Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Wrap up


            I wrote an introspection piece in March 2006 which proves that the implicit intention for a full fledge auto-biography was simmering in my mind.  I realize that this summary piece could form a concise story of my life.


“Why am I how I am?” Five Factors (March 8, 2006)


I will attempt a candid self or auto psychoanalysis.

The evaluation of the results of my social status, so far, is pretty straightforward.

I am fifty-seven years old, have no steady job, and no longer marketable for a decent job.

My only monetary asset is an old car that I will be hard pressed to repair if it breaks down.

I have never been married, no illegitimate kids who knocked at my door, and I have got no current girlfriends.

I wouldn’t be able to entertain a girl even if a miracle love swoops across my way.

I live with my old folks; my dad keeps his silence, mother deviates occasionally.

My hardest working mother never stops offering her old fashioned remarks.


Now, I earned my PhD in Human Factors in engineering the hard way.

I earned it through sheer stubbornness, and for my inability to hold any jobs.

My cognitive capabilities are not commensurate to the requirements of higher education.

My emotional development is still in its infancy.

My physical conditioning is above average but smoking will decrease it horribly.

My musical abilities, in hearing, singing, or playing instrument are nil.

My artistic skills for acting, painting, sculpting, or drawing were never tested.

My verbal conversational, story telling, and oratorical skills are mediocre and counter-productive.

My interpersonal relationships, rhetorical, and communication training are poor.

That said, what may be the reasons for such a drastic failure in my social life?

A better question would be how I managed to live and survive so far?


Reason #1:

At five years of age I was transferred from Africa to Lebanon.

I am the first born child of parents who have been striving, from next to nothing, to survive.

They made good money after years of toil and hardship. 

They did well later on and then they exhausted all their savings.

As most Lebanese immigrants in Africa my folks went into the mercantile business.

They suffered immensely from the hardship of an under developed country.

They lacked all kinds of amenities, and were robbed completely several times.

Still, they turned their commerce around and it took off.


I was born in Bamako, the Capital of the now Republic of the Mali.

My primary language was French and then Bambara, the local African slang.

It was the so-called French Sudan and was a French colony then.

I suffered from Typhoid fever at the age of five.

I barely survived the infection.

I was confined in a cold chamber under close supervision for weeks.

I had to relearn walking and speaking.


Once in Lebanon, a new climate, new people, and a new language awaited me.

I was incarcerated in a boarding school with no relatives to visit on weekends or holydays:

My folks had to return to Africa for business for a two-year stretch before visiting us.

Every two years we had, my brother and sister, to learn to recognize them.

We were kind of forced to acknowledge these strange folks through gifts, and staying at home under duress.

We had many attempts at running away back to the boarding school.

I will try to be objective as best I can.

But I feel that my wings have been clipped at an early stage of life.


Reason #2:


At twelve of age my parents decided to come back to Lebanon for good.

They offered the rationale that they missed us and wanted to raise us as a family.

They in fact ran away after the independence of the Republic of Mali:

New laws put the squeeze on money transfer.

Many Lebanese merchants, including dad, were scared to death for any prison term.

Another cycle of relocation: new school, new location to Beirut instead of the mountain.

New emphasis on the French language, that I had totally forgotten, was imposed.

We were practically incarceration in an apartment under closer supervision.

We were forced feed in order to recover our health.

I remember the first week that I vomited my bowls of milk.

I remember that it took my aunt Therese to teach us.

I needed four hours of repetitions to memorize two sentences in French.

I remember waking up at three o’clock and walking to school.

I had to revise my studies, going back and forth in the playground.


Reason #3:  Adolescence


Until I was over 25 years I was frequently short on cash money; there were no credit cards then anyway.

My parents had an implicit philosophy that money in the pockets of kids is the ruin of the soul. They were well off and generous.

The only cash money I received were gifts on special occasions, Christmas, and Easter.

I could never bring myself to ask for extra money under any conditions.

I used to save these few pounds for the duration of the year.

I never built any taste for fashion, luxury, or any modern gizmos.

I could not indulge on paying visits to schoolmates, or going to movies with them.

Or eating out, or sharing with them the latest records.


My parents were relatively rich at the time.

 Our apartment was paid off, and well furnished.

My cousins envied us, but personally I was very poor.

I never was initiated to value money, generate money, or participate in any financial transactions or decision.

When older, I used to send letters to my nieces and nephews urging them to insist and persist for weekly allowances.

I received a lot of crap from my meddling in allowance suggestions.

I am striving for objectivity. I do feel strongly that to aim at riches we need to learn spending money.

I do feel strongly that to succeed in accomplishing a high standard of living is necessarily a learning process.


Reason #4: Fitness and handicaps


Not only that I didn’t look fit for sport activities, I was not handsome.

I was not a physical threat, and I wore ugly eyeglasses too since age 13.

To avoid breaking my “expensive” bad style eyeglasses I shun any group sport activities.

My eyeglasses never balanced well on my nose and they kept increasing in thickness.

Once, I was over 40, I damaged my glasses;

 I kept maintaining them with scotch tape for four years:

 I could not afford to replace my lousy eyeglasses.


I spent my spare time in middle school reading books, mostly French.

I didn’t try learning swimming until I was 26 years of age.

I didn’t venture snow skiing until I was over thirty.

Yes, I bought all the necessary sky equipments and gears.

Are these facts not objective enough for my asocial behavior?

Please enlighten me!


Reason #5: Cognitive and memory deficiencies


I failed the public examination in my last high school year.

I had to submit to it again at the end of autumn.

I barely made it the second time around.

But this summer was a period of humiliation and much more.

Many of my acquaintances, for my aloofness, thought that I was smart and bookish.

That perception crumbled to smithereens.

In that critical summer, my successful friends were enjoying their best summer.

I was plugging in, reluctantly, through books that I already vomited their contents.

That critical summer prevented me from joining the universities of my choices.

That summer prevented me of whatever engineering discipline that I might have selected.

That critical summer obstructed any dreams or potential plans that I might have devised.

May be a happy summer might have allowed me to befriend people.

I might have been offered opportunities for guidance to different fields of studies.

For example, studies that might have suited me better in cognitive abilities, temperament and acquired skills.

My near future was closed and I opted instead for physics at the Lebanese University.

Linda was dressed up in Black: Introspection (Addendum #3)

Note: The following addenda have been written several years earlier. Nothing are better than relationships with women to refresh your memory for locations, emotions and details. T

he resilient nature of women and their compassion, when in love, cannot but add clues to your emotional levels and the trajectory of improvement to understanding life’s complex fabrics.

Decked in Black (Nov. 2002)

I never knew how I met her.  All that I recall is that she used to drive to Norman to see a Kuwaiti student that I knew as acquaintance.

Why she selected me out of so many eligible guys? It beats me.

She was tall, beautiful, svelte and blond.  We started kissing a lot, in the back and front seat of her car.

Always in her car; I had none.  Long, hot and deep kisses they were.  She never allowed my right hand to wander for long, all over her luscious body.

One day, she called me up and I agreed to spend the night at her place on Saturday.

I had never tried to take her phone number; maybe because she was dating some else or because I could not afford dating, or maybe I had a sixth sense that told me that I am not ready for women’s troubles.

Actually, I don’t recall that we ever spoke before, sort of any kind of conversation, we just kissed.

I requested that she parks at least a block away from my place. I insisted more than twice on that delicate matter: I was heading an Arab student organization, mostly from Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. I could not afford any back stabbing on romantic grounds.

She came on time and parked right in front of my apartment.  I felt dead furious.

After a short drive, I confronted her with my displeasure. I could not shake off my anger which was a sign of an impending fiasco.

She was decked in black from head to toe; black hat, black dress, black stocking and black shoes.

She was extremely proud of her dress and especially pleased with her black stocking and asked for my opinion.

Her timing was wrong. I jumped at the opportunity to tell her the truth. “I don’t like black stockings.” I said. A tempestuous silence fell between us. I immediately wished that I could have swallowed my tongue. My quick limbic nervous system decided that I earned myself a long life grudge from this lady.

I braced myself for an unending night, tumultuous in its stillness. She parked in front of a brand new apartment complex. As soon as I entered I felt utterly sick and stepped out. I pretended to see the scenery that could not exist. The smell of new furniture, in an air-conditioned environ that is never vented to let in fresh air, was overpowering to my olfactory senses. The apartment was new and empty.

I opened the refrigerator and it was empty, nada, nothing. As we say in Lebanon, “the fridge was whistling”.

A dead body in the place could not have frightened me as much as this empty fridge.

I was wondering if this apartment was really hers, or worst, that she just rented it and I was the first to honor the place.

Talk was out of the question in my condition and I opted for some action. I attempted to lift her and discovered that she was stone heavy. I could not shift her much less lift her and I felt totally stupid and weak.

She shouted, looking me straight in the eyes, saying: “If you are thinking what I am thinking you want, then you are an idiot.” So we sat on the new sofa. My spirit was already completely destroyed because of new furniture odor.

She tried to read a few verses from a Bible, the down South Bible, of course, and the only book in this place. I was adamant not to be drawn into this nonsense of religious conversation.  So, we decided to go dancing for a change.

I knew by now that nothing was going to work tonight. The spirit of partying was lacking and she could not dance.

The dancing place was not of the intimate kind. We returned home promptly.

She suggested that I sleep on the couch; I refused bluntly. We ended sleeping together on her queen sized bed.  I mean the shorter sized bed.

I don’t recall sleeping that night because of that rarefied air and of peculiar odor. I woke up early and started making a move on her. She was dead tired to stop me; until my hands got closer to her “secret”. She would say: “Adonis, please give me thirty minutes more of sleep and I’ll drive you back.”

During that half an hour I kept undressing her slowly and diligently. I realized how huge, heavy and white her thighs are. No wonder that so much weight was hidden under her long dress.

Six years later, on my second trip to the USA, I was told that she married a truck driver. The Kuwaiti student had committed suicide.

If anyone has a current version “Of Human Bondage”, other than the book of Somerset Maugham, then please forward the title.

Persia’s Safavide Empire (1501-1750 AC) . (Part 5, March 2, 2009)

The Safavid Dynasty claims Safi-al Din (1252-1334) as its ancestor. Safi-al Din was a sheikh or Moslem Sunni cleric in Ardabil of current Azerbaijan and followed a Sufi (mystic) Sunni movement called “Al Tariqa Safavid” or the way for a clear life style. The Safavid dynasty is Turkish by origin.

Shah Ismail (1501-1524), a warrior, musician, and poet, founded this dynasty after an agitated reign. He imposed the Shiaa Moslem sect as the religion of the dynasty. This conversion from Sunni to Shiaa was to challenge the powerful neighboring Sunni dynasties such as the Ottoman Empire in the west, the Uzbek in the North and the Mogul in the east.  Shah Ismail extended his territory by conquering Uzbekistan and opted for Tabriz as Capital. Then he captured the city of Herat in current Afghanistan. In 1514, the Ottoman Sultan Selim I defeats Shah Ismail in 1514 at Chaldiran. This military defeat ended temporary any further expansion westward.

Shah Tahmasp I (1524-1576) brought in a long period of prosperity. The Safavid dynasty had to wait for Shah Abbas I (158-1629) to expand its territory and launch economic development. Shah Abas re-organized the army, transferred the Capital to Ispahan (Asfahan) in 1598 and contacted European monarchs such as Austria and Spain.  Shah Abbas concluded peace treaties with his neighboring powers and extended his supremacy to the Arab/Persia Golf.

The Safavid dynasty designed wonderful gardens (pairidaeza), sort of oasis for music, fruit trees, running water, and café shops. Ispahan received the best opulence in architecture and lavish monuments. Europe got hooked to Persia carpet.  The Royal Palace is the center for exquisite workshop (ketab khaneh) of luxury book binding and items of highly skilled labor that are exported overseas. Coffee and tobacco become the rage in Persia.

The Safavid Empire extended from Iraq to Afghanistan. 

In 1722, the Afghans occupied Ispahan and destroyed part of it; thus ending this period of prosperity and any further territorial expansion. 

During the reign of Naser al Din (1848-1896), the vizier Amir Kabir crushed a new sect the Bahai and the European colonialists infiltrated Persia big time through exploitation of mineral concessions.

After Naser al Din was assassinated, Mozafar al Din conceded a parliamentary constitution in 1906.




March 2009

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