Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 16th, 2009

Something about my stay in Lebanon from late 1979 to mid 1985

 

We had a large apartment in Beirut and it was almost vacant for the duration of the civil war. One day, I passed by for a couple of minutes, for no reason, and the phone was ringing. A secretary for a local company was summoning me to an interview the next morning. I had no recollection of submitting a resume to the CAT Company. Next morning, I was meeting a high level representative, who came from Cyprus for a couple of days, just to hire new engineers for their expanding business in Nigeria.

 

Nigeria

 

The hiring representative did not ask me questions. I did not ask him questions. I needed to be off and out of Lebanon. At the airport in the Capital Lagos, two agents from the company met me and facilitated my entrance. I flew the same day to headquarter in the district of Benin and was lodged temporarily at a motel. I met an American young man at the dining room and ended up sleeping with a very young girl, sort of she was sent to me in my room.  I stayed in this motel for maybe 10 days and I realized that my hidden money was dwindling everyday; the cleaning woman didn’t confirm or deny but I carried al my cash with me.  I gave ample details on my stay in Nigeria in my piece “I could break your eyeglasses”.

I spent four months in a field compound, out in the nowhere, at a poor town lacking television transmission, called Okitipupa, and at 5 hours from headquarter.  The engineers, I was one, were supposed to wear regulation tall brown boots for discrimination purposes. Within a week I had malaria, even though I was taking the quinine pills regularly; an Egyptian physician was sent for me; I had a harrowing four days.  I lived with a civil engineer and we had a “boy” to clean our boots and prepare the table. I think that we had no cafeteria for the compound; as far as I recall, the menu of the “boy” was roasted chicken; the “boy” had a peculiar smell that made feel like vomiting and I could never get used to that smell; I should have thought of offering him soap and discover the difference but I was not an imaginative person.

The golden rule, as a member of the higher staff, was never say to subordinates “I don’t know”.  That rule was whispered to me by an English mechanics foreman; I had many occasions to verify the rule. Our plant engineer in Okitipupa, a Palestinian by origin called Sami, never handled anything; somehow, he once was in the mood of showing off his dexterity; he ruined three expensive pairs of fitters without succeeding and then got up as if of nothing; I tried my gentle touch at it and did it from the first time; I think that this person didn’t forgive me for taking over the task.  The next day, Sami assigned me a heavy duty vehicle to “fix” all by myself; I had never before touched any mechanical tool; I am an industrial engineer and had nothing to do with mechanics or mechanical engineering; a notion that it is hard to dissipate due to the wrong connotation given to industrial engineering which is basically managerial and not into mechanical design by any long shot.

The Lebanese and Syrian mechanics used to bring me, in secrecy, voluminous maintenance books to read sections and explain details; I had this feeling that management was very reluctant to instruct workers through manuscripts; as if the engineers were assigned to be the sole “priests” for the interpretation of the written manuscripts.  A Syrian foreman mechanics had an objective of opening his own heavy duty maintenance shop after he ends his contract period and was eager to purchase the appropriate expensive tools of the trade and the precision processes.  Obviously, management was not happy with my smooching with the workers: I used to go out with them after work in town and meet girls.  There was nothing in town for entertainment and the compound was a vast prison camp where I had to wear long brown boots of the bosses in that blasted hot and humid country.

A few thugs entered the compound one night; they killed three guards and threatened the manager to open the safe. We were awakened at three in the morning by the Lebanese manager, from the district of Koura, and we lodged a complaint at the town police quarter.  We drove by the slaughtered watchmen.

 

I was recalled and ready to be shipped out to Cyprus, supposedly the mother maintenance headquarter or something of that nature. I was somewhat reluctant for this sudden transfer even after this harrowing experience. I had to stay for another month redundant at headquarter.  This old English “personality”, supposed to be the official writer of letters, and from whom I used to borrow books from his private library in his allocated rented house, enjoyed repeating “Are we redundant today?” thinking that I didn’t know this word and wanted to impress me with his flatulent language.

The company accommodated me at a house with a private driver and a house male servant.  At night, the Nigerian driver would take me to a dancing place in the open air that was surrounded by a few huts.  It is from there that I was introduced to paid girls. (I wrote about this experience in my file “songs for women” under the title “I could break your eye glasses”). We were paid in Sterling pounds to an account overseas, mine in Lebanon; they had a complex money mechanism that served two purposes of avoiding taxes and keeping us under strict control financially. I had to borrow cash from my manager which was offered as gifts.

 

During that month I had the opportunity for several “adventure” trips.  I recall one particular trip that was truly an adventure in the nowhere.  I drove with a Lebanese foreman at a very remote tiny project site; after four hours of land driving we had to board a canoe to cross a murky river where people lived on the river; I think National Geographic would have made me rich if I had a camera; I am pretty sure if I fell overboard I would have been eaten by an alligator or piranhas. Well, after seven hours of crossing lands and rivers we reached destination; I looked around and found nothing of a project.  We did nothing; I would like to believe that we left a piece of tool and we were back and arrived by midnight.  My friend had another well hidden project, somewhere in Alice Wonderland: I declined. Nigeria is a vast country and that adventure trip was an eye opener to the extent of miseries. 

 

My return trip to Lagos airport was not a happy one and I was not accompanied by any agent from the company.  I boarded a ten-seat small plane; I thought that they have mistaken me for a parachutist.  The rickety plane was noise of hell and we experienced several air pockets and free falls; I was not perturbed: I had seen Nigeria.  At the airport I was searched four times, my suitcases completely ramaged through, until all my little alcohol bottles were accepted as gifts.  You need company agents to go in and go out of Nigerian airports; it was true then and true even more so today.

No Independent Palestinian State? Think again! (January 16, 2009)

 

Note: Israel pounded yesterday the south-west corner of Gaza City and had demolished the UN agency headquarter and the Red Cross hospital; 500 injured Palestinian babies were trapped in these locations.  The death toll has climbed to 1,100 and the injured to 5,200; the world community is finally realizing that apartheid Israel has gone way too crazy against the UN charters. Keeping silent on the facts that this is a war crime being perpetrated in Gaza is no longer tolerable.

 

            The US, Europe, the hateful Moubarak of Egypt and the Wahhabi monarchy in Saudi Arabia  do not want a sustainable Palestinian State in the West bank and Gaza; they want a recognized Palestinian State by name only, devoid of the conditions attached to an independent and self-autonomous status.  They want what their puppet of “Palestinian” Abbass is willing to bow to, under the excuses that resisting the Zionist occupation should not involve arms struggle, no matter the humiliation and miserable conditions that the Palestinian people are subjected to.

            Hamas represents the dignity and pride of the Palestinian to stand tall and reclaiming their rights as deserving people under the sun, with full recognition and the application of the UN charters on the apartheid Zionist State.  The religious ideology of Hamas is a byproduct for denying the Palestinian people their due rights and recognition; when the liberal approaches of negotiation and democratic results are canceled, trampeled, and made a mockery by the US Administrations and the EU.

 

I have published in November 12, 2008 “The State of Palesrael: a future plausible resolution” and I feel compelled to re-iterate my position after the Gaza fiasco and the genocide that has been watched live for over 20 days.

 

            There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to containing this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel by displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as one of the worst monstrosities in this century. There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

Before the Gaza onslaught, Israeli Olmert PM had declared that “the time to facing truth has come”.  Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the Arab States and Israeli delegations, (mediated by the Bush Father US Administration), for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and pre-emptive wars, is no longer tenable.  A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to prosecute: invading Iraq. The US allowed Israel to scrap the comprehensive agreement of “land for peace”

The Bush Junior administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq. This invasion has failed miserably but Israel realized that it is no longer a necessary State for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arab Gulf, it has many heavy weight allies among the Arabic States, and the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq or elsewhere or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.  The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases: the first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledge State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.  At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should. The burden of proof for peaceful co-existence is on the occupier force, the apartheid Zionist State.

 

            The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.  I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).  I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.  The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

            I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equally, including gender, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis and a rotation imposed.  The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel let Lebanon experience, without foreign interventions, the full extent of its caste structure so that the State of Palesrael might study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.  The “Wall of Shame” constructed by the vegetative Sharon has to come down.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (no pre-emptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.  Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure this neutrality status.  Amen.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2009
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