Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 14th, 2008

“Eyelid beat rate”: an alternative diagnostic technique? (November 12, 2008)

I was taking a short nap to relax my legs and lower back and then, I remembered my suggestion to be aware of the automatic reflexes in my body that relaxes the erratic nerve impulses.

I had my eyes closed and was covering my face with both hands and realized regularity in my eyelids impulses.  I counted twice the beats of my eyelids for one minute, each time, and the rate was 38 beats per minutes.  I shifted my hands to my lower abdomen and the rate was 34 beats per minutes.

An idea hit me; instead of just counting the heart rate on the wrist, why not count the rates at several parts in the body?  If it takes one minute to count the hear rate and it should take no more than a couple of minutes to count the various rates with enormous advantages.

The different “beat rates” could be measured with simple detecting beat instruments linked to a simple computer or portable and the various combinations matched with normal statuses.  If the measurement of heart rates is a good preliminary diagnostic then, measuring the rates at specific parts in the body would provide a wider range of diagnostics and localized dysfunctional symptoms (i.e., not within the normal range for normal people) for heart, vein, artery, nerve or psycho-somatic ailments.

An in-depth diagnostic would then be enviable.

Most probably, a physiologist might have attempted this line of inquiry and had given up early or no one followed up on the idea to establish it firmly as a more viable, scientific, and cheap diagnostic technique.

Most probably, Chinese medicine has mapped and pinpointed all the crucial locations for diagnosis. It is an idea that is feasible and has promises just as counting heart rate at the wrist was judged to be promising!

Note: Later in the evening I counted 60 beats on my right wrist and 48 beats on my neck.  Try counting your beats.

“Farewell Beirut”, by Mai Ghoussoub , (November 14, 2008)

Farewell Beirut is fundamentally an autobiography and is of 220 pages and containing 15 chapters of short detailed stories that late Mai Ghoussou witnessed.

Mai Ghoussoub, a writer, sculpture, theater promoter, and a co-founder of the publishing house Dar Al Saki, was 54 when she died of complication from a surgery in London on February 17, 2007.

Mai participated in the Lebanese civil war by caring for the downtrodden Palestinians living in shantytown of refugee camps. She lost an eye by a rocket that hit her car while aiding in a clinic of Nabaa in East Beirut, and she suffered greatly for three years out of that injury.  Mai decided to leave Lebanon in 1979 and lived for a while in Paris and then moved to London.

Mai suggested to her old school friend Andre Caspar, who was hitchhiking in the USA, to join her and open a library that would offer Arabic books and manuscript.  The library led to instituting the publishing house Dar Al Saki in 1983. Mai married Hazem Saghieh, a writer and newspaper editor.

During an art exhibition in Shore Ditch London, Mai and her Israeli actress friend Anna Sharbati donned Moslem attires and held tennis rackets to stir any climate of conservatism in London, but nobody noticed them.

Mai recalls that at the age of 12, she was attached to her French teacher Nomie.  To please her teacher she wrote a lengthy fictitious essay that ended with an injunction for revenge on harms done to her.  Nomie gave her only 10 out of 20 points because the want for revenge is the basest of emotions… Mai retained that lesson and struggled with it most of her turbulent life, especially during part of the civil war.

First story.

Tiny and sickly Latifa was barely 9 years old when her Syrian father “rented” her for a year to work as maid (house helper). Latifa was to get up before any member of the family and go to bed in a corner of the kitchen after every member was asleep and work non-stop most of the time. Latifa, treated worse than a slave, endured all the miseries and humiliations. Latifa’s father used to show up drunk once a year to be paid without even bringing his daughter a token of a gift or spending any time with her.

Latifa was raped by the eldest son of the family and she was no longer permitted to leave the apartment. During the civil war in Lebanon, tiny Latifa was to brave the snipers and rockets to bring food to the family.  Latifa joined the militias of the neighborhood and moved with them; she covered her face with a hood (cagoule) so that nobody would recognize her, but her large eyes could not conceal her.  Latifa never took revenge on her “masters”, but tried her best to move forward.

Latifa got famous as “Um Ali”, and one of the toughest fighters in Beirut.  She was killed mysteriously and her “masters” had no photo of her to plaster it on the street in remembrance of a “martyr”.  Latifa lived incognito and died incognito.

Second story.

Said was the only son of the owner of a small grocery.  His family was constantly worried for his upbringing.  Said was a short, stocky, jovial and smiling helper; he delivered the groceries to the homes and was liked by the entire neighborhood; he wanted to join the “hospitality” business.

The civil war changed Said: he joined the militias and became a tough fighter.  There were plenty of rumors about Said’s deeds during the war; a sniper, a blackmailer, a leader of a group of fighters and anything that warriors are expected to end up doing among scared and humiliated citizens.

Said opened a small hotel after the war.  The author was unable to label a definitive judgment opinion on Said as she recalled him when Mai was settled overseas.  Can a man be fundamentally good and change to the opposite when circumstances change?

Third story.

Hashem is an Iranian refugee in Beirut, fleeing the new Khomeini Islamic regime.  Hashem is well like and funny and has strong and definite positions against the Western States and cultures.  He immigrated to Denmark during the Lebanese civil war and married the tall, beautiful and blonde Kirsten.  Kersten did her best to assimilate Hashem’s culture and tradition; she befriended his friends, learned to cook Iranian and Lebanese dishes, helped bring Hashem’s family to Denmark and had promised him to wear the veil when they decide to return to Iran or settle in Lebanon.

Hashem fell in love with Maria, a Chilean girl, while attending a Danish language center.  Maria didn’t care for Hashem’s friends or even his health; all she cared for was her relationship with Hashem.  Kirsten didn’t like the situation; she never reprimanded Hashem verbally: her eyes and silence and posture expressed her displeasure.

Hashem was killed in Danmark in 1989; Kirsten set up an official obituary in her church and in the mosque; she organized the funeral to its minute details and delivered the eulogy; she persisted on keeping Hashem’s memory every year and obliterated Maria from the picture. From now on Hashem solely belongs to Kirsten.

Mai volunteered her aid in the clinic of the Chatila Palestinian camp at the start of the civil war; she cataloged the medicines and shelved them accordingly. A young Palestinian leader visited the camp and saw Mai; he sent one of his sbirs to fetch Mai to his headquarter. Mai and Abu Firas enjoyed a secret amorous affair for long time until Mai’s brother got injured.  Abu Firas made the error of visiting Mai at the hospital; Mai’s family and acquaintances got wind of her marginal affair and she had to leave Lebanon to Paris when her brother recovered.

Mai never carried a weapon or engage in any skirmishes.  Mai was comfortably installed in Paris when she received a long distance call from Lebanon; Mai refused to take the call of Abu Firas:  instead, she wandered in the streets of Paris to relieve the anxiety of the onslaught of her memory of the civil war.

Mai had questions nagging at her “would she ever be able to convince herself that she didn’t participate in the civil war?”, “would she be able to erase the facts that she met assassins and didn’t oppose their deeds?”

One thing that Mai is convinced of is that she allied to mercenaries on ideological grounds and let her country go to hell.

Bi-weekly report on Lebanon (November 15, 2008)


My bi-weekly report, and it could be a semi-annual report with no measurable significance in content, is another “Southern California weather update” as to fundamental changes in social or political reforms.

President Suleiman has resumed his flying vagabondage; he has already broken a world record on number of flights since his inauguration; more than 25 trips outside Lebanon have landed him in the regional States and Europe and twice in the USA; I guess our President is sending the strong signal that no serious mediation among the Lebanese factions to come to reason is feasible before the next election of the Parliament. President Suleiman is delivering speeches on religions too and has suggested Beirut to be the main center for religious dialogue.  Lebanon has a variety of religions, 19 recognized sects by the government and as many unrecognized; I guess our President has realized that we lack Buddhism, Taoists, Hindus, and some varieties of modern Christian-Jews; yes, we do have the Jehovah Witness sect but this Christian-Jew sect is of last century variation which is currently trying to figure out how to increase the number of “select” delegates to sit around Jesus at the end of time.

Deputy Saad Hariri has circumvented the whole government and the minister of Defense and half a dozen other ministries by signing contracts with Russia Poutine and negotiating arm deals for the army. Yes, he is the same middle-man of the Saudi monarchy who funneled funds through his “Mediterranean Sea” Bank to the Sunni salafists in Tripoli; the army had lost over 165 martyrs and three times as many disabled soldiers to put down the “Fateh Al Islam” revolt in Nahr Al Bared’s Palestinian camp.

The Minister of the Interior visited Damascus with the top security and intelligence officers to discuss borders security; a commission has been suggested for sharing security intelligence and pending government ratification and maybe Parliament approval (a Parliament that half its members are ministers and the other half are resuming their vacations abroad since 2005. The Lebanese little people are working double shifts not to survive but to subsidize our super fun loving Deputies.)

The report on a strategic plan, to defending Lebanon from Israel’s pre-emptive attacks, of General Michel Aoun to the meeting of the sectarian “leaders” was met with ridicule from those “not into military thinking” and by instigation of the Hariri clan.  These strategic reports were meant to be kept secret and for discussion; but seriousness is fantastically lacking and I do not envision any further discussions on military strategies until after the Parliamentary election.  No wonder that President Suleiman is postponing indefinitely these meetings and accepting all kinds of invitations abroad.

Hassan Nasr Allah, the General Secretary of Hezbollah, delivered a televised speech during the celebration of the “martyrs”. The speech was over an hour long and broached many internal, regional and international facets; I heard the last section and it didn’t talk about the politico-philosophical-theological concept of the “wilayat Al Fakeeh”! Nasr Allah responded to the Minister of Finance who claimed that the Lebanese treasury cannot afford arming the army.  (If the State of Lebanon does not have the will and the money to finance an army with the appropriate weapons for the purpose of defending its borders then why not merge the army with the internal security forces and save a lot on redundant institutions?)  Lebanon has a resistance force that shouldered the burden of defending all of Lebanon against Israel in July 2006 and is stronger now to undertake the task of protecting our borders.

The fact is that since 1992 the successive governments have instituted side funds in uncontrolled departments that should have been affected to the appropriate ministries.  For example we have the Council for Construction and Development that should be affiliated to the ministries of Public Affairs and others, the Council for the displaced during the civil war that should be attached to the ministry of Social Affairs, the Council for natural calamities, and the council for reparations after the July war in 2006.  All these councils were attached to the office of the Prime Minister so that funds would be allocated to the sectarian leaders supporting the government. Lebanon has so many redundant institutions that not a single one of them is doing its job for the benefit of the little people in dire need of anything resembling reforms and economic prosperity and potential opportunities.

Barak Obama is an extremely lucky person to be voted in president of the USA.  If the national (Islamic) resistance forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine have failed to check the US military pre-emptive wars in the “Greater Middle East” region then the Bush’s dynasty would have been enthroned monarch to the USA instead of pariahs.

Deputy Michel Aoun is gearing up to visit Damascus; he is the only leader not to be invited and who has not visited Damascus in over 30 years during its mandate on Lebanon.  The Hariri clan alliances are targeting Aoun, their favorite target: he is the strongest Christian Lebanese leader and the one who promised to investigate the financial files of the governments since 1992.

            The minister of telecommunication has drastically reduced the fees on the phone lines; what cost 250,000 LL is now 50,000 LL and so forth; just that every one appreciate the range of embezzlement the Hariri clan has siphoned from the Lebanese citizens and the economic prosperity of Lebanon.  Our national debt increased $6 billions within a few months and it now stands at $48 billions, more than twice our GNP.




November 2008

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