Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 9th, 2014

 

Beirut is Ridiculously Unprepared for a Major Earthquake

Under the Roman empire, Berytus, the capital of modern-day Lebanon, was known as the Jewel of Phoenicia and motherbed of Law.

The harbor city was a trading hub for luxury gems and spices. Wealthy Romans built holiday villas there, along with towering monuments and dazzling theaters. Its law school gained the city a reputation as “The wet nurse of law“, and a famed center of higher education.n

In 551 AD, the earth broke. A massive earthquake tumbled buildings and sparked a tsunami that wiped the city off the map and killed an estimated 30,000 people.

As Beirut was rebuilding, another earthquake wiped it out again within a decade. It took decades for Beirut to recover its position as a regional capital following the disaster, and even then, it never entirely regained its former glory.

In modern day Lebanon, Beirut’s notoriety stems from its bloody 15-year civil war and its precarious position along a political fault line between regional powers jostling for influence in the tumultuous Middle East.

But it may be the literal fault lines running underneath the country that ultimately present the biggest risk to the tiny Mediterranean country.

Look at a Google satellite map of Lebanon, and you’ll see that the most prominent feature observable from space is a line, at first appearing to be a highway, stretching straight through the center of the country, down from Turkey through the Syrian border in the north, to Palestine in the south.

The line is a fold in the topography that was created by the Yammouneh fault line, one of 3 major cracks in the earth’s surface under Lebanon that put it at high risk for another quake.

The Serghaya fault line, runs to the east, under the Bekka Valley.

A third major fault system, the Mount Lebanon Thrust, running just off the coast of Lebanon, was only discovered in 2003 when geologists surveyed the area after decades of war suspended research for 25 years.

“We live in a very special place on the surface of the planet,” says Ata Elias, assistant professor of geology at the American University of Beirut. “Lebanon is just there between these plates. Earthquakes do happen here and we have had major earthquakes.”

Elias says the country is overdue for another major quake.

In 1759, two quakes, one month apart and each measuring 7 on the Richter scale, killed some 40,000 people in Lebanon and Syria.

Lebanon witnessed an earthquake in 1956, and the citizens had to suffer “The earthquake tax” for two decades.

The Yammouneh fault line produces an earthquake about once every 8 to 10 centuries, and the Mount Lebanon Thrust every 15 to 17 centuries. Both have the potential to generate earthquakes of up to 7.5 in magnitude.

“We are at a time when both fault lines have had enough time to produce another earthquake. But how soon, no one can really say,” says Elias.

What he can say, however, is that the current level of preparedness for such an event means it will result in catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

More than 70% or Lebanon’s roughly four million people live along the coast. Beirut has a population of approximately 1.5 million, with most cramped into dense, poorly constructed residential housing.

Those residential buildings, built into picturesque hills — pushed up by pressure from the earth’s movement over centuries — or on soft, sandy coastal soil are not built to withstand a quake of such magnitude.

A law passed in 1994 says all new construction must be built according to standards incorporating seismic resistance. But most residential buildings are old, built before these laws were introduced. And with little government oversight, construction laws are rarely enforced.

“Lebanon is not prepared for this at all,” says Mohammed Harajli, a professor of civil engineering at AUB. “There is a requirement that every building over four-and-a-half stories should be resistant, but the problem is in supervision. There are no strict laws for monitoring and implementation. The country is too busy with the political situation to take this seriously.”

To help mitigate the risk, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working with the prime minister’s office on a project to help the Lebanese government develop its disaster management and risk reduction strategy.

Signed in 2009, the Disaster Risk Management Project has developed a National Response Plan to deal specifically with natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, which feature high on the list.

Project manager for the project Nathalie Zahrour says that, while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go and the NRP has yet to be endorsed by the Cabinet.

“Risk reduction is everybody’s responsibility and the government has a major role at the institutional, sectoral and local level to play. The Lebanese Government has committed to giving DRM high priority,” says Zahrour.

“Making Lebanon resilient to disasters is a long process; laws need to be issued and approved, the National Disaster Management Agency needs to be developed, funding needs to be channelled. Nevertheless, we are determined to become a flagship of resilience.”

Crucial to saving lives, according to Harajli, is public and industry awareness.

“If we design our structures for earthquakes and observe international regulations, we save a lot of lives,” he says. “The cost of making a building earthquake resistant does not add that much to the cost of the building. It’s 5% maximum.

Elias agrees, and says waiting for the next big one to hit is not an option. “We need something to shake people into being prepared for this. If we get a major quake, the face of the country will be changed dramatically. Otherwise we will be another Haiti.”

What else do you need to know about Islam?

10 Things I BET You Did Not Know About ISLAM.

1. We can eat pork…… 
depending on the circumstances. By default, the meat of pigs is haram (unlawful) in Islam. However, there are exceptions where it can be consumed in dire circumstances. A clear example would be a “do or die” situation. Literally.

2. We can pray in Hebrew

or in Cantonese. Or in Russian. Or in sign language or just about ANY language in the world! Yes, as Muslims, you are encouraged to learn Arabic as the Quraan (Sacred Book) is written in Arabic (here’s why).

If you have a language disability or you are just really comfortable in your native language -relax. God gets it. Baby steps.

3. WE DECLARE JIHAD!!!! (On ourselves)

Pay attention to the simplest breakdown of this word that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Jihad = Struggle

Struggle = to strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance

The Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him – says “The greatest Jihad is the Jihad against yourself.”

A highly respected scholar defines this best –

” Declare your Jihad against 13 enemies you cannot see. Egoism, Arrogance, Conceit, Selfishness, Greed. Lust, Intolerance, Anger, Lying. Cheating, Gossiping, Slandering. If you can master & destroy them, THEN you will be ready to fight the enemy you can see. ” – Imam Al Ghazali

4. We dont follow the Shariah ALL the time

The Shariah is the law by which Muslims abide by. BUT, as much as it is law – it is also a guideline. To be misUSED as and when in accordance to the situation and the context and background of the people. I suppose this is why we were created with brains?

Muslims are strongly encouraged to use their intellect, wisdom coupled with knowledge of the sacred texts and books to ascertain the right from wrong using the Shariah as guidelines.

5. Arabs are NOT Muslims.

Ok so maybe some are. But get this. Arab is an ethnic group. Not a religion.

There are different types of Arabs depending on where they are from – White arabs, Black Arabs, Lebanese, Moroccan, Sudanese – the works. And then, there are Christian Arabs, Jewish Arabs, Buddhist Arabs.

And wait, I’m not finished yet.

There are Chinese Muslims, Indian Muslims, Scottish Muslims, African Muslims, White Muslims, Black Muslims, Brown Muslims, North Pole Muslims and did i mention Arab Muslims??

Islam does NOT belong to a particular ethnic group or language or country or race or type of people and it NEVER will.

ANYONE can enter its sphere.

6. We have 290,786 different sects.

Relax. Keep Calm and Read on. Thing to remember before continuing from this point is –

NEVER confuse Islam (The Religion) with Muslims (the followers).

Moving on – Muslims are every where. It is impossible to have 1 ring to rule them all.

Last night, over dinner – my friend gave a really wise analogy for this. Coffee!

It comes from..uhh.. the Coffee Plant. Cultivated in over 70 different countries. It is then processed and the seeds are roasted to varying degrees depending on the desired flavour.

People drink coffee in a million different ways resulting in a million different taste that suits the individual. You may hate the coffee i drink and i may not fancy yours. But, its the same source! So.

Compare this with the Muslims. You have people following Islam from all over the universe. 7 continents. 196 (recognized) countries. A million different races, cultures, background, history. It’s impossible to expect everyone to conform to being 1 type of Muslim.

So there are what we call Madhab (Mazhab, School of Thought) which has 4 different ..thoughts. Some Muslims (Not Islam) also have different sects. Shia and Sunni being the famous two.

What is amazing about this is the very fact that it is mentioned in the Quran. Diversity is to be celebrated and it is a Mercy from God 🙂

Ok wait, so how do you decide what or where to belong to?

In the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him – he says

I am leaving you with the the QURAN and my SUNNAH, if you follow them you will never go astray

As long as the Quran and Sunnah (practices/teachings of Prophet Muhammad) are heavily relied upon as examples and the way of life, i reckon you’re in safe hands.

And please, BRING YOUR BRAINS WITH YOU. If some guy tells you to bomb yourself & kill others so you will earn yourself 50 women fanning you while you sip on halal wine in paradise -then…. USE. YOUR. BRAINS.

7. Women Rights & Islam is a SYNONYM.

Surprise!! Here’s a rhetorical trivia! Guess the FIRST University in the world?

The University of Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco. Founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859. SHE founded it. SHE founded the FIRST UNIVERSITY.

It was lawful. It was encouraged and heck yeah it was celebrated! Women(Muslims or Non) Rights existed over 1400 years ago.

Our Lady Khadijah, peace upon her – was a successful entrepreneur. SHE HIRED the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to work for her.

The best scholar of hadith (traditions) was our Lady Aisha, peace upon her. The men had to go to her and study FROM her. When all of civilizations demeaned women with ideas of them carrying original sin, burying of female infants, treated as sex slaves,not allowed to pursue education, Islam removed ALL of that and was the FIRST to introduce fair distribution of wealth and property to women.

The Sacred Book itself declares numerous versus of how women are integrating, equal halves of the human race.

Guess how Islam decides who is BEST in character??

The best of you are those who treat your wife best.

All ma ladies in the halal club put your hands up!

8. Prophet Muhammad LOVES you & he loves Jesus too!!!

When people tell me “But..Jesus loves you!”  Im like..yeah, i know. I love him too. We ALL love Jesus, peace be upon him.

Thing is, do you know that Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him loves you too!? Unconditionally. Whether or not you hate him. or love him.  or dont even know him. Don’t ask me how.

That’s just how it is and you can’t run away from this. He was the epitome of humanity just like his brothers- the prophets, peace be upon them, before him. He loved ALL of creation. About the animals of the earth, he said,

Fear God of your treatment of these animals who cannot speak

My favourite example of his mercy is the following story.

After praying at the Kaabah (Sacred House) (Also quite possibly THE most sacred symbol in Islam) –the prophet and his companions sat nearby to rest. A bedouin passing by the village,went right up to the Kaabah and started urinating.

The companions who were with the Prophet, started to draw out their weapons but the Prophet stopped them and said “No, let him finish”. After the bedouin released himself, the Prophet walked up to him and introduced himself. They then got into a conversation of where he was from etc…small talk basically. At the end, the Prophet then explained to him the significance of the Sacred House to the Muslims.

Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. Lovveee. There are infinite more examples where this came from. 🙂

9.We want world peace as much as you do

All of our people have died in wars and evil agendas of sick minded humans. Our sisters have been raped and abused and killed. Our men have died in wars and have their throats slit alive and beheaded.

Hold up. If you read the above – ‘our sisters’ and ‘our brothers’ as our muslim sister/brother, you’re wrong.

I meant our Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim brothers and sisters. All of humankind. Every one from every religion and even those without a religion. Too many people have died in vain. Too many children have become orphans.

The media is doing a fantastic job at dividing us. And it does not help when a stupid do stupid things in the name of a certain religion or group thereby portraying all of the group as such.

I don’t know who you are and I don’t care where you are from. If you’re up to fight for world peace and destroying oppression and establishing justice and peace for all in the world- then I  am with you. And I assure you, the lovers of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, are with you too.

10. WE ARE A HAPPY BUNCH!

Despite the crazy shiz going on in the world – one must persevere.

Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, said

Which actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, feed the hungry, help the afflicted, lighten the sorrows of the sorrowful & to remove the sufferings of the injured.

So because i want you to get the right information, i’m going to leave you with some seriously amazing stuff and work from Muslims all over the world so you KNOW the REAL Islam.

There is a LOT more where that came from.. but since this is off my head, im going to need a few more days to work on this. Oh and you should check out this video.

Note: Islam one of the heretics Christian-Jewish sects https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/islam-is-one-of-the-%E2%80%9Cheretic%E2%80%9D-christian-jewish-sects/

Children in Israel: On a sure path of militarization mentality

Ali Abunimah submitted this May 7, 2014

Disturbing photos show militarization of Israeli children

afplivefive782738.jpg

An Israeli boy wearing a military vest throws a mock grenade during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014.

(Gali Tibbongali / AFP)

On 6 May, Israelis celebrated their “independence day,” which they mark according to the Jewish lunar calendar.

Traditionally Israeli Jews hold public celebrations and picnics, especially in “national parks” typically built over the ruins of ethnically cleansed and destroyed Palestinian villages.

Meanwhile, with broad support from the Israeli Jewish public, Palestinian public commemorations of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – can be punished by law.

Many of the Israeli festivities are celebrations of the so-called “Israel Defense Forces,” better known to Palestinians as the army that occupies them, arrests and kills their children with impunity and helps settlers to steal their land.

afplivefive782728.jpg

An Israeli child holds a rocket launcher as another holds her doll during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014.

(Gali Tibbongali / AFP)

Some of these disturbing images of Israeli children being put through military-style training displays at Efrat, an illegal Israeli colony in the occupied West Bank, have been circulating widely online and were published in Haaretz and other media.

A repeated theme of pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian propaganda is to circulate images of Palestinian children taking part in such militarized displays in order to advance the belief that Palestinian culture is inherently violent and “teaches children hate” and that therefore Israeli violence is a justified defensive response.

But these pictures are remarkable because they reveal the extent to which Israeli culture has been militarized and how Israeli children are not immune to this – a key theme in Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath.

There is no doubt that both Israeli and Palestinian children have been subjected to this kind of brutalization by adults.

It is horrifying whenever children are given guns and encouraged to imagine themselves as killers.

Such activities are arguably in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that member countries “shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of 15 into their armed forces.”

As I wrote on a previous occasion when such disturbing images of Israeli children appeared:

Children live with the consequences of Israel’s violent occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, whether it is Israeli children indoctrinated to continue this oppression as adults, or Palestinian children brutalized and traumatized by the organized violence of occupation, colonialism and apartheid that pervades their lives.

This is never a reflection on the children, but on the adults who subject them to such ugliness.

afplivefive782736.jpg

An Israeli boy wearing a military vest crawls on the sand during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014.

(Gali Tibbongali / AFP)

afplivefive782729.jpg

An Israeli man shows his son how to work a machine-gun during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014.  (Gali Tibbongali / AFP)

Indoctrinating children

Rela Mazali is the founder of New Profile (newprofile.org), an Israeli organization that supports conscientious objection and advocates for individual refusers.

 

In this video with The Real NewsLia Tarachansky, she explains how Israeli culture normalizes military conscription so that people do not even regard militarization as a policy choice but rather as a natural feature of life.

The report also includes an interview with refuser Alex Cohn who discusses how Israeli Jewish children are indoctrinated through popular media to look forward to their conscription into the army and to disparage skepticism and refusal.

Mazali also discusses sexual violence in the Israeli military and how the culture has managed to make sexual harassment and assault invisible to its victims


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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