Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 15th, 2009

331.  IQ test scheme grafted on overbearing Genes (May 10, 2009)

 

332.  Critique of Amine Maalouf’s “A World Adrift” (May 11, 2009)

 

333.  Beyond why you write:  Is it to whom you write? (May 12, 2009)

 

334.  Why do I read? (May 12, 2009)

 

Note: I apologize for the spelling errors in the last 4 posts: I forgot to activate the spelling program

335.  Sahara Lives (May 13, 2009)

 

336.  Updated “About” (May 13, 2009)

The Most Glorious Year: A Modern Hermit (May 14, 2009)

I wrote in my diary a couple of days ago the following:

“It is the most glorious year in my life since I started publishing on wordpress.com in mid September of 2008.  This year is associated with the most abject financial condition I ever experienced.”

As I stated in my post “Beyond why we write”:

My reading purpose has undergone a qualitative shift:  I read for themes that excite my personal reflection.  There are days I vow not to write anything but my diary.  Then, as I read a chapter in a book or a report in a magazine” I am noting down a theme in my “article file” with a catchy title.

Regardless of the analysis or style of the theme in the chapter that I am reading, my article is fundamentally different and bears my signature style and opinions.

This year is glorious because I learned to live with the bare necessities that permit me to read, write, and publish.

My old car is no longer that necessary and is barely salvageable.  I don’t have to ride any farther than three kilometers to the public library.

I spend wonderful mornings amid new book arrivals and the available internet for posting what I have edited yesterday.  (You may read my post “The Maitre Phares’ Library“).

I go to bed early, no later than 10 p.m., and get up early to the chants of birds.

I managed to nail down a productive and enjoyable routine since I removed from my worry the nasty and ridiculous process of applying for ridiculous jobs and be interviewed by non interesting specimen.

Around 8 a.m. I exercise for 45 minutes, leisurely and happily, and then I work in the garden and gather what I sawed, leisurely and happily; a kind of silent prayer.

I make sure to take siesta or a nap and value all the dreams that get attached to sleeping and I am up fresh for another round of eight hours of productive and enjoyable work in my study. (You may read my post “A Typical Day“)

I have been forgotten for years as if I live in Mars.

I don’t receive visitors since I am not in any business of selling and buying.  I refused to return to cellular phones or anything that may keep beeping: I cannot afford monthly payments for anything anyway.  Thus, I don’t need to deal with banks that always find excuses to penalize me and extort money as I willingly deposited with them for “safe keep!”

(Banks re-invest your safely net money in secured government bonds with outrageous interest loans, extended to other customers who patronize the same bank.  Banks are the perfect financial sawing machine to extract whatever benefit it can rob you clean, with other people’s money. Banks are such icons that governments feel obligated to save banks, even investment banks from bankruptcy, by shamelessly propagating the myth of a most ridiculous excuse:  Banks are the “ideal oil” or lubricating medium to keeping society functioning for the capitalist system!)

I didn’t earn money this year but I was not robbed or had to shed blood for any blood suckers.  I have no money and I am no longer at the mercy of anyone to be lured into temptations for investment in far-fetched business ventures or keeping abreast of new gizmos.

It is a new experience that is teaching me that what is necessary for survival keeps saving me from sickness, and bad moods. My money is stashed in the safest boxes of all: my health and positive hope are intact for another glorious fresh morning.

It is a new experience that teaches you that what is superfluous consumes your nervous energy and your precious time: it ends up reminding you that financial success is all vanity, that power generated from money is the worst of vanities.  Many died this year in my hometown and in varying ages and they are practically forgotten.

I reverted to a childhood condition with a mind that can read, write, and re-appreciate the moments of happiness for the little gifts and grace that I receive.  As a modern hermit I don’t miss occasions when I am invited for an outing of trekking or visiting a remote area that I am not familiar with, or sharing an occasional “surprise party”.

“Surprise parties” for birthdays and other excuses are becoming countless among youth, and wages vanish on gifts and going to movies and preparing for the party in decorations and purchasing the cakes and buying new outfits.

I try hard not to be lured by modern facilities to vanquish nature: seasons have rights that I respect. Day cycle has rights that I respect.  In winter I keep warm and dress accordingly; I avoid unnecessary trips under a thunderstorm rainy days.  I avoid long distance trips just to pay my respect to an immigrant visiting his homeland.

In April and early May I dust off my suits and wear them everyday with a flower fastened in my lapel hole, “a movable feast” for the eyes and my morale.  In summer, I am very casual, in shorts, jeans, and occasionally I dress Hawaiian.  I thus kept the recurring flu at bay this year, even the pork/pig flu so far.

It is the most glorious year because I effectively worked the hardest with the best time investment on my mental and physical capabilities, with no money transactions involved.

This is the year I felt the most powerful: master of my time, my well-being, and acquiring genuine compassion for my neighbors and relatives.

If conditions change, I’ll change and adapt.

I will refrain from altering in any drastic way this great experience.

Deep Well of Wrath (May 14, 2009)

 

The late author Mai Ghoussoub wrote an article “When we clap for not shouting”.  She was subjugated with a chain of gruesome events that overwhelmed her with wrath.  The duo Bush Jr. and Sharon of Israel were coordinating their barbaric genocides and spreading havoc:  Iraq was a slaughter house and Sharon bulldozed the Palestinian camp of refugees in Jenine; hundreds of civilian Palestinians were buried under the rubbles and the World Community failed to pursue its investigation of the massacre.  Mai Ghoussoub remembered that “when you are blue, what else but Blues?”  Thus, she walked to an underground Jazz club in Soho.  Gilad Atzemon was playing clarinet and saxophone and singing Jazz that Thursday night. 

Gilad’s Jazz group is called “The Orient House”; the name of a Palestinian cultural center in Jerusalem that Israel had closed down.  Gilad is an Israeli “refusnik” of the Zionist ideological activities that Israel has applied consistently and shamed the civilized world.  Gilad addressed the audience saying “The next piece is presented to the Palestinian people facing the worst disgusting regime in the world” After being taken aback Mai clapped her heart out; no body shouts in these particular clubs that are reserved for escaping political frenzies. Gilad then performed combination of North African tunes with jazz and then placed another proclamation attacking Israel recent invasion of Lebanon.  Mai did not stop clapping the harder for the night; it was her relief from shouting her wrath the louder.

It might be convincing that behind our specific anger there is a layer of deeper feeling of wrath but when a overbearing army destroys, kills, and maims unarmed civilians and refugees then what layer of wrath could be hidden any deeper?

Then you discover many hate books on Islam and Moslems published after the September bombing of the Twin Towers. For example, the Irish novelist Michael Howilbick who was awarded Ireland literature international award and replied to his interviewer “Killing a pregnant Palestinian mother is a good thing since it rid us of two Arabs”.  What about the latest book of late Italian Oriana Fallachi who dared write “Moslems proliferate like mice”?   Fallaci lived during the fascist Mussolini period and she should know that this sentence of “proliferating like mice” was used by Mussolini and Hitler as preliminary projects for racist genocides.

How much Freedom of Opinions should be extended before we scream “Enough is enough”?  We claim that words do not kill; it is human who kill.  We say guns do not kill; it is man who kills with the gun.  Fine with freedom of opinion and freedom of publishing but when publishers and media hawk these hates products for entire religions and entire people without any discrimination then genocide planning must be in the planning. Should we sit tight, in the name of freedom of speech, for the massacre to take place and then apologize?

I have extensively reviewed in November 8, 2007 “Fallaci interview Fallaci and Apocalypse” and it is posted on my blog.  You may also read my critique in two posts

“Are there moderate Moslems?” (October 26, 2007) and “An alternative version of Oriana Fallaci’s apocalyptic interpretation of St. John’s” (November 2, 2007).   I replied rationally point by point to Fallaci’s Islam bashing and her insane apocalyptic vision soberly and patiently. 

Sahara Lives (May 13, 2009)

The southern part of the Arabic Peninsula such as Yemen, Muscat, and Hadramout had trade routes for the incense they produced since the third millennia BC using donkeys for transport.  These urban civilizations domesticated first the camel for its milk and hair (coat) for tent making and eventually its meat. Camels were then used as beast of burden within the urban regions; an implement in the form of horse shoe (bat) surrounded the boss and when attached in the front served for stabilizing loads on both sides.

As camels were discovered not to need to drink for over two weeks while crossing long distances under extremely hot climates then, various modifications were necessary to holding loads for desert travels. Eventually, in the second millennia techniques for designing saddles for war purposes as a mounting fighting beast were introduced; there were saddles located ahead, on, or behind the boss of the camel for specific fighting advantages; the main specifications related to matters of control of the beast, stability, and range of vision.

The Bedouin caste system was thus created by the urban merchant to domesticate camels.  Camel riders were later used to support caravans as fighting guards against raiders.  Raising camels thus became a lucrative trade that specific tribes of Bedouins had the monopoly. The Romans never introduced camels in their northern African colonies because camels did not exist then in that region.  Otherwise, the Empire of Carthage would have used camels instead of elephants for their greater benefits.

Camels were introduced in the Sahara after the second century BC.  Bedouins riding domesticated camels crossed the Red Sea from Arabia and reached Mauritania on the Atlantic by taking routes in the sub Saharan regions such as Sudan, Chad, Niger, and current Mali. Then various tribes ventured north to Morocco, Algeria, and Libya.

In the seventh century AC the Moslem Arabs conquered North Africa and one of their leader Tarek bin Ziad crossed the Gibraltar strait to invade Spain. By and by, Arabic tribes settled in North Africa; the tribe of Banu Hilal settled in Morocco. More trade routes from the north to the south of the Sahara were created.  Consequently, nomadic tribes from south and north of the Sahara communicated.

There are many nomadic tribes crossing the sub Sahara desert.  One of the most known tribes is what the French called “Touareg”.  The name Touareg is an Arabic name for “tawareq” meaning “outsiders”.  The French colonial power tried hard to weave myths around the Touareg mainly to distinguish them from the “Arabs” who resisted every foreign colonial invasion from Spain, France, and Italy.  Consequently, the Touareg had to be categorized as a “white race” and very different from their Arab counterparts and the inhabitants of Algeria were divided as Arabs (coastal urbane) and Kabila (tribes or people of the interior).

Sahara is the Arabic plural for “sahrat” given to uncultivated lands but that are still inhabited by seasonal nomadic tribes around oasis close to urban centers. The desert regions that are not inhabited at all are called “khali” or “khlat”; caravans occasionally cross these desert area for seasonal trading events.

There are lopsided romanticism in favor of the lifestyle of the nomadic tribes based on myths of freedom, liberty, and level of democracy in organizing their life; I bed to differ strongly.  I recall reading an article published in 1908 in Paris by the Lebanese journalist Jubran Tueni Senior mocking a new method of teaching freedom to Bedouins.  Tueni relates that representatives from a new political party formed in Damascus visited nomadic tribes in Huron with the purpose of explaining the freedoms guaranteed by the new Constitution.  Tueni ends his articles “Wouldn’t it be wiser for the urban representatives to learn the fundamentals of freedom, liberty, and democracy from the Bedouins?” That is the kinds of romanticism that has plagued and is still plaguing our understanding of the “high” moral quality of nomads.

There are many different tribes settling and crossing the Sahara and speaking different slangs.  Almost all the nomadic tribes in the Sahara are Moslems with variations in the strictness of application of the “Sharia” or laws.  There are definite hierarchical structures within the tribes; in general, tribes specialized in raising camels are at the highest level. The Touareg tribes have a matriarchal society, the same that the Arab Peninsula tribes had before Islam; in the sense that women run the economical and daily life of the tribes and the men do the outside commerce and the raiding to bring in the spoil and loots.  The tents of the Touareg are made of leather while the Arab tents are made of camel and goat hair; the design of saddles is also different.

I recall a paragraph of one of the earliest books of George Orwell “The Cleric’s Daughter” describing the Gypsies with their stupid faces and their eyes shining with malice and mean purposes.  Many people might consider these sorts of descriptions as racist.  That authors should be judged as they change and develop and not on their early beginning is out of this subject matter. My contention is that this description could be applicable of any people who have been displaced from their familiar environment; it is true to nomads transplanted to urban environment for making a living or westerners happening to live among the nomads for making a living and not just tourists.  The factor of utter fear in new unfamiliar settings within a different society is the same no matter how advanced we think we are.  The nomads lead a harsh life and the exigencies for survival should eliminate romantic tendencies that they are saints and the ultimate in liberty to live at will.

The European nations, especially France and England, had far-fetched projects to conquer the Sahara. For example, they contemplated a TransSaharien railroad that would link the north to the south; they had projects to flood part of the Sahara by the Atlantic Ocean and form an artificial lake that might allow navigation to the Mediterranean Sea and circumventing the Gibraltar strait; they designed a string of hundreds of wells; and they wanted to divert the Nile River inland. There is a complex aquifer system deep in the Sahara large as 3 millions square kilometers.

Libya managed to construct a long and large water duct through the desert; this project is to be 3 thousands kilometers long and would extract 6 millions cubic meters per day from the underground aquifer by 2017).  Al-Khufrah, in Libya, is a town of dozens of artificial oasis.  Egypt has irrigated, since 1997, 600 thousand hectares from this underground aquifer from the oasis of Bahriya to the oasis of Kharga. Algeria mobilized 20,000 soldiers to plant 3 millions trees and restarted this project in 1998.  In 2007, Algeria has started the construction of solar energy; the Sahara is destined to produce enough solar energy to satisfy 25% of Europe demands in energy.

Currently, the Sahara is providing gas, oil, and uranium to the western countries including clandestine immigrants fleeing to better pastures.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2009
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