Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 2020

Trekking to Sadd Shabrouh: A dam in Keserwan Lebanon

Note 1: Re-edit of “Trekking about Sadd Shabrouh”. Written in July, 2007 and posted in August 2009

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

Note 3: We have conducted an excursion in the the valley before it was inundated a couple of years before this trekking. We had enjoyed our excursion and ate at a “restaurant” there.

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and the weather was sunny and hot.

I read the daily “Al Balad” that we received for free for an entire year as a promotion campaign. I performed my exercises and fed the chicken.

Joanna was busy calling: she was programming a walking trip to “Sadd Shabrou7” around Faraya.  Joanna was also planning to end the day at Cherries’ for karaoke night in honor of her sister Ashley’s birthday.  She asked me to join the trekking expedition and I agreed.

I packed a spare of undershirt and socks and a light rain jacket and some biscuit and peanuts and I waited for everybody to be ready.

We waited for Ashley to come back from mass because she was not aware of this “surprise” excursion.  Cedric could not go because he hurt his fingers and the skin of his feet while playing wild basketball yesterday.

We drove off in two cars. Joanna took Ashley and retrieved Tony at St. Elie Movie Theater in Antelias. William took Adrea, Chelsea, David and I.

We met at Aoun supermarket in Zouk and they purchase a few items to eat.

Adrea waited in the car in the underground parking lot because she is pretty lazy.  We resumed our travel around 2 p.m. and William picked up Hanane at her home at Ballouni and we met at Yuhanna’s house in Ajaltoun.  From there, Yuhanna drove his car and carried Joanna, Ashley, Tony and Chelsea.

We arrived and parked our cars in the monastery parking lot and started our walk after getting some information and references from a passerby.

I wore a small towel under my cap and took the lead, hunched in a comfortable stature, and distanced the straggling group for 5 minutes and stopped and took off my top clothes and dried in the sun until they joined me.

I again advanced the group because I felt that keeping a fast and steady pace is relaxing for me, otherwise I will slacken off and my back might ache from slow walking.

I tried to investigate a promising path off the beaten road which was starting to bore me. Ashley asked me to backtrack.  I figured it was a good path that ultimately would merge with the beaten road.

We waited for the rest to join us and it seems that Adrea had trouble with her shoes that she didn’t wear for quite a time.

I took the lead again and decided for another off path and William came after me, looking very frustrated and said that we should stick together as a group and keep to the road. 

William and I took shortcuts to rejoin the group and then Joanna asked a driver for the best place to sit down near fresh running water and he gave her the direction of the path that I had already climbed before William came after me.

Thus, we retraced our walk; I suggested a path among the apple groves but they decided to take short cuts and climb a hill which took my breath out and had to sit down for a couple of minutes to recover.

We reached an area with a small waterfall “shalal” and a flat rock with no trees around.

Yuhanna and Joanna decided to go down among the apple trees to investigate the area.  It was the same apple grove that I intended to cross before I was desisted from in order “to stick to plan”.

Meanwhile, William climbed the rock opposite the road to check if there is a nice area and I removed my tops and my shoes and washed my face and dipped my feet in the icy trickle of water running across the flat rock.

David stored in the icy stream the amassed small apples and pears that he gathered from the trees and we also let our water bottles cool in the water. I had a pear and enjoyed it.

While the remaining group was anxious to go down to the apple grove where Yuhanna located a “nice place” to have lunch, I felt as happy as a clam tanning in the sun, walking bare feet and cooling my feet and rubbing lavender flowers on my hands and having a smoke.

William was pounding on a stone and it turned out to be of silex and he wanted to transform it into a stone knife; he had seen a big silex stone, but when he climbed to retrieve it he could not find it again to bring it back.

Within 15 minutes, Yuhanna asked us to join and we went down to another stream of running water among the apple grove and Yuhanna was frustrated with Chelsea because she was venturing far off the group.

We had lunch. The chips were first to go and Joanna prepared us cheese sandwiches and then we ended up with the Oriole biscuits and other kinds of chocolate covered biscuits; I had also raw peanuts and kept belching for the rest of the trip.

Joanna tried her hands with the kite that she had sent to Yuhanna from London. She failed to make it fly.  David and William drenched Hanane with icy water. I had a comfortable nap while people were chatting away.

Chelsea was a pain for the group in her wandering off, climbing and jumping off walls and rocks and being “har2a”. Obviously, she was a close second to my pain in the ass behavior for discovering new paths. We stayed and rested until 6:30 p.m.

The return path among the apple groves coincided with the path that I had suggested before we climbed the hill.  I took the lead again with Tony who was anxious to terminate the trip. And I never stopped for an hour and a half.

William joined Yuhanna and Joanna to check on a camping area and Chelsea joined them.  After a while we saw Chelsea coming alone grim faced and clutching her right hand and not stopping to talk to us: she had hurt her hand and was furious with Yuhanna.

Ashley decided to walk with Chelsea for the remaining walking trip.  Ashley was even jogging in order to advance me. I kept my fast steady pace and even jogged for a short distance but could not catch up with Chelsea and Ashley. Thus, I arrived third to the parked cars.

William gave us a summary of the statistics of this trip, collected on his cellular. He said that he walked 17,000 steps and the round trip was 11 kilometers and it took us 5 hours and a half, including the resting period, and the average speed was 5 kilometers per hour as a group.

At the suggestion of Yuhanna we had dinner at “Istira7at Al 3erzal” in downtown Farayat.

I refilled many cups of hot tea. We had labheh, baked potatoes, hummus and cucumbers.  I lent Hanane my light jacket to warm up.  Chelsea would not relent and never gave the gang peace or any quietude.  Tony brought up his dish to where we were sitting William and me, at the other end of the table.

Tony said that he usually sit in front of a wall at home to enjoy what he is eating and that when in groups, people eat a lot without noticing; William agreed with Tony and I sat next to Tony and we had a cigarette (the only two smokers).

By the time we paid the bill of 40,000 LL ($25) around 10 p.m. (I didn’t pay a dime: I had none) most of the gang members were exhausted and sleepy.

They decided to drop the karaoke part and go home.  I sat in the back seat: David needs to feel entirely comfortable; William was driving.

Chelsea made herself comfortable and slept on my lap while Adrea was sleeping in the other corner, all crumpled up. David was sleeping in the front.

I was feeling good and full of energy. We arrived at 11:30 and the public electricity was still out since noon.

Mother was awake because she watched the interview with General and Deputy Michel Aoun along with Raymonde and Victor till 11:30.

I watched TV till 12:30 a.m. David slept at Ashley’s. Ashley and Joanna gave Tony ride home.

Note: In that period, Ashley and Tony were sort of boyfriend/girlfriend. They are now married with a girl.

And what China Leader offered during online G20?
الصحيفة القانونية posted on Fb (Sponsored

الصين في قمة العشرين : مستعدون لقيادة نظام عالمي جديد ، هذه خصائصه و هذه شروطنا

في تطور ثوري لسياسة الصين التي تقوم على المقاربة الناعمة للنظام العالمي ، القى الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ كلمة أمام القمة الافتراضية الاستثنائية لمجموعة الـ20 بشأن “كوفيد-19” نهار البارحة الخميس

حملت الكلمة اعلانا مدويا عن رؤية الصين لنظام عالمي جديد تقوم به بدور المحرك الرئيس ،

نظام يقدم سياسات الاقتصاد المنتج و الحقيقي على السياسات المالية الافتراضية للولايات المتحدة.
 كشف عن تسع خصائص و أملى اربعة شروط في المقابل في خطوة غير مسبوقة ، تدل على ثقة و يقين بما سيكون .

***خصائص النظام العالمي الجديد :

●1–النظام الجديد سوف يبنى على مبدئين : العمل و الثقة

صرح الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ البارحة إنه ينبغي على المجتمع الدولي تعزيز الثقة، والعمل بشكل موحد والعمل معا في استجابة جماعية لمرض كوفيد-19 وسط تفشي المرض في جميع أنحاء العالم.

●2- انها حرب عالمية شاملة

قال شي إن العالم بحاجة إلى أن يستعمل الحزم اثناء خوض حرب عالمية شاملة ضد تفشي “كوفيد-19”.
و إن المجتمع الدولي يجب أن يتحرك بسرعة لوقف تفشي الفيروس.

●3-فلسفة النظام العالمي الجديد : المصير المشترك

إن الصين، مسترشدة برؤية بناء مجتمع مصير مشترك للبشرية، ستكون مستعدة بشكل أكبر لمشاطرة ممارساتها الجيدة، وإجراء بحث مشترك وتطوير العقاقير واللقاحات، وتقديم المساعدة حيثما أمكنها، إلى الدول المتضررة من التفشي المتزايد.

●4-مقاربة جديدة للعلاقات الدولية تقوم على الصداقة

شدد الرئيس أن الشعب الصيني يتذكر الصداقة دائما ويعتز بها
وقال إن الصين تلقت مساعدة من الكثير من أعضاء المجتمع الدولي في أصعب لحظة في حربها ضد تفشي “كوفيد-19”.
وقال شي “سيتذكر الشعب الصيني هذه التعبيرات عن الصداقة ويعتز بها دائما”.

-●5-شبكة عالمية جديدة عابرة للحدود

و في هذا السياق أعلن شي عن بناء أقوى شبكة عالمية للسيطرة على “كوفيد-19” وعلاجه ، قائلا : “الفيروس لا يحترم حدودا” مؤكدا أنه يجب على الجميع العمل معا لبناء أقوى شبكة عالمية للسيطرة والعلاج.

“هذا فيروس لا يحترم الحدود. التفشي الذي نكافحه هو عدونا المشترك”، مشددا على أنه “يجب أن يعمل الجميع معا لبناء أقوى شبكة عالمية للسيطرة والعلاج لم يشهد مثلها العالم على الإطلاق”.

●6-انشاء اكبر مركز معلومات الكتروني للتنسيق
أوضح شي أن الصين أقامت مركز معلومات إلكترونيا بشأن “كوفيد-19″، وهو مركز مفتوح لجميع الدول.

●7-سوف يكون لنا منظمات دولية ندعمها

صرح الرئيس شي إن الصين تدعم المنظمات الدولية في الاضطلاع بأدوارها النشطة في مكافحة “كوفيد-19”.

وقال إن الصين تدعم منظمة الصحة العالمية في توجيه الجهود العالمية من أجل تطوير إجراءات سيطرة وعلاج بشكل علمي ومناسب وتقليل انتشار الفيروس عبر الحدود.
ودعا شي أعضاء المجموعة إلى تعزيز تشارك المعلومات بشأن مكافحة المرض وتدعيم بروتوكولات سيطرة وعلاج شاملة ومنهجية وفعالة.
ولفت الرئيس إلى أنه سيعقد اجتماع رفيع المستوى بشأن أمن الصحة العام الدولي في الوقت المناسب

●8- اقتصاد عالمي مستقر تقوده الصين يقوم على التقديمات العينية الحقيقية لا النقدية الافتراضية

و لفت شي إن الصين ستسهم في اقتصاد عالمي مستقر من خلال مواصلة دفع الإصلاح والانفتاح، وتوسيع الوصول إلى الأسواق، وتحسين بيئة الأعمال، وتوسيع الواردات والاستثمار الخارجي.

●9-انشاء شبكة حماية عالمية تقوم على المساعدات العينية لا النقدية

قال شي للقمة إن الصين ستزيد من المعروض من المكونات الصيدلانية الفعالة والضروريات اليومية وإمدادات مكافحة المرض وغيرها من الإمدادات، للسوق الدولية.

وأوضح أن الصين ستواصل أيضا اتباع سياسة مالية استباقية وسياسة نقدية حكيمة.

***أما الشروط فقد عددها الرئيس الصيني على الشكل التالي:

●1-تنسيق دولي لسياسات الاقتصاد العالمي مركزه الصين

اذ حث شي على تعزيز التنسيق الدولي لسياسات الاقتصاد الكلي لمنع الاقتصاد العالمي من الانزلاق في ركود.

وفي إشارة إلى أن تفشي المرض أدى إلى تعطيل الإنتاج والطلب في جميع أنحاء العالم، أوضح شي أنه يتعين على الدول الاعتماد على سياساتها الكلية وتنسيقها لمواجهة التأثير السلبي ومنع الاقتصاد العالمي من الانزلاق في ركود.

●2-الاستقلال عن السياسات المالية للولايات المتحدة:

و التي اثبتت فشلها اذ دعا شي الدول إلى تنفيذ سياسات مالية ونقدية قوية وفعالة، والاخذ بالتنظيم المالي الأفضل، والحفاظ على استقرار الصناعة والإمدادات العالمية بشكل مشترك.

-●3- اتخاذ إجراءات جماعية من أجل تعافي الاقتصاد العالمي
داعيا جميع أعضاء مجموعة الـ20 إلى اتخاذ إجراءات جماعية وإرسال إشارة قوية واستعادة الثقة من أجل تعافي الاقتصاد العالمي.

●4-الغاء الرسوم الجمركية و فتح الاسواق:

و في هذا السياق حث شي أعضاء مجموعة الـ20 على خفض التعريفات وإزالة الحواجز وتسهيل التدفق التجاري غير المقيد…

حسن سلمان

 And what is the origin of Jesus Christ?

Note: Repost of my article “Who are the Israelites?  Origins of Jesus Christ; Chapter two, (March 20, 2009)”

Joachim (Youwakeem) Omram and Hanna, the parents of the “Virgin Mary”, were from the village of Qana (10 kilometers south of the city of Tyr and at an altitude of 85 meters)

This Qana was called Qana of Upper Galilee and was within the district of Phoenicia (Ty) during the Seleucid and early Roman Empires in the Near East (Levant). The administrative district of Upper Galilee extended from Tyr to Acre.

Joachim was one of the eminent personalities in the town of Qana and the neighboring region and was an Essenes high priest.

He had been frustrated because he could not secure any descendents. Joachim took his sheep to a remote area and fasted and prayed for 40 days. Hanna was also frustrated with this extended absence and decided to take off her black cloth and washed her hair and went out in the garden.

Hanna received an apparition that she will soon get pregnant and that Joachim is on his way home.

Mary was born in Qana and her parents dedicated her to the Great Temple on Mount Carmel (Mount Carmel was also in the district of Phoenicia).

When Mary was 3 years of age she was interned in the monastery of the Great Temple of the Carmel.  Mary was one of the 12 virgins of the elite families in the region to be dedicated to serve in the temple and she was named “The Pigeon of God Eil“. (The Hebrews in Judea never allowed girls to serve in temples).

Joseph was also from Qana and one of Mary’s relatives; he was one of the superintendents at the temple and he cleaned, painted and did the various tasks of maintenance. Mary received the “Good Tiding” from the Archangel while serving in Mount Carmel.

Mary and Joseph got married and Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem Tifone by the Carmel, close to the famous city of Dora by the seaside and north of current Haifa within the district of Phoenicia (Not in the Bethlehem of Judea).

Mary visited her aunt Elizabeth in Galilee who was 6 months pregnant.  Jesus was presented to the Great Temple of Mount Carmel for sanctification; Jesus was lost in the same temple discussing with the priests when he was 12 of years. Jesus studied in the schools of Mount Carmel.

Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem by the Carmel. The town of Nazareth did not exist yet and the area was called Nazareth. When Joseph died, Mary returned to her hometown of Qana where her father and grandparents were buried; Jesus spent his youth in Qana.

Jesus was called “Jesus of Mary” after the death of Joseph to distinguish him from the other people named Jesus. (The Hebrews of Judea never referred a son to his mother).

Mary was also called “the sister of Jacob”.  Hanna had remarried after the death of Joachim and gave birth to many offspring; the eldest son of Hanna was apparently named Jacob.

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Amanou-eel) which means (The God El is among us).

Thus, God was made human.  All the names that start with El or finish with El refer to the God El, the all-encompassing God of the Land.

In the wedding of Qana, where Jesus showed his miraculous power of transforming water into wine, Mary was in her own town and it is Jesus who was invited.

Jesus came up from Lake Tiberias to join the wedding.  After the wedding, Mary and the brothers of Jesus (Jacob, Joseph, Simon, and Judah) followed him down to Capernaum by the Lake and stayed there for a few days and then joined Jesus’ party from then on.

Jesus was highly educated.  He could speak Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

The folk tales and early manuscripts demonstrate that Jesus studied Law and taught Law at the university in Sidon (Lebanon).

Jesus was born in the year 7 BC and Caesar’s census started in the year 10 BC. Jesus was also called Rabbi (Rabuny) which means teacher in Aramaic.  Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let anyone call you Rabbi since you have only one teacher in Christ and you are all brethren”

Jesus dressed in the same long white robe that the Essenes sect of Mount Carmel wore. The consecrated members were called “The White Brethren” and they were famous as healers.  The Essenes had many branches in Galilee and a prosperous one in Alexandria (Egypt) and had places for welcoming travelers and the sick.

John the Baptist, close relative of Jesus and just 6 months older, never left the region of Galilee, baptized with water as of the Essenes traditions and baptized Jesus.

Note 1: Jesus was elevated to Heaven on Mount Carmel. The first church was built on Mount Carmel and dedicated to the Virgin Mary while still alive.  A church was built within the town of Qana by the disciples and excavations showed a church from the first century.  The Muslims had veneration for the tomb of Joachim called “The tomb of the prophet Omran”.  When Israel bombarded south Lebanon in 1996 for 15 days, one of the missiles made a large crater, 4 meters off the tomb of the prophet Omran.  The excavations uncovered a buried church and the tombs of the family of Omran.

Note 2: Qana is famous today because Israel massacred over 100 civilians and gravely injured 120 when her bombs targeted a UN compound in Qana in 1996 and then hit that same town in 2006 and killed 50 more civilians.  Qana was an important town for many centuries before Christ and the main resting place of the disciples before venturing any further.

Qana of Upper Galilee (The Galilee of Nations or the Gentiles for the Hebrews) was the location where the disciples gathered for a while after the lapidation of the first martyr Etienne (Estefanos).

Note 3: I may conjecture that Mary retained the title of Virgin because she earned it serving as one of the virgins in the Great Temple.  There is this tradition in the Levant to bestow the title of nun and priest for even those who later relinquished their sacerdotal duties.

Note 4: The astrophysicist Reznikoff confirms that the Comet Halley that showed the way to the mages crossed Galilee and not Judea.

Note 5:  There are indications that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the first time when he was to be crucified.  No wonder that Jesus experienced a cultural shock when he witnessed business as usual and usury transactions within the temple. Jesus got hold of a whip and chased out the merchants and turned their tables over and declared: “It is said that the temple is the house of God and not a cavern for thieves”.

Note 6:  For 6 months, while walking to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin and the Romans were gathering intelligence on this “Walking rabbi“, who is this Jesus, are his miracles for real and what are his purposes for visiting Jerusalem.

Trekking to the “Promised Paradise”. This “Trekking syndrome”

Note 1:  Re-edited version of the previous post “Promised Paradise way on Nahr Ibrahim (Lebanon), April 2010”

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

My body is aching from yesterday horrendous adventure.

In the last three weeks, my nephew William has been trekking sections of Nahr Ibrahim (Abraham River, in the district of Byblos) in company of the wonderful and non complaining dog Misha.

Last Friday, my nephew blundered in my earshot that he is going trekking on Saturday.

I invited myself to be part of the trekking party.  My nephew didn’t respond: he was hoping that probably I am jesting. The next day I got my tiny backpack ready for the adventure; my nephew was pretty much lukewarm confronted with this readiness on my part.

(He might have had serious reservations (you might read my post on trekking in Sad Shabrouh for preliminary reasons.)

Obviously, I am wearing my swimming trunk: It is a matter of trekking by a river bed, but my nephew warned me that we will have to “wade” in sections of the river.

In my mind, wading means being submerged to the waist at best; I didn’t take into account reasonable factors such as slipping or falling into deep holes.

We left around 12:30 pm and quickly the mobiles brought news of a jammed highway which means most of the members will be late a couple of hours to the meeting place.

The Armenians in Lebanon were demonstrating/“celebrating” the holocaust they suffered by the Turks around 1915 and on.

William, Hanane, Misha, and I parked on the road of Nahr Ibrahim and ventured to the river shores.

William, Hanane, and Misha decided to push forward in the jungle; I opted to dip my feet in the cool water.  Half an hour later a group of five showed up; among them Clown Me Sabine and her Mexican assistant Gabie.

I told Gabie: “Ahora, me lise Jorge Amado, el Brazilian de Bahia”:  I am currently reading the French version of “Navigation de cabotage” (navigating along the coastal ports of seas or rivers.)

The newcomers promptly clowned lizards on the river rocks for 20 minutes (sunbathing). Then, feeling degraded by lizard behavior, they raised their adventurous spirit by one notch: They started to move from one rock to another very cautiously.

The mobiles brought news that the larger body of the trekking party is heading toward destination, to the lonely small village of Chowan in the bottom of the river valley.

Thus, William, Hanane, Misha showed up and we got on the move.  We met two men carrying towels where we parked: they are to simply descend a few stairs, reach the river, take a swim and leave.

The party was of around 20 members in 5 cars.

We parked in the lowest valley village I know.  It was a road to damnation, fit for barely one car but you had to backtrack for miles to let the opposite cars pass you by.

To my surprise, we were not to head straight to the river but along a long detour of 45 minutes walk: This is called “trekking syndrome” to first base.

We reached a section on the river to cross; it is about only ten meters wide; it is not a roaring Amazon by any stretch of the imagination.

Big George hopped leisurely to the other side; he is wearing just a swimming trunk and a tiny backpack.  I was encouraged to be among the first strong hearten members of the trekking party, as is usually the case.  I tied my old pair of khaki sneaker around my neck and raised my jeans to the knees; that should do the trick.

The first few steps got me face down; I am all wet and thus nothing mattered anymore.  I hurried my “wading” exercise and fell down several times before I reached destination.  I am bruised, physically and emotionally.

The few cigarettes I had in my shirt pocket are ruined; I decided to remove the cigarettes from the wet box to dry out the cigarettes. I gently picked one cigarette from the box; the filter part did easily separate from the body of the cigarette; it was the same case for the other cigarettes one by one. I had the pleasure of a discovery: the process of manufacturing local made cigarettes is basically gluing the filter part to the finished cigarette.

I undressed completely save my swimming trunk.

A few members were aligning a tree trunk to permit female members to cross the river safely.  Someone said to wait for my nephew since usually he brings a rope for that purpose. I cursed my hastiness, only to realize that my nephew wanted to emulate this adventure as Seal or Marine exercise: “you have got to feel the pain!”

George was in the middle of the river playing the school or scout guard in case of emergencies.

Suddenly, George exclaimed “I feel cold.” George remedy to warming up was to run like Tarzan to the promised paradise.

It goes without saying that I was the first to follow George.  I was not running at all: my wet sneakers weighted 20 pounds.  Then, I saw George hiding behind a bush up a mount like Tarzan; I was climbing to rejoin him when he pre-empted me: “Don’t climb. I lost my way” (Or maybe he was pissing?

Now George climbed a high rock in the river watching for any arriving company.  I ended “wading” my way by the river side to paradise land..

I am glad to report that “bodily navigation of cabbotage” by river side made much sense to me.  A few members of the party advanced me by using a secret path to a meeting location.  I said: “Better not stop. Let us move on to the Promised Land.”  Karim said: We have reached destination!”

That was a major letdown.  Apparently, the goal was to reach a puny and sickly waterfall.

George hopped behind the Nahr Ibrahim “Water fall”, climbed a rock and sat like a Buddha.  I lacked the energy to remove my sneaker and my Jean (weighing 50 pounds), then climb a slippery stupid rock and emulate Buddha.

I was the first to vacate Nahr Ibrahim Paradise and got lost on my way back; I got entangled by lichen and other sorts of nasty prickly branches.

Here, I am back to “wading” by the river side. I realized that both my sneakers’ soles are floating free; held miserably by the tip of the shoes.  I was no longer fooling myself: a military helicopter should land and take me home.

I reached first “base” wetter than a disgruntled cat.

One of the soles had vanished in the river. I didn’t wait and immediately re-crossed the Rubicon wading using my favorite technique known around the world as “Adonis super efficient wading technique”, to be emulated by Marines and Seals.

I reached second base and harangued the dozen members who smartly refused to cross the ridiculous ten-meter wide section to get going and follow the leader: I wanted to locate a sunny spot to dry my clothes.  A smart girl reminded me that the sun is no longer in vigor and barely could warm an ant.

Nothing could assassinate my plan: I have got to be first back to the parked car.

On second base there was a dying bonfire left by two dozens of foreign youths we met previously.  A plastic bottle was still sending fumes; someone said: “You are burning toxic materials”.  Oh, I forgot to mention that most members of the party are lovers of ecology and of the strictest kinds; many are by far more vegetarians than cows.

I lost my way again and waited for a member to show me the correct secret path.

My nephew picked up the second sole on his way and volunteered to relieve me of my weightless backpack: any pound less is a great boost to my morale. The last 100 yards to destination was the most voluptuous and rewarding trip stretch ever.

When we arrived home my nephew placed my sole-less sneakers on my room threshold along with one sole.

I asked him: “Why did you do that?”

I thought that I left my useless sneakers where we were parked as a warning to trekkers in the village of Chowan to cancel their project.

Devilish William refused to leave any material evidences that might discourage trekkers in those damned vicinity.

I made the last effort to visit my sister just to tell her “I think it is a miracle that I am back”.  My sleeping sister could not but chuckle and interject: “You are supposed to know better than anyone what a trekking project means to William.”

This trekking was a well planned project to inflict most pains and humiliation, but I turned out to be a leader on my way back; and second to the leaders in most of the adventure.

Trauma of being isolated and still not in Coma

Soha Bsat Boustani posted on Fb. March 27 at 6:30 PM

Make no mistake. When loved ones are removed from your home by ambulance because the virus has hit them hard, you are not going to be able to follow them there, sit by their hospital bed and hold their hand.

You are not going to be able to pop in at 7.00 pm for visiting hours.

They are going to have no one other than exhausted and brave hospital staff to see them through days or weeks of barely breathing through a ventilator until they either die or recover.

They are not going to be well enough to text you. (They should be able to see and hear you on Skype?)

You are not going to be able to phone the ward to check in on them regularly (staff will be too busy for that).

During that time, they will be completely alone, while you sit at home waiting to hear whether they have made it through.

Imagine that person is someone you love dearly.

Because it’s going to be a reality for many in the coming weeks.

And if that person in hospital happens to be you, going through that ordeal completely alone, it would be nothing less than terrifying.

Please stay home and only go out if absolutely necessary.

Social distancing is imperative right now for your family and mine.

(Persevere in Social distancing. Do not break the chain, Not a little, Not for a minute)

Note: Apparently, even those cured will keep serious sekel for the remainder of their life, to their lungs and other vital organs.

In Context: Lebanon civil war didn’t end yet

Note: Re-edit of  2012 article “Civil war didn’t End yet? This time around…Part 2”

You have this desolate second largest city in north Lebanon: Tripoli means the Three Cities where three separate quarters were governed by the kings of Byblos (Jubeil), Saida (Sidon) and Tyr (sour) in antiquity.

Tripoli is currently ignored by the government, and has been for many decades.

The inhabitants of Tripoli are practically living in the Mamluk period, when the Near-East was ruled from Egypt, 7 centuries ago, and they wear the white “Arabic” jelabiyya, as if they were part of the “Arab” Gulf Emirates, or an extension of Saudi kingdom, without the these headgears (3igal), just carrying long beards and stuff…

You may read details on Tripoli and how it fared during the 17-year civil war, https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/testimonials-of-a-civil-war-in-lebanon-continue-6/

The adjacent province is the Akkar on the borders with Syria.

Akkar is another part of Lebanon totally ignored by the successive governments of this pseudo-State. Most of the soldiers and lower files and ranks are from Akkar, an agricultural area and lacking all kinds of facilities.

The US, Saudi kingdom, and Qatar are pouring in war money and weapons into the northern districts by Syria borders in order to support the armed Syrian insurgents against the Assad regime.  The weapons are shipped to the port of Tripoli and sent from Libya…

And the UN German ships controlling the arrival of ships loaded with weapons, a task assigned by the UN resolution to tighten the embargo on Gaza, has failed in its mission…The latest demonstration of force showed the emergence of heavy weapons in the streets of Tripoli…

The Lebanese  army is doing its best to counter this volatile situation and to control the influx of armed Syrian infiltrators into Lebanon and the exit of armed people from Lebanon into Syria.

Mind you the government has been queasy of extending a forceful and a resolute order to the army to do its jobs.

While fighting was raging in Tripoli, a couple hundred of social platforms connected people gathered in silence on Martyr Square in Downtown Beirut

It looks as a rerun of the conditions of 1968, which resulted in the civil war of 1975.

After Israel occupied all of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem in the preemptive war of 1967, thousands of Palestinians experienced another wave of refugees into Lebanon.

In 1968, Lebanon allowed the military wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to set bases in the Arcoub region (south-east of Lebanon) and as a self-autonomous area where the Lebanese army would Not venture to enter and control.

In 1970, late King Hussein of Jordan crushed the PLO and the armed Palestinians flocked to the Arcoub Safe Zone, and gradually controlled most of South Lebanon.

A year later, the Capital Beirut became the main headquarter for all Palestinian factions. Lebanon was politically reduced to a de-facto Palestinian dictate.

In 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and entered Beirut and forced the military wings of the PLO to vacate Lebanon.

And you have the same elements who sided with the armed Palestinians supporting the armed Syrian insurgents…

And you have the same kind of confused and perturbed weak government proclaiming that its policy is Not to intervene in troubled Syria or to strictly control the influx of armed Syrian insurgents…

Interchange armed Palestinian movements with Syrian armed insurgents, and north Lebanon will become another “Arcoub” of Safe Zone for launching military attacks on Syria instead of Israel…and another civil war will befall Lebanon…

Implicitly, what the youth are saying:
1. We don’t care what the radical Islamists wants to impose on us: We want them to stay clear from our safe zone neighborhoods in part of Lebanon…
2. We don’t care of the government motto of “staying clear from the troubles in the neighboring States, such as Syria..: All that we want is potable water, electricity, and not meddling in our life-style…
3. We don’t care what regime in Syria will replace the Assad clan…
4. We are so totally apolitical…We are frankly too ignorant in world affairs…we are the vegetarian kind, the doing good for the environment and climate, the youth not meddling in our own internal political affairs, we are the worldwide connected zombies…
And that is the problem: they don’t give a fuck and leave the fuckers decide for them…as if the war will never reach them…
They prefer to wait for the calamity to struck, but they won’t wake up…They are apolitical…and so is war?

Why western colonial powers tried to devalue Prof. Raoult therapy for Covid-19?

Didier.raoult@gmail.com

Note: You may read the complete research paper on https://t.co/31ZO4OPyRv?ssr=true.

Pourquoi la thérapie du coronavirus du professeur Raoult est-elle combattue ?

Trois raisons fondamentales interreliées sont à citer:

1) L ‘establishment médical : ceux qui rêvent du prix Nobel, ceux qui sont jaloux, ceux qui ont un égo surdimensionné et qui sentent que Raoult les a pris de vitesse et les dévalue en proposant une thérapie à portée de main, ceux qui sont aux services de grandes firmes pharmaceutiques, ceux qui sont liés au pouvoir, ceux qui ont une approche scientiste prétendument rigoureuse de la recherche,…


2) l’establishment du business (dans ce cas les grandes firmes pharmaceutiques) qui investissent des millions et qui cherchent à faire des milliards.


3) l’establishment politique qui est soit lié à l’establishment pharmaceutique, soit qu’il donne le prime à son image et à sa lutte pour le pouvoir.

Many developed States governments have started to re-evaluate the effective treatments pronounced by Pr. Raoult, but No news so far from these experiments. Nevertheless, they are being administered in catimini.

This is parts of the research paper:

Clinical and microbiological effect of a combination of hydroxychloroquine and
azithromycin in 80 COVID-19 patients with at least a six-day follow up: an observational study
Running title: Hydroxychloroquine-Azithromycin and COVID-19

Abstract
We need an effective treatment to cure COVID-19 patients and to decrease the virus carriage duration.

In 80 in-patients receiving a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin we noted a clinical improvement in all but one 86 year-old patient who died, and one 74 year-old patient still in intensive care unit.

A rapid fall of nasopharyngeal viral load tested by qPCR was noted, with 83% negative at Day 7, and 93% at Day8. Virus cultures from patient respiratory samples were negative in 97.5% patients at Day 5.

This allowed patients to rapidly be discharged from highly contagious wards with a mean length of stay of five days. We believe other teams should urgently evaluate this cost-effective therapeutic strategy, to both
avoid the spread of the disease and treat patients as soon as possible before severe respiratory irreversible complications take hold.

Outcome

The primary endpoints were

i) an aggressive clinical course requiring oxygen therapy or transfer to the ICU after at least three days of treatment, ii) contagiousness as assessed by PCR and culture, and

iii) length of stay in the ID ward.

Statistics
Variation of culture positivity rate was assessed statistically as the proportion of variance explained by Ct value and considered adequately fitted if the coefficient of determination [R2 statistic] was >50%.

Ethics Statement
The protocol was approved by the ethical committee of the University Hospital Institute Méditerranée Infection (N°: 2020-01). The study was performed according to the good clinical practices recommended by the Declaration of Helsinki and its amendments.

Results
Demographics and patient status at admission (Tables 1 and 2)
A total of 80 patients with confirmed COVID-19 were hospitalised at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute (N=77) and at a temporary COVID-19 unit (N=3) with dates of entry from 3–21 March 2020.

All patients who received treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (16) for at least three days and who were followed-up for at least six days were included in this analysis.

The median age of patients was 52 years (ranging from 18 to 88 years) with a M/F sex ratio of 1.1. 57.5% of these patients had at least one chronic condition known to be a risk factor for the severe form of COVID-19 with
hypertension, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease being the most frequent.

The time between the onset of symptoms and hospitalisation was on average five days, with the longest
time being 17 days. 53.8% of patients presented with LRTI symptoms and 41.2% with URTI
symptoms.

Only 15% of patients were febrile.

Four patients were asymptomatic carriers.

The majority of patients had a low NEWS score (92%) and 53.8% of patients had LDCT
compatible with pneumonia.

The mean PCR Ct value was 23.4.

Jews in Israel still insist on going to Synagogues: 25% of Coronavirus cases from this routine

According to the newly released data, the most common place to contract COVID-19 in Israel is synagogues, where 24% of all infections to date have occurred, with another 5% contracted in yeshivas, reveals Israel Health minister.

Mustafa Deveci   |28.03.2020

The number of COVID-19 cases in Israel has reached 3,460 and 425 more people are diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the statement by the country’s health ministry.

50 of the patients are in critical condition and 89 have recovered, the statement added.

Until now, COVID-19 claimed the lives of 12 in the country.

As part of measures, all schools have been closed in the country, all meetings in public, open or closed areas with more than 10 people have also been banned.

All trading firms except supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and banks have also been closed beginning with March 15.

Tel Aviv also banned the entry of foreign citizens to the country, except for those who have residency in Israel.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows over 607,900 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 28,100 and over 132,600 recoveries.

*Writing by Firdevs Bulut

Note: Palestinian prisoners in Israel are being subjected to a harsher version of Auschwitz: Let them all die of Covid-19. Let them take all their time to slowly die in their confinement.

Unending ways to fortify Immune System. And to fight against what?

Human immune system has been challenged for many decades due to ingurgitating all kinds of antibiotics, often for the wrong reasons. Mind you that many illnesses are of viral nature and antibiotics are useless in these cases.

Note that in our current pandemic situation of Covid-19, strengthening our immune system to be ready to confront viruses, social distancing is the key for short-circuiting the transmission of the virus. Don’t break the chain of confinement, Not a little, Not a second.

  posted this JANUARY 17, 2014 (She serves as an affiliate for Amazon)

Winter is here, and if you experience cold and flu symptoms a lot this time of year, there are numerous natural ways you can improve your body’s ability to stay healthy – especially with the foods you eat and lifestyle you maintain.

Many people believe that hand-washing is one of the best ways to keep illnesses away.

In the last two decades we’ve seen a huge increase of the use of antibacterial substances which are supposed to keep our bodies healthier. But actually, these substances are toxic and don’t help our bodies to maintain health. They wipe out all bacteria, and our bodies need good bacteria to function optimally.

There are also many other factors which come into play toward keeping healthy.

If your body doesn’t have the right nutrients every day – especially during times of stress, when you consume processed foods and especially those with sugar, exposure to illness from others, and days where sunlight is in short supply – your body will likely weaken and succumb to sickness and disease.

Whether you are a person who tends to “catch” every cold or flu that comes along or you just experience symptoms once in awhile, here are some tips that really work to fortify your immune system:

  1. Avoid eating processed foods and refined sugars. Fall and winter months are times when people tend to eat more sugary and processed foods due to holiday activities and gatherings. Sugar is a poison to your body and lowers immune system function. This includes foods such as crackers, chips, most breads, bagels, pastas, cookies, desserts, candy, juice, soda pop, and other related items. All of these items contribute to lowered immune system function and poor health. A good rule of thumb to follow – if it is not a whole food, avoid eating it regularly. Load up on real, raw, whole foods for snacks and meals alike.
  2. Consume plenty of healthy oils and fats. Real, organic butter (grass-fed and raw is a recommended), ghee, extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oils, coconut oils, sustainably-produced palm oil, and healthy animal fats from organic, grass-fed sources such as lard, chicken, duck, or goose fat, tallow (from beef), and drippings from those same types of animal meats.
  3. Avoid vegetable oils and trans fats including vegetable shortening, margarine and fake butter spreads, soybean, cottonseed, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil, which are rancid, contain too many Omega 6s, and have inflammatory and hormonal disrupting properties. These foods are often from genetically-modified sources which are hazardous to health.
  4. Be certain to obtain essential fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in your diet. Take fish oil daily (good source of Vitamin D), eat grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, raw dairy, and safe-source fish. Green Pasture Products sells the only fermented cod liver oil in the world and is the best source for fish oil nutrients like Omega 3s, Vitamins A and D, and other trace nutrients. Good sources of other EFAs include healthy oils like cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil and coconut oil.
  5. Continue to eat plenty of organic, GMO-free and pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables. Especially those in season in your local area. Vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients and antioxidants which help thwart the development of disease and illness when properly prepared such as cultured or eaten with healthy fats like butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, or olive oil.
  6. Drink mineral water or add liquid minerals or fulvic acid. There is some controversy about whether filtered water with added minerals is actually healthy for us to drink because it’s not much different than a lot of processed foods which have been stripped of nutrients and have synthetic added back in. Avoid plastic containers, tap water, and bottled water. Tap water contains toxins and plastic contains phthalates – both of which suppress immune system and health.  Two other great ways to get minerals is to drink nettles infusions (made with filtered water) or add real sea salt to water and drink throughout the day. Good salt brands include The Spice Lab’s pink himalayan salt Celtic Sea Salt  and Real Salt. Lack of minerals is one of the leading causes of illness and disease.
  7. Directions for nettles infusions:
    • Get a glass container, which could be a quart-sized or or larger. I normally use either a half-gallon or gallon size, depending on how much I want to make and know my family will consume. We drink nettles daily. You can also add other herbs to your mixture such as mint, chamomile, red raspberry leaf, or others. We love adding mint and always put it in our infusion!
    • Cover the bottom of your jar with nettles and other herbs if you desire. I don’t usually measure, but you will want about a half an inch for a quart, and at least one inch for a half a gallon or more. Experiment to see how much you like, as using less will make the infusion weaker, whereas more will make it more potent.
    •  Add 2/3 cold water to the herbs and 1/3 hot water from the kettle on top. This helps to maintain potency of the nutritional properties of the infusion (not to be confused with most tea that is steeped for just a few minutes in a pot or cup), and still extracts the desired elements into the water due to the long amount of time the mixture is infused.
    • When your infusion has brewed for at least 4 and no more than 8 hours, there are two choices about how to drain the herbs: a) you can drain out immediately with a fine mesh metal or nylon strainer and store in the refrigerator. This will require having another clean vessel of the same size in which to store your drained infusion; or, b) you can simply store the finished infusion in the refrigerator as is, and use your strainer each time you pour a glass. Our family prefers option b as we don’t always have another clean vessel available to use.
    • I recommend using your nettles infusion up within a 24 hour period as the potency of the minerals and other nutritional elements diminishes rapidly once it is made. You can still drink the infusion beyond 24 hours, but know that benefits will be lessened as time goes on.
  8. Drink bone broths and incorporate them into your meals as well. Bone broths made from the bones of healthy animals and birds on pasture are full of easily-digested and essential nutrients which can help your body stay healthy such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, amino acids, and glucosamine (for bone health), and gelatin (muscles, metabolism, weight, skin, digestion, hair, fingernails, joint health). Read this post for more information on health benefits and recipes for making your own bone broths at home. More on bone broths.
  9. Eat real, fermented foods like home-made yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. Making your own at home is best for optimal preservation of nutrients and beneficial bacteria, as well as immune supporting and digestive enhancing. Commercial yogurts, sour cream, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and other foods do not have the health benefits or probiotic activity of home-made cultured foods.
  10. Be certain to take a good probiotic each day – especially if you are lacking fermented foods. Good brands include Prescript-AssistBody Ecology Full Spectrum and BioKult.
  11. Use digestive enzymes. If you have maintained the Standard American Diet at any time in your life, your digestion is likely compromised.  Altered digestive function is one of the cornerstones of disease and illness. Digestive enzymes can help you to digest foods – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. I use Enzyme Formulations, live enzymes with healing herbals, and Sandrine uses Biotics Research – Bromelain Plus CLA as per her nutritionist Anne Fischer Silva, with great success.
  12. Watch intake of alcoholic beverages, which tend to increase during holiday months. Drinking excess alcohol can have adverse affects on appetite, blood sugar, blood pressure and cardiovascular function, metabolic processes, and weight. If you are a binge drinker during special occasions, cut yourself off after two drinks and make certain you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water at the same time. Consider unpasteurized beer and wine.
  13. Make sure you are getting adequate rest and not overextending yourself. If necessary, say no to extra tasks that you know you really won’t have time or energy to accomplish. Stay home on a night where you might normally go out and rest, relax, catch up, and go to bed early. Go to bed by 10 p.m.
  14. Set aside time for some regular exercise, preferably outdoors. In the colder months people tend to go to health clubs more. Many more toxins lurk indoors during colder months, so bundle up and go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. You’ll be pleased with how exhilarated you feel afterward. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, get out on the slopes and go skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. If you are an equine enthusiast, make time to get out on your horse or a friend’s mount during weather that is not icy.
  15. Set aside time for contemplation, stress reduction, and relaxation.  Whether that is a hot bath, a massage, tai chi, yoga, stretching, meditation or some other method you prefer, make sure you give yourself this time to recharge.
  16. If you do experience cold or flu symptoms, load up on probiotics, foods with healthy fats, and everything else mentioned above.   Take time to pamper yourself (but not with toxic products that contain harmful chemicals – remember -read labels and if you cannot pronounce something or don’t know what it is, avoid!), rest, and put off things that aren’t necessary so you can get back to a state of health quicker and easier. Read this informative post about my home medicine cabinet and things you can do to remedy illness and other health issues.
  17. Avoid taking pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics. These substances rarely help your body to heal sooner, are over-prescribed, and actually cause nutrient depletion and lowered immune system function by wiping out friendly bacteria that is vital to health. For information on nutrient depletion caused by drugs, read Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition by Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D.

If you cannot shake a cold or flu symptoms consider visiting an alternative health care practitioner such as  a chiropractor, naturopathic physician, acupuncturist or other qualified individual. 

These practitioners are often very successful in alleviating health issues and perform treatment based on the cause of the problem rather than just treating symptoms.

If you maintain a schedule of eating traditionally-prepared real food, avoid processed foods and beverages, take proper supplementation when needed, obtain moderate activity, exercise, rest, and relaxation, you will likely notice an improvement in the way your health responds.

Sandrine’s Notes:

Beyond Raine’s list of 16 proactive steps to take in order to fortify your immune system, I would like to add one more.

It has been recommended to me by various health practitioners that I supplement with Vitamin D if my levels are low, especially during the winter months.

Dr. Mercola recommends these levels and testing protocols. My levels tend to run low even with regular consumption of vitamin D rich foods, so I take Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion Forte Vitamin D via our Amazon affiliation when lab work reveals a need.

Some of our recommended traditional fats via our Amazon affiliation:

What would you add to this list?

Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

Consolidation of the kingdom. From Rainbow over the Levant

Note: Re-edit of a chapter of my novel posted in 2008 and set in the 15th century Mount Lebanon “Consolidation of the kingdom”

Antoun had a few rudimentary ideas concerning the organization of the social fabric but he lacked reprieves for consolidating his hold on power.

Fortunately, the new leader had good qualities of listening carefully to suggestions and delegating authorities for matters considered not to affect directly his grip on power.

Miriam Najjar was an excellent counselor and was motivated to enlarge her knowledge and participate in the decision units.  She suggested that one priority was to establishing elementary schools in every town and argued that without a learned youth the future of the regime would be totally dependent on foreign experts who would deplete the treasury.

She advanced the concept that relying on the know-how of other nations was the main reason why so many dynasties had died out or been replaced by dynasties elevated from mercenaries who did not care for the well-being and stability of the societies they governed.

However, there was the realization, experienced by most families living in high altitude of over 1000 meters above sea level, of the high mortality rate in extended families during the winter season that lasted five months.

Many kids died from suffocation, pulmonary diseases, and contagious illnesses.

Psychological disorders lead to brutal physical behaviors from close contact in unfit environmental conditions.

At the time, and for long time afterwards, homes were simply of a single room. The door was the only opening to fresh air.  Around ten people on average crowded that cloistered unique room for the duration of winter.

As was the custom, large families usually dedicated their second or third sons to the clergy’s institutions to become priests and a few daughters to turning nuns. Thus, to avoid feeding extra mouths and making more space for the other members of the family, many kids were lent to work for free in return for shelter and food and some education during the harsh season.

To return the favor for the outlawed peasants, it was decided that intern or boarding schools be erected for girls and boys, separately and where children of ages ranging from nine to thirteen would dwell in for 5 months from mid November to mid April.

Boarding schools

The first boarding school was established in Baskinta and demonstrated in its first year that mortality was drastically reduced in winter when the number of family members was cut in half within their reduced dwellings.

Consequently, this facility provided during the winter season education and healthier quarters for children and lent longevity to the extended family members.

Nuns and monks would run these schools in the beginning until a new generation of trained and learned lay administrators and educators took over gradually.

The teaching was traditional the first two years until tighter administration and teaching procedures were enacted.

A single instructor perched on a cushioned flat stone faced half circles of students sitting on the ground and was responsible for all the beginners in the reading class, regardless of the students’ age and gender.

The master’s long-reaching stick would not discriminate inattentive heads. Heavy physical punishments were the lot of free spirits who dared stand for their rights or argued boldly.

A few families would even worry if their kids were not physically disciplined as signs of careless and apathetic behavior on the instructor’s part in guiding the learning progress of their kids.

Families would rather go and visit their children at school on Christmas vacation and stay with them for a couple of days benefiting from warmer lodging in barns and healthier food varieties.

Christmas was a happy period for everyone in the school where children would get busy building mock-up houses, trees, animals and figurines for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi kings and presenting homemade gifts to their parents in return for assorted delicacies.

A typical day at boarding schools started at 6 a.m. followed by house cleaning, chicken feeding, cow milking, kitchen food preparation, and carrying necessary supplies for the day. At 7:30 mass and breakfast.

Classes for reading and writing in both Arabic an Aramaic languages (language of the land) and basic arithmetic would begin at 8:30 and end at 12:30 for lunch.

A short recess, then off to working in the artisanal shops of carpentry, pottery, glass painting, iron forging, cloth making, glass blowing and farm tending until 4 p.m.  The children would then head to the supervised study lounge until dusk, followed by diner and Vesper prayer.

By 7pm everybody was already in bed in order to save on candles and oil consumption.

Children less than eleven years of age would sleep ten in a room on hay stacks with spreads of goat skin. The older ones would sleep seven in a room.

It was not the sleeping quarters that mattered for the kids but a larger freedom to move around and be outside during the day with three fulfilling meals.

Meat was scarce but the kids were frequently fed “kebbe nayyeh” for Sunday’s lunch and eggs with “kaorma” for Saturday’ breakfast and tabbouli or mjadara on Fridays.

The usual staples were cereals, beans, crushed wheat, lentils, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, soup and plenty of breads. Fruits were a delicacy, especially apples which could be stored. Sometimes, apricot and blueberry jams; and more often molasses and “rahat el halkoum”.

Most of the toys and game equipments were homemade.

They used to fabricate rectangular flat wood plates, mark a number of 3 decimals on it and a string to attach around the forehead.  They divided themselves in two groups and scattered in the woods hiding their numbers on tree trunks.  If the enemy guessed the hidden number attached to the front head then the opposite member was out of the game until everyone in one team was out.

With time, many of these masks would become marked one way or another and the unfortunate wearers soon found themselves guessed out immediately, no matter how tightly they hid their front head closely to a tree trunk.

They also made rudimentary balls and divided themselves into two teams:  the member hit by the thrown ball was “killed” and transferred to the opposite line unless he caught the ball and then the thrower was considered eliminated.

They fabricated backgammon and tic tac toe gizmos and the like games.

The most rewarding type of equipment were slingshots, wooden swords and arches. The kids would go out hunting rabbits and squirrels within a short range because wild beasts were commonly found such as hyenas, wild boars, and wild dogs.

This system of schooling was expanded to towns at lower altitude for a shorter winter season of only 4 months.

Somehow, a few of these schools constructed annexes around their grounds with the help of the military garrisons close by and were transformed into major production centers for army supplies and exported objects.

In the winter season, skilled families of the interned children would manufacture goods and help in the maintenance of the institution, while in the remaining of the year the school and its annexes would be invaded by skilled workers occupying the living quarters for 6 months.

There were cases of greedy administrators in tandem with local officials abusing children as slave workers and delaying the release of the able and skilled children.

Families got wind of these awful practices and stricter monitoring procedures of these institutions were established.  Families were encouraged to resume sending their children to the nearest parochial schools for a couple of hours during the busy seasons in return for preferential winter work facilities at the boarding schools.

These boarding schools became popular and families from afar trekked their children to Baskinta until new boarding schools were available and mushroomed to every district in Mount Lebanon.

This system of boarding schools developed into more professional institutions :  Overseas parents inscribed their children for a substantial sum of money in return for lengthier educational periods and better accommodations for housing different age groups of students.

In the newer more professional boarding schools with diverse ethnic and religious affiliations there occurred a few religious frictions among the adult students without any repercussions to the children who found happiness and joy in being together, energetic and secure in their daydreams.

Like most institutions in the Levant, the boarding schools experienced traumatic and feverish times but never took roots to grow and then suffered sudden death.

After lengthy discussions, Antoun agreed with Miriam that it would be an excellent decision to offer incentives to municipalities for arranging educational facilities.

Instead of villages constructing more churches, the central government offered to incur half the expenses for constructing schools, the wages of the instructors and lunch for all the students.  In return for free education for a 4-year period, the graduates would refund part of the expenses after securing better employment.

This edict would be formalized so that no State investment would be contemplated without local and regional investments and participation.  The rational was that if investments were shared by the well-to-do inhabitants who tend to mind a return on investments then, proper and timely execution of projects were more secured since it is founded on individual interest.

Within a year Antoun appointed Miriam Najjar as his education counselor. Mariam encouraged many visiting scholars to settle in Mount Lebanon and more opportunities for various disciplines sprouted in education that required specialized higher educational institutions.

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2020
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