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Land of Black Gold

Land of Black Gold

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Encyclopedia
Land of Black Gold is the fifteenth of The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin is a series of classic comic books created by Belgian artist , who wrote under the pen name of Hergé...

, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé
Hergé
Georges Prosper Remi , better known by the pen name Hergé, was a Belgian comics writer and artist. His best known and most substantial work is the 23 completed comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series, which he wrote and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983, although he was also...

, featuring young reporter Tintin
Tintin (character)
Tintin is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. Tintin is the protagonist of the series, a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy....

 as a hero.

It was first published in Le Petit Vingtième
Le Petit Vingtième
Le Petit Vingtième was the weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle from 1928 to 1940. The comics series The Adventures of Tintin first appeared in its pages.-History:...

 from 1939 to 1940, but ended in mid-adventure. It was later redrawn, colourised and published in Tintin magazine and in book form from 1948 to 1950. Both these versions were set in the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1971 parts of the story were again redrawn in order to set it in the fictional state of Khemed.

Synopsis


Car engines are spontaneously exploding all over the country. The reason is narrowed down to the petrol used in the cars which is tampered in some way to cause an explosion. As a result most form of transport from cars to airlines are cutting down on fuel usage, thus affecting the economy.

Furthermore political tensions are heightening, leading the world to the brink of war, and Captain Haddock
Captain Haddock
Captain Archibald Haddock is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé...

 is mobilised in anticipation of an outbreak of hostilities. Following different leads, Tintin and Thomson and Thompson
Thomson and Thompson
Thomson and Thompson are fictional characters in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. Thomson and Thompson are detectives of Scotland Yard, and are as incompetent as they are necessary comic relief...

 set off for Khemed (a fictional country
Fictional country
A fictional country is a country that is made up for fictional stories, and does not exist in real life, or one that people believe in without proof....

 in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

) on board a petrol tanker
Oil tanker
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries...

. Upon arrival, the three are framed
Frameup
A frame-up or setup is an American term referring to the act of framing someone, that is, providing false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime....

 and arrested by the authorities under various charges. The Thompsons are cleared and released, but Tintin is kidnapped by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 insurgents. (In the original version of the story he initially arrived in the port of Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 in British Palestine and was first kidnapped by members of the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

, before being subsequently abducted by Arabs.)

In the course of his adventures, Tintin re-encounters an old enemy, Dr. J.W. Müller (see The Black Island
The Black Island
The Black Island is the seventh of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as the hero. It was first published in the newspaper supplement Le Petit Vingtième in the late 1930s...

 for back story), whom he sees sabotaging an oil pipeline. He reunites with the Thompsons and eventually arrives in Wadesdah, the capital of Khemed, where he comes across his old friend, the Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 merchant Senhor Oliveira da Figueira. When the local Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 Ben Kalish Ezab's young son, Prince Abdullah, is kidnapped, Tintin suspects that Müller (who is masquerading as an archaeologist under the name of Professor Smith) is responsible. He pursues Müller in hopes of rescuing the prince and gets into his study. After an incident involving sneezing powder he is able to knock out Muller. He ties him up, gags him, and hides him behind the sofa. He then rescues the Prince and later captures Muller. Captain Haddock comes along near the end of the book, but it is never explained how this happens. In the process he discovers the doctor to be the agent of a foreign power responsible for the tampering of the fuel supplies, having invented a type of chemical in tablet form that increases the explosive power of oil by a significant amount. The Thom(p)son twins find the tablets and swallow them, thinking them to be aspirin, causing them to belch continuously, and grow long hair and beards that change colour.

After analysing the tablets, Professor Calculus
Professor Calculus
Professor Cuthbert Calculus is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé...

 comes up with remedies for the Thompsons and a means of countering the affected oil supplies, though, while carrying out his tests, he half-destroys Captain Haddock's Marlinspike Hall
Marlinspike Hall
Marlinspike Hall is Captain Haddock's country house in Hergé's comic book series The Adventures of Tintin.The hall is modeled after the central section of the Château de Cheverny...

, earning the Captain's fury.

Word play


Many of the names of characters and places in this album are pun
Pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

s in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 dialect:
  • Ben Kalish Ezab — kalichesap, liquorice juice
  • Bir El Ambik — bière lambic
    Lambic
    Lambic is a very distinctive type of beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery and museum...

    , a type of Belgian beer
    Beer
    Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

  • Yussuf Ben Mulfrid — moules-frites
    Moules-frites
    Moules-frites is a popular dish consisting of mussels and French fries that is primarily served in Belgium and northern France."Moules" means mussels and "frites" means fries in French....

    , a Belgian dish
    Belgian cuisine
    Belgium has been called a nation of gourmands rather than gourmets: a country, in other words, where "big cuisine" comes before "fine cuisine". It has been said that Belgium serves food of French quality in German quantities.-Frieten or frites:...

     consisting of French fries
    French fries
    French fries , chips, fries, or French-fried potatoes are strips of deep-fried potato. North Americans tend to refer to any pieces of deep-fried potatoes as fries or French fries, while in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of deep-fried potatoes are...

     with mussels
  • Bab El Ehr — babbeleer, chatterer
  • the Well of Bir Kegg — beer keg
    Keg
    A keg is a small barrel.Traditionally, a wooden keg is made by a cooper used to transport items such as nails, gunpowder., and a variety of liquids....

  • Wadesdah; What is that?
  • Hasch Abaibabi; Hush-a-bye baby


"Boum!
Boum!
Boum ! is a popular song by the French singer/songwriter Charles Trenet which won him the Grand Prix du Disque. Its light, irreverent lyrics express a joie de vivre which suited the mood of the French public at the time of its release in 1938....

", the iconic song by Charles Trenet
Charles Trenet
Charles Trenet was a French singer and songwriter, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, though his career continued through the 1990s...

, appears in parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 as the car breakdown repair company's advertising jingle, which plays on Thomson and Thompson's car radio
Car radio
Car radio may refer to:*a radio in a car. See car audio and in car entertainment*"Car Radio", a song by Spoon from their 1998 album A Series of Sneaks...

 at the very beginning of the story.

The first version


Hergé began working on the story before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and early pages were published in Le Petit Vingtième
Le Petit Vingtième
Le Petit Vingtième was the weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle from 1928 to 1940. The comics series The Adventures of Tintin first appeared in its pages.-History:...

. The atmosphere of impending war throughout the adventure reflects the concerns of the time.

The original version was set in the late 1930s in the British Mandate of Palestine and the conflict between Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, Arabs and British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 troops. In this version, the Jewish Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 played a small but important part. The head of the Irgun disguises himself as an Orthodox Rabbi (as did Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

, the real historical head of the Irgun, during this period). Upon his arrival in Palestine, Tintin is arrested by the British authorities when compromising documents are found in his cabin, of which he knew nothing of. He is then kidnapped by members of the Irgun who have mistaken him for one of their own. They realise their mistake when their real associate, Finkelstein, arrives at their HQ. He bears some resemblance to Tintin, though he has a nasty and unpleasant smirk on his face.

Before they can decide what to do with him the Zionists' car is stopped by a roadblock of rocks and barrels. As they clear it, Arab gunmen emerge from a nearby wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

 field and take Tintin, whom they too believe is the Zionist activist, into the desert. (This scene was inspired by a photo Hergé had in his archives showing two British soldiers from a road convoy dismantling a similar obstruction while other troops have their rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

s and machine guns pointed at a wheat field.)

Tintin meets Sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

 Bab El Ehr, the Arab insurgent who is fighting the British and the Jews. Meanwhile the Zionists are captured and interrogated by British officials.

Following the takeover of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 by Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1940, Hergé decided that it would be wiser to drop this story whose political context would not have appealed to the German censors. It ceased publication at about mid-adventure when Tintin, after his first confrontation with Müller, is caught in a sandstorm.

Hergé moved to the collaborationist newspaper Le Soir and during the war years Tintin's adventures focused on non-political issues such as drug smuggling (The Crab with the Golden Claws
The Crab with the Golden Claws
The Crab with the Golden Claws is the ninth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero...

), scientific expeditions (The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star is the tenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip books that were written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero....

), intrigue and treasure hunts (The Secret of the Unicorn
The Secret of the Unicorn
The Secret of the Unicorn is the eleventh title in the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin, written and illustrated by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Designed to be the first volume in a two-part story, the plot of The Secret of the Unicorn was continued in the twelfth Tintin adventure, Red...

 and Red Rackham's Treasure
Red Rackham's Treasure
Red Rackham's Treasure is the twelfth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. It is a continuation of The Secret of the Unicorn, and is one of very few Tintin...

) and a mysterious curse (The Seven Crystal Balls
The Seven Crystal Balls
The Seven Crystal Balls is the thirteenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero....

).

Controversially, The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star
The Shooting Star is the tenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip books that were written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero....

 also included Jews shown in a bad light (see Tintin and the Jews).


French editing


Meanwhile, in occupied France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

, the story had been published in the weekly Catholic magazine Coeurs Vaillants (Valiant Hearts). All references to Zionists and Arabs were removed from the speech bubbles, though the illustrations remained unchanged, and Tintin's double, Finkelstein, was given the more French-like name of Durand. The scene where a British plane flies over the Arab camp was not included. This was presumably in an effort to avoid trouble with Marshal Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

's censors.

In 1945 the story appeared in the French Catholic paper, La Voix de l'ouest (The Voice of the West, a local paper published in Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

 in the west of France). The story was renamed Tintin et Milou au pays de l'or liquide (Tintin and Snowy in the Land of Liquid Gold).

Although Pétain had long since gone it still included much of Coeurs Vaillants edited version: the British were referred to as "the police"; some cursing remarks made by a Jew about Arabs who have blocked the road were not included; and Tintin's Zionist-lookalike was still named Durand.

Tintin magazine


Meanwhile Hergé restarted the story from scratch in Tintin magazine in 1948. It was redrawn, colourised and given more detailed panels, but the scenes with the British and the Irgun kidnappers remained. Tintin's double was now given the more Jewish-sounding name of Salomon Goldstein. His unpleasant smirk was removed and he was given the look of a charming young man.

By now Captain Haddock
Captain Haddock
Captain Archibald Haddock is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé...

 was an important part of Tintin's world and he was therefore added to the conclusion of the story (although no explanation as to how he suddenly turns up to rescue Tintin in Müller's bunker is given). Nestor the butler
Nestor (Tintin character)
Nestor is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. He is the long-suffering butler of Marlinspike Hall....

 makes a cameo and Cuthbert Calculus and Marlinspike Hall
Marlinspike Hall
Marlinspike Hall is Captain Haddock's country house in Hergé's comic book series The Adventures of Tintin.The hall is modeled after the central section of the Château de Cheverny...

 are also mentioned. This version was published in book form shortly afterwards.

The final version


Twenty years later when the story was due to be published in English the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 had long been up and running. Methuen felt that the scenes of British troops in Palestine made the book dated. Hergé and his assistant Bob de Moor
Bob de Moor
Bob de Moor is the pen name of Robert Frans Marie De Moor , a Belgian comics creator. Chiefly noted as an artist, he is considered an early master of the Ligne claire style. He wrote and drew several comics series on his own, but also collaborated with Hergé on several volumes of The Adventures of...

 rewrote the album resetting the story in a fictional Arab state called Khemed. It was published in 1972 and it is this version that is most commonly available in most countries today.

The changes that were made to the illustrations started from the point where, at night, Tintin checks over the oil tanks at the dockyard and overhears a conversation between two suspicious men. This continued with the scenes on the oil tanker, the events at the city-port and Tintin's meeting with Sheikh Bab El Ehr. They ended at the point when the Thompsons attempt, in bathing suits, to swim in a lake that turns out to be a mirage
Mirage
A mirage is a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays are bent to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. The word comes to English via the French mirage, from the Latin mirare, meaning "to look at, to wonder at"...

. Before and after that the illustrations remained pretty much unchanged.

A page in which the Thompsons go from mirage to mirage and end up crashing into the only palm tree for miles around was unchanged but moved to another location.

Some changes were made to the text in order to remove references to the British presence in the Middle East by Emir Ben Kalish Ezab and give him the air of an actual ruler of a Kingdom rather than the appearance of a local prince.

Other changes included:
Scene 1950 edition 1972 edition
Both editions include a lot of Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 script.
The Arabic is based on the artist's imagination. The writing is genuine Arabic.
The Thompsons are told by their boss to join the crew of the petrol tanker Speedol Star. They are to look out for spies among the crew. They wear dark sailor suits, suitable for fancy dress, and even smoke pipes. They are to go to Khemed and check over the growing tension in the area since Sheikh Bab El Ehr is seeking to overthrow Emir Ben Kalish Ezab. The suits are blue, but even more outrageous, with Titanic written on the caps.
The Speedol Star The ship's layout is very basic and Tintin's radio is one big machine. The layout of the Speedol Star is more detailed, catching the atmosphere of an actual oil tanker. Tintin's radio equipment is much more sophisticated.
The Speedol Star arrives in the Middle East. Tintin and the Thompsons are arrested by the authorities. It turns out that O'Connor, the sailor who tried to dispose of Snowy, had nothing to do with the case of the exploding oil, hence Tintin following a false trail. The ship arrives in Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 (called Caiffa in the 1938 version ). The nature of the documents found in the tampered coat rake in Tintin's cabin is not revealed. A coast guard claims that the Thompsons tried to resist the search of their luggage. Papers found in their possession appear to indicate that O'Connor was the spy they were supposed to look out for. The Thompsons refer to the British lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 as "Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

".
The ship arrives at Khemkhah (Khemikal in the English version), port of Khemed. The documents in Tintin's cabin suggest that he is there to arrange the delivery of arms to the rebel Sheikh Bab El Ehr. O'Connor was a drug smuggler. The Thompsons refer to the Arab lieutenant by his proper rank.
While escorted through the streets by soldiers, Tintin is kidnapped by insurgents who knock them out with a canister of sleeping gas. He ends up the prisoner of Sheikh Bab El Ehr. The kidnappers are Jewish Irgun who then come across a roadblock and are ambushed by Arabs who take Tintin, tied up with rope, to Bab El Ehr. He is furious with his men because Tintin is not Goldstein, whom the Sheik knows has arrived to help the Irgun against the Arabs. The Irgun are captured by the British and admit their own mistake. Sheikh Bab El Ehr's men kidnap Tintin because they believe that he is due to supply them with weapons. When Tintin denies this, the Sheik takes his anger out on his informant whom he accuses of telling him lies. (The Jews do not appear and neither does Tintin's double.)
A Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 fighter flies over Bab El Ehr's camp, dropping leaflet
Pamphlet
A pamphlet is an unbound booklet . It may consist of a single sheet of paper that is printed on both sides and folded in half, in thirds, or in fourths , or it may consist of a few pages that are folded in half and saddle stapled at the crease to make a simple book...

s.
It's an RAF plane, as shown by its markings. Bab El Ehr warns that anyone reading the leaflets will be shot on the spot. The plane is from the Khemed Air Force. Bab El Ehr laughs away at the leaflets, claiming that none of his men can read.
Tintin meets Emir Ben Kalish Ezab and they discuss Bab El Ehr, Müller and the opposing oil companies. Sheik Bab El Ehr wants to get the British out of the country (there is a heavy reward for his capture). Emir Ben Kalish Ezab regards him as a fanatic, but states that the Sheik is merely a suspect in the attacks on the oil pipelines. Ben Kalish Ezab comes across as just a local prince who has a deal with an unnamed British oil company and will not sign a deal with Müller's non-British company. Bab El Ehr and Ben Kalish Ezab are rivals for power. The Emir is convinced the Sheik is behind the attacks. He is also the actual ruler of a country, Khemed. The rival companies are Arabex and Skoil Petroleum. The Emir's hostile relationship with Müller is unchanged.
Abdullah is kidnapped and a letter is sent to the Emir in which Bab El Ehr claims responsibility. The note tells the Emir to drive the British out of the area. The note tells the Emir to drive the Arabex oil company out of the area.
Tintin goes to Wadesdah where Müller resides. Wadesdah is described as a small town. Wadesdah is described as the capital of Khemed.