Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 2013

Why You Should Try Sketching (Even If You Can’t Draw)
Communicating is the name of the game, by any means you are willing to try your skills on connecting with people: Miming, sign language, bird language, sketching, whistling… 
It is all symbols: Mathematicians communicate efficiently and clearly by drawing doodle as functions, along with all the underlying assumptions.

Tell me: “How many verbal languages do you use connect with people?”

Tell me: “How many written language are you equipped with communicate with people?”

Tell me: “How many different “strangers” do you have to connect with in a lifetime?”

Children sketch all the time, before they learn any language. If sketching is taught as a primary language, many people would be communicating easily with a wide range of “strangers”, regardless of origin, genders, and ethnicity…

Melanie Pinola posted on April 26, 2013:

Photo by Teaching Humans

“Sketching is one of the fastest ways to communicate an idea, but many of us don’t do it because we’re not really good at drawing. As video game interface designer Caryn Vainio writes, however, it doesn’t really matter. If you can draw basic shapes, there’s no reason to fear sketching.

Vainio points out that Drawing is about artistically rendering images with great attention to detail. Sketching, on the other hand, is a collaborative type of communication. If you work in an environment that involves building things with a team, you can communicate a lot more with simple circles and boxes than trying to explain something with words alone. Don’t worry about the rawness or imperfection of sketches. And that’s what they’re supposed to be.

Also:

It creates a partnership. Instead of talking to each other or, worse, talking at each other, you’re working together when you sketch together on the design of an idea.

And no one likes to read a Word document with bullet points. But almost everyone likes to look at a sketch.

The more you sketch, the better you’ll get at communicating visually even with just simple shapes. (Just another reason to embrace doodling.)

Don’t Be Afraid of a Pencil | Medium

Note 1: Someone commented “Having worked for many years in an office where English was a second (or third) language for many associates I can vouch for this one.  We solved many more problems while sketching on a whiteboard than we did with plain discussion. .

Note 2: Melanie Pinola PFollowOUnfollow4/26/13 11:30am Friday 11:30amg 19,474L 4Edit

 Leviticus 18:22, 25:44,15:19, 11:10, 21:20 …? What Leviticus means? Is attaching numbers makes it believable?
 
Apparently, a certain Dr Laura Schlesinger (Ph.D in theology again?) said on her radio show that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a U.S. man Christopher Jordan and posted on the Internet.”Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.
 
I do need some advice from you regarding some other topics of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there “degrees” of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God, if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football, if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot.
 
Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.
Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).
 
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
 
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan. James M. Kauffman, Ed. D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, University of Virginia
P.S. It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian (Slave)
 
Note: I recall a Laura married to a Bob Schlesinger. She is Latino by origin and was living in Norman Oklahoma and used to wear very tiny tight shorts. Maybe her name was Lisa?

Never assume your question is dumb. The obvious question is the right one to ask…

The hardest question to ask is the obvious one to you. How could you assume that the other attendees know better than what you don’t know and let the opportunity to learn pass you by?

Why are you afraid to ask what feels obvious to you?

Frequently, speakers take for granted that what they spent years to learn are basic to the audience, and they forget that they had to ask the obvious question in their first step to “professionalism”

The best way to challenge the status quo is with questions. Dumb questions test basic assumptions.

Are you afraid of looking dumb? Is remaining ignorant a better substitute?.

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question,” Decouvertes.

When you think you know, assume you don’t.

Questions create confusion initially and  eventually end confusion.

Dan Rockwell wrote: “Courageous leaders ask these questions.

  1. What are we doing?
  2. Compared to what?
  3. Who said?
  4. Why not? Move from “either/or” to “and” by asking, “Why not?”
  5. What problem are we solving?
  6. What’s working? How? Why?
  7. Begin agenda items by asking, “What questions should we ask?”
  8. What are our values? When employees cut themselves, values should come out.
  9. Which of our values is driving this decision? How?
  10. Where are we going?
  11. Who are we?
  12. How does this take us where we want to go?
  13. Who is our customer?
  14. What value do we deliver?
  15. How are we communicating our value to customers? Unperceived value isn’t valuable.
  16. How am I doing?

How about

1: Ask questions that lead to action. Knowledge emerges when people take uncertain action.

2: Always follow questions with silence.

Interested in more: Read Facebook responses to: “Leaders should ask stupid questions like _______.”

What dumb question can you suggest?

Seth Godin posted: “Is this the best you can do?”

If the answer to this is “yes,” and you think you’re done, you might be settling too soon.

The right question is, “Is this the best your team can do?”

And if you need a better team, it’s never been easier to get one.

Especially if you’re a soloist, a freelancer or a small company–if your upside is limited by the people you’re working with, get new people.

Any time you do work yourself, you’ve chosen not to use the services of someone who’s probably better at it than you are.

There might be really good reasons for that choice, but inertia isn’t one of them.

White-Clad Mani: Ultimate in condescending attitudes

Mani is a guy who early on decided to confront the puzzle of life, finding answers on his behavior and attitudes, retreating into nearby forests… and learning to mediate on his own.  He ultimately attended sessions with King Raja meditation methods and techniques, joined this cult, slaved for it, and realized that he can do all the training on his own… He got out of this cult by failing to attend and “help” with the endless chores…

Mani claims, and I have to believe him, that he manages out-of-body excursions, during his waking sessions…

Mani was born with a heart defect: Blue blood mixing with red blood, or what is called in French “soufle“. For the first 18 months, Mani had to frequenting sit on his heels in order to catch breath or rest. finally, a surgical operation was performed in Paris and Mani is normal, healthy and growing stronger.

In his childhood, Mani could repair anything, mechanical, electrical or computer equipment. He would never leave a manual for a new equipment before he “mastered” all its functionality and problem solving recommendations…

He travelled to India for 10 days, to join a meditation mass gathering retreat, with hundreds of members converging and getting further advanced training… Mani purchased half a dozen white trousers, white shirts… all in cotton, and brought back a bagfull of things white.  The rational for white garment is that it reflects sun rays and is a symbol of purity, of the spirit, a guiding symbol for his daily behavior…

Mani is consistent with meditation exercises, and the schedules vary with his mood change. Sometimes, Mani wakes up before daybreak, go to bed by 6 pm… And in other periods, like during rushing deadlines, he extends the time for going to bed… sort of depending on his “energy level”.

He studied 6 years for an architecture degree and then decided not to do his final project. In the meantime, Mani was doing dual degree, adding graphic design and sticking to that discipline.

He is an independent contractor, related to graphic designs and promoting companies matching his “philosophical” penchant, going green, vegan, vegetarian diet… drinking expensive exotic teas and other imported powders containing specific ingredients…

Mani would select his clients to match his life-style and world view: So far so good…

Mani is a vegan, and he relishes experimenting with various beans and peas. Frequently, most of the beans and peas reveal negative side effects on Mani’s digestive system… and internet proved to be short on esoteric cures for a healthy mind-body programs and concoctions…

One stable myth that stuck in Mani’s eating habit was “Never consume onion or garlic, in any shape, form or cooking method“. Why? These two natural ingredients are very bad for concentration. Mani’s grandmother is beside herself: How could a Mediterranean cuisine be cooked without garlic and onion?  She has to split the dish: One for Mani and one for the rest of the family…

After a decade of “personal search and training improvement…” Mani nailed down a second nature of talking and appearing as a wise man: He learned to talk softly, starting with a developed introduction, which is meant to cover all kinds of objections, disagreement, and particularly what he calls “argumentation displeasure“.  The problem is that his opinion turns out to be odorless, confusing because devoid of passions.

Mani was never a talkative person, and he preferred to listen…

In general, these kinds of talks appeal in the first encounter with a riveted audience: Who is really searching for confrontation and argumentation when the speaker admits that the topic needs further study and reflection?

People are no fools: You cannot repeat this acting wise-man performance and not be implicitly mocked if you do not demonstrate genuine passion and human natural behavior.  What is conveyed is the ultimate of condescending attitudes “I’m teaching you methods for avoiding argumentation sessions…”

My latest encounter with Mani disturbed this image of the soft talking person, the mediator per excellence, the one who considers both sides of the story… in order to be fair.

As long as the discussion and experiences are not related to close family matters, Mani is very comfortable in his image. When Mani feels that his family is in “moral danger” by an outsider, even a very close outsider, poison drips from his lips and his eyes gleam as if he is about to lose his mind.

In my last encounter with Mani, I felt that he is indeed well advanced in mind distortion, but he doesn’t know it yet.

Actually, Mani tends to experience frequent “depressive mood swings”.  He locks himself up for days and cure this nasty depressive period using a modern treatment: Watching a 100-TV serial episodes, loaded on his laptop. As the series end, the depression has been over for days, but Mani is hooked on the series. It is better to lay it on depression… His younger sisters have been emulating this behavior and spending hours on the same series…

Lately, Mani crossed the red line: This second nature condescending attitude had to reach a the nasty flavor of contempt. You cannot reach the level of contempt to another person and still claim to be a better person.

Mani needs to start from scratch: Bottling up anger under the guise of “passion control” cannot persist and be sustained for a healthy spirit. Time to acknowledge that we are passionate and it is far better to express openly our passion and control our physical outbursts. Recognizing our passions is the best way to tame the beast.

“People Oriented” individuals assimilated this human behavior to argue: It is their way to express their individuality. It is never a Waste of time to argue with people.

Note: This is the third character description for my fiction story.  Fiction characters are far milder than trying to seriously describe a real person. Fiction characters are very funny.  Don’t you think that real people are horrible? All these bloody ideas and thinking about harming others when frequently angry and upset…? How can you ever claim that you do know a person?

Political Negotiation: How does it functions in Lebanon?

I recall many decades ago, patiently trying to finish my graduate studies, that I volunteered to help another Lebanese to set up his data base and input his data in an environmental study.

Two months later, while also involved in setting up my experiments and collecting data, this Lebanese asked me: “I want to pay you for your trouble and time invested…” I never got into any negotiation before, but I blurted out: “I volunteered to help you, so forget about the money issue…”

This graduate student insisted that I be paid, and for the form I said: “Okay, $100”. That was a pittance, given that the student is well-off, family and teaching jobs…

I recall when I came to the university 5 years ago, another Lebanese undergraduate student called up this guy and arranged that he spare me a room in his vast apartment out of town. There were no public transportation whatsoever, and I had to go with him to the university and return in his car in the evening.  I stayed for about a week.

All these years, I biked and lived in basements, and 4 part-time jobs could barely pay for my tuition: I was frequently broke and many nights I sleep with an empty stomach.

The “negotiation” was not about to end and it took another turn. The graduate student replied: “What? You have the guts to ask for payment?”  I said: “I said that I did it for free, if you want me to ask for $1,000 or ten dollars just decide…” He got even more upset: “What? Do you think that I am cheap and could not afford $100?”

Finally, he wrote up a check for $100, and I never heard from him. I think that I forgot his name. He was telling me that he was negotiating with many geology companies in California for a package over $60,000, at a time there were no jobs and no companies were hiring even graduate students…

It’s a warm spring afternoon in Beirut, the birds are chirping and Hamra street is as busy as usual. There’s a lottery salesman staring into the distance, and occasionally he takes a puff from his cigarette then goes back to staring.

An old woman is trying to cross the street, and a nearby family is watching the scene from a balcony on the second floor. A typical calm Beirut Afternoon.

Karl reMarks posted on April 19, 2013:

A man strolls into a shop and starts inspecting the bags on display with as much disgust as he can summon.  The salesman look at him then goes back to reading his newspaper. The psychological warfare has begun and neither man wants to reveal any interest.

It’s a battle of nerves, skill and composure.

The customer decides on an opening gambit. He sighs as if the bags on display have thrown him into an existential crisis, then points half-heartedly to one of the bags and asks “how much is this one?”

The salesman looks up from the newspaper: “you are a man of good taste, that’s one of our best bags. It’s 100 dollars.”

The customer draws two incredulous arches with his brows, whistles and says: “What do you think I am, a tourist? Don’t plan your retirement on this sale. I’m Lebanese, now how much is it really?”

“God forbid. Believe me, I’m only making five dollars on this sale. Come downstairs with me and I will show you the receipt. But I don’t want to make any money on this, you look like a gentleman, I will give it to you for $95.”

“I’m trying to buy a bag from you and you are performing a comedy show. I  don’t buy bags every day, I have to go to a relative’s funeral in Jordan. Do you want me to take my clothes in a plastic bag? Because of you, I will have to do that. You have no mercy.”

(Both the salesman and the customer know this is a lie, but the rules stipulate that you’re not allowed to point that out.)

“I am saddened for your loss. My condolences, this is God’s wish. Your story has really affected me, I will take a loss on this. $90 for you.”

“This is not meant to be. I am going to your neighbour’s shop, I heard that he’s a more reasonable man.”

The client makes for the door, the salesman pauses a bit then says:

“Be a patient man. How much do you want to pay?”

“$20”.

“$20? Are you trying to start a fight? That’s it, I’m fed up with this business, I’m closing the shop.”

The salesman pretends he’s about to move, but the customer decides a quick follow-up is needed.

“Look here, all my cousins will need bags. Give me a good price and I will send them here. How does $30 sound?”

“How about I give to you for $30 then take my children out of school and have them beg on the streets? Would that satisfy you? Because that’s the only way I can give it to you for $30. My last word is $80.”

“I will tell you what I will do. We will skip dinner for a few days just because you’re an inflexible man and give you $40 for it. I can’t pay one Lira more, I swear by God.”

“I will give you this Chinese one for $40, why do you need the Italian one? It’s not for you.”

“What will the neighbours say if I they saw me with a Chinese bag? You’re trying to ruin my reputation? $40 is a good price.”

“My brother, I told it cost me $95, I am already losing money on this.” Here he takes out a calculator and starts punching numbers at random while muttering some figures. Then he looks up:” Ok, just for you, I swear, I wouldn’t do this for anyone else, take it for $70. This is my final last word, not a Lira less.”

“Here’s $50, take it and give me the bag. But you’re robbing me, I swear this is illegal.” He tries to forces the money into the salesman’s hand, but the latter withdraws his hand quickly.

“God forbid. Khallas, that’s it, take it for free. I’m not taking any money. Here.” As he says that, he starts packing the bag and tries to hand it over to the customer.

“You’re insulting me. What do you think I am, a beggar? I am going to cancel this trip.”

“You are so stubborn. You have broken me, I have never met a customer like you before. Here, have it for $60 but please don’t tell anyone. They will think I am crazy.”

“$55 it is. Yalla, shake my hand and pack it for me.”

“No way. Not going under $60. I don’t know why I’m still in this business.”

“Ok, I swear by God you have exhausted my soul. $60 and you give me three of these pens with it.”

“$60 and I will give you one pen.”

He shakes his hand and takes the bag. “Have a good evening. You are a man of impeccable taste and generosity.”

“God forbid, you are the best customer I have ever had.” The customer takes the bag and walks way.

As he leaves, both men are left celebrating their victories.

Now, are you interested in understanding how political negotiations work in Lebanon?

For example, the current debate about the parliamentary election law.  Imagine that there are 20 salesmen and 20 customers and try to picture all the possible permutations of the scenario above, and repeated among all parties.

A decision can be made only when they all agree. That will give you a rough idea of the complexity involved.

Actually, make that 19 salesmen and 19 customers (number of officially recognized religious sects), but that’s my last word.

Radiya (Contented): Or the versatile autistic girl

As a toddler, Radiya would watch cartoons for hours on end: Her mother would return home and see her child in the same posture, eyes riveted to the screen, as if the world around was condensed on the screen…

Radiya loved to be bathed and displayed a beatific face in the warm water, splashing and smiling… She was contended and the family felt comfortable with this quiet and healthy toddler (hanieh). She liked to please the audience of her newly acquired prowess in walking and climbing…

Radiya was no trouble at school: It appeared that she was doing fine in all courses, assiduous in doing her homework and social with her classmate…

As she grew older, Radiya was into break dancing, singing… and never waiting for any invitation to dance and to attract the attention of the audience. She was a ball of fire and enthusiasm till the age of 12.  She was not pretty, tiny in stature, and flat chested…  But at this age, Radiya didn’t care how she looked as long as she is in the game and leading the teams of little boys and girls

I recall when I arrived home after a long absence, Radiya was now about 8. At the airport, she rushed and jumped to be hugged: She must have constructed a hallucinating personality of me from the many pictures and videos… Radiya gushed everytime she saw me, sat on my lap, made sure to sit by me…. and tackle me when she was not playing with the other kids

Without much warning, as Radiya turned 13, a transformation displaced her other self. Her chest was still flat, not getting much taller, and not increasing in prettiness… She began to avoid leading boys in games, became more introspective, shunning dancing and singing in public… She started to wanting to evolve among guys at least 2 years older, the older the better…

And she started to read voluminous books of Anne Rice vampire stories… and reading the big books in a single sitting: Otherwise, she might probably have to start from the first chapter to get the story about right…

Radiya displayed a mocking posture when facing hot-headed and exuberant boys and girls. She joined girl scout for a year or two and quit: Sleeping in tents, surrounded with ants, mosquitoes, spiders…was not her” cup of tea”, and especially not enjoying a full night sleep…

Radiya decided to wear lightly in winter and sit by the gas heater instead, for hours on: She believe that wearing an additional layer is the cause for the mushroom invading her skin, particularly the abdomen part.  Every two days, the family has to purchase a gas bonbon just to satisfy her idiosyncrasies.  The side effect is that she catches cold frequently and go through two boxes of sanitary paper per day. She also keeps the lights on during broad day, for the details in her “homework”. Her father keep switching off lights in the house but does not dare disturb the comfort zone of Radiya: Her frequent ear piercing screams and cursing are not welcomed.

I discovered that she exhibited temporary photographic memory abilities: A couple of hours before the tests and exams, Radiya would read the lessons and pull off a good grade. The trouble was that, if she didn’t have to submit to other tests on the same subjects within a week, what she retained disappeared from her memory… her story board is confused and dates and names misplaced…

To my mind, I consider Radiya to be a versatile autistic girl.  She is currently studying fashion and doing excellent jobs in drawing dresses, cutting patrons, and coloring and learning to sew…

I overheard that Radiya is the best students among all Art disciplines, including architecture and graphic designs…

Note: This is the second character description in order to set the stage for my fiction story.

Mending a 100-hole mosquito net? Not that absurd.

Following the horrifying fiction story https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/what-is-to-be-done-short-of-clinical-testing-for-hormones-deficiencies/ I imagined what I could have done after the harrowing event.

I went down to my apartment and started mending a 100-hole mosquito net. Lately, we had a two weeks of hot weather and a couple of mosquitos got active. All you need is a single buzzing mosquito to drive you insomniac.

I had installed mine and mother’s net: They were in acceptable conditions, but my father’s net was a problem. My father keeps long nails and have to get up 5 times the night to go and piss…

Father’s 100-hole net is ideal for winter time: The net could bring these feeling of closure, warmth, and being tucked in

Father is currently ailing: Last month, he spent a week in intensive care unit and another week in the hospital to recover from acute pneumonia. Actually, after a tiring month at home, of caring for him and encouraging him to start using the walker and… he is back to intensive unit with a resistant bacteria in the lungs. This bacteria is transmitted in hospitals, particularly via equipment and instrument, and he is being injected with the most powerful of antibiotics.

Father is not about to be using any mosquito net anytime soon, but mother is no longer in a shape to be mending and sewing: She is suffering from arthritis in her hands and finger and is forgetful. Mother thought that she had other mosquito nets in good conditions, but is not able to locate them.

I got used to mending socks, shirts, bed sheets… and now I am into mending mosquito nets, and this job was a welcomed task after the horror event that evening. I couldn’t stop mending one hole after another, hoping for my nerves to relax and appease my mind.

I think that I mended so many holes through the long night that I searched for a needle-sized hole as excuses to keep mending. I don’t recall what I was watching on cables.

The next afternoon, mother was cutting out the net in order to sew another one from the good portions. Mother favors appearances to functional nets, and the net should look brand new, even if nobody is about to investigate the status of father’s net.

Mother has been for a week on her net, and involving her daughter who has a good sewing machine. Mother is not satisfied with her son-in-law forgetting to bring a new belt for her old Singer.  He did try to locate a belt and could not find any, and he told mother the situation many times. Mother is forgetful.

The net is installed, but father is still in the intensive care.

I am under the strong impression that what I thought was an achievement is barely noticed or appreciated. I may mop, do dishes, do laundry, hang curtains, vacuum, filter water, be used as a beast of burden… All these tasks on a daily basis don’t count.

The modern custom is: “How much money can you spare?” And personal contributions to the daily maintenance of life are not considered of much added value. People prefer the condescending “distribution” of small money, sort of giving in secrecy what your right hand gives out… Any amount of what you need to survive…

Life is a series of absurdities, and it does not help much to discover the forms of the series. Series of absurdities can take the form of geometric or arithmetic trends in progression, kind of forecasting the next absurd event.  My impression is that the form of these series keeps changing, depending mostly on age.

Zionist movement and mandated powers: Boycotting the Palestinians“Boycott” is a term put into circulation in 1880. An Irish peasant, Charles Boycott, started an action to prevent peasant evictions from the land by landlords and their agents. This is not to say that this was the first time such a tactic had been used.

1. In 1830, the National Negro Convention in the USA supported a boycott of slave-produced goods, a movement which had started among White Quakers at the end of the 18th century. The slave-produced goods  boycott would spread among White and Black abolitionists during the 19th century until the American Civil War. These boycotts to restore the land and freedom of peasants and slaves would inspire movements in the 20th century.

2. In 1919, India adopted anti-colonial tactics by boycotting the British goods to end the British occupation of India.

3. In 1935 and for 3 years, the first Palestinian Intifada (mass civil disobedience) used anti-colonial-settler tactics (including the Arab League boycott of the Jewish settler-colony in the 60’s),

4. In the 1960s, we witnessed the anti-South African Apartheid boycott

5. The anti-racist tactics, the anti-Nazi Jewish boycott of 1933 to end Nazi racial separatism

6.  The Montgomery Bus Boycott by African Americans in the mid-1950s to end American white colonial settler apartheid in Alabama and the rest of the American South….

There is however a different history of the uses of the boycott

Joseph Massad, author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, published  in Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Boycotting the Palestinians

In contrast with its uses to force the end of race, class and colonial injustice, boycott would also be deployed as a tactic to bring about colonial and racial injustice.

Zionism would be a pioneer in this regard. Upon the formalization of Zionist settler colonialism in the 1897 First Zionist Congress, Jewish colonists were incensed that earlier Russian Jewish agricultural colonists who had settled in Palestine since the 1880s would employ Palestinian labor in their colonies, on account of its availability and cheapness.

It was in this context that Zionism would develop its racially separatist notion of “Hebrew labour”, insisting and later imposing its regulations on all Jewish colonists in Palestine, namely that Jewish labour should be used exclusively in the Jewish settler-colony.

 

Israel’s expertise in separation fences and walls was put to productive use with the massive “Apartheid Wall” it built on Palestinian Realizing the difficulty of imposing its racist project on Palestine, a country which Zionism did not control yet, the movement developed the idea of the first racially separatist planned community for the exclusive use of Ashkenazi Jews, namely the Kibbutz, which would develop in the first decade of the 20th century.

Lest one mistake the idea of the Kibbutz as a commitment to socialism, Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion, who came up with the exclusive “Hebrew labour” idea to boycott the Palestinians, set the record straight: The Kibbutz was set up to “guarantee [separatist] Jewish labour” and not as an application of socialist theory.  

As a racially separatist Jewish economy and colony established on the lands of the Palestinians continued to be the primary goal of Zionism, the principle of boycott of Palestinian labour and products would become more aggressive as time passed.

Like its parent Zionist movement before it, which used the tactic of boycott to effect racial separation and discrimination rather than end it, the Zionist labour Federation, the Histadrut, would begin in 1927 to use the time-honoured act of picketing.

Picketing is traditionally used by workers and unions to end practices involving the exploitation and unfair treatment of workers. In the case of the Jewish colonists, they used picketing to bring about discrimination against Palestinian workers and to deny them employment in their own country.

The Zionist picketing campaign sought to boycott Jewish businesses which continued to employ Palestinian labor as well as the goods the Palestinians produced. This was not only confined to the agricultural Jewish colonies in the Palestinian countryside, but also included urban settings where Jewish businesses employed Palestinians in the area of construction.

The Zionist campaign would continue until 1936 when the Great Palestinian Revolt would erupt threatening both the Zionist settler colonial project and the British occupation safeguarding it. In these 9 years of picketing, not only did the workers among the Jewish colonists join the picket lines, but so did the professionals and the middle class of Jewish colonial society, including actors, teachers, librarians, as well as Histadrut officials.

In addition to the major picketing campaign of the citrus groves of Kfar Saba in the 1920s, the Histadrut would organize “mobile-pickets” where picketers would travel from one construction site to the next in the cities, including Tel Aviv, where Palestinian workers were employed in the building of the first racially separate Jewish city.

If labour picketers around the world would harass scabs who were coopted by exploitative employers at the expense of union workers, colonial Jewish picketers in Palestine would harass Palestinian workers who were violating the racially separatist project of Zionism. Picketers would attack and beat up Palestinian workers and steal their tools and destroy their work.

The picketers would also destroy the produce of the Jewish colonies that employed Palestinian peasants and workers. This was hardly an exception, but harked back to Zionist colonial practices in the first decade of the 20th century when the racist principle of “Hebrew labour” was first put into action.

When Jewish colonists found out in 1908 that the saplings in a forest that was founded in memory of Zionism’s founder Theodor Herzl in Ben Shemen near Lydda were planted by Palestinians, they came and uprooted them and then replanted them again, thus preserving the Jewish character of the forest.

Breaking the anti-Nazi boycott

Unlike the Zionists who were pioneers in their use of boycotts to effect racial separatism, the Nazis would be latecomers to the tactic. The Nazis would begin to boycott Jewish businesses in Germany starting in April 1933 in response to the American Jewish call for a boycott of Nazi Germany, which had started a month earlier in March 1933.

In view of the racist Nazi regime’s targeting of Jews, American Jews and other European Jews started a campaign in March 1933 to boycott Nazi Germany until it ended its racist campaign and political targeting of German Jews.

Whereas American Jews, including Zionists, began to lobby US politicians and organisations to join the boycott, the Zionist leadership in Palestine and Germany saw the matter differently. It was in this context that the Zionists signed the notorious Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement with Nazi Germany, whereby Jews leaving Germany to Palestine would be compensated for their lost property, which they were not allowed to transfer outside the country, through the transfer of German goods to the Jewish colonies in Palestine.

The official parties to the agreement included the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Nazi government, and the Anglo-Palestine Bank (which was founded in 1899 as the financial arm of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) under the name “The Jewish Colonial Trust”, and renamed in 1950 as “Bank Leumi“).

Bank Leumi is today the largest bank in Israel. The Ha’avara Agreement, which was signed in 1933, not only broke the boycott against Nazi Germany, but also entailed the selling of German goods by the Zionists to Britain. 60%of all capital invested in the Jewish colonies of Palestine between 1933 and 1939 came from German Jewish money through the Transfer Agreement. This infuriated not only American and European Jews who were promoting the boycott, which the WZO was breaking, but also the right-wing revisionists within the Zionist movement itself who assassinated the major Zionist envoy to the Nazis, Chaim Arlosoroff, in 1933 upon his return from Nazi Germany where he had been negotiating the Agreement.

Not only would Zionism break the boycott, but its local German branch would also be the only German Jewish organisation that would support the Nazi Nuremberg laws that were issued in 1935 to separate German Jews from German “Aryans” racially.

The Zionists, like the Nazis, agreed that German “Aryans” and German Jews were separate races and people. Here Zionist thinking becomes clear on the question of boycotts. Wherein Zionists were using boycotts to bring about racial and colonial separatism in Palestine to privilege colonizing Jews and separate them from Palestinian Arabs, they opposed the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany which sought to end Nazi racial separatism in the country targeting Jews.

For Zionism, what mattered most was its commitment to racial separatism, whether in Germany or Palestine, and it supported only those boycotts that would bring it about. Indeed, as the Nazis in the 1930s sought to deport Jews and render Germany Judenrein (the Nazis proposed Madagascar as a destination for German Jews), the Zionists were proposing Palestine as the destination for German Jews, whose deportation they ultimately supported and were using the boycott and picketing campaigns to render the Jewish State-to-be in Palestine Araberrein.

 Inside Story: On the road to Israeli apartheid?

The Palestinians countered Zionist separatism with boycotts of their own, targeting the Zionist colonies and their products during the British Mandate years.

The Arab League of States would issue its own boycott of Zionist and Israeli goods that would go into effect in 1945. Like the American Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany in 1933 which sought to end Nazi racial separatism, the Palestinian boycott of the 1930s and the ongoing Arab League boycott were imposed precisely to end Jewish colonial and racial separatism and discrimination against the Palestinians.

Supporting French settler-colonialism

From 1948 until 1967, the Israelis would become the major ally of France, which was the chief colonial-settler European enforcer of racial apartheid on another Arab people, namely Algerians. Not only would France become Israel’s major arms supplier and ally during this period, the fact that the two countries shared the status of being the only two European settler-colonies on Arab lands was paramount in its calculations.

When the Algerian revolt started in November 1954, the French decided to increase their arms sales to the Israelis. French Generals explained the intensification of their military alliance with Israel as part of the fight against the Algerian revolutionaries, as well as against the anti-imperialist Arab leader Gamal Abdel Nasser who supported the Algerian Revolution. The alliance and friendship between the two colonizing states was so strong that Israel would also carry out military manoeuvers with the French on occupied Algerian territory and would enlist Algerian Jews (who were granted French citizenship in 1870 by France to separate them from their compatriot Algerian Muslims and grant them the privileges of White French colonists) to spy on the Algerian National movement that was seeking to end French colonialism and racism.

A few months after the end of his 13-month stint as Governor General of French Algeria, the French colonial politician and later terrorist, Jacques Soustelle, helped to create and presided over the pro-Israel lobbying group Alliance France-Israel in November 1956.

This followed Israel’s collusion with France to invade Egypt that year and destroy the regime of Abdel Nasser. In 1958, Soustelle would enjoin not only Israel but the world Jewish communities to support French colonial apartheid in Algeria: “We believe that given the influence which not only Israel but above all the Jewish communities throughout the world exert on international opinion, this alliance would produce happy results for us.”

Soustelle’s anti-Semitism and Nazi-like views concerning the alleged power of the world Jewish communities did not bother Israel one bit. Indeed, Soustelle would join the terrorist group Organisation de l’armee secrete (OAS) in 1960 to fight against Algerian independence, which was by then increasingly becoming the accepted vision in French government circles for the future of Algeria.

The military alliance with Israel did not only provide arms and impart military training to the Israelis, but also made it possible for the French themselves to learn a few Israeli tricks, including “convoy bombing”, which the French would use in Algeria. This was not all. French officers would be dispatched to Israel to learn new techniques in psychological warfare from the Jewish colonists.

French General Maurice Challe, Commander-in-Chief of the French forces in Algeria (1958-1960), insisted in an interview with Sylvia Crosbie that the Israelis were “consummate artists” at dealing with the Palestinian natives. Challe went further and hoped to use the Kibbutz as a model for his pacification program in Algeria, but the triumph of the Algerian Revolution would prevent his plan from being executed.

Israeli study missions in Algeria were also welcomed as the Israelis were keen to learn from the French the use of helicopters to fight the Algerian guerrillas. Challe, like other generals who were friends of Israel, would participate in the failed coup of April 1961 against the French government in Algeria and would be tried by a military tribunal. Testimonies by at least one participant in the failed coup stated that the coup leaders were expecting support from a number of settler colonial powers: “Portugal, South Africa, South America, and perhaps Israel.”

“For Zionism, what mattered most was its commitment to racial separatism, whether in Germany or Palestine, and it supported only those boycotts that would bring it about.”

Israel’s alliance with colonial France would sour when the French opted to end their war against the Algerian people and acceded to their independence. Not happy with its isolation as the only remaining European settler colony in the Arab world, Israel rushed to support the right-wing French terrorists who opposed their government and began to fight against Algerian independence.

Aside from conscripting a number of Algerian Jews, who had joined the terrorist OAS, into Israel’s spy network, the Israelis provided logistical support to the French terrorists. This included support for Jacques Soustelle himself, who was supported by Ben Gurion and was financed by rich right-wing pro-Israeli American Jews who opposed de Gaulle and Algerian independence.

Algerian Jewish commandos organized themselves in Oran against Algerian Muslims and sought partition of the colony along racial lines. They were said to be inspired in their quest by Israeli government policy. Thus, just like its support of Nazi racial separatism and refusal to join the Jewish anti-Nazi boycott, Zionism and Israel opted to support French colonial racism and separatism, and indeed to fight actively against its final dissolution in Algeria, rather than join the international condemnation of French colonial policies.

Breaking the boycott against apartheid

But the story of Zionism and boycotts would not end there. Zionism would stay true to its principles of supporting boycotts that promote racial apartheid and denouncing boycotts that oppose racial apartheid to the present. When the United Nations imposed mandatory sanctions against the racist settler-colony of Rhodesia in 1966, Israel supported the sanctions at the UN but in reality never abided by them.

Israel would provide arms and helicopters to be used in counterinsurgency by the Rhodesian government against the anti-racist independence movement seeking to overthrow the regime (a tactic, as we saw, which it learned from French colonial forces in Algeria and which it was now imparting to Rhodesian white supremacist colonists). Indeed the Israelis, breaking the international boycott, would provide the racist Rhodesians in the 1970s with a 500-mile separation fence along the border with Mozambique and Zambia. The fall of the Rhodesian settler colony in 1980 and the rise of Zimbabwe did not bode well for the future of Israel.

When the African National Congress (ANC) and progressive allies, who would also be joined by the United Nations, began to call for and effect different forms of boycott against apartheid South Africa beginning in the early1960s, Israel would be a central breaker of the boycott, becoming the apartheid state’s major political and economic partner. Indeed Israel’s strategic alliance with South Africa would be built in the late 1960s as the boycott campaign against the apartheid regime became more vociferous.

Here again, Zionism was true to its principles. One of its founding fathers, Chaim Weizmann, was a close friend of none other than the Afrikaner leader Jan Smuts, one of the central founders of modern South Africa. Smuts was such a big supporter of the Jewish settler colony that Jewish colonists named a Kibbutz after him: Ramat Yohanan.  It was both ideological proximity and structural positionality that led to the alliance between the two settler colonies.

In November 1962, The UN General Assembly resolution 1761 was passed and called for a voluntary boycott, requesting member states to break off diplomatic relations with South Africa, to cease trading with South Africa (arms exports in particular), and to deny passage to South African ships and aircraft. In August 1963, the United Nations Security Council established a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa. Finally in November 1977, the Security Council adopted a mandatory arms embargo. Under increasing domestic and international pressure, the Carter administration finally voted in favour of the embargo.

As international consensus was mounting against the apartheid state, Israel would strengthen its alliance with it, not only in military, including nuclear cooperation, but also in providing it with training, arms and equipment to put down the ongoing anti-apartheid demonstrations and uprisings. Support for the apartheid state would come from Israel’s quintessential racist and separatist institution, the Ashkenazi-Jewish Kibbutz. For example, Kibbutz Beit Alfa would provide the apartheid security forces of South Africa with anti-riot weapons to put down the demonstrations. One of Beit Alfa’s main industries is indeed riot control equipment, including water cannons, which it would provide to the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s in a “secret pact”. Kibbutz Beit Alfa, it should be mentioned, was established by the Jewish National Fund partly on lands purchased from absentee landlords and partly on confiscated lands belonging to Palestinian villages.

 Israeli settlers take part of Palestinian city

Israel would also provide South Africa, as in the case of Rhodesia, with hundreds of miles of mined electric fences to protect the racist state’s borders from ANC guerrilla infiltration. It would also build a thousand-mile fence on the Namibia-Angola border to protect South Africa’s occupation of Namibia. Its expertise in separation fences and walls would be put to productive use with the massive “Apartheid Wall” that Israel would build on Palestinian lands beginning in 1994 and continuing into the 21st century. Israel’s breaking the boycott against the apartheid regime would continue until the latter’s demise in 1994. With the fall of colonial Algeria, Rhodesia and South Africa, Israel remained alone as the last European settler-colony across Asia and Africa.

The Palestinian Authority and boycott

Since the beginning of the so-called “peace process”, all diplomatic solutions which Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have signed on to are engineered to preserve Israel’s racially separatist project of a “Jewish state” and of racial partition. Indeed, not only does Israel and US president Barack Obama insist on preserving Israel as a separatist and racist Jewish state as a precondition to all peace talks, but also on Israeli policies of racial separation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which continue unabated with the construction of Jews-only settlements and Jews-only highways on stolen Palestinian lands.

In Israel itself, Israel’s state-appointed rabbis have been incensed that Israeli laws do not fully ensure racial separatism. In light of Safad’s chief Rabbi’s call urging Israeli Jews not to sell or rent houses or apartments to non-Jews, dozens of Israel’s municipal rabbis signed onto his rabbinical ruling in December 2010. The Rabbis issued a letter to announce their call to “urge neighbours of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbour is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community… The neighbours and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracise] him until he goes back on this harmful deed”.

Unlike the Palestinian anti-colonial resistance which sought to boycott colonial goods in the British Mandate years, and unlike the Arab League which mandated an Arab boycott of Israel, the PA has a different view of economic relations with Israel. Like the World Zionist Organization and the German Zionists who saw the fight against anti-Semitism as self-defeating and saw collaboration with anti-Semitism as crucial to the success of Zionism, the Oslo Palestinian leadership has followed a similar strategy of collaboration with Zionism and of prohibiting resistance to it.

Calls for boycotts by Palestinians are constantly assailed by PA operatives, who only recently, in 2010, and under public pressure heeded a minimalist call to boycott the Jewish colonial settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In December 2012, unelected PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, an erstwhile opponent of a boycott of Israel, issued a call to West Bank Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods for the first time ever in retaliation for the Israeli government decision to sequester PA tax revenues, an action that bankrupted PA coffers. His government, however, never provided any mechanisms or logistical support for such a boycott nor has there been any official follow-up. In fact, when Fayyad announced the boycott of settlement goods in May 2010 as a publicity stunt, it was accompanied with assurances from unelected PA President Mahmoud Abbas that the PA was not boycotting Israel at all and would continue trade cooperationwith it.

“Israel’s attempt to rebrand itself as a just and egalitarian society comes up against its actual and stark racist reality.”

BDS, Obama, and pinkwashing

Today, it is the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and its international solidarity network that is the champion of a boycott of the racist Israeli settler colony. Like its noble predecessors, from African American boycotts in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Indian boycott of British goods, the Jewish anti-Nazi boycott, and the international boycott of Rhodesia and South Africa, the BDS movement insists that its call for a boycott should be heeded until Israel sheds all its racist laws and policies and becomes a non-racist state.

Israel has expectedly mobilised much of its political power to defeat the BDS initiative and has solicited the help of its formidable ally, Barack Obama, who has publicly expressed hostility to the BDS movement and shamelessly threatened the Palestinian people with dire consequences were they to dare to dismantle Israel’s racist institutions. Israel’s campaigns have included what some have called “pinkwashing”, portraying itself as a democratic country that safeguards the rights of homosexuals unlike its allegedly oppressive Arab neighbours. In this regard, it is important to mention Zionism’s prehistory of “pinkwashing”.

The first European Jew that the Zionist movement assassinated in Palestine was the Dutch Jewish poet and novelist Jacob Israel de Haan. De Haan, whom the Zionists assassinated in 1924, was not only a fighter against Zionist racism and oppression of the Palestinians, but was also known in Zionist circles to engage in homosexual activities, and that he had a special fondness for young Palestinian men (he wrote a poem about the theme). His assassin, Avraham Tehoni of the official Zionist army, the Haganah, was given the orders to assassinate him by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who would become Israel’s second president (1952-1963). The Zionists tried to pin de Haan’s murder on the Palestinians who were allegedly motivated to kill him on account of his homosexual activity with Palestinian boys.  While Zionist propaganda failed, and de Haan’s Jewish murderer would confess decades later publicly to his assassination, some evidence suggests that de Haan’s homosexual activities might have been an important factor on the mind of Zionist decision-makers when they ordered his assassination, though his assassin denied that this was a motive.

Israel’s attempt to rebrand itself as a just and egalitarian society comes up against its actual and stark racist reality. Its opposition to the Palestinian BDS movement is often framed as an opposition to all boycotts as a form of struggle. But as the historical record shows, this is not a time-honoured Zionist position. As they have done throughout their history, Zionism and Israel will continue to support any boycott that seeks to institutionalise racism and racial separatism and will denounce any boycott that seeks to end racism and racial separatism. Their campaign and that of Obama against BDS should be understood in this context of their commitment to apartheid as a principle of organising human life.

Joseph Massad teaches Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University in New York. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question published by Routledge. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

In Picture, Syria in Ruin? Who is pleased by a country in ruin?

While much of the world’s attention focuses on a possible war with North Korea, the war currently being fought in Syria grinds on. March of 2013 was a month of grim milestones in Syria. It marked two years since the start of hostilities; the number of war refugees passed one million; and it was was the bloodiest month to date, with more than 6,000 people killed.

Neither the pro-Assad forces, nor the group of rebels opposing them have gained much ground recently, and little or no progress has been made by international agencies to halt the bloodshed.

Alan Taylor in Focus posted pictures of Syria in Ruin:

The following photographs come from across Syria, taken over the past six weeks,  showing just some of the devastation in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Homs, Deraa, Idlib, and Damascus. [38 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose: 1024px 1280px

A member of the Free Syrian Army sits on a sofa in the middle of a debris-strewn street in Deir al-Zor, Syria, on April 2, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi)

Damaged buildings in Jouret al-Shayah, Homs, Syria, on February 2, 2013. (Reuters/Yazen Homsy) #

People walking down a street are pictured through a hole in a building in Deir al-Zor, on April 4, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A Syrian opposition fighter rubs dust from his face in the Jabilleh neighborhood of the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, during clashes with regime forces as they try to retake the area on February 16, 2013. (Zac Baillie/AFP/Getty Images) #

A resident inspects the damages at an ancient Souk caused by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Deir al-Zor, on March 9, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A woman wearing a scarf depicting the Syrian opposition flag walks in the damaged areas in Deir al-Zor, on March 3, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A group of Syrian Free Army activists inspect a damaged mosque at the Sheikh Yassine district area in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, on February 16, 2013.(Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

People walk on a street lined with buildings damaged by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Deir Al-Zor, on March 12, 2013. (Reuters/Muhammad Younis/Shaam News Network) #

A burning tank is in Daraa, on March 9, 2013. (Reuters/Ali Abu-Salah/Shaam News Network) #

People inspect damaged areas in Deir al-Zor, on March 3, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A Syrian street vendor who sells cigarette boxes, sits in front of destroyed shops which were damaged by the shelling of the Syrian forces, at Maarat al-Nuaman town, in Idlib province, on February 26, 2013. Syrian rebels battled government troops near a landmark 12th century mosque in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, while fierce clashes raged around a police academy west of the city, activists said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #

Vehicles burn near a crater on a road after an explosion in central Damascus, on February 21, 2013. Syrian state media blamed what it said was a suicide bombing on “terrorists” battling President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters/SANA) #

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, injured Syrians sit on the ground while flames and smoke rise from burned cars after a huge explosion that shook Damascus, on February 21, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA) #

A view of a damaged building in Houla, near Homs, on March 14, 2013. (Reuters/Maysara Al-Masri/Shaam News Network) #

A boy holds a bicycle near debris and damaged buildings in Homs, on March 25, 2013. (Reuters/Yazan Homsy) #

Destroyed buildings and streets filled with debris in Homs, on February 19, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled Tellawi/Shaam News Network) #

Damaged cars are piled up, used as cover from snipers in the Khaldiyeh area of Homs, on February 19, 2013. (Reuters/ Yazan Homsy) #

A boy takes a picture of his friend who gestures from the top of a damaged building in Deir al-Zor, on April 4, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) #

A mirror stands inside an old damaged house in Homs, on March 16, 2013. (Reuters/Yazen Homsy) #

Destroyed buildings along streets filled with debris in Homs, on February 19, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled Tellawi/Shaam News Network) #

A view of damaged buildings on Abu al-Hol street, Homs, on February 2, 2013. (Reuters/Yazen Homsy) #

(1 of 3) Nihal, 9, in the entrance of an underground Roman tomb used as shelter from Syrian government forces shelling and airstrikes, at Jabal al-Zaweya, in Idlib province,on February 28, 2013. Across northern Syria, rebels, soldiers, and civilians are making use of the country’s wealth of ancient and medieval antiquities to protect themselves from Syria’s two-year-old war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #

(2 of 3) Sami (center) speaks with his children in an underground Roman tomb which he uses with his family as shelter from Syrian government forces, at Jabal al-Zaweya, in Idlib province, on February 28, 2013. The ancient sites are built of thick stone that has already withstood centuries, and are often located in strategic locations overlooking towns and roads. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #

(3 of 3) Sobhi al-Hamod, 60, lives with his family in an underground cave used for shelter from Syrian government forces in Idlib province, on February 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) #

A painting of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad riddled with bullet holes, on the facade of the police academy in Aleppo, after it was captured by Free Syrian Army fighters, on March 4, 2013. (Reuters/Mahmoud Hassano) #

Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire at a factory after what activists say was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad at al-Haidariah area in Aleppo, on February 8, 2013. (Reuters/Malek AlShemali) #

An excavator is used to search for casualties under the rubble at a site hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo’s Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, on February 23, 2013. Rockets struck eastern districts of Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, killing at least 29 people and trapping a family of 10 in the ruins of their home, activists in the city said. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) #

A damaged car in rubble in Al-Ansari neighborhood after what activists said was a missile attack by Syrian Air Forces in Aleppo, on February 3, 2013. (Reuters/Aaref Hretani) #

Inside a damaged mosque in Aleppo, on March 10, 2013. (Reuters/Mahmoud Hassano) #

A Syrian woman sits on the ruins of her house, which was destroyed in an airstrike by government warplanes a few days earlier, killing 11 members of her family, in the neighborhood of Ansari, Aleppo, on February 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Abdullah al-Yassin) #

The wreckage of a helicopter, belonging to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, near Menagh military airport in Aleppo, on March 2, 2013. (Reuters/Mahmoud Hassano) #

Burned and damaged buildings in the Sheikh Maksoud area of Aleppo, on April 3, 2013. (Reuters/George Ourfalian) #

Damaged buildings, after air force shelling in the Karam Al-Tarrab neighborhood near Aleppo International Airport, on February 15, 2013. (Reuters/Malek Al Shemali) #

A Syrian rebel takes position behind a makeshift barricade during clashes with regime forces in the Salaheddine district of Aleppo, on March 16, 2013. (JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #

In this Tuesday March 19, 2013, citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, black smoke rises from buildings due to government forces shelling, in Aleppo. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC) #

Damaged buildings in the Jdeideh district of Aleppo, on February 20, 2013. (Reuters/George Ourfalian) #

A Syrian man fumigates a street covered with uncollected garbage in the northern city of Aleppo, on March 24, 2013. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images) #

A child stands on the remnants of a destroyed military vehicle in front of a damaged building in Al Inzarat district of Aleppo, on February 17, 2013. (Reuters/Hamid Khatib) #

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