On these tables, we learnt some things.
NO STEERING WHEEL IN THE BACK SEAT
Last week, as we met our “Board” once again, we realized that the back seat does not have a steering wheel. We were searching for the “steering wheel” but were not able to find it. We were angry and confused, till the realization dawned upon us.
The now closed Grand Hotel of Tripoli was the place of many interesting meetings. It is here that we met over coffee and devised tools and unities to be able to find ways of helping to drive the organization even if the steering wheel is not in our hands. It is also here that some friends from the English faculty helped me see the different meanings of nationalism, how following the Western model was an enlightening prospect but with an inherent contradiction for peoples from Asia,Africa, South America- the post colonial world.
Then we set about engineering and perfecting to “Tool-Box”, by ways of petitions, translations of government contracts, seeing the different meanings and interpretations of words like -Anan-Khidma- does it mean gratuity or pension.
“Please do not talk about Anan-Khidma, as a happy party to be had in the end of the contract period in which the employee is handed over his last dues and also the accumulated gratuity” one of the Tool-Box makers told his Director who was trying to act as a stooge of his Financial Board.
“Do you remember how your own Exit had happened last year?”
The “Director” (now-Former) had fallen silent.
Since our Board does not believe in niceties, we learnt how to fight in the struggles we undertook and devised tools like – Exit Interview and -Pygmalion Effect to see how we are treated and how our own actions were making them repeat the same treatment on us-the formerly colonized subjects from different countries, but with same behaviour from the “Board” who wag their tails in front of visiting dignitaries and simply ignore the workers.
AGENDA OF LOGS AND SCANNERS
The Excel file to keep a log of events, deadlines, technical notes, what was said, what remained, why the difference in simple calculations found another friend- the Scanner.
“Scan your papers, and keep them on an Internet based cloud system-either e-mail it to yourself in gmail or yahoo or tag it on the file in evernote”
People remember only what they would like to remember.
FROM GRAND HOTEL TO SAFIR
Times have changed. Some water has flown past the Mediterranean ever since we had our Coffee-Conference at Grand hotel.
The regime has changed, but some social attitudes will take time to change.
Now we have our weekly round-ups at Safir-the Indian restaurant behind the now-closed Grand Hotel. In those flavors of soups-Sea food, Cream of Spinach – we find the flavours of recent events as seen in larger frameworks.
“Have you read of the slavery in South and the American Civil War” one wise friend said as he heard the repeated lamentations of his colleague.
Then the pakoras, biryani, chicken saagwala follow to add further depth.
Food culture is a nice way to break barriers.
(remembering the Bhajan-Bhojan group of yesteryears)
WHO MOVED MY CHEESE
“I keep doing the same thing again and again and expect different results,” I quoted this managerial proverb to my friend trying to break his circular lamentations, which were repetitive and not yielding any productive result.
The more learned amongst us attend conferences on how implementation of law is developing in the newly emerging democracies of the Arab world. The “Tripoli Reading Group” has a wide spectrum. The less intellectual minded can still try to read the lessons of Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and how the development of love, conscience and responsibility marked the evolution of a boy from adolescence to adulthood.
Some just like to enjoy the Biryani.
In these tables of Safir we revisited famous words-probably never spoken
– Dr.Livingstone I presume-
and tried to come to see the way medical systems evolved in these countries in the post World War II period, from the Matrons from Yugoslavia (former) who helped set the rosters and routines in Central hospital (Shara Zawia) to the Indian professors who taught the meanings of Anatomy and Public Health, Biochemistry and ethics to a new generation of students
(Remembering the curriculum committees of the University)
PUBLIC DOMAIN WORKS
“If one wheel stops, the other wheel cannot keep running” one of the original members of the Coffee-Conference at Kabir reminded the forgetful “Board”.
These have now become words of “Public Domain Use” as we held many conferences over the years, to try and change the culture of -Inshallah-Bukra-Malesh (IBM) which is the way they behave when it comes to something which is required of them. The same IBM is converted to “Tawwa” (Immediately-on-urgent-basis) when it comes to something which they require.
* * *
MEANINGS IN WORDS
Here we learn the meaning in the words of Rosa Luxemburg
The modern proletarian class doesn’t carry out its struggle
according to a plan set out in some book or theory;
the modern workers’ struggle is a part of history,
a part of social progress, and in the middle of history,
in the middle of progress, in the middle of the fight,
we learn how we must fight..
On these tables, we learnt some things.