Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 2010

Ireland and Lebanon: Same Immigration cycles?

The Irish are back to their traditional immigration frenzies.

In the last two decades, Irish never considered that immigration will be another option:  Investment of multinational financial institutions were flooding this island and the illusion of an economic boom distracted governments into diversifying Ireland’s economy.

Now the Irish have no excuses laying it on “The British” for buying immigration tickets, or for totally neglecting Ireland during the horrible potato’s famine in the 19th century.

Parents who raised families are now packing to start a new life in greener pastures, mostly in the US, anywhere else is fine too.

Ireland governments invested in infrastructures that supported financial transactions and modern airports, but not in industries or agriculture.  The game of quick wealth illusion is over:  The Irish are facing the fact that there are no opportunities in their homeland to sustain their addictive former life-style.

The US will be glad to re-welcome the Irish who have skills in financial transactions and programming.

The Irish started immigrating to the US by the 19th century, during the “potatoes famine” as England had adopted policies of subjugating the Irish through their stomachs.

The Lebanese have been immigrating since the turn of the 20th century.  The Lebanese had excellent reasons and excuses to immigrate to greener pastures.  International wars, civil wars, famine (locust), lack of opportunities, the void of any national identity, living in archaic political and economic systems were always there to give reasonable nudges to turn the Lebanese outside their ever-changing borders.

The Lebanese first moved to Egypt and initiated a cultural and literary renaissance that put Egypt on the map for decades to come.  The Lebanese ventured to the Americas:  Their destination was the US but captains of ships dropped them in central America, south America and on Africa’s shores, telling them: You arrived.  The captains of ships were interested in turnover. The Lebanese immigrants survived and flourished wherever they were dropped.

A few people would like to compare Ireland with Lebanon in its cyclical immigration episodes. 

There is a huge difference:  Lebanon had no England as immediate neighbor to learn and appreciate progress, development, and democratic reforms.  Lebanon had no England to experience uninterrupted 5 centuries of stability and progress.

Lebanon was smack in the archaic Ottoman Empire of a Calif/monarchy political and religious system for over 5 centuries.

Currently Lebanon is bordered by its racist arch-enemy Israel, constantly seeking to destabilize Lebanon, and the developing State of Syria intent on securing its moot flank in Lebanon.

Ireland and Lebanon relied on import and mercantile economy while waiting for financial support from the immigrants.

Both countries didn’t dare diversify their economies in industry and agriculture on the ground that they are tiny States and not capable of competing with far vaster and powerful States.

Both tiny countries, though Ireland is far vaster than Lebanon,  staunchly adopted the economic/political ideology that they are practically irrelevant countries to investing in heavy industries and self-satisfying their population with agricultural products.

The Irish immigrants had excellent connections in the most powerful States of the US and England and visited their homeland frequently to communicate changes and social transformations.  The Lebanese immigrants barely re-visited their homeland:  Political and social conditions never were appetizing for investments or returning for any length of time.

While the Irish believe that Catholicism is the foundation of their nationality, unconsciously forgetting that it is because they are living on an island, away from the mixing of other cultures, and that Catholicism united them as an ideological entity.

Lebanon has always been smack at the crossroad of all cultures and civilizations.  Every invading power, since the earliest ancient periods, wanted to conquer Lebanon to build a navy and abuse of its skilled and educated people.

If Lebanon’s sectarian political system revolves around 19 officially recognized religious sects (Moslems and Christians of all denominations) enjoying vast administrative civil privileges from birth, to marriages, to divorce, and to death it is a remnant of the Ottoman caste system.

The Ottoman Empire inherited the caste system from India when communications and trades with Europe were under strict embargo following the Ottoman land expansion in Europe in the 15 and 16th centuries.

This caste system was maintained by the mandated power of France.   Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism. Lately, the resistance movement of Hezbollah gave Lebanon a hold to be considered as a viable independent State after it resisted Israel’s invasion in 2006 for 33 days.

Ireland was unable to build a viable economy because the Irish are still impressed with superpower privileges and open borders for easy immigration. Ireland has no relevant and valid reasons to blame foreign powers to its cyclical immigration phenomenon:  Not yesterday; and not today. The Lebanese do have a dozen of excellent reasons to immigrate.

Note 1:  The caste system in Lebanon was structured along artisan businesses or gilds:  Every skilled group enjoyed privileges and occupied quarters in urban centers.  This restricted medieval trade structure extended to religious sects in modern times.

Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism.

Note 2: Shane Farrell shared:

Northern Irish artist Paul Brady’s 1985 song ‘The Island’ links the conflict in Northern Ireland to Lebanon.
How tragic it is that nearly 30 years later, his lyrics on Northern Ireland ring eerily true in Lebanon:
“They say the skies of lebanon are burning those mighty cedars
bleeding in the heat they’re showing pictures on the television…
women and children dying in the streets and we’re still at it in our own place
still trying to reach the future through the past still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone”
[….]
“now i know us plain folk don’t see the bigger picture
and all this peace and love’s just copping out
and the young boys dying in the ditches is just what being free is all about
and how this twisted wreckage down on main street will bring us all together in the end
as we go marching down the road to freedom, freedom”

Women are back to being the most vocal and active members in society as in the 1840’s, though the “Mamas Grizzly” are on the wrong side for the proper political reforms.  Fact is, women are not equitably represented in the political system. In economical downturns, unemployed men feel worthless and barely take on their responsibilities in the family.  Unemployed men and husbands start imagining that women and wives have the magic wand to making ends meet.  Unemployed men and husbands hand long faces and loaf around in the house; wives want men out of the house, away from their skirts.  Wives want the government to open up free extracurricular activity centers so that men are out-of-the-way and enjoying their free time.  Wives don’t need adult husbands behaving like kids, complaining and whining and expecting wives to tranquillize their unsatisfied ego.

Save a limited health care reform that is yet to be effectively executed next year, nothing is working in the US after the financial crash.  The number of unemployed is increasing, the economy has not restarted, foreign policies for stabilizing world disturbances have not changed much, the environment degradation did not improve, and the troops are being relocated and reshuffled to other “hot regions”; there is diminished credibility that the dollar is worth the expense of printing it and no viable medium-term resolutions are seriously contemplated.  Politics in the US is heavily biased toward short-term election timeline.

Nothing is giving the US citizens and the world communities much hope that change in on the way; any kind of change.  The banks and financial institutions were salvaged but productive lending transactions have not materialized.  All financial facilitation laws are encouraging the elite richest class of the 10% to resuming their disgusting flatulent life-style, as if the system was meant to satisfying their greed and large ego.  The budget for the military and the thousands of “security agencies’ (old and newly established) are taking up 25% with no substantial returns for the common people.  The modernization and maintenance of the infrastructure are on slow burner waiting for better times.

Women are the most vocal and active members in this economic downturn that has no light at the end of the tunnel; women are demanding transparency in the political and economic decisions, procedures, and processes; women are demanding accelerated reforms options with fair representation of their gender and all the economic classes, especially the lower middle class representing 50% of the population.

The Federal Regulatory Commission known as the FED has maintained the lowest interest rate ever for years and is now zero per cent.  What for?  So that the richest enterprises can borrow more money and not spending it on creating new enterprises.  Actually, billions are invested in other more promising States economies such as Brazil that witnessed its currency the Real appreciates 30% in less than 20 months. 

To make things worse, the FED wants to be imaginative:  Its chairman Bernanke is planing on purchasing the long-term loans.  With what?  Printing more worthless money that has lost all credibility in the exchanges of world finance and economy.  What are the consequences?

First, the ever successively devalued dollar, unable yet to compete with emerging countries, will reach a critical point that will wipe out the liquid savings of the elderly and retired people who won’t be able to survive for another couple of years.

Second, China and Japan would reduce purchasing the treasury T-Bills to the bare minimum commensurate to political concessions.

Third, The competitiveness of the US is far from being appetizing to exporting goods.  China has appreciated its currency 20%  up but the US could not compete:  the direct consequence was for Vietnam and Malaysia taking on the slacks for Wal-Mart and other wholesalers.

The worst part is that the government has decreed a moratorium on immigration from Mexico.  How can the economy restart without fresh, and young immigrants aiding small enterprises to restart or be created?  Giovanni Peri, assistant professor at the University of Davis, wrote in Foreign Policy in Focus that “Mexican immigrants increase production capacity, stimulate investment, and is a catalyst for specialization.  Young Mexican immigrants never had any negative consequences in the US economy in the last 40 years.  In the last 40 years, the active potential doubled and salaries increased 40%.”

Peri goes on: “Immigrants are basically competing among immigrants but do not rob jobs to Americans.  When immigrants are hired, productivity increases and Americans are elevated to higher ranks such as supervisors and foremen, simply because they know the language; thus, this process increases the base of the lower middle class.  Immigrants complement the economy and do not substitute for existing jobs except when highly educated and specialized.  An engineer cannot do anything alone; give the engineer workers and enterprises are created.” 

With the dynamic market system in the USA, hundred of thousands of jobs are lost and an equal number re-appears.  The more there are able and young workers on the market and the higher are the odds for creating new enterprises.   Immigrant salaries are low but still high compared to what they earn in their homeland, even when the higher cost of living is factored in.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) met in Washington DC with its 187 representative members to discuss this raging war related to currency appraisal.  The institution demonstrated incredible impotency to resolving this problem, giving the illusion that currency value is the main and critical factor for restarting economies and stabilizing world commerce. Chairman Strauss-Khan pointed out that more focus should be on strict supervision of the vulnerable factors in the most advanced States.  Thus, the IMF is going to study the viability of zero interest rate in the US  that is diverting investments to other promising economies such as Brazil.

The US brand of “capitalist liberal democracy” has to be revisited and fairer representation of women and the lower middle class be reformed in election laws and procedures.  This liberal democracy guided by the elite richest 10% of the population and hoarding 50% of the wealth of the nation must reformed so that the lower classes can have a say on the kind of laws that preserve their interest during economic downturns.

The gimmicks of slightly increasing taxes on the rich classes with large loopholes cannot continue indefinitely.  Political power should be reinstituted to the common people and election laws and procedures simplified to encourage the lower middle class to run for election and get organized.

Immigrants are highly welcomed…with exceptions

Germany is suffering of lack of qualified engineers and technicians:  The German engineers are going into retirement (about 36,000 every year).

Germany is readying to open up its borders to Polish qualified immigrants (preferably young and educated Poles) in 2011:  A premium will be paid as a welcoming gestures and special technical training centers opened to initiate these Poles into the needed specialties and learning the German language.

In 2009, half a million Polish workers settled in Germany, and by 2011 Poland will be depleted of its potential youth.

In 2004, two million Polish immigrants flooded England and Ireland and had hard time finding jobs:  Going to Germany on the borders will be less hazardous and kind of feeling at home.

By 2011, Germany will witness the least number of unemployed in twenty years:  Barely 3 million representing less than 4%, while the average in the European Union is 10% as in the USA (these are not the effective rates of unemployed that are double what States recognize in statistics).

Irish are back to their traditional immigration frenzies.

In the last two decades, Irish never considered that immigration will be another option:  Investment of multinational financial institutions were flooding this island and the illusion of an economic boom distracted governments into diversifying Ireland economy.  Now the Irish have no excuses laying it on England for buying immigration tickets.

Irish Parents who raised families are now packing to starting a new life in greener pastures.  Ireland governments invested in infrastructures that supported financial transactions and modern airports but not in industries or agriculture.

The game of quick wealth illusion is over:  The Irish are facing the fact that there are no opportunities in their homeland to sustaining their addictive former life-style.  The US will be glad to re-welcome the Irish who have skills in financial transactions and programming.

The US is very lucky to be situated between Mexico and Canada.  Mexico provides cheap young daily workers and capital and Canada is a vast potential for investments in natural resources and qualified graduates.

Giovanni Peri, assistant professor at the University of Davis, wrote in Foreign Policy in Focus that “Mexican immigrants increase production capacity, stimulate investment, and is a catalyst for specialization.

Young Mexican immigrants never had any negative consequences in the US economy in the last 40 years.  Immigrants are basically competing among immigrants but do not rob jobs to Americans.  When immigrants are hired, productivity increases and Americans are elevated to higher ranks such as supervisors and foremen, simply because they know the language; thus, this process increases the base of the lower middle class.”

Peri went on: “Immigrants complement the economy and do not substitute for existing jobs except when highly educated and specialized.  An engineer cannot do anything alone; give the engineer workers and enterprises are created.  With the dynamic market system in the USA, hundred of thousands of jobs are lost and an equal number re-appear.

The more there are able and young workers on the market and the higher are the odds for creating new enterprises.  In the last 40 years, the active potential doubled and salaries increased 40%.  Immigrant salaries are low but still high compared to what they earn in their homeland, even when the higher cost of living is factored in.”

France and Spain are plagued with discrimination tendencies against immigrants converging from northern Africa, even if they are very educated.  Both States are witnessing very high unemployment rates and budget deficit.

The youth of Spain disregarded universities in the last 2 decades in order to reap quickly the fruits of consumerism:  Spain is suffering from depletion of university graduates and no investment would restart the economy before human educated people are recouped.  Near-sighted policies in both States are increasing the economic gap with Germany and the Netherlands.

Russia has lost 10 million of its population in the last two decades and the same process of aging is going on in Japan.  Fresh immigrants are highly welcomed in Russia and Japan.

Diaries of a Saudi “Princess”

I am a girl and the youngest of ten sisters and a unique brother from the first wife of my Saudi father, a member of the extended Saud family.  Mother was 8 years old when her parents died of a contagious disease.  Her five brothers married her to my father.  Mother gave birth to 5 still-born children:  Thus, she gave birth 16 times within 20 years of marriage.

My brother is two years older than me, but enjoys all the privileges and affection of my father who never talked or communicated with his daughters.  My father married 3 other women as is the custom, in order to boast his wealth and to beget more male children.  When my mother died still young, my father quickly married a girl of 15 , a year younger than me and with whom I used to play in my childhood.

In Saudi Arabia, the rich and poor wish to marry four women; the poor erect four similar tents for each wife: “equitable” standard of living is “de rigueur” for wives.

Consequently, the lower middle class in Saudi Arabia have to contend with only one wife because they cannot afford to purchase four houses:  Thus, middle class Saudis go on frequent vacations to Far East Asia and Egypt in order to satisfy their lust for baby girls and young men.

When I visited Egypt for the first time with my married sister and her husband, I was shocked to witness a young Saudi raping an 8-year old girl and my brother holding her legs to facilitating the task.  The so-called mother of the little girl came to retrieve her daughter and get paid.  When I confronted my brother he mocked me saying: “It was my father who provided me with the proper addresses.”

The young Saudi was from the “moutawaa” or the guardians of moral values according to the Wahhabi Koranic customs.  These guardians of morality are mostly used to crack down on women in the streets and to beat them if not wearing the proper attire or behaving “shamefully”

My brother had the “right” to take away anything that belonged to me, if he desired the object.  He once wanted a puppy dog that all my sisters cherished and cared for it.  My brother took the puppy, showed it to his friends, and got upset by the puppy constant whining:  He threw the puppy out his window car.

I got very angry for my brother behavior and set him up:  I rummaged in his secret drawers and got his porno slides and “Playboy” magazine.  My brother had written his name on the items since he was lending them to his friends.  I carried the materials to the mosque when no one was there around 2 pm.  The “moutawaa” knocked on our door.  My brother was made to attend the mosque five times a day during the prayers for an entire year.

Every street in Riyadh has a mosque:  Men don’t have to drive for their daily prayers.  Women are forbidden to praying in mosques. Although the Koran never mentioned discrimination of genders for praying in mosque.

My sister Sara was married to a business man of 65 against her will.  She was drugged most of the time in order not to rebel and show her dissatisfaction.  Sara was drugged too during the wedding ceremony by the Pakistani family physician.

Sara’s husband maltreated her and abused of her which prompted Sara to attempt suicide.  Mother refused that Sara returns to her abusive husband and father relented when she threatened to talk to the King Faisal.

Not that the system will give Sara the right for divorce but in order to keep this sad business within family confines.

I once befriended two other girls of my age and my youngest father’s wife was within this group.  The two girls tended to have “fun” luring foreign men without removing their veils.  They were caught.  One of the girl was quickly married to an old man and far away.  The other girl was drowned in the family swimming pool and all the family members were to attend the ceremony.  My father divorced his youngest wife and she was made to marry quickly.

I fell in love with a Saudi rich man who studied law in London.  I managed to convince my father to meet with the prospective groom; the groom’s mother and my aunts were present at the meeting and they felt very upset that I showed wooing gestures and expressions with my eyes and lips.

My groom called me up and wanted to know if I had been “khitan” or circumcised (sex lips removed in order for women not to feel inclined for sexual desires).  I said that I will ask dad; he said with pleasure: “If you don’t know then you are not circumcised.  Forget asking anyone.”

I learned that my three oldest sisters were circumcised at the demand of my mother who was circumcised just before getting married at age of 13.

Women don’t know better and mothers encourage the old customs, even if my sisters suffered greatly then and during their married life.

Before being circumcised, a fanciful ceremony is organized; the little girl is held tight on a white sheet while women bang on utensil in order to cover up the girl’s screams. An old women removed swiftly the lips of the girl’s sex.  The girl is taken to another tent to be cleaned.  Most circumcised women suffer during intercourse and they bleed and the injury is infected frequently.

I was lucky as a British physician convinced my father of the danger of girls’ circumcision.  Thus, the seven youngest sisters were saved from this barbaric tradition.

As I was giving birth to first child (a boy) I noticed the “mutawaa” guarding a 14 year-old girl giving birth.  The “morality guards” were to carry away the girl to be stoned to death as she gives birth.  The girl was ganged raped at her house when her parents were on vacation; the boys (friends of her brother) were not persecuted.

When a woman is to be stoned to death (dilapidation), she is whipped 50 times; a van discharge stones in front of the men watching the event.  A physician checks on the victim every now and then to confirm that she is still alive.  The stone throwing continues for 2 hours by frenzied men.

One of my girlfriend was studying in London and fell in love with a catholic American student.  The American decided not to go through the marriage when they were in California.  My friend was penniless and was encouraged to return to Saudi Arabia.  She was locked in a dark room, all windows shut.  A hole was made in the middle of the room for excretion purposes.  A dog hole was made in the door for delivering food.  She was to die in loneliness and not been communicated with unless her uncle’s die first and her case reconsidered.

We have been married for eight years and I had one of my tits removed for benign cancer and I had to be “neutered” because it was dangerous for me to get pregnant again.  My husband decided to remarry in order to beget many boys.

I flew with my three children to London.  I met a Lebanese mother in the airplane at Dubai; she looked at me with the utmost hatred and said:  “You Saudis think that you can buy everything”  It turned out that her little girl of 8 was kidnapped in Saudi Arabia and had one of her kidneys removed.  After a few weeks, the girl was dropped at the door with a handbag containing $20,000 and some jewels.

Apparently, the girl had the transplant done in India for a rich Saudi prince.

When Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991, Kuwaiti women fled to Riyadh and started to drive without even a veil.  The Saudi women got jealous and 47 of them began to drive in defiance of the archaic system.  They were rounded up and locked in their homes:  No one was able to communicate with them.

Note:  I decided to review the book “Story of a Saudi Princess” by Jean Sasson (who lived in Saudi Arabia for 8 years) because I am appalled by democratic and modern powerful States restlessly trying to depose “democratically elected Presidents” in the third world while supporting politically and militarily the archaic Wahhabi monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

Oil is a commodity for anyone ready to purchase regardless of who is in power:  Otherwise, there is no point extracting reserves of oil that are more useful for pharmaceutical and chemical industries than providing simply for energy consumption.

Note 2:  It is my contention that if Saudi monarchy is in existence it is because the ultra conservative elite classes in “democratic” powerful States consider the Wahhabi system as their “utopia” structure for totally enslaving women to the desires of men.

Movable fairs: Beirut (1970-74)

This post reminisces the activities in Beirut during the period 1970-1974. As a university student, I had the time and leisure to watch many of the hundreds of movies and attend most of the Lebanese pieces of theaters that were played.

The epic Woodstock musical fiesta of summer 1968 disbanded after three days.  The critical French student revolt in Paris of 1968 ended a week later. Spring of 1968 in Paris was a movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure.

There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.  It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns. It was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.

The French student revolt of 1968 was a big party with deep lucidity: banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.” Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.

Karl Marx said:  ”When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce: it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

These movements for change crossed to Lebanon in 1969 and lingered for 5 years as movable fairs in Beirut.  

I witnessed that wonderful and crazy period as a university student, witnessing far more than studying.

By 1970, I was mainly taking courses in math, physics, and chemistry.   Once the morning courses were taken care of, I roamed Beirut freely and all alone. The Lebanese pound was strong (the dollar was worth 2 LP at the time): I could afford in the afternoon to see movies, watch theater pieces, or go to the empty beaches in mid September and October, eat local sandwiches of falafel, shaworma, and freshly pressed fruits with less than a dollar.

Most of the days I ended up attending conferences, political party meetings, joining regular demonstrations and marches by university students, sit-ins, hunger strikes on the street in front of the education ministry (I tried once for half a day), fleeing police tanks and water hoses, or just walking all around Beirut circulating where the “movable fairs” crossed my path, gathering of people chanting slogans against the sectarian and mercantile political system, the defeatist government against the frequent bombardment of Israel in south Lebanon…

There was heavy polarization in Lebanon:  On one side, we had the groups that wanted a strong army ready to retaliate at Israel’s frequent aggressions, civil marriage, eliminating the privileges of the 19 officially recognized religious sects in administering civil status and not paying taxes, and planning for a modern economical basis: These groups backed the rights of the Palestinians for armed struggle to re-conquer lands occupied by Israel.  On the other side, there were groups against the armed presence of the Palestinians outside camps, the belief that Lebanon’s existence depended on its weak army, and that no political reforms should be on the table to be discussed.

The citizens in south Lebanon (mostly Moslem Chiaa)  flocked to the suburbs of Beirut, mainly in Dahieh that was labelled the “Red belt of poverty.”   The Palestinian Liberation Movement, led by Yasser Arafat, and its institutions were firmly established in Beirut and in a dozen Palestinian camps.  Cash in hard currency spent by the PLO and the various resistance movements maintained the Lebanese currency very strong.

In January 1972, a series of Charley Chaplin movies were shown in the theater Colise such as “Modern Times”, “City Lights”, “Gold rush”, and “Dog’s life”

In February 1972, “Traffic” by French director Jacque Tati was shown in the movie theater Etoile. Tati attended the show and fielded questions.  Tati directed only five films such as “Holiday”, Vacation of Mr. Hulo”, and “My uncle”.  The main character in the movies of Tati is a regular French person fond of American dreams of speed, machines, and order.

In May 1972, Beirut Cinema Club in cooperation with the US Cultural Center projected a series of Orson Wells movies such as “Citizen Kane”, “The lady from Shanghai”, “Secret report”, “Satan’s touch”, and “Falstaff”.  Wells mostly recalls the negative critics: for example, a critic said that Orson shouts like a rhinoceros” when Orson played “Candid” of Bernard Show.

Wells and Charlie Chaplin might be the greatest directors.  Wells prefers that producers invest massively on many movies even if one of his films are not marketed.  He said: “Without men there is no art.  Without women, men never become artists”

Also in May 1972, the movie theater projected a series of Ingmar Bergman films such as “The holder”, “The shame”, “Persona”, the hour of the wolf”, “the source”, and “Screams and Whispers”.  Bergman stands in front of doubt and points with his finger.  We are facing the nature of our existence on earth. He does not leave us any choices; he does not even choose.  People are left to face death alone, always alone and in isolation.  People are wary of the aristocratic double faces, lies, hate, and scheming.

December 1972 witnessed the first screening of “Hold it…O Sea” by Kuwaiti director Khaled Al Sidick in the theater Commodore in Hamra.  The movie describes three generations of Kuwaitis before oil production and after.  People in Kuwait were mostly into deep diving to retrieve pearles and sell it to big exploiters.  This movie cost 50,000 dinars from Khaled own money.  Khaled was sent to Bombay (India) at eight of age to study.  In India, they would wrap sweet with a piece of paper summarizing the movie you are attending. Khaled’s father supposed that his son was studying business; but khaled was studying cinema.

In January 1973, “Do it again Sam” and “Banana” by Woody Allen were projected along with “Fantasia” by Walt Disney in the theater Embassy.

In May 1973, the film “Red Weddings” by French director Claude Chabrol was projected in Eldorado movie theater.  There was a curfew in the previous week:  The Lebanese army tried to enter the Palestinian camp of Dbayeh (mostly Christians).  A few feddayins escaped and fled through the valley of river Nahr Kalb; we provided them shelter for three days in Beit-Chabab. These Christian feddayins resumed the trip to Dhour Shouwier.  An ambush by the Phalange (Kataeb) Party killed several of them on the way.

Chabrol has a particular style and a deterministic view on how events should unfold:  His movies are about illicit love affairs, then murder, then punishment by the “bourgeois” legal system.  That falling in-love is genuine, it is irrelevant and must be punished, one way or another.

In August 1973, the movie “American night” by French director Francois Truffeau is projected in the Piccadilly theater.  Truffeau was honor guest  in Beit Meri during the movie festival for the French-speaking countries.  Truffeau relates his love story with films and the difficulties for pulling up a movie.  He said: “The film begins with vast dreams, and the dream shrinks gradually until you wonder how diminished and regular the dream ended up.”

In September 1973, a series of Alfred Hitchcock movies were shown in the theater Starco. Among these films were “Pshyco”, “The mountain”, Frenzy”.  The common denominators in Hitchcock movies are:

First, they take place within bourgeois settings that reflect the strongest modern western societies’ troubles;

Second, the personalities are schizophrenic and live normal life among their communities;

Third, the murderers prefer hanging their victims or strangling them with any kinds of ropes;

Fourth, the main hero is basically the dead body.

In May 1975 (the Lebanese civil war had started in April), the Arabic Cinema Club hosted a series of Cuban movies in the Beirut movie theater. Director Octavio Gomez had several of his films projected such as “Days of water”  and “With God’s help”. Santiago Alvarez had “Ho chi Minh” and “I am the son of Americas”;  Pasteur Vega showed “Viva the Republic”; Manuel Herera in “Giron”. 

A short documentary on Miriam Makeba (wife of Stokely Carmichael).

Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.  The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs.

Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties, dead and injured (10% of the population!)

Note:  Details of my reminiscing were supplied by Georges Al Rassi in “Stations along the trail of Lebanese and Arab movies

Wonderful early 1970’s:  Movable fairs in Beirut

Woodstock musical fiesta was organized in 1968 and disbanded three days later.  The French student revolt in Paris of 1968 ended a week later. These student and youth movements crossed to Lebanon in 1969 and lingered for 5 years as movable fairs in Beirut.  I witnessed that wonderful and crazy period as a university student, witnessing far more than studying.

By 1970 I was attending university, mainly math, physics, and chemistry courses.   Once the morning courses were taken care of, I roamed Beirut freely and all alone.

For less than 5 Lebanese pounds ($2 at the time) I could see movies, watch theater pieces, or go to the empty beaches in mid September and October, eat local sandwiches of falafel, shaworma, and freshly pressed fruits.

Most of the days I ended up attending conferences, political party meetings, joining regular demonstrations and marches by university students, sit-ins, hunger strikes on the street in front of the education ministry (I tried once for half a day), fleeing police tanks and water hoses, or just walking all around Beirut circulating where the “movable fairs” crossed my path, gathering of people chanting slogans against the sectarian and mercantile political system, the defeatist government, not responding to the frequent bombardment of Israel in south Lebanon...

The citizens (mostly Moslem Chiaa) in the south flocked to the suburbs of Beirut, mainly in Dahieh, and labelled the “Red belt of poverty

The Palestinian Liberation Movement, led by Yasser Arafat, and its institutions were firmly established in Beirut and in a dozen Palestinian camps.  Cash in hard currency spent by the PLO and the various resistance movements maintained the Lebanese currency very strong.

In May 1972, Beirut Cinema Club in cooperation with the US Cultural Center projected a series of Orson Wells movies such as “Citizen Kane”, “The lady from Shanghai”, “Secret report”, “Satan’s touch”, and “Falstaff”.  Wells mostly recalls the negative critics: for example, a critic said that Orson shouts like a rhinoceros” when Orson played “Candid” of Bernard Show.  Wells and Charlie Chaplin might be the greatest American directors.  Wells prefers that producers invest massively on many movies, even if one of his films are not marketed.  He said: “Without men there is no art.  Without women, men never become artists”

In May 1973, the film “Red Weddings” by French director Claude Chabrol was projected in Eldorado movie theater.  There was a curfew in the previous week:  The Lebanese army tried to enter the Palestinian camp of Dbayeh (mostly Christians).  A few feddayins escaped and fled through the valley of river Nahr Kalb; we provided them shelter for three days in Beit-Chabab and they were to resume the trip to Dhour Showier.  An ambush by the Phalange (Kataeb) Party killed several of them on the way.

Chabrol has a particular style and a deterministic view on how events should unfold:  His movies are about illicit love affairs, murder, then punishment by the “bourgeois” legal system.  That falling in-love is genuine is irrelevant and thus must be punished, one way or another.

In June 1974, “The hour of liberation has chimed.. Out colonialists” by the young woman director Heine Srour won a special acclaim in Cannes.  This movie is about the popular revolutionary struggle of the people in Zofar (Oman, Hadramout, and south Yemen) from the British colonial power and archaic monarchic structures.

Heine invested two years in preparation and shot the one-hour movie with the rudiment of equipment and finances.  Heine and three technicians walked hundreds of kilometers with the fighters under scorching sun and the bombing of British jets.  Heine conducted interviews in the local Arabic slang the “Himyari” and projected the essential roles that women shared in that revolution along the fighters.

This movie was one of the first to broach situation in other Arabic States outside of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, or Palestine.  Movies on the Algerian revolution were to be produced shortly after.

In February 1975, director Borhan Awalweyeh showed his movie “Kfar Kassem“.  Hundreds of spectators remained in the theater way after midnight discussing the movie.  The film is a retrospective documentary of the genocidal massacre that Israel committed against the Palestinians in the village of Kfar Kassem in 1956 before it invaded Sinai.  Peasants returning from the fields were killed because they could not know about the curfew that the Israeli troops declared in their absence.  This movie was based on the novel of the same name by Assem Jundi.  Issam Mahfouz wrote the dialogue in the Palestinian Arabic slang.

Lebanon of 1974, and particularly the Capital Beirut, experienced extraordinarily cultural, social, and political activities, quantitatively and qualitatively.

First, the number of women writers increased dramatically.  As Georges Rassi wrote: “In the Arab World, every woman writer is worth 100 free minded men“.

Second, many famous authors and poets opted to write columns in dailies; a move that brought them in close touch with the people and the daily difficulties.

Third, artists and thinkers from all over the Arab World settled in Beirut.  Most of these intellectuals were fleeing oppression and persecution for free expressions.  The Egyptian intellectuals flocked in great number as President Sadat had decided to connect with Israel and leave the Arab problems and the Palestinian cause way behind.

Fourth, the Lebanese TV witnessed a big jump in quality of local productions thanks to the director Paul Tannous.

Fifth, many cultural clubs were instituted and Arab States organized exhibitions and cultural events.

Most importantly, women became very vocal and active for women rights and drastic reforms in the laws and social awareness.

Late author Mai Ghoussoub was very young then, but she was one of the leaders of “Committees for Free women.”

Initially, men were permitted to join in the discussions until they proved to be elements of heckling and disturbances.  The committees of free women decided to meet among women because their cause must be priority in urgent reforms and not a usual side-show tackled by reformist political parties.

Arab movies of quality were being shown such as “Events of red years” by Akhdar Hamina;  “Beirut…O Beirut” by Maroun Baghdadi; “May… The Palestinians” by Rafic Hajjar; “The bird” by Youssef Chaheen; “Al Haram” by Henry Barakat; “Hold on… O Sea” by Khaled Seddik.

The French student revolt of 1968 was a big party with deep lucidity:  banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.” Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.

Karl Marx said:  ”When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce; it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

Spring in Paris was a movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure. There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.  It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns.

It was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.

Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.

The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs.

Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties (10% of the population!)

Note 1:  Details of this introspection were supplied by Georges Al Rassi in “Stations along the trail of Lebanese and Arab movies

Note 2:  You may read more details on my next post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/movable-fairs-beirut-1970-74/

Has the unemployed reached 20%?  Then what?

Government statistics on unemployment rates never acknowledge that the effective unemployed is over 20% of the total workforce.  The statistics are always recorded to be below 12%, no matter what it takes in pressures, tempering, or censorship of real number.  Why?  

In a semi steady-state developed capitalist system, a 20% joblessness rate represents 12% of the lower middle class (LMC) being out of earning power.  I explained in the previous article “Public enemy #1:  Lower middle class”, how a capitalist system views, categorizes, and identifies  LMC and how it considers it to be the most virulent and potent power to demanding reforms: especially, fairer representation in the political system in order to revisiting laws tailored-made to satisfying the interest of the richest 10% of the population, which is hoarding 50% of the total wealth of a nation.

In summary, the lower middle class LMC has tasted the fruits of consumerism economy and is not going back to the previous conditions of humiliation, indignities, and starvation by all means possible.  LMC represents 70% of the internal buying power of consumerism goods and services and is targeted by credit card companies to accumulating debt on purchases at 20% interest rate.

LMC families constitute 50% of the population and over 60% of the work force.  LMC is mostly educated at the high school level and enjoys health care benefits and wants to acquire its first home.  The rank and file of the military machine is composed of mostly LMC citizens.  

Basically, the military is a political institution meant to quickly absorb unemployed LMC in period of economic downturn and to releasing them to the workforce pool in the rare economic upturns.

This article is meant to demonstrating that almost all wars, since the advent of industrial capitalist age, which consolidated its power on the economic and social structures, had the main purpose of absorbing the unemployed LMC in order to safeguarding the internal security of the system represented by the 10% richest class.  

These wars were either expansion wars, preemptive wars, or “national wars” (for example, against Spain, Japan, Germany…) depending on the seriousness of the rate of joblessness in the LMC.  In economic downturn and high unemployed citizens, the Federal government or Centralized government has two options, both of them directly related to safeguarding the interest and privileges of the elite 10% richest class.  

Either the elite class is cornered to ceding privileges and extending fairer representation, proportional to class number; or venturing into some sort of wars (which is the norm) in order to absorb the overflow of unemployed in the military and creating an illusion of  economic growth and recovery by supplying the military campaigns. Thus, wars are quick and dirty options to rounding up the pool of unemployed LMC and finding them a relief outlet outside the confine of the country.

In the 1840’s, the city of New York experience the worst outbursts of the unemployed.  The Federal government squashed the uprising by navy canons and the landing of the marines and army.  This solution was short-lived since the unemployed had no outlet.  The Federal government opened the expansion west in order to offering free lands for the LMC.  This initial push westward failed because the American Indians demonstrated resilience and the LMC returned to the “safety” of urban centers.  

Thus, the Federal government looked toward the southern States for an outlet to the unemployed.  Again, this tactic failed for two main reasons:  First, the LMC had no idea what kind of jobs they can secure in States focused on intensive workforce done by “negro” slaves; and second, the southern States, composed of feudal large landowners, realized that the Federal government is trying to export its brand of capitalism and refused to cooperate.

Consequently, the federal government launched a civil war under the banner of “preserving the central government”.  It was not a war for freeing the slavery system in the south:  emancipation laws remained on paper and slavery resumed for over another century.  One million in war casualties and four years later, capitalism made a slow headway in the southern parts.  But it was not enough for the thousand of released soldiers to finding work outlets.   Thus, the Federal government, encumbered by great quantities of arms and ammunition and so many soldiers, reopened the push westward and southward (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona):  The American Indians were exterminated in order to securing an outlet for the unemployed “gringos”.

An interesting smart gimmick was played by the “northern capitalists”:  They extended the concept of gold currency when the south had no gold left for exchange.  The southern States countered with the “Greenback” currency (the dollar); an offer that suited capitalists swell:  Expanding by paper money that they printed.

In the Old World of western Europe, England and France reached high levels of industrial capitalism:  The unemployed were sent to colonize Africa and Asia.  After Germany finished its unification at the expense of the Austria Empire,  Germany became another super industrial capitalist State.  

France and England denied Germany any colonial expansion.  Germany waged war against France in order to rob Belgium and the Netherlands of their colonies in central Africa (Congo) and Indonesia.  Nine million in war casualties and four years later, and another 20 million dead from the deadly “Spanish” flu, three empires disintegrated (Russia, Austria, and the Ottoman Turkey) and three new empires were created (USA, Italy, and Japan) for another round in WWII.

Interestingly, the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin didn’t rely of the “proletariat” as it claimed, but on the unemployed LMC who were disintegrating fast after the crushing military defeats against Germany.  I can go on with the 115 modern wars after the establishment of the United nations in 1946.  I leave it to you to do the research based on this vast highway that I opened on the main cause of wars in capitalist systems.

Note: Let me explain how I comprehend the class structure in capitalist systems in order to drive my point through.  The lowest class  of the downtrodden, the illiterate immigrants, and the daily workers at kept at the 20% level of the population and used for the daily maintenance and upkeep of the system at the minimum wage: The lowest class is considered as the “Black slaves” (regardless of color)  by the elite oligarchic class of the disgustingly richest 1% hoarding 30% of the total wealth of the nation.   The middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes represent 70%  of the population;  the lower middle class (LMC)  constitutes 70% of the middle class sections.  The richest class of 10% hoards 50% of the wealth of the nation and view the LMC as the “White slaves”.  When a government claims that unemployment has reached say 10% it means that the lowest middle class is suffering most of the unemployment rate of 6%; given that the daily workers are not factored in the statistics.

It is to the advantage of most of the citizens in capitalist society that effective unemployment increases to beyond 20%  in order for serious reforms to be considered and enacted in forms of laws and financial institutions control, restrictions, and constraints.  The trick is for the people not to be driven into an external war in order to releasing the pressures off the oligarchic class.

Note 1:  When a government starts drastic cut in the budget (except the military: It goes without saying) it affects primarily the lower middle class, since the 20% of downtrodden are already suffering at the bare minimum, are needed for the daily maintenance of the society, and cannot contribute to taxes.  Actually, the class of the downtrodden feels helpless and waits for the middle class to begins marching revolts and to join it and scare the richest class and their political, security forces, legal, and law institutions for a short while.  When unemployment jumps to 20%  it affects 12% of the lower middle class then, serious problems await the power-to-be in capitalist systems:  This number of 10% of unemployed lower middle class is a critical turning point for serious upheaval and revolts.

Note 2:  Are you interested how capitalism identifies you?  For example, in which economic class you are categorized for being watched closely? For example, the potential level of danger for destabilizing an exploiting system during economic downturn and how you are getting organized to adjust it to a fairer political representative system?  First, check the statistics of the medium yearly income of all the population in the nation.  The medium statistics means that half the population is below the medium and the other half earn above the medium.  The medium yearly income is smack  within the lower middle class category.   The range of the LMC is from 20% below medium and 20% above the medium.

Note 3 :  The primary purpose of most of the new Federal security agencies (over 295 created since 2002) is not for tracking terrorist activities as publicly announced but to keeping track of internal activities of the lower middle class citizens; they are in fact backing up the FBI for keeping files on the virulent elements and organizational ability.   The Federal agencies want to research the trends and mood of this dangerous class during economic downturn and political upheaval.

Note 4:  Capitalist system maintains agricultural subsidies to large farmers for a basic purpose:  satisfied “peasants” constitute internal “outposts” that hold on to the doctrine of “Law and Order” imposed by the capitalists to securing the system from any deviations.

The lower middle class (LMC) in a capitalist system is recognized to be the most virulent and potent economic force that can pressure political institutions into drastic reforms.  The LMC has tasted the fruits of consumerism economy and is not going back to the previous conditions of humiliation, indignities, and starvation by all means possible.

LMC represents 70% of the internal buying power of consumerism goods and services and is targeted by credit card companies to accumulating debt on purchases at 20% interest rate.  LMC families constitute 50% of the population and over 60% of the work force.  LMC is mostly educated at the high school level and enjoys health care benefits and wants to acquire its first home.  The rank and file of the military machine is composed of mostly LMC citizens.  Basically, the military is a political institution meant to quickly absorb unemployed LMC in period of economic downturn and to releasing them to the workforce pool in the rare economic upturns.

Let me clarify how I comprehend class structure in capitalist system in order to drive my point through.  The lowest class  of the downtrodden, the illiterate immigrants, and the daily workers at kept at the 20% level of the population and used for the daily maintenance and upkeep of the system at the minimum wage: The lowest class is considered as the “Black slaves” (regardless of color)  by the elite oligarchic class of the disgustingly richest 1% hoarding 30% of the total wealth of the nation.

The middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes represent 70%  of the population;  the lower middle class (LMC)  constitutes 70% of the middle class sections.  The richest class of 10% hoards 50% of the wealth of the nation and view the LMC as the “White slaves”.  When a government claims that unemployment has reached say 10% it means that the lowest middle class is suffering most of the unemployment rate of 6%; given that the daily workers are not factored in the statistics.

For example, if we say that at least 70% of the “working people” are from the middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes and that 70% of the middle class are represented in the lower middle class section then, at least 4.9% of the unemployed are from the lower middle class (for example: 70%*70%*10%) or more accurately 6% of the active workforce.  The other 4% of the unemployed are constituted from all the other classes (excepting the 10% of the richest class:  Its amassed wealth works for them instead of actually producing wealth)

When a government starts drastic cut in the budget (except the military: It goes without saying) it affects primarily the lower middle class, since the 20% of downtrodden are already suffering at the bare minimum, are needed for the daily maintenance of the society, and cannot contribute to taxes.  Actually, the class of the downtrodden feels helpless and waits for the middle class to begins marching revolts and to join it and scare the richest class and their political, security forces, legal, and law institutions for a short while.  When unemployment jumps to 20%  it affects 12% of the lower middle class then, serious problems await the power-to-be in capitalist systems:  This number of 10% of unemployed lower middle class is a critical turning point for serious upheaval and revolts.

Are you interested how capitalism identifies you?  For example, in which economic class you are categorized for being watched closely? For example, the potential level of danger for destabilizing an exploiting system during economic downturn and how you are getting organized to adjust it to a fairer political representative system?  First, check the statistics of the medium yearly income of all the population in the nation.  The medium statistics means that half the population is below the medium and the other half earn above the medium.  The medium yearly income is smack  within the lower middle class category.   The range of the LMC is from 20% below medium and 20% above the medium.

The primary purpose of most of the new Federal security agencies (over 295 created since 2002) is not for tracking terrorist activities as publicly announced but to keeping track of internal activities of the lower middle class citizens; they are in fact backing up the FBI for keeping files on the virulent elements and organizational ability.   The Federal agencies want to research the trends and mood of this dangerous class during economic downturn and political upheaval.

In economic downturn and high unemployed citizens the Federal government or Centralized government has two options, both of them directly related to safeguarding the interest and privileges of elite 10% richest class.  Either the elite class is cornered to ceding privileges and extending fairer representation proportional to class number; or venturing into some sort of wars (which is the norm) in order to absorb the overflow of unemployed in the military and creating an illusion of  economic health and recovery by supplying the military campaigns.

Depending on the seriousness of unemployed LMC, wars can be expansion wars, preemptive wars, or what is called national wars such as “The nation has declared war” on Spain, Japan, Germany…  More on these facts in the next article since the advent of industrial capitalist age that consolidated its power on the economic and social structures.

It is to the advantage of most of the citizens in capitalist society that effective unemployment increases to beyond 20%  in order for serious reforms to be considered and enacted in forms of laws and financial institutions control, restrictions, and constraints. (to be continued)

The French mathematician Pascal wrote: “All afflictions of mankind is his feeling restless in a room:  He never learns to be at rest.  Man sincerely thinks that he is seeking rest and repose periods, but in fact he is after agitation.”  It is like life abhors the void; it is as keeping in restful position is tantamount to worthlessness.

Maybe idleness is mother of all vices; but it is certainly that idleness is mother of all virtues:  How else could you meditate, voluntarily inhale deeply, exhale slowly, reflect on your past achievement and plans, comprehend your limitations, capabilities, and potentials, setting up future action plans, revisit serious talks that passed you by, regain courage and the will to go forward?

Forced work and unhappy and unsafe workplace are excellent excuses to running away from pressing responsibilities at home, to delegating important responsibilities, to faking being too busy to listen and deliver on promises.  Is working for salary an excellent way out to earning some money to be freer in taking better decisions for better quality products, services, and taking longer leisure quality time?

Let me clarify how I comprehend class structure in capitalist system in order to drive my point through.  The lowest class is represented by 20% of the downtrodden or daily workers.  When a government claims that unemployment has reached say 10% it means that the lowest middle class is suffering most of the unemployment rate. 

For example, if we say that at least 70% of the “working people” are from the middle class (divided among the lower, middle, and upper) middle classes and that 70% of the middle class are represented in the lower middle class section then, about 4.9% of the unemployed are from the lower middle class (for example: 70%*70%*10%).  The other 5.1% of the unemployed are constituted from all the other classes (excepting the 10% of the richest class that hoard 50% of the wealth of the nation:  Its amassed wealth works for the richest class)

When a government starts drastic cut in the budget (except the military: It goes without sayin) it affects primarily the lower middle class, since the 20% of downtrodden are already suffering at the bare minimum and cannot contribute to taxes.  Actually, the class of the downtrodden feels helpless and waits for the middle class to begins marching revolts to join it and scare the richest class and their political, security forces, legal, and law institutions for a short while.  When unemployment jumps to 20% that affects 10% of the lower middle class then, serious problems await the power-to-be in capitalist systems:  This number of 10% of unemployed lower middle class is a critial turning point for serious revolts. 

It is to the advantage of most of the citizens in capitalist society that unemployment increases to beyond 20% for serious reforms to be considered and enacted in forms of laws and financial institutions control, restrictions, and constraints.

Are you being pressured to forced labor?  If you are not a teenager and think that you have skills then, would you work for McDonald and invite your kids to eat deadly food?  If you hate to lie and scam people then, would you work for Wall Street?  If you cannot suffer selling products and services that you don’t believe in because they are of low quality or unsafe to use then, would you work as a salesman for such a company?

First, do you know what kinds of moral values and ethical conducts that best represent your spirit and would make you happy to noticing their applications  around you and in your neighborhood?  Would you take sometime to learn and select the work you enjoy doing and stop this harassing fleeing exercises?  Would you mind getting organized around clear laws that equalize opportunities and fairness in employment?


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2010
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