Sunday, July 30, 2006

Another Massacre in Qana

The gospel reported that Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) passed in Qana and attended a wedding. The married couple were too poor to present wine. He passed his hand over the water barrels and, by the will of God (The merciful), they got few barrels of wine.

Regardless of the authenticity of the story, Qana witnessed the passage of Christ once in history but it has seen two horrible massacres in 10 years only. Back in 1996, the israeli terrorist attack on the UN shelter killed 120 innocent victimes (mostly children, women, and elderly men) and just today (Jul. 30th, 2006) another terrorist attack on a shelter with more than 60 innocent victims.

From Israel to Lebanon

Who is responsible?

Is it the whole world who has giving Israel a green light in Rome this week?
Is it US that supplied Israel with Intelligent bombs this week?
Is it UK that helped to pass the intelligent weapons to Israel in order to attack under the group?
Is it the Arab World that is watching silently?
Is it the CIVILIZED world that thinks everything needs time to settle down and calm?
Is it Hizbollah that is responsding to Israel attacks while nobody dares to resist Israel's will?
Is it the Lebanese goverment who can not decide who is the friend and who is the ennemy?

Until we found someone to accuse, the Arab World will be waiting for the Civilized World to measure the response and declare whether Israel went beyond legitimite measured self-deffence or not yet.

A big "Thanks" for Red Cross-Quebec

With the huge number of Lebanese-Canadians evacuated to Montreal, I decided to volunteer few hours to help my fellow citizens fleeing the massacres of Israelis in Lebanon. It was hard to decide to give away my few hours of sleep on a Friday night. However, as the number of volunteers on this night is very low as most Canadians reserve it for the fun of the week.

At 6:00 pm, I returned home to sleep for two hours as I expect a long tiring night. I get up at 8:00 pm then I headed with Ghina to Dorval airport where the Red Cross emergency center is located. We arrived at 9:30 and it was very crowded. One volunteer told us that we have to go to the training center where briefing is given to new volunteers. We waited for a long hour. The operations management was not smooth but it is understandable in these situations as everyday is running around and tons of tasks are to be distributed evenly.

At 11:00 pm, I was asked to join the transportation team that is responsible to move people from the airport to the Hilton Hotel (Operational center) and then to other hotels around West Montreal. My Lebanese fellow who joined me for the training and for the first task, was not happy for the position as it involves physical power and moving heavy bags. I would understand him in different situation, but when I saw ladies and old men moving the bags, I felt that he has no single reason to complain.

Unloading and loading few buses, I was asked to accompagne a bus to other hotels and help the families check in. It was a break from the heavy work routine at the Hilton. However, being responsible for 40 persons and their belonging was not a fun trip as most people were nagging and complaining (typically Lebanese). One lady forgot her suit case at the hilton. Another man wants to arrive first. Another girl forgot her bag in the bus. Another gentleman wants to call his brother in Calgary...

After a fast trip to three hotels and unloading the bus, I headed back with the driver, the lady that forgot her suitcase at the center, and a bag that does not have an owner for the moment. Arriving at the Hilton, I reported to the supervisor and moved the bag to lost and found.

Back into the center, the transportation activities were low priority. Another urgent need at the airport. The supervisor asked me to join the airport team formed by another very nice supervisor (Louise), my wife Ghina, Ameena, Yasmina, Marian, Hisham, Tarek and Rymond. Each one of us had different expectations and motivations but all of us wanted to help the people arriving from Adanna in Turkey. Louise briefed us again on the operations and the activities and assigned the tasks. I got the front line position to greet people at their arrival and help them get the services they need.

I ended up waiting with few bottles of water presented by Red Cross. At the arrival of each family, I run to congratulate them, present them some water to drink, ask them whether they have a family in Montreal, whether they need to call someone in North America, and finally to show them the way out or how to wait for the bus to go to Hilton where a room is arranged for them for three nights. Immigration-Quebec were waiting as well in front of us and they received the guests before us. A team of Arab ladies from immigration-Quebec check the situation of every traveler first and present them food and medicine assistance right at the exit of the closed area in the airport.

We started this task at 1:10 am and two hours were needed to receive the first flight. We had one hour to rest before getting another flight at 4:15 am.

During that hour, we got some rest and a nice chat with Louise that informed me and Ghina about her life in Africa (15 years) and that her daughters are living there as well but they keep a closer relation with her than girls who are living right next to their mothers in Canada.

Every traveler has a story and expectations. All of them are tired but some of them need the help, others did not. Some of them are coming from comfortable areas in Lebanon but wanted top benefit of the free trip and to escape the uncomfortable environment in Lebanon.

For example, few wealthy families asked for Hotel support though they have a place in Montreal or around it. Others can afford to pay for their rent but still went for the hotel. Others can easily handle their bags but wanted the Red Cross volunteers to manage that for them (Typically Lebanese).

* One old lady surprised the whole team. She has two daughters in Laval but still want a hotel because she can not wake them up on a Saturday morning :)
* Another has a family in Montreal and they knew she is arriving that morning. However, they had to go for their vacations. This is not negotiable.

I could not but say that: Coming into this world, Lebanese are loosing some of the long praised Lebanese spirit of generosity, tender and the family ties.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lebanon under the bombs

There are no words to describe what is going on.
Are we really in the 21st century?
Is UN still there?

The images are stronger than any words. Children are being killed with cold blood. Lebanon is calling for a ceasefire but there is no ears in the modernized world.

Just a sample of what I found on the web:

A huge imbalance of power and Israel are continuing to show off with superior power and weapon of mass destructions that are prohibited worldwide.

How can life continue on this planet if every country that has some power would abuse it this way? Forget about the greenhouse effect and the environmental friendly technology. There is no need for sustainable business processes because one such war is enough to destroy 20 years of building and leave traces for hundreds of years.

Lebanon needs every single bit of support and assistance and is asking everybody to help. Do not let it alone under the mercy of an armed ferocious military mass destruction machine.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Two years next to her - Passion or Mawaddah

She is my extremely precious jewel of the soft half of the world. Though she came officially in my life two years ago only but I feel that our souls has met already in the upper world when God granted us the extreme bounty of to-being what we are now.

I would not talk more so that I do not loose the sweetness with the outgoing words.

A long novel. A short story. More importantly, sweet moments engraved in our heart (single heart). We enjoyed the surprises of the past year, the stress of the uncontrolled events. However, she was always there for me and I was always waiting for her.
Passion was not our concern. On the other hand, we were striving to establish "Mawaddah" (the extreme familial love) within our small golden cage.

To the one I love, I would like to say that this year we will enjoy our ceremony with the ones that you dreamed to be with. They are waiting for us and a mother is crying days and nights to receive a new small family to add to her greatest wealth of the loved ones. Three great offspring families and more to come on the way.

Ghina, in this ceremony, I would like to tell you about this great lady. Mom, please let me talk. Let me show our new family member who is this Mom that has built with her husband this family.

  • Mom 45 years has passed but you acquired the beauty that young girls do not know.
  • Mom. You have sacrificed everything for us. It is time now for us to return a bit of that. I will never be able to bear the sufferance that you had during your delivery of the first boy.
  • You are still the best mother I have ever seen in the lower and upper hemisphere of this world.
  • You taught me to treat everybody to my best and now I am trying my best. I want all Moms to be like you. Ghina is on the way. She will have the best of two worlds. However your touch will be the best for her to learn.

Few days, God willing, the family will be larger.
Another happiness would flourish under your eyes.
Please pray for me.
Pray for us to be able to acquire something you can be proud of.

Back to the story,
I would like to remind myself that a human heart is wide enough to host all the LOVE one needs. It is all a matter of managing the space to fit the beloved ones around.

I love mom, my sister, my spouse, or my niece?

Over the years, several women pass through the heart of men.

A special love will be always there for Mom. This name knocks my memory and pushes me back in history to remember all the nice sweet things she has done for me and taught me.

Sisters will be always precious jewels that add to the Mom's tender and always need our [men] tender. Love for them is amazing and grant me a lot of endurance and perseverance to compete with them and let them proud same time.

A wife comes later on in the life to get the largest share of interest and an equitable part of the heart. She will have a special cavity deep in the heart and gives all her heart for a man who comes suddenly to knock her door and tell her that he prefers her smile and see all his future in her eyes.

I got my share of all of them in this life. Thanks God. Each one of them came into my heart gently and occupied it perpetually. The knew me more than I do know myself myself. It is weird but I appreciate every single comment they have granted me.

Mom, Oumayma, Amal, Ghina...
Aya, Rim .. and waiting for more to come

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Innovation: Another competitive advantage for new graduates

After few years of book eating and number crunching, graduates reach their convocation deadline. However, an innate stress would affect the happiness of graduaton and the acquisition of a new prestigious degree.

Jobs offers are not waiting on the street and one cannot admire her/his new degree unless it adds to his financial stability after long years of cash distress and accumulated loans.

How can students sell themselves and claim their superior skills in a world with continuous shortage of offer supply and huge skills supply at the other side. For each one offer, thousands of CV bombard the HR officers who try their best to review some of the CVs. A lot of HR officers dare to admit their inability to review all applications because of the Goliath pool of CVs they receive through their busy fax lines and overwhelmed email inbox.

For any HR officer, she dreams of being able to pay referral bonus for an officer referring a good applicant instead of wasting long hours reviewing unknown applicants who might be only copying others' CV in order to impress the company and win an invitation for an interview. One MBA graduate that he got only 2 interviews out of 100 applications he sent.

Weird right?

Is it a problem with the newly graduates who are selling themselves?
Is it a problem with lazy HR officers who do not put enough time to review all the applications?
Is it a problem of the huge supply pool of excellent applicants for a given position?
Is it a problem of baby boomers who are not retiring easily and locking the positions longer?
Is it a problem of overseas outsourcing?

Lately, Fortune magazine emailed several MBA students and MBA alumni asking them about their experience with job hunting and whether baby boomers represent a problem for new graduates. Outsourcing is shifting a lot of jobs overseas as well and this does not need any proof.

However, there should be a way for a newly graduate to prove his competitive advantage and how to send the right signal to the recruiter that she is the most suitable applicant for a specific job. What is this winning formula?

Frankly, I do not know but there should be a way to fight up the social ladder and find the needle within this hay stack. Like businesses has to fight to sell their products and prove their superiority in the market, newly graduates has to fight and prove their skills in order to sell their profile. Gone are the days that a dull CV would ensure a new graduate a decent job.

Let us all brainstorm and look back at ourselves in order to find our weaknesses and strengths. When I know what I have and what I lack, I can position myself within better in the job market and I will have higher confidence knocking the doors of the companies where my toolset would contribute positively to the business processes. If I can not win the approval of my to-be-manager, how shall I get the acceptance of my to-be-customer.

Lately, I have been reading a lot about Innovation of product and services offering. Does this ring a bell for a job hunter? It should.

Innovation is the way for future businesses. Established firms would not survive without this new two edge sword. IPod?? What does the IPod teach us?
staple Easy Button? Samsung new LCD screen? Yes innovation was the key for these companies to get back into the market and build a better stock price.

How can Innovation help me to position myself better in the market?
Is there an innovative mindset for a newly graduate to differentiate himself/herself in the job market?

I think so.
This will be the topic of my next article. Keep in touch :)