Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 2nd, 2017

The Wall. Walled-in. Walled-out. Acts of violence in progress. Stay out. Don’t meddle…

Walls have never dissuaded an invader from entering within the enclosure and devastating a town.

All those stories of catapults used to demolishing walls are rare events: The enemy enters through treachery from inside the walls.

Catapults were mainly used to send infected animals inside the town. To spread disease.

The Great Wall of China never prevented the two serious Mogul invasions to stop the hordes: Money lavished on a few Chinese garrisons did the trick to let in the Mogul troops.

The “see through” high walls of barbed wires say: “We can see you too. Do not trespass”

The most efficient barriers are the symbolic ones that are no barrier at all for crossing over.

The message is: “We are determined not to connect with you.” And this is the meaning of the Wall of Shame erected by Israel.

No see Palestinians, no hear Palestinians… then maybe we are right and  safe in our occupation of territories.

What was constructed to wall-in Palestinians, turned out to materialize the ghetto mentality of the Zionist ideology and historical exclusion from communities around them.

A Great Scholar: May Ziyadeh

“No great scholar was born among the women of Syria during the last centuries such as Marie Ziyadeh.”  Precious few male scholars could match her for her eloquence, wit and integrity.

Marie Elias Ziyadeh (1886-1941), who became known as “Miss May”, was of Lebanese-Palestinian origin. She was born in Nazareth on 11 February 1886 to Elias Ziyadeh, who had moved to Palestine from his native Lebanese village of Shatoul, and Nozha Mu’ammer, a well-educated Palestinian woman.

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Edmond Melhem shared a photo to Kamal Nader‘s timeline. 6 hrs ·

By Dr. Edmond Melhem

Antoun Sa3adeh labelled May a “great scholar” and a “blessing from Providence for a defeated nation and, resultantly, a misplaced blessing.”

He wrote: “No great scholar was born among the women of Syria during the last centuries such as Marie Ziyadeh.” According to him, precious few male scholars could match her for her eloquence, wit and integrity.

And Sa3adeh elaborates:

I say with conviction that among the male scholars of Egypt and Syria with whom I have made contact and whose works I have read, I have found but precious few who can stake a claim to be like her [May Ziyadeh] in terms of education, sentiment and talent.

Few articles were written by Sa´adeh which detailed his involvement in the affair of May Ziadeh. These articles, which are published in Al-‘Athar al-Kamilah (Complete Works), provide sufficient information to describe his intervention and the actions he took to help release May.

Who was May Ziyadeh?

Marie Elias Ziyadeh (1886-1941), who became known as “Miss May”, was of Lebanese-Palestinian origin. She was born in Nazareth on 11 February 1886 to Elias Ziyadeh, who had moved to Palestine from his native Lebanese village of Shatoul, and Nozha Mu’ammer, a well-educated Palestinian woman.

At the turn of the century, the Ziyadeh family migrated to Egypt and settled in Cairo, where Elias became the owner of a successful newspaper, Al-Mahrusa, in which May started publishing her poetry in both French and Arabic under the pen name Isis Copia.

In 1911, she translated several poems from her first French collection “Fleurs de Réve” into Arabic and published them in Jurji Zaydan’s renowned Al-Hilal newspaper.

The same year, May published – under the pseudonym Aidah, her second poetry collection, “Aidah’s Diary,” – also in French. When she began writing in Arabic, she settled on the pen name “May,” which was proposed by her mother and composed of the first and last letters of her original Christian name. It was under this name, more acceptable to Arabic readers, preceded by the appellation “Miss,” that she was to achieve fame.

In 1917, May graduated from the newly opened Egyptian University, where she had studied history, philosophy and modern sciences. The fact that she learnt French before Arabic during her early education in Lebanon did not prevent her from becoming one of the most distinguished Arabic writers of the early 20th century.

In Egypt, May studied the Qur’an under a number of Azharite shaykhs and was guided through the labyrinthine structures of Arabic language and calligraphy by famed Egyptian liberal theorist Lutfi al-Sayyid (1872-1936).

Poetry was the first literary genre she explored.

Her book Dhulumat wa Ashi’a (Darkness and Rays), published by Al-Hilal in 1933, revealed her skill in poetic composition. Still studying, she continued to publish her prose poetry (shi’r manthur) as well as other literary pieces in Arabic newspapers and magazines like Al-Hilal, Al-Ahram, Al-Siyasa and the Lebanese magazine Al-Zuhour.

Her famous poetic prose work Ayna Watani? (Where is My Homeland?) reflected her feeling of being an outsider in a society traditionally dominated by men.

Professor Yunan Labib Rizk, elaborating on May’s relationship with Al-Ahram- which quickly invited her to join its editorial staff, publishing her writings extensively and allocating considerable space on its front page to her frequent lectures, states:

Clearly Al-Ahram felt she was a great asset.

It featured her articles prominently, published the poems of the ‘the brilliant poetess’ amid great fanfare, honoured her by choosing her to preside over an event called ‘the Journalistic Feast’ and hailed her using such tributes as: ‘If the Lebanese had difficulties in coming to Egypt to participate in the homage to the Prince of Poets [Ahmed Shawqi], at least we, since we are in Egypt, should pay homage to the “Princess of Writers,” whose country we have long envied for its claim to her’.

May turned out to be a prolific writer, contributing to the modernization of Arabic language and thought in nearly every field. Having mastered at least five languages, she skilfully translated novels from English, German and French into Arabic.

She also experimented with the genre of short stories and consistently championed women’s rights in her books and lectures.

Being herself an activist for the emancipation of women, she wrote sensitive biographical studies of three pioneering female writers and poets: A’isha al-Taymouriyya, Malak Hifni Nasif and Warda al-Yaziji.

In Cairo, May ran the most famous literary salon in the Arab world during the 1920s and ’30s. Open to men and women of varied backgrounds and modelled on the French example, the salon attracted the greatest writers, poets and intellectuals of the region.

Among those who attended the frequent gatherings were Khalil Mutran, Abbas Mahmud Al-‛Aqqad, the Azharite Shaykh Mustafa ‘Abd al-Raziq, Shibli Shumayyil, Ya’qub Sarruf, Antoine Al-Jumayyil, owner of Al-Zuhour, Taha Hussein, Nile poet Hafez Ibrahim and the “Prince of Arab Poets,” Ahmad Shawqi.

With her passing, May left behind more than 15 books of poetry, literature and translations.

Various collections of her previously unknown works have appeared during the last few years. These include prose poems, speeches, short stories, theatrical plays as well as collections of essays and articles on travel, literature, art, criticism, linguistics and social reform.

The last days of May, Sa´adeh proclaimed, were the worst ever experienced by a Syrian writer.

But there probably was not another scholar in the entire world who could have endured the pain and oppression suffered for so long by May.

In the end, she succumbed to the terrifying and destructive Ghoul – the Ghoul that had stalked her for so long – the Ghoul that the Syrian Social Nationalist Movement has prepared a sharpened sword to slay.

“Teaching My Daughters”: a list of only 101 advises 

For every rule given to boys, girls are expected to receive twice the number of rules.

101 Things I Will Teach My Daughters

1. Chocolate is only a temporary fix.

2. A properly-fitting bra is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

3. Your happiness is your happiness and yours alone.

4. How to apply red lipstick.

5. How to wear the crap out of red lipstick.

6. A boyfriend does not validate your existence.

7. Eat the extra slice of pizza.

8. Wear what makes you feel gracefully at ease.

9. Love the world unconditionally.

10. Seek beauty in all things.

11. Buy your friends dinner when you can.

12. Wear sunscreen like it’s your second job.

13. Try with all your might to keep in contact with far-away friends.

14. Make the world feel at ease around you.

15. Walk with your head up.

16. Order a cheeseburger on the first date if you want to.

17. Never, ever bite your nails.

18. Swipe on some lipstick, put on your leather jacket, and sneak into a bar somewhere.

19. Learn from your mistakes that night.

20. Dental hygiene is not multiple choice.

21. Your GPA is not a confession of your character.

22. There is strength in breaking down.

23. You don’t have to like yoga.

24. Pick a tea.

25. Take care of your feet.

26. Pick a perfume.

27. Even if you’re tall, wear the heels anyway.

28. Classy is a relative term.

29. Drink whiskey if you like whiskey.

30. Drink wine if you like wine.

31. Like what you like.

32. Offer no explanation.

33. Advil and Gatorade.

34. You are no less of a woman when you’re in sweats and gym shoes than a woman in stilettos and a pencil skirt.

35. A woman is a woman is a woman.

36. Love your fellow woman with all your heart and soul.

37. Cry, uninhibited, with your friends.

38. Laugh until you can’t breathe with your friends.

39. Tell me everything.

40. Exercise to be strong and healthy. A beautiful soul needs a sturdy vessel.

41. There is no shame in hoping for love.

42. My cooking is the best cooking.

43. Do not take sex lightly.

44. I mean it.

45. Anna Karenina. I’d like it if you read it.

46. The world spins on the principle of inherent tragedy.

47. Do not be blind to it.

48. Men are effectively idiots until the age of 26. (Her first loving boyfriend was 26?)

49. Carbohydrates are not the enemy.

50. Involve yourself in an organized activity of your choosing.

51. Listen to classical music occasionally.

52. Take hot baths.

53. Do not use bath salts.

54. You are more than capable.

55. I promise.

56. Don’t smile if you don’t mean it.

57. Mean your anger. Mean your sadness. Mean your pain.

58. I am always, always listening.

59. Travel.

60. Get stuck in a foreign country with $4.67 in your account.

61. Make me furious.

62. Make me worry.

63. Come home smelly, tired, and with a good story.

64. Your story isn’t really yours.

65. You are a compilation of others’ stories.

66. Well-fitting and modest is ALWAYS sexier than too small and tight.

67. Who cares if glitter isn’t tasteful?

68. It’s too much eyeliner if you have to ask.

69. Learn to bake for when you’re sad and I’m not there.

70. Humility and subservience are not synonyms.

71. Wash your face twice per day. (And your hands 6 times?)

72. Be gentle with your skin.

73. Science is really cool.

74. So is literature.

75. And history.

76. And math.

77. There is no substitute for fresh air.

78. Carry your weight.

79. Make up for it later if you can’t.

80. That salad is not better than pasta and it never will be.

81. You’re fooling no one.

82. Find at least three green vegetables you can tolerate.

83. A smoothie is not a meal.

84. Expect the best from everyone.

85. People will let you down.

86. Bask in the sun (wearing a sunhat and SPF 90).

87. There is a certain kind of man you need to avoid at all costs.

88. You’ll know it when you meet him.

89. What other people say is right doesn’t always feel right.

90. What feels right is where your happiness is.

91. Give thoughtful gifts.

92. Form an opinion.

93. Stick to it.

94. Exfoliation in moderation.

95. Argue with people when you need to.

96. If it’s worth fighting for, fight fiercely.

97. Don’t fight for acceptance.

98. You shouldn’t have to.

99. Take pictures, but not too many.

100. Follow your bliss at all costs. (I’m cutting you off at 22, though).

101. Chocolate ice cream, however, might just be a permanent fix. TC mark

Teach Your Daughters About Money

Teach Your Daughters About Money


50 Rules For Son

What do you think they have in common: Success and failure?

A few years ago I was at JFK Airport about to get on a flight, when I was approached by two women who I do not think would be insulted to hear themselves described as tiny old tough-talking Italian-American broads.

0:25 The taller one, who is like up here, she comes marching up to me, and she goes, “Honey, I gotta ask you something. You got something to do with that whole ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ thing that’s been going on lately?”

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How to find the courage to do what you love, even when failure is likely:|By Elizabeth Gilbert

And I said, “Yes, I did.”

she smacks her friend and she goes, “See, I told you, that’s that girl. That’s that girl who wrote that book based on that movie.” (Laughter)

that’s who I am. And believe me, I’m extremely grateful to be that person, because that whole “Eat, Pray, Love” thing was a huge break for me. But it also left me in a really tricky position moving forward as an author trying to figure out how in the world I was ever going to write a book again that would ever please anybody

because I knew well in advance that all of those people who had adored “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it wasn’t going to be “Eat, Pray, Love,” and all of those people who had hated “Eat, Pray, Love” were going to be incredibly disappointed in whatever I wrote next because it would provide evidence that I still lived. 

I knew that I had no way to win, and knowing that I had no way to win made me seriously consider for a while just quitting the game and moving to the country to raise corgis. But if I had done that, if I had given up writing, I would have lost my beloved vocation, so I knew that the task was that I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book regardless of its inevitable negative outcome.

 I had to find a way to make sure that my creativity survived its own success. And I did, in the end, find that inspiration, but I found it in the most unlikely and unexpected place. I found it in lessons that I had learned earlier in life about how creativity can survive its own failure.

just to back up and explain, the only thing I have ever wanted to be for my whole life was a writer. I wrote all through childhood, all through adolescence, by the time I was a teenager I was sending my very bad stories to The New Yorker, hoping to be discovered.

After college, I got a job as a diner waitress, kept working, kept writing, kept trying really hard to get published, and failing at it.

I failed at getting published for almost six years. So for almost six years, every single day, I had nothing but rejection letters waiting for me in my mailbox.

And it was devastating every single time, and I had to ask myself if I should just quit while I was behind and give up and spare myself this pain. But then I would find my resolve, and always in the same way, by saying, “I’m not going to quit, I’m going home.”

you have to understand that for me, going home did not mean returning to my family’s farm. For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.

the weird thing is that 20 years later, during the crazy ride of “Eat, Pray, Love,” I found myself identifying all over again with that unpublished young diner waitress who I used to be, thinking about her constantly, and feeling like I was her again, which made no rational sense whatsoever because our lives could not have been more different. She had failed constantly.

I had succeeded beyond my wildest expectation. We had nothing in common. Why did I suddenly feel like I was her all over again?

it was only when I was trying to unthread that, that I finally began to comprehend the strange and unlikely psychological connection in our lives between the way we experience great failure and the way we experience great success.

So think of it like this: For most of your life, you live out your existence here in the middle of the chain of human experience where everything is normal and reassuring and regular, but failure catapults you abruptly way out over here into the blinding darkness of disappointment.

Success catapults you just as abruptly but just as far way out over here into the equally blinding glare of fame and recognition and praise. And one of these fates is objectively seen by the world as bad, and the other one is objectively seen by the world as good, but your subconscious is completely incapable of discerning the difference between bad and good.

The only thing that it is capable of feeling is the absolute value of this emotional equation, the exact distance that you have been flung from yourself. And there’s a real equal danger in both cases of getting lost out there in the hinterlands of the psyche.

in both cases, it turns out that there is also the same remedy for self-restoration, and that is that you have got to find your way back home again as swiftly and smoothly as you can, and if you’re wondering what your home is, here’s a hint: Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.

So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

For me, that home has always been writing. So after the weird, disorienting success that I went through with “Eat, Pray, Love,” I realized that all I had to do was exactly the same thing that I used to have to do all the time when I was an equally disoriented failure. I had to get my ass back to work, and that’s what I did, and that’s how, in 2010, I was able to publish the dreaded follow-up to “Eat, Pray, Love.”

And you know what happened with that book? It bombed, and I was fine. Actually, I kind of felt bulletproof, because I knew that I had broken the spell and I had found my way back home to writing for the sheer devotion of it. And I stayed in my home of writing after that, and I wrote another book that just came out last year and that one was really beautifully received, which is very nice, but not my point.

My point is that I’m writing another one now, and I’ll write another book after that and another and another and another and many of them will fail, and some of them might succeed, but I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.

6:09 Look, I don’t know where you rightfully live, but I know that there’s something in this world that you love more than you love yourself. Something worthy, by the way, so addiction and infatuation don’t count, because we all know that those are not safe places to live. Right?

The only trick is that you’ve got to identify the best, worthiest thing that you love most, and then build your house right on top of it and don’t budge from it.

And if you should someday, somehow get vaulted out of your home by either great failure or great success, then your job is to fight your way back to that home the only way that it has ever been done, by putting your head down and performing with diligence and devotion and respect and reverence whatever the task is that love is calling forth from you next.

You just do that, and keep doing that again and again and again, and I can absolutely promise you, from long personal experience in every direction, I can assure you that it’s all going to be okay




January 2017

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