Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘library

Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon: Re-opening of the Phares Zogbi library
On Saturday, February 29, the Cultural Foundation of Phares Zogbi library invited its readers to attend a formal re-opening ceremony.
Last year, St. Joseph University delayed appointing a manager to the library after Rita Zogbi opened her own business “Baby Steps“.
The faculty of law and political sciences at the University of Saint-Joseph announced the re-opening of the library of the Cultural Foundation of Phares Zoghbi.
Located in Kornet Chehwan, this former private library, turned over to be the university to become a public library, has a multi-disciplinary resources of over 50,000 manuscripts, mostly in French and Arabic.
The library is opened every day (Monday to Friday) from 8:30 to 4 pm and from 9 to 3 pm on Saturday. And Maha is the new administrator.
The inauguration started at 11 am and a delicious buffet was served after 3 people talked for the audience, mostly women and representative of the various local schools (responsible for their respective libraries and “research”).  I was practically the only male, besides the chairman of the university.
Maitre Zoghbi, over 96 of age and on a wheel chair, made the honor of “walking”  in.  In a couple of days was his birthday, and a birthday cake was presented to him.
Maitre Phares was feeling emotional, and for every figure he “thought” was familiar he would hide his face and cry bitterly.
The speakers learned to talk to Maitre Zoghbi instead of facing the audience: Otherwise, Phares would have a loud chat with his neighbor: He is hard of hearing.
Last year, Sherifeh opened one morning (every 2 Saturdays) so that we could return and borrow books.
In the inauguration photo below, I am at the far left side. Phares Zoghbi is in the center. On his right is the chairman of the university and on his left the Dean of the Law School.
Article paru dans l'Orient du Samedi 8 mars
Article paru dans l’Orient du Samedi 8 mars

Part-time jobs within campus; (Ch. #38)


I was denied any kinds of scholarship in my first semester (1985) and my saved money ($5,000) had evaporated by the second semester.

In the second semester I received a quarter time scholarship that enabled me to pay tuitions at the same rate as US students. My scholarship was raised to half-time the next year. 

Throughout my PhD program, I had to work on at least three part-time jobs, at minimum wages inside campus by regulation, to make ends meet:  I could not earn a residence status to work outside the perimeter of the campus. Not many foreign students cared about these mean limiting laws, but I was raised to obey the law!

I used to wake up at 4 a.m. to start my first job cleaning libraries and class rooms, buffeting the floor, vacuum cleaning the sofas and on. I then rushed to attend a few classes, and off to serve lunch in banquets of hundreds of persons… I tried to study some more and then back to the main library in the evening to dumping the waste baskets, cleaning the restrooms before it closes at midnight.  I had to keep clean from trash four ultra vast floors of the university. A clean space for the students to have a proper place to study and chat:  The Students job was to dirty the floors again and again.

Other “sanitation engineer” employees would make the round once before closing; I did more than two rounds.  I had a kernel in the library to study in isolation, but I mostly used that tiny quarter for moments of solitude.  In addition to all these menial chores, I had to correct and grade countless homework and exams to satisfy the requisite hours for my scholarship.

The worst part was that I was excluded from the exciting projects that I applied for, of grants received by my department from companies. Most of the time, I was denied access to projects under the pretense of military or security credentials. For example, operation and quantifying the capabilities of jet pilots, or the control and displays in the redesigned new Ford motor series.    

I had attempted twice to present proposals not in the line of my advisor’s wishes, until he finally gave me an ultimatum to do according to his directives because he would no longer extend any grants.  I thus worked hard for a semester on his project that was related to safety and risk perception within a make-shift experimental chemistry lab environment. 

I have to mention that the company contracted by the university to publish dissertations sent me a letter stating that there is a page lacking and it needed corroboration or correction and I was no longer in the mood of handling anything related to my dissertation. 

I had paid over $100 for my dissertation to be published and for a copy left in the main library. All that I know is that I borrowed money to officially graduate, and I paraded in my gown, taken pictures and my diploma handed to me by my advisor.  Enough was enough. 

The light at the end of the tunnel was barely visible and my Golgotha road was just starting.

I experienced all kinds of part-time jobs after graduating PhD in Industrial engineering: Working at all kinds of fast food chains, all kinds of small and large restaurants, facilities for the elderly persons…

My dad had sent me a letter telling me that Maitre Emile Bejjani managed to reserve a position for me at the AUB in Beirut, but this harrowing and grueling period for graduating forced me to shun academic positions for years. 

I recall that I filled the application to the AUB but didn’t send it: I had to experience life in the USA a little more, and get my fill of humiliations and indignities. 

You want happiness? Manage your nerves. (November, 10, 2008)


There are three ways to burn energy; on your nerves, your muscles and your brain cells.  I knew subconsciously that the first way is my nemesis which siphoned every drop of energy from me.  Almost 60 years later or until last year I realized that my decisions were guiding me to be relieved of jobs and activities that were nerve consuming.  I focus now on works that require physical and mental activities.  Yes, I hate regular money earning jobs; the thought of a regular job repulse me.  I am working 16 hours a day and do not feel that tired.  I work my garden, I read, write, review books, and publish on  I drive within a couple of miles from home, no traffic jams, no time wasted on the roads, no hard looks, no internal jockeying politics, no orders to receive from redundant bosses, and no forced meetings.  I pay visits three mornings a week a nearby public library; it is very quiet; I am the only fool to patronize libraries; I read all kinds of new manuscripts and magazines and borrow books too.  The library has a nice almost wild garden and Rita or Mary offer me Nescafe with cookies. 

The general impression around me is that I am useless and that I have wasted my life and didn’t make good use of my professional learning or potentials within the paradigm of the fast pace dictum.  I certainly ended up without money, I didn’t build a house and I didn’t marry but finally I have happiness in my heart. So far, I am inclined to believe that I will get my daily bread. One day, I was totally broke and then I won $1000 in the lotto; I paid my yearly fees to the library and my dues to the Order of Engineers and thus secured my health insurance. Once, I needed to submit to a surgery and I asked wealthy contractor money to cover the extra expenses; I didn’t even say it would be a loan or promised to return the money; I just needed the money and I got it.

I wake up early happy, I work in the tiny garden happy, I read happy and I write happy.  I take naps and enjoy my night sleep.  I realized that what I read I didn’t know, what I knew made sense, what made sense are now part of me and I write about all that and disseminate it.  I am no recluse by choice: when I am invited for a hiking trip or an almost free night out then I am ready; I do enjoy a change in the environment and mingling and observing people.

The saddest part is that I feel sad about the people surrounding me who think that I am miserable and might not be a pleasant company to be around because I don’t care for a regular job and cannot afford to go out.  All this is happening when I feel much more open minded and that sharing my joy with a knowing companion or a friend with free time to spend then it would triple my joy!  The problem is that the process of finding a companion should be a nerve wracking endeavor and the odds of her sharing my “lethargic” happy state are pretty slim.  Heck, if I was in the tripling business in the first place I would have committed suicide after the latest Wall Street crash!




June 2023

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