Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 23rd, 2010

Should civil wars ends with a victor?

Woo to people who underwent a civil war and nobody believes that he emerged the victor!  In this state of affairs, males , when forced to talk about the war invariably blame the other or other parties; they are never willing to divulge the atrocities they perpetrated and they act as if they were innocent from what happened; they offer plenty of excuses for fictitious pardons.

God should know that even a monster harbors a horrible conscious after 15 years of insanity and horrors; a bad conscious does not vanish without confessions and true admission of personal guilt and accepting the responsibilities.  Only women are ready to talk about the experienced feelings and events of the war but it is hard to locate these women. How can you believe that a state of normalcy can be won when only ambulatory wretched men are crowding the streets and selling little stuffs just to cover the stigma of mendicancy? In this state of affairs, the women after the war are nowhere to be found in the streets; they are secluded in their homes; how the tourism business can flourish when women and girls have deserted the open spaces?

During the civil war, mostly women roamed the open streets tending to the survival of the clans while men were hidden in bunkers and behind fortified sandbags, cagouls masking their faces, conscious of their cowardism and smallnest.  In this state of affairs the souls resume their rotting process and inability to see clear into the future; our sun and sea salt have managed to give a semblance of exterior cleanliness, of erradicating the stench and putrifaction that is plaguing every corner in Lebanon.  In this state of affairs another civil war is doomed to be re-activated because ignorance cannot grasp another concept but victory, even a fictitious victory.   There was one tiny period when the Maronite Christians thought that they have won the war when the hard-line conservative leader Basheer Gemayel was elected President of the Republic, under the Israeli bayonets.  Looking back, I would have accepted this ludicrous fact instead of a no victor outcome!

There were many circumstances when a few individuals longed for the resumption of the war without daring to confide their desires: many got lucky in sexual encounters in basement where the living were sheltered from rockets; they made love in total darkness and made sure not to give their real names or be seen in broad daylight.  Sun light was not to provide additional details and the consequent exacerbations of finding major physical flaws.  Darkness was the queen for releasing the bottled up emotions and tenderness and saving unattached comfortable relationships.  Only the sense of touch and fowl smell of the environment and mouth smell were the facts that could handicapped the close relationships:  the general deficiency in running water, hot baths and health higyene were excellent excuses to forgiving the shortcomings.

Could you imagine what would happened to Spain if General Franco didn’t win the civil war before the second world war started? Spain would have been the scene of the war played on its land and with its inhabitants.  France and England would have been saved from direct involvement in the war and Spain would have been divided and shattered.  Could you imagine China if Chang Ki Chek won the civil war against Communist Mao Tse Tong?  Most probably, Japan would have not dared invade China.  Could you imagine what would have happened to the USA if Lincoln decided for a no win deal?  Woo to the people who never managed to win a civil war!

Lebanon civil war lasted 13 years, from 1975 to 1991.  Then, the US appointed Syria as mandatory power to keep peace and security till 2005 when the Syrian troops withdrew after the assassination of Rafic Hariri PM.  Not until 2007, did the Lebanese felt that there was a victor since 1975:  Hezballah overran all offices in Beirut that were planned to amass arms and militias in order to start another civil war.  It is then that the lebanese comprehended that the civil war was over and that there was a victor.  Elections took place, Constitutional dates were satisfied, and a unity government established.  It is going to take more time for reforms and the institution of a modern State but psychologically, the main barriers to development and a climate of security are over.

Why this wave of immigration to Africa at the turn of the 20th century?

There are evidences that most of the immigrants, (from the Levantine region such as Lebanon and Syria), at the turn of the century paid dear money to go to “America” (read the USA).  Many scoundrel ship Captains tried to increase their turnover rates of customers; thus, they dropped many travelers in Africa and told them “Here is America”.

Many Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians ended in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere: “Here is America” would say the ship captains.  Then, those established immigrants sent for their relatives. 

The city of Sao Paulo (Brazil) counts twice more Lebanese descendants than all of Lebanon.  Immigrants from the Levant used to be called “Turks” because they were citizens of the Ottoman Empire; then, they were called Syrians after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.  Being called a Syrian meant to be a citizen of one of the independent Levantine States.

Immigrants to Africa were fleeing famine during the first world war: locusts and the Turkish army (worse than locusts because they horded all the food and forced citizens to enlist in this empoverished and demoralized army).  Many citizens bartered their lands and houses for a loaf of bread or wheat clandestinally brought from Syria by mule caravans.

Immigrants to Africa managed to accumulate wealth in honest hard work, mostly in trading or commerce; many of them were the lonely “white” people in remote areas like my young parents. Many were entirely robbed of their saved and hidden money and they restarted in another town like my young parents; fact is, my parents were robbed of everything one month prior of my birth.  Immigrants imported from France or England and traded with the lovely natives.  Mother used to tailor make cloths from “patrons” or drawings in fashion magazines and then offer new born complete set of needed clothing. Immigrants  installed the first motors to generating electricity.

Africa is still the best place to immigrate to and make money.  The only handicap is that the USA, China, and France are constantly distabilizing this rich and beautiful continent. Until these colonial powers come to terms on how to divide regions of influence and plunger its natural resources Africa will be the land of stupid genocides and tribal warfares.  Africa is the continent of the future where it is great to settle in and work hard among great people in heart and in life style.

From 1970 and on, Lebanese from the south immigrated to Africa and Detroit to flee the frequent collective “reprisals” of Israel against so-called Palestinian “rocket launching” and infiltrations into northern Israel.  This wave of immigration increased during the following 13 years of civil war that began in 1975.  

The Lebanese graduates immigrated to continue their education in the US and Europe. My stay in the US lasted 20 years because of the civil war; I had to be in frequent touch with the Red Cross to get news from my family: there were no internet or cellular phones.

Note: Israel has been accepting Africans in the 1980’s as slave workers (from Eretria, Sudan, Ethiopia…) in order to refrain from using the Palestinians. This July, 2013, Israel is in contact with several African States to barter the African immigrants in Israel in exchange for arms.

What if a sticky myth can’t be disproved? Who is Tah Hussein?

I lean for the notion that a myth has factual features, though the story becomes fundamentally a myth by successive alterations.  So what?  Most novels are claimed to be fictions, though there is no doubt authors are describing their own feelings and positions in many sections of the novel.

For example, there is this story of Abraham and his sons Ismael and Jacob and his many wives, legitimate or not.  Obviously, there is no way to disprove this story (this story should not be a big deal: it must have been a common story among families and societies, related to customs and traditions at the time and in the region…)  

For example, all the monotheist, which I prefer to label mono-idolatery, religions (Jewish, Islam, and Christian) claim Abraham for father figure, and they discriminate their religions based on Abraham’s descendents.  In fact, if these religions didn’t disseminate the Abraham story as true, who would care if it was a factual story or one of the famous mythical fictions?

The process of disproving a myth, or its inherent value and the futile labor in investing time in non-documented research, is not the theme of this article. 

My question is: “If you know that there is no adequate means to tackle disproving a myth connected to religious beliefs then, is it worth antagonizing religious people just by stating that (their convictions are based on myths) and not having the moral courage to specializing in all the aspects of the myth?”

Some people would say: “If this myth is wrecking havoc to the unity of society (meaning  of disturbing conformity) then, is it your moral obligation to say that a myth is a myth until proven otherwise?”

Some people would say: “If the impacts of this myth is redundant on society then, it is a crime to approaching and taking out the skeletal of this myth and making it an issue that harms peaceful coexistence and encourages extremist, racist, and obscurantist elements around the myth.”

For example, in 1926, the late Egyptian author Tah Hussein published “On poetry in Jahilyya” (the pre-Islamic period in the Arabic Peninsula.)  First, who is Tah Hussein?

Hussein was blind by birth and is dubbed “Dean of Arab literature”. He continued his education in France and received a doctoral on his thesis related to Ibn Khaldoun (Ibn Khaldoun lived in the 15th century Tunisia and is known as the founder of sociology or ethnography). Hussein divorced his Egyptian wife and married a French woman Suzanne.

“On poetry in Jahilyya” Hussein claimed that his critique is Cartesian; which means a rational method requiring the author to “forget” or set aside all that he knew on a subject matter and then, starts with a clean sheet re-studying the topic from a rational and scientific perspective. Obviously, the sentence “forgetting what we knew” cannot be feasible; saying that an author has to do his best to starting with a neutral position might seem more accurate, but it is not:  How can you get interested in a topic if you are essentially neutral about it? (see note 2)

In one of the chapters of this monumental manuscript, Hussein proposed several views.

First, Hussein claimed that Abraham is a fictional character (but he failed to back up this contention) in his drive to discrediting many religions meddling in literature, which obscured and prevented serious investigations for the development of the Arabic language and literature: religions asserted facts that are principally myths in nature.

For example, Islam (submission to Allah), by claiming Abraham as the founder of Jewish and Islam religions, was a gimmick  adopted by the Prophet Muhammad to uniting Jewish and Christian sects into one comprehensive and common denominator system of belief.

Hussein might not have known then that:

1. Muhammad’s father was a convert to one of the “heretic” Christian-Jewish sects in Mecca (“heretic” was a label extended by the orthodox Byzantium Church);

2. One of Muhammad’s uncles was the Patriarch of this sect;

3. Muhammad joined his uncle once a year, and for an entire month of fasting, prayer, and meditation;

4. Muhammad was versed and immersed in the belief system and the stories of his uncle’s sect.

Second, Hussein proposed that the Prophet Muhammad read his verses in seven Arabic dialects corresponding to the main Arabic tribes in the Arabic Peninsula. (The Coran was finally codified during the third Caliph Othman bin Affan (from Quraich tribe of Mecca) into the Quraichi tribe dialect.)

Third, Hussein claimed that it is not true that Islam was the first religion that the Arabic Peninsula experienced.

Fourth, Hussein denounced the zeal of claiming that the genealogy of the Prophet (the successive clans and tribes) must be the best among the tribes.

There are more propositions which incited the ire of the clerics in Al Azhar who took Hussein to court.  Hussein didn’t hesitate to cancelling this “controversial” chapter from his next versions titled “On Jahilkiyya literature”.  Actually, the press coverage of the proceedings had disseminated the views of Hussein extensively among the intelligentsia in Egypt and the Arab World.

What was striking in these court proceedings is that the prosecutor basically defended the book in a 40-page investigation; the investigation was balanced and rational and the book was not condemned.  That was Egypt between the two world wars; a period of enlightenment that the Lebanese immigrants participated mightily in promoting freedom of speech and opinions in dailies and magazines.

Note:  Tah Hussein published another highly controversial book “The future of Egypt’s culture”.  In this book, Hussein claimed that Egypt culture is basically a Mediterranean Sea culture and a close relative to Greece, Italy, and France, but in no way related to the cultures in Persia and India.  Hussein demonstrated that most of Greek and Roman intelligentsia studied in Egypt, before a few returned to their City-States and established their own schools.

Hussein proposed that ancient Greek and Latin be taught at Egyptian schools as was the case in Europe at the turn of the century. (I think that is the case of the culture in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. It was the case of coastal Turkey till the 16th century).  In the 16th and 17th century, the Ottoman Empire experienced total embargo with Europe, economically and culturally, due to its military expansions in Europe. The Ottoman Empire had to turn toward Iran and India to satisfying all its demands in all fields and sectors.  You may read my article “Lions and lionesses in the Fertile Crescent”

Note 2: The famous poet of the 8th century (Baghdad) Abu Nawas was asked by his mentor to memorize 1,000 pieces of poems.  The next season, the mentor demanded from Abu Nawas to doing his best forgetting all the poems he has memorized.  This was an exercise of renewing with your own personality and character…




June 2010

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