Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2010

How markets can function in developing countries? (Mar. 31, 2010)

            Many developing States have leaned during Globalization to act contrary to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank pressured suggestions on policies for economic stability and liberalization of State’s monopolies.  The successful developing countries have learned the main pre-requisites for an adequate functional market working properly. They are:

            First, reforming institutions for control and management of speculative economic investments; they erected barriers and taxing mechanisms that desist speculative financial multinationals from ruin their real economy base.  They trained personnel and expert professionals to target and pinpoint investments that do not benefit their society but force the State to pay high interest rate on superfluous loans that enrich only the speculators.

            Second, successful developing countries focused on reforming institutions such as the legal business system that arbitrate speedily according to compatible modern business laws. Democratic institutions that establish continuity in power successions on timely manner encourage the influx of foreign investment.

            Third, policies of eradicating unemployment by encouraging investment in rural regions and extending greater powers to regional administrators for local economic development have much greater return values on investment. Cheaper land and affordable manpower in rural areas enhances economic development and the consequent investment on appropriate infrastructure, transport, and educational facilities.

            Fourth, policies that encourage banks and financial institutions to opening branches in rural regions with government support in lower interest rates, minimizing paper works and collateral requirements on family businesses.

            Fifth, adopting gradual privatization processes on State’s monopolies for inefficient government assets so that further analysis and evaluations of the process rectify errors in economic assumptions and models.  Privatization into many smaller enterprises should be done to encouraging competition for higher quality products and services. Until the institutions have learned and assimilated the pitfalls of privatization then further phases should be postponed.

            Sixth, the State should intervene to stem galloping inflation to reasonable levels.

            Seventh, budget deficit should not be considered a critical factor that needs to be reduced quickly at the expense of development in real economy and people’s quality of life. The best return in government investments are in education, training in economic sectors that do not require high investment and that put to work many citizens.  Tourism is a highly expensive sector and highly polluting. Unless the government is set to remedy, control, and manage sanitation requirements then it is better to postpone investing on tourism until relevant infrastructures are in place.

            Eight, local and regional economic policies should take priority over highly dense urban centers where land and infrastructure needs are extremely expensive and unable to catch up with the flux of citizens fleeing rural impoverished regions.

            Ninth, custom tariffs should be eliminated on technological imports and highly taxed on luxury items such as expensive cars, expensive beverages, and expensive furniture. In any event, it is the poorer sections in society that are indirectly paying for the tariff barriers, especially basic food stuff.

            Tenth, any economic policy must rely on the power structure within particular economies.  When syndicates are powerful and independent of political party allegiance then syndicates should be represented in parliament and government. When most enterprises are highly indebted then government should facilitate credit extensions for business activities; reducing tax levels on small businesses along with incentives to better control and administration of enterprises keep the market functioning and potentials readily available for further development.

            Eleventh, government should invest in “think tanks” with mission to be informed in timely manners on policies, decision processes, and discussion of world institutions such as IMF, WB, WTO, and UN.

            Most important, developing States with economies that can be salvaged should devalue their currency rate of exchange and promptly default on external debts: every dime paid out to financial multinationals and the IMF loans is actually paid for by the poorer sections in society on speculative investments that benefit speculators only.

Nomad pragmatism versus submission to Allah; (Mar. 30, 2010)

The nomads (or bedwins) in the Arabic peninsula before Islam were highly individualistic, even within their clans.  The idols they came to ask for personal benefits and privileges had to satisfy their desires.  Otherwise, idols were discarded as pure rocks or woods.

The large wood carved idols were very prized by the rich tribes because they were imported and were expensive.

Here you have a nomad from the tribe of Mudar arriving to give sacrifice to a rock idol named Saad (Happiness) around Jedda: he wanted his preferred idol to protect his flock of camels and wanted his stock to fructify.  The camels smelt the blood of sacrificial animals on the rock and got agitated; they fled to the desert.  After gathering his camels the nomad returned alone to his idol and declaimed a poem saying: “We came to Saad to unite me with my camels.  Saad divided and dispersed us. Who is Saad in fact? He is but a stupid rock lost in a sterile desert.”

Another example is told of the famous poet Umru2 Al Qaiss, a leader of a Christian-Jewish sect clan. He came for benediction for his next vengeance raid on a rival clan that assassinated his father. The oracle demanded Al Qaiss to be patient and he got angry and said: “Go suck my father’s dick.  If he were your assassinated father you would have not been consulting me anyway”

Islam of submission to one and all-powerful Allah was hard on pre-Islamic tribes to swallow: they needed control over their idols.

The Prophet Muhammad’s verses, lambasting the arrogance of the Pharaoh of Egypt for refusing Moses message to believing in one God, is memorized and recalled by Moslems when they target dictators “taghia”.  The Pharaoh had retorted: “only senile people and weak in their mind submit to another God but me

It is interesting how Moslems, especially urban living Moslems, criticized harshly and verbally their “taghia” leaders, but practically submit to them as long as he is in power.

Submission to Allah in Islam is but a continuous and relentless call against arrogance and blatant individualism: Being considered as equal in a society of believers (man/woman, free man/slave, regardless of race and origin) was anathema to nomadic customs and traditions.

The key verse in the Koran is “We created you man and woman; we have constituted you in confederations and tribes so that you get to know one another.”

The quick victories of Moslems in the first century after the death of the Prophet are mainly due to this spirit of equality of believers regardless of race or origins. It swept away caste and clan affiliations and ancient hierarchical privileges in its advance toward Africa and then to Far East Asia.

Equality among believers was the power of Islam until dynasties of Caliphs had to rely on clans, tribes and castes in conquered lands for support to their dictatorship.

The Moslems have this impression that the current Western civilization, especially among the political leaders, doesn’t give a damn about a God, but plainly submit to power and money. The Western leaders acquired this basic knowledge never to admit that they are no believers in one God, but to constantly ask for His benediction before the start of a war or a critical campaign.

Mainstream Moslems tend to agree that Western leaders think like the Pharaoh “Only the weak in the mind (the common people) believe in one God”

Darling, your insufferable love; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Blue sea eyes; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Cuddling in my arms; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Hiroshima is my City like; (Mar. 26, 2010)

 

Medina, the first Islam City-State; (Mar. 26, 2010)

 

First Islam civil war: Battle of ”The Camel”

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed in its mission; (Mar. 27, 2010)

 

Not a grain of faith in me darling; (Mar. 28, 2010)

 

In “Rainbow over the Levant (Near East)” novel: Dialogue

 

Militias covering all States in the USA; (Mar. 28, 2010)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed in its mission; (Mar. 27, 2010)

After 30 years of successive wrong decisions, decisions based on ideology and not on economics, that

1. weakened the developing States and reduced them to further poverty and famine;

2. decisions that destabilized world economy and lead to the global financial crash…

This International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still refusing to evaluate its ideological economic policies and account for modern economics theories that have

1. demonstrated the total inadequacy of market mechanisms and

2.  financial forces working independently of State interventions and benefiting the upper classes

3.  failing to come to the rescue of the poorer classes and reducing chronic employment.

The IMF has failed in its objectives.

Its mission was supposed to tackle two global economic problems: first, engaging world economic stability and second, aiding developing countries to healthier transition into economic globalization.

The IMF thought that it was doing the right thing for over 30 years:  It stuck staunchly to an archaic economic theory of market forces taking care of fluctuations and inefficient decisions.

The IMF went further to feeling comfortable in the position that poverty and joblessness are not within its mission: they were the World Bank (WB) mission of carrying these functions toward the less fortunate classes!

In fact, the IMF adopted this slogan: “What is good for the financial community in diagnosing healthy world economy is necessarily an excellent stability factor for globalization.”

This incomprehensible laziness of the IMF economists to studying, evaluating, and analyzing economic structural singularities of developing countries, led to strengthening the notion that world market forces is the best solution for hazardous economic investments.

John Keynes theorized that when market mechanisms are not challenged by States and that market forces work unperturbed, it is inevitable that chronic collective joblessness follow.  Keynes stated that, even singular developed nation economic decisions, affect global economic stability: what one State import in product and services many other States are exporting them.

Keynes reflected that in financial crashes many needy economies will be unable to borrow liquidity to stimulating their solvable economies to either finance spending deficits or compensating for tax income reduction.

Indeed, many solvable States went down for lack of international lending policies.

Thus, Keynes was the economics guru who demanded the establishment of an international monetary fund with mission to extending liquidity to maintain a certain level of full employment that will sustain global economic stability.

The IMF policy makers functioned contrary to Keynes’ economic theory and mission, and the IMF relied on the archaic market dynamics and refused to have any faith on the interventions of States institutions.   This ideology is a blatant irony since the IMF is supposed to be a public institution, but it is acting and behaving as if transparency in decision, management, and administration, is none of its concern or demanded to be submitted to restrictions.

For three decades, the IMF has been pressuring developing states to adopting stringent restrictive economic policies that never suited world economic stability. The successive failures never incited the IMF into revising its economic ideology and make sense of all those incoherent concepts that led to humongous errors and deeper poverty.

For example, during the last three decades, world finance considered exchange rates as one of other commodities, such as product and services.  Thus, exchange rates were to be flexible to accommodate market forces. That was a great wise idea; what the IMF did?

The IMF considered that exchange rate is one commodity that should be maintained at any cost by pumping billions of dollars in pure expenses for no benefit to real economy. Contrary to its market ideology, the IMF excluded exchange rate from market mechanism tool to stabilizing a failing economy.

Usually, it is excessive pessimism after a euphoric phase that drives speculative capitals to be withdrawn in economically solvable States.  Speculative investment is the disease to be treated and an overvalued exchange rate is just one of the symptoms.

The ideology of the IMF did its best to greatly facilitating speculative influx of capitals, and when difficulties arise, to pumping more liquidity in order to maintain the previous exchange rate to the benefit of the multinational financial speculators.

Consequently, the disease is aggravated by this unilateral vision of who should be the prime beneficiary; it has never been the developing States.

For three decades, the developing States have been paying interest on IMF loans simply to enrich multinational speculators by maintaining high exchange rates.  Otherwise, speculators would have desisted if developing States were not pressured to maintaining their exchange rates.

When a private company fails to pay interests on wrong investment decisions, it just declares bankruptcy.  The IMF refuses the developing States to declaring bankruptcy because the multinational financial speculators have to benefit from their faulty loaning decisions.

For example, Russia slapped the IMF in 1998 and defaulted on its external debts; two years later, the multinationals were back investing in Russia.  Thus, liquidity pumped by the IMF at high interest rates into bankrupt States ends up in the pocket of the speculators at the detriment of stringent social conditions of the needy classes.

The gain amassed by speculators, as a group, basically amount to a State financial and economic loss as a government and society at large.  The IMF has in fact been encouraging financial speculators for over 30 years!

Consequently, the other incoherence in the IMF mission is the lack of viable diagnostic tools.  The economists hired by the IMF get worried with balance of payment deficits but barely care how the money was used and where it ended.

The IMF has been extending funds to developing countries in order to salvage companies of the developed States, which made very bad investment decisions.  Multinationals had not to worry about examining closely their faulty policies or had any incentives to reform since the IMF is established principally to come to their rescue.

When States enjoy surplus export balances it is at the expense of excess import balances in other States.  If imports are of the luxury-kind items then desisting extending financial loans on luxury items should take care of the imbalance.

The IMF ideology states: “Once a State reaches a pessimistic speculative mood, the neighboring States will inevitably suffer by disease contamination.”  The coherent economic theory of Keynes reflected as follow: “A State will reduce imports which will hurt neighboring economies.

How did the IMF interpret that relationship? 

The IMF responds by forcing neighboring States to drastic austerity policies in order to avoid “contagion!”  Thus, an entire region such as South East Asia, had to crumble after Thailand. Oil demands and other basic products were cut down which generated reduction in brute oil demands and prices; the waves of panic spread thousands of miles away.  Russia was affected by reduced oil prices and not by any mysterious links related to investors’ confidence.

So far, after the latest financial crash, the IMF was forced to re-examine its economic ideology and to reform its governance.  The IMF is encouraging developing States to control and manage the flux of speculative investments and discourage any investment that does not benefit real economy.

What is needed is that the IMF funds institutions, particularly in developing countries, can identify, control, and manage external investments and offer developing countries the availability of instant information and intelligence on economic and financial activities to be able to compete with the elite multinationals.

Militias covering all States in the USA; (Mar. 28, 2010)

            Almost every States in the USA has a variety of “Patriotic” organizations and most have instituted militias.  The “Intelligence Report” accounted for 932 groups that are growing fast; an increase of 60% since the year 2000. You have currently four major groups and not counting many in embryonic stages and old groups rebirthing such as the “Aryan Nations” of Idaho.  There are informal alliances with these groups such as “Friends for Liberty”, “Freedom Works”, Defenders of Liberty”, and the “Ohio Freedom Alliance”.  Most local leaders are practically new comers to political actions: most are educated and have been hardly hit by the financial crisis.  Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are prized for their training skills of the militias.

            Alex Jones Show is diffused on 60 radio channels and attended by over 2 million listeners. For example, Alex Jones predicted in July 2000 that the Federal government is orchestrating a big terrorist act on US soil and claiming Ussama Ben Ladden to be the perpetrator; then 9/11 came to confirm his claim.

            The “Birchers” adhere to the John Birch Society founded in 1958 to counter the spread of communism; they claim to defend radical individual “liberty”.

            The “Birthers”, xenophobic groups that harass immigrants have grown to 310 groups from 173 in 2008. They proclaim that since Barack Obama was not born on US soil then he is not entitled to run for the Presidency.

            The “Oath Keepers” are militias formed in 2009 and include police and military officers and soldiers as well as veterans officers.  They claim to engage resisting government intrusive powers that are not covered by the Constitution (they evidently didn’t recognize the vast intrusions during the George W Bush two terms in office).  Their coat-of-arms states: “Guardians of the republic. Not under our watch.”  Supposedly, their swear allegiance not to obey ten orders of the Federal government such as: No search without warrant, never to detain a US citizen as an enemy combatants, no to martial laws, no to blockading any US city, no to detaining US citizens in concentration camps, and no to cooperating with foreign troops on US soil even if invited by the US government.

            The “Tea Party” groups such as “Tea Party Patriots” and “Tea Party Nation” were born in February 2009. Their slogan is “Tax Enough Already, TEA”

            The Political Research Associates published in 2009 a report on US resurgence of the theory of conspiracy from the 9/11 disaster to the latest financial crash.  This institute is supposed to be studying since 1981 the paramilitary and white supremacist groups.  The report is titled “A poison for democracy. Conspiracy theorists are in search of scapegoats.”  The conspiracy believers claim that the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama is being readied to detain millions of “law abiding citizens” by the federal government.  For proof, they point out the traffic panels around the base re-directing the trucks of the “Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA”.  They claim that the razor sharp tips of barb wires point to the inside to prevent escape and that train facilities are constructed to facilitate arrival of detainees. They claim that 800 other detention centers cover the US landscape to accommodate imminent martial law edict.

            These claims are not new.  In 1982, the group “Posse Comitatus’” was warning that “authentic patriots” would be detained and managed by FEMA.  Among the concentration camps is the vast mental institute in Alaska and also the Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, currently a training military center.  They claim that Fort Chaffee is being fitted out with airport strips and could hold 40,000 detainees.

            On April 19, the association against gun control is organizing the “Second Amendment March” on Washington DC.  The date coincides with the anniversary of the Lexington first shots against the British in 1775, with the end of siege of Waco in 1993, and with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.  The organizers are encouraging the marchers to carry their guns in States where it is not prohibited.  One of their slogans is “Would anti self-defense folks volunteer to protect me 24/7? No?  Then hands off my safety.”

            Kamikaze activities are on the rise. On February 18, Joseph Stack crashed his plane on the Austin IRS building. He wrote: “When the rich don’t give a fuck it is the poor who is to die in order to pay for the rich errors.”  On March 4, another Kamikaze attack on one of the security posts of the Pentagon.  Yes, the US people are angry and frustrated after the financial crash and these kamikaze attacks are precursors of vaster terrorist activities.  The conspirator theory is growing in credibility within the framework of “The New World Order” meant to controlling mankind. The believers of the conspiracy point out the culprits such as the “Federal Reserve”, the “Group Bilderberg”, the “Trilateral Commission”, the “Foreign relation Council” and many other federally sponsored institutions.

            People are venting their frustration big time instead of targeting the main enemies of the people: financial and military hardware multinationals. They should admit that their credit binge in the last three decades was paid for by the developing States; the poorer people paid high interest rates to loans extended by the IMF and financial multinationals for speculation activities.  The IMF pressured the developing countries to maintain their currency rate of exchange in order for the multinationals to make profit on speculative investment.

Many right wing politicians are riding these extremist waves: they will soon discover that they are the first targeted for assassination by their own militias as the Federal government starts its methodical crackdown.

Dialogue In the novel: “Rainbow over the Levant (Near East)”

Note:  In the dialogue, Gergis, Mariam,and Mustafa are respectively the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Defense.  This novel is set in 14th century Mount Lebanon.

Preparations for the second revolution

The First Emir Antoun summoned Gergis, Mariam and Mustafa to a secret enclave to discuss the current State affairs and how to plan to counter decadence and class dysfunctions invading society from the top down.  Gergis rehashed on the principles, articles, and organization of the Aram Umma (Nation) Party that the three ministers developed without the prior consent of the Emir.  Discussions ensued:

Antoun said: “I have serious problems with many articles and terminologies in your program.  First, I feel that we must not mention borders delimiting the Aram Nation. Actually, we have to erase any hints relating to borders, period. If this article is circulated in writing then the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt will have material evidence that we are preparing for independence and I am not ready for this dangerous and potentially disastrous leap”

Gergis said: “We can drop this article but if we are asked about the boundaries of the Nation, and we will be asked, then I propose that we verbally ask for suggestions to that effect and analyze the reaction of the adherents”

Antoun replied: “Do your best to avoid responding to that question.  The best is to generate responses instead of offering your own opinions.  Now I have two more concerns; first, the word Umma is reserved to defining Moslem communities wherever they are. Since our society is multi-religious with dozens of sects then a more pertinent word should be created that avoid any religious connotation. “

Gergis: “It is unavoidable to locate a word in Arabic that has no religious undertone. Do you suggest that we search in the Syriac language or the archaic Aramaic language?”

Antoun said: “Your irony tends to be misplaced Gergis.  Anyway, manuscripts in Syriac will have strong Christian connotations.  You can always try.  You guys have to take the demographic structure of our society.  Mount Lebanon is mostly of Christian sects while the urban centers along the coastal line are mostly Moslem Sunni.  The main objective is economic stability and eradicating joblessness that is the major cause of social distress.  Whatever is the ideology of the Party it should be plainly a support system for stable economy.  Now, my next concern is the hierarchical structure of the Party.  Although this historically adopted structure is logical and well-intentioned, I feel that it will scare away good potential citizens from joining and participating as full members. I am under the impression that you are expecting already disciplined citizens to be attracted, especially the military officers.”

Mustafa said: “I guess that this structure is meant to encourage adherents to continue learning and improving on their potentials. I have some understanding of a few organizations that divulge the duties and responsibilities in stages when members have accomplished what was required of them to do previously.  Training is done gradually and we have to wait until the members are ready to assume higher responsibilities.  May be we could emulate their systems by keeping the requirements secrets until the time is ripe for the next stage in the hierarchy?”

Gergis replied:  “I am aware of these secret structures and they worried me as to their consequences in forming ignorant zealots who are ready to commit unimaginable atrocities in the name of performing their duties and obeying orders.  We cannot take this direction if our principles are clear and our purpose open and honest.”

Antoun said: “I understand the genuine attitude of Gergis and I would be ready to take my chance with transparent teachings upfront as evidence of our confidence in our people and his capabilities.  We are in the business of enlightening the masses and not forming passive leaders waiting to be spoon fed at every stage of their organizational development; true leaders are ready to take initiatives and plan their political development as leaders should. I am under the impression that you guys are adopting the thinking and attitudes of the civil servants. Children of well off families tend to think that they have privileges for higher ranks than common people; this normal behavior has to be challenged by further dialogue on the field based on merit.”

The room was silent and heavy with accusations.  The face of Mustafa turned from pale to hot purple and intoned defensively: “What are you trying to convey my Don?”

The First Emir smiled lightly and said: “At least we guys have worked hard for our living before we engaged into politics and we know the value of work that the people understand; but we have engendered a class of civil servants who is entertained by the hard work of our people and yet sincerely believes that they are doing them a favor.  Our civil servants are into politics big time and have raised the motto that “everything in life is politics” so that they hide their indolence and refusal to try work that can add value to society.  They want the government and the people to feed them throughout their retched life as a deserved right for their sacrifices to the well-being of the working people. If we found a political party we are also creating another brand of civil servants living at the expense of the party members and still believing they are the best and chosen ones among them.”

Gergis replied: “I understand your concerns my First Emir and many times I have been recollecting the happy and good period of our youth but our job right now is much harder emotionally and I can barely have a good night sleep. I feel that you have a recommendation to suggest and I cannot provide a satisfactory answer of how to bypass the formation of a professional class of political administrators and managers.”

The First Emir voice started low and then its pitch grew in crescendo saying: “I abhor the idea that any sane civil servant is set for life remunerated by another group of people.  I suggest that civil servants at the pay of the Party should not hold full-time positions for more than two years; they should have an earning job before taking a political assignment and return to the real life of earning their bread after the assignment is over; new blood has to circulate continuously in the Party if it has to serve its purpose.  I suggest that we include a separate article stating that members are not required to serve in administrative and political positions unless they feel the drive and have the talent to serve in a party position.  Members have to understand that joining the Party is not a hindrance to continuing living the way they like but a school of life improvement if they have the drive for it.  Back to my third concern…”

Mariam interrupted the Emir saying: “Excellency, sorry to cut you in but I feel it important to expand on your second concern.  As far as I can recollect, the status of civil servants was one of the hottest issues immediately after we won the insurrection and most of us felt uncomfortable holding government positions because we were unfamiliar with their demands, rules and procedures.  We meant well to shorten government assignments but circumstances and lack of funding prevented us to hold on our commitments. According to our wishes exiting civil servants were to be compensated so that they could open their private trades but we found it more economical and more expedient to extend their appointments at the expense of our principles and the trend stuck with practically no incentives or courage to change our administrative structure.  We need practical means not to revert to previous expedients in the Party hierarchy.”

The First Emir replied: “Yes, I do remember and several times I thought that we should hold fast to the commitments of our revolution and failed to communicate my worries in due time. I guess the Party has to consider business infrastructure to sustain its growth and not rely on the government fund or Party members’ dues. It is my position that any political party that cannot offer services to its members and their families over and above what the government is able or willing to offer then the party would become a serious liability to society.  Imagine adherents fed on principles and emotions bottled up with no positive outlets for practical changes then I can foresee rash and irresponsible responses funneled through incompetent leaders. Now back to my third concern; I wonder why there is no mention of religions in these principles”.

Gergis answered: “It is a dangerous subject to approach and the best we could come with is freedom of beliefs which is what we have been practicing but still is a momentous milestone to be able to state it bluntly”.

Antoun replied: “Our society is founded on dozens of religious sects and hiding this fact under the carpet would not strengthen the unity of the Nation. I remember my lack of patience with the confessional elements during the preparation for the insurgency and I do recognize that we failed to approach this fundamental problem through rational discussions. I suggest that we openly study this problem emanating with each district identifying itself according to its religious affiliation first; this trend is extremely stubborn and is spreading havoc to our concept of a united Nation”.

Mustafa said: “Do you suggest my Don that we should adopt a religion as the main one for the land so that we retain a distinctive identity?”

Antoun replied: “I think that you are attempting to be sarcastic. We never stated it formally but I believe our actions tended to distance State affairs from religious meddling.  May be it is time to officially announce to the citizens that there should be a separation between State governance and religious beliefs.”

Mustafa retorted: “To the best of my knowledge no citizen ever contemplated such a separation, not only because it has never been an issue but because they sincerely believe that governance is not possible without the blessing of religion. Besides, we have been doing fine without this announcement and any confrontation with the religious hierarchies at this junction might exacerbate the political climate.”

Gergis said: “I believe that it would be a great idea to include the principle of separation between State affairs and religious beliefs in the Party’s articles.  The application of this principle might turn out to be extremely delicate and requiring a lot of tact but it certainly might allay the fears of many minority sects which are the most virulent in time of scarcity and instability.”

Antoun replied: “Indeed, the future generations should be able to accept this necessary trend as most normal if it is adopted by the grass-roots first and made an obvious statement as time goes on.”

Mariam cut in: “I still cannot delineate the fine line where State affairs starts and where religion stops. Suppose that I believe 100% in one religious dogma then my faith in these doctrines should take precedence over anything else that is of this World. If we have to boldly approach this topic we might as well identify the basic issues that are harmful to the professional running of a government and how religion can be of support.”

Antoun said: “Religions should preach what is all about the after death and State affairs is about enjoying our life, running society in an ordered fashion, and what is needed to survive as a society in an independent Nation.  I am not attempting to pin Reason against Faith but these concepts are the main delineations with the implicit understanding that Faith is in no way synonymous to Spirit”

Mariam said: “With due respect Your Excellency, this is a pretty simple concept that is basically trying to sweep the problem under the carpet as you mentioned previously. The population is basically very religious and relying on reasoning will not cut it. For example, what if a citizen secretly belonging to a minority sect has cheated in his true religious affiliation and is elected to the highest position in the Nation, then would his election be valid on the basis of separation of religion and State affairs?”

Antoun replied: “You certainly are devious Mariam and I appoint you as the devil advocate to Gergis. I am inclined to reason that in this instance it is politics rather than cheating since it is none of our concerns his personal religious beliefs if we are sincerely secular as long as the candidate never offered to divulge his religious affiliations. I have been hearing rumors, which I am inclined to believe, that many Christian sects allow parallel pagan traditions among agrarian people. These peasants still worship Mother Earth for its bounty and do indeed offer human sacrifices to ward off calamities and dry years and they could not shake it off as far as I know.  Now, no sect is going to confess or proclaim that these ancient rooted beliefs and traditions are part and parcel of its religious principles although it is a pagan religion anyway you consider it.  Would you think Mariam that these pieces of information might complicate your example? All I can tell you is that I am not good with abstract notions. I do believe that anyone who reaches a stage in his growth to claim that his faith is total in the after death then he is a liar and not worth a dime anymore.  I also believe that whoever claims that we are just dirt and nothing else is also a liar and not worth a dime. Even if I still have a tiny pride it would be impossible for me to accept that we are just reduced to dust and dirt after death.  I am a good judge of character and the scoundrel is anyone who wholeheartedly believes that clinging to life is the best attitude to preserve and yet keeps preaching about the after life.”

Mustafa said: “I think that I agree with your premises my Don though I am afraid that you will have the whole population against you if you proclaim that whoever claims has total faith is a liar.”

Antoun replied: “I guess you are in an ironic mood today and your attitude may be taking the edge off our heated discussion but hope that you will put a break to your behavior.  What I mean is that as long as we have a whiff of energy left in us to struggle for survival then our faith is necessarily within the range of the two extreme positions. Once we reach an extreme point in our beliefs then we are reduced to either stones or carrying on irrational behavior.”

Mariam came back to her previous position and said: “I still need to grasp the dividing line where we can bring to court a religious movement with a political position that we deem it out of its jurisdiction. I can offer several examples that are very pertinent; first, there are a couple of sects that prohibit carrying arms or using them against their fellow-men and second many sects insist on reading verses from the Bible or the Koran before starting classes or even providing an answer or delivering a speech. Another issue is shouldn’t the full-time religious clergy have the right to vote, and why the clergy has to appoint representatives as it is applied now instead of the people electing these representatives?  It is time for the people to have a direct say on matters that impact their daily life and send a strong message to the clergy that more transparency is needed in their internal dealings and the community has to have a share in their financial discussions.”

Gergis said: “Now we are talking business.  Abstract notions have to be explained in procedural forms if justice is to be applicable in any governmental action.  I can see the usefulness of not prohibiting the clergy from participating fully in elections though I can guess that the outcome of any election would be biased toward the clergy interest because they clearly have the power to easily impress and dissuade well-intentioned voters.”

Antoun replied: “In response to the first example of Mariam I guess we were successful in enlisting many families in the army after they initially refused on moral grounds by increasing the pay and benefits of the soldiers.  I believe that adequate incentives and direct and patient communications with the members of these peaceful sects can open acceptable alternatives. As to the second example I sincerely do not see it fitting within the framework of our concerns. I think the most serious difficulty is that the clergy will meddle one way or another in the implementation of State decisions and programs.  For that reason we need to set higher standards for candidates otherwise the clergy representatives will dominate the floor and weaken any fair law.  Also, our work is going to be much harder now because the clergy is on the offensive big time. We will have to analyze every proposal from different perspectives and test the people’s responses to the proposals first before submission.”

Mariam said: “I can see that the struggle is going to be tough for decades and only dedicated and highly learned servicemen would be able to turn the tide.  Stable nations had the vast majority of its citizens believing in our religion and a so-called secular government could be camouflaged under the implicit recognition that it is functioning within the nation’s religious beliefs. In our case with no overwhelming majority for a single religion we might be playing with fire attempting a distinct separation.  I don’t think Mustafa was joking when he alluded to the need of adopting a religion for the Nation. This was the case with the exception of the Roman Empire though most societies then were pagans, similar in their practices and traditions and their Gods were not invisible and all that encompassing in a single unifying God. It is my position that change would be won by secular schooling and eliminating any notion that requires the support of religious dogma in the reading materials. Let the mind guide the kids in school and let their parents decide on their religious education outside of school”

Gergis said: “I am inclined to include in the principles of the Party that religious beliefs are intrinsically personal matters but once a person is given State responsibilities or given a civil service appointment then he should adopt reason as his guiding God and the articles of the Constitutions as his guiding principles.”

Antoun tried to close the meeting and said: “I think we are agreed, you and I, though I see Mariam fretting in her place and doubt that she is about to accept your opinion.”

Mariam replied: “I understand your position Sir and the need of proclaiming Reason as our guiding power in managing our State affairs but I suspect that if this principle is formally included in the articles of the Constitution then one day the State will persecute religious beliefs under one reason or other. What sound like reason to you is within the abstract frame of mind to me; I have been around to know that many excellent civil servants, not of your political inclinations, will be sacked on the basis of preaching his faith at some point in his service, a right that is guaranteed in the Constitution also.  I demand that any censure based on stating religious principles should be examined by a regular civil court and all expenses paid by the State. ”

Antoun said: “I think Mariam that your apprehension might be founded.  Gergis, would you include in the Party principles something to the effect that faith is necessary for the spiritual stability of the Nation but that human Reason is capable and well endowed of forecasting changes in society and providing the appropriate remedies for the survival and development of the Nation?”

Mariam replied: “I suggest that we add in the Nation’s Constitution a clear article that no authority in the land should have the power to persecute any citizen based on his religious beliefs or to proclaim any religion unlawful unless we are ready to ban religions all together as anathema to unity and progress of our Nation”

Antoun said: “Mariam, you are driving a good bargain that should satisfy the Party and the Nation.  I guess we have to bite this bitter pill since we have a wide variety of sects and refrain by law from forced persecution no mater how small a sect might be or to our distaste. I have to agree that the Aram Nation is going to be a precarious nation unless it enjoys a long peaceful reprieve with strong infusions of unifying and tolerant leaders. Are we all agreed on Mariam’s article?”

Mustafa said: “I can go along this line of thinking if we could overcome the material power of the clergy.  I think that we have to target the essence of their power, mainly their riches. We already have taxed donations in money and their best parcel of lands which allowed us to study the trend in people behavior toward the hegemony of the clergy; now we need to study the problem of pro bono work on the clergy lands simply because the peasants are scared on the status of their after death.  I suggest that the clergy properties and profits should be taxed as any business. Donations should be taxed more heavily and pro bono work need to be revisited.   If the peasants are not paid by the clergy then part of the fruit of their labor that increases profits should return to the State to invest it for the benefit of all the society.”

Gergis added: “These suggestions are pleasant to my ears because their rationales are sound and just. I move to adopt this taxing scheme.”

Mariam said: “Don’t you share my view Mustafa that this new tax is proposed in the worst time?”

Antoun said: “I tend to disagree with you Mariam. I think this tax is an excellent idea and very timely.  We know that the citizens are aware of the clergy injustices and unfair privileges. We could use the citizens’ restlessness and anger to our advantage by concentrating our effort and public pronunciations on that important platform. It is kind of killing more than one bird with one shot. If we all agree then I order Gergis to write-up the required laws and establish a list of priorities targeting the financial worth of the richest monasteries.”

Mustafa said: “May we add another criterion for the priority list?  I have been wondering whether to annex a few properties that are strategically important to the military?  The clergy has been giving us hard time and was successful in baffling our plans.”

Antoun replied: “You may coordinate with Gergis on that list.”

Mariam said:  “I think that we may have an opportunity to expand our schooling institutions by appropriating annexes to the monasteries or suitable lands by providing tax breaks in these instances.”

Antoun replied: “Am I familiar with your machinations Mariam!  Your alternative could be acceptable only on a case by case basis and only if the negotiations are done openly and the townspeople participate vigorously in the negotiations.”

Mariam flushed and said: “May I ask why the military is exempt from open and transparent negotiations?”

Antoun replied: “I could see that coming.  Actually it has nothing to do with paternalism or chauvinism. Historically, there is no love affair connecting the citizens with any military institution although no Nation was able to safeguard his integrity, independence and interest without a strong military institution.  In your case, every parent wants to educate his children and the odds are high that you will win your negotiations.  The way I look at it is that the service ministries are the cornerstones in the victory over the clergy. The more negotiations you win the more the people will grasp that this tax is for their interest and in no way intended to harass or persecute the clergy.  The victory of our platform resides in your zeal, stubbornness and continuous success.

Mustafa wanted clarifications and said: “I am interested in the strategy contemplated to win victory over the clergy’s power.”

Antoun replied: “The clergy is powerful because it is the people who lent them acceptance and support to manage their spiritual needs and they will revert to them at the first spiritual malaise once their stomach is empty and opportunities scarce.  Anyhow, back to your strategy Mustafa. First, this tax law should be a tight secret.  Second, the tax law has to pass the legislature quickly.  To achieve passing the law fast we need to select a judicious timing for convening the House; the meeting of the House could be held close to major religious celebrations so that the clergy representatives would fail to attend the meeting. Once the tax law is passed, legality would assure us a hefty leverage in our struggle.  Timing, readiness and quick actions are the means to our victory.”

 It was decided in that enclave that political parties would be legalized with conditions that their leaders, ideologies and funding be made public with the implicit primary objective of the government to acquire the necessary intelligence without undue pressures or disruption of the political situation.  It was also decided that the Aram National Party be funded through a special appropriation to the education ministry for only two years but kept a State secret and that Gergis would take a year sabbatical from his government functions to concentrate on the organization of the Party.  The First Emir planned to appoint each year a new leader for the Party and run his corresponding government functions in order to have a deeper and detailed comprehension of the intricacies of the government. Once the idea of forming a political party took hold in the First Emir’s mind his life regained some of its earlier enthusiasm.

The First Emir discovered a few days later that the ideas and principles of the Party had been disseminated slowly but surely in the last two years and he implicitly resented being kept in the dark for so long and this message came to him as a shock that he has been out of touch in the day-to-day running of the State and neglecting to frequently meet with his close associates and the citizens.

Islam first civil war: Battle of “The Camel”

“Where is my right to vote?” asked a Moslem from Basra

The Prophet Muhammad was buried humbly under Aicha’s bed, the youngest and most beloved of spouses. Muhammad was sick for 13 days but was conscious.

His only political symbol for his succession was to demand that Abu Bakr lead the prayer in the mosque when bed ridden.

Aicha realized that the Prophet wished her aging father Abu Bakr to succeed him; and Aicha knew that this task is too hazardous for her aging father and asked Omar ibn al Khattab to lead the prayer instead.

The Prophet was surprised to hear Omar leading the prayer and chastised Aicha. She explained that the voice of Omar is stronger and more virile. Abu Bakr resumed leading the prayers instead of Omar.

Abu Bakr died two years later and was also buried under Aicha’s bed by his friend Muhammad.

Ten years later, the second Caliph Omar was assassinated in the mosque while leading the prayer, and Aicha granted his wish to be buried under her bed.  Consequently, two caliphs were buried under Aicha’s bed, by their beloved Muhammad.

After Aicha’s death, the governor of Medina (during the Omayyad dynasty) destroyed all the apartments of the Prophet’s wives on the left side of the mosque on the pretence of expanding the mosque.  It was the period of vast victorious conquests, fast, and luxury and it was time to “modernize” Medina.

The third caliph of the Moslems, Othman Bin Affan, started his reign well and then discontent grew dramatically after he started to appoint most governors and high posts officials from his own clan of Umayyah, of the tribe of Quraich.

To make things worse, Othman built a lavish Palace in Medina (less than 25 years after the Prophet’s death in this city).

Aicha got wind that the political climate is deteriorating and opted to go on pilgrimage to Mecca. While in Mecca, angry mob coming from Basra (Iraq) entered the palace and assassinated Othman.

Aicha demanded from the newly designated Caliph Ali Bin Abi Taleb to put the assassins to trial, but Ali didn’t react in a manner that promised proper “revenge”.

Many Quraichi leaders in Mecca such as Talhat and Zubeir (from the tribes of Quraich) managed to incite Aicha to take the lead and to march against Ali.

It is hinted that Aicha kept a grudge against Ali during the collar problems and the rumors that Aicha might have cheated on the prophet with a younger man. (Read link in note #3).

For example, when Muhammad asked Ali for inputs, Ali’s response sounded to Aicha (as reported to her) that he was suspicious too, and was inclined to give credence to the veracity of the rumors, something to the effect that women are limited…. (Later, a verse was pronounced that proved the innocence of Aicha and rumor mongers were whipped 80 times…)

Aicha emulated the same tactics as the Prophet did before any military excursion: She negotiated with notables in Basra, explained the reasons of her dangerous move (it was to be the first civil war in Islam) and she opened free discussions for people to express their opinions in the mosque.

Mosques were the proper locations for open discussions under the protection of Allah.  A young man took the podium and talked. He said:

You the immigrants (converts to Islam who moved from Mecca to Medina); it is true that you were the first to embrace Islam.  But everyone later received the same privilege.  After the prophet death (632 AC) you have designated a man among you (first caliph Abu Bakr) to become the first successor; we, the common Moslems, were not consulted. Again, you the elite immigrants have met in council (Shawra) and designated the second Caliph (Omar bin al Khattab) and we were not asked our opinion.  You voted for the third Caliph (Othman Bin Affan) without our input.

You didn’t like Othman after 13 years of ruling us, and you assassinated him.  You again designated Ali for fourth caliph and the common Moslems were not invited to extend their opinions and preferences.  Now you don’t like Ali.  What are you reproaching him for? Why have you decided to fight him by the sword?  Has he done any reprehensible acts?  Is his election illegal, illicit or fraudulent? Tell us why you want us to start a civil war (fitna)? You have got to surely convince us to join the battle.  Tell us what it is all about? Why are you fighting?”

Unfortunately, this young man ended paying his life for expressing his bold opinion and position after the dust settled.

What would later generally be called “Sunni Moslems” were those who preferred peace and stability instead of deciding for civil wars to changing wrong doings.  The Chiaa Moslems were categorized as those who abided by the Hadith injunction: “The one who witness a reprehensible situation and injustice (al munkar) and does not try to prevent it and change the situation will encounter Divine punishment”

Paradoxically, in the battle of “The Camel”, the first civil war, the Sunnis backed Ali (reasonable position) and the Chiaa backed Aicha.

Caliphate Ali destroyed Aicha troops and 13, 000 Moslems in both camps perished in that battle.

It is said that negotiations were underway to avoiding the battle and a resolution was reached, but a few renegades (those that assassinated Othman killed many Ali’s soldiers during the night) in order to escape trials, thus fomented the next day war. This is a reasonable story, though Aicha had put to death the ones accused of murdering Othman as she entered Basra.

Ali spent many days in the battle field burying the dead from both sides.  Aicha was sent back to Medina where she kept her residence and focused her energy on gathering all of the Prophet’s sourats and verses and was the main pole for clarifications on legal issues and attacking the countless fraudulent Hadith (what the Prophet had said).

Othman was the Caliph who demanded from Aicha to deliver the Prophet’s verses and then discarded those that suited the new political climate after the victories on the Byzantium and Persian Empires.

This Koran is called the Medina Koran and the one currently in use.

Aicha was distraught to the many fraudulent editing of the verses.

For example, Othman invariably added Christians (nassara) every time Jews are mentioned in order to tax the Christian in his kingdom.  It is to be noted that the shortest verses that represent the faith in the first 13 years of proselytizing were relegated to the end of the Koran ,and thus annihilated the chronological appearances of the verses and obscuring the context.

It was after the defeat of Aicha that a certain Abu Bakra, a Moslem who was whipped by the second Caliph Omar for calumny, claimed hearing this Hadith “No prosperity for any society can come when a woman is in command”

Note 1: Fatema Mernissi in her book “The political Harem” re-examined the mostly fraudulent Hadith related to women and male misogyny. Bukhara catalogued the Hadith and kept only 7275 as potentially valid (sahih) out of 600, 000 Hadith recognized as plainly fraudulent.

Note 2:  It is reported that Aicha recounted that she was not jealous of Muhammad’s living wives.  Aicha was mostly jealous of the late first wife called Khadija:  Muhammad kept repeating the name of Khadija in conversations.

Once, the sister of Khadija visited Medina to see her son and paid a visit to Muhammad.  As Muhammad heard the voice he turned livid and started to shake violently.  Aicha guessed that the similarity of the voice to Khadija made Muhammad think that his beloved first wife came back from the dead to haunt him.  Muhammad admitted to Aicha that she guessed right.

Note 3: A turning point was reached when Aicha lost her favorite collar that her mother Em Rumana gave her for her wedding.  The story goes that Muhammad took Aicha on an expedition.  Aicha lost her collar as the troop were heading to the next water well and the caravan was very short on water for the ablution before prayer.  Aicha insisted on finding the collar and a verse was handed down that sand can be used for purification in dire moments.

On the way back from the expedition, Aicha stepped away from the troop for bodily relief.  As she reached the caravan, she realized that she dropped this loose collar again.  Aicha went back to search for the collar and the troop started without her.  Aicha would recount that she was so light that the attendants didn’t realize that she was not in the cabin that was raised over the camel.  Aicha lay down and was confident that the troops will retrace their path searching for her as they reached the camp.

Safwan, a young and handsome convert, a little behind the caravan, found Aicha and mounted her on his horse.

Later, rumors spread that, while the sixty years old prophet is resuming his mania of marrying far more than the four allowed by the Koran, his younger wives are cheating on him.

Aicha fell dangerously sick and was moved to her folks’ domicile and Mohammad didn’t pay her a visit for 28 days because he started to believe the rumors.

When Mohammad finally arrived to see Aicha, the Angel Gabriel showed up and revealed to the Prophet that Aicha was innocent. Um Roumana told Aicha to come foward and thank the Prophet.  Aicha retorted: “By God I will not!  I will praise but God who finally decided to declare me innocent”

Seventeen revelations were dedicated to these awful circumstances; calumny was revealed as a crime as dangerous as adultery and specific penalties prescribed.

Mistah, a cousin of Aicha, Hassan ibn Thabit, the poet of Islam, and Hannah bint Jahsh, the sister of one of the Prophet’s wives, were flogged 80 times for their crimes of calumny without exhibiting four witnesses for their accusations.  Aicha regained her position as the most favored “Um al Mu’mineen“.

Not a grain of faith in me darling; (Mar. 28, 2010)

You lined your eyelids dark blue;

You have so little faith in me baby:

If you had a grain of faith in my power my love

You would know I melted the night to paint your eyelids.

You used to tell me:

“Ease off your kisses. If my lips melted what would you do?

If your brutal suckling wilt the flowers of my pomegranates

What would you do next?”

Baby, hold your horses on lengthy conversations.

I need the silence loving your hands doing the talking.

Don’t harasse me repeating my “I love you”:

Wine loses its potency as the bottle of emotions is frequently opened.

Part Two: “When we befriend death”; (Mar. 23, 2010)

 

How Globalization can function adequately for the poorer countries? (Mar. 24, 2010)

 

Darling, your insufferable love; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Blue sea eyes; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Cuddling in my arms; (Mar. 25, 2010)

 

Hiroshima is my City like; (Mar. 26, 2010)

 

Medina, the first Islam City-State; (Mar. 26, 2010)

Cuddling in my arms; 

You are snoozing on my arm darling,

A kid sleeping over her schoolbook.

My arm is no longer mine darling:

It is an extension of your flesh, nerves, and warm heart;

It is part of your sorrows, wet eyelids, and soft breath.

Do you remember how often you threw snowballs at me?

And come rushing to cuddle in my arms for warmth?

You are no longer an extension of my arm darling:

Your love is deeply sculpted by knife in its nerves.

You came close and asked for my autograph;

You almost begged for a single line of poetry from me.

“A poem I could hide in my black long hair”, you said;

“And let it rest a baby over my soft pillow”.

I know, you the lovely warm and shiny springtime,

That the poems of my youth

Built beauty in every beautiful girl

And blossomed inanimate bosoms.

I know, the poems of my youth set afire stars,

Ruined kingdoms and marriages.

It is my hot heart that was behind my hands, ink, and papers.

This heart has retreated behind cigarette smokes.

Tis no time to be fooled my shiny springtime.

What you see is an empty temple,

In front of you stands a cold, cold crumbling column.

The poems that set your heart on fire are yours.

Melt them in your hear,

Get wild, go wild and set fires

Burn, burn this dried up world.

A new fresh dawn must arise with every generation.

Note: Two abridged poems combined in one from the Syrian poet Nizar Kabbani


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2010
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