Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 2013

A quick recollection: Rodeo girl

Out of the blues, I recalled a sweet event. It was my first trip out of home in the summer of 1975.

After a 2-week stay in Paris that I spent alone, wondering the streets and learning to take the metro around, I ended up in Norman, Oklahoma.

I wrote with some details about my experience as a student at the University of Oklahoma in my autobiography.

The “English as foreign language” troop was given a taste of English by visiting an open-air rodeo in a small town.

This visit could have been in mid-August.  All these blue, red, white shirts and vests, studded with stars and stripes, were coloring the arena and stands.

For the first time in my life I saw this amazon beautiful young girl mounting a horse, a large black hat on the head, in a short white skirt, as worn by cheerleaders…

She was participating in the rodeo. And I made a spontaneous action of meeting with this simple and charming girl.

Spontaneous actions to meet with people, particularly girls, are very common among tourists, or people still feeling they are strangers in a country.

I have this strong feeling that I took a picture with this female God-like creation.  Was it one of the students who took the picture? I have no such a picture in my file of ” The Good Moments in my Life

So many delicious and happy opportunities of rare wonderful mirages that we live and forget.  I badly need a copy of that encounter of the Seventh Kind.

What an event, what a girl, what an apparition, what an occasion, what a day of hope in a better life

On the plane to Oklahoma, after a 22-hour flight, exhausted, unsure where I am going, of what I am doing… in the last hour before landing, shortly before midnight, all passengers sleeping, a beautiful young blonde stewardess felt compassion for this serene lost-looking guy, numb at the magnitude of the unknown, and she offered me a glass of orange juice, fetched me a pillow and a blanket and this hope that it is good people that count anywhere you land

Has The Syrian Revolution lost it cause? Supported by all these absolute monarchies and colonial powers?

What went wrong with the initially valid causes for the Syrian uprising? Where did insurgents go wrong? How did a once inspirational and noble popular uprising calling for freedom and basic human rights degenerate into an orgy of bloodthirsty sectarian violence, with depravity unfit for even animals?

Was it inevitable and wholly unavoidable, or did it not have to be this way?

I posted more than two dozen articles on the Syria and the current upheaval, and it is refreshing to read Edward Dark‘s article.

Edward Dark, a pseudonym for a Syrian currently residing in Aleppo, posted for Al-Monitor on May 28.

The simple answer to the above question is the miscalculation (or was it planned?) of Syrians taking up arms against their regime, a ruthless military dictatorship, held together by nepotism and clan and sectarian loyalties for 40 years of absolute power.

Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford specifically warned about this in his infamous visit to Hama in the summer of 2011, just as the city was in the grip of massive anti-regime protests and before it was stormed by the Syrian army. That warning fell on deaf ears, whether by design or accident, and we have only ourselves to blame.

Western and global inaction or not, we are solely responsible for our broken nation at the end of the day.

Nietzsche once said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” (The same is true when your objective is the end goal and you totally neglect how to treat people in the process…)

That has proved to be very prophetic in the Syrian scenario.  Away from all the agendas, whitewashing, propaganda, and outright lies of the global media stations, what we saw on the ground when the rebel fighters entered Aleppo was a far different reality. It hit home hard. It was a shock, especially to those of us who had supported and believed in the uprising all along. It was the ultimate betrayal.

To us, a rebel fighting against tyranny doesn’t commit the same sort of crimes as the regime he’s supposed to be fighting against.

The revolutionary rebel doesn’t loot the homes, businesses and communities of the people he’s supposed to be fighting for.

Yet, as the weeks went by in Aleppo, it became increasingly clear that this was exactly what was happening.

Rebels would systematically loot the neighborhoods they entered. They had very little regard for the lives and property of the people, and would even kidnap for ransom and execute anyone they pleased with little recourse to any form of judicial process.

The Syrian rebels would deliberately vandalize and destroy ancient and historical landmarks and icons of the city.

They would strip factories and industrial zones bare, even down to the electrical wiring, hauling their loot of expensive industrial machinery and infrastructure off across the border to Turkey to be sold at a fraction of its price. Shopping malls were emptied, warehouses, too.

They stole the grain in storage silos, creating a crisis and a sharp rise in staple food costs.

They would incessantly shell residential civilian neighborhoods under regime control with mortars, rocket fire and car bombs, causing death and injury to countless innocent people, their snipers routinely killing in cold blood unsuspecting passersby. As a consequence, tens of thousands became destitute and homeless in this once bustling, thriving and rich commercial metropolis.

But why was this so? Why were they doing it?

It became apparent soon enough, that it was simply a case of us versus them. They were the underprivileged rural class who took up arms and stormed the city, and they were out for revenge against the perceived injustices of years past.

The motivation of this rebel wasn’t like ours, it was not to seek freedom, democracy or justice for the entire nation, it was simply unbridled hatred and vengeance for themselves.

Extremist and sectarian in nature, they made no secret that they thought us city folk in Aleppo, all of us, regime stooges and sympathizers, and that our lives and property were forfeit as far as they were concerned.

Rebel profiteer warlords soon became household names, their penchant for looting and spreading terror among the populace inducing far more bitterness and bile than what was felt against the regime and its forces.

Add to that terrible fray, the extremist Islamists and their open association with Al-Qaeda (Takfiriyeen) and their horrific plans for the future of our nation, and you can guess what the atmosphere over here felt like: a stifling primordial fear, a mixture of terror and despair.

So who was “us,” and why did we feel that we were any different or better?

By “us” I mean, and at the risk of sounding rather elitist, the civil grassroots opposition movement in Aleppo, who for months were organizing peaceful protests and handing out aid at considerable danger and risk to our own lives.

“We” truly believed in the higher ideals of social and political change, and tried to emulate them.

We tried to model ourselves on the civil rights movement of the US in the 1960s, Mandela’s struggle against apartheid, and the teachings of Gandhi: precisely what similar civil movements in other Arab Spring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt had done before.

For “us,” a revolution was a slow, deliberate and committed struggle for change.

Like water drops repeatedly beating down on a boulder, eventually we would break it.

But for “them,” (particularly the foreign takfir mercenaries), their idea of change was throwing a ton of TNT at that boulder and having it, and everything around it, blown to smithereens. “We,” well, we mostly came from the educated urban middle class of the city.

We came from all walks of life, all sects and all areas, and we didn’t care.

We never asked where that guy or girl was from or what they worshiped. Each one of us gave and contributed what we could, in the capacity we could.

The leader of our group was a young Christian lawyer, a very active and dedicated young woman. The rest of the volunteers in our group were a microcosm of Syrian society; veiled girls, Shiite boys, rich kids and poor working class all working together for ideals we strongly shared and believed in.

Over the course of our activist work, some of our group were jailed and injured, one was killed. That is why it never hit home so hard, and never have I felt as sad as when, shortly after Aleppo was raided by the rebels, I received messages from some of those people I used to work with. One said, “How could we have been so stupid? We were betrayed!” and another said, “Tell your children someday that we once had a beautiful country, but we destroyed it because of our ignorance and hatred.”

It was around about that time that I gave up on the revolution, such as it had become, and saw that the only way to Syria’s salvation was through reconciliation and a renunciation of violence. Many felt this way, too.

Unfortunately, that is not a view shared by the warmongers and power brokers who still think that more Syrian blood should be spilled to appease the insatiable appetites of their sordid aspirations.

Even as activists, intellectuals, businessmen, doctors and skilled professionals fled the city in droves, others remained and still tried to organize civil action in the form of providing aid and relief work to the countless thousands of families that were now internally displaced inside their own city in desperate conditions. But it was clear that it was becoming futile. Everything had changed; it would never be the same again.

This is what it has come down to in Syria:

It’s us versus them everywhere you go. Opposition versus regime, secular versus Islamist, Sunni versus Shiite, peaceful versus armed, city versus rural, and in all of that cacophony the voice of reason is sure to be drowned out. Whatever is left of Syria at the end will be carved out between the wolves and vultures that fought over its bleeding and dying corpse, leaving us, the Syrian people to pick up the shattered pieces of our nation and our futures.

Do we have recourse to blame anyone but ourselves for this? Was this our destiny, or the cruel machinations of evil men?

Perhaps a future generation of Syrians will be able to answer that question.

Edward Dark tweets at @edwardedark.

Reactions of world leaders to Pearl Harbor attack by Imperialist Japan on Dec. 7, 1941?

On Dec. 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) and destroyed half the US naval fleet. The two airplane carriers Lexington and Enterprise were saved: They were transporting airplanes to the islands of Guam, Wake and Midway. Admiral Kimmel decided that the fleet would be safer in Hawaii. since the plane carriers were not able to cover their movements.

All these countries had efficient decoding means of secret messages and orders, and Japan knew that the US has decided to protect its colonies in the Far East, particularly the Philippines, and to check Japan’s territory expansion.

The US had started in earnest, even before WWII started, to relocate many navy shipbuilding facilities to the west coast, particularly in Los Angeles.

Four weeks ago, Germany encouraged Japan to declare war on the US as it evaluated that Roosevelt is doing his best to fail all negotiations.

1. Churchill was following the development on the Russian front and harassing the British generals in Libya: “You are not audacious enough to engage Rommel…”.

This morning, after hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill is hopping like a kid and wants to immediately be connected to Roosevelt.

Sure,  the Russians are inflicting 95% of all German casualties, but the US engagement in the war is a definite victory. Churchill is behaving years younger: “The destiny of Nazi Germany is now sealed, and Mussolini is done with. Japan will be reduced to dust…”

Churchill is already viewing himself as the pivot of the Great Alliance.  De Gaulle beg to differ: Churchill will be at the beck of Roosevelt who will barely suffer Churchill’s decisions.

Churchill set sail on Dec. 12 to meet with Roosevelt: His strategy is to convince Roosevelt that the primary enemy is still Germany, and the Atlantic Ocean the main battlefield

2. Stalin does not show his jubilation and deep relief.  His is anxious that the US military supplies will now be delayed in order to check Japan’s expansion in the Pacific. Stalin wants also to remind Roosevelt that Germany is the main enemy., and is harassing England to open a second front in the Balkans or in France to give Russia a breathing space…

3. De Gaulle learns the news on the radio in his British house of Ellesmere.  He is saying to Dewavrin (nicknamed Passy): “Now the war is definitely won. The future is preparing two phases:

1.  How to save Germany after the war by the allies, and

2. A potential global war between the US and the Soviet Union.  The US might be defeated in that challenge if it fails to take the necessary timely measures.

4. Mussolini was ecstatic this time around: The invasion of Russia however disturbed Mussolini greatly, especially that Hitler warned him only half an hour before the incursion. Mussolini had said then: “I wish this time that the Russian would give him a good lesson. I should be fortifying the Italian borders against the inevitable German occupation of Italy. But it is too late: When among the wolves, all you can do is howl like them…”

Note: Extracts from the French book “1941: The world catches fire” by Max Gallo

How Hitler described Churchill on May 4, 1941?

On May 4, the British troops were on the run on all the battle fronts. The 55,000 British army, which Churchill decided to relocate from Egypt after the Libya front was stabilized, was evacuating Greece on April 27, and shortly evacuated the island of Crete.

Erwin Rommel was advancing toward Cairo (Egypt). England was on its knees internally, after the frequent air raids of the Luftwaffe during many months, and England needed 33 million tons of supplies from overseas, every month to just survive. Most of the supplies were purchased on credit from the USA, and the German U-Boats were sinking about 700,000 tons of merchandize every month.

And then Hitler decided to shift his attention eastward toward Russia, his Vital Space. Hitler was interested in being the dominant power in Continental Europe, and wished Churchill to just accept a NON-Victor deal. Churchill wanted the total defeat of Nazi Germany, clear and square.

In June, the Japanese occupied the two main military bases of England in the far east: Hong Kong and Singapore and destroyed a dozen of its cruisers and destroyers.

On May 4, Hitler mocked Churchill, and said in his public speech:

“This constantly drunk Churchill has the brain in perpetual shift, and afflicted with generalized paralysis.

As a soldier, Churchill is a lousy politician and strategist.

As a politician, Churchill is a lousy soldier.

He possesses a remarkable gift: The ability to lie through his teeth, faking pious impassibility, and presenting terrible defeats as glorious victories.

In other countries but England, Churchill would have faced the Highest Court for failing in his duties...”

Sure, Churchill drank a lot, and barely slept during the war. He frequently harassed his generals and ministers several times a day, and many times changed his orders in the same day. Churchill kept up sending a steady stream of suggestions, messages and orders… He wanted to be informed of every details, particularly the military operations.

Churchill never moved without his red velvet box that he called “My eggs”: The box contained the most current decoded messages from the enemies.

England had the best decrypting team of scientists at the time and used Enigma, a sort of large computer that the French and Polish scientists have created.

An anecdote recounts Roosevelt saying:

Churchill put out 100 orders and ideas every day. At most 4 are good. And Churchill has no idea which were the good ones…”

Isn’t Churchill who said: “Success is to move forward from one failure to another with enthusiasm…”?

Gods of War dominate the landscape. God of Love is boring and frustrating…

In the name of God I will murder, conquer, and oppress.

In the name of My God” summarizes centuries of exploitation and misinterpretation of religious values by oppressors and dictators. A practice that continues to exist in almost every conflict, even today, regardless of the globalization, the spread of education, and the mainstreaming of the international human rights agenda.

In antiquity, the God of War was very specific, among the pantheon of all the Gods that represented the power of nature and the vast potentials of Man and the animal kingdoms.

When armies went to war in the name of the God of War, they knew that they were going to loot other people, and not in the name of Democracy or Freedom or Liberty.

All these abstract notions are currently used as smokescreen to loot the oil and raw materials…

The pagan Gods honored Man and nature, and never to humiliate people. All these Gods had the same stories and myths. A traveler didn’t asks for a name, but to the function of the God of the temple. And they worshiped whatever God interested their current desires, anywhere they were. Religion was never a problem to the wise men of antiquity: Religion was a support to the daily turmoil and anxieties.

The recent abstract unique God, forced on people to acknowledge its existence or belief in ONE Universal God, is destroying the environment and reducing a person to a cheap ingredient...

Many thinkers have come to the conclusion that God is the problem in all this equation; if everyone is killing in the name of God, then let’s erase God from the minds of people.  And society will learn to avoid violent conflicts.

In order to achieve world peace, we first have to analyze the nature of conflict and people.

Cedric Choukeir, regional director of WYA in the Middle East and North Africa, posted:

People, by their nature, are always struggling with themselves and their environment, a point that Charles Malik, the Lebanese diplomat and philosopher, constantly mentions in his writings. Constant struggles among people means that conflict will always exist, the question is how are we resolving these conflicts.

Do religions have a positive or negative role to play in the resolution process?

Let us not bury our heads in the sand, religions have played a major role in the bloodshed across the world and history.

Religion is a powerful tool that drives the masses, but as any tool, it can be used for good or for bad. Its misuse can drive the masses to commit human sacrifices, genocide, crusades, and suicide bombings.

When properly interpreted, religion can also lead to good deeds including the positive influence of the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, along with Christian and Muslim charity organizations.

If we delete religious and spiritual values from our cultures and societies we will end up with a very pale perspective on life.

All religions and beliefs have something to contribute to our understanding of the human person. Religions should be a reason for people to come together and appreciate diversity rather than seek to homogenized humanity.

We, as Middle Eastern youth, should extract the lessons learned from previous failed experiences rather than simply run away from them without looking back.

We need to agree on a common set of universal human values that respect the different cultures and traditions and that guide our decisions towards the improvement of our societies.

We need to focus on the common ground between us rather than highlight the differences.

Being jihadists or completely faithless has an equally detrimental impact on society, so let us create a place that respects the dignity of people without letting go of our roots, traditions, and beliefs.

No religion today worships a God of War, so let us not fight a war in his name.

Cannes 2013

The 66th Cannes Film Festival is underway, with the usual trappings of red carpet glitz, film market pitching and negotiating and, this year, non-stop torrential rain. All the Hollywood stars are in town, but so are film industry professionals from all over the world.

For the 9th consecutive year, the Lebanese Pavilion at the International Village is a home away from home for actors, producers and directors looking to promote their projects.

The 35mm From Beirut team just got into Cannes for the annual film festival. After getting our accreditation, badges and setting up the Lebanese pavilion at the International Village, we headed out onto the Croisette where there was lots of randomness going on.

Lebanon’s presence at the Cannes Film Festival is now in its 9th consecutive year, thanks to the collaboration between the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris and the Fondation Liban Cinema.

May 26, 2013 by 35mm from Beirut

On this page you can keep up with some of the Lebanese actors, directors and producers present at this year’s festival, working hard to get the Lebanese film industry the recognition it deserves.

Philippe Aractingi | Director

Philippe tells us the difference between writing fiction and documentary, and what drives him to make movies in Lebanon.

Serge taking us around the Cannes Film Festival 2013

The three pillars of the festival: watching the films, buying and selling films at the market, and building your network.

Serge Akl | Tourism Office of Lebanon

Serge Akl is Director of the Tourism Office of Lebanon in Paris, and the driving force behind 35mm from Beirut. He shares his thoughts on how the Lebanese pavilion helps directors and producers each year in Cannes, and how cinema can promote tourism in Lebanon.

Troma Entertainment

We got to talk to Troma Entertainment, the makers of Return To Nuke ‘Em High, premiering at Cannes this year. They’re promoting independent cinema and hoping it’ll reach the recognition it deserves along side big productions such as The Great Gatsby.

Darina Al Joundi | Film & Theater Actress

Darina shares her experience on how acting on stage compares to acting in front of a camera. She also talks to us about the importance of being insane.

Nasri, our correspondent,  walks around Cannes and Annoys People, maks his way into a Chinese TV interview, meeting the team from Nuke ‘Em High, getting rejected by leggy models, and pouting like he’s Cameron Diaz.
Souraya Baghdadi | Maroun Baghdadi Au Printemps Du Cinéma LibanaisWe spoke to Souraya Baghdadi at the Unifrance Pavillion, following a documentary screening and panel discussion honoring her late husband, arguably Lebanon’s most preeminent filmmaker, Maroun Baghdadi.
Sarah Taher & Gregory Rateau | Directors tell us about their experience co-directing the movie Ziad, their projects for a feature film and how Lebanese cinema should be inspired by life’s daily struggles rather than grand themes.
Gabriel Chamoun | Producer. This Lebanese film producer talks about finding distributors for his latest project, Ghadi, and tells us why he feels very positively about the Lebanese film industry.
Nasri, our correspondent at the Cannes Film Festival, likes to make a bit of an idiot of himself. Despite it’s bemused correspondent, 35mm From Beirut helps promote Lebanon through it’s film industry.

Jessica Mansour | Director.

Talking to up-and-coming Lebanese director Jessica Mansour about her film, “Melody in the Shadow”, being screened at the Short Film Corner.

We discussed why coming to the festival is useful, how she feels she fits into the Lebanese movie industry, and what can be done to improve Lebanese cinema.

Sarah Himadeh | Actress

We caught up with LA-based Lebanese actress Sarah Himadeh at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival, where she told us about the short movie she’s representing, and her auditions for network TV shows.

Speech of Hitler lambasting Roosevelt: As Germany declares war on the US on Dec. 11, 1941

Hitler knew that Roosevelt favored England, but the US President was unable to counter the 80% of the US public opinion, which was very reluctant of intervening in this war.

Roosevelt has agreed to lend Churchill on credit for military hardware purchases, foodstuff and raw materials, most of the 33 million tons of supplies that England needed every month, just to survive.

The US companies were exporting all kinds of products and rare raw materials to both sides, and accumulating huge profit.

In Nov. 23, 1941, Germany foreign minister Ribbentrop meet with Japan’s ambassador Oshima and told him:

“We know today for certain from the intransigence of the US, that the negotiations with Japan will end in failure.  If Japan decides to go to war against the USA, that option will be favorable to the Führer, and Germany will join Japan in declaring war on the US…”

Four weeks later, on Dec. 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and destroyed half the US naval fleet in Hawaii.

On Dec. 6, 1941, Roosevelt had written to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito:

“We, State leaders, have the sacred duty of restoring the traditional friendship between our two countries”

On the same day, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

The airplane carriers were not in sight of the Japanese planes and were saved from certain sinking. That was a fatal mistake that would turn the tide during the Midway sea battle.

A week later, Hitler declares war on the US and delivered this public speech:

“I accuse Roosevelt of crimes against international laws.

Roosevelt comes from a rich family and lived the privileged life that democratic States facilitate the existence of the rich classes, this class labeled the 10,000 ultra rich.

Roosevelt lived WWI in the shadow of his protector (President) Wilson, amid the sphere of the war profiteers and exploited the miseries of the poor classes riddled with soaring inflation and engaged in vast speculation deals

I was a simple soldier in WWI, and I got injured, and was released as poor as ever.

Roosevelt is intent on switching his policies from the internal public opinion demands to external affairs, aided by his Jewish cohort the Frankfurter, Baruch, Cohen and Morgenthau…”

Initially Germany’s policy was to keep the US neutral in the conflict. Germany was interested in Continental Europe, including Russia as its Vital Space.

On Feb. 1941, German foreign minister Ribbentrop had met again with Japan’s ambassador Oshima.

Ribbentrop tells Oshima that the Führer is considering to extend his vital space eastward, toward Russia, and that he accepts the risk of a war with Russia.

Ribbentrop insists that Japan should not give Roosevelt any excuse for the USA to enter the war: We are in the same boat with you, and the US produces more military hardware than all the belligerent forces engaged around the world…”

Hitler came to believe the view that Roosevelt is the main danger in the US and that the Jews in the White House were strongly influencing his foreign policies. Hitler said:

“The American have no future. The USA is a rotten country. The racial problems and the vast inequalities are rampant. The US inspires me with aversion and deep disgust. Half Jewish, and half niggers: This is the US society in a nutshell. How can a community founded on solely generating money and stand up among the nations?…”

It is to be noted that, when Germany declared war on the USA, it was already in deep trouble after occupying large swap of lands in Russia and facing serious counter-offensives from the Soviet armies, in this cold Russian winter…

Germany was fighting the two largest powers in the world at the same time.

If Germany coordinated its attack on Russia with Japan, the entire war scenario would have changed. Japan was already in Manchuria and occupied Korea and the coastal parts of China… But Hitler wanted all of Russia to belong solely to Germany!

“You sexually harassed me, and my older sister too…” (fiction story, Chapter 4)

The gang of Mani, Baptiste, and Tenderness came down for lunch at 2 pm.

I happened to be there, working on editing a few of my articles.

I stepped into the kitchen and without warning Mani immediately uttered:

“So I heard that you had a fight with my youngest sister last night… That was wrong”

If you are interested in what Mani was referring to, do read first

I replied: “Yes, I had to defend myself from physical aggressions. But no physical harms ensued. Your sister suffers from hormones imbalance…”

Mani retorted: “Self defense on a young girl of 15 is not acceptable. I understand how much you suffered in your life, but reacting physically is not permissible…”

I replied: “Self defense is admissible in all cases. Your sister should have learned by now that initiating a physical attack on people is wrong. If you have trained your sister to behave adequately and stopped cajoling her everytime she throws a tantrum, we would not have had this conversation…”

Mani said: “You are never to respond physically to my sister attacks, even in self defense. We have suffered you enough and in the event of recurrence, you’ll have to deal with me…”

I have no idea how he might deal with me, and I didn’t care for Mani’s soft outburst that dripped of poison and condescension.

I replied: “I will always react physically to anyone who attacks me physically. Someone in this family has to point to the correct attitude. And I tell you that you don’t know your sister: She would have spat in my face if I didn’t confront her physically…”

Baptiste, the hairy tall new comer in the extended family, and about to go bald in a couple of years, interjected in the discussion and blurted out with effusion and anger: “You were wrong. Period. That you disagree with everyone around this table is a good reason for voicing an ultimatum…”

From the onset, I had this strong feeling that this meeting was programmed and rehearsed, and the three members of the gang were intent on vomiting their venom.

I had no idea this Baptiste applied this brand of “democracy”: If you disagree from the vast majority (only 3 people around the table), you are the bad sheep to be kicked in the behind… Baptiste was the least of my concerns and I refused to reply to his “opinion”.

I always strongly suspected Baptiste to be this unidirectional kind of people, idiotically clinging to a restricted set of value system… Occasionally camouflaged under a kind and smiling face.

I know that mother likes Baptiste very much and appreciate his dedication to her married granddaughter. Mother and Baptiste easily laugh to one another quips and he is very respectful to mother, and I have no complaints in that respect…  and I am comfortable with this bonding.

Except that Baptiste cannot fool me: When he has an opinion about another person (a perception), nothing can alter his position…

And here Radyia (Contented) barged in, furious and ready to scream her anger, a pent up anger that never finds a release valve.

Radyia gave a short break to her sweet ass from the couch, sitting for hours watching stored TV series on her laptop. Radyia is now about 18, but looking younger for her small stature, flat chested, and seemingly skinny when dress the way she does.

Radyia repeated the same statements and arguments of her younger sister, as if her sister learned exactly how to reply from Radyia.

Radyia went a step further and screamed: “You sexually harassed me, and my older sister too. You should never be allowed in this house…” (It is an apartment that dad gave them).

Radyia ejaculation didn’t turn out to be a bombshell to the assembled party. As if they had coordinated their roles in that comical scene.

Their mother Concita was wiping the dust in the dinning room, and her hand movements got faster and frantic. As if she was wondering: “Is this family evolving into a mad and unchecked entity?”

I asked Radyia for explanation and what she recalls when she was 13 of age, But Baptiste whisked her away, back to her comfortable couch.

Mani resumed with a mocking smile: “Not two but three sisters. And you were lucky: My dad contemplated to take you to court many years ago, and desisted…”

Now, that was news to me.

They are 4 sisters, and I wondered who was spared and who is cultivating a front page story. And I said: “Name the sisters and tell me what happened and what you considered sexual harassment…”

Mani said: “They are not here now, and I am not in a position to speak on their behaves…” (And why he was so confident in his statement?)

Mani taunted himself to be very careful not to be biased in his discussions and be fair by hearing both parties… Not in this case, and not today.

Claiming sexual harassment is a lost case, anyway you try to explain or respond. Best way is to communicate in writing.

When a girl of 13, not pretty, skinny, short and flat chested is curious about the transformation in her physical and emotional states, she never lacks of tricks to implicitly let you make a move.

Maybe there are very few males who are perceptive and hot enough to comprehend the first  female signals.  In my case, many signals are needed and done in many ways to attract my attention.

Frankly, it is hard to pinpoint what was going on, how the process got started and evolved. The only moment I can recall is the first time I touch tits of a receptive girl.

Radyia was 13 then, and she is 18 now, and she is as flat chested, as small and as not pretty as ever.

No matter how she keeps with the latest fashion and try hard to look sexy and attractive. No boy ever fell for her, yet.

Radyia used to come down in her transparent night gown to see me. Understandable. It is very hot here in summertime, and no air conditioned facilities.

Her descents got frequent and with a twist every time: variations in attraction tactics…

I finally got it and felt pity for her unstable emotional situation.

What could I do with this girl and how could I handle such a situation?

Three clear alternatives to ponder upon:

1. You refrain from reacting and making a move, telling her bullshit story that she is beautiful and attractive… but this is not right. You cannot fool a girl this way: Children are better than adult in recognizing what you are trying to convey and avoid. And she will be thinking: “I am not beautiful and I am not attractive, and you are full of shit…”. And this girl will hate you and despise you for the way you treated her with condescension, an idiot girl, a non-entity..

2. You respond harshly that her attitude is indecent, that only sluts do these things… The message is the same, though not as bad as the previous alternative. The girl will stop treating you as friend to rely upon in times of needs…

3. A third alternative is to say nothing, touch the breasts, kiss the neck. Going no further…

I touched her breast a little.

The next afternoon she was back, for more. What the heck: Soon her older brothers will be playing with her tits for “fun”, and Radyia will be screaming, playfully. As she should.

The troubles come later, as a repeat is expected and the process gets complicated: Holding hands is fine for a week…

And one party gets tired of the game. And one partner learns to get detached.

I had written a poem on what happened and let Radyia read it. She did read it reluctantly. I asked her: “What is your opinion”. She replied: “This post is not correct”.

I wanted to reedit the poem to include her side of the story, but Radyia refused. I assumed that she lacked the verbal ability to express her feelings.

And the girl grows up and forgets the situational conditions: It is not possible that she had made the move toward this elderly creature…

Radyia’s bitterness has no bound, and her humorless acquired condition is totally abject.

She couldn’t lure any boy, even a brainless one, to fall for her. Not a single boy, None. No matter how she dressed in the latest fashion and tried to attract boys.

It is a lost cause:

If you refrain from interfering with family affairs, the extended family circle, and your experience taught you not to engage in family troubles, you are blamed for detachment behavior, heartless feelings, and lack of compassion, of loyalty… for the general good

If you occasionally get engaged in family matters, you are designated as the convenient subject to load all the blame on your shoulders… for immersing yourself into issues that are None of your “business”. All the troubles are heaped on your head…

And these grown kids have forgotten that they relied on me to take them to parks, zoos, biking by the rivers, hiking, swimming, skiing, going to movies… and giving rides to schools and universities, a teaching how to drive…

And I am barely suffered to be among these people

What the heck. We grow up in stages, and we have to deal with each stage as we best knew how.

Germany and USA: The most anti-Semite and staunchest supporters of Israel… Why?

The Bund, or the General Jewish Labor Union in Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, which was founded in Vilna in early October 1897, a few weeks after the convening of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in late August 1897, would become Zionism’s fiercest enemy.

The Bund joined the existing anti-Zionist Jewish coalition of Orthodox and Reform rabbis who had combined forces a few months earlier to prevent Herzl from convening the first Zionist Congress in Munich, which forced him to move it to Basel. Jewish anti-Zionism across Europe and in the United States had the support of the majority of Jews who continued to view Zionism as an anti-Jewish movement well into the 1940s.

Anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts

Realizing that its plan for the future of European Jews was in line with those of anti-Semites, Herzl’s strategy early on was an alliance with the latter. He declared in Der Judenstaat that:

“The Governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want.”

Herzl‘s added that “not only poor Jews” would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, “but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them“. Herzl unapologetically confided in his Diaries that:

The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”

When Herzl began to meet in 1903 with infamous anti-Semites like the Russian minister of the interior Vyacheslav von Plehve, who oversaw anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it was an alliance that he sought by design. That it would be the anti-Semitic Lord Balfour, who as Prime Minister of Britain in 1905 oversaw his government’s Aliens Act, which prevented East European Jews fleeing Russian pogroms from entering Britain in order to save the country from the “undoubted evils” of “an immigration which was largely Jewish”, was hardy coincidental.

Balfour’s infamous Declaration of 1917 to create in Palestine a “national home” for the “Jewish people”, was designed, among other things, to curb Jewish support for the Russian Revolution and to stem the tide of further unwanted Jewish immigrants into Britain.

The Nazis would not be an exception in this anti-Semitic chain of pro-Zionist enthusiasts.

Indeed, the Zionists would strike a deal with the Nazis very early in their history. It was in 1933 that the infamous Transfer (Ha’avara) Agreement was signed between the Zionists and the Nazi government to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine, and which broke the international Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany started by American Jews.

It was in this spirit that Zionist envoys were dispatched to Palestine to report on the successes of Jewish colonization of the country.

The Nazi officer and official, Adolf Eichmann, returned from his 1937 trip to Palestine full of fantastic stories about the achievements of the racially-separatist Ashkenazi Kibbutz, one of which he visited on Mount Carmel as a guest of the Zionists.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of most German Jews, it was the Zionist Federation of Germany that was the only Jewish group that supported the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, as they agreed with the Nazis that Jews and Aryans were separate and separable races.

This agreement was not a tactical support but one based on ideological similitude. The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar. It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate inassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.

While the majority of Jews continued to resist the anti-Semitic basis of Zionism and its alliances with anti-Semites, the Nazi genocide not only killed 90 percent of European Jews, but in the process also killed the majority of Jewish enemies of Zionism who died precisely because they refused to heed the Zionist call of abandoning their countries and homes.

After the War, the horror at the Jewish holocaust did not stop European countries from supporting the anti-Semitic programme of Zionism. On the contrary, these countries shared with the Nazis a predilection for Zionism. They only opposed Nazism’s genocidal programme.

European countries, along with the United States, refused to take in hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the holocaust.

In fact, these countries voted against a UN resolution introduced by the Arab states in 1947 calling on them to take in the Jewish survivors.

Yet, these same countries would be the ones who would support the United Nations Partition Plan of November 1947 to create a Jewish State in Palestine to which these unwanted Jewish refugees could be expelled.

The pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis

The United States and European countries, including Germany, would continue the pro-Zionist policies of the Nazis. Post-War West German governments that presented themselves as opening a new page in their relationship with Jews in reality did no such thing.

Since the establishment of the country after WWII, every West German government (and every German government since unification in1990) has continued the pro-Zionist Nazi policies unabated.

There was never a break with Nazi pro-Zionism.

The only break was with the genocidal and racial hatred of Jews that Nazism consecrated, but not with the desire to see Jews set up in a country in Asia, away from Europe. Indeed, the Germans would explain that much of the money they were sending to Israel was to help offset the costs of resettling European Jewish refugees in the country.

After World War II, a new consensus emerged in the United States and Europe that Jews had to be integrated posthumously into white Europeanness, and that the horror of the Jewish holocaust was essentially a horror at the murder of white Europeans.

Since the 1960s, Hollywood films about the holocaust began to depict Jewish victims of Nazism as white Christian-looking, middle class, educated and talented people not unlike contemporary European and American Christians who should and would identify with them.

Presumably, if the films were to depict the poor religious Jews of Eastern Europe (and most East European Jews who were killed by the Nazis were poor and many were religious), contemporary white Christians would not find commonality with them.

Hence, the post-holocaust European Christian horror at the genocide of European Jews was not based on the horror of slaughtering people in the millions who were different from European Christians, but rather a horror at the murder of millions of people who were the same as European Christians.

This should explain why in a country like the United States, which had nothing to do with the slaughter of European Jews, there exists upwards of 40 holocaust memorials and a major museum for the murdered Jews of Europe, but not one for the holocaust of Native Americans or African Americans for which the US is responsible.

Aimé Césaire understood this process very well. In his famous speech on colonialism, he affirmed that the retrospective view of European Christians about Nazism is that

The supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before [Europeans] were its victims, they were its accomplices. And they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it:  until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples.

That they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole of Western, Christian civilization in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack.

For Césaire, the Nazi wars and holocaust were European colonialism turned inwards is true enough.

Since the rehabilitation of Nazism’s victims as white people, Europe and its American accomplice would continue their Nazi policy of visiting horrors on non-white people around the world, on Korea, on Vietnam and Indochina, on Algeria, on Indonesia, on Central and South America, on Central and Southern Africa, on Palestine, on Iran, and on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rehabilitation of European Jews after WWII was a crucial part of US Cold War propaganda. As American social scientists and ideologues developed the theory of “totalitarianism”, which posited Soviet Communism and Nazism as essentially the same type of regime, European Jews, as victims of one totalitarian regime, became part of the atrocity exhibition that American and West European propaganda claimed was like the atrocities that the Soviet regime was allegedly committing in the pre- and post-War periods.

Israel would jump on the bandwagon by accusing the Soviets of anti-Semitism for their refusal to allow Soviet Jewish citizens to self-expel and leave to Israel was part of the propaganda.

Commitment to white supremacy

It was thus that the European and US commitment to white supremacy was preserved, except that it now included Jews as part of “white” people, and what came to be called “Judeo-Christian” civilization. European and American policies after World War II, which continued to be inspired and dictated by racism against Native Americans, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims, and continued to support Zionism’s anti-Semitic programme of assimilating Jews into whiteness in a colonial settler state away from Europe, were a direct continuation of anti-Semitic policies prevalent before the War.

It was just that much of the anti-Semitic racialist venom would now be directed at Arabs and Muslims (both, those who are immigrants and citizens in Europe and the United States and those who live in Asia and Africa) while the erstwhile anti-Semitic support for Zionism would continue unhindered.

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s.

In the 1960s, West Germany even provided military training to Israeli soldiers, and since the 1970s has provided Israel with nuclear-ready German-made submarines with which Israel hopes to kill more Arabs and Muslims. Israel has in recent years armed the most recent German-supplied submarines with nuclear tipped cruise missiles, a fact that is well known to the current German government.

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Der SPIEGELin 2012 that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years”. Berlin financed one-third of the cost of the submarines, around 135 million euros ($168 million) per submarine, and has allowed Israel to defer its payment until 2015.

Doesn’t these supports makes Germany an accomplice in the dispossession of the Palestinians? This is of no more concern to current German governments than it was in the 1960s to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer who affirmed that “the Federal Republic has neither the right nor the responsibility to take a position on the Palestinian refugees“.

This is to be added to the massive billions that Germany has paid to the Israeli government as compensation for the holocaust, as if Israel and Zionism were the victims of Nazism, when in reality it was anti-Zionist Jews who were killed by the Nazis.

The current German government does not care about the fact that even those German Jews who fled the Nazis and ended up in Palestine hated Zionism and its project and were hated in turn by Zionist colonists in Palestine.

As German refugees in 1930s and 1940s Palestine refused to learn Hebrew and published half a dozen German newspapers in the country, they were attacked by the Hebrew press, including by Haartez, which called for the closure of their newspapers in 1939 and again in 1941.

Zionist colonists attacked a German-owned café in Tel Aviv because its Jewish owners refused to speak Hebrew, and the Tel Aviv municipality threatened in June 1944 some of its German Jewish residents for holding in their home on 21 Allenby street “parties and balls entirely in the German language, including programmes that are foreign to the spirit of our city” and that this would “not be tolerated in Tel Aviv”.

German Jews, or Yekkes as they were known in the Yishuv, would even organize a celebration of the Kaiser’s birthday in 1941 (for these and more details about German Jewish refugees in Palestine, read Tom Segev’s bookThe Seventh Million”.

Add to that Germany’s support for Israeli policies against Palestinians at the United Nations, and the picture becomes complete. Even the new holocaust memorial built in Berlin that opened in 2005 maintains Nazi racial apartheid, as this “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” is only for Jewish victims of the Nazis who must still today be set apart, as Hitler mandated, from the other millions of non-Jews who also fell victim to Nazism.

That a subsidiary of the German company Degussa, which collaborated with the Nazis and which produced the Zyklon B gas that was used to kill people in the gas chambers, was contracted to build the memorial was anything but surprising, as it simply confirms that those who killed Jews in Germany in the late 1930s and in the 1940s now regret what they had done because they now understand Jews to be white Europeans who must be commemorated and who should not have been killed in the first place on account of their whiteness.

The German policy of abetting the killing of Arabs by Israel, however, is hardly unrelated to this commitment to anti-Semitism, which continues through the predominant contemporary anti-Muslim German racism that targets Muslim immigrants.

Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition

The Jewish holocaust killed off the majority of Jews who fought and struggled against European anti-Semitism, including Zionism.

With their death, the only remaining “Semites” who are fighting against Zionism and its anti-Semitism today are the Palestinian people.

Whereas Israel insists that European Jews do not belong in Europe and must come to Palestine, the Palestinians have always insisted that the homelands of European Jews were their European countries and not Palestine, and that Zionist colonialism springs from its very anti-Semitism.

Whereas Zionism insists that Jews are a race separate from European Christians, the Palestinians insist that European Jews are nothing if not European and have nothing to do with Palestine, its people, or its culture. What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews.

That the two largest American pro-Israel voting blocks today are Millenarian Protestants and secular imperialists continues the very same Euro-American anti-Jewish tradition that extends back to the Protestant Reformation and 19th century imperialism. 

But the Palestinians have remained unconvinced and steadfast in their resistance to anti-Semitism.

Israel and its anti-Semitic allies affirm that Israel is “the Jewish people”, that its policies are “Jewish” policies, that its achievements are “Jewish” achievements, that its crimes are “Jewish” crimes, and that therefore anyone who dares to criticize Israel is criticizing Jews and must be an anti-Semite.

The Palestinian people have mounted a major struggle against this anti-Semitic incitement. They continue to affirm instead that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, that it does not represent all Jews, and that its colonial crimes against the Palestinian people are its own crimes and not the crimes of “the Jewish people”, and that therefore it must be criticized, condemned and prosecuted for its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people.

This is not a new Palestinian position, but one that was adopted since the turn of the 20th century and continued throughout the pre-WWII Palestinian struggle against Zionism.

Israel’s claim that its critics must be anti-Semites presupposes that its critics believe its claims that it represents “the Jewish people”.

But it is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.

Today, Israel and the Western powers want to elevate anti-Semitism to an international principle around which they seek to establish full consensus. They insist that for there to be peace in the Middle East, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims must become, like the West, anti-Semites by espousing Zionism and recognizing Israel’s anti-Semitic claims.

Except for dictatorial Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority and its cronies, on this 65th anniversary of the anti-Semitic conquest of Palestine by the Zionists, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, the Palestinian people and the few surviving anti-Zionist Jews continue to refuse to heed this international call and incitement to anti-Semitism.

The Palestinians affirm that they are, as the last of the Semites, the heirs of the pre-WWII Jewish and Palestinian struggles against anti-Semitism and its Zionist colonial manifestation. It is their resistance that stands in the way of a complete victory for European anti-Semitism in the Middle East and the world at large.

Note: An extract from the lengthy article by Joseph Massad.  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: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians. 

Letters to wives during WWII: Gen. Erwin Rommel, Gen. Gotthardt Heirici

In this winter of 1941, the German armies failed to encircle Moscow: Hitler delayed launching the attack till late June because the German Armies had entered Greece, occupied Yugoslavia with 680,000 soldiers in May 4, and were ready to pound on the Baltic countries of Rumania, Hungry, and Bulgaria.

In this difficult Russian winter, Hitler ordered all the commanders in the eastern front Not to retreat. The commanders who suggested a retreat were replaced by other commanders, and a few who did not obey were court marshaled and executed.

In Dec. 25, 1941, General Gotthardt Heirici wrote to his wife:

“They (The German officers and Hitler) don’t want to accept the fact that their armies, facing Moscow, are already completely encircled by the Russian armies. They refuse to admit that the Russians are capable of such military maneuvers.

Thus, they keep rushing in the abyss, totally blind to the consequences. Within 4 weeks, they will have lost their armies, and later they’ll lose the war…”

The weather is below 35 degrees Celsius, the ground muddy and icy, and the German soldiers lacks winter clothing and the vehicles and equipment are frozen, and the supplies are lacking…

The Russian army barely manage to resist the first onslaught, and as Stalin was convinced that Japan is no longer prepared any attacks on Russia, Stalin dispatched 400,000 soldiers from Russia far eastern front to face the German armies that penetrated very deep into Russia since June.

Gotthardt Heirici wrote in April 24, two months before the Russia campaign, and describing the occupation of Poland:

“In Poland, the Germans are behaving exactly as during the Antiquity when the Roman Empire conquered other people: The Polish people are to serve as slaves. Poland is considered the garbage dump of Europe… (the land where most people are potential for extermination).

Gen. Erwin Rommel had led his Panzer division in 1940 across the occupied France in a swift mechanized “horse ride”.

In Jan. 6, 1941, Gen. Erwin Rommel writes to his wife LU, from his quarters in Bordeaux (France):

“It seems the postal service is back to normal: I received your correspondence of Dec. 21 and 23. This afternoon we watched the movie “Le Coeur de la reine” (on Marie Stuart0 and I liked it.

The French peasants are living in the same life style as during the Roman Empire. Their homes are similar to ancient Rome, rough construction, flat roofs with round tiles, no running water, windows that don’t close shut, and not designed to keep the cold and wind out

I am not surprised of the military debacles of the Italian armies in Libya, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia, Somalia… against the armies of the British Gen. Archibald Wavell… The Italians forgot that war is not an easy enterprise…”

The British had rounded up 160,000 Italian soldiers as prisoners and the Italian armies overseas were in constant retreat. Churchill decided that the British armies are better to be shipped to Greece to counter the German advances in the Balkan, instead of reconquering all of Libya and Tunisia.

On Feb. 6, 1941, Rommel meets with the Fuhrer and receives the order to lead the AfrikaKorps in North Africa.

Rommel air bombs the port of Benghazi to prevent the British armies from it to supply its troops, and he settled in Tripoli, waiting for the 120 Panzer tanks to land.

The Italian officers were already packed up and waiting to be repatriated to Italy.

The initial mission of Rommel was to reconnoiter the front and the theaters of operations in Libya. He quickly stepped out of his limited orders and advanced very swiftly by fooling the British that he had many more tanks than he had: Rommel attached makeshift tank bodies on Volkswagen cars and led columns of transport vehicles to raise a lot of dust and give the illusion that an entire division of tanks are on the move…

By Aril 25, 1941, Rommel writes to his wife:

“The city of Tobruk will fall within two weeks and the battle of Egypt and the Suez canal is now seriously engaged. Easter passed and we didn’t notice it. You and my son Manfred are the most precious people I have in this world.

Greece is to fall very shortly… The German traditional officers who are burdened with theories do not comprehend practical spirits.  The energy shared by the chief in constant contacts with his soldiers is often more important than his intellectual gifts and talents.

The modern warfare is swiftness and requires maximum initiatives from the commanders and his troops…”

Athens fell on April 27. The 55,000 British soldiers who were supporting the 200,000 Greek armies had to retreat haphazardly to the island of Crete.  A few weeks later, 5,000 German parachutists landed in Crete and were supported by 15,000 coming from the sea and forced 30,000 British to evacuate again.

Many generals begged Hitler to occupy Cyprus to be at a striking distance from the Suez Canal. The Fuhrer declined the suggestion because Germany lost 4,000 of its best trained parachutists in Crete, and Hitler was still feeling sore of that loss.

Back in Russia. In December of 1941, a German soldier wrote to his wife: “Don’t worry. Don’t be sad: The sooner I’m buried deep in earth, the sooner I’ll save myself further pains and suffering…”

The war in Russia has turned “extermination style” on both sides. villages were burned to the ground and the civilians left to die in the cold and out of famine. No prisoners were taken.

Note: Extracts from the French book of Max Gallo “1941: The world catches fire”. Gallo




May 2013

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