Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 2020

Small sectarian citizens transformed the Lebanese political/social system into a bankrupt State: At all levels


انت حقير

نصري الصايغ ضيوف الموقع  (Nasri Sayegh). Posted on 

. لم نولد كلنا من رحم ديني واحد. جئنا هذا العالم مزودين بإرث رضعناه وانتمينا اليه.

يفرض علينا احترام معتقدات الآخرين، ليس ممالأة، بل اعترافا بأن لا فضل لأحد في ذلك، فما نرثه نأخذه، تماما كما يرث الآخر من تراثه ما يتناسب وسلالته. فلا فضل لمؤمن على مؤمن. لم نختر دياناتنا ولا الهتنا ولا معتقداتنا. انها ارثنا الذي ولدنا منه، ومعه نكمل الطريق… هؤلاء يسمون مؤمنين.

يلزم عدم الاكتفاء بهجاء الطائفي. هذا كائن يخلط بين الايمان وبين الممارسة. الطائفي عدواني. لا يعترف بروحية دينه ويلتزم به، بل لا يهمه الدين كثيراً. ابلغ ما يهتم به، تحويل الطائفة إلى معسكر عدواني.

لا يلام المؤمن ابداً إذا كان يمارس طقوس دينه. هذا واجبه الطبيعي. ولكنه يلام، عندما يستدعي مخزونه الديني، ويطيفه، ويسيسه، ويقود معارك مكتومة، خبيثة، حاقدة، ضد من يختلف معه، دينا وطائفة..

لا نعتدي على الطائفي إن قلنا عنه انه كائن حقير. بل حقير جداً. لأنه مستعد أن يكذب، أن يطعن بالظهر، أن ينتهز، أن ينتقي فقط من هم مثله، تطيفاً وسلوكاً…

عرفنا في لبنان ابشع انماط الطائفيين. انهم يتكاذبون ويتآمرون ويتربصون ولا يهمهم من الوطن، الا حصتهم التي ينافسهم فيه، من هم مثلهم في الطوائف الأخرى.

ثم، أن مشكلة لبنان الوجودية، هي نتاج طبيعي لانتماءات الطائفيين إلى طوائفهم. انهم لا ينتمون إلى لبنان، الا عبر عبَارة المذهب والطائفة. لبنانهم الاقصى، هو لبنان الذي على قياس طوائفهم.

صدقوا. هذا هو لبنانهم اليوم.

لا اعفاء لزعماء العصابات الطائفية ابداً. هؤلاء قراصنة براً وبحراً وجواً وميناءً ومؤسسات. المشكلة هنا، ليست هؤلاء الذين يحظون بنعاج او دواب يسهل ركوبها والسير بها إلى اهدافهم القذرة.

ما يهمني هنا، هو الطائفي وليس الزعيم الطائفي. حظ الزعماء الطائفيين أن لديهم رعاع، نعاج يتبارون في تقديم الولاء والطاعة، ويقوسون مواقفهم على قياس ظهورهم، ليسهل على الزعيم ” المفدى” أن يمتطيها. الطائفي هو من تخلى عن احترامه لنفسه، فبخسها وحنى قامته ليصير مطية.

والطائفي ينطبق عليه سيل من الصفات، يتصف بها. فهو يكذب، عندما يتكلم في الوطن والوطنية، وطنه طائفته، وليذهب الآخرون إلى الجحيم. الطائفي انتهازي تافه، يظهر عليه ذلك، عندما ينتقد بصوت ومفردات لاذعة، زعيم وزبانية الطوائف المخاصمة له.

طائفيوا لبنان هم ظهور مقوسة ليركبها القائد وحاشيته وعائلته. لا يهمهم إلى اين يقودهم هؤلاء الزعماء. المهم انهم معاً في المركب الطائفي. ومن لا يصدق ذلك، فليستمع إلى المحللين السياسيين والاعلاميين الطائفيين، وحفلات السباب المسمى نقاشاً في الشاشات. كل ابن قحبة يدافع عن قحبته، ويشن هجوماً سافراً على شبيه من طائفة منافسة.

الطائفي، ليس مؤمنا بالمرة. اليهودي المؤمن لا يشبه اليهودي الصهيوني. والطائفي اللبناني، لا يشبه دينه ابداً. بل يشبه ويتشبه برجال دينه واحزابهم الطائفية وعليه، تبنى السياسة في لبنان تأسيساً على هذه القواعد،

وإلا، لماذا الخوف راهنا، من الذهاب إلى حرب طائفية، يسمونها اهلية. انها حرب عنصرية بحتة، لأن الطائفي لا يكتفي بتكفير خصومه، بل يرغب في هزيمته وتحجيمه، مدعياً أن التوازن الطائفي، المبني على السرقات المتبادلة، هو المطلوب.

ولا مرة كان التوازن الطائفي قائماً على “العدل الطائفي”.

تضم طائفة الحقيرين الكبيرة، “كفاءات” علمية وجامعية واختصاصية ومهنية ذات سمعة طيبة في ممارسة مهنتها. ولكن التزامها الطائفي، هو الالفباء، هو اولا، والاختصاص والتفوق هو في خدمة اغراض طائفية حقيرة.

كل طوائف ومذاهب لبنان، تضم هذه “الكفاءات”. والغريب، أن هذه الكفاءات الناجحة جداً في مهنتها، ليست بحاجة إلى أن تضع نفسها في خدمة زعيم حقير لا يفقه الا الغصب والاحتيال وتدوير الزوايا واقتناص الفرص والاثراء غير المشروع والسرقة والسطو ومد اليد للخارج.

احتاج إلى لكمة واقعية حتى أفهم هؤلاء “النخب” الممتازة.

كيف تقبل أن تضع على ظهرها جلالاً، مطية للزعيم، بدل أن تحمل شهادة اختصاصها، وتخوض فيها غمار الحياة الوطنية، لأنها ليست بحاجة… هنا لا بد من الاشارة إلى أن الطائفية اقوى مئات المرات من الطبقية. لاحظوا جيداً،

من تضم الطوائفيات اللبنانية. انها تضم الاثرياء حتى الفجور، والضعفاء حتى الفاقة. تضم العلماء والجهَال معاً… كيف يستقيم ذلك؟ يستقيم عندما تغيب القيم، ويُطاح بها، من اجل الكسب الطائفي الحرام.

ما يثير العجب ايضا، أن يكون الطائفي الذكي المتعلم، نصف طائفي، ويتعامل مع ابن الطائفة المنافسة على قاعدة تشكيل ارضية تفاهم. أي محاولة لإقامة السلم الطائفي، بدل العدالة الوطنية…

ما يثير الغضب، أن لا تخجل من النخب الطائفية، من ازدواجية السلوك. فهو طائفي ولا تكتمل طائفيته الممتازة، الا بصفقة يعقدها مع خصومه الطائفيين… وما يثير الاشمئزاز جداً، هو لجوء الطائفي، بعد هجره من طائفته او بعد تهجيره منها، اللجوء إلى طائفة أخرى… تذكروهم جيداً. انهم اسوأ خلق الطوائف. عيب.

لا يمكن أن تكون طائفياً قليلاً. القلة لا تعفيك من أنك طائفي، والأولوية لطائفتك. كما لا يمكن أن يكون العلماني، نصف علماني. العلمانية، نقاء تام من كل لوثة او غبار طائفي. ليس هناك نصف علماني، كما ليس هناك نصف طائفي ابداً.

لبنان على حافة التحلل. والكتل الطائفية مرصوصة الصفوف. تسلك السبل اللبنانية الطائفية بلا مواربة. اصحاب السلطة في لبنان عباقرة الطائفية:

استعرضوهم: احزاب طائفية مبرمة: “القوات”، “الكتائب”، “امل”، “المستقبل”، “الاشتراكي”، “المردة”، “حزب الله” في سياساته اللبنانية، كهلم،

يقرأون في كتاب الطائفية الرديء والمجرم. وما نحن فيه، دليل على حيوية هذه الآفات الطائفية، وعلى حماتها، الذين ذهبوا بلبنان إلى الكارثة. الكارثة هي الوليد الشرعي لهذه الطوائفيات المتحدة.

لا يتوقع أن تكون هناك حلول غير طائفية. فوز العلمانيين هو ضوء يشع في واقع لبنان السيء والمهني. العلماني كائن نظيف، لا لوثة طائفية تلطخ مسيرته.

اعود إلى البداية: المؤمن قريب إلى قلبي، واحترامه واجب. الطائفي حقير، واحتقاره واجب. فليبقَ ملعونا، مهما اختلفت طوائفياته المتنازعة على جثة وطن.

فيا أيها الطائفي. أنت حقير جداً. بل انت أكثر حقارة من المرتكب.

Is sarcasm such a problem in artificial intelligence research

Posted on March 1, 2016

Automatic Sarcasm Detection: A Survey 

[PDF] outlines ten years of research efforts from groups interested in detecting sarcasm in online sources.

If a text is devoid of detailed context to the story, there is no way to detect a sense of humor. And the major problem is that most stories or documentary pieces do Not bother to provide substantive context that are Not based on biases.

“Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.”

Martin Anderson Thu 11 Feb 2016

The problem is not an abstract one, nor does it centre around the need for computers to entertain or amuse humans, but rather the need to recognise that sarcasm in online comments, tweets and other internet material should Not be interpreted as sincere opinion.

Why sarcasm baffles AIs thestack.com|By The Stack.com

‪#‎sarcasm‬‪#‎humor‬‪#‎AI‬

The need applies both in order for AIs to accurately assess archive material or interpret existing datasets, and in the field of sentiment analysis, where a neural network or other model of AI seeks to interpret data based on publicly posted web material.

Attempts have been made to ring-fence sarcastic data by the use of hash-tags such as #not on Twitter, or by noting the authors who have posted material identified as sarcastic, in order to apply appropriate filters to their future work.

Some research has struggled to quantify sarcasm, since it may not be a discrete property in itself – i.e. indicative of a reverse position to the one that it seems to put forward – but rather part of a wider gamut of data-distorting humour, and may need to be identified as a subset of that in order to be found at all.

Most of the dozens of research projects which have addressed the problem of sarcasm as a hindrance to machine comprehension have studied the problem as it relates to the English and Chinese languages, though some work has also been done in identifying sarcasm in Italian-language tweets, whilst another project has explored Dutch sarcasm.

The new report details the ways that academia has approached the sarcasm problem over the last decade, but concludes that the solution to the problem is Not necessarily one of pattern recognition, but rather a more sophisticated matrix that has some ability to understand context.

Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.

Note: For AI machine to learn, it has to be confronted with genuine sarcastic people. And this species is a rarity

Is the Muslim World ripe of any kinds of popular vote? (Dec. 30, 2005)

Posted on September 30, 2008 and written in Dec. 30, 2005

Mind you that this article was written in 2005, way before most of Bush Jr. troops withdrew from Iraq, before the “Arab Spring” upheavals, before ISIS (Daesh) was created, before the global war on Syria…Before mass transfer of mercenaries to Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Somalia, Yemen…

Under the threatening banner of fighting terrorism in the Greater Middle East (GME) region and installing “democracy and freedom of speech” instead of extremist Islamic salafist religious’ dogmas the USA and its allies are encouraging civil wars among the people and splintering the region into smaller and smaller self governing state-nations.

Every killing civilian attempts, perpetrated every where in the World, are labeled a terrorist act and the perpetrators heaped on the Al Qaeda group which was supposed to have been wiped out in Afghanistan or in most instances blamed on other Islamic extremist offshoots.

Meanwhile, the Western Nations are enacting laws restricting freedom of speech in Media and publications, extracting war executive orders to detaining of suspects without due legal recourse, spying on their own citizens and listening on communication calls against the rules of law in the name of fighting terrorists’ plans and their organizational and financial resources and capabilities. 

The political atmosphere in the USA and many European countries is heading toward applying Martial Laws and these restrictive and restraining climates against Liberty and Freedom could be viewed as training sessions for the coming open war.

What is this GME policy? 

The USA was feeling comfortable after World War II as to its global strategic military superiority and its naval and land military bases throughout the five oceans. and continents 

The absolute monarchies, oligarchic and dictatorial regimes in the “Arab World” were facilitating the USA policy of dominion, and Israel was its local heavy stick whenever any regime ventured to resist it by simply recovering lands captured by Israel or to exhibit independent tendencies with the support of the Soviet Union.

The advent of Worldwide organized “terrorist attacks” and the inability to contain that movement with classical military interventions, mainly after the failure of the USA to maintain peace and stability in Iraq, led to a smoke screen change in the tactical approach for preserving hegemony in the Arabic Islamic World.

The code name is to divert the attention of the Islamic masses by offering minimal political representations within the oligarchic regimes which might satisfy the disposition of the people to a first step democratic level of governance and more leeway for freedom of speech and publication.

It is interesting to study the small changes that the USA means to bring to the region through the electoral systems in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At this pace these two countries might require a century before any meaningful democracy is established: For starter the female gender has still to be permitted to drive officially in Saudi Arabia. 

It is also interesting to hear the howl of despair coming from the US administration every time the extremist Muslim political organizations are about to win any election.

For example, Hamas in Palestine is to be forbidden to participate in the Parliamentary election if any election is to take place, and the Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt are detained and fraudulent election admitted as legitimate.

The election results in Iraq need more than 3 weeks to be officially declared while the wide sweeping victory of the Islamists in Algeria was militarily canceled and savagely contained a decade ago.

Not that the people in this region care to have Islamic salafist doctrinal political systems installed, but a reaction to the complete failure of the US and colonial powers to regard the people but merely modern slaves in an area flush in oil. 

For more than 80 years, the people in every Arabic country have been trying to experiment with democratic systems and these attempts have been aborted by the tacit support of the US to monarchic, oligarchic and one party regime.

The war strategy is not concerned with the governments, already subjugated and controlled for decades, but targeting the Muslim people in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain and the Arab Emirates. 

The Muslim countries that are Not socially or culturally closely related to Arabic or Persian influence or having large Muslim minorities will be drastically contained through strict financial and economic constraints such as Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Malaysia in Asia, and Nigeria and the Northern non Arabic African people in Chad, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea.

What is being offered is basically a psychological “feeling good” attitude toward the prospect of fair representation without any substantial variations in the system of governance that suit grandly the interests of the US/colonial powers imperialists.

The policy of the GME striving for mega Media propaganda of “feeling good” attitude of forthwith democratic change is a sick chimerical gamble hoping that the average masses will be tamed into moderation or the regimes would have an opportunity to win a majority that would permit them to repress the extremist elements.

The Arabic people and Muslims in general have digested the smoke screen tactics of the US and Western World and their god fatherly dialogues that make their blood curl, and they cannot be fooled for long.

In the meanwhile, precious time is burned away mindlessly with no serious alternatives to genuine solutions.

So far, Iran has grasped the extent of that visible danger and has been feverishly acquiring military deterrence power, economic self sufficiency and utilizing the mass Medias to enlighten the Muslim World to the coming calamities. 

The Iranian regime is diffusing the message of unity and integrity among the Muslim masses and projecting the image of confident defiance: it is steadfast on its Uranium enrichment program on its proper soil for nuclear deterrence, saving its oil production, negotiating with Russia, China and India for economic cooperation and openly casting Israel as a spearhead colony of the US in the region

Iran is not about to relinquish its influence in Iraq or in Lebanon, through the powerful political party of Hezbollah or in Western Afghanistan where its Foreign minister is currently spending a few days there to keep strong links with its citizens. 

Iran is heading to become the catalyst of the next world calamity with the tacit economic and military support of China and Russia.

The alternative to prevent this dangerous trend and revert to a rational and peaceful coexistence is a secular, democratic and national Arabic force to take control of its destiny.

Unfortunately, what is required is inexistent, not even in its embryo, because of the perennial foolish US policy in this region of squashing the spirit of secular and democratic nationalism for short term benefits.

The US cannot win the looming war in the long term in the Greater Middle East, unless the purpose is indeed to set this region ablaze and its populations impotent for centuries to come, because the masses consider the US policies as the master evil in the world in planning and execution.

The reaction of the Muslims, in face of the sustained heavy handed and total disrespect of the US policies to support our claims for human rights and fair representations, and abusing the United Nations to squeeze our survival capabilities through economic and financial embargoes and sanctions, is toward fundamentalism.

This process is typified by the successes of Hamas in Palestine and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the Parliamentary and municipality elections and the strong inroads of the Islamic Jihad political parties in Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan in the societies’ fabrics.

It seems that the Muslims are reverting to staunch dogmatic principles reminiscent of a coming war with the infidel Crusaders and with valid rhetorical and logical reasoning.

There are a few baffling signs that this GME policy might not survive or a more viable alternative supercede the current policy of alienating the Arabs and Moslems.

For example the pressures on the Bush Jr. administration to rescind the restraining laws on private freedom and telephone and internet communication and acknowledging the flimsy basis for conquering Iraq and a popular waves of demonstrations against the all encompassing powers that the administration has snatched from Congress and concentrated in the executive branch under the prerogatives of war on terrorism.

I am leaning toward the option that by coining the term “terrorists” to connote Islamists and acknowledging that terrorism is stronger and far reaching than contemplated that the momentum for carrying the GME policy is becoming a bipartisan policy throughout the USA and the Western World.

The quagmires that the international forces are experiencing in Iraq are driving them out. Though it appears a tactical maneuver to regroup and figure out a strategy to crank the vise on the GME people and let them succumb under a wretched life of lack of freedom, democracy and poor economic and social development.

The European Union is about to give up on the application of human rights in the GME and is ready to adopt shortcuts to our difficulties and may temporary let us die slowly and vanish in the night.

Let us not fool ourselves.

Every time discrimination on the basis of religion or color or gender or nationality or custom is condoned inside or outside the boundaries of a nation, whenever human rights are baffled, people detained on flimsy charges and without due normal legal recourse, prisoners tortured to extract confessions and killed in their detention centers… then the spirit of extremism has indeed taken roots and the dictatorship system is deeply entrenched regardless of how developed a nation is or how loud they claim to have democracy and the rule of law and order among its citizens.

If we had to rely solely on the United Nations to temper the drive of the most powerful Nations, nations that have the tendency of bypassing genuine diplomatic procedures into direct military interventions toward the weaker nations, then we should be pessimistic about the coming war. 

There are a few realities that might prevent outright declaration of war by the Western World to the Islamic Arabic and Persian World:

First, the European Union is a complex assembly of Nations that could not be easily ruled solely by France, Germany and Britain in matters of participating in wars with multiple interactions with other bordering Nations;

Second, the Latin American countries are leaning toward socialism and are verbally antagonistic to USA imperialism;

Thirdly, the Far East with a heavy concentration of Muslims is not about to endanger its economic cooperation by internal political struggles that do not enhance their survival as a viable economic and financial block; and

Fourthly, Russia is too aware of the importance of the stability of its former Islamic Nations bordering Iran, Turkey and Pakistan to gamble on a fruitless policy of discrimination against the Muslim people. (The decision of Russia of intervening strongly in Syria changed the done, Not only in Syria but also in Russia strategy in the entire region)

However, if war is declared and any powerful nation sides with the Islamic masses and support it militarily, then we might witness the prophetic vision of George Orwell for future social and political organizations based on Communist blueprints as he described in his book entitled “1984”.

An era of constant low level wars among three super blocks of nations.

One other thing, if another world war is declared against the “Muslims” our puppet regimes would collapse and, win or lose, Israel will cease to exist before an armistice is reached.

If the attack on the Twin Towers occurred during the invasion of Iraq, then the US would have declared war plainly and simply and the Muslim and Arabic people would have not vacillated for so long and remained manipulated, extorted and abused by the reactionary Arabic regimes holding on for dear life.

That would be far better than this tactics of low-level wars, targeted assassinations of key resistance leaders, massive economic and financial sanctions… that are reducing the people to a chaotic views of the long-term objectives of the colonial powers and a rapid descent to Underdeveloped States, totally reliant of colonial powers rescue missions.

Global Resolutions of World problems; (June 28, 2009)

Mind you that this essay was posted 11 years ago. Do you see any improvement and changes in the resolution of any of the world problems?

This essay intends to offer viable global resolutions to the global problems that I posted previously.  I developed on the 8 main global problems:

Fact one:  Climate and environment quickly deteriorating.

Fact two:  Birth control is not efficient in the most under-developed States

Fact three:  Potable quality water and clean water for irrigation are dwindling fast.

Fact four:  The middle classes in China and India are expanding alarmingly, surpassing the US and Europe combined.

Fact five:  The world economy is experiencing serious deflationary period. (Which is good for the poorer classes, as long as constant “growth” does Not ruin the world resources)

Fact six:  The world is going through frequent deep financial crisis and recession.

Fact seven:  Effective military spending should decrease but it didn’t.Military budgets are the only item that increase continuously, for pre-emptive wars and selling weapons in premeditated civil wars

Fact eight:  The identity crisis around the world is destabilizing order and security. (Still, the terms order and security are monopolized by governments to maintain the status quo for the elite classes)

It is appropriate to add the frequent health viruses pandemics and lack of new research into antibiotics to counter resilient and mutating bacteria

At this junction of human development, the global problems we have to face attest to the successes and accomplishments of man, his mental scientific genius, his legitimate ambitions for acquiring what he can afford to, his quest for liberty and the reward for a comfortable life after a hard day work. 

The global problems we have to resolve attest to man ethical and moral failures to catching up to his mental and emotional agility.

Man has proven his individual instinct capability for survival in a sustainable earth; man has now to prove that he developed enough collective instinct to survive an earth on the way to depletion.

The eight main problems cannot be solved separately. And Not a single problem can be solved by one supernation nation. 

The interactions among these problems mesh tightly and resolutions should be studied and analyzed as an entity, a complete package, by a world forum, meeting regularly, and then assigned to a central executive power. 

The United Nation is firmly established and has a wide database, current and on global scale. 

The first step would reasonably be to re-organize the UN with fresh competence, specialized departments, and actual executive power, but the State superpowers are not showing signs of investing time on re-structuring the UN potentials.

Veto power by a single State (one of the G5) to shut down resolutions by the other over 194 States is troubling.  More States are entitled politically and economically to be assigned permanent seats so that political decisions results from equitable economic balance in power. 

In all Parliaments there are committees for specific issues; I don’t see why State representatives in the UN are not allocated in committees so that the world community feels that it has a share in the well being of earth’s citizens.

 Globalization after the fall of the Berlin Wall exacerbated many of these problems and added a few more serious problems:

It belittled culture and replaced serious reflections with information

It pressured many States to organize into economic blocks to face up to a unipolar world power;

It generated identity issues and radicalization of religious extremism under the guise of autonomous and independent tiny States; and

It eradicated local based civilizations and traditions that had power to participate effectively in social progress and management. 

The new ideologies of civilization clash, the death of history, the only valid political system of conservative capitalism, and the dominance of the American language and way of life were meant to confirm the new unipolar political system

The world was to become a village governed by a central power and the financial crisis proved the danger of globalization “US style” or State ideology circumventing and crushing other viable ideologies.

The US Defense Minister Rumsfeld went as far as cursing Europe as “senile old Europe” because it adhered to legitimate ethical standards.

Environmental re-habilitation and climate management and control are political in essence. 

This problem is linked to increased urbanization and over-production and competition on world market in order to boost GNPs and secure higher political ranking among the G20. 

Containing CO2 emissions and stabilizing them to current levels is feasible at the expense of erecting nuclear power plants because the “clean” alternatives of elonian and hydraulic power generations are limited in production commensurate to the exorbitant cost. 

China and India must convert any new car put on the highway into much cleaner energy efficient vehicles or any solution for stabilization of CO2 production will fail.

The major worry is the emission of methane gas, worse 20 times than CO2 for the warming up process, which oceans have started to spew as the permafrost is being exposed after the melting of glaciers in the poles.

Earth regeneration is a slow process and for the Arctic to recover is not foreseeable in the medium term.  Reforestation is also feasible but younger trees are no supplement to efficient old trees that are dying and decomposing. 

Until the tropical forests resume their natural function of absorbing more CO2 than emitting, then earth environment is in serious trouble.

Birth rate control is plagued by superstition, ignorance, oligarchy systems, and extremism in many societies; these deficiencies are increasing and worsening in under-developed States. 

Birth control must be a decentralized enterprise and tailored made to customs and traditions to be successful in the long term. 

Only higher rate in education, exposure to other civilizations, active dissemination of female rights and enforcing them, and increased local facilities to generating job opportunities can stabilize birth rate to manageable level.

World finance currency has to be stabilized in order to avoid desastrous fluctuations not based on sound economic output and real trade exchange.  I suggest the following steps:

First, the developed States have to agree on another tangible standard for currencies.  Gold would not do because the US has abolished it in 1967 because all the gold in the world could not sustain the huge amount of paper dollars circulating or intended to circulate around the world. 

Gold extraction, even if practically depleted on ground of economic feasibility, can always be re-used and circulated but has not many industrial value. 

The alternative is a basket of depleting minerals that are essentials for manufacturing and production.  The processed minerals do not have to be rare but very essentials for development.  The US can agree to this idea since it has huge reserves in many important minerals.

Second, all the States that can account for at least 3% of all currency circulation should join an “International Money Printing Council” with tight control and monitoring criteria. 

The first States in ranking with combined shares of over 50% of cash money in circulation on the global market should have a veto power.

There are serious dangers that can wreak havoc to any global resolutions if politics succumb to one of Three Global Temptations.  

It is appropriate to consider the example of a team of rock climbers.  The team has the appropriate equipments that are tested scientifically and the members have the proper physical training.  There are three main risks for the team to fail in his mission of reaching the top.

The first temptation is that a member of the team going berserk and taking a dive: this member can carry down the rest of the team with him. A few people have this urgent temptation to dive, and when available, they would try dangerous acrobatics. 

Luckily, the two populous nations of China and India have taken off; they have the tools, the technology, and the means to care for their over 2 billion citizens. The main worry is that they are trying to catch up in a few decades what took centuries for the USA, Europe, and Japan to reach in stable governments, and legitimate desires for comfort.

The accelerated trends in China and India for over production are a dangerous temptation that needs to be tampered by political sharing at an equal footing.  

There are many more millions who have been humiliated for centuries and robbed of their basic dignity; they have not gone berserk because of poverty in means for survival as individual: They are dangerous because of a collective sense of insignificance and desperation toward the policies of the colonial powers of resuming this process of humiliation and denying them even diplomatic respect as recognized States. 

Not all Muslim States feel this desperation: Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey have taken their destinies in their hand.  What the European Union and the USA have to focus on, right now, is to salvage the remnant of dignity among the “Arab” populations.

The second temptation facing the team of climbers is the wall, the rock face. Most team members might have the techniques of sheltering from falling rocks, slippery sections, brittle portions, and blowing winds.  Human kind has learned to take shelter until the danger passes over. 

Most of us have developed the instinct of prudence, such as not interference and keeping low levels. We are at a junction where danger is not to pass over on its own volition and no sheltering behavior can protect us for survival.

Human kind has to move as a team of bold activists and turn out heavily to put their words and opinions at work. 

If we hold to our tribal customs, our illusory identities, our comfortable lifestyles, our chimerical convictions… then all is lost. 

The team has to support the weakest member as difficulties surge and be confronted collectively.  The best means is to include the weakest members in the resolution programs so that they acquire the ropes, skills, and confidence to share in the task.

The third temptation braving the team is deciding on the target of the mission and it has to be a collective goal. There are no tops to reach in human progress but there are defining phases. 

We are at the dawn of Prehistory and a new kind of history has to be achieved and written. Tribal history has done its function but it is of no use for our current global problems.

National wars, religious wars disguised as ethical values, ideological wars, cultural wars, or war of “civilization” have been tried and they all failed to bring reprieve and salvation.

A new adventure for human kind is facing us boldly and we have to invent a new kind of history more appropriate to our survival. The new history should be focused on resuming our medical successes, eliminating pain and diseases, eradicating weapons of mass destruction, keeping us functional in old age, overcoming illiteracy, investing on continuing education, creating opportunities for various skills, desires, and achievements, preserving local languages and literature, managing human rights, and salvaging the dignity of every human being.

Frankly, The European Union is actually the main laboratory for confirming that “Tribal History” is exhaling its last breath.

That human dignity is not measured by fictitious apartheid scales based on color, religious affiliation or ethnic origins.

That humiliating man is not a point of view or can generate any temporary benefit. If God has been angry for millennia then man has an opportunity to prove that he can harness collective instinct for survival to reverse that anger and make God feels proud of his Creation.

Note: Donald Trump and his administration have opposed the UN trend into global cooperation, and explicitly showed the ugly “hegemony” of US financial system established after WW2, through blatant financial sanctions for $ money transfer, and imposing high taxes of economic trade goods that disturb its internal market, lavished lands that it does Not own…

Of what kind of Israel are you talking about?

Posted on August 10, 2014

Note: lately, there is a flurry of Trump administration pressuring “Arabic” States to signing “peaceful deals” with Israel. The Gulf Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Oman and Morocco… are under the illusion that if the US remove them from the list of rogue States, sanctions, $ transfer, harassment… then these States will feel safe and secure…That Israel/US will share with them essential intelligence pieces to allow them “staying power”

Jordan and Egypt had already signed deals in the late 70’s after the 1973 war.

Actually, these deals are made with monarchs, Emirs and dictators: the people know they will get no benefits by antagonizing regional States.

I keep hearing this mantra: accept the existence of the State of Israel if you want peace. What does that actually mean?

To accept the State of Israel as a Jewish State?

To accept the borders, and which borders?  (Israel has No Constitution and never presented to the UN its borders)

To say that we won’t throw the Jewish Israelis into the sea?

People need to speak with greater clarity.

If the reference is to the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish State, then No.

No, because any state that gives greater rights to members of one group (in this case, a religion) over another cannot be democratic.

No, because any state that deems a group of people living within its borders (Palestinian citizens of Israel) and a people living under occupation (Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza) as a “demographic threat” cannot be peaceful. So, No.

Just as people rejected the existence of Apartheid South Africa and rejected the “state of the South” in the US as slave-holders, No to the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish State.

If the reference is to accept the borders by the use of military occupation, then No

And which borders is Israel willing to agree on? Is Israel ready to relinquish the Syrian Golan Heights, the lands of Lebanon in Shaba and Kfar Shuba…

Does Israel willing to agree on the existence of a sovereign, contiguous Palestinian State and the return of the Palestinian Refugees to their villages, as of the UN resolution of 193?

As to throwing the Jewish Israelis into the sea — is that what is meant by rejecting the State of Israel? – then, of course not, I don’t call for that.

However, it is exactly what so many members of the Israeli Knesset, Israeli press, and a growing number of the Israeli public are asking to do to the Palestinians: ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, transferring of Palestinians, denamitating Palestinian house, uprooting olive trees, incarcerating Palestinian youths under detentive laws without trials…

Jesus Christ was born, raised and preached his paradigmatic message in the Levant Land of Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria

Written by Mahmoud Youssef Hammoud in 1948, engaged author and poet


لقد اعتادت القلوب والألسنة والأقلام والآذان، أن تؤمن وتقول وتَكتُب وتَسمع، أن آيات الرُسل الخالدين ومُعجزاتِهم وانتصاراتهم، ما كانت غيرَ وحيٍ يوحى ومشيئةٍ تُملى ونصرٍ يُحقَّق من عند الله…

فاستقرّ هذا المُعتقد في أفئدة الناس وأدمغتهم إيمانًا عميقًا مُطَمْئنًا، يجرّد «الرسول» من عبقريّته الذاتيّة وإرادته الشخصيّة وأعماله البطوليّة، حتى باتت لكلّ رسولٍٍ عبارةٌ مطبوعةٌ في الخواطر معناها أنّه إنسانٌ عاديٌّ مُرسلٌ من لَدُنِ العناية الإلهيّة، يردِّدُ ما تُلَقِّنه إيّاه ويُنَفِّذ ما تأمره به، وأنّه لولا ذلك التّلقين وتلك الأوامر لما كان العبقريّ البطل العظيم!

والمعقول، أن الوحيَ العالي ليس سوى الإلهام الكونيّ، وأن الرُسلَ الهداةَ المتفوّقين ليسوا سوى عُظماء الكون وقادة الإنسان، وأنّه إذا كان لله فضلُ الإيحاء للنبيّين، فإن لهؤلاء فضلَ إثباتِ وجوده تعالى للبشر وإقناعهم بالإيمان بالمجهول… فالرسول إذًا ليس ذلك المُستوحي المُنفِّذ فحسب، بل هو الإنسان المتفوّق والزعيم المُصلح والقائد الباسل أيضًا.

وعلى هذا الضوء من حقيقة الرسول الإنسان نقول: إننا إذا تمثّلنا عُلماء الأرض قاطبةً قممًا بارزة في سلسلة جبال التاريخ، نرى ذروتين عاليتين في أجواء الروح والمجد، في سماء الدين وآفاق الدنيا، لا تُدانيهما ذروةٌ ولا يعلوهما علوٌّ، ألا وهما المنارتان المُشعّتان: عيسى المسيح والمُصطفى محمّد!

والذروة التي يقف العالم اليوم عند سَفحِها مُتطلِّعًا إليها ذاكرًا ميلادها ونشوءها وتساميها وخلودها، هي المسيحيّة رجلاً ودينًا وامتدادًا. وإذا كان لإنسان من بني الدنيا حقّ الوقوف والتطلع والذكرى، فلإنسانِ بلادِنا هذا الحقّ قبل سواه، بل له حقّ الصعودِ من السفحِ إلى الذروة، والاستواء هناك، على سِدْرَةِ السماء وشأوِ الكون، فخورًا معتدًّا، بأن هذه الذروة إنّما ارتفعت من أرضِنا، وتسامت في سمائنا، وبأن هذه المنارة إنّما أشعّت من مشرقِنا، بأضواء شمسِنا وسنا شطوطِنا وروعة رُبانا وجلال رحابنا…

وإذا كان على دنيا من الدُنى واجبُ الالتفات بالذّاكرة إلى يوم ميلاد المسيح، يوم الإيمان والوعي والتحرّر والانطلاق والحياة، فعلى دُنيانا المَشرقيّة أوّلاً، هذا الواجب… على القدس وعمّان وبيروت ودمشق وبغداد، قبل روما وباريس ولندن وواشنطن وموسكو واجب تقديس هذا اليوم وتخليدِه يومًا مشرقيًّا وعيدًا قوميًّا!

وهل أَدعى لتيهِنا واعتدادِنا من هذا الميلاد الذي هو ميلادُنا وهذا الرسول الذي هو رسولنا؟ وهل هناك اعتزازٌ يفوق اعتزازَ مشرِقِنا بكونه مكوِّن السيد المسيح وباعثه ومُطعِمه وكاسيه وموطنه ومُلهمه وناصره؟ أوليس من حقّ بلادِنا أن تشرئبَّ تعاليًا وتباهيًا على الدنيا كلّها، ونصف بني الدنيا اليوم، وفي كل صباح مساء، يتوجّهون بقلوبهم وأنظارهم خاضعين خاشعين مستسلمين لرسالة ابن بلادنا، إحدى رسالات الكنعانيّين والآراميّين والحثيّين الألى علّموا الإنسان بحرف ووحّدوا الكون بزورق، وعمّروا الأرض بإبداع؟!

أوليس من حقّنا القومي نحن بني المشرق أن نفاخر الشرق والغرب والشمال والجنوب ببيت لحم القرية الصغيرة، بل بمذود بقرة فيها، تَسجُد له عواصم الإمبراطوريّات والممالك والجمهوريّات والولايات والإمارات في المعمور، كما سَجَدَت العوالم من قبل لكهفٍ في أرواد وجبيل وصور، وحجرٍ في دمشق وبابل ونينوى وسواها من منائر العلم والعمل والتوحيد؟ ليس بدعًا إنْ عَبَدَ البشرُ روحَ الله في إنسانٍ منّا، فقديمًا عبدوا الله في حجرٍ من بلادِنا!

أيّها المشارقة المؤمنون!

إن السيدَ المسيح الذي تلقّينا عنه أقصى مبادئ التسامح والعفو والرحمة والوداعة والهِداية، وحفظناها وعلمنا بها وحدنا في ديارنا، قد أرادنا أيضًا أُباةً أعزّةً وأبطالاً صراعيّين، نمتشقُ القوّةَ سلاحًا ونصارعُ الباطلَ كفاحًا… لا، لا تقولوا أني أشتطّ وأبتدع، فمسيحُنا كان رسولَ المبادئ الإصلاحيّة ومعلّمَ الدروس الاجتماعيّة وزعيمَ النّهضة المشرقيّة وقائدَ الحملة البطوليّة في مكافحة الفساد والفوضى والشرور والآثام، أوبئة بني إسرائيل الفاسدين الشرّيرين الآثمين، التي كادت تمتدّ في أنحاء المشرق وتصيب المشارقة أجمعين… فانتصرَ هذا البطلُ البطل على تلك الأوبئة انتصارَ اللاهوت في السماء والناسوت على الأرض، بعد أن غضب على “بني إسرائيل” وشتّتهم ولعَنهم، فتشرّدوا عبيدًا يُساقون وتيهًا يتساقطون!

أجل أيّها المشارقة المؤمنون!

لقد كان مسيحنا بطلاً في إيمانه، وبطلاً في أقواله، وبطلاً في أفعاله… يصمد أمام الأعداء والمكابرين، تارةً بالعنف وطَورًا باللين، لتكوين المجتمع الأفضل والإنسان الأمثل في بلادنا!

فيا مسيحنا!

في قلوبنا منك وداعة الحَمَل، وفي أيدينا منك قوّة البطل… وأنت على جفوننا وفي خواطرنا رسولٌ إنسانيٌّ مشرقيٌّ عقائديٌّ وبطلٌ اجتماعيٌّ صراعيٌّ… وسيرتك كلّها، في ضمائرنا، منذ أن قلت كلمتك الأولى فوطِئتَ الأشواك صابرًا، إلى أن قلت كلمتك الأخيرة فحملت الإكليل ظافرًا… و”شعب إسرائيل” الذي كافحتَ أوبئته وقضيتَ على امتدادها باللعنة والتشتيت والعبوديّة والتيه، قد عاد اليوم إلى بلادك، ليعيث فيها فسادًا… بل لقد أعاده الذين يدّعون الإيمان بمسيحيّتك ويصلّون لوجهك!

فعُد إلينا يا مسيحنا، للقضاء على الفاسدين الفوضويّين الشريرّين الآثمين، ولطرد الكتبة والفريسيّين من بيتك الذي شئته أنت بيتًا للصلاة، وجعله نصارى الغرب مغارةً للّصوص!

 كتب هذا المقال في كانون الأول 1948.

** شاعر واديب لبناني كبير دعي بشاعر الأناشيد.

م/ح

Balkh: Medium-term plan 1 (part 29 and 30)

Posted on November 28, 2008

Note: This fiction novel conjectured that a Persian Prince had indeed defeated the Macedonian Alexander, adopted his name and integrated Alexander army for grabbing the power of the Persian Empire and expand his territories.

The First Queen of the Son-God Incarnate Artax was from a district located in the north-western parts of the Empire, in Mazar Al Shareef and close to the current Central Asian States; she was not at all friendly with the usurping Monarch.

Artax made his move to establish a presence in the city of Balkh, a center for learning and commerce in north Afghanistan and close to the Central Asian Estates. He dispatched his wife, clandestinely, to her home district along with countable numbers of security officers and a regiment of the army clothed as civilians in a routine caravan trip.

She was to re-affirm the loyalty of her people and exhort youth to travel east and join Artax army. 

Antrax demanded from the Queen never to be guarded by more than 6 formal soldiers and 12 soldiers in civilian attires, as front and rear guards, during her displacement throughout the district because the smaller the number of personal guards the more confidence she would convey to her people.

The Monarch told the Queen: “Good impressions are worth an entire division of an army.”

Southern Desert: Medium-term plan 2

One of his liked viziers named Khorsheed and from the southern desert region of the Empire, expressed the desire to return home and investigate the possibility of securing a base there.

The vizier was dispatched to his district, accompanied with a security officer and another regiment.  The same strategy of taking firm hold of parts of the Kingdom in every direction ensured destroying the capacity of the usurping “Magnificent Khosro” to focus and concentrate his forces at one area.

In order to maintain presence in the desert region, frequent supplies were to be delivered from the sea.  Consequently, it was necessary to navigate the Indus River and secure a port and ships.

The town of Deb was then the ideal port.  Two old merchant ships were purchased and refurbished to play the dual task of supply and soldier carrier tanker: it was essential never to mix business with military exigencies.

The refurbished ships were not meant to belong within the business unit.  These small ships received the order to just reconnoiter the Persian sea shores for unusually military and trade activities for advanced intelligence. They also had the mission to listen to the complaints of the suffering villages and towns on the shore.

Two larger merchant ships were secured in the process of taking to the sea, as back up resources and the landing of a whole regiment if needed.

Kandahar: Medium-term plan 3

At the city of Kandahar, in south central current Afghanistan, Artax appointed a women officer to be General in Chief of all the armed forces in southern Afghanistan. This tactic secured two major benefits;

First, the woman general would hold fast to the new system that secured and solidified women rights, and

Second she would allow the force the necessary time to strengthen its grip on the region:  the enemy was assumed not to take that seriously a force headed by a woman and thus insure valuable time to taking hold on the mind of the population.

Slowly but surely, the vision and planning of Artax were materializing in flesh and bones around the perimeter of the Persian Empire.

As for the “pilgrimage journey” to China, Artax selected the famous chronicle Battouga to discover the wonders of China and to dispatch him the diaries: if Artax could not experience in the flesh the discoveries then Artax would share the excitement by the mind.

Marco Polo and before him Ibn Battouta (at least 8 centuries later) relied heavily on the manuscript of Battouga to plan for their famous journeys to the Rising Sun China.

On the Southern Army

The adventure of the Southern Army of Artax, led by the vizier Khorsheed, was fantastic.  This brave army made a series of successful landings in fishing villages and proceeded according to master plans.

Soldiers would enter a town, plaster the scrolls of the Constitution and Bill of Rights on the walls of shrines and local institutions, read them in front of the public; install one judge accepted by the inhabitants then horde the other judges and clerics to a remote training camp for indoctrination.

Educated and learned people in the community were encouraged to disseminate the new system. 

Young boys and girls were sent to schools.  People bent on mischief and who took advantage of a confused central authority was apprehended to give evidence of who is the real authority in maintaining law and order.

Dangerous news arrived to Artax from his Southern Army which stopped his grandiose plans on their tracks: unless Artax assembles a strong naval force in the Persian Gulf, his Southern Army might not hold its terrain against the onslaught of the usurping Monarch.

This vast desert area along the coast requires constant supply of fresh water and food for his army that was dying of thirst and heat strokes. Artax had to advance along the Indus River which empties in the Indian Ocean.

He had to hire and stock enough ships to rescue the Southern Army or eventually to evacuate it honorably in an orderly fashion.

The lousy desert parts of his Kingdom were of no concerns to Artax anymore, though he had to support his army there in order to divert the forces of the usurping Monarch from the more critical parts of his secured bases in the Kingdom.

The rear bases of Artax stretched from the fertile lands of current Karachi in Pakistan to Goa in India.   

Artax messengers were carrying orders and instructions to all armies and governors along secured routes.  In every region that the King authority was entrenched, municipal elections were held and the spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were disseminated, gradually but surely.

Changes in societies need time, patience and genuine zeal in convictions to make any headway.

Artax primary duties to his people was to keep close contacts, involvement, and interactions with the institutions and taking close attention to the training camps programs for the reeducation of the newer generations as to the spirit of the articles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The dissemination of information about the new cultures in remote lands was a most important ingredient in Artax educational system. 

Artax motto was: ignorance and isolation from other civilizations is the drug of choice exploited by the religious extremists who abhor civil supervision of any governing body.

Kazuo Inamori, built several $billion enterprises:

Posted on November 9, 2015

Kazuo Inamori, the Japanese entrepreneur who founded two multi-billion dollar companies and rescued another, is known for his management philosophy.

Here are 5 of his ideas.

Tom Redmond tomredmondjapan.  November 5, 2015  

1. Question your motive

Inamori is a Buddhist, and zen — the Japanese word for “good” — is at the heart of his thinking.

“Zen means being universally virtuous in anybody’s eyes”, Inamori writes in his book “A Passion for Success.”

Serving one’s own interests in business is never enough: the motive has to be good for others as well.

Japan Airlines Rises On Trading Debut After $8.4 Billion IPO
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

2. Adhere to perfection

An engineer by training, Inamori describes himself as a perfectionist.

Being 99%  successful isn’t enough for someone designing a bridge to withstand an earthquake, and the same should apply when planning products, he says.

“Demanding perfection of yourself every day is difficult, but once you get used to it, you can easily live that way.”

This results in what he calls “sharp” products, or work that is refined and precise. (Product that tends to the health and safety usage for the client and users?)

3. Conceive optimistically, plan pessimistically

When developing a new product, starting off with a dream is important to success, Inamori says on his website. Once the planning stage begins, you must “become a pessimist” in order to recognize every possible difficulty. Then it’s back to optimism for the execution.

4. Attitude and effort and ability: all of them

This is Inamori’s formula for calculating the results of someone’s life or work. It’s an insight into why he values character and personality when picking leaders, rather than just choosing the people with the most ability. In his view, effort and aptitude won’t be enough if you don’t have the right attitude.

5. Set goals beyond your abilities

Inamori is a believer in positive thinking: your life ultimately becomes what you think it will be. In business, this translates into believing you will learn to do things you can’t currently manage.

Choose a goal you can’t achieve today, set a deadline by which you will do so, and then work harder than anyone else.

Wild Goose Chase (fiction, continue 32)

Posted on: November 29, 2008

Note: I posted two novels around 2008 in category Novel. I should split them into two category “Novel Antoun” and “Novel Wild Goose Chase”. Wild Goose Chase is an imaginary story that claims that Macedonia Alexander was defeated by a Persian Prince who adopted Alexander name, and integrated Alexander army into his army to resume the war campaign…

The demise of an army. (fiction novel, continue 32)

The Southern Army had no choice but to avoid the sea shores and crossed the desert in their worst nightmare for 60 days toward the small fishing village of Bandar Abbas.

What was to be an army was no longer; it was decimated by thirst and anyone who reached Bandar Abbas was in a state of coma and total dehydration.  There are no chronicles left on that adventure; the Greek would have done a thorough Iliad.

In order for the plan to evacuate the Southern Army to succeed it was necessary to lure the fleet of his enemy that his real intention was to land in Egypt from the Red Sea.  

Actually, one of the primary strategies of Artax was to recapture Egypt and press on to Babylon and thus cut trade route supplies to the usurping Monarch; but that plan was meant for future activities and the decoy plan came much too late.

As is the case in general, military defeats are turned into victory by appropriate propaganda.  

Since the small and insignificant navy of Artax was no match to the navy of the Persian Empire, and since Artax could not entice the neighboring States to join him on naval expeditions against the “legitimate” Persian Empire, on account of ratified trade agreements and written documents, then Artax devised an ingenious promotion victory.  

The best way was to give the illusion that his intention is to discover the African continent by touring its coast and establishing commercial colonies.

As part of Artax fleet advanced around the African seashore, tales of his glorious adventures to circumnavigate the African Continent spread like wildfire amid the Persian people who were getting depressed of an authority wielded by the nobility and the cast of strict priesthood. 

Forget aids: Desist from further exploitation

Posted on February 28, 2016

Enough of aid – let’s talk reparations

Should the poor colonized States wait another 100 years to earn $1.25 per day?

Colonialism is one of those subjects you’re not supposed to discuss in polite company – at least not north of the Mediterranean. Most people feel uncomfortable about it, and would rather pretend it didn’t happen.

Debate around reparations is threatening because it upends the usual narrative of development

Habib Battah shared this link and commented on it

Enough of aid – let’s talk reparations The impact of colonialism cannot be ignored theguardian.com|By Jason Hickel. Nov.27, 2015

Who built Europe?

“In the mainstream narrative of international development, peddled by institutions from the World Bank, the Monetary Fund to the UK’s Department of International Development, the history of colonialism is routinely erased.

According to the official story, developing countries are poor because of their own internal problems, while western countries are rich because they worked hard, and upheld the right values and policies…

And because the west happens to be further ahead, its countries generously reach out across the chasm to give “aid” to the rest – just a little something to help them along.

If colonialism is ever acknowledged, it’s to say that it was Not a crime (against human rights), but rather a benefit to the colonised – a leg up the development ladder

The historical record tells a very different story, and that opens up difficult questions about another topic that Europeans prefer to avoid: reparations.

No matter how much they try, however, this topic resurfaces over and over again.

Recently, after a debate at the Oxford Union, Indian MP Shashi Tharoor’s powerful case for reparations went viral, attracting more than 3 million views on YouTube. (Algeria is re-launching the reparation issue of French colonialism also)

Clearly the issue is hitting a nerve.

The reparations debate is threatening because it completely upends the usual narrative of development. It suggests that poverty in the global south is not a natural phenomenon, but has been actively created.

And it casts western countries in the role not of benefactors, but of plunderers.

When it comes to the colonial legacy, some of the facts are almost too shocking to comprehend.

When Europeans arrived in what is now Latin America in 1492, the region may have been inhabited by between 50 million and 100 million indigenous people.

By the mid 1600s, their population was slashed to about 3.5 million.

The vast majority succumbed to foreign disease and many were slaughtered, died of slavery or starved to death after being kicked off their land. It was like the holocaust seven times over.

What were the Europeans after? Silver was a big part of it.

Between 1503 and 1660, 16m kilograms of silver were shipped to Europe, amounting to three times the total European reserves of the metal. (Most of this silver was coined as money and exported by Portugal to China that had started collecting taxes in the form of silver money)

By the early 1800s, a total of 100m kg of silver had been drained from the veins of Latin America and pumped into the European economy, providing much of the capital for the industrial revolution.

To get a sense for the scale of this wealth, consider this thought experiment: if 100m kg of silver was invested in 1800 at 5% interest – the historical average – it would amount to £110trn ($165trn) today. An unimaginable sum.

Europeans slaked their need for labour in the colonies – in the mines and on the plantations – not only by enslaving indigenous Americans but also by shipping slaves across the Atlantic from Africa.

Up to 15 million of them.

In the North American colonies alone, Europeans extracted an estimated 222,505,049 hours of forced labour from African slaves between 1619 and 1865. Valued at the US minimum wage, with a modest rate of interest, that’s worth $97trn – more than the entire global GDP.

Right now, 14 Caribbean nations are in the process of suing Britain for slavery reparations.

They point out that when Britain abolished slavery in 1834 it compensated Not the slaves but rather the owners of slaves, to the tune of £20m, the equivalent of £200bn today.

Perhaps they will demand reparations equivalent to this figure, but it is conservative: it reflects only the price of the slaves, and tells us nothing of the total value they produced during their lifetimes, nor of the trauma they endured, nor of the hundreds of thousands of slaves who worked and died during the centuries before 1834.

These numbers tell only a small part of the story, but they do help us imagine the scale of the value that flowed from the Americas and Africa into European coffers after 1492.

Then there is India.

When the British seized control of India, they completely reorganised the agricultural system, destroying traditional subsistence practices to make way for cash crops for export to Europe.

As a result of British interventions, up to 29 million Indians died of famine during the last few decades of the 19th century in what historian Mike Davis calls the “late Victorian holocaust”.

Laid head to foot, their corpses would stretch the length of England 85 times over. And this happened while India was exporting an unprecedented amount of food, up to 10m tonnes per year.

British colonisers also set out to transform India into a captive market for British goods.

To do that, they had to destroy India’s impressive indigenous industries.

Before the British arrived, India commanded 27% of the world economy, according to economist Angus Maddison.

By the time they left, India’s share had been cut to just 3%.

The same thing happened to China.

After the Opium Wars, when Britain invaded China and forced open its borders to British goods on unequal terms, China’s share of the world economy dwindled from 35% to an all-time low of 7%.

Meanwhile, Europeans increased their share of global GDP from 20% to 60% during the colonial period. Europe didn’t develop the colonies. The colonies developed Europe.

And we haven’t even begun to touch the scramble for Africa.

In the Congo, to cite just one brief example, as historian Adam Hochschild recounts in his haunting book King Leopold’s Ghost, Belgium’s lust for ivory and rubber killed some 10 million Congolese – roughly half the country’s population.

The wealth gleaned from that plunder was siphoned back to Belgium to fund beautiful stately architecture and impressive public works, including arches and parks and railway stations – all the markers of development that adorn Brussels today, the bejewelled headquarters of the European Union.

We could go on. It is tempting to see this as just a list of crimes, but it is much more than that.

These snippets hint at the contours of a world economic system that was designed over hundreds of years to enrich a small portion of humanity at the expense of the vast majority.

This history makes the narrative of international development seem a bit absurd, and even outright false.

Frankie Boyle got it right:

Even our charity is essentially patronising. Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod and he can feed himself. Alternatively, don’t poison the fishing waters, abduct his great-grandparents into slavery, then turn up 400 years later on your gap year talking a lot of shite about fish.”

We can’t put a price on the suffering wrought by colonialism.

And there is not enough money in the world to compensate for the damage it inflicted.

We can, however, stop talking about charity, and instead acknowledge the debt that the west owes to the rest of the world.

Even more importantly, we can work to quash the colonial instinct whenever it rears its ugly head, as it is doing right now in the form of land grabsillicit financial extraction, and unfair trade deals.

Shashi Tharoor argued for a reparations payment of only £1 – a token acknowledgement of historical fact. That might not do much to assuage the continued suffering of those whose countries have been ravaged by the colonial encounter. But at least it would set the story straight, and put us on a path towards rebalancing the global economy.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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