected the western concept of ‘democracy’ or rather ‘rule’.”

The Arbic spring

In 2010 a man in Tunisia set himself on fire as a protest of the regime. This became the ‘fire’ that started the so called Arabic Spring. Consequently lead to revolutions in a handful of middle-eastern countries. In 2011 these protest reached Syria and as a consequence civil war broke out. Even though Syria had moved towards a lesser totalitarian rule, the Syrian population were not satisfied. A rebel group was founded and they their troops had the goal to overthrow the Assad regime, ISIS had yet to become a piece of the puzzle. 

Assad was accused of using chemical weapons upon his people and he consequently denied this. Yet, the western democracies persisted and tried to overthrow Assad. Then 2013, the civil war had been ongoing for 1 year and the situation was critical for Assad. Then this terrorist group emerged, a group which the world had yet to witness with an indescribable terror. Fear spread amongst the Western Allies, Assad was no longer the prime target for their forces. This group needed to be stopped by any means possible according to many.

Map over Syria

You can find the photo here.

Too good to be true?​

There has been some speculation since the timing seems a bit good to be true for Assad. He was no longer under the same pressure by the West. The theory suggested is that Assad released prisoners to create this chaos. This is obviously only speculation and there will probably never been any evidence in support of it. Yet, the theory is relevant, since we know that Assad had previously released prisoners, so it is not unlikely. But what his aim would be can never be proven. Yet, the theory is interesting, particularly since this was the ultimate cause for Bashar Al-Assad to remain in power. Perhaps, we could conclude that there are indications that this could be the case. These released prisoners ultimately helped forming the infamous ISIS.

The end of..?

The history of Syria obviously has many more elements. Yet, these are causes that were relevant to understand why Syria looked the way it does today. However, this does raise a lot of other questions. Is ISIS a blessing in disguise for Assad? Bashar Al-Assad was not a religious fanatic, on the contrary before the civil war Assad was announced for his religious tolerance. Though, he was far from perfect. Imagine this though, a religiously tolerant country becomes a breeding ground for the extreme Islamic group, who also managed to establish a Caliphate there. 

During 2014 Bashar Al-Assad played a role in the history books seemed to be a finished chapter,. yet not in 2018, his reign seems to once again be foreseeable. It seems that Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles and his military assistance helped seizing control over the country, did he do so only to give that power away? Or those this ‘gift’ have strings attached? Nonetheless, it has surely made a strong legion between the two countries.

THE WRITTEN CONTENT - GALLERY

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