Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 13th, 2012

What else the Syrian regime can deliver?

The dictatorial regime in Syria has demonstrated capabilities of being in control in the following areas:

1. The institutions could hold a referendum on not a seriously valid Constitution (see note)

2. The military machine was able to put down the armed uprising in Baba Amro and several other cities such as Edleb…

3. The regime was able to lure the non-violent initial movements into taking arms;

4. It exhibited political astuteness of focusing its arrows on the absolute monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the Emirs of the Gulf States that have stepped forward as the most zealot supporters for democratic processes and rights of freedom of speech and gathering…

5. The regime was able to divide the opposition movements…

6. The regime is promising a parliamentary election in May…

Good. What else the Syrian regime can deliver or is ready to deliver, after the armed alternative did not solve the problems?

Mind you that the regime is based on three pillars: A President with absolute power, the military institution, and the security services. All these institutions are packed with the tailor-made “One -Party monopoly” of the Baath Party members and Alawit sect.  If any one of these pillars decide to break-up with the regime, the entire regime structure will inevitably crumble in no time.  That is why, each one of these pillars defends the atrocities of the other two structures and fail to severely condemn their serious faults and mistakes.

With these three institutions rooted in four decades of privileges and benefits, can anyone envision any viable consensus among them to reform the system according to the aspiration of a people sick and tired of this boring and tiresome climate of absurdities and stagnation?

No, Bashar Assad has no practical leverage to decide on his own without the tacit consent of the other two institutions.

Can the three pillars simultaneously agree on the Arab League program?

Do you believe that such a power structure can reach a negotiated deal for a convincing “transitional government” without the three powers be represented heavily in the government?

So far, the regime had it easy rallying the support of the majority of the population, given that the loudest voices against it are coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the USA, France, and England…

Mind you that most” Arabs” know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the previous loud States have never delivered on democracy and freedom of expression in the Arab States:  They all supported dictators, oligarchs, and absolute monarchs…These States main objective has always been and still is to divide the Arab States, keep the people in constant turmoil in typical colonial mentality, in order to dominate and exploit their resources and have a vast market for selling products…

If Hilary Clinton could once condemn Israel terror activities and stop blaming the Palestinians, and the artisanal mini rockets launched in retaliation of Israel frequent initiatives to assassinate their leaders under various lame excuses, maybe the Arab individual might ponder on Hilary’s hysterical hate for the Syrian regime….

The regime had it easy rallying the support of the majority of the population simply because the opposing States lack credibility in what they are demanding the regime to do or not to do…

As long as the regime is in a state of wait for the the follow-up dictum of Russia and China “another set demonstrations of the regime control of the civil and military institutions”, the Islam extremists will be gaining ground as wild fire spread, and the people of Syria will lose all the social and economical acquisitions since its independence.  Another example of potential well-educated Iraqis will be destroyed for decades to come.

So far, the regime has lost its dignity and face-saving alternatives: The masses are celebrating its downfall in songs and dances, and editing traditional songs into lyrics strongly attacking the regime and the Assad family…

Singing is the best outlet for what we are forbidden to say, and which should not be kept ignored, and which cannot be vocally censured. Singing and dancing are the best expressions of hope against a climate of oppression.  Daily singing events in town and villages lambasting the regime are natural outcome when the masses have shed their fear and long for freedom, at last.

The regime knew full well what message singing was sending and it assassinated singers such as Ibrahim Kashoush, the first one to start chanting in mass demonstrations in Homs, and the kid  Hamzat Khatib for chanting “Syria wants freedom”, and cutting-off the hands of cartoonist Ali Farsat…

Note: On the new Syria Constitution

Part 2. San Francisco: Soothing recollections  March 13, 2012

I saw pictures of San Francisco on Freshly Pressed and decided to reminisce my 3-year stint in that lovely and green City. I will attach these pictures at the end of my post.

I attended a convention of Human Factors Society in the summer of 1991 after I finished my PhD degree. After the convention was over, I was on the verge of joining the file of the homeless. I stayed at the studio of a referral that I got in Norman for one night in Ashbury Heights.

I had later many occasions to walk this famous street during the period when the hippies selected it as headquarter for their movement. The next morning I was feeling sick because of too much nervous tension. I called my cousin Nassif in Vancouver and all that I got was a reprimand “Adonis, you are always in trouble”.

I know that I slept one night at an Algerian student who was the manager of the restaurant “Marrakech” that served Moroccan dishes; it was one of the longest nights and the most nerve wracking wait for this Algerian student to show up and pick me up.  It was a cold night and I waited for over three hours sitting on my suitcase wondering if he is ever going to show up. I had nowhere to go and no money for any decent lodging facility.

The next day I slept at a hostel for foreign student visitors for two nights in Downtown San Francisco. The Algerian student referred me to two Spanish students living in a foggy neighborhood; the fog enveloped this quarter 20 hours a day. I had shelter for a week at the foreign students from Spain and they were very nice.

I managed to be hired in a full-service retirement hotel, for room and board in exchange of 4 hours work a day. The Spanish students could not believe that I landed a job that quickly. I accepted all the overtime I could get in all the departments, until I was offered the job of assistant to the manager three weeks later.  I was fooled by the offer of $1,200 a month which turned out to be less than $900 after all kinds of deductions but I fulfilled my “word” to stay a whole year in that position.

I enjoyed my stay in this lovely city of San Francisco and visited frequently all its parks and waterfronts and beaches, carrying a book with me.  I had also located a nearby covered swimming pool that I patronized three times a week.

I had the opportunity to tour the neighboring towns around San Francisco with co-workers and a French older woman called Michelle that I helped secure a part-time position at the Hotel.

The red headed Michelle carried all her belonging in the trunk of her small beat up car and she invited me on her many excursions out of town.

A couple of time I joined five other employees in a van and we toured the towns and sceneries outside San Francisco, like the Red Forest, Nappa Valley, and passed the flat Capital of Sacramento, flatter than Oklahoma City.

I saw many famous locations because I was responsible for arranging tours to the elder residents and I was to be part of the trip for supervision purposes.  The City offered a van with a driver and we toured San Francisco once a week and I took pictures and described the tour in the monthly promotional brochure along with the monthly events in the Hotel.

I was caring for elder persons, mostly ladies, but in my state of confusion for my future and frustration in not finding within my spirit of what I loved to do for a job didn’t leave much space in my soul for sincere compassion.  Practically, I cared better than most of the managerial staff because I was new to this environment of human spiritual misery and I was highly respected by the “clients”.

The retirees knew of my higher education but never asked me “why are you working in such an institution with your degree?”; it is as people in the US are accustomed to seeing all kinds of individuals working temporary jobs that turned out to be more permanent than proclaimed.  One elder man of over 80 of age, tall and of powerful constitution, committed suicide a week after his “incarceration” by falling in a stairwell from the eighth floor.

Many of the elder ladies whom I cared for passed away during my job but I was not shaken emotionally, or that what I thought at the time.

I think that I read most of the famous authors who lived in and around San Francisco. I had a Mexican girlfriend. (You may read my post in the addendum to my introspection “Chica Lupita”)

I have toured Marin County, the forest of the highest Red trees, ventured to Monterrey, Big Sur, Little Sur, Carmel, and all the environs.  There was old Jake who was a gambling addict; he used to receive invitations from the casinos for free rooms in Reno.  I joined him twice because he needed company.  I played little and ate a lot; food and drinks were cheap and in abundance, and enjoyed looking at pretty servers too.

We traveled on two occasions as a group in a van belonging to an employee and spent glorious days up north and tasted wine in wine counties and farmhouses.

I recall that I had an interview for a job in statistical analysis and had to board several ferries to reach destination. Luckily, I didn’t get the job but it was a good exposure for various transport facilities.

All in all, my stay in San Francisco was the loveliest and most enriching experience in the US.

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society and I wanted to attend it. It was a long trip of two days and we passed through Salt Lake City and I visited the temple of the Mormons.

There was snow and the University of Boulder was lovely. During the second day of the convention my advisor failed to show up and I had no copy of my dissertation and I felt frustrated for not being prepared to deliver anything even though I was invited by the chair person of the session to do it.  I had the opportunity to tour Denver by night and boarded the spacious and large bus that crosses Main Street.

A week later I was to battle a discrimination case.  There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles; she had no one to testify on her behalf.  The girl was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager. I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.  I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish the whole year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.

I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.  I thus patronized an office on Van Ness Road that was funded by the City and aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.  In one of my posts titled “Are you searching for a job?” I wrote:

“I recall that in 1991 the US was in serious recession during the Bush Sr. Administration and jobs were frighteningly scarce.  I had graduated with a PhD degree in Industrial/Human Factors engineering and missed better periods for hiring academicians. I was working as assistant to manager at a retirement community in Downtown San Francisco and visited an employment center on Van ness Road. It was a center meant to help you out re-write your CV for the nth time anytime you wanted to apply for the scarce job announcements posted in the center.

People swarmed this center just to feel busy and serious about searching for a job but not that hot for finding one.  I guess the center was one of the hundreds of facilities with the sole purpose to blaming the citizens for failure to doing their due diligence and compete since no one is about to beg you to work for them.  If you failed to re-write your CV and spent more money on useless stamps per day then you are not making good use of this “valuable” help facility.

This was the period when ridiculous denials were the custom of the land. For example, this custodian at NASA who claims that he is contributing to sending astronauts to the moon; or redefining their jobs as sanitation “engineering”.  I recall that I was forced to accept a job cleaning and vacuuming the main library while working on my dissertation. I fooled my spirit into believing that as long as I am doing my job perfectly and with excitement then I am learning the value of a job well done, sort as a training period for toughening my character.  A state of denial is not a bad reaction; it is successive states of denials that can be deleterious to your development”.

I was very curious and enjoyed being among crowds.  I attended the public events such as Shakespeare in the park, the free open concerts, joined the homosexual yearly celebrations, and the Latinos Days of Independence.  Unfortunately, I was mugged on a wonderful evening 50 feet from my hotel and I was hospitalized.  I never believed that I might be a statistics. Nobody in the hotel heard anything or even noticed what happened when I returned from the hospital.  I refrained from going out for three weeks.  Walking in San Francisco even during the day was no pleasure anymore: there were too many beggars along the streets and they were not a peaceful lot.

I was glad to move to Washington DC for a change but no city compares to San Fran in variety, beauty, and recreational facilities.  I never walked as much as my two years stay in San Fran.  This was a wonderful period when I devoured all kinds of books on a daily basis; I had the pleasure to be acquainted with most of the famous Bay Areas authors from Henry Miller, to John Steinbeck, to Jack London, and the Bitnics movement.

What follows are the pictures displyed on Freshly Pressed of “My trip to San Francisco”,February 24, 2012, and that I recall seeing them vividly:

Muir Woods

Wine country…my favorite part of the trip!

Palace of Fine Arts

Fisherman’s Wharf

Pier 39




March 2012

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