Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Diaries’ Category

Documentary movies on civil wars; (Written in 2005 and posted on August 17, 2009)

I am mining my diary.

From September 21 to 25, 2005, The City Theater (Masrah El Madina), in Hamra (Lebanon) and located at the former movie theater called Saroula, exhibited documentaries from different regions of the world dealing with civil wars.

These documentaries of about 90 minutes each and free of charge covered the start of the civil war in Lebanon between 1975-76 by Volker Schlondorff and called “Circle of Deceit”, and from Bosnia by Laurent Becue-Renard entitled “War-Wearied”, then about Rwanda by Anne Aghion, and about Chechnya by Johann Freidt, then about Kurdish Iraq close to the border with Turkey by Bahman Ghobadi called “Turtles can Fly”, and culminating with the atrocities of Sabra and Chatilla, initiated by Israel while occupying Beirut in 1982, by Borgmann, Slim and Theissen.

I attended the first two and the last two documentaries and missed the ones on Rwanda and Chechnya because my back pain exacerbated and prevented me from driving my shift car; I could not convince anyone to drive me there, a 30 minutes drive, and to join me to watch these rare showings.

I liked “Turtles can Fly” best among the ones that I was fortunate to see.  This documentary show how the Kurdish children, mostly crippled, in a refugee camp manage to follow a leader their age in order to survive by organizing themselves in groups removing land mines and selling them.

The 14 years old leader falls in love with a 13 years old refugee girl from Halabja (the town that they say Saddam pounded with poisonous gas). You must know the town in Iraq bordering Iran which was exterminated chemically by Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran.

The girl has been raped in her destroyed home town by a few Iraqi soldiers then gave birth to a blind boy whom she hates and tried at least 4 times to murder her child only to be saved by the children.

She succeeded by drowning her bastard child and then jumped from a cliff. The whole camp and surrounding towns were relying on the kid leader to provide them with a satellite dish in order to follow the impending war by the USA against Saddam Hussein only to be faced by news in English.

I guess the cable Al Jazeera must have been a mane for them, later on, because it provided coverage in Arabic. The movie ends by the proclamation of the fall of Saddam and the return of refugees to their hometowns.

The documentary about the massacre of Sabra and Chatila tries to extract eye witness testimonies from 7 Christian militias who participated in the massacre.  The perpetrators claimed that, in the beginning, they were ignorant wretched kids of 15 when they were driven to take part in the war and they are still wretched adults and still addicted to drugs and as poor as can be.

They were addicted to Neoprene, LSD, and half a dozen drugs which were abundant during the civil war and were actually distributed freely.

These murderers affirm that Israel planned this massacre to the minutes details, providing transportation, logistics, driving the bulldozers, digging the huge pit near the Camille Chamoun stadium to bury the more than 2000 dead bodies, providing the plastic bags for the last three layers of bodies dumped in the pit and the chemicals to squelch the putrefied odors and lighting the areas during the night for the militias to resume their rampage.

At 6:30 a.m. the next morning these killers witnesses a few of their colleagues executing Palestinians over the pit, ordering the living Palestinians to throw the dead into the pit, knowing very well that they are next to be shot.

One of the killers was a butcher by profession and he opted to slaughter his victims.

One of the murderers kept a vivid picture of slain beautiful horses and wondering why innocent animals had to be killed.

The orders came directly from Israeli officers and the high command of the Lebanese Forces, among them Elie Hobeika, Maroun Machaalani, and George Malek.

Maroun ordered them that every one in the camp is to die, man, women and newly born babies so that Elie Hobeika could construct a fine garden in these razed places.

Most of the killers were trained in Israel for at least 6 months before Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.

One of them said that, at one point, in their military training in Israel they were driven to Eilat to a nude beach.

One morning, a female Israeli officer showed up stark naked and ordered them to undress completely for the morning training.  These fighters have never seen a naked girl before and were utterly embarrassed to obey such an order, but they ended up jogging totally naked along the length of the nude beach.

They claimed that they feared their fathers and would have respected their dads’ orders but unfortunately, it was their fathers who encouraged them to pursue war trainings and get involved in the fighting.

We have to pity these mothers who married the worst kind of husbands; more on that first showing of the film later on.

The film on Bosnia review the psychological rehabilitation of 4 mothers, for a whole year, in a special surrounding after their husbands and families were massacred.

After the rehabilitation they were supposed to go back to their home towns to restart their lives.  Now, consider the wonder of the Lebanese experience of sending back people to their home towns just because money has been disbursed for reconstructing their destroyed homes.  Why do you think only 13% returned?

Joanna has started her European tour on the first of the month and will last for the duration of the month. She purchased her Schingen train ticket in Lebanon for about $600.

Janna will be visiting Germany where she will drop her girl friend at the university then on to Belgium, then France, then Italy, then Spain, then Holland for an interview to a graduate graphic design program next year, and back to Paris and lastly returning from Germany.

She has been forwarding email news from time to time but I got the news from her mother (sister) Raymonde when she is in a talkative mood.

It appears that Joanna wrapped her arms with toilet paper so that they let her in the Vatican, and after another failure to enter she crossed over to the nearby merchant, cursed him for his high priced shawls that are not worth a dime, then paid him 3 euros for a shawl instead of 15, then snatched it and fled inside the Vatican.

She was invited by a taxi driver at Venice to stay overnight at his house and he gave her a tour of Venice the next morning for free.

By the way, taxi drivers take home 600 euro a day.  No doubt that this exclusive trip on the canals will be the most memorable adventure in her life.

Cedric has been working his ass off as a trainee in the management program at the Sheraton Hotel in Verdun. He finally got a sort of a girl friend. He spent a whole day at her bungalow in Delb Country Club and took her to Kfarselwan, a summer retreat of his uncle Nicolas.

Kfarselwan is 1600 meters above sea level and Cedric slept over night under a genuine nomad “bedouin” huge tent made of goat skins. I did not ask him if she slept over too.

William spent at least a whole week, days and nights, backing up his hard disks and those of Joanna’s.  He used up 43 DVDs’ for that purpose, each with a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes.

Most of the files are audio-visual, digital photos, animations and graphic and architectural design projects.  My more than a thousand pages of word processing files would occupy a meager space on a lousy CD.

The LAU engineering departments at Byblos is hard pressed this year.  There are no enrolments, even for major courses and thus might cancel many required course this fall.

The industrial engineering department hired a visiting professor to teach operations research courses; these courses were taken away from full time faculty members.

I told the chairman that I can generate 50 students to enroll in my elective course of “Risk assessment and occupational safety” if they offer it this fall, but it was clear that they didn’t considered this course to fit strictly in an engineering program. They will create a new course called “Reliability” to fill the quota for a faculty member.

I called up the chairman of engineering at AUST and told him that I could teach 5 of his courses in the BS curriculum.  He told me that these courses are slated to be graduate courses and not about to be offered any time soon.

Cool down on Convictions: “Fact is a bitch”

Note: Re-edit “Fact is a bitch,  (Written in November 24, 2007 and posted in 2008)

The most common starter in any conversation is: “The Fact is…”

Our politicians, journalists, and commentators use “Fact is…” to mean truth, evidence, axioms, observation, conjecture, deduction, opinion, belief, interpolation, or personal experience in arguments…

Even practiced scientists have sometimes hard time differentiating what is fact and what is Not a fact most of the time.

For example, scientists in human sciences have reached a consensus that if the analysis of data is significant at a level of 5% that is, the chances that less than five observations out of a sample of 100 observed might not exhibit the general behavior statistically, and hopefully based on a judicious experimental design, then the behavioral scientist might be inclined to state that the effect in a relationship is a fact.

(The dangerous events is what happens on both extreme tails on this “Normal Curve“))

If a scientist decided to repeat the same experiment and set the level at 1% because the phenomenon is most important from his point of view, and the effect turned out not to be significant, then would the relationship stops to become a fact?

Even in “hard sciences“, dealing with materials and natural phenomena, which do not vary that much as humans vary in their characteristics, the laws are applicable within certain ranges and conditions. (If you apply any equation with considering the magnitude of the problem, you run in deep problems for the users)

Can we consequently deduce that fact is relative?

May we go one step further and claim that the only fact is that everything is relative?

Or this is called truth?

What is then the difference between fact and truth?  Maybe it is the relative degree of uncertainty in the proclamation?

When people say: “It is a fact”, do they mean anything such as a “pass partout” concept? If what they observe with their senses is considered fact, then a colorblind person or with other defects has the right to disagree with what “normal” people senses?

Again, the concept of normality is a matter of consensus, or is it not?

If for example the sample of individuals contains 10% color blind in an experiment related to discriminating among colors, then a mindless level of 5% is certainly not appropriate if the scientist failed to control that “fact” or factor.

Let us move from scientific lucubrations to questions weighting on the mind of middle-aged individuals.

For example, we can say it is a fact that “everyday is made to be lived before we leave this world“, but the truth is we can’t help but think one second ahead of time, and about tomorrow, and thus relinquishing the power of the moment.

Another example, we may say it is a fact “not to take ourselves too seriously: nobody is going to survive”, but the truth is we believe that we are actually surviving all calamities and pandemics.

Worse, we believe that our immediate offspring is going to acquire all the best qualities that we believe we have: Are we ignorant that nature has a way of tending toward average in its progress and development?

If I state that, logically, there is no meaning for life: we are going to die, the human specie is going to vanish and Earth is a goner as well, sooner or later. Is that logic a fact because billion of species have vanished and billions of planets and stars have disintegrated? With what facts can you counter such a logical statement?

If I say: “Give me a delicious stupid reason to hang on to in order to forget this harsh reality, since we enjoy thinking ahead of time and planning for our survival” then can you be kind enough to offer me an antidote for excessive logical or deductive tendencies?

Does anyone have a character, firm and insensitive enough, to ally completely with logic and rationality?

Maybe nothing is real for modern man as deep feeling is, and the hope that a boring paradise is waiting at the end of the rainbow with unlimited pleasures, probably cloning what we have been experiencing on Earth, these pleasures that we have forgone because of aging and diminishing power?

If I say: ” The fact is I started enjoying the stories of novels, and do not care that much about the endings; I do not rush to know how the story ends: if I got a happy ending then I feel depressed and if it is a sad ending then I say “this is not news to me”. Would that sentence expresses logic, a state of mind that varies from day-to-day, or it could be accepted as a fact for the moment in the individual psychic?

Maybe the common denominator among modern men is relishing rediscovering the wheel, and then feeling happily surprised that an ancient philosopher has stolen his copyrights.

Content is necessary, but it is the variations on the main content and how it is communicated that set individuals apart.

I am shocked at editors who believe it is their right to transform the style of an author to suit an abstract targeted public.

Go Graphics, do your communicating!

What this dream told me?

Note: Re-edit of “It is a Fact”  (Written in 1999 and posted in October 2008)

The sun was peeking into my new Morning.

My consciousness barely awakening

In a twilight drowsiness

And out of nowhere, a huge banner flashed in my mind,

It said “You shall die“.

My mind was blank before I read it,

It was blank for a long moment afterward.

My semi waking conscious scrambled

Into filling in real and imaginary activities,

“What am I to do today”?

Appointments that I am to tend to, today.

The concept that all of us shall die, was clear to me.

A Fact to others,

Still a Fact to me,

In the distant future,

Rushing wildly now

To tell me that it is a Fact.

A detour stroll in “Doubts Park

Note: Re-edit of “One lovely stroll in Doubts Park; (Jan. 4, 2010)”

I always claimed that whatever I do is meant to search for the Truth.

That is a lie: I run away from the fact that our reality is fundamentally the universe of doubts.

I should admit that this world of doubts is specific to humankind, I should accept it, integrate it in my life and enjoy strolling in Doubts Park.

It is nice, now and then, to take a short break from listing the thousands of questions that constantly perturb cognitive man and try to please my huge ego by trying to resolve a single existential question, just for the fun of it.

I was led lately to read with some attention detailed descriptions of heaven and hell.

I was shocked with these infantile and crude stories that are carbon copies in all religious Books.

I had the impression that all these prophets had No imagination for even slight variations; actually the only tiny variations were in the sadistic punishment of those intended to be visiting hell.

I had another revelation: all those prophets started recounting scenes of heaven and hell after they received recognition and enjoyed the tendency to clinging to power.

It was as if scaring people is the common technique to all who hold on to power.

All those prophets lived the masochist life till getting recognition and then let their imagination loose on the saddest sadistic punishments and unbridled lusty desires.

It was like all prophets are of a certain type of men that sustain only extreme binary attitudes in their deep subconscious, while disseminating the message of learning to tend to the middle line in the spectrum of our passions.

I have something to say; but first let me refresh your memory.

On Heaven

You have got about six rivers.  You select from the following items:

First, a river of pure running potable water;

Second, a river of milk or yogurt with even taste (you might have to settle on your favorite taste; if you didn’t have the opportunity to taste all the fruity flavors then never mind: there must be available more exhilarant venues to investigate; anyway, you have all the time unless you start rebelling again. If you are allergic to milk then no problems, go on selecting other items);

Third, a river of honey (I assume in those days only unadulterated bee’s honey was marketed; more Book’s research funding is required);

Fourth, a river of perfume (not specific, you would have tough choices if you failed to try all scents while alive);

Fifth, a river of wine, most probably beer, which never gets you inebriated enough to utter foul sentences or curse the Devils.

(I guess you should have choices of alcoholic beverages: you earned it.  My hypothesis is that you can opt for the four rivers to be of the wine kinds: you earned it, mind you).

Sixth, a river of oil (I am strongly inclined to believe that it is olive oil; tough luck if you hate olive oil; you can switch this river to scotch or vodka, I guess).

How to drink is no problem in heaven: you can use crystal cups, jars, Jeri can of gold, silver, or titanium (that last metal is of my own invention) or just sit and lap straight from the source or I would suggest letting your sweetheart pour it from her fresh mouth.

Oh, on the subject of sweetheart you have to be patient a little: I just like suspense.

If none of these rivers are to your liking then remember: the guiding light is not to worry about heaven: it is the other alternative that you should mind about.

From what I read I came into understanding that we are all going first to hell.

Pretty much as in immigration concentration camps.

Then, very few would be shown the exit door; and a few would be acrobatic and focused enough to cross the long thin bridge to heaven.

I should stick to heaven now.

You don’t have to worry at all.  Just imagine the varieties of condiments!

Do you like fresh, juicy, and ripe fruits?  Do you love dates, grapes, or pomegranates?  These are the fruits mentioned in the Books.

Remember, you better get a taste for Levantine assortment of fruits; but it is also said that you can have any kind of fruits and I suggest you don’t get frazzled that soon.

The beauty of it is that trees will deliver their fruits in any position you feel comfortable in (such as standing, lying, stooping, or sitting).

My impression is that you could order the branch to drop the fruit in your open mouth.  If I physically toiled hard in my life then that would be my ideal option of delivery.

Hey man, wait.  We have got the best news ever.

It will blow your brain away. You will have all the women and adolescent men for any kind of intercourse you desire. You can throw bacchant parties any time you want and you will be perched on high wide beds, very cushy, and perfectly ergonomically comfortable.

Good tiding for the women kind.

You women are nowhere mentioned in the picture of heaven and hell: the Jewish sect in Judea never endowed you with souls anyway.  But don’t you worry as yet.

God will recreate you to pleasure the select men.  Sorry, since very few men will be selected to go to heaven then don’t push: not all of you will be re-created.

The good news is, if created, you will all have white skin, screwy eyes (hawal), long hair, and none of you would be over 33 of age.  You will enjoy firm tits; it is up to the select men to shape your tits to the fruit of their desire. That is how I figure it.

Certainly you will be wearing jewelry and silk dresses. I think that, unlike men wearing only fine white robes, you might have a wide selection of fabrics and colors.

On Hell

This section would be brief: I know that you guys have suffered enough in this life that you don’t give much weight to the puny punishments that you might be allotted in hell.

Hell is simply fire, a lot of it, and its temperature is 60 times the temperature of earth core.

Hell is not upgraded with fire alarms. It was the result of lack of imagination: a million fire alarms going off at all the time would certainly scare the Bejesus out of anyone, regardless if he was engulfed in fire and black smoke.

Thus, don’t fear that much, please.  The mechanical instruments for conveying pain are archaic; they are mostly chains, gardening, and harvesting implements…

There is no diabolic high tech suffering machines.  I failed to read that you might be half buried in sand to be nibbled at by ants in a scorching desert.

Guantanamo Bay was, since time of creation, in the visual field of God but he refrained at the last second: God wanted to test the evil potentials of men.

You may read the reports of the commissions on human rights and the juicy archives in the United Nations.

You will be zipped straight to hell with no recourse for leniency, even if you witnessed close death encounters several times.

Just writing this article, any sacerdotal caste should judge me as good as dead a dozen times.

As for what might open the gate of heaven is simple: allow no one to share power with God, have field charity in the heart coupled by notarized proofs.

I doubt that predicators go around describing in details the conditions in hell and heaven; they tend to just mention hell and heaven as if everybody was told once in his life the stories in these final relocation places: I guess once is enough to grab the attention of kids.

Most probably, hell was described to kids at untenable moments, but I doubt heaven was ever a favorite topic to parents.

My suggestion is if we feel ashamed to tell the minute details of hell and heaven as recounted in the Books, if these stories should be labeled X-rated for cruelty or sexuality and not suited for less than 18 years of age, then the words hell and heaven should be scraped from theology teaching.

Faith should not be based on a reward system: If Heaven and Hell are the return for a life-time of toil and struggles then, they don’t come close accounting for justice.

Faith is this pleasuring drama of playing stupid, communicating our confidence in human good natured heart and well intentioned purpose to rescuing his fellow man in time of need.

Sometimes, true faith generates reciprocating pleasure and it increases human dignity on pragmatic criteria. It is not worth feeling bitter of your limitations: suffice to believe that all living creatures are holy.

The first attribute of human kind is freedom to doubt; the second attribute is liberty to take pride in what we doubt.

The level headed should desire to die.

If hell, then it is a piece of cake compared to our hellish life on earth; ask any persecuted inhabitant who was detained, tortured, and humiliated.

Ask people dead from famine or thirst.

Definitely, hell has lost its power to scare.

If heaven, then hmm…it won’t be such a bad condition after all to live in.

I might be slightly worried of boredom, but I trust God would endow the sexy “Houries” with enough playfulness to keep me interested for eternity.  Heaven definitely can have my vote.

Life is all about taking a single stand for human dignity.

I sincerely hope that my readers are invested with strong sense of humor.

Mining my diary: A Christmas Eve in Lebanon

Note: Re-edit of “Christmas Eve in a Christian family: Lebanon; ( Written in 2006 and posted on August 17, 2009)”

It is Sunday 10:20 a.m. of Christmas Eve 2006.  The sky is clear, sunny, and somehow cold in the 15 degrees C . I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and my mom was already working in the kitchen.

My little niece Chelsea (6 already) was helping her out through countless suggestions; mom’s fingers were so cold that they felt crippled and then she decided to heat some water.

Nephew William was already gone. (Forgot to where)

I worked for an hour in the garden and gathered greens.  Victor and family are off to Orthodox church (in M7idssi).  Victor had to pick Cedric up from work late last night because Cedric had misplaced the car keys.

There was an explosion across from the American University in Beirut; we learned that it was a gas container of a small eatery.

I read and wrote till 11 a.m. and drove to Beit-Chabab. I did not find aunt Montaha. I dropped off three books at the local library and walked to visit my cousin Joseph Ghoussoub. I visited my aunt Theresa on my back home.

Victor dropped off Adrea home and resumed driving toward the supermarket Spinneys and returned around 4 o’clock.

I helped niece Adrea carry a few groceries. Joanna showed me the area where the gifts are stacked in a corner of the dining room in her grand-mom apartment.

I counted about 36 wrapped gifts and it seems that Yuhanna (Joanna’s beau) contributed about 5 gifts and helped Joanna last evening in wrapping gifts before they went out together.

I had lunch with mom because dad had already eaten, and Cedric and Adrea were eating in front of the TV screen.

I had a siesta from 2 to 4 p.m. Mom was exhausted and had a sponge bath.  I picked up the dried clothes off the lines and went to my study room in the lower floor.

Adrea asked me whether I saw Joanna and she checked William’s bed because Joanna sometimes slept there for total privacy.

Mom is at my sister Raymonde’s on the third floor, helping her put the last touch for this evening dinner.

Ethiopia, backed by the USA, started the war against the Somali Islamists who are supported by Sudan and Eritrea.  They found another 46 unidentified bodies in Iraq and half a dozen US soldiers were dead and injured yesterday.

Italy’s Brodi PM is in Lebanon and had visited his troops (the UNIFIL) in the south within the multinational forces.

I would like to spend my night at the Downtown where the opposition has erected 1,500 tents and four huge tents complete with all the amenities; each one of the large tents can accommodate 2,000 persons; a midnight mass will be held at St George’s cathedral there.

Joanna and Yuhanna had left around noon and spent 7 hours walking City Mall for a last spree of buying.

Ashley did her hair and dyed it and left about 2 p.m. with Cedric carrying a box of cake.

Cedric went jogging about 4 p.m. in the cold and froze his ass off.

The former boyfriend of Joanna, Hikmat, paid us a visit; he is on vacation from Toulouse (France) and working on lab research for the electromagnetic switches of micro robots (nano-technology) that are injected in the human body to perform non-invasive controlled surgery.  In addition of grant money for his graduate studies, Hikmat teaches courses and loves Toulouse. As long as Hekmat is excited in his research project there are no chances that he might return to settle in Lebanon.

I joined the entire family after 8:30 p.m. and had a light dinner of salad, asparagus soup, an assortment of cheese and cold cuts, some pizza, and wine and Coca-Cola.

My dad went to sleep around 9:15; he usually sleeps by 8 p.m.

As usual, by 9:45 , little Chelsea started whining that she wanted to open the gifts so we moved to the sitting room and the unwrapping of gifts began.

William, Victor, Ashley, and Adrea took turn taking digital pictures.  It took the better of two hours for this exercise and everybody was satisfied with his gifts; after much hugging and trying out of the gifts the midnight mass project was shot.

Adrea did not have to complain and cry this year because she got more than she expected and spent an awful lot of time trying everything she received.

Chelsea was ecstatic with the skirts and the red bunny pair of slippers.

My mom said that by tomorrow Raymonde will have to make room for the new clothes and send the older ones to the “Bon Pasteur“, a close-by Christian institution of nuns, where the offered bundles are supposedly redistributed to the needy.

Joanna prepared four copies of a 1.2-meter laminated board spread of her photos with her friends and family.

Yuhanna complained that the dog Misha had twice more photos than he had; worst, his two photos were not satisfactory because they showed him wearing the baggy white suit that he and Joanna were asked to wear while cleaning up a stretch of a beach for cleaning it up of oil spill during Israel pre-emptive July War.

Cedric was sprawled on the carpet amid his gifts of Jeans, the deodorants, and the underwear heaped upon him.

William received a “tak wan doo” white suit and a very long woolen shawl that he wrapped over his head as the Sikhs.

By midnight William went to sleep because he had to wake up at 4 am in order to join the yoga ashram in Gemmayzeh; Cedric hit the sac also.

Yuhanna brought with him the saxophone, expecting that we might enjoy a family concert with Joanna at her Jazz flute, and Adrea at my classical guitar (that I never touched), and William at my accordion (that I never played). This concert did not happen.

Around 12:30 we had cakes and most everybody was feeling drowsy; Yuhanna was to sleep overnight and William prepared him the folding sofa downstairs in the basement floor where he had set up his study, by my room study.

By 1:30 a.m. my mom and I carried our gifts down to our first level flat.

(Funny why I failed to mention what where the gifts I received or the one I gave?…I usually offer books that go unread, or cash in envelop, and so does mother…)

World, Make Room (1998)

1.   Lebanon is Not just for the Christians.  True.

Lebanon is because of its Christians.  True.

Created by Christian Colonial powers.  True.

2.   Lebanon is an “Arabic” country, like it or not.  True.

It was clear for most.  It is now clear to all.

Lebanon can be a bastion

Of freedom:  Free from dictators

Persons, political parties or religious parties.

3.   Lebanon can be a heaven

Of Choices:  Freedom of speech, of affiliations, of education and of growth.

Lebanon can be the cornerstone

For Liberties:  Liberty in beliefs, in trades, in equality of opportunities.

Lebanon can be a lot and far more if

The Arab Lebanese Christians stay;

The Arab Lebanese Christians shed

Their blood for the land, all the land;

The Arab Lebanese Christians take a stand

Against the Feudal system, the sectarians, the isolationists and the apathetic;

The Arab Lebanese Christians proclaim

That they are Arabs, proud to be Arabs,

In Lebanon and every corner of the World.

If all the Christian sects take a firm stand against our existential enemy Israel

A colonial implants, emulating the ancient colonial behaviors of racism and apartheid laws.

4.   Christians or Muslims, the World doesn’t care.

Why should we?  Christians or Muslims, we are Syrian “Arabs”.

Leaders in intellect, in spirit, in work,

In ambitious dreams to fulfill a few of the meanings of life.

Syrian Arab Lebanese, just get your identity straight.

Arabs we are and more.  World, make room.

Make room.

Tidbits #31

The widening gulf between health and wellness? “The promises of strange elixirs and fine powders feel more deranged and seductive than ever.”

“But that life may be restored to the animal, an opening must be attempted in the trunk of the trachea, into which a tube of reed or cane should be put; you will then blow into this, so that the lung may rise again and take air.”—Belgian anatomist Andreas Vesaliu in his 1543 treatise De Humani Corporis Fabrica, writing about the mechanics of breathing used in today’s ventilators

Bidet usage is spreading as supermarket shelves of bathroom tissue are depleted. That’s no problem for those who prefer to clean their nether regions with water from bidets.

Ingenius creative solution. Vietnam set up rice ATMs. The machines distribute free rice in cities across the country, including a 24/7 dispenser in Ho Chih Minh City.

Panama papers? The indirect financial gimmick for the US multinational financial conglomerates to siphon in all the wealth of the world into the US financial treasury. The Rothschild conglomerate is the top of the pyramid and control how money should be distributed

On a trip and in a group of people who supercially know each other, a few members forget that each member is different. A few ignore some people as non-existent, some do not pay attention for the requests of others… Pretty soon, divergences emergent for Not giving each person his own due to opinions and rights.

In China, one coronavirus hospital ward served as the setting for an experimental program in which robots tended to patients’ needs. These bots can clean floors, deliver food, and even boost the morale of COVID-19 patients. 

Don’t count on permanence of waterfalls.  A sinkhole redirected water of a massive waterfall away from the San Rafael Waterfall in Ecuador.

I wrote in 2009: “Banks re-invest your safely net money in secured government bonds with outrageous interest loans ,extended to other customers who patronize the same bank.  Banks are the perfect financial sawing machine (up and down) with other people’s money. Banks are such icons that governments feel obligated to save banks, even investment banks from bankruptcy, by shamelessly propagating the myth of a most ridiculous excuse:  Banks are the “ideal oil” or lubricating medium to keeping society functioning for the capitalist system!

Les grandes puissances coloniales ont l’intention d’hypothéquer l’avenir du Nord Syrie, riche en hydrocarbure (25% des reserves de terre), surtout dans la region de Al Malikiyah (Rumaillah) pres de la riviere Tigre.

Since 2006, Israel has become a liability to USA administration. With their failure in Syria, Israel became a total liability. The USA and Israel are living in a Bubble of faked news and misinformation: All the people in the Middle -East, including the leeches of leaders, know by now that Israel is our existential enemy.

“In this age of ‘parenting as guilt,‘ please spread the guilt equally. Make fathers feel as bad as mothers.” Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s commencement speech is funny, simply stated, and empowering.

The UN is asking for $2 billion to tackle the pandemic in conflict zones. During the past week, Syria, Libya, and Gaza all reported their first Covid-19 cases. The United Nations makes it clear that if the disease is not controlled in these places, it will affect all of us.

US senators might vote on a massive coronavirus relief bill of a $2 trillion net impact on the US economy. An amount they could have afforded if Bush Jr. didn’t invade Iraq in 2003

Grand children look more like their ancestors: No need to display your beautiful mothers

Illusory superiority” cognitive bias? People who know the least are often convinced they know the most.  Social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger

The driving force to our survival is this sense of Pity. We extend a helping hand for someone to make it through the day, emotionally and financially.

We try to substitute the term Pity for Kindness or Responsibility, though responsibility is an acquired quality. If you still consider Pity as a bad connotation, then you are a pitiful person. This time around it is the worst of bad connotations.

 

Lebanon militia/mafia Big Rodents:

Leading the Assault for Mother Freedom, Liberty and Independence?

Note 1: Re-edit of “Big Rodents Leading the Assault for Mother Freedom (March 1, 2005)”

15 years later, these Rodents have bankrupted Lebanon at all levels: Economy, finance, public institutions, Central Bank, private banks, government, justice system…

Note 2: I had to re-edit this article to put current Lebanon in context. The role of opposition and allied political parties to the government have been reversed shortly after this article.

In the last two weeks, since the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on February 14, a milestone achievement was supposed to be won in Lebanon.

Every night, thousands were converging to Downtown Beirut to mourn at the tomb of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in the Place of Martyrs.

Every Monday, thousands were gathering there to demonstrate and protest.

The Lebanese people want to know who assassinated Hariri, 9 of his bodyguards and counselors, ten bystanders and about a hundred civilian injured in a road blast.

The people want effective, impartial and speedy investigation in the matter.

The political leaders of the opposition to the Syrian mandated power  in the last 2 decades refuse to do political business as usual until the perpetrators are divulged.

The people refuse to do business or are forced to shut down their stores.

In fact, Lebanon is becoming a poor country and much so lately and no refreshing indications are pointing to any economical recovery. The people are duplicating the Ukrainian example by constant presence and persistent political pressures.

This Monday, February 30th, the students from various universities slept overnight in Downtown Beirut in order to circumvent the order of the Minister of the Interior, Suleiman Frangieh, to ban any demonstrations and gathering the next morning.

By day break, they peacefully forced the lines of the Army units barring entrances to Beirut and flocked by the thousands to encircle the Chamber of Deputies.  The Chamber was summoned to ask the Cabinet one question: “Who assassinated Hariri?”

After the interrogation in the Chamber of Deputies, the current Prime Minister, Omar Karame, was to submit to a vote of confidence. The main slogan was: “We want our freedom, self determination and independence from the Syrian tutelage”.

A few of the corollary slogans were: “Syrian troops out of Lebanon”, “Syrian intelligence services out of Lebanon”, “Down with the Lebanese heads of intelligence services and all security agencies”, “The resignation of the shadow government” and “Bachar Assad is nominee” which means that the Syrian President should be next to go.

The only flag raised was the Lebanese flag which helped mollify the orders of the Lebanese army and internal security units to disperse demonstrators and provided a common denominator to all political factions.

The morning session of the House of Representatives saw many deputies taking full advantage of this climate of freedom and popular support.  They delivered speeches that crossed all the red lines in political discourse, euphemisms in coded words and taboos statements since 1991.

They were about to divulge details about the perfidies, machinations, threats and mafia dealings among the Syrian and Lebanese biggest rodents of the public funds.

The evening session climaxed by the resignation speech of the prime minister along with his whole Cabinet members.  It was rumored that he was the last one among the powerful ministers to be conveyed the order for the resignation of the government.

The main question now is: “What next?

The opposition is demanding a neutral government to prepare for a free election for the House of Representative in mid April.

Who ever heard of any neutral government?

How any neutral government can function if indeed the real and de facto government is in the hands of the security and intelligence forces?

The only option for the opposition forces in order to secure its credibility is the pressuring of the President of the Republic, General Emile Lahoud, to step down.

It is clear to all Lebanese that the security and stability of Lebanon is based on a free, democratic and stable Syria.

Until that development happens, Lebanon is in for a dangerous and very uncertain phase in its political life regardless of the vocal supports from the United States, France, the United Nations, Egypt or even Saudi Arabia.

This is a very exciting moment that we are experiencing but the nagging question remains:

Lebanon was suffering many infamies and the same humiliations for many years under the same and current deputies, political leaders and ministers who are now in the opposition, but used to be part and parcel of the same régime for many years before they were removed from the current government.

In fact, our House of Representatives itself, elected by the Lebanese, was indeed assassinated several times in grotesque circumstances.

Under the two Hariri governments, which included many of the current opposition leaders, several human rights laws were enacted and rescinded the next day by the same deputies by orders from Syria.

For example, the procedures for legally arresting citizens are a case in point.  Not only freedom was banished but self determination was blatantly and ignominiously trampled without major protests.

Isn’t a tangible act for freedom more important than a general notion of freedom?

Isn’t a heroic stand for self determination of the highest power in the land more important than a general concept of self determination?

Since when did political leaders attempt to rationally explain complicated matters to their supporters in order to show their strengths?

All they had to do was to galvanize their supporters under the banners of freedom, self determination and independence from Syria in order to gather as many demonstrators as today.

So, what gives that the same leaders are so much more conscious about freedom and self determination after the assassination of a former prime minister?

In fact, several months earlier, a failed attempt at the life of an opposition deputy was perpetrated; His bodyguard died and the deputy was in serious health conditions. Why no major demonstrations for investigating the attempted assassination were called for and political pressures not activated?

It seems that a dozen of big rodents who were devouring large holes in the cheese of our public funds and who were left out in the cold were relying on Hariri’s funding of the opposition to refill the shortages in their resources.

Now that the alternative funding was assassinated the options were limited and drastic.

If a political leader (zaim) is faced with the two alternatives of choosing between physical threats on his life or the cutting of funding, I have no doubts that the latter option is by far the less dangerous and less damaging to his life.

I agree with Deputy Walid Jumblatt, a leader of the minority Druze sect and speaking for the opposition, that the new generation of Lebanese youth who did not experience the long and protracted civil war has dreams that do not match the views of the traditional political parties and their leaders. (But Walid always acted opposite to the interest of the citizens and his main objective is to remain the uncontested leaders of the Druse sect))

The new generation does not want to be associated with the infamies and atrocities committed by their predecessors.  They care less for the sectarian rationales and little minded behaviors that drove their predecessors to eliminate one another and crawl safely into their own stuffy and narrow cantons.

The social and political climates are different and the instinct of survival of the new generation is forcing issues that the traditional local and regional powers prefer to be dormant as long as possible.

The new generation is ready to accept any foreign support and aid in order to bypass this stagnant environment that is killing any opportunities for progress and self development.

The perception of the new generation is that if the old guards of Lebanon political system, including the opposition, are left to decide for its status then priorities will not change that much.

For now, freedom, self determination and independence, why not?

Next, what are the dreams and objectives of the new generation?  Would they like to have civil marriage enacted as the law of the land?

Would they like to have greater job openings and affordable lodging in order to gain the first step toward independence?

Are they claiming decentralization of the administration?

Are they seeking to abolish all kinds of discrimination on the basis of origins, sects, sex, race and physical handicaps in jobs, education, and government functions?

The old guard would like to have quickly an inefficient neutral government to perpetrate the status quo.  They would like to have, pronto, a huge piece of the pie now and fast.

They are used to always have a piece of the pie regardless of the shape, form and content of the government. 

Would the new generation fall in the trap again, like the previous generations, for quick relief in the political system with no pain and hard sacrifices or a new spirit is born that is not ready to take dictates from the conventional political leaders?

The new generation has to organize itself and decide for themselves what they want and what should be the next steps from this critical impasse that can decide the future of Lebanon in the coming two decades.

I need a “Steady Dream”: Conscious or night dream

Note: Re-edit of “A Steady Dream. July 28, 2009″

1.   I need a dream.  A steady dream.

A dream that doesn’t change with age,

A dream that doesn’t grow when short on money,

That doesn’t shrink when I’m rich.

2.   I need a dream that won’t die when I hear one pass away,

That doesn’t start all over when I see a newborn open his eyes.

I need a dream steady

While I am not brain dead.

3.   I need a dream that I can act on:

Lest it is forgotten.

A dream to act on everyday,

Even when I’m drunk with sleep.

Lest it is replaced

By a faked dream.

Beware of total confidence in your “expert intuition”

EXPERT INTUITION? Kind of confident in your conjecture?

Posted  on: November 19, 2018

DANIEL KAHNEMAN, Nobel Prize in psychology, ON EXPERT INTUITION

You can always find reasons to support your decisions.

Call it plain luck when your intuitions are right while the situation is volatile.

The challenge of intuition is you think it’s right before it’s examined. When you have an intuition, you don’t have other intuitions. You have confidence.

The danger of going with your gut is it feels right without reason.

Dangerous intuition:

“In general, confidence is a very poor cue to accuracy. Intuitions come to your mind with considerable confidence and there is no guarantee that they’re right. Intuitions that are completely wrong also come to mind with great confidence.” Daniel Kahneman – World Business Forum 2018 (Kahneman is a psychology researcher who received a Nobel Prize)

The development of expert intuitions:

When the following conditions are present, people develop expert intuition.

#1. There must be some regularity in the world.

You might feel that the numbers you picked will win the lottery, but lottery-intuition is useless.

People who pick stocks work in a volatile unpredictable world. Their intuitions are useless. The stock market is not sufficiently regular to support the development of expert intuition.

Chess players and married people have high regularity.

#2. Lots of practice.

Novices may have a feeling about a decision, but you need lots of practice before you should trust your gut. Many events that are right feel wrong to novices.

Remember that #1 above must also be true. Lots of practice in a highly volatile environment doesn’t develop expert intuition.

#3. Immediate feedback.

You need to quickly see the result of decisions or actions in order to develop expert intuition. Did your decision turn out as anticipated, not months, but hours or days later?

Generally, confidence and accuracy of intuition are at best loosely related.

The danger of intuition is a premature decision.

Kahneman’s tips on intuition:

  1. Delay intuition.
  2. Be systematic about collecting data.

What suggestions do you have for developing expert intuition?

How can leaders learn to examine their intuitions?

This post is based on Daniel Kahneman’s presentation at the World Business Forum in New York City 2018.

Note: I read many research articles of Kahneman when taking graduate courses in experimental psychology around 1988.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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