Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 3rd, 2010

What myths Hezbollah has to desist spreading?

That is my first installment on myths that religious sects in Lebanon have to desist spreading, now that Lebanon has proven that it can resist Israel aggressions. I selected Hezbollah for my topic for three reasons:

First, I need to have a specific target in order to minimize tendencies for generalization;

Second, Hezbollah is the most powerful movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness and thus, this important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon depending on close dialogue and communication among the Lebanese political parties;

Third, because I have a high respect for this organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade. Yes, with Hezbollah I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

The first myth that Hezbollah needs to lay off is that “dress codes are religious matters”. Dress codes for man and woman have nothing to do with religious dogma. In Mecca, during Prophet Mohammad’ period, only noble ladies wore the veil outside their residence as a discrimination dress code of their rank from the other working women.  When the companions of the Prophet fled to Yathreb (Medina) at the onset of persecutions, the veil was not used in Medina and women had large freedom; they had their own mind. It was a chock for the women and men of Yathreb seeing a few of the companions’ wives wearing veils as if they were of noble ranks.

Prophet Muhammad did not bring the issue of dress codes until he married many women for political exigencies; he was then inundated with sexual rumors about a few of his wives.  Thus, he asked his wives to wear veils and long dresses when stepping out of their homes in order to minimize their recognition by the public.  Thus, a particular and local case needs not be extended to whole communities and to people of different cultures and in this age.

I suggest to Hezbollah to taking the bold decision of toning down the importance of dress codes and desist of spreading this myth. Women who have no convictions that dress codes are of the domain of religious belief should not be pressured to cheat on their convictions.  Extending liberty to exercising the power of individual rational thinking is the best asset for higher confidence in leadership and tighter cohesion in the ranks in dire circumstances. The leaders of Hezbollah should give examples within their own family and relatives.

The second myth to get rid off is combining political and religious responsibilities.  It certainly is a proof of internal weakness in the organization when the Secretary General feels the need to offering the face of an Imam.

The Prophet Muhammad was upset with the central “Orthodox” Church of Byzantium (Constantinople) because it labeled one of the Christian sects in Mecca (the Ebionites) as “heretic”: Muhammad’s uncle Ain Warkat was the Patriarch of this Christian-Jew sect and he taught Muhammad to read and write in the Aramaic language of the Bible that the sect used.  Ain Warkat translated his “Bible” into the Aramaic slang spoken in Mecca that was called Quraich Arabic.  The Prophet’ goal was to unite the “heretic” sects under common denominators by discarding the abstract notions that divided among them; after all, they all followed the daily rituals of the Jewish customs that they inherited by tradition. Muhammad abhorred central religious power and viewed it as the enemy for harmony and peace among the believers.  That is why the Prophet declined to name an Imam before his death so that Islam should not be regulated by any central power; he could have named Ali as Imam and Ali would have been an excellent religious guide.

Preaching at every religious event, as in a Friday prayer, Hassan Nasr Allah is definitely sending the wrong message to the Lebanese; the mixing of politics and religion is bound to lead to disaster.  We need to hear Hassan Nasr Allah political messages and wish he spares us his religious belief that is not the concern of the people at this junction.

What the Lebanese people and the members of Hezbollah understand is that Hezbollah is a shifty religious sect following the sect of the Iranian Spiritual Guide of the revolution in power at the moment.  For example, taking a religious story to drive through a political message, every now and then, is appropriate rhetorically, but when the entire speech is religious then the people get tired of too much chatting in matters they care less about. Everyone should have his specialty, responsibility, and his target audience.

State business, political organization, and religion should not mix.  Lebanon has 18 formally recognized sects and we need not exacerbate our caste structure problems.  We need to be the vanguard to the other Arabic and Islamic States in running our life and strengthening our individual freedom for rational thinking.

That is my first installment on myths, from all religious castes, to confront head on for a harmonious and stable Lebanon.

Graduate ceremonies?

My message is: “Defend mankind, any man regardless of gender, race, color, or social origin against sickness, illness, indignity, lack of human rights, and civil rights.  Learn to love your work or (quit to a job you could love): Love is the force that keeps you going and that transforms work into value that remains within you.  It does not matter what is your job as long as you can fill this job with love and compassion to your co-workers.

I learned that knowledge is power.  Thank your teachers who freed you from slavery, even if they didn’t care about you but were interested in the salary.  Only knowledge can break chains.  The deeper you investigate into knowledge the closer you are of God.  How can you believe in a God if you are ignorant of your own potentials and capabilities?

I learned that success is consequent to failures.  Nothing like failure to work as catalyst to achievement. Failure is the ultimate of teacher as long as you have the courage and steadfastness to resuming the fight.  You have got to dare confronting failure if you want success.

I learned that money can bring fame and power.  The real challenge is how to keep money, to retain power and fame.  Most people lost their money, power, and fame simply because they failed to invest time and determination for introspection activities and reflecting on the power of humility and compassion toward others.  Success is within your soul first of all.  Get rid of the redundant misleading facade and reach inside your own potentials for compassion and clemency.

O Graduates, move on to work, work the land, work the mind, never relinquish your right to individual reflection, freedom of opinion, and never forget your origin and how lucky you were to get an education.

Note: Adapted from a recent graduation speech (with a few alterations) by Dr. Philip Salem, chief cancer department at the Houston hospital

A Way out of History? (May 7, 2009)

            The citizens of the developed Nations, within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history especially, their own history.  History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation. Why is this feeling?

First, they have reached a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights that reduce historical accounts of injustices to redundant stories.

Second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs such as maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes.  These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the under-developed States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States. The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the under-developed world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity.

History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquisher and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers. The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit. 

The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day.  History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration in commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to filling him in on current news and occasionally, getting a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors.  Yes, the immigrant might know more details on the developed citizen’s ancestors and the history of this citizen’s country.  In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants; usually, getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if no bickering accompanies the assembly of immigrants.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants. They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws. The immigrants are overachiever, hard-working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the “developed” citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend.  The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate.  The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant.  A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual.  The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application; the immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant. 

The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs.  Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their under developed States.

Learning seriously the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship. Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. 

Make no mistake:  Any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”.  Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.

What did we know on Climate Change before Copenhagen? 

Note: Article is re-edited           

Before 1992, six nations accounted for over 80% of the total accumulated 6 gases related to environment global temperature increase such as CO2, fluor, and especially methane. These countries are USA (27%), Europe’s major States (23%), China (10%), Russia (9.25%), Germany (5.5%), and Japan (5%).  In 2005, the same countries emit more than 70% of the gases.  They are: China (19.5%), USA (18.5%), The EU (13.5%), Russia (5.25%), India (5%) and Japan 3.5%).

            Only three countries have managed to reduce their CO2 “equivalent emissions” since the Kyoto agreement reference of 1992.  They are: Russia by 40%, Germany and England by almost 20% each.  The major themes in the coming conference are eight:

            First, the long-term objective for the year 2050 is to staying below 2 degrees increase in global temperature. This is not acceptable: it means that the world community has already condemned 30% of animal and vegetable species to go extinct, 30% of sea-shore swamps will disappear, and a qualitative jump in desertification and rate of inundations; potable water will become scarce resource.

For that purpose, the most industrialized States should reduce by 80% the equivalent CO2 emissions.  The overall reduction is to be 50% with the contribution of the developing countries in going green. To that effect, the target of not exceeding 450 particles of CO2 concentration is not acceptable. Currently we have a concentration of 390 particles and the temperature had increased by 0.8 degrees in the last three decades:  We are already witnessing the melting of the Arctic Pole. 

            The target for CO2 should be to drop to at least 350 particles. The main reason is the emission of methane (a gas worse by 20 times the effect of CO2) that the hard frozen ground are emitting and which kept this nasty gas trapped underground before this melting phase.

            Second, the medium term objective is a reduction of CO2 equivalent to 30% in reference to the year 1990.  The actual engagement is 13%.  The US administrations are not ready for even that modest reduction of 13%.

            Third, an engagement to adopting industrial processes with low CO2 emissions.

            Fourth, reducing deforestation by 50% and replanting new trees.  Brazil has already started policies of saving the Amazon forest areas from further plantations.

            Fifth, pumping $3 billions a year into the poorest States to encourage them switching to alternative cleaner energy resources.

            Sixth, pumping additional $ 2 billions a year for innovative green technologies.

            Seventh, allocating $ 10 billions, each year, till 2012 to finance green alternatives.

            Eight, developing an alternative program that will substitute the “Carbon market” due to terminate in 2012.

            According to the Bangkok Post the US President Obama and China Hu Jintao have agreed to lower expectation in Copenhagen. Most probably, the reference for lowering gas emission will be of 2005 instead of 1992, a move that will encourage accepting raising the CO2 concentration beyond the 400 particles. All indicates that the US is going to the Copenhagen conference empty-handed in home legislations.  Many leaders are encouraging President Obama to raise the standard unilaterally as a sign of personal commitment and set the psychology of the US people in motion. Everything might restart from scratch.

            The Kyoto agreement had for purpose to encouraging the heaviest state polluters to invest in the poorer States with less polluting technologies to stabilize the overall concentration of gases.  The idea was to deter the emerging economies from emulating the same industrial processes that the developed countries have previously used and thus, saving future deterioration of the environment.

A tax of 2% on the heaviest industrial polluters was to generate $1.6 billion by 2012.  Nothing was done so far and the US administrations refused to sign the Kyoto agreement on the basis that climatic changes are mostly a myth.

            The hardest hit States are located in Africa (the western and eastern states), Afghanistan, Bangladesh (17% of its land will be submerged).  The next worst hit states are Mexico, Pakistan, Iraq, India, the western states in Latin America, and many States in South East Asia. The actual facts and trends are changing priorities for the worst hit states; for example, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, North of China, and India are witnessing the lowest rain precipitations in decades for two consecutive years.

Anouk: Nurse (by Anna Gavalda)

Anouk was very beautiful; she got pregnant early on in her youth with a musician who did the disappearing act.  Anouk had to raise Alexis and worked as a nurse in a hospital in Paris.

She worked as nurse most of her life and served in all the difficult units or services, especially the terminally ill patients.  The administration upgraded her position to supervisor in chief.

Anouk was not into administration paperwork, since she preferred to tend directly patients instead of paperwork, assigning and scheduling nurses and functions.

Anouk’s motto was: “Patients are forbidden to die on my watch“.  She uplifted their morale, made the sick cry and laugh; she hugged them and touched them.

After her formal service hours, she would lightly paint her eyes, lips, do her hair and wear nice dresses and then visit with patients who are discarded by their relatives and never received visits.  It was Anouk’s way of giving patients the sense of being with family.  In short, all the behaviors that nurses are not permitted to do with patients or frowned at by management.

Nurse Anouk was untouchable in the hospital:  She was the best of nurses.  What she lacked in medical knowledge she compensated by her extreme attention to her patients.  She was the first to notice the slightest changes in patients’ behavior and to perceive the tiniest symptoms.  And best, she had this extraordinary instinct to what’s going wrong.

During their daily rounds on patients, physicians and surgeons lent particular ears to Anouk’s comments and feedback. Nobody in the hospital or the patients resisted to Anouk:  She imposed respect by her tenderness, compassion and professionalism.

Anouk knew the names, faces, and stories of her patients; she knew their families and befriended their family members.  Anouk told lots of stories, imagined plenty of stories, invented stuff of wonderful concerts she attended, famous and glamorous people she met and befriended.

New nurse recruits adored her and aided them in their first contacts with patients.  At night fall, when every nurse and employee is totally tired they could hear Anouk’s laughing and crying with patients.  Older nurses knew that Anouk was indeed doing her best to amusing and lightening her heavy life.  Probably, she gave life to patients because she had no life after her service hours.

Once, Anouk’s neighbor lady gave her a plant.  The next week, Anouk returned the gift crying profusely:  Anouk was used to seeing many patients die but she could not bear experiencing a plant eventually die, out of her watch.

Alexis turned out to be a musician too and he was addicted to all kinds of drugs. Professional Anouk did not suspect that Alexis got into hard drugs since she was not in frequent touch with him and he had moved out from home.

One morning, emergency called Anouk and informed her that Alexis is succumbing to a overdose and is showing early signs of AIDS.  Something snapped in Anouk.  She became an automaton, a machine delivering smiles but she was still being obeyed.  Anouk quit her supervisory function to finding the best medical treatment to her unique son.

Later, Anouk would resign from the hospital when she realized that she was totally alone and everybody in her family had left her or quit on her; she wanted to take the initiative this time around:  It would have too hard to be retired from the hospital, the only real home of hers.

Note:  This story is part of the French book “La Consolante” (the rematch) by Anna Gavalda.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2010
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,441,093 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: