mardi, juillet 05, 2005

Wied Qirda

"I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations" (Joel, iii-Heb. text, iv)
The name of Wied Qirda has always intrigued me. The root q-r-d in our language is the root of all words meaning destruction. Teqred - to obliterate (unless of course it means to moan but I do believe that is metaphorical � correct me please if I am wrong), to destroy - like Scipio in Carthage (Delenda Est Cartago), like the Americans in Babylon. So Wied Qirda is our very own valley of destruction. [I would be grateful to pointers as to the origin of this toponym (incidentally Bill Gates has no clue as to the meaning of "toponym" � it is underlined in red as I type).]

The biblical Valley of Josaphat is the valley of the desert of Teqo'a, which was called by the Jews �m�q Ber�k�h (hemmhekk imbierek?), that is, "valley of blessing", is to be sought in the vicinity of the Khirbet Ber�k�t, some distance to the west of the Khirbet Teq�'a (about eleven miles from Jerusalem). It is also credible that the prophet meant to designate an ideal, indeterminate valley -- the valley of judgment, and no more -- for Josaphat signifies "Jahveh judges". This valley is, in fact, spoken of under the name of "valley of destruction" (A. V. valley of decision") in verse 14 of the same chapter. According to the context, the Divine judgment will be exercised upon the nations who afflicted Juda and Jerusalem at the time of the captivity and the return from exile.

Two souls were lost to in our Valley of Destruction on Monday. The St. Joseph's Fireworks Factory went up in flames and took the lives of two men in the process. "Clouds of toxic fumes from the burning explosives, chemicals and plastic were strewn all over the fields, where people were seen running out of buildings to see what had happened." At this point, the loss of life shrouds the blatant need of criticism, the need to call for strict safety measures and procedures. Such calls would be ridiculed by the "namrati tan-namur" (which I can only translate as the hobby lovers). The fireworks saga, like that of the hunters, is one of the Gordian Knots that constantly plagues Maltese society. In-namur and it-tradizzjoni (hobby and tradition), resist regulation and change. Safety is sacrificed on the altar of pleasure and lives (whether human or bird � and this is in no way an exercise of comparison) are lost.

If we are so obsessed with our cravings so as to be unable to see the dangers and destruction that they carry along with them I am afraid that we fail to understand the original message. When the words "Life is Beautiful" fail to make their mark, then we deserve to march alone in the Valley of Destruction.
There's a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. Now I'm thinkin': it could mean you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. .45 here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin, Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.

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