Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 6th, 2012

Community gardening? Is this new life-style feasible?

Community gardening is supposed to allow people to help themselves to fresh, healthy food, that otherwise they might not get and strengthens the ties that hold communities together.

Sort of fancy that every able community members reserves a day off each week to grow the community own food? Would we all reap numerous lifestyle, health and environmental benefits…?

Andrew Simms published in The Guardian on Oct. 10, 2012 under “The growing appeal of national gardening leave

Less time in the office, and more time in the garden.

Add these two good ideas together and we can make an even better one. If all new employees in otherwise full-time jobs were given the voluntary option of a shorter, four-day working week, Britain could reap a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits.

This option is standard employment practice in the Netherlands. It could be done flexibly, either by working shorter hours, or by compressing a conventional working week into four days.

Individuals could spend the extra day however they liked. But, if the time was combined with supporting the rapid expansion of productive and pleasurable gardening in the nation’s towns and cities, it would help tackle a staggering array of urgent challenges.

Britain would be much better off if we adopted a scheme of “national gardening leave.

Growing things brings enormous individual health and wellbeing benefits. But the greening of urban space does much more than that. It makes for:

1. more convivial towns and cities,

2. can produce a more resilient food economy

3. acts as an important buffer against the extremes of a warming climate.

4. It’s effective against depression, dementia, cardiovascular complaints and a huge range of other medical conditions.

The combined cost of physical inactivity, poor diet and mental ill-health in the UK runs into tens of billions of pounds. Can a single activity such as gardening alleviate all three problems, reducing the need for some public services and increasing our capacity to care for each other?

The educational benefits in terms of helping restore attention spans benefit old and young equally. For example, re-familiarizing people with food through growing their own is one of the best ways to learn and improve a diet.

In some of the poorest, recession-hit neighborhoods from Detroit in the US, to Hackney in London, community gardening allows people to help themselves to fresh, healthy food, that otherwise they might not get and strengthens the ties that hold communities together.

Increasing urban green space reduces the lethal effect of heatwaves, set to worsen due to climate change, by cooling built-up spaces that become “heat islands”. They can improve air quality and temper flooding that follows intense rain, also likely to worsen in a warming world.

There are hard economic benefits here, the chance for better lives and a more resilient food system, with more of a buffer built-in against volatile weather and food and energy prices.

To reap all these benefits, however, requires two key ingredients that appear to be missing, in short supply, or otherwise hard to access.

These ingredients are the time to do it, and the physical space to do it in.

A study last year of New York, the most densely populated city in the US, found upwards of 6,000 acres that could be put to use in urban farming. How much space could London, or Birmingham or Manchester find if they really looked?

Every workplace and public institution in the UK could probably find at least some growing space: in a car park, a window sill or a roof. The roof of a Budgens supermarket in North London recently became the home of the initiative “Food from the sky.”

What about time? A long historical struggle reduced the norm of the working week to what we have now. The next step could make for happier employees, save money and reduce our carbon footprint.

That’s what happened in the municipality of Utah when, in response to the economic crisis of 2008 they put staff onto a four-day week. Absentee rates fell, millions of dollars were saved, and carbon emissions cut 14%.

In the UK we have high unemployment coupled with a culture of long hours and overwork. By distributing more equally the work available at any given point in time, more could enjoy the benefits of work while ameliorating the destructive aspects of overwork.

Normal isn’t working.

We need to do something different to improve the shape of life in Britain. To be a national gardening leave employer all you’d need to do is offer new staff (and existing ones where possible) the option of a four-day week.

Add a growing space for the rapid expansion of productive and pleasurable gardening, and we can make Britain better, starting now.

If you’re an employer, and think you can do this, get in touch.

Egypt Moslem Brotherhood from the Inside: One of the largest religious/political cult?

Egypt Moslem Brotherhood is not a movement: It is one of the largest Islam religious/political cult. It is not just one of the islamic sects, or one of the Sunni branches: It is a cult. You cannot join this cult by applying and declaring your affiliation to its ideology.

You will have to be proposed by a full-member as a potential “cog in the machinery“, pass several levels, closely monitored, controlled, tested… And if you satisfy the one main criteria of effacing your individuality to match the ideology, you may acceed to the level of a Brother Worker after about 8 years of practical indoctrination in the field of action.

As you are taken over by a professional member, you are a muhib (lover of the Brotherhood), a stage that may last from 6 months to 4 years. You are asked to join a local usra (family) of about 5 memebrs who closely watch over your behavior. The candidate is moved to the rank of muayyed (supporter).  The next phase is Muntasseb (officially a member). You are elevated to the phase of muntazim (fully organized member), a critical phase that may propel you into Akh 3amel (working brother)

You might know a few religious or civic cults, and you might be a member of a cult without admitting it: They all proceed in the same mechanism and hierarchical structure… but the purpose is ultimately a political goal of acceding to power and imposing a unidirectional system of belief on the entire community… But there are differences between religious sect cults with political agenda, and civic political cults with fundamentally religious agenda, and this clarification requires a follow-up article

What is scary is that the Moslem Brotherhood is dominant in most Arab States, and most probably follow the same of religioius/political system, and have reached their goal of grabbing power, never to relinquish it.  As it happened in Turkey for the last decade… First, I let you real what Ziad Akl wrote and I ‘ll attach a few of my comments.

Ziad Akl published on Nov. 3, 2102 in the Egypt Daily News:

“No other political group or movement has received the same attention or has had the same impact on Egyptian politics as the Muslim Brotherhood, since the ousting of Mubarak until now. The Brotherhood became an everyday reality for Egyptians.

We wake up to the statements of its leaders, we follow the news of its significant figures and we support, oppose or simply feel indifferent towards our president who belongs to the Brotherhood. There is a daily interaction that takes place between every Egyptian and the Muslim Brotherhood. Whether we like it or not, the Muslim Brotherhood shapes post-revolutionary Egypt.

While most of the time we focus on the external dimensions of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule over Egypt, meaning their policies, statements, decisions and directions, we do not donate the same amount of attention to the group from within. I believe that the way in which the movement is organised from the inside has a lot to do with their current position within Egyptian politics.

The rigid internal structure of the Muslim Brotherhood is not very common among other political movements and groups in Egypt. If at any moment you stopped and asked yourself what it takes to become a Muslim Brother, here is the process shortly outlined.

Joining the Muslim Brotherhood is not an easy task; it is a process that takes years and years. It is not a matter of filling an application or attending a couple of meetings or even donating some money; it is a process that rids you of your individuality and turns you into another cog in the a machine, or in the words of Roger Waters, another brick in the wall.

It takes about five to eight years to transform from an aspiring member to a fully integrated Muslim Brother. During this period, the loyalty of the aspiring member is closely monitored and his dedication to the cause and the doctrine is closely watched.

Local members of the Brotherhood scout for potential candidates in universities, usually students who demonstrate significant signs of piety. These members do not usually identify themselves as Muslim Brothers, rather they conceal their identity to try and build relationships with the potential candidate and be able to assess his commitment to religion.

The Brotherhood also targets the children of the Muslim Brothers, starting their recruitment process around the age of 9. If you decide independently that you want to join the Brotherhood and you start seeking ways to do that, you need to know a member who will probably take you to another man to guide you and teach you. So like a vampire community, only a Muslim Brother can transform you into one.

Age is a crucial factor in the recruitment process; the Brotherhood usually directs its recruitment efforts towards young men. If the organisation feels that the potential candidate demonstrates sufficient commitment to their ideology, the long process of actually becoming a Muslim Brother then begins.

As soon as you are admitted into the Brotherhood, you become a muhib, a word that literally means lover or follower. This phase could last between six months and four years depending on the performance and the improvement of the aspiring member. During that phase the follower joins a local usra (family) which is a group of four to five people that meets regularly and where the piety, morality and ideology of the aspirant are closely watched

After the leader of the family decides that the follower has shown sufficient piety and knowledge of Islamic texts, the candidate is moved to a more advanced phase where he becomes a muayyed (supporter). During the “supporter” phase, duties towards the organisation must be fulfilled and a curriculum of study completed. Upon finishing that phase, you are moved to a higher rank and become muntasib (affiliated).

As soon as you become affiliated, you start donating a portion of your earnings to the organisation, usually five to eight per cent. In the “affiliated” phase your loyalty and commitment are closely probed. If you satisfy those who monitor you, usually over the course of a year, you are then allowed to the phase of muntazim or organised brother and you can assume lower levels of leadership. Finally, if you pass all the tests that the Brotherhood will subject you to; you are admitted into the final stage of membership which is ach amil or working brother.

This cult-like process is how our current leaders have been formed and how the Brotherhood is carefully forming future ones. This quasi-fascist structure where your loyalty is always put to question and your personal life is watched at every moment is the mechanism by which Muslim Brothers are produced.

Now, is it any wonder that all Muslim Brothers sound the same? Is it surprising that they all argue in the same way, share the same ideas and are obsessed with listening to their own voices?

If for years your loyalty has been directed towards one entity, the Brotherhood and its ideology, can you be loyal to anything else? The Muslim Brotherhood is an organisation that tattoos your soul, molds your mind, brands your ideas and at every moment suppresses the free play of your powers. This is the Muslim Brotherhood from within, this is where our leaders come from!” End of article

Comment 1: If it takes 8 years to indoctrinate a member to efface his individuality, it must takes that many years for any minor deviation in reforms within the ideology, coming from the top, to take roots in the new generation of  Moslem Brotherhood…And during all these years, what the remaining citizens who don’t give a hoot about this cultist idee-fix are supposed to do? How can they oppose and confront a cult that is unable in its structure to admit differences with the other communities that diverge in their system of belief?

Comment 2: In Syria, there is this party of the regime called the Baath Party. It is supposed not to be founded on any religion belief system, a civic political party, and yet, the regime was unable to delete the chari3a from the constitution or delete the statement that Islam is the religion of the State.  A political party that has been in power of over 50 years, must have been reduced to a cult.

This Syria Baath party must have a cultist faction within its ranks and files. Most probably, the Alawit religious sect of the regime must have built-in a cult within the party, and all the members of this cult hold the key positions within the State’s institutions…

Note: On the Turkish Moslem Brotherhood




November 2012

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