The Ronny Karam Case

Opinion, sarcasm, ranting, nagging, and more

Blue & Red nebulas

Red and Blue Nebulas: captured in a star-forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Original image credit: ESO: eso.org

When you find time to free up your mind, and escape from your daily routine, drive to the nearest mountain, walk to the highest point you can reach, away from humans and their lights, throw a blanket on the ground, sit back and look up at the sky.

If you’re lucky, you can catch a few shooting stars passing by.
If you’re curious, research a space event to observe [ NASA SKYCAL - NASA Space Calendar - Sea & Sky Calendar of Celestial Events ], get a telescope, and enjoy the ride.

It’s simply amazing.
It might not be as romantic as a sunset at the beach, calm, colorful, and relaxing. But it’s definitely mysterious and attractive.

There are billions and billions of objects around us in the universe. And maybe billions and billions of universes.
We know very little, yet, we feel strong enough to ignore that vast “endless” black dotted matter, our tiny, very tiny planet, swims in.
Yes. Space is not empty, quite, nor safe. But we don’t really have time for it right now; we’re killing each others.

Meteors, Solar storms, Gamma rays, and other surprises await Earth on every orbit, from every angle. NASA, through the NEO program, is tracking around 3,000 objects heading towards Earth; those are the ones we know of.
But don’t forget the “oops we didn’t see that one coming” incidents [ near miss - September 2013 ] [ hit - February 2013 - Russia ]. There’ll be a lot of those. And a meteor or gamma ray blast can hit us at any moment [ Modern Era Impacts ].
What’s our plan to ensure the survival of the species?
Well, we don’t have much to offer but theories [ Asteroid Impact Avoidance ]. Humans are investing more in their destruction than in space programs and preventive plans. So until we have time to define what’s more important for us, we’re completely exposed and under constant threat.

It happened before, and it will happen again; it’s a matter of time.
It could be tomorrow, it could be in a 100 years: are we prepared?

That’s the question we should be asking ourselves the next time we look up.

Lebanon

The Trash that binds us

Trash People of Cologne

Trash People from HA Schult in Köln / Cologne 2006
Original photo from: Bluehifi.de

The Lebanese people realized, after years of neglect, that nothing is accomplished by itself. If you want something done, you have to block a road, burn some tires or start a war [or occasionally kidnap some Turks].

For as long as I can remember [20 some years], our politicians have completely turned their eyes away from every problem facing this country; if the media doesn’t shed light over a misery [mostly for political reasons], a building collapses over its habitants, or hundreds die from food poisoning, no one would even mention anything about what the citizens of this God forsaken country are facing daily.

While Lebanon is a typical 3rd World country, and whatever happens here is completely expected [and accepted], some of its people [very very few] just had enough [the rest just nag about it].

A few days ago, people, living near by the Naameh trash dump, decided to take matters into their own hands, after 15 years. 15 years! 15 years!? [repeated intentionally, because this is how long things take in Lebanon]
After 15 years of random dumping, the toxic gases [ landfill gases ], released in the air, are causing lung cancer, especially among children [not to forget the horrible odors, the bug invasion, and the polluted water].
The “temporary” [15 years !!!] dump, which was set to only bury non recyclable materials [approx. 10% of all garbage in Lebanon], is being filled with everything; it’s the main final destination to all types of garbage collected [approx. 90%], including organic and toxic non treated material.

For once [since March 2005], Lebanese, from all types, religions, and beliefs, joined the movement; while this is excellent, it took Trash for us to agree on something useful. It took Trash to open our eyes to what Sukleen is doing to our health, soil, water and forests. It took Trash to make us realize that nothing is more important than… us; people still ignore their rights. People still praise their leaders, and believe they need them to survive.

Let’s hope, that for once, things go the way the habitants, of Naameh and its surrounding, hope.
The garbage problem in Lebanon is not just that of Naameh, and everyone is invited to join and support the movement.
If you don’t fight for your rights, no one will.

Syrischer Maler um 1210 001
Illustration from a Kalila wa Dimna Manuscript, 1200–1220 CE
By Syrischer Maler um 1210 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For as long as Humans roamed this earth, the Middle East has always been part of History. Long before the contemporary “civilized” world even existed, inhabitants of this waste land created civilization.
You can turn your blind eye to this truth, but it’s a fact. A fact that only us Arabs have forgotten.

Between the 8th & 13th centuries, Arabs were more focused on education, philosophy and science than any nation around the globe. While America wasn’t even drawn on maps [and its inhabitants were still sacrificing humans and eating their hearts], and Europe was more into chivalry, poetry, polygamy and witch hunting, Arabs [in addition to what the rest of the world was doing] were researching, translating and pushing the boundaries of science; the advancements in medicine, math and education are the building blocs of the world we know today.

But that was just part of the past.
Abu Nasr Al Farabi, Ebn Sina, Ebn Battuta, Al Khawarizmi [a.k.a Alghorithmi], and many others are just names of great scientists of the Golden Age (read more here). Their work and writings occupy our libraries and bookshelves, only for their historical value.

So how did we get here? How did we flip from pioneers to end consumers?
Simple… RELIGION.

In a research article published on the New Atlantis [2011], under the title: “Why the Arab World turned away from Science“, Hillel Ofec links the decline in Arab scientific research and advancement to the rise of the “Ash’arites”.

In its place arose the anti-rationalist Ash’ari school whose increasing dominance is linked to the decline of Arabic science. With the rise of the Ash’arites, the ethos in the Islamic world was increasingly opposed to original scholarship and any scientific inquiry that did not directly aid in religious regulation of private and public life. While the Mu’tazilites had contended that the Koran was created and so God’s purpose for man must be interpreted through reason, the Ash’arites believed the Koran to be coeval with God — and therefore unchallengeable. At the heart of Ash’ari metaphysics is the idea of occasionalism, a doctrine that denies natural causality. Put simply, it suggests natural necessity cannot exist because God’s will is completely free. Ash’arites believed that God is the only cause, so that the world is a series of discrete physical events each willed by God.

It makes perfect sense when you see the effect of Religions in everything [side effect]. God & his representatives on earth have so much power on this side of the planet [promised land?].

300 Million Arabs hardly contribute to anything else than death tolls, crime statistics, terrorism and sectarian genocides. We forgot that we’re people with potential and lots of riches.
Why do you think, that after all this time, we’re still fighting useless wars against each others? [perhaps the world is afraid of what we can do in peace]
Why instead of investing in our youth, we’re allowing a few “money worshipers” to manipulate their minds with fairytales of Heaven, 72 virgins and eternal life?

بإسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

[translation: in the name of God all merciful]
Where’s “mercy” in what’s happening in the Arab world? Muslims killing each others [and the rest along the way], in the name of God. The same God they all worship. So who do you think God is supporting in this battle?

300 Million Zeros. And the few Ones, either left, or died trying, in vain.

The only bright light, in all this darkness, [little bit of hope] is the UAE; Dubai and its ruler Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the other emirates’ rulers, have managed to combine the traditional and modern, making the UAE the most evolved Arab country. And the fact that the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is planning the build of the first Arab made satellite is just proof of the potential this nation has (read more here).

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20131219-022333.jpg

Original photo by: Dan4th Nicholas

You can say whatever you want about us, Lebanese, but we know for sure that we’re special.
You don’t have to see us as “special” as we are, and we definitely don’t care, because… We’re special [...and you're obviously jealous].

Everything we have is better. Everything we do is right. We know everything. We interpret things the way we want. We build, destroy, fall and rise again. We’re unique. And we know it. But most of all, we “Love Life”.

Bullshit… (cough..!)
[end of sarcasm]

Being so special, our society interacts in the most systematic way ever; our social behavior is governed by a series of equations [and their derivatives], which define mainly everything about our past, present and future.

“Me and my brother against my cousin; me and my cousin against strangers”, Lebanese proverb

A lot of you might be familiar with this quote, as it’s still used; what you might not know, are the invisible expressions that only a Lebanese can identify. And the proverb becomes:
Me and my brother, no matter how wrong he is, against my cousin; me and my cousin, no matter how wrong he is, against strangers.

“No matter how wrong he is…”. This is the Key.

One can argue, that he’ll be standing by his family no matter what [theoretically, depending on how tight those family bonds are], but, the proverb is just a point on a long list of predefined, programmed reactions that dictate the Lebanese behavior.

You can replace “brother” and “cousin” with anyone or anything, and the equation still stands in our community:
Me & my city [Key] against the invaders [people from other Lebanese cities].
Me & my politician [Key] against the tribes [other politicians, parties and their followers].
Me & my religion [Key] against the blasphemers [other religions, believers and non believers].
Me & my company [Key] against the incompetent [other companies and competitors].
… And the list goes on and on and on.

Those equations simply translate to self interest, blind obedience, extremism and stupidity.
There’s nothing weird [to a certain extent] about the above, till one introduces the “Key”.
“No matter how wrong he/it is”.

And through it all, the law is absent. There’s no mention of it. Mainly because no one respect the law. And for a good reason: the law, in Lebanon, is selective, and only applies to those who aren’t connected to powerful people.
Yes, in Lebanon most citizens are above the law. And this is how we wish things to stay. Not because we’re not used to be abiding citizens [check us out abroad], but because the law is written that way [by the people who break it], and because it’s fun to break the law. It gives us pleasure, power, and a laugh at those who follow the rules and obey the law.

[One can easily get away with murder, if he knows the right people.]

We can “pretend” to be smart, but we know things can’t continue like this.
We will fall again and rise… again. But, we will never move forward.
Our irresponsibility, lack of judgement and ignorance will always block our advancement as a nation.
As long as our definitions of right and wrong derive from our primitive barbaric intentions, they will alway project corruption, inequality, extremism and a misinterpretation of what being civilized is.

“Hello world”?
I don’t know how many would read an introductory page on a blog. But what the heck, I’m writing it anyway.

This is not my first blog post; I previously had a blog, with approx. 300 visitors a day. I’ve lost it… [thank you hosting company, and little blogging experience back then].
I’m here mostly to express myself, mainly, because I can [the internet is so awesome; one can write whatever he wants, then blame hackers].

My name is Ronny Karam [obviously], and this is my personal blog, my writing space, my files and my case.

I’ll be posting as often as possible [target: at least once a week].
Your comments are always welcome, as long as they make sense, they’re argumentative and do not offend or attack anyone.

Thank you.

RK.