Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 31st, 2012

Pretty long, Dry seasons days in “harsh-living” Lebanon

Note: Re-edit of “Sample day’s tasks in this “harsh-living” Lebanon, 2012″

I used to write consistently my diary for over four years, until my computer broke down and never replaced it.

It is hard living in Lebanon.

The main problem is that the conditions are deteriorating fast, and there are no resolutions in sight, not even in the long-term prospect.

Talk of keeping and sustaining any hope in this archaic multi-theocratic and pseudo State since 1943 is helpless.

This post is a sample day’s tasks in this “harsh-living” Lebanon during the dry seasons.

Saturday May 26, 2012, the next day of the “Tahrir Day” (kicking the Israeli occupiers out of south Lebanon, without any single precondition and unilaterally, after 25 years of ugly occupation).

6 am: Woke up and heard the water motor pumping water to the water tanks, four stories up. Dad insists on doing it personally, and refuses to install an automatic device to perform this task. (Actually, dad use this time to smoke freely, while waiting)

After dad secures that the tanks are filled enough, he fills several gallons with “potable water” done in the basement floor,.. and he rejoins his bed. It is hopeless to repeat to dad to postpone this non-essential task that early.

I made the effort to wake up that early in order to water the upper sections of the garden. Dad gets very upset of using up water for gardening: We purchase water tanks every couple of weeks during the 7-month dry season because public water does not reach residencies, not even in the winter season. What’s the story?

The excuse is that the water reservoir in Dbayeh, on the sea-shore, was leaking and it had to be fixed for the last three days. The reservoir is fixed, but there is no electricity to pump the water up 600 meters to where we are located.

Lebanon barely generate electricity to satisfy 3 hours of daily consumption, and we rely on private providers with generators. We pay twice for electricity and for water…

Now, why water has to be pumped up, instead of reaching us by gravity from higher altitudes?

It turned out that there are reservoirs perched up in Bhaness, and the water pipes bring water from the Keserwan district. The district of North Metn buys 30,000 cubic meters per day from Keserwan, but the inhabitants in Keserwan lack water too! How that?

A large dam (Sadd Shabrouh) was built there 3 years ago, and this winter was generous in rain, about 790 mm, and still no water reaching homes…

The water employees in the North Metn open the pipes, and the employees in Keserwan close it. After 5 attempts, the family of Zoghaib in Keserwan posted a man with a rifle to prevent any “tampering with the valves“…

How do I know these pieces of intelligence?

After 7 days of no water reaching homes, I decided to go with my brother-in-law to the nearest water reservoir or water station in Hbouss (in Kornet Chehwan) and filled two dozen empty gallons. A van carrying three dozen empty gallons preceded us to the water station, and we got into talking with the station employee Wadi3...

As a side story, Wadi3 told us that their monthly stipend for transportation was reduced to $40 per month or about 10 gallons of gas. The ministry learned that the 3 employees had decided on shifts to sleep over in the station in order to save on car gas…

6:20  Had coffee and a cigarette and got back in bed. I opted for a pronate position (stomach down) for a change. I realized that my occasional wet dreams occur in the supine position…

7 am Started my daily physical exercises of 45 minutes. Mainly four sessions of the stretching kinds, in bed and on my feet.

Mind you that I invest almost three hours of hard physical work per day on the garden, filtering water to drink to two families in the building of about 10 persons, and walking two miles to the nearest library, rain or shine, where I have access to internet connection to publish the posts that you occasionally read.

It is so hard to walk in the hot dry seasons: I much prefer the cold wet winter season of barely 3 months.

The trouble when it rains is that cars do not stop to pick me up. and accelerate to splash water on you…Must look pretty off the customs of the neighborhood…walking, instead of driving 4-wheel new cars…

Mostly driven by women who are in a hurry, going nowhere in general, and occasionally picking up kids in expensive private schools…

7:45 Went up to my sister’s floor (has internet) and published 2 posts. I take the opportunity of using the kids connected computer when they are asleep, early morning and after 11 pm, and when the library is closed…The kids prefer to use the computer to watch TV series, downloaded on USB…

9 am Descended to the ground floor to filter potable water. This floor was used during the civil war as precarious shelter…and I mopped the floor: Nobody cares of the conditions on this floor…where my brother-in-law decided to use up most of the rooms to store clothes for his broke “business”.

Too many competitors in the retail clothing business, mostly imported from China and Turkey…

9:30 Worked in the garden. Watered the lower sections, gathered parsley for tomorrow tabouli (the traditional national salad with crushed wheat), gathered debris from the garden that mother insists on keeping it “clean”, trimmed the roses, and planted a few pots that Victor bring down from his “roof garden“…fed the chicken and cleaned the shed…

11:30 Paid a visit to my aunt Marie’s shop and bought 2 kilo of sugar and 7 loaves of bread weighting 900 grammes. The bread pack used to contain 8 loaves but the ministry of “economy” refused to subsidize the flour and insisted on keeping the price one dollar…

12 am Brought up dishes to my sister’s family of what mother cooked and carried down a bowl of cherries: Victor had bought a carton of tiny cherries that no one is eating and no one is in the mood of working on the cherries for transforming them into jam…

It turned out that dad loves cherries, tiny or otherwise…and mother too likes cherries…

12:15 Had lunch with my old dad and mom. In the menu is the salad, which I have freshly gathered in the garden.  I am usually in the library at lunchtime, but on Saturday I am home. I prefer to eat dinner alone around 9 pm, and display all the leftover dishes on the kitchen table…

12:45 I flip through the  TV channels until I stumble on a documentary or on a non-action movie, while mother is having siesta. Mother hoard the TV for most of the day and prefer local channels, which I don’t care for…and she complains that she barely sees me around

1:15 Had siesta. I am physically tired and had dreams. How do I know that I had dreams? Because I woke up at 3:15!

In the hot dry seasons, I just lay down for an hour and close my eyes to rest my back and legs…And I had coffee and a cigarette.

3:45 I had a walk and visited aunt Therese and my cousin Jihad

5 pm Back home and resumed watering the lower section of the garden and collected strawberry and mulberry…The ones that blacken the hands and fingers…For a month I go around with darker fingers and fingernails…

6 pm Locked the chicken den and had my weekly bath: It is an entire program of filling water in various containers. Our shower is not functioning: Not only the pipes need repairing, but also there is no pressure at the end of the shower…

Only on Saturday morning does dad ignite the central water burner, when public electricity is available, or when the electricity happens to materialize.

We cannot afford mazout for the winter cold season for our useless centrally heated building that is left unheated. Dad and mother spent this winter in their beds.

I do enjoy my resting and lengthy siesta during the cold season, accompanied with dreams. There are no mosquitoes and mother has far less chores for me To Do…

7:30 had dinner and watched TV since mother went up to check on her daughter Raymonde. Mother returned around 8:15 to find her cooking burning: She completely forgot that she was cooking something, and she persists on doing several tasks simultaneously.

I didn’t smell anything burning until I heard her complaining and crying softly.

8:30 I went up to my sister’s apartment and read and wrote a couple of articles.

10 pm Mother got in bed and I hoarded the only TV in the house. I watched documentaries, world news, good movies…

Midnight: Sweet dreams Adonis! Another hard day tomorrow…the dry seasons in Lebanon are pretty long.

Especially that mother wakes up about 6 am and starts creating and accumulating chores for me that I never dreamt existed before…

Like vacuuming and cleaning the carpets before storage, cleaning windows, painting, mopping, rearranging hidden corners, gathering mulberry and strawberry, and figs and cooking jams for the winter season…

I cannot catch up with mother’s creative mind for keeping herself busy…and dragging me along, without prior planning and discussion.

Marsha Norman wrote: “Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”

I believe that sleep dreams are the draft scenarios stories of the “I-Self” that the conscious mind re-edit to modify the “Me-Self” autobiography of our worldview that conform to the customs and traditions of the community…

The “I-Self” stories are pretty incoherent fragments, and we hardly can make sense of them, and we prefer to forget them as soon as we wake up.

The “I-Self” stories are basic building blocks to whatever alterations we conduct on our autobiographical version story and many of the next days decisions.

When I sleep in chunks of 3 to 4 hours, I am necessarily dreaming, whether I recall that I had dreamt or not…

Consequently, I am twice editing my autobiography every single day. In winter time, I am editing it three times: My siestas are lengthy and generate dreams…

The more often you dream, the better person you are…

Note: Three years ago, a little kitten was saved. Today, the cat had generated four generations of kittens. We barely can feed that many cats: they try valiantly to reside in the house instead of out in the garden.

Ten days ago, one cat was savagely mauled and her right front leg was bared to the bone. The wounded cat survived and was hopping on three, and even managed to crawl onto my bed, to mother bewildered eyes.

Mother spent two days washing the bloody sheets and drying in the sun many other items.  The cat survived but the worms and bugs and…are infecting her wounds, and she was put to rest…

How State Department created 5 million Palestinian refugees? 

Josh Rogin posted on Friday, May 25, 2012:  “Did the State Department just create 5 million Palestinian refugees?” (with slight editing):

“The U.S. government considers the descendants of Palestinian refugees to be refugees, a State Department official told The Cable.  Another top State Department official wrote in a letter to Congress that there are now 5 million Palestinian refugees.

The two new policy statements come in the midst of a fight over whether the United States will start separating, at least on paper, Palestinians who fled what is now Israel in 1948 and 1967 from their descendants.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved unanimously an amendment to the fiscal 2013 State Department and foreign operations appropriations bill that requires the State Department to report on how many of the 5 million Palestinians are currently receiving assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)… How many are actually people who were physically displaced from their homes in Israel or the occupied territories, and how many are merely descendants of original refugees.

The amendment, as passed, was watered down by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) from a version proposed by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) that would have required more in-depth reporting on how many UNRWA aid recipients are now living in the West Bank, Gaza, and other countries such as Jordan.

An even earlier version of the bill would have made it U.S. policy that Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and those who are citizens of countries like Jordan are not, in fact, “refugees.”

The State Department objected strongly to the Kirk amendment, claiming that any U.S. determination of the number or status of refugees was unhelpful and destabilizing and that refugee determinations are a final-status issue that must be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides wrote Thursday in a letter to Leahy:”This proposed amendment would be viewed around the world as the United States acting to prejudge and determine the outcome of this sensitive issue. United States policy has been consistent for decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations — final status issues can and must only be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations. The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.”

Nides wrote: “This action would damage confidence between the parties at a particularly fragile time, undercut our ability to act as a mediator and peace facilitator, and generate very strong negative reaction from the Palestinians and our allies in the region, particularly Jordan.”

But later down in the letter, Nides states, “UNRWA provides essential services for approximately five million refugees, including education for over 485,000 school children, primary health care in 138 clinics, and social services for the most Vulnerable, particularly in Lebanon and Gaza.” (Emphasis added.)

To experts and congressional officials following the issue, that declaration was remarkable because it was the first time the State Department had placed a number — 5 million — on the number of Palestinian refugees.

One senior GOP Senate aide told The Cable: “The Nides letter could be considered a change in U.S. policy with consideration to refugees because it states clearly that 5 million people served by UNRWA are refugees. For the Obama administration to stake out a position emphatically endorsing the rights of 5 million Palestinian refugees is by itself prejudging the outcome of final- status issues.”

Steve Rosen, a long time senior AIPAC official who now is the Washington director of the Middle East Forum, said that by calling all 5 million UNRWA aid recipients “refugees,” the State Department is saying that all the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and the nearly 2 million who are citizens of Jordan have some claim to the “right of return” to Israel, even though Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have all stated clearly that a two-state solution would mean that the bulk of the 5 million Palestinian “refugees” would end up living in the West Bank or Gaza, and not in Israel.

President Barack Obama said in June 2011, “A lasting peace will involve two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.”

In January, 2008, while a presidential candidate, Obama said, “The right of return [to Israel] is something that is not an option in a literal sense.”

At the heart of the issue is what constitutes a “refugee.” The entire thrust of the Kirk amendment was to challenge UNRWA’s definition, which includes the descendants of refugees — children, grandchildren, and so on. That has resulted in the number of Palestinian “refugees” skyrocketing from 750,000 in 1950 to the 5 million figure quoted by Nides today.

An analysis by the academic journal Refugee Survey Quarterly projected that if that definition remains intact, there will be 11 million Palestinian refugees by 2040 and 20 million by 2060.

In a new statement given to The Cable Thursday, a State Department spokesman said that the U.S. government does, in fact, agree with UNRWA that descendants of refugees are also refugees.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told The Cable: “Both the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) generally recognize descendants of refugees as refugees. For purposes of their operations, the U.S. government supports this guiding principle. This approach is not unique to the Palestinian context.”

Ventrell pointed out that the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees also recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees in several cases, including but not limited to the Burmese refugee population in Thailand, the Bhutanese refugee population in Nepal, the Afghan population in Pakistan, and the Somali population seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

UNHCR considers, by default only, the minor children of refugees to have refugee status but often makes exceptions to include latter generations. Regardless, the State Department’s new statement could have wide-ranging implications.

The Zionist Israeli Rosen asked: “How many generations does it go? I’m Jewish, and as a grandchild of several refugees, could I make a claim on all these countries? Where does it end? Someday all life on Earth will be a Palestinian refugee.”

The Cable asked the State Department whether descendants of refugees get refugee status for endless generations and whether Nides’s mention of the 5 million Palestinian refugees was an intentional shift in U.S. policy, but we haven’t gotten a response.

The State Department statements also appear to conflict with the United States Law on Derivative Refugee Status, which allows spouses and children of refugees to apply for derivative status as refugees, but specifically declares that grandchildren are ineligible for derivative refugee status. In other words, U.S. law doesn’t permit descendants of refugees to get refugee status inside the United States.

Some regional experts see Kirk’s amendment as a ploy to cut some of the $250 million in U.S. funding for UNRWA and bolster Israel’s position by negating rights of Palestinians that would otherwise be determined in negotiations.

Leila Hilal, co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, told The Cable that to honestly determine which Palestinians remain refugees, one would have to wade into a long, complicated legal and factual analysis about which Palestinians in the region have adequate national protection that would end their refugee status.

Hilal said: “The rights of return and property restitution do not depend on refugee status. Ultimately, however, this congressional move is a political stunt intended to preempt final-status outcomes — and a rather cheap one at that.”

UPDATE: A State Department official confirms that yes, the descendants of refugees are still refugees for numerous generations until they return home or are resettled in a third country. The official also argued that Nides’ reference to UNRWA serving 5 million “refugees” was also accurate.

“The number of people on UNRWA’s rolls isn’t and shouldn’t be a secret,” the official said. “The Kirk amendment, based on commentary surrounding it, is meant to set a stage for the U.S. to intervene now with the determination that 2nd and 3rd generation descendants have no claims and in fact aren’t even Palestinians.  Our interest is to avoid that.   We are not predetermining numbers that the parties themselves must ultimately agree on. Nor can UNWRA.” End of article

The number of Palestinians before the creation of the State of Israel was over one million, far more than the Jews who settled in or immigrated to Palestine.  After the Zionist State committed all kinds of genocides, and transferred Palestinians, and prevented Palestinian refugees to return home, about 150,000 Palestinians remained within Israel. These Palestinians increased to 1.5 million and have Israel passport.

A simple math, may compute an estimate of over 10 Million Palestinians can be considered refugees.  The US State Department is cutting the number of refugees in half, hoping to cut down the UN budget related to Palestinian refugees to half.

Worse, the  US State Department wants to stabilize the number to just 5 million and go ahead with plans according to that faked number. The main problem is that the “right of return” is an inalienable right and time and pressures will not change that right. 

The sooner the Palestinian case is resolved, the less expensive will be the total bill that the US and the colonial powers will have to pay off for their decision of “transferring their Jews to Palestine”.

Let’s face it: When Russia frequently committed pogroms, and Germany put the squeeze after Hitler came to power, and France cooperated with Nazi Germany…what do you expect the Jews in Europe to conclude? Europe was sending the strong message to the Jews: “Get the hell out of Europe!”

Between 1933 to 1939, the well-off Jews immigrated westward to France, England and the USA…After WW2, the USA lavishly funded the Jewish Immigration Fund in order to transfer the downtrodden Jews to Palestine, and colonial Europe facilitated that transfer…and had decided to create a State for the immigrated Jews.

Europe was relieved to keeping its Jews in Palestine and use them as cheap mercenaries in the Middle-East…




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