Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 2011

Single precondition for friendship

Can you imagine befriending anyone (regardless of genders or domestic animal) if you feel disgusted physically or behaviorally by the other partner?

We have 5 senses that need to be satisfied with close bodily contacts.

If the smell of smoking generates vomiting instincts, can you befriend an addicted smoking person?

If your partner suffocate your nose with body smell, or exhaling noxious mouth breath, or you feel disoriented with which eye is the valid one, or…

If one of your senses feels revolted by the close contact of someone, how could you “sustain” and maintain the friendship?

Unless you are of the type of “re-educating” the partner, for some mysterious reasons.

Suppose that you had “remote agreeable communication” with someone, and you physically met with the remote individual.  You are turned off physically or behaviorally from this person.  Don’t you think that your further remote communication would be laced with “aggressive undertone“?

The next time you engage a remote communication with the “previous remote friend” will be biased negatively, you will find the logic asynchronous, ideas outdated, opinion not frank and honest…

You don’t have to bemoan that you never graduated from diplomatic foreign affairs schools:  Just be upfront and say: “Sir, it is a sort of physical or behavioral repulsion.  I think it is best that we never mention our names in further remote communication… Since I know your writing style, don’t expect me to comments on your pieces or to dwell on extensive analyses…”

I don’t think you have to rub it deeper with the second sentence:  The first blunt sentence will do the job wonderfully. Anyway, there are plenty of social platforms and plenty of bloggers…

It is funny these repeat scenes in movies where someone is drawing a list of pro and con qualities on the partner, and they are wondering how come the friendship lasted that long…

Let us be frank, the precondition for friendship was solid and stable for the duration:  the check list is a benign exercise,  lest the check list is a precursor for a drastic decision of change in venue

Have you been friend with someone for a long time, and you feel the friendship is now irrelevant, pretty much redundant..?

You make a long laundry list of all the valid differences to convince yourself that there must be a good reason for the break-down in relationship.  You realize that these difference existed and you knew all about them all along, but why you’re feeling that way just right now?

You know that the list of variations in physical or behavioral differences is a crappy excuse:  You know deep down that one of your senses was hugely attracted to your friend, assuming that all the remaining characteristics in your friend were just normal and acceptable.

What changed is that your particular sense has been blunted by age and the valuing scale has be transformed. Or most probably, you want to believe that the attractive part in your friend has changed to the worse.

For example, your friend is involuntarily farting, the smell of his hair has turned vinegar, the skin is showing signs of lost hope in perpetual youth and vigor…These kinds of deficiencies produced by aging…but you refuse to admit that it was these insignificant bestial senses that were the cause for starting the friendship adventure, and the catalyst for the demise of the friendship, vanishing into thin air…

The aging process requires some kind of solitude, of larger needs for more privacy, and of hiding growing deficiencies…

Am I brutal? Isn’t it the power and beauty of having a blog?

Any knowledge of “History of Geography” or world maps?

Do you know that the Chinese cartographers oriented the southern hemisphere to be on the top of maps? Why?

The northern hemisphere (close to where they lived), was very cold and foggy, and the Moguls invaded China from there, thus, devaluing this northern hemisphere and relegating it to the bottom part of a map.

The Arab cartographers adopted the Chinese orientation.

For example, in 1157, Al Idrisi sent a most complete map of 70 double pages to King Roger II of Sicily.  The map detailed the Mediterranean Sea basin.

Obviously, you have to turn the map upside down to visualize it as we currently see it.  For example, if the concept of civilized and barbaric countries were prevalent in these ancient times, as it is now, the southern countries will boast to belong to the southern civilized hemisphere!

In Medieval Europe, top of maps represented the eastern side of the world. Why?

According to the Bible, East was the Eden because Cain was chased eastward toward the void.  Additionally, a belt of fire cordoned off the East portion, not to be accessible to entrance.  Christopher Columbus described the Antilles Islands (East of Asia in his mind) as Eden where people roamed completely naked and rich in exotic fruits.

Mercator, a Dutch cartographer (1512-1594), re-oriented the maps, on the ground that the southern hemisphere is “heavier” than the northern counterpart according to the Greek tradition. Europe was to be located in the center of the world.

Do you know that continents were categorized in two major groups and intermediate regions?

For example, you had the “solid regions” (Sub-Sahara Africa, Northern America, Southern America, Asia, Europe, and Antarctica) and the malleable autonomous regions such as (India, Australia, Russia, and the island of Madagascar).  The other regions were shared portions such as (North Africa, Turkey, Mongolia, Middle East, Central Asia, Central Europe…).  You can guess the geopolitical theme for this division of the world.

Do you know that, even recently in the 60’s, the world was divided as solid geography, liquid geography, and gaseous geography?

For example solid geography (founded by Paul Vidal de la Blanche, 1923) relied on the material objects such as mountain chains, raw materials, types of rocks…in order to describe a country?

The Anglo-Saxon description of geography was of the “liquid kind”, emphasizing space and modeling…a flux representation.

In the 80’s, description of geography included the time-line or history of a region, and thus, gaseous geography!

Fernand Braudel demonstrated the interconnections between Time (history of a region) and the Space (land facts) in describing a region…

In this globalization period, the world is divided among the developed countries (West Europe, USA, Japan, China, Russia), the fast developing countries (Brasil, India, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia…supplying the cheap work force), and the third world supplying the raw materials and minerals.

For example, I tend to believe that major rivers, much more than mountain chains, are the determining dividing lines among autonomous countries and representing the character of people.

It is toward major water sources that mankind agglomerated and settled and founded urban centers.  Within two decades, water resources will be scarce and the most important element for survival.  Countries controlling the origin or sources of major rivers will enjoy huge leverage in the geopolitical tag of war. (Read link in note)

For example, China will never relinquish Tibet:  The Himalaya mountain chains are the sources of most of the major rivers flowing in China, South-East Asia, and even in the Ganges (India).

Turkey control the sources of the Euphrates and Tiger rivers flowing into Syria and Iraq.

Ethiopia control the Nile water source…

Note 1:  Article was inspired from an article in the French monthly Sciences Humaines, and written by Christian Grataloup

Note 2:  https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/lions-and-lionesses-along-the-fertile-crescent-ancient-empires/

Battle of Zahleh (Lebanon, 1982): Revisiting this “melancholic civil war”

The importance of “The Battle of Zahleh” in 1982 is that it will turn out to be a catalyst for Israel to decide invading Lebanon in June 1982, and enter the Capital Beirut.  The battle of Zahleh extended fantastic dilusion dreams to Ariel Sharon:  “We kick out of Lebanon the armed faction of the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO), they move to Syria, Syria sent them packing to Jordan, and the PLO establish a State in Jordan.  In the meanwhile, Israel create a stooge State in Lebanon government by Christian militia allies…”  That is how Robert Fisk reported the strategy from an Israeli military reporter, who heard it from Sharon as the battle of Zahleh was in progress.

Zahleh, a medium-size city of 150,000 citizens, the first city you reach as you descends the eastern side of Mount Sannine.  Zahleh is at 945 m in altitude and smack in the middle of the rich Bekaa Valley (representing about 42% of the size of Lebanon).  The main center is divided by the Berdawni River. On the north of Berdawni, an area called Wadi al Arayesh, crowded with countless restaurants, side by side, boarded with tall trees and the sound of flowing fresh water, serving typical Lebanese meals and mezzeh (composed of two dozen small dishes).

Zahleh was founded 300 years ago with the influx of mountain people, from Mount Lebanon and Huran plateau (Syria) and settled by the Berdawni River. Zahleh was burned down in 1771, 1791, and again in 1860 during the internal clashes between the Christian Maronite and the Druze sects.

Train rails were constructed in 1885 to serve the agricultural trade exigencies among the neighboring regions.  There is no more trains, and barely any rails are standing. Zahleh is surrounded with famous vineyards located in Wadi Hadi, Harqat, Bir Ghazour, and Tell Zeina.  The vineyard Ksara in a few miles south.

The very credible accounts of investigative reporter Robert Fisk (see notes) described the battle of Zahleh in his book “Afflictions of a Nation”.  I am reading the Arabic version of the book (the private reading library that I patronize does not enjoy English reading customers) and this diary of an episode of Lebanon civil war is an abridged version, written my own style and my comprehension of this particular history and context.

Until the end of 1980, Zahleh was like an oasis in the midst of this barbaric and incomprehensible civil war that has been dragging since April 1975.  The Syrian troops guaranteed peace and tranquility in Zahleh with a majority of Christian Catholic orthodox.  Young Bashir Gemayel, head of the Christian militia “The Lebanese Forces”, a militia built around the Phalanges Party after annexing by force the other weaker Christian militias, started to plan becoming the next president of the republic. Consequently, he needed to exhibit the image of the leader of all the Christians, everywhere they existed as majority in the country.

Beshir encouraged the Christians in Zahleh to attack and harass the Syrian troops. The Syrian troops responded by shelling Zahleh with tank guns.  The propaganda of the Christian militia that they were confronting Islamic invasion to disperse all Christians from Lebanon failed to generate any reactions from the USA and Europe.  Israel’s major-general Yahoshoa Sagoy, head of Israel intelligence agency, guessed that Bashir is trying hard to draw Israel directly into the civil war.  However, General Rafael Etan decided to down two Syrian helicopters supplying the unit on Sannine.

There was a deal: The Syrian troops were to vacate Mount Sannine on condition that no other force try to retain this strategic location.  The people in Zahleh were not concerned with Beshir Gemayel and very few were members of the Phalanges party.  Beshir decided to build a side dangerous road leading to Zahleh with the intention of dispatching military supplies.

In the winter season of 1981, the Lebanese Forces installed mortar guns on Mount Sannine. Robert Fisk was among the “Christian” forces and he could barely breath from the high altitude and the freezing weather.  The Syrian army got suspicious of Beshir’s purpose, particularly that Bashir boasted publicly of his friendship with Israel. Actually, Israel has been unloading military equipment and ammunition in the port of Jounieh for quite a time. What if this side road is being prepared for Israel to use in a preemptive war against Syria?

Syrian tanks fired over these mortar installations.  The militia behaved as frightened adolescent every time a tank fired over them.  The Syrian troops managed to stop finishing constructing this military road.  The Christian militia prevented the Syrians from reaching Faraya snow skiing resort.  The Syrian troops acquired the top of Sannine, while the Christian militia were contented of remaining 50 meters below. Fisk looked over the sand bags and could see the entire Bekaa Valley down below.

This was a totally bungled battle, meant principally for propaganda purpose.  The university graduates in the Christian militia were hardly capable of firing properly the mortar guns.  Fisk wrote: “As we were withdrawing in a hurry, using a German truck (the same kinds imported by the Palestinians in West Beirut), a tire blew up.  We had to scramble on slippery snowy ways for 9 miles toward the hotel Mazar Faraya.  This hotel was transformed into a military garrison.  All the utensils were imported from Israel, as well as the military clothes”. The militias were into the new trend of shalom here, shalom there.

After Israel downed the two Syrian helicopters, Syria moved in sort of obsolete anti air missile, freshly painted white, and explicitly exposed to be photographed by the foreign press. and the pictures displayed in foreign dailies.  Israel Begin PM refused to acknowledge the presence of these missiles:  They were of no military threat, and Israel was preparing a “preemptive incursion” into Lebanon.

By the end of July, the case of Zahleh was closed.  Fisk wrote: “The battle of Zahleh was an international tag of war, and not a battle between Phalanges and Syrian troops. About two hundred civilians were killed or injured.  95 members of Phalanges who had residences in Beirut quit Zahleh.  The remaining Christian militia members stayed in peace in Zahleh.”

I was living in Lebanon in that period: No same Lebanese had any illusion of the military outcome of this rediculous battle.  In fact, as Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, the Israel military power could not reach Zahleh and was stopped by the remaining Syrian troops in its progress in the higher region of the Chouf district by the town of Ain Dara.  The battle of Zahleh will turn out to be a catalyst for Israel to decide invading Lebanon in 1982, and enter the Capital Beirut.

Note 1: Robert Fisk is one of the famous journalist reporters who covered Lebanon civil war.  He was the correspondent of the British “Times” in the Middle-East till 1987.  He is currently the correspondent of the British daily “The Independent”.  Fisk wrote two books on the Irish civil war and conflicts, and a book on Lebanon’s civil war “Afflictions of a Nation”.

Note 2:  The Zionist lobby in England took to the street denouncing the accurate accounts of Fisk in the Times: “The Times is the new Arabic secret weapon”

Note 3: Fisk reported that Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was the beginning of the shattering of Israel’s image in the eyes of world community:  Foreign reporters and press declined accepting Israel accounts as accurate or credible.  The foreign press has witnessed the atrocities and countless violations of human rights of the Israeli soldiers and officers against civilians in Lebanon.

Note 4: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/israel-is-announcing-to-world-community-i-am-ready-for-another-preemptive-war-back-me-up/

Have you fallen prey to the chain-letters scheme?

Months of 31 days that start with a Friday witness 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays. For example, this July would have these 5 stuffs..  Last October in 2010 had the 5 Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  March 2013 and July 2016 will have the same “phenomena”.

What is shameful is that con artists want you to believe that this event happens every 850 years! Nepalnews called this phenomena the “money bags”.  For example, you have to disseminate this ridiculous misinformation in order to receive money within the next four days. Nepalnews is demanding from you to sent chain-letters so that providence will be on your side and generate sizable profit, in cash, obviously.

To add stupidity to ridiculous messages, the site says that if you add your age to the number representing the last two digit of the date of your birth, you will discover that it adds up to 111!  Sure, next year, if you do the same math you’ll discover that the number is 112.  All you do is subtract 1900 if you were born between 1900 and 1999. But 112 is not as striking as 111, for example 1/11, 11/1…

These con artists want to convince the elderly, the most vulnerable section of population, and the adolescents, the most naive category, to join the bandwagon of “money go get it”.

Note: Read this piece of news in the French weekly magazine Corrier International.

The Lesser Depression? Who is Paul Krugman?

“You do not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed.”

Paul Krugman published an article on July 21, 2011 in The New York Times.  Krugman is a Nobel laureate in economics and has been frequently explaining the current world financial problems.  I will exhibit a few extracts with my own editing style, and develop my comments.

“These are interesting times, in the worst way. We are currently looking at not one, but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of State fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe — which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.”

“We can only hope that the politicians, huddled in Washington and Brussels, succeed in averting these threats. But here’s the thing: Even if we manage to avoid immediate catastrophe, the deals being struck on both sides of the Atlantic are almost guaranteed to make the broader economic slump worse.

“In fact, policy makers seem determined to perpetuate what I’ve taken to calling the Lesser Depression, the prolonged era of high unemployment that began with the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and continues to this day, more than two years after the recession supposedly ended. Why our economies are (still) so depressed.

The great housing bubble of the last decade, which was both an American and a European phenomenon, was accompanied by a huge rise in household debt. When the bubble burst, home construction plunged, and so did consumer spending as debt-burdened families cut back.

Everything might still have been bearable if other major economic players had stepped up their spending, filling the gap left by the housing plunge and the consumer pullback. But nobody did. In particular, cash-rich corporations see no reason to invest that cash in the face of weak consumer demand.

Nor did governments do much to help. Some governments — those of weaker nations in Europe, and State and local governments here — were actually forced to slash spending in the face of falling revenues. And the modest efforts of stronger governments — including the Obama stimulus plan — were, at best, barely enough to offset this forced austerity.  So we have depressed economies. What are policy makers proposing to do about it? Less than nothing.

The disappearance of unemployment from elite policy discourse and its replacement by deficit panic has been truly remarkable. It’s not a response to public opinion. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 53 percent of the public named the economy and jobs as the most important problem we face, while only 7 percent named the deficit. Nor is it a response to market pressure. Interest rates on U.S. debt remains near historic lows.

Yet the conversations in Washington and Brussels are all about spending cuts (and maybe tax increases, I mean revisions). That’s obviously true about the various proposals being floated to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis here. But it’s equally true in Europe.

On Thursday, the “heads of State or governments of the euro area and the E.U. institutions” — that mouthful tells you, all by itself, how messy European governance has become — issued their big statement. It wasn’t reassuring.  For one thing, it’s hard to believe that the “Rube Goldberg statement” can really resolve the Greek crisis, let alone the wider European crisis.

But, even if it does, then what? The statement calls for sharp deficit reductions “in all countries except those under a program” to take place “by 2013 at the latest.” Since those countries “under a program” are being forced into drastic fiscal austerity, this amounts to a plan to have all of Europe slash spending at the same time. And there is nothing in the European data suggesting that the private sector will be ready to take up the slack in less than two years.

For those who know their 1930s history, this is all too familiar. If either of the current debt negotiations fails, we could be about to replay 1931, the global banking collapse that made the Great Depression great. But, if the negotiations succeed, we will be set to replay the great mistake of 1937:  The premature turn to fiscal contraction that derailed economic recovery and ensured that the Depression would last, until World War II finally provided the boost the economy needed.  The European Central Bank  seems determined to make things even worse by raising interest rates.

The lack of wisdom is on full display, as policy elites on both sides of the Atlantic bungle the response to economic trauma, ignoring all the lessons of history. And the Lesser Depression goes on.” (End of quote)

I am wondering: What if Congress agrees to raise the ceiling of the debt?  How the US government used to pay off, in the first place, the nominal portion of its dept?  It is not through the surplus of its economic activities, or the savings of the citizens, or the slashing of military spending…

The US has been borrowing heavily by encouraging foreign State governments, which managed to save money, into purchasing US Treasury Bills and bonds.  Currently, this mechanism of relying on foreign savings is not working, and the Federal Reserve has been manufacturing money and lending it to the US government to cover short-term and urgent immediate deficit.

The dollar has been effectively being devalued consistently by 10% per year since 1945, and this rate in devaluation is increasing rapidly since 2007.

Do you realize what a deficit amounting to 14 trillion means?  It is more than the total worth of France, if sold stock, lock, and land.  Imagine thousand of years of  labor by millions of “French people” to sustaining a country, who could not accumulate enough wealth to pay off the US public deficit!

All these economic and financial decisions are meant to buy short-term leverage, before the inevitable global crisis fall on our head, very shortly.  How can the US people pay-off this huge deficit if not by “creating a preemptive global war”, as were the cases in 1914 and 1939?

The US has nothing much to offer economically for stabilizing world economy and finances.  What Europe needs from the US are two things:

First, releasing the huge ammunition reserves for resuming the small-scale preemptive wars in Libya and the potential unstable regimes around the Mediterranean Sea and parts of Africa.  It is the abundance of the US military hardware and ammunition that is making NATO organization an acceptable agreement to the EU.

Second, the EU hopes that the dollar will maintain its global status for a couple of years before a basket of currencies is agreed upon. What else the US can be of any help for the time being?

These spring uprising of youth movements around the world have a common denominator: “We want to have a direct say in public decisions”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2011
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