Think Of That

Think Of That

Some things to think about

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Location: Lebanon

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

On Taking Risks

I had a discussion tonight with a friend about taking the risk of living in an unstable country such as Lebanon versus having the option to immigrate to a safer country and starting a new life there.

Having recently quit a lucrative job to start a company and pursue a life dream in Lebanon (and shortly before that, discarding an immigration process I had initiated), this subject is quite dear to my heart. I had clearly opted for the first option which involves assuming a considerable amount of risk trying to achieve a dream with the hope of living a fulfilling life. But is it the right choice? Does it justify the risks involved (and they are so many in an insecure country such as Lebanon)? Moreover, will this option still be justifiable in the case of a family man (as opposed to a bachelor like me)?

One can suggest immigrating AND starting my business abroad but I've discarded that option because 1) It would take twice the energy, know-how  PR, capital…etc to do it and 2) and most importantly, because I do enjoy living in Lebanon (for all the reasons one can think of).

I have often admired and read about successful entrepreneurs who were able to achieve their dreams and none was able to do it without taking great risks. Steve Jobs dropped out of college. Years later, after he was fired from Apple, he nearly spent all of his fortune on Pixar and NeXT when no one else saw any interest in them.  Richard Branson is famous for taking risks. He was thrown in prison for dealing with counterfeit records early in his life. Later on, he assumed great risks starting a low-cost airline business when no one dreamed of such a thing. In his book “Screw it, Let’s do it”, he wrote “Many people have more modest goals. But whatever your dream is, go for it. Always beware if the risks are too random or too hard to predict, but remember, if you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win”.  But what inspire me most are quotes from the Bible, always motivating and full of hope, such as this one from Romans 8: 24-25 “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

As a bachelor with no dependants to worry about, my point of view on this matter seems clear enough, but what if the situation was different and I had children to provide for? Would I still act in the same way? I’m not really sure… But what I would surely like to be in this case is a role model. Someone who would motivate and infuse passion into his children to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams no matter the risks involved… (After a proper education of course J).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Since a picture is worth a thousand words (and since I love photography and don't have much time to write anymore), I have created my own page at Flickr where you can check my lastest photos.



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sickening speech

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad made a speech today. He praised Hezbollah for defeating the Israeli army as if it was the Syrian army who did it and criticized the Lebanese politicians known as the 14 April coalition and portrayed them as traitors and Israeli agents and held them responsible for the war on Lebanon. He also criticized Arab countries for not supporting Lebanon during the crisis.

I’m not defending anyone here, but who the hell does he think he is??? After 30 years of Syrian occupation, he dares to interfere again in Lebanon and try to create tension and internal discord among Lebanese!!! The Syrian army did not lift a finger when Lebanon was attacked in 1996 and this time and today he has the nerve to call others “half-men”!!! Why is there no Syrian resistance against Israel which has been occupying the Golan Heights for decades? How come Syria denied supplying weapons to Hezbollah? Are there any Syrian intentions of reoccupying Lebanon again? I wonder.

Your speech Mr. President is simply sickening and I pity the Syrian people for having such a feeble leader. The “Free People” (That’s what a Kuwaiti customs officer told me she likes to call Lebanese when I passed the Kuwait customs service yesterday) are aware of your Machiavellian schemes, Mr. President, and will not be subdued by your dictatorship once again.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Israeli fighters with moral values !!!

Cick here to log on to their site.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What have they gained?

A few days before the United Nations Security Council vote on a draft resolution that is intended to end the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, I contemplate on what happened during the past 28 days of war and destruction. After the kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah, Israel has declared a full fledge war on Lebanon, targeting residential buildings, ambulances, fleeing civilians, and UN observer posts and personnel, as well as civilian airports, power stations, milk factories, grain silos, roads, most bridges and television stations and killing more than 800 civilians. Massacres were committed against civilians, the most gruesome being the second Qana massacre when 34 children and 20 adults were killed when the Israeli Air Force destroyed the building they were taking cover in. (The first one was committed in 1996 when 106 civilians, mostly children, were killed while sheltering in a UN compound that was bomb by Israeli warships).

Even now, when all discussions are focused on ending this war, Israel military sources say that they are in a process of renewed escalation and plan to hit strategic civilian infrastructures. What have they gained by doing this? More hatred? Any hope for peace in the Middle-East has vanished into thin air (I can’t imagine the Lebanese ever forgiving Israel the carnage it has done these past weeks, and we are known to forgive and forget). Even the Israeli people has suffered from this war, hundred of thousands being forced to live in shelters in north Israel to take cover from the rockets fired every day by Hezbollah in response to the attacks. The Israeli Defense Force was helpless in south Lebanon combating Hezbollah fighters, thus shattering the image of the IDF as an indestructible army. The destruction of civilian infrastructures in Lebanon, and the use of cowardly techniques in their psychological and propaganda warfare to frighten the Lebanese made even the ones pushing for the disarmament of Hezbollah embrace the Islamic Resistance and support its operations: Their “Divide and Conquer” strategy did not work this time and Hezbollah is more popular than ever…

Israel has found itself caught between a rock and hard place: Stop now and Olmert will lose face, continue and lose more troops without being able to achieve any of the goals it has set. Meanwhile it’s the Lebanese people who are enduring all of the consequences of this conflict. Besides the death toll that is rising with each passing day, hospitals are likely to stop receiving injured because of the fuel shortage and lack of electricity. God only knows the outcome of this war, but one thing is sure, we have not endured 30 years of occupation and 15 years of fights for freedom to see it all destroyed on a whim of some redneck politician thinking he can change the map of the Middle-East.

The Truth finally on Sky News

Click here to watch George Galloway, the British MP, speaking the truth on Sky News.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How many times does the Phoenix have to die?

Lebanon is burning once again.

Once again, it’s being shredded into pieces by a war no one had expected.

In response to a capture of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah, the state of Israel has decided to destroy every bridge, every airport, hundred of houses and killed more than 350 civilians (and counting), mostly women and children. Half a million people were forced to leave their homes.

And the rest of the world is watching... The US is even backing Israel in its mission of mass destruction.

In its fight against terrorism (The new craze after September 11, 2000), the US has given Israel the green light to eradicate Hezbollah from the south of Lebanon. Its only warning was not to use excessive force, and to avoid civilians and infrastructure (Yeah, right…)

The problem with the US is its lack of understanding of the Middle East. Trying to wipe out Hezbollah as if it was Al-Qaeda or some other secret organization is purely absurd to say the least. Just searching for the word Hezbollah on the net will reveal much more than that. I found the Wikipedia page very informative: “Hezbollah is the main political party and military organization representing the Shia community, Lebanon's largest religious bloc.”<…>”The group currently operates at least four hospitals, 12 clinics, 12 schools and two agricultural centers that provide farmers with technical assistance and training. It also has an environmental department and an extensive social assistance programme. Medical care is also cheaper than in most of the countries private hospitals and free for Hezbollah members”. With this in mind, how can anyone think of eliminating Hezbollah by means of force?

It appears that Lebanon has to always pay the price of bad politics and this time, the price was very high. I’m sure that this 5000 years old country will rise again once more like the firebird that is reborn and rises from its ashes but … how many times does the Phoenix have to die?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Power outage

      It's almost 10 PM in dear old Lebanon and I'm sitting in the dark in my living room waiting for the power to come back. I was told by a neighbor that it should be back by 10 and that's what I'm hoping for as sitting at the candle light is not a very enjoyable thing to do at the end of the year 2005. It's been a long time since I've written anything because I was in Kuwait most of the time these last few months. Most of the time I was there, I wished I could be in Lebanon and sometimes when I'm here, I can't help to think how easy it was living there. And I'm talking about Kuwait, a land where going out at night means having diner in some restaurant and strolling by the seaside at the Marina Mall. Nightlife has no real meaning there as alcohol is banned and night-clubs are non-existent. But then again, besides mountains and a better weather, that's all that was missing. (Come to think of it, it's missing a lot more than that!!!). My point is: why is it so easy to live in a country like Kuwait and so difficult to survive in Lebanon? It's been 15 years since the war ended and we haven't been able to figure out a solution for the electricity problem; and that problem is bothering me right now as opposed to the other problem I had 2 hours ago when I had to risk my life crossing the road in Dora because there was no pedestrian bridge to help people getting to the other side without getting killed. Anyways, it's 22:15 and the power just came back (I guess the neighbor was right after all) and my fingers are getting numb typing on the small keyboard of my mobile phone. Back to listening to Walid Jumblat on TV. Yippi.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Who would have thought?

After 30 years of injustice…

In a land where criminals ran free and innocents rot in jail…

In a land where lawbreakers are seldom caught and hardly ever tried…

In a land where corruption is deeply rooted…

An unprecedented event has occurred this morning:

Nine high-profile Syrian-linked suspects in the assassination of former PM Rafic Hariri were arrested. Among them were Brig. Gen. Jamil al-Sayyed, former chief of the General Security Directorate, Col. Ali Hajj, ex-commander of the Internal Security Forces, Brig. Gen. Raymond Azar, former commander of the army's intelligence service, Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, commander of the army's Presidential Guard Brigade and former pro-Syrian parliament member Nassir Kandil. (Kandil was in Syria at the time of the arrest but he came back and surrendered himself in the afternoon).

These, once very powerful figures during the Syrian occupation era are facing charges that could possibly lock them away for a very long time.

Let’s hope justice takes its turn this time and deliver us from the remaining tyrants who once ruled this country. It will certainly give March 14th the meaning it almost lost…

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dubai Trip

      It's 11:10 PM. I'm sitting in the bed in my hotel room in Dubai, listening to some Mp3 songs I downloaded to my laptop before coming here. It's my 5th night in Dubai and I'm here on a business trip. I've already visited most malls, went to a few clubs and pubs and even went to the movies once. That's all you can do in Dubai when you're alone. I remember my trip to Paris when there was so little time after work to see all what needs to be seen in that great city. Well, that's the difference between an old historic European city and a new artificial one. Yes, artificial; I can say it without any reservations. Dubai has some of the most sophisticated building structures, greatest towers and most luxurious hotels but it lacks the soul or ambiance of other ancient cities. Paris has one, Beirut has one but not Dubai. You experience a strange feeling of delight when you stroll down the Rue Des Champs Elysées or when you wander in the Quartier Latin at night but not when you stray in some fancy mall like the Burjuman or the Mercato, even if that last one was built in an Italian style. Maybe I've listened to Aznavour too much in my adolescent years or maybe I'm just bored to death but living in the A/C 24 hours per day and not being able to breath some clean fresh air has really affected me. It's between 38 and 40 degrees in the shade here and there's so much humidity in the air that you never see the sky. You can barely distinguish where the sun is at noon. Going out of a building to hail a taxi cab will make you sweat like a pig, let alone walking a few blocks to reach a nearby store. And watch out for that freezing A/C in taxis when you've been waiting for them too long, it will slap you right in the face. I'm looking forward to going back to Lebanon in a few days. It may not be that idealistic place one would dream to live in, but at least you can sleep with the windows open at night!!!