Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2011

Clever Entrepreneur my Ass

I have worked with a few Lebanese companies, abroad and in Lebanon, and my impressions are negative.

“What is clever entrepreneur my ass” is my honest opinion of how I perceive the mentality of doing business in our culture.

In 1980, I worked with a Lebanese company in Nigeria; the company contracted out public civil works, like highways, deforesting and spreading asphalt on major roads.  I was supposed to be assisting the plant manager for maintaining and repairing heavy-duty equipment in a remote town.

The engineers were to wear high brown boots, the kinds that fascist wore, for discrimination reasons; and the boots have to be shining in this mud riddled camp, shined by an African helper.  Engineers were not supposed to socialize with workers and mechanics, even if they were Lebanese.

Consequently, going out with mechanics was frowned at, and management would sanction me and tell me that workers would refrain from respecting me and obeying my orders….

I was not even permitted to read to the mechanics the contents of the repair and maintenance manuals originating from the manufacturer:  Only the engineers and plant manager were to be the knowledgeable persons in the camp.

You had these mechanics who sincerely wanted to learn how to do their job right: they wanted to buy the proper tools and how they work, once they open their own shops back home. Mechanics wanted knowledge and I translated to them from English in inaccurate Arabic terms, but they knew what I was conveying in knowledge.  Management hated what I was doing and scorned me.

For example, one night, robbers killed four Nigerian guards in our camp.

I never received any information whether management visited the bereaved families in the small village or if they paid compensation.  I was glad that I was repatriated shortly after this gruesome attack.

In Lebanon, I worked on a civil project, constructing a coastal hotel.  There were no safety guidelines at the workplace.  The Indonesian and Indian workers slept in the large open basement, and nobody was in charge of checking on the habitat or their well-being.  The workers favorite pass-time was catching rats to fry them as delicacy.

A UN report stated that Chinese minorities in South-East Asia, white people in South Africa, and Lebanese in western Africa benefited most from the wealth generated by globalization and open markets in developing countries, particularly in tandem with multinational companies.

The African leaders who opted to cajole the ethnic majority ended up harassing, robbing, and pressuring Lebanese entrepreneurs out of the country, like in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

For example, the Lebanese in Ivory Coast are in big trouble.  It’s rumored that President Gbagbo, who hates to step down even if his country goes in flame, (as is the case of Qadhafi of Libya and Abdullah Saleh in Yemen), favors the Lebanese entrepreneurs.  Nothing wrong with that, unless…

There are strong rumors, supported by evidence, that Israel is rekindling the wrath against the Lebanese in Ivory Coast and Africa in general.  This is normal:  The Zionist apartheid State has this habit of transferring people and filling the void

Lebanese entrepreneurs in Lebanon proper produce to export.  The Lebanese citizens never enjoyed any quality products manufactured or produced in Lebanon:  They are all exported and merchants import third grade products, change the labels, and poison our citizens.

Good fresh fruits are immediately exported in waiting six and eight-wheelers to Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan…The citizens have to contend with the spoiled and smaller categories of fruits…

Lebanon produced four times its need of olive oil:  They are all exported and the citizens have to consume the third grade leftover olive oil and imported poisoned olive oil…And you have this minister of industry encouraging the citizens to buy Lebanese manufactured products; where are those products?

Lebanon has a couple of pharmaceutical “factories”, producing asperine… For a couple of months, the citizens enjoyed low-cost asperine-type of products.  Asperine vanished from local market:  The entire stocks were exported to Saudi Arabia and the Lebanese had to contend with expensive imported asperine that are no different than what we produced.

Syria manufactures 70% of its pharmaceutical needs and it is the government that import the expensive medicines at bargain prices.  The Lebanese have no governments:  They have to deal with the multitude of infamy and indignities on their own. Who is the clever Lebanese Entrepreneur?  Clever my ass!

Lebanon is still standing because the immigrants are sending money to their families back home.  The immigrants who made it, build fancy palaces that stay empty, and return to where they are making money.  Barely they overstay longer than two weeks:  The picocks have more important things to do with their lives.

The Christian immigrants never contemplate to return and stay in Lebanon:  They didn’t study and abused of their families’ money in order to returning the favors in their old age.  Let bygone be bygone.  From far away, they never miss an opportunity to cursing Lebanon and the Lebanese stupid mentality.

We have this youth movement demanding to change the political sectarian and feudal system.  What we need is a strong central government cracking down on these rascals of Lebanese entrepreneurs at home:  The scums of entrepreneurs are the backbone of our degraded political and social structure and the one encouraging discrimination and medieval mentalities.

You might say that it is the bourgeoisie that changed old systems:  Correct.   Are you insinuating that our entrepreneurs have anything to do with reforming Lebanon or caring one iota about Lebanon and its people?

Remote towns and villages are of no interest to central governments, unless the villages are pinpointed as candidates for major waste disposal sites, military test grounds, or for building nuclear power plants…There is no point relying on government pouring in money in desolate regions that have no significant effects in election periods…Those desolate villages are going to hell:  Once the old generation disappear, the village is off the map

Repartition of risks is the strategy of the elite class in power in order to exploiting people.  Many moderate risk takers welcome the kind of dangerous investment to their environment, under the pertinent excuse that they need job opportunities and are not fit to taking risks outside of the known communities. 

A few bolder risk takers, in moving societies where laws and excellent infrastructure extend great opportunities to seeking a future away from hometowns, leave their comfort zones, family support system, and familiar traditions to challenge their personal dreams and potentials.

All these crazies converge to urban concentration camps and take quarters in the most abject, unsafe, and unhealthy parts.  Most of them will pay the heavy tribute of blood and humiliation for taking non calculated risks :  What was supposed to be temporary risk taking endure for long time, until all hopes are distilled from a dignified spirit.

Many will join gangs, as customary substitute to community protection.  They are faced with the constraints of killing someone in order to be inducted in the brotherhood of men and be recognized as a potential member who can deliver.  They quickly forget that their turn is next, no matter how cunning and brutal they think they are.

The risks in urban centers are multiplied and gain in seriousness as social institutions are disintegrating and governments keep changing policies, away from funding public health and social security facilities.  The individual is forced to battle ever increasing newer odds in very unfamiliar territory and strange communities. 

In urban camps, you are an unknown entity and you cannot beg for jobs on the basis of social class and known reference figures.  You have no circle of friends to lean on, to diffuse your anger, apprehension, and frustration

The motto is “Succeed or die”.  You cannot go back home broke and a failure; a non-entity as you left family and friends.  In many Western States, such as in Spain, Italy, and Portugal, grown up people are no longer able to rent apartments on temporary jobs trends and are returning to live with their parents.

The institutional nucleus of family is still stable and alive.  Sure, divorce cases are increasing but families are not splitting easily an mindlessly.  Sure, we have new cases of same gender households raising children.  Sure, there is a transformed modern traditional society characterized by non-linear professional carrier and individual trajectories that do not exactly match any class structure. 

Sure, many governments are reverting to archaic governance forcing individuals to bear the burden of their health-care and retirement with all kinds of privatization gimmicks…Is the new trend sort of “Redistribution of wealth OR Forced Repartition of risks”?  The future for individual people is far more uncertain than three decades ago.

Most probably, the elite class want as many citizens to leave their towns to urban centers, be stacked with all kinds of individual risks for survival, deprive them with the will, the energy, and the time to contest their living conditions, in order to exploit more of those low-wage people to the hilt

In a sense, the more society is fluid, the more wealth is distributed.  The more society is in flux, the more the level of daily fatal risks increases.

Brace for worst case nuclear scenario. What is “Systemic degradation of work ethics in nuclear power plants”?

You are warned: Brace for worst case nuclear scenario.  The next catastrophe is within a year!

Japan has uncovered other problems, in yet another series of nuclear power plants; not the Fukushima plants that are no longer under control.  This is the tip of the iceberg:  Not the worst case scenario that is setting the world community in turmoil.  It is not also that earthquakes are spreading westward to Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Iran…countries with many nuclear power plants and not very well maintained.

What is hiding beneath the iceberg of catastrophe is the  “Systemic degradation of work ethics in nuclear power plants”.  Four decades ago, most of the civilian nuclear power plants were built, maintained, and controlled by governments.  Each plant had its own trained and professional personnel and experts.  The operators knew exactly the problems of the plants and kept accurate and frank diagnostic procedures.

The operators were taught to immediately bring up the problems, however minors they were, to the attentions of their superiors.  Frank discussions ensued.  Engineers and scientists were not as confident as they are sounding nowadays:  They were on a mission to learn as they progressed on the danger and modeling of nuclear power.  The operators were dedicated and stable in their jobs.

Two decades ago, hell broke loose:  Government owned nuclear power plants were  “privatized”.  The owners were supposed to infuse fresh investment into upgrading the plants.  It didn’t work that way.

The owner quickly started to give troubles to the dedicated professional operators and licensed them as soon as they insisted on the existence of a problem in the functioning of the plants.  The owner purpose was to make profit out of the existing life of a plant:  So long that electricity was produced, the less money spent on repairs and maintenance the better.

Incidents judged minors were ignored.  Accidents that had the potential of deteriorating were hushed.  Divulging of the exact number of incident and minor accidents were not reported.  Maintenance of nuclear plants were subcontracted, and maintenance periods were spaced out and shortened to saving money.

The contracting companies hired low-waged operators, constantly on the road, and not of the professional operators kinds.  These subcontracted operators did what they were told to do and left the premises without knowing exactly what were the real problems.  Many of them received heavy radiation and didn’t know their medium-term health conditions.

The owners of the plants subcontracted in order not bear any financial or legal liabilities.  As if any catastrophe hits, anyone will be left off the hook.  Most of the nuclear power plants in France have experienced many accidents; a few of them over 30 accidents each without being formally disseminated to public attentions.  Most nuclear plants in France, over 55 nuclear plants, are owned by private electrical companies that have degraded work ethics:  A chain reaction of nuclear catastrophes are expected to spread in France.

It is urgent that all government re-nationalize their nuclear power plants and pay off those rascals of private owners with profit generated.

It is urgent that several independent panels of expert, at the sold of the government, review the conditions of the plants and closing degraded and ol plants immediately.

It is urgent that each plant has its own dedicated and stable operators, at the sold of the government.

What is “Badna nghayer wa nsaleh nizam”?

It means the youth in Lebanon want to change and reform the sectarian political structure in Lebanon.

It means that the youth have got enough of 18 officially recognized religious sects behaving independently from central government rules and regulations.

Each sect has its own courts for dealing with individual status from birth, to marriage, to divorce, and to death.

You are defined Not as a citizen of Lebanon, but a member of a religious sect recognized by the State.

Each sect has its own “private” educational sectarian system and even sectarian universities.

After over 70 years of “independence” from colonial France, Lebanon was unable to enact civil marriage laws, even of the optional kind!

A few sects permit members of its congregation to get civil marriage in Cyprus and recognized as married when registered in Lebanon.

It means that youth cannot apply for a public job unless he/she bring in the individual status document mentioning religious affiliation:  All public positions are distributed in quota basis. 

You have got no chance, regardless of your qualifications, to be accepted in a position unless the quota is available and the slot freed to your religious affiliation.

The youth movement has to be patient:  The old guards are regurgitating the same melody and stanza on the impossibility of any drastic changes in this social system, where the central government is fundamentally structured to be very weak and impotent to reforming anything of value.

The youth movement is to be steadfast:  The old guards will keep hammering on the same broken records that the Lebanese have to “change sectarianism from their mind” before changing official documents of any mention of religious affiliations.

I feel limited in finding a resolution where check and balance can be erected to coping with the all permeating power of the sacerdotal castes in every States around the world.

Constitutional laws are meant to restrict the implicit power of the thousand tentacles that religions have instituted to infuse their ideologies.

Discussions for recognizing the power of the clergy in our nurturing educational system is an inevitable social educational process.

This is not the time to going on tangents and clash with religious powers.  We want first to delete all records of our religious affiliation from official document and instituting civil laws to all citizens. 

One of the best and most efficient methods is to encourage the establishment of opportunities to exercising choices in every aspect in our lives.

We demand civil laws that regulate our citizenship from birth, marriage, divorce, death, decentralized schooling systems at each of the legislative, legal, and executive branches.

Only available opportunities for choices, backed by political determination to honor those choices in the workforce, in the daily living, and in society structure, can permit a fighting chance for all those free minded, reflective citizens, and families who respect their potential power for deciding what is best for their spiritual development.

You may read my post:

The apartheid structure in Israel is being challenged by nuclear irradiation and Tsunamy-type devastating characteristics.  The new powerful waves of the young Arab masses dislodging entrenched dictator, oligarchy, and absolute monarchy regimes are going strong and reaching far and deep in this region and even in China.

Israel is at total loss and reacting as a puny, tiny, immaterial entity amid this monumental upheaval that nobody know how to resolve its consequences or deal rationally with its causes.

Israel has to deal with two major problems simultaneously:  Israel has old nuclear reactors built in the 1955 by the French that the international nuclear agency cannot check because Israel refuses to sign on the UN non-proliferation nuclear arms. 

The second challenge is how to deal with the new Arab youth?  The US has no leverage over people who demanded changes and got it.  The new governments succeeding to the dictators have no leverage over their people who are aware that frequent demonstrations are the name of the game to keeping these new regimes on their toes and conscious of their promises for reforms.

Ari Shavit wrote in Haaretz: ” Last week my mobile never stopped receiving alarming messages: Supposedly sensible Likud leaders are talking of resuming building new colonies in the West Bank in retaliation of someone killing an entire Jewish family in the colony of Itamar, close to the city of Nablus (the killer has never been identified).

Goush Emounim or “Block of Faith” started colonizing the West Bank in the 70’s, the same period Japan power company Tepco built nuclear power plants.  The two “operators” started from false premises.

Forty years later, Tepco and the colonization of the West Bank grandiose projects are constituting serious peril to Japan and Israel survival.  It is time to cool down the reactors and our colonization plans and come home to Israel proper.  The international community is exhausted of the broken records of Israel need for expanding colonies”

 The international community is feeling sick of Israel’s chimerical security demands when all its behaviors are against peace and security in the region.  Israel prefers to play it dumb as if she is living on an island.

What external and independent agencies can visit Israel’s obsolete nuclear reactors?  Israel refuses any such well-intentioned visits for the safety and security of the Israelis first, and the people in the region second.  Israel is within a seismic tectonic fault and the nuclear power plant is not build originally to sustain even an earthquake of magnitude 7.

Personally, I doubt that Israel has any nuclear warheads or any atomic bombs:  It is all magician propaganda to owe the Arab States into submission and to cowing to Israel’s preemptive wars.  Israel didn’t sign on to the treaty of non-proliferation of atomic bombs for a simple reason:  Israel has no such costly program.  The western nations are not that dumb:  They know that Israel was born as a rogue State, continued to behave as a rogue State, and will eventually finish as a rogue State.

Germany has been paying for the Israeli half a dozen nuclear propelled submarines and France building them.  These submarines are not equipped with nuclear missile launchers as Israel leaked:  Germany and France are ridiculous, but not that stupid to encouraging rogue States to immature behaviors.

The Dimona reactor was not finished as French Mendes France resigned and the fiasco of the invasion of the Suez canal in 1958 forced Eisenhauer to review the expansionist policies of Israel.  At best, Israel has the necessary experts and personnel to maintaining and controlling the nuclear reactors in the submarines.

Time to go sensible and rational:  We cannot afford juvenile rogue behaviors in the Middle-East.  Time to abide fully with the UN Charters for human rights and dignity.

Bashar Assad, President and dictator of Syria, is supposed to be delivering a public speech very soon, maybe today.  Many of his ministers said that Bashar is to speak on the current upheavals in Syria.  The Prime Minister of Turkey said that he encouraged Bashar to personally deliver the good news to the Syrians, hopefully something related to political reforms, but not necessarily any radical changes.

So far, what officials have released pertain to deleting a stupid clause in the “Constitution” saying that the “Baath party is the leading party in Syria”…

I tried to imagine what a young and educated dictator would say to his people, and how honest he would sound.  Here we go:

“Dear compatriots, Syrian citizens, women and men; peace be upon you…I was greatly pained that a few of our beloved citizens fell “martyrs” the last week in Daraa, Latakieh, Banias, Damascus…They are all martyrs, common citizens, internal security officers, and soldiers…I will personally care for all the injured citizens and I wish them well.

You might rightly think that my speech is going to be as lengthy as the ones I deliver during the Arab League conventions or the one that I had the honor of opening new parliamentary sessions.  Rest assured;  I am not here to teach you, educate you, or going into boring details: It is you, the Syrian people who are my teacher and mentor.  I have been hearing you, clearly and perfectly.

The last two weeks have been the most trying during my six years of power:  I am pained, taken aback, diminished, awed, and proud that the Syrian people are no longer afraid and scared of this never-ending Emergency Law regime that endured since 1963.

I here declare that the Emergency Law is nul and void. I here declare that news-people will no longer go to jail and interrogation first, but will enjoy the rights of defending their cases in civil courts.  As You all know, I am the one who opened up the era of social platforms in Syria and made fast communication a reality.

I know deep in my heart that your uprising is different from the uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain.  Your uprising is of a qualitative type:  You want more than what we could deliver in good conscience.  You want far-reaching freedom of expressions and greater liberty to meet and organize.  It is your fundamental right:  You are a very educated people who have something to say to the world, especially the western world that made a mockery of democracy with their biased election laws that favor the rich and the elite classes.

I am hearing you:  We can do much better and I feel sorry that I failed to have confidence in your well-balanced mind and yearning for applying the vast mental potentials that you acquired during three decades of peace and stability.

As you know, my father Hafez had deleted the clause in the Constitution that said: “Islam is the religion of the Syrian Republic State”.  Obviously, in order to calm the vast majority of the Sunni religious people, he was forced to re-include this clause that didn’t sent the proper image of a civil political structure that my father intended to apply.

Aside from this clause that was never applied (the Assad family never relinquished power for the clause to be revisited) Syria society was governed and ruled in a secular fashion irrespective of religious affiliations.

I here declare that the clause on any religion being the religion of the State is nul and void.  This time around, we the Syrians, have gone a long way to instituting a civil society and we will not turn back to theocratic or sectarian systems in governing our versatile communities.  We are ready to fight any factions planning to get back to medieval dark ages.  Syria will be the leading society in the Arab World into modern time.

It is from Syria that all major changes were initiated and it is from the Syrian example in reforms that the new world order in the Awab World will take shape and flesh.

You all know that Syria is maybe the only society were women take part in the political system and the organizational apparatus.  Our women are the freest among the Arab and the Islamic States.  Our women enjoy the same opportunities to work as men…

We maybe the only State that extend quotas to the workers and women in the Parliament and government institutions…

Citizens. women and men, your demonstrations are different:  Damascus has always been the “palpitating heart of the Arab World” and the Syrians are the Arab conscience of their glorious past in culture, sciences, art, literature, dignity…

You have never bowed to occupiers, to the colonial power of France, to the US pressures in favor of our enemy the Zionist State of Israel.  You were the main support to the Palestinian rights to return to their home, and you fought several valiant wars to liberate your occupied lands.

You all follow the news.  The US is planning to redraw the maps in the Arab World according to ethnicity and religious minorities.  We declare that Syria will not be divided and Syria will not be intimidated by Hillary Clinton threats and Syria is not a bunch of tribes and clans…

I order the Parliament to meet in continuous sessions until a new modern Constitution is written and approved in a referendum.  I hope that the main three political positions of Presidency, Prime Minister, and head of Parliament be elected on a rotational basis among the Sunni, Alawi, and Christian sects… (to be continued)

Note:  Finally, Bashar has spoken.  Nothing.  I expected that, strong with the support of million in all Syrian cities, chicken Bashar will lay a few major reform ideas.  Nothing.  What a let down!  Is Bashar thinking that the Syrians supported his dictator and one-party regime? for his relative youth and handsome face? Unless Bashar realizes his mistake, the real people will be back on the streest demanding drastic changes.

Age of Affects:  What is Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Suffering at a distance, and other concepts?

Five social concepts from 5 books, spanning the years 1993 to 2009, are summarized.

1.  Suffering at a distance.  In 1993, the sociologist Boltanski wondered how people react to streams of shocking pictures displayed on the screens, of victims of famine, abject poverty, and misery. How people behave when exposed to suffering at a distance?

Would the spectator feel the same emotions as experienced by the victims?

Boltanski claimed that there are 3 levels of affects: indignation, compassion, and aesthetic contemplation.

Every order of emotion calls for a different action, spanning from public actions, to contribution of money, or expressing skeptical indifference.

Boltanski judged that only the pragmatic public action (marches, demonstrations…) to suffering at distance can justify our reactions, instead of systematic denunciations.  What do you think?

2.  Emotional Intelligence.  In 1995, Goleman popularized the concept of “Emotional Quotient“.

Subjects would submit to a battery of tests meant to measuring the “aptitude of individuals to controlling their emotions and the emotions of others, and using the information to guiding their actions.”

The EQ was claimed to predict better than IQ performances at the job, personal success, and the well-being of organizations.  Apparently, Goleman failed to factor-in the individual ethical standards  that affect their conducts when the corporation pressure them into taking immoral decisions and actions.

Personally, I think emotional intelligence are better predictor than standard concept of intelligence, but I have not analyzed the battery of test for an opinion.  In any case, I believe that IQ test predicts nothing:  It is used as an excuse by institutions to select candidates that they think fit the bill of potential elites in society. What do you think?

3.  The forces of emotions.  In 2001, Lelord and Andre disagreed with the conventional paradigm that emotions (depression, phobia, melancholia, irritability…) are unreasonable impulses that are tamed by letting off steam, of venting out emotions and sharing them with others…

The two authors consider that undesirable emotions are matters of errors of appreciation:  They must be managed as when confronting illusions.  Thus, the patient needs to reach a point of recognizing the illusion and comprehending the somatic factors that initiate the emotions.  They call this therapy “Behavioral cognitive therapy” What do you think?

4.  Geopolitics of Emotions.  In 2008, Moisi, a specialist in international relations, claimed that collective feelings animate current world relations.

Three big collective blocks of emotions were selected are predominating the world scene:

1.The optimist emerging Asia (China and India);

2. The wounded by history of the Arab/Islamic world; and

3. The apprehensive western nations of their decline.

What do you think? (Demographical Rate of increase  tend to forecast the level of optimism in a nation)

5.  Age of Empathy.  In 2009, Waal came to the conclusion that, in mammalian species (mankind included), only empathy or the capacity of perceiving and feeling the emotions of others (fear, suffering…) explains the acts of sacrifice, altruism, and actions of coming to rescue of others

Waal wrote that empathy is the foundation to our set of moral values.

I may conclude that value systems are stable among civilizations; what differs are the priority given to values in the nurturing level in educational systems.

What do you think?

Who is the “Palpitating Heart of Arabism”?  What’s going on in Syria? Part 3

US State Secretary Clinton declared “No one is to think that we are to repeat exactly the same involvement in Syria as we did in Libya”.

This implicit threat to Syria for the latest mass upheavals is meant to encourage more “peaceful” demonstrations and test Syria’s reactions.  The purpose of that declaration is to offend the Syrian regime and push it into violent counter-offensive.

Syria has already extended many reforms in response to the uprising in Daraa, Banias, and Latiquieh.  For example, the Baath Party is no longer to be the leading party in Syria as mentioned in the Constitution.

The Emergency Law, enforced since 1963, has been canceled.

A packaged of reforms on salary increases, loosening of prison terms, taking news-people to court instead of being imprisoned first, the release of  political prisoners, laws on forming political parties to be reviewed, and more freedom of expressions…are to be sent to the Parliament for approval and ratification.  Only after the turmoil is over, and all the armed people deliver their weapons to the State…!

President Bashar Assad is expected to deliver a televised speech…Already 260 political prisoners from the various demonstrations, mostly Islamists, have been set free.

The last two weeks could be accounted as the longest and most terrifying events for the Syrian president, Bashar Assad.

External interventions could not scare the Syrian regime, but vast internal unrest is a serious different story:  Internal uprisings are to be considered very seriously, since they are not that frequent in Syria, at least in news media.

Vast internal uprisings mean that the people have broken the barrier of fear: 

The revolted citizens are willing to fight for regained dignity at the price of blood; and that exactly what many demonstrators said: “We are no longer afraid of the regime brutal tactics

That the recent demonstrators are not that afraid of the Syrian regime is not earth chattering:  Since Bashar succeeded to his father Hafez in 2000, the regime did not exhibit violent repressions, not in any scale for the media to cover.

At best, the repressions were judged mild compared to the other Arab dictatorial and absolute monarchy political systems.  Though the image of an all-encompassing internal security hold on power has been demonstrated frequently.

Young dictators who emerged from lower social classes like Qadhafi, Abdel Nasser, Abdallah Saleh of Yemen…were very promising figures of their period.

Bashar Assad is a young dictator, power inherited from the oligarchic class, and is serious about reforms for developing his country. Bashar and his wife scoured the Syrian countryside and listed about 40,000 families of the poorest in the State and allocated monthly stipend for them.

Bashar is not living in any palace, but in an apartment in Damascus.  Bashar and his wife occasionally mingle with the people …

The uprisings in Syria are qualitatively different from other Arab States:  Syria has demonstrated during this century that it is in fact the heart and mind of the Arabic concept.

Actually, Damascus was the Capital of the first Arabic/Islamic Empire (around 650 AC) and was the main bedrock for the development of the Arabic language and the dissemination of the new Empire civilization.

Syria was constantly steadfast for the dignity of Arab identity and civilization.  Syria has so far refused a peace treaty with Israel unless the Palestinian people recover their independent State…

We expect many reforms, but it would be tough for Bashar to reconsider giving away the oligarchic interests of the Assad extended family.

For example, the Syrian people might expect that a new modern Constitution be redrawn deleting the clause that “Islam is the religion of the State“.  Actually, Hafez Assad, after his successful military coup, deleted that clause in 1972, only to re-attach it as he was faced with monster protests.

I say, State should oppose protests by extending on the ground vaster civic reforms.

I say, if protest should be quelled, let it be for rotation of the highest positions of Presidency, Prime Minister, and Head of Parliament among the Sunni, Alawi, and Christian sects.

I say, if protest should be faced head on, let it be for democratic equitable election laws.

There are tacit blackout of information by most media channels, western, and Arab States for disseminating useful intelligent pieces on the uprising.

A few cable news mention over 100 killed, particularly in the southern city of Daraa, on the borders with Jordan.  The Syrian media displayed arms stocked in the Daraa mosque and denunciation of violent infiltrated elements.

Syria has grown to 20 million in population.

Amid the turmoil in the Middle-East, Syria of the “Assad/Baath party” socialist regime managed to bring a semblance of stability and security.  It maintained a steady currency and invested in decent infrastructure and schooling for all.

Invariably, oligarchic regimes ends up getting involved in widespread corruptions and considering the State Treasury as family holdings.

Most probably, the Syrian people want a moratorium on dictators, oligarchies, and absolute monarchies.

Sort of “it is okay, a decade later, for these forms of governance to return to the front scene?”  For the time being, most people are exhausted with decades of dictatorial regimes and want some fresh air to blowing away layers of technocrats that were trained to be amoral and unethical by serving the enduring power-to-be.

The steadfast and determined mass protests in the Arab States are the result of the population knowing full well the vengeful tribal mentality of their rulers:  The masses know that if they relent before the entire structure is gone, that any reprieve to the oligarchic system, means the reorganization and launching of mass arrests, summarily executions, humiliation tactics, and an open climate of terror.

Determination of the masses is the result of innate survival process:  Either they win or they are massacred.

Do you think that the Ben Ali and Mubarak would have learned the lesson of respecting their people desires and wants?

In Yemen, the people are not relinquishing their marches since the uprising started a month ago:  They know the reactions of the kinds of Abdullah Salef if he is given a breathing space.

Anyone doubt that Qadhafi would not have wiped out a third of the Libyan population if the UN postponed indefinitely any resolution for imposing a “No fly zone”?

You have an excellent demonstration of what’s happening in Bahrain:  The King has arrested all the leaders of the uprising, is readying to hire one thousand Pakistani soldiers, cut diplomatic relations with Iran and Lebanon on the basis that Hezbollah denounced the strong-arm tactics of this monarchy, and prohibited the Lebanese immigrants, legally working in Bahrain, from returning home and considering every Lebanese as enemy to their stupid monarchy, and on…

Do not be surprised when you hear news of blatant atrocities and crimes against humanity are perpetrated openly in Bahrain.

The main problem in the Arab World of dictators is not how rich the country is in natural resources, but the demographic explosion.

The process goes as follows:  Every dictator has his intimate sources of insider pieces of intelligence on the wealth of the other members of the “club of scums”.  They are jealous and want to be implicitly the number one on the list of the richest families hoarding wealth.  The leftover in the treasury has to be spent on the growing mouths to feed.  Thus, Egypt with over 80 million, the Egyptian is far hungrier than say the Syrian or Tunisians, and the odds for volatile tensions far higher.

Syria maintained a strong alliance with Iran for three decades and currently established firm alliance with Turkey.  The regimes of Mubarak of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan kept the squeeze on Syria by orders from the USA for two decades.

Syria had close ties with Libya of Qadhafi and is still supporting Qadhafi with jet pilots, until the “No Fly Zone” was established.

The Syrian regime masterfully kept diplomatic dialogue with the US  Administrations and reached many tacit agreements in cooperating with the US in Iraq, even though Syria is included in the “black list” as a “rogue State” not entirely supporting the US policies.

It is obvious that no foreign alliances can withstand the new wrath of the people for everlasting regimes of dictators, one-party regimes, and absolute monarchies.

Lebanon youth have been demonstrating for a secular political structure.  The monarchy in Morocco is witnessing mass upheavals in 40 cities.  Time for outraged is not going to subside any time soon.

Can Bashar push forward to substantial reforms?  Does he has the will and the charisma to shake off decades of lethargy in this bureaucratic regime?  The coming two weeks will inform us of “What is next to Bashar”.




March 2011

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