Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘short stories/novellas’ Category

Short story: Ajdad wants to change as he was reminded that he is already perceived an elder person

Ajdad grew up unpretentious, and was perceived a stuck up child.

Ajdad cared for nothing in particular in order to ask questions, much less pertinent questions.

This naive kid grew up more naive with age: The more he knew about people and the universe, the more confused he felt and had no idea from where to start his questioning with other people…

Ajdad grew to be over 60 year-old and he is keeping himself fit and young, Not in matter of speed and aerobics, but for endurance and flexibility.

And time passed pretty quick for Ajdad to realize that he is banished from the youth community, even the over thirty-something.

At his early age, Ajdad didn’t felt this strong urge to communicate and question his peers or relatives.

And he was perceived as an unbearably pretentious person to associate with or keep any steady link with him.

He became highly critical and cynical since he gathered many higher educational degrees in many field of study, especially in rational thinking and experimental designs.

Adjad accumulated a vast comprehensive knowledge on many issues, and he persist on patronizing libraries every day, to read and write.

Though Ajdad is starting to listen and learn about human interactions and traditional biases.

He is letting his funny and ironic hidden “streak” spread when he meet “strangers”, and love to make people laugh hard, at his own expense.

Ajdad may grow to be 90, but he is Not likely to find a single close friend to keep him company, as the trend keeps speaking loudly since his early age.

Any comfort to know the assassin of a young relative? After 20 years of the event? (Short story)

“Notre petite Isabel, desole’ de te laisser un tel fardeau. Tu m’ a donne’ plus de bonheur que je n’en ai jamais merite’ ”

Apres ces revelations, j’ai su que le pere, Jean-Paul, etait l’assassin de Janie (17 ans), il y a 20 ans de cela.

C’est un tour de genie de Liane Moriarty dans “Le secret du mari” de condenser une longue letter de Jean-Paul a sa femme Cecilia, une lettre qu’elle ne devait l’ouvrire qu’apres sa mort. On lit la lettre complete 2 chapitres apres.

Apparemment, JeanPaul avait ecrit cette lettre apres la naissance de sa premiere fille Isabel, apres s’etre soule’ (l’excuse traditionelle) et qu’ il avait l’intention de detruire la lettre et l’avait oublier dans une de ces boites a chaussures ou’ il classifiait ses documents.

Jean-Paul avait aussi 17 ans et fou d’amour de Janie. Janie et Jean Paul ont garde’ leur relation secrete de tout le monde, amis et parents. Il a etrangle’Janie apres lui avoir dit qu’elle aimait un autre garson, un peu plus age’.

C’est pour cette raison que la police ne l’a jamais interroge’. Il avait dit a Cecilia: “Si la police m’avait interroge’, j’aurais confesse'”. Pas sure que sa mere Virginia l’aurait encourage’: elle sut que son aine’ Jean-Paul etait l’assassin du chapele’ special autour des mains de Janie.

Jean-Paul ne peut pas encore croire que les quelques secondes de ses larges mains autour du coup de Janie pouvait la faire mourire.

Je suis au tier du bouquin, et les traces d’une condition prealable de sante’ de Janie sont nombreuses: Difficulte’ de respirer, maux dans le dos, tres fragile… et son pere est mort aussi d’une crise cardiaque devastatrice 20 ans apres…

Se plot d’oublier la lettre dans une boite est trop incroyable, meme si c’est convenient pour l’histoire. Non, ca ne tient pas debout.

Si Jean-Paul voulait qu’une persone connaisse la verite’, une sorte de confession pour l’ apres mort condition, il aurait laisse’ la lettre avec son notaire pour l’ouvire apres sa mort et decider a qui relayait le secret.

Un notaire de valeur morale aurait contacte’ le chef de la police pour classer l’affaire et de ne rien dire a la famille de Jean -Paul ou celle de Janie.

An old man in the psych group said: “The assassin is serving a life sentence. And it is still Not a comfort for me

And what if this prisoner would be let free within 20 years? Instead of sorrow and anger, most probably fear will set in?

Personne n’a vraiment interet a connaitre l’assassin apres 30-40 ans de l’affaire. I n’ a pas de recomfort a cette confession tardes: La plupart sont deja’ mort, suite a leur chagrin.

There is no comfort for people who refuse to sustain any period of comfort, as if this is a capital sin, like killing an innocent person, or being perceived a coward in the struggle to survive.

Note: Ce rire meprisant qui decompose le visage, surtout apres avoir affirme’: “J’ aime une autre personne”. Ce rire, qui veut sortir d’une situation trop encombrante, a tue’ beaucoup de jeunes (surtout des filles) et embarasse’ beaucoup de jeunes adolescents pour la vie.

 

Moussa worst nightmares were Obama’s predictable USA drone attacks

L’une des hantises de Moussa est les drones, particulierement ceux envoyes par US president Obama: il etait friyant d’user a volonte’e et partout ses drones quand un des miliciens Islamists couvrait la une des medias.

Moussa est le maitre inconteste’ de l’embassade Americaine a Tripoli, evacuee’ pendant un temps.

Moussa a plusieurs sources de cash qui arrivent de tout azimut: les armes passant par le Sahara, la cocaine acheminee’ a Malte et puis dans tout l’Europe, les antiquites de Laptis Magna (pres de Serte? une cite’ bourgeouise du temps de l’empereur Romain Septime Severe, en 203, un originaire de la Syrie), le petrol, the slave trade…

Au debut des annees 90, Moussa le Libyen, etait au Caire quand il joinit les Freres Musulmans. Les flics de Moubarak l’ ont balance’ dans une voiture, roue’ de coups, matraque’, jete’ dans une avion pour etre recuperer par une autre C-17 a l’aeropore de Tirana

Les forces speciales Americaines en treillis noirs ont recommences les seances de matraquages, d’interrogations, la clavicule cassee’, prive’ de sommeil depuis 2 jours, un sac humide sur la tete, pendu a une potence par les poignets, et dans un body bag rempli de galce.

Moussa est ensuite achemine’ au danjon de Bagram en Afghanistan…

Le processus de produire un terrorist Islamic Sunnit.

Moussa est envoye’ en Libye pour combattre Kadhafi et il s’est fait appeller commandant d’une milice financee’ par Qatar.

Comme maitre de l’embassade Americaine pour un temps, Moussa recoit des journalistes et donne des interviews a toutes les chaines, friyant d’ entendre les calamites de cette region.

Moussa assure et confirme que l’embassade est securise’ et saine et sauve des attaques des autres milices qui la convoite.

Il a suffit qu’une fois Moussa se plaint dans un interview de la brutalite’ des Americains durant sa formation qu’un drone le carbonise.

Ce matin fatidique, Moussa avait bien dormi sans faire de cauchemares.

Moussa avait recu des rapports confirmant que les Americains sont tres satisfait de son job et de ses services.

Note: An edited version of an excerpt from the book “Mecaniques du Chaos” de Daniel Rondeau. A good read.

Why she had to do that? (Short story)

I knew her from middle school and our affection grew steadily: we were considered a couple and the world problems didn’t count much to us.

After graduation, we got wed: the few invitees told me it was like a pantomime: a prom date.

One day, we threw a big party at our small apartment and we got drunk.

I was kissing a girl when my love barged into the kitchen and saw us. She laughed hysterically and left in a hurry.

By the time I rejoined her, she had jumped over the 3 floors. My first instinct was to jump too and rejoin her. My friends helped me to go downstairs.

I laid down near her inert body and mumbled: “If I knew you could be the cruellest person that history ever created. That’s Not a punishment you crazy cunt. I don’t love you anymore: You are a dead body…”

For 20 years, everytime I’m at a balcony, My right leg tends to hump the rail, but my body wouldn’t react to this prompt.

I have been transferring my attention to adolescents, Not dwelling too much on their upbringing, Not suffering enough for their experiences. “Love is a losing game”

Diary of Syrian Kidnapping: Richard Engel Reveals…

NBC News’s Richard Engel was dispatched to cover Syria’s civil war last December (2013?).

He and his crew were dragged from their car at gunpoint, blindfolded, gagged, and held captive by the shabbiha militia for 5 days.

Engel documented his captivity in April’s 2013 issue of Vanity Fair in a journal-like format, of which this is an excerpt. 

A group of about 15 armed men were fanning out around us. Three or four of them stood in the middle of the road blocking our vehicles. The others went for the doors. They wore black jackets, black boots, and black ski masks. They were professionals and used hand signals to communicate.

A balled fist meant stop. A pointed finger meant advance.

Each man carried an AK-47. Several of the gunmen began hitting the windows of our car and minivan with the stocks of their weapons. When they got the doors open, they leveled their guns at our chests.

Time was slowing down as if I’d been hit in the head. Time was slowing down as if I were drowning.

This can’t be happening. I know what this is. These are the shabbiha. They’re fucking kidnapping us.

“Get out!” a gunman was yelling as he dragged Aziz from the car.

Then I saw the container truck. It wasn’t far away, parked off the road and hidden among olive trees. The metal doors at its rear stood open, flanked by gunmen.

We’re going into that truck.

I got out of the car. Two of the gunmen were already marching Aziz to the truck. He had his hands up, his shoulders back, his head tilted forward to protect against blows from behind.

Maybe I should run right now. But the road is flat and open. The only cover is by the trees near the truck. But where?

I saw John standing by the minivan. Gunmen were taking Ian toward the truck. It was his turn. Like me, John hadn’t been touched yet.

Our eyes made contact. John shrugged and opened his hands in disbelief. Time was going very slowly now, but my mind was racing like a panicked heart in a body that can’t move.

“Get going!” a gunman yelled at me in Arabic, pointing his weapon at my chest.

I looked at him blankly, pretending not to understand.

Foreigners who speak Arabic in the Middle East are often assumed to be working for the C.I.A. or Israel’s intelligence agency the Mossad. The gunman took me by the finger, holding on to it by the very tip. I could have pulled it away with the smallest tug.

John was the next to join us in the back of the truck. He walked slowly, as if being escorted to a waiting limo. John is a New Yorker and was dressed entirely in black. He has long white hair and a devilish smile, and his nickname is the Silver Fox.

John and I had been in a lot of rough places—Libya, Iraq, Gaza. John, Ghazi, and Aziz were among my closest friends in the world.

At least I’ll die with my friends.

The rebel commander Abdelrazaq was confused. He thought this was a misunderstanding. He thought that this was a group of rebels who’d gone rogue and were acting like commandos.

“What are you doing?” he yelled to the gunmen as they loaded him into the truck. “We are Free Syrian Army! We are Free Syrian Army! I am a commander with the Free Syrian Army.”

We were traveling in rebel territory. Government forces weren’t supposed to be here.

“Oh, you’re Free Syrian Army?” one of the gunmen answered. “Here’s to your Free Syrian Army.” He kicked Abdelrazaq in the face, then smashed a rifle butt into his back.

The gunman seemed to be in charge of the others. We would learn that his name was Abu Jaafar. He spoke with a thick Alawite accent.

Alawites are a sect of Shiite Muslims, and for 4 decades Alawites and Shiites have ruled over the rest of Syria.

Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite. But Alawites and Shiites are only around 10 percent of the population. Almost all of the rest—and all of the rebels—are Sunni Muslims.

This is a sectarian war. So are most of the conflicts these days in the old Ottoman provinces of the Middle East. We’d become part of a long fight that wasn’t ours.

“Do you love Bashar?,” Abu Jaafar asked.

“Of course I love President Bashar,” Abdelrazaq replied.

“You don’t even deserve to utter his name, you animal,” Abu Jaafar said. Once again he kicked Abdelrazaq and beat him with his rifle butt.

“We are journalists from American television,” I said in En­glish.

One of the gunmen grabbed me by the hair and smashed my head against the metal wall of the container. “Who are you?” he asked in Arabic. I pretended not to understand.

“We are journalists. We work for American television,” I said again.

Everyone was in the truck by now. The metal floor smelled of diesel fuel and machine oil and was very cold and slippery. I kept sliding down as I sat with knees at my chest and my back to the container wall. I was watching Abu Jaafar beat the commander.

Several of the gunmen closed the doors to the container and stayed with us inside. They turned on flashlights. They were prepared.

Two of them lifted me to my feet and wrapped duct tape around my mouth, eyes, and wrists. They stripped off my belt and shoes. They did the same to the rest of the group. Now blind, I felt hands reaching into my pockets and taking my phone and my passport.

They’ve done this before.

I didn’t have much else on me. I had deliberately left my main mobile phone in Turkey.

I’d cleaned my laptop, too, removing files and contacts that could be incriminating to a suspicious mind. We had each pared down before coming in. Kidnapping is always a threat in this life of reporting on men hurting one another because of religion and politics.

An Israeli business card left in a wallet could be a death sentence. I knew that many of the shabiha gunmen would assume we were spies anyway—conspiracy theories are a weed in this part of the world.

An Egyptian newspaper once publicly identified me as the C.I.A. station chief in Cairo. It seemed so stupid at the time. I was only 24, a little young to be a station chief, and, of course, I was never with the C.I.A.

The truck started up and eased out of the grove. We could feel it traveling over bumpy roads.

I’ve reported on Shiite militias butchering Sunnis, and on Sunnis bombing Shiites in Iraq. I still felt like a reporter. I was still on a story. This was sectarian violence. This wasn’t happening to me but to them. I was angry with myself for thinking that.

Stay focused. You are here. You need to survive this. The first few hours are the most dangerous.

The truck came to a stop about 20 minutes later. Metal scraped against metal as the rear doors creaked open. Light and cold air rushed in.

“Where is the gunman?,” Abu Jaafar asked.

“That’s me, sir,” said the young man in the green fatigues. Abdelrazaq’s bodyguard could not have been more than 20.

Abu Jaafar’s men took the bodyguard out of the truck.

“Finish him,” Abu Jaafar said.

The gunmen had their AK-47s set on burst. They each fired four or five rapid shots, paused, then squeezed off another burst. The bodyguard didn’t scream or utter a word. He died too quickly for that. I heard his body hit the ground.

Abdelrazaq started to shout at Abu Jaafar.

“These people are journalists. They have nothing to do with this. I brought them here. I am responsible. Kill me. Let them go.”

Abu Jaafar said, “Get the gasoline.”

They drenched Abdelrazaq with liquid from a bottle.

“No, no!” Abdelrazaq begged.

“Burn him,” Abu Jaafar said.

They splashed Abdelrazaq with more liquid.

It was water.

They wanted to break us and terrorize us and make us docile. They were having fun doing it.

Abu Jaafar was laughing most of the time. In the coming days we would become familiar with his short, repetitive, girlish laugh: Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh.

The doors of the container were closed again. The gunmen left us alone in the back of the truck. We could hear guns being charged outside. AK-47 rounds were chambered and ready to fire.

Now they’ll spray the truck with gunfire and execute us all. 

We all lay down in the truck, hoping they’d shoot over us. My face was pressed against the floor. I tucked my hands under my cheek to get it off the cold, greasy metal. I drifted off to sleep. There’s peace in sleep. Aziz was lying on top of me. I could feel his heat. He was wearing cologne and it smelled good. In sleep I could escape.

Am I sleeping or am I awake? I’ll pretend to stay sleeping. Sleeping is invisible.

To read Engel’s full diary, click here to subscribe and receive the issue.

Self service requires information, which requires design

Consider travel as an example:

If you’ve arranged the flights on the monitor in order of flight time, not destination, requiring me to stop and take out my ticket, you have failed.

If you’ve hidden the room numbers (or given them fancy names) so that only an employee can find the right spot, you’ve failed as well.

The label on prescription drugs, the instructions post-doctor visit, the manual for using software or putting together furniture–if we’re getting rid of service and turning it into self-service, we owe it to our newly deputized employees (our customers) to give them the tools they need to not need us.

Sure, you need someone in charge of customer service.

But you also need someone in charge of service design.

Someone responsible for fixing what’s broken, not merely apologizing for it again and again.

It’s not cheap, but it’s way cheaper than answering the phone or annoying the people who pay our bills.

Tried and yet false if no longer working?

The tried and true is beyond reproach. It’s been tried, and of course, it’s true.

True because it worked.

In times of change, though, most of the tried is in fact, false. False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer.

Sure, it might be what you’ve always done. But that doesn’t make it true, or right, or best. It just means that you already tried it.

The nature of revolutions is that they destroy the perfect and enable the impossible. Seeking out the tried and true is the wrong direction for crazy times.

Posted by Seth Godin on June 02, 2013

Bullying behavior and practices sticking at older age? Case of local “Silent Majority” bowing down to ignominy 

This is a local story that took place in Cornet Chehwan (Lebanon) within a group of Petanque players (Boules), supposedly a club belonging to the municipality.

A regular player, a retired Industrial Engineer PhD who also taught in universities and who pays his property taxes in that municipality, and a better players than many, was denied to participate in the games, for no apparent reasons, after sharing games and laughter for 9 months.

In the first week of April, this engineer walked for 20 minutes at 5 pm to the tent where players gather to play. He has sold his car long time ago and decided to walk instead of driving.

There was exactly 12 players. He registered his name on the board according to regulation to be next, when one group is out for losing.

As the game was over, he stepped in to play. He exercised alone, waiting for the alternative group to form. After 10 minutes, he sensed that there is a sort of veto to play with him. Shadiya kept repeating “Revanche” (meaning we want to play again with the winning team). An old fat man growled:” Yalla, badna nel3ab” (we want to resume playing with the same team).

Disgusted, the engineer returned the cochonet to a lady player and decided to leave.

Cesa, the wife of the municipality chief, was Not there during this event. She suddenly barged in the tent, plausibly following a phone call from her sidekick. She immediately advanced toward the engineer, poison dripping from her face, hit him in the chest with a finger and shouted: “Out of the tent, right now”

Taken aback by this savage hatred, the player replied: “enteh dhareh barra , wleh” (Get out yourself)

A “lawyer” player approached the engineer and said: “Let’s step outside to talk”. The engineer responded: “Let’s talk inside. Is this a municipality club or a private club”? The lawyer replied: “It doesn’t matter. If the players refuse to play with you, you are out of luck”

Who are the players who don’t want to play with the engineer? They all played with him for over 9 months and he was better than most in the game and he was friendly with most and got to know their private lives and their wives.

Or was it the half dozen obeying to Cesa’s grudge (for whatever is this mystery grudge that no one dared to ask her). Did the entire club members got the signals to boycott the engineer?

As far as the engineer knew, the club never sent him any letter or any verbal warning that he is Not welcomed.

Actually, the engineer knows of half a dozens players who suffered bullying practices  (from Cesa and her sidekick and shouldered by 3 players, the yes, yes sort of men) to force them out of the playing group. They never returned, but they didn’t make waves.

The story has a beginning.

At the start of the winter season, the engineer walked as usual to the tent. Shadia insisted on him to stay past 8:30 pm for a last game, so that she gives him a ride home.

The two groups of players were constituted of Cesa, Shadia, and the “lawyer” Hamid. The opposing team was of Walid, Fara7 and the engineer. The engineer, who dislikes being cornered as the designated starter, while the others reserves for themselves the task of playing last, played well and placed good boules near the cochonet. His team members kept hitting his boules (tireur) instead of the adverse boules, and this happened 3 times. Maybe they were tired, but they are Not famous to hit much the correct ball.

It was evident that they were tired and Not fit to hit well.  Coolly and decisively, the engineer told the two players: “Ok, now you discuss between you two and decide who will place his boules first.”

Walid acknowledge that it is best, and did play first, but Fra7 got frustrated and upset and started playing haphazardly to express his annoyance, and ruined the game.

Cesa told the engineer: “Kahrabt al jaww” (You electrified the air). Meaning that the engineer is to blame for this bad game. And Not the person who purposely ruined the game

The next day, the engineer walked to the tent and felt that there is a sort of veto on him to play. Cesa told him: “The next time betkahreb al jaww, you are out. You may only be allowed to watch”. The engineer turned his back on her and didn’t come back for the duration of the winter season, about 3 months.

The mother of this engineer, who is 90 of age and gets sicker during the cold season, needed his close attention and to be near her. It didn’t make sense for the engineer to walk in the cold and back in the cold in order to face players Not willing to share with him the games.

As the weather warmed a little, the engineer started to walk and occasionally entered the tent. He didn’t play and didn’t feel the heart to play with people who lack dignity and crawl to a person, just to be “allowed” to play in tranquility and in total boredom among themselves.

One day, the engineer decided to play a single game, so that he can walk back while there is light to be with his mother. Again, the veto resumed. Hovig told me: We reformed the teams and you are Not in”. I was the only new comers, and the reformed teams were the exactly the same.  The engineer didn’t insist and walked out, feeling sorry for these crawling and groveling men.

The next time, the engineer registered him name on the board. And you know the entire story.

Does anyone of the club members dared to know why Cesa and her sidekick kept this grudge on the engineer? Do those who vetoed him out to play know the deep reasons?,

Can any one of the readers guess what is the problem?

Cesa and Shadia are Not in the official roster of members officially designated to the syndicate od Lebanon Petanque. Who gave Cesa this “power” to rule, decide and kick out players?

What’s wrong with this club? Do the officials of this club care? Anyone cares?

Does any player feels secure to play the next time around, and not be kicked out savagely, at the whim of Cesa?


adonis49

adonis49

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