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A Children’s Book Author Call’s Out Gilgamesh as a Wrongfully Celebrated Clear-cutter
Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November27th, 2018, Kam Karem
The recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment paints a grim picture of climate-changed caused world decline, and a children’s book author blames a value system dating back over 4000 years to an ancient Sumerian King. In the celebrated poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh killed Humbaba, the protector of the famous Lebanese Cedar Forest, and then chopped down all the trees. Now, a children’s book author has published a fiction book written from the perspective of Humbaba’s descendants.
According to Kam Karem, author of Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom:
My family, the Karems, immigrated to the United States from Bsharri, Lebanon in the early 1900s. In Bsharri, they, and the town’s other inhabitants, served as “Keepers of the Cedars of God” for generations. This famous grove was part of the tremendous forests that used to cover most of Lebanon.
I’ve been doing a slow-burn with regards to Gilgamesh since I read the epic in high school. Essentially, to gain fame, Gilgamesh killed Humbaba, then clear-cut the Cedar Forest. As a matter of historic fact, the Egyptians, Hebrews, Romans, Greeks, Mycenaean’s and Ottomans contributed to the deforestation of Lebanon. But using trees to build ships, houses, and temples is one thing, leveling a forest to satiate one’s ego is another. Meanwhile, 4500 years after Gilgamesh reigned, the Keepers of the Cedar Forest, a role that all Lebanese share, struggle to bring light to their conservation efforts and for funding to accomplish reforestation.
In Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom, Ranger Nader is born into a family of Keepers. When he is accosted by a magic axe, he discovers he’s this generation’s “Guardian,” i.e.: person entrusted with the axe to preserve and protect God’s Holy Cedars. Along with his sister and two cousins, Ranger trains to crew a spaceship in a secret school hidden in Bsharri. He meets a descendant of Humbaba there and learns to use his axe. When Gilgamesh resurfaces intent on destroying the world, Ranger confronts the crazy king with the magic axe in an epic show down.
According to Karem, one of the story’s underlying motifs is the constant struggle and tension between the consumers and protectors of our planet’s finite resources. “Gilgamesh sought and obtained fame for his destruction of the forest. Today, there are those who emulate him in their unfettered use and abuse of irreplaceable resources such as forests and rivers.”
Ranger Nader & The Sunstruck Phantom is middle grade book appropriate for children ten years and older. It’s on sale now at Amazon at https://amzn.to/2yMX15A. You can read more about Kam Karem at http://www.amazon.com/author/kamkarem .
For more information about Lebanon’s Reforestation efforts, see: