Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘writing

Focusing on “Ideas in action”: TEDxBeirut 2012

Ideas? Who cares about ideas?

Ideas are all over the place, space and time.

They are the same ideas: edited, reformulated, updated, new terms replacing “outdated” terminologies

They are the same ideas: One generation emulate the trend or fashion to discredit sets of ideas as non valid for the period, paradigm shifts in a few disciplines, ideas too general and not accounting for the reality of discovered idiosyncrasies…

And the next generation dust off many discredited ideas and programs, and adopt them as very relevant to the period and time…

Archives are packed with all kinds of worthy ready-to apply projects and ideas that nobody was assigned to take on the responsibility of following through, of selecting teams to consider as the ideas as theirs and take the plunge of transforming valid and detailed ideas into socially pertinent applications…

Ideas? Almost every week I have gorgeous well-developed ideas, a few I took the trouble to post in the category “Daydream projects”…

And who read projects and programs?

TEDx annual event in the Near East (Palestine in Ramallah, and Lebanon in Beirut) have shifted perceptibly from the realm of ideas to the pragmatic direction: What is useful and badly needed are the discovery of teams and associations grabbing ideas suited for the region and communities and transforming them into tangible projects.

The thousands of people who are familiar with the countless speakers of TED might have realized that the ideas thrown around are basically Ideas generated by elite classes of billionaires, trying to disseminate a new ideology of “Reformed” elite classes, reaching for the other less fortunate classes around the world…in order to develop mental capabilities?

Ideas, there are plenty and can be gathered in shovelful.

There are thousands of ideas and detailed projects in archives in all government ministers around the world and in companies. And there are a few bold and determined persons who are dusting off these files and retrieving a few of these ideas that are still very much “modern” and readily applicable…

TEDx Beirut 2012 adopted the theme: “All we need is…”

In the case of Lebanon, we actually need almost everything to make our daily life barely sufferable: From potable water reaching homes, electricity, affordable heading fuel, non-contaminated imported food, trustworthy imported medications, managing refugees (Palestinians and recently Syrians by the hundred of thousands), managing safe and sane prison systems, reforming the judicial system, passing legislations for civil marriage…

Just your basic needs: We have to leave out the fundamental problems, a long laundry list of political and social reforms, sitting in drawers since 1943…

TEDxBeirut 2012 was hoping to focus on solutions rather than the problems, as if the problems have already been identified, clarified, discussed, and agreed upon for resolution…

And how can you focus on solutions for problems not seen as problems by many communities?

What we need are varieties of opportunities, created and facilitated by private  associations, organizations and public institutions…

What is needed are options for possibilities to grow and gather people around definite feasible projects, tailor-made to Lebanon and the Near-East conditions

From limitation to Inspirations“?

How to inspire the Lebanese into associating into teams, and focusing on specific pragmatic projects and programs that the society badly needs and take a life of their own…

Ideas, there are plenty of ideas.

And focusing just on ideas within the domain of new technologies is plainly an elitist idea, which can be afforded by the elite classes around the world.

Elites conversing with elites and letting the common people share and bask in their glorious ideas

Unconsciously, TEDxBeirut reversed this trend: MOST of the speakers had no new ideas and what I observed is a refreshing new direction of discovering “Ideas in action”…

Many speakers have moved to applying older ideas and constituting associations and organizations in order to realize good ideas that their time has come.

The speakers were:

1. Sareen Akharjalian: Created an online comic called “Ink On The Side”

2. Amal al Dahouk is a marketing manager at Exeed and a blogger

3. Hani Asfour is an architect specializing in design of workspaces at Polypod (

4. Loryn Atoui is founder of One Wig Stand for providing wigs to cancer patients (

5. Jana Bou Reslan is in Educational PhD program and teaches at La Sagesse Univ. Her coming project is a book “I are, We am: Beyond Oneness”.  (

6. Farid Chehab is advisor to the board of leo Burnett MENA and an author “A bet for a national conscience”. I overheard that he is the representative of the owners of luxury hotels and resort complexes in order to secure plenty of water for them…

7. Rabih el Chaer is managing director of Lebanon Transparency Association, such as advising on rule of laws, public affairs programs, and media… (

8. Esraa Haidar founded a marketing firm Consult-E Market and keep a blog on the topic of veiled women (

9. Marjorie Henningsen is experienced in mathematics education and Educational Reform, curriculum and Instruction… Co-founded Wellspring Learning Community (

10. Zeina Saab founded The Nawaya Network dedicated to developing hidden potentials for at-risk youth (

11. Imad Saoud is an “Aquatic scientists” with emphasis on coastal reef ecology. The talk is to optimize usage of water, both fresh and salty, in order to feed growing population (See note)

12. Suzanne Talhouk founded the association “Fe3l Amr” (Verb order) and advises media associations

13. Salim Zwein talked on the usage of Thorium as a cheap, clean, efficient and abundant source of energy to replace uranium…

Note 1: Prof. Charles el Achi, director of NASA/Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Lab, paid a visit and briefly talked on team building for the Mars landing of Rover Curiosity.

Note 2:

Note 3: In the next 40 years, we expect to add two billion people to the world, and the amount of freshwater in the world is not increasing…
So how are we going to feed these extra 2 billion people?
With the same drop of water we have cleaned the cow shed, produced energy, produced duckweed, farmed fish and irrigated our crop.
Now this is how you feed two billion people if you do not have much water.”
If each Lebanese person saves one liter of water a day, that will amount to 4 million liters every day.
With 4 million liters I can produce 80,000 kg of tomatoes and 80,000 kg of fish while decreasing energy use by more than 100,000 liters of fuel and decreasing pollution tremendously.”
Aquaculturist / Aquatic Scientist Imad Saoud

Like to join me visiting the Prison of Roumieh in Lebanon?

Last week, a 38 year-old prisoner was murdered in the section reserved for the extremist Wahhabi islamist Jund el Sham  who were captured in the camp of Nhr al barted after 6 long months of fighting with the lebanese army, and were not convicted so far.

Every now and then a few, of these jihadist prisoners are allowed to flee from prison, and lukewarm investigations are conducted… But no prison reforms are very credible or lasting for any duration…

Women accused of killing their husbands, runaway domestic workers, children denied education, and countless others jailed without trial…

In overcrowded prisons, numerous are being held arbitrarily without trial for excessive periods, while migrant workers, asylum seekers, and refugees remain incarcerated until well after their set release dates.

State of Lebanon neglect in penitentiaries sees prisoners finding small ways to turn punishment cells into more humane reformatories. Playing cards, holiday decorations, and caged friendships  offer the justly and unjustly caged reminders of the outside world.

Convicted and unconvicted inmates are left to share cells with murderers and marijuana-smokers.

The Lebanese Daily Alakhbar English published “Lebanon Prison Blues

According to the 2008 Lebanese Center for Human Rights report, 66% of those imprisoned in Lebanon had not yet been convicted and 13 percent were being held beyond their sentence.

When trials are staged in corrupt courts, with paid judges and inadequate checks on trial procedures, incrimination is subjective.

Criminals become criminals because crimes are attached to their names, sometimes rightly so, but consistency and credibility are lacking with unevenly imposed ‘justice.’

To make matters worse, the state does little to secure a life, free from excessive hardship after prisoners are released, inviting repeat offenses from those they purportedly aimed to reform.

What messages the following pictures send?

Note 1: Photoblog by Haytham al-Moussawi (Roumieh Prison), Marwan Bu Haidar (Juvenile Detention Center), and Marwan Tahtah (Baabda Women’s Prison)

Note 2:

Note 3: In Aleppo Syria, where the State has vacated its responsibilities, lawyers and former judges are instituting a judicial system, and resuming the procedures in order to get out of the chaos

(Photo: Marwan Bu Haidar)

(Photo: Marwan Bu Haidar)

(Photo: Haytham Al-Moussawi)

(Photo: Haytham Al-Moussawi)

(Photo: Haytham Al-Moussawi)

(Photo: Haytham Al-Moussawi)

(Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

(Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

(Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

(Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

Stolen Identity? Stealing the Books: What Did Israel Do with Palestinians’ Literary Heritage? 

Have you seen “The Great Book Robbery”?

Gish Amit, an Israeli PhD student at the time (2005-9) said:


Nora Lester Murad posted on Jan. 20, 2013:

AP 1 corr

The camera follows two Palestinians (with Israeli citizenship) from the counter at Israel’s National Library to a table. They carry a small stack of books from a collection labeled “AP” for “Absentee Property.”

They sit awestruck in front of the collection. They touch covers showing respect for the books, their rightful owners, and the Nakba that caused Palestinians to lose their country and heritage.

One of the Palestinians opens a book and finds “Khalil Sakakini” written by hand in the inside cover. He gasps.

The audience watching the film, crammed into the basement floor of Educational Bookshop on Salah Al-Din Street in Jerusalem, is captivated.  I crane my neck to see past the tall woman in front of me.

The importance of this book, a one-time possession of one of the Arab world’s most important educators and nationalists, jumps off the screen. I feel an unspoken sadness in the room as we grasp the reality: This priceless piece of Palestinian heritage, and so many others, is held by Israel’s National Library.

This scene is one of many gripping scenes in the film, “The Great Book Robbery” shown for the first time in Palestine on January 12, 2013 to an audience of almost 150 people. The documentary by Israeli-Dutch director Benny Brunner unfolds the story of at least 70,000 books looted from Palestinian homes and institutions in 1948.

Benny Brunner, a longtime maker of films says of himself: “His work is subversive in nature and has proven to be a thorn in the collective Israeli establishment’s backside.”


It is widely known that when approximately 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Palestine before and after the establishment of Israel, most Palestinian land and belongings were lost.

This film highlights the plight of books. It’s a story that isn’t well-known, and to lovers of books, it is particularly tragic.

According to the film, Gish Amit, a PhD student at the time (2005-9), stumbled by accident upon Israeli documents attesting to the “collection” of books Palestinian books in 1948 as he was writing his dissertation about archives.

Among papers preserved at the National Library, Amit found detailed documentation about approximately 30,000 Palestinian books that were taken from private homes and institutions in Jerusalem, by staff of the National Library in coordination with the army.

In an article originally published in Haaretz, Amit commented on the fact that documentation of the theft was found in the Library itself. He said,

“It is the paradoxical structure of any archive: the place that preserves the power and organizes it is also the place that exposes the violence and wrongdoing. In this respect, the archive is a place that undermines itself.”

Only about 6,000 books are still labeled “Absentee Property”—and these, we were told, can be seen by logging into the National Library of Israel and searching by call numbers starting with AP.

Brunner speculates that the other 24,000 books that are listed in the documentation are either mixed in with the general collection or have been lost or destroyed.

Another 50,000-60,000 books are known to have been looted from other parts of Palestine, mostly textbooks, which Brunner speculated were mostly destroyed or sold. During the discussion that followed the film, he also made the point that rare manuscripts (estimated by a knowledgeable member of the audience as numbering around 50,000 originating from 56 libraries in and around Jerusalem) are not included in the estimates and are totally unaccounted for.

There are rare Palestinian manuscripts in the collection at the National Library, but they are not accessible by the general public. There are also rare Palestinian manuscripts at Hebrew University.

Brunner added: “We should remember the film only addresses books that were stolen in 1948. We don’t know the details of what happened in 1967, though we do know there is a pattern of Israeli looting of Palestinian books, photographs and archives, including the PLO archives in Lebanon. (when Israel entered the capital Beirut in 1982)”

To prove this point, a member of the audience later told me that a rare copy of Palestine in Pictures from the early 1920s was confiscated by the Israelis when her father crossed Allenby Bridge from Jordan in 1987 after he waited five hours to get it back. He finally asked for and was given a receipt for his book, but as history proves, documentation does not necessarily lead to restitution. The only other copy the owner knows of is in Bodlian Library at Oxford University

The Great Book Robbery, which took five years to make, was broadcast by Al Jazeera English and seen in fifty countries, and has also been screened in the three major cinemas in Israel. The director has so far been unable to arrange a showing on Israeli television.

Apparently, there is some controversy over whether the original intention was to protect the books or to steal them, but regardless of the original intent, the Israel National Library, in cooperation with the Israeli Custodian of Abandoned Property has kept Palestinian private property for over 64 years and made no effort to return it to its rightful owners.

In fact, according to Benny Brunner, until the 1950, each card in the catalog listed the book with a code that linked it to the place where it came from, thus identifying the original owner. However, those codes were erased in the late 1950s.

Those who watched The Great Book Robbery that night were visibly moved. The film showed the vibrancy of Palestinian literary and cultural life before 1948, how it was stolen (with poignant quotes by a Palestinian prisoner of war who was forced to take part in looting his own village), and the impact on Palestinian identity and well-being today.

Many seemed inspired by the movie’s concluding slide which noted that:

1) no effort has been made by Israel to return the stolen books;

2) nor has there been any organized effort by Palestinians to claim them.


1. Should there be a national effort by Palestinians to reclaim books stolen in 1948 and since?

2. What Palestinian entity is the best custodian for these national treasures?

3. Would a successful claim on books strengthen the Palestinian claim on other stolen property or would a piecemeal approach starting with books weaken the Palestinian national movement for self-determination and reparations on a broader scale?

Note 1: Nora Lester Murad, PhD, writes fiction and commentary from Jerusalem, Palestine. Her blog, “The View from My Window in Palestine” addresses issues of international development and life under military occupation

She is a life-long social justice activist and a founder of Dalia Association, Palestine’s first community foundation. She tweets from @NoraInPalestine.

Note 2: Nora Lester Murad recently went to see Benny Brunner’s film, The Great Book Robbery and reviewed it in this post.

Editor’s note: From the Book Robbery website: “We are preparing a US screening tour in February 2013. If you are interested in ordering or organising a screening in your community, group, or organisation, please contact our tour manager Karina Goulordava <karinaig89(at)> for details.”

Not until you learn to sew: Will you learn what are sweatshop factories…

How to break the cycle of consumerism through awareness of sweatshop practice?

“Being able to sew means that when I see a piece of ready-to-wear clothing, I can see the hours of hard work that went into it.

And I get aware of how unrealistically low the prices are, and we expect to be able to pay for a throwaway dress or top.

I can see how $5 for a firsthand t-shirt that would have taken even a pro-seamstress over an hour to make cannot be a fair price, even without the costs of material and shipping. ..”

Layla Totah, of ‘The Old Fashioned Way’ sewing initiative, posted in NOW on Dec.10, 2012 under “Sewing against the stream”


“Cheap and fast fashion has changed the way most of us dress and shop.

Nowadays, trends in fashion move quickly. Necklines swoop and turn turtle, hems come in high and then make their way down to maxi lengths, all in a short space of time.

In this environment, shopping on a weekly basis becomes a necessity for those intent on keeping up.

This boom in shopping has altered the way we consider clothes.

Not long ago, an average of 64 new items of clothing a year (the number that Elizabeth Cline cites as today’s average in her recent book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion) would have seemed unthinkable, and non affordable to most.

This high number of garments is in exchange for a lower percentage of our household incomes than ever (3% as compared to 15% in 1900.)

Now, less money can go much further, and so we shop without pause, leaving no time to consider where our clothes are coming from and, equally importantly, where they will go once we have stopped wearing them.

Countless high street stores have been exposed for using inhumanely cheap sweatshop labor, paying barely live-able wages for excruciatingly long hours in cramped conditions.

Most of us are aware of the existence of cheap labor, yet struggle to connect its wrongs with the dresses and t-shirts and jeans that we buy. It has become increasingly difficult to disentangle finished garments from the fabrics and fingers that went into making them.

I consider myself lucky: my mum taught me the very nearly lost art of sewing when I was growing up. Making my own clothes not only brings me a lot of pleasure – being able to make clothes that fit how I want them to fit, in fabrics I choose from the shops of Bourj Hammoud (an Armenian quarter) in east Beirut– but also allows me to opt out of this consumerist cycle which is at least in part fueled by unjust practices.

While fashion used to be much more about self-expression, now it seems that it is driven foremost by ritual consumingsocializing on a Saturday has for many become synonymous with shopping.

I’m not standing in judgment on this – until I learnt to sew I too struggled to connect the clothes I saw in shops with the efforts that had gone into making them.

Making clothes isn’t easy or quick. Perhaps sparing a thought for that might help us to understand the knock-on cost of our fashion habits for those behind the sewing machines.

Note 1: Layla Totah is a sewing teacher in Beirut. Originally from London, she now runs ‘The Old Fashioned Way’ sewing initiative from her Sanayeh studio. 

Note 2: On sweatshop factories in Cambodia

Is history made this side of the Sea? First civil marriage in Lebanon, And

It is legal and constitutional

“We state of our own accord and without any coercion, as equals in and before the law according to the preamble of the constitution and its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 16 of said declaration, that the man among us has taken the woman as his wife, and that the woman has taken the man as her husband …”

Arwa al Husseini posted in Arabic this story on Jan. 17, 2013 (translated to English by NOW)

The above contract is one expression in the marriage contract signed by Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish, who were married in Lebanon’s first civil ceremony.

The couple was supposed to travel to Cyprus, where civil marriage is permitted and validated in Lebanon.

Kholoud met by chance a civil society activist who proposed that the wedding be the first civil marriage held in Lebanon.

And Kholoud and Nidal’s journey began as first civil couple this side of the sea (east of the Mediterranean)

Kholoud told NOW: “I was attending a lecture about the art of photography, and while waiting for Nidal, I noticed this poster saying: Let us get to know civil marriage and secularism before they take us to sectarianism.  And a woman came to me and said, ‘Secularism is not against religion,’ and I answered, ‘I know. Just because I am veiled this doesn’t mean I’m against secularism.’

And in order to prove my point, I told her that we (Nidal and I) were getting ready to go to Cyprus to have a civil marriage.

“This civil activist told me about the attempt to celebrate the first civil marriage in Lebanon. I discussed the idea with Nidal, and we told her we agreed on condition of total anonymity, as we feared our parents would not accept it.

We met with [lawyer] Talal Husseini, who prepared the draft study, and we had several sessions with him: He wanted to make sure that we were ready for such a step.”

Preparations for the marriage began after Kholoud and her parents reached an agreement on “being spoken for” as per formal religious rules, without registering the marriage at a Muslim religious tribunal.

The first step was to strike out the mention of religious sects from the respective IDs of both Kholoud’s and Nidal’s in order to prove before the law that they are not affiliated with a sect that forces them to marry before a religious court. They thus acquired the right to hold a civil marriage as per Article 60 L.R.

They had to obtain a form signed by the mayor (mokhtar) proving that there are no objections to their marriage and put the marriage announcement up on a billboard 15 days before the wedding date to make sure that there were no objections to it. (Fair enough)

The announcement was supposed to be published in the Official Gazette or at least two newspapers, but in order to prevent any hindrances, Kholoud and Nidal just posted the announcement on the doors of their parents’ houses and on the door of their own house.

They also had to obtain a legal document signed by a notary public after both parties chose the articles included in the marriage contract as well as a financial disclosure that guarantees the rights of each party to the marriage.

After a few snags in obtaining the necessary paperwork, Kholoud and Nidal signed their civil marriage contract on November 10, 2012, making them the first Lebanese couple to be wedded by civil marriage in Lebanon.

The request is now in the hands of the Consultations Committee at the Ministry of the Interior pending its official announcement.

On the legal level, Husseini, who authored the draft, explained that “The marriage was held based on Decree No. 60 L.R. – a numeration of decrees adopted by the High Commissioner [during the French Mandate in Lebanon] – of 1936, which organizes and recognizes sects and grants them rights.

The same decree also recognizes individuals, and we used this same law to strike out the reference to sect [on one’s ID].”

Applying Decree No. 60 L.R. for people who are not officially affiliated to any sect provides a solution for civil marriage. Husseini added: “Not being affiliated to a sect does not mean not being a believer; it is merely not making an administrative disclosure of one’s sect and subjecting [instead] to civil courts.”

Lebanese law imposes constraints on enjoying the right to marriage.

Husseini argues:

“Let us suppose that a person wants to marry and there’s no law. This means there are no constraints to enjoying the right to marriage unless the marriage one is about to enter into contravenes the constitution, genera order or good ethics. Civil marriage is the only [form] that fits the constitution, which includes provisions about freedom and equality; it is the constitution, rather than religious marriage, that provides freedom and equality,”

Good-natured attempts to ensure the right to civil marriage in Lebanon are often misdirected.

Husseini said: “Some people were calling for a law pertaining to civil marriage and propose incomplete drafts that are not the object of enough study or serious public debate. In so doing, they act as though they need to give [people] the right [to choose civil marriage] and as though there is no legislation. Yet this is not true: Legislation does exist, and there is no way to misinterpret the provisions of Decree No. 60 L.R., which includes a reference to a law. This is either a reference to a French law – and this is the most probable option – or to a civil law according to the person’s own choice, or to any ample provisions for the organization of marriages.”

“The law allows the two people who wish to marry the right to choose the provisions that suit them in the contract. In contrast, religious marriage – or some forms of it – is subjected to the Ottoman family law with regard to certain provisions. When we say that Decree No. 60 L.R. is a reference to French civil marriage, this makes it part of the Lebanese law.

Furthermore, the French law does not contravene the constitution or sectarian bylaws or public order, and is applicable in courts located in France, Turkey, Cyprus or Switzerland between Lebanese [couples] or [a couple formed by] a Lebanese person and a non-Lebanese person. In other words, it is applicable in Lebanese civil courts and this does not cause any problems.”

Kholoud and Nidal chose civil marriage because they believe it is the best expression of a relationship built on true partnership, equality and rejection of dependency. Will the Lebanese state adopt civil marriage as a gateway to break sectarian constraints and build a civil state?

This article was translated from the original Arabic

مُحجّبة تفتتح أوّل زواج مدني في لبنان طبقاً لـ”الدستور”

“نصرّح مختارين غير مكرهين، متساوين في القانون وأمامه طبقاً للدستور في مقدّمته والتزامه الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، وخصوصاً في المادة 16 منه، نصرّح بأنّ الرّجل منّا قد قبل الإمرأة زوجةً له، كما قبلت الإمرأة الرجل زوجاً لها.

In summary:


Researchers and legal experts at the Civil Center for National Initiative said on Saturday that there are no obstacles in front of civil marriage in Lebanon for those who decide to remove their sects from their IDs, LBCI television reported.

“The 1936’s law is more advanced and open than the ones adopted nowadays,” Change and Reform bloc MP Ghassan Moukheiber expressed in an interview with LBCI.

He stated: “We demand the State of Lebanon to take into consideration those that are not affiliated with any religion or sect”.

“The biggest challenge today is building citizenship,” he added.

The discussion on this issue comes soon after reports broke out about a Lebanese couple that challenged the sectarian personal status code in Lebanon and tied the knot in a first of a kind civil marriage in the country on November 11, 2012.

Kholoud Sukkariyah and Nidal Darwish removed the reference of their sects from their respective IDs and based their marital contract on Decree No. 60 L.R.

The decree, which organizes and recognizes religious communities and grants them rights, says those who are not affiliated with a sect are subject to the civil law of personal status, as well as to the introduction of the Constitution which adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Does the Future has a Path?

Has the Path to your Future been a surprise to you so far?

Do you have this feeling that, as you resolve a problem, you were necessarily focusing on something that already happened?

Do you feel that a real problem necessarily must draw you into the past?

How can anything be fixed or resolved, if the past was not the catalyst or the cause for actively trying to improve anything?

Can you create anything new if the process is not generated from an already older known process?

What you are seeing of stars in the sky are objects that happened thousand of years ago: The time for the light to reach your eyes…

When you hear a thunder ball, bomb, a canon ball or a military jet, consider yourself lucky: The missile has already hit its target…

Invest 10,000 hours on a talent when still a youth and you’ll secure a good paying job for life, no matter what is the economic downturn.

In particular periods, you may become a famous millionaire, putting your talent to good use…

Other skills do not require you to start young, but the investment in time is higher than 10,000 hours on a continuous basis without lengthy breaks…

If you are past a certain age, with diminishing memory capabilities, poor eye sight… the odds for acquiring higher educational degrees or expertise in a new field… are extremely low.

Is it already a problem as we prevent problems?

They say: “Teams never win if defense is all they play. Organizational success is about doing not preventing”.

They say: “Fixing and preventing are necessary components of leadership. Sadly, fixing and preventing dominate organizations because it’s useful, measurable, and necessary…”

They say: “Leadership always has trajectory. You move forward or backward but never stay the same. Standing still is a fantasy for those oblivious to decline…”

And what gratitude has to do with the past and the future?

Anger, fear, frustration, disappointment, even resentment are part of leadership. But the path to the future is paved with gratitude.

Gratitude frees you to create your future.

Gratitude energizes leaders and organizations to release the past and create the future.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others,Cicero.

“I’ve walked the dingy path of ungratefulness that springs from arrogance and revenge. It’s a black-hole dragging you inward, downward, and backward”.

Benigni says, “It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” Express gratitude aggressively

Here what mimo has to say:

Day 30~ December 30th~ Guilin

by ~mimo~

future unknownfuture unknown~ children~ Long Ji

One of the most stark truths about the future is that it remains unknown until the moment when it happens.

We project, we plan, we dream, we wish, and almost always we are surprised by what unfolds.

If it is the past that holds sway on our emotions, then it is the future that triggers our imagination and creativity,

And the now is the bridge we build to take us into the great unknown.

A new year unfolds, and so do many contemplation in my mind …

Your future begins when you own your past.

Dan Rockwell listed 6 ways to find your future:

  1. The unknown has more potential than the known. Everyone who pretends they know when they don’t, repeats the past.
  2. Reject past methods and strategies. In a turbulent world, methods that become moral imperatives destroy new futures.
  3. Build new relationships. Your future is about people not projects or accomplishments. Current relationships maintain stability; new relationships disrupt and extend. Treasure both.
  4. Embrace social media. Meet people succeeding where you wish to succeed.
  5. Overcome timidity. 70% to 80% certainty is enough.
  6. Systematically build the future alongside the old present. Once your future is strong enough, release the old and embrace the new.

Viva Fashion Lebanon? “How should I dress for Black and White theme birthday party”?

Are you into the fashion business?

Are you a fashionable person? Kind of you have plenty of money sources to indulge into the fashion luxury…?

Don’t look at the picture. Are you taking a peak? Stop it!

Here is the exercise.

There is a Black and White theme birthday party, and you are invited.

I’ll list the items of clothes, and you are to figure out how this girl will look like after she is decked and ready to step outside for the show.

Topshop leather skirt and add an oxblood pair of shoes to break the monotony.
1. Black leather skirt from Topshop,

2. White blouse with silver zipper from The Kooples,

3. Oxblood pumps from Isabel Marant,

4.  MM6 black leather clutch.


1. “cherry lush” red Tom Ford lipstick,

2. “Haute and Naughty Lashes Mascara” by M.A.C,

3. Chanel “perfection lumiere” foundation,

4. “eclosion” Chanel quatuor of eyeshadows and

5.  “Super Orgasm” blush by NARS.

Did you form a picture in your mind?

Are you ready?

Now look. Take all your time.
From “Mon Armoire (wardrobe): In a leather skirt”

.skirt9 768x1024 Mon Armoire: In a leather skirtDSC 0073 680x1024 Mon Armoire: In a leather skirtskirt3 500x1024 Mon Armoire: In a leather skirtFashionably yours,
Lana xx


Declassified secret British government documents: On Israel preemptive war on Lebanon in 1982, and genocide of Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila

The UK National Archives released war material on Lebanon.  The most riveting document is a secret “UK Eyes Alpha” assessment by the Joint Intelligence Committee on June 22 1982.

Its insights remain valid, mutatis mutandis, to this day.

“Much of the Arab world sincerely believes that the United States administration had connived in, if not positively blessed, the Israeli invasion.

Many of the moderate Arab leaders, including the Jordanians, Saudis and Egyptians are dismayed that the United States has failed to use its leverage over Israel effectively to deter new aggression and to prevent occupation of more Arab land.

The perception that the United States has acquiesced in the Israeli action will be seen as evidence of double standards when the administration is condemning the use of force to settle disputes in other parts of the world.

“It will undermine faith in United States ability and willingness to defend other moderate Arab states from Iranian as well as Israeli aggression. It has all but destroyed, for the time being, Arab faith in the willingness of the United States to use its leverage with Israel to obtain a solution to the Palestinian problem which takes account of Arab needs.”

Ian Black posted on Jan. 4, 2013 in The Guardian

It’s reasonable to describe journalism as the “first rough draft of history“.

And it’s always interesting, when secret government documents are released, to see how far that early version stands the test of time.  For example:

The Falklands conflict with Argentina dominated the headlines about British state papers declassified from 1982 – the traditional three decades after the event. But those dealing with that year’s Lebanon war provide some fascinating and still relevant insights.

The war began in a sense in London, where, on June 3, a Palestinian gunman shot the Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Argov. It was clear from the start that the hit team was not from the PLO but from the dissident Iraqi-backed outfit run by Abu NidalYasser Arafat‘s sworn enemy.

Israel‘s prime minister, Menachem Begin, egged on by his defense minister, Ariel Sharon, went to war against the PLO in Lebanon anyway. “Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal,” another Israeli minister said.

The documents generated at the time by British embassies, the foreign office and Downing Street provide evidence of continuity and change at a crucial moment.

Margaret Thatcher, fresh from her Falklands triumph, refused to talk to the PLO on the grounds that it had neither recognized Israel nor renounced terrorism.

But there was movement nevertheless: Thatcher received an Arab League ministerial delegation but allowed Douglas Hurd, a foreign office minister, to meet Farouq Qaddoumi, Arafat’s foreign minister. It was the first encounter of its kind and a landmark on the way to international recognition of an organization whose hard-fought claim to be the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians must now be in doubt.

“A balance would thus be struck between the United Kingdom’s sympathy with the Arabs over the Israeli invasion of the Lebanon and the fact that the Israeli Ambassador in London, Mr Argov, had been attacked by a splinter group of the PLO,” the secret cabinet minutes recorded.

Britain’s Arab friends looked on in alarm as the crisis deepened, the documents show.

King Hussein of Jordan was terrified that Palestinians would be driven from Lebanon into his own security-conscious realm. Only those with Jordanian passports would be admitted and only after being “thoroughly screened to weed out undesirables.” Hussein warned Thatcher of an “unprecedented holocaust” and a “bloodbath.”

In Cairo, Hosni Mubarak, just a few months in office, was horrified at the idea that the PLO might set up a government-in-exile in Egypt.

The Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal lobbied Thatcher to use her influence with Ronald Reagan. But she declined a suggestion that she ask the US president to pressure the Israelis not to enter west Beirut –as they eventually did.

Then, as now, Washington was where things happened, and it was American envoys who tried to cobble together a ceasefire. There was also some discomfort.

“The Americans are concerned at the extent to which the Israelis have misled them at every stage of their Lebanese operation,” the British ambassador reported after meeting Alexander Haig, Reagan’s secretary of state. “There are continuing divisions within the administration but it looks increasingly likely that, as usual, the pro-Israeli faction will have its way.”

Brian Urquhart, a senior British UN official, had a “blazing row” with a US diplomat and demanded pressure on the Israelis to allow humanitarian access since “the Americans and the other Arabs were apparently not prepared to do anything in the face of what looked like mass murder of the Palestinians by the Israelis.”

Like many government documents these British papers confirm what was widely reported at the time about a conflict which has always attracted intense media attention.

Even in the post-WikiLeaks era, there is a frisson in reading confidential reports and reflections, some of them piercingly perceptive. Small indiscretions – about French arrogance, Israeli influence over the US, Arab frustration and British manoeuvring – add colour, nuance and understanding to enrich the historical record.

Note: Israel war that ended in entering the Capital Beirut left 20,000 killed (mostly civilians of Lebanese) and injured 60,000.

Israel perpetrated the genocide in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila for three days and two night (slaughtering 2,000 women, children and elder people), even with the promise of the USA that Palestinian civilians in the camps will be safe from Israeli aggression.




January 2021

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