La republique miserable infelice,
Sera vastee de nouueau magistrat:
Leur grand amas de l’exile malefice,
Fera Sueue rauir leur grand contracts.
The miserable, unhappy, republic,
Will be devastated by the new magistrate:
Their great amassing of wicked exile,
Will cause the Swiss to carry off their great contracts.
Nostradamus (1555) Century 1 Quatrain 61
Nostradamus grew up in a world captivated by word plays and cryptograms. In previous bulletins we explored the better known rules of anagram that decode names of leaders, combative countries and places involved in events transpiring in the widening war spreading across the Middle East. Today we look at more abstract forms of word puzzle used by Nostradamus. He may have sometimes disguised a subject as a verb.
Back when I last deciphered this quatrain in 1996 for my book Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies, mainstream opinion up to that time believed Catholic Nostradamus was prophetically attacking his contemporary, John Calvin, the shepherd to Protestant citizens of Geneva, Switzerland, and de facto “magistrate” or leader of that theocratic city-state. I was the first Nostradamian scholar to throw the quatrain’s interpretation forward in time with the theory that the verb “amas” could disguise the name of the radical Palestinian terrorist organization (H)amas:
“Rather than stay with the mainstream theory I will pin this quatrain on the near-future destiny of the Palestinian state, under its new (and first) president, Yasser Arafat. Those doing all the ‘amassing’ (or better, ‘Hamassing’) against Arafat are the anti-Zionist Palestinian faction, Hamas… With this said, I sense that Yasser Arafat’s presidency will be a bust. Perhaps he is assassinated. There seem to be few good leaders to replace him.”
Ten years have passed since I wrote those words. Yasser Arafat’s presidency ran its course plagued by urban war with Israel on the streets of Palestinian slums and cities. He could not rein in armed radical militias in his own Fatah Party. Certainly his chief political adversaries, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, did whatever they could to successfully undermine Arafat’s power from within Palestinian lands. He had not the political clout to stop Hamas from waging its terrorist bombing campaign in Israel without threatening a Palestinian civil war. Israel in turn punished and degraded Arafat’s feeble rule by systematically bombing his government’s offices and police stations across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank territories. Arafat spent his final years in Ramallah a prisoner in his own bombed out presidential complex, ringed by Israeli tanks. He had become scarcely more than a president of his ruined compound. The peace process with Israel was in stalemate for years. By 2004, even a majority of Palestinian leaders grudgingly came around to Israel’s position. As long as a defiant Arafat stubbornly hung onto power among the ruins of his de facto, Israeli tank imposed house arrest there would be no progress toward peace, or an independent Palestinian state.
Then, in the autumn of 2004, the legendary survivor of many battles and disasters suddenly fell ill. Arafat had a sickness of the blood his doctors in Palestine–and later in Paris where he was sent for emergency care–could not diagnose. Arafat died under the shadow of rumors that his party leadership poisoned their president.
It would seem that what I predicted ten years ago about his first successor at least has come true. Arafat’s heir designate, Mahmoud Abbas, was elected president by the Palestinians for a four-year term in January 2005. So far he was proven to be a weak and ineffectual leader. The frustrated Palestinian people used the ballot box exactly a year later to undermine Abbas further. Their vote threw his and the late Arafat’s Fatah party out of power, replacing it with a large parliamentary majority for Hamas. Now Abbas the moderate is a politically undermined president of Palestine, playing unwilling figurehead to a radical Islamist Palestinian government.
A decade ago I finished recording my take on Century 1 Quatrain 61 cautioning the following about turning a verb into a noun for Hamas with a prediction:
My decoding hinges on whether the French word for ‘amassing,’ ‘amas,’ is in fact a cryptogram for (H)amas, whose operatives may perform some act of terrorism so heinous that it derails the efforts of peacemakers from the Middle East all the way to the peace tables of Geneva.”
Geneva seems to represent a contemporary theme to Nostradamus’ time: the fate of John Calvin’s theocratic Calvinist state. At other times the wording sounds contemporary to the present. In other prophecies of Nostradamus, Geneva symbolizes some important place where diplomats draft peace treaties. It is a well-known fact that the League of Nations hailed Geneva as its world capital. The league’s successor, The United Nations, still uses Geneva as its secondary capital to New York. The UN compound in Geneva has been the location for the negotiation and signing of numerous international peace accords in the last 60 years, chief among these was the Palestinian peace accord drafted after the Gulf War of 1991. Since then, it has been the template for all contracts of peace put forth to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Thus Geneva (Swiss) can be a symbolic reference to the fate of such peace efforts in Nostradamus’ prophecies.
Fortified with this information let us return to Century 1, Quatrain 61 to refresh our view of Nostradamus’ word plays line by line. Perhaps after ten years we might together discover new signs about the future of Hamas:
“The miserable, unhappy republic…”
The dreams of a Palestinian state are going up in the smoke of Islamist rockets and Israeli air and ground attacks across the Gaza Strip since Hamas came to power in Palestinian lands six months ago. An act of democracy touted by US president Bush as a panacea for bringing peace and people power in the Middle East brought a terrorist organization into power. A majority of Palestinians elected a party committed to continuing an armed conflict with Israel. The election result effectively ended peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. Israel immediately worked to undermine Hamas as an effective governing party, withholding payment of border tariff taxes. These were a key source of income necessary to sustain any Palestinian government and pay its police force and state employees. A radical Iran stepped in to finance Palestinian state and humanitary needs bringing Hamas and Palestine into tighter embrace with Israel’s greatest enemy. Then, the abduction of an Israeli soldier at the end of June 2006 by Hamas guerillas infiltrating Israeli territory brought on a new war.
The people of Palestine are indeed miserable, unhappy as the prophecy says. The lights in the slums of the Gaza Strip have gone out after power stations were bombed by Israeli jets. A humanitary crisis looms as Palestinian guerillas fight Israeli tanks ringing Palestinian settlements and dodge Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City killing and wounding scores of civilians. It would seem that the Palestinian dream of an independent state has, in the case of 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza, yet again transformed into the nightmare of a vast Palestinian concentration camp besieged by Israeli guns and missiles. Worse, says Nostradamus, may be coming to this miserable and unhappy republic in the near future.
“[It]…will be devastated by the new magistrate…”
In the 16th century, a magistrate was elected or appointed by vote. The inference here is not a king but an elected leader, a new party in power. I read Hamas and its appointed Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, as the “magistrate.” So my prediction is this: While Hamas is in power, Palestine will face a devastation it has never before endured. My interpretation, by the way, does not rule out the new magistrate being the recently elected prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert. One could say the Israeli leader is a magistrate of Palestinian lands under Israeli occupation..
Now to the last two lines of the quatrain:
“…Their great amassing (Hamas) of wicked exile will cause the Swiss to carry off their great contracts.”
As I said earlier, the Swiss could stand symbolically for Geneva, the second capital of the United Nations. The “contracts” are peace treaties, UN resolutions and the like. The Hamas Party’s prime minister in Palestine is not the real leader of Hamas but a facilitator of Khaled Meshaal who lives in exile in Damascus, Syria. It is said he receives his orders from Tehran, a place he frequently flies to from Damascus. The Israeli secret services believe it was Meshaal who ordered the attack into Israel for hostages. The incursion jump started the new Hamas-Israeli conflict. More abductions of Israeli troops by Hezbullah along the Lebanese border tripwired the explosion of a larger war in mid July between Hezbullah and Israel.
The next escalation could draw Syria, then finally Iran into the mounting conflagration. If my interpretation is right, the Swiss–read Geneva and the UN–will not succeed in stabilizing a buffer zone between Hezbullah and Israel in Southern Lebanon with a robust peace enforcing army. UN negotiations cannot stop this war. It will run its course. Perhaps the gathering of “wicked exile(s)” include Hamas “amassing” terrorist cells in Europe to strike at Israeli embassies, synagogues and businesses. Maybe Nostradamus, back in the 16th century, misread his vision and amalgamated Sunni Muslim Hamas with Shia Hezbullah. The latter does have terrorist cells in Europe who may spring to action any moment. Sunni-centered Al-Qaeda might launch attacks in Europe in the name of Hamas and the Sunni Palestinian people. Such a terrorist attack in Europe–whoever the Sunni or Shia source–may precipitate the retreat of peacemakers back to Geneva with their offers of contracts for peace until war in the Middle East has run its apocalyptic course.
(28 July 2006)
See more prophecies of Nostradamus.