New and Improved

tablets-309742_640I went to the pharmacy the other day to buy the usual brand of medicine for my cold and flu.

As I was checking out the isle, I noticed this medicine, which is what I was looking for, it’s as if it’s pulling all attention towards it. There was a perfect square around it of empty spots, in other words there were no other drugs adjacent to it from all directions; and there it was levitating almost, and there was this big sign pointing at it “New and Improved”.

Wowsers, I was so excited about it. I grabbed the box and took it to the pharmacist to inquire about the new improvements as there was that one line on there that mentioned the only active ingredient, followed by a two by two table for directions based on age: 1 tablet if under 12 and 2 tablets if over the age of 12.

Everything seemed exactly the same as the original one, but when I asked the pharmacist he graciously explained: “oh, the pharmaceutical company added a tiny booklet in the box because they didn’t have enough space to include the additional 30 warnings on the existing label. It is a state of the art with double glossed paper. They wanted to add some gruesome images but instead at the bottom of the booklet they put a link to the warning’s website, where your eyes can feast on all sorts of images. But hey, if you come back next month they will be reissuing the Cadillac of this medicine. It will come with a thumb drive that has a screen saver that will display all the warnings in close to 50 slides. Not only that but you would also be able to register the drug online after you purchase it and they would send you a DVD with complete simulation of all the warnings, walking you through the steps from A-Z. It will feel so realistic that you would cry at the end of each section.”

So there you have it, the new and improved indeed.

 — Raghid Khalil

Guest Blog: The Positive and Negative Sides of Dependence and Interdependence

by Kelly Everson

Recently, people have been becoming increasingly interested in discussing the fine line between the two terms of dependence and interdependence. The target of these discussions and debates are to point out the ups and downs of each term; also to understand how to better utilize them for a balanced life and a more balanced relationship amongst people.

What do dependence and interdependence mean?

The term dependence is basically when someone relies on something or someone to thrive, or simply to survive. In fact, at some point in all people’s lives, being dependent on others is just normal, and even essential, to survive in this complex world. As a child, for example, one is totally dependent on his/her parents, who help their kids acquire the necessary skills to interact with others and, most importantly, to develop the skills needed to be self-sufficient human beings. Therefore, without firstly being dependent on someone or something, there can be no chance to later become independent or interdependent.

On the other hand, interdependence occurs when two or more people rely on each other to achieve mutual benefits. This is a relationship based on the concept of living and working together hand-in-hand to develop a situation in which both parties offer a means of assistance to strive together.

Commonalities and differences:

Both terms, however, have similar and different attributes.  To know these similarities and differences is to know where to draw the line when it comes to answering the question “To be or not to be?” and to determine which one of these answers is better.


The distinct shared value of the two terms is the very word “dependence” as both strive to function in the existence of someone else; whether it’s as an individual or more than one person and whether it’s a one-sided total reliance or mutual reliance. Another similarity lies with the reason behind the act of dependence, which is to succeed as individuals.


Here are the main differences between dependence and interdependence:

While “dependence” involves one person who is dependent on another person or on a number of persons, “interdependence” involves two or more people who depend on one another.

“Dependence” is a one-sided relationship where one person takes the whole advantage of others, whereas “interdependence” is a mutually beneficial relationship which involves two or more parties.

“Dependence” indicates a total reliance on others. On the other hand, “interdependence” indicates a partial reliance on each other where each party offers equal benefits.

The ups and downs

Just as there are advantages of each, there are also disadvantages of being dependent or interdependent.

Advantages and disadvantages of dependence

At one stage in anyone’s life, being dependent on others isn’t necessary a negative thing; on the contrary, it might be necessary in order to take the right steps towards life’s goals. This means putting an unwavering trust in others’ hands, which is not always as easily done as spoken. Trusting others is an attribute that not everyone has and it sometimes requires taking courses or certain measures to develop this trust. Depending on others thus requires trusting that the results would be as desired, but at the same time continuing this trust even if the results aren’t as expected.

However, too much dependence is negative when it becomes a destructive force in one’s life. When someone turns into being over-dependent, he/she can no longer function well as an individual and wouldn’t have what it takes to survive alone. At the same time, over-dependence, when prolonged, can destroy the relationship between the dependent and his/her supporters because they would feel used.

Advantages and disadvantages of interdependence

Interdependence is positive when it highlights a social perspective. It enables people to interact, work, and live together while bringing about mutual interest for all. Society strives on such interaction and improves relationships amongst people. It is also important for a couple’s relationship that they support one another for the benefit of their family well-being.

Just like too much dependence, over-interdependent relationships have risks of their own. They can risk the person’s individuality aspects which are vital for survival. Because interdependence interaction is amongst people, it is highly influenced by the moods, actions, and reactions of others. For example, marriages can be subject to divorce at any period of couple’s life; if the couples are too interdependent, their chances of survival after the divorce takes place are slim and they would need to be rehabilitated as separate individuals.

The best approach is the positive approach

There are no definite positive or negative sides to dependence and interdependence. The trick here is to know where to draw the line to ensure that one is not completely drawn into one of the two extremes. Taking the positive aspects from each perspective is the best approach. This means maintaining one’s originality while living in harmony side-by-side and bringing out the best in both approaches.




PassI have been contemplating on the news for the past few days, and all I could see or read was ‘terrorism’ and ‘trauma’.

It’s always been interesting how the word terrorism is used and I really can’t quite understand the proper way of using it. For instance, what happened a few days ago with “Charlie Hebdo”, to me, sounded more like murder or assassination especially when you call out people by name before committing the crime. But to add some suspense to it, it seems media outlets would rather use the word terrorism. It looks better on the news, and of course what would be better fit for being a terrorist than a so called human being who happened to be born into a family of a certain religion and has been labelled as Muslim on his documents and not necessarily by doctrine.

As for trauma, it just perplexes me even more when I hear that people were traumatized and that their lives will be changed forever and perhaps might never be able to go to a grocery store within the next decade.

Well in all honesty, if you stop dwelling on the word trauma, people might forget the incident entirely and might be able to move on with their lives. But of course it’s not good for media; they have to reiterate their horrible experience at every occasion in front of every news channel. I only think this is funny, and I am using my freedom of speech to express what I am about to say. I believe every Lebanese person born prior to the first week of 2015 has experienced either the civil war, or the war of two foreign countries on Lebanese soil, or an aggression from a neighboring country, or numerous invasions, or kidnappings or in the least some form of bombing here and there.

But of course, those do not qualify for terrorism and definitely not a traumatic experience to any of the Lebanese. It’s more like having the morning Turkish coffee.

I am sick and tired of these double standards. And it gets worse, when someone other than a Muslim commits a heinous act of mass murder at Universities and so on. Everyone seems to identify that the parents (immediate family) of that murderer have nothing to do with that person’s action and thereby try to defend them or console them. But if it was a Muslim, then all of a sudden it becomes similar to the original sin, and every Muslim has to deal with and condone it otherwise they appear to approve it.

I am against killings of any sort, I am against terrorism and anything that negatively impacts human lives, but my question is to the Lebanese who are close to 4 million in Lebanon but have managed to have 8 Million of them use all sorts of social media to express “ I AM CHARLIE” , has anyone within those past 40 years  or at least since the inception of social media other than the Lebanese themselves ever say “ I AM BEIRUT”, “I AM LEBANON”.

Raghid Khalil

A Lebanese Political Screw

I feel for our Lebanese politicians. They have needs just like the rest of us. They have urges too. After all they’re human beings born from the same fabric into the same society of which we breathe into and exhale.

To the spouses of the politicians, I address you in particular and I say this unto you: “Our politicians need a good screw. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is the most humane thing you can do.

Please just get a good long sturdy nail & hammer and screw them onto a wall at home, and make sure they never make it to the parliament.”

The way I see it, it’s either the few get screwed one time or an entire population gets screwed possibly forever.

Of course my suggestion is with utmost respect to all.

Raghid Khalil 

It All Comes Down To This … Happy New Year

Happy New year everyone.

I don’t fully understand the concept and the excitement over the start of a new year. Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed a full moon. It was always about the full moon which is at its the last stages . Never was I called out to check the birth of a new moon; it was just not as fascinating, “oh look, there is a crescent forming in the sky”. Really? A crescent?

Happy-New-Year1Even in a solar eclipse, where the sun entirely disappears, the climax is during the complete black out. It’s towards the end of the existence of the sun. A few seconds of complete darkness. After that when it’s re-emerging back, it is not as fun anymore.

When people reach the end of their life that is exactly what they call it; The end of their journey. They never say, I will start a new life in Heaven / hell or I will be reincarnated in 10 days.

It is sad in a way that we contemplate on everything and we label them based on their expiry date. But why can’t we do the same with the celebration of the new year? Why can’t we celebrate the end of the existing one instead?

If I had a great year so far, I would like to be warned just like they do in malls, “dear shoppers, we will be closing in 30 minutes”. Maybe not along the same lines, but something like: “Hey, you’ve had a wonderful year so far, but you still have 10-15 days before your luck runs out. Do something about it. Buy a lottery ticket, or do something crazy.”

And if you’ve had a not so great year, you will hear something like: “Hey I know you’ve had a shitty year, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, don’t despair”.

The current year as it stands, is something I am very well experienced with. The one to come is still unknown. I may not be too eager to see the year over yet, but I can only wish this upon everyone: “for those who had a good year, I hope it extends indefinitely. And to those who have experienced sorrow and misery or even consider themselves unlucky, I can only wish them a happier life with more ups than downs.”


Just like in the movies, it isn’t over until you see the words “the end”.

You know what they also say, “ it’s not the end of the world”.

So Happy End of this Year to all 🙂

Raghid Khalil 

Hit List

Fotor0524101740If every Lebanese was asked to write down the names of five people he/she would like to see dead before the end of the day, knowing that their request would be granted, I guarantee you that the following morning we will wake up to a country with not one politician left. Now one might think that every Lebanese person hates the entire political crew, but this is where you’d be wrong. They only hate the parties that do not represent their religion and sect in particular. If they have it their way, they would rather eliminate any obstacle or in this case any other party that stands in their affiliation’s way.

Being a Lebanese myself, I think I can somehow project how the majority of Lebanese think.

Here it goes, if I have a list of Five:

To begin with, I will keep two names aside just in case something arises at a later point. Those would be like the Jokers in a deck of cards that I can use whichever way I want and whenever I please.

So now I am left with three names to write down.

I can’t just go ahead and write down the names of the high ranking politicians, because one way or another it would be redundant for I am sure someone else will have them on their list. Why one might ask? Simply because that person might have had a project that was turned down, or was asked for some percentage in return for a simple signature on a form. I guess you get the point; these officials have their own haters.

So those high ranking ones will be cleared out by others, if not, that’s where my two jokers will come into play. I would only need to choose only two names simply because any Lebanese will select only two of the top three but never all three at the same time.

Next we’re left with the parliament members. There are only a few of them compared to the 4 million people in Lebanon and the remaining 6 million outside of Lebanon who have a list of 3 blank names left, which makes up around 30 million variations provided they all keep two names as backup jokers. But we all know that the Lebanese don’t trust each other. So even if you write a name down, another person will definitely write it down too, just because you can’t be too careful and it’s better to be safe than not. It’s like double checking.

Since the Lebanese are known to be very smart, they know better not to waste their time with a name of a politician that represents a section, a city or a village other than theirs because they know for a fact someone from that area will get to the name, so they try to keep it local.

If however, the politician that represents them has won the last election and is currently a parliamentary member, they would then write the names of his 3 top members of the opposing party. If their representative failed in the last election, then it goes without saying that the currently serving will make it to their list.

Fotor0524101536In some cities and villages or sections of Lebanon, there is an overwhelming majority of one party. Of course those choosing the names wouldn’t wish anything bad to their leaders, so they will start writing down the names of the leaders of the opposing parties.

So far, we have the top 3 positions eliminated, then the leaders of all the parties, then all the parliament members as well as their next in line or their competitors. But what about the politicians that still exist, those we barely hear their voices or see their faces, they could very well surface when the dust settles?

Again, the Lebanese have a solution for that. And with that solution comes money. So just like money floats around during the election season, money will start playing an important role. You will see people filling out the list  of five names and will actually buy a couple more lists from people who are financially in need. They would manipulate their cousins and family members to fill out names they haven’t selected themselves. After all it seems like they want to diversify their lists.  That way, they can surely get a goodnight sleep knowing that every name they can think of, gets shot, stabbed, or blown up.

The end result will be a new day with no politicians, but the question remains, how long before we see the same flags being raised again and a new government with new names being formed? If I were to answer that, I would say before sunset of that same day, because our governments are not formed within, they come pre-packaged and poorly wrapped from the different corners of the world.

Raghid Khalil


What scares you the most?

Drugs,  Alcohol,  Trafficking, Crimes, etc..

Politics! That’s what scares me the most.  We have our beloved politicians, that we run to the voting booths all over the world to elect the best ones to represent us. But doesn’t it scare you to know that drug dealers, traffickers and criminals have the same right to vote? doesn’t it creep you out, to know that the politicians you have elected to represent you and whom you have identified yourself with, have also been elected by those you are trying to eliminate?

From the way I see it, our politicians are a subset of both the “frightened voter” and the “feared voter”.  I wonder who has more influential power.

Let me put it this way; we still have drug dealers, trafficking is still ongoing, criminals are everywhere and of course alcohol has been legalized after years of war against “Al Capone”.

Something to think about.

— Raghid Khalil