Adonis Diaries

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“Two or three things that I know about…” Part two

Sabine de Bustros and Loris Moutran had a bunch of questions.

For two years, they interviewed 28 French personalities whom they never met before, and gathered their responses.  This part include samples of answers.

1  If the night could say a word?

2  What is eternity?

3  If you were an echo?

4  If you were a gesture?

5  What cannot be communicated?

6  What is fear?

7  What do you watch alone?

8  What you could never forget?

9  How do you negotiate with the unknown?

10 You are a tear drop: Where do you stop?

11 You are a caress: Where do you land?

12 What is sadness?

13 What is smile?

14 What is an emotion?

15 What silence holds?

16 What cannot be grabbed?

17 What is the impossible?

18 What is not logical?

19 Any use for the redundant?

20 What is beauty?

21 What is decency?

22 What is leaving?

23 What is your noise?

24 What give eternity to emotions?

25 What gesture for sadness?

26 If pain was a location: Where would it be?

27 If soul could give a kiss: Where would it be given?

28 If tears could form a sentence?

29 What is the Hour of the moon?

30 What is the gift of autumn?

31 What is a terrible love?

32 What is the sound of solitude?

33 If you were an error, a mistake?

34 What season describes best?

35 What mark would you leave?

36 Ask a single question to God

37 What book you like to be?

38 What fictitious love affair you like to have?

39 Where is your ideal  stopover?

40 What is an instant?

41 What’s the origin of solitude?

42 What is your preferred dance?

43 Your preferred water?

44 Preferred light?

45 Preferred rhythm?

46 preferred work of art?

47 Preferred Word?

48 Space you would hate to fill?

49 If you were a lie?

50 Is fire a beginning or an end?

51 If you were a form?

52 A question most revealing about you?

53 In what shape should God appear?

54 A single reason to selling your soul?

55 What would you suppress or delete if you were immortal?

56 What is induced sadness?

57 The single fear you would like to confront?

58 What in life is never anticipated?

59 What justify the truth of a word?

60 What word is as powerful as a storm?

61 The music of your life?

62 How to be reincarnated?

63 The difference between destiny and fatality

64 Name your prime emotion

65 What God should know?

66 A compliment that destabilizes you?

67 Time is a wheel or a stage?

68 Is life a question or an answer?

69 Would you build in space or in time?

70 What would you introduce as a preamble?

71 What is your own question?

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Comparing election law alternatives for Lebanon’s Parliamentary election (in 2014)

Note: Mind you that this article was written in 2014.

Since then 17 alternative laws have been presented and none of them were discussed in Parliament, with the tacit intention of renewing their mandate without any election. This parliament renewed their tenure twice and is about to renew it for a few more months.

This year 2017 is witnessing the same process in order Not to change the law. Apparently, a form of proportional is becoming inevitable, though the districts are meant to retain the old feudal and militia leaders.

The new season and collection of political headlines is out in Lebanon, and this year’s theme is the electoral law.

It is all we can read and hear about these days no matter where we turn; national TV, newspapers, facebook, twitter, bakeries, and even coffee shops.

Let’s try to go through our different options together and objectively determine what law to support.

Law-Proposals

In case you are not familiar with the terms, simple majority means winner takes all.

while proportional representation means you get a seat if your support is just the right size (If small politicians do not support proportional representation then they are not small… they are micro).

The above presents five proposals with coalitions, the government, and independent politicians pushing and shoving for one over the other.

The only thing that is common, and that all our politicians practically agree on, is to keep the sectarian division. This means the Parliament is divided based on religious representation.

Some politicians might claim one proposal is “more sectarian” than the other, but that is just because they will lose a couple of seats in Parliament, not because of their ideals.

The sad truth is that the politicians today are negotiating the results of the elections. They are simply re-dividing the seats among each other and negotiating the distribution of power in Lebanon.

Most voters will continue to vote for the same leader they have been voting for during the past couple of decades.

What we are looking at is a simple game of rotating thrones between lords. The only difference is that we have more than 30 lords seeking the throne, and the Realm is one twelfth the size of New York State.

(Actually, only 5 leaders are deciding of everything in Lebanon. Once they agree, the process follow through)

So to answer the question I posed in the beginning of the article on which electoral law to choose, my answer is none.

I refuse to enter a selection process that is completely separated from the notion of freedom.

I will not wait for the results of the brokered deal to know how free the electoral law will make me. I am free today by making my own choices based on my reason, emotions, and beliefs.

I choose to do what is right for me and for the people in my society. That is the electoral law I will support.

Cedric Choukeir is the regional director of the the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa.

Controversy engulfs Oscar-nominated Palestine documentary

Oscar-nominated “5 Broken Cameras” has become a source of controversy among this year’s Oscar nominations, following Israel’s apparent appropriation of ownership in the wake of its nomination in the Best Feature-Length Documentary category.

The film collects together years’ worth of footage of demonstrations surrounding the struggle of the Palestinian villagers of Bilin, near the West Bank apartheid wall, which Palestinian film maker Emad Burnat originally collected together for Electronic Intifada.

Immediately following the film’s nomination, Burnat issued a statement saying:  “This is one of the happiest moments of my life.

Chris Newbould posted on Jan 28, 2013 in Middle East digital production

The village of Bilin is celebrating because of international support of my film. As a child I remember watching the Oscars on TV … I don’t recall seeing films about Palestine, the occupation or our struggles. Times have changed.”

It wasn’t long before the situation became more complicated.

Almost immediately following the nomination, the Israeli press, as well as sections of the US media, began referring to the film as an ‘Israeli’ one, with even the Israeli Embassy in Washington describing it as such when Tweeting its delight at the film’s nomination.

Burnat, unsurprisingly, disagreed, stating on his Facebook page that the film is a: “Palestinian film … My story, my village story, my people’s story, seven years I was working on the film.

Certainly the subject matter is hardly one you would expect Israel to be queueing up to applaud in the absence of an Oscar nomination, but things become yet more complicated as the film did indeed receive Israeli funding, as well as Palestinian and French funding, and also had two directors – Burnat himself, and Israeli co-director Guy Davidi.

Davidi seems to have attempted to play down the furor,  conceding that the film is both Palestinian and Israeli, and stating that he does not feel films should come with citizenship.

Indeed, technically the film’s citizenship should be of no relevance in this case.

It has not been nominated in the ‘Foreign Film’ categories, so no origin needs attaching to it for Oscar purposes, while both the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions National Committee have confirmed it is not boycottable under their own regulations, which do not require the boycotting of artists who receive Israeli funding, providing their work is independent from the will of the Israeli state and government.

However, it seems the battle lines over ownership of the film have well and truly been drawn now, and indeed Burnat was quoted recently by a journalist at Australia’s Middle east News Service as saying: “If Israel continues to state that it is an Israeli film, I will pull the film from the Oscars. If Academy awards organizers would present Five Broken Cameras as an Israeli film – I won’t not there … all said and done it’s a Palestinian film. It was filmed here and presents the story of the village.

People in Bil’in say ‘we made a film that documents a seven years’ struggle to remove fence, and in the end you go to Israel and hand them over a gift?’ On the street they do not understand what is a co-production.”

The story seem set to run and run right up to the Oscar’s and beyond”.

The point is that this is not in a category where the national origin of the film is an issue, like in the Foreign Film category. For the Israelis to go around saying this is an “Israeli” production while in fact it is a Palestinian film about the struggle of a Palestinian village against Israel is total hypocrisy meant basically to steal the film’s thunder.

Note: The interview on CNN of Palestinian film maker Emad Burnat https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/five-broken-cameras-film-director-speaks-up-on-cnn-who-is-emad-burnat/

 

“Purge” by Sofi Oksanen

Zara was born in Vladivostok, on the farthest eastern Russia’s port, facing Japan. She lived with her mother Linda and grandmother Ingel, originally from Estonia and who were purged and transferred to Siberia and then let free after Stalin died.

Grandma Ingel favorite position is sitting by a window and watching the Big Bear constellation.

Zara is planning to go to medical school but cannot afford it. Her school friend Oksanka stopped by in a Black Volga and accompanied by two body guards. Oksanka is wearing a fox coat with the fox head dangling on one side of her shoulder and transparent silk socks, and looking totally gorgeous and luxurious. Oksanka gave Zara expensive brochures on luxury hotels and the promise of plenty of money to reap in Germany, working as waitress.

Before leaving Vladivostok, grandmother gave Zara an old picture of the two sisters Ingel and Aliide, 5 years younger than Ingel. The address of the house in also extended so that Zara might pay a visit and check who is now living in the country house, since Estonia is close to Germany.

Zara was working as sex slave in Germany and handled by Pacha and Lavrenti. These two mafioso are Russians, and Lavrenti is an ex-KGB. Zara is taken to Tallinn, Capital of Estonia, for its booming business in casinos and illegal trades.

Zara managed to run away and ended up in a pitiful condition in the garden of a house facing a majestic forest.

Alliide or Liide is not hot to step out and coming to the aid of this wretched girl: Many incidences of girls bating homes to get inside and valueing what can be stolen are frequent now. And old Allide lives alone.

Zara is permitted to have a hot bath and to sleep over.

The next day, Zara faked that her picture of the two sisters fell from the paint paper in the kitchen and asked more information. Liide didn’t show interest in the picture and falsely claimed that her older sister had stolen from the community farm kolkhoz and was dispatched to Russia in punishment, and that she has no idea where she is…

Engel and Hans were deeply in love, married and had Linda who gave birth to Zara. And Aliide was too jealous of this happy couple.

Aliide had done everything to have Engel out-of-the-way so that she keeps Hans close by, all for herself. (That’s the story to follow)

A couple of days later, the two mafioso parked in front of the house. Aliide hide Zara in the storage room behind a cupboard in the kitchen, the same hiding place where Aliide sustained Hans (the husband of Ingel) for many years from the eyes of the Soviet secret services.

The mafioso started interrogating Aliide faking to be police officers and after a girl who assassinated a person and is highly dangerous. They informed Aliide who are the parents of Zara and Aliide is now wondering about the real purpose of Zara, landing on her garden, and the reality of the two sisters picture she showed her… But Aliide got confirmed on the girl real frightened condition, running away from these criminals, particularly that they were wearing black leather coats and long boots that were used by secret services.

The two finally left on the understanding that they’ll be back the next day if Aliide heard anything from the neighborhood.

The next day, Aliide was ready and shot the two mafioso with the same gun of Hans.

The mafioso carried the passport of Zara and plenty of cash money, and Zara was sent in a taxi to Tallinn and from there to Vladivostok.

Aliide sat down and wrote a letter to her sister Ingel and informed her that she can come back and resume the procedures for getting back the land and forest of the family…

Meanwhile, Aliide is planning to have the house burned down as she is lying down in the storage room, where Hans, her impossible love, had made to suffocate to death…

This is not the story of Zara, Linda, or Ingel or sex slave…. This is the story of Aliide Truu. To be continued.

Note 1: This book was translated to French and was selected as the 2010 Prize of the Readers (Prix des Lecteurs)

Note 2: Follow-up review https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/i-wont-go-to-tallinn-ingel-would-have-added-more-salt-to-the-sauce-book-review/

Note 3: Short history of tiny State of Estonia

The Hanseatic trade started in the 12th century and the Porte-Glave Knights from Germany Catholisized this country in the 13th century.

The Christian Orthodox,led by Alexander Nevski confronted the Catholics in a battle on Lake Peipsi and the borders were stabilized between the two Christian sects.

Sweden occupied Estonia in the 17th century and Peter the Great of Russia supplanted the Swedes in the 18th century after finally defeating them in Narva.

Slavery was abolished in 1810 and Russian institutions were implanted as of 1885.

Estonia proclaimed its independence in 1918 from Russia after the Bolshevik October revolution and the flag Blue-Black-White was replaced.

Between February and November of 1918, Germany occupied Estonia and vacated after its defeat in WWI

Feb. 1920 witnessed the signing of Tartu Peace Treaty with Soviet Russia and a new constitution was adopted on June 1920.

Estonia became a member of The League of Nations in 1921 and the Communist party was banished.

By the end of 1939 and after a deal with Nazi Germany, Russia entered Estonia and the Germanophiles were repatriated to Germany, and a massive wave of immigration to the USA and western Europe took place. Estonia was declared a Socialist Soviet State in 1940.

The massive deportation to Siberia started in earnest in 1941.

On July 1941 and through 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Estonia and another wave of immigration began. The Jew preferred to go to Russia on the border.

Russia reoccupied Estonia in 1944 and another massive immigration was on its way, especially to Finland. A national resistance was waged in the forests under the “Brothers of the Forest” movement

!945 witnessed forced massive immigration of Russians to Estonia in order to control this country effectively.

1949, another massive wave of deportation to Siberia of Estonians and the massive collectivization of farms till 1952.

From 1956 to 62,and under Krutchev,  massive returns of Estonian deportees to Russia

In 1988, the Supreme Soviet proclaimed the sovereignty of Estonia

Estonia is a member of the UN in 1991 and a new constitution is adopted in 1992.

The last Russian troops vacate Estonia in 1994.

You may rape and then kill your daughter, and just be fined half the amount: Saudi Arabia

Saudi preacher, Fayhan Ghamdi, gets fine and short jail term for raping and killing his 5 year-old daughter

Posted on RT this Feb. 3, 2013 (received this link on FB by Andrew Bossone via Arwa Gaballa)

Public anger has gripped Saudi Arabia after a prominent preacher who raped and beat to death his 5-year-old daughter. Fayhan Ghamdi was sentenced to a few months in jail and a $50,000 fine – known as ‘blood money’ – to compensate the victim’s relatives.

­According to Islamic law, the ‘blood money’ can be paid in lieu of the death penalty. The preacher’s fine was reportedly half the usual amount because the victim was a girl.

Saudi preacher Fayhan Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Muslim TV networks, confessed to using cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, AFP reported, quoting activists from the group ‘Women to Drive.’

Ghamdi reportedly doubted that his daughter, Lama Ghamdi, was a virgin, and forced her to undergo a medical inspection.

Image from facebook.com @We-are-supporting-Manal-Alsharif claims to show Fayhan Ghamdi

Do you care to take a look at this pork? Image from facebook.com @We-are-supporting-Manal-Alsharif claims that this person is Fayhan Ghamdi

In December 2011, Lama was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, and extensive bruising and burns, according to the activist group.

Hospital worker Randa Kaleeb said that the girl’s back was broken, and that she had been raped “everywhere.”

Lama al-Ghamdi (Screenshot from youtube.com) Lama al-Ghamdi (Screenshot from youtube.com)

­The hospital told the victim’s mother that her child’s “rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed,” AFP reported on Saturday.

In October 2012, the girl died from her injuries.

The following November, the father was arrested. The judge ruled that the blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment,” activists reported.

The incident sparked public anger in Saudi Arabia, prompting an online Twitter campaign calling for more severe punishment for violence against women and children.

The ‘Women to Drive’ campaign, launched by women’s rights activist Manal Sharif, has demanded the creation of legislation that would criminalize violence against women and children.

The petition is circulating on Twitter under the hashtag ‘Ana Lama’ – “I am Lama” in Arabic.

The issue has gained widespread traction in Saudi Arabia, and authorities promised to set up a 24-hour hotline that will take calls regarding child abuse.

 

I’m  bored. Quick, Fresh Money

An Act I play

Lord Edward Campbell and his wife Lady Victorine are sitting in the reading room, a fire roaring in the traditional fireplace. Victorine is leisurely flipping delicately a fashion magazine.

Edward has dusted off an old volume, red leathered cover, and sitting tight, legs resting on a cushion, and meticulously lighting his pipe.

Apparently, Edward is not coming to term to start reading. Victorine looks sideways at her husband.

Victorine: Dear, I have been noticing that you were not yourself lately. Any bother?

Edward: You’re quite perceptive dear. It is my impression that any promotion is not forthcoming any time soon.

Victorine: Oh my! Those nasty budget cuts have long arms. The cuts attained the hard working professionals in the foreign office, the best in the kingdom, I hear say…

Edward: My impressionof this predicament  has preceded the budget cut frenzy for a couple of years. And I have my idea on the causes for my tacit demotion in the eyes of the higher ups.

Victorine: Do you mean that you are ready to open up to me dear? Frankly, I barely can wait any longer. Our friends have been murmuring on our feet-dragging for receiving guests…

Edward: Do you recall that evening we had dinner with Lord Gordon three years ago?

Victorine: I surely can recall this lovely evening. It was quite an eye opener and the frank communication on this “double moral standard” that is practiced within the aristocratic institutional circles… Something in that direction, I guess…

Edward: It was pretty much an easy going conversation. Expressing our opinions and openly divulging our emotions that got me in hot water…

Victorine: As I can remember, Lord Gordon told stories of his own kinds of double moral standard practices in the Exchequer circles. Am I wrong?

Edward: All higher up in institutions have variations on these practices, and the extent of talking about.

Victorine: Do I surmise that the foreign office is far more tighter on these stories, keep them under lid outside the circle?

Edward: You see, the trouble comes for telling our stories in the privacy of our homes. At work, we are entitled to express all our scorns and doubts and concerns… An attitude that never tarnish obeying orders and following guidelines…

Victorine: Am I to understand that the moral standard at work is an institution of its own and barely can be reformed or modified?

Edward: What I learned since my tacit demotion is that we must keep at work the details of moral standards accepted at work, and never transfer it outside the premises. This attitude is categorized under State Secret interests

Victorine: And at home, only home moral standards are to be discussed?

Edward: It is agreed upon in the circle that this a good pragmatic scheme that is very feasible to maneuver around for the types of people hired in the foreign office. Still, there are occasions whee it becomes too hard not to rebel against what is obviously a blatant tyranical and hypocritical situation to handle, day in, day out. There are conditions that make us fail to put the lid on these stories…

Victorine: Am I getting the hint that the institution denied you jobs that imposes you Not to make improper decisions, until further notice, ever since it got wind of your babbling during that dinner?

Edward: I like your witty a clever innuendos, your interpretation of matters. Actually, it took me more than a month to realize that I was considered not of a character, strong enough to juggle and withstand two moral standards. Practically, you are correct…

Victorine: Do you feel relieved that you were saved from making obnoxious decisions? Are you more comfortable not being obligated to deal with confounding emotional equilibrium?

Edward: I cannot but miss the good old time when I were welcomed in this vicious circle of authority figures. It was a convincing motto: “What is good for the Crown is good for the British citizens”

Victorine: This is a normal behavior: Frankly, it is hard to change after two decades of getting into a certain habit…

Edward: It is not necessarily a matter of seeking higher pay checks.  It is not easy to be carted out of exquisite privileges of this bad elite club.  There was this palpable sentiment that “All is legitimate and commendable as long as you are a member of an institution of old traditions and customs

Victorine: Are you referring to the elite clubs of old money or old aristocracy?

Edward: They are the same elite clubs and interchangeable.

Victorine: I was under the impression that the clubs of old money are behind maintaining the behavior of two moral standards in our Empire…

Edward: The difficulty is that the clubs of old money are frequently in a state of boredom and badly need fresh excitements, which can only be satisfied by constant infusion of fresh money

Victorine: Fresh money? Why? I thought they had plenty of money to go around in philanthropic associations…

Edward: They do have plenty of money and this kind of money is tied up in well-oiled business cycles. The old money is already codified, legalized, cleaned, and transferred within formal and expected disbursement. This old club has difficulty dipping into the old  and stable money without getting into risky investigations of “where did you get all that money in the first place…”

Victorine: And where are the sources of fresh money?

Edward: Mostly, fresh money comes from overseas, from shady governments in developing countries that still rely on their former colonial powers to cover up their oligarchic business dealings

Victorine: You mean like casinos, sex slave, illegal weapon shipments…

Edward: Those business are peanuts. The old money hit the jackpot when a few of the old mandated States have vast oil reserves and the oligarchy wants most of the money to be transferred to their own accounts, in countries like in Guinea Equatorial, Gabon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia…

Victorine: And extraction of diamond, gold…

Edward: The interesting raw materials that old money invest in are uranium, copper, tin, heavy metals… any material used in technology and aerospace industries, just to keep a military edge… The basic interests of the military and old money cannot be dissociated…

Victorine: Do you feel my dear that a cultural change is overtaking the foreign office?

Edward: Fundamentally, I may say never. The Office is getting more sensitive to public outcry and is gearing up to a wave of public soft announcements that would appease the citizens. Mind you, direct mandated power is over and it is no longer a la mode.

Victorine: I am thinking of testing your approach

Edward: What do you mean?

Victorine: How about inviting to dinner the personal secretary to the minister, or someone very close to him personally who is known to immediately relay the discussion?

Edward: And exacerbate my situation?

Victorine: I think this is kind of targetting two bird in one dinner. If nothing changes in your position then we have tried. Most likely, you might be elevated to send the right message in the circles, for a while. And the other benefit is that you may revert to your normal self: dealing comfortably with double moral standards…

No jail time for killing 24 Iraqi civilians: Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich

How does one accused of murder of 24 civilians, many unarmed women & children, plead guilty and serve no jail time?

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich plead guilty to negligent dereliction of duty, and confessed his responsibility for the slayings of 24 Iraqi civilians, and expressed remorse to the victims’ families during his sentencing hearing… And yet…

Tony Perry published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 25, 2012:

“Wuterich pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty; in exchange, manslaughter, assault and other dereliction charges were dropped.

In a strong, clear voice Tuesday, he addressed the court and the family members of the 24 Iraqis, including three women and seven children, killed by Marines in his squad.

‘Words cannot express my sorrow for the loss of your loved ones,’ Wuterich said. ‘I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain.’

As the squad leader, Wuterich ordered his Marines ‘to shoot first, ask questions later’ as they stormed two houses on Nov. 19, 2005: A  roadside bomb had killed one Marine and injured two others.

‘When my Marines and I cleared those houses that day, I responded to what I perceived as a threat. And my intention was to eliminate that threat in order to keep the rest of my Marines alive,” Wuterich said.

“So when I told my team to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,’ the intent wasn’t that they would shoot civilians, it was that they would not hesitate in the face of the enemy.'”

 Lt. Col. David Jones said he had planned to recommend 90 days in the brig — the maximum as requested by the prosecution — but that the plea bargain approved by Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser had called for no jail time.

“It’s difficult for the court to fathom negligent dereliction of duty worse than the facts in this case,” Jones told Wuterich.

Wuterich, 31, was the last of eight Marines charged in the Haditha killings to have his case resolved. Six had the charges against them dropped, and one Marine was acquitted.

The lack of trial convictions in the Haditha case is likely to further inflame anti-U.S. sentiment in Iraq, as well as fuel criticism by some legal analysts of the 6-year-long investigation and prosecution.

A Marine Corps spokesman said Waldhauser would offer no public explanation of his decision to accept the plea bargain and stipulate that Wuterich receive no jail time.

A doctrine of military law says that “the conviction can be seen as the punishment,” Jones noted to jurors at the beginning of the court-martial proceedings.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/25/local/la-me-haditha-20120125

Note: The announcement by Lt. Col. David Jones came after Wuterich took responsibility during his sentencing hearing at Camp Pendleton for the killings in the Euphrates River town of Haditha and expressed remorse to the victims’ families.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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