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What? Teach all religions in schools to generate Informed citizenship? Or to prove their discrimination among social classes?

Posted on February 23, 2016 and written in 2006

Dan Dennett argues that human consciousness and “free will” are the result of physical processes.

His latest book is “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking,” Full bio

Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religions — all religion — to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution

You must be wondering, “What on earth? Have they put up the wrong slide?” No, no. Look at this magnificent beast, and ask the question: Who designed it?

Dan Dennett. Let’s teach religion — all religion — in schools . Posted July 2006

This is TED; this is Technology, Entertainment, Design, and there’s a dairy cow. It’s a quite wonderfully designed animal.

Religions have become domesticated, and human beings have been redesigning their religions for thousands of years. (Not sure how religious sects have been domesticated: they are the ultimate rebels for any change in society, and they act extremely well to preserve their privileges)

And I was thinking, how do I introduce this? And I thought maybe that old doggerel by Joyce Kilmer, you know: “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” And you might say, “Well, God designed the cow.”

But, of course, God got a lot of help. This is the ancestor of cattle. This is the aurochs. And it was designed by natural selection, the process of natural selection, over many millions of years.

And then it became domesticated, thousands of years ago. And human beings became its stewards, and, without even knowing what they were doing, they gradually redesigned it and redesigned it and redesigned it.

And then more recently, they really began to do reverse engineering on this beast and figure out just what the parts were, how they worked and how they might be optimized — how they might be made better.

Now, why am I talking about cows?

Because I want to say that much the same thing is true of religions.

Religions are natural phenomena — they’re just as natural as cows. They have evolved over millennia. They have a biological base, just like the aurochs.

Religions have become domesticated, and human beings have been redesigning their religions for thousands of years. 

This is TED, and I want to talk about design.

Because what I’ve been doing for the last four years, some of you saw me at TED when I was talking about religion — and in the last four years, I’ve been working just about non-stop on this topic. And you might say it’s about the reverse engineering of religions.

Now that very idea, I think, strikes terror in many people, or anger, or anxiety of one sort or another. And that is the spell that I want to break.  (Extremists in any religious sect have redesigned their religions backward, away from social coexistence)

I want to say, no, religions are an important natural phenomenon. We should study them with the same intensity that we study all the other important natural phenomena, like global warming, as we heard so eloquently last night from Al Gore.

Today’s religions are brilliantly designed: They are immensely powerful social institutions and many of their features can be traced back to earlier features that we can really make sense of by reverse engineering.

And, as with the cow, there’s a mixture of evolutionary design — designed by natural selection itself — and intelligent design — more or less intelligent design — and redesigned by human beings who are trying to redesign their religions.

You don’t do book talks at TED, but I’m going to have just one slide about my book, because there is one message in it which I think this group really needs to hear. And I would be very interested to get your responses to this.

It’s the one policy proposal that I make in the book, at this time, when I claim not to know enough about religion to know what other policy proposals to make. And it’s one that echoes remarks that you’ve heard already today.

Here’s my proposalEducate people on world religions for all of our children — in primary school, in high school, in public schools, in private schools and in home schooling.

So what I’m proposing is, just as we require reading, writing, arithmetic, American history, so we should have a curriculum on facts about all the religions of the world — about their history, about their creeds, about their texts, their music, their symbolisms, their prohibitions, their requirements. (The context, historical and political facts)

And this should be presented factually, straightforwardly, with no particular spin, to all of the children in the country. And as long as you teach them that, you can teach them anything else you like. (Keep the children away from these “religious facts” and various spins: let them master some writing and calculus skills)

That is maximal tolerance for religious freedom.

As long as you inform your children about other religions, then you may — and as early as you like and whatever you like — teach them whatever creed you want them to learn. But also let them know about other religions. (So that religion does Not become a political tool to established institutions? Religion is the ultimate in political upbringing)

Why do I say that? Because democracy depends on an informed citizenship.

Informed consent is the very bedrock of our understanding of democracy. Misinformed consent is not worth it. It’s like a coin flip; it doesn’t count, really.

Democracy depends on informed consent. This is the way we treat people as responsible adults. Now, children below the age of consent are a special case (Really?)

Parents are stewards of their children. They don’t own them. You can’t own your children. You have a responsibility to the world, to the state, to them, to take care of them right. 

You may teach them whatever creed you think is most important, but I say you have a responsibility to let them be informed about all the other creeds in the world, too. (So drop “educating” religion to children until they can form their mind. Actually, studies have proven that children who were Not educated of any kind of religion developed to be broad minded and tolerant)

The reason I’ve taken this time is I’ve been fascinated to hear some of the reactions to this. One reviewer for a Roman Catholic newspaper called it “totalitarian.” It strikes me as practically libertarian. Is it totalitarian to require reading, writing and arithmetic? I don’t think so.

All I’m saying is — and facts, facts only; no values, just facts — about all the world’s religions. (Including making sense of irrational myths?)

Another reviewer called it “hilarious.” Well, I’m really bothered by the fact that anybody would think that was hilarious. It seems to me to be such a plausible, natural extension of the democratic principles we already have that I’m shocked to think anybody would find that just ridiculous.

I know many religions are so anxious about preserving the purity of their faith among their children that they are intent on keeping their children ignorant of other faiths. I don’t think that’s defensible. But I’d really be pleased to get your answers on that — any reactions to that — later.

Back to the cow. This picture, which I pulled off the web — the fellow on the left is really an important part of this picture. That’s the steward. Cows couldn’t live without human stewards — they’re domesticated. They’re a sort of ectosymbiont. They depend on us for their survival. (So does people)

And Pastor Rick was just talking about sheep. I’m going to talk about sheep, too. There’s a lot of serendipitous convergence here. How clever it was of sheep to acquire shepherds!  

Think of what this got them. They could outsource all their problems: protection from predators, food-finding …  health maintenance.

The only cost in most flocks — not even this — a loss of free mating. What a deal! (A big deal for the chimpanzees and the bonobo kinds)

“How clever of sheep!” you might say. Except, of course, it wasn’t the sheep’s cleverness. 

We all know sheep are not exactly rocket scientists — they’re not very smart. It wasn’t the cleverness of the sheep at all. They were clueless. But it was a very clever move. Whose clever move was it? It was the clever move of natural selection itself. (What? the cows realized that they are better off to be controlled by humans?)

Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA with Jim Watson, once joked about what he called Orgel’s Second Rule.

Leslie Orgel is a molecular biologist, brilliant guy, and Orgel’s Second Rule is: 

Evolution is cleverer than you are

That is not Intelligent Design — not from Francis Crick.  Evolution is cleverer than you are. If you understand Orgel’s Second Rule, then you understand why the Intelligent Design movement is basically a hoax.

The designs discovered by the process of natural selection are brilliant, unbelievably brilliant. (A big qualification from someone whose understanding of evolution is related to religion)

Again and again biologists are fascinated with the brilliance of what’s discovered. But the process itself is without purpose, without foresight, without design.

When I was here four years ago, I told the story about an ant climbing a blade of grass. And why the ant was doing it was because its brain had been infected with a lancet fluke that was needed to get into the belly of a sheep or a cow in order to reproduce. So it was sort of a spooky story.

And I think some people may have misunderstood. Lancet flukes aren’t smart. I submit that the intelligence of a lancet fluke is down there, somewhere between petunia and carrot. They’re not really bright. They don’t have to be. The lesson we learn from this is: you don’t have to have a mind to be a beneficiary.

The design is there in nature, but it’s not in anybody’s head. It doesn’t have to be. That’s the way evolution works. Question: Was domestication good for sheep? It was great for their genetic fitness. (Looking slender when sheared?)

And here I want to remind you of a wonderful point that Paul MacCready made at TED three years ago. Here’s what he said: “Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of agriculture, human population, plus livestock and pets, was approximately a tenth of one percent of the terrestrial vertebrate landmass.”

That was just 10,000 years ago. Yesterday, in biological terms. What is it today? Does anybody remember what he told us? 98 percent. That is what we have done on this planet.

I talked to Paul afterwards — I wanted to check to find out how he’d calculated this, and get the sources and so forth — and he also gave me a paper that he had written on this. And there was a passage in it which he did not present here and I think it is so good, I’m going to read it to you:

“Over billions of years on a unique sphere, chance has painted a thin covering of life: complex, improbable, wonderful and fragile. Suddenly, we humans — a recently arrived species no longer subject to the checks and balances inherent in nature — have grown in population, technology and intelligence to a position of terrible power. We now wield the paintbrush.”

We heard about the atmosphere as a thin layer of varnish. Life itself is just a thin coat of paint on this planet. And we’re the ones that hold the paintbrush. And how can we do that?

The key to our domination of the planet is culture (the culture of greed and exploitation?)

And the key to culture is religion. Suppose Martian scientists came to Earth. They would be puzzled by many things. Anybody know what this is? I’ll tell you what it is. This is a million people gathering on the banks of the Ganges in 2001, perhaps the largest single gathering of human beings ever, as seen from satellite photograph. Here’s a big crowd. Here’s another crowd in Mecca. Martians would be amazed by this. (Maybe their amazement is why this crowd is Not bigger? With all that ignorance that religions spread in population)

They’d want to know how it originated, what it was for and how it perpetuates itself.

Actually, I’m going to pass over this. The ant isn’t alone. There’s all sorts of wonderful cases of species which — in that case — A parasite gets into a mouse and needs to get into the belly of a cat. 

And it turns the mouse into Mighty Mouse, makes it fearless, so it runs out in the open, where it’ll be eaten by a cat. True story.

In other words, we have these hijackers — you’ve seen this slide before, from four years ago — a parasite that infects the brain and induces even suicidal behavior, on behalf of a cause other than one’s own genetic fitness.

Does that ever happen to us? Yes, it does — quite wonderfully.

The Arabic word “Islam” means “submission.” It means “surrender of self-interest to the will of Allah.” But I’m not just talking about Islam. I’m talking also about Christianity. 

This is a parchment music page that I found in a Paris bookstall 50 years ago. And on it, it says, in Latin: “Semen est verbum Dei. Sator autem Christus.” The word of God is the seed and the sower of the seed is Christ. Same idea. Well, not quite. But in fact, Christians, too … glory in the fact that they have surrendered to God.

I’ll give you a few quotes. “The heart of worship is surrender. Surrendered people obey God’s words, even if it doesn’t make sense.” Those words are by Rick Warren. Those are from “The Purpose Driven Life.” (And who really heard a God pronounce a word to note it down?

And I want to turn now, briefly, to talk about that book, which I’ve read. You’ve all got a copy, and you’ve just heard the man. And what I want to do now is say a bit about this book from the design standpoint, because I think it’s actually a brilliant book.

First of all, the goal is to bring purpose to the lives of millions, and he has succeeded. Is it a good goal? In itself, I’m sure we all agree, it is a wonderful goal. He’s absolutely right. (Purpose of surrendering to nonsense?)

There are lots of people out there who don’t have purpose in their life, and bringing purpose to their life is a wonderful goal. I give him an A+ on this.

Is the goal achieved? Yes. Thirty million copies of this book. (If these books were Not distributed for free, you think people would be roaming without any purpose? And how many actually read a chapter of this book?) Al Gore, eat your heart out.  

This is a fantastic achievement. And the means — how does he do it?

It’s a brilliant redesign of traditional religious themes — updating them, quietly dropping obsolete features, putting new interpretations on other features. This is the evolution of religion that’s been going on for thousands of years, and he’s just the latest brilliant practitioner of it.

I don’t have to tell you this; you just heard the man (which man, again?) 

Excellent insights into human psychology, wise advice on every page. Moreover, he invites us to look under the hood. (Turned out to be a large void?) I really appreciated that. For instance, he has an appendix where he explains his choice of translations of different Bible verses.

The book is clear, vivid, accessible, beautifully formatted. Just enough repetition. That’s really important. 

Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain. (That is crowding an already empty brain. Even these stories of killing everybody after ransacking a town?)

And now we come to my problem. Because I’m absolutely sincere in my appreciation of all that I said about this book. But I wish it were better. I have some problems with the book.  (Good. At least there is a few problems. Brilliant requires a few problems too)

And it would just be insincere of me not to address those problems. I wish he could do this with a revision, a Mark 2 version of his book. “The truth will set you free.” That’s what it says in the Bible, and it’s something that I want to live by, too.

My problem is, some of the bits in it I don’t think are true.

Now some of this is a difference of opinion. And that’s not my main complaint, that’s worth mentioning. 

Here’s a passage  “If there was no God we would all be accidents, the result of astronomical random chance in the Universe. You could stop reading this book because life would have no purpose or meaning or significance. There would be no right or wrong and no hope beyond your brief years on Earth.”

I just do not believe that. By the way, I find — Homer Groening film presented a beautiful alternative to that very claim. 

Yes, there is meaning and a reason for right or wrong. We don’t need a belief in God to be good or to have meaning in us. But that, as I said, is just a difference of opinion. That’s not what I’m really worried about. (Excellent. Agreed with you. Close that damned book and learn to do science and experiment)

How about this: “God designed this planet’s environment just so we could live in it.” (Thus, if humans are destroying this environment, we should start listening to Al Gore instead)

I’m afraid that a lot of people take that sentiment to mean that we don’t have to do the sorts of things that Al Gore is trying so hard to get us to do. I am not happy with that sentiment at all.

And then I find this:

“All the evidence available in the biological sciences supports the core proposition that the cosmos is a specially designed whole with life and mankind as its fundamental goal and purpose, a whole in which all facets of reality have their meaning and explanation in this central fact.” 

Well, that’s Michael Denton. He’s a creationist. And here, I think, “Wait a minute.” I read this again. I read it three or four times and I think, “Is he really endorsing Intelligent Design? Is he endorsing creationism here?” And you can’t tell. So I’m sort of thinking, “Well, I don’t know, I don’t know if I want to get upset with this yet.” (You can repeat “I don’t know” ad nauseum and it will not make a dent)

But then I read on, and I read this: “First, Noah had never seen rain, because prior to the Flood, God irrigated the earth from the ground up.” I wish that sentence weren’t in there, because I think it is false. (Now starting to get funny)

And I think that thinking this way about the history of the planet, after we’ve just been hearing about the history of the planet over millions of years, discourages people from scientific understanding. Now, Rick Warren uses scientific terms and scientific factoids and information in a very interesting way. (How about you repeat: “I don’t know”?)

Here’s one: “God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He carefully mixed the DNA cocktail that created you.” I think that’s false. Now, maybe we want to treat it as metaphorical.

Here’s another one: “For instance, your brain can store 100 trillion facts. Your mind can handle 15,000 decisions a second.” Well, it would be interesting to find the interpretation where I would accept that. There might be some way of treating that as true. 

“Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hardwired by God into the very fiber of our being — an inbuilt need to connect with God.” Well, the sense of which I agree with him, except I think it has an evolutionary explanation.

And what I find deeply troubling in this book is that he seems to be arguing that if you want to be moral, if you want to have meaning in your life, you have to be an Intelligent Designer, you have to deny the theory of evolution by natural selection. And I think, on the contrary, that it is very important to solving the world’s problems that we take evolutionary biology seriously.

Whose truth are we going to listen to? Well, this is from “The Purpose Driven Life”: “The Bible must become the authoritative standard for my life: the compass I rely on for direction, the counsel I listen to for making wise decisions, and the benchmark I use for evaluating everything.” 

Well maybe, OK, but what’s going to follow from this?

And here’s one that does concern me. Remember I quoted him before with this line: “Surrendered people obey God’s word, even if it doesn’t make sense.” And that’s a problem.

“Don’t ever argue with the Devil. He’s better at arguing than you are, having had thousands of years to practice.” Now, Rick Warren didn’t invent this clever move. It’s an old move. It’s a very clever adaptation of religions. It’s a wild card for disarming any reasonable criticism.

“You don’t like my interpretation? You’ve got a reasonable objection to it? Don’t listen, don’t listen! That’s the Devil speaking.” This discourages the sort of reasoning citizenship it seems to me that we want to have.

I’ve got one more problem, then I’m through. And I’d really like to get a response if Rick is able to do it. 

“In the Great Commission, Jesus said, ‘Go to all people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I’ve told you.’” 

The Bible says Jesus is the only one who can save the world. We’ve seen many wonderful maps of the world in the last day or so. Here’s one, not as beautiful as the others; it simply shows the religions of the world. Here’s one that shows the sort of current breakdown of the different religions.

Do we really want to commit ourselves to engulfing all the other religions, when their holy books are telling them, “Don’t listen to the other side, that’s just Satan talking!”? 

It seems to me that that’s a very problematic ship to get on for the future. I found this sign as I was driving to Maine recently, in front of a church: “Good without God becomes zero.” Sort of cute.

A very clever little meme. I don’t believe it and I think this idea, popular as it is — not in this guise, but in general — is itself one of the main problems that we face.

If you are like me, you know many wonderful, committed, engaged atheists, agnostics, who are being very good without God. 

And you also know many religious people who hide behind their sanctity instead of doing good works. So, I wish we could drop this meme. I wish this meme would go extinct.

Note: This talk didn’t have to take a convoluted argument like educating kids on all religion, just to tell us the kind of insane meme religions recklessly drop on sane people.

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…

I love to write: I love to read how My Style transforms all these ideas

I rarely quote a sentence: frequently, I change the idea that inspired me, in meaning and in style.

I am reading a book by Sacha Guitry and I enjoyed his humour, anecdotes and quotes.

Here is a list of his sentences and humoristic ideas that inspired me to change and transform:

On veut enterrer l’enfant anormal et on devient un adult, trop normal. Personne n’est satisfait de sa vie

Qu’est-ce que ca te coute, si tu a du talent a faire la cour aux femmes? Elles sont trop susceptible et assoiffées d’egard, et sont enchantees.

Soyez franc si ca te chante, mais ne doublez pas le débit.

L’homme malin, et qui veut paraître insolent, dit a une femme trop jolie, et qui le sait trop bien: “Demoiselle, tu me plais”

Il n’y aurait plus de problèmes de guerre entre les genres si les femmes oublient “l’Égalité” et se concentrent sur leur superiorite’

On est tous inconsolables, homme et femmes saines et “honnêtes”, d’avoir décliné les opportunités d’entreprendre de commettre les fautes, les plus graves.

La femme change, et bien trop vite que les hommes. A vous d’interpreter cette idiome: A vous d’essayer de changer pour rectifier votre point de vue.

La meilleure façon de conserver un mariage est de payer, et a chaque fois qu’on fait l’amour, sans rabais et en cash. Le plus riche du couple paie le plus souvent. Un bonus généreux fait long feu, quand ca vient de la femme. C’est la definition meme de “Courtiser“. L’argent reste dans la famille, mais le Zest de faire l’amour n’a pas de prix.

Seulement les gens qui gagne leur vie convenablement (homme Et femme), on droit a un marriage plutot satisfaisant. Tous les autres cas sont du type esclavagiste, pure et simple. Et les excuses sont celles d’esclaves. No taxation without representation

Tout événement qui marque l’esprit commence par une comédie et se termine par un drame. Et vice versa. Plutôt chercher un événement qui commence dans un drame. Iza zamatna, zabat.

“Tu as rencontré la femme de ta vie ou l’idée d’Amour ce matin? Peut-être elle n’ est pas Ta femme que tu as rencontré: Elle cherche un mari qui gagne sa vie convenablement”

Dans les deux cas, on fait faillite: 1) On ne peut pas rendre son epouse heureuse a Notre idee 2) On ne peut pas rendre l’épouse malheureuse a Notre façon.

Est-ce quand on dit a une femme “Je t’aime”, ca veut dire que les autres femmes doivent prendre le deuil?

Entre hommes, on ne se complimente que sur ses maîtresses? Les hommes ont un sens inne’ pour les jeux risque’ ou’ la banque gagne toujours.

Comment apprendre a être positive dans les divorces? Ce serait chouette que les amants se marient: ils sont toujours aveugles et je prend délice de cette vengeance.

On quitte ou on reste: un processus a répétition…selon l’âge et les talents acquisent.

Entre couple, tromper la maitresse ou le dandy, peut donner l’impression de redevenir fidèle.

Les actrices sont généralement meilleures que les acteurs: Elles poursuivent leur job primaire de Courtisanes

Generalement, on est cruel quand on aime: la cruauté se transfère aux maîtresses et dandy.

Mentir entre les couples doit être la norme et il faut l’apprendre comme un acteur/actrice professionnel: mentir donne l’impression salubre qu’on se rembourse, un catalyst irresistible.

Une jolie et élégante femme sait et sent toujours qu’on la regarde: le plus souvent de dos.

L’imagination trompeur: celui/celle qui est absent a un charme irrésistible.

On épouse de jolie femmes (quand on est jeune ou vieux) et on se rend compte qu’on a fait le bon choix lorsqu’un autre nous en délivre.

La coutume que la femme doit traîner après le mari est nocif a l’homme: A chaque fois, la femme se demande si ce dot la convient.

La vie a deux, se surveiller soi-même et surveiller l’autre, pour retenir la dignité et la complaisance, est une occupation trop demandante. J’aime ce qui me fait sentir confortable et qui correspond aux exigences corporelles de la vie. Ces remarques ne s’appliquent souvent pas a plus de deux personnes: le chaos detruit les regles

Être “fait”pour vivre ensemble n’entraîne pas nécessairement qu’on puisse vivre ensemble: Comprenez “ensemble” dans toutes ses formes sociales.

Il parait que les couples doivent se “rencontrer” plus souvent: Manière de tester le potentiel de leur charme.

Une vaste différence entre “on s’ennuie” et “avoir des ennuies”. Cette différence s’applique entre célibat et mariage. Vaste difference en consequences: On peut altérer une situation “d’ennuie”.

Une autre vaste différence entre penser et agir a ce qui nous donnerait du plaisir; en relation humaine, bien entendu.

Des mots spirituels sont jolis, occasionnellement. Le sens de l ‘humour est perpetuel et qui allonge la jouvence.

Dommage. Si les gens que tu connaissent n’avaient pas un secret espoir/plaisir de te voir malheureux.

J’ai la prétention de ne pas plaire a tout le monde: ceux qui croient me connaître.

Urgent. Confirmer la nouvelle règle: tu n’est pas libre de n’avoir pas une opinion sur le dérangement de ce monde.

La femme maligne, elles le sont souvent, marie un homme “ordinaire” à son second marriage, ou le troisième.., selon l’age: elle rechigne de se faire tromper.

Il n’y a pas de bordels d’hommes: ils ne sont jamais doués pour ce job a succession, et ca coûterait trop chère pour survivre.

Le mariage est institué’ pour faciliter le bon fonctionnement des institutions des Etats: la liberte’ et l’independance sont mattes a un grand echelle.

Les femmes s’habillent selon la convoitise des yeux des hommes

La vie a octroyé à la femme “saine sexuellement”, le droit de se marier a succession. Les hommes sains et indépendant doivent être soulager.

Quand je m’éveille, je garde les yeux fermés et je me débrouille à rassembler les miettes de la vie: les exercices de respiration, les roulements des yeux, les échappements des gaz…

Je m’amuse beaucoup lorsque je m’ennui: Je choisis les sujets moi-meme et ca ne traine pas. C’est plus chouette de penser quand on s’étire au lit.

Mon prenom Adonis est deja fait: comment établir mon nom?

Les gens que je ne connais pas ne me detestent pas: Je laisse cette prérogative aux parents et cousins

Selon la loi commune, je suis toujours un fils: n’ayant pas essayé d’avoir d’enfants. Et pourtant, il n’y a plus personne pour me gâter.

Chaque jour je fais tomber le rideau. Et par magie, le rideau se releve. Je crois désormais aux miracles.

Tant que je crois ne pas être une cible, je suis satisfait d’être un point de mire.

La poule ou l’oeuf? Cocu ou avoir été trompé? Et vice versa. Il n’y a pas de cocus ou caucuses: c’est se sentir trop solitaire, stupid.

Note: Sacha divorced 4 times. Why I didn’t get married? I never could earn a convenient living? I lacked training in communicating conveniently in order to sustain daily interrogation? I was Not the type for women to fall in love with on her first wedding? Honest with my limitations, all the way?

Ali Hamieh posted
جنوب وجنوب-شرق الأناضول… لنا‎
✍️ د. علي حمية*
في مقال سابق تحت عنوان “العقبة وتبوك وعرعر… لنا” (الأخبار، 21 كانون الثاني 2016) عرضت بالتفصيل كيف استولى آل سعود، في

غفلة عن السوريين، وبتزكية من الإنكليز، على مناطق واسعة وغنية من الأراضي السورية الواقعة إلى الجنوب الشرقي من سورية، في ما يُعرف بـ“بادية الشام”، تُقدّر بأكثر من 250.000 ألف كلم2،

وأظهرت أن عوامل عديدة، داخلية وخارجية، حربية وسياسية، أدّت إلى سيطرة قبائل عربية بأمرة السعوديين على تلك المناطق التي كانت قد تحرّرت، إبان الحرب العالمية الأولى، من النير العثماني.
في الفترة نفسها، وفي مرحلة ما بين الحربين العالميتين، استولى الأتراك، في الشمال، على منطقة كيليكية ولواء الإسكندرون. وقد بارك

الفرنسيون المنتدبون على سورية هذه الغنيمة الثمينة التي فاز بها الأتراك مع أنهم خسروا، كدولة منتدبة، جزءاً لا يُستهان به من (حصّتهم) في البلاد السورية التي كانوا قد تقاسموها سراً مع الأنغليز بموجب إتفاق “سايكس – بيكو” الذي عُقد بين الطرفين سنة 1916.
بين تركيا البيئة الجغرافية الطبيعية وتركيا الجمهورية السياسية الناشئة حديثاً بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى بون شاسع سواء في المساحة أو السكان أو الموارد الطبيعية.

فتركيا الجغرافية تتألف من هضبة الأناضول، أما تركيا السياسية فتشمل، بالإضافة إلى الأناضول، مناطق سورية واسعة تمتاز بغنى أراضيها وتدفق أنهارها وتنوع مواردها الطبيعية والبشرية وتصل مساحتها، في تقديرات غير نهائية، إلى حوالى 250.000 ألف كلم2 ويقطنها حوالى 25 مليون سوري من أصول آشورية وكردية وعربية وصابئة وأرمن… الخ.

وكانت تركيا العثمانية فتركيا “الكمالية” (نسبة إلى كماال أتاتورك) قد ضمّت، على مراحل متتالية، هذه المناطق إلى بيئتها الجغرافية الأصلية في الأناضول، حيث بدأت تُعرف في الاستعمال السياسي الجاري، بـ”جنوب الأناضول” و”جنوب شرق الأناضول“.
وفي التفاصيل، أنه بعد قرون من التسلط العثماني على سورية فقدت خلالها سيادتها على وطنها ومواردها، وقعت البلاد السورية، مجدداً،

تحت الاحتلال الأجنبي وتمّ تقسيمها، بموجب اتفاقية سايكس- بيكو، إلى منطقتي نفوذ: واحدة فرنسية وثانية بريطانية،

فاغتنم الأتراك الصراع الناشب، يومها، بين دول «المحور» والدول المدعوة ديموقراطية، واستولوا في العشرينيات من القرن الماضي على كيليكية المحاذية، من جهة الشمال، لجبال طوروس الغربية.

كما استولوا، في نهاية الثلاثينيات من القرن نفسه، على منطقة الإسكندرون ومدينة أنطاكية التاريخية. وكانوا قد استولوا إبان الحقبة العثمانية، بوصفهم دولة الخلافة الإسلامية، على منطقة أعالي دجلة والفرات الغنية بمياهها وجبالها وأنهارها وبحيراتها وطبيعتها الخلابة.

ولا تزال حلب والموصل ومنطقة «الجزيرة» العليا، حتى اليوم، مهدّدة بتوسع تركي جديد، يتّخذ من التطورات الجارية في سورية ذريعة للتدخل والاحتلال وتحقيق الأطماع الطورانية التاريخية في بلاد سوراقية (الشام والعراق).

فهل سيؤدي الصراع الدائر، اليوم، بين سورية ودول الجوار، من مستعربين وعثمانيين جدد متصهينة، إلى إعادة فتح ملف المناطق السورية المحتلة فيبدأ العمل لاستعادتها وتحريرها من نير الاحتلال التركي، أم أن هذا الملف سيُطوى، مرة ثانية، ويتم الصفح عن أخطاء “الكتلة الوطنية” التي تنازلت، في الماضي، عن لواء الإسكندرونة كما كانت مستعدة للتنازل عن حلب والجزيرة، لو استمرّت في الحكم؟
إن احتلال تركيا لهذه المناطق الواسعة من بلاد الشام قد تمّ، بالتدريج وعلى مراحل، من دون ان تتحرك حكومة أو هيئة سورية للدفاع عنها،

كأنها أراضِ مهجورة أو كأن أحداً لا ينتمي إليها!
في المرحلة الأولى حيث ظهرت الإمبراطورية العثمانية على المسرح السياسي العالمي كقوة مرهوبة الجانب في مواجهة جارتيها: الإمبراطورية الفارسية الصفوية والإمبراطورية الروسية القيصرية، قضمت الإمبراطورية الجديدة معظم مرتفعات أعالي دجلة والفرات الواقعة في شرق الأناضول والمحاذية لكل من إيران وبلاد ما بين النهرين وأرمينية، حيث يتفجّر هذان النهران الكبيران في المنحنى الكبير ما بين جبال البختياري وطوروس، وتربض بالقرب من منابعهما بحيرة “وان” (3765 كلم2) فبحيرة “نمرود” المشهورة بمنتجعاتها ومياهها العذبة وبحيرة “اورمية” (7000 كلم2) التي تتبع حالياً إيران.

كذلك، ضمّت «الدولة العلية» إلى ممتلكاتها، في الفترة نفسها، منطقة ديار بكر التي تمتد بين أعالي دجلة والفرات من جهة وجنوب الأناضول،

من جهة ثانية. وتشمل هذه المنطقة عدداً من المدن أهمها:
• ديار بكر، وهي مدينة قديمة جداً، مشهورة بقلعتها، وخاناتها، وأسواقها القديمة، وأصبحت بدءاً من عام 1232 عاصمة للملوك الأيوبيين قبل سقوطها بيد العثمانيين في عام 1416.

سميساط التي كانت، لفترة، عاصمة الكوماجين-

ديار بكر، اليوم، اشتُهر من أعلامها الكاتب والمؤرخ والناقد السوري لوقيان السميساطي. أورفة (الرها) التي أدّت وجارتها سميساط دوراً ثقافياً رائداً في شمالي سورية وما بين النهرين، في الألفية الأولى للميلاد.

وعنتاب. آل عزيز أو خربوط، قديماً. وملاطيه المدينة التاريخية، التي كانت معبراً إلى بلاد ما بين النهرين وهي، الآن، كبيرة وحديثة.
ماردين، المدينة القديمة المبنية فوق الجبل تشتهر بقلعتها، وأسواقها ومراكزها الدينية، وفيها الأديرة النسطورية القديمة، وما زالت مركزاً دينياً مهماً؛ بيوتها مبنية من حجر الجبل، ومن ضواحيها المهمة والتاريخية مديات وكان فيها عدة كنائس وأبرشية.

وحرّان، المدينة التاريخية المشهورة بمركزها الديني والثقافي المتميّز على امتداد القرون الأولى للمسيحية.
المرحلة الثانية بدأت إبان الفترة الكمالية في تركية حيث أعلن أتاتورك رسمياً، سنة 1925، سقوط الخلافة العثمانية وإعلان الجمهورية التركية الحديثة.

وبينما كانت سورية تتخبط في قضاياها الجزئية، من دينية ومذهبية وإثنية، كانت تركية الحديثة، الموحدة الروحية والعصبية القومية، تتحفز للنهوض من سقطتها في الحرب الكبرى. وما أن أحدث مصطفى كمال ثورته حتى وجّه اهتمامه إلى منطقة كيليكية التي هي من أغنى مناطق سورية.

فلم يطل الأمر حتى سلم الفرنسيون للأتراك تلك المنطقة بأكملها من أنطاليا، في الغرب، حتى تخوم لواء الإسكندرون، في الشرق، بحجة أن فيها عدداً قليلاً من الأتراك. وكيليكية هذه تقع جنوب غرب جبال طوروس، وعُرفت، تاريخياً، بـ«بواباتها» الاستراتيجية الشهيرة، أي بالمداخل التي لا بدّ لأي جيش قادم من جهة الأناضول في اتجاه الجنوب (سورية) من محاولة العبور منها.

وتحتضن كيليكية نهري جيحون (أو جيحان) وسيحون (أو سيحان ) اللذين يرويان الأراضي الخصبة ما بين أفسس ومرعش وأضنة وطرسوس ومرسين المحتلة أيضاً.

هذان النهران لا يمتان بصلة لنهرين آخرين يحملان الاسم نفسه وورد ذكرهما في مراجع إسلامية قديمة وبأنهما ينتميان، من حيث المنبع والمجرى والمصب، إلى آسية الوسطى: نواحي سمرقند، وبخارى، وطشقند، وبحر خوارزم (مجلة التراث العربي، العددان 5/ 6، دمشق).

ومن مدن كيليكية المهمة، أيضاً، نذكر أنطالية، قونية، قيصرية والبستان. استعملها الجيش الآشوري، مدة من الزمن، قاعدة ينطلق منها إلى جبال طوروس.

ونظراً لأهميتها الاستراتيجية، فإن كيليكية كانت وتبقى موقعاً ضرورياً جداً لسلامة سورية الطبيعية كلها، وليس فقط لسلامة منطقة أضنة – مرعش ومنطقة الإسكندرونة – حلب.
في المرحلة الثالثة التي سبقت الحرب العالمية الثانية بأشهر معدودة، تمّت لتركية السيطرة الكاملة على منطقة جنوب وجنوب شرق الأناضول باحتلالها لواء الإسكندرون ومدينة أنطاكية، مستغلة ضعف فرنسا وبريطانيا أمام دول المحور: ألمانيا وإيطاليا، من جهة وانشغال حكومة الشام والساسة السوريين، من جهة أخرى، بقضايا تافهة لا تتعدى مسألة التزاحم على الحكم.

يتألف لواء الإسكندرون الذي يلتف حول خليج الإسكندرونة البديع، من مدينة الإسكندرونة، والميناء، ومدينة بيلان التي تقع على سفح جبل اللكام (الأمانوس) والتي تطوّرت مع الزمان من قرية حتى صارت مصيفاً لأهل الإسكندرونة،

وفي عام 1939 تمّ سلخها عن سورية حين منحتها فرنسا إلى تركية كبقية مدن اللواء السليب. أما أنطاكية درّة اللواء السليب، وعاصمة سورية في العهد السلوقي، ومركز البطريركية المشرقية للطوائف المسيحية كافة، فقد سمّاها المؤرخ أميانوس مارسيلينوس الأنطاكي بـ«تاج الشرق الجميل» كونها أبدع مدن العالم المتحضّر آنذاك فلم تكن تُضاهيها في الشرق، من حيث اتساع الرقعة والجمال، إلا مدينتا الإسكندرية والقسطنطينية.

احتلها الصليبيون سنة 1098 فكانت أول مدينة سورية تُحتل من قبلهم أثناء حملتهم الأولى، وأسّسوا فيها (إمارة أنطاكية الصليبية). ثم احتلها العثمانيون سنة 1516، وسُلخت عن وطنها- الأم، نهائياً، حين منحتها فرنسا، الدولة المنتدبة على سورية، لتركيا سنة 1939.
قول سعاده، صاحب الدعوة إلى القومية السورية، عن هذه المرحلة الأليمة من تاريخ سورية الحديث: «اغتنم الأتراك ضعف فرنسا الخارجة

من الحرب منهوكة القوى، وضعف سورية الذي كان نتيجة تسلطهم، واستولوا على كيليكية التي هي الجزء الشمالي الأعلى من سورية. ثم استولوا على منطقة الإسكندرون الهامة ومدينة أنطاكية التاريخية التي كانت العاصمة السورية في عهد الإمبراطورية السورية، حقبة البيت السلوقي. ولا تزال حلب ومنطقة «الجزيرة» العليا مهدّدة بتوسع تركي جديد» (سعاده، الأعمال الكاملة، م 8، ص 63). والسائح في تلك الجهات، وفي تلك الفترة بالذات، يشعر بفعل الدعاوات التركية المستمر بينما «الحكومة الكتلوية» في الشام غارقة في المنازعات الداخلية على الأساس الحزبي الضيق، ينقل إلينا الرواة من مؤرخين وصحافيين وسياسيين معاصرين لتلك الحقبة.
وقد أمكن لتركيا العثمانية وتركيا الجمهورية الحديثة السيطرة على هذه المناطق، دون حصول ردات فعل جديرة بالاهتمام، بسبب عوامل عديدة أهمها:
• خضوع سورية لقرون طويلة للتسلط الأجنبي حيث لم تكن فيها نهضة قومية تقاوم خطط التسلط والاستعمار. فما كادت تعود إلى إثبات شخصيتها على عهد الإمبراطورية الرومانية الشرقية (البيزنطية) حتى جاءها الفتح العربي الذي اقتضى تغيير لغتها، ثمّ جاء فتح المغول الذي نكب البلاد وهدم دمشق، ثم عقبه الفتح التركي القاهر الذي تمّ فيه احتلال معظم مناطقها الشمالية والشمالية الشرقية المحاذية للأناضول. هذه الحوادث المتعاقبة التي تكوّن حروب الفرنجة (الصليبية) فصلاً هاماً من فصولها، قطعت المجرى الثقافي القومي الذي كان سائرا: ساكناً حيناً، وخلاقاً أحياناً، متوتراً تارة، ومبدعاً أطواراً، وأوجدت حالة، على امتداد الجغرافية السورية، سادت فيها الفوضى الاجتماعية والاقتصادية.
في هذه الحقبة، حقبة التسلط الأجنبي، عرفت سورية استعبادين: الخضوع للإقطاعي «الوطني» المتحكم في رقاب الفلاحين، وخضوع مجموع الأمة للطاغية الأجنبي. تحت هذا النير المزدوج: الداخلي والخارجي معاً، وقفت الثقافة السورية عند الحدّ الذي كانت قد بلغته لحظة خضوعها للأجنبي، فلم يحدث أي تطور جديد، لا في العمران ولا في الاقتصاد ولا في السياسة، لا في الثقافة المادية ولا في الثقافة النفسية، بشكل عام. وظلت الحياة تجري ضمن مؤسسات المذاهب الدينية والإقطاع ومشيخة العشائر في بعض الأنحاء، فلا يفتح سوري عينيه إلا على طائفته أو عشيرته أو سيده (سعاده، الأعمال الكاملة، م7، ص 344 ).
• التركيبة الديموغرافية متعدّدة الأديان والمذاهب والإثنيات (42 طائفة وإثنية) التي حالت، في أغلب الأحيان، دون تبلور موقف سوري قومي جامع، يوحد رؤيتها وبالتالي موقفها من الأخطار الخارجية والداخلية المتربصة بها. فبقي المسلم مسلماً والمسيحي مسيحياً، والكردي كردياً، والآشوري آشورياً، والشركسي شركسياً… الخ. الأمر الذي أتاح لتركيا والدول الاستعمارية الأخرى، في ما بعد، حرية الحركة والمناورة فدكّت إسفين الحقد والفتنة بين عناصر هذه المكونات قاطبة، عاملة على تمزيقها وتفتيتها وبثّ الدعاوى المضللة بينها.
• التعصب الديني بين عثمانيين ذوي أكثرية سنيّة يحكمون سورية الغربية (البيزنطية) وصفويين ذوي أكثرية شيعية يُسيطرون على سورية الشرقية (العراق). هذا التعصّب، في حقيقته، أخفى صراعاً تركياً – فارسياً على السيطرة والنفوذ في إقليم الهلال الخصيب، تعصباً تلجأ إليه الدول، أحياناً، لتحافظ على استقلالها الروحي فلا تخضع لأمة أخرى. هكذا، لجأ الفرس إلى الشيعة، في القرون المتأخرة، ليُحدثوا انقساماً مذهبياً يتخلصون فيه من سيطرة سورية «العثمانية» السنيّة، لتصبح السيطرة فيهم، وتمسّكت سورية، من جهتها، بالمذهب السنّي ممالأة العثمانيين لكي لا تخضع للفرس (سعاده، نشوء الأمم، ص 162). الأمر الذي جعل كل سوري متعصّباً لمذهبه، عاداً أتباعه إخوة له في الدين، ولو كانوا محتلين لبلاده أو طامعين فيها. ما أدّى إلى إطالة أمد النفوذ التركي والفارسي في الإقليم الجغرافي السوري إلى نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى، بعد أن تمكن الأتراك والإيرانيون، برضى الفرنسيين والبريطانيين، من الفوز بغنائم كبيرة من هذا الإقليم.
إن التمدّد التركي في اتجاه الهلال الخصيب حصل، إذاً، بالتتابع، في عهد الخلافة العثمانية والعهد التركي الحديث. فإذا كانت «الرابطة العثمانية» وبالتالي «الخلافة الإسلامية» قد لعبت، كل منهما، دوراً محورياً في رضوخ السوريين (باعتبارهم «رعايا عثمانيين» ومسلمين في غالبيتهم) للهيمنة العثمانية حوالى أربعة قرون متتالية وبالتالي، سكوتهم، عن سيطرة تركيا العثمانية على أعالي دجلة والفرات، حيث منبع هذين النهرين العظيمين وعدد كبير من البحيرات الحلوة، فإن الحكومات السورية «الوطنية» إبان الفترة الانتدابية والفترة الاستقلالية تتحمل المسؤولية كاملة في قضم تركيا «الكمالية» لمزيد من الأراضي السورية الشمالية، لا سيّما منطقة كيليكية ولواء الإسكندرون، في فترة ما بين الحربين العالميتين.
ففي مسألة الإسكندرون، مثلاً، تمكنت تركيا، كما سبقت الإشارة، من توليد ضغط كاف على فرنسة وبريطانية الدولتين المنتدبتين على سورية لحملهما على الاقتناع بأن انتصار المطامع التركية في سورية يُقرّب بين مصالح تركية ومصالحهما. وساعد تركيا على اغتنام هذه الفرصة خلو سورية مدة طويلة من الزمن من المنظمات القومية الحديثة، ذات الأهداف المحدّدة والخطط الواضحة، التي ترفع مبدأ السيادة القومية هدفاً لها، فلم يُقابل مناوراتها شيء مثلها من الجانب السوري. فتمكنت تركية من إقناع فرنسة بالتنازل عن لواء الإسكندرون وضمّه إلى أراضيها. أما سورية – تذكر المراجع- فقد اكتفت بأن هاجت فيها الخواطر لهذا الحادث الأليم، ولكن الأمر وقف عند هذا الحدّ لأن حكومة دمشق المعنية قبل غيرها بالدفاع عن مصالح الأمة وحقوقها كانت نظاماً مشلولاً بليداً لا يصلح لأي شيء.
والأنكى من ذلك، أن رجال الحكم في الشام اعتبروا أن نفاذ الأتراك إلى المنطقة الجبلية الوحيدة الباقية لتحصين الدولة (السورية) في الشمال هي شيء لا يُفيد الأتراك كثيراً ولا يُحسب خسارة للسوريين. ففي نظر هؤلاء السياسيين الخنفشاريين، فإن هضاب أنطاكية والأمانوس لا تصلح لاستحكامات الدفاع عن الأرض السورية، وأن الأتراك، باحتلالهم تلك الهضاب، جلبوا لأنفسهم المشاكل. هكذا كان العقم «الكتلوي» الباهر يُقارب القضايا القومية الخطيرة باللامبالاة!
ولا يكتفي الأتراك بما احتلوه من أراض سورية في الماضي، بل هم يتطلعون الآن إلى ما بعد الإسكندرون، إلى حلب والموصل والجزيرة الفراتية كلها. وحجتهم في ذلك كانت، دائماً، في وجود جماعات من أصول تركمانية موالية، على زعمهم، لتركية، وأخرى كردية «تُقلق» راحتهم على الحدود. ولو لم يكن هنالك أكراد أو تركمان لما عدمت الحكومة التركية عذراً أو حجة.
لكن، كما لم يكن للكتلة الوطنية، في الماضي، من حقّ في التنازل عن أي شبر من الأرض السورية، لأي سبب كان، كذلك ليس من حق، حزب أو نظام آخر، اليوم، التنازل عن أي حبة تراب من الوطن القومي مهما كانت قيمتها، في نظره، وضيعة. فـ» الوطن القومي – يقول سعاده- ملك عام لا يجوز، حتى ولأفراد سوريين، التصرف بشبر من أرضه تصرفاً يلغي، أو يمكن أن يلغي، فكرة الوطن الواحد وسلامة وحدة هذا الوطن الضرورية لسلامة وحدة الأمة» (سعاده، كتاب التعاليم، ص11).
في التوطئة لهذا البحث، ذكرت أن «السعوديين» والأتراك استولوا، في مرحلة انعدام السيادة السورية القومية، وفي ظل تآمر دولي فرنسي وبريطاني، على مناطق واسعة وغنية من سورية الجغرافية قاربت ثلث مساحتها تقريباً. فسورية كانت صيداً ثميناً لكلا الطرفين اللذين لم يقفا عند الحدّ الذي بلغاه من اقتطاع هذا الكم الهائل من الأراضي السورية، فأطماعهما بالمزيد منها ما يزالان يُداعبان مخيّلة الحكام في كل من أنقرة والرياض. إن الخطر التركي الذي كان كامناً، لفترة طويلة، هو الآن خطر مداهم، بل مهاجم: لقد ابتدأ بكيليكية والإسكندرون وديار بكر، في الشمال، وفي أهدافه أن يستولي على الموصل وحلب ومنطقة الجزيرة العليا، وأن ينتهي في صنين، في أعالي جبال لبنان. وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة لآل سعود الذين تدغدغ مخيلتهم أيضاً غزوة كربلاء في جنوبي العراق، في أواخر القرن الثامن عشر، وغزوة العقبة وشرقي الأردن في ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي، حيث اضطروا إلى التراجع عنهما، خائبين، مكرهين!

1 ـ داوني، جلانفيل: أنطاكية في عهد ثيودوسيوس الكبير، مؤسسة فرنكلين، نيويورك، 1968.
2 ـ سعاده، أنطون: الأعمال الكاملة، مؤسسة سعاده للنشر، بيروت 2001.
3 ـ أحمد، أحم


André JazzarDec 7, 2020, 6:21 PM (2 days ago)

ArabicEnglish   Translate messageTurn off for: Arabic(interesting. it is about integral syria.) (not only french picot(ine) actual “syrian arab republic”.)A.

Work of French Special services? This terrorist activities in Vienne?

Note: I find this conjecture plausible. The French special services have been active since 1950 and involved in many pre-emptive wars and civil wars in their previous colonies.

Autriche – L’attentat terroriste sous faux drapeaux de Vienne commandité par les services spéciaux français

Apparently, France felt isolated in Europe after its vehement anti-Islam pronouncements and decisions, and it wanted to prove that it was very legitimate.

By Strategika 51.

Selon des informations recueillies, l’opération terroriste de Vienne en Autriche est une opération sous faux drapeaux supervisée cette fois directement par les services spéciaux français visant à briser l’isolement de Paris sur la scène internationale 

Les terroristes, très jeunes (certains sont nés en 2000) et contre toute logique habillés de blanc au lieu de treillis de camouflage ou de noir sont originaires de régions comme la Macédoine du Nord et le Kosovo dans les Balkans.

Une région où l’Otan a favorisé la création de camp d’entraînement pour la chair à canon de l’Empire.

Ils étaient armés de fusils d’assaut Zastava M70AB2 et ne cherchaient même pas à se cacher, ni des caméras de surveillance et encore moins des badauds.

Le choix d’une synagogue dans l’ancienne capitale du défunt Empire Austro-Hongrois démontre que les commanditaires de cette attentat-spectacle se sont basés sur un ensemble de référents culturels et symboliques assez orientés.

Paradoxalement, deux des mercenaires envoyés par Paris en Autriche ont été mis en échec par des ressortissants turcs vivant dans ce pays. Un troisième a été abattu par la police autrichienne.

Cette opération terroriste a fait quatre morts et 14 blessés est plus qu’étrange.

Des terroristes tirant au hasard sur des passants sans discernement aucun comme ce fut le cas en Irak lors de la première émergence de Daech avec des armes et des véhicules 4×4 flambant neufs relèvent d’un scénario d’un film Chuck Norris (Invasion USA, 1985).

Le scénario de Vienne est grotesque, grossier et flagrant.

L’allégeance supposée de très jeunes mercenaires à Daech alors que cette organisation terroriste créée par l’Empire USA et ses vassaux n’est plus qu’un épouvantail enfonce le clou.

Pour la secte au pouvoir à Paris et surtout ceux qui l’utilisent comme écran de fumée, tous les moyens sont bons pour justifier une politique délirante tentant de ressusciter et faire perdurer le mythe de la guerre sans fin contre la terreur.

Un concept que le camp de Joe Biden s’apprête à utiliser à nouveau en cas du retour au pouvoir des néo-conservateurs US à la tête de l’Empire.

Paris soutient les adversaires de Donald Trump et amorce un virage dangereux en commanditant les actes terroristes sur le territoire de pays d’Europe occidentale et centrale.

Simultanément, la défense française se targue d’avoir éliminé, par des bombardements aériens combinés, une cinquantaine de « contrebandiers » sahéliens à la frontière entre le Mali et le Burkina Faso dans ce qui s’apparente à un délire en vase clos auquel la secte au pouvoir à Paris veut faire adhérer « ses partenaires » européens et africains.

Ce délire est de même nature que celui destiné aux populations de France au sujet de la gestion anarchique d’un re-confinement burlesque et discriminatoire en termes de libertés individuelles et collectives.

Il aurait donc fallu pour que les Émirats Arabes Unis, très grands financiers de France, soutiennent Macron pour que la secte au pouvoir à Paris se sent le vent en poupe.

Nous sommes probablement l’un des rares réseaux à avoir affirmé que l’avenir de la guerre hybride se basait sur les chiens de guerre ou mercenaires d’un genre nouveau, très jeunes et recrutés d’Europe de l’Est, du Caucase et d’Asie centrale.

L’outil du terrorisme islamiste à la sauce des réseaux de l’Est ne fait plus recette en dépit de l’acharnement de Paris à le ressusciter.

Cet acharnement semble incompréhensible pour beaucoup de pays et d’observateurs sauf si on le met en lien avec la guerre au sommet du pouvoir américain où se joue l’une des élections présidentielles les plus importantes de l’histoire des États-Unis et celle du monde.

La France soutient le camp des bellicistes et souscrit sans réserve aucune à la thèse du choc des civilisations.

Ce n’est point un hasard si les affiches de très mauvais goût de Sasha Baron Cohen envahissent l’espace public en France pour promouvoir le port obligatoire de muselière humaine en attendant la suppression de toutes les libertés.

source :

Highest positions in Lebanon were Not monopoly to any religious sect, during mandated France from 1919 to 1943. Though it is France that instituted sectarian division in Lebanon.

Anwar Aboulhosn posted on Fb 
الاستعمار الداخلي
ليس لائقا أن يمر هذا اليوم مرور الكرام ففي مثله من عام ١٩٩٢ أنعم الله على الوطن والأمة بشارلمان لبنان الأستاذ نبيه بري كما تكّرم علينا بمنظومة سياسية كجبل لا تهزه ريح .
اللافت انه منذ نهاية الإستعمار الفرنسي وبدل أن نتحرر ونبني دولة نموذجية لجأنا لإستعمار أنفسنا طائفيا ومذهبيا في عهد الاستعمار كان الرئيس الأول لمجلس النواب اللبناني المرحوم داوود عمون عام ١٩٢٢ وتلاه نعوم لبكي وشارل دباس وخالد شهاب ومحمد الجسر من مختلف الطوائف الكريمة حتى بعد الاستقلال كان اول رئيس مجلس نواب حبيب ابو شهلا حتى ١٩٤٧ وبعد الاستقلال عادت حليمة وتكرست المذهبية أكثر وخاصة مع السيطرة السورية وعام ٩٢ مع
انتخاب رجل الدولة المحترم حسين الحسيني رئيسا للمجلس استقال من رئاسة حركة أمل وقال ( لا يجوز أن يكون رئيس مجلس نواب يمثل كل الشعب رئيسا لفئة من الشعب) وخلفه بالحركة الأستاذ عاكف حيدر وإثر تباين مع السوريين تم اختيار نبيه بري بعد خدمات للأشقاء ولم يزل الأفضل
.ان ما كتبته عن مجلس النواب ينطبق على رئاسة الجمهورية والحكومات حيث تناوب من عام ١٩٢٦ شارل دباس وغيره كبترو طراد والفرد نقاش وايوب ثابت وصولا لإميل اده وليسوا جميعا من الطائفة المارونية الكريمة، والكلام عينه ينطبق على الحكومات بدءا ببشارة الخوري مرورا بالفرد نقاش و الأحدب ولم تصبح حكرا على الطائفة السنية الكريمة إلا بعد أن تحررنا من الاستعمار مع رياض الصلح
ولعشرات السنين ما زلنا نرزخ تحت حكم مستعمري الداخل من أعلى السلّم لأسفله حتى وزراء ونواب سئمنا و( زهقنا ) منهم صوت وصورة منذ ٤٠ عام.
أيها الأصدقاء أن النضال من الداخل ضمن هذه المنظومة السياسية هي نكتة لأن هذا النوع من النضال هو ديمقراطي ونتيجته الخائبة محسومة أي نضال واذا اتفق ٤ رؤوس فقط ينهون النضال
.فخامة الرئيس ٢٧ و الثنائي مع توابعهم حوالي ٤٠ والشيخ سعد ٢٠ومجموع ٨٧ من ١٢٠ فمرحبا بهيك معارضة .والاجدى بهم أن يعودوا للشعب وإيقاف معزوفة كلهن ونصهن وربعهن حيث لم يشهد التاريخ انتفاضة أو ثورة ضد نص السلطة أو ربعها وبعدها يعيد الشعب الشرفاء منهم ونحن لا ننكر وجود العديد من الشرفاء ونظيفي الكف والأوادم في هذه المنظومة ولكن مكانهم
مع الشعب وليس مع هذه الطبقة السياسية الفاسدة والفاشلة .واخيرا لقد أثبت معظم شعب لبنان رغم التضييق والكورونا في ذكرى ١٧ تشرين انه ما زال توّاقا للتغيير وعلى الثورة وكوادرها أن تكون على مستوى آمال الشعب لأن منظومة اليوم تحمل بذور نهايتها الحتمية .

A few sayings of Malcolm X

You grab freedom, equality and justice. Do Not wait to be given your basic rights.

The Black Panthers tried to apply a few of Malcolm X teaching with various successes, especially communicating the Black rights abroad, as a few of their leaders exiled themselves to flee persecution and oppression in the US.

Black Panthers were making serious inroads in US politics until a devious tactics of counter-intelligence managed to split this party.

Running for municipal election in Oakland (California) in 1970 was the most serious decision to try to get involved in US political process and challenge the system from the inside.

Malcolm X in my view is the most honest enlightened and steadfast revolutionary in US history and was ready to change his opinions and positions as activities and facts revealed a different stories to what he previously believed in.

He separated from the Muslim Farrakhan movement and connected with Martin Luther King to adapt to ways of winning further rights to the Black communities.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 3, Pt 7

Malcolm’s perspective of US race history.

Malcolm’s perspective of US race history.
@gringaofbarrio #books #education #gringa #history #malcolm #racism #reading

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 4, Pt 3

Malcolm had an interesting life.

Malcolm had an interesting life.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 3, Pt 8

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 3, Pt 6

Learn the truth about America’s complex race history.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 3, Pt 3

History thru Malcolm’s eyes.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 2, Pt 2

The life of Malcolm X in his own words.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 4, Pt 2

American history direct from Malcolm.

Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chpt 2, Pt 5

America’s race history is complex.

America’s race history is complex. @gringaofbarrio #books #education #school #history #malcolmx #civilrights #racism #equality #gringabookseducationschoolhistorymalcolm xcivil rightsracismequalitygringa

Water is everywhere. A potato is 80% water, a cow 74%, a bacterium 75%, a tomato at 95%, and human 65%.

Most liquid when chilled contract 10% but water only 1%, and just before freezing it expands.

Solid water is 10% more voluminous, a property which allow ice to float. Otherwise, ice would sink and oceans would freeze from the bottom.

Without surface ice to hold heat in, the water warmth would radiate away and thus creating more ice and soon oceans would freeze.

Water is defying the rules of chemistry and law of physics.

The hydrogen atoms cling fiercely to their oxygen host, but also make casual bonds with other water molecules, thus changing partners billions of times in a second.

Thus, water molecules stick together and can be siphoned without breaking, but not so tightly so that you may dive into a pool.

Surface water molecules are attracted more powerfully to the like molecule beneath and beside them than to the air molecule above, so that it creates a sort of membrane that supports insects.

All but the smallest fraction of the water on Earth is poisonous to us because of the salts within it.

Uncannily, the proportions of the various salts in our body are similar to those in sea water. We do cry sea water, and we sweat sea water but we cannot tolerate sea water as an input!

Salt in the body provoke a crisis because from every cell, water molecules rush off to dilute and carry off the sudden intake of salt.

The oceans have achieved their present volume of 1.3 billion cubic kilometer of water and it is a closed system.

The Pacific holds 52% of the 97% of all the water on Earth.  The remaining 3% of fresh water exist as ice sheet; Antarctica holds 90% of the planet’s ice, standing on over 2 miles of ice.

If Antarctica is to completely melt, the ocean would rise about 70 meters.

Note: Most of current preemptive wars are caused by lack of fresh water, or denying States from fresh water by building gigantic dams, and drilling of oil/gas reserves.

Many people in the third world die from Not finding quality fresh water that are Not polluted.

Tidbits #75

Most experts agree that temperature checks are a form of theater, a performance intended to put our minds at ease. But the theater is partially the point. When someone steps into a restaurant or hotel, they’re still taking a risk. These thermometers help to remind all of us to continue taking the pandemic seriously.

Never dig deeper in to your origine: Every community that survived had participated in a massacre. La takol asli wa fasli abadan, ennama aslou al fata ma yassalahou.

Des aéroports commencent à tester le « passeport COVID » qui indiquera si une personne a été vaccinée avant le voyage — Les Maîtres du Monde — So travel for me is out of the question: I refuse to be vaccinated for Covid. Though I get the flu vaccine every year

The conventional-minded say that they don’t want to shut down the discussion of all ideas, just the bad ones. There are two reasons why we need to be able to discuss even “bad” ideas.

  1. The first is that any process for deciding which ideas to ban is bound to make mistakes. ...
  2. The second reason it’s dangerous to ban the discussion of ideas is that ideas are more closely related than they look.

More novels were written about the cheating business among couples. The novel is made big by using the moral and ethical standard of a general society as a Filler. The crux of the matter is a local state of mind of the individual. Should he abide by the idiosyncrasies of the community or should he grab the opportunity to experience an all encompassing passion?

La mécanique tranquille des abattoires, tout est blanc et propre, sauf les cris des cochons suspendus par une chaîne: c’ est l’ enfer déguisé’ qui fait peur. Nazi Germany inherited US mechanics.

Natural product Is Not even every citizen’ asset. National debt is every person’s liability, excluding the elite classes.

The 10 biggest Lebanese banks had amassed $180 bn in accounts and they could afford to face any temporary rush on October 17.

By Closing their doors these Lebanese banks on October 18, 2019, it was Not a flawed in judgement: the board members of the banks were following orders from US/Israel to destabilize Lebanon, and they should be investigated and tried in criminal justice.

One day, an astronomer will discover a new star where a Black Hole was supposed to be. And the scientists will find a new job: explaining the process of Black Holes exploding into many stars.

The spirit of humanism of Charles Dickens failed to reach the USA, even today.

Nothing is resolved in the USA about owning sub-machine gun. Why? Because the Constitution allowed the White colonials to own and shout at colored people (Black, Red, and Yellow) who trespass their plantations

Many nations had a civilization of high level of tolerance, until warrior nations, and lately colonial powers, inflicted on them their close-minded and racist Law and Order systems

Avant le péché on était un diamant, et après on est devenu un charbon? Alons, le temps qu’on apprenne ce qu’est le vrai péché qui nous ronge la vie. Il faut apprendre a conqueror les petits péchés pour faire face et confronter le plus vilain des peches. On joue a l’alchimiste: traiter le charbon tout au long de notre vie pour obtenir un petit diamant: Ca vaut-il la peine?

If you are lucky to start the third phase of your life, you better transfer what was a shamble in your head to your body and be proud of it.

Only the governments in Syria and Israel follow the events and a few details in Lebanon. All the other States never cross their mind that Lebanon is a worthy subject matter. Only Lebanon local news media try hard to inflate this croaking animal “nafekh hal Dafda3at”

Hazards of Revolution?

What about planned destabilizing goal by colonial powers?

Note: recall that this article was written 8 years ago. Wish that Cockburn has assimilated the new changes in the region.

Patrick Cockburn London Review of Books Vol. 36 No. 1 · 9 January 2014

Soon after the Libyan capital (Tripoli) fell to the “rebels” in August 2011 I got to know a 32-year-old man called Ahmed Abdullah al-Ghadamsi.

We met when he tried to evict me from my hotel room, which he said was needed for members of the National Transitional Council, in effect the provisional government of Libya. (Still in effect and recognized by the UN?)

I wasn’t happy about being moved because the hotel, the Radisson Blu on Tripoli’s seafront, (The capital is Not on the sea shore, but very far off) was full of journalists and there was nowhere else to stay.

But Ahmed promised to find me another room, and he was as good as his word.

He was lending a hand to the provisional government because he was strongly opposed to Qaddafi – as was the rest of his family. He came from the Fornaj district of the city, and was contemptuous of the efforts of government spies to penetrate its network of extended families.

He derided Gaddafi’s absurd personality cult and his fear of subversive ideas: ‘Books used to be more difficult to bring into the country than weapons. You had to leave them at the airport for two or three months so they could be checked.’

He had spent 6 years studying in Norway and spoke Norwegian as well as English

On returning to Libya he got a job on the staff of the Radisson Blu. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Al-Saadi, had a suite in the hotel, and he watched the ruling family and their friends doing business and enjoying themselves.

Ahmed was a self-confident man, not noticeably intimidated by the sporadic shooting which was keeping most people in Tripoli off the streets. I asked him if he would consider working for me as a guide and assistant and he agreed.

Tripoli had run out of petrol but he quickly found some, along with a car and driver willing to risk the rebel checkpoints. He was adept at talking to the militiamen manning the barricades, and helped me get out of the city when the roads were blocked.

After a few weeks I left Libya; I later heard that he was working for other journalists.

In October I got a message saying that he was dead, shot through the head by a pro-Gaddafi sniper in the final round of fighting in Sirte on the coast far to the east of Tripoli. It turned out that there was a lot that Ahmed hadn’t told me.

When the protests started in Benghazi on 15 February he had been among the first to demonstrate in Fornaj, and he was arrested.

His younger brother Mohammed told me that ‘he was jailed for two hours or less before his friends and the protesters broke into the police station and freed him.’

When Gaddafi’s forces regained control of Tripoli, Ahmed drove to the Nafusa Mountains a hundred miles south-west of the capital to try to join the rebels there, but they didn’t know or trust him so he had to return.

He smuggled weapons and gelignite into Tripoli and became involved in a plot, never put into action, to blow up Al-Saadi Gaddafi’s suite in the Radisson.

Mohammed said Ahmed felt bad that he’d spent much of the revolution making money and, despite his best efforts, had never actually fought.

He went to Sirte, where Gaddafi’s forces were making a last stand, and joined a militia group from Misrata. 

He had no military experience, as far as I know, but he didn’t flinch during bombardments and was stoical when he was caught in an ambush and wounded by shrapnel from a mortar bomb, and the militiamen were impressed.

On 8 October his commander told Ahmed to take a squad of five or six men to hunt for snipers who had killed a number of rebel fighters. He was shot dead by one of them a few hours later.

What would Ahmed think of the Libyan revolution now?

An interim government is nominally in control but the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi have been full of militia checkpoints manned by some of the 225,000 registered militiamen whose loyalty is to their commanders rather than the state that pays them.

When demonstrators appeared outside the headquarters of the Misrata militia in Tripoli on 15 November demanding that they go home, the militiamen opened fire with everything from Kalashnikov to anti-aircraft guns, killing 43 protesters and wounding some 400 others.

This led to popular protests in which many militias were forced out of Tripoli, though it’s not clear whether this is permanent.

Earlier the prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was kidnapped by militia gunmen without a shot being fired by his own guards to protect him. (He was released after a few hours.)

Mutinying militias have closed the oil ports to exports and eastern Libya is threatening to secede.

The Libyan state has collapsed, for the simple reason that the rebels were too weak to fill the vacuum left by the fall of the old regime. After all, it was Nato airstrikes, not rebel strength, that overthrew Gaddafi.

It’s a similar story elsewhere in the Middle East.

The uprisings of the Arab Spring have so far produced anarchy in Libya, a civil war in Syria, greater autocracy in Bahrain and resumed dictatorial rule in Egypt.  (All these failures thanks to US/Saudi Kingdom/Israel/France ) who don’t want changes and democracy in the region)

In Syria, the uprising began in March 2011 with demonstrations against the brutality of Assad’s regime. ‘Peace! Peace!’ protesters chanted. But ‘if there was a fair election in Syria today,’ one commentator said, ‘Assad would probably win it.’

It isn’t only the protesters and insurgents of 2011 whose aspirations are being frustrated or crushed. In March 2003 the majority of Iraqis from all sects and ethnic groups wanted to see the end of Saddam’s disastrous rule even if they didn’t necessarily support the US invasion.

But the government now in power in Baghdad is as sectarian, corrupt and dysfunctional as Saddam’s ever was. (Not true, even then. Obama dispatched ISIS to occupy Mosul because Maliki PM refused to have US military presence in Iraq)

There may be less state violence, but only because the state is weaker. (just witness what is happening by the end of 2017)

Its methods are equally brutal: Iraqi prisons are full of people who have made false confessions under torture or the threat of it. An Iraqi intellectual who had planned to open a museum in Abu Ghraib prison so that Iraqis would never forget the barbarities of Saddam’s regime (you mean USA occupation?) found that there was no space available because the cells were full of new inmates.

Iraq is still an extraordinarily dangerous place. ‘I never imagined that ten years after the fall of Saddam you would still be able to get a man killed in Baghdad by paying $100,’ an Iraqi who’d been involved in the abortive museum project told me. (Isis is now defeated in Iraq and US still claim it is Not in order to remain militarily in the region)

Why have oppositions in the Arab world and beyond failed so absolutely, and why have they repeated in power, or in pursuit of it, so many of the faults and crimes of the old regimes? (Simple: still confronting the colonial powers who refuse any change)

The contrast between humanitarian principles expressed at the beginning of revolutions and the bloodbath at the end has many precedents, from the French Revolution on. But over the last twenty years in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus the rapid degradation of what started as mass uprisings has been particularly striking.

I was in Moscow at the start of the second Russo-Chechen war in October 1999, and flew with a party of journalists to Chechnya to see the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, in his headquarters in Grozny, where he was desperately trying – and failing – to avert the Russian assault by calling for a ceasefire.

We were housed in a former barracks which seemed worryingly vulnerable to Russian air attack. But it soon became evident that the presidential guard’s greatest anxiety was that we would be abducted by Chechen kidnappers and held for ransom.

The first Chechen revolt in 1994-96 was seen as a heroic popular struggle for independence. (An extremist Islamic regime, as the one ISIS was trying to install?)

Three years later it had been succeeded by a movement that was highly sectarian, criminalized and dominated by warlords. The war became too dangerous to report and disappeared off the media map. ‘In the first Chechen war,’ one reporter told me, ‘I would have been fired by my agency if I had left Grozny. Now the risk of kidnapping is so great I would be fired for going there.’

The pattern set in Chechnya has been repeated elsewhere with depressing frequency. The extent of the failure of the uprisings of 2011 to establish better forms of governance has surprised opposition movements, their Western backers and what was once a highly sympathetic foreign media.

The surprise is due, in part, to a misunderstanding of what the uprisings were about. Revolutions come into being because of an unpredictable coincidence of forces with different motives targeting a common enemy. (Never confuse long-term causes with instant catalysts)

The political, social and economic roots of the upsurges of 2011 go deep. That this wasn’t obvious to everyone at the time is partly a result of the way foreign commentators exaggerated the role of new information technology. Protesters, skilled in propaganda if nothing else, could see the advantage of presenting the uprisings to the West as nonthreatening ‘velvet’ revolutions with English-speaking, well-educated bloggers and tweeters prominently in the vanguard.

The purpose was to convey to Western public that the new revolutionaries were comfortingly similar to themselves, that what was happening in the Middle East in 2011 was similar to the anti-communist and pro-Western uprisings in Eastern Europe after 1989.

Opposition demands were all about personal freedom: social and economic inequality were rarely declared to be issues, even when they were driving popular rage against the status quo. (Wrong. Personal freedom was the slogan, Not the real demands)

The centre of Damascus had recently been taken over by smart shops and restaurants, but the mass of Syrians saw their salaries stagnating while prices rose: farmers ruined by 4 years of drought were moving into shanty towns on the outskirts of the cities.

The UN said that between two and three million Syrians were living in ‘extreme poverty’; small manufacturing companies were put out of business by cheap imports from Turkey and China; economic liberalization, lauded in foreign capitals, concentrated wealth in the hands of a politically well-connected few.

Even members of the Mukhabarat, the secret police, were trying to survive on $200 a month. ‘When it first came to power, the Assad regime embodied the neglected countryside, its peasants and neglected underclass,’ an International Crisis Group report says. ‘Today’s ruling elite has forgotten its roots. It has inherited power rather than fought for it … and mimicked the ways of the urban upper class.’

The same was true of the quasi-monarchical families and their associates operating in parallel fashion in Egypt, Libya and Iraq.

Confident of their police-state powers, they ignored the hardships of the rest of the population, especially the underemployed, over-educated and very numerous youth, few of whom felt that they had any chance of improving their lives.

The inability of new governments across the Middle East to end the violence can be ascribed to a simple-minded delusion that most problems would vanish once democracies had replaced the old police states. (No delusion here. Cannot construct anything in the presence of extremist violent factions created by the US and its allies)

Opposition movements, persecuted at home and often living a hand to mouth existence in exile, half-believed this and it was easy to sell to foreign sponsors. A great disadvantage of this way of seeing things was that Saddam, Assad and Gaddafi were so demonized it became difficult to engineer anything approaching a compromise or a peaceful transition from the old to a new regime.

In 2003  Iraq former members of the Baath Party were sacked, thus impoverishing a large part of the population, which had no alternative but to fight. The Syrian opposition refuses to attend peace talks in Geneva if Assad is allowed to play a role, even though the areas of Syria under his control are home to most of the population.

In Libya the militias insisted on an official ban on employing anyone who had worked for Gaddafi’s regime, even those who had ended their involvement 30 years before. These exclusion policies were partly a way of guaranteeing jobs for the boys. But they deepen sectarian, ethnic and tribal divisions and provide the ingredients for civil war.

What is the glue that is meant to hold these new post-revolutionary states together?

Nationalism isn’t much in favour in the West, where it is seen as a mask for racism or militarism, supposedly outmoded in an era of globalisation and humanitarian intervention. (everything but capitulation is Not favored by the Western colonial powers, even now)

But intervention in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 turned out to be very similar to imperial takeover in the 19th century. 

There was absurd talk of ‘nation-building’ to be carried out or assisted by foreign powers, who clearly have their own interests in mind just as Britain did when Lloyd George orchestrated the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire.

A justification for the Arab leaders who seized power in the late 1960s was that they would create powerful states capable, finally, of giving reality to national independence. They didn’t wholly fail: Gaddafi played a crucial role in raising the price of oil in 1973 and Hafez al-Assad created a state that could hold its own in a protracted struggle with Israel for predominance in Lebanon.

But to opponents of these regimes nationalism was simply a propaganda ploy on the part of ruthless dictatorships concerned to justify their hold on power. But without nationalism – even where the unity of the nation is something of a historic fiction – states lack an ideology that would enable them to compete as a focus of loyalty with religious sects or ethnic groups.

It’s easy enough to criticise the rebels and reformers in the Arab world for failing to resolve the dilemmas they faced in overturning the status quo. Their actions seem confused and ineffective when compared to the Cuban revolution or the liberation struggle in Vietnam. (Simply because one people  in Syria, one people in the Nile river and one people in north Africa were artificially divided in pseud-States by colonial powers)

But the political terrain in which they have had to operate over the last twenty years has been particularly tricky. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that the endorsement or tolerance of the US – and the US alone – was crucial for a successful takeover of power.

Nasser was able to turn to Moscow to assert Egyptian independence in the Suez crisis of 1956, but after the Soviet collapse smaller states could no longer find a place for themselves between Moscow and Washington. Saddam said in 1990 that one of the reasons he invaded Kuwait when he did was that in future such a venture would no longer be feasible as Iraq would be faced with unopposed American power.

In the event, he got his diplomatic calculations spectacularly wrong, but his forecast was otherwise realistic – at least until perceptions of American military might were downgraded by Washington’s failure to achieve its aims in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

So the insurgencies in the Middle East face immense difficulties, and they have faltered, stalled, been thrown on the defensive or apparently defeated. But without the rest of the world noticing, one national revolution in the region is moving from success to success.

In 1990 the Kurds, left without a state after the fall of the Ottomans, were living in their tens of millions as persecuted and divided minorities in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Rebellion in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 failed disastrously, with at least 180,000 killed by poison gas or executed in the final days of the conflict. (The Shah of Iran and Saddam resolved this conflict in a single day)

In Turkey, guerrilla action by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who combined Marxism-Leninism with Kurdish nationalism, began in 1974 but by the end of the 1990s it had been crushed by the Turkish army; Kurds were driven into the cities; and three thousand of their villages were destroyed. (Western media never covered these atrocities)

In north-east Syria, Arab settlers were moved onto Kurdish land and many Kurds denied citizenship; in Iran, the government kept a tight grip on its Kurdish provinces.

All this has now changed. In Iraq the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), though it shares power with the central government in Baghdad, is close to becoming an oil-rich independent state, militarily and diplomatically more powerful than many members of the UN.

Until recently the Turks would impound any freight sent to the KRG if the word ‘Kurdistan’ appeared in the address, but in November the KRG president, Massoud Barzani, gave a speech in the Turkish Kurd capital of Diyarbakir and talked of ‘the brotherhood of Turks and Kurds’.

Standing with him was the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke of ‘Kurdistan’ as if he’d forgotten that a few years ago the name had been enough to land anyone who uttered it in a Turkish jail. In Syria meanwhile, the PKK’s local branch has taken control of much of the north-east corner of the country, where two and a half million Kurds live.

The rebellion in the Kurdish heartlands has been ongoing for nearly half a century. In Iraq the two main Kurdish parties, Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were expert at manipulating foreign intelligence services – Iranian, Syrian, American and Turkish – without becoming their permanent puppets (Crappy pronouncement on these expertise)

They built up a cadre of well-educated and politically sophisticated leaders and established alliances with non-Kurdish opposition groups. They were lucky that their worst defeat was followed by Saddam’s self-destructive invasion of Kuwait, which enabled them to take control of an enclave protected by US airpower in 1991.

At this point, despite having gained more independence than any previous Kurdish movement, the KDP and PUK embarked on a vicious civil war with the Iraqi state. But then they had another stroke of luck when 9/11 provided the US with the excuse to invade and overthrow Saddam. The Kurdish leaders positioned themselves carefully between the US and Iran without becoming dependent on either.

It isn’t yet clear how the bid of thirty million Kurds for some form of national self-determination will play out, but they have become too powerful to be easily suppressed.

Their success has lessons for the movements of the Arab Spring, whose failure isn’t as inevitable as it may seem. The political, social and economic forces that led to the ruptures of 2011 are as powerful as ever. Had the Arab opposition movements played their cards as skilfully as the Kurds, the uprisings might not have foundered as they have done.

None of the religious parties that took power, whether in Iraq in 2005 or Egypt in 2012, has been able to consolidate its authority. Rebels everywhere look for support to the foreign enemies of the state they are trying to overthrow, but the Kurds are better at this than anyone else, having learned the lesson of 1975, when Iran betrayed them to Saddam by signing the Algiers Agreement, cutting off their supply of arms. The Syrian opposition, by contrast, can only reflect the policies and divisions of its sponsors.

Resistance to the state was too rapidly militarised for opposition movements to develop an experienced national leadership and a political programme.

The discrediting of nationalism and communism, combined with the need to say what the US wanted to hear, meant that they were at the mercy of events, lacking any vision of a non-authoritarian nation state capable of competing with the religious fanaticism of the Sunni militants of al-Qaeda, and similar movements financed by the oil states of the Gulf.

But the Middle East is entering a long period of ferment in which counter-revolution may prove as difficult to consolidate as revolution.




January 2021

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