Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 2008

Something on my university period in Lebanon, (continue 15)


I had thus to enroll in PC (physics and chemistry) at a preparatory French university and could not join any formal university for engineering. My life of failure started big time in education, and my self-esteem was bruised badly, but I persisted and managed years later, out of sheer stubbornness, to grabbing a PhD in industrial engineering at the University of Oklahoma at Norman in 1991.


From 1970 to 1975, I didn’t focus on studying and loafed around, participating in political demonstrations and sit in and student elections: it was the most effervescent and active period in the drive to effect drastic changes in the social and political structures in Lebanon. 


Backed by a dynamic force of the Palestinian factions, firmly established in Beirut and the south, the Lebanese leftist movements surged ahead and defied the status quo, a reality that scared the hell out of the political and religious elite.  The elite classes of feudal, financial, and religious sect-caste decided to burn Lebanon by a civil war, instead of agreeing to reforms that would impinge on their interests.


I spent much time boarding buses to burial ceremonies of martyrs and getting all confused when the Party split; two factions claimed variations in philosophical positions that I had no idea what was the angle.  The split was basically meant to convey the extent of political affiliations to the Baath regime in Syria.  For example, should the Party be a mousepiece to Syria or ally to the Palestinian factions? This confusion carried out with strong-arm tactics affected deeply all those naïve and well-meaning comrades who invested so much time and effort to grow and be accepted within an organized body.


All alone in Beirut


I roamed Beirut alone, all alone, attending theaters and movies.  For all my convictions I was just an added number or a fill in because of my lack of rhetorical or conversational abilities and my endemic shyness. With all the new comrades and university acquaintances I could not find the courage to befriend even one companion to roam Beirut with me. 


From morning to late evening, I kept moving from one location and one street to another, mostly walking since Beirut is not that vast for a young body, and because the important theaters and gatherings were located around the Hamra Street area or Ras Beirut in general.  The fares for buses, taxis, theater, and food were cheap and inflation was nonexistent then; the dollar was worth less than two Lebanese pounds because the Palestinian movements invested and poured in large sums in the economy.


After failing many courses and repeating them I finally graduated with a master’s in Physics from the University of Lebanon in Choweifat. The next chapter would resume my grueling higher educational experience in the USA.


I recall, while in my second university year, my cousin Nassif Ghoussoub lived with us while he was studying for his final secondary class or “matheleme” year.  Nassif was extremely studious in studying “deb shoghl” and used to spent most of the night in his tiny room solving all kinds of math and physics problems, all the exercises and problems, no exceptions.  Nassif ended up ranking second among all the Lebanese students that year and was first in his promotion in the university and received a grant for higher education to Paris.


I failed my second year at the preparatory university and transferred to the Lebanese University in Chouwefat majoring in Physics.  My dad used to go to the university to check on the results of my exams and he was disappointed many times. I graduated with difficulty in May 1975 with Nassif who majored in math; thus Nassif overtook me by two years.

My shyness maybe due to lack of practice in conversation and my silence among gathering lasted for a long time.  I still feel a huge fright standing in a gathering or a lecture and asking a question, even though I have lately taught classes at universities.

I am always questioning the validity of my queries and how stupid I would sound: I guess I lacked rhetorical classes and verbal abilities to expressing myself. That is why I prefer to express in writing and sending written questions when feasible.

Right now, my shyness in asking questions might be due to large knowledge base and my traditional humility for not showing off as an erudite.

The period of 1970 to 1975 was the most glorious period for university students in Lebanon, and I failed to taking all the opportunities and advantages that were available to enterprising souls.  I refused to demand a weekly stipend, though my family could afford it, and I might have rented an apartment and cultivated a higher sense of entitlement and liberty…

Who are we, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean Sea shores? (Part 1; March 1, 2008)

I have this theory, backed by historical accounts and substantiated by archaeological and ontological finding, that the Near East region (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) has been the crossroad for the innumerable waves of immigration from East to West and to a lesser extent from Eastern Africa via Egypt to the west.  This is a valid hypothesis that could be adopted as an alternative direction and guide to studying our people.

I take the first premise that most locations had their own indigenous people for various reasons going far back to thousands of years; this premise is only just, logical and convenient.  

The second premise is that emigrants prefer moving toward areas with abundance of water and greener pastures. The successive waves of immigration have started in full bloom before the seventh millennial of our calendar.

People from Central Asia tended to march towards Northern Iran and then onward to the Anatolian plateau (Turkey), rich in rivers and water reserves from the melting of snow-covered majestic Taurus mountain chains. The populations in Iran were inclined to settle the shores of the great Tigris River (Dujlah) in Iraq.

From there, they forked either south along the mighty river Tigris or northward.  Moving south was initially the preferred route because the climate is warmer and because it is almost impossible to navigate upward the Tigris River in its northern section.  They settled and built the ancient and mighty Empires around Ur and Basra on the mouth of the Tigris River which empties in the Arab/Persia Gulf and then they expanded along the Arabian Gulf shores.

The Empires of the Antiquity (Sumer, Akkad, and Babylon) constituted the trading centers from the Arabian Gulf to the coasts of the Western Indian Ocean.  The Prophet Abraham is said to have moved out with his tribe from the great city of Ur and most probably progressed south-west along the Red Sea coast. (Actually, the Jewish tribes are initially from Yemen, where most of their idols such as Hud still exist).  Later, the mighty Empire of Babylon based its Capital further north of Ur on the Tigris River.

Aramaic was the main mother language with various dialects for each region because Iraq was the hotbed of civilization for over 4 millennial before Christ, starting by the kingdoms of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, and Ashur. All the regions from Iran, Kurdistan, the Arabic Peninsula, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and the western part of Turkey were under the hegemony of either one of these empires. 

The main religion and Gods, the main language, and the tradition for trading and doing business and administrations were homogeneous.

Moving north the Tigris River the hardy immigrants settled and built mighty Empires like Assyria in Nineveh (Ninawa) around Mosul and in the current Kurdish homeland. Those immigrants who moved north the river overflowed to the Anatolian Plateaus in Turkey and settled along the mighty Euphrates River (Al Furat) and built the Hittite Empire that discovered iron and invaded Egypt, where they were called the Hyksos, and settled there for a long time until they signed a peace treaty with Ramses II.

It is known that prosperous Troy was vanquished by the Greeks, after ten years of siege, because the Hittite Empire was endeavoring at that junction to reach the sea and thus, aided the Greek invaders to destroy their natural enemy.  The more recent power coming from the Anatolian plateau that conquered the Middle East is the Ottoman Empire.

The waves of immigration descended along the Euphrates River and jointed the Orontes River (Al Assy) and built many cities along these rivers and many reached the Mediterranean Sea. It is known that the Orontes and Euphrates shores were studded with numerous large and prosperous City-States like Homs, Hama, Tel Amarna, Van, and Mary because it was the preferred land trade route towards Iraq, Persia and ultimately China.

The alternative more direct route was through the Syrian Desert passing by Palmyra (Tadmor) but it was way too harsh and inconvenient.  Actually, almost all invasions coming from further East and North used the coastal and Euphrates River corridors to loot and conquer Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and ultimately Egypt. All these immigrants might have initially fled from persecutions and tribal warfare and also because of changing weather conditions and droughts.

The waves coming from Eastern Africa settled first in Egypt and fled for many reasons to the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea toward the Maghreb regions and also to the eastern shores and settled in the sea cities of Canaan that includes Palestine, and Lebanon.   A large number had to emigrate very often from the cities of Canaan after repeated invasions of the Moguls, Persian, Iraqi, and Egyptian Empires:  These Empires made it a routine to invade and loot the rich Canaan City-States for their accumulated treasures and for their skilled workers. 

All these immigrants ended up in Syria and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea of Canaan and some settled in Egypt. The ancient city of Byblos in Lebanon extended its civilization and built the cities of Sidon and Beirut and other sea towns and invented a new alphabet of 22 letters.  Sidon built Tyr and Akka.  As the Empires in Iraq, Persia, and Egypt invaded these cities the settled inhabitants of these prosperous seashore cities had to immigrate again to the southern and western shores of the Mediterranean Sea

Note:  I read recently that a newly excavated City-State by the current city of Rukka (Northern Syria) is as old as 5,500 BC; many millennial before the City-States in southern Iraq.  The society was very structured and copper was imported from Southern Turkey.  A vast temple was excavated in southern Turkey that is 11,000 years BC. 

Trailing a butterfly by Mahmoud Darwish (Part 2, December 30, 2008)

Extracts of poems


            What…Why all that?

He is walking alone, having a short discussion with himself.  He is uttering words that are not meant to mean anything “What… Why is all that?” He does not mean to complain or even to inquire; the nonsense sentence is not meant to starting a tempo that could aid for a youthful walk. As he repeats “What…Why all that” he feels that he is in company.  The passerby does not believe that he is a lunatic; he is probably a poet receiving revelations from Satan.  He didn’t know why he recalled Genghis Khan; maybe he saw a white horse without a saddle, flying over a destroyed building in the valley.  An old man was pissing by an eucalyptus tree; the ascending young girls from the valley laughed at him and threw pistachios at him.


            Two strangers

He looks up and sees a shining star.  He looks down and sees his grave in the valley. He looks at a beautiful woman who does not notice him.  He looks in the mirror and a stranger looking like him is reflected to him


            We arrived late

There is a precarious stage we label “maturity”; we are neither optimist nor pessimist. We are past passion, longing, and recalling the opposite names of things.  We are too confused between forms and contents. We acquired the habit of pondering before speaking.  We adopted the style of physicians inspecting a wound.  We try to remember the past and wonder “How many mistakes have we committed? Have we reached wisdom a tad late?”  We are not sure from where the wind is blowing; what is the benefit if someone is still waiting for us by the foot of the mountain to share a prayer for our safe journey?  We are neither optimist nor pessimist; just a tad late.


            We wish the lad was a tree

An ancient poet said “I wished the lad was a rock”.  It would have been more appropriate if he wished the lad to be a tree.  A big tree cares for the smaller one; it prolongs its shadow and sends a bird, now and then, to keep company.  No tree violates its neighboring tree, and never mocks it if it does not bear fruit.  When a tree is transformed into a boat it learns to swim; when shaped in a door it keeps the secrets, when a desk it teaches the poet never to become a logger.  A tree stands respectful to passersby; it bends lightly with majesty to the winds.  I wish the lad was a tree.


            The talent of hope

Whenever he thought of hope he felt tired and bored. He invented a tricky illusion and said “Now, how can I measure a mirage?”  He rummaged through his documents and dusty files of who he was before his invention.  He could not find any copy where he might have noted down, events of fast beating heart and carelessness. He could not find a trace of standing in the rain for no reason.  Each time he thinks of hope the distance widens between a heavy body and a heart inflicted with wisdom.  He opened a window and saw two cats playing with a puppy dog.  He said: “hope is not the opposite of abjectness; maybe it is faith in a God who is careless; a God who let us rely on our individual talents to pierce through the cloud.” He said : “Hope is neither matter nor a concept. It is a talent”.  He swallowed a pill for blood pressure; he forgot to query Hope…he felt some kind of happiness of unknown source.

“It is not a pleasure being around you” (A short story, December 30, 2008)


Note: This is a fictitious very short story. Probably a version occurred. If it didn’t happen yet, it might after Gaza genocide

Harun (Aaron) was an Egyptian Jew who was whisked out from Alexandria to the State of Israel in a clandestine Zionist group. Three months ago, Ben Gurion, Israel PM, had ordered the Mossad to wage a campaign of assassination of a few Jews residing in Egypt, to blow a couple of Synagogues in Alexandria, and blast a couple of British and USA institutions in Egypt.  This campaign was meant to frighten the Jews into leaving Egypt and to pressure the USA from extending financial aids to Gamal Abdel Nasser for building the Asswan dam..

Sara was a Polish Jew who immigrated in 1947 to Palestine to flee poverty and deprivation.  She was indoctrinated into the Zionist movement and participated in active duty. Sara was a member of Zionist terror groups that massacred civilian Palestinians in towns close to Haifa and forced the Palestinians to vacate their villages after Israel was voted in a State in the UN in 1948 by a single vote majority.

Aaron met Sara who was pregnant after an affair with a Zionist officer who died during a battle in 1948.  They got married.  When the pregnancy of Sara was in her eight month, Aaron was ordered for duty.  Aaron was reluctant of leaving Sara at this stage, but Sara reprimanded him and urged him never again to fail Eretz Israel purposes

It was a crucial period; one Zionist political group wanted to resolve the problem with the Palestinians according to the UN resolution #194 of returning the conquered land during the independence days of 1948 and accepting a Palestinian State.  The other “hawkish” zealot Zionists of Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and Sharon wanted to expand even further.

In order to corner and placate the moderate Zionists into a “fait accompli” the Zionist zealots invaded the town of Qibiya in October 1953 and massacred 42 Palestinian civilians and blew 41 houses.  The village of Qibiya was in Jordan but Israel wanted revenge because, 4 years earlie,r Qibiya had resisted Israel terrorists’ infiltration during the “independence period”. 

Aaron was within a support group but he witnessed the massacre and participated in dumping the bodies in a common grave hole.

            Aaron begged Sara to leave Israel and start an honest life; Sara had but contempt and demanded that Aaron leave since she is staying for the duration.  Aaron had to remain with Sara.  Seventeen years later, two Palestinian feddayins infiltrated a colony outpost and kidnapped a Jewish family in their home.


Kassem nodded and looked at the cadet redheaded kid.  Youssef gently pushed the girl in front of her parents and slid her throat in a quick talented motion.  Sara opened her mouth for her first uncontrollable surprise; her rigid eyes wavered in disbelief.  Aaron fainted.

An entire minuteof the loudest of silence floated in the room.  In the meantime, Youssef carted the body to the basement where a burner was just starting to roar. Sara tried hard not to stutter but failed miserably and babbled: “Where are you taking my baby?” The silence resumed after the echo reverberated a few times around the room. “Why? …A kid…  Slaughtered!” Kassem replied in boredom: “What is confusing you?  Is it the killing of a kid or the method?” 

Aaron was recovering and his eyelids were fluttering as if coming out from a nightmarish dream and then abruptly straightened up as reality set in. “How could you slaughter a kid?” roared Aaron.  Kassem answered in a less cool tone: “This is a sacrificial ceremony; only halal ways is valid in cold-blooded murder”

Sara was recovering some of her wits and her argumentative style came forward: “How halal is murder?” Kassem was nonplussed: “At least we are no cowards using jet fighters and heavy guns to turn into mash flesh and bones children and civilians in their homes”  Aaron shouted “But we never slaughtered but sacrificial animals”

  Everybody understood that Aaron has lost it and that he was turning on automatic his academic behavior.  Aaron was not worth listening to at this phase.  Kassem continued to the intention of Sara: “Have you kept tab on the thousand of terrorist acts that you masterminded since before the recognition of the State of Israel by the so-called United Nations?  Have you ever heard that the UN condemned once the large-scale massacres of your Zionist State?”

Sara was totally indignant: “What we did was State orders; we never committed such monstrosity on an individual basis.  What you did is crime against humanity!”  It was obvious that Sara also lost it and was feverish and slathering.  Kassem decided to cool it down for another two minutes: just on instinct, since this was his first cold revenge.  This silence was very needed for the nerves to explode on both sides.

“Do you know the original name of this village, Saraaa?  I don’t think you ever cared.  Aaron did a small inquiry several years ago; he must have told you, didn’t he?”  Subconsciously, Aaron nodded his head and then recovered, but refused to look at his wife.  Sara said: “What do I care what this village was called? We bought this house with our hard-earned savings.”   Kassem continued as if he was not listening to Sara’s lucubration: “This was the village I was born in.  I lived the best five years of my life here.  My whole family was massacred by the terrorist Irgun of Menahim Begin. A surviving elder told me that my village had a non-aggression pact with the neighboring Jewish colonies. We even stupidly denied passage to the Arab contingent defending this sector.  Aaron must have related the story to you Saraaa?” 

Another minute sank in.  Sara shook her shoulders several times and shouted “But I had not immigrated to Israel when all that took place.”  Kassem said: “Nevertheless, the majority of Jewish mothers raised their children to become zealot Zionists.”  Aaron flicked his head toward Sara; that was a statement he fully comprehended and dreaded.  Kassem noticed Aaron’s reflex and resumed “All the facts and atrocities were never ground for reflection and atonement.  Did the massacre in this village kept you waking a single night, Saraaaaa?”

Youssef had returned.  Kassem motioned with his head toward the second girl.  Youssef walked softly toward the chair of the girl.  Aaron screeched “NO, please, let us talk”.  Kassem said: “You have a choice. Your girl or your wife?” 

Aaron instinctively nodded toward his wife but could not utter a word.  Hatefully, Kassem rub it in: “When you asked Sara for her hand you talked.  If the life of your second girl is as important, I need to hear a full sentence” Aaron failed to say a sentence and hoped that his silence might talk louder. 

Sara stabbed her husband with burning eyes; she just realized that Aaron had no affection for her.  She had no affection for Aaron for years now, but this does not count.  Aaron was supposed to love her till death did them apart; that was the deal.

Youssef then walked behind the girl, grabbed her chin and performed his expert motion.  The elder son and his folks were numb; this ordeal of cool deja-vu was totally out-of-place and comprehension.  Youssef carried the body to the basement.  The house smelled the steaks.

Aaron fainted again.  Kassem deigned to douse Aaron with a bucket of water. Kassem looked at Aaron and said: “You have a choice.  Either your son or your wife”  This time Aaron did not waver; he looked straight in the eyes of his wife and he saw unlimited contempt in her facial expression, as if she made the mistake of the century by marrying this weak, spineless man.  Aaron said firmly: “Spare my son.  I have been weak and failed the wisdom that blood draw blood.  My son will never return to this forsaken land of Israel”. 

Sara was furious and regaining her previous heinous aggressiveness and hysterically kept shouting: “Kill us all. Shoot us as we killed you, you bastards.  Shoot us as war criminals.  We deserve to be treated according to the human rights conventions”


Kassem was contemplating sparing Sara’s life to give hell to the rest of the family.  Since Youssef and he will not survive this kidnapping, he might as well take revenge on the apartheid woman: Aaron deserved a reprieve.  Kassem said with a broad smile: “Woman, it was not a pleasure meeting you“. Kassem and Youssef bolted out the door peppering their sub-machine guns.

Trailing a butterfly (December 29, 2008)


Note:  The death toll in Gaza among the Palestinians has reached 350, the injured over 1000 and climbing steadily by the minutes. The World leaders are mute: they are waiting for the genocide to be complete. They don’t want another population reclaiming a land and chasing the original people out for a homeland.


I will liberally translate a few pieces from the diary of late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.  The diaries of “Trailing a Butterfly” are practically poems written in prose style from summer 2006 to summer 2007.


The roar of silence

I listen to silence.  I am hearing the cries of the first spirits as they found the original caves; the thump of the apple on a rock in the garden of God; the moaning of passion between the original males and females, not knowing what they are doing.  I can hear the secret negotiations among the ancient Gods; the whispering of the prophets with their wives as night falls.  I can hear the complaints of Emperors of their boredom; the music accompanying the ceremonies of the Secret sexual rituals.  I can hear the confusion of the chimpanzee as he jumped from a tree and started his first biped attempts, as he sat on the throne of the first tribe. I can hear the curses between Sarah and Hager.  If we listened to silence we would feel less the need to talk.


            He said “I am scared”

He shouted “I am scared”. The walls of closed in room reverberated with “I am scared” and every piece of furniture kept repeating “I am scared” for a long time.  He shouted “Stop it” but “I am scared” was the dominant cry in the vibrating air.  He went out to the street. He got afraid of a broken tree, of a military jeep screeching by.  He wanted to return to the safety of his room.  He was afraid that he forgot his keys, he was afraid that the electricity was out, he was afraid that he might slip on the staircase. He inserted the key and was afraid that the door would not open; he was afraid that someone might be sitting on his chair but he felt safe now.  He looked in the mirror and it was his face. He listened to silence and the walls had stopped repeating “I am scared”.  For some mysterious reasons he didn’t feel scared.


            I am absent

I live here for the past ten years. Tonight, I sit on a plastic chair in the tiny garden; I am mesmerized by a red rock.  I am counting the eleven stair steps to my room. On the right side a large fig tree overshadows a prune tree. To the left side stands a Lutheran Church.  By the staircase a rusted pail hangs out of an open ancient well; the few scrawny flowers have to content with the night dews.  I live here with 40 tenants; we are watching a live piece of theater, totally improvised, a very few in words of prohibition to cruise, to roam, to walk; a curfew on wandering about.  It is an improvised one act, sort of an ongoing composition, like our life. I look in the open window of my room and I love to improvise this sentence “Is anyone there?”  In the last act, everything will remain exactly the same and at its place, but I will fail to be in my room.  There got to be one absent, a vacant body: the location is getting too crowded.

            How far is far?

How far is far? How many are the passages and alleys? We walk toward the meaning of all of this and we keep walking.  The mirage is the guide book of the confused, to the far away sources; illusion is the negation and the hero.  We are walking, and in the desert mature our wisdom; we are not saying that the wandering is complete.  Our wisdom demands a light song for our hope not to get tired.

Bi-weekly report (#6) on Lebanon (December 27, 2008)


The news are showing in direct the latest mass murder of the Zionist State; Israel bombed Gaza with 60 jet fighter planes and killed so far within 3 minutes 200 Palestinians and seriously injured 350; the news media showed in direct the body of forty Palestinian police officers who died in their headquarter while attending a graduation ceremony; one injured survivor was proclaiming “La illah ella lah” (God is one).  Israel intends to eliminate all police forces in Gaza hoping for total insecurity and chaos to set in.  The Zionist Foreign Affair Livny met yesterday with Moubarak, the President traitor of Egypt, and got the green light to behead the Hamas leaders; it seems the beheading of the police and the civilians too.  Read my article “Zionism: an ideology of apartheid, terror, and crimes against humanity”


I also followed the interview with Simon Hirsh that was conducted by Maggie Farah on OTV; the translator to Arabic was a pain in the neck and prevented me from enjoying the informative and wonderful replies of Hirsh. (I think instant written translation should be by far the most pleasant alternative).  Hirsh’s is convinced that if the decision to attack Iran was left to Bush Junior, Cheney, and Abrams they would have done it; (read my article “Will the US attack Iran? Yes, Bush and Cheney would).

Hirsh also had divulged that the US had been preparing since March 2006 for a large war on Hezbollah and it appears that Hezbollah pre-empted the timing by a couple of months; the Lebanese Seniora PM wholeheartedly encouraged the aggression on Hezbollah (read my article “Who won the war: Hezbollah or Israel” and at least half a dozen articles on the July War)

 Hirsh has written that Saudi Arabia (Prince Bandar bin Sultan being the master mind behind the all out funding of terrorist groupuscules that ultimately would turn against this theocratic and oligarchic regime) has been funding all sorts of Sunni salafist terrorists groups to counter-balance Hezbollah in Lebanon and to promote the Wahabi sect in the Arab World.

The US Administration hated the Dawha agreement among the confessional Lebanese leaders; if Cheney was not greatly diminished then the US would have vigorously disturbed that agreement. 

Hirsh consider the Bush Junior tenure as the worst history period that befell the interests of the US; Bush is a rigid dogmatic and is totally insensitive to the consequences of his decisions.  If the Viet Nam War was tactical in nature (which means once the war is over then it is over and diplomatic and economic relations resume) the war in Iraq is strategic and the consequences are long-term.

This massacre is Gaza is mainly a message to President Obama to come forward and state his position on the resolution to the Near-East problems; for the time being, Israel made sure that no further negotiations with Syria or Palestine would resume in the foreseeable future.  The Bush Junior Administration insanely refused to recognize a democratically elected Hamas; there is no possibility for a resolution to the Palestinian problems without the recognition and open diplomatic dialogue with legitimate Hamas.

President Michel Suleiman is visiting south Lebanon to check on the location of the seven unloaded missiles that were pointed toward Israel and will pass by Qana.  The Lebanese know that those missiles were planted by soldiers from the UN peace keeping force hired by the CIA in order to start a rift in Lebanon’s political conditions and also to give Ehud Barak (the Zionist Defense Minister) extra lousy excuses to bomb Gaza.  The UN Peace keeping force is the only contingent there and is the sole responsible for any military activities and for securing stability, safety, and peace

Suleiman Frangieh visited yesterday the Maronite Patriarch in company with President Suleiman and the chairman Tarabey of the Maronite civil council.

Deputy Michel Aoun is visiting the Patriarch today and had a large gathering in Betroun.  He said that Seniora PM used the money deposited by Saudi Arabia for the reconstruction after the July War of 2006 and borrowed on it to line his pockets and spend on the next election campaign in Mai 2009. Walid Jumblat said that he was not happy with the tortuous maneuvers of Seniora with the Saudi money.

We have the problem of the formation of the “Constitution Council” that is responsible for validating election results.  Five members are to be elected in the Parliament and 5 to be selected by the council of ministers. It appears that the leaders had agreed on five names to be elected in the Parliament but Seniora PM, backed by Saad Hariri, elected one judge out of the consensus.  Now the opposition in the government demands the re-establishment of a “balanced” Constitution Council.


Note: Within 24 hours the number of Palestinian victims in Gaza climbed to 310 martyrs and over 1400 injured, most of them seriously dying.  The Israeli war of crimes against humanity is still raging on; the infamous Bush and Condo are blaming Hamas for “committing genocide against themselves”.  Every hour these numbers climb ominously amid the silence of al world leaders; only the populace is on the street and I wish violence on the US, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia Embassies all round the world.

Hypnotized reasoning (December 27, 2008)


This article has nothing to do with hypnosis or its techniques or about subject (people) susceptible for being successfully hypnotized. 

The need to be creative in formulating titles to draw attention is a commendable attitude since the other objective for writing is to disseminate our individual reflection on matters that we think are important to be discussed.

My original title was “logic versus faith” which could be catchy enough since people associate faith as the counterpart for reasoning which is not correct in my view.

I had to rethink my title because this “versus” smack of philosophy (read boring essay) but it should not be boring as you have already realized.


Having “faith” is used by adolescents to shirk the effort of using their brain when faced with despair and the complex world of comprehending new realities. It is as if they have been hypnotized and their brain was locked on a restricted manner of comprehending the environment, human conditions and world view.  Thus, adolescents have always been susceptible to extreme positions and have been used as logs to burn in the incinerator of martyrdom.


The quality of “Faith” is positively related to the diversity and width of our reasoning efforts through reading, reflecting, discussing, and writing.  Faith is the consequence of a lifetime effort to knowing ourselves as we try to know our environment and the human conditions. 

In my mind, the opposite of faith is logic and not reasoning, even though many would like us to believe that logic is the foundation for sane reasoning, as if a technique is to define a concept and not one of the many means to comprehend.


Logic to me represents the whole set of the elements that lead us to accept an existing paradigm or way of thinking as the only true reality of the environment and human conditions. 

Example of paradigms, think of Galileo (it is the earth that rotates around the sun) or Einstein (time, duration, and locations are relative to the universal system you live in) or Heisenberg (you cannot measure simultaneously the location and the speed of a particle) or the many spiritual messages of the various religions, or how to raise children, how to educate children, how our subconscious affect our behavior, the Big Bang on the creation of the Universe, the creation and development of man, and on and on.


Every paradigm shift to viewing the environment and human conditions, in physical sciences or human sciences, is the bold attempt of comprehending by focusing on a different angle outside the predominant “faith”. It is fundamentally a call for another kind of “faith” and for apostles and disciples to disseminate the new faith. 

It does not mean that the new paradigm is the definite “truth”, it should not or we are back to being hypnotized, but that faith undergoes a qualitative jump each time human spirit reaches a level of critical threshold for development, seek and want more knowledge; quality faith is enriched when we decide to critic the existing status quo because the thrive for expanding our knowledge is backed by a healthy spirit for taking risks and exposing our limitations.


When we say “truth is the result of individual reflection” and not what society boxes us in, we are fundamentally calling to critic any ideology that wants us to delegate our mind and spirit to a set of constraints. 

We do exist because we are a reflecting species; everything changes when we decide to invest time and effort to understanding ourselves and our conditions. 

Even when we sit to contemplate and reflect we are making decision to change the environment and human conditions.

You have a higher chance for receiving “grace” when you take frequent breaks to seriously reflect.  The basic of all human rights is to be permitted to reflect, encouraged to reflect, and offered the facilities to reflect.

Last high school summer, (Chap. 14).

I barely succeeded in my first  “Baccalauria” (public exam) in 1968, and that summer I attended ideological indoctrination session to a political party, which would start my downfall as a student, and loss of any prospect for any civil or military positions in the government institutions.

The next year, I failed both the French and Lebanese public exams of “Matheleme“. I managed to barely pass the required Lebanese “Matheleme” in the second trial in September.

These failures were a turning point in my future and this critical summer of 1969 was a total loss in prestige as a good student and, worse, for lack of preparing to enter any university.

Indeed, I didn’t enjoy that summer, which should have been the best summer ever and spent it studying and reviewing for the nth time all the boring course materials, and not feeling like solving math or physics exercises or problems.

I recall that we rented the tiny ground floor apartment of George and Marie Ghoussoub building in Kuneitra, and I spent most of my hours walking the yards of the nearby Sisters’ convent of Mar Maroon to recapitulate my boring notes and school books while everyone were taking trips.

I recall that I noticed a smashing Yugoslavian beauty of around 30 year-old, tall, raven black hair, and renting an apartment around the convent of Mar Maroun and I used to wait diligently for her to show up on her balcony in her “negligee”. To my chagrin, she got married the next year.

I was supposed to participate in a Lebanese play at the end of summer and had memorized my part for a few sessions before I drop out from the group of first-time actors to prepare for my exam.  The play was a success and was shown twice on the basketball court in Beit-Chabab.

We used to hire buses and travel all over Lebanon during summers, but I didn’t participate in the fun.

I recently read “AnteChrista” by Amelie Nothomb and she described an introverted 16-year old girl named Blanche.  Blanche located a group of three girls in her class who were happy together.  She forced herself in the group and never left it.

Three months later she overheard them talking how happy the three of them were and how much fun and great time they were having.  Blanche discovered that she was practically invisible among them; the group didn’t even notice that she left them.

It is practically my life story when young.

Maybe that the environment is not initially a major factor on your psychological tendencies and constitution, but it does make you sink in deeper and deeper no matter how hard you try to alter to extrovert type.

I never had my own room, and even then, my mom would have not let me decorate it my own way or leave it in a state of chaos.

“Licensed to kill” by Robert Young Pelton (Part 1, December 26, 2008)


Note: My niece Ashley purchased this gift for me on Christmas Eve and my nephew Cedric selected it.  If you enjoy my review you might as well thank Ashley and Cedric.


Robert Pelton met a covert team of “contractors” licensed to kill at the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in the fall of 2003.  Robert embarked on an odyssey in locations where the CIA and the US State Department needed the services of these private war constructors (read mercenaries and security service operators) because these private businesses were evaluated to be more economical (fixed cost contracts) and less burdensome in legal matters, paper works, and political legitimacy than relying on the US army. (I am under the impression that beside the President, his Vice, and the Pentagon the other ministries are not entitled to request the security services of the US arm forces; or maybe the ministries do not want to feel indebted to the Pentagon!)

The hired members of private “security” businesses are ex-Special Operations soldiers, small-town cops, ex-marines, ex-rangers, ex-operators in third world dictator regimes (such as Chili, Guatemala, South Africa, and grouped under the label of third country nationals TCN), and young adventurers seeking $600 a day with license to empty the magazine of their fire arms.  Many of these shadowy operators took their vacations to relax on safari trips.  They mostly claim that they love their jobs and that it helps save their marriages from bankruptcy.  The fact is, most of these operators ended divorced and mutilated and living in their cars. 

The chairman of Blackwater Security Consulting, Erik Prince, is bidding for a “peace-keeping force” in Darfur (Sudan) since the income from the multitude contracts to massacre and maim in Iraq is dwindling.  A competitor to “Blackwater”, Triple Canopy, is facing legal issues after one of its operators killed an Iraqi simply because he felt like satisfying a wish before returning home; Triple Canopy was forced to send packing its operators to their respective homes.  The competitors to Blackwater are mainly MVM, USIS, and DynCorp.

The operators of Blackwater shave their heads and tattoo their bodies with Blackwater logo (the wide ass of a grizzly bear) because headquarter is located in North Carolina on a 6,000 acres of the Great Dismal Swamp.  Their vehicle of choice is called Mamba, a slower moving South African-built armored Suburban leviathans, designed to withstand mine blasts and sniper bullets.

There are so many hot places in this forsaken Earth because the US has been taunted, in the last three decades, as the only serious superpower that the US didn’t feel to stooping to any diplomatic resolutions but to using brute force as a mean to discriminate itself from the rest of the pack.

Re-defining histories (December 23, 2008)

I read the French magazine (Des Science Humaines) “In Human Sciences #13” which contained the following excerpts of current books related to history. I have this impression that it is not the content of an essay that is usually analyzed; it is mainly the connotation of the title of the essay that gives us leverage to assume what we want to confirm.

If you had not read the following books then, what could be the main underlying objective of the titles in this new wave for re-thinking history?

 “History does not teach us anything” by Paul Veyne

“Memory of wars versus war of memories” by Benjamin Stora

“The great history of Capitalism” by Eric Hobsbawm

“The conquering West” by Jerome Baschet

“Feudality of the rice fields” by Pierre Souyri

“How Nazism triumphed” by Ian Kershaw

“How to analyze Fascism” by Robert Paxton

“Passions as motor of history” by Marc Ferro

“Silence, we are killing” by Stephane Rouzeau

“A walk in medieval symbolism” by Michel Pastoureau

“Why civilizations die?” by Jared Diamond

 I will attempt a quick summary of a few of these books on history interpretations. It is important to know the symbolism in previous civilizations.

For example, the colors Black, Red, and Gold were the best colors appreciated in antiquity and the bear was the king of the animal world.

In Medieval Europe, the color blue became the dominant color of prestige. When the coat was painted blue then it was classy; yellow and rusty connoted treachery and evil.  When a figure is shown in pictures wearing yellow or shown as a redheaded person or with red beard then, the character represented a bad individual.

The Medieval Christian Church in Europe demoted the bear to the lowest level because this noble animal so cunningly resembled humans.

It is good to know that painters used lamps and candles instead of the well-lighted environment of today so that their strategy for wide pieces was to permit focused attention on a restricted part. Modern alterations for rejuvenating masterpieces are not taking into account the ancient lighting environment or the techniques of the famous painters.

Medieval Europe did not end at the start of the Renaissance period,  but extended its tradition and concepts way till the French Revolution.  For example, the feudal lords did not meddle with the peasants’ jobs in the fields but maintained justice in their domains.

Production doubled as was the case with population, and this combined social and economic re-organization led to expansionist policies due to increased production.

First, increased production paved the way into the successive Crusade campaigns, then the “Reconquista” of Spain from the Moors in Andalusia.

The invasions of India, Brazil, and the Americas with the supervision, planning, and total consent of the Roman Catholic Church opened huge markets.

The conquistadors’ goals were to acquiring fiefdoms in overseas lands as was practiced in their homelands.  When the notion of central State planning was initiated then, the European nations built on the medieval social and political structure until the industrialization era.

Capitalism was on the verge of collapsing several times but was saved in extremism when communism came to power in Russia in 1917 and the second time with the collaboration of the former Soviet Union during WWII against Nazi Germany.

Fascism and Nazism came to power with the help of the conservative political parties and the big industrial businesses.  The majority of the people had no idea that their conservative representatives were about to side with monsters.

These facts are occurring again and again everywhere there is a fascist dictatorial regime. (Conservatism and industrialists are always ready to ally with the devil as long as the movements for human rights and workers rights do not come to power)

Nazism, communism, and Roman Catholic Church have the same structure and the fundamental philosophy based on ecumenism (universal doctrine), symbolism, ex-communications, retaliation when members jump parties, persecuting freedom of expression, and maligning the other believers and ideologies.

Is a unified version of a State history a serious alternative for forcing a national identity?

History is a subjective story for official States’ memory: it relies on a few selective dates, subjective documents, wars and heroes so that States can reconstruct collective and unified memories in order to recuperate a national moral legitimacy after the political and legal recognition by the UN.

We might as well offer a coherent structure for the story and refrain from boasting that we are seeking truth.

Slave trade, colonialism, war of independence, memory of wars, heroism, culture of war, stigmatization of immigrants, reclamation of apologies, and constructing memorial sites, are fundamentally political discussions based on subjective history accounts.

Repentance or public apologies are strategic decisions in the higher up echelons, but resentments in the heart are never closed or experienced closure after centuries.

 Torture has its rules: never to leave traces on the victims’ bodies and thus, executions are done by hanging or immersion in water, rape, and electrocution.

In every revolution, war of independence, expansion campaign, or recent preemptive wars or civil wars the number of victims is never collected accurately. Sort of what if the standard deviation is a hundred thousand in casualties? 




December 2008

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