What are the limits of innovation?

Is innovation only about ideas? Or is it about solving problems and make a meaningful impact?
Dec 7, 2018 | 4min read

Off the top of our heads, we can easily enumerate some of the most innovative companies. Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Facebook, General Electric, Renault, Alibaba, Huwaei and so on. They have all created products and/or services essentials to our daily life.

But what is innovation?

As per the Wikipedia definition, innovation is often viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. Innovation is more apt to involve the practical implementation of an invention to make a meaningful impact in the market or society. As per the Business Dictionary definition, innovation can also be the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay.

Let’s consider Apple, for example. Steve Jobs changed our telecommunication market and ecosystem with the invention of the iPhone in 2007. He was a visionary who imagined the need for better-connected devices in our global world. Not like flying cars that they have been putting in our mind since the Fifth Element in the 90’s. As you might already know, it was not an overnight success. It was a long process for him and the company, with a lot of setbacks and changes. Yet, they didn’t stop, took risks and did innovate and revolutionize the phone and telecommunication industry. Who would have thought 11 years ago to create a business plan on his phone and share it? Nobody. In the end, with Apple, Steve Jobs managed to transform his idea into a product that creates value for them and their customers. And Apple became one of the most innovative companies.

When does innovation become a consumerism’s factor?

We are all grateful for these tech innovations. And I’m not even talking about the huge improvement we’ve made in other industries such as health care, automobile, retails, etc. But at what cost? What and where are the limits? When does innovation become another factor of consumerism? If you take the Business Dictionary definition of innovation, it is to create a good or service for which customers will pay. So profits. But one shouldn’t forget the first “rule” of innovation:

To make a meaningful impact on our society.

And that’s why, in my personal opinion, Apple and many other brands forgot to make better solutions for their customers and problems. My latest personal story with an Apple product is a proof of that.

I bought my first Apple product, the iPhone 4, 8 years ago. And then 5 years later, in 2013, I changed it to the 5s. After many struggles with the battery and heating issues for more than a year, I have recently decided to change it and buy the new iPhone 8. After a couple of months, I’m not 100% satisfied because of software bug issues. But I’m impressed by how fast it is and the bigger screen. I knew about the new Lighting Connector, that replaced the Audio Jack, and it didn’t bother me that much. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I realized for the first time the meaning of having only the Lighting Connector. If you’re not familiar with these “technical” words here’s a picture comparing the two.

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The top one has an Audio Jack. The lower one has only a Lighting Connector.

I had a professional call, that I usually take with my earphones on, and was running low on battery. Without the Audio Jack, you connect the earphones to the Lighting Connector, where you plug in your charger as well. So it was either the earphones either the charger, but definitely not both. And to tell you the truth I was quite annoyed. And then a similar situation happened when I wanted to listen to music with my earphones and charge the phone as well. Nop, can’t happen! And the final straw and why have I started writing this post in the first place? Because on my way to Paris, on my 2 hours flight, I had planned to watch a movie on my MacBook Air. And again, I couldn’t. How? I couldn’t connect my earphones with a Lighting Connector to my Mac! As simple as that! And for your information, even on the newest MacBook Pro, you cannot!

Innovation is not only about ideas

I respect Apple and everything they have done for our world. But they forgot, and they are not the only ones, the essence of innovation. Innovation is not only about ideas. Innovation is about solving our problems, as customers, and not only about profits for the company.

The solutions to this particular problem I have are pretty simple:

  1. Buy the AirPods wireless Bluetooth earphones
  2. Buy the Apple wireless charger
  3. Buy an adapter

Where’s the problem? Every solution consists of purchasing, again, an additional accessory. And my biggest problem is that most of us will buy this extra accessory. Because, they say, the future is wireless. If Apple had a vision of a wireless future, they would have included in the box the wireless accessories or adapters. But when the AirPods cost 179 EUR and the Earphones with Lightning Connector cost 29 EUR, you understand why the latter is in the box. Profits my friends. Profits. And that’s why Apple must recalibrate and focus on our needs, not their dreams.

Last but not least, having two earphones, one for my Mac and one for my iPhone, as suggested by some of you, is not the kind of society I imagine myself living in. That’s what I call tech waste. And with our planet at the brink of destruction, any kind of waste is not welcome and should be banned. Instead, give your extra devices or accessories to someone who needs it. A parent. A friend. A non-profit organization. That’s what I have done. And I refuse to buy another set of earphones, even if it means not being able to use my Mac as I would like to.

History is doomed to repeat itself

Haven’t you noticed? Then you’re not paying attention. You’re too busy ignoring the reality.
May 13, 2018 | 2min read

I’m gonna get straight to the point this time with simple facts.
No explanations.
No analysis.
No interpretations.
Facts. Simple undeniable facts.

Are you ready? Then let’s go!

The danger is clear

On 17 March 2003, President George W. Bush issues an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. Here’s a transcript of his war’s ultimatum or you can listen to it here (13min long video) :

My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of a decision. Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

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The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The rest of the story is well-known. The US and the UK invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003. 15 years later, Iraq is far away from the peaceful and self-governing nation President Bush promised them. Today, we know for a fact it was a lie. That Bush and his administration lied to their own American citizens and to the world. Even Tony Blaire admitted he lied and took the blame for the Iraq war. Also Donald Trump, before becoming president, said that Bush lied about the presence of WMDs in Iraq.

Do you think President Trump remembers it? I don’t think so because he recently held a similar speech.

A giant fiction

On 8 May 2018, President Donald Trump announces the U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal. Here’s a transcript of his speech or you can listen to it here (12min long video):

My fellow Americans, today, I want to update the world on our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

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At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction: that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program. Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents — long concealed by Iran — conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.

But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land, and they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history and glory to God.

The end.

Is it going to be the same story in Iran 15 years from now? I don’t know and don’t say more. But you must know that geopolitics are always changing. Iraq is Iran. Iran is Iraq. Bush is Trump. Trump is Bush. And so on.

I leave you to do your own homework and interpretation of the situation. But remember, silence ensures that history repeats itself.

Who are you to tell me what to do?

Yes, you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. Who do you think you are?
April, 13 2018 | 4min read

Yes, you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. Who do you think you are? A magician? Yes, you who hide behind your computer and tell people what to do with their lives and how to do it. On top of that, you give them the guarantee it will work. Enough.

We live in an era where we read more online articles (5 to 10 min read) then proper books. I haven’t done any research to back it up. It’s just a hunch because, in our century, writing and posting are as easy as changing socks every morning. And that’s great because expressing ourselves became much easier. But there is a setback with those recurrent articles:

14 days to transform your life

The 3 keys to becoming irresistible

Want to live a life 99% of other people will envy?

5 actionable steps to immediately become a better writer 

Wake up at 5am and you’ll be successful

Quit your 9am to 5pm job right now.

Get out of your comfort zone

Follow your passion

Start your business

And so on…

I haven’t made any of these up. They are all part of my Medium Daily Digest. And it’s wrong.

Because they make it seem so easy

Why? Because they make it seem so easy. Yes, they do. As if there is a process to follow to become the best version of yourself. Tips and advice are always welcome. But a process to follow, really? Have you heard of the uniqueness of each human being? It doesn’t mean if it works for them, it will work for you. We all have different stories, experiences, lifestyles, and definition of happiness. The worst is how determined those bloggers are to get the most views from their readers. But, this forced influence is wrong. Bloggers forget they have no right to dictate others people life. To share how they did it their way, sure. But injunctions are harmful.

One could argue who am I to criticize and have my say on this topic. Fair enough. I’m not a blogger and might never be one. The only legitimacy I have is changing my job, following my passion and starting a company. I already wrote about it in here Fuck the system. And when I read those articles it seems like paradise and freedom are awaiting you on the other side. Wrong again.

Because it’s gonna be harder than you imagine

Why? Because this journey is gonna be much harder than you could ever imagine. On the paper, it seems like an easy move. Let’s take my example of a new 4-month job opportunity in Budapest. To move there for 4 months is obvious and shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if the opportunity ticks all the boxes. But you put yourself in an unstable situation and you have no idea what to expect from the job or the near future. This was in March 2015. Today, in April 2018 I still work for the same company in Budapest. I intended to keep this job because I learned a lot. Most importantly, for the first time in my life, I felt I love my job. But still, I have struggled personally and professionally for the last 3 years. And I still remember most of my friends in Paris (where I have lived for 6 years) telling me how courageous I was to do this. And I never understood why. Until it hit me. Yes, it hit me like a ton of bricks last year. How I have left behind everything I have built in Paris to the unknown in Budapest. Then I think of other friends of mine who could have moved to other countries but did not. This is when I start wondering and questioning our society. A society that preaches mobilization all over the world, to an extent where almost everyone is a digital nomad. But it turns out moving in the 21st century is easy only for a few of us.

And because of this, I had a breakdown

I changed my life. I changed my career. I changed city. And because of this, I had a breakdown last year. Luckily, my friends and family were here for me. Because without them, I wouldn’t even have written this blog post. We are all born to survive and I truly believe it. But those bloggers or writers who absolutely want to influence others, don’t realize the risk they are taking by pushing someone to change his life. Have they ever thought it could turn out to be terrible? So bad, the person they have influenced is bankrupt now, or close to depression? They are not aware of the responsibility they take when writing down stuff that worked for them but doesn’t work for everyone. And those who do realize but don’t say anything are selfish assholes. That’s why I respect Gary V. Gary is definitely an influencer who wants the youth to do and give more of themselves. He’s always harsh and honest in his public declarations. The reason I respect him is that he says the following:

I want those kids or adults to know if it doesn’t work I’m the one to blame.

It could mean shit to the person himself, but at least Gary has the courage to stand up and say it to the world. Not like the average bloggers who hide behind their computers and promise you a better life.

Whatever you decide, remember that you are born to survive and at the end, it’s gonna be alright. But, if you don’t want to do it and don’t want to change your life, then don’t do it. No one is forcing you. I will respect you for having the courage to say no.

Stop taking pictures for the wrong reasons

Enjoy the moment and take a picture. Feel the moment and capture it. But is it how we take pictures nowadays?
Nov 23, 2017 | 4min read

In the summer of 2011, I traveled to Montreal to visit Dave, a very good friend of mine. Our cool English teacher, actually the coolest, from school lived there as well. And one day we decided to meet for a drink in a coffee shop. At some point, Dave started telling us stories about his recent Eurotrip he did after graduating from university. Great stories to hear until he mentioned he hadn’t taken A SINGLE PICTURE of the trip. I was shocked to my core. I had to stop him. He had just committed a crime! What do you mean you haven’t taken any pictures? I definitely don’t remember his answer.

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Dave rocking it at his own wedding. Cali, Colombia – August 2017

Pictures or it never happened

He traveled all across Europe for two weeks but didn’t take one single picture. Ok, he took 5, 10 maximum. But he wrote on a daily basis about his experiences, journeys and so on. He could describe every situation he was in as if we were there with him. Check it out if you’re curious https://david.achkar.com/eurotrip/. The teacher and I were shocked how he hadn’t taken any pictures. As we say pictures or it never happened. All I remember from this conversation was me telling him afterward: “you have to capture the moment”. And it’s so easy to do so! And click, I had taken a picture to prove it while continuing the conversation. I had my iPhone 4 back then and it was the beginning of the smartphone’s trend. I still have this picture somewhere on my external hard drive that is in the basement of my friend’s house in Paris. Capture the moment. Isn’t it obvious? Not for everyone. And 6 years later, can you imagine yourself or anyone around you, except your grandparents, not taking a picture of something or someone? At a party? During a trip? In a museum? At lunch? The answer is a BIG NO. And that’s great. Even though some of us have an outstanding visual memory, most of us need to take pictures. And technology is helping us a lot here. It is. But it’s also harming us a lot.

Rather skipping the moment

Because we forgot what does capturing the moment means. Actually, it became so easy to take pictures with our devices that we lost the charm of capturing the moment. I also did. Haven’t you ever been in a situation where you take a picture on the move? You know what I mean? You’re walking. You don’t want to stop. You notice a picture moment. You take out your phone or camera that is so good now they can focus on the object while you’re moving and click your picture is taken. I don’t call this capturing the moment. Rather skipping the moment. It is. I have more than 2000 pictures from my last one month trip in Colombia. That’s great because now I can choose and make a selection of the best ones. But at the same time, I’m sure I was skipping some moments and going too fast, instead of posing, relaxing and being present in the moment.

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Take the time you need to get the perfect shot. Lisbon, Portugal – November 2017

Why are you so in a hurry to share your pictures?

The second reason why it’s hurting us is social media. I’m wondering why some people take pictures. For them or for social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)? Technology and social media made it so easy to share pictures publicly or privately with each other. Why are you so in a hurry to share your pictures? Don’t you want them to be yours for a while? For example, I have a group on WhatsApp with my family, and they kept asking pictures while I was away. When you’re blown away by all the beauty of your trip, choosing later only a couple of pictures, without even explaining the context of the picture, is pretty hard. I have finally sent some, but admit I was a bit annoyed. I was completely immersed in my trip and somehow this group was calling me back to reality. My mother used to travel a lot, and as you can imagine, back then they didn’t have the technology we have today. So all her pictures are on slides that you need to project on a screen. She used to tell us stories picture after picture. And still, ask my brother and me to do the same after each trip we make. We don’t always find the time to do so but I can guarantee it’s the best way to share your travel. Yes, every picture tells a story. But only the photographer can find the right words to make the story special.

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Breathe, be present and enjoy the nature. Rila Mountains, Bulgaria – June 2017

Capture the moment. Yes. Take pictures. Please, do. But then wait. Breathe. Enjoy the moment. Forget about the pictures. And only then, post and share it. Because the worst when you do share it immediately you unconsciously become distracted and expect a reply, a comment, a like. If you’re a social media freak, try at least to wait until the end of the day, when you’re ready to go to bed for example. What a better way to remember the awesome day you had? You’re at a party, drunk, wait for the next day as it will be the only way to remember what happened after your blackout. Yup, happened to me once. Guilty as charged. You’re traveling, take this opportunity to disconnect and share the pictures when you’re back home from your holidays.

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My latest selfie. Madrid, Spain – November 2017

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy taking pictures. I still do. Yes, I even take selfies (NOT with a selfie stick and will never do). But we have to decide how to use our devices and not the other way around. So don’t be fooled by technology. Use it as it has a lot to give but control it as you would like, not as social media, aka the e-society, wants you to!

 

Lebanon has not declared war on Saudi Arabia

But Saudi Arabia indirectly declared war on Lebanon and Iran.
Nov 14, 2017 | 5min read

On 4th November, Saad Hariri, the actual Prime Minister of Lebanon unexpectedly announced his resignation live from Riyadh on the Arabia television channel, a channel owned by Saudi Arabia. In the same time, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, arrested many Saudi princes, media owners, businessmen, and the millionaire businessman Waleed Ben Talal on “corruption” charges. The next day, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader, called and urged for calm. More than one week later our PM hasn’t returned to Lebanon yet but gave on 12th November evening a pathetic interview after one week of silence. Meanwhile, Michel Aoun, the president of Lebanon, gave a one-week ultimatum to Saudi Arabia to let Hariri come back before Lebanon files an official complaint at the UN Security Council.

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No, you’re not watching the latest soap-box drama movie but a sad reality. But one should think and ask, how did we get there?

Everything started on 9th November 2016 and the election of Donald Trump. Trump, ah my dear Trump. I’m still convinced Hillary Clinton would have been a worse president than Donald Trump. And I knew having Trump as a president would have been a big risk and change for the Middle East, and could affect Lebanon. Many times during his campaign he mentioned the Iran nuclear deal as the worst deal ever negotiated. And since he’s in office he’s been trying to renegotiate it, or worth kill it. The USA political agenda was clear: Iran is our new enemy and we should, by all means, destabilize it and cut her expanding influence in the region. What influence he’s talking about here? The near end of the war in Syria and Iraq. A war the USA and SA lost to Russia and Iran. Then, in May 2017 Trump signed $110 billion arms deal with SA. What a better way to fight a local enemy then providing your ally the means to do it? And in the last months, MBS and SA have directly threatened Iran and Hezbollah, therefore Lebanon.

Let’s go back now to the actual context. Three major things happened last week:

  1. The resignation of the prime minister outside of Lebanon
  2. The elimination of all king’s opponents in SA
  3. The media propaganda worldwide

Hariri has the dual citizenship, Saudi and Lebanese

Since the election of the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, after two years and a half of vacancy, a government of national union and collaboration was formed. That’s how Saad Hariri was Prime Minister again in a cohabitation with Hezbollah. The day before he announced his resignation from Riyadh, Hariri even met with the Iranian advisory for foreign affairs in Lebanon. The meeting was quite productive and both parties were looking forward to future collaboration. It’s important to mention it’s the first time in the history of Lebanon a prime minister resigns outside of the country. And doing it in SA has a particular message due to the historical relationship, and influence, of SA in the country. Hariri himself has the dual citizenship, Saudi and Lebanese. And in the text he read when announcing his resignation he condemned Iran and its growing power and influence in the region. He also charged Iran’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and political party that is part of the national unity cabinet he led: “Wherever Iran settles, it sows discord, devastation, and destruction, proven by its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.”. Hariri and Hezbollah always had their differences but never the dialogue was harsh and aggressive like this.

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We could call it a coup actually

As for the situations in SA, many analysts could see this happening. From last July, one prince was already detained. And then this extraordinary purged happen. Another prince dead in a helicopter crash. And one shot after the detention turned out of control. And even Bakr Ben Laden, the brother of Oussama Ben Laden, was arrested. MBS is eliminating his opponents one after another to maintain his supremacy and go through with his more “moderate” SA. We could call it a coup actually. But of course, media only reported these facts without even condemning it. What I’ve read is that in SA when you detain someone, his assets become the government property. You should know SA’s debt is 13-14% of its GDP. Yet they still found a way to buy for 110 B$ of weapons! Or did they? Not yet, but Trump tweeting about Aramco IPO could give us a clear answer pretty soon! And actually, in April 2016, Vikram Mansharamani, a lecturer at Yale University in the Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics, warned us to prepare for several possibilities, from the escalation of the cold war between SA and Iran into a hot one, to a collapse of the Saudi monarchy and the chaos accompanying such a development, to the emergence of a renewed economic powerhouse in the Middle East.

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Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization

A couple of hours after Hariri’s resignation, and until today, any media will narrate the same story, blaming Iran, and requesting the elimination of Hezbollah, a terrorist organization. You don’t believe me? Go ahead and google Saad Hariri’s resignation or anything related to the above. As if all news publishers agreed to write the same story to convince us Iran and Hezbollah are indeed dangerous. Doesn’t it sound familiar? No? Think a bit more… Ok. A hint: Weapon of Mass Destruction. And if this is not propaganda (or fake news as we call it in the 21st century) I don’t know what is. And what about Reuters saying Lebanon has declared war on SA? Isn’t it the other way around? And what about Hezbollah? Well, it is not a terrorist organization. I repeat and will always repeat it, HEZBOLLAH IS NOT A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION. For your information, the USA decided to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list. On what basis? Because they’re fighting Israel, our enemy but USA historical ally, who’s violating international laws on a daily basis. But needless to remind you, Hezbollah is for many years now a political party part of the Lebanese government. And this is a fact you can’t disagree with. Most people would argue their existence is illegal because they still carry weapons when it’s only the Lebanese army who should. And I agree with you, but as long as the army is not competent enough to fight the enemy, I see no reasons why the Hezbollah should give back their weapons. Oh and by the way, they are not the only political party holding weapons in Lebanon. Sunni militia exist as well in the country, but you’d never hear any media or party complain about it. And why is that? Because they have close ties with SA and the USA.

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So what’s happening here is a nasty geo-strategic-economic hold up from the USA and SA on the region, as they’ve lost its control to Russia and Iran. As always, unfortunately, Lebanon has to suffer from all this. And we are. But for once, we will come out stronger as all Lebanese are united and requesting the immediate return of Saad Hariri, our Prime Minister, to Lebanon. And huge respect to our president, Michel Aoun, who stood up to MBS, Trump, and the world.

Is this the world you want to live in?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Oct 8, 2017 | 3min read

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever thought to answer it for the sake of others who might need it more than you do? Of course, not. You only think about yourself.

“A giraffe’s coffee would be cold by the time it reached the bottom of its throat. Ever think about that? No. You only think about yourself.”

I wrote this story right after it happened to me in Colombia on 6th September. I was in Simón Bolívar International Airport in Santa Marta, waiting for my flight to Medellin. I was at the gate, sitting and looking around. When you travel alone, that’s what you do. Unless you’re a Facebook freak and keep looking at your damn phone and scrolling down. I was the only foreigner, it was my second week in Colombia, but my Spanish was already much better.

Then, a woman in my sight line bursts into tears. She notices I saw her. I’m embarrassed and look away. All my attention is now focused on her. I start again looking around but every time pausing at her, still crying. The more she was crying, the more I wanted to cry, and do something. But I’m in Colombia and my Spanish is still not at its best. What am I going to say to a stranger woman and in Spanish? I hesitate. I hesitate more. What can I tell her in Spanish, or what can I do?

“I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone.”

That was the green light. I’m gonna embarrass myself in front of her and everyone? If you know me a bit, you’d know I don’t care what people think about me. I take out pocket tissues, prepare my sentence in Spanish, and start walking towards her. Somehow I haven’t written down what I told her, but it was very simple. Something like, “is everything ok?” or “can I help you?”. She nods to tell me she’s ok and I give her a tissue. I don’t feel comfortable sitting next to her, she might want to be alone and I could see before she was communicating with someone by voice messages. I leave and don’t feel like sitting where I was before. I decide to buy cheese balls. I wasn’t hungry but thought I could offer her some. I buy 3 cheese balls, go back to her and propose her one. She refuses. But after insisting she accepts and takes one. I propose more tissues (in Spanish) and she laughs about is as she would definitely need some. I give her a big smile, tap her on the shoulder and go back and sit.

A couple of minutes later, an old woman next to me, and her big family (around 15 people) burst into laughter. I look at them, and her husband had weird eyeglasses with fake eyes on them. It was so funny and random, I couldn’t stop laughing either. Plus, their way of laughing out loud was contagious. I turn around to the (crying) woman as I wanted her so badly to look at the scene and have a good laugh about it but she didn’t look back.

I don’t know and will never know why this woman was crying. And that’s not the point.

But what I know is we human beings have lost all sense of community and savoir-vivre. In this small airport of Colombia, where I’m the only foreigner, surrounded by a bunch of Colombians, no one took the time of talking to this young woman and check whether we can help? It’s almost certain we could have not, but at least asking wouldn’t have cost anything to anyone. Plus, compassion has killed nobody.

I have to admit I don’t remember if this was my first time in this situation. And if it was not, I’m not sure how I have reacted in the past. But I hope from now on, me, and you, will react differently and help any person in need.

This is the world we live in. We are so individualistic and selfish. We tend to forget our brothers and sisters from another mother and father. We are a society where by default we reject and repel each other. Yes, we do. And the more we will, the less chance we have to live in a peaceful world.

I read once the human reflex when a baby falls is to catch him back. But when an adult falls, on the contrary, we move away and let him fall.

Something to think about. Have a good day dear reader. And make this world a better place.

 

France and the world are holding their breath

After 200 years of failed universal suffrage that allows the rich to buy political power, the fact of appointing masters instead of passing laws is a political imposture and it is not a democracy.
April 30, 2017 | 5min read

If you have followed the news, you must already know all eyes are on France and the 2nd round of the 2017 French presidential elections on 7th May. If you have not, the 1st round of the presidential elections ended up with Emmanuel Macron (24,01 %) and Marine Le Pen (21,03%) going through. Third position attributed to Francois Fillon (20,01%), a right-wing and conservative leader, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (19,58%) a “real” left-wing leader. I, myself, have voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Why? Because he’s the only one fighting for environmental and social justice. Check out my latest blogpost if you want to know more about it.

Who is Macron? A former Minister of Economy and Finance and the leader of En Marche! a social-liberal party he created. Who is Marine Le Pen? The leader of Front National (FN), a right-wing populist and nationalist political party. So yes, this extreme right party has gotten 21,03% of the vote in France. Where have we gone wrong? I wish I’d know!

You choose in the 1st round and eliminate in the 2nd

It’s historical now in France you choose in the 1st round and eliminate in the 2nd round.

Candidates who have almost nothing in common with the frontrunner support him and forget their political convictions. Fillon, right-wing, is voting now for Macron. Hamon, socialist party, is voting now for Macron. And they are calling their electors to do so too. At the same time, they have to. Otherwise, they are ruining their political party and career. Yet, you only have one candidate, Mélenchon, who has spent his life fighting the FN, who hasn’t officially declare voting for Macron and called his electors to vote with their conscience. And of course, the press and politicians are getting all excited about it and criticising him.

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But, we have a short memory. We have also forgotten the critics he received when he called his electors to vote for Hollande, Macron’s master, against Sarkozy in 2012. Only a stupid man will repeat the same mistake twice. As if the media propaganda could make us believe for one second he would vote for Marine Le Pen. Anyways, we now have the explanation for his silence. On his youtube channel, he affirmed not voting for Marine Le Pen, and getting ready for his next step, the legislative election next June, where his party and the 7 million electors who voted for him can make the change we all need so much in the system. Anyone, without a doubt, should vote against the FN. But voting against the FN, by voting for Macron, is not as easy as one would think.

A poor continuity. At least with no surprises

Macron is a continuity of Hollande disastrous mandate. He is the extreme finance candidate. Yes, he is, and if you think otherwise, you’re not being honest with yourself. Yes, he claims himself neither left neither right, but he was part of Hollande’s government. In my opinion, it could have been a good opportunity to put an end to this useless left-right parties debate. But no. Only to prepare the future, he left the government to be ready for the replacement of his master. Needless to remind you it’s the first time in the history of the republic of France a running president doesn’t represent himself.

French President Hollande and economy advisor Macron walk in the Elysee Palace in Paris

But again, Hollande as Macron are here for the benefits of the establishment who placed them there in the first place. He will serve the interests of these people who are the richest 1% of the population. And I warn you, France could suffer again for 5 years the same way it suffered from Hollande. A poor continuity. At least with no surprises. Actually, it’s good for France to have some continuity in the ideas and program for once. And not changing and going back to Fillon / Sarkozy and its right-wing conservative mafia. But we should give him the benefit of the doubt to do better and let’s see it as a positive thing. Plus he’s going to be the youngest President of the French Republic. I know who cares.

Because Macron will involve France in many wars

Now how an immigrant like me wouldn’t vote against the FN and vote for Macron without any hesitation? First, let me introduce myself (for the readers who don’t know me). I’m Lebanese, born in Beirut in 1988 (if my age matters to you) and have lived there until my 20s when I travelled to France. After 6 years living in France, I have become a French citizen. You might know the historical relations between Lebanon and France, and that’s why I’m proud to be a Lebanese-French citizen. But of course, I’m Lebanese before being French. Without removing any merit of me becoming French, the country where I had most of my experiences as a youngster. So why I cannot vote for Macron without any hesitation? Because Macron, like Hollande, will involve France in many wars in the Middle East, instead of ending them. He will continue fighting Russia and its government. And not only war but also weapons selling to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. who have their own responsibility in the chaos happening in the Middle East.

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And because of this endless war in Syria, we have welcomed in Lebanon around 2 millions refugees (half of the Lebanese population) we cannot take care of, as our government cannot even take care of us (60% of the Lebanese population is poor). Macron is definitely not the right person to end this madness as he comes from the establishment who benefits from these wars. It’s an undeniable fact. But then, I figured out voting is a matter of public interest not only personal. I cannot be responsible for ruining France only to save my country, where the complexity of the situation in the region is incalculable.

Life is about sacrifices. And voting for Macron is giving up some of my moral and political convictions to fight the racism, fascism and negationism of a party who will divide France. My head still tells me to vote blank, but my heart urges me to vote for Macron. France gave me so much and I cannot abandon it when it needs me the most. The Middle East and the world are fucked up, and a solution won’t be found by having a fractured France. Thus, on the 2nd round of the French presidential elections next Sunday, I have decided to follow my heart and vote for Emmanuel Macron.

Yet, dear reader, we are not exempt of a FN stronger comeback again in 5 years. That’s why we need to fight Macron, from his first day in office, and Le Pen too in the legislative. We live in a capitalist world dominated by a consumerist society. The system has to change, we cannot wait any longer.  We’re ruining the beauty of what we have, we must fight climate change. And last but not least, to avoid a similar 2nd round situation in 5 years or later, we must change the electoral system. What about using a preferential system like in Australia? Something to think about.

“After 200 years of failed universal suffrage that allows the rich to buy political power, the fact of appointing masters instead of passing laws is a political imposture and it is not a democracy. “ Etienne Chouard, French economics and law teacher