Season: 3, Episodes: 1, Faction: N/A
Amira was the wife of Sami, appearing in Sayid’s flashbacks.
3×11 – Enter 77
When living in Iraq, Amira was tortured by Sayid while he was working for the Republican Guard. Her torture involved being scalded with hot oil, which left permanent scars on her arms. Her husband told Sayid that she was forced to confess to something (harboring enemies of the state) she did not do. Sami and Amira later moved to Paris, France. Together they opened up a restaurant, Le Jardin Croissant Fertile, with Amira in charge of the kitchen.
When living in Paris, Amira one day glimpsed Sayid working in a restaurant and instantly recognized him as her former interrogator. Her husband lured Sayid into their restaurant, pretending to offer him a job as chef. He chained Sayid to a floor grate and refused to let him go until he admitted what he had done to Amira. Sayid admitted to being a torturer in the Republican Guard, but said that he had never seen Amira and wouldn’t hurt a woman. Sami beat him severely, and would have killed him, but Amira prevented him from finishing the job.
Amira later spoke to Sayid one-on-one and told him a story. When she and her husband first arrived in Paris, she was afraid to ever leave their apartment. However, one day from her window she witnessed a cat being tortured by children in an alley near her apartment; she said this gave her a reason to leave her apartment – to rescue the cat.
Amira took the cat in and looked after it, but every once in a while the cat would bite or scratch her because sometimes it would forget that it was safe. She said that she could forgive it, however, because she knew what it was like to never feel safe – because of what Sayid did to her.
Amira then asked Sayid to show her the respect of acknowledging what he had done to her and that he remembers her. Sayid was moved to tears and told her that he remembered torturing her and that he was haunted by her face ever since he left Iraq. Sayid expressed great remorse for torturing Amira, and she told him that she forgave him. She said that she would tell her husband that she was mistaken about Sayid’s identity, and to let him go.
When Sayid asked Amira why she would let him go, she said that every human is capable of being cruel, but she said that she would not “do that.” (“Enter 77”)
On the Island
Sayid never forgot this lesson of forgiveness, and later had a similar intervention when Danielle Rousseau wanted to kill Mikhail (and he himself wanted to die), and Sayid prevented it. (“Enter 77”)
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(Ashtoreth) An important Levantine Goddess adopted into Egyptian cult under a narrow aspect as a Goddess of war, especially of the chariot. Like the Levantine Goddess Anat, Astarte was regarded by Egyptians as a daughter of Re and a wife of Seth, although Astarte is also sometimes regarded as the daughter of Ptah. Astarte is depicted in an Egyptian context as an armed naked woman on horseback wearing the atef crown or a bull-horned headdress.
A fragmentary papyrus probably of the time of Amenhotep II recounts a myth involving Astarte (trans. in Simpson, ed. 2003). In the myth the sea, Yamm, is ruler of the cosmos and exacts tribute from his subjects, which apparently consists at first of the produce of the harvest, since mention is made of Renenutet. Astarte is sent to deliver the tribute to Yamm, and perhaps to intercede in some fashion on behalf of the other Gods. Yamm refers to her as “you furious and tempestuous Goddess.” Nevertheless it appears that the sea makes Astarte his wife, or some kind of co-ruler, for when she next appears before the other Gods “the great ones saw her and got up to meet her, and the lesser ones saw her and lay down on their bellies. Her throne was given to her, and she sat down.” Extensive gaps make reconstructing the story a matter of conjecture, but something is presented to Astarte, possibly a dowry to be offered to Yamm as her husband-to-be. Some demand is made of the other Gods which requires them to surrender their very adornments to Yamm; mention is made of beads from around the neck of Nut (the stars?) and a signet ring of Geb. Subsequently a threat is made by Yamm to submerge the earth; Seth enters the story and “sits himself down calmly,” but the rest is lost. From scattered allusions elsewhere it would appear that the story ended with battling Yamm and putting an end to the sea’s insatiable demands, a fragment near the end of the papyrus being reconstructed as “And the sea left…”. Of Astarte’s further actions in the myth nothing is however known.
Astarte is also mentioned in a spell against crocodiles on the river from the Harris Magical Papyrus (spell F ll. 14-16=col. 3/5-10), in which five Gods are asked to seal what is in the river “like the mouth of the vulva of Anat and Astarte, the two great Goddesses who are pregnant without giving birth, is sealed.” It is explained that “They were closed by Horus. They were opened by Seth,” (Ritner 1984, 216). That is, Seth “opened” or impregnated them, and then their vulvas were closed by Horus, that they might not give birth to, in the particular case, crocodiles, since Maga, the son of Seth, is depicted as a crocodile.
Astarte was actually a warrior goddess of Canaan and Syria who is a Western Semitic counterpart of the Akkadian Ishtar worshipped in Mesopotamia.
In the Egyptian pantheon to which she was officially admitted during the 18th Dynasty, her prime association is with horses and chariots. On the stela set up near the sphinx by Amenhotep II celebrating his prowess, Astarte is described as delighting in the impressive equestrian skill of the monarch when he was still only crown prince. In her iconography her aggression can be seen in the bull horns she sometimes wears as a symbol of domination. Similarly, in her Levantine homelands, Astarte is a battlefield goddess. For example, when the Peleset (Philistines) killed Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa, they deposited the enemy armor as spoils in the temple of “Ashtoreth”
Like Anat, she is the daughter of Re and the wife of the god , but also has a relationship with the god of the sea. From the woefully fragmentary papyrus giving the legend of Astarte and the sea we learn that Yamm, the sea god, demanded tribute from the gods, particularly Renenutet. Her place is then taken by Astarte called, in this aspect, “daughter of Ptah“. The story is lost from that point on but one assumes this liaison resulted in the goddess tempering the arrogance of Yamm.
It should also be noted that outside of Egypt, as well as being a warlike goddess, Astarte seems to have had sexual and motherhood attributes.
Astarte is the Greek name of a goddess known throughout the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to Classical times. Originally the deified evening star, she is found as Ugaritic ?ﾐﾎﾘ?ﾐﾎﾗ? ‘ṯtrt (“‘Aṯtart” or “‘Athtart”); Phoenician “‘shtrt” (‘Ashtart); and Hebrew עשתרת (Ashtoret, singular, or Ashtarot, plural), and appears in Akkadian as ?ﾒﾊﾍ?ﾒﾌﾓ D, the grammatically masculine name of the goddess Ishtar; the form Astartu is used to describe her age. The name appears also in Etruscan as ?ﾐﾌﾍ? ?ﾐﾌﾔ?ﾐﾌﾛ? Uni-Astre (Pyrgi Tablets), Ishtar or Ashtart.
Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked.
Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite. The island of Cyprus, one of Astarte’s greatest faith centers, supplied the name Cypris as Aphrodite’s most common byname.
Other major centers of Astarte’s worship were Sidon, Tyre, and Byblos. Coins from Sidon portray a chariot in which a globe appears, presumably a stone representing Astarte. In Sidon, she shared a temple with Eshmun. At Beirut coins show Poseidon, Astarte, and Eshmun worshipped together.
Other faith centers were Cytherea, Malta, and Eryx in Sicily from which she became known to the Romans as Venus Erycina. A bilingual inscription on the Pyrgi Tablets dating to about 500 BC found near Caere in Etruria equates Astarte with Etruscan Uni-Astre that is, Juno. At Carthage Astarte was worshipped alongside the goddess Tanit.
Donald Harden in The Phoenicians discusses a statuette of Astarte from Tutugi (Galera) near Granada in Spain dating to the 6th or 7th century BC in which Astarte sits on a throne flanked by sphinxes holding a bowl beneath her pierced breasts. A hollow in the statue would have been filled with milk through the head and gentle heating would have melted wax plugging the holes in her breasts, producing an apparent miracle when the milk emerged.
The Syrian goddess Atargatis (Semitic form ‘Atar‘atah) was generally equated with Astarte and the first element of the name appears to be related to the name Astarte.
Astarte in Egypt
Astarte first appears in Ancient Egypt beginning in the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt along with other deities who were worshipped by northwest Semitic people. She was worshipped especially in her aspect of a warrior goddess, often paired with the goddess Anat.
In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Ra and are given in marriage to the god Set, here identified with the Semitic name Hadad. Astarte also was identified with the lioness warrior goddess Sekhmet, but seemingly more often conflated, at least in part, with Isis to judge from the many images found of Astarte suckling a small child. Indeed there is a statue of the 6th century BC in the Cairo Museum, which normally would be taken as portraying Isis with her child Horus on her knee and which in every detail of iconography follows normal Egyptian conventions, but the dedicatory inscription reads: “Gersaphon, son of Azor, son of Slrt, man of Lydda, for his Lady, for Astarte.” See G. Daressy, (1905) pl. LXI (CGC 39291).
Plutarch, in his On Isis and Osiris, indicates that the King and Queen of Byblos, who, unknowingly, have the body of Osiris in a pillar in their hall, are Melcarthus (i.e. Melqart) and Astarte (though he notes some instead call the Queen Saosis or Nemanūs, which Plutarch interprets as corresponding to the Greek name Athenais).