Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 18th, 2015

Funny Turkey PM: A 360-Degree Difference Between Turkish Moslem Brotherhood Islam and ISIS’

Going back to his Wahhabi sect origin?

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to describe the difference between his interpretation of Islam and that of the Islamic State, and he’ll tell you there’s no distinction at all — entirely by accident, of course.

  • By Siobhán O’Grady October 15, 2015 
  • Siobhán O’Grady is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She joined FP from the Houston Chronicle’s Washington, D.C. bureau and has lived in Morocco and Cameroon.

Islamic State jihadis allegedly detonated two bombs at an Ankara peace rally last week, killing 99 and sparking many critics inside the country to accuse the Turkish government of failing to act on intelligence that could have prevented the attack. Other conspiracies included claims that the Kurdish opposition or the government itself was responsible for the attacks.

Davutoglu went on Turkish channel Show TV on Wednesday night in an attempt to rescue Ankara from those charges.

It didn’t go very well: In a major geometrical gaffe, Davutoglu instead ended up saying Turkey is directly aligned with the extremist group.

“There is a 360-degree, not 180-degree, difference between the Islam we defend and what Daesh has on its mind,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

Davutoglu, who was previously an academic, is the author of a book called Strategic Depth. His scholarly background only made the very public mistake even easier fodder for his opponents to poke fun.

On Twitter, Idris Baluken, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, used that irony to his advantage.

“It’s very clear what happened to the strategic depth, now it’s the turn for the geometrical depth,” he wrote.

How to be Productive: Try Being Non-Productive

“Habit rules the unreflecting soul.” ―William Wordsworth (And the reflecting souls too)

Years ago, in a controlled setting, I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment. It was helpful. In fact, I’d recommend it to most anyone.

The theory is that each individual possesses a certain number of character attributes (mostly developed by nurturing), which, together, result in a person’s tendency to develop certain skills more easily and excel in certain fields.

Of the 34 distinct attributes, the StrengthsFinder test will help an individual discover their top five.

As these assessments usually do, the results brought new words and meaning to my personality, talents, and motivations.

Based on the research, a person’s strengths do not change over the course of their lifetime. In other words, though many things have changed in my life over the past ten years, my top five themes have not.

John Peter  shared this link becoming minimalist

Joshua Becker 

Our natural inclination is to fill our hours with activities we deem to be highly-productive. (count the daily tasks you handled)

But this is almost never the healthiest path for us, our families, or our community.

Lasting productivity requires periods of non-productivity
A new definition of what true productivity actually looks like.
becomingminimalist.com

Here they are:

  • Achiever. People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
  • Competition. People strong in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.
  • Significance. People strong in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.
  • Context. People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.
  • Woo. People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.

Of the most significant driving forces in my life, the desire to achieve, compete, and gain significance rank among the most influential. And I can feel each of them within me every day. (These attributes are common among extremist mentalities)

The assessment is based on an important premise: It is wise for us to focus on building our strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses. However, every strength can become a weakness if we do not learn to recognize and control it.

The strengths that bring definition to our motivations can just as easily become a detriment to us if we allow them to gain mastery over us.

In my own life, I can see how a theme’s excess has caused unhealthy pursuits.

In fact, I have written about some of them prior (competition / significance).

But recently, I am beginning to recognize how another strength in my life left unchecked soon becomes a weakness. In this case, Achiever.

I take great satisfaction from being busy and I find fulfillment at the end of a day knowing something has been accomplished. And to a fault, I become restless when sitting idle—I prefer periods of productivity instead.

It’s important for me to add this does not mean every moment of my day is filled with hard work and productive outcomes—I struggle with procrastination and distraction just like everyone.

But it does mean that I am naturally drawn to the idea of being productive and tend to fill my hours with pursuits that fit the definition in my mind.

But I am learning more and more, especially over the past year, that being nonproductive is actually essential to mindful, intentional living. In fact, being nonproductive is one of the most productive things we can ever do—even if the behavior wars against every inclination in our body.

This year has been ambitious.

I submitted a completed manuscript to my publisher last week, we are launching a nonprofit organization here on November 1st, I have been preparing an at-home program for people looking to implement minimalism in their unique context, speaking heavily, and I’ve been focused on a few other surprises that I can’t mention quite yet.

In all this pursuit of productivity, the important periods of nonproductivity are harder to find—but have become even more essential for me and those closest to me.

It is imperative for me to structure intentional periods and disciplines of nonproductivity into my life.

(By nonproductivity, I mean nonproductive on the surface. In each of these pursuits, there is productivity to be found—it’s just not the type that typically motivates me.)

One of the ways I have begun to push against the excess of the achievement strength in my life is to articulate and understand the specific productivity of being nonproductive.

If you struggle with the constant need for busyness and/or achievement in your life, maybe you will find some motivation in the list I have been collecting. In each case, I recognize an essential, “nonproductive” pursuit that does not come natural to me, and then I focus on the benefit it provides for me.

For example:

Relationship. My wife values quality time. She needs and expects periods of time in our day where I am not focused on anything but spending time with her.

This can be difficult for me because it feels unproductive at times. But it becomes easier when I remind myself that investing time into a relationship is one essential key to a healthy and stable marriage.

Meditation/Devotion. When I meditate, I focus on my spirituality and my belief in a God who cares about his creation. It is easy to be pulled away from this discipline by the demands of the day. But only those who set aside the time to intentionally pursue a Higher Power, appreciate what is discovered.

Solitude. Different than meditation, I use solitude to focus inward—to discern my motivations and the voices I allow to direct my life.

Not only does the spirit of solitude go against my natural inclination to achieve, the pursuit inward is difficult for every human being. But I remind myself: it is in times of solitude and quiet that I am directed toward the pursuits and achievements that matter most.

Rest. Rest is an exercise in contentment. It is the ability to look back at the work I have accomplished over a period of time and slow down in appreciation of it.

It requires one to be content with their lot in life and, for a moment, not strive for more. But instead to rest, satisfied. And again, it turns out rest is one of the most productive things we can ever do.

Play. Playing with my kids, literally getting on the floor with them, is important for their well-being and my desire to communicate love and stability in my family. This is productive.

But so is play with other adults. Whether it be a game of Settlers of Catan at our kitchen table or a round of tennis with my opponent down the street, play holds enormous benefit for our lives. And adults who don’t recognize the productive nature of it, miss it altogether.

Investing into Others. This past weekend, I asked my son to help with some yard work. We don’t have a large area around our home and, to be honest, I probably could have finished it in less time if I hadn’t asked him to help.

But appreciation for hard work is something I want to instill into his life—and getting dirty on Saturday was a good way to do it. Whether at home, at work, or at church, investing into others doesn’t always feel like the most productive use of our time. But in the long run, everybody benefits.

Our natural inclination is to fill our hours with activities we deem to be highly-productive. But this is almost never the healthiest path for us, our families, or our community. So we must push against this habit constantly reminding ourselves…

Lasting productivity requires periods of nonproductivity—or, better yet, a new definition of what true productivity actually looks like.

Women’s Rights: Always an Exception?

‘Mich Wa2ta’ (Lebanese saying for ‘This is not the time to…’) is a national slogan in Lebanon used on several occasions by people of different social-economic, political and religious backgrounds.

Quite understandable in a country torn by cycles of physical and psychological wars, corruption, a dysfunctional system of diversity management, the reign of godfathers and their acolytes, and filthy streets  crawling with roaches.

“The Lebanese society will not succeed in overcoming its myriad crises through limited actions targeting symptoms, or by doing nothing.

It won’t succeed if it does not take into account the intersecting forms of discrimination.

It must pioneer new types of governance that allow and encourage people to move from idolatry (patriarchy as an idol, the zaim as an idol, the messianic figure or the hero as an idol) to iconoclasm/desacralisation, and to develop qualitatively different types of relationships with nature itself and with each other.

Respecting our nature and preserving it and insisting on transparency and accountability, come hand in hand with respecting one another as human beings, with sharing responsibilities and promoting fairness among all of us.”

By Dr. Pamela Chrabieh on the Red Lips High Heels’ blog.

Inevitable when the population is heavily traumatized and is only looking to survive – ‘Baddi al Sitra’  (I don’t want to be in the limelight) is the second national slogan (بدي السترة).

Mich Wa2ta’( The time has Not come) has been adopted lately to halt or criticize any struggle perceived as superfluous:

‘Now is the time for getting rid of the garbage…’;

‘Now is the time for securing our borders…’;

‘Now is the time for electing a new president…’;

‘Now is the time for partying as if there is no tomorrow…’; and the quite famous

‘Now is the time to get ready for the worst, not to deal with women’s issues…’

Standing up for one’s rights, debunking stereotypes, fighting for recognition, raising one’s voice and becoming an active agent of change for the better, are not matters of a specific time and space.

There is no such thing as ‘Tomorrow is a better day for obtaining your basic rights’.

In fact, without those rights, you will not survive. When you don’t face your fears, you don’t heal your traumas, you don’t dialogue with others and look for common grounds while embracing the differences, you don’t search for the roots of your misfortune, you don’t establish equality in rights and opportunities in your legal, social and political systems,…

You are doomed to be extinguished, you won’t survive, and if you do, it will be as one of the Walking Dead in the famous gritty drama portraying life (?) in the weeks and months following a zombie apocalypse.

There is no such thing as ‘a specific time’ to break barriers, such as gender based barriers.

It is a continuous struggle that is part of the same framework. Struggling for economic survival or ecological survival for instance must not come at expense of other human rights.

The rigorous application of a reconceptualized human right to a clean and healthy environment (or “right to environment”) should accompany the invention of alternative discourses and praxis that would meet everyone’s basic needs, including women’s access to a full citizenship status and their recognition as equal partners in the management of their households and country.

Many are the women in Lebanon who regularly suffer violations of their human rights.

Achieving gender equality requires a continuous comprehensive understanding of the ways in which women (and other gender identities) experience discrimination and are denied equality so as to develop appropriate strategies to eliminate such discrimination.

Addressing women’s rights should never be a secondary matter, but a constant priority.

Important gaps remain despite the work of feminists and women’s realities are changing with new manifestations of discrimination against them emerging on a daily basis.

The Lebanese society will not succeed in overcoming its myriad crises through limited actions targeting symptoms, or by doing nothing. It won’t succeed if it does not take into account the intersecting forms of discrimination. It must pioneer new types of governance that allow and encourage people to move from idolatry (patriarchy as an idol, the zaim as an idol, the messianic figure or the hero as an idol) to iconoclasm/desacralisation, and to develop qualitatively different types of relationships with nature itself and with each other.

Respecting our nature and preserving it and insisting on transparency and accountability, come hand in hand with respecting one another as human beings, with sharing responsibilities and promoting fairness among all of us.

Sure, it is not an easy task. There should be a serious reconsideration of the most premises of our legal, political and economic orders, and our cultural order and social norms as well. Many are required to enlarge their understanding of ‘value’ (value of a human being, value of nature, value of diversity, value of change…), to expand their sense of human rights and how these rights can serve strategic as well as moral purposes.

In a previous article (Is Lebanon Ready for a Revolution?), I argued that there is the deeper issue of whether the Lebanese society in its large majority is ready to crawl from under the trash and save what is left of its country.

Much will depend on our individual and collective, disparate, irregularly connected but certainly continuous initiatives in Lebanon and the Lebanese diaspora, on our abilities to articulate and foster coherent new paradigms of citizenship. Grassroots movements, NGOs, artists, academics, virtual activists… flourishing on the periphery of the mainstream political spheres, are all encouraging signs.

Each seeks in its own way to address the many serious deficiencies of our system of governance. For all their power and potential, however, none of these individuals and movements or their visions can prevail without recognizing each other’s struggles, building bridges between their ivory towers and ultimately, grounding their work in laws.

As I said it before, Lebanon’s road from denizenship to citizenship is long, winding and full of detours. We (as the sum of our scattered “I”s called to become interdependent) will get there eventually.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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