Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 5th, 2013

Unfuck Texas? Fuck Dallas though July 5, 2013

I think that the first time I visited Dallas was around 1976: I went down with a couple of friends to watch the football game between the Sooners and the team in Dallas.

The game was located close to the block where Kennedy was assassinated, and that’s where the drunk masses strolled after the game.

Who won? I never cared. I don’t recall I went in the stadium: Maybe I didn’t have a ticket, or I just needed to see Dallas.

The after game celebration was as boring and loud as everywhere else in the USA, with maybe more “Fuck Sooners” than anywhere else, and drunk youth walking back and forth along the same long street.

The Viet Nam US engagement was put to rest, except for all those handicapped and mentally shocked soldiers. Forgotten and locked from the sight of public media.

And then in 1977, another excitement got hold of the universities with strong Iranian students. The University of Oklahoma had one of the most active Iranian students, and every couple of days there were demonstrations and marches shouting “Down the Shah”

The next time I visited Dallas was in 1985 at Xmas time. I wanted to be away as the university was almost vacant and insisted with my highschool friend from Lebanon to visit with him.

Actually, we shared the same table for about 3 years, and I don’t recall we spoke. When we met in Dallas, I noticed that he hardly recognized me or cared for me all these years sitting side by side.

Probably I boarded the Greyhound bus because I wouldn’t suffer another Amtrak train trip.

For an entire week, I stayed with  Hobeich who was married. They got married while in college because his rich German wife got pregnant. They told me that it was love/lust from the first night they met. His daughter was Not natural because probably his wife tried to abort but failed to carry it successfully.

I felt my friend or his wife suffered me for that week. They took me once on Sunday to an auction, behaving as well-to-do couple who bought a new big house.

My “friend” was ashamed to make me visit his quarter at work, a kind of a high post with an oil company owned by his father-in-law.

I realized that Dallas had no beginning and no end, until I you find yourself smack in the dust bowl.

Note: In a condolence event in Lebanon, I met someone with the same family of Hobeich and asked him whether he knows my friend. He said that he didn’t know him personally but is convinced he passed away from heart attack.

Dallas is a sprawling city, flat and flat to infinity. It seems that the same Real Estate developer was monopolizing the aggrandizement of Dallas, or a mafia of developers agreed on a couple of blue prints for mass production.

Dallas should be the ideal digital city for addresses: No landmarks or monuments to direct you, except Downtown.  I was under the impression that no public transportation were available, not even buses.

The State government never wanted to know that there are poor people in Texas who could not subsidize GM, Ford, Exxon, Chevron….

I passed through Austin once. Maybe on the way to Baylor?

Fuck it all: I should have stayed longer in Austin, but I was sick and tired of university towns…

And what the article of “A Rich, Full Life In Spite of It” has to add on Texas and Austin? And posted on July 3, 2013.

Given the recent disdain expressed for the Lone Star State on ACOF, I was surprised when Le Clown asked me to contribute a post about Austin to his travel segment.

But if any city can soften such a resounding, “Fuck you,” to Texas, it’s Austin, and after Wendy Davis and Ashley A. paved the way back into his left leaning heart, I agreed.

I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, minus three semesters of college in New Mexico.

I grew up in rural Texas, and attended junior high and high school in a dairy town where football was king. I lived in Dallas for a few months after leaving New Mexico, and then finally settled in Austin.

I’m well aware of the stereotypes about Texas and its residents, and I won’t deny that we deserve some of that reputation, but Austin is unique.

My dad used to call it little San Francisco, and he did not mean this as a compliment. He wasn’t very happy when I moved here in 1998; he probably thought I’d catch a bad case of bleeding heart liberal—I prefer to label my views as moderate, but he had a point.

It is a tree-hugging, laid back city–a splash of blue in a predominantly red state.

And I love it here.

It’s a common practice in the South to begin every conversation with strangers by talking about the weather, but it’s not very interesting. Unless you visit during our winter months, January and February, you should dress for swamp ass and be prepared to lose ten pounds of water weight over the duration of your visit. The forecast—fucking hot.

I almost jogged around Town Lake after I took this, but I was wearing flip-flops, so I ate a donut instead.

I almost jogged around Town Lake after I took this, but I was wearing flip-flops, so I ate a donut instead.

Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, but for me the beauty of this city isn’t in the bands you can see, the memorial to Stevie Ray Vaughan, the bars you can go to, or the restaurants I could tell you about.

It’s the vibe of the city that brought me here, and it’s the heart of the city that has kept me here for fifteen years.

Austin is the college town no one ever wants to leave.

Austin is the view from Mt. Bonnell, or watching the sunset from a cliff overlooking the 360 bridge. If you’re lucky enough to have friends with boats, it’s spending summer days at the lake with a cold beer in your hand.

Austin is the naked people at Hippy Hollow, hanging out free and uninhibited and not giving a shit what anyone else thinks about it.

Austin is the view from Mozart’s, a coffee shop right on Lake Austin where your dogs are welcome, and you can sit on the deck looking out at the water, sipping something other than Starbucks, and writing for as long as you want.

Austin is First Thursdays on South Congress, where the hipsters come out in droves, pay too much for homemade clothes, and drink PBR in a can at $6 a piece.

Austin is the Pecan Street Festival, where 6th Street is transformed from a wannabe Bourbon Street, to a haven for crafters and artists to display and sell their work complete with food trucks, and a variety of fried things on a stick.

Austin is a city that holds a festival at Pease Park every year in honor of Eeyore’s birthday. The smell of a freshly fired joint is just as likely to mix in the air with a waft of patchouli as it is to hit a wall of Axe body spray.

People dressed in cargo shorts and Polo shirts will be standing next to people who’ve left clothes behind in favor of head to toe body paint for the day, and they’re all swaying to the same drum circle rhythms. Everyone passes it happily left, sings Kumbaya, and life seems a little less bleak and a little more harmonious if only for a moment.

It’s a short drive to some of the most beautiful rivers and lakes in Texas, including my family’s ranch, where the Llano runs peacefully through it, and the land has been in our family for close to 100 years.  The pace of life is a little slower out there, but it’s a place where the word redneck doesn’t mean ignorant, it means a person who works hard doing manual labor, and has the mark of the Texas sun on the back of their neck to prove it.

My dad is behind the camera here.

My dad is behind the camera here.

Austin is place where you’ll find people raised in these smaller towns with more conservative values living peacefully among the liberals, exercising our right to protest when we disagree, supporting local artists, and a good majority of us still hanging on to our guns.

That’s not even necessarily out of fear or ignorance although of course it can be. I don’t own any guns at all, and don’t care for them personally, but when my dad and I disagreed about that issue, it was easier for me to see his point of view knowing that he grew up with rattlesnakes like this one to defend himself against. And if I came face to face to one of these on foot, I’d want a gun with me too.

Austin is my home, and I’d appreciate it if you’d un-fuck it. At the very least, come visit before you judge the entire state as a bunch of ignorant assholes.

Youth representation? Where has youth participated? How about youth manipulation?

Is the topic of youth inclusion gaining more momentum with international organizations?  Are young people around the world playing a more important role in influencing decision-makers?

Government representation at the international level is an easy matter of a decision from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Youth representatives present more complications, as young people are often used to promote the agendas and interests of certain countries or agencies.

The defunct Egyptian President Morsi got it loud and clear as youth unfurled their anger and determination in mass monster demonstrations to oust a government that forgot the youth needs and wants…

The unemployment in Greece for youth under 25 is about 35%. The official rates in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland are not dropping bellow 25%.

The trick is that in these States, in order to vent off the anger and frustration of the unemployed youth, governments keep deciding on early elections, even after a 6-month stint, and the results are the same in resolution and consequences.

Governments change quickly, but the youth are never asked to participate and be represented in how policies should be changed.

Cedric Choukeir,  the Regional Director of the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa, posted this July 2, 2013:

I recently attended the regional Arab States Conference for the ICPD +20 that took place from June 24 till June 26 in Egypt.

The aim of the conference was to review the progress made so far regarding the ICPD program of action over the past 19 years in the Arab region and to come up with a declaration that would feed into the UN General Assembly Special Session on ICPD Beyond 2014 that is planned to take place in September 2014.

Youth participation played a key role in shaping the declaration of the conference, as the unofficial representatives were given a 30 minute panel to lead, along with a seat in the negations of the drafting committee. The youth representative was being allowed to participate in the negotiations in the same manner as country delegations do; a practice that goes against UN protocol.

Unfortunately, youth participation was monopolized by the UNFPA sponsoredArab Youth Coalition for the ICPD Beyond 2014” that included mostly UNFPA partner youth NGOs and 15 International Planned Parenthood Federation staff members.

Donor funding highly influenced the coalition’s priorities as can be seen from their Call to Action, a replica of the UNFPA agenda.

In the region that has the highest youth unemployment rates in the World, the four page call to action fails to mention the issue even once.

This is a call out to country representatives and young people all around the world not be fooled by well branded youth representatives. It is important to ask:

who is funding their travel expenses and five star hotels?

why they are being funded?

which organizations they represent? and

how they decide on their priorities?

Most youth coalitions “created specifically” to advocate for one conference, such as the ICPD, build their advocacy messages with the aid of facilitators from the funding agency that direct them based on the agency’s goals. The selection process is also very important, as there is usually no open call for youth NGOs to join the coalition, and only the NGOs that are in line with the funding agency’s positions are invited to join.

These fake coalitions should ask youth in the Arab region what they truly want before monopolizing their voice and handing it over to an international organization with an agenda that is contradictory to the region’s priorities.

Note:  A comment said: “What about sexual health and relationships?”

Cedric’s replied: “Nope none of the kids we spoke to talked about that. They’re not interested. Their priorities are taking care of their brothers and sisters and housekeeping” “can you ask them about sex then?”

Cedric resumed: “In working with young Lebanese all over Lebanon over three years… when I open up the floor for them to talk about their priorities, not once has once of them even come close to mentioning the subject! I did an online poll in 24 hours for youth in the Arab region and asked about the priorities and I included sexual and reproductive health on purpose as an option, out of 501 votes, it got only 2…




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