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Pioneering diplomat crowns career with inspirational book

April 29, 2001
By Rima Shadid
A newly published book by Ambassador Joseph Shadid, Between Politics and Diplomacy, highlights events that took place over a significant period of time beginning from Jdeidet Marjeyoun, his home town, and on to major world capitals. The book covers a wealth of information, including a document from the President of the United States, dated July 15, 1958, expressing the importance of Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.

To commemorate the occasion, a signing ceremony was held at the Press Syndicate in Beirut honoring Ambassador Shadid.

The ceremony was held at the invitation of Dar An Nahar Publishing House and the Arab Nationalist Institute (Al Muntada al Kawmi). The speakers, Ambassador Fawzi Salloukh, Mr. Maan Bashour, head of the Arab Nationalist Institute and educator Mr. Nabil Rahal spoke highly of Ambassador Shadid and the newly published book. The discussion was chaired by Mr. Mohammed Baalbaki, head of the Press Syndicate Union. The audience included deputies, ministers, ambassadors, friends and relatives.

Mr. Baalbaki opened the session, expressing his great pleasure at this special occasion and emphasized the importance of memoirs written by men of politics, as the publishing of such memoirs paves the way to future decision making.

Ambassador Salloukh gave a lengthy appraisal of the book, tracing Ambassador Shadid's diplomatic missions in London, Liberia, Latin America, Australia, South Africa, Turkey and Austria. He praised Ambassador Shadid's diplomatic skills throughout his career and expressed admiration for his tact, knowledge and wisdom in serving his country abroad. Ambassador Salloukh noted that this book enriches our libraries with its documentation of 35 years of diplomacy, making it a useful reference for the present and future.

Mr. Maan Bashour spoke of the importance of the book in its compilation of the politics of the Arab, regional and international arena written with clear depth and insight from the perspective of one with a rich experience. He noted that the book could be considered an important reference for scholars in their research.

Mr. Nabil Rahhal spoke of Ambassador Shadid's continued faith in Lebanon as a homeland of freedom and civilization, a center of culture and learning having an essential and active role in the league of Arab nations. This persistence inspired Ambassador Shadid's active role as a Lebanese diplomat during his long career.

After thanking the organizers, speakers and audience, Ambassador Shadid said that his book was a veritable account of events that he lived and witnessed from his childhood in Jdeidet Marjeyoun through WWI and its aftermath, WW2 and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and later his diplomatic missions in various capitals of the world. He expressed his wish that we, the Lebanese, put our loyalty to our nation before our private interests and individual sects. Such attitudes have weakened Lebanon politically and economically, causing the emigration of many of its citizens, many of whom could have enriched Lebanon had they stayed.

Copyright © Lebanonwire

Player of the year
Bryan Kotait
Son of David N. Kotait
March 28, 2001
Gainesville, Florida
All area Soccer Teams
Credentials: Kotait, a strong finisher at forward with solid distribution skills on offense, finished the season with 34 goals and 19 assists this season, following his 42-goal effort of a year ago to go with 18 assists.

The senior actually went to Buchholz his freshman season and made the varsity team, but didn't actually play varsity soccer until last season, when he scored the second-most amount of goals in area history to former Gainesville player Bill Kennedy, who scored 46 goals in the 1991-92 season.

Kotait hasn't decided on which college to attend, but plans to play soccer. He is the first P.K. Yonge player ever selected as player of the year in soccer.

Copyright © The Gainesville Sun

Virgin Mary’s image appears in Marjeyoun
April 7, 2001
The Virgin Mary is appearing in a home in Jdeidet Marjeyoun, local residents say.
Georgette Rashed, 55, said she was cleaning a table with water on Saturday when the Virgin’s silhouette first appeared to her.

“I had always asked her to appear in Marjeyoun,” she said. However, Rashed said she was skeptical at first, as she feared the image was only an illusion created by water.
“I did not believe my eyes until my husband came and saw what I had seen,” she said.
Her husband, George, apparently confirmed the apparition.
“Can’t you see that the Virgin Mary appeared on the table?” said Georgette, quoting her husband.
Mrs. Rashed said she then fell to her knees in tears, where she prayed for the Virgin to protect Lebanon and reconcile all its communities.

The picture, however, apparently only appears when the table is wet. The effect was subsequently demonstrated by a neighbor, who swept the table top with a wet cloth.
“The Virgin is thirsty,” said Rashed when the image returned. “She needs water.”
Dozens of people have since flocked to the home.

Copyright © Daily Star

Jdeidet Marjeyoun then and now
March 31, 2001
By Edmond Shadid
Annahar Newspaper

Click here for the original in Arabic

At the crossroads to Jordan, Syria and Palestine, Jdeidet Marjeyoun is relatively not very old, not more than four centuries. Its original people were from Mount Lebanon then it started to grow with emigration from Horan region in Syria at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The town is unique for its geographical location; it faces Mount Hermon to the East, Upper Galilee to the South, the Bekaa Valley to the North and the Litani River and the Mediterranean to the West.

It extends at the North East end of Jabal Amel (Amel Mountain) where it meets the Eastern Mountains. This is what made Jdeidet Marjeyoun through history an important access road between the Arab Peninsula, Jordan and Palestine on one side, and the Coast and Syria on the other.

Jdeidet Marjeyoun is located at an elevation of 750 meters above sea level and is 95 km from Beirut.

It was called Marjeyoun (Meadow of Springs) after the 54 springs and ponds that are all over the place. The best known of them are, Sweid, Safsaf, Reem, Fawwar, Small spring, Large spring, Hababra, Dardara, Hammam, Housh, Ksair, Tina, Ramad and Shebel.
The town used to be considered one of the main agricultural regions in Lebanon, but not any more since people lost interest in agriculture although it has the suitable climate for it.

The town’s population is 15000, but 80 % are now living abroad due to waves of immigration that started in the first half of the last century and doubled in the last forty years after the region became isolated and almost closed to the outside. The biggest factor was the 1948 closure of the borders with Palestine and transforming the area it to a war zone.

Despite all that, the town is still considered one of the largest in the region, it is the Caza (County) capital and a center for medical, financial and education facilities plus the government agencies which include an internal security quarters and army barracks that were among the first ones in Lebanon after Independence.

Jdeidet Marjeyoun is always proud of being an education center. The first school in the region was established there in the eighteenth century and few of them still exist , the Two Sacred Hearts Nuns School, Orthodox school, Public High School, Public Intermediate, Teachers Academy, Public Technical School, a private Technical School and Marjeyoun National College that was established by the great efforts of the late Mr. Fadlo Hourani and was managed for a long time by the late Mr. Labib Gholmieh and today by Mr. Maurice Dabaghi.

Jdeidet Marjeyoun was always known as the city of education. There is not a single home that didn’t produce a professional in the field of medicine, law, engineering, literature, poetry, journalism, politics and many higher education fields. It has the highest percentage of high school and university graduates in the country.

Some of the famous Jdeidani doctors who are early graduates of the American University of Beirut were, Assaad Rahhal 1883, Assaad Rashed 1885, Najeeb Shadid 1896, Mjalli Gebara 1892, Mekhael Zghayar 1902, Halim Barakat 1908, Adeeb Rahhal 1909, Iskandar Hourani 1913, Raef Nadda 1913, Fawzi Abla 1916, Elias Sukkarieh 1916 and many more.

Some of its famous poets are Fouad Jardak and his brother George, Elias Lahoud, Dr. Abdelmasih Mahfouz and his son the novelist Issam Mahfouz. Dr. Walid Gholmieh is currently the head of the Lebanese National Conservatoire.

On the political scene, three Marjeyounis consecutively represented the area as members in the Lebanese Parliament, namely Nassar Gholmieh, Assaad Bayoud and Raef Samara. Also two other Marjeyounis served as ambassadors, Joseph Najeeb Shadid and Aleef Gebara.

Journalism was introduced to Jdeidet Marjeyoun a long time ago, the most well known publications were Al Qalam Al Sareeh owned by the late Mr. Alfred Abou Samra, Sada Al Janoub owned by the late Radi Dakhil, and Al Marj owned by the late Dr. Adeeb Rahal.

Many of its famous and successful sons and daughters are all over the globe like Engineer Amal Hourani who is renovating the City Hall building in addition to supporting many other humanitarian causes.

The first Chief of the Lebanese Internal Forces was the late General Suleiman Naoufal. There are two archiodicis located in town, the Roman Catholic and the Antiochan Orthodox and their two churches in addition to a Maronite church, a Protestant church and a Sunni Mosque.
Jdeidet Marjeyoun was and still is a non-sectarian town that believes in nationalism, all Jdeidanis have long lived in harmony and respect of each other. The tradition is that when a Moslem dies, all church bells “will ring their sad tunes”, and when a Christian dies, the Mouazen prayers are heard loud and clear.

The town houses the only Public Hospital in the region that was built in the fifties through the generous donations of its people abroad, and was initiated and pursued by the late Dr. Mekhael Shadid. The late Prime Minister Saeb Salam officially opened it. The hospital is now suffering from a shortage of equipment and supplies and is still waiting and hoping for the government to deliver on its promises that came after the Israeli withdrawal.

Jdeidet Marjeyoun was well known through history for its trading market; it used to receive shoppers and traders from all over the region. A flea market used to take place every Friday in the main square since the Turkish rule. It was stopped during the Israeli occupation because of an explosion that killed and injured few people.
The town is divided to four neighborhoods, Al qalaa, Al Saraya, Al Oyoun and Al Madares , and it is famous for its road network that reach all the houses many of which was built using natural stone and red brick roofs, and surrounded with beautiful gardens with its grapes, fig, olive, almond and pine orchards.

The first sewer treatment facility in the region was built in Jdeidet Marjeyoun during the years of the late Mayor Mr. Michel Abla; it was also the first border town to have electricity in the early 1950s when its people abroad donated three generators.

The Town Counsel doesn’t exist due to the passing away of most of the members. The Government representative runs its administrative affairs now. There is only one old surviving reeve out of the original four representing the four neighborhoods.
The town now depends financially on its people who live all over the world and on income from some government jobs, teaching jobs and self employed carpenters, electricians, blacksmiths, mechanics, barbers etc. that are in demand in the whole region. Jdeidet Marjeyoun is suffering these days from negligence, carelessness and a bad economic situation that left it empty except from the elderly and is in bad need for a full reviving plan to solve its problems and benefit from its natural resources.

Marjeyoun National College Principal Mr. Maurice Dabaghi, explains why the town is semi deserted stating “that education was a blessing and a curse at the same time. A blessing that led to knowledge and openness and a curse that led to immigration. This could be remedied by frequent visits by our people who could invite friends for a weekend and show them what a beautiful town we have and let them enjoy the nice weather and natural resources” .
Mr. Dabaghi adds, “we are not asking them to come back and live here, but at least visit and take care of their homes and properties, and I think that the youth and other different organizations will have a great role in this”.
“ Through these organizations one could create camping facilities to host youth clubs and families from other communities. Our school is ready to adopt such a project.” Mr. Dabaghi also suggested that some of the town’s houses be converted to inns that could receive visitors, asking to start by cleaning and maintaining the houses front yards and gardens to make them attractive to prospective tourists. He also emphasizes entertainment and educational programs even if it was performed in the open space. Last year the school hosted and sponsored a theatrical group that came from Zahle in addition to a series of lectures that tackled some regional issues.
Jdeidet Marjeyoun that was recognized through history for its leadership in trading and education, has irreversibly lost the trading position due to the existence of many stores and shops in all the surrounding towns, so he asks to work on maintaining its leading position in the field of education with a special focus on raising the level of art and tourism to attract visitors. The town is in bad need of its people and will never survive without them.
There are other concerns as addressed by Marjeyoun Cultural Club president, Mr. Wissam Hourani that, for many past years, organized a lot of educational and sport events.
Mr. Hourani would like to see the telephone service reestablished after long years of interruption during all the years of war and the Israeli occupation. Also, the sewer filtration plant needs upgrading. A public health unit, and cooperative for government employees need to be established. A packaging facility for the fruits and vegetables that are produced in the meadows would be a good business too.

Copyright © Annahar

Mediterranean on Monroe
By Karen Miltner
Democrat and Chronicle

(March 22, 2001)
Oasis Mediterranean Bistro & Wine Bar:
After leaving its cramped Park Avenue quarters three years ago, Oasis has expanded with style and good taste in roomier digs on Monroe Avenue.

Fresh and flavorful pan-Mediterranean with lots of vegetarian and vegan appeal. Beirut-raised chef Ziad Wehbe recently merged lunch and dinner, creating an all-day menu that comfortably fits both meals. Featured specials change weekly.

Why did the Baba Ghannouj appetizer ($1.95 for small) taste better than the one I make at home? After Wehbe roasts the eggplant in the oven, he grills it over hickory chips for a seductive, smoky flavor. The Gambas Ai Ajillo (Spicy Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, $9.95) was also delightful, with dizzying punches of cumin, chile and coriander tempered by the cooling specks of cilantro. If only the shrimp weren't so tiny.

I couldn't resist the house special, Eggplant Napoleon ($9.95). At least half an eggplant was sacrificed, sliced and then vertically reassembled on a plate, capped with shaved feta cheese and painted with a swirly collar of roasted red pepper coulis. It looks like something the megalomaniacal French emperor would have eaten -- or worn on his head. In truth, the name and concept are borrowed from the ornately layered French pastry. And oh, what lies between those dark and slippery layers of grilled, marinated eggplant: sweet, caramelized Vidalia onions, sharp and fruity kalamata olives and more of those disarming roasted red peppers. Ooh la la, Josephine! My companion's less racy Shish Kebab Marrakech ($9.95) had two skewers of grilled beef kebabs and a mound of perfectly cooked, curry-infused couscous with chutney.

The only thing we didn't care for was the split pea and carrot soup ($2 a cup with entree). The seasoning was too earthy and ordinary. The meal ended with pistachio baklava ($1.95): light and flaky -- though not at all dry. The secret: It's sweetened with orange nectar, not honey.

The wine list is organized in helpful categories and includes a few Lebanese vintages such as a 1996 Clos Saint Alphonse from Chateau Ksara ($19 bottle). Bottled beer also available.

Heartfelt and professional.

If only there were more restaurants like this in Rochester. Small (only a dozen tables). Quiet (a silent-movie view of Monroe Avenue). Intimate (just the right place for a heart-to-heart with a good friend). When the mood to celebrate life's charms strikes, keep this place in mind.

The signature dish at Oasis Mediterranean Bistro & Wine Bar is Eggplant Napoleon. The vegetarian specialty is layered with Vidalia onions and olives and topped with feta cheese.

Oasis Mediterranean Bistro & Wine Bar
Address: 687 Monroe Ave.
Contact: 473-0050;
Prices: Entrees are $6.95 to $15.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Seating capacity: 35. During nice weather, outdoor seating boosts capacity to 60.

Accessibility: No.
Things to know: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and Carte Blanche accepted; personal checks are not.
No children's menu available, but chef can accommodate special requests. No smoking indoors; smoking on patio is discouraged.
Parking available on side and behind the restaurant. Reservations recommended for parties of six or more and on weekends. Takeout available.

MID RANGE: $6.95 - $15

South still waiting for fruits of liberty
February 13, 2001
Lin Noueihed and Louisa Follis
Daily Star staff
Bassam Hamra has a disused 100-seat cinema in the back of his Marjayoun grocery shop. It is the only cinema, he claims, in the former occupied zone.
Yet there hasn’t been enough demand to keep it open since before the Israelis first invaded and occupied the area in 1978.
And since the Israelis withdrew last May, there has barely been enough demand to keep the minimarket afloat, let alone to re-open the cinema.

“If there are no people,” said Hamra, there’s no economy.” Marjayoun and neighbouring Qlayaa are part of the newly
unoccupied South. Most of the residents of this one-time SLA stronghold fled when the Israelis left, and few have returned.

Two-thirds of the 70,000 residents of the liberated areas had already left the South or the country during the 22-year occupation. Some have been making weekend visits to their home towns since the withdrawal, but few have come back for good.
In villages across the region, an unusual number of shops and homes are shuttered. There is remarkably little activity.

According to Mohammed Zaatari, president of the South Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, the withdrawal has left only a recession in its wake.
The reconstruction and development drive that ought to have accompanied and followed the Israeli pullout “hasn’t been launched yet,” said Zaatari, “so the economic revival of the
South is still awaited.”
The Chamber said that economic activity in the former occupied zone had slowed in the latter half of 2000, compared to the first half, when the Israelis were still there.

The Council of the South, a government body responsible for the infrastructure and social needs of the region, has been trying to improve the electricity and water situation, but it did this during the occupation anyway. “Contrary to our expectations,” said Council head Qabalan Qabalan, “there has been no development in the economy here since liberation.”

He added that people in some villages had been trying to rebuild their homes, “paying themselves or with help from us. But these are few.” Until homes are rebuilt and the infrastructure is improved, people have little to come back to, and the private sector has little reason to invest.

Hassan Ali drives a taxi between Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun. He is glad for his new route ­ before he had been limited to the area above the occupied zone ­ but business has hardly improved.
“I’ve got new places to go, but no one to take there,” he complained.

In the aftermath of withdrawal, the government talked up its $1.3 billion, five-year plan for the area in coordination with the Council of the South and the United Nations Development Program.
The “priority” part of the plan is dedicated largely to developing the infrastructure in the area, the remainder to less immediate needs.
But despite the media attention surrounding the donor conference the government held last July, Lebanon has failed to attract foreign aid.

“Apart from Kuwait’s pledge (about $500 million toward the Litani irrigation project), we have received no financial assistance from abroad,” said Qabalan, “and the government’s funds are limited.”
He said there had been “no significant private-sector investments” in the South.
In fact, according to Zaatari, there was a decrease in the number of new enterprises and therefore new jobs created in productive sectors between June and December 2000.

The government has tried to offer the private sector incentives to invest in the area. The Cabinet has already approved a draft law giving tax exemptions and credits to industrial enterprises established in the South, but this has yet to be passed by Parliament.

The area is characterized by small- to medium-sized enterprises, which, for the most part, have problems securing loans. A government-sponsored company called Kafalat is facilitating borrowing for such businesses by
guaranteeing small loans, while some NGOs have also made
inroads into the South with micro-credit.

Despite these moves, the virtual absence of a banking sector in the South ­ only the Fransabank in Marjayoun remained open throughout the occupation ­ has been a major obstacle for the private sector.
Not for much longer though. The bright new bank branches that are popping up all over the South are the only visible evidence of private-sector investment. New arrivals such as Credit Libanais, which opened a branch in Bint Jbeil just a few weeks ago, view the lack of banking culture as an opportunity to capture a new market.

Credit Libanais has already built up a customer base of tobacco farmers who cash their Regie checks at the bank. About half of these farmers are illiterate and use fingerprints instead of signatures to complete the required paperwork.

Al-Mawarid opened a branch in Hasbaya a few months ago, and Jammal Trust, which has popular loan packages for small businesses, is also expanding to the liberated zone. Several more banks will also be opening in the coming months.

Izzat Awada, manager of Fransabank in Marjayoun, said that the branch provided locals with personal loans, but was restricted in providing loans for construction and development because properties in the area had not been surveyed by the government due to the occupation. Because the government had been absent from the area for so long, he added, there is now confusion over land ownership. And as land is the only collateral many people have, large loans have been difficult to obtain.

Still, Awada said, the market for banking services in the
South is limited by a lack of economic activity and a lack of people, and he predicted that the market would quickly
become saturated.

Despite the sorry state of the region, there are some causes for optimism.
Zaatari said that the withdrawal had increased the chances of “positive and rapid” improvement in the national economy.
“If there is foreign financial backing,” said Qabalan, “then
we can expect growth, although it hasn’t happened so far.”

Meanwhile, Bassam Hamra is using his old cinema as a makeshift storeroom and waiting patiently for better times.
Copyright © Daily Star

Marjayoun hospital has funding crisis Facility virtually
closed and residents stranded due to government neglect

February 13, 2001
Samer Wehbi
Daily Star correspondent
Marjeyoun Public Hospital has all but closed after months of waiting for government funding.
The hospital, which was built in 1964 and accommodates 240 in-patients, said on Sunday night that it would not take in-patients anymore and would offer limited services because of a lack of funds.

The hospital has struggled since the liberation in May, when it suffered a shortage of drugs and medical equipment.
Israel previously financed the hospital, which is located in a former South Lebanon Army militia stronghold.
Under an agreement with the government, the International Committee of the Red Cross took charge of the hospital a few months after the liberation. The ICRC covered its expenses for five months until the government could solve the
hospital’s problems. Nothing was done by December, and the ICRC pulled its financial support.

The hospital, which now has only one-fifth of its staff, has kept its kidney dialysis section open, and residents can be treated for minor injuries in the “emergency room,” which has been reduced to a first-aid clinic.
Doctors have stopped performing operations, and the maternity and children wards have been shut down.
The laboratory and X-ray sections are offering minimal services.
Marjeyoun’s Orthodox Bishop Elias Kfoury urged Health Minister Suleiman Franjieh to find a “radical solution” to the problem, saying that the hospital was a “vital facility”
in the area.
“How can residents of liberated villages stay in their villages if the most important facility has been closed?” said Kfoury.
He asserted that Marjayoun residents were moving to Beirut, where good medical care is close by. He said residents had little choice because Marjayoun’s hospital has gradually cut its services, and Nabatieh’s hospital was too far away to treat emergencies.
Kfoury also argued that the hospital was a source of jobs in the South.
Echoing Kfoury’s call on Monday were MPs from South Lebanon and Nabatieh, Qassem Hashem, Anwar Khalil, Ali Bazzi, Ayoub Humayed, Yassin Jaber, Samir Azar, and Antoine Khoury; and Beirut MP Ghattas Khoury, the head of the Order of Physicians.

The lawmakers all urged the government to find a swift solution to the hospital’s problems.
“The government should take care of people’s medical needs by promoting public hospitals,” Hashem said. “It should review its health policy in general.”
A hospital source said that only 22 employees on contract with the Health Ministry still worked at the hospital.
The employees, who include doctors and nurses, provide first-aid care to patients while the remaining 105 employees, including the kitchen staff and the cleaning personnel, have left the facility.

The source said that the hospital could no longer admit patients who would then be transferred to Nabatieh Public
Hospital or to Beirut.
The public was particularly outraged when the hospital could not treat a patient from Khiam, who died two days ago of a heart attack.
Hospital administrators refused to talk to reporters, saying they could not speak without the ministry’s approval.
Shamel Bahri from Ain Qinya, who arrived at the hospital Monday to treat his twisted ankle, said he came even though he knew it was pretty much closed, hoping to find someone to give
him a tranquilizer.
“The hospital shouldn’t be closed,” Bahri said, “because it’s the only facility providing health care services to the residents.”
Copyright © Daily Star

Marjeyoun hospital workers hold one-day warning strike
February 2, 2001
Samer Wehbi
Daily Star correspondent
Thirty-one workers at Marjeyoun's Public Hospital staged a one-day warning strike on Thursday to protest against the administration’s failure to pay their overdue salaries.
The part-time workers, who do the hospital’s laundry, cleaning, and cooking, were employed by the defunct South Lebanon Army militia which ran the hospital and paid their salaries during
the Israeli occupation.
However, after Israel withdrew last May, the International Committee of the Red Cross ran the hospital and paid all salaries until the government took it over four months ago.
Ever since, the workers complained, they have not received their salaries because the authorities are refusing to recognize them.

Earlier this month, the same workers threatened to go on an “open-ended strike” unless the government paid them.
“Our problem is that we’re not recognized by anyone,” said Ramzieh Alla from Blat.
“Is this the price we have to pay because we refused to go to Israel and continued to work for a public establishment?”
She said the workers would continue their strike until they received written assurances from the government.
“I’m scared of being fired the same way 25 workers were fired three months ago,” said Sabah Fawaz of Debbine.
The Health Ministry dismissed the 25 part-time workers as their services were not needed.
Hospital director Khairallah Madi refused to comment on the strike and banned reporters from entering the hospital.
Copyright © Daily Star

The King of Hearts

By James Meyers
The National Enquirer
July 10, 2000
Dr. Michael DeBaky is still going strong - at age 91.
The man who pioneered heart bypass surgery and countless other medical procedures still keeps a grueling schedule, arriving every day at his office in Houston's The Methodist Hospital at 7 a.m. and rarely getting more than five or six hours of sleep.

He still performs heart surgery, gives lectures, meets with students and travels the world giving medical advice to other physicians and world leaders.

"As long as you have challenges and are physically and mentally able to address them, life is stimulating and invigorating, "Dr. DeBakey said.

"When get up early in the morning, I'm so thankful I've got another new day ahead of me. I'am certainly going to live that day.
"I haven't stopped and I don't plan t stop".

His longtime colleague Dr. George P. Noon said that as a surgeon, Dr. DeBakey's hands are steady, his eyesight is good. He's still perfectly capable of doing the things he did previously."

Dr. DeBakey - now chancellor emeritus and director of the DeBakey Hesrt Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston - has operated on the hearts of more than 65000 patients.

He performed the first successful coronary artery bypass, a lifesaving procedure thst benefits some 366000 Americans each year.

His patients have included Jerry Lewis, Wayne Newton and former Russian president Boris Yeltsin.

The surgeon has also been instrumenatal in the creation of the Mobile Army System Hospitals (M.A.S.H.), the Veterans Administration Medical Center System and the National Library of Medicine.

Most recently he co-developed the DeBakey Left Ventricular Assist Device, a miniature heart pump that could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from chronic heart failure.

"One of my main objectives now is hopefully to live long enough to see this pump used widely in patients," Dr. DeBakey said.

And he offered his formula for staying healthy and active:
"I do what we doctors generally preach to our patients . I don't smoke or drink alcoholic beverages. I don't engage in any excessive activities. I don't jog or anything like that - I don't have to do formal exercises when I'm walking up and down the stairs at the Heart Center all day long.
I eat moderately. My weight, 165 pounds at nearly 6-feet tall, hasn't changed for the past 50 years.
I love my work and get great satisfaction from it, so I'm not bothered much by harmful stress. If you really love your work, the stress involved in that work won't hurt you because you won't regard it as stess. I feel less stressed in the operating room than anywhere else.

Dr. DeBakey's first major breakthrough, a pump that paved the way for open-heart surgery, came in 1932 - while he was still a medical student.

Copyright © The National Enquirer

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN)
August 23, 1999
" ACS 2000 National Award Winners"
The recipients for the year 2000 National Awards administered by the
American Chemical Society (ACS) have been announced.
Vignettes of the award winners will appear in successive
issues of C&EN early next year.
Among the award winners are Marjeyoun scientist
George A. Samara,
of Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M.
who won the Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in
Chemical Research Management sponsored by Dow Chemical Company.

Houston Chronicle

Dr. Elias Y. Deeba, professor of mathematical sciences at the
University of Houston-Downtown, received the 1998 Enron Teaching Excellence Award
during a recent program held at the university downtown campus.
Dr. Deeba joined UHD in 1983 as an associate professor and
was named a professor in 1989 .
The Enron Teaching Excellence Symposium, established in 1993, is designed to
encourage, reward and stimulate the best undergraduate and graduate teaching at
the four UH System univesities.
The event recognises the top teachers in the UH System.
Winners receive a plaque and a $3000.00 stipend.
Dr. Deeba was among few others who received different awards.
UH System Chancellor and UH President Arthur K. Smith praised
the award winners and thanked Enron for its generosity. "What sets
these honorees-and former winners - apart is that they accomplish
their miracle with love, passion and a commitment to their
respective disciplines, to their profession and to their students, " Smith said.

Copyright © Houston Chronicle

 By David Hirst, Chicago Tribune special correspondent.
March 6th., 1999
It was 2:30 in the afternoon, end of classes for the day, and school girls, skipping and giggling, satchels flying,
were coming down the road. An everyday scene the world over. Suddenly, there was a detonation so loud and close that the normal thing to do was to duck and look about in alarm.
Not the schoolgirls of Marjeyoun, South Lebanon

There was another explosion, and another. They just skipped and giggled on. The noise came from a nearby Israeli field gun. The 155 mm howitzer was not visible, but the plume of smoke rising from a nearby ridge gave it away.
The three-gun battery has been booming, any time of day or night, since before the girls were born. For them, it was about as threatening as a car horn in a Chicago street.
They knew it was shooting at a faraway enemy who would not fire back; all "outgoing" not "incoming." They may not know exactly why, but they knew it was part of "the rules": Rules that make this one of strangest wars on earth.
Marjeyoun is the "capital" of Israeli-occupied South Lebanon, the "security
zone," or, in popular parlance, "the Strip." I had just come from Beirut, learning another rule, of personal survival this time, on the way.
At the Kfar Tibnit "crossing" I had left the last Lebanese army post, on foot, about 500 meters behind, and the eerie silence, the row of burnt-out cars, barbed wire and fortifications made this passage between one part of the same small country and another as striking
as any between sovereign states.
The first thing you see on the other side confirms that
you are in a place where the extraordinary is the very ordinary. It's a sign warning any driver that he risks his life if he has no passenger with him. It doesn't say why, but, as every Strip-dweller knows, it's because, if he hasn't, Israeli soldiers will open fire on him as a potential suicide bomber.
That is why, before going on any errand, drivers find someone to go with them as instinctively as the rest of us clip on a seat belt. But the funny thing about Israeli-occupied Lebanon is that you hardly see any Israelis--or thinkyou don't.
That is an illusion. They may be invisible to you, but they
certainly are not to the "Islamic resistance," or Hezbollah, which now ranks as one of the most formidable enemies Israel has ever faced.
They amply demonstrated that in recent days with two highly professional, classical guerrilla operations that have raised tension in the south to their highest level in three years.
First, they ambushed and killed three men of an elite paratroop formation on a mission to ambush some of them, then they blew up Maj. Gen. Erez Gerstein, the highest ranking officer ever killed in the Strip, and four companions with a road-side bomb.
The Strip is one of most scrutinized places on earth, yet one of the least known; minutely observed by specialists, terra incognita to ordinary folks.
This little corner of a little country is strategically critical. It's here that, with treaties between Israel and Syria and Lebanon, the Middle East peace process may achieve its final breakthrough,
or collapse altogether.
Meanwhile, like some strange survival from a by-gone era, it remains the last militarily active frontier of the Arab-Israeli struggle.
In theory, it is just a temporary arrangement. In reality, it epitomizes the provisional that becomes permanent. In the Strip-dwellers,
it has bred a kind of schizophrenia, one that actually precedes the Strip as such, because, historically, the people of this area have always felt buffeted by larger forces beyond their control.
I am not sure whether Abu Halim is a real or mythical person.
But according to Maurice Dabbaghi, principal of National College, from which the schoolgirls walked, it was back in the '50s that he first told his wife, who complained about the state of their furniture: "Don't worry, dear, we'll get new things when the troubles are over." They haven't yet.
The Strip was born in 1978, after Israel invaded Lebanon up to the Litani River and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) came in, for an initial six-month period, to oversee its withdrawal "forthwith."
Twenty-one years later, the Israelis are still there, though their "zone" has grown. In 1982, they invaded Lebanon all the way to Beirut, driving out the PLO leadership.
The "zone" is essentially what they retained of Lebanon after a second withdrawal, completed in 1985. It stretches from the mist-shrouded foothills of Mt. Hermon, with its apples, walnuts and cherries, through lower-lying, olive and tobacco-growing regions, down to the Mediterranean, and a lush coastal fringe of oranges and bananas. More than just a 7-mile-wide defensive buffer zone, it includes a salient, offensive in nature, up to the mountain resort of Jezzin. With some 150 small towns and villages, it covers a good 10th of the country.
Israeli's local proxies, the 2,500-man South Lebanese Army (SLA) is still there too. So is UNIFIL. In the one major change, the Palestinians have been replaced, as Israel's adversary, by the Hezbollah--militant,
fundamentalist, Shiite and backed by Iran.
There are peculiar, South Lebanese-style rules of war. Their purpose is not to stop the war but to codify it.
They do it so thoroughly, they have reduced it to a sort of war dance. The rules are an organic growth, layer upon layer of mechanisms by which the international community, unable to solve the basic problem, keeps it within certain bounds. Every major breakdown in them brings their re-imposition and further refinement.
The last time was in April 1996 when, with Operation Grapes of Wrath, Israel tried to suppress Hezbollah altogether. It failed, and, after the slaughter of 105 Lebanese civilians in the village of Qana, the U.S. brokered the "April understandings." These outlawed, more rigorously than before, all acts of war against civilians.
The 4,500-member UNIFIL has become as integral a part of the landscape as the Lebanese themselves. Six contributing nations' contingents each look after a sector. A way of life, micro-economies, have grown up around them.
Great was the local disappointment when the Norwegians pulled out in November; with mere privates on $3,000-plus a month, they brought prosperity, in the shape of eight clothes shops, six barbers, restaurants, jewelry and photography shops to the tiny village of Ibl es-Saki.
They married 30 local girls. In the village of Qantara, children grow up with a passable understanding of Finnish.
UNIFIL soldiers like it there; and it is no longer particularly dangerous.
"We've been very lucky," said Timor Goksel, the Turkish officer who has been UNIFIL's "spokesman" for 20 years, "given the amount of metal flying around."Some 222 UNIFIL soldiers have died since 1978, less than half of them in action.
Moral and political dilemmas far outweigh life-threatening ones in the day- to-day existence of most Strip-dwellers. Here the rules become blurred, capricious, a question of individual or community choice between national loyalties and the material pressures and temptations of occupation.
The most radical solution--to leave--is the most prevalent.
Actually, it is the intensification of an old one, because the South has a venerable tradition of emigration, nowhere more so than the Greek Orthodox town of Jdeida, which has 35,000 registered citizens, but currently only some 600 residents.
Typically, Marjeyounis go to the U.S. Perhaps their most famous son is Michael Debakey, the U.S. heart surgeon who operated on Boris Yeltsin.
"We are everywhere," said Simon Hamra, "no less than 800 Hamras meet every year in their club in Tiptonville, Tennessee."
Education facilitates emigration, and Marjeyoun's real pride is that it is the intellectual capital of the Strip. Intellectual passion is certainly what my old friend Fuad Hadba, now retired there, brings to Scrabble.
Occasional visitors are meat for his passion, for de-population makes serious local competition scarce. I am sure he trounces most of them, as he did me in nocturnal jousts enlivened by the dear old Marjeyouni howitzer.
All communities emigrate, each according to a dominant pattern: Shiites to West Africa; Sunnis to the Persian Gulf region; Druze to South America.
With normal growth the population would have reached perhaps 400,000 by now.
It stands at under 100,000, rising to 150,000 or so in summer, when emigrants visit the old country, some building villas they will probably never live in.
Those who stay live in an unusual economic system. SLA soldiers earn a basic $600 a month. It comes straight from Israel and is quite good money in such a war-torn economic backwater.
The Shiites have become the backbone of the mainly Christian-officered force, since they are by far the largest community. A soldier's family is specially favored for work in Israel; and if his family isn't interested, he can "sponsor" someone else in return for a cut of his pay.
Perhaps 3,000 people commute across the "good fence" every day.
Some 500 people also work for the "civil administration," which has wholly or partially taken over functions of the Lebanese state.
It interests itself mainly in things that interest Israel, like the government hospital at Marjeyoun, which boasts a helicopter pad for wounded SLA soldiers, or the roads it keeps in good condition for military purposes.
It all adds up to a general standard of living which, despite everything, is probably a bit higher than in the rest of Lebanon.
It is deeply uneven, even including an idiosyncrasy widespread in other parts of the Middle East.
Filipino maids have long ceased to surprise amid the teeming poverty of Cairo. But here, in the pale of war? Yet so it is: the Strip goes to work in Israel, strangers come from the ends of the earth to work in the Strip.
"I couldn't feel safer", said Gurnen Dev, from India, who lives where he toils, in a little gravel plant..
As Hezbollah performance improves, soldiering for the SLA grows more dangerous.
Then there is the military tribunal in Beirut, which has condemned hundreds for "collaboration," with sentences of up to 15 years for serving with the SLA, and lesser penalties for working in Israel.
A stigma and a nuisance now, these could prove a real
problem if Israel leaves. Those who do business with Israel are punished too.
A car can use only Israeli gas. But what about stations that sell it?
Some shops stock Israeli chocolates, chips, shoes, detergents and the like, and get away with it. Others prefer not to take the risk at all; for there are informers everywhere, and they are not just Israelis.
If many, in such a climate, curse their own government, it is
frequently because they feel, as Lebanese, that it has let them down.
"It says it wants us to stay, to be steadfast," said Karamallah Daher, who imports goods from Israel, "but it is suspicious of us because we do stay--and doesn't give us the means to be steadfast. We have to live. Is it more our fault than the government's if some turn to Israel for that?" Actually, the Lebanese government does do its bit for "steadfastness."Among other things, it supplies most of the Strip with free electricity.
But, in helping, it is sometimes no more observant of the rules than the Strip-dwellers it punishes for breaking them.
One day, no doubt, all the rules--military or political, international or local, protective or prevaricating--will be swept away. But so long as the Strip endures so will the rules.
In the Arab-Israeli struggle, nothing tends to endure like the temporary, and it probably will be a long while yet before Abu Halim buys new furniture.

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