Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘book review

Alice “The Siren”

X was 3 year-old and lived with his single shizophrenic mother and very obese and who was mostly sick in bed… The mother died in bed and X survived an entire week on bread and jam until there was nothing to eat: He could not open the locked front door or open the food cans. X didn’t know better but to sleep by his mother, and the stench was insufferable, but X could not realize that there is such thing as dying: mother will be up anytime soon.

How X was discovered we don’t know. X was not officially adopted, but Irene considered X her proper son: She had given up on getting pregnant and her husband was the type who took Irene decisions as orders and never tried to counter her opinions. Irene was a tall beauty and she bathed with X and lavished her “love” on him. X fell totally in love with Irene and nothing existed to him but his new found mother.

X never refused Irene anything she asked and he was the most obedient boy any mother could hope for: X would never do anything that angered Irene.

Two years later, Irene is pregnant with a girl and X is already a non entity, a burden to ignore and feed.  If it was not for her husband who for once took a stand, X would have been shipped to a public institution.

Alice was born and would never stop screaming, and X could no longer suffer all that racket, particularly that Alice displaced him with the total love and affection of Irene.

At the age of 5, and being warned never to approach Alice or even touch her, X was once left alone with Alice being bathed by her father. The father was washing Alice and had to answer the door. X drowned Alice without being aware of what he was doing: Alice was now quiet and things will be back to normal.

The father came back in the bathroom and reanimated Alice, but Alice suffered brain damage and was no longer the same baby: She was completely silent, never moving, never demanding anything… X was smiling in the bathroom, and insinuated to the father that Irene and everyone else will be happy again.

Irene focused her time, energy and attention on getting Alice back to something close to normal.

Ironically, Alice meant nothing to X, but Alice adored X: She only smiled and looked at X, and her mother Irene was sort of invisible to her. As she grew up, Alice was never a few feet away from X. When X went to school she was watching him from the window, and when he was back, Alice was waiting for him at the bus stop, smiling to him.

Alice turned out to be a stunning beauty with the same hair as Irene, chestnut color, until she tried to walk or talk, and people got scared and realized that she is not a normal person.  Alice was a perfect swimmer and looked totally normal in the water, and she could dive and outpace anyone swimming.

Once, Irene ordered X to jump in the water as Alice advanced very far out in the sea. X could barely swim and hated water, but he had to obey. Alice almost drowned X and shouted: “This is me you fool. I am your sirin” and insisted that he tows her to shore…

Alice barely talked, though she could for a 5 year-old brain that would never develop any further. X never answered Alice queries or returned her admiration: He didn’t care for her, and it was Irene who responded to Alice’s questions. Irene was beside herself with the attraction of Alice to this over fat boy.

Indeed, X replaced the love of Iirene with eating anything at hand, and he felt constantly hungry.  X had to come to term that Irene don’t love him anymore and has total contempt for him, but he will keep loving her no matter what she did to him.

The family moved to another town as Irene inherited her mother’s house, whom she called “The Viper”. Fat X was the new target for bullies at the new school. X was content with his books and didn’t feel the urge to befriend or associate with kids his age.

One team of bullies, led by Eric, made X life at school a living hell. Ken was basically the “hunting dog” of Eric and Magnus was the third leg. These bullies would fake running after X so that X keeps running and Eric would curse Alice and call her “Mongolian”.

At the age of 18, the voices in X head convinced him that it was time to leave the family, especially as he began to comprehend that Alice’s condition was of his own doing.

On a summer day, Eric demanded from X to bring him a bottle of whiskey after midnight so that he may join them in the party.

X came with the whiskey and the bullies were already drunk. Eric forced X to have several sips of whiskey and the ground started turning around X and his vision blurred. Suddenly, here comes Alice looking for X after midnight. And Eric made Alice drink whiskey and complimenting her on her beauty.

Alice is 13 years by now and still not normal in the head, but a great beauty. Eric pulls Alice top and handles her small perfect tits, and takes off Alice underware to check her pussy. And Eric said “I’m primo” and raped Alice. X is totally drunk and helpless and Magnus is also out of it.

Eric orders Ken to be next on top of Alice and then they force Magnus off the ground and pull down his trousers and made him sleep on top of Alice. Eric is back for an encore, and this time he is vicious and is pulling on Alice hair. And Alice screamed, a deafening stream of screams that made Eric box the head of Alice and break the bones of her face.

The bullies are now very terrified and realizing that they committed a serious crime, except Eric, a sick person lacking empathy. They ran away leaving Alice bleeding and injured. X ran to his home, shutting out his ears to the echoes of the screams and got in bed.

In the morning, the police didn’t pay a visit to the bullies. Irene assumed that it was X who raped Alice. They kicked X out of the house and a few days later moved out to another town. Alice was sent to an institution. The police didn’t receive a complaint and the bullies were not suspected of rape.

X is now about 40 of age, married with two sons and returned to his school town Fjallbacke to work in the local library. X is changed and looking very different: robust, handsome, wearing corrective glasses, and friendly. Eric, Ken and Magnus didn’t suspect that this is the same X they used to harass. The three former bullies were all married with kids. Ken and Magnus were happily married, but Eric was still chasing girls and was rich from shady business transactions.

What happened to X in the last 22 years? No information. Only once, X fell in love with a single mother with a little kid. This was the period that X felt totally happy: laughing, playing with the kid, and discussing project with Maria, this beautiful former professional dancer with chestnut colored hair and in the blue robe, like having a kid of his own…

And one day, the other person in X butted in and started to harass X: He was not supposed to be that happy, he had no right to be happy after what he committed in childhood… And the only way for X to return to his normal unhappy life was for the two cherished persons to die. X wore women garments and the long chestnut wig and Maria and the kids were drowned in the bathtub.

X was on medication when he arrived to town 5 years ago. And in the last 18 months, he decided that it was about time to write his book “The Sirin”. X had to stop taking medication that prevented him from pouring out his frustration. He worked in a shed on his manuscript.

As X started writing his manuscript, he began receiving threatening letters almost every month.

Eric and Ken also received threatening letters in the last 3 months, but nobody would divulge to anyone that he received such kinds of letters. Magnus never received a threatening letter.

The evening before the signing ceremony for his published book, Magnus, the only real friend of X, read a copy of the book and understood who was X. In the morning, Magnus visited with X to apologize and try to check his reaction.  My contention was that Magnus was ready to pay a visit to the police and get this heavy burden off his chest.

On entering the shed, Magnus saw a lady with long chestnut hair and he was stabbed to death. Apparently, Magnus barged in the wrong timing: X was in his second personality condition. X liked Magnus and had no grudge against him.

X went to the ceremony and received a bouquet of flowers with a card saying: “She walked by your side. She followed you. You have no rights on your own life. She does.” And X fainted.

The lady with the wig paid a visit to Lisbet, the dying wife of Ken, and told her the story of the secret childhood life of her husband.

Ken also was saved from an attempt at his life while jogging in the same usually route. Ken believed that Alice is back with vengeance on her mind.

It dawned on X that if he does not commit suicide, he will eventually attempt to kill his two kids. X hanged himself.

X was the person sending the letters to himself and also to Ken and Eric.

The wig was the same in color, length and shape as Alice, Irene and Maria.

Who X was emulating and in the name of whom of the three ladies was he on a rampage?

Was X punishing himself for failing Irene (the only person he loved before Maria) in taking good care of Alice and protecting her?

Was he angry for failing Alice, the one person who adored him without any precondition?

Was he angry against those who raped Alice simply because they ultimately were the cause for his second personality to kill Maria and her son?

Note 1: “The Siren” is a detective murder novel (410 pages) written by the Swede Camilla Lackberg. I read the French version. After page 50, I got restless and jumped to the last chapter, and then returned to read the beginning of each chapter, which started with significant sections of what X had published.

Note 2: Camilla Lackberg had published “The princess of Ices”, “The Predicator”, “The Stone Cutter”, “The bird of bad Omen”, “The German Kid”,  and Cyanide. Erica Falck is the heroine of the detective novels.

Note 3: In the last few pages, you discover that almost everyone in the novel has died or in the process of dying. Louise, wife of Eric, is driving to the airport to take a good peek at her husband in shackles, and she smashes into a car.  And who is in the other car? Erica (pregnant with twins) and her sister also pregnant. The two ladies were driving to the hospital because detective Patrick (husband of Erica) suffered a heart attack, just as he closed his case…

I felt dejected with all these deaths happening on the last page, a superfluous carnage that is irrelevant to the story. Why?

Note 4: Eric, one of the main villains, is going to get it easy: A couple of years in prison and will resume his previous life trend and behavior. The message is that “if you lack empathy and are immoral, you can get away with responsibilities and remorse…”

Note 5: I guess Camilla lacked the necessary imagination to compose samples of threatening letters sent to Ken and Eric, on the ground that the letters might let the rabbit out and readers might guess the underlying relationship…

My position is: “If you are not given a chance to try to guess and imagine the stroy, it is not worth reading a detective novel…”

Note 6: What do you think was the life of Irene before she decided to marry Ragnar? And why did she marry a short, colorless, and insipid man?

I conjecture that her haughty mother  “The Viper” taunted her relestlessly for fooling around and maybe falling in love with a man that she thought was not in the same “classy circle” or potential class the mother figured her highly beautiful daughter deserved. And Irene got pregnant and her beau fled and she had to abort, and discovered that she could not be pregnant again… And she married the first man who showed some interest…

“The Soul of the World”? And what it has to do with Tibet’s monastery of Toulanka? 

What is it that westerner authors lack imagination when it comes to writing fiction stories on religious dogmas?

Invariably, moderate clerics from various sects must meet in Tibet, in a Buddhist isolated monastery, among lamas, to share their wisdoms on the best manner to reach common denominator principles for the sake of this unified “soul of the world”…

Like the latest of the French Frederic Lenoir.

He had to dispatch 8 wise moderate religious clerics, many over 80, and barely able to stand, and had to be carried 12 km at 4,000 m altitude to this monastery of Toulanka.

You have this rabbi Schlmo, (there is no other names for rabbis in fiction stories), a liberal Jews teaching kabbala in Jerusalem (no imagination even here), after relocating from New York (a tad imaginative here), hearing a voice, sitting in his kitchen, the voice repeating “Go to Toulanka”, and his grandson being asked to connect to Google so that internet sends Schlomo to Toulanka.

You have Ansya, a young chaman girl from the steppes of Mongolia, being invited “mysteriously” via a luminous spirit to get packing.

Or Padre Salvador de Bahia, well settled in his forest hermitage in the State of Oregon, and a dream of a little girl (not a boy, too many rumors…) pointing the way for an adventure, long overdue…

And Ma Ananda, a Hindu mystic, running a small ashram in north India, and up and joining the group of travelers ( a great trip to Tibet, at stone throwing distance…)

And Master Kong, a very old Taoist, living in Shangai and a technology freak. His GPS mysteriously displayed the coordinates of Toulanka…

And this Muslim Sufi from Nigeria, Cheikh Youssef with a dozen kids… Capital letters visible on his Koran T, O,U, L… and a breeze shuffling the pages to the sourat (verse) of the “Departure”

Vast Europe, mainly western Europe must also be included, one way or another.

And here Gabriella from Amsterdam, teaching geek philosophy, specifically the stoic and Spinoza, is invited. Gabriella is watching a documentary on Toulanka and her entire body is captured with a spiritual frenzy.

The next morning, Gabriella hear her neighbor ordering her dog “Toulanka, sit”. That’s it: Gabriella is off with her young daughter Natina of 14.

Why western authors lack imagination when they set their mind to writing “serious” and heavy books?

Wouldn’t it be funnier if Gabriella heard the parakeet going mad, setting a racket and screeching “Toulanka, Toulanka you witch…” and the entire block going crazy and organizing a cruise via FB to Toulanka, just to appease the demon of their mascot parakeet…

And lama Dorje descending with only two horses to bring up his invitees, having to rent a dozen horses to accommodate these curious Dutch retirees, demanding their own Reality TV…

And why invariably the monastery must be run by a boy of 12? The reincarnation of the late Rinpoche (the very precious)? Great idea to attach Rinpoche to every name: Every son and daughter are rinpoche to their parents.  “My rinpoche baby did this and that and said his first word and…”

All these wise clerics are meeting to answer the same essential old questions:

1. The meaning of existence

2. How to be successful and happy

3. How to find a harmonic balance between body and mind

4. How to know myself and explode my creative potentials

5. How to cross from fear to love

6. How to contribute to the transformation of the world…

The same old essential questions, which only authors make fortune regurgitating the same concepts and abstract notions…

Why the wise 8 clerics have to be moderate?

Moderates never reformed anything or changed anything…

Wouldn’t it be beneficial for a change that the clerics be extremist jihadist with penchant to terrorist activities to meet in Toulanka?

Fact is, it is the extremist religious clerics who are hired and financed by governments in all political systems for specific “Law and Order” schemes…

And why invariably a world calamity is foreseen everytime the wise guys meet?

Why two-third of humanity must perish at the sacrificial alter of spreading a new unified universal doctrine?

The 8 wise creatures settled on the premise that an end of time catastrophe is the most plausible reason for this mysterious invitation.

The essential question was: “On what support system the teaching must be enshrined?”

Since the lamas turned out not to be skilled mason or stone engravers, the alternative stone tablets “support system”, like the one of Moses (that never existed in the first place) was dropped.

The resolution came when the two youths Natina and the boy Tenzig had the same dream: Each one dreamt of floating on a small stream and 8 rivers converged to form a mighty river.

Not surprisingly, the 8 decrepit old wise asses figured out that they are the mighty rivers…

And their purpose is to orally teach the two youths their wisdom, to transmit to the remaining surviving of mankind…

It is good to reflect, now and then, on the “meaning of life”, as long as we don’t take it seriously that we should get a definite answer, or an irreversible answer…

Fact is, there is no viable long lasting answer to the question: If you are not ready to change ideas, and reconsider alternatives during your life adventure, best to play dead, a cadaver charred by the river downstream.

It is good to reach first base and come to the realization that “learning to survive and giving life priority is necessary for any further and deeper reflective power…”

If you are satisfied resting on first base, you are a living cadaver, clinging from time to time to a rock, by the river shores, but descending relentlessly to your inevitable destiny of us all “we the dead”

It’s not that any alternative answer will extend your life beyond “life expectancy“, this horror statistics, but as long as hope is alive and kicking for this dream of eternity, try not to mingle with with people whose life purpose is to kill grains of hope.

I am assuming that you are not a criminal, a member of a secret sect founded on spilling blood of virgins, or a member of an institution of an elite class working toward a select race species…

It is good to reflect on eternity, and on almost anything, but never on the Absolute.

Nothing good ever came from reflecting on the absolute in this long history of mankind.

The wise man is this humble person who mocks the notion of the Absolute, the Perfect System for governance, the Perfect Crime, and Perfect Faith…

“In the City of Gold and Silver (Lucknow, India)” by Keneze Mourad

Between 1756 and 1856, the British had annexed two-third of the States in India and three-forth of the population.

During the Mogul Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. the representatives of the various Moslem, Hindu, Buddhists and Christian sects debated at length in order to agree on common denominator principles for a universal syncretic religion combining the beliefs of all these religious teaching and called the Din-i-Ilahi, the religion of the Divine

In 1848, the British contemplated the annexation of the richest northern State of Awadh (currently the Uttra Pradesh province), half the size of France, with Capital Lucknow. This decision was 20 years late to put into execution because the British Empire was not at war anywhere to require massive infusion of stolen wealth from India. The British kept amassing a file of charges against the Awadh State that went against the treaty. Most of these charges were fabrications and the British government knew that the reports were falcification of the facts.

Charles Grant, one of the early Governor of the British Company in India wrote: “Converting the Indians (to Protestantism) will raise their morality, but more importantly, will expand our commerce, which is our initial project…”

The annexation of Awadh was officially pronounced by the British General Governor in Calcutta , Lord Dalhousie, on Feb. 7, 1856.

England was having great difficulty in the Crimea war against Russia and the capture of Sevastopol. And the British Empire wanted all the wealth it could put its hands on in India. The richest State in north India and the land of the bounty was targeted to be annexed and directly “administered”.

The lands of the rajahs, taluqdars, and nawabs were confiscated, high taxes imposed on the peasants and who were cornered to famine and flocked to Lucknow.

Wajid Ali Shah was the king of Awadh who once said: “All the miseries are mainly caused by ignorance. Only knowledge of the culture of the other communities can we learn to respect and appreciate the values of the different cultures…

Wajid Shah was to stay master on his royal palace and his harem and receive 150,000 rupees per year…

On June 1856, the British Resident of Awadh, Henry Lawrence, “confiscated the royal treasury confined in the Palace of Kaisarbagh, on the ground of robbing the insurgents from financial facilities. Captain Birch wrote: “The jewels are impressive. The pearls and emerald were as big as eggs…”

All the royal palaces were evicted and stolen…

Wajid Shah decided to pay a visit to the Governor in Calcutta to negotiate a fairer deal with the intention of traveling to London to meet Queen Victoria. Instead, Wajid was made prisoner in Calcutta and his mother was permitted to sail to England. The mother queen lingered two years in England and was unable to meet Victoria even once. Mother queen sailed to Paris where she died two months later.

Henry Lawrence decided to fight the rebels converging to the city of Nawabgani. He was encircled in the town of Chinhut and barely was able to retreat after loosing half his troops. Henry fortified the residence and managed to repel two massive attacks and waited 6 months before General Campbell came to the rescue.

Ironically, the residence was now overflowing with more soldiers and civilians to feet and shelter and in a worse state than before. Begum Hazrat Mahal, the fourth wife of Wajid, and original name Mohammadiyeh, was acclaimed the regent and her 11 year-old son Birjis Qadar the new king.

The Mahal is attached to the name of the royal wife who gives birth to a male son

Hazrat Mahal allowed the British to retreat safely from Lucknow. The .State of Awadh was liberated for a time from any British soldier

The British sent many troops who managed to re-enter cities, such as Delhi, Kanpour, Jhansi, Gwallor… only to retreat again.

This wide and mass insurrection lasted two years, until England amassed more than 30,000 soldiers and strong with their allies of Sikhs and Gurkas from Nepal.

After the fall of Lucknow, Hazrat Mahal was forced to retreat further north to cities of Bithauli, Baundi, Butwal and resumed the insurrection by supporting more revolts in central India.

Hazrat Mahal and her troops had to cross to the Terai land in Nepal, land of swamps and dense forests, and refused to surrender to the British.

General Jang Bahadour of Nepal had deposed and killed the king and was a staunch allies to the British. He refused political asylum to the troops of Hazrat Mahal and delivered them to the British who hanged their leaders. Bahadour did dare send his army to fight the troops of Hazat because she was already a symbol for freedom to the people.

At the decision of annexing Awadh on ground of defaulting on a few clauses of the treaty, Colonel Simpson had said:

“I lived in India for 25 years and collaborated with Major Bird and the Resident Colonel Richmond during the first two years of the reign of Wajid. The king tried vigorously to reform the army, the administration, the justice system as demanded by the British Governor. Richmond vetoed all these reforms. We may say that the Company did everything in its power to block and railroad every contemplated reform in Awadh.

The newly appointed General Governor Dalhousie would not adhere to the reforms, claiming that any reform should be applied immediately to all the State od Awadh…”

The Times of London wrote: “The begum of Awadh (Hazrat Mahal) proved to have more strategic sense and courage than all her generals combined…”

The Scottish General Grant confirmed that over 150,000 Indians were killed during these mass insurrections, and over 120,000 were mainly peasants who joined the fighting against the “infidel” occupiers.

Lieutenant Majendie wrote:

“The civilization of the 19th century is no way close to appreciate humanity: The British soldiers and the Sikhs watched Indians being roasted alive, in spectators. Indians were on purpose blown to pieces by canon balls. Why? They didn’t fear death on account of an after life, but being blown denied them that their soul will remain intact…”

William Russell wrote in The Times of London in March 1858:

“I looked at the city of Lucknow from a hill before the British army invaded the city. This city was far more splendid than Paris, Rome and Constantinople. Thousands of palaces, Mosques, Temples, green parks…

After the British occupied it, Lucknow was a ghost and a dead city. The soldiers cared for gold and silver. Everything else was smashed, burned, destroyed: Jades, mirrors of Venice, crystal candelabras, furniture encrusted with ivory, musical instruments,  ancient manuscripts, all the fine master works… The soil was littered with debris of glasses and precious work of arts…

The British considered this uprising not as an insurrection against occupiers, but one of the revolts of the lower races, the black people who should be spilling their blood to serve their white masters

All the magnificence of Lucknow…How could such a civilization be blamed as corrupt and inept to govern itself.

General Havelock delivered false report on the the manner the British prisoners in Bibighar prison were assassinated in the city of Kanpour.  The prisoners, mostly female and children, were not raped or disemboweled… The British spilled blood on the walls of the prison and wrote abject sentences in order to incite the British soldiers into utter rage and the ultimate barbarity in revenge against Indian civilians…”

Rajmat Hazrat Mahal died in April 7, 1879 at the age of 48 in Kathmandu (Nepal). The British tried on many occasions to lure Hazrat to return to India, but she knew better of the hatred and revenge of the British who killed, hanged and assassinated every leader of the mass insurrection. Only Prince Feyrouz managed to escape to Kandahar (Afghanistan) and died miserably in Mecca.

The military chief Jai Lal was hanged after a mock trial that lasted two years.

Tantia Tope (military chief of another State), maulvi Ahmadullah Shah (an extremist Shiaa cleric), Rana Beni Madho, rajah Mahmoudabad, begum Lakshmi Bai, rajah of Gonda… all assassinated.

King Wajid Ali Shah died poisoned in 1887 at the age of 65 in Calcutta.

Birjis Qadar, son of Hazrat Mahal, died poisoned in Lucknow, one year after his returned from his 32 years  spent in exile.

In 1957, at the occasion of the centennial of the mass insurrection, Nehru changed the name of “Queen Victoria Park” in Lucknow to “Begum Hazrat Mahal Park” and erected a memorial in honor of the “Soul of the Revolt

Note 1: In the 19th century, north India and many States in the center were mostly Moslem Shiaa who veneered the 5 pillars: Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, Ali the husband of Fatima and the cousin of Muhammad, Hassan and Hussein, the sons of Ali and Fatima.

Even now, India has over 250 million Moslem Shiaa, more than four time the combined Shiaa in Iran, Iraq, Morocco and anywhere else.

Note 2: William Dalrymple wrote: “The British discovered in the 1857 insurrection what the US are about  to learn (in the Arab and Moslem world): Nothing can radicalize a people or frustrate moderate Moslems than direct aggressive intrusion, occupying land and forcing people to adopt alternative ideas under arms duress…”

Note 3: The “purdah” or the separation of genders in houses and public spaces were applied by both Moslems and Hindus. This culture of gender separation in the Moslem world was inherited from northern India. Mind you that commerce and trade of goods, culture, organization, art, and learning… by the early Arab Moslem Empires and later the Ottoman Empire were mainly done with India.

Europe was backward and these empires were frequently expanding into Europe.

Note 4Keneze Mourad, born in Paris 1939 is the daughter of a Turkish princess and an Indian rajah.

She was at journalist at the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur till 1970, and a reporter of the Middle-East and of the sub-Indian continent. She covered the agitations in the Iranian Islamic republic, Ethiopia upheavals, and the civil war in Lebanon.

Mourad published in French “From the part of the dead princess, 1987″, the “Garden of Badalpour, 2003″, and “The perfume of our land

Soltana and Dahbia: Our fathers are gone overseas

Soltana and Dahbia are half-sisters from the same father who immigrated to France. The youngest Soltana immigrated early to France while the illiterate Dahbia remained and married Djamel and has been behaving as a simple tail to her provider of a husband.

Dahbia followed the many relocation of Djamel to different cities and towns, along with her two kids, and she was never asked an opinion or any feedback: Dahbia thought that it was natural and normal to obey her husband. Dhabia thought it was her husband’s responsibility to be the provider and care for the family.

Soltana visited once her village (douar) during summer. She was single and was living in France and was welcomed as a lady. Soltana was apprehensive of meeting her married half-sister Dhabia and felt shy meeting the husband Djamel.

Dhabia felt restless and waited for the crowd to disperse in order to join Soltana and take her hand. The month vanished in a blink as in a dream for the two sisters. And Soltanan vanished back to France.

The day came when Djamel blurted out that the immigration of the family to France was imminent. Djamel has been visiting the French consulate and filling documents without ever thinking to ask Dahbia’s readiness for such a drastic move, as an exiled person.

This time her husband went overboard and Dhabia’s resentment exploded:

“If you want to leave, go. I’m staying with my kids. I live in my country and refuse to be an exiled person…”

Djamel is taken aback and tries to reason with his wife:

“What did your country offered to you since independence? After 50 years, we are still poor, vulnerable, despaired. Misery is growing steadily and injustice is flagrant. I feel totally powerless to overcome our situation. We lost courage to act. I’m like you: I dream to live in my country. If we stay we are as sure as dead…”

Dhabia retorts:

“I’m not dead and neither are the children. We are healthy and we are living together. I’m not about to repeat my father conduct. He preferred to immigrate and leave his family behind. Here I’m no stranger…”

Djamel says:

“Without you I’d be a madman longtime ago. We have not yet finished our voyage together. We have endured and suffered for so long. And I refuse for my children to suffer as we did. Our children should not feel victims of unfair circumstances…”

The illiterate Dhabia relied on her young  cousin Kaina to transcribe letters to Soltana: She needed badly to communicate to her sister her predicament and wanted Soltana’s counsel.

After a sustained correspondence, Djamel stumbled on the box of letters and got upset: What? His wife doesn’t feel close enough to him to express her emotions and her distraught state of spirit?

And Djamel ordered Dhabia to desist corresponding with her sister and summoned Kaina and the postman never to cooperate anymore.

The last letter of Dhabia to her sister was to inform Soltana of the impossibility to resume writing letters because she owes obedience to her husband.

What do you think could have been the last letter of Soltana if she could send it? Like:

“This correspondence showed me where are my roots. I lacked family. I’m no longer a free electron. I discovered the links that I missed. I rediscovered myself through your tenderness…I am no longer alone right now…?”

The follow-up post will present part of the main contents of these letters.

Note: Dalila Bellil lives in Parme and she is a kabileh ethnic of north Africa. The French book “Nos peres sont partis” is her first.

How the British Empire managed to occupy the “Jewel Crown” India? Simple…

The British Empire, under its trading consortium of “Company of the Orient in India“, managed to militarily displace the French company in south-east India.

The British dominion started after the victory of Plassey in June 23, 1757.

Before the arrival of the British, the powerful and splendid Mogul Empire that dominated India, and current Pakistan and Afghanistan for over 250 years (the descendant of Timor Lank).

By the 18th century, Mogul Empire was nominally in power:The various States were ruled by local Maharajah, kings, rana, and Shahs….

In 1737, the Persian Nader Shah entered Delhi and transferred the famous Peacock (Paon) throne to Persia. and the famous diamond crown Koh-i-noor. This throne is currently in the palace of Golestan at Tehran.

Ten years later, the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durani entered also Delhi and annexed the northern Indian regions. For the next 30 years, warlords (Muslim and Hindu) carved out “independent States”.

In 1788, another Afghan invader Ghulam Kadir blinded the eyes of the reigning emperor Shah Alam for refusing to deliver the location of the treasure.

Many Mahrattes filled the void and occupied Delhi and it was pandemonium for 15 years.

In 1803, England was trying hard to topple the French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and was facing a long protracted war against this “people State” that damaged the old aristocratic and royal structure. And England wanted plenty of money to resume this war.

The British Empire stepped in India, entered Delhi and “restored order” and got the treasures. How the British managed to rule most of India within a century, except the northern State of Awadh, current Uttra Pradesh province?

The strategy is to sign treaties with Mogul local emperors, administering the State, controlling the budget, and allowing the emperors to be splendid masters in their restrictive palaces and citadels.And why the local leaders would agree to such binding treaties? Simple

Basically, all these kingdoms were fragile and unstable, and frequently deposed or displaced by local warlords. The best strategy for these Maharajah was to sign an alliance with the British and secure their hold on power.

Consequently, the pretenders to any throne had to negotiate with the British General Resident in Calcutta, through the State Resident, if any change is to be successful. And the local rajahs paid their dues to maintain their power over the other contending taluqdars and nawabs in their State

It was through the direct engagement with local emperors and promises to safeguard their power in their own States that the British managed to occupy all of India within a century from 1756 to 1856. The British annexed two-third of India and three-fourth of the population.

Now it was the turn to directly annex the last richest northern State of Awadh, with capital Lucknow.

In 1856, England was having hard time dislodging the Russians from the port city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The French, British, and Turkish alliance suffered large casualties for three years, and mainly from diseases.

Her Majesty Victoria needed money badly, and the State of Awadh was next in line to be directly occupied. Wajid Ali Shah was the reigning king.

This intervention generated two years of popular uprising in all the norther and central States, and Hazrat Mahal was the soul of the revolution. The real name of this queen was Muhammadi and she was the fourth wife of the kind and got him a son Bisjis Qadar. That’s the follow up story.

Every time London needed money badly, the British governor, residing in Calcutta, would claim a clause in the treaty was not fulfilled, and the State was occupied. Lands “belonging” to rajahs and taluqdar were “distributed” to the people, taxes raised, and then real estate and traders stepped in to repurchase the lands for cheap and pay the required easy money to the British Governor and his Resident in a State. Palaces and their treasuries were confiscated… More on the atrocities committed by the British invaders in the next book review.

The dominion of the British was not mainly due to its organized army or its better weapons.

1. The British army, 12,000 strong, was annihilated after three years of confrontation in Afghanistan in 1842. The British tried again a few decades later and was crushed again.

2. The British army was unable to control the Waziristan provinces (in current western Pakistan) and had to draw a fictional border line, the Durant Line along the mountain chain tops, to separate the new Pakistan State and Afghanistan. This is the same province that prevented the Macedonian Alexander the “Great” from crossing through.

3. The British army was mainly constituted of Sikhs (hateful of everything called Islam), Gurkhas from Nepal, and the Indian cipays soldiers who were never promoted to any officer ranks, even after decades of services and engaging in many battles.

4. When the British confiscated the lands of the rajjahs… these feudal lords instigated the peasants to revolt against the infidel occupying forces until the General Governor returned most of the lands.

Fact is, the maharajahs feared their people far more than the British forces and they were allied with the colonial power against their wretched people…

Note: Post inspired from the French book “In the City of Gold and Silver” by Kenize Mourad

“Would you consider Greg to be appointed director of a foundation?“: The Central Asia Institute

In 1994, Greg Mortenson had sent over 540 letters to famous people asking donation for his mission of building a primary school for girls in the village of Korphe in the province of Balistan in North Pakistan. All that effort didn’t generate any money.

Greg was invited by his mother, principal in a school, to give a presentation of his mission and the kids launched a campaign “penny for a school” which saved about $400 in pennies.

Tom Vaughan, a physician of the lungs and a mountain climber, wrote an article of Greg Mortenson’s mission  in the American Himalaya Foundation (AHF) that appeared in the national bulletin.

Dr. Jean Hoerni, a scientist, investor and a mountain climber responded and sent Greg a check of $12,000.

In the phone conversation, Hoerni said:

“Say, if I extend you the necessary fund for your school, are you going to elope and spend the money in Mexico on girls and drugs?”

As Greg was in the process of giving details of the estimation of an engineer in Skardu (Capital of Baltistan) Hoerni cut him off saying:” How much?” and then “Is that all? Are you pulling my legs? What’s your address?”

That was a good question: Greg was sleeping in his car, the Bamba, inherited from his dad who died at the age of 49.

It took Greg 3 years to build the first school.

The first year, he purchased all the building materials from Rawalpindi and hired a Bedford truck (from England colonial period) to the city of Skardu. “Why didn’t you buy all these materials from Skardu, instead of taking all that trouble, thousand of miles away?” and that was the first lesson that Greg learned to rely on the local people and ask for their input…

Hearing of the arrival of building materials, many village chiefs wanted to have the school constructed in their villages, and they carried Greg to their villages and threw lavish banquets in his honor…

Mind you that the only time to build anything before the cold season is during the 3 months of summer time.

The second year, the Nurmadhar (chief) of Korphe Haji Ali announced that the village decided to construct a bridge over the Braldu before they can contemplate building the school.

Thus, Greg asked Hoerni for the necessary fund to first build the bridge. And the bridge made it possible for the women to cross to the other side of the river and visit with families and return the same day on Fridays.

Before the bridge, it was very dangerous to cross by using ropes mechanism

The disadvantage was that the mullah of a larger town of Askole crossed the bridge with a bunch of hooligan demanding retribution for allowing an “infidel Ingrezi” (English) to build a school for girls. The mullah asked for 12 bulls, or half what the village had and the most prized animal, cared by the first male son in the family.

Haji Ali delivered the 12 beasts and said to the mullah: “This school will be built whether you like it or not” and turned his back. Haji Ali later looked very happy and said: “The beast will be devoured very soon, but the school will stay for generation to come…”

During his 8-month stay in the San Francisco Bay area, Greg was invited to attend a formal meeting of mount climber members in the Fairmont Hotal. Edmund Hillary was to speak, and Hillary was Greg’s hero for climbing first Mount Everest.

Greg was penniless, had sold his car and everything to afford a plane ticket to Pakistan. Jean Hoerni saw Greg and asked him to approach the bar. Hoerni allocated $20,000 for Greg’s personal expenses. And that was not all: He met his future wife Tara Bishop. They got married within 6 days.

The third year Greg supervised closely the building of the school and drove the inhabitants crazy with his zeal. Nurmadhar Haji Ali took Greg on a walking trip, to a higher altitude, and said:

“Dr. Greg Sahib. See these mountains? They have been around for million of years, and we have been around for centuries without a school. You are driving the people in circles. They can do the job and within their own timetable…Stop behaving according to your custom…” And he took away the measuring and building instruments from Greg and locked them up in a special drawer.

Jean Hoerni found out that he has an incurable cancer and didn’t have not much time to live, and wanted a picture of the school, badly.

Hoerni had invited Greg to his home in Seattle and asked him: “Would you consider Greg to be appointed director of a foundation? You need to focus all your energy and time on your mission”. And The Central Asia Institute was founded and Greg appointed professionals in its board of directors.

Greg advanced the schedule of his yearly trip to north Pakistan in order to make good on his promise and brought back pictures of the school, the kids, the inhabitants of Korphe.

In the hospital, Hoerni demanded a hammer to nail the picture on the wall facing his bed. He called one friend in Switzerland and said: “I build a school in Baltistan. What did you accomplish in the last 50 years?”

Before his death, Hoerni had allocated one million dollar to the foundation so that Greg may resume his mission, full speed and build many more schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the fourth year, Greg learned that the most efficient way to carry on the job is to let the village chiefs meet and decide for the priority of the location of schools and other more pressing realizations, such as bringing potable water, generating electricity, hiring more teachers, expanding functional smaller schools…

For example, the women in Korphe, represented by Sakina and Hawa, asked for a center so that the women can meet during the winter months, away from the men and closed houses… Greg purchased 4 traditional sewing machines and installed them in an extension to the house of the nurmadhar Haji Ali. This center permitted the generation of extra money to the community and kind of financial independence for the women.

Greg had assembled a team, around a dozen, of trusted “professionals” from all ethnicity and religious sects in Pakistan to study the location and details of future projects during his absence in the US, and saved his time (4 months in late spring and summer) driving to the various construction sites and bringing in the necessary materials and encouraging the smooth functioning of the work…

In the first meeting of the team in Skardu, the members suggested three locations for schools to select one of them for the year. And Greg said:”We can build all three schools”.

And the schools were finished in record time of 12 weeks at less than $12,000 each. It cost $24,000 for the Pakistan government and $36,000 to international organization to build the same kinds of schools.

Greg travelled to Peshawar, stronghold of the Taliban in west Pakistan, in order to build a school for the thousands of refugee kids. Hajji Ali had warned Greg: “When travelling make sure to have a nurmadhar accompanying you and that you had drunk 3 cups of tea at the nurmadhar house…”

Greg failed to stick to this precept and was kidnapped and spent 8 days and nights in a dark room, deep in the Waziristan provinces.  The djerga (elders of villages) met after assembling pieces of intelligence on Greg and liberated Greg. They gave Greg handful of roupies to build more schools that amounted to $400, a large sum.

This event was before 2001 and before the US carpet bombed Afghanistan and alienated the civilians and became enemies, instead of powerful friends.

So far, the Central Asia Institute has constructed over a hundred schools and diverse projects in these remote poorer counties

Note 1: Edmund Hillary had climbed Mount Everest in 1953 with the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hillary received easy donations to build schools in Nepal, particularly in the Valley of Khumbu. Hillary had written “Schoolhouse in the Clouds”. It is to be noted that Norgay was the first to reach Everest, but Hillary got all the honor and recognition.

Note 2: Dr. Jean Hoerni is a Swiss who graduated from Cambridge and immigrated to the USA and launched many companies, half of them became multinationals such as Fairchild Semi-Conductors, Teledyne, and Intel.

He had quit the William Shockley laboratory and invented the integrated circuits. He published many scientific articles and his contribution to building the first school for girls in the Baltistan province generated hundred more schools.

Note 3: The purpose of this post is to shed light on this commendable economic culture of setting up foundations for the long-term once a dedicated person demonstrates resilience and determination on carrying on a worthy mission

Note 4: Story is from the book “Three Cups of Teas

Karakoram and Hindu Kush (north Pakistan): World concentrated glaciers and tallest Peaks

Bordering China, Kashmir, Afghanistan and the central Asian countries are the regions of the most concentrated highest peaks and glaciers and the sources of the Braldu, Shyok, and Indus River (forking westward toward Pakistan and eastward toward India).

Have heard of Karakoram and Hindu Kush regions in North Pakistan and the Baltistan district (with capital Skardu) near the Kashmir borders?

Have you heard of the K2 Peak, the second highest at 8,611 m?

From left and going clockwise you can see on the map the Tower of Muztagh (7,273 m), Broad Peak (8,047 m), Gasherbrum I (8,068 m), Gasherbrum II (8,035 m), Masherbrum (7,821 m), Nanga Parbat (8, 1236 m), Rakaposhi (7,788 m), Ogre (7,285)….

Have you heard of the glaciers Hispar, Biafo, Baltoro, Concordia, Godwin-Austin, Sachsen (where the Pakistani and Indian armies shell one another for the Kashmir region)…?

You find the vast and highest valleys of Shigar, Hushe, Hunzu, Charpursan

The late photographer Galen Rowell (died in an aviation accident in 2002) spent decades of his life to filming this region evanescent beauty.

The road leading to Balistan follow the gorges of the powerful Indus River: There is no other alternative route that the Indus failed to dig in this mountainous region. Most of the deaths in Pakistan are from road accidents, of treacherous side roads off the main highway to China.

The biologist George Schaller trekked the Karakoram in 1973 studying the whereabouts of the Blue Sheep (bhoral) or ibex and wrote in “Stones of Silence“:

My trekking trips were marked by difficulty and deception. But the mountains are like appetite  They did deeper. My hunger for the Karakoram grew by the days…”

The companion of Schaller, Peter Matthiessen wrote the master piece “The Snow Leopard

This vast region is where the Baltis ethnic people dwell.

According to the book “Three cups of tea“, the Baltis are originally from Tibet. They emigrated 6 century ago and adopted the Chiaa Moslem sect. They are mostly short, robust, and most adapted to high altitudes like the Sherpas of the Himalaya mountain chains (Nepal) and the Indians of the Andes chain in South America.

In 1958, the Italian Fosco Maraini who participated in the Gasherbrum 4 expedition  expanded at length on this ethnic group:

“They constantly plot, complain, and frustrate you to the highest level. They emanate an air of bandits, but they have great qualities: They are honest, cheerful, loyal, and have a great resistance to fatigue. You see skinny people carrying 40 kilos through treacherous paths with the ease of people carrying nothing…”

Note 1: After Sept.11, 2001, Greg Mortenson was back in Pakistan to build one of his 80 primary schools for girls in the Karakoram region. The CIA wanted information on the people of this region and the names and addresses of the people on the payroll in Pakistan of the Central Asia Institutes. Greg refused because he will be a dead man if he did, and his mission will be tainted.

The 4 CIA men in grey 4-pieces suits wanted to know the religious sects of the communities (tribes) in North Pakistan. You have the Khowars, Kohistanis, Shinas, Torwalis, Kalamis… The Kalash is an animist tribe. The CIA felt discouraged: The further they diverted from general categories (Sunni, Chiaa..) the more impossible it became to get a good clean-cut understanding

Note 2. Have you heard of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan?

One day, Greg Mortenson was close to the borders with North Afghanistan in the town of Zuudkan when a group of Kirghiz horsemen crossed the pass of Irshad to meet with him: They got wind of Doctor Greg’s presence who build schools for girls and wanted him to visit the Wakhan Corridor.

The Wakhan Corridor is this long stretch of land, a tongue, sandwiched between Tajikistan, Pakistan, and China, where opium is trafficked and distributed to Russia and China via the passes of Irshad and Khundjerab. This is an extension of the Panjshir Valley region in north-east Afghanistan that the Taliban could not enter. The only access was through the Salang tunnel, which warlord Massoud detonated as the Taliban tried to expand northward.

Note 3: A few words in the Baltis language, an archaic Tibetan version:

Gangs-zhing: glacier

Rdo-rut: avalanche

Brad-lep: Flat rock

Kurba: small round rocks used to cook bread on

Zindabad: wonderful

Mar: rancid butter of yak milk

Gorak: Vulture

Biango: roasted chicken

Lassi: chapati

Urdwa: woolen bonnet ornated with pearls, shells, and ancient money pieces

Zamba: rope bridge in yak hair

Topi: cap in mutton wool

Nurmadhar: village chief

Balti: Central space in a house

Tchizaley? What are you doing here?

Naswar: Green tobacco for chewing

Shalval Kamiz: loose pant and long shirt (Sherwal/Qamis in Arabic)

How “Three cups of tea” generated 80 schools for little girls?

Greg Mortenson was readying on September 1993 to give the final assault to climb the second highest peak of K2 in the Baltistan district in the Karakoram region (north-east of Pakistan). The team of 10 alpinists (mount climbers) has been preparing for months for that adventure. Mortenson was to be the physician of the team: He was a graduate student in chemistry and a certified nurse and worked in the emergency sections of hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area.

Instead of taking the traditional path on the south-east opening of the team of Count Abruzzi 7 decades ago, the team of Mortenson decided to try the new path that the Japanese Eiho Otani and the Pakistani Nazir Sabir had opened 12 years ago.

Mortenson, a football player, 193 cm tall and weighting over 200 pounds, was naturally selected to be the beast of burden for carrying supplies, equipment and … to the various bases during the climb. Scot Darsney was assisting him.

The chiefs of the expedition were the veteran Daniel Mazur, Jonathan Pratt, and Etienne Fine.

After 70 days of ascent, Greg and Scott reached the base. They were arriving from a supply mission that lasted 96 hours and were about to hit the sac when they saw the distress emergency light signal on the last base (last 600 meters to climb). Etienne Fine was in bad shape with pulmonary edema due to altitude.

The two climbers tried to find volunteers from the different climbing teams on base, and ended up doing the climb on their own. Mazur and Pratt were descending from Camp 4 at 7,600 altitude and caring for Etienne.

Over 72 hours later, the Pakistani army commanded that the team carry Etienne to a lower base for the evacuation by helicopter. By the time Etienne was evacuated, Greg and Scott had used up the last of their energy and were unable to rejoin Mazur and Pratt for the final assault.

Mazur and Pratt finally made it a week later and announced their victory.

On Sept. 2, 1993, Greg and Scott were en route for yet another supply mission when Greg lost track of Scott and his helper Mouzafer Ali. All the important supplies and warm cloths were carried by Ali.

Mortenson was lost, alone and in environment not familiar to him. The next day, by hazard, Mouzafer found Greg and immediately made him drink 3 hot cups of the rancid tea with Yak butter, the local paiyu tchai.

Mouzafer Ali was a Balti who saved Greg from certain death as he got lost in the Baltoro glacier.

Mortenson again lost track of Mouzafer and ended up in the village of Korphe instead of Askole where Ali was waiting for him.

How these 3 cups of tea and the way the Nurmadhar (chief) of Korphe, Hajji Ali, treated Greg and cared for him for many weeks until Mortenson was in shape to resume his life is the story that generated over 80 schools in North Pakistan by the year 2006, and increasing steadily, to cover the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan.

As Greg was recuperating his energy in Korphe, he asked Hajji Ali to show him the village school: 82 kids and only 4 girls were studying in the open freezing air, writing on the sand, shoeless, and learning on their own: An instructor shows up twice a week to teach these kids because the regional government could not afford another single dollar per day for a second teacher… While Pakistan was pouring its wealth on the Siachen glacier to pound the Indian army for part of Kashmir.

Greg laid his hands on Hajii Ali shoulders and promised that he will build a school in Korphe…

How Mortenson started his adventure of collecting funds and establishing the Central Asia Institute is another story… to follow.

Note: Journalist David Olivier Relin wrote the book “Three cups of Tea” after recording Mortenson diaries, conversations, and pictures and witnesses

“Diaries of Homs” by Jonathan Littell

The journalist, Jonathan Littell, filled two notebooks on what he observed and witnessed during his short 3-week stay in Homs (Jan. 16-Feb. 2, 2011), a week before the regular Syrian army entered Baba Amru and the districts in the hands of the insurgents.

The Syrian Liberation Army (SLA) of the insurgents claim that 50% of its ammunition and weapons are captured from the regular army, mostly delivered by officers on their own volition in support of the revolution.

The other half is purchased on the black market, particularly in North Lebanon with predominant Sunni people allied with the Harri clan (the Mustakbal or Future movement).

And what were the prices in early 2011:

1. RPG: $2,500, including transport

2. Missile rocket for the RPG: $650 apiece

3. Kalashnikov (Russi): $1,800. The Chinese version is cheaper

4. A mortar 60 mm: $4,500

5. Shells for this mortar: $150 apiece

6. A mortar 80 mm: $7,500

Bullets 7.62 mm for machine guns were in Israeli boxes. Every round of 5 bullets is followed by a tracer.

Dochka (little soul in Russian) is a machine gun for 12.7 mm bullets and mounted on trucks…

More important. What are the various Islamic factions and movements involved in the uprising?

1. Takfiri, Jihadist, Wahhabi radical Moslems. Considered by the Syrian insurgents as “made in the USA”, financed and supported and dispatched by Saudi Arabia

2. Djamaat al Tabligh (disseminating the message and founded in India in 1926)

3. Tahrir al Akl (Freeing the mind): Is a traditional moderate Syrian-based Sunni sect

4. The Syrian Moslem Brotherhood movement: Currently with strong links with its Turkish counterpart in power. It was linked to the Egyptian movement during Sadat and was suppressed in blood in the city of Hama by late Hafez Assad in 1982.

The Syrian Moslem Brotherhood does not exist on the ground, but mainly abroad.

The insurgents in Homs were adamantly refusing any call for Jihad, on the ground that this decision will inevitably bring in all kinds of Islamic and Arabic foreign radical Moslems to join in the uprising.

The insurgents claimed that their resistance is not based on sectarian basis, though many Sunnis hated the Shia, as a generalization for hating the Islamic Republic of Iran

The insurgents claimed that the regime’s militia (The Shabbiha) were mostly from the Alawi sect of the regime and who used to blackmail people before the uprising and steeling whatever they wished to own…

The Communists are concentrated in the Edlib district in the Djebel Zawiye region, and also in Salamiyeh between Homs and Hama.

Jonathan Littell was whisked to Homs from north Lebanon and through the town of Qusayr by many intervening links and side roads. The insurgents in Homs, particularly the SLA, were not hot about welcoming foreign journalists because they added extra stress on the fragile and nascent resistance.

Jonathan Littell paid particular attention to the three clinics he was lucky to visit and witness the kinds of wounds and civilian deaths, mostly resulting from sniper shots in the chest and the head.

Last week, two dozens of Lebanese were encouraged to go and join the Syrian insurgents. The Syrian army ambushed them in the town of “Tal Kalakh”. It is reported that all of them have been killed.

The Lebanese government position is Not to interfere or intervene in Syria’s problems, but there are many political parties and political leaders who are blatantly acting against State orders, and shipping men, arms and ammunition to the Syrian rebels…

“Help enough people to get what they want…” Zig Ziglar

“Help enough people to get what they want, and you can have everything in life you wantZig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar has published a booklet, spanning 12 weeks, for noting everyday what you accomplished toward reaching 4 goals you have selected: One long-term goal and three of shorter terms.

A goal’s purpose is to 1) direct attention, 2) create effort, 3) affect persistence, and 4) extends task-relevant knowledge and strategies to the problem at hand…

Change comes:

1. in small steps

2. in consistent effort

3. within group support

The entire purpose of this booklet is to feel that you are guided in this journey for success. And basically, the process is that you will change on the way, to become a better person. However, nowhere in the many quotations, there are included anything related to feeling or empathy or valuing emotions.

For example, (and I can’t help it Not to edit sentences my way):

1. The deeper your belief in your goal, the higher your success story can reach

2. Take your eyes off your goal, if you care to look at obstacles (Isn’t a prescription for a pretty lonely path?)

3. Failure is an event, Not a person. (Erect a totem for every failure)

4. Only you can use your potential (With all the support you will need?)

5. You can’t pay (upfront) for success: You’ll have to make payment everyday

6. Only you can stop your goal permanently: Don’t blame it on external causes (What if you become handicapped, can’t you delegate the goal for those you trained as leaders?)

7. We all enjoy 24-hour a day: lack of direction, Not lack of time, is the problem

8. Be, do, and have

9. Dependability is critical: Ability may be overrated

10. Opportunity for success is in the person, Not in the job

11. Quality of life is in the commitment to excellence in whatever we undertake

12. Success is a personal standard: What you set is what you get. (Sweet, better not believe yourself superman)

13. Yearning power is more important than earning power (once you set your goal in motion?)

14. Price of success is much lower than the price of failure

15. The more frequently you express gratitude for what you have, the more you’ll have to express gratiude for

16. The better you manage yourself, the better you can lead others

17. (A meaningful specialist is a purposeful wandering generalist. My distortion)

18. Duty do things well. Love do things beautifully

19. Are you trading what you want most, for what you want now? (The typical story of unhappy life? And who is this lunatic who knows what he want most?)

20. The business is right, as long as your thinking is right (And who is to say what is right in your thinking?)

21. You know you are successful from the bites taken out of you. (Many got bitten bad, and they are nowhere close to success…)

22. Do ordinary task in an extraordinary way: Doing anything with love will assure you an extraordinary future…

23. The job of motivation is to train your habit in order to get where you want to be

24. The Job of Rules is to teach you how to set examples (Supposing that the rules are humanly acceptable, safe, and do not rob you from reflective judgment…?)

25. Action changes emotions: Don’t count on logic

26. You have got to learn to see yourself a winner: If you care to win (That is how dictators see themselves?)

27. Integrity in failure is the most potent persuasive of tools

28. Can’t produce leaders? You are not one

29. Never make a promise you can’t deliver on.

30. Delivering on a promise requires good planning and strong support system

31. Excellence is a mindset

32. Work for Progress, Not Perfection (Let your support system perfect what you have started?)

33. A decision without a deadline is a meaningless discussion

34. Have a visible target: You can’t hit a target you can’t see…

Note: From Seth Godin

My teacher Zig Ziglar died this morning. He was 86.

Thanks for teaching me how to sell and why it mattered.

Thanks for reminding me how much it mattered to care.

Thanks for telling us a 15-minute story about Johnny the Shoe Shine Genius, so compelling that I flew to the airport just to meet him.

Thanks for 72 hours of audiotapes, listened to so many times I wore out the cassettes twice.

Thanks for that one day we spent backstage together in Milwaukee.

Thanks for making goal setting so clear.

Thanks for elevating the art of public speaking, and making it personal, not something to be copied.

Thanks for believing in us, the people you almost never met in person, for supporting us with your voice and your stories and your enthusiasm.

Thanks for teaching so many people, people who will continue to remember you and to teach as well.

You’ll be missed.




January 2021

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