Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 22nd, 2011

Ya Omar talk to Ali

I was riding with Ashley and Hanane for the launching event of a new video clip song “Wehdeh” by Tania Saleh in the restaurant of Em Nazih in Ashrafieh.

On the road, Ashley inserted Tania’s CD and I heard the song “Ya Omar kallem Ali”

The song is encouraging the two Moslem sects of Sunni and Shia to start communicating and desist from this non-sense of centuries of animosity.

The Shia were upset that Caliph Omar bin Khattab was selected as the second caliph instead of Ali (a close relative and son-in-law of the prophet Mohammad who died without a male son): Apparently, Omar refused to designate Ali as he was dying from an assassination attempt, and preferred to designate 5 people to decide on the next caliph.

That is why Omar is hated by the Shias and his name is cursed.  The third caliph Othman bin Affan was also from the Koraich tribe and the fifth Moawiya was from Koraich, and established the monarchic hereditary system for succession,  and so on.

The Shias were persecuted in the Sunni Kingdoms as heretics, even worse than the Christian minorities.

You might think that there are major theological differences between the two sects, but it is a matter of “tribal” mentality among those who considered that the tribe of Koraich is the essence of power, instead of the ancestors of a member of the tribe, for example the prophet Mohammad.

That is a long story and I wrote extensively on that subject.  You may start with this article:

This schism resembles splits among political parties:  More focus is given to the content and the serious context of the split among the “charismatic” leaders is hidden under the rug.

Anyway, Tania is telling Omar that if he wants to play he has to play with Ali.

And Why Omar refuses also to play with George and Antoine and …?

The song “Wehdeh” (unity) might give the impression that a man needs to “unite” with a woman in order to gain support and consolation from isolation.

In fact, the song is encouraging the Lebanese to definitely chose one identity from a variety of unions, such national, Arabic, Islamic…in order to find cohesion…

I cannot see this need of selecting from fictitious concepts in order to find common denominators among the Lebanese with 18 recognized religious sects and many ethnic varieties like Armenians, Kurd…

What we need is to discuss and analyze what are the ingredients or factors that we share and are ready to get engaged in for preserving and saving for our survival and the survival of our children.

What we need is a Constitutional, regular, and solid legitimate government and State institutions in order to make all Lebanese feel that they are within the category of “modern citizens” as defined by the UN.

What we need is that all Lebanese enjoy full citizenship, including the female genders

So far, the Lebanese enjoy a passport as a token of citizenship, and nothing else material that demonstrate belonging to a democratic State.  The election laws basically identify us as chattel to local feudal leaders or members of religious sects.

It was a nice cool evening, and Lebanese-made beer and wine were served.  We had whole peanuts for food.

We watched the clip of the song “Wehdeh” that Ashley contributed in the animation, David in selecting the pictures and the drawings for the design, and William designed the entire cover package.  Tania autographed purchased CD costing $10 each.

We stayed from 6 till 9 pm and then converged to Schtrumph of Ashrafieh for a bite and all you-can-eat salad buffet.

I was shocked that the prices on the menu tripled within a couple of years, and that a bottle of water is no less than $2.  This restaurant was packed, and it turned out that a luxury bus was waiting for the foreign teenagers to finish eating.

TEDxRamallah Event in Beirut, part 3

In the previous two articles, I talked of the speakers Fadi Ghandour, Huwaida Arraf, Steve Sosebee, Julia Basha, Sheerin Al Araj, Laila Atshan, Alice Walker, and Wael Attili of the Kharabeesh enterprise.  The third part will discuss many of the remaining speakers.

The first session hosted Raja Shehadeh, Gisel Kordestani, Mohammad Khatib, Fadi Ghandour, and Huwaida Arraf.

Mohammad Khatib is a young entrepreneur that was hired by Google to join the team in Silicon Valley after developing Bazinga! a start-up catalyst and a tech hub in Ramallah. The application records and plays back the freedom slogans during the Egyptian peaceful revolution. Mohammad Khatib doesn’t tell us what his mother told him for him to advise the younger generation: “Don’t listen to your mom“.  Maybe his mom was urging him not to leave to the USA?

Raja Shehadeh is founder of Al Haq (law in the service of human rights) in the West Bank. Al Haq is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists that monitors, documents, and issue reports on human rights violations in Israel and Palestine. Raja Shehadeh wrote “The Third Way: A Journal of life in the West Bank and occupiers’ laws. Strangers in the house” and “Palestinian Walks (2008)“.  His latest book is “A Rift in time, travels with my Ottoman Uncle”

The second session hosted Amal Shehabi. Sam Bahour, Steve Sosebee, Mohammad al Dahshan, the Palestinian singer Rim Al Banna, Julia Basha (Director of the award winning movie Budrus), and Munir Fasheh.

Amal Shehabi had a harsh life in the Palestinian camp of Ain Helweh in Saida (Lebanon).  When the Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in 1982, she was taken prisoner at the age of 15 and experienced the brutality and confinement of prison: She was denied to see the sun light…She received a health-care diploma from the UNRWA Siblin training center and worked as supervisor to Palestinian woman’s organization from 1985 to 2008.

The son of Amal Shehabi suffered severe bullet head injuries and was handicapped; Amal care for him everyday and encouraged her son to become an Olympic champion in wide jump. Amal Shehabi has told her detaintion story in the documentary “Kingdom of Women” of Danah Abu Rahmeh.

The speaker Muneer Fasheh is a mathematician born in Jerusalem in 1941.  His family was expelled to Ramallah in 1948 by the nascent Israeli State.  Muneer said that we have to respect other kinds of knowledge not based on official institutions diplomas.  For example, his illiterate mother, who could not even handle numbers, was an excellent seamstress for years:  No PhD degree in any disciplines may position you to sew even a shirt.

(Apparently, institutional education is mostly politically motivated to limit the better job opportunities to the most fortunate citizens in any obvious or latent apartheid system).  Lack of schooling institutions for all is a major handicap for acceding to equal job opportunity rights.

In 1997, Muneer established the Arab Education Forum within Harvard University Center for Middle-Eastern Studies.  His fresh idea is to institute a college “Home of wisdom” in one of the Palestinian universities.

The third session welcomed Abdelrahman Katanany (the zinko artworks), the Lebanese-based Palestinian rap group Katibe 5, Alessandro Petti, Saleh Jawad, Sheerin Al Araj, and the blind psychologist Laila Atshan.

Suad Amiry is a funny architect and the founder of RIWAQ: The Center for Architectural Conservation dedicated to restoring and preserving Palestinian buildings. Her parents had to leave Jaffa in 1948 as refugees in Amman.  On her first hour at the university in Lebanon, professor Khoury let a sand clock finish the hour before saying: “Is this hour too long for you? Consider that you will spend one million of such an hour during your career.  If you are pressured to engage in architecture against your will, now is the time to decide.”  Many students never returned.

During the 40-day curfew and 10-month siege of Ramallah by Ariel Sharon, Suad Amiry had to take in her demanding mother-in-law.  As Suad is writing her diary at 4 am her mother-in-law would bug her to come out and prepare breakfast.  Thus, “Sharon and my mother-in-law: Ramallah Diary ” was born.  At the age of 55, Suad started a new career of writer.

The fourth session hosted Wael Attili (the Kharabeesh enterprise based in Amman), Khaled Seb3awi, the Mexican/US rap singer Mark Gonzales, Alice Walker, Suad Amiry, and the group of bagpipe players of Guirab. The session ended with the Fayha group of 40 young singers singing three beautiful songs and led by maestro Barkev Taslakian.

Khaled Seb3awi is a Canadian/Palestinian Computer Engineer and the first certified Geothermal Engineer in the Middle-East. He installed the first geothermal system in the West Bank and is the founder of MENA Geothermal.  This system takes advantage of the steady temperature on the ground at 17 degrees and infuse water in underground canalization to heat the homes in winter and cool them in summertime, thus, saving 70% on the energy bill.

Khaled Seb3awi invention cut down the return on investment geothermal systems from 12 to 6 years.

He had hard time with the Jordanian government before he secured the project of the 1.6MW for the University of Madaba:  He had to deal with a dozen ministries for the review and approval process.




April 2011

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