Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 6th, 2008

Chapter 6

The organization of a voluntary army

One of the first tasks for the new government was the organization of a national, united and centralized army.  Since the number of the population was small it was decided to invest on a quality army from the people with attractive incentives for land shares at the end of the commission.  Once the insurrection consolidated its hold on power Antoun decreed that every citizen could own and raise horses.  At the time, he was responding to the trend set by many families who could afford buying a horse, regardless of their class status, which reminded him of his adolescent passion and years of frustration.  This decree which satisfied the implicit dreams of his people for riding horses was returning the favor for the peasants’ support to his regime and it never occurred to him that this decision was the key factor to forming a viable cavalry regiment by permitting society to offering its potentials.

To face these immediate armed hostilities Antoun Fares organized his army in phalanxes.  A phalanx was composed of 36 infantrymen of 4 columns and 9 rows.  All the infantry men carried small swords.  The main weapon for the first 3 rows in the phalanx was a long and heavy kind of ram, ending with a wide semi circular flat scythe shaped head and a large shield with many holes to see through affixed to it; thus, three soldiers in each column carried and handled the ram with the first soldier in charge of directing the attack.  This weapon called the “ram” was designed not to penetrate and pierce a body but to slash, or overturn or scatter enemy lines and be removed easily from the wounded enemy if cut badly; this new weapon was carried by three soldiers on their shoulders in order to ram harder on enemy lines and to stand cavalry attack if necessary.  The fourth row of soldiers was trained to replace the felled members in the teams of rammers; the fifth row was to defend the rear of the phalanx and the last four rows were to protect the flanks of the ramming columns on each side when the attack was in progress. All the infantrymen with the exception of the rammers were equipped with small shields so that when engaged a phalanx would front eight columns if necessary.

The final scheme of four ramming columns was adopted after several test training exercises demonstrated that this formation was best at keeping cohesion among the columns, preventing splitting it in two which would leave the rammers defenseless and also because it allowed the supporting columns in the phalanx to better control and exterminate the enemies in narrower space sections. Every phalanx was supported by eight archers to scatter enemy infantry compact advance or cavalry interference. In the battle field the unit of the army was the “core” of three phalanxes and its supporting cavalry and small catapult units and headed by a Captain. Twenty one cavalry men armed with light long spears to drive back any enemy trying to infiltrate and disturb cohesion were attached to a “core”, 9 horsemen in the rear and teams of 6 at each side outflanked the “core” to prevent encirclement in quick maneuvers and allowing time for reinforcement to come to the rescue. Three small catapults manned by four soldiers each were part of a “core”. The small catapult had 70 meters range and spread 50 gravel sized stones per shot at a rate of three shots per minute to raise enough dust and confuse the enemy line; they were efficiently activated on flat chars for opening routes in enemy lines ahead of the “core” thrust.  The total number of a “core” was thus of 170 soldiers, including the cavalry, archers, Captain and Lieutenants.  

At 35 meters behind each “core” stood a phalanx without ramming columns and 9 cavalrymen to envelop, support and stop any retreat. Depending on the battle tactics a second line of cores could be deployed 150 meters behind to relieve the first line or to prepare for a defensive position if a temporary retreat was sounded. 

A battalion was constituted of three “cores” and headed by a Major and strong of its main and separate cavalry unit of 48 knights trained to archery effective within 40 meters before engaging the body of enemy cavalry.   A unit of heavier caliber catapults of 250 meters range was part of the cavalry unit and took position on higher grounds between the infantry and cavalry.   Whenever a higher ground was not available the army would install ready made platforms that could be assembled within two hours or dismantled in a shorter time for these heavy catapults; the Major of the battalion would have a deeper view of the war maneuvers from these elevated platforms and could command about 600 soldiers.  Nine cavalrymen and a ramless phalanx were assigned to help and protect the heavy catapults redoubts.

This formation of the Army was barely modified for 9 years so that a Colonel commanded three battalions called a division and a General would head two divisions of about 4000 soldiers called a “corps” among them an additional special 300 cavalry unit.  With the exception of the small artillery units and cavalry attached to “cores” to preserve their cohesion the highest ranking commander in the battle field could combine and maneuver all the cavalry units and heavy artillery under his possession according to his plan of attack.  

The Metn managed to raise a cohesive and well trained army of 2 corps within three years and invested freely on small catapults for Antoun knew how to concentrate their power on the most dangerous divisions of his enemies and gain critical leverage in any battle.  At its inception, the army was to be of learned soldiers educated to reading and writing in at least the national Arabic language.  Antoun invested dear time in selecting the officers who enjoyed reading and believed in educating their subordinates by scheduling hours for learning the language within the daily routine; he met individually with the officers and encouraged them to submit to him an education program to eradicate illiteracy in the armed forces and to solicit their subordinates to evening reading sessions within a family environment and form a library with input from the whole phalanxes and cores of the army.

The military research center was immediately enacted; professional soldiers and war specialists were hired with substantial enticements. The purpose of this center was to design equipment and garments that fit the capabilities and limitations of the local soldiers.  The main criterion was to enhance mobility by reducing the mass that need to be carried by a soldier and procuring comfortable and adequate clothing for the two major seasons.  Metal vests were replaced by vests made out of reed one centimeter thick and lined with cotton fabric, allowing a venting space between the body and the vests.  Closing garments were to be worn over the vest. This newly designed vest allowed full flexibility for the arms and was very adequate for both cold and hot seasons: it trapped body heat in winter and permitted the skin to be kept dry much longer in warm seasons.  In addition, the vest proved to prevent 80% of fatal injuries and was as effective as the inconvenient metal vests. Special care was taken for designing foot wear which are the most essential element for infantry men, a fact which was understood but never acted upon previously in order to maintain cast differences among the army units. On the inauguration of the first special center for research and development Antoun delivered in front of the high ranking officers this succinct speech:

“My brothers and sisters officers of our young Metn army; the wind of change is being heard around us; our revolution could not have succeeded if our people were not ready to seek a transition, from a long tradition of injustice, slavery and semi-slavery and the entrenchment of a privileged class of fortunate feudalists at the expense of the hard earned labor of our peasants for subsistence, into a fair society where every citizen feels a natural right to live in security and enjoy life within law and order.  Many neighboring powerful and young nations are waking up and organizing themselves into unified societies and our lot could not maintain its cherished freedom and liberty in our own way of life if we fail to unite as a vigorous nation.”

“This center for military research is meant to provide our soldiers with the means to win in battle fields when the time of reckoning demands from all of us to respond to the call of preserving freedom and liberty. This center is created to learn to survive as a steadfast people, to sustain the hardship of training, long marches, physical privation and mental resistance to emotional pressures with minimum damage, injuries and suffering.  When you graduate as officers of the Levantine army you must retain the motto of our military force:  “Power is courage in dignity until it is used recklessly, then its purpose is wasted”.  I urge you to remember that when military force is engaged against our citizens then the dignity of this government is tarnished and it is a sign of our failure in our duty and responsibilities to maintaining law, order and justice.”

“Power is meant never to have to be demonstrated unless it is directed toward evil purposes targeting the rights of our people to live in peace and prosperity. Every time an officer uses force against his own citizens then all the training and money invested in forming a capable army are then lost because they were invested to the wrong goal.  We are forming an army of the people, from the people and to the benefit of the people and any other deviation from the high moral grounds are tantamount to generating a bunch of murderers trained to kill and abuse the innocents and consequently, the severest punishments will befall the officers who deviate from the purpose of the army.”

“Your strength is in your disciple and organization as an educated and trained group for the well being of our people. All officers have to understand that the army is the nucleus of our society and represents its best elements: Therefore, every soldier has to learn to read and write and be able to present to the citizens the values and image that the army is trying to convey.” 

“Officers of the Levantine Army, you have to transmit to our citizens that education is the cornerstone to our survival and they should strive to acquire what is needed to overcome our weaknesses and the poor state of our economy and social development. Any time a community rises against the local leaders then you must assume that their claims for justice have strong basis and remedies must be provided. As officers of the people you are to refrain from attacking your people until fair negotiations are conducted and a majority of the hearts is won to the cause.  Your disciplined presence should be only a deterrent force against those ready to use force after refusing fruitful negotiations.”

“Officers of the Metn army; you are responsible for helping the people, serve justice and consolidate the dignity of the power lent to you.  It is a huge responsibility that you are shouldering and your duty is to constantly prove your own worth and value toward the people you are serving.”

Article #16

“Are there any major cross over between HF and safety engineering?” 

(April 10, 2005)

In most States there are building or civil construction codes for safety standards.

Usually, safety consultant firms are hired to catalogue and study the safety requirements for fire hazards and major risks peculiar in industries that have the potential to cause harm to the workers or occupants.

In many instances, safety engineers are hired to manage the requirements and control their application. Federal and State occupational safety and health inspectors can use self-inspection checklist for general safety standards and for specific standards tailor made to industries like chemical plants or construction industry. For example there are safety checklists for abrasive machinery, confined space entry, compressed gas cylinders, electrical equipment, emergency action plan and emergency response, fire protection, hazardous waste operation, hoists and cranes, lockout/tag out, mandated posters, personal protection from noise and workplace violence to name a few. 

There is an international standard organization that many States adopt its quality control accreditation standards for exporting products to foreign countries.  These standards are mainly for industrial quality processes and procedures that are hoped would improve quality of products and help manufacturers to abide by the specifications of the intended countries.

By and by, these quality processes have included safety procedures designed in and managed by manufacturers.

Many of these accrediting firms hire consultants fitting the job description and qualifications of Human Factors professionals. 

There is a lucrative niche for expert Human Factors in forensic engineering.

After building enough credibility in the field through years of teaching and field experience many of our professionals have managed to build contacts with the appropriate lawyers. Forensic engineers not only need excellent credentials and skills in investigating the errors that led to accidents and injuries but also they need to master the legal terminology and processes.  A set of ethical standards guide forensic engineers to find the right trade off between truth and not antagonizing their clients, mainly the lawyers who hired them in the first place.  In many instances government agencies might hire expert forensic witnesses in major catastrophic accidents.

In most litigation, the report of the forensic engineer can settle out of court legal proceeding between plaintiffs and defendants on the strength of facts and analysis of the engineer’s report.

Generally, in 10% of the cases the forensic engineer has to submit and suffer the cross examination of the defendant lawyer or vice versa whose job is to discredit his credentials first and then to find untenable facts or proofs in the analysis in order to kill the testimony of the expert.

Thus, in addition to mastering the investigative techniques done in timely matter and the technologies that could be acceptable in court a forensic engineer has to have the verbal skills and the proven logic to answer the offending skilled lawyer.

 “Are occupational safety and health standards of any concern for the HF professionals?” (April 11, 2005)

    

Occupational safety and health is a topic related to the body of safety and health standards that modern States enforce on all industries and institutions which hire workers to mass produce objects or services on a full time or part time basis.

The main emphasis is to collect data of the impact of the working environment on the safety and health of workers and employees.

Harmful environmental factors in noise, lighting, indoor climate, temperature, heat or poisonous elements are studied, analyzed, draft standards proposed for comments and recommendations and then standards promulgated for enforcement by appropriate agencies with wide legal empowerment to prosecute and exact penalties on refractory industries.    

Since the dawn of history, slavery or quasi slavery activities have been imposed on hapless souls. During the industrial revolution many political parties and union organizations for fair labor and adequate wages commensurate to the risks the jobs entail succeeded in gaining substantial legal rights to the workers but safety and health standards were not enacted and enforced until the late quarter of the 20th century. 

Even in the modern and ultra developed States sweat shop factories are rampant in building basements with primitive modicum of safety and health concerns for the thousands of immigrants who came from wretched countries with dreams of a better life for freedom, liberty or economic well being.  

Not only these immigrants are getting none of their dreams but they are cut off of the familiar environment and family support they may have enjoyed back home.

From time to time, articles in newspapers and social and political organizations expose these inhuman treatments of people, a few measures are taken by the local governments and then life goes on as usual with no serious follow ups or consistent willingness to eradicate these contagious diseases of unbridled greed to devalue human lives when laws and orders are relaxed for the despondent.

Many consensual safety standards from engineering institutions and industrial organizations such as chemical, petroleum, electrical and mechanical businesses have been accepted and joined to the package of safety and health standards.

These standards also deal in many respects with the organizational environment of workers such as shift work or discrimination in hiring based on age, race and gender basis.

Besides the military and aerospace conglomerates, it was the federal and State governments which realized the values of Human Factors professionals to administering the various safety and health agencies.

Human Factors graduates were employed to collect data on the hazardous situations in workplaces, analyze the data, set priorities, inspect the workplaces and enforce the standards.

Every year we have hundreds of major catastrophic fires in warehouses and industrial factories where many immigrants die because they live and cook their meals in dangerous environments. This page lacks space to mention the mega catastrophes in chemical plants, petroleum refineries, dams and construction civil activities.

Chica Lupita: Introspection, Songs for women (Written in Dec. 2002)

Note: names of characters are fictitious, but the events are real to me.  These songs for women are fragments of my existence that I tried hard to gather in order to understand my individuality. 

Ariadna is from Atlixco in Mexico; her English is poor.

My Spanish is no better.

Our conversations were plagued with divergent misunderstandings.

One time, after we made love she asked me how serious is our relationship.

I told her that we barely can communicate

And that I can’t see much future with us together.

She jumped out of bed and cried sleeping on the floor.

A while later, seeing that I did not come down to console her,

She was back in bed.

We used to sleep on opposite side of the bed when not making love.

Chica or Lupita, as she liked me to call her,

Rubbed her right leg on my dick several times.

We made love again on the opposite side of bed this time.

Lupita had very white skin, a rather aquiline nose,

Liked dresses that show a major part of her bosom.

She was rather short and her reddish hair cropped short.

The tops of her feet were large and her heels very thin:

She walked on tip toe and her heels barely touched ground.

She never walked bare footed: the ground is the domain of the Devil.

Lupita held her head up, always looked straight ahead, back straight,

Confidently conscious of people sizing her up.

Chica was married to a young American.

Her man committed suicide two years after their wedding.

I met her at a full-service retirement community.

She worked as a cleaning lady.

I worked odd jobs there before I was later promoted as assistant to the manager.

She was jealous of her superior at the cleaning and washing department,

A lady from Guatemala who had an eye for me.

I asked Lupita out one day and we went walking Downtown.

During our bilingual and confusing conversation I said:

“The only real thing is the moment. Let us enjoy the moment.

She retained that sentence and reminded me of it

During our many painful separations.

We went out again

And then we started meeting in my private room at 2pm.

I asked permission from the manager to rest for an hour around that time.

She used to join me surreptitiously for an hour before ending her daily work.

We used to undress completely and kiss and cuddle.

Two weeks later, she allowed me to investigate her rosy pussy.

I licked, kissed and rubbed her pussy so hard

That she said the next day at lunch: “Me duele. I am in pain.”

Chica pointed toward her vagina.

She would not let me lick her lower lips again.

A month later, she let me in her.

The moment I entered her she whispered: “You are for me.”

I told myself that I am in trouble and cut my activity short.

We used to go to a semi private beach,

At the foot of a villa perched on a high rock,

Belonging to a famous brain surgeon or a brain researcher,

That she used to clean the villa on weekends.

The small beach was hidden from the crowed by a large rock

And we were tender behind that rock.

She used to hold and rub my dick

And when I felt too excited she would laugh with pleasure.

We never had an apartment for ourselves.

She used to rent a room in apartments of some Latino families.

And our privacies were restricted to a room with no private bath.

 Once, we had a great time when the apartment happened to be vacant.

We took a long hot bath together and made love all morning.

I was introduced to her two brothers who were working and living in San Francisco.

At one stage of our relationship we stopped talking for two weeks.

When we made up, her brother Juan said during lunch:

“Finally, my sister is smiling, talking and happy.”

Lupita used to spend her summers in Mexico.

She used to have her physical check-ups and everything relating to her health.

She invited me several time, with insistence, to visit Mexico with her.

I was ready to spend all my savings to be with her in Mexico,

But I could not leave the USA because of problems with my stupid visa.

She brought me gifts on her returns.

One gift was a crucifix on a necklace that I still wear all the time.

Some people were amazed at my guts for wearing religious icons,

I could only reply: “This is a gift from a dear friend.”

On one of our walks in downtown San Francisco,

She liked a pullover and bought it for me.

I bought her a red skirt, I guess, and she was all love.

The night before leaving to Washington, D.C. for good,

I saw her crying for the first time.

She said: “You are going to leave me all alone?”

I never went back to San Francisco but she kept calling me and sending letters,

The first couple of sentences in a sort of English and the rest in plain Spanish.

Once, she asked me to write her a very intimate letter

Showing affections

To chase away a guy who was crazy of her, she said.

 I satisfied her with a letter filled with lies

Like that I enjoyed visiting her last week

And that I’ll be calling her every day and on and on …

Two weeks later, I received from her a letter in Spanish.

I could feel anger in the words

And something of an order to return all her photos.

I showed the letter to our secretary from Salvador.

After she read it she said: “She is very upset.”

She might have called one Saturday evening, the first week of my return to Lebanon.

My mother answered and hung up because she could not understand a word.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2008
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