Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 4th, 2013

Atomic Anne”, Nuclear power plants, Areva, Fukushima

Atomic Anne” was a nickname bestowed on Anne Lauvergeon by the US media. She was heading the French power plants conglomerate AREVA.

Why economically decrepit France is shifting its policies to military preemptive strikes war games, in every location that France was a colonial power or had a mandate power over the people after WWI?

France has sound industrial sectors in space, telecommunication, high-speed trains, nuclear power generation and aerospace…

All of these sectors are of no use to the former colonial and mandated States who earned their independence. These states wants industries and an economy that keep them floating for survival, and France has lost the industries that can profit the needy States for export and France has no economical policies to encourage importing products from its former colonies to keep the ties strong and sustainable.

Consequently, currently France is of no use to the Middle-East countries and North Africa, and has not much to offer in matter of trade.

In the last decade, France failed to offer any cultural alternatives: Instead, France shifted its strategic priorities by waving the stick, a ridiculous stick that nobody care to take seriously.

France wants to export sophisticated and useless products to these under developed countries, hardware products that do not fit the needs of these States.

All that France wants is the oil and gas and showing off its fighter jets, nuclear submarines, space launching of spatial vehicles…

During Nicholas Sarkozy tenure as President, he behaved as if he was Louis 14 “The State is I”. The French government ministers and the Prime Minister were mere counselors and their decisions were frequently reversed at will of the President…

France was run by a parallel government, counselors to the President like Henri Proglio (who knew nothing about nuclear power but behaved as if he was the boss of this industry), Herve Marchenaud, and Claude Guerant

Sarkozy economic policy was to desist funding industrial enterprises that the State owns share in it. The predominant idea was to rely on Chinese and other emerging nations products that are cheaper…

This parallel government excited Gadhafi and Tunisia Ben Ali to purchase archaic first generation nuclear plants, against the adamant refusal of the safety minded authorities in France.

In 2007, Mohammad al Mubarak of the Gulf Emirates approached France saying: “We want to do nuclear…”

No problem, Sarkozy was ready to expedite this trade, even if the safety of running nuclear plants was not taken seriously.

The harshest among the barriers was to create the authority for the Safety of nuclear plants, and by magic, this serious constraint was crossed quickly.

Mind you that Areva cannot sell nuclear power plants to a client who is NOT a nuclear electrician, and is not capable of making the plant function properly…

Historically, the French Safety Authority has trained the Chinese, South Africa, Finland…  Usually, The safety training procedures take 3 years to complete forming and instituting the proper staffs.

Actually, it was France that built most of the nuclear plants in the third world, like in Iran, in Iraq in the 1980’s and in Israel in the 1960’s…

The problem was that Sarkozy had planned to destitute Atomic Anne Lauvergeon who headed Areva for 10 years and made this nuclear company first among the international power companies.  Why? Anne was perceived as more powerful than the President by the developed nations. And the deal failed and the American picked up the pieces in the competition.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster shook the world of nuclear power, Anne tried hard to extend AREVA expertise, but the Japanese refused to reply. In the meanwhile, Areva airlifted two cargoes of:

1. 100 tons of boric acid, an excellent absorber of neutrons that aid in regulating the fission processes

2. Safety materials for the workers engaged in the cleanup of the plants…

Three weeks later, on March 29, Japan asked Anne to visit Japan and help with her suggestions and the expertise of Areva.  Everything has melted down and the catastrophe had set in.

Anne landed and conducted a chain of meeting with the high level persons in charge of finding a resolution to the catastrophe. Anne was the main foreign personality who grabbed the Japanese media.

It happened that Sarkozy was visiting Far Eastern countries and paid a short 4-hour visit to Japan, and refused to invite Anne to any French gathering: Anne had snatched the front page attention in japan, which angered and antagonized the President even further.

What happened in Fukushima according to Anne in her autobiography “The Woman who resists“:

The painting of the Japanese Hokusai Great wave of Kanagawa” takes shape on March 11, 2011.

An earthquake of magnitude 9.1 hit the coast of the Island of Honshu. The tsunami generated waves as high as 30 meters (90 feet).

The sea entering 10 km inland ravaged 600 km of coastline (towns, villages…)  Over 21,000 people were killed from this monstrous tsunami.

The nuclear power plants in Fukushima of 1,000 Megawatt is halted for electrical production. There is just 60 Megawatt of heat generated from the combustibles that need to be evacuated to cool down the engine, and this was to be done by Diesel engines.

All is functioning smoothly, until a gigantic wave demolished the barriers designed to protect the reactor.

The sea water invades everything and destroys all in its passage. The Diesel engines are submerged and ruined.

The tubes of Zirconium enveloping the combustible might melt and hydrogen explosion will start a chain reaction that will contaminate the environment.

A hydrogen recombinator might have saved the situation, but its cost of a mere %00,000 Euros was turned down by Japan Tepco, a year earlier.

Without cooling, the lozenges (pastilles) of refractory combustible melted in the bottom of the tank or vat.

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy?

Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.  She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.

Lucy Posted this Sept. 15, 2013

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group — I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs.  A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy.  Only issue is this one thing:

Lucy’s kind of unhappy.

To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place.  It comes down to a simple formula:


It’s pretty straightforward — when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy.  When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

(Reality demonstrates that the equation should be: (Expectations-Realities) since expectations are very many and stored in the unconscious mind)

To provide some context, let’s start by bringing Lucy’s parents into the discussion:


Lucy’s parents were born in the ’50s — they’re Baby Boomers.  They were raised by Lucy’s grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or “the Greatest Generation,” who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.


Lucy’s Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers.  They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves.  Something like this:


They were taught that there was nothing stopping them from getting to that lush, green lawn of a career, but that they’d need to put in years of hard work to make it happen.


After graduating from being insufferable hippies, Lucy’s parents embarked on their careers.  As the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s rolled along, the world entered a time of unprecedented economic prosperity.

Lucy’s parents did even better than they expected to.  This left them feeling gratified and optimistic.


With a smoother, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents raised Lucy with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility.  And they weren’t alone.

Baby Boomers all around the country and the world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.

This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them.  A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.


This leads to our first fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Wildly Ambitious


The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security.  The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY.  Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.

Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time.

The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.


To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did — they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.

But something else is happening too.  While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, Lucy has been given a second message throughout her childhood as well:


This would probably be a good time to bring in our second fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Delusional

“Sure,” Lucy has been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.”  So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better —

A shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.


So why is this delusional?  Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special:

spe-cial | ‘speSHel | adjective better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

According to this definition, most people are not special — otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.

Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, “Good point… but I actually am one of the few special ones” — and this is the problem.

A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market.  While Lucy’s parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Lucy considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as she, and for her it’s just a matter of time and choosing which way to go.  Her pre-workforce expectations look something like this:


Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard.  Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build — even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them — and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.

But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that.

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.”  He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?”  He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here:


Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations,  even in early years out of college.  And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.

And it gets even worse.  On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation:

GYPSYs Are Taunted

Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did.  And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.

Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.

Social media creates a world for Lucy where

A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open,

B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and

C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation.

This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:


So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate.

In fact, she’s probably started off her career perfectly well, but to her, it feels very disappointing.

Here’s my advice for Lucy:

1) Stay wildly ambitious.  The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success.  The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out — just dive in somewhere.

2) Stop thinking that you’re special.  The fact is, right now, you’re not special.  You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet.  You can become special by working really hard for a long time (coupled with an objective, a fantastic daydream project).

3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.

Note:  Read Adam Weinstein position

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Is it worse than Conspiracy in Egypt?

Many people in Egypt believe that western media is biased in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I think they are right, but for the wrong reasons.  It is not because of a sinister western conspiracy to empower the Muslim Brothers, as Egyptian media never tire of telling their public.

The reasons are simpler and perhaps more depressing.   Some are related to how the media operates, while others have to do with occidental perceptions of Egyptian society.

posted in Democracy, Egypt, Islamism, Sweden this Sept. 28, 2013

During a recent visit to Sweden I heard the public radio network (P1) describe the interim-government in Egypt as the “military regime”. I was shocked.

Sweden is a country whose energetic foreign minister, Carl Bildt, has been a vociferous critic of the 30/6 uprising and the subsequent military intervention that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood president, firing the occasional tweet calling on the EU not to pull its punches and punish Egypt. Thank god Mr Bildt is not in the EU’s driving seat.

Why should the man who’s supposed to be the voice of Sweden on the global stage be on the side of an extremely reactionary political movement (in fact, it is a cult of religious supremacy) that is in every conceivable aspect the opposite of what Sweden stands for:

1. freedom of belief (more people were tried for blasphemy during Mursi than any other time);

2. equality between genders (Sweden tops the global list);

3. the parliament dominated by the MB and their Salafi friends was in favour of removing the ban on minimum age for marriage for girls,  and removing the ban on the abhorrent practice of female circumcision, otherwise known as FMG.

So what kind of “democracy” is Mr Bildt championing  for Egypt?


Although we expect foreign ministers to rely on little more than headlines to find out what actually happens in far away places, I  think western media bears part of the blame.

I don’t mean individual journalists, some of whom I know and respect for their professional integrity. But I mean the dominant news paradigm, which determines how news stories should be told.

This model favours simplicity, stark black and white narratives with clearly defined heroes and villains. If it has to deal with complex or ambiguous developments,  it will iron them out to fit them into its straitjacket.  But the devil is always in the details.

According to this paradigm the story of a “coup” is a lot simpler and sexier than say  “another uprising backed by the army” (which sounds like a déjà vu,  given what happened in February 2011). The coup narrative envisages a dramatic development, a counter-revolution, that is hard news, tangible leap into the unknown. You can already hear the potential for suspense.

The alternative narrative of the “revolution continues” is dull, boring and predictable,  “continue” is not a very newsy verb and does not create headlines.

Although the Egyptian scenario deviated in many significant respects from the classic coup narrative template (an army colonel reads the first communiqué,  announces the formation of a revolutionary council that assumes all powers, and sends all the civilian political class home or to jail ) it didn’t stop the media or many Western pundits from persevering in their monochrome vision.

Once you have superimposed the “coup template”, many details fall into place, the story almost tells itself,  because it follows a well-trodden path :  an elected president against an unelected general.

And Egypt has seen it all before, all the more reason to invoke yet another trope “history repeats itself” and the story is so easy to sell and explain.  Once you have inserted the complex reality into this needle’s eye of a template, the drama unfolds effortlessly.

But what about the millions who took to the streets demanding Mursi to step down, and who urged the army to intervene — these are facts that disrupt the “coup narrative template” and would make the story too complex to tell —  “people and the army together” does not simply fit into any of the readily available narrative templates.

Even when the individual reporter does acknowledge that people supported the army or demanded the military to intervene, this will figure way down in the story and the headline (the most effective of all messages) will still have the word “coup” or “coup leader” in it.

Alternatively,  the reporter may narrate it with  a degree of skepticism and incredulity;  it is presented as an opinion or a point of view, rather than a hard fact like the tanks on the streets, bloodstained faces etc .. all that stuff sells the story much better as a coup than anything else

Egypt tourism

Next to the media I put the blame on what you may describe as, short of a better phrase –the cultural prism through which Egypt is seen by Western eyes.

Many have made the assumption that because most Egyptians are religious and socially conservative then the Muslim Brotherhood must be truly representative of the majority. The MB itself has worked tirelessly for decades to convince Western journalists and think tanks to buy into this self-serving myth.

But this notion has been proven to be blatantly untrue.

The past two years have  demolished this fallacy — one can be conservative without being a supporter of the MB or any other Salafi group. Egyptians now know these are political parties and will judge them as such.

Further, a close examination of all the polls since February 2011 has revealed that if you factor in the turn-out figures, the MB are not a majority, but in fact an organized minority.

Most Egyptians are religious, but unlike the MB, they have always found a way to combine fun with faith.

Wearing hijab has never stopped Egyptian girls from trying to look elegant and attractive. In fact, Egypt has turned the headscarf into an Islamic fashion item that comes in all shapes and colors.

There’s also the other myth that the Muslim Brotherhood is the voice of the downtrodden masses,

The MB are closer to the average Egyptian than the urban and well-off population of Cairo or Alexandria for example.

There’s an old leftist bias here with a dash of orientalism, which obfuscates the nature of the conflict and serves the interests of the Mulsim Brothers rather well.

The MB are not poor, but prey on the poor.

They are in every bit as capitalism can be.  Remember too, these are the men who joined hands with Ronald Reagan back in the 1980’s to defeat communism. The MB are a global network backed up by multimillion-dollar business empire whose exact finances are known only to the few.

The poor were the human shields and cannon fodder in the bloody confrontation with the security forces  while the Muslim Brothers “aristocracy”  were in hiding.

The Muslim Brothers have also benefited from a political taboo prevalent mainly among the left in Europe and America.

Left leaning journalists don’t like to be seen criticizing or exposing Islamism for what it is , a supremacist ideology prone to violence,  out of fear of being seen as Islamophobes, a charge they prefer to hurl at their political enemies of the far-right in Western Europe and the neo-cons in America.

In this context, siding with the Muslim Brothers appears progressive, a way of burnishing your leftist credentials and  asserting your place in the ideological battle raging back home, which has little or nothing to do with Egypt.

All of this has fed into an orientalist bias that the MB are “the authentic Other”, while their opponents are not truly representative of the average Egyptian. To explain this let me digress briefly.

A young English lady travels to Cairo for the first time. She was disappointed when the taxi that took her from the airport was a modern air-conditioned car, not the old rickety black and white vehicle she had heard about. She missed the “exotic” thrill.

Something very similar happened with another former European colleague who didn’t like the newly restored quarter in old Cairo  (done with great care to the historic nature of the area in coordination with UNESCO) because it was no longer “authentic”. So the only way to stay  authentic is to be doomed for ever to live in chaos and covered in historic dust.

The Orientalist prism was evident in the  condescending advice from seemingly well-meaning Western friends (former American Ambassador Anne Patterson is the best example ) : this is not how democracy works, you must wait till the next round of election and vote the elected president out of office.

The 30/6 uprising was a slap in the face to the likes of Miss Patterson.  So it was also for Western professors who built their careers on the study of the Muslim Brothers and worked hard to sell them to policy makers in Washington and London as an effective anti-dote to the militancy of Al-Qaeda. They were suddenly made redundant by the Egyptians rising up and rejecting political Islam. Those quarrelsome, garrulous natives –  how dare they!

Egyptian writer and academic, Galal Amin,  had a  rhetorical question for the likes of Mis Patterson and Mr Bildt.  In his weekly column in Al-Shorouk newspaper he wrote :

“I am really surprised that those supporting the Islamists are people who come from a culture whose civilization began with a revolt against fanatical religious discourse hostile to freedom and science ! What drives the  representatives of such culture to deny us the same right to reject what they rejected 3 centuries ago – but  hypocrisy and the defense of their narrow interests !”

[written for the Islamist Gate (under construction) ]

Many people in Egypt believe that western media is biased in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood. I think they are right, but for the wrong reasons.

It is not because of a sinister western conspiracy to empower the Muslim Brothers, as Egyptian media never tire of telling their public. The reasons are simpler and perhaps more depressing.   Some are related to how the media operates, while others have to do with occidental perceptions of Egyptian society.





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