Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 2012

Palestinian perspectives censored on BBC: Why Israeli lies keep broadcasted unchecked…?

Film director Ken Loach of Land and Freedom (about the revolutionaries who fought in the Spanish Civil War that often reflect his keen sense of justice). recently learned that Palestine and Palestinians, and Israel occupation of Palestinian lands, remain taboo for the BBC.Mind you that the BBC is still a publicly funded institution, and any censorship might send the message that the British people agree with its policy lines…

On 23 July, Loach was at the Royal Albert Hall in London to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, performed by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The orchestra consists of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians, and is conducted by Daniel Barenboim, who formed the orchestra in 1999 with the late Palestinian academic and activist Edward Said.

Loach was asked during the intermission for an interview by BBC Proms, which was recording the concert for later broadcast.  Lock considered it reasonable to air his thoughts on the nature of the orchestra as well as the music.

Loach said that he spoke to the BBC journalist for five minutes, during which time he said: “Seeing Israelis and Arabs, including Palestinians, sitting side by side on the stage makes us confront the issue of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and I shall be thinking of them when I hear the music tonight.”

The BBC had in the last six months alternately denied the existence of Palestine and then the fact of Israel’s occupation, the mere mention of the fact of the Palestinian people’s oppression was too controversial to broadcast.

Amena Saleem posted on The Electronic Intifada on August 14, 2012:

BBC admits to censorship

Loach received a phone call from the program producers informing him that his interview would be cut “due to the music over-running.” Lock sent an email to the BBC stating:

“Thank you for letting me know about the broadcast and the need to shorten the interview. Of course I understand about length. But I would ask you to include my brief remarks about the orchestra and the Palestinians. As an opponent of oppression and tyranny I think Ludwig [van Beethoven] would have approved. It was one of the reasons I agreed to take part. I’m happy if you need to reduce my thoughts on the music itself.”

His email was ignored and the interview was broadcast three days later on BBC Proms with his observation about the oppression of the Palestinian people removed. The rest of the interview remained intact.

Loach said: “I called the producer, Oliver MacFarlane, who admitted they had deliberately cut the line about Palestine. He said if they’d included it they would have had to have a balancing interview. I wasn’t pleased and I responded robustly.”

When asked to respond to this, a BBC spokesperson stated: “As part of the BBC’s comprehensive music television coverage of The Proms, esteemed filmmaker Ken Loach was invited to comment on his personal passion for Beethoven, given the time slot available and the fact that this was a music television programme, the most editorially relevant sections of Mr. Loach’s interview were used in the final edit.”

Israeli oppression of Palestinians not suitable for broadcast by BBC. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

One of the most obvious examples of bias by the BBC is the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s habit of inviting Israeli politicians or the Israeli government spokesperson, Mark Regev, onto its programs to speak without challenge.

Palestinians and those who would convey a Palestinian perspective are not given the same opportunity.

Why Israeli spokespersons go unchallenged, and the BBC refuses Palestinian opinions to balance the Israeli interviews?

But if it was the case that the BBC did feel the need to “balance” Loach’s simple words about the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians, it has absolutely no qualms about airing, totally unopposed, the wild, often lurid, mostly fact-free statements made by Israeli ministers and spokespeople.

Take, for example, James Naughtie’s interview with Danny Ayalon on Radio 4’s Today program on 16 January 2012.

The interview was conducted the day after the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Israel to end its occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories and to end its violence against civilians.

This strong UN criticism of Israel was completely ignored by Naughtie, who focused on Iran with the unquestioned premise of the interview being that Iran is, without a doubt, developing nuclear weapons and consequently poses a grave threat to Israel.

Ayalon had been on air for less than a second when he said: “What we see here is a drive, a relentless push by Iran to illegally acquire and develop nuclear weapons and for them it’s not just a means, it’s a way to reach hegemony to continue with their very dangerous and radical approach.”

He went on to say: “Today Iran is the international hub of terror in the world.”

This was clearly Israeli propaganda. ; Ayalon used the BBC to loudly bang the drums of war against Iran. Yet Naughtie neither challenged his unfounded opinions, which were presented as facts, nor brought in someone to present an alternative viewpoint.

Ayalon’s wild accusations, so much more controversial than Loach’s mild remarks, were certainly not cut for lack of a “balancing interview.”

Nor was Ayalon questioned about Israel’s widely suspected nuclear arsenal or about Israel’s staunch refusal to allow international weapons inspections.

BBC’s double standards

Arthur Neslen was a BBC journalist for four years, but this didn’t stop him falling foul of the BBC’s double standards on this issue.

In March this year, he wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper describing how he returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him(Khalid)  more than two years earlier (“Why I met the man who tried to kill me,” 2 March 2012).

During Israel’s massacre in Gaza in 2008-2009, Khalid had gone to the front line to ask the Israelis to stop killing civilians. He was captured at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers, handcuffed and blindfolded, taken to the doorway of a house the Israeli army had commandeered, and repeatedly beaten by soldiers on their way in or out.

Khaled was then used as a human shield by Israeli snipers, who placed him in front of an open window and shot from behind him. Khalid was later taken to a detention center in Israel and put through the court system, regularly beaten, before being released back into Gaza two months later.

This article for the Guardian led to a phone call requesting an interview from the producers of Outlook, a BBC World Service program which is broadcast Monday through Thursday.

Neslen agreed, but even before he visited BBC studios, the problems began.

Neslen said: “The BBC kept delaying the interview. Then they called two months later and said they were ready, so I went to do the interview which lasted 45 minutes.”

In his interview, Neslen described how a stranger called “Khalid” (not his real name) had attacked him randomly in a Gaza street in May 2009, pulling a knife on him as he came out of the offices of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA).

In 2011, Neslen had returned to Gaza to meet the man who had tried to kill him and, in his BBC Outlook interview, he told Khalid’s story.

Before telling his story in the Guardian, Neslen spent a month trying to get an explanation from several Israeli authorities, finally obtaining a statement from the Israeli Ministry of Justice which confirmed the dates of Khalid’s arrest, court appearances and release.

BBC drops story

All this evidence proved insufficient for the BBC.

“The BBC called me after I’d left the interview, asking me to come back straight away. They wanted to know what the Israeli response was to Khalid’s story and I told them about the statement. I was told the interview would go out the following week.”

However, ten minutes before the interview was due to be aired, he received a series of “desperate” emails and calls from a BBC journalist asking to see all his correspondence with the Israeli authorities on the matter, which he emailed over immediately.

“They told me I hadn’t provided them with proof that I had put the allegation to the Israeli army that they had used Khalid as a human shield,” said Neslen. “Then they dropped the story.”

“Why didn’t they put the allegations to the IDF [Israeli army] themselves?” he asked. “I was a BBC journalist for four years and they didn’t believe my story. But if Mark Regev goes on BBC News to say a hunger striker is a member of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, the BBC never tries to go to the family to get confirmation. It only seems to go in one direction.”

The UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign wrote to the BBC in May to ask why Regev had been allowed to make unchallenged and false comments on BBC1’s News at 10 and Radio 4’s six-o-clock news bulletin on 11 May.

Regev claimed the Palestinian hunger strikers, who numbered more than 1,000, were motivated by an “Islamist cause” and wanted to “commit suicide.”

Last week, the group received this response from the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit:

“You have said that the report lacked the necessary due impartiality because it contained an interview with the Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, but did not include a similar interview with someone putting forward the view of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality make it clear that due impartiality does not necessarily require all views and opinions to be covered in equal proportions on all occasions.”

As Neslen says, it only seems to go one way with the BBC. Take this line from the Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality, which the BBC appeared to disregard when interviewing Loach:

“… it is not usually required for an appearance by a politician, or other contributor with partial views, to be balanced on each occasion by those taking a contrary view.”

The BBC seems to interpret this as meaning that someone who openly lies about the political motivations of Palestinian hunger strikers can be heard unchallenged on its airwaves, while someone who dares to mention the oppression of the Palestinians must be silenced.

Bowing to Israeli pressure

Neslen has his own ideas, based on his time at the BBC, for the double standards.

“They’re running scared of the Israeli authorities,” he said. He gives an example, detailed in his book, In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian, of the Israeli embassy calling the BBC radio newsroom where he then worked.

The Israel government asked a news editor not to run the Palestinian side of a particular news story, implying that doing so could involve an accusation of “terror collusion.” The Palestinian statement, sent by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the BBC, was dropped.

On another occasion, at the beginning of “Operation Defensive Shield,” Israel’s massive re-invasion of the West Bank during the second intifada, the Israeli government threatened to close down the BBC’s offices in West Jerusalem if it did not pull its correspondent Barbara Plett out of the West Bank. The next day she was withdrawn.

Nelson said: “These sorts of things happen every day, and some news editors will stand up for core journalistic values. But in general, Palestinian calls of complaints about news bulletins tended to be laughed off. I remember one acting editor on a BBC Radio 5 live bulletin slamming down the phone on a Palestinian caller and saying ‘If I get one more call from a moaning Arab…’”

He added: “If the Israeli embassy phones in, there’s a vast disparity of power [compared] to if a Palestinian activist calls in. They take Israeli calls very seriously, and critical stories about Israel get shot down through official pressure and the fear of official pressure. These are very powerful lobbyists — people know their careers can be broken.”

The result of all this is obvious bias shown against the Palestinians in the BBC’s broadcasts, whether it is by the complete omission of their story, the editing of comments which dare to mention their oppression, or the constant, relentless foisting of the Israeli narrative onto the audience.

Is this really journalism? Those who pay their licence fee so that the BBC can broadcast all across the world — and those whose lives are affected by those broadcasts — deserve much better.

Amena Saleem is active with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK and keeps a close eye on the media’s coverage of Palestine as part of her brief. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza for PSC. Follow the PSC on Twitter: @PSCupdates.

How Lebanese communities changed in over 140 years? Did they ever?
This is an excerpt from William McClure Thomson in “the Land and the Book”.
Thomson visited Lebanon in 1870, and wrote a book to tell everyone about Lebanon. William M. Thompson’s wrote:
“Lebanon has about 400,000 inhabitants, gathered into more than 600 towns, villages and hamlets…The various religions and sects live together, and practice their conflicting superstitions in close proximity, but the people do not coalesce into one homogeneous community, nor do they regard each other with fraternal feelings.
The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiites – both hate the Druse, and all three detest the Nusairiyeh (currently the Alawit sect of Bashar al Assad).
The Maronites have no particular love for anybody and, in turn, are disliked by all.
The Greek Orthodox cannot endure the Greek Catholics.
And all despise the Jews. …

And the same remarks apply to the minor divisions of this land. There is no common bond of union.
Society has no continuous strata underlying it, which can be opened and worked for the general benefit of all, but an endless number of dislocated fragments, faults, and dikes, by which the masses are tilted up in hopeless confusion, and lie at every conceivable angle of antagonism to each other.
The omnific Spirit that brooded over primeval chaos can alone bring order out of such confusion, and reduce these conflicting elements into peace and concord.
No other country in the world, I presume, has such a multiplicity of antagonistic religions; and herein lies the greatest obstacle to any general and permanent amelioration and improvement of their condition, character, and prospects.
They can never form one united people, never combine for any important religious or political purpose; and will therefore remain weak, incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners.
Thus it has been, is now, and must long continue to be a people divided, meted out, and trodden down.”
Thomson must be describing the communities in Mount Lebanon in 1870, inhabited mainly by Maronites, Druzes, and a few Greek Orthodox. The current State of Lebanon was expanded in 1920 by the French mandated power. The northern region (including the city of Tripoli and Akkar),and all the Bekaa Valley on the east were part of Syria.  The southern region ( bordering Palestine) was also added. The area of the pseudo State of Lebanon increased 3 folds, still tinier than New Jersey, or the smallest of agribusiness in Africa…
Concentration of Sunnis in the north and the Bekaa Valley, as well as concentration of Moslem Shias in the south added to the confusion in allegiances and varieties of religious sects.
The pseudo successive governments since 1943 failed to allocated enough budgets and interest to the expanded regions, and focused on the Capital Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
When Israel was forced to withdraw unilaterally from south Lebanon in 2000, not all the Lebanese felt concerned.
And when Israel was defeated in 2006, after 33 days of constant bombing and shelling of all Lebanon, many religious communities felt this urge to attack the “reckless” resistance of Hezbollah, while the war was raging!
A resistance that brought all the nation leaders and ministers to pay visit to Lebanon.
So far, no occupation forces, small or big, managed to sustain its presence on Lebanese soil for over 3 decades: They all withdrew unilaterally, as if the devil was constantly after their asses.
Note: I got this excerpt from Joanna Choukeir via Rima Majed.

Power of Influence is always given: Connecting with the power base

You might think: “If I could just be the boss, I’d have my way…” That’s what I still think, but I’m going nowhere.  Nothing is further from the truth. It is how ready you are to connect to people and liking to communicate with people who bring forth power, these constant daily interactions that weave the web of power of influence.

Have you experienced the kinds of power you have been subjected to in your life? Like:

Did the power felt like intimidation? Have you felt offended?

Did the power felt like being listened to and connected with?

Did the power coerced you in your work and behavior?

Did the power you witnessed managed to change anything? To convince you of anything?

Was this power the sort of “higher position status” (earned from seniority convention), and which you took it for granted to mean a position of influence?

What’s your reaction when your superior says:“Remember. I’m the boss!” ? Do you think: “He is losing control. He is in deep trouble and might be sacked any moment now…”?

Do you think that “Power is a dirty word. And yet, without power, nothing gets done. Power is the ability to change things….”?

Dan Rockwell wrote: “Power and position often come together; higher position usually equals more power. Using power associated with position is the least desirable and most offensive use of power. Think of individuals who advance their own agenda at the expense of others….”

Gaining power:

Weak, disenfranchised people can have power. Gain power of influence: Learn to understanding others and advancing their goals.

Leaders with influence understand you, listen to you, adapt to relationship…and not vice versa.

Influence is always given never taken.

Influencers lift, expand, inspire, and set free. Influencers invigorate. Vitality characterizes organizations led by influencers.

Power of influence get things done:

If influencers advance the goals of others, how do they get things done? They align goals, passions, values, vision, and mission.

Tell me what makes you tick and I can influence you.

Influence only works when alignment exists. You won’t influence everyone. Create teams, for every project, who align with your passions and you create opportunities for influence as long as you focus on their goals. Their goals become shared goals.

Power of position corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely: This cowardice of keeping people at bay, and restricting your daily communication with a short list of mediators…

Lousy leaders expect others to adapt to them. They’re rigid and bossy. Failure to adapt to others frustrates everyone, including yourself.

Chris LoCurto said: “As a leader, it is your job to make your team successful, not the other way around.” 

This concept of “Adapting to others” needs to be clarified and examined.  Do you think a leader’s job is to keep adapting to others? In this case, what’s the meaning of being a leader if he is to simply adapt and not show direction, the right purpose of the project…?

Chris LoCurto, teacher of the Entreleadership Performance Series, loves teaching personality styles. DiSC helped him know himself. Just as importantly, DiSC helped him adapt to others by learning their communication styles.

First step: See yourself before you see others

Chris said, “DISC helps leaders understand how they give and receive information. If you get that ‘deer in the headlights look’ after giving instructions, you have a problem. We give information the way we listen.”

In order to effectively adapt, align with yourself; find your starting place. Are you a fact or feeling driven?

If you act first and research later, you drive thoughtful people crazy.

Second step: Learn how people receive information.”

It might surprise you, a few people do think about the feelings of others. If you’ve said, “But, what did I say?” in response to hurting someone’s feelings, you gave information the way you receive it.

Chris explained that he and his team took the DISC assessment. He’d interact with a team member and then read their profile. In about seven cycles he learned how to, “lean in their direction.”

Get over yourself by adapting your communication styles.

Visit Chris’ website: chrislocurto.com

Have you seen bosses who didn’t adapt? What happened?

In what ways are you adapting to others?

What do leaders who rely on positional power do?

How can leaders gain influence without resorting to positional power?

“Feeling good: The new Mood therapy”? by David Burns, M.D

The book is mainly targeting these people who experience vast mood swing, like frequent depression periods or frequent bout of anger… This is a version of a section in the book concerning “why we feel that way (angry) relative to other people…”, meaning that it is good to read the original section and compare what differ in style and nuances and counterpoint…

We are under this supposed truth that all our current emotions are consequent to our relationship with other people. We are adamant that it is people around us who are rendering us the way we feel, all these overwhelming negative emotions of anger, displeasure, depressive mood…

People are actually the catalyst who generate sets of emotions in us at every moment, but they are far from being the cause of the particular emotions we feel toward them or their actions at the time.

Our emotions are an interpreted version, a schema of the priming image and predisposition we are ready to heap on a certain individual, regardless of the facts or his objective nature…

What kinds of distortions that our negative emotions catalogue?

1. Labeling is the greatest offenders among the distorted emotions. We say “you are a jerk, a bum, a piece of shit…” and you are cataloguing in your mind all the negative attributes attached to these labels, and the person is defined as such…

Labeling is unfair to the person and to yourself first of all: Everyone of us a complex mix of positive, negative and neutral attributes, varying in degrees as we grow up and mature.

Labeling distorts the thinking process and lead us into this laziness of the mind that relies instead on ready-made versions that we save in our memory, particularly people we feel indignant with…

2. Mind reading distortions. We have this fantastic ability to judge people within fractions of a second from facial expressions and gestures and body language…and we are adamant that we liked or accepted the person from these quick first impressions. We say: “he has a mean streak, stupid-looking, bad-kid demeanor…”

What if in the first encounter the individual was upset or in a foul mood before he met you, and his facial expressions were not meant to be displayed to you?  We might be able to settle on an impression quickly, but how easily can we let go of a bad mood that distorts our facial expressions?

In many cases, first encounter mind-reading feelings are off track, and represent the mood you are actually crumbling under at the moment, kind of projecting your mood situation on people you are meeting…

3. Magnification of emotions.  We tend to exaggerate the negative attributes and dwell on them for longer than is necessary, and forget to attach enough emphasis on the positive characteristics and how they may counter balance the other kinds of emotions and attributes…

4. Inappropriate “Should” and “Shouldn’t” statements. As if you’re the ideal person to judge what another individual should be, do, feel or like…

The sense of loss, disappointment, or inconvenience may lead to this feeling that the action was unjust or unfair, as if the world is bound to behave and run the way our current state of mind wants it to function…

You think that you are entitled to instant gratification at all times, as if you are an absolute monarch or a despot…

5. The perception of unfairness and injustice is the ultimate cause of our anger and negative emotions: We want the world to behave in a one-way traffic, the way we want events to occur and people to behave, in timely manner, as logically as we assimilate the meaning of logic to mean to us…

As long as we believe there should be an “absolute” moral system that governs our lives, we are in great trouble with our negative emotions most of the time.

Fairness and justice are relative concepts, depending on the idiosyncratic of cultural legacy and traditional heritage. Social rules and moral strictures that are supposedly “accepted” in a particular community, are more likely a consensus process that was dominated by the majority and forced upon the varied minorities…

Moral statements about fairness are stipulations, not grounded on objective facts most of the time.

No amount of general acceptance can make a moral system “Absolute” or ultimately valid for everyone and under all circumstances. For example, no one ever asked the thousand of aborigines tribes and smaller States what is their opinions or input on a fair absolute system of moral priorities.

For example, if you are working as accountant under the US laws and rules, most accountants in other parts of the world would consider your job as flat-out a big lie, siding with the privileged class at the expense of the little people…It is not a matter of aligning numbers, and doing harmful simple math exercises…but being engaged in a dirty job, consciously and willfully…

6. Much everyday anger results from confusing our personal wants and desires with general moral codes. Acting within a set of standards and a frame of reference that are different from yours…

Actually, it is how you primed the other person attributes that is your guiding rod in your judgment, and not the actual acts and behavior of the other person…

The pragmatic question would seem: “Where will I draw the line as I am confronted with negative emotions…?”

Does this statement suggest that we have to objectively undertake a cost/benefit analysis for the outcome before every outburst of emotions? Not feasible, not natural, not possible…

At least, if we occasionally manage to take a deep breath before the coming outburst, we invariably bring forth our power of reflection to intervene, now and then, and we become better persons.

We could apply two guidelines as we learn to reflect before an outburst of emotion:

1. Is my anger directed because I think the other person acted knowingly, willfully, and intentionally in a hurtful manner? (feeling of contempt is one of these kinds of emotions)

2. Does my anger helps achieve a desired objective? Like sincerely wanting to get rid of the presence of a person in my life because he is a sure obstacle to my well-being, sanity… for one reason or another?

International Monetray Fund (IMF) extends a costly loan to Egypt: The hidden restrictions

President Mursi’s bid for a $4.8 billion loan is raising questions as to what the exact benefits of increasing Egypt’s debt will be and the likely long-term repercussions on the economic situation.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde (2nd L and bent over) checks some pyramid stones next to security guards while listening to a guide’s explanation as she tours the pyramids in Giza, at the end of her visit to Egypt, 22 August 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Asmaa Waguih)

The Popular Campaign to Drop Egypt’s Debt issued a statement Thursday opposing the IMF loan and questioning the lack of information about “the extent to which the Egyptian economy needs this massive amount of dollars.”

The group protested that there had been no discussion of alternative ways of financing public spending, adding that the government had obtained foreign loans amounting to $6 billion over the past year without any democratic oversight. Governments appointed by the military since the revolution had also borrowed record amounts from Egyptian banks, it said, and “it is not known how they were spent.”

The campaign added that neither Mursi nor his party had explained how the measures they would adopt to secure the loan would differ from “the policies of impoverishment pursued by Hosni Mubarak for 30 years.”

It noted that its declared purpose was to cover the budget deficit rather than invest in social justice and employment, but that the loan would put further pressure on the budget in the long run by increasing the debt servicing and repayment burdens.

Bisan Kassab published a translation from the Arabic Edition in the Lebanese daily Alakhbar, and posted it on August 24, 2012 under “The Hidden Costs of Egypt’s IMF Loan”

Cairo – There have been some unexpected reactions from Egyptian political forces to the multi-billion dollar loan which President Mohammed Mursi is trying to secure from the International Monetary Fund in the next few months.

Opposition to the loan has been voiced by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) from which Mursi hails. It objected to the lack of available information about the terms of the proposed deal.

Abdul-Hafez Sawi of the FJP’s economy committee explained that the party still holds the view it took when the loan was proposed to parliament by the military-appointed government of Kamal al-Ganzouri.

Sawi said: “We still don’t know anything about the program under which Egypt will get the loan or the measures and steps that will be taken to cut government spending, reform fiscal policy and collect unpaid taxes.  We need to consider who will bear the burden of repayment.” With the amount to be borrowed now being put at $4.8 billion rather than the original $3.8 billion

The FJP did not take issue with the loan on ideological grounds, given the Islamic prohibition on usury. Sawi argued that it is permissible to pay interest on loans under the expediency provisions of Islamic law, especially when alternative support from fellow Muslims is unavailable – “for example, when the wealth of the Gulf is spent on buying palaces in Paris rather than helping the poor on the Comoros Islands.”

Sawi added that he hoped “to propose Islamic ways of providing finance to the international institutions.”

The Nour Party, the political arm of the Salafi movement and one of the most doctrinaire of the Islamist parties seems to have become more pragmatic after a year and a half of direct engagement in politics since the revolution.

Abdul Halim al-Gammal, who sat for the Nour party in the upper chamber of parliament’s finance and economy committee, explained the thinking behind its backing of the IMF loan:

“Any loan that advantages the lender in the context of dealings between individuals is usury. But it is different when it relates to international institutions, because the reason for the religious prohibition – exploitation – does not apply. If the nation were to shun all international transactions whose nature it does not have the power to change, it would squander major opportunities.”

The liberal Wafd party, which held the third largest bloc of seats in parliament, called for the deal to be concluded with the IMF as soon as possible. The party’s finance spokesman, Fakhri al-Fiqqi, said it wanted the loan’s economic program extended from one-and-a-half to three years “so as to change it from an emergency program into an extended financing facility.”

Fiqqi, a former IMF staffer, said he hoped this would facilitate the introduction of difficult structural reforms in Egypt, such as the gradual elimination of consumer subsidies, “starting with the introduction of a coupon system, and eventually ending all subsidies, in exchange for raising salaries, for example.”

The business community also enthused about the prospect of an IMF loan.

Hani Geneina, macroeconomics analyst with investment bank Pharos, said: “Many clients have started returning to the treasury bond and equity markets since the resumption of negotiations with the IMF after a halt of several months. The final signing is bound to mean an inflow of foreign investments in the longer term because of what the loan will mean in terms of confidence in the Egyptian economy and putting an end to fears that it could be joining the bankruptcy train like Greece,”

But other saw things differently.

Political objections to the loan are not confined to concerns about its social impact. Constitutional and legal issues would also be raised if Mursi were to use the legislative powers he has assumed to push through the loan before a new parliament is in place.

That would amount to ratifying an international agreement, which is unambiguously the role of the legislature, explained Supreme Constitutional Court judge Tahani a-Gabali. It would amount to denying the public any oversight over the deal, and raise fears about the near-absolute powers that have been concentrated in the president’s hands.

 

At the Fair: Has anything changed?

Progress is visible in the Fair: In the stand of “Shooting of Nations“, the targets are jet fighters and “terrorists” wearing assorted headgear, variety of styles in long beards, and chest detonating jackets… Where the empty eggshells have gone?

Everything else is unchanged: Music for all, emanating from every corners, special stalls, mechanical cars, wooden horses…

Whatever it takes to cheat and delude the little people, that the living is paradise incarnate at the end of a hard slaving week…

Flags, glorious banners, soldiers on retirement, spiritually maimed, wrestlers without much muscles…

The fun is elevated to riding tiny electric cars that bump and derange whatever spared brain you still have, churning up sturdy stomach…No limit to crashing into the bewildered soft-hearted riding with a crazy driver…

As the band is readying to play, sing, or act…there is always a missing member…A posy is sent to locate him and fetch him back among the harmonious band.  One member is returned and two have already parted company, drunk as they possibly could be…

Mothers are completely exhausted and valiantly waiting for the firework to get going back home, before the mass wake up and start moving haphazardly as a mob, stepping on kids, crushing feet…

Mother would give up on this joyful day, if they can finally tuck in the over excited kids and call it a day.

The fair is the “waiting” per excellence for the steady heads, the arrogant who refuses to let go and join the communal fun, to mingle and be harassed by the little cheaters at the end of the week…

The fair is the constant crying of babies and kids, short on nickels and dimes, crushed between chairs, ordered to tame their excitements, to learn to sober down their desires to mount wooden horses, carousels, anything that turns and swing and flip-flop…

The fair is the ideal training ground to forging characters, to learn that fun cost money, and there are not enough saved to go berserk…

The fair is a fantastic opportunity for parents to initiate the rules to the kids of how to start reflecting, setting priorities on what games to select, among the hundreds of them, all equally great, and how to maximize the fun for the little money to spend…

The fair is great for learning the golden rule: “You want fun, you pay for it…” and the best methods to finally get it is administering frequent slaps and boxes…until the Pavlov reaction is mastered

The lights, fixed and gyrating, won’t go down until the little cheating businessmen have counted their dimes, checking and rechecking the day’s receipt of the funny kids…and the little helpers dozing on rickety chairs, on the floor, on a swing…waiting for the boss to part of some of his profit…

Note 1: Kids don’t need money to discover the pleasure of living.  All they need is to be out of home and be free to run and connect with other kids, free from any discrimination factors.  It is the parents who ruin the cheerfulness and joy of living for the kids, with their idiosyncratic principles, boring habits, faulty ideas on how to keep good entente with neighbors and community…

Note 2: Post inspired by a section of the French book “Voyage to the end of the night” by Louis Ferdinand Bardamu (Celine as pen name, the first name of his mother)

“Trip to the End of the Night” by Ferdinand Celine (Part 3)

This French book, published in the early 1930’s, is basically a collection of autobiographical stories of a freshly graduating physician in his mid thirties who established his “clinic” in a poor working neighborhood in the suburb of Paris.

Paying visit to patients after sundown and the medical tour lasting till dawn generate real life stories.

The followings are excerpts, not of the stories, but of the kind of statements that the living among miseries bring up in our mind and emotions.

We have no illusions: We know that the only story we care to communicate is the variety of our pains, aches and frustrations…We care less of what people tell us of their pains and frustrations…All that we do is transfer our aches…The irony is that our pains remain intact, whole, and never vanish…We are expert with grimaces, and with old age, making the face of pain becomes too heavy and complicated…

I am walking and got caught by a mass of people obstructing the street. They were standing in circles and big rosy pig grunting in pain in the middle. The masses were pretty happy and hysterically laughing: They had this golden urban opportunity to hurting the pig, twisting his ears, encouraging a little dog to mount the pig and bite it…And the pig was moaning, whining, and trying to flee from this crazy and hellish circle of insane people…The pig was tugging on the rope, urinating, and going nowhere…Nothing was working for the pig to feel freedom…The butcher was holding a large knife and making faces and wildly gesturing to make people laugh louder…The butcher has learned the best method to amuse the guests at the wedding of his daughter…

What of this famous author husband (Montaigne) who sent his wife a letter on the occasion of the death of her newborn: “Don’t worry dear woman…Things will work out in life, eventually…I just finished reading a letter that another famous author wrote to his wife on a similar occasion…Read this attached letter over and over, and disseminate the content to our friends and acquaintances… I feel pretty serene right now…”

Dr. Baryton stayed away from any physical health intervention. He used to tell me: “Science and life form a destructive mixture. Any question you formulate to the condition of your body is a sure gap that thickness will sneak in…Any beginning of worry, obsession… is ground to let sickness in…What is already known is way enough for me to handle…”

In my case, I longed for a severe flu, high enduring fever, anything that would force me to the quietude of a deep sleep…I have lost confidence of sleeping like normal people do…this state of indifference that neutralizes my worrying nature…to getting this stupid and divine tranquility of the living…

Misery for misery, I prefer the ones not displayed in newspapers…

What could we do if we refuse to go forward, leaded as we are with all the boredom we constantly carry in living…? Sticking to our regular habits is the least annoying to our eternal boredom

It is useless to comprehend what is it to come back to a life of miseries, and the waiting, until we observe all those little people hoping to get  the promised pension, before they pass away. Like those suffering from tuberculosis when there were no cure for it: They believe they will surely get well after they receive the pension, no doubt about it…Pension is a cure it all…There is no urgency to getting well before pension time: To do what? Get back to the harsh useless work?

There come a time we talk less and less about what we desired the most…and if we are nudged to talk, it is with great effort. We abridge the story of our desires and wants…We don’t care to insist on the right and wrong.  All that we need is a little food, plenty of heat, and sleeping as much as we can, on this long and rough road of nothingness.

We lack this desire to invent new stories…We keep the griefs of the departed people who had left a little sunshine in our heart in our childhood…

Come a time we feel that we got old all of a sudden: We no longer get excited or interested in people’s stories and their worries.  It doesn’t matter how hard we pretend, the world has already left us before we vanish in the great darkness...

US weapon market share: Two-third of world total ($85 bn) and tripled during Obama…

The report on weapon sales was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress. The annual study, written by Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr and delivered to Congress on Friday, is considered the most detailed collection of unclassified arms sales data available to the public.

Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011.

Russia was a far distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

 published in the New York Times on August 26, 2012:

WASHINGTON — Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies concerned about Iran’s regional ambitions, according to a new study for Congress.

The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” of over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010 and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports.

The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.

A worldwide economic decline had suppressed arms sales over recent years. But increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — to purchase American weapons at record levels.

These Gulf states do not share a border with Iran, and their arms purchases focused on expensive warplanes and complex missile defense systems.

The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet.

Sales to Saudi Arabia last year also included dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal from the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study.

The United Arab Emirates purchased a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced antimissile shield that includes radars and is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.

Oman bought 18 F-16 fighters for $1.4 billion.

In keeping with recent trends, most of the weapons purchases, worth about $71.5 billion, were made by developing nations, with about $56.3 billion of that from the United States.

Other significant weapons deals by the United States last year included a $4.1 billion agreement with India for 10 C-17 transport planes and with Taiwan for Patriot antimissile batteries valued at $2 billion — an arms deal that outraged officials in Beijing.

A policy goal of the United States has been to work with Arab allies in the Persian Gulf to knit together a regional missile defense system to protect cities, oil refineries, pipelines and military bases from an Iranian attack.

The effort has included deploying radars to increase the range of early warning coverage across the Persian Gulf, as well as introducing command, control and communications systems that could exchange that information with new batteries of missile interceptors sold to the individual nations.

The missile shield in the Persian Gulf is being built on a country-by-country basis — with these costly arms sales negotiated bilaterally between the United States and individual nations.

To compare weapons sales over various years, the study used figures in 2011 dollars, with amounts for previous years adjusted for inflation to provide a consistent measurement.

Note 1:  The weapon purchases of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates are just tacit policies of warehousing weapon reserves for the US military in eventual emergency wars in the Middle-East, instead of planing for aerial bridges to transport expensive and heavy weapons.  In any case, it is well-known that oil sales are reverted to the US treasury and for aiding in US covert operations not approved by Congress…Yearly astronomical deals so that the US guarantees the absolute obscurantist regimes in Saudi Arabia and the absolute Gulf Emirates

Note 2: After 4 decades, it is about time that the US desist sub-contructing its foreign policies in the Middle-East to Israel

Getting rid of all MBAs: Why? Is the problem How to rethink Management?

Dan RockwellI asked Professor Henry Mintzberg, author of 140 articles and 13 books:

“If you waved a magic wand over businesses, what would you change?”

Mintzberg said, “I’d get rid of all MBA’s. We’d lose some good people, but in the whole, it would be a positive move.” Never mistake quiet voices for weak people.

A few problems that trouble Mintzberg about MBA’s, including management gone completely off the rails, are:

  1. MBA graduate with distorted pictures of management. They believe management is about management principles, among other flawed beliefs.
  2. They believe they can manage anything regardless of the business type.
  3. They have knowledge without experience which leads to hubris.

And if management isn’t about management principles, what’s it about? Mintzberg says “Management is connecting.” 

Although Mintzberg didn’t use the terms human or humane, they seem to explain his passion. He despises placing emphasis on productivity, particularly built on the backs of over-worked, burned-out employees. Pushing people simply works in the short-term.

Bloodletting:

Mintzberg believes cutbacks and layoffs are equivalent to the failed practice of bloodletting. They produce short-term profits and long-term loses. Mintzberg loves saying, “If you want productivity, fire everyone and sell from inventory.”

Long-term success:

Mintzberg believes organizations should be built for long-term success rather than quick profits. Shifting to the long view may be the most radical change businesses can make because it requires connecting.

Henry Mintzberg thinks modern management is off the tracks. He said:

“The problem in America isn’t the economy: It’s management.” Like what problems?

  1. MBA’s with no experience.
  2. Shareholder value.
  3. Separating management from leadership.
  4. Making Top-down strategy.  Strategy should emerge from conversations within an organization.
  5. Excessive executive compensations: Narcissism with over-compensated CEO.
  6. Using terms like “human resources” and “human capital” is sickening.
  7. Pushing employees to work harder and longer.
  8. Current hiring practices.

Hiring a CEO:

Henry Mintzberg says: “Stop hiring people who can impress.” 

Stop looking for perfect candidates: “Flaws aren’t fatal. Listen to the people who know them best, the people who worked for them. There are only two ways to find out someone’s flaws, marry them or work for them.”

Searching for perfect – flawless – candidates prevent anyone from saying the “emperor has no cloths”. In a world filled with “perfect” leaders, fakery prevails.

Fakery exacerbates stress in an already stress-filled world.

Email:

Mintzberg isn’t a big fan of email, to add a ninth item to the list. It obviously has a place but, “It does have an off button. I check email every three weeks.”  Mintzberg can be contrarian but not contrary.

Rockwell is asking:

What do you think is wrong with modern management?

If you could wave a magic wand over businesses, how would they change?

How are you navigating short-term vs. long-term views of business, management, and leadership?

Recent article by Mintzberg and Todd: The Offline Executive

A new approach to leadership development: Coaching Ourselves


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2012
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