Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 10th, 2013

Stephen Hawking boycott conference in Israel, and hosted by Israel 90 year-old president Shimon Peres. In protest at treatment of Palestinians

I consider Professor Stephen Hawking the ultimate mental achievement of mankind. A total paraplegic who managed to communicate his complex ideas and theories by very convoluted and hard time consuming language methods. That is the spirit of determined persons. And Hawkins never forget that racism and discrimination should be banished from civilization.

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Stephen Hawking fine tuned the theory of the Big Bang and developed the notion of the Black Holes…

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president’s conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday.

and Matthew Kalman published  in The Guardian this May, 8, 2013

Stephen Hawking

A statement published with Stephen Hawking’s approval said his withdrawal was based on advice from academic contacts in Palestine.  Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Hawking is in very poor health. Last week, he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking’s approval described it as “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there”.

Hawking’s decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions.

In April, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland became the first lecturers’ association in Europe to call for an academic boycott of Israel, and in the United States members of the Association for Asian American Studies voted to support a boycott, the first national academic group to do so.

In the four weeks since Hawking’s participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, he has been bombarded with messages from Britain and abroad as part of an intense campaign by boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind.

In the end, Hawking told friends, he decided to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues who unanimously agreed that he should not attend.

Hawking’s decision met with abusive responses on Facebook, with many commentators focusing on his physical condition, and some accusing him of antisemitism.

By participating in the boycott, Hawking joins a small but growing list of British personalities who have turned down invitations to visit Israel, including Elvis Costello, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox and Mike Leigh.

Israeli occupation forces has detained around 9,500 Palestinian minors since 2000.
Israeli occupation forces has detained around 9,500 Palestinian minors since 2000.

Many artists, writers and academics have defied and even denounced the boycott, calling it ineffective and selective. Ian McEwan, who was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 2011, responded to critics by saying: “If I only went to countries that I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed … It’s not great if everyone stops talking.” (What if Israel refuses to talk peace with Palestinians?)

Noam Chomsky, a prominent supporter of the Palestinian cause, has said that he supports the “boycott and divestment of firms that are carrying out operations in the occupied territories” but that a general boycott of Israel is “a gift to Israeli hardliners and their American supporters”.

Hawking has visited Israel four times in the past.

In 2006, he delivered public lectures at Israeli and Palestinian universities as the guest of the British embassy in Tel Aviv. At the time, he said he was “looking forward to coming out to Israel and the Palestinian territories and excited about meeting both Israeli and Palestinian scientists”.

Since then, his attitude to Israel appears to have hardened.

In 2009, Hawking denounced Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza, telling Riz Khan on Al-Jazeera that Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza was “plain out of proportion … The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue.”

Israel Maimon, chairman of the presidential conference said: “This decision is outrageous and wrong.

“The use of an academic boycott against Israel is outrageous and improper, particularly for those to whom the spirit of liberty is the basis of the human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which everyone can express their opinion, whatever it may be. A boycott decision is incompatible with open democratic discourse.”

In 2011, the Israeli parliament passed a law making a boycott call by an individual or organisation a civil offence which can result in compensation liable to be paid regardless of actual damage caused.

The law defined a boycott as “deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage”.

• This article was amended on 8 May 2013. The original described Hawking as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He stepped down in 2009.

Accompanying Hanna to fetch potable water (2013)

It is totally ridiculous to many citizens in the world that you have to drive to fill gallons for potable water, from a distribution center…

It is laughable to many citizens in the poorest States that you have to drive 3 miles while the town well is at a walking distance... Actually, many municipalities shut down their naturally flowing sources of water, on account that nature has been polluted and the sources...

It is insane to many citizens that all the water conduits and pipes reach your home, and yet no water circulate in them…

It is unimaginable to many citizens that you have to pay water taxes, for water you never receive. Homes in Lebanon are required to submit  for 1.5 cubic meter per day, and pay for what you asked for, and forget that water stopped arriving to destination…

In the land of rivers, snow capped mountains, milk, honey…

The “chansonniers” in Lebanon like to sing: “Lebanon is beautiful, the natural Eden on earth… and all. And the citizens are so fucked up”

Hanna is a male name, short for Yuhanna. The female counterpart name is Hanni. Sorry for suggesting in the title a romantic love story, of lovers meeting at a well…

Hanna drives my military brother-in-law truck. He is to visit clothing shops, drop off clothes, get paid… A dime in a dollar worth of whatever pieces were sold… And thousand spent on gas and truck repair. And this losing business is called “doing business“.

Twice a month, Hanna drives the truck to our house in order to carry 50 gallons, and I go with him as assistant, drive to the nearest water distribution center, fill the gallons with “potable water” that is pumped electrically from Dbayeh.

Since electricity is frequently not available, so does water.

The minister of power and water has promised recently that soon, very soon… potable water will come down through gravity.

The minister secured the funds for 8 new small dams and he attended three ceremonies so far for “laying the stone” for the projects…

We used to take out the gallons, fill them, recharge them in the truck, drop them in the ground floor, re-filter the water, one gallon at a time, carry them to the 3 floors in the building…

Lately we got smarter: We are carrying a hose to fill the gallons in the truck. Chimpanzees would have figured out better performing techniques.

I listened to many stories and I can be a potential biographer of Hanna, if he suggests this job to me, and if I agree to write the hilarious events in Hanna’s life. Like:

How he smuggled arms and ammunition during the civil war to his town Al Qa3 when he was 16.

How he got injured 11 times as a soldier in the army.

How he diffused a car bomb in Saloumi (Beirut). The first bomb went off and killed and injured dozens of passerby. Hanna and his soldier assistant were on a mission and were not supposed to stop to do anything else. He ordered the soldier to hide the number of the Jeep so that it won’t be identified and he diffused the second bomb. Hanna came forward and the chief of staff commended him. A month later, Hanna received a check worth $750 from the army.

Hanna was within a team of 6 trained men for diffusing all kinds of mines…

How he was the best operator of heavy machines and vehicles: bulldozers, heavy transport trucks, tanks…

And how he erected dirt barriers in Souk el Gharb with a bulldozer under a shower of mortar shells.

About 150 Lebanese soldiers were defending a line against 15,000 Syrian and Palestinian soldiers intent on marching toward the presidential palace in Ba3bda…

This post is about the latest trip to “water hunting

Hanna had purchased an apartment. The two owners had constructed two buildings. Hanna was supposed to have his apartment linked to the Dbayeh water source center that supplies Beirut.

This water is filtered and abundant, not like the center in Tamish where residents have to carry gallons to fill potable water…

Hanna went to see the director of the water in the district. This public official shows up once a week on Thursday morning.

Hanna parked in front of the office the next Thursday, and eased his way behind the director who was from the Dandash family, a family in the Hermel district, close to Al Qa3.

The director got hold of the file, crossed the word Tamish and replaced it with Dbayeh and forced the owner to cough up $11,000 to link the pipes to the building.

The owners had spent just two thousands to link the water conduits to Tamish distribution center

The residents of the two building view Hanna as their hero.

Hanna hates lawyers: They are all liars. He takes the installments of the residents in the apartments every month and pays the “good owner”…

Hanna suffers from acute back pain.

This has nothing to do with carrying four gallons of water, two in each hand. I carry only two gallons, stoop the correct way, all the ergonomically proper techniques for lifting “heavy weight”: I am older than Hanna by 8 years, and I don’t enjoy health insurance…




May 2013

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