Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 10th, 2015

Sexual harassment at Brick’s bar in Hamra

Thurayya Zreik posted on FB

I would like to share an incident that happened with me at Brick’s Hamra.

More shocking than this incident, I would like to detail the appalling reaction and response of the management.

On Friday November 2015 at around 8.20 PM, I walked into Brick’s Hamra to say hello to a girl I knew. On the next table was a young man, who, as soon I walked in, turned to me and yelled something along the lines of “Hey baby” / “let’s get together” / “give me your number.”

His advances were quite loud and offensive, and could be heard by all in the bar. However, I decided not to respond after my girl friend informed me that he was with her group of friends.

The second time he yelled at me, he was equally offensive and obnoxious, and this time I asked him to please stop. By the third time, I had had enough. I turned and yelled back, at the same volume, that I was not his “Baby,” that he was disrespectful, and I demanded that he stops harassing me (تلطيش).

At this, he began to yell back, calling me, among other things, a “bitch,” a “stupid bitch,” a “f–king bitch,” and other variations of the word “bitch”, telling me to “shut the f–k up” and “get the f–k out of his face.”

Nobody reacted to the very loud, very audible torrent of abuse he was hurling at me. I continued to yell in defense of myself, as I was being insulted and threatened by him because I had told him not to harass me; which I see as a very reasonable and justifiable request on my part and definitely not one that warrants that level of verbal abuse.

He got up, and made motions towards me, warning me to “get the f–k away” before he “slapped the f–k out of me.” As he approached, I slapped his arm away to push him back. At this, he proceeded to slap me hard in the face and throw a lit cigarette at me, also in my face.

Again, at this point, nobody from the staff to the manager (who was a woman, if I might add) made any movement to intervene. Luckily, I am fit and sprightly, and know how to stand for myself, so I was able to pin him back in a chokehold.

Still, nobody moved, until the manager sauntered over at a pace so slow it was nearly comical, and took me away, telling me to calm down. A member of staff removed the aggressor, allowed him to take a walk around the block, and then let him back in.

During the time that the aggressor had left, I sat in tears of rage for ten minutes, listening to people telling me to calm down, that I should accept that he didn’t mean it, and insinuating that I didn’t think he was cute or funny because I had to have already been in a bad mood before I walked in, which is why I reacted the way I did.

It seemed like people, including all the women, found it genuinely hard to believe that what happened could be offensive and that loud public harassment is not a cause for being incensed in and of itself.

It was almost as if I wasn’t threatened, verbally abused, or hit in the face in public for asking someone not to harass me.

I decided to leave after the aggressor returned and began to tell me he was “f–king sorry, okay?!”

I returned to Brick’s later that night because I had decided to speak to the manager about the poor and inexcusable response of the staff to this incident, and I thought it was important to do so in order to avoid the same thing happening to another woman customer. In response, she told me the following:

1. That she did not act because she assumed I was friends with the young man, which is both:

A) a poor management decision, because it is not in any management job description to make assumptions about the relationships of customers; and

B) totally irrelevant to the fact that someone was being an aggressor

2. She told me “But he said sorry, you just didn’t accept his apology”

3. She also informed me that it was, in fact, my own fault for being in a bad mood to begin with

4. That if I didn’t like what he was telling me, I should have just ignored him instead of making a scene

(NOTE: I find it interesting that loudly yelling harassment in public at a young woman does not constitute a scene, but her legitimate resistance to it does)

So, it is for this reason that I have decided to boycott Brick’s, and I hope that you will join me in my boycott and maybe even share this and engage in some wide public shaming over social media smile emoticon I am sure there are plenty of bars in Beirut that are safer environments for women.

Update: someone from Brick’s has contacted me and it seems like they are planning on dealing with the situation more appropriately.

بريكس خاضع للنظام الأبوي
لا_للتلطيش #

A Night in a Transit Camp: the story of 2 Iraqi cousins

Sitting in the transit camp one night (used as a bus stop to transfer refugees from the coast of Lesvos to the registration camps) surrounded by people wrapped in blankets sleeping on the dusty ground, Najmah and Mohammad sat wide awake while their family slept around them.

We passed a couple of enjoyable hours with them, talking of journeys and hometowns, food and dreams for the future. As Hannah began sketching a portrait of the two of them they both struck a pose, excited and pleased to be the center of attention for a while.

We showed them the finished portrait and they both smiled and laughed. They were so pleased with it that Hannah tore the page out of her sketchbook and handed it to them. 'We will remember you by this', they said.
We showed them the finished portrait and they both smiled and laughed. They were so pleased with it that Hannah tore the page out of her sketchbook and handed it to them. ‘We will remember you by this’, they said.

These two cousins from Iraq had such a light-hearted, loving relationship that became apparent even in the short time we spent together.

They were constantly making jokes about each other, ‘she never cooks, she only watches TV! Although, she makes very good eggs’, Mustafa said, a mischievous glint in his eyes as Najmah responded by shrieking in indignation and punching him in the shoulder.

‘Today he is a hero!’ Najmah said, putting her arm around Mustafa. ‘He was the captain of our boat and he saved the lives of 50 people. Thanks to him, and God, we are here.’

Mustafa spoke in a quiet voice as he told us that their engine had broken 100m out to sea.

Using oars, they paddled back to Turkey and demanded a new engine from the smugglers.

Four hours later the same engine came back, hastily patched up. They complained further, and the smugglers told them they could either go out to sea or go to the police station (which would result in their arrest, deportation and a five year long travel ban).

They had just spent four days hiding from the police in the forest without food, ‘we were so scared we did not even need to eat’.

‘The smugglers are bad men, they are playing a dirty game. With our lives!’ Najmah cried.

Somewhere out to sea, between Turkey and Greece, they saw a rescue helicopter flying above them.

They saw us. halfway across the ocean, they didn’t help us. Why didn’t they help us? Why don’t they want us to come? We’re adorable!’ She exclaimed, only half joking.

‘Do you miss your home?’ Najmah asked us, when we told her that we spend long periods of time away from home. ‘No!’ we both replied.

‘What?! I miss my home so much… so much! Iraqi food is so good… and tea! I want Iraqi tea now. In Turkey the food was so bad, KFC and McDonalds, for eight days now I have not eaten good Iraqi food! But you will go home for Christmas, no? I love Christmas, I will have such a nice Christmas in Europe… with a tree, and a turkey! In Paris, or London’.

Everybody needs laughter” says ClownInChief Sabine! ‪#‎ClownsWithoutBorders‬


It was incredibly moving to witness the amazing work the volunteers with Clowns Without Borders do, bringing some much needed laughs and smiles to young ‪#‎refugee‬ children on ‪#‎Lesvos‬, ‪#‎Greece‬

All you want to know about Gluten Intolerance and its many symptoms

Note: Don’t expect to know what fresh fruit, vegetables and other natural foods contain Gluten

Gluten Intolerance 101 Including Unlikely Causes, Common Symptoms and Gluten-Free Recipes

By Alexander R. Shikhman, MD, PhD, FACR. August 28, 2015

Gluten intolerance is not “just another food intolerance.” In fact, it is one of the most common genetically predisposed chronic inflammatory diseases driven by food. It is also frequently complicated by various metabolic disturbances and autoimmune processes.

One of my patients, Mary, demonstrates the typical challenges people with this condition face.

A 42-year-old woman dealing with chronic pain for nearly 20 years, Mary felt like she had exhausted her options with traditional medicine. She came to my clinic looking for a more integrative approach to managing her symptoms.

She had developed pain in her muscles and joints coinciding with her initial onset of endometriosis in her 20s. Initially she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and started on antidepressants.

She did not tolerate the drugs well and developed severe eye, mouth, and vaginal dryness. After the dryness persisted, she was referred to a rheumatologist and diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in the spine to fuse together.

She started anti-inflammatory drugs and intravenous infusions of a biologic drug, Infliximab (Remicade), which did not decrease her pain level and resulted in the development of recurrent sinus infections. After six months with minimal improvement, the drugs were discontinued. After stopping the drugs, she started looking for alternative solutions. She came to our clinic for help.

Upon my initial consultation, her list of problems were as follows: generalized muscle pain; fatigue; morning stiffness; eye, mouth, and vaginal dryness; premature low bone density (osteoporosis); frequent migraine headaches; and irregular bowel movements with predominant constipation and bloating.

Her physical examination revealed a skin rash over her shoulders; eye and mouth dryness; mild abdominal tenderness; and generalized muscle tenderness. Her lab test results showed mild anemia due to iron deficiency; low vitamin D level; and celiac disease-associated genes. Her endoscopy showed normal appearance of the stomach and duodenum. Her small intestinal biopsy was negative for celiac disease.

Based on her clinical presentation and genetic testing, I became suspicious that she was dealing with gluten intolerance and asked her to try a gluten-free diet. She also started vitamin D and iron supplementation. After one month of the diet, she reported a decrease in pain intensity by 40 to 50 percent, and in three months she was pain-free.

We asked her to perform a “challenge test,” a one-time ingestion of gluten to see if symptoms return. This resulted in a short-lived but near complete reproduction of her pain.

She became a staunch follower of a gluten-free diet. Six months after her initiation of the diet, she noticed improvement of the mucosal dryness. Two years after initiation of the diet she was still symptom free.

Mary’s case is not a unique one. We have seen numerous instances of patients recovering from various autoimmune diseases when following a gluten-free diet.

What makes gluten so unique, and why does eliminating gluten have such a strong therapeutic effect?

Human digestive enzymes cannot completely digest gluten in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating gluten results in the formation of large protein fragments (peptides) and stimulates an inflammatory reaction within the intestinal wall.

Gluten peptides can also trigger immune responses in other internal organs, including the thyroid and salivary glands, brain, and so on. Furthermore, gluten peptides can be detected in breast milk and can trigger various undesirable reactions in breast-fed infants.

Based on genetics and epidemiologic studies, 10 to 35 percent of the general population is genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance and gluten-associated diseases. Studies of people with gluten intolerance demonstrate a strong association with specific HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genes: HLA DQ2 and DQ8. T lymphocytes (a group of white blood cells that plays a central role in immunity) recognize and attack the gluten peptides presented by the DQ2 or DQ8 molecules.

This is when you get the inflammatory reaction and autoimmune response. People genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance can stop this response by avoiding gluten.

Gluten and muscle and joint pain

  • Rheumatic diseases are conditions characterized by inflammation or pain in muscles, joints, or fibrous tissue. Those associated with gluten intolerance include:
  • Sjogrens syndrome (an autoimmune disorder affecting tear and saliva glands that manifests as dry eyes and a dry mouth)
  • Dermatomyositis (an autoimmune disease affecting muscles and skin)
  • Pseudogout (recurrent deposition of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints)
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Premature osteopenia and osteoporosis (diseases of abnormal bone architecture due to calcium loss)
  • Isolated inflammation of sacroiliac joints
  • Hashimoto disease of the thyroid gland

Gluten intolerance is also common in certain subsets of people with lupus, seronegative rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis, as well as in children with certain forms of juvenile arthritis.

People suffering from gluten intolerance frequently demonstrate metabolic abnormalities.

They may have malabsorption of vitamins, including A, B1, B6, D, E, and K; macroelements such as iron, calcium, and magnesium; and microelements such as zinc, copper, and selenium. They may also display pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency) and impaired intestinal permeability, known as “leaky gut syndrome.”

Diagnosing gluten intolerance and subsequent therapy

A diagnosis of gluten intolerance is based on genetic testing (for HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genes), immunologic testing (looking for anti-gliadin and antitransglutaminase antibodies in serum, stool, or saliva), as well as an intestinal or colon biopsy. The ultimate diagnosis comes from eliminating gluten from the diet for two to three months followed by a gluten challenge to see if symptoms are reproduced.

Therapy for gluten intolerance starts with a gluten-free diet. Depending on the individual’s “gluten threshold,” elimination of gluten from skin and dental products may be another necessary step. Complex therapy of gluten-intolerance can also include correcting metabolic abnormalities, reversing leaky gut syndrome, and restoration of gut microbiota.

Food supplements play a vital role in recovery from gluten intolerance due to their excellent safety profiles and natural ability to correct specific biochemical and physiological pathways. The most commonly used classes of food supplements include probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals, natural immune modulators (Cordyceps sinensis, mannan oligosaccharides, and bovine immunoglobulins) and regulators of intestinal permeability (calcium and magnesium butyrate, L-glutamine).

Unlikely Gluten Suspects

As the public becomes more aware of their own intolerances, knowing where gluten is hiding in your foods is becoming increasingly easy. As physicians continue to uncover more gluten sensitivities and celiac disease cases, companies are labeling their products when they are gluten-free and consumers are taking to reading the labels carefully. But it’s just not breads gluten will be found in. Check out this table for a quick reference guide of gluten-filled products:

  • Makeup
  • Play-dough
  • Medicine
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Pickles
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Blue cheese
  • Hot dogs
  • Frozen veggies (in sauce)
  • Gravy
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Salad dressing
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Couscous
  • Communion wafers
  • Cough syrups
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Lip balm/gloss
  • Sunscreen
  • Bath salts
  • Lotions and creams
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Detergents
  • Rubber/latex gloves
  • Stickers
  • Paints/clay
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner




November 2015

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