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Saturday, 24 June 2006

How The Hand of God in Iraq prevented WWIII

Counter It's incredible sometimes to be able to peek behind the scenes and see God at work. Who ever would have thought that the reason so few coalition forces died in the 1991 Iraq war was due to the the actions of a single highly placed Christian man? As I read his account, all I could think of was: Here is a modern day Daniel, facing down the modern day Nebechadnezzar and living to tell about it. Here's the story of Gewargis ('Georges') Sada (translated from the broken English at the linked site--just click on the title to hyperlink):
I joined the Iraqi Air Academy in 1958. I was trained in Russia for four years and then, after that, I came back to Iraq. I flew the fighter aircraft, the MiGs. In 1964, our government sent seven of us to Turkey, because Americans had one slot open for pilot instrument instruction, for flying at night in bad weather and instrument flying. They wanted the qualified people from Iraq, but could only take only one man. So we seven took the exam and thank God I was number 1. So I came to Texas, Randolph Air Force Base, in Lackland, in 1964. I was trained as an instructor for bad weather, night and instrument flying. I came back home and then I did a lot of work in the fighter squadrons.

I served in the Air Force for about 40 years. I was retired in 1986 as two-star general. I was supposed to be promoted to three-star, but the Baath Party and the intelligence sent for me. They said, 'You are the only general in this country who is not a Baath Party member. So now at this time we will not invite you to come because we have been inviting you for 30 years and you didn't accept it. So now, tell us why you are not becoming a member of the Baath Party?' I said, 'You want the truth?' and they said, 'Yes.' I said, 'You see, because in your ideology of the Baath Party, you say the body of the nation is Arab and the spirit of the nation is Islam. Therefore, I don't fit in two ways. I don't fit in the body because you are Arab and I am Assyrian. I don't fit in the spirit because you are Islamic and I am a Christian. And I want to keep both of them, my nationality and my faith. And because of that, I don't want to block you. I don't want to block myself to get to this party because it doesn't fit me.' They were very surprised.

So they said, 'Okay, General Georges, it's like this: No third star for you, and no promotion to Air Force Commander.' Because at that time, I was number two and, of course, people knew it. I was the only man who was trained in Russia, America, England and France. And I had taught in three colleges: staff college, war college and national defense college for ten years. Really, I am very proud of my training in America. I will never forget this country because it was really a blessed country and they have taught me a lot and I can tell you, I am very faithful for that.

So I was forced to retire in 1986. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, I was the first man who was recalled for active duty. They told him, 'Sir, this man is not a party member.' He said, 'Yes, I know, but I want him. Bring him.' So I came, I met with him. He said, 'You are going to be the senior advisor for me on the Air Force, on the Armed Forces.' I said, 'Okay, sir. Thank you.' So I was put there. I was given three tasks to do. He gave it to me because he knew I used to teach these things in three colleges. These three tasks were: What is the capability of the enemy air forces? This means the coalition air forces, including America. Then, what is the capability of five aircraft carriers that are in Red Sea and Gulf? And finally, what is the capability of destruction and accuracy of their cruise missiles?

So these three duties were given to me. I was very happy. I told him, 'Sir, this duty is my daily bread. I used to teach it everywhere and I will start working.' I made three beautiful files for it and I started to tell him and the Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff and all the others. But unfortunately, nobody was listening.

The last meeting was on January 12, 1991. There was a presentation because the deadline of United Nations was going to finish on January 15, 1991, as you know. There were only two or three days to prepare for war. So I was sitting in the war room and we started doing the presentation. Everybody was there, except Saddam. He was listening somewhere else to what was going on.

They spoke about the war and the advisors said that they were going to destroy the enemy air force. No enemy air craft would be allowed in the Iraqi air space. Then they said that we would never give up Kuwait, that we would stay in Kuwait. They spoke their nonsense. So I spoke to the air force commander, who had been my student. I gave him solo on MiG-21 when I was a squadron commander in 1970. I told him, 'General Hanzam, please can you stop this nonsense-- these lies by these generals?' He said, 'No, Georges, don't talk. For God's sake, forget it. It's okay, nothing will happen. Don't worry. Nobody is going to attack us.'

I said, 'Look. I know what's going to happen. I know America and these forces who are here starting from the Gulf and in Kuwait and in Saudi Arabia, surrounding Iraq and Kuwait and the forces which are in the seas starting from Saratoga and the Red Sea and the others in the Gulf.' I explained everything to them. I said, 'Look, they didn't come here to play. They are going to attack Iraq.' Again nobody listened. Then, at last, I raised my hand. I told the minister of defense and the chief of staff, 'Excuse me, I don't agree with this presentation.'

At last, the minister of defense and chief of staff asked the air force. They said, Please, you as air force, can you tell us that we can operate on the ground without thinking of any enemy threat coming from air?' The answer was, 'Yes you can operate, there will be no threat coming from the air, because the Iraqi Air Force and the Iraqi Air Defense will tackle with that and will handle with them and they will not let the American forces to appear in the Iraqi skies.'

Here I had to stop them. I said, 'Excuse me. The minister of defense said,
Yes, Georges, do you have anything?' I said, 'Yes, I have got many things. I don't agree with this presentation. It's not going to be like this.' They said, 'Do you have another idea?' I said, 'Yes, and my idea is 180 degrees different.' He was surprised. I told them, 'The supreme commander has given me these three tasks to do, so please I am the one who should do the presentation. Will you permit me to do the presentation?' Then, they could not say no.

So I went and I did my presentation. I told them, 'Remember that you have been told that no enemy aircraft will be flying in the Iraqi skies. But I can tell you that thousands of the enemy aircraft will be flying over this country. Most of the targets will be destroyed and your army, our army, will be in very bad shape.' I spoke everything and then the chief of staff said, 'Georges, did we bring you here to frighten us?' I said, 'No, sorry, I am not frightening anybody, but I am telling you the truth to the best of my knowledge.'

I continued speaking about what an aircraft carrier is because, ladies and gentlemen, I understood that they thought an aircraft carrier is a fishing boat. I explained to them what an aircraft carrier is, what it can do, how many aircraft are there on deck and what are the three classes of aircraft carriers. I explained everything. Again, the chief of staff said, 'Don't you think you are exaggerating very much about what America can do?' I said, 'No, sorry, I'm not exaggerating. But this is according to the paper given to me. But, remember, Americans can do even more than this.' Nobody listened.

Then at last there was a question. They said, 'Okay, if it's like this, what's the solution? What's your solution?' I said, 'My solution is very easy. We have sent our forces to Kuwait by a paper and by the same paper we can make them to withdraw from Kuwait and come back. Because President Bush and United Nation are asking the Iraqi forces to get out of Kuwait. This is the only solution left. Today is January 12, 1991. Please I beg you to listen to me.' I really meant I begged, because I knew what was going to happen to my nation. You know what their answer to me was? 'If you speak again of pulling the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, your head will be separated from your body.' I said, 'Okay, thank you very much. I am only an advisor and I must be faithful.' I told them all this, but nobody listened.

Then, on January 17, the war started. Let me tell you where I was. General Hanzam had an apartment in the operation room. It was the only apartment in the operation room, next to the nuclear weapon room. It has walls and ceilings made of reinforced concrete 3 meters thick. General Hanzam was my student, I had been his instructor and his commander. In the air force, we love our instructors and commanders. I had flown General Hanzam solo and many other times, which he remembers. So he insisted on giving me the use of his apartment out of respect. I tried to refuse, because the apartment is for the use of the air force commander, but he insisted from his heart that I was the man who deserved to be there.

I went to sleep at 1:00 in the morning. I don't know what woke me up, but I looked at my watch and saw it was 2:30. I thought, 'My God, I was supposed to sleep until 7:00 at least.' I wondered what made me wake up at this time' So I decided to go and see Colonel Banam, who's another Christian, and in command of the radars and radio in the operation room.

So I went into the corridor and this is when the ground started shaking. I knew then that the attack had started. The lights started going out and water running everywhere. I went back to my apartment and I had to force the door open. I looked at my bed. It had been flattened to the ground by huge concrete blocks. I had missed being flattened by only 17 seconds. I thought, 'My God, who woke me up in time to escape this?' When the first American rocket hit the operation room, it hit the apartment of the air force commander.

Then an officer was there saying, 'Where is General Georges? Where is General Georges? The commander wants you.' I talked to him and he said, 'Shall we scramble the aircraft?' I said, 'No. Don't scramble anything, Hanzam.' He said, 'How am I not going to scramble anything? We are under attack!' I said, 'Look, I told you the solution. Where you will scramble them? You see, at this moment, this room is already destroyed. But remember, all command posts have been attacked. I am sure by now all the targets have been attacked. Most of the radars are destroyed. So where you are going to send these boys to go and fight American aircraft coming from everywhere? Without radars, without control from the ground? Don't do that.' He said, 'No, I cannot listen to this. This is not good advice.' I said, 'Okay, it's not good advice. Do whatever you like.'

But I said, 'Look, if you are going to send these airplanes, remember, very, very few of them will be back.' He said, 'I will send them.' He sent 18 aircraft, the best aircraft we had, to intercept the American aircraft which were attacking. Most of them were destroyed, some on the runway, some just after take off, some as they were climbing. Then they realized their mistake.

You see, there are some people who live in the mishap and there are some people who live in the 'prehap,' before the things happen. So let us always live in the 'prehap,' before the thing happens. Because after it happens, I think then it will be too late.

After this, Saddam came to the operation room. When he came, he was asking, 'What has happened? Why it has happened like this?' We five generals were sitting. It's the picture they always show on TV. I was sitting on his right, the air force commander on his left and the other in front of him. He started asking questions. The guy who was the officer, the commanding officer for the air force, he was Saddam's cousin. He became a higher general than all of us just because he was a cousin. He looked at me, begging with his eyes. I know him and I understood him. I knew he was saying, 'Please, Georges, you answer to the president.'

So I took all the answers. Then he said, 'General Hanzaam, why is Georges answering everything?' Then after that, I had a telephone call. There was a telephone there on the table and it was ringing. I took the call, it was from Nasiriyah airbase in the south. They said, 'Sir, we have shot down one Tornado and two pilots are captured. One's name is John Peter and the other John Nichol.' I told Saddam, 'Sir, we have shot down a Tornado aircraft with two pilots captured.' He said, 'What's a Tornado?' I explained to him what a Tornado is. He said, 'Are you sure the pilots are prisoners of war?' I said, 'Yes.'

He said, 'Okay, I need one pilot to be responsible for the prisoner of war.' Then he came to me and said, 'I want a man knows their tactics, offensive and defensive, and who speaks English. Georges, you are the one who will be responsible for the pilots.' I said, 'Okay, Sir. My pleasure.' I told them to send me the pilots. I am sure the Americans are very good pilots, but remember, even a good swimmer may sink in the sea and even a very good pilot, he may be shot down in the war.

So many good American pilots were shot down: F18s, F15s, F16s, Thunderbolts. Many pilots were shot down. At the last, I had 44 of them: 31 or 32 were Americans. The others were Saudis, Kuwaitis, British and Italians. I was responsible for them. I received orders to execute them on January 24 from the president through his son Qusay, who came to me in the operation room.

I refused. I told Qusay, 'Look, these people are prisoners of war.' He said, 'No, they are not prisoners of war. They are war criminals.' At the time of this discussion, we were under bombing. He said, 'Don't you see how they are destroying the country?' I said, 'Mr. Qusay, look, I have told you on January 12, this is what's going to happen. But all of you said, 'nobody will be attacked.' So now it's war and wars have rules and you must go and fight according to the rules, and one of the most important rules concern how to treat the prisoner of war. These people should be treated according to this' (I was carrying the book of the United Nations, the Geneva Convention). He said, 'What is that?' I said, 'This is the Geneva Convention, which Iraq has signed. Therefore, we must respect our signature.' He said, 'No, that is for prisoners of war, but these are not prisoners of war. These are war criminals.' I said, 'No, they are prisoners of war and they should be treated according to this. Please remember my rank and my seniority. I was brought out of retirement. I am an international officer. I cannot deal with these people except according to this one book, according to the Geneva Convention.' He was very angry and he said, 'Okay, I will take them, I will put them in the targets. Let the Americans from up there kill the Americans on the ground.' I said, 'No, no, no. You would be using them as human shields. You cannot do that. That's also against the Geneva Convention.' It was a very big tough discussion between me and him, with the officers all surrounding us. One was saying, 'Now Qusay will shoot him.' Another was saying, 'Georges is finished.'

But believe me, I was doing this for two reasons. One was my faith in Jesus Christ and to make Him happy as His son. The second, because I am a high-ranking officer, I have experience, and I was not a Baath Party loyalist, to follow the party line. I wanted to behave as an Iraqi general, loyal to this country and this country's deep history, should behave.

I did this knowing that the price would be very heavy. I said to myself, 'I have been flying supersonic aircraft for 40 years. I could die at anytime. But this is a very good reason to die, to make this mission happen.' Qusay left and he was very angry. Before he left, I said, 'Excuse me, I want to tell you one last thing. You see now there is a war between Iraq and America. If you are going to kill these people, America will declare a new war. This time it will be war between America and your family.'

When I told him this, his eyes were opened. He just then realized what it meant to kill the prisoners of war. So before he left, I said, 'Mr. Qusay, please, I am sure you going to see the supreme commander, the president. Tell him he knows me very well. I am his adviser. Tell him that General Georges is saying that these people are not war criminals. They are prisoner of war and they should be treated according to the Geneva Convention.'

He left and the next day, people came from the Republican Guard, special guards who said 'Come with us.' I knew that the time had come but it was okay. I had done my duty in the best way and my thought was, 'let happen what happens.' They took me and they put me in prison. On February 5, I was released because Saddam himself said, 'I don't want to see his face. I don't want him to be in the Army anymore. But you can't kill him because he was right.' That is the only thing that saved me and the only reason I am alive now here. Because even though he was a dictator and evil, he realized the truth of what I had said about a new war between America and his family. Once again I was dismissed from the Army and I have stayed safe until now.

Before any of this had happened, Saddam had wanted us to attack Israel with chemical weapons, using different aircraft: Sequoyah 24's, Mirages, and MiGs. Again I stood in front of him and I told him, 'Excuse me, sir. You are saying that these aircraft will attack Israel in two waves: one through Jordan and one through Syria. I know the Israelis have a plan to destroy all incoming aircraft before entering Israeli borders. This means that these aircraft are going to be destroyed by two waves, over Jordan and over Syrian. Of course, Israelis have got good air defenses, but still the pilots know that many aircraft still can penetrate. You know what's going to happen, sir? There will be three attacks of chemical weapon on three countries: Jordan, Syria and Israel. By doing this, we will be giving the Israelis the right to retaliate by using their nuclear weapons. They have got very good delivery systems to carry the nuclear weapons. The delivery systems are rockets called Jericho 2. They are going to destroy Mosul, Baghdad, Basra and all our cities.'

I told him, 'Sir there will be disaster in the region. The four countries are going to be completely destroyed. Please, please, sir, let us not do that.' I begged him. He started asking me questions and the discussion lasted one hour, 41 minutes. At last, thank God, this attack didn't happen. This talk took place on December 17, 1990. He said, 'Look, if one American rocket hits the Iraqi homeland, I want these 98 aircraft to go and destroy Israel, and the 12 divisions to go in Saudi Arabia and destroy all the industrial area of Saudi Arabia from Kuwait to al-Dahran.' Another big, big job, given to the army and you can just imagine 12 divisions destroying all the industrial area of Saudi Arabia under an open sky without any air defense. I understood what was going to happen to these 12 divisions. But this man was not thinking at all what would happen to the forces.

I will tell you about Saddam. He is the man who killed the most clerics from Sunni and Shia in the history of Iraq. He is the man who killed the most Baath Party members, starting from central command, since the party was founded in 1947. Saddam is the man who killed the most of his own people. Saddam is the man who killed the most Tikritis, his own cousins from his city, than anyone since Iraq was founded in 1920.

Saddam is the one who killed the most Kurds. In the Amfal operations, he killed 203,000 Kurds. He used chemical weapons. In Halabja, he killed 5,375 people, all women, children and old men, in one attack--only one attack. Saddam killed the most officers from the Iraqi army since the army was founded in 1921. Saddam did this with the hatred that I know was in his heart. With his revenge, only God knows what he was going to do. Because he had love of power, of making more rockets, paying millions to make some development for rockets to go further and warheads to become more destructive and to have weapon of mass description.

At last Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They were used against our nation in the north and south, and even against the Iranians when they penetrated the last defense lines in our territory. They were used by helicopters, by fighters and even by the Ilyushin-76 transport, which it is not for bombing. But they were used in order to stop the invasion of Iran to the east of Basra, south of Iraq.

This is Saddam Hussein. I want all the Americans please to know who Saddam was and then to make the assessment: Was it worth it? Was it good that America took the decision to go and liberate that country by removing Saddam's regime or not? This is a very good question also.

From what I know about Iraq and about Saddam, I am now one of the people who believes very, very, very clearly that the decision taken by this blessed nation, America, to go and liberate Iraq from the evil regime of that dictator, it was the right decision and the proper time.

I don't want to interfere in your politics. You are a free nation. You are the nation of democracy. It's up to you, you have got many parties. I respect everybody in this country. I love America but this is the truth as an Iraqi I want to tell you that this was a great decision. I am very sorry for those who lost their beloved ones. I know it is difficult for them. But you should remember always you have done a great job. You have done a dramatic change in that country and you have liberated 27 million people from a dictatorship regime.

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Gen. Georges Sada was the number two man in the Iraqi Air Force. The author of Saddam's Secrets, he is an Iraqi Christian.

One final comment, from the Blogger. You can see how advantageous it can be for an army to have a high-ranking godly man on the enemy side. This was the experience of Cyrus the Persian, who conquered Babylon in 516 BCE. And it will continue to be the experience of conquering generals as long as there are godly men who serve in the military. I greatly regret my own military service, and am raising my sons to be conscientious objectors, but I still believe that God uses individuals to change history, and if one of my descendants is drafted into a despotic military against his will, I pray that he will--like Daniel in ancient times and Georges in modern times--serve his God, his supreme commander, and the conqueror of his doomed country, with equal distinction.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Dating Zerubbabel

Counter Genealogies in 1 Chronicles 3, Matthew 1, and Luke 3 can be synchronized to show that the three Zerubbabels did not have to be the same person, but they must have been near contemporaries.

Collating the genealogies of the Old and New Testaments is nothing new; The Western European Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis (D 05), dating to around the time the Western Empire disintegrated, exhibits a highly schematized genealogy in Luke 3 that incorporates elements from 1 Chronicles 3 and Matthew 1, and eliminates the seemingly extraneous 'Cainan' from between Sala and Arphaxad.

But something that Bezae fails to take into consideration when it replaces Heli's pedigree of the original Luke 3 with Jacob's of Matthew 1 is that Jacob's is several generations too short. Oh, it's obvious that Matthew failed to list four Kings of Judah--they are included from 1 Chronicles 3--but even with those obvious deficiencies taken care of, several generations still appear to be missing between Zerubbabel and Abiud. First Chronicles lists six generations after Zerubbabel, none of of which contain anybody named Abiud. Thus Abiud could very well be at least seven generations removed from the man that even Codex Bezae lists as his father.

Fitting in an extra six generations between Zerubbabel and Abiud raises several questions, not the least of which is: Are we sure we're talking about the same Zerubbabel? There's the Zerubbabel the Son of Pedaiah in 1 Chronicles, the Zerubbabel the Son of Shealtiel in Ezra, and the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Matthew. Let's consider this question on its merits.

Zerubbabel, first of all, is not the sort of name one would expect a typical Jewish mother to give her son. It's Hebrew meaning is something like "Captive of Babylon." Another possible meaning is "Born in Babylon." In either case, it's the sort of name that an exiled mother would giver her son during or shortly following the Babylonian Exile of 587 BCE (+-1 yr). A son born earlier would have already been named; a son born much later would probably be given a more optimistic appellative. Only a son born shortly after the distress of the evacuation of Judea to captivity, would be likely to be given such a depressing name. Certainly the name can be pinned down to a generation or two after this date. Thus regardless of the name of his father, or the name of his son, anyone named Zerubbabel can be pretty precisely dated in any chronology to having been born around the middle of the 6th century BCE. Thus for the purposes of Chronogenealogy, the precise identification of the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Matthew 1 and the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Luke 3 is unimportant. For dating purposes, we shall consider them to be one and the same person, as did the editor of Codex Bezae.

Having fixed the date for Zerubbabel's birth, we return to our genealogies to see if there are, indeed, several generations still missing between the Zerubbabel of Matthew 1 and his descendant Abiud. Twenty-five years is a reasonable average generation, and squares nicely with the 1025 years between David and Jesus, his descendant of the 41st generation in Luke 3--although the generations from David to Zerubbabel were compressed by primogeniture, leaving the later, post-exilic generations to be longer. But counting backwards in Matthew 1 from Jesus to Abiud, at twenty-five years per generation, we come to only about 310 BCE--wanting a full 277 years to get back to the Zerubbabel of Chronicles. And indeed, this squares with a comparison to Luke's genealogy, which lists 19 generations from Jesus back to Zerubbabel (at least to 475 BCE), versus only 10 in Matthew.

At least six generations are missing.

Thursday, 15 June 2006

While it is yet Today

Counter Languages change. This has already been established. For this reason, translations need to change along with them. At what rate this needs to be done has not yet been established, but in the case of The United States of America, the answer to that question is obviously somewhat in excess of two and a quarter centuries, but somewhere not far short of four centuries.

This is seen in that no attempt has ever been made to officially translate the founding documents of the country, composed at the end of the 18th century. The orthography is often updated, and certainly the punctuation, but never the language. But going back another 175 years to the founding documents of the American nation, composed in the early 17th century, we find that not only must the orthography and punctuation be changed, but the spelling of most words is so archaic as to require revision in virtually all modern quotations of the same.

But is this a change to language? I maintain that it is. For changes of language are first reflected in in the written record by changes of spelling. In the last century the government of Mongolia, lately free of its Russian overlords but not of the domination of their culture over the previous century, threw out the ancient Mongolian writing system and replaced it with an alphabet based on the Russian one. Why was this done? Because the Mongolian alphabet reflected a language of some six centuries past, and learning to read in it essentially required the mastery of a different language altogether. Now, the alphabet itself was fully adaptable to Modern Mongolian, but its cultural associations were wholly with the pre-communist world of the Mongol Empire, which was sucessfully extinguished by a lifetime of communist rule. During that time the ancient Mongolian alphabet, along with the current Mongolian language, had been academically supressed in favor of Russian.

So when the new governing elite of Mongolia, trained as they had been in the Russian academic system, set out to reform the Mongolian orthography, they decided instead to jettison it altogether in favor of a strict phonetic system using as its base the Cyrillic letters of the Russian alphabet. Since by that time only about five per cent of the population could read Old Mongolian, the change was easy to implement. Old Mongolian is at last extinct, both as a spoken and now finally as a written language.

So we can see here the mechanism by which any written language eventually becomes extinct:

1) The spoken language of an ethnic group is reduced to writing and literature in that language (which at this moment is the same, both spoken and written) becomes widespread. That is to say, not everyone who speaks the language can necessarily read it, but everyone does have access to someone who can. During this time the spoken language is itself standardized by the presence of the written language.

2) The spoken language continues to change, as all languages do, but its rate of change is held in check by the presence of the writen language. That rate in turn is dependent upon the level and extent of education in the written language. Along with this development is the spread of the language itself, along with its writing system, to the trading partners of the original ethnic group.

3) The spoken language changes to the extent that the written language (which can never keep pace with changes in the spoken language) grows farther and farther behind it in development. At this stage other ethnic groups may change the written language slightly to adapt it to their own needs. But without an internal upheaval in the original ethnic group, a language can continue on in this stage for centuries--even millennia. A single paradigm shift, however, can move a language from this stage to the next in the course of a single lifetime--to the point that elderly people are unable to communicate directly with their own great-grandchildren.

4) Prepatory to the paradigm shift, a new language begins to impinge on usage of the old one. This ocurrs through the political, cultural, and economic hegemony of a more powerful nation. Trade and education is more and more being conducted in the new language, although the old language continues to be spoken by the masses. This is an unstable situation that craves resolution, which when it comes, comes swiftly.

5) As more and more education is conducted in the new language, it becomes more difficult for users of the spoken language to master their own archaic written language. This is especially so if the new language has a writing system that is much more in sync with its own vernacular. Suddenly, something happens to bring about the paradigm shift, and the old written language, which has long ceased to be spoken, is replaced with the writing system of the new language. Not in every case is it replaced with the new language itself--but the old orthography is completely abandoned, never to be revived. Traces of it will probably remain in the new system, but at the time it is formed, the new system will represent the current status of the spoken language better than the old system ever could. Interestingly enough, the old language will continue to endure indefinitely as a second language of the educated clergy if its status as a liturgical language is allowed to remain.

I could spend the next month writing about how this process has worked out in history, but instead I will just briefly list some outstanding examples.

1) Etruscan gave its writing system to the languages of central Italy, one of which prevailed over all the others, even to the extinction of Etruscan itself. The Latin alphabet and language so thoroughly replaced those of Etruscan that there is hardly a trace now to show that the language ever existed.

2) Paleo-Hebrew endured for centuries until being snuffed out by the Assyrian and Babalonian Captivity of Israel and Judah. Hebrew remained as a liturgical language, but its orthography was replaced by the square letters of the Assyrians. Now "Hebrew" has been revived as the national language of Israel, but 90% of its vocabulary is either constructed or borrowed from other languages.

3) Latin itself, many centuries after replacing Etruscan (the language of the Latin's erstwhile conquerors), was itself replaced as a spoken language after the Barbarian conquest. First, the pure Latin of Rome was adulterated into the Vulgar Latin of the Barbarian troops sent to occupy the far corners of the Empire. Then, as the empire crumbled and multiple tribes rushed in to occupy its fringes, the various Vulgar dialects developed into languages of their own--dozens in all, which are in turn gradually being swallowed up by the national languages of their respective countries. Latin remained well into the 20th century as the language of Catholic and classical education, with a revival of sorts now underway on the Internet.

And now I'll give an example of a language that has never undergone such a paradigm shift, and briefly explain why.

Greek was the language of the City-States of the first millennium BCE; the language of the Greek Empire under Alexander and his disparate successors; and the trade language of the whole Mediterranean Basin during the days of the Roman Empire. It continued on as the official language of Byzantium after the fall of the West, but seemed doomed by the Islamic conquest which nibbled at the corners of the Empire for eight hundred years before the fall of Constantinople in 1453 brought all of the Greek-speaking world under the domination of a culture whose written language was Arabic.

Why, then, when Greece finally emerged from Islamic occupation 380 years later, was Greek still the national language, as it is to this day? The answer lies in the fact that while Arabic was the liturgical language of Greece's conquerors, Turkish was their spoken language. In addition, spoken Arabic itself had already splintered by that time into dozens of spoken languages. Thus it was unable to compete with the spoken Greek even as a trade language. Furthermore, as the Greeks resisted Islamification they continued to use Greek as their liturgical language, as to this day. Yes, there developed a dichotomy between the spoken and written Greek, as there must, but no other language qualified to take advantage of this weakness, and Greek endures to this day as a language that is spoken one way and written another.

Now, I could write another whole article on what this all means to us as speakers and writers of English, and how that relates to the Today's New International Version.

But not Today.