Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 17th, 2013

Lord Balfour chased out of Damascus

Have you heard of this British foreign minister Lord Balfour? He is the one who promised, in 1917, the Zionist movement to arrange for a parcel of land in Palestine in order for the Jews to emigrate and settle there.

April 9, 1925

Lord Balfour is visiting with the Zionists in Palestinians and is planning to visit Damascus by boarding a well-secure train from Haifa to Damascus, the capital of Syria, that was under French colonial mandated power.

As the train reached Deraa in the Houran province, close to current State of Jordan, the inhabitants converged to have a hostile curious look at this infamous character.

In Damascus, the British consul Smart waited for the train at the town of Kadem and whisked Balfour in a ready closed car so that Balfour is saved from the cursing of the people on his arrival and along the route.

A mass of students were waiting at the hotel Victoria and shouting: “Down with Balfour” and other similar “Enemy of the Arab people”, “lackey to the Zionist capitalists”… The crowd was dispersed.

The masses converged again with increasing violence and the owner of the hotel closed all the windows in order to save the glasses of being broken by the showers of stones.

Orators harangued the demonstrators and were applauded. The Moroccan Spahis (soldiers on horses at the pay of France) dispersed the crowed with their swords  and wounded about twenty.

The people closed the Omayyad Mosque to this intruder. The shops in the souks were closed. A large demonstration was being planned for the next morning.

The gracious Lord was begged by a delegation of wise people for not honoring his presence any longer.

Lord Balfour was packed in a hurry and taken to Beirut, and immediately bordered the waiting ship.  On in the ship did balfour felt in security.

All conquerors of Syria remember Damascus, and balfour was not to forget the sentiment of this welcoming Syrians.

Alice Poulleau recalls in her diary that she was lost in the hills surrounding Damascus on the day Balfour arrived. Her adventure had a very happy ending.

Fellahs (peasants) of Doummar redirected her trip and even hired a donkey cart driver (Arbaji) to take her to Damascus. The Syrian are very hospitable and confident with “good foreigners”

Note: This is one of the diaries of Alice Poulleau in her published book “A Damas sous les bombs” (In Damascus under the bombs) that she finished writing in 1925 and published it in 1926.

The book was banned from all the countries under the French occupation troops, and was only republished in 2012.

Crows: Smarter than Chimps and Elephants?

Chimps and elephants are the only mammals that can fabricate tools for their survival, mainly to eat and dwell…

And crows can also do as well, and even better.

The brain of the crow has the same proportion to the body weight as chimps, but they might be more adaptable to the environment than chimps, and thus more able to survive.

Most animals and scavengers eat their own kinds, dead or alive when necessary. When a crow dies, the neighboring crows get together en mass, perched on a nearby tree or electrical line, wait in silence for 5 minutes and disperse very quietly…

The crow has about 250 different “crowing”: One for warning against cats, human, vulture…

Crows have two “dialects”: the high pitch is for the stranger crows and the lower pitch for the member of their clan.

They use clothing hangers to build their nests in urban environment. Japan suffers frequent train electrical outages caused by the hangers placed by the electrical lines. The Japanese squads for removing crow nests treat these birds on an equal footing in matter of ingenuity: They know that as the nest is removed, the crow is readying to replace it.

The crow drop a particular nut from a proper altitude to break it open.

The scientists discovered that these Skinner and Pavlov experiments on animals exhibited that the crows are the more performing species: What takes 750 trials for a dog, only half a dozen trials are needed for a crow to learn the proper technique to fetch his bonus food….

Crows can manipulate several steps in order to get the food: It can untie a small branch from a hanging line, remove the longer stick from a box, and then use this longer stick to retrieve the meat from a closed transparent box through the tiny hole… This bugger takes a good look around him before eating the ball of meat to make sure that no traps are set up

The crow learning curve is as good as children of 3 years old.

A young crow of 6 weeks can already fly. And learning for little crows is done by “flying games”. A few cultures nickname the crow the “Flying Chimp

I may let my imagination run wild and consider this plausible event: A team of crows opening the lid of a bin outside a pizza or hamburger parlor. This is more feasible if the handles are designed to fit the crow beak. In any case, I don’t see why the crow will not use his strong claws to lift heavier lids…

Note: I watched part of a documentary on crows on the channel ARTE




May 2013

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