Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Parents first

That what the organization would be called, "parents first". The lives we create in the west are demanding, distracting.  The demands on our time as immigrants are loud and frequent. But what about our promise to our parents, to reunite, to reward them with our presence, after they've dedicated their life to our education? We need vocal reminders to keep us on track, regarding our goals to reward parents.

Today immigration laws are causing parents of foreign-trained professionals a kind of emotional abuse; they have to chose between their children's success and their company. What western parents have to make that grueling choice.  Imagine a law that tells Canadians and Americans that they need to pay a legal fee of $5,000 every time they visit their parents. No one would tolerate this attack on family and seniors, yet this is what keeps us away for our lonely senior parents. Travel expenses are in the thousands, and the time we need to log in canada makes s chose between our parents and long term immigration plans. A westerner never has to make that choice, and this is therefore discrimination. Mind you these foreign parents sent the west ready-trained prfessionals, cost-free.

We may not be able to immediately change immigration laws, or repair public institutions and improve life quality at home so we can return to our parents, but we can increase our awareness of our foreign parents. We can insitutionalize reminders, sme to save towards visiting our parents, send them money regularly, make them part of the public discourse, learn about how parents hide their needs to protect us. Lucky immigrants have vocal parents who remind their children of their duties to support them financially, sponsor them for citizenship. Not all parents are that outspoken or goal oriented, and some our self-conscious about their needs. This is where institutionalized support can help professional create an early plan to preserve our parents physical and emotional wellbeing, by keeping them close.

Disciplined, employed immigrants may be on the right track in regards to reuniting with their parents, and may not need support. But what of those who go the time-consuming, risky entrepreneurial route, who lack focus, who get distracted by materialistic goals, who are overconident and postpone rewarding their parents?

We don't all realize that parental relationships need to be mantained. To feel loved parents need continuous gesture of support, and not simply to be rescued after years of neglect, once we've made the necessary money. Love is an act of prsence, a wire transfer at times, but not to be confused with an email or skype call. These alone are placeholders, but they don't give our parents the attention and care that they need. We also don't all have the wisdom of fearing time, and its effect on parents. We might have lost touch with relatives and childhood friends that may open our eyes to this fact. Once we drift away from home, we can no longer count on family and social circles to pass on their wisdom to us, or have an yey-opening talk when we need it. The new circles we form elsewhere are rarelyinvolved in our relationship  with our parents. In some cultures which we join parents and children visit, but they do not share a life. We therfore miss out on social cues that our parents need to be with us, or see us more often as we promissed. This is where institutionalized advice is needed ro replace the family-awareness we miss out when we leave. Why should every generation learn the hard way the value of time spent with loved ones, only after a painful loss.

What do you think, would you want to go to meet ups, and receive messages that remind you to save for your parents, visit your parents, read between the lines when they claim they're ok?

I imagine awareness campaign messages saying:
Caring for our aging parents is not a goal for later, it' for now. Later might be too late.
Parents are our most urgent project.
My senior foreign parents gave me the degree that's making your country money. In return they ask not to be left behind.
Don't be the immigrant who lost his parents because no one advised him.
Send money, send love, visit often. There is no immigration law against that, only disractions.
Foreign parents are ill? Don't figure it out alone, talk with those who share your extended family goals.
Let my mommy in or else her and I will go improve another country.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

'Erasing Death' Explores The Science Of Resuscitation

When will Lebanese hospitals get equipped with that, or should we ask when will doctors in the "medical center of the middle east" start caring about whether their patients live or die. 'Erasing Death' Explores The Science Of Resuscitation : NPR:

'via Blog this'

Friday, December 6, 2013

Middle East Hunters Promise to Stop Slaughtering Birds | Green Prophet

It's great to see the constructive reaction of these hunters, to the public local outcry against them:
Middle East Hunters Promise to Stop Slaughtering Birds | Green Prophet:

'via Blog this'

expats with parents

Expats who want to feel close to their foreign parents, and guard their wellbeing are a counter culture of sorts. They clash with a local culture where parents self-fund their retirement, with the help of the system. It's also a culture where senior parents and children are mostly independent from each other, and where it's convenient for people to regularly visit their parents.

When we live in the west, we find that parents are not "in the picture". They're not at their children's parties, they don't show up every weekend. Without moral support to maintain a culture of extended families, we end up assimilating into the demanding, independent lifestyle of the west. It's all too easy for our love for our parents to become theoretical. We love you but our time and money is going almosy entirely elsewhere.

Until we lose a parent, and slug through that tragedy, we tend to think that we'll always have a chance to take care of them. We need a support system that steers us clear from this fatally over-confident thinking. Of course if our parents could immediately join when we migrate, nothing would tear us apart from them or distract us rom rewarding them and bonding with them. This is the dream for many of us, we're born to loving dedicated parents and our definition of success is to make it one day and reward them. The reward for these kind souls is our company, and of course securing their health and comfort. Imagine the horror when we realize that we waited too long, and missed our chance to be their deserving, grateful children. I wish to spare others that heart break.

Immigration laws would have to become more senior-parent friendly, but other changes can happen in the meanwhile. We can campaign to make the extended-family culture more visible. This will give moral support to those who want to reunite with their parents, and who often internalise their plans fearing that they're odd. A campaign for new traditions within our culture as well: a slogan saying "5% to those who gave everything", to make it common to send money home. As we assimilate into the west and start new families here, we need moral support as our expat-goals compete with local demands on our life. Similar campaigns can remind us to visit our parents regularly, and can make the public aware of them, and of our cause.

Immigration countries resist the idea of our parents joining us because of medical care expenses. But, have they ever suggested a "parent tax" on immgrants, and given us a chance to accept it? Cultural differences may be preventing immigration countries from realizing the value we place on having our parents with us, and not 2 continents away! Maybe we're willing to pay to avoid the pain of separation from our parents. Attachment parenting is age-old in some cultures that we come from, and it's picking up in the west too. This attachment lasts a lifetime, and we're willing pay to not sacrifice our extended family and end up in a nuclear faily that lacks a proper support system.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

an enlightened arabic speach

In this enlightened arabic interview, a sheikh criticizes Arabic extremisms and attachs on intellect and creativity.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mar Charbel in Mexico City

Today I visited Mar Charbel's statue, in San Juan's church in Mexico city. In Mexico the tradition is to leave next to Mar Charbel a ribbon on which you write a prayer. It's an amazing mix of Mexican and Lebanese culture.

A lesson to us in Lebanon: kentucky's Obamacare

1. A state and a president on opposite sides of the political spectrum collaborated, for the greater good.
2.  The project in question, a website for Obamacare in Kentucky, was tested thoroughly before launch.
3. Carrie Banahan, kynect's executive director (the company that developed the site) said that it's efficient instead of glitzy. Maybe Carrie's company can do websites for Lebanese public institutions!

How Kentucky Built The Country's Best Obamacare Website

People were very confused," [Steve Beshear Dem. gov.] said [about ObamaCare]. "What I've been telling them is: Look, you don't have to like the president, and you don't have to like me. It's not about the president and it's not about me. It's about you, it's about your family, it's about your children."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This right up the alley of power shortages in Lebanon

Silicon supercapacitor could store electricity inside a silicon chip: "One such example are solar cells: supercapacitors built out of the silicon in the back side of solar cells could store energy during the day and gradually release it into the energy grid during the hours of peak consumption."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 20, 2013

must haves to cook middle eastern, and keep your mind off cooking and on activism!

must haves so you can quickly cook middle eastern, and keep your mind off cooking and on activism!

60 Must-Have Pantry Items For A Middle-Eastern Kitchen | Green Prophet

Malala funds

Malala Fund:

'via Blog this'

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pre-fab houses that cost very little

While we all get packed in Beirut and struggle with high housing prices, less costly, more remote lands are available in Lebanon. And now, they can be populated with pre-fab houses that come in a box, and cost a fraction of a regular house:

Flat-packed Mini House takes two days to install

Soleta zero energey homes are pre-fab, comfortable and off the grid

Awesome Tiny House Plans by Humble Homes | Humble Homes

Prefabricated steel homes

Warp drive looks more promising than ever in recent NASA studies

Warp drive looks more promising than ever in recent NASA studies

Great! Maybe expats will be able to travel to Lebanon and back much faster and for a fraction of the cost.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tell Congress: Don't Bomb Syria | CREDO Action

Tell Congress: Don't Bomb Syria | CREDO Action:

Tell Congress: Don’t Attack Syria:

'via Blog this'

Edgy Lebanese add smartphones to security arsenal - Your Middle East

I'm proud of Lebanon for adopting a high-tech, populist approach to detect car bombs. All the more a proof that violence is a foreign problem:

Edgy Lebanese add smartphones to security arsenal - Your Middle East:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scientists make "Impossible Material" ... by accident

Upsalite, a new highly porous synthetic material that can absorb oil spills, among other uses. O how about we use it to clean the Lebanese shore!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Solid Rain can help maintain public green spaces in Lebanon

Powdered Water Hydrates Drought-Stricken Farms | Green Prophet

Solid Rain, potassium polyacrylate granules that hold 10 times their weight in water for a year, helped drought-stricken farms in Mexico and can help maintain under-watered public green spaces in Lebanon.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mediterranean Surveillance Crew Eyes Oil Spills from the Sky

Mediterranean Surveillance Crew Eyes Oil Spills from the Sky | Green Prophet

Lebanon needs to be part of this surveillance crew, and provide technology to clean off spills that threaten our shore.

Drone It Yourself kit: first step to agricultural robots?

Drone It Yourself turns random objects into RC quadrotors

that's perfect, I can see crowd inventing taking off in Lebanon because of this kit. Just imagine, well first imagine a good store for inventors that includes such things, then imagine the application, watering plants, removing weeds, dropping off mail, all without touching roads of floor or soil. It's RC, so it will simplify labor too.

A real WaterCar

Is it a Jeep? Is it a speedboat? No, it's WaterCar's Panther amphibious vehicle

Imagine these in Beirut and Jounieh, with some traffic on the water, we'll have less traffic jams.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One In Three Women will be subjected to violence in their lifetime

After speaking with men who think they're entitled to sympathy for their struggle against women, I came across this: One In Three Women | A global campaign to raise awareness about violence against women, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A flying car would solve Lebanon's traffic problem

This flying car by Terrafugia would be the solution to Lebanon's traffic problems.

This RC / quadcopter is what we need (not the toy version!) in Lebanon too! It's can be that difficult to get one made in our country.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The pleasant way of campaigning for a cause

Here's how the campaigns against ocean pollution; by presenting the facts in an easy-read: How-Long-Until-its-Gone.jpg.  In Lebanon we could the same to support citizenry.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Letter from 725 physicians to the UN, on torture un Israel

The Jaradat case as latest example of medical collusion with torture in Israel. Non-response by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to an evidence-based case submitted by physicians from 43 countries.

Dear Professor Mendez/Office of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, 
I write again as convenor of a coalition of 725 physicians from 43 countries presenting a watertight evidence-based case regarding the systematic collusion of individual Israeli physicians, but more importantly the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), with torture as everyday state policy in Israel. As we have noted in previous representations to your Office, we first took our case in 2009 to the World Medical Association (WMA)- who were created precisely to police grave medical ethical matters of this kind- but it became transparently clear over the succeeding 12 months that the WMA was prepared to be in violation of its own mandate when it came to the IMA. Indeed the then WMA (and IMA) President Yoram Blachar vilified us in the press and through London lawyers issued a formal notice of intention to sue me as convenor for libel! The WMA will speak out about alleged medical violations in some countries but not where Israel is concerned, regardless of the evidence. This is a form of corruption which we have been respectfully asking you to examine at the same time. 
Once it was clear that the WMA is not fit for purpose, we saw it as essential to bring matters to the attention of your Office, encouraged too that the UN had tasked you in 2009 to focus on the issue of medical complicity with torture- precisely our case. We first sent the dossier to your Office in 2010, during the tenure as Rapporteur of Dr Manfred Nowak, re-sent it in late 2010 to you as the new Rapporteur, and several times since- the last being on 16 July 2012. We have used the email your Office created so that cases could be reported to you->  but last year also copied the dossier to your email academic address. We have received no word, not even acknowledgement of receipt, bar an email in 2011 asking for the material to be sent (in fact, re-sent) which we received 24 hours after we had emailed you a British Medical Journal article describing the first 2 years of our campaign. This article named your Office as having not responded to us (see attachment bmj 5223). Since then we have heard nothing, and we are uncertain whether this means you have made a decision not to touch us in any circumstances. If so, we would appreciate a response to this effect, with a reason. 
I also attach a report in the Lancet from this week. The case of Arafat Jaradat, which is scarcely 2 weeks old, exactly captures the issue. Israeli authorities confirmed that an Israeli doctor or doctors examined this just-detained 30 year old man upon arrival and found him fit and healthy. 2 days later he was dead, having expired during interrogation. What was the purpose of the medical examination, if not to ascertain capacity to withstand an interrogation which the doctor would know perfectly well (such doctors are not outsiders but part of the unit) was going to be accompanied by ill-treatment amounting to torture? 
 We are reminded that in 1993 a 'fitness for interrogation' form came to light, to be signed by an Israeli doctor after examining a Palestinian prisoner, recording medical suitability for torture. The examination of Jaradat is unlikely to have been for any other reason, and the 'Ticking Bombs' report we have previously cited make it crystal clear that this remains established practice (At the time the IMA feigned surprise that such as a 'fitness for interrogation' form existed, and deplored its use - they could hardly do otherwise once it had been reported publicly). As in the Jaradat case the IMA produces a formulaic anti-torture statement when necessary, but the documentary record to which we point can only cast these statements as deeply cynical. As Hadas Ziv of Physicians or Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) - who have supported this campaign- has said,  if Israeli doctors were forbidden to serve in units whose routine output is torture, torture as state policy would collapse. The IMA have been careful not to call for this and have instead vilified PHR-I. The presence of doctors gives license and legitimacy to the torturers, and is intended to.
The evidence we have been citing goes back as far as the 1996 Amnesty International paper entitled: '"Under constant medical supervision". Torture, ill-treatment and health professionals in Israel and the Occupied Territories (see the references under the original letter signed by 725 physicians). Amnesty were being ironic in using the title "Under constant medical supervision", this being a reference to the claim made at the time by Israeli authorities in supposed defence of Israeli prison conditions and prisoner rights following public allegations about ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian detainees. As Amnesty noted, this was an unintended admission of the central role of doctors in the whole process!

To us it seems that if the evidence for medical complicity in Israel was not to be deemed sufficiently compelling, no evidence in any comparable case ever could be. What then would the international medical ethical codes governing the behaviour of doctors be worth in practice - notably the anti-torture WMA Declaration of Tokyo which mandate doctors not just not to participate in torture, but to speak out and protest whenever they encounter or suspect they encounter it. 
We remain expectant of a response from your Office, as do many other observers inside and outside the medical profession. As before I am copying this to the editors of the Lancet and British Medical Journal. I will also re-send again today the whole dossier, separate from this letter. Perhaps you could start with the Jaradat case. 
Yours sincerely 
Dr Derek Summerfield 
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, University of London 
Convenor, on behalf of 724 physician signatories. 
13 March 2013. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Egypt’s First Female Dive Master Speaks Out | Green Prophet

Egypt’s First Female Dive Master Speaks Out | Green Prophet

Why we need to better discover, and respect animals

Chimpanzees are more similar to us than we realized; they excel at memory tests in this research center in Japan: Symbolic representation and working memory in chimpanzees