Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 28th, 2011

“Fleeing to Hell” by Samir Atallah

This post is inspired by an article published by the Lebanese journalist Samir Atallah in the daily Al Nahar Sept. 28.  I will be mostly translating liberally from Arabic, and not in the order the article proceded.

“The French daily “Humanitee” is celebrating its 107 birthday.  It was turned to a communist media in 1920 and the communist party still hold 40% of its shares. Joan Baez sang in the festivity along with Jane Fonda…You had the impression that the “Arab Spring” revolutions are behind us, a momentary curiosity, and part of history…

Late French President, Charles de Gaulle, said that “Religion is an extension to moral standards. The prophet has to apply his own guidelines and principles…I will call the first part of my Memoires “Years of hope“.

Hope always sounds a slap and an offense to whoever utter that word in the Arab World: Hope is understood as an offense to reality and frustration, contrary to the golden dictum “Silence is gold and keeping your tongue warm is the road to safety and security“.

What could be worst than encouraging social civil wars by keeping silent of the causes that will ultimately ignite a civil war?

Qadhafi wrote a short story titled “Fleeing to Hell“.  He said: “Not only you fail, but you also fail to learn the lessons…What set you apart is that you are unable to recognizing right from wrong no matter how you deny it…The citizens want you to build a road to the sea, to plant the garden, to kill the dogs and replace dogs with cats…”

Maximilian Robespierre, the bloodiest French revolutionary was the role model of Qadhafi. Why? Because Robespierre understood that the people are heartless and practiced the motto “Do not spare anyone of your companions and never trust the people“.

Qadhafi learned from Romania dictator Ceucesco to build underground tunnels under every property you live-in, in  order to secure an exit route. But this tactic never worked.

Indeed, Qadhafi fled to hell, and his people got out of hell.  And returned to hell…

Still, Qadhafi keeps shouting and threatening to exterminate all the rats and roaches that rose to dislodging his regime.

Communism did not end because of any success story of capitalism, but for the arrogance they ruled the people, as if they never learned from their Caesar the Emperor.

Communism played the game of Russian roulette, while liberal capitalism is playing Las Vegas kinds of roulette. The consequence of any political system that enslaves the mind of its citizen.

The western societies lambasted the oriental people of accepting their fate…What kind of rational processes the west is applying nowadays? It is a wide open casino:  The Greeks want money and enter the European Union totally drunk, the Italians are stealthy inserting their hands in other States pockets, and the US enters all guns out, hoarding the cash register and funding the largest army that mankind ever imagined.

Charles de Gaulle decided to retreat to his house in the Boiserie as he realized that his staying in power is liable of initiating mass upheavals…

Apparently, the period of Orientalism is not over yet: The western societies see the Arab World in romantic visions, as exceptions to the rules: All these mass popular upheavals are just attempts at looking out the window, but not a purposeful decision to exiting from the doors of jails…

Western scholars still believe that the only rational mind was Ibn Khaldun (6 centuries ago) and no rational mind and leader succeeded Ibn Khaldun.

(Sprawling cities, surrounded with shantytowns, dying out of boredom in Amman, Algeria, Riyadh…

Sprawling cities transformed into caves, tunnels, and bunkers in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, Syria…to be followed by Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain…)

Any “secret ingredient to inspiring a team”?

Notesby.me did it again with an inspiring article posted on Sept 27  “How TEDxBeirut revealed the secret ingredient to inspire a team“:

“It’s Friday. The day before TEDxBeirut (a day-long conference in three sessions, involving 19 speakers). I’m driving to the venue. I’ve been barely sleeping an hour every night, for the past week. I’m exhausted, and have little energy left.

Today is the final rehearsal with all the speakers, performers, and production crew. It’s going to be a long and intense day. There’s so much that needs to be done. Too much for just one day.

As I’m driving, I think to myself: “I have no idea how I’m going to make it through the day. I’ll probably go in, and when anyone asks how I am, I’ll reply “Exhausted”!  That way, I’ll show them that I’ve been working my ass off. That’ll give me enough attention and energy to keep me going just a little bit more.”I pause, get my thoughts together, and continue (my line of thinking):

“Bad idea! We’re all exhausted. Why would I expect myself to be more exhausted than anyyone else? Why would I demand attention from everyone else? Bad idea!”

That’s when a smile forms on my face. “I’m OK” I think to myself. “Actually, I feel great! This is what we’ve all been working very hard for. It’s almost here. I’m excited!” And all of a sudden, everything changes.

I arrive at the venue. I’m all hyper and ecstatic. I go inside and start hugging and loving everyone. I can’t get the smile off my face. Everyone smiles back. I can see the light in their eyes. Little do I realize on that day, the effects of my attitude-change on everyone around me.

It’s Saturday. It’s the day of TEDxBeirut. It’s 7:00am. I’m driving to the venue. I’ve only slept for 1hr. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’m beyond exhaustion. It’s as if there are no thoughts in my head. I’m blank. I’m irritated. I don’t have nor the energy, nor the patience to deal with anything that comes my way. And suddenly, I remember the day before.

I remember the attitude change. And for the first time, I realize that by smiling and by being ecstatic yesterday, I was affecting the attitude of everyone around me. I think to myself: “I gotta do this. Everyone is exhausted. If I’m exhausted too, how will we make it through the day? How will we deal with all the problems that’ll arise? How will the audience feel? I gotta be ecstatic and exploding with energy!”

Suddenly, I feel a bust of energy! A smile forms on my face. This energy, along with the smile, both stay with me the whole day. All the way throughout the event. And this has a huge effect on everything. Of course, I wasn’t aware of that during the day.

At the end of the day, while driving back home, I remember Patrick telling me: “I don’t know why, I can’t help it but smile every time I see you.” I reply automatically without thinking: “Maybe it’s because I’ve been smiling all the time?” That’s when it hit me.

I get a zillion flashbacks from that same day. I remember all the instances when Patrick tells me how I’m inspiring. The instance that Maya tells me how she can feel my energy, and how different that is from others. The instance that Chawki tells me how inspiring I am. All the instances that I’ve spoken to team members, and all of a sudden their eyes spark. All the instances that I’ve briefed a team member who has slept less that I did, and see them jump into action with excitement beyond this world.

That instance, after all those flashbacks, I finally understand what inspiring a team is all about. I’ve been trying to inspire different teams, within and outside of TEDxBeirut for years now. I’ve failed every single time. And now, on the last day of TEDxBeirut, I finally get it.

Inspiring a team isn’t just about being ecstatic, energetic, and passionate. Yes, all these are vital. Yet, a secret ingredient is missing.

To inspire, you have to be under the same, or worst conditions yourself. Please, read this line again.

During the day of TEDxBeirut, I finally managed to inspire, not just because I was full of energy. It’s because I was as tired and as un-slept as everyone else. Yet, I managed to show everyone that even though we’re all exhausted, we can still be full of energy. We can still have a constant and contagious smile. We can still be ecstatic. And when we’re all like this, the crowd can’t help but get infected with this blissful energy.

I’ve come to learn that inspiring a team might just be this simple and reproducible. To inspire a team to act in a certain way, act yourself in that certain way. And as long as you’re under the same, or worst circumstances than the rest of your team, they’ll get inspired.

Martin Luther King was as black and as mistreated as his community. Gandhi was under worst conditions than his community. And they both inspired big time.

On Friday, that day before TEDxBeirut, I had never imagined that my change of attitude will have such a deep impact. I thank everyone single one of you. You inspired me to inspire.” End of quote.

You are likely to miss the essential idea in that post and think: “Keep smiling to inspire the team” is the secret ingredient.  Smiling is the catalyst, the best catalyst to inspiring, but “How can you keep a genuine smile if the entire team does not believe that you worked harder than anyone else?”

One of the speaker on TEDxBeirut (Hala Fayad) said: “To be a successful entrepreneur you have got to slave harder than anyone in team.  Ego is not useful in any endeavor you undertake…” (I assume that Hala got down on her knees and rubbed the floor and participated in the daily chores, as any slave is asked to do. Otherwise, success was pure luck, regardless of all the energy invested in the business and opportunities that were taken advantage of…)

In general, Gandhi is an excellent example in that line of thinking.  But Martin Luther King ? Simply because he was black and obviously mistreated and put in prison several times?  Malcom X and many other Black leaders in the US worked far harder than Martin Luther King  and they were mistreated harsher, not just by the white community, but amid their own black communities.

Note:  TEDxBeirut was a huge success in many ways, particularly in this awfully limited society and State of Lebanon. The slogan of TEDxBeirut was “From limitation to inspiration”.  That motto applied perfectly to the organizers of TEDxBeirut, though not to most of the speakers. I am preparing an article titled “Mostly a hoax: “From limitation to inspiration” slogan of TEDxBeirut”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2011
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