dimanche 29 septembre 2013

dimanche 15 septembre 2013

mardi 10 septembre 2013

dimanche 8 septembre 2013

The bystander effect

The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Several variables help to explain why the bystander effect occurs. These variables include: ambiguity, cohesiveness and diffusion of responsibility.

Lebanon, a BrainDead country

The Lebanese “superiority syndrome” may push them to believe that they are the smartest people on the face on this planet. It may even push them to fall victims to the anecdote that God has been so generous with them to make them the perfect country on the face of this earth, but since nothing is perfect, God gave them the worst neighbours, which is why they ended up in this worthless situation.
This is all we have remaining, our “superior mentality” a.k.a. chauvinism, and our grandiloquence in the old days when “Beirut was Paris of the Middle East”.
It is the same exact situation of an old man sitting on his wooden chair at the doorsteps of his porch, reminiscing his golden days back when he had the muscles, the dough and the charisma, for that is all he got left to brag about.
As much as I love Lebanon, simply because I was born there and the way I put it ” I have been molded from that clay”, I have come to pity the level of mediocrity and degradation we have reached.
We may have been the cultural and educational capital of the Middle East at one point, but all we are now is a big orgy center, where tourists ( mainly from the Gulf) come to feed their hunger for boobs, alcohol and drugs. Why else would you see the minister of tourism and the president making weekly trips and press conferences begging the Gulf countries to lift the travel warning and encourage their citizens to pay a visit this summer.
Let’s face it. This is all that we currently have. Our youth are uneducated, so they end up under the mercy of the Warlords and Religious Mafias, having to burn tires as a way of living.
I quote from Rana Abouzaki’s article, published in Al-Akhbar English on June 26,2012:
The feebleness of Lebanese scientific research could be one of the reasons for Lebanese society’s ignorance of its own characteristics and inability to evaluate its reaction and realities, locally and internationally.
In practice, Lebanon does not create scientific minds in both the physical and social sciences. Its academic curricula shun all creative elements. And if a Lebanese manages to distinguish themselves in any way, he or she is picked up by any country in the world, except their own.
Once distinguished Lebanese scientists and thinkers are outside the country, you hear officials boast about “Lebanese talent in the Diaspora” followed by “the increase in remittances from expatriates which breathes life into the Lebanese economy…”Then, a round of applause.
Can anyone deny this fact? How many times have you heard Lebanese, across all levels, from politicians to media to the taxi driver, bragging about Shakira, Carlos Slim, Michael Dabaghi, Rima Fakih etc… These successful (regardless of whether winning a beauty pageant is success or not) individuals , or their parents, had to leave Lebanon in the first place to become that successful. There is a big chance that if they grew up in Lebanon, they would have never made it. I do not intend to say that there are no chances of success and innovation in Lebanon, on the contrary, I plan on going back every day and believe there is ample opportunity and I have read about a lot of people who are doing magnificent work, but it is like swimming in a mud pool, where regular efforts are no longer sufficient and it requires the highest levels of perseverance and determination to make it through, in addition to all the frustration and lack of support one might face.
Who has heard of Rania Bou Kheir? I bet none of the readers of this blog have. I had not heard of her until yesterday, when I realized that she won the Francophone award for scientific research for the year 2010-2011. I tried Googling her with no results except for the article where I found out about her. This lady apparently shed the light on the reality of scientific research in Lebanon. Bou Kheir discovered that the amount of research produced by all governmental and non-governmental institutions combined, since their inception up until 2011, could be considered miniscule.
If this lady had discovered a new Martini or unleashed a new muffler into the auto industry, she would have been featured on every media outlet in Lebanon, but because her research is centered around education and deals with facts and figures, her discoveries remain a hidden treasure.
Again, quoting from the same article, Abou Kheir says that :
Compared to the rest of the world, Lebanon does not even reach three digits in any ranking. According to several studies in journals around the world between 1996 and 2008, AUB ranks 1,159th (out of 2,124 worldwide). Meanwhile, Cairo University, for example, ranks at 592.
Lebanon only publishes eight internationally recognized and indexed scientific journals, out of almost 56,000 journals published worldwide. The most recent report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the ranking of research centers in 127 countries, the only Arab country was Tunisia at 36. Lebanon was not even considered for the list.
Israel published 16,826 pieces of research in 2011 alone, compared to 1,557 in Lebanon. Between 2007 and 2011, Lebanon published around 6,038 studies, while Israel published 81,800.
Palestinian researcher Khaled Saeed Rabaia indicates that Israel spends 4.7 percent of its GDP on scientific research, the highest rate worldwide.
In all their modern history, Arab countries patented a mere 836 inventions, only 5 percent of the patents registered in Israel.
You want real resistance, you fight with brainpower. You fight with educating your youth and empowering them, for this is what topples the enemy in the end.
A country that knows nothing about itself is a country out of its mind. This is what we have become my friends. A country out of its mind, a braindead country.
Cheers to those who stay and fight till the end!!!!!


dimanche 1 septembre 2013

Pendant ce temps, les Syriens souffrent...

– À Alep, Ahmad ne sait pas comment dire à son épouse et ses deux enfants qu’il n’a plus que quelques livres à la banque et une grosse dette auprès d’un ami. 

Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle*, le moral des ménages américains enregistre une hausse inattendue. 

– Sur le flanc du mont Qassioun, Racha observe avec angoisse le ciel si bleu, si vaste, si dégagé, et se demande d’où viendra le prochain obus. Du régime, des rebelles, des étrangers ? 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, l’amélioration venue par l’ouest est appelée à s’étendre plus à l’est de l’Hexagone, à l’exception de quelques plaques de grisaille en matinée sur le Nord-Ouest. 

– À Beyrouth, Hussein pleure son cousin syrien Abdallah, un médecin rentré du Canada pour aider ses compatriotes et fauché par la balle d’un sniper alors qu’il se trouvait à bord d’un bus sur la route d’Alep. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, près de 600 000 usagers des transports en commun d’Île-de-France bénéficient du dézonage de leur passe Navigo. 

– À Damas, les experts de l’ONU prélèvent sang, urine et cheveux auprès de victimes de l’attaque à l’arme chimique imputée au régime dans une banlieue de Damas. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, le  "twerking", une danse hypersexuée exécutée lors des MTV Video Awards par Miley Cyrus, ex-égérie de Disney, entre dans l’Oxford Dictionary. 

– À Washington, de hauts responsables se répandent anonymement dans la presse sur la date, la manière et les cibles de l’opération militaire étrangère contre la Syrie. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, une chaîne de télévision libanaise laisse une voyante divaguer pendant des heures sur l’avenir (sombre) du Liban. 

– À Beyrouth, Habib trouve que toutes les voitures garées dans sa rue sont louches. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, Sandra Bullock et George Clooney foulent le tapis rouge de la 70e Mostra de Venise qui s’ouvre sur leur film, un thriller de l’espace. 

– À Qousseir, Salwa, 80 ans, vomit le régime, les rebelles, les miliciens de tout poil et le reste du monde devant les ruines de sa maison. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, cinq élans ivres pour cause d’abus de pommes fermentées empêchent un Suédois de rentrer chez lui. 

– À Deir ez-Zor, Salma prie pour que ses parents, ses enfants, ses cousins, ses amis, ses collègues survivent à cette guerre. 
Pendant ce temps, dans un monde parallèle, Obama, Assad, Khamenei, Hollande, Poutine, Cameron n’ont jamais entendu parler de Salma.

L'Orient-Le-Jour. Emilie Sueur