Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 8th, 2010

694.  Biter-sweet Euro: Before and after Greece; (Mar. 8, 2010)


695.  Part four: “On the wild trails of Mount Lebanon”; (Mar. 8, 2010)


696.  Part 5: “On the wild trails of Mount Lebanon” (Mar. 8, 2010)


697.  Ultra orthodox Jews in Israel have lost it; (Mar. 9, 2010)


698.  Part 6: “Wild trails of Mount Lebanon” (Mar. 9, 2010)

Part 6: “Wild trails of Mount Lebanon” (Mar. 8, 2010)

Pierre Bared, a middle aged man, tall, svelte, with graying beard and three children decided to walked alone for 22 days on the wild trails of Mount Lebanon crossing it from the upper northern town of Kobayat to the southern town of Marje3youn  in June 2008.

On the 17th day, two Syrian workers, guarding a newly renovated villa, did their best to welcome Pierre. They reserved him one of the two beds for the night and purchased a roasted chicken.

Many Christians denied Pierre, even a listening ear, during his walking trip.  The place allocated to the workers was miserable: “the others” must have been used to miserable conditions!

Pierre descends a valley to the river and crosses a rickety bridge; he reached the town of Bzebdine by 1 pm.

It is Sunday; Pierre’s friends Joseph and Saba were to meet him for a picnic. The son of the owner of a building, studying for his public exam, gathers red and green prunes from his garden and offers them for the three men.

Two armed civilian militia of the socialist Druze party (of the warlord Walid Jumblatt) pay them a visit for questioning.

Pierre has hard time locating the trail to Kornayel using the useless guide book.  He traverses a forest and hears gun shots and various arms firing.  The forest is degraded by men.

By 6 pm, Pierre is in Falougha.  Kids are playing soccer by the church yard: it is an unknown notion in Lebanon to reserve playing grounds and spaces for kids.

In Falougha, the mayor stops to pick up and collect detritus off the sides of streets: an example that renders this town clean.

Joseph, a member of the association “Sentiers du Mont Liban”, meets Pierre in an ice cream parlor.  Joseph claims that the wild trails are not marked so that people call them up! What an excuse given that the association was awarded $3 millions for that project.  It seems that part of the budget was allocated to restore a few welcoming houses for travelers.  It is good to know that the project is done by volunteers and the private company is doing nothing.

Chamoun, the one who called Pierre to join him for the remainder of the trip, called Pierre and they agreed to meet at the main fountain in the morning. Pierre sleeps at Joseph’s house.

Next morning, Chamoun arrives decked in kaki outfit and all kinds of small flags pinned on the uniform; he even brought a spare boot.  They both ascend to Dahr el Baidar; an army post is there but did not disturb the travelers.  The walkers take a break under the shadow of a lonely tree.

They cross Damascus Highway to catch the old train tunnel: no train rails are left.  They see a quarry, so many unlicensed quarries in Lebanon that are disfiguring the landscape. Many Lorries are suffocating the climate with dirt.  They meet a 10 year-old girl shepherding goats: Pierre gives the girl water to drink.

A couple of old folks are gathering cherries and apricots; they welcome the travelers as if they knew them.  The walkers see another quarry that inflicts significant pain to the eyesight.  They meet an old cultivator who invites them to his one room depot.

They continue to Ain Dara.  They meet workers rebuilding the bridge of Mdayrej that Israel bombed in 2006; they eat with the workers at the central town square restaurant and good boy jokes fuse from everywhere. Chamoun is carrying promotional materials concerning his exploits, adventures, and recommendation in health care; he never stops talking once he is carried away for his aggrandizement attitudes.

Pierre and Chamoun resume their trip to Nabe3 el Safa; they cross a small natural farm of cows and chicken co-existing.  They come into an orchard of peach trees (best peaches in the world).  They stumble over a sofa under a tree: they could not let this luck be missed for a well deserved pause.

For the first time in the trail, Pierre sees a notice warning against landmines, cluster bombs, and unexplosed missiles left by Israel recurring bombing of Lebanon.  They reach the “Cedar reserve” of Chouf; the guard of the forest reserve offers them a room with two real beds and a real hot shower facility (5 stars accommodation).

The next day, the photographer Alfred shows up for photo sessions of the routine cedar tree planting.  Planting a cedar tree in the reserve cost $250, including entrance card to the forest any time, having your name attached to the tree, and a certificate; the tree has the number 116.  The mayor accompanies Pierre.

The walkers return to Falougha for another planting ceremony of cedar tree, and then to Mtein.

Chamoun calls up his sister to give them ride to the cedar reserve; she drops Pierre in Mdayrej; Chamoun calls it quit and returns with his sister home.  Pierre waits 30 minutes to be picked up by a truck to Nabe3 el Safa; the next target town for Pierre is Barouk.

Ultra orthodox Jews in Israel have lost it; (Mar. 8, 2010)

            There are alarming increases in family violence among ultra orthodox closed communities in Israel. Israeli social services are having hard times dealing with crimes occurring within ultra orthodox families such as killing of children, rape, violence, cruel behaviors toward children that are disguised under the rubric of Hassidic rituals and customs.

            When social services denounce such crimes, Hassidic demonstrations against secular services take to the street demanding closing of social services or avoiding to ask for their services on the ground of meddling in their religious prerogatives and traditional affairs.  Israel dailies made headlines of the killing of a 4 year-old boy by his “haredim” father; the 3 year-old boy left to die of hunger by his mother; and lately the death of 8 months girl whose father smashed her head repeatedly on the floor.

            There are waves of delirious “psychological problems” afflicting the ultra orthodox communities, especially those secret cults created in Central Europe in the 17th centuries (the Haredim) and the Habad (wise) sect of the Lubavitch dynasty of rabbins.  The grand father of the dead toddler who teaches in Vienna said “The real problem is that ultra orthodox communities have tendencies to hide their problems instead of going after rational treatments to avoiding these kinds of tragedies. We have got to come open relative to psychological distresses.  Many victims will surface at increased rate if communities keep to their closed ghetto mentality”

            The criminal father was very cool and answered “There will be no manifestations this time around: we are Ashkenazi and not “Frenk” (oriental Jews) or “hozer be ‘tshuva” (penitent).”  There is this “will to sacrifice” at the detriment of children’s innocent souls.  Worse, birth rate of Haredim families is alarmingly increasing: Haredim maternal schools rate increase is 40 times the secular schools.

            Within a decade, one out of 4 Israelis will be supporting society:  Hassidi women are not allowed to work and men prefer to “study the torah and the Talmud”.  Palestinians with Israeli passports are discriminated against in job openings: there are welcomed as manual labors.

Note:  I am wondering why women still allow men, who barely have read a single book, fraught with myths, to rule and govern their life.




March 2010

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