Thursday, 7 April 2016

Showcasing New Blog : The Deceit - Ghassan Abou El Ola

The Deceit - Ghassan Abou El Ola

Behind the slogans, speeches, political statements, and spirited songs of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) lies a hidden entity very different from descriptions widely circulated.

Through the personal experiences of an officer serving in the Palestinian Naval Forces, 'The Deceit' reveals the truth about an inscrutable shadow organisation whose fortune amounted to 50 billion dollars – a fortune of which its sources or destinations are unknown except to a handful of people entrusted by the leader, to run its investments.

The book describes how the junta, who held power in the PLO continuously for more than half a century, jostled for these fortunes and their returns, and how many wars were started and lost killing tens of thousands, mostly civilian, innocent people.
Once these wars stopped being profitable at the beginning of the Soviet Union collapse, this junta turned to the political arena and allied itself with 'peace talks’ begun by Ronald Reagan.

The PLO leadership's political performance was poor and all that they could accomplish was a miserable agreement in Oslo, giving them a meagre piece of land that they could hardly manage. That basic arrangement was intended to be followed with a final settlement within five years, yet twenty-five years later
negotiations are still going on between the Palestinian Authority and Israel with no further advance. The same junta kept its billions of dollars and received yet more from USA and other Western donor countries.

'The Deceit' addresses the enormity of personal fortunes amassed by those at the helm of power in the PLO and identifies sources. It also reveals the truth about the fake bankruptcy that was declared at the end of the nineties when payment of salaries to officers, soldiers and the families of those killed was stopped, yet around two hundred who formed their entourage continued to be paid. - including the wife of the leader, whose monthly salary amounted to $100000.
How the most powerful in the PLO kept their posts for extended periods of time – longer even than the father and son in the Assad family combined, the Libyan leader, Egyptian president, the Yemeni president or any other member of the Arab Dictatorship brotherhood, is also explained. And how tens of wars were fought without a single one of them, their sons, relatives, in-laws, or friends having been killed or even injured.

Aspects of financial corruption and the moral decline rampant in the institution of the PLO are exposed as the story tells of the Palestinian Naval Forces in Lebanon and how its leader used sexual harassment amongst its members and elected the youngest and most vulnerable men by applying financial, psychological and forced sexual pressure on them.

The relationships between the leaders of the PLO and Kings and Princes of Arabic Gulf countries is shown and how these leaders later swayed between Libya and Iraq, wherever monies were safest, ending up with Iran and it's new Shah at the time.

It tells how the Assad family built an horrific empire in Syria using hundreds of thousands of Alawi secret police, whose methodology was to imprison, torture and kill the Sunni majority of the country. Assad's continuous aim was to take control of the Palestinian Militias, nursing and resisting at the same time, the Iranian permeation into both Lebanese and Palestinian arenas.

This book is an honest and revelatory memoir that details aspects of life in the Middle East which many Arab writers tend to ignore. It recounts the inside story and real history of the PLO and its political vicissitudes that the author is an eyewitness to. An historic account that the media has never told, because it has been so deeply hidden.

Author Profile

Ghassan Abou El Ola was born in 1963 in Yarmouk refugee camp, south of Damascus, Syria.
In 1978 he joined the Fateh Movement (The movement of national liberation) and attended Pakistan Naval Academy (PNS Rahbar) from June of that year. He graduated in 1981 then served in Naval Headquarters located in Tripoli, northern Lebanon.
Between 1983 and 1986 he was forced to serve in Palestinian Liberation Army (owned and controlled by Syrian regime), for compulsory military service.
After demobilization from the Syrian government army, he re-joined the Palestinian Naval Force in Lebanon and was appointed as the Force’s Security officer and later the Force’s Administration officer.
He retired in 2005 holding the rank of Naval Captain, and immigrated to UK.

He has written for Al-Quds magazine and has written many articles in numerous online magazines.     

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Windmill House

The sky has changed from this morning from a hazy grey to a brilliant, clear blue. White cumulus clouds float motionless above the roof of the house and the sun shines hot on the back of my neck and uncovered head.
I have crossed the causeway to the sounds of herring gulls screeching their familiar call. Now the sound has changed to the gentle chirruping of reed warblers as they dart in and out of the wet marram grass, which blankets this part of the island from the dunes on the sand to the gorse bushes around the pond. The old windmill still stands, tall and sail-less as it surveys the shore, watching the endless tides ebb and flow, day in day out, through all seasons.
  It was winter the first time I met you here. You stood on the turrets of the mill, waving and calling to me as the wind tried to blow you from the top. Your words sailed away and out on the tide leaving me not knowing what it was you’d said. The door of the house opens outwards into the heather-like patches of purple vetch and celandine. You said it was so that when the snow came you could push it away from the door and would never be trapped on the inside. But snow never stays long here - the salt in the air and the sea itself keep it from settling on the ground.
The stone floor of the kitchen felt icy even through my fur lined boots and you ushered me towards the open fire, crackling and sparking with driftwood picked from the beach. We warmed ourselves and drank hot coffee in large mugs, cupping our hands to keep in as much heat as possible.
We lay on a mattress on the floor of an upstairs room and looked out at the moon rising over the sea, round and white sending shafts of light sparkling onto the water. Real moon beams. We watched the sun set over the land in vertical rainbows in pink and purple splendorous skies.
In the morning the sun sent streams of light onto the cold stone floor and warmed us with it’s rays. You said that you would never leave this place and I knew that was true.

Today it is hard to imagine winter ever being here. There is a humming in the air, both from the temperature and the bees hovering around the honeysuckle crawling up and over the porch. I reach out and grasp the metal door handle, pulling it towards me. But the door is locked tight and I don’t have the key. The windows are covered with net curtains and though I peer through the glass, all I see is my own reflection looking back at me.
  Above my head a single Kite hovers and then swoops down over the water of the pond. It plucks something small from the reeds- a mouse or shrew, I can’t tell- and flies off with it’s catch. I feel the beat of it’s wings and then nothing, as the sun beats down causing the blood to race and my head to pound. In the distance the sea laps gently onto the half sand half mud beach as the tide begins to turn.

Some say they saw you on the beach that morning barefoot by the rockpools and then pacing that stretch of sand. You stood for a while staring towards the horizon. Then you walked. Straight out across the sand through the rivulets of water, into the shallow waves and then the breakers.

And the Kite soared in the sky, watching and knowing everything.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016 - 12 things I learned from last year

It's the usual thing for any blogger/writer/up-to-the-minute person to use December 31st, New Year's Eve, to reflect on the year passed and to look forward to the new year with resolutions and intentions - and to post the thoughts for all to see. 

So, as I spent yesterday reading other people's reflections and resolutions and also because I was ready for bed earlier than on an "ordinary" day, I thought I'd wait till today 1st January to post mine.

Like many people, I have made resolutions in the past and not kept them further than a few days into the new year,This was probably because they weren't really my own decisions but more what I thought I 'ought' to be deciding on.

Today I am not making resolutions as such, but posting 12 things that I have learned during and from 2015 (it was originally 10 things, but that would mean I learned less than an average of one a month , which is not much of an achievement - so 12 it is ) These are in no particular order of chronology, seriousness or importance. 

1    Trying to do more than one thing at a time is not a good idea and benefits no one, in most           cases. 
      This is foremost in my mind as only 2 hours ago I attempted to turn off the light in the kitchen             using the hand which was holding a full mug of tea whilst the other hand held a plate of toast and       had a laptop under the arm. Result ...well, you get the picture.
2    No matter how bad you feel - pain, sadness, guilt, desperation etc there is always someone           who feels worse for what sometimes seems like lesser reasons.
      This is not a new thing for me to learn. At my age, I've known it for a long time and that the                 reasoning of others is not always affected by me. It just feels that way at the time.

3    The theory that no matter how good you feel there's always something comes along to mess         it up -  is not (necessarily) true. 
      Though it's another difficult one to implement at the time, positivity does work. "The future                 begins with your next thought" is a good one to quote here. Not sure who said it, but I expect they       were always happy and content.

4    Being a mother was never easy. Being a grandmother is even harder. Goodness knows how         great grandmothers get through. 
      But they do, and I hope that if I am still around when I am blessed with this role that I can live up       to the standard of the great grandmothers I know.

5    Try to live a good life. Marcus Aurelius says this much better than I can -                                            "If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care  how devout you have been, but will             welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you                 should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a       noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

6    Never trust a laptop, tablet, smart phone or printer to do what you hoped and expected it           to, especially when you are in a hurry. 
     This one sneaked into this list after the laptop that I am typing on has lost a whole page of text             just because it feels like it. I am wondering if this post will actually be posted today as it's now          11am and I started it before 9am. Lesson learned : learn the lesson the first time not the 250th              time.

7   Don't get irritated by news readers or anyone being interviewed on television who begins an      answer with the word "so".
     For some reason this really is an irritant to me, yet I've found that I often do the very same thing          myself. So, I'll try not to do it anymore or at least come to terms with the fact that it's an                  acceptable form of speech.

8   As cliched and sentimental as it may appear, in times of trouble and and stress, we really do      realise what matters most in life.
    And it is no surprise to anyone, especially me and my family following events in 2015, that it's           people who matter, But it's worth verbalising and writing it down now and then, to remind 
9   As we get older we think that our memories are being very unkind by making us forget many of the things that we should be remembering. Perhaps this is not the case and we remember only the things we need to remember at any given time, Based on this I will forgive myself for not remembering how to play the piano as well as I used to (though that was pretty poor) be patient with practising to  be ready for the time when it is more important. 

10  As per (6) and (9) above, that these items as I post have now become double spaced and I        don't know why is not important and does not matter. Likewise my (relatively new) steam mop does not steam any more, the washing machine is leaking and the dryer is only blowing cold. I shall rise above these small things and look for something to learn from these happenings.

11  That when politicians and those in authority say "lessons have been learned"  they don't mean by them. What they really mean is that they are relinquishing any responsibility for past events and that they think that we, the general public, are too stupid to realise this. Thought I'd better put this one in this list in case the reader thinks I am saying the same thing, in a roundabout way.

12  Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it - Ronan Keating circa 2000. That I have never really liked any fairground rides is totally irrelevant here. I will get on with 2016 in the best way I can and hope that anyone who reads this , and those who don't can do the same.


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Verbalising the Feelings

Awakening each day from drug induced sleep,
the terrors of the night scroll through your brain
as you begin to surface from the torpor
of semi-consciousness.

Each fragment of the dormant state
that whiled away some hours in physical inactivity
begins it's struggle to be foremost in this heightening
of lucidity.

Your ability to become fully alert
restricted by a lethargy that lingers till each wave of worry starts it's journey
heightening the sense of dread,
without clear reason.

A longing to return to sleep
becomes unbearable with each grasping, clinging thought,
yet what the coming horrors may be
stay hidden in the recesses of the soul.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Three and a half days later and The Black Dawg

So, after my post on Sunday declaring that I would blog daily on this issue which has taken over my life recently (again) here we are on Thursday with no sign of a further post since the declaration.

Under the guise of "positivity", I will not refer further to this lack of achievement on my part, this week. It is after all a symptom of the condition I find myself in. It is also a symptom, which easily becomes a norm, to castigate oneself for every action and inaction that plants itself in the mind. This is neither healthy nor helpful, though almost inevitable, unfortunately.

Further positive thinking which my brain is allowing me to verbalise, is that the medication that I was prescribed a week ago has clearly had a major impact on me and the desired and hoped for effect is obvious - to my family and to me.
Being made to feel "useful" by picking up my grandchildren from school and helping with a bedroom blitz at my daughter's house has also been productive in the psychological sense as well as the physical. A day out shopping with lunch and a long walk with the dogs accompanied by a very supportive and empathetic person (you know who you are ) have all added to the better feelings I have now. Not exactly all at peace with my world, but definately a massive improvement on last week when nothing could be done at all because of the crying. I have even considered wearing again the mascara that was in no way whatsoever waterproof.
Of course we need to keep occupied but I am convinced that my mind needed a rest, which is what a combination of medication and "people support" is doing for me.

As I continue to take the medication and improve, readers might like to read this post written by Louis Mcintosh, for  Huffington Post   "What they don't tell you about depression".  Louis is the writer and Kathryn Hockey the illustrator on a project called 'The Black Dawg' which is an illustrated poem about depression.

Useful and informative - try the mental health charity website here Mind ,

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Returning to Medication (after stupidly stopping it )

"Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the UK and elsewhere, yet it is still under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated.

The experience of anxiety often involves interconnected symptoms and disorders. It is estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, while one in six experience a neurotic disorder such as anxiety or depression. Anxiety disorders are also estimated to affect 3.3% of children and young adults in the UK. "
Worrying statistics, for anyone not suffering anxiety, let alone those who are.
Any long term reader(s) of this, sporadic blog will know that on numerous occasions since I began this, 8 or 9 years ago, there have been times when I have posted about not being able to write, or even think clearly due to my "mental state"  or me being "bad with my nerves" as my grandmother's condition was described back in those days.
My anxiety has peaks throughout the day. It would also be bad at night time if I didn't take Zopiclone - which I've been taking for 12 years now. Unfortunately, this is only keeping me asleep for a few hours now, whereas I used to get a full nights sleep with it.
I am currently experiencing extreme anxiety on waking but have been prescribed Diazepam 4 days ago. I am taking 2mg as soon as I wake up which helps a little and have the option of taking 3 more doses in a day. Diazepam is a bit of a last resort to me and my family, as we know only too well how addictive it is. But when the situation warrants it, it's a miracle drug. In the last 3 days I have only taken half of the dose - again, probably stupidly, but some people never learn. After a bad night last night, today I intend taking the full dose to see what the result is. 
I've been treated for depression and anxiety/panic attacks with medication since 2001, but I very stupidly stopped taking the prescribed 40mg of Fluoxetine a few months back. It was just as my eldest daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, in March of this year. We were in such shock and confusion and began to try and eliminate all toxins from our lives completely - foods, medicines and household cleaners and toiletries. Added to this were other family stresses and situations that have left me distraught and at "crisis point".
I now realise that stopping the Fluoxetine was the most ridiculous thing to do - "insane" was my GP's description  - especially at a time when we as a family were undergoing such stress. My thinking was that I had felt reasonably ok for a number of months, with just the occasional bad anxiety symptoms, and I felt the need to be "in control" for my daughter and other family members during her treatment and beyond.
Unfortunately, stopping the medication has made me completely out of control of my own emotions and I feel such a waste of space and completely useless to my family when they need me most. I am blessed with the most understanding family and friends that anyone could wish for and with their help and support I will get better soon - they tell me this all the time, so it must be true.
To anyone who has prescribed medication - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't ever stop taking your medication without your doctors advice. I tried to make myself believe that I was well and did not need the medication anymore. In fact I was only well BECAUSE OF the medication. This seems a simple enough concept to understand, but despite me thinking of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, I have managed to psychologically side track the issue and become ill again because of it.
Today, is the first day that I have felt able to put down in words quite how I feel - another thing to castigate myself for, seeing as I purport to be a writer. 
I intend to blog daily on this now (more targets for me to not hit and feel bad about perhaps, though) in the hope that this helps someone else who may be going through a similar experience and it helps me knowing that my capacity to compose a few coherent sentences has not left me completely.
If you have prescribed medication, take it. If you haven't, see your doctor as soon as you can.  You are not alone. You WILL be better soon.