Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2011

Who is Qadhafi? Plausible resolution to crisis in Libya

You may read on Libya in the historical, geographical, and social context through the link in note 1:  I relegate links to notes so that readers are not prompted to be sidetracked and fail to resume reading the main article.

Muammar Qadhafi was born in 1942 in a desert town, from the modest and minority Qadadfa tribe, in central Libya by the coastal town of Syrte.  He was 10 year-old when his parents sent him to Syrte (in the middle of the 1,700 km coast line between Tripoli and Benghazi) to get education.  Qadhafi had no one to care for him, and he slept in mosques.  Even at this early age, Qadhafi exhibited natural authority over his companions. Muammar memorized the Coran and constructed his individual interpretation of Islam. 

Later, as leader of Libya, Qadhafi sent the message that every learned person is entitled to interpret the Coran and does not need a religious cheick to give his “fatwa” on conflicts. Qadhafi discouraged polygamy on the ground that the Prophet was very explicit that a husband will fail treating equitably his several wives. Qadhafi spread the notion of equality between genders and allowed women to join education systems, the army, and the police force.

At the age of 14, Muammar moved to the desert town of Sebha, in south-west Libya in the large region of Fezzan, and finishes secondary schooling.  It was there that the events of the Suez crisis (1956) broke out.  Eisenhower had summoned England and France to withdraw their occupying troops, along with Israeli troops.  Gamal Abdel Nasser was worshipped as the new Arab leader, fighting colonial powers and vanquishing them. Muammar is leading student demonstrations and marches in solidarity of Egypt and Nasser.

Qadhafi is not lacking any new excitments in that period:  Algeria is revolting against French colonial occupation, Lebanon is witnessing a short civil war, Syria asked to unite with Egypt and Nasser agreed to the short-lived union (barely 3 years), Yemen is revolting against the theocratic Imam in Sanaa, the Palestinians are expressing their indignity for the massacres perpetrated by the new Zionist State in order to expell Palestinians and expand territory…

Consequently, the student leader Qadhafi is expelled from the Fezzan schools in 1961. Muammar moved on to the coastal town of Misrata to study law, as a pre-requisite of joining the army officer corp. He is in charge of the recruitment and cooptation of superior officers.  He was sent to England to continue his military education and mastered the English language.

Back to Libya, Qadhafi witnessed Israel preempting a war in 1967.  Israel warplanes used Libya airspace and military airports of the monarchy to destroy Egypt airforce bases.  The mass upheaval in the Arab world for the indignities suffered by Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Palestinians were a catalyst for Qadhafi to plan a military coup against the monarch.  In 1969, twenty officers were successful in occupying all key military bases, while the monarch Idris I was on official visit outside Libya.

This group of officers formed a high-command and the real leader Qadhafi refrained from stepping out as the leader for over three years.  Slowly, by the way the others commanders behaved in the presence of Qadhafi, foreign leaders comprehended the main force behind the insurgents.

Qadhafi nationalized the oil industry and demanded that England close down its military bases. He paid a historic visit to Gamal Abdel Nasser, his political and national guru, and supported anti-colonial movements in Africa and the independence movements in Africa.  Qadhafi was consistent in his anti-imperialism ideology and didn’t permit the Soviet Union of establishing military bases in Libya, as it did in Egypt and Syria.

Qadhafi was an admirer of Proudhon and Bakunin who were staunch adversaries of private properties ideologies:  They considered any private ownership as blatant thefts, encouraged by the power-to-be for political support of the bourgeoisie.

How Qadhafi managed to stay in power for over 42 years? How oil revenue was distributed and handled? How Qadhafi’s sons and close relatives are monopolizing Libya economy? That would be explained in a separate article. As a hint, you may read the link in note #3 “Qadhafis-shock-strategy-of-the-rat-bag”

What is the plausible resolution for the crisis in Libya?

After WWII, England encouraged the monarch Idris I Senussi to become the monarch of Libya:  The first Constitution was of a federal-type model with two self-autonomous States, one in the east, and another in the west, with Benghazi (in the east as the central Capital).  As oil was discovered in 1953, the Constitution was changed for a unified State.  In 1969, Qadhafi succeeded in his military coup d’ etat and shifted the capital to Tripoli and neglected the eastern region that was still pro-monarchic. 

Since there is a high homogeneity of the population in Libya (90% are “Arabic” and speak the same slangs, while 5% are of Berber origin (Algeria and Morocco), and another 5% related to African tribes from Niger and Chad) the most plausible resolution, after satisfying the pre-requisite of ceasing the power of Qadhafi and his bloody sons, is the following:

First, Libya would be federated into two States:  The eastern State based in the Capital Benghazi, and the western State based in the Capital Tripoli.  The Federal government would be relocated to the city of Syrte, in the middle of the long coast line of 1,700 kilometers, or the historical dividing line between the two concentration of people and tribes (and where Qadhafi was born).

Second, the oil revenue (constituting 90% of the GNP) will be split into three parts: 40% to each State and 20% for maintaining the central government and its key federal institutions such as army, foreign affairs, currency… Since the western part is relatively more populous (6 million in total for entire Libya), it is reasonable to allocate for this State a higher share in oil revenue.

Third, federal revenues will be proportionally budgeted and allocated to the people living in the deep desert oasis such as Kufra and Sebha.

Note 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/most-plausible-resolution-to-the-revolt-in-libya/

Note 2: You may read the French book “In the heart of Libya of Kadhafi” (Au coeur de la Libye de Kadhafi) by Patrick Haimzadeh

Note 3: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/qadhafis-shock-strategy-of-the-rat-bag/

Qadhafi’s shock strategy of the rat-bag

The story goes: “A Libyan peasant could not maintain rats in his bags to drown them in a cistern, a few yards away, because the rats nibble on the bag and run away.  The peasant asked Qadhafi counsel.  Qadhafi took the new bag, filled with a new catch of rats, and kept shaking the bag up and down and sideways until he dropped the bag in the cistern.”  This is Qadhafi’s favorite shock strategy for maintaining his hold on power: “Change everything in order to changing nothing.”

First example. Qadhafi kept changing the location of the Capital of Libya.

As he grabbed power in 1969 by a military coup, Muammar moved the Capital from Benghazi (in the eastern province) to Tripoli (in the far western region). A few years later, Gadhafi decided to relocate the Capital to the coastal small town of Syrte (midway between Benghazi and Tripoli, and close to where he was born).  The new administrative and governmental buildings in Syrte currently host African summits, Arab summits, and congresses.  Back to Tripoli and then the decision to move the seat of power to the deep desert in the town of Al Joufra in the Fezzan region (south-west of Libya): The climate is healthier and the nomadic customs more sane than in urban setting.  The modern governmental and administrative buildings in Al Joufra welcomed the Defense Ministry and military administration: General Abou Bakr Younes Jaber (an early member of the military commanders of the revolution) is from Al Joufra.  Qadhafi relocated the Capital to Tripoli.

Example two.

The official calendar was first the lunar Islam calendar of the Hegira (The year the Prophet moved to the City-State of Medina in 622).  The calendar was changed to the solar calendar based on the birth year of the Prophet Muhammad.  Again, the calendar got another twist to a solar calendar based on the year of the death of the Prophet…

Example three. Changing names

Do not ask any Libyan what is the name given to administrative circumspection, number, or delimitation of the administrative districts and departments.  Simple Libyan “citizens” don’t know and don’t care. The Libyan stopped memorizing the various names and differences among muhafazats, mutassarifiyats, mudiriyats, baladiyats, jamahiriyats, chaabiyats (from the people)…or the differences among social popular commands, revolutionary committees, Libyan thawriya,…Every couple of years, Qadhafi would transform the responsibility and administrative organizations in Libya, at a moment notice.  Consequently, administrators and ministers stopped conceiving any plans for re-organization and modernization…

Example four.  Almost every official, civilian or military, experienced demotion, sacking, prison term, upgrading, renaming to various posts, somewhere in the nowhere.  For example, the first General who joined the mass insurrection in Benghazi was demoted twice and put in prison.  General Suleiman Mohammad Suleiman al Oubeidi was the security commander in Benghazi when the revolt started.  This early military rally and defection to the uprising set the stage to this armed movement.

Example five.  Foreign States are always on the look-out of “who will succeed Qadhafi” among his seven sons.  Qadhafi’s sons and relatives have been experiencing the shock strategy of the rat-bag ever since they got in politics.  If you are trying to become an expert of Qadhafi plans and thinking, don’t feel stupid.  Don’t think Qadhafi is irrational.  Qadhafi is highly rational and his shock strategy never changed since he grabbed power.  Qadhafi never stopped shaking the rat-bag to keeping the Libyan and foreign powers out of balance and dazed.

Example six.  What do you think is the current ideology of Qadhafi?  Are you kidding?

Note: This article was inspired by a chapter in the French book “In the heart of Libya Qadhafi” by Patrick Haimzadeh.

Are we intruders? A new description of Alzheimer disease

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent. I will focus on “The intruder”. 

This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails? It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings. 

I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feel and react to adults’ behavior.

Eventually, we die alone: People around us are intruders.  An old dying person saying: “I think I don’t know anything (of life and the universe)” could be related to our dwindling memory capacity:  We can remember what a child knew. 

The worst part is that the rich varieties of colors and sounds that babies are endowed to see and hear, and that grown ups censure at an early stage in order to survive, are lacking to die in wonder and amazement..

Note: You may read the review of another novella in the French book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt : https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/it-is-a-beautiful-rainy-day/

What is this French Academy? Who is Amine Maaluf?

The French Academy (L’ Academie Francaise) for the illustrious literary individuals who wrote in French (regardless of origin, genders, or religious affiliation) was instituted by the Cardinal Richelieu who was the Prime Minister of the monarch Louis 13 in the 16th century.

Among the  pantheon of the literary figures you find, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Poincare, Alexander Dumas the Son (of African descent), Leopold Cedar Segor (Senegal), Asia Jabbar (Algeria)…Amine Maaluf (Lebanon) was inducted a member two week ago. (He will officially deliver his speech and get the chair, exactly a year later)

Amine Maaluf joined the Lebanese daily Al Nahar at the age of 22 in the foreign section.  He used to bring a book to work and read it hidden under the desk.

Amine undertook trips to Vietnam, Ethiopia, Haiti…to cover events.

You cannot be a successful journalist if you fail to read books everyday!  For example, how could we comprehend the Napoleonic war against Russia if we fail to read “War and Peace” of Tolstoy, or about France if we failed to read Balzac, or about Italy without Luigi Bazetti...?

Amine Maaluf was born in a small village of Lebanon (Ain Kabo) and immigrated to France in 1976, as the civil war in Lebanon set in.  He wrote many books about Lebanon, Iran, the Crusaders, his Origin…

How can we feel the feudal system in Lebanon without “The Boulder of Tanios“, or the century of Omar Khayyam in Iran, or how the Arab viewed the Crusaders at the time, or how the Lebanese immigrated and prospered overseas…

Maaluf earned the French Goncour Prize for “The Boulder of Tanios” (Sakhrat Tanios) and the Spanish Literary Prize.

His productions were translated in over 20 languages.  I read all his books in the original French language (about a dozen books) and reviewed extensively many of them in English, in my blog under “Book Review” category.

Many Lebanese authors wrote in foreign languages and were famous.  For example, Jubran Khalil Jubran “The Prophet” (the highest read in the USA after the Bible), Amine Rihani who corresponded with the New York Times in the 20’s and wrote “Khaled” and many other books, Andre Chedid, George Shehadeh, Salah Stitieh

Note 1: This article was inspired by the article of the Lebanese journalist Samir Attallah, published in the daily Al Nahar (June 29, 2011)

Note 2: This Nov. 10, 2013, Amine presented his latest book during the exhibition of French book production in BIEL (convention place in Beirut), and the President of Lebanon offered him the Medal of Honor during a reception.

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Any news of Soha Tawil Arafat?  Wife of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat?

This article describes the life of Soha Arafat from the day she met Yasser Arafat to the day she entered Gaza, in company of her husband Yasser.  You may read of Soha Tawil Arafat upbringing in the link attached to the note.

In 1987, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip started the first Intifada, known as the “The war of stones” against Israel occupation forces.  This summer, the entire family of Tawil are in vacation in Amman (Jordan) and pay a visit to Arafat:  Diana, the eldest sister, is the wife of the PLO representative Ibrahim Souss in Paris.

The PLO had moved from Beirut and Lebanon to Tunisia as Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and surrounded Beirut.  After the Palestinian militias vacated Beirut, Israel forces entered Beirut and committed the genocide in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila for three nights and two days on unarmed civilians.

Soha meets Arafat again in Algeria in November 1988 during the National Palestinian Council (parliament), a critical assembly because Arafat has to defend his status against many opposition factions.  Arafat speech satisfies the pre-requisites of the US and European States for starting a dialogue to the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Consequently, Arafat is on official visit in Paris, in May 1989, to discuss procedures with President Mitterrand.  The PLO bureau designate Soha to be Arafat translator and host, taking care of all protocol details. Arafat falls in love with Soha, and it is reciprocated.  When Arafat opens his eyes in the morning he demands: “Where is Soha?” and wanted to meet with her immediately.

Soha is aware that her closeness with Arafat as “economic advisor” will force Israel to denies her visits to her family in Jerusalem. Soha visits to Tunisia were frequent and Arafat allocated her a small house, one among many that belonged to Arafat on Tozeur Street in El Menzah.  Arafat barely visited that house, but when he did for occasional dinners, it was a horrible security undertaking.. Soha was 24 of age and accompanied Arafat to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Belgrade…

One day, Arafat was taking a second look at the preparation for an official visit when he popped up the question: “Soha, I want to marry you. My intentions are pure and honest.”  Soha, 27 of age, accepted, but Arafat warned her: “Our wedding must remain a secret for a while.”  “What about my parents?’ replied Soha.  “In due time.  With the Intifada going and the Israeli repressions, the Palestinians will not swallow a happy event.”  Thus, Soha was married in secrecy on July 17, 1990 in Tunisia in the presence of two witnesses and an Imam:  She had to keep the role and image of advisor to the outside world.

Soha, a Christian Greek Orthodox converted to Islam, but kept going to church.  Arafat was the only Arabic leader to decree Christmas an official holiday, as well as January 7, because it is Christmas for the Greek Orthodox.

The irony was that, while married, many important Arabic and African leaders and personalities would approach Arafat to demand his approval for the hand of Soha.  When the airplane of Arafat vanished from the screen as he was returning from Sudan to Tunisia, the Palestinian leaders kept Soha in the dark, with no feedback on his whereabouts.  The two pilots sacrificed their lives by deciding to dive, so that Arafat, sitting in the back of the plane with his bodyguards, might have a chance to survive.  Arafat survived with serious concussion that requited urgent surgery a month later.

It is September 1993 and Soha is readying to leave with her husband to Washington DC for the signing of the “peace treaty”.

A Palestinian minister, at the headquarters of the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO) in Tunisia, summons Soha to his office: Arafat insisted that Soha was to join him, but the jealous Palestinian leaders, especially Mahmoud Abbas (current Palestinian President), refused to validate their visas at the US embassy until Soha desist from joining the team.

Soha has to bow down this first time and agrees to call off her invitation to the First lady Hillary Clinton.  Reporters flocked to Tunisia to interview Soha, and she watched the ceremony on TV.

Arafat will never forgive his ministers for the slap and will take Soha everywhere he goes on State visits from then on.

It is July 1994 in Gaza.  A small building of two floors, on the coast by Gaza City, was selected in July 1994 to be Yasser Arafat’s headquarter as he is expected to return to Palestine after the Oslo Agreement.  The building was an old Israeli military post attached to the navy.

The upper level is for the private use of Arafat and his new wife Soha.  The lower floor is for receiving the stream of people for requests, recommendations, and checks signed by Arafat.  In a few hours, Arafat is to fly to Norway and receive the Nobel Award for peace, along with Rabin (Israel PM) and Peres (Foreign affairs minister).

In this July 1994, Soha is pregnant, and Arafat already has this piece of intelligence from the physician Tibi, before Soha breaks in the news.  Arafat is generally one step ahead of most Arab State leaders in receiving pieces of intelligence. The couple rides a Mercedes at 5 am heading to the airport of Al Arish in Egypt.  It is a two-hours drive in bad roads to the border post of Rafah (by Egypt, and barely a 50-kilometers from Gaza City), passing by angry Israeli colonies, and the accompanying security vehicles are moving full speed: Arafat had skipped an attempt to his life a few weeks ago.

Eleven hours later, the couple lands in Oslo and are welcomed by a committee of the Nobel Institute, along with a sworm of journalists and photographers. Arafat jokes to Soha: “You are attracting the photographers and eclipsing me.”  The Institute is composed of 9 academics, including two women. The first official dinner was served at the 12th floor of the hotel. Soha is allocated a place facing Lea Rabin, while Arafat is on the right side of Lea.

“Lea is suggesting that I give birth at Hachomer hospital in Tel Aviv.  I swore that my first priority was to create a quality clinic in Gaza for pregnant Palestinian women.”  During the official ceremony, Rabin and Peres deliver true propaganda speeches, talking of the Jewish character of Jerusalem… Arafat reads a poetic speech, written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich.  Arafat speech focused on the zeal that Norway foreign minister Holst spent during the hard negotiation, and Arafat received a long ovation from the audience.

When Sharon PM of Israel prevented Arafat from getting out of his headquarter in Ramallah, Palestinian personalities started a wave of rumors that Soha is leading the great life in Paris and spending plenty of money…Do you have any news of Soha? What are her occupations and interests?

Note 1: In a previous article I wrote about Raymonda Hawa Tawil, the mother of Soha Arafat, and provided an overview of Soha’s upbringing https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/fighting-from-the-inside-who-is-raymonda-hawa-tawil-the-pasionaria-of-nablus/

Note 2: I just read in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar that Suha (this Tuesday Nov. 1) is living in the island of Malta since 2007.  The Tunisian government wants to prosecute Soha for establishing a university in Tunisia with the help of the wife of former dictator Ben Ali.  Suha replied that she had sold all her shares in 2007  to the daughter of the dictator’s wife Trabulsi.

Demography explains hope in future: How Empires decline?

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and farsighted leaders and monarchs.  Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography rate.

The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that as people lose hope for a better future to their descendants, they decrease the procreation rate; conversely, in periods of high hope, population increases.”

If you revisite history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century, until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.  The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”  My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.

Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future State of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.  The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of no concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.  Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah). With the civil war that started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon. Regular mass immigrations to Africa and elsewhere set in. South Lebanon was in the steady process of depleting of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Then, Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin PM and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunisia, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.  Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how a purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation, constituted from many political parties started in full fledge. The regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arms to a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.  The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days war.  Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire, people returned the same day to the south and didn’t wait from the government declaring the trip safe.  Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross then walking was as good.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned. Israel may launch another savage and devastating pre-emptive war in Lebanon, but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws.

Note: TheSChiaa population in Lebanon is over 60%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.

Smoking is not cool; smokers are!            

What is nicotine tolerance level? Or is it attitudes of cool role model smokers?

It is of no use following the conventional argument that family is the cornerstone of real behavioral actions: A family provides a strong defensive nature against criminal behavior in the first few years of upbringing, but it is the daily environment and peer pressures that offer the catalytic situations for committing an actual criminal act.

Countless experiments with adoptive children versus regular families have shown that, besides genetic inheritance, it is the peer influence in the immediate surroundings that form the adolescent characters for actions, as is the case for smoking behavior.

We process information in a global manner by reaching for a “dispositional” explanation for event, (which means interpreting other people’s behavior by overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits), as opposed to a contextual explanation.

For example, if we are told that the gym is dimly lighted and the basketball player is not expected to shoot well, we still favor the player in the well lighted gym who did slightly better, even if he is actually far less talented than the other player.

This general tendency is called the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE).

The human brain has to rely on a “reducing valve” to create and maintain the perception of continuity, because if we have to evaluate every event according to its specific situation, we are overwhelmed and become too confused to attend to our myriad of activities and train of thoughts.

For example, a person is in many instances hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, aggressive, warm or gentle depending on who he is with, when, and how. Still, we tend to reduce his character by stating that the person is either hostile with a facade of passivity or he is warm and passive with a surface defense of aggressiveness.

Thus, we tend to underestimate the minor criminal acts in the specific situations within the environment we are surrounded with, such as overcrowding graffiti views, fare-breaking, window cleaning harassment on intersections or panhandling in our tendency to believing that lawlessness is the rule.

In the cases of smoking and suicide, it is the specific context that turns to be the dominant factor.

Almost always, smokers had a role model who was really cool, who didn’t care about people’s opinions of his behavior, a risk taker, sexual precocity, a trend setter and generally categorized as extrovert.

Smoking is not cool, but it is the cool people who smoked who were the catalyst for trying a cigarette.

The general smokers somehow emulate sophistication, they imitate their role models.

Cigarette companies were actually characterizing the cool individuals in their advertisements and movies, “cool characters” who were performing cool dangerous activities, which added more exposure to non-smokers and who were not directly exposed to cool people in their daily life.

Thus, the first stage is the contagion of general smokers from the few cool smokers and next the stickiness of nicotine to perpetuating the habit.

Many smokers have tolerance for the poisonous nicotine and can handle up to three times the amount that average people could tolerate, very mush like alcohol tolerant drinkers, and it is these addicts that becomes regular or heavy smokers.

The “Chippers” or occasional smokers do not feel any withdrawal when they quit for a while because they cannot tolerate nicotine in the first place.

Research has demonstrated that a third of the smoking adolescents quit right away, a third becomes chippers and just a third has the potential to ending up heavy smokers.

Additionally, nicotine does not have a linear addiction trends because it takes at least three years for the occasional smokers to tip to the heavy status.

The amount of daily intake of nicotine that tips a tolerant adolescent nicotine smoker from occasional to heavy smoker is about six milligrams of nicotine or the content in 5 cigarettes.

Consequently, if the nicotine amount in a pack of cigarette is reduced so that the entire pack of 20 contains less than 6 milligrams then, many adolescents would not end up heavy smokers.  T

his is so far the best strategy for conquering the stickiness factor in addiction to cigarettes.

The other alternative is the use of drugs that combat depression: There is a strong correlation between heavy smokers and depressive nature.

For example, the drugs Zyban and Bupropion that are used for depressive individuals to increase the dopamine inhibit the desire for nicotine and they also replace some of the norepinephrine, so that smokers don’t have the agitation of the withdrawal symptoms.

The dopamine and norepinephrine and serotonin are chemicals produced by the brain to enhance neuro-transmission.

Personally, I don’t vividly recall that I emulated a cool individual smoking, at least not consciously, but I started imitating smokers in a nude club that exhibited totally naked cool girls!

No, I cannot recall that I felt a buzz when I inhaled my first cigarette; what I felt was utter disgust, aversion and dislike.

There are rare occasions when I feel dizzy after the first few puffs in the morning; I don’t think feeling dizzy can be considered a pleasurable sensation. However I felt addicted to watching the cool naked girls.

Since I am not a cool guy with precocious sexual activities, or an extrovert by any measure, I may safely consider that my addiction was genetically preponderant for nicotine tolerance.

Instead of chipping cigarettes, I bought boxes and would not throw away the box as long as Walter Mitty’s nude bar remained around the corner from my dormitory.

I tried nicotine patches but insisted on smoking the same number of cigarettes.  I guess my tolerance for nicotine was pretty high and my brain was obviously dysfunctional in secreting the appropriate chemicals for depressive individuals.

Somehow, I have the feeling that the more I smoke the more I revert to adolescence; I may not be much of an extrovert and a defiant person most of the times, but my diary is turning out to be very daring!

In addition to locating the few individuals who are fundamental in spreading the epidemic, it would be good to remember that human communication has a set of counter intuitive rules and your intuitions need to be tested and validated.

Note: The article was inspired by a chapter “The Broken Window theory of crime epidemic

Most plausible resolution to the revolt in Libya

Libya is 1,700,000 sq.km vast, the third largest State in Africa after Algeria and Sudan (before the referendum for partition).  Barely 6 million citizens inhabit this large State, and most of them are urban dweller along the 1,700 km coastal line in Tripoli, Bengazi, Misrata, Al-Bayda, Sert… The over 3 million foreign workers have vacated or are located in refugee camps in Tunisia…

The date February 15 for the start of the revolt in Libya was no coincidence.  Qadhafi orchestrated vast demonstrations throughout Libya to commemorate the cartoons published in Danmark “satanizing” the Prophet Mohammad.  It turned out that demonstrators in the second largest city in Libya changed the purpose of the march to lambasting the regime.  The police forces fired live munitions on the demonstrators, civilians were killed, and the fire spread.

Is it my imagination or I am not following very closely what’s going on in Libya?  I sense that the media have shifted their attention to Syria.  I used to watch streams of videos showing Libyan insurgents “cleaning” a town one day, and the Qadhafi “brigades” launching counter-offensives and re-cleaning the captured town the next day.  It was sort of regular vacuuming operations: Not of dust and dirt, but of “traitors and unwanted civilians”…

It makes sense to lay down the historical and cultural background of what constitute the eastern region (called Cyrene, or Shark or sun up) and the western region called Tripoli (or Gharb or sun down).  The Phoenician merchants established several trading posts in the western region more than 35 centuries ago, and then Carthage became the dominant power in the 5th century BC.  Greece started establishing trading posts in the eastern region around the 6th century BC.

Greece and Carthage could not resolve the partition militarily and they decided on a dividing line that is 50 kilometers east of actual Sert.  The Roman Empire conquered all of Libya but the Hellenistic culture (and later Byzantium) weighted heavily in the easter region, and remained based in Alexandria (Egypt), while the Tripoli region was more impressed by the latin culture, and remained polarized toward Carthage.

In 643 AC, the Islamic/Arabic empire started its expansion and occupied Egypt, Libya, and all of the Maghreb, before crossing into Spain and establishing the Andalusia Empire in Europe. In 1050, the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt (leaning toward the Shiaa Moslem sect) in order to punish the Sunni Moslems in Libya dispatched two Arabic tribes in the Arabic Peninsula (current Saudi Arabia) to relocate in Libya.  The Banu Hillal tribe settled in the Tripoli region and the Salami tribe in the Benghazi region.  The Ottoman Empire with Capital Istambul dominated Libya since 1550: The western governor or Pasha relied on the Maghreb people to secure self-autonomy, while the easter governor was more allied to the Pasha of Egypt.

Itali decided in 1911 to secure a colony, since France and England had their colonies in Africa. France occupied all of western Africa (Francophone States) and England occupied western Africa and south Africa.  During the fascist Mussoli regime, Itali managed to occupy all of Libya, after two decades of military operations, installing detention camps, and forcing most of the people in the desert towns toward relocating in the urban centers on the sea for efficient control.

After WWII, England encouraged the monarch Senusi to becoming the monarch of Libya:  The constitution was of a federal-type model with two self-autonomous States, with Benghazi the central Capital.  As oil was discovered, the Constitution was changed for a unified State till 1969, as Qadhafi succeeded in his military coup d’ etat and shifted the capital to Tripoli and neglected the easter region that was still pro-monarchic. 

France was responsible, for a short duration after the WWII and before the Independence of Libya in 1953, of the South-Western desert of Sebha and controlled the South-North axe route that most African immigrants used to reaching the Mediterranean Sea and which was used as the preferred land route for trading among the Sahara States and tribes. 

Consequently, there is a high homogeneity of the population in Libya: 90% are “Arabic” and speak the same slangs, while 5% are of Berber origin (Algeria and Morocco), and another 5% related to African tribes from Niger and Chad.

The most plausible resolution, after satisfying the pre-requisite of ceasing the power of Qadhafi and his bloody sons, is the following:

First, Libya would be federated into two States:  The eastern State based in the Capital Benghazi, and the western State based in the Capital Tripoli.  The Federal government would be relocated to the city of Sert, in the middle of the long coast line of 1,700 kilometers, the historical dividing line between the two concentration of people and tribes (and where Qadhafi was born).

Second, the oil revenue (constituting 90% of the GNP) will be split into three parts: 40% to each State and 20% for maintaining the central government and its key federal institutions such as army, foreign affairs, currency…

Third, federal revenues will be proportionally budgeted and allocated to the people living in the deep desert oasis such as Kufra and Sebha.

Note: I might add more details to that article, or decide to publish it in several parts.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2011
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