Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 27th, 2009

Initiation to music (continue 34)

It was during that period that I tried to learn musical instruments; I purchased an accordion and a classical guitar but gave up quickly. I enrolled for music lessons on Saturday mornings at the University of Kasleek but had no musical ears and learned that it was too late for me to acquire any musical skills. I recall vividly that the class of “solfege” got very excited as my turns approached for reciting musical codes.  The laughter started before I started and it grew to a deafening crescendo.  The next room music teachers used to immediately come in and join the merry. I didn’t believe the students serious: I was damned sure that my voice was correct since my ears were telling a different story. At long last I had to fake that my voice was not suitable and started preempting laughter; well I simply agree, there is no coordination between the brains specialized in ear and voice performances in my head.  My musical instruments didn’t go to waste; they are used by my nieces occasionally.

I enrolled in aerobics because it was the fashion; I was trying to catch up with any activity that I was denied as a kid and trying to discover any innate skills that I could develop as a hobby; I was to discover no genuine artistic or physical skills and blamed it on age.

I had many trips to the sky resort of Faraya; I had a second-hand Peugeot 404. I purchased all the snow skiing equipments and outfits.  Most of these trips I took alone during week days when I lost my job; the weekend trips I drove with Rose, a neighbor. I enjoyed swimming in the sea and covered heated swimming pools.  My best months for beaches were from mid-September to mid-November; the kids are in schools, the sand and sea water are cleaner, and I am practically master of the location.

Horrors of civil war, (Ch. 33)

In 1984, I experienced bombing while on the road and close to home; I think I parked my car for less than a minute and resumed my drive.  

I was once taken to interrogation by the Mourabitouns (a Sunni militia) as I was crossing to West Beirut.

Patrick, my cousin anesthesiologist, was accompanying me in that trip and he believed that we would be eliminated and our bodies dumped; “no see, no hear, never existed”.

We were whisked behind a building for interrogation, and there was a tree in the dirty courtyard.  We were set free (ejet 3ala salameh)  

I visited West Beirut many times to see cousin Jihad and Nada, to have a feel of that section of Beirut, and I tried to link up with a political Party.

The leaders objected to any communication with them, and warned me never to set foot again in West Beirut, on account that the Party could not protect me if I was apprehended in East Beirut.

They said they lacked any leverage  (incapacity) to swap me with other much more important prisoners. 

And All that I wanted is a change in environment and people and “quality” time off. Life was then terribly boring and insecure in the Christian sectors.

I also witnessed in the street of Mazraa in West Beirut a militia tank of the Druze warlord Walid Jumblat driving hard, back and forth , in a show of force to the Amal militia of Nabih Berri (he is currently the head of the Parliament, for life it seems).  I felt worried but not terribly afraid.

I was under the impression that the Druze militia took advantage of a few firing shots to check the functionality of their unique tank. (I reserved a category on my blog for eye-witness accounts on the horrors of the Lebanese civil war and many other articles in the category Lebanon/ Middle East).

It was a period of relative peace in our district of Metn after the Israeli vacated Beirut in 1982.

I remember vividly that about seven soldiers of the Israeli “Defense” force (a force that has never been on the defensive since the creation of the Zionist State in 1948) camped for over two weeks at the entrance of lower Beit-Chabab, (my hometown and one mile from my location in Koneitra) but they never installed a checking point (at least not when I visited my town during the day).

The Israeli soldiers just read books under the shade of large trees.  A few girls visited them on evenings while taking walks and a few chatted with them.  I made sure not to drive frequently to Beit-Chabab while the enemy was there.

The Palestinian resistance forces were shipped out to Tunisia on French boats; but it was not that peaceful in the Chouf or south Lebanon. In the Druze Chouf district the Israelis encouraged the Maronite Lebanese forces to re-enter that district after they were chased out when Kamal Jumblat was assassinated a few years ago. 

The “Lebanese Forces” humiliated the Druze under the watch of the Israeli forces. 

In south Lebanon, many kamikaze martyrs exploded cars in Israeli headquarter and check points.

The first such martyrs were young girls, about three girls in three successful attacks.

“No mas” for Nobel Peace prizes (January 15, 2009)


            The Norwegian Nobel committee, for awarding “Peace Prizes” for personalities who contributed greatly to communicating the spirit of peace and actively working toward instituting peace around the world and in their communities, has been politicizing their policies which contributed to lavishing totally undeserving war criminals and criminals against humanity.

            The latest of awardees is Israel president Simon Perez who said lately: “Israel can protect its babies against Gaza babies” and who participated in the decision making to perpetrate genocide on the Palestinian civilians in Gaza.  Many deserving Nobel Peace Prize awardees signed a petition saying that they feel ashamed that Peres was awarded such an honorable prize.

            The Norwegian committee has awarded this prize to Kissinger, the US Secretary of State under Nixon who prosecuted the Viet Nam war until it was a losing case; Kissinger is the one who planned and prosecuted the Lebanese civil war in conjunction with Sadat of Egypt.   

Mind you that Sadat shared this honorable prize with Menahim Begin, the Zionist terrorists since 1920 and who became Prime Minister and invaded Lebanon in 1982 and entered the Capital Beirut.

Mind you that Arafat also shared this honorable prize with General Rabin, the Zionist Prime Minister who pre-empted the war in 1967 against Egypt and Syria and led terrorist activities against the Palestinians.  Arafat cooperated with Sadat to set Lebanon afire for over 15 years.

            What is it with Norway that it feels compelled to politicize the Nobel Peace Prize? What! Do I have to wage a pre-emptive war and then work out a flimsy peace negotiation in order to be awarded a peace prize?           Do I have to be a Zionist zealot in order to increase my odds for being considered a worthy peace recipient?  

What next? Are Bush Junior, Cheney, Olmert, Ehud Barak, Natanahu, Mubarak, and Condo potential candidates for Nobel Peace prizes?  What next?  Would Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama be the next candidates if they succeed to eliminate Hamas over the death of 1,000 babies and 5,000 injured Palestinians in Gaza?  Would Mahmoud Abbass be awarded a Peace Nobel as a consolation prize?  Would the Wahhabi Saudi monarch, the leader of the darkest and terrorist religious sect, be considered a serious candidate if he offered one billion dollars for the prize?


            It is not enough to feel ashamed!  It is the responsibly of the Norwegian government or its Parliament to strip the names of those who won these prizes and then proven to be undeserving from the list of this Hall of Fame or we will label this list the Hall of Shame!

Are you poor? Raise your hand! (Part 2, January 21, 2009)

The year 2009 is going to be far worse than last year economically and financially around the world:  

1. most of the capitalist investments are due to be paid this year:

2. many companies purchased in the diversification strategy have folded up and resources generated somehow not satisfactory;

3.  more creative financial gimmicks have to be invented and demands for bailout funds will be at an increase.

            Germany, Spain and Japan have established part-time job systems to absorb unemployment;.

In Japan 35% of the work force is part-timer; syndicalism is taking a new life in this country that promised life-long employment once hired. 

The part-time job agency Wuppertal (Germany) pays 2.70 Euro an hour and Germany has been reluctant to set a minimum wage level but the current rate fluctuate around 5 euros; in France it is 8.7 euros. 

There is nothing wrong with part-time jobs system as long as there is National health coverage and the work culture does not discriminate part-time workers and work classification as character failure.

60% of US unemployed have not health coverage because coverage is paid the employer; and thus, many members in the family of the fired worker lost their health insurance and lines are forming near health care charity providing institutions.

I experienced this condition in the US in 1997; I was losing weight though I did not feel sick; it was the allusions and the behavior of my acquaintances that scared the hell out of me, but I had no resources for a check up, I finally discovered a benevolent clinic; the physician told me that my nutritional intake was not adequate; instead of receiving money for food “quality” I had to pay ten dollars. for this diagnostic. 

In Spain, retired people receiving 525 euros per month are adopting the roommate accommodation style to cope with rental expenses. 

In Portugal more than 12% of homeless individuals have jobs but cannot afford to rent shelters.

And you start wondering how these homeless workers can resume construction jobs without warm and comfortable beds.

You start assuming that job related injuries would increase dramatically.

The nervous state of job insecurity will increase health deterioration and raise insurance rates. A vicious cycle of miseries that will not spread charity tendencies toward the much less developed States in Africa, Afghanistan, Palestine, Bangladesh, and the over two billion individuals earning less than one dollar a day or having a miserable meal every two days.

A reminder: The casualty toll in Gaza has climbed to over 1,400 dead; more children are dying from the detonation of bombs that did not go off. 

There are more than 5,400 injured, among them 2000 babies disfigured by phosphorous bombs and shells. 

Israel claims that the parachutists had to cover their landing by burning the land and people for their missions. 

More than 500 of the injured babies are dying, which will raise the death toll to over 1000 Palestinian babies “martyred”. 

We still have to wait for the final count: many bodies are to be extracted from the rubbles of demolished buildings.

The UN Secretary General visited Gaza and was appalled; he insisted that investigations for the destruction of the UN facilities will be conducted; what about the genocide?  What about financial retribution for the victims?

Nobody believes that Israel will ever cease fire; Israel was created as a mercenary State… 

What is sure is that many Israelis must be feeling very ashamed: the world community has finally discovered the true spirit of Zionism.

“Peels of laughter” by Olivier Mongin, (January 24, 2009)

The French book “Eclats de rire” by Olivier Mongin is 325 pages long, divided in three parts and of 17 chapters in total. I will review what made sense to me. There are three chapters dedicated to women in the business of comical situations. The epilogue is a wonderful chapter that delves into questions of why we laugh, how we laugh, who laughs, and whom we are laughing at. 

Laughter has undeniable qualities, physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

We have to learn to laugh; otherwise the tragic stresses of everyday would force us to dive from buildings.

Charlie Chaplin had the art of transforming traumatic situations into heroic posturing. The loser in Chaplin ends up mutating into a savior. Thus, personal misfortunes are converted to shared happiness.  When the character falls, and he frequently falls, he jumps back on his feet and endeavors to make others fall.

Buster Keaton prefers his main character to be subjected to the situations and never to voluntarily intervene.  Keaton tries hard to escape, but situations always involuntarily catch up with him and he is condemned to be a victim or a runaway.

The French Jacque Tati created the character Mr. Hulo who is not necessarily a moral person, and who has no inclinations to offering moral lessons. Mr. Hulo happened to be just here, trying hard to stand tall and erect, using an umbrella for the appearance of equilibrium. 

The character of Mr. Hulo feels to be in a precarious instability or physical disequilibrium, worried of succumbing to adversity or free-falling, but he never falls. Tati makes sure that his character feints immobility, but he is not to fall as was the tradition for generating laughter: For Tati, falling is not a typical human attribute that should generate laughter.  Tati is “inventing what already exists, and that not many people had realize that a country (France) has started the modernization process

Why we laugh? 

People laughed when movies were silent, and thus, the body structure, gestures, and movements are the prime element in inducing laughter.  Fundamentally, we laugh because we tend to discriminate in gender, social classes, profession, knowledge, abilities, attributes, tradition, culture, and all sorts of idiosyncrasies.  We laugh because we have the impression of our “own superiority” toward the other characters. In a way, we laugh at the “expense of others”, until we feel that this fictitious superiority is fleeting and unfounded. 

When we laugh we are exposing our hidden characters so that we try to link up with our group, friends, or community. We laugh the harder when we are amidst a “homogeneous group“, otherwise many of the spectators will refrain from sharing in the merriment.  

Shakespeare said in Henry V something to this effect “To our inadequacies, supplemented by our thoughts: divide each man to a thousand for creating an imaginary army

French author Stendhall offered four conditions for successful comical situations in order for the message not to deteriorate into a sign of superiority.

First, the comical situation should be exposed clearly so that we may keep a distance from the “stupid” character

Second, our reflection should come as a total surprise, lest we have time to reflect on our own condition. 

Third condition pertains to avoiding us the feeling that the suffering of the comical character is not associated to a potential suffering, which we might experience later. Thus, the suffering of the character should be mild and bearable. 

The fourth condition for a healthy laugh is that the comical character should be presented as endowed with estimable attributes, otherwise we might be encouraging “superiority complexes” among the masses that will turn “a good laugh” into very dangerous tendencies.

In summary, we laugh by comparing our “superiority” to the comical characters and consequently, in order to generate a healthy and inoffensive laughter, the laughing individual should not feel an overwhelming sense of “superiority”, or the perception that there is a high odd that the suffering of the character might eventually turn on him later. 

Laughter is necessary, but we should not take comical situations and conditions lightly because they have potent political messages among the masses.

Dreaming: The Leveler, the Optimist (January 26, 2009)

How is it that, no matter how we are different than another person, in gender, in social class, in maturity, in knowledge, in traditions, in geographic locations, and in climatic zones, we feel we belong to the same human race. And that deep within us, we know we are no different fundamentally? 

We know that it is not books, or “Holy Books” or communication with the “other” that gave us this basic sense that we are the same in wants, wishes, thrives, and human qualities and attributes. 

Individuals who are totally isolated from the common people have acquired these fundamental truths.  Whether it is good or evil you may confidently blame it on our ability to dream in our sleep.

You hear people say that they have no time to sleep, that they barely need a couple of hours of sleep per day, that after death they will have plenty of time to sleep for a long time.   

It is not just a matter of physical effectiveness and maintenance that we need sleeping, but mainly the opportunity to have dreams flooding our sub consciousness; dreams in color, in sounds, in tastes, in touch that feel more real than reality, dreams of stories, novels, fantasia, other characters that we think or are sure we never met or have seen; and yet, too real to know that we are basically the same as human kinds.

It is through dreams (mainly in sleep) that humanity constitutes a united bloc, against all odds.

The judge feels that he comprehends the assassin and his motives, the wise in the fool, the administrator in the musician, and the rich man in the free and unattached homeless…

All these various comprehension of others are not the fruit of serious observations, but because we all can dream. 

It is because we can dream that amoral models of everyday life, which we have not been exposed to in reality, seem natural to us since our tender age.

In my dreams, I have been flying in air and toured countries, mountains, and oceans. 

Lately, I have been taking off by flapping my arms, but the ride is difficult and not that smooth; maybe with age the harsh reality sinks in and make the dreaming prowess not up to standards. 

Still, the pictures that I have seen in Gaza (the preemptive war of Israel in 2009) and in direct didn’t insinuate into my dreams yet. 

I guess that the Palestinian babies who survived the horrors have more efficient rewinding abilities that are haunting their sleep. 

Those who launched the war on Gaza must have pre-historic minds dotted with the latest technology of mass destruction.

Relentless Therapeutic: Ariel Sharon’s case (January 26, 2009)

The topic of relentless medical attempts to keep a dying person physically alive, though technically brain dead, was exposed by Bernard Debre in his French book “Amorous dictionary of medicine“. 

The term relentless therapeutic is not appropriate because a therapy means hope to a healthy survival state of a patient, and the relentless endeavors connote a feasible resolution within a short limited duration.

            Keeping an individual artificially alive is generally for political reason. 

In 1970, the Spanish dictator Franco was kept alive for a month in order for the Spanish to resolve a peaceful transition of power. 

The case of Ariel Sharon, Israel ex-PM is past a political transition of power since he has been in coma for over three years; (I am under the impression that the Zionist State is expecting the emergence of another “Biblical Prophet” before they decide to put Sharon to rest). 

I don’t know what happens to a person artificially living; is he seeing nightmares of Hell? In that case Sharon has done his well deserved punishment. 

Is the person experiencing heavenly dreams?  In that case Sharon is not entitled to such recompense.  Either way, Ariel Sharon has to go morally and ethically.

            There are many kinds of “relentless therapies”. For example:

Therapies for the conscious terminally ills are interesting in their problematic.  The excuses for alleviating sufferings in euthanasia requests should be non-issues anymore: medicine has a wide gamut of pain killers for every kind of suffering. 

The choice for the conscious terminal patient is whether he prefers to abridge his life with massive doses of pain killers or lengthen life a while longer with suffering. 

Ultimately, it is a matter of dying in dignity; especially when excretions are no longer voluntary acts and the support system is totally lacking for caring to a person who is no longer functional. 

Patients on pain killers die suddenly and generally with high morale because, after a while, they forget that they are terminally ill and live a euphoric period.

The great breakthrough in these cases is that lines of communications are open among the family members, the patient, the physicians, and most importantly, the nurses who are in frequent touch with the patient.

Opinions are shared and the last decision is for the patient if he is still conscious.

What is most needed are specialized centers or “units for the terminally ills” where the patient can live in a “normal facility” and supported by skilled nurses and personnel.

What was not natural is a pretty common occurrence: Elderly children walking as slowly as their parents.

Surgeons:  of “The Good Old Days?”,  (January 27, 2009)

Surgeon Bernard Debre described the surgeon job in one of his chapters.  The first paragraph is about technicalities.  The surgeon arrives to work before dawn to visit yesterday’s patients, he reassure the ones submitting to surgery, and then he reviews his files.  The operating room is ready and occupied by the nurses and anesthesiologists.  Five to seven hours later, the surgeon re-emerges happy, tired and a bit tense. The post operative stage starts with the patient sleeping off his anesthetic, in a special room in order to monitor all the vital parameters before his waking phase.

Now comes the paragraph on the good old attributes of surgeons during the good old days.  The surgeon is in consultation with his patients and fields questions and apprehensions, listens intently, and encourages communication and comprehension of the procedures.  He then visits those who were operated in the morning.  Many surgeon have to stay for night shift to receive emergency cases. 

Usually, the surgeon is off by 8 p.m. to return at dawn.  The surgeon is to “serve and share”; he is to serve man and alleviate his suffering and keep him alive; he is to share the emotions, apprehension, suffering, anxieties, sadness, and possibly happiness of the patients.  The surgeon might not sleep a wink worrying about whether “he has done all that should have been done, has he been up-to-date on the latest procedures and technologies”.  Being a surgeon is not just being dext in the fingers but resolving to many sacrifices.

I have submitted lately to a surgery. I saw the surgeon a fleeting moment before going to sleep (anesthesized) and then ten days later.  Yes, the surgeon serves barely two days in this hospital, and by his next arrival I was already out.  Ten days later, the surgeon didn’t have the tools or patience to remove the stitches so that he sent me to the emergency room for that task. 

Nobody explained to me what to expect after surgery, the complications for being overdosed on antibiotics, the deformations in my face (my normal figure not to my liking that much anyway), how long I should expect to revert to normalcy, whether a nerve has been severed, why I have the impression that I am chewing my mouth, and why the surgeon is not returning my calls.   

Nowadays surgeons have still dexterity in the fingers, I like to assume, and enjoy a wide range of support systems to perform surgery and they are still trained to wake up early.  Is the new generation surgeons’ motto “to serve and share” still valid practically? 

No wonder that the best candidates in medicines are opting for other lucrative specialties that set distances with the patients and their bothering inquiries.  No wonder that surgeons are enlisted in many hospitals for “part-time” tasks of performing the surgery and be gone and letting the nurses take care of everything. No wonder nurses are prized additions to hospital staff, since they are shouldering most of the responsibilities for modicum wages.




January 2009

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