Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 2017

Any good use of ownership, property, exclusivity, cartel…?

Ownership is dangerous when others are ruled out. “It’s mine! Don’t touch my things!”

Individual owners do things themselves. That’s good unless it become exclusive, protective, and short-sighted.

Individual contributors:

The trouble with individual contributors is they create patterns and processes others don’t embrace or duplicate. They hoard expertise and knowledge. Some can’t share the spotlight; others don’t know how. Some refuse to invest in others.

Individual ownership is powerful. But, ownership is a dead-end unless teams and partnerships are included and developed.

Individual contributors are essential;
team builders exponential.

Alone is ok; with someone is better. Leaders create “withs”.

Create ownership continuums:

Continuity, sustainability, knowledge transfer, and longevity are leadership’s responsibility. Take the long view rather than the easy out.

  1. Train everyone to replace themselves. If they can’t teach others to do what they do, they need to go. Move training from theory to practice with new opportunities.
  2. Provide job shadowing opportunities at least once a month. “Follow me around for an hour or two.”
  3. Engage in job rotation. At given intervals, every three years for example, people’s job should change in measurable ways. Mastery becomes lethargy without new challenges.
  4. Leverage leaving. When someone leaves your organization, don’t simply replace them. Change the position. Reassign responsibilities.

Caveat: It may not be feasible to rotate highly specialized, highly technical people. Do it everywhere possible.


Employee security includes sameness. “Don’t mess with my job.” On the other hand, disruption challenges, freshens, and invigorates.

What are the pros and cons of working toward ownership continuum?

How might you implement ownership continuum in your organization?

Where are these ideas unrealistic?

Designer Philippe Starck — with no pretty slides to show — spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question “Why design?” Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.

Philippe Starck. Designer. Designs deluxe objects and posh condos and hotels around the world. Always witty and engaged, he takes special delight in rethinking everyday objects. Full bio

Filmed March 2007

You will understand nothing with my type of English. It’s good for you because you can have a break after all these fantastic people. I must tell you I am like that, not very comfortable, because usually, in life, I think my job is absolutely useless.

I mean, I feel useless. Now after Carolyn, and all the other guys, I feel like shit. And definitively, I don’t know why I am here, but — you know the nightmare you can have, like you are an impostor, you arrive at the opera, and they push you, “You must sing!” I don’t know. (Laughter)

1:06 So, because I have nothing to show, nothing to say, we shall try to speak about something else. We can start, if you want, by understanding — it’s just to start, it’s not interesting, but — how I work.

When somebody comes to me and ask for what I am known for, I mean, yes, lemon squeezer, toilet brush, toothpick, beautiful toilet seats, and why not — a toothbrush? I don’t try to design the toothbrush. I don’t try to say, “Oh, that will be a beautiful object,” or something like that. That doesn’t interest me.

there is different types of design.

The one, we can call it the cynical design, that means the design invented by Raymond Loewy in the ’50s, who said, what is ugly is a bad sale, la laideur se vend mal, which is terrible. It means the design must be just the weapon for marketing, for producer to make product more sexy, like that, they sell more: it’s shit, it’s obsolete, it’s ridiculous. I call that the cynical design. (In that period products had quality and durability) 

there is the narcissistic design: it’s a fantastic designer who designs only for other fantastic designers. (Laughter)

And, there is people like me, who try to deserve to exist, and who are so ashamed to make this useless job, who try to do it in another way, and they try, I try, to not make the object (Not) for the object but for the result, for the profit for the human being, the person who will use it.

If we take the toothbrush — I don’t think about the toothbrush. I think, “What will be the effect of the brush in the mouth?” And to understand what will be the effect of the toothbrush in the mouth, I must imagine: Who owns this mouth? What is the life of the owner of this mouth? In what society [does] this guy live? What civilization creates this society? What animal species creates this civilization? When I arrive — and I take one minute, I am not so intelligent — when I arrive at the level of animal species, that becomes real interesting.

 I have strictly no power to change anything. But when I come back, I can understand why I shall not do it, because today to not do it, it’s more positive than do it, or how I shall do it.

But to come back, where I am at the animal species, there is things to see, there is the big challenge. The big challenge in front of us. Because there is not a human production which exists outside of what I call “the big image.”

The big image is our story, our poetry, our romanticism. Our poetry is our mutation, our life. We must remember, and we can see that in any book of my son of 10 years old, that life appears four billion years ago, around — four billion point two?

 I’m a designer, that’s all, of Christmas gifts. And before, there was this soup, called “soupe primordiale,” this first soup — bloop bloop bloop — sort of dirty mud, no life, nothing. So then — pshoo-shoo — lightning — pshoo — arrive — pshoo-shoo — makes life — bloop bloop — and that dies.

Some million years after — pshoo-shoo, bloop-bloop — ah, wake up! At the end, finally, that succeeds, and life appears. We were so stupid. The most stupid bacteria. Even, I think, we copy our way to reproduce, you know what I mean, and something of — oh no, forget it.

After, we become a fish; after, we become a frog; after, we become a monkey; after, we become what we are today: a super-monkey, and the fun is, the super-monkey we are today, is at half of the story.

Can you imagine? From that stupid bacteria to us, with a microphone, with a computer, with an iPod: four billion years. And we know, and especially Carolyn knows, that when the sun will implode, the earth will burn, explode, I don’t know what, and this is scheduled in four billion years? Yes, she said, something like that.

OK, that means we are at half of the story. Fantastic! It’s a beauty! Can you imagine? It’s very symbolic. Because the bacteria we was had no idea of what we are today. And today, we have no idea of what we shall be in four billion years. And this territory is fantastic.

That is our poetry. That is our beautiful story. It’s our romanticism. Mu-ta-tion.

We are mutants. And if we don’t deeply understand, if we don’t integrate that we are mutants, we completely miss the story.

Because every generation thinks we are the final one. We have a way to look at Earth like that, you know, “I am the man. The final man. You know, we mutate during four billion years before, but now, because it’s me, we stop. Fin. (Laughter) For the end, for the eternity, it is one with a red jacket. Something like that. I am not sure of that. (Laughter) Because that is our intelligence of mutation and things like that. There is so many things to do; it’s so fresh.

And here is something: nobody is obliged to be a genius, but everybody is obliged to participate.

And to participate, for a mutant, there is a minimum of exercise, a minimum of sport. We can say that. The first, if you want — there is so many — but one which is very easy to do, is the duty of vision. I can explain you. I shall try. If you walk like that, it’s OK, it’s OK, you can walk, but perhaps, because you walk with the eyes like that, you will not see, oh, there is a hole. And you will fall, and you will die. Dangerous.

8:46 That’s why, perhaps, you will try to have this angle of vision. OK, I can see, if I found something, up, up, and they continue, up up up. I raise the angle of vision, but it’s still very — selfish, selfish, egoiste — yes, selfish. You, you survive. It’s OK.

If you raise the level of your eyes a little more you go, “I see you, oh my God you are here, how are you, I can help you, I can design for you a new toothbrush, new toilet brush,” something like that.

I live in society; I live in community. It’s OK. You start to be in the territory of intelligence, we can say. From this level, the more you can raise this angle of view, the more you will be important for the society. The more you will rise, the more you will be important for the civilization. The more you will rise, to see far and high, like that, the more you will be important for the story of our mutation.

That means intelligent people are in this angle. That is intelligence. From this to here, it’s genius. Ptolemy, Eratosthenes, Einstein, things like that. Nobody’s obliged to be a genius. It’s better, but nobody.

Take care, in this training, to be a good mutant. There is some danger, there is some trap.

One trap: the vertical. Because at the vertical of us, if you look like that, “Ah! my God, there is God. Ah! God!” God is a trap. God is the answer when we don’t know the answer. That means, when your brain is not big enough, when you don’t understand, you go, “Ah, it’s God, it’s God.” That’s ridiculous. That’s why — jump, like that? No, don’t jump. Come back. Because, after, there is another trap. If you look like that, you look to the past, or you look inside if you are very flexible, inside yourself. It’s called schizophrenia, and you are dead also.

That’s why every morning, now, because you are a good mutant, you will raise your angle of view. Out, more of the horizontal. You are an intelligence. Never forget — like that, like that. It’s very, very, very important. What, what else we can say about that? Why do that? It’s because we — if we look from far, we see our line of evolution.

This line of evolution is clearly positive. From far, this line looks very smooth, like that. But if you take a lens, like that, this line is ack, ack, ack, ack, ack. Like that. It’s made of light and shadow. We can say light is civilization, shadow is barbaria. And it’s very important to know where we are. Because some cycle, there is a spot in the cycle, and you have not the same duty in the different parts of the cycle.

That means, we can imagine — I don’t say it was fantastic, but in the ’80s, there was not too much war, like that, it was — we can imagine that the civilization can become civilized. In this case, people like me are acceptable.

We can say, “It’s luxurious time.” We have time to think, we have time to speak about art and things like that. It’s OK. We are in the light. But sometimes, like today, we fall, we fall so fast, so fast to shadow, we fall so fast to barbaria.

With many face of barbaria. Because it’s not, the barbaria we have today, it’s perhaps not the barbaria we think.

There is different type of barbaria. That’s why we must adapt. That means, when barbaria is back, forget the beautiful chairs, forget the beautiful hotel, forget design, even — I’m sorry to say — forget art. Forget all that. There is priority; there is urgency. You must go back to politics, you must go back to radicalization, I’m sorry if that’s not very English. You must go back to fight, to battle.

That’s why today I’m so ashamed to make this job. That’s why I am here, to try to do it the best possible.

But I know that even I do it the best possible — that’s why I’m the best — it’s nothing. Because it’s not the right time. That’s why I say that. I say that, because, I repeat, nothing exist if it’s not in the good reason, the reason of our beautiful dream, of this civilization.

And because we must all work to finish this story. Because the scenario of this civilization — about love, progress, and things like that — it’s OK, but there is so many different, other scenarios of other civilizations.

This scenario, of this civilization, was about becoming powerful, intelligent, like this idea we have invented, this concept of God. We are God now. We are. It’s almost done. We have just to finish the story. That is very, very important. And when you don’t understand really what’s happened, you cannot go and fight and work and build and things like that. You go to the future back, back, back, back, like that. And you can fall, and it’s very dangerous. No, you must really understand that.

15:39 Because we have almost finished, I’ll repeat this story. And the beauty of this, in perhaps 50 years, 60 years, we can finish completely this civilization, and offer to our children the possibility to invent a new story, a new poetry, a new romanticism.

With billions of people who have been born, worked, lived and died before us, these people who have worked so much, we have now bring beautiful things, beautiful gifts, we know so many things. We can say to our children, OK, done, that was our story. That passed.

Now you have a duty: invent a new story. Invent a new poetry. The only rule is, we have not to have any idea about the next story. We give you white pages. Invent. We give you the best tools, the best tools, and now, do it. That’s why I continue to work, even if it’s for toilet brush.

Patsy Z shared this link
Designer Philippe Starck — with no pretty slides to show — spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question “Why design?” Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.


Do you feel you are an introvert? Do you believe in Brainstorming session?

Cocktail party trivia: Brainstorming was invented in the 1930s as a practical idea-generation technique for regular use by “creatives” within the ad agency BBDO.

That all changed in 1942, when Alex Osborn — the “O” in BBDO — released a book called How to Think Up and excited the imaginations of his fellow Mad Men.

Since 1942, the idea-generation technique that began life in a New York creative firm has grown into the happy kudzu of Silicon Valley startups.

Somewhere near Stanford, an introvert cringes every time the idea comes up of sitting in a roomful of colleagues, drawing half-baked ideas on Post-it notes, and then pasting them to the wall for all to see.

(If this is you, watch David Kelley’s TED Talk on creative confidence, followed by Susan Cain’s on the power of introverts.)

I’ve run a lot of brainstorms over the years: with designers at IDEO, with Tom and David Kelley (I co-authored the book Creative Confidence with them), and with TED’s editorial team.

And I’ve noticed that Not everyone is down with the whole brainstorm thing. (I’m one not to believe in that technique)

In fact, I’ve come to believe that there’s no one right way to run a brainstorm.

You have to be willing to modify the format, length and parameters of each session to match the mix of introverts, extroverts and creative confidence levels in the room.

Below, 12 tips on how to run a killer brainstorm for (mostly) introverts:

  1. Circulate the question or topic before you start. For introverts who generate ideas best without the looming presence of others, knowing the topic in advance is key. This allows them to come prepared with several creative options — and not feel stampeded by extroverts who prefer to riff.
  2. Seat the group at a round table. It worked for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
  3. Keep each session short. 10 minutes at the end of a regular meeting is fine, as some people might get a case of the woozies if they see a 60-minute session pop up on their calendar.
  4. Number the group list of ideas as it’s generated. Skip the Post-its and just use big pieces of paper on the table, or a whiteboard if there happens to be one. The numbering part helps people feel especially accomplished as they go. A mental pat-on-the-back.
  5. Aim for a specific quantity of ideas. 25 ideas, say. Let people know the goal at the start, and don’t stop till you get there. Keep going after you reach the goal if you want, but that’s just gravy.
  6. Start at your left and go around the circle. Each person gives one idea at a time. No one gets skipped over. This will help you hear from all members of the group—and not just the ones with the loudest voices.
  7. The default mode for a successful brainstorm is “Yes, and.” As in comedy improv, good brainstormers don’t waste time tearing down silly-sounding ideas. Instead, they either improve on the idea by adding something awesome to it, or generate a new idea quickly. Another way to phrase this is “build on the ideas of others.” This is one guideline I always mention at the beginning of every brainstorm, and reinforce throughout, since it’s the exact opposite of how large, traditional corporations tend to work with new ideas. The goal at this stage is to remix and add to others’ ideas — not filter or critique.
  8. Write down every single idea that’s mentioned, and take a neutral, respectful stance toward each idea. Consciously or subconsciously, others will cue off your lead. You want everyone in the room to feel heard, to have permission to speak their piece, and to defer judgment during the brainstorm. Pro tip: Don’t attach people’s names to ideas.
  9. Share back the unfiltered ideas list after the brainstorm ends. You can share this in an email, as a Google Doc — whatever’s best for your team. You never know which stub of an idea might spark the next great thing for someone else on your team.
  10. If the word ‘brainstorm’ doesn’t work for you or your group, don’t use it. Call it design improv, call it a pitch jam, call it a ‘5-minute think’ — whatever. The name is way less important than the goal, which is to get people together in a manner that allows them to generate ideas worth spreading or solutions to problems worth fixing.
  11. Modification #1: Passive brainstorm, 5-day version. One successful alternative to an in-person group brainstorm, if you’re all physically in the same office, is to tape a large piece of paper to an office wall near the kitchen or bathroom, with your question at the top and a pen for writing in answers (at IDEO, blackboard paint on the bathroom wall worked well). Leave it up for 5 days, then take a picture and transcribe it.
  12. Modification #2: Passive brainstorm, 5-minute version. A second alternative to a meeting-room brainstorm is to throw a 5-minute inspiration break around 3 in the afternoon, when people tend to need a boost anyway. To kick it off, send a group email (or whatever works for your company culture) with the subject line: “5-minute inspiration break: [your question here]” — and ask them to discuss. One caveat: This method works best when you start the email string with a few options you’re already considering, and keep it time-boxed to 5 minutes.

Like other idea-generation tools, brainstorming was invented to make creative success easier, not more stressful — which is why creators are still using this technique 75 years after its invention. But coming up with lots of great ideas is just one step. The crucial next phase, often in a smaller group: filter the ideas list and start picking the best ideas to move forward on.

Patsy Z  shared  this link

12 tips on how to run a brainstorm where introverts can be heard:

Creative ideas to help you run an effective brainstorm that everyone can participate in (not just the loudest few in the room).

John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat is not for ‘literary slummers’

This story of easygoing, thirsty paisanos was an immediate hit with readers who found the characters ‘quaint’, and made the author regret his creation

Tortilla Flat was the book that made John Steinbeck’s name – and his fortune. By the time it was published in May 1935, he’d managed to publish four other books, but they had been poorly received.

He was in his 30s, close to the breadline, living in a house his father had given him and largely dependent on his wife’s paychecks.

And then the reviews started rolling in for Tortilla Flat.

The San Francisco Chronicle called it “exceptionally fine”. “Not since the days of WW Jacobs making his charming characters out of scoundrels has there been a book quite like this one,” said the New Republic.

The Spectator suggested that the book might make “a wet afternoon wetter for its readers”, as they cried both with laughter and sadness. The Saturday Review admired its “facile style and the whimsical humour underlying its sharp and clear-cut presentation of character”.

And so it went on. The book sold in huge quantities, the film rights were bought and Steinbeck was properly launched. Soon he would produce classics including Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.

Surprisingly, he was also soon regretting writing the story of central character Danny and his bibulous housemates. “When this book was written it did not occur to me that paisanos were curious or quaint, dispossessed or underdoggish. They are people whom I know and like, people who merge successfully with their habitat,” he wrote in a 1937 edition foreword.

“Had I known that these stories and these people would be considered quaint, I think I never should have written them.”

The problem was that the paisano inhabitants were, as Thomas Fensch explains in his introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition, judged “to be bums – colourful perhaps, eccentric yes, but bums nonetheless”.

Steinbeck continued: “I wrote these stories because they were true stories and because I liked them. But literary slummers have taken these people up with the vulgarity of duchesses who are amused by and sorry for a peasantry. These stories are out, and I cannot recall them. But I shall never again subject to the vulgar touch of the decent these good people of laughter and kindness, of honest lusts and direct eyes, of courtesy beyond politeness. If I have done them any harm by telling a few of their stories, I am sorry. It will not happen again.” Perhaps mindful of drawing even more attention to the paisanos, Steinbeck soon withdrew that foreword.

His upset seemed strange to me when I read Tortilla Flat last week.

Like other “literary slummers” before me, I worried about those innocent and honest saints, their strange moral code and their lack of ambition. Perhaps I even saw “bums”.

These weren’t such big concerns for me when I first read the book in my early 20s.

I remember delighting in the paisanos’ ignorance of the scourge of work, their heroic dedication to sharing ever more wine together, and their ability to live under the same roof in simple harmony.

This time around, I found myself worrying about their hygiene and their livers and how they were going to support themselves in retirement. I still laughed at the episode where a woman proudly pushes around a vacuum cleaner that isn’t attached to any electrical circuits. I enjoyed the eventual revelation that the machine didn’t even have a motor.

I took Steinbeck’s point about the absurdity of overvaluing material possessions. But I also worried about the dust in the house and the fact that the woman still had to tidy by hand.

Through such concerns, I realised that the book held up a mirror to my own ageing.

I wasn’t entirely delighted. It was hard not to feel a pang for the younger man who would have enjoyed staying up all night with Steinbeck’s paisanos – and who also would have been as receptive to the pleasures of the world.

Would I still be able to let an afternoon grow on me “as gradually as hair grows”? Would I be as overcome by the simple beauty of my surroundings as these men often are – and count seeing other people going about their business as fulfilment enough for a day?

But the second reading also brought its compensations.

I wasn’t as spellbound as I was before: sometimes the book seemed crude and silly. And I wouldn’t be a Guardian journalist if I hadn’t worried about its sexual politics, and the few horrible moments of casual racism. But I also saw new depths.

Then, I mainly saw the book as a funny celebration of life outside the mainstream; now, I couldn’t help thinking that while Steinbeck wanted to deny that his characters were bums, he doesn’t celebrate their lives quite as wholeheartedly as he suggests in that 1937 foreword.

Similarly, while the book may (as Thomas Fensch says) have offered “escapism and entertainment” during the Great Depression, it also has sadness at its heart. It is not, as some have suggested, a happy book with a surprisingly tragic ending.

It’s one that pushes inevitably towards darkness. Right from the start, Danny is on the run from responsibility, horrified by the idea of house ownership, settling down, or even living within the constraints of the law.

His friends help distract and shelter him from reality, but cannot keep him from it for ever. Clocks may be eschewed in Tortilla Flat, but time marches on. Danny is still ageing. And now I’ve gone through more of my own journey into adulthood, I saw his fears more clearly.

I also felt I had a better understanding of his tragedy. As a younger reader, I understood the sadness of the book’s final chapters and Danny’s decision to fly roaring into the depths of the gulch near his house. But my older self also knows what he’d be missing thanks to that decision. It gave the book a poignancy I hadn’t felt before. Even if Danny is a bum, he’s also a complex and haunted man.


Why Somali piracy is staging a comeback

After a five-year hiatus, hijackers have taken five vessels in the past month

BETWEEN 2008 and 2011, the waters off the coast of Somalia were the most treacherous shipping lanes in the world. More than 700 attacks on vessels took place in this period.

In early 2011, 758 seafarers were being held hostage by pirates.

Hijackings cost the shipping industry and governments as much as $7bn in 2012. But then, quite suddenly, the banditry stopped. (Need a better explanation than Suddenly)

The last hijacking of a merchant vessel occurred in May 2012. Until now.

There have been 5 confirmed incidents of piracy on the Gulf of Aden in the past month, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew of the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). After a five-year hiatus, piracy seems to have returned to the Horn of Africa. Why?

Attacks had slumped in large part thanks to beefed-up security measures. Rocketing insurance premiums meant shipping companies were forced to invest in armed guards, and to chart longer, safer routes far from the Somali coast.

Since armed guards first started crewing ships as protection against Somali pirates, none of their charges have been successfully hijacked. But smaller vessels keen to cut costs have grown complacent in recent months.

The Comoros-flagged Aris 13 was sailing close to the shore, and slow enough to attract attention. There were no armed guards on board. There were also fewer international naval patrols in the area than there had been.

But as when the first wave of piracy struck these waters back in the early 2000s, conditions on shore matter most. Somalia remains under-governed and mired in conflict.

Puntland and Galmudug, the two federal states nearest the most recent hijackings, are particularly troubled even by Somali standards.

Galmudug currently has no president and the regional government is stuck in an existential battle against Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, a local Islamist militia. Puntland’s government is more capable but has problems paying its security forces. Islamic State has been making inroads.

And both, like the rest of Somalia, are suffering from a devastating drought. Young men are easy prey for the organised gangs that conduct piracy operations, especially those in coastal towns who have long complained about rampant illegal fishing in Somali waters, to which the international community has largely turned a blind eye.

Observers should be wary of proclaiming piracy’s return, cautions Timothy Walker of the Institute for Security Studies—since it never really went away.

The same gangs still operate, much like the clan-based militias that plague Somalia on land. Many remain involved in other forms of criminal activity, such as drugs smuggling.

While the Aris 13 was the first large merchant vessel to be hijacked in four years, smaller ones, most often local fishing boats, have continued to be targeted.

It is suspected that many more incidents go unreported. A lack of international victims had made it easy for the world’s attention to move elsewhere. But until piracy ceases to be an attractive business opportunity it will remain a plague.

Note: Any links of this resurgence with the war raging in Yemen? Many Somali trapped in Yemen are Not given access to return home because of maritime blockade on Yemen by USA, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar. This expansionist war on Yemen in order to have military bases in Yemen and occupying islands has already devastated the infrastructure and made 8 million kid suffer hunger and lack of medicine.

“Bajazet” of Racine

You have Ottoman Sultan Amurat who assassinated one of his brother and about to assassinate the younger brother Bajazet. A third brother Ibrahim is simple of spirit and is saved because he does Not constitute a threat for succession. Actually, the successor will be a son of Ibrahim.

Amurat is leading the army and put siege on Babylon. The grand vizier in Istanbul dread the return of Amurat from war because he is liked by the janissaries, contrary to their loyalty to the current Sultan.

Amurat broke the law and appointed Roxane as Sultana in his absence before she gives him a son: Thus Roxane is Not yet married to Amurat.

Amurat sent Roxane a secret order to assassinate Bajazet and the Grand Vizir drowned the messenger in order Not to leave a witness to the order.

Grand Vizir has a master plan to declare Bajazet Sultan and disseminate falsehoods to Roxane et notables about the status of the war and the predicaments of Amurat.

He also plan to marry Atalide, close relative of Amurat and Bajazet in order to retain his power. Atalide and Bajazet are in love since childhood: Bajazet’s mother brought them up together until adolescence.

The Grand Vizir entice Atalide to let Roxane believe that Bajazet loves her in order to delay the execution of the order. Roxane falls in the scheme and starts to believe that she loves Bajazet and that her love is reciprocal without meeting Bajazet personally.

“L’ingrat ne parle pas comme on le fait parler”

Finally, Roxane decides to clear her emotions and summons Bajazet to express his feelings. In case Bajazet  seems unwilling to marry her, she will execute the order.

The trick is that Atalide grew up with Bajazet and they are crazily in love.

“Ah! L amour a- t-il tant de prudence?

Mais qu’aisément l’amour croit tout ce qu’il souhaite

(Roxane) Ne put voir sans amour ce héros trop amiable…


Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 25

Une caresse dure des milliers d’heurs
“La promesse de l’aube” by Romain Gary

Yesterday, Dec. 23, 2016, the UN issued a resolution summoning Israel to desist from further settlements in the West Bank. Israel vowed to empty this resolution from any effects. Like practically killing the spirit of UN resolution 198 of 1948 declaring the Right of Return for Palestinians to their homeland.

Most new politicians have excessive good intentions. Otherwise, how could they indulge in this nasty business?

What insomnia can generate in Black Matter hypotheses

Black Matters essentially fill the intergalactic spaces. It’s main purpose is to delay the pull of the larger galaxy of smaller ones by reducing the accelerated attraction. Eventually, black matter infiltrates and invade galactic space to fill the void. It then generate these phenomena: 1) It plays the catalyst for enhancing the explosion of supernova by preventing it from naturally dissipating surplus energy to it environment.  The dissipated energy from the explosion transform portion of black matter into live matter that reach planets in the form of gamma rays. 2) It accelerates the dying process of White Star by playing the buffer zone for Not allowing external sources of energy to come in. A Dwarf Star are then invaded with black matter and become the hub for a nascent Black Hole

Kamal Jumblat wrote in 1976: The Syrian military occupation of Lebanon will terminally harm Hafez Assad. Assad’s theory that protecting the Christian Maronite sect (with entrenched Crusader/Zionist mentality) will encourage them to side with “Arab” cause is too far fetched

The US Congress and Senate is doing far more harm to people in Middle-East than a WW3 war in the region. Too lazy in the mind. Israel Knesset discuss more at length the issues in this region.

The Palestinian Authority in the occupied West bank strategy should be to extend the conditions so that towns and villages could sustain civil disobedience in the medium-term

Get the last paper issue of the Al Safir. And read the interviews of the leaders who passed away. You’ll learn something you don’t know.

On ne pouvait pas se contenter du melodrama et des sauces pathétiques: Tout doit avoir un sens.

Nul besoin de déranger les saints pour etre des fils de putes.

La volonté d’éclairer la destiné de l’homme, que du destin d’un seul etre aimé.

Le Libanais avait du mal a réfrainer ses sarcasmes. Qu’y avait -il de devin, de sacré et d’occulte dans une bande de camorra óu le faible est ecrasé et le fort prend sa place?

Une organization mafieuse de la loi de la rue, version terrible, sans drapeau et sans honneur.

Personne ne me fera voir dans le comportement sexuel des personnes le critére du bien et du mal.

Hiroshima, Buchenwald, pelotons d’ execution. la terreur, et la torture… sont mille fois plus horrible et funeste que l’ incest ou coucher avec sa mére 

Trop de controle peut s’averer dangereux: il faut ouvrire quelques évents. Il vaut mieux provoquer de petites pétarades, quelques petit “muort”.

Peut etre que les amoureux ne savent pas s’y prendre: Ils cherchent de tous les cotés.

On avait a peine 10 ans. Le patissier Michka etait un grand artiste. Apres avoir observé ses ebats amoureux avec une servant, il fit de nous des hommes modestes. On ne pouvait plus prétender avoir inventé la poudre.

J’avais a peine fini de manger les escargos (coquille et tout) que Valentine (8 ans) m’avait tendit, qu’elle me dit negligemment: “Jocek a mangé 10 araignées pour moi”

Les hommes vantars, ne vous font grace d’aucun detail de leurs prouesses viriles: ils ne vous dit pas ce que les femmes leurs ont fait manger, meme des souliers en caoutchouc.

Tout ce petit bric-a brac que l’humanité laisse derriere elle, dans des greniers, des granges… Laisser sur ses rives, a force de couler, a force de mourir, traces de passages… de mille campements evanouis.

Germany to withhold any development aid to States dragging their feet for accepting the return of its expulsed citizens. The worst draggers are Tunisia, Bangladesh, Egypt and Gabon. The best States in quickening the process of return are Armenia, Angola and China. 

How Israel treats Palestinian prisoners: 1,500 are on hunger strike

It is to be noted that 30% of Palestinian prisoners are youth, detained administratively without trial and for many months.

The following essay is a chapter of “Shadow of a Wall” (Zol al jidaar, 1997).  The letter of Palestinian prisoner Barghouthy to New York Times is worth reading.

Mortada Al-amine posted on FB

إضراب عن الطعام
كان العشاء قد وُزِّعَ أمام الأبواب المغلقة، تمهيداً لإدخاله إلى الزنازين، حين تردّدت في فضاء المعتقل كلمة “الإضراب”. لا أحد يعرف من أطلقها، ولكن الجميع كانوا جياعاً؛ وكانت كميّة الطعام الداخلة إلى الزنزانة بالكاد تشبع واحداً من نزلائها الستة.
يشتعل المعتقل بالكلمة. وتتناثر مطالب الزنازين في الفضاء المحدود.. ويتنقّل شباب “الكلفة” ــــ وهم معتقلون مهمّتهم توزيع الطعام ــــ بين الزنازين، لتوحيد المطالب والصفوف. والشرطة لاهية عن ذلك في الخارج.. في داخل كل زنزانة، ينعقد مجلس صغير للبحث في ما يمكن المطالبة به: طعام.. حمام.. دخان.. شمس.. أدوية.. زيارات..

ويقول أحدكم: “مشط”.. تثير الكلمة سخرية. كانوا يحلقون لكم دورياً كل شهرين، وهي فترة ما كانت تسمح للشعر بأن ينمو.. تنبّهونه إلى هذا الأمر، فلا يتراجع، ويضيف مطلباً جديداً: “أن لا يحلقوا لنا إجبارياً”.. كان ذلك نوعاً من الكماليات.. تنصرفون عنه. شيئاً فشيئاً تتكوّن اللائحة. تحتوي على الضروري من المطالب. ويتمّ الاتفاق: لن يدخل الطعام إلى الزنازين إلاّ إذا لُبِّيَتْ كل المطالب. لا مكان لأيّ وعود.
يجيء الشرطي ويبدأ فتح الأبواب لإدخال الطعام. كان الترقّب يلفّ المعتقل بالصمت. يقول معتقل في الزنزانة الأولى مخاطباً الشرطي: “لن نأكل حتى يحضر المسؤول الإسرائيلي!”. لا يقول الشرطي شيئاً.. وعند الزنزانة التالية يقولون له نفس الشيء.

يسأل عندئذٍ بصوت مرتفع: “من يريد أن يأكل؟”.. ويجيئه الرد فورياً: “لن نأكل حتى يحضر المسؤول الإسرائيلي!”.. يغادر الشرطي المعتقل بهدوء ولا مبالاة. يقول أحد المعتقلين: “سيأتون الآن لإدخال الطعام بالقوّة!”. تمرّ دقائق، وتجيء مجموعة من رجال الشرطة مدجّجة بالسلاح، وفي أيديهم هراوات يلوّحون بها في تهديد واضح.. يتجوّلون بين الزنازين..

يسألون عن أسباب الإضراب، ويحدّقون في الوجوه. يهمس القديم، ذو الخبرة: “يبحثون الآن عن أضعفنا لينفذوا من خلاله.”.. فوراً يجدونه. يدور حوار قصير مع الشرطي على مسمع من الجميع. كان الكل قلقين. على موقف هذا السجين يتوقّف مصير الإضراب. لم يكن السجين حاسماً، ولكنه قال في اختصار أنه لن يأكل إلاّ إذا كانت كمّية الطعام كافية لإشباعه.. يفتح الشرطي باب الزنزانة ويأمره بالخروج.. يصفعه على وجهه طالباً منه أن يأكل. لم يجب السجين. صفعة ثانية. يقول: “لن آكل إلاّ إذا شبعت!”.. ينهال عليه بالهراوة، والشتائم.. يقول السجين جملته القصيرة، ولا يأكل.

يعيده الشرطي إلى الزنزانة ويغلق الباب. يغمر الارتياح المعتقل. مرّت المرحلة الأصعب. ستعرف إدارة المعتقل الآن، أن هذا إضراب جدّي. يخرج رجال الشرطة، وترسل كل الزنازين تحياتها إلى الزنزانة التي صمدت. كانت المعنويات مرتفعة، وصار الخوف شيئاً منسياً. يقول ذو الخبرة: “سيجيئون الآن بوجوه كالزئبق.”. يدخل إلى الرواق إثنان من رجال الشرطة. هادئان.. لطيفان.. يؤكّدان على أحقّية مطالبكم.. و”أنهم” يشعرون معكم.. و”أنهم” كانوا ينتظرون هذا الإضراب منذ زمن.. “تأخّرتم عن المطالبة بحقوقكم..” يقولان.. “ولكن عليكم أن تفهموا أن الأوامر تأتي من الداخل.. من إسرائيل.. لا شيء يُبَتُّ هنا.”.. لذلك :”أمهلوا الإدارة.. ستنقل طلباتكم إلى المعنيّين لدراستها”.

أما الآن “فأدخلوا الطعام.. جعتم طويلاً، فلا بأس بأسبوع آخر..”. لم تلْقَ محاولاتهما ترحيباً. إهتزّ صمود البعض بالكلام المعسول، ولكن سرعان ما عدتم إلى الإلتفاف من جديد. “لا بأس. سوف ننتظر قرار الداخل”، تقول الزنازين. يخرج الشرطيان في سخط. ويقول ذو الخبرة: “سيتركوننا الآن للجوع وللوقت”.. “يعني، لن يزيدوا الطعام؟”.. يسأله أحدكم.. فيجيب في ثقة: “سيزيدونه بالقدر الذي نريد.. نحن الآن من يقرّر!”.
يطول انتظاركم. ويقف كثيرون محدّقين إلى الطعام المرمي أمام الأبواب، متحسّرين: “لندخله قبل أن يسحبه الذباب”.. يدخل شرطي: “عيّنوا لجنة من شخصين لمحاورة الإدارة”. ترفضون طلبه بالإجماع.. “هذا شرك لتفتيتنا”. يقول صاحبكم الخبير، محذراً.. يعود رجال الشرطة إلى ممرات المعتقل. يضربون الأرض بأقدامهم، فترنّ في قراغ الممرات مهدّدة.. كانت وجوههم متغضّنة بالحقد. تقابلونهم ببرود. لم تعد حركاتهم تعني شيئاً. ويقول صاحبكم: “لقد حملوا سلاحهم في وجه سلاحنا الذي شهرناه..”. تسألونه: “وأيّ سلاح نملك نحن العزّل؟”.. يقول: “العصيان”.
كانت حركات رجال الشرطة تزيد المعنويات ارتفاعاً. وكنتم واثقين من أن مطالبكم ستلبّى. فجأة، يعلو همس.. جاء الضابط الإسرائيلي. يقف رجال الشرطة بلا حراك. يختفون بالنسبة إليكم، فلا يعود لهم وجود. في كل مرة يأتي فيها الإسرائيلي، كانوا يذوبون. يصيرون لا شيء. ويسيرون خلفه كظلّه، في انتظار إشارة منه أو أمر. وكنت تستغرب: أين تروح كل قسوتهم وعجرفتهم.. وكيف يقبلون هذا الذلّ؟.. أما أنتم فكنتم تقفون قبالة الإسرائيلي وقوف الند. تطلبون. تناقشون ما يعرضه عليكم، وترفضون إغراءاته.. لكم شروطكم التي سيرضخ لها.. وكان رجال الشرطة يحسّون بهذا الفارق، فيخجلون من النظر إلى عيونكم.. وكنتم تزدادون إيماناً، ويذوب الحديد والأبواب والأقفال في شعور عارم بالثقة والاعتزاز. يقول صاحبكم: “سيمرّ الضابط على كل الغرف مهدّداً، ولكنه سيقبل في النهاية شروطنا”. كل المعتقل كان يعرف هذا الضابط. وهو كان يعرف كل المعتقل.. يذكر كلّ الوجوه.. وتفاصيل كل قضية بصغائرها.

وكانت قبضته، مثل ذاكرته قوية. ولكنكم الآن لا تخشون ذاكرته ولا قبضته.. تقفون عند أبواب زنزاناتكم، فيحدّق فيكم واحداً واحداً. يحاول أن يسخر فتجيء سخريته باهتة.. لا تثير ابتساماً إلاّ عند المتزلفين.. وهو يعرفهم ولا يأبه لهم. يقف ببابكم. خلفه ظلّه. ظلاله. خلفه لا أحد. يقول ببطء: “من لا يأكل، يموت”. لا تجيبون. يتطلّع مجدّداً ويقول: “من لا يأكل، سيموت في السجن..”. كانت كلماته تهديداً فارغاً بلا معنى. ينصرف إلى زنزانة ثانية. يدور على المعتقل بكامله. يعدكم بالنظر في المطالب: “فقط، أمهلوني إلى الغد”.. “سننتظر حتى الغد بدون طعام”.. يغضب. يقول أنه وعد. وأن الإسرائيلي يفي بوعوده، ولا يعرف الكذب. كان يشير إلى وعود مدير السجن اللبناني، التي أكلتها عقارب الساعة واحداً بعد الآخر. ذاب المدير خلف سيّده، ولم يدخل الطعام. يزمجر الضابط الإسرائيلي، وينصرف. كان المعتقلون في أوج المعركة صامدين. كانت المعركة قد انتهت.. وبدا النصر واضحاً.
يجيء رجال الشرطة. يخرجون “الكلفة” من جديد. يوزّعون طعاماً إضافياً. كان السرور عارماً. لأول مرة تأكلون كفايتكم. ويودّع بعضكم الجوع، مترحماً على أيامه.. ولكن صاحبكم الخبير يقول في هدوء: “كلوا الآن.. واعلموا أن الغد سيحمل جوعاً من جديد!..”.
من كتاب “ظل الجدار” ـــ 1997

That song doesn’t mean what you think

“Mother and Child Reunion,” Paul Simon

People usually think this is about: The intense connection between a mother and her offspring
But it’s really about: Chinese food
Paul Simon’s 1972 tune had a hook that sang of a “strange and mournful day, when the mother and child reunion is only a motion away.” Naturally, most listeners assume that the legend must be speaking on a familial relationship, one that apparently had soured since the reunion was both strange and mournful.
But in reality, Simon was singing about a chicken and egg dish at his local Chinese restaurant. According to Snopes, Simon explained his inspiration in a 1972 interview: “I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown (and) there was a dish called ‘Mother and Child Reunion.’ It’s chicken and eggs. And I said, ‘Oh, I love that title. I gotta use that one.'”

“Bad Reputation,” Joan Jett

People usually think this is about: A general anthem for rebels.
But it’s really about: Joan Jett fighting past rejection.
When Joan Jett declared in the early ’80s that she doesn’t “give a damn about a bad reputation,” she was stating for the record that she wouldn’t let rejection stop her.
Jett originally recorded the song around 1979 as she launched her solo career following the breakdown of her band the Runaways. “A lot of ‘Bad Reputation’ came from comments that people said in the early days of ‘she’ll never make it,'” Jett explained in a 2013 Reddit AMA
While the song was never released as a single, it became iconic anyway as the titular track from Jett’s first solo album — an album she initially had to self-release because 23 record labels turned her down.
“Inspiration comes from all sorts of places,” Jett said. “And you have to decide that it’s not worth all that mental anguish worrying about what other people think.”

Iran Presidential election: Any difference among moderate, reformist, conservative…?

Taking aim at Hassan Rohani: The reformist president of Iran faces a tough re-election

Face-off: Politician versus religious legal personalities

Hardliners are cracking down on social media

APPLICATIONS for the ticklish job of president of Iran opened this week, with more than 100 hopefuls vying to replace the incumbent, Hassan Rohani, a relative moderate, at the election on May 19th. (They were 1,300 candidates a couple days ago, including former President Najad)

The religious conservatives who loom so large in Iran are hoping they can unite around a single candidate, overcoming the divisions that doomed their prospects in 2013 and allowed Mr Rohani to win.

Their preferred man is Ebrahim Raeisi, the newly appointed head of one of Iran’s most important and best-endowed shrines, Imam Reza in Mashhad. In addition to income from the shrine’s holdings, which include car factories, he is a protégé of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But to Mr Raeisi’s probable consternation, on April 12th a divisive ultra-conservative former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also entered the race, despite orders from Mr Khamenei not to stand. This makes it more likely that the hardliners will again see their vote split.

Still, the anti-Iranian rhetoric of Donald Trump, America’s president, is a big bonus for the anti-reformists, should they come together.

After a nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers was concluded in 2015, Mr Rohani’s re-election had seemed assured. But the promised fruits from the lifting of UN sanctions (in return for Iran curbing its nuclear programme) have been slow to arrive. Far from encouraging investment in Iran, America has tightened some sanctions, and continues to prevent Iran from trading in dollars.

With the army, Revolutionary Guards, judiciary and state television in their hands, as well as the power to approve candidates (which the Guardians Council they dominate has yet to do for the coming election), Mr Khamenei’s hardliners already wield huge power. They are now targeting social media, where pro-Rohani reformists have until now mostly operated freely.

Last month masked goons arrested 12 administrators of popular social-media news channels.

But the hardliners’ task is proving daunting.

First in their sights is a phone app, Telegram, that enables encrypted messaging between users, and also offers uncensored news channels. It claims 20m Iranian users and thousands of Persian-language channels, some claiming over a million subscribers.

Last year it helped the reformists get out the vote in parliamentary elections. Confounding the hardliners’ efforts to disqualify well-known reformist candidates, voters went to the polls armed with “lists of hope” of the lesser-knowns on their phones, and unseated the staunchest conservatives, some of Mr Khamenei’s relatives among them.

No sooner had Mr Raeisi’s candidacy been announced than they began tarnishing his squeaky-clean image with claims that, as a 28-year-old prosecutor, he had sentenced hundreds of leftist political prisoners to death.

Under a more reactionary government, censors might have banned Telegram.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline former president, simply switched off the mobile network when protesters contested his 2009 re-election, and restricted internet bandwidth to such an extent that it took hours to access a page. Facebook and Twitter were banned.

But Mr Rohani’s government has made censorship harder. It has boosted bandwidth a hundredfold, compared with 2009. And it has expanded mobile coverage from 39% to 99% of Iran, including to 27,000 villages which the hardliners hitherto considered strongholds.

So Mr Rohani continues to get his message out. Recent signs of mild economic improvement may have given his continued support for Western engagement a boost, too. The hardliners will not have the campaign all their own way.

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline “Taking aim at the president”
Note: Hezbollah in Lebanon is usually affected to some degree by these elections, even though it is directly linked to Khamenei




April 2017

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