Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 2018

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly

A skilled public speaker often knows how to craft his or her words for the audience. But President Trump started off his speech to the U.N. General Assembly with a number of boasts lifted straight from his campaign rallies.

Not only are these claims exaggerated or false, but the first one inspired mirth and laughter from the assembled leaders and diplomats in the chamber.

That was certainly unusual, as the General Assembly room is usually silent, with barely any applause, during the speeches.

Here’s an examination of 14 key claims made by the president in his speech, listed in the order in which he made them. As is our practice, we do Not assign Pinocchio’s in roundups.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

This is the line that was greeted with laughter. Americans may be used to this kind of boosterism, but world leaders are not. According to The Fact Checker’s database of Trump’s false and misleading claims, Trump started saying that he had done more than any previous president when he was Not even at the six-month mark – and he has now repeated the line more than 30 times.

Trump, unlike many presidents in his first year, had signed few major pieces of legislation.

Certainly, the whirlwind of accomplishments under presidents such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama exceed Trump’s efforts.

As of Sept. 12, his 600th day, Trump had signed 238 bills, most of which were minor.

Trump has signed two more bills and joint resolutions than Obama and 14 more than George W. Bush, but was still behind every other president since Eisenhower, according to a calculation by Josh Tauberer of GovTrack. He noted that Trump is just behind Obama in number of pages, indicating that much of the legislation Trump has signed has been about increasing government spending.

Trump later said the line “was meant to get some laughter” — which is odd, since he doesn’t play it for laughs at his rallies.

“America’s economy is booming like never before.”

This is highly dubious, but it’s another favorite talking point that Trump has uttered more than 50 times.

The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he repeatedly makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is Not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton — and even “the drunken” Ulysses S. Grant.

“We’ve added more than 4 million new jobs, including half a million manufacturing jobs.”

Trump often inflates his totals by including nearly three months when he was not yet president. At the time of this speech, almost 3.6 million jobs had been created during his presidency, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the 19 months starting after Trump’s inauguration, the economy created 3.58 million new jobs — but that is still less than the 3.96 million created in the last 19 months of Obama’s presidency. (The White House notes that job creation under Trump has exceeded the Congressional Budget Office’s expectations for job growth at the end of Obama’s presidency.)

U.S. manufacturing employment has been increasing at a steady rate since 2010 — and the increase in Trump’s presidency has been about 350,000, not half a million, according to BLS.

“We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.”

Trump loves this line so much he has said it more than 100 times. But it’s not true. His tax cut ranks eighth when measured as a percentage of the size of the economy.

“We’ve started the construction of a major border wall.”

This is another false claim that the president keeps repeating — some 50 times.

With great fanfare in March, he toured prototypes of a concrete wall while in California. Yet the language in the appropriations bill is specific: None of the $1.57 billion appropriated for border protection may be used for those prototypes.

Moreover, the bill identified that the money for the barriers — about $1.3 billion — could be used only for items listed as “primary pedestrian levee fencing,” “primary pedestrian fencing” and “secondary fencing.” About $250 million is for secondary fencing, meaning it just backs up other fencing.

The closest thing to a wall would be the levee fencing, which is a concrete levee topped by bollard fencing. As far as we can tell, only 33 miles of new barrier — fencing on top of an existing levee in Hidalgo County, Tex., and a fence in Starr County, Tex. — would be funded under the 2018 bill. The rest of the money appears to be for replacing existing fencing or barriers — with fencing.

“We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year.”

The military budget is $700 billion in the current fiscal year. Congress this summer passed — and Trump signed — authorization for $716 billion in spending in fiscal 2019.

But Trump referred to these defense budgets as a “record,” which is wrong. The budget authority was larger in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 in nominal dollars, and outlays was higher in many years, including recently, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

A better way to measure over time is as a percentage of the economy, and Trump’s is only one-third the size of the defense budget at the height of the Vietnam War. (And what about the Iraqi invasion that lasted 8 years?)

“In June, I traveled to Singapore to meet face-to-face with North Korea’s leader, Chairman Kim Jong Un. We had highly productive conversations and meetings, and we agreed that it was in both countries’ interest to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Since that meeting, we have already seen a number of encouraging measures that few could have imagined only a short time ago.”

Trump highlights the visible fruits of his talks with North Korea, including that “nuclear testing has stopped.”

But The Washington Post reported in June that U.S. intelligence officials, citing newly obtained evidence, have concluded that North Korea does Not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile and instead is considering ways to conceal secret production facilities and the number of weapons it has.

And in July, The Post reported that U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

North Korea has a long history of making agreements and then not living up to them. (Exactly as Israel? And the USA?)

The document signed by Trump and Kim was remarkably vague, leaving it open to interpretation and debate, compared with previous documents signed by North Korea.

The statement said North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) committed to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The phrase is not defined and “towards” is rather weak.

In the past, North Korea viewed “denuclearization” to mean the United States’ removing the nuclear umbrella it provides to Japan and South Korea; there is no indication its definition has changed. (The USA has been deploying nuclear missiles on the borders of China and Russia for decades)

“The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Iran’s military expenditure increased nearly 30 percent from 2015, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was adopted, to 2017. This increase brought Iran’s military spending back to near-2006 levels.

But as we’ve pointed out before, just looking at the raw increase or decrease in any country’s military budget misses important context. Instead, let’s consider Iran’s military expenditure as a share of overall government spending.

In 2015, it accounted for 15.4 percent of government spending. It increased 0.4 percentage point, to 15.8 percent of government spending, by 2017. According to a White House official, this spending level is expected to remain stable in 2018. That means military spending increased alongside overall government spending — not in a silo on its own.

Looking at Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP, there’s a similar trend. It has increased by only half a percentage point — going from 2.6 percent to 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2017. (For comparison, in 2016, military expenditure accounted for about 3.3 percent of GDP in the United States.)

“We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ and that threatens Israel with annihilation to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth.”

This is a bit in the weeds, but as we have documented, it’s not entirely clear whether Iran means to annihilate Israel, such as “wiping it off the map.”

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been consistent in speaking of his hatred of Israel, but without a military context. He has said his goal is the dissolution of Israel through a “popular referendum” that would give power to Palestinians.

“Even worse, some countries abused their openness to dump their products, subsidize their goods, target our industries and manipulate their currencies to gain unfair advantage over our country. As a result, our trade deficit ballooned to nearly $800 billion a year.”

The U.S. trade deficit in 2017 was $568 billion, according to the Commerce Department. Trump gets his $800 billion number by looking only at the deficit for trade in goods ($811 billion) even though U.S. trade in services runs a substantial surplus of $243 billion.

Moreover, Trump blames the trade deficit on the actions of other countries. But trade deficits are also affected by macroeconomic factors such as the relative strength of currencies, economic growth rates, and savings and investment rates.

“The United States lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs, nearly a quarter of all steel jobs and 60,000 factories after China joined the WTO.”

Just on Sept. 20, Trump blamed the loss of thousands of factories on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now he pegs the same phenomenon on China’s joining the World Trade Organization.

Most economists would agree that China’s industrial rise caused millions of job losses in the United States and thousands of factory closures. There’s no definitive estimate of how many of these jobs were lost or how many of these factories closed specifically because of China. The research on this question is limited, indicating that China had an outsize impact but that there were other factors at play, such as automation.

“The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness and due process.”

Trump goes too far here to claim that the International Criminal Court claims “near-universal jurisdiction” over citizens of every country.

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute, which 118 countries have ratified. The United States is not among those countries, and it has signed what are called Article 98 agreements with many countries to shield U.S. citizens from prosecution under the court.

Afghanistan is a member of the ICC, and in theory a war crimes prosecution in that country could cover possible crimes committed by U.S. forces. However, Afghanistan has also signed an Article 98 agreement with the United States. A U.S. law prohibits the government from assisting the ICC in extraditing U.S. citizens.

“OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.

Trump blames the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for rising oil prices, but a key factor in the recent rise in the cost of oil is his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord and the imposition of new sanctions on one of the world’s leading oil producers. Experts say U.S. sanctions could drive oil prices to above $100 a barrel, up from about $70 currently.

“The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid.”

Trump is using raw dollars here, but that’s misleading. It is more appropriate to look at the dollars given as a percentage of the size of a country’s economy.

For instance, the United States gave $35.3 billion in 2017, compared with $24.7 billion for Germany and $18 billion for Britain, according to preliminary data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But as a percentage of gross national income, the United States ranks near the bottom of industrialized countries, providing just 0.18 percent of GNI.

That’s far below the U.N. target of 0.7 percent. In fact, just four countries — Sweden (1.01 percent), Luxembourg (1 percent), Norway (0.99 percent) and Denmark (0.72 percent) — exceeded that target. Britain met it, and Germany, at 0.66 percent, was close.

Listening is a skill. Making someone feel heard is a gift. September 30, 2018

My dad’s first words when I told him about my new job were, “It’s not very close to home.” I was a fresh college graduate in Missouri. He was back home in Maine and the job was in Pennsylvania.

By Dan Rockwell?

I did the easy thing. I heard words but I didn’t hear meanings.

Pennsylvania didn’t seem closer to him but it seemed closer to me. I resisted his words, observed he was right, and moved with my young family to live in the greater Philadelphia area.

I’m not saying I made a wrong decision. But I didn’t hear what dad meant.

Today, it sounds silly that I heard the words but didn’t hear meanings. I totally missed it. My excuses are youth and enthusiasm.

Now that my own children are out and on their own, I know what he meant. It wasn’t geography. It was relationship.

Words are partial truths.

Foolish leaders listen; wise leaders hear. (or is it the way around?)

My dad didn’t say, “I want to stay connected with you.” He didn’t say, “I’ll miss my grandchildren.” He said the easier, less revealing truth.

Most of us say easier, less revealing, less vulnerable truths. We hide our truths in shadows.

You connect more deeply by realizing words are shadows.

Once in a while, dip below the surface and let those around you know you understand their concerns.

The best times to hear are when:

  1. New tensions or stresses arise.
  2. Procedures change.
  3. Business is down.
  4. Achievements are enjoyed.

Listen for and hear:

  1. Frustrations.
  2. Fears.
  3. Hopes.
  4. Aspirations.


  1. Reject the need to give solutions. This may be the hardest thing to do.
  2. Don’t make excuses.
  3. Withhold judgement.
  4. Help them think their own thoughts.

The goal of hearing is making people feel understood. People who feel understood open their hearts to your influence.

How do you listen in ways that make others feel understood?

Note: Listening skills requires many demands to acquire: readiness to accept the talker as a viable person, a level of maturity Not to disregard advice, readiness to be on the lookout for opportunities, respect of people regardless of genders, colors or “race”…


Royal Grand in Sharm el Sheikh: A mini paradise, sufficient for me and willing to substitute it to the fictional one. Part 1

Sept, 22, 2018

The Royal Grand is a mini-paradise: all you can eat, all you can drink, beautiful tourists ambulating in front of you, self-contained will all the facilities: 3 beaches, 3 swimming pools, massage parlors, Turkish bath.
Wonderful Egyptians servers, ready to share a laugh: they love Lebanese and they accept Lebanese currencies more readily than dollars, hard working guys 12 hrs a day with half an hour break, almost cheap. But they stay for the tips.
This idea of me taking a group tour made its way after mother got a prosthetic hip implant. I had to care for her for an entire month. None of my close relatives were in Lebanon at the time and the burden was all on me. I took this opportunity to clean up 40 years of accumulated junk inside the house and outside.
And I developed a hernia. I waited for my sister to come back to undergo the surgery. Another 2 weeks of misery.
My first choice was a cruise from Stockholm to Estonia and St. Peterborough. The Shen-gen visa required a month of waiting and the season would be over. I had to fall back on another alternative.
The airfare to Turkey in August and September was expensive and I had to wait for October and November for a better deal. Thus, Sharm el Sheikh was the option since a group of young relatives had spent a week there in June and were very satisfied with the stay in Royal Grand.
In the meantime, I applied for a regular credit card that is handy overseas and purchased a mobile for the first time in my life. My nephew Cedric initiated me to all the intricacies of handling a mobile and how to pay online.
I’ll insist next time I travel with Nakhal Not to pay the 2% tax on the credit card since it is the company that is responsible for that extra expense and Not taken from the customers’ pockets: I call that decision part of civil disobedience Not to encourage further spoiling behaviors (fassaad)
The five sections of the buffets are varied with free drinks all day long till 2 am. You are be served fish (bouri), grilled and fried. Omelettes in the morning and boiled eggs. chicken, fried and grilled. vegetables of all kinds and and a variety of cheese. Croissants and a dozen kinds of sweets. All kinds of bread. Juices , coffee, milk, cereals, soup, and a wide variety of cooked meals, humus, foul, spaghetti…
Still, a few Lebanese make sure to give the cooks hell with special room orders for shish kabob.
When you arrive, the reception attaches a navy blue ribbon around your wrist, which open up everything for free, assuming you paid the room, all inclusive, which is worth the price, a  low added cost for all the facilities.
The lobby is connected and is a relatively a cooler place to be around (well, kinds of cooler since there is no way to cool any place down here): I kept sweating in the lobby.
It never rains, and water in the room are Not meant for drinking since water are desalinated in 3 facilities.
Connecting otherwise is also cheap, but I rather be outside the room. Didn’t plan for any excursion yet, since I’m still discovering the facilities of this vast complex. Surely I will take a sea tour for an entire day which include scuba-diving…
I arrived from Lebanon to the hotel at 9 pm and I managed to have a quick dinner. Had to wait 2 hours for the flight in Lebanon after passing 3 checkpoints. The flight is 1:30 min and I think it is better to take an early flight to enjoy an extra day. There is an hour zone difference.
I had miscalculated my return day, though it is mentioned in the ticket. Had to rectify the day with my Taxi. Glad someone is waiting at airport.
The Egyptian try hard to eek a living, and the massage parlor dispatch people around the pools to get reservation for manicure, pedicure, Turkish bath, massage, sauna… I met a Lebanese guy who told me wonder about the massage done by George. I got a free massage and reserved for a 2-hr complete experience for $45 or 700 LE (Egyptian pound worth 17.6 for the $).
A young Lebanese tourist (a member of internal forces, Darak) in the hotel got me connected with the massage facility personnel. and insisted that I select Georges as masseur.
The night of my arrival, he invited me to sit down with him and share with him a shisha (arghileh). The night before returning home, he asked me to join him for a stroll on Ne3mat Street, a one-mile street of shops, theaters, restaurants… and closed to traffic.
He needed someone to share the fare of the taxi since he has already exhausted his cash money on lavish tips.  It’s a 10 km trip that barely cost $3, but he insisted on negotiating hard. It never occurred to me to buy anything as gifts, but ended up purchasing 3 gifts and 2 items for myself that I made good use of there.
I postponed the schedule for my full massage package from 3:30 to 5 :30 pm because I didn’t feel getting wet again with all the swimming and showering.
I was introduced to the sauna for 15 min, and I started pounding on the door to let me out: All I had to do is just push the door out.
The next step in the sauna was to dip in a very cold basin that I couldn’t do with all my willpower. The guy allowed me to try the warmer basin first and then back to the cold one. It took me 15 min to get in, cooling my behind first.
Then come the phase of the Turkish bath, lying on a hot marble table and being rubbed like crazy with a rough glove. Then pouring foam on my entire body with instruction to close my eyes shut. Then I was moved to another room and rubbed with coconut debris and then totally wrapped in plastic and towel as a mommy.
Then Georges took over and gave me a thorough massage for every joint and part of my body, and abundantly using lotion.
My Lebanese acquaintance had spoiled them with plenty of tips and the guys roamed around expecting generous tips, kind of making sure that I’m Not dizzy. I saw the promoter the next day and he told me it is a shame there are Not many Lebanese guests to make his task easier.
I went on boating and did the scuba-diving and got the videos of pictures inside water and on the boat.
The start was a total chaos: They even transferred me from Caesar boat to Samira without informing me. If I didn’t check on the status of my waiting I might have missed the sea trip. The bus driver or the one representing the travel agency asked me to go and fetch the safety jacket and snorkeling mask from a lending shack.
After a long time waiting, I discovered that I don’t need these stuff since I have my goggles for deep water swimming.
We spent much time on instructions of how to dive. The dive was mainly to taking videos underwater and instructing me what kind of gesticulation I should exhibit.and I was Not allowed to swim on my own.
The video under water was of $20 and the one on the boat for $15 with hard bargaining. I guess the entire crew share part of the earning of the designated photographers.
No more extracurricular activities outside the hotel: Not worth the exacerbation. Total relaxation this Tuesday: walking on the beach, swimming in the swimming pool, swimming in deep water and drinking with new friends.
It would have been great to extend the stay another day, now that daily routines are  programmed and nailed down. Tried yesterday to pay on-line for the mobile and I failed. Will wait till I’m back.
Only acting as insane draw the laughter and people don’t mean it bad: they want to act insane but are pretty shy with this drastic change in behavior. When I act insane, dozens of people feel good and positive, especially when I apply my clown-nose.
The night before departure, I received a certificate of Mister Royal hotel in Sharm el Sheikh by acting totally uninhibited in the show.
5 contestants volunteered for the show, 4 Ukrainians and I. The Italians had returned home. In one part, they installed a young lady on a chair in the middle of the stage and we had to strip-tease in front of her. One contestant refused on the ground that he is married. Another contestant faked to be obfuscated and vacated the stage.
I emulated Michael Jackson as I was told by the promoter, and I ambulated with my hat over my crotch (Not according to instructions).  I gathered a mound of shoes, sandals… and half a dozen bras, each one accounted for 100 points, and a new lovely girl offered me to keep her bras. I wore the bras for 30 minutes and used it to stow my cigarette box and my money in each bra.
My new Ukrainian girl-friends wanted to have a night out after asking me to order a shisha that they barely used since we had to hurriedly cram a bus with the promoter and his staff, and off to a beach party outside the hotel for $20.
My friends kept asking me if I feel okay, given that I was sweating profusely because of the heat and my relentless dancing and hopping.
There was a so-called Lebanese from the south who insisted on exhibiting a medal on his chest, claiming that he is “on call from the US special forces”. He is tall, svelte, dark-skinned and liked to walk bare chested.  He tried hard to befriend me and to carry me on his shoulders for a selfie. I refused his advances: in my mind, I suspected that he might be a son of families that fled from south Lebanon to Israel in 2000, as Israel hurriedly vacated our land without negotiation,
He was married but focused on a girl to get in her pants  (the one who gave me her bras as gift). We returned at 4 am and I was to be at the reception my noon to hand over my keys. The girl (Masha, nickname for Maria) claimed to be too tired and went back to her room with her girlfriend.
I made friends with 2 Irish sisters (May and Francis) who had been patronizing the hotel for the last 10 years and had a room in their name and plenty of special privileges. They came to bid me farewell the next day by the bus that was taking us to the airport.
I also befriended an elder couple from Denmark who have been patronizing the hotel in the last 5 years: They have a small olive tree planted in their name. I was searching for an empty seat at lunch and they invited me to join their table. The husband spoke fluent English and we hit-it off and laughed and then met again the next morning by the pool.
I still managed to get up at 8:30 am, had a breakfast, walked on the beach sand, got a swim in the pool, got a shower, packed, and had lunch too.
The hardest day in the vacation is the day before departure, when you get used to a certain life-style of facilities.
The bus to the airport was at 1:30 pm. And we visited 6 hotels to the airport to pick up guests returnees.
The Egyptian controlled 3 times our departure: twice by demanding we empty all our pockets belonging and our shoes.
I decided to empty all my pockets in a bag and keep it in my backpack when we land in Beirut. Luckily, we were Not searched and we directly advanced to pick up our suitcases and off to the arrival outlet. Kind of the Lebanese counterpart had full confidence in the Egyptian thorough search and control
Note: Ayman El Mohammadi, General Manager of Royal Grand sent me a mail for evaluation of my stay in the hotel.
I replied: “I’ll be posting a good review on my blog on your hotel facilities and great smiling, dedicated, hard working and good humored staff.
It would be a great idea to study opening a few pool lanes for dedicated swimmers. Otherwise, it is a piece of paradise to be revisited. Does my certificate of Mister Royal Hotel give me a deduction for next year?
It came to my attention that the staff are overworked, kind of 12 hours a day for just 30 minutes break? Are they being paid overtime after 8 hours work? Send my regards to the dedicated Irish guests, the sisters Francis and May

Note 2: I received this reply from the hotel manager.

Let us thank you for choosing our hotel for your recent holiday in Sharm-el-Sheikh and for your kind message.

We are very happy that our team managed to live up to your expectations and you enjoyed your vacation at Royal Grand Sharm.

Thank you for sharing with us your idea, it’ll be seriously considered by the Management.

It’ll be our great pleasure to welcome you back next year. No deduction, sorry.  However, you’ll have a wide range of special privileges, such as free of charge fresh juices during breakfast, unlimited number of visits to a la carte restaurant, additional restaurant Li Manda for lunch and dinner, invitation to the welcome cocktail reception and 1-hour of paid internet usage for free.  The more times you come to us, the more privileges we offer.

Please be assured that our Management provide the favorable working conditions and do its best to create a nice and friendly atmosphere with all our staff here at the Royal Grand Sharm to ensure that every member of the team enjoys their work and this shows in the service they offer. Will surely send your best regards to Ms. May and Ms. Frances!

Note 3: My reply

Yes, you may forward my email address to Francis and May, as well as anyone who want to be in contact with me: as well as my blog on

I filled the evaluation list and discovered that there are many facilities that were unknown to me: if you are relying on the guests to read the brochure for “pieces of intelligence” many facilities will remain unchecked. Like the hotel organizing activities in open sea: I thought that I need to contact my travel agency for extracurricular activities
Need to appoint a “maitre d’hotel” for the outside of the main restaurant, facing the sea where birds share our bread. Someone must take the sole responsibility to observe who finished his meal and order the clean up of tables.
I was never been able to finish my meal before the table was cleaned up. Sort of as soon as I enter to fetch another dish My table was removed to allow other guests to take seats. This was a frequent occurrence as if I was targeted for harassment. It was too late for me to get the message and eat inside the restaurant.
Need a couple of professional swimming lanes for serious swimmers
I like to walk on the beach. The attended of the next resort (Sunrise?) didn’t allow me to enter and use their beach. Someone told me this is illegal since all beaches are public domain?
Nothing like a DJ to encourage people to dance in the evening. I discovered that the girls working with the show invite people of their “own kinds”. Thus have girls from many nationalities to do the job properly


Mon cher Ado/Farouk. Part 21

Ce que j’appréciais le plus au Ciragan Palace , mon cher Farouk , c’était le matin quand je me rendais au restaurant de l’hôtel pour prendre un café indispensable pour aviver mon esprit alourdi par une nuit de sommeil .

A cette heure du jour , le restaurant est pratiquement vide, à part les serveurs qui s’activaient à garnir les buffets de toutes sortes de victuailles , en attendant que les dormeurs arrivent pour se restaurer avant de vaquer à leurs occupations .

Seul , installé face au Bosphore encore somnolant mais qui petit à petit s’anime pour une nouvelle journée de labeur sans se soucier du temps chagrin ce jour-là , le soleil ayant du mal à frayer à travers qui s’étaient amoncelés au cour de la nuit et le couvraient d’un chape noire , assez mélancolique !

Tout en sirotant mon café, je me suis mis à rêver lorsque l’envie d’écrire , l’envie de me livrer me saisit , m’enthousiasma !
Alors , machinalement je me suis mis à griffonner sur un bout de papier tout et n’importe quoi sans faire attention au bourdonnement qui commençait à s’élever dans la salle . (This is the trick: start writing whatever comes to mind. The editing session will take care of the structure)

J’étais parti loin au gré de mes souvenirs…Je me revoyais dans ces contrées riches en couleurs et qui sentaient si bon !
Je me demandais si le fait de s’épancher serait une échappatoire à ce mal-être qui me crucifiait depuis quelques mois, depuis mon passage à la Salpetriere puis à Cochin ?

Bref, toujours est-il que je me sentais ragaillardi . J’avais oublié le présent .

Oublier ? Voilà ce qu’il me fallait . Farfoura , ma grand-mère adorée , ne me disait -elle pas qu’il fallait oublier ce qui nous chagrine , qu’il fallait chasser les mauvais esprits ? (Farfoura means a little butterfly? a little bird? Someone who was meant to be freed from the gravity of earth?)

Mais comment oublier quand la souffrance est-là ? Qu’elle vous torture ?

Certains hommes ont trouvé dans le stoïcisme l’exutoire nécessaire pour dominer leur souffrance . (On decouvre toute sorte d’echapatoire avec l’ age). Pour d’autres, comme les masochistes , souffrir est un plaisir .

Comme je n’appartiens ni à l’un ni à l’autre camp , (which means we don’t stay for long in any of these state?), il ne me reste que l’oubli . (Don’t worry, forgetting all will come soon, whether you want it or Not, just give it time: The other members of the family will notice your condition)

Mais peut-on vraiment oublier ? Se divertir peut-être ?” Apprivoiser l’oubli” dit Nada Bejjani Raad dans son roman :
” Le jour où l’agave crie” .

Mais comment? (Thus the book was Not of much help in instructions?) En admettant que l’oubli apaise , voire atrophie notre esprit , peut- on se passer de la souffrance qui aiguise notre esprit ?

Pierre Loti disait qu’il n’a jamais écrit que quand il avait l’esprit hanté d’une chose, le cœur serré de souffrance . Il parlait d’une difficulté d’être dont l’acte d’écrire devenait l’exutoire , le remède . (And you are expecting Farouk to ponder that much on your tragic condition? The call of Germany is is a siren for him)

La souffrance serait donc un bien ? Ou plutôt un mal nécessaire ? Grande question . (Pas aussi grande question quand on apprecie que chaque chose en son temps)

Baudelaire invoquait Dieu , lui disant :

” Soyez béni , mon Dieu, qui donnez la souffrance
Comme un divin remède à nos impuretés
Et comme la meilleure et la plus pure essence
Qui prépare les forts aux saintes voluptés !”

(When we start mentioning a God, we are certainly totally fucked up. Not take the poem seriously)

Et pour Alfred de Vigny :

“Gémir , pleurer, prier est également lâche
Fais énergiquement ta longue et lourde tâche
Dans la voie où le sort a voulu t’appeler
Puis après , comme moi , souffre et meurs sans parler .”

(So, Alfred believed in the Maktoub? Why Not? Another alternative to excuse your failed life)

Est-ce possible ? Bravo les copains ! Alors écrire pour adoucir le passage du temps ? (Pour remplir le temps de la retraite?)

Note: Okay. No more souvenirs? Already dried up?

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 242

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

All discoveries and technological development end up being considered for military purposes, if Not initiated by the military institutions.

A human soldier is frequently considered too human for those rascals in headquarters: the soldier must be “Augmented” whenever possible to behave as a robot, like those trained with ISIS and Evangelical Zionist fundamentalist

I had a night dream. We are in the middle of the semester. This university prof. is asking me a question during class. He spoke quickly and I couldn’t hear the last words. I asked him to repeat the question and he didn’t raise the volume of his voice. I asked him again to repeat to the astonishment of the students and the flabbergasted prof. And I ‘m closing and opening my ears with both hands as if my ears were shut close. I suspected he was saying ” How do you feel about this course” but was not sure and I says: “Fine. I like it better when you invite me to the blackboard”.

I had to force myself wide awake to interpret this dream. Most probably, a few experience high blood pressure when under stress and literally can’t hear. In my case, a combination of blood tension and a question “out of context or subject matter” exacerbated the situation. Most would faint as a response to these kinds of conditions to avoid a sense of shame. Does this dream telling me that I’m a strong minded and confident guy to dare express honestly my lack of hearing the question repeatedly?

Do you know that the USA export one million containers of just old paper to be recycled somewhere else?

Otherwise, the monster cargo will return empty from the USA. Actually 6 out of 10 “made in the USA” enterprises export compressed garbage of plastic bottles, tissues, cartons and ferrailles? China alone import $5.6 bn of these US garbage, out of $18 bn in total from somewhere else, to be recycled into new products to USA supermarkets.

It would be funny if China levy a tax import on USA garbage after its latest restrictions on Quality of imported garbage. USA is counting on Viet Nam, India, Malaysia and Bangladesh to come to the rescue for its garbage exportation.

Confucius: “I will work on the correct usage of the terminology in the language.  If terminology is not widely correctly understood and uniform, discourse will be disorderly, orders are wrongly misinterpreted, and consequently, most orders stop being executed as intended.  If the forms and rituals are not conveniently stabilized then, social relationship are distorted and customs and rituals neglected, justice is not adequately rendered, and the kingdom is weakened.  Any new law must be enunciated in the clearest of terms and never proclaimed without thorough discussions, lest tyranny shows its ugly head”

Confucius wrote: “Respect and work on yourself.  How can you govern and guide your family and community if you neglect working on your limitations, weaknesses, and potentials?

At around that period of Confucius teaching, Pythagoras is founding a secret cult based on the magic of numbers; Buddha is preaching his message in India, and Darius, the all-powerful monarch of Persia, has conquered most of the Mediterranean Sea countries, including Egypt.

Are you able to express your spirit and your culture in a foreign language? The main role of slang:  You are using slang in your “mother tongue” that connote deeper meaning and feeling than in any foreign language

Une petite fille  du Sodan épiée par un vautour


Ce cliché saisissant représente une fillette soudanaise aux portes de la mort : émaciée, épuisée et affamée, la petite fille git sur le sol tandis qu’un vautour attend patiemment sa mort pour se nourrir de son cadavre… Le photographe et lauréat du prix Pulitzer, Kevin Carter, s’est suicidé quatre mois plus tard, rongé par la culpabilité de ne l’avoir pas aide’ quand les journeaux se sont dechaines sur son attitude “I was just doing my job“.

Ce qu’il y a de miraculeux dans cette histoire est que la petite fille photographiée a finalement survécu !


Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 241

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

60% des terres arables inexploitees de la planete sont en Afrique: The Last Frontier to feed humanity, though what the agro-multinationals are applying the mono-culture of cotton and soja and flowers (roses and tulip) that are Not the staple food for the growing population in Africa

In every community, there are layers of apartheid behaviors: autochtone (born in the Land), immigrants, religion, color of skin (even color of the eyes), social status, mother tongue, size of the family… The nastiest and enduring of racism is based on ideological myths and abstract notions.

For example, the Sephardi Jews, those from the Middle East and North Africa, are from the same original roots of the people of the Land, and even their religion is founded on the same stories, customs and traditions of the Land.

When the Sephardi Jews shoot to kill a Palestinian, they are actually assassinating their own father, mother, sisters and brothers. And yet, they are more racist than the “white” Ashkenazim Jews who immigrated from Europe and adopted the German Zionist colonial ideology and transplanted it into Israel.

At least the “White” immigrants to apartheid South Africa could enjoy yearly vacations and having a house maid to maintain their “home”

Et les immigrants Blancs, employees par les industries de l’apartheid Sud Africaine, sont-ils mieux integres a la communaute’ Africaner? Pas du tout: ils seront toujours “wit kaffer” (cafards blancs), “Fucking immigrants”.

Les garsons des immigres Blancs n’avaient pas droit d’integrer l’equipe locale de rugby. A l’ecole, les cheveux sont rases, et les langues etrangeres etaient interdite a l’ecole. La Bible s’apprend uniquement en Afrikaans.

By 6 pm, all Black workers in the industries of apartheid South Africa were prohibited from walking on the streets.

In 2014, the USA created the Biological Technological Office. This agency announced that biology joins basic sciences to produce an “augmented soldier” since robots by themselves are Not capable to win in the battle fields.

Methamphetamine, which aid in overcoming fatigue,  was massively administered to the German and Japanese soldiers in WWII.

In Viet Nam, US soldiers were given amphetamine “Go pills”. The British soldiers when sent to Afghanistan in 2001 and later to Iraq (2003) received a “safer” alternative to addiction to “exaltation” with Ritaline. They all returned home addicted and totally useless.

In the battle of Austerlitz of 1805, where Napoleon defeated the armies of 3 monarchs, 2 divisions of France infantry received a triple shot of liquor before charging the plateau of of Pratzen. Wondering if an overdose of liquor that the Republican Guards got before charging the mound where the British were retrenched accelerated their quick descent in chaos in Waterloo

US Gen. Stanley McChrystal claimed in 2013 that the use of drones in Afghanistan generated a visceral hatred toward USA among the Afghanis: This is no longer a war among fighters, but the enemy is a coward avoiding the fight. Any fallen Augmented Soldiers shouldn’t ever be decorated for valiance. The same hatred extended to Yemenis, Somalis, Syrians and Iraqis. Israel army, using drones, is also viewed as a cowardly enemy

“Ya sadiki, sadd2ouni, Loubnaan m2aflass”. Ya sadiki, fi 1993, Loubnaan ma kaan 3endo dyoun wa la bi 7ajat la kouroud. Rafiq Hariri et dayyan ta ye 3abbi jyoubo, wa azlaam al Moustakbal, wa Walid wa Berri: abawaat al militia

Shi mokhzi: Al Jadeed awkafat khitabaat al Mojtama3 al madani fil Sodiko to cover tadsheen Jaadat Selman bi Zaytouni Bay.

You have got to Ask for feedback: Feedback don’t come easily and without much specific prompting…

There was a time when the term feedback was associated with some kinds of “production process“.

Coming from an engineering background, particularly industrial and human factors engineering, feedback meant receiving the reactions of clients and customers in the usage of products, such as safe usage, easy manipulation, health consequences, quality of product, of processes…

Feedback has acquired a life of its own and expanded to mean “How do you perceive my behavior, and how do think people are judging me…?”

Thus, feedback in the workplace on how I control, manage, and connect with people, employees, clients…

When was the last time you received useful feedback?

When it was not too late to nurture and mentor this “good person” who is trying hard to communicate with you?

An angry person will vent his feelings, turn and bang the door…How much of a feedback you think you received?

Do you think receiving feedback from someone who is Not an expert in the field or didn’t work on the field can give use any useful feedback?

“How am I doing?” is not a great beginning: It doesn’t sound serious or honest.

Everyone who really craves excellence craves feedback.

You need to know how you’re doing and how to improve.

Honest feedback is rare. And you don’t receive feedback because you don’t ask.

The primary problem in feedback is the level of Honesty:

The higher your level in the hierarchy, the more likely people say what they’re expected to say, not what they believe. Honest feedback is rare.

Try full sentences for a change, like: (extracted from a short list by Dan Rockwell)

  1. What do you think I was trying to accomplish by the way I______? (Fill in the blank with an outcome, “Led the meeting,” Leader, manager, coach, spouse, etc.)
  2. What did I do that made you think I was ______? (Fill in the blank with their response to #1.)
  3. How could I improve what you think I’m trying to accomplish
  4. “How/where do you fit into what I’m trying to accomplish?” (Nathan, Thanks for giving me this powerful question.)
  5. How can I help you better fit in?

The feedback question that changes everything uses behaviors to identify what’s really going on.

It doesn’t begin with a list of job responsibilities.

How can leaders invite feedback?

What questions invite useful feedback?

Mon cher Ado/Farouk. Part 20

Pris dans le tourbillon de la vie , on s’adonne , mon cher Farouk , corps et âme au présent qui nous occupe à plein temps , délaissant le passé , enfui au fond de nous . Et les années passent …

Puis un jour quand nous n’avons plus rien à faire , lorsqu’on ne sert plus à grand-chose , on reste là à ressasser nos souvenirs. (Comme apres la retraite?)

On se retourne alors vers le temps qui n’est plus, que notre mémoire à sauvegarder et qu’elle nous restitue par tranches de vie plus ou moins lointaines , plus ou moins claires .

Ce retour dans le passé fut déclenché le jour où , installé au balcon du quatrième étage du ” Ciragan Palace ” à Istamboul, en train de siroter un bon café turque en face du Bosphore qui scintille à mes pieds par une belle matinée d’automne !

Ce jour -là, sans que je ne puisse me l’expliquer , me mit du baume au cœur .Faut-il croire que ces réminiscences sont le remède nécessaire pour échapper à cette funeste sinistrose qui m’ opprimait depuis quelques mois?

Toujours est-il que ces réminiscences me rendirent euphorique . Je jouissais d’un bien-être comme au temps de ma jeunesse lorsque je m’ installais sur la terrasse de notre maison à Beit-Chabab pour lire à l’heure de la sieste les tragédies de Corneille et de Racine ainsi que les romans de Zola , de Saint-Ex. , de Dostoievki , et j’en passe …

Hier, de retour au Liban , je me suis arrêté chez mon ami d’enfance, Assad Tannous qui vit toujours en face de notre vieille maison , et là , je regardais cette maison où j’ai grandi , avec nostalgie et un pincement au cœur…

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 240

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page of backlog opinions and events is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory

Islamic Evangelical Zionists: Landing first in Israel, praying in Israel Ben Gurion airport, before boarding to Saudi Kingdom and turning around the Al Kaaba

Midget mice live twice longer than normal size mice and also midget people (Laron) don’t suffer cancer, diabetics, or Alzheimer. Growth hormones are mainly protein from meat, but if the receptors for those hormones are blocked then there is no growth, of any thing.

The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was highly upset and frightened that this walking Rabi knew more on the Book and the history of the Jewish priesthood than the most learned among them.  And yet, not a historian, not a document, not an anecdote recounted what happened between Sunday and Thursday, in an urban and educated society.

These 4 days between Sunday and Thursday, are as blank as the period of Jesus between 12 and 30 years of age. Actually, Jesus stayed longer in Jerusalem before he was arrested and the process of his judgement took much longer than the mentioned 3 days

After Jesus was crucified, all the frightened apostles huddled in a remote house. From the testimony of the apostles, all that they retained from Jesus’ message was that there is another “coming” and pretty soon, and before they pass away.

Jesus has been teaching his message in parabolas, the best technique for verbal retention, and in the Aramaic language, the language of The Land. These parabolas were in the Gnostic literature of the Land (Near East current countries of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) and the examples were extracted from the custom and tradition of the Land.

The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was in a major predicament: It refused to be humiliated by convicting a “gentile” on Jewish religious grounds; judging Jesus would not legally stick with the Romans who did not meddle in sect divergences, but the Sanhedrin would not allow Jesus to freely resume his teaching: And Jesus was to die in Jerusalem before he gets out of their jurisdiction.

Thousands of Christian “heretics” who believed only in the human nature of Jesus were persecuted, imprisoned, and crucified for not abiding by Byzantium orthodox dogma.  Why did they have to defy a stupid orthodox dogma since there were no confirmed documents describing the entire life of Jesus?

Thousands of Christian “heretics” who believed only in the spiritual nature of Jesus were persecuted and executed for not following the orthodox dogma; why did they have to revolt against the orthodox dogma since even the apostles did not care or comprehend much about Jesus spiritual message?

Mind you that before Byzantium admitted Christianity as an official religion in around 400 AC, there existed dozens of Christian sects in The Near-East Land of (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Turkey). Each sect applied its own daily customs and tradition and lived isolated, as cultist sects do.

Trump: USA will maintain its military bases in Syria as long as Saudi Kingdom is willing to fund our presence. Conclusion: Are the sources of funding ISIS and USA terrorist activities  the Wahhabi Saudi Kingdom?

USA will guarantee the Existence of Saudi Kingdom and Gulf Emirates as long as their Sovereign funds are Not empty. Actually Saudi Kingdom fund is already empty and asking IMF to replenish it

A7mad Hariri? Al mama kaaletli: “Ya A7mad, ma baddi night clubs bi Saida”

“Al Douwaylat”? Fi 7aal dawlat “Loubnaan al Kabeer” kaddamet netfeh memma kaddamata “douwaylat Hezbollah”, shou 3a baalna?

Balsho sha2lbo bayn canalaat: Bta3rfo ayya a7zaab ejeta al tamweel al intikhabi

Plan D? Zionism devised that plan in 1935 to cleanse the Palestinians from their lands and villages

Plan D or beginning of “war of conquest”.

Zionism had many plans to be executed as the political climate and timing were appropriate. In the 100 years since the implantation of first colonies in Palestine, many plans have been carried out to occupy all of Palestine for the only the Jews, coming from all corners of the world.

With respect to Haifa, IIan Pappé writes:

From the morning after the UN Partition Resolution was adopted in November 1947, the 75,000 Palestinians in the city were subjected to a campaign of terror jointly instigated by the Irgun and the Hagana.

As they had only arrived in recent decades, the Jewish settlers had built their houses higher up the mountain. Thus, they lived topographically above the Arab neighbourhoods and could easily shell and snipe at them. They had started doing this frequently since early December.

They used other methods of intimidation as well: the Jewish troops rolled barrels full of explosives, and huge steel balls, down into the Arab residential areas, and poured oil mixed with fuel down the roads, which they then ignited.

The moment panic-stricken Palestinian residents came running out of their homes to try to extinguish these rivers of fire, they were sprayed with machine-gun fire.

In areas where the two communities still interacted, the Hagana brought cars to Palestinian garages to be repaired, loaded with explosives and detonating devices, and so wreaked death and chaos.

Prominent Israeli historian Ilan Pappé notes that, in Israel’s Plan Dalet (also known simply as Plan D), “veteran Zionist leaders” created “a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” They dispatched military orders in March 1948, Pappé explains:

“The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be employed to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centres; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and, finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning.”

Plan D “spelled it out clearly and unambiguously: the Palestinians had to go,” writes Pappé.

“The aim of the plan was in fact the destruction of both the rural and urban areas of Palestine,” he adds, and it “contain[ed] a repertoire of cleansing methods that one by one fit the means the U.N. describes in its definition of ethnic cleansing.”

Morris is correct that Plan D did not explicitly call for “expelling as many Arabs as possible from the territory of the future Jewish state”, as Blatman suggests. But neither did it order that “neutral or friendly villages should be left untouched”, as Morris contends.

Under Plan D, brigade commanders were to use their own discretion in mounting operations against “enemy population centers”—meaning Palestinian towns and villages—by choosing between the following options:

—Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.

—Mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be wiped out and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.[66]

Thus, while Plan D allowed for Arab inhabitants to remain as long as they did not resist the takeover of their villages by the Zionist forces, it did not order Haganah commanders to permit them to stay under such circumstances—as Morris falsely suggests in the second of his responses in Haaretz.

Nor is Morris incognizant of the critical distinction. In 1948, he explicitly notes that “brigade commanders were given the option” of destroying Arab villages (emphasis added)—which would obviously necessitate expelling their inhabitants—regardless of whether any of the villagers offered any resistance.

“The commanders were given discretion whether to evict the inhabitants of villages and urban neighborhoodssitting on vital access roads”, Morris writes (emphasis added). “The plan gave the brigades carte blanche to conquer the Arab villages and, in effect, to decide on each village’s fate—destruction and expulsion or occupation. The plan explicitly called for the destruction of resisting Arab villages and the expulsion of their inhabitants” (emphasis added).[67]

As Ilan Pappé expounds, “Villages were to be expelled in their entirety either because they were located in strategic spots or because they were expected to put up some sort of resistance. These orders were issued when it was clear that occupation would always provoke some resistance and that therefore no village would be immune, either because of its location or because it would not allow itself to be occupied.”[68]

By these means, by the time the war ended, the Zionist forces had expelled the inhabitants of and destroyed 531 villages and emptied eleven urban neighborhoods of their Arab residents.[69]

Pappé further notes how the facts on the ground at the time challenge Morris’s characterization of the Zionist’s operations as having been “defensive” prior to the implementation of Plan D:

The reality of the situation could not have been more different: the overall military, political and economic balance between the two communities was such that not only were the majority of Jews in no danger at all, but in addition, between the beginning of December 1947 and the end of March 1948, their army had been able to complete the first stage of the cleansing of Palestine, even before the master plan had been put into effect. If there were a turning point in April, it was the shift from sporadic attacks and counter-attacks on the Palestinian civilian population towards the systematic mega-operation of ethnic cleansing that now followed.[70]

In Haaretz, Morris adds that in the larger urban areas with mixed populations, under Plan D, the orders were for the Arabs “to be transferred to the Arab centers of those cities, like Haifa, not expelled from the country.” Morris also writes that the Zionists “left Arabs in place in Haifa”, and he cites it as an example of a place where Arabs “were ordered or encouraged by their leaders to flee”—as opposed to them being expelled by the Zionist forces.

But the details Morris provides in 1948 of what happened in Haifa tell an altogether different story.

By the end of March 1948, most of the wealthy and middle-class families had fled Haifa. Far from ordering this evacuation, the Arab leadership had blasted those who fled as “cowards” and tried to prevent them from leaving.[71]

Among the reasons for the flight were terrorist attacks by the Irgun that had sowed panic in Haifa and other cities. On the morning of December 30, 1947, for example, the Irgun threw “three bombs from a passing van into a crowd of casual Arab laborers at a bus stop outside the Haifa Oil Refinery, killing eleven and wounding dozens.”[72] (Ilan Pappé notes that “Throwing bombs into Arab crowds was the specialty of the Irgun, who had already done so before 1947.”[73]

And as Morris points out, Arab militias took note of the methods of the Irgun and Lehi and eventually started copying them: “The Arabs had noted the devastating effects of a few well-placed Jewish bombs in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Haifa . . . .”[74]) Arab laborers inside the plant responded by turning against their Jewish coworkers, killing thirty-nine and wounding fifty (several Arab employees did try to protect their Jewish co-workers).[75]

The Haganah retaliated by targeted a nearby village that was home to many of the refinery workers. The orders were to spare the women and children, but to kill the men. “The raiders moved from house to house, pulling out men and executing them. Sometimes they threw grenades into houses and sprayed the interiors with automatic fire. There were several dozen dead, including some women and children.”

Ben-Gurion defended the attack by saying it was “impossible” to “discriminate” under the circumstances. “We’re at war. . . . There is an injustice in this, but otherwise we will not be able to hold out.”[76]

Marking “the start of the implementation of Plan D”, writes Morris, was Operation Nahshon in April 1948.[77] By this time, tens of thousands of Haifa’s seventy thousand Arabs had already fled.[78] The Haganah had been planning an operation in Haifa since mid-month, and when the British withdrew their troops from positions between Arab and Jewish neighborhoods on April 21, it provided the Haganah with the opportunity to put it into effect.[79]

The Haganah fired mortars indiscriminately into the lower city, and by noon “smoke rose above gutted buildings and mangled bodies littered the streets and alleyways.” The mortar and machine gun fire “precipitated mass flight toward the British-held port area”, where Arab civilians trampled each other to get to boats, many of which were capsized in the mad rush.[80]

The British high commissioner, Sir Alan Cunningham, described the Haganah’s tactics: “Recent Jewish military successes (if indeed operations based on the mortaring of terrified women and children can be classed as such) have aroused extravagant reactions in the Jewish press and among the Jews themselves a spirit of arrogance which blinds them to future difficulties. . . . Jewish broadcasts both in content and in manner of delivery, are remarkably like those of Nazi Germany.”[81]

It was under these circumstances that the local Arab leaders sought to negotiate a truce, and in a British-mediated meeting in the afternoon on April 22, the Jewish forces proposed a surrender agreement that “assured the Arab population a future ‘as equal and free citizens of Haifa.’”[82] But the Arab notables, after taking some time to consult before reconvening, informed that they were in no position to sign the truce since they had no control over the Arab combatants in Haifa and that the population was intent on evacuating. Jewish and British officials at the meeting tried to persuade them to sign the agreement, to no avail. In the days that followed, nearly all of Haifa’s remaining inhabitants fled, with only about 5,000 remaining.

While in his Haaretz article, Morris attributed this flight solely to orders from the Arab leadership to leave the city, in 1948, he notes that other factors included psychological trauma from the violence—especially the Haganah’s


While in his Haaretz article, Morris attributed this flight solely to orders from the Arab leadership to leave the city, in 1948, he notes that other factors included psychological trauma from the violence—especially the Haganah’s mortaring of the lower city—and despair at the thought of living now as a minority under a people who had just inflicted that collective punishment upon them.

Furthermore, “The Jewish authorities almost immediately grasped that a city without a large (and actively or potentially hostile) Arab minority would be better for the emergent Jewish state, militarily and politically. Moreover, in the days after 22 April, Haganah units systematically swept the conquered neighborhoods for arms and irregulars; they often handled the population roughly; families were evicted temporarily from their homes; young males were arrested, some beaten. The Haganah troops broke into Arab shops and storage facilities and confiscated cars and food stocks. Looting was rife.”[83]

This, then, is the situation Morris is describing when he disingenuously writes in Haaretz that the Zionist forces “left Arabs in place in Haifa” and that Arabs fled Haifa because they were “ordered or encouraged by their leaders”.

We can also compare Morris’s account of how the village of Lifta came to be emptied of its Arab inhabitants with Ilan Pappé’s. 1984 contains only one mention of Lifta, a single sentence in which Morris characterizes it as another example of how Arabs fled upon the orders of their leadership: “For example, already on 3–4 December 1947 the inhabitants of Lifta, a village on the western edge of Jerusalem, were ordered to send away their women and children (partly in order to make room for incoming militiamen).”[84]

Pappé tells a remarkably different story, describing Lifta, with its population of 2,500, as “one of the very first to be ethnically cleansed”:

Social life in Lifta revolved around a small shipping centre, which included a club and two coffee houses. It attracted Jerusalemites as well, as no doubt it would today were it still there. One of the coffee houses was the target of the Hagana when it attacked on 28 December 1947. Armed with machine guns the Jews sprayed the coffee house, while members of the Stern Gang stopped a bus nearby and began firing into it randomly. This was the first Stern Gang operation in rural Palestine; prior to the attack, the gang had issued pamphlets to its activists: ‘Destroy Arab neighbourhoods and punish Arab villages.’

The involvement of the Stern Gang in the attack on Lifta may have been outside the overall scheme of the Hagana in Jerusalem, according to the Consultancy [i.e., Ben-Gurion and his close advisors], but once it had occurred it was incorporated into the plan. In a pattern that would repeat itself, creating faits accomplis became part of the overall strategy.

The Hagana High Command at first condemned the Stern Gang attack at the end of December, but when they realized that the assault had caused the villagers to flee, they ordered another operation against the same village on 11 January in order to complete the expulsion. The Hagana blew up most of the houses in the village and drove out all the people who were still there.[85]

The lesson learned was also applied in Jerusalem. On February 7, 1948, Ben-Gurion went to see Lifta for himself and that evening reported to a council of the Mapai party in Jerusalem:

When I come now to Jerusalem, I feel I am in a Jewish (Ivrit) city. This is a feeling I only had in Tel-Aviv or in an agricultural farm. It is true that not all of Jerusalem is Jewish, but it has in it already a huge Jewish bloc: when you enter the city through Lifta and Romema, through Mahaneh Yehuda, King George Street and Mea Shearim—there are no Arabs. One hundred percent Jews.

Ever since Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans—the city was not as Jewish as it is now. In many Arab neighbourhoods in the West you do not see even one Arab. I do not suppose it will change. And what happened in Jerusalem and in Haifa—can happen in large parts of the country. If we persist it is quite possible that in the next six or eight months there will be considerable changes in the country, very considerable, and to our advantage. There will certainly be considerable changes in the demographic composition of the country.[86]

Note that all of this happened well before explicit orders were given to destroy villages and expel their inhabitants if anyone resisted occupation by the Zionist forces. From mid-March onward, in Morris’s own words, “In line with Plan D, Arab villages were henceforward to be leveled to prevent their reinvestment by Arab forces; the implication was that their inhabitants were to be expelled and prevented from returning.”[87] The Haganah “embarked on a campaign of clearing areas of Arab inhabitants and militia forces and conquering and leveling villages”.[88] Plan D implemented a

“new policy, of permanently occupying and/or razing villages and of clearing whole areas of Arabs”.[89]

Morris’s contention that what happened wasn’t ethnic cleansing because most Palestinians fled, as opposed to being expelled by the Zionist forces, becomes a moot distinction in light of how, for example, a massacre that occurred in the Arab village of Deir Yassin in April was “amplified through radio broadcasts . . . to encourage a mass Arab exodus from the Jewish state-to-be.”[90]

David Ben-Gurion (center) with Yitzhak Rabin and Yigal Allon during the 1948 war (Israel Defense Forces/CC BY-NC 2.0)

David Ben-Gurion (center) with Yitzhak Rabin and Yigal Allon during the 1948 war (Israel Defense Forces/CC BY-NC 2.0)

In the Galilee, “the Arab inhabitants of the towns of Beit Shean (Beisan) and Safad had to be ‘harassed’ into flight”, according to a planned series of operations conceived in April (“in line with Plan D”, Morris notes). In charge of these operations was the commander of the Palmach, Yigal Allon.[91]

On May 1, two villages north of Safad were captured. Several dozen male prisoners were executed, and the Palmach “proceeded to blow up the two villages as Safad’s Arabs looked on. The bulk of the Third Battalion then moved into the town’s Jewish Quarter and mortared the Arab quarters”, prompting many of Safad’s Arab inhabitants to flee.[92]

After five days, the Arabs sought a truce, which Allon rejected. Even some of the local Jews “sought to negotiate a surrender and demanded that the Haganah leave town. But the Haganah commanders were unbending” and continued pounding Safad with mortars and its arsenal of 3-inch Davidka munitions.

The first of the Davidka bombs, according to Arab sources cited by a Haganah intelligence document, killed 13 Arabs, mostly children, which triggered a panic and further flight. This, of course, was precisely what was “intended by the Palmah commanders when unleashing the mortars against the Arab neighborhoods”—which, “literally overnight, turned into a ‘ghost town’”. In the weeks that followed, “the few remaining Arabs, most of them old and infirm or Christians, were expelled to Lebanon or transferred to Haifa.”[93]

Yigal Allon summed up the purpose of the Palmach’s operations: “We regarded it as imperative to cleanse the interior of the Galilee and create Jewish territorial continuity in the whole of Upper Galilee.” He boasted of how he devised a plan to rid the Galilee of tens of thousands of Arabs without having to actually use force to drive them out. His strategy, which “worked wonderfully”, was to plant rumors that additional reinforcements had arrived “and were about to clean out the villages of the Hula [Valley]”.





September 2018

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