The Euro-Arab Dialogue

November 25th, 2016

The Euro-Arab Dialogue

and

The Birth of Eurabia

Bat  Ye’or *

 

In 2001 a wave of Judeophobia swept violently over Europe; it coincided with the intensification of the al-Aqsa intifada from September 30, 2000. This simultaneity was not fortuitous. In Europe, governments, some of the Churches, and most of the media in fact approved of the 2nd intifada, using fine moral terms for what was a strategy of terror by the Palestinian leadership. The justification and negligence displayed toward these criminal aggressions amounted to an encouragement. The elimination of terrorist leaders was described as ‘assassination’ and the Hamas and other terrorists became  ‘fighters for freedom’ and ‘activists’. While Hamas was translated as a ‘Resistance’ movement, Israel was accused of ‘state terrorism’. Especially in France this condemnation sanctioned the criminal acts committed mainly by immigrants of Arab-Muslim origin, against individuals and Jewish community  ?????

*Bat Ye’or is the author of The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (1985/2003); The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude (1996/2002); Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002/2003). This article is an English translation of “Le Dialogue Euro-Arabe et la naissance d’Eurabia” in Observatoire du monde juif, Bulletin n° 4/5, Décembre 2002, pp.44-55, (78 avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris).

property. Even in 2003 the French government still refused to place Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations, Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was sharply reprimanded by President Chirac for having said that Hezbollah was a terrorist organization.

The convergence between the specific policies of the European Union (EU) and the Palestinian Authority which it greatly finances, as well as with those policies of the Arab countries, seem to be the result of a long-term process. With slight nuances, the anti-Israel discourse that is heard simultaneously on both shores of the Mediterranean shows identical characteristics. This twenty-first century Judeophobia is rooted in a transnational European structure, born of a historical context and the Euro-Arab policy of the last thirty years. The European populations however remain, grosso modo, unconcerned even if the media have for decades subjected them to an ideology that demonized Israel.

Thus, Europeans run considerable risks of becoming both the toy and the victims of religious hatred, as well as of political and economic interests masked by the Arab-Israel conflict that is intentionally blown out of all proportions in order to hide the global jihad that also targets them. For the ideological structure of this new Judeophobia is imported from the Arab-Muslim world, even if it is expressed in the framework of a European discourse by three sectors:  the political parties, the media, and the religious sector.

As will be seen below, the development of the Euro-Arab Dialogue brought considerable modifications in European societies. It has relayed Muslim Judeophobic anti-Zionism, anti-Americanism and its hatred of the West. It has facilitated the irrepressible Arab ambition to Islamize Europe, its history, and its culture – an ambition that some Islamist leaders, for example, are voicing in the very heart of London. Moreover, the strategy of the Dialogue urged the glorification of ‘Palestinity’, the vilification of Israel, the growing separation between Europe and America, and the flourishing of an imaginary version of Islamic religion, history and civilization in Western public opinion. It forced Europe to revise its interpretation of its own identity and history in order to harmonize them with the Islamic vision of Europe, and by this process, to undergo a self-inflicted Islamization.

 

The oil embargo:  The trigger

 

After World War II, France – humiliated by the Vichy collaborationist government and the loss of its colonial empire – saw any ambitious role it may have had as a great power sharply reduced. The Franco-German union provided Charles de Gaulle with the means to ensure peace in Europe by reconciling traditional enemies, while in the 1960s the alliance with the Arab world enabled France – at an international level – to challenge American power. De Gaulle’s economic and strategic policy aimed at uniting the countries around the Mediterranean in an inter-dependent industrial bloc opposed to America. To achieve this plan, France strove to build an alliance with the Arab states. Hostility toward America and Israel was not only fed by the communist and leftist trends, but also by the heritage of pro-Nazi collaborators from the French Vichy regime, which had survived in the post-war decades, and permeated the French administration up to the highest ranks.

After the 1967 Six-Days war, France became the instigator of a European anti-Israel policy. She did not readily forgive Israel for its lightning victory over a coalition comprising Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinians – and supported by the entire Arab world. At international forums France voted in favour of Arab anti-Israel resolutions and backed a unilateral boycott of arms sales to the Jewish state (1969). At the European level, French diplomacy supported Arab interests, setting out to bend European policy in a pro-Arab, anti-Israel direction. In this context, France examined the concept of a Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) with Libya. (1)

 

The joint Egyptian-Syrian war against Israel in 1973 and the Arab oil embargo, utilized as a weapon of world pressure, favored French schemes. Mortified by the Arab defeat after a successful beginning, the Arab oil-producing countries met in Kuwait (October 16-17 ), where they decided unilaterally to quadrupled the price of oil, to reduce gradually by 5% each month their production of crude oil until the withdrawal of Israel from the territories the Arab had lost in their war of 1967 and failed to recover in their 1973 war. They imposed an embargo on deliveries destined to the countries considered friendly to Israel: the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The consuming countries were classified as friendly, neutral, or enemy countries.

Panicked, the nine countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) immediately met in Brussels on November 6,1973 and tabled a joint Resolution based on their dependence on Arab oil; this Resolution was totally in line with the Franco-Arab policy in respect of Israel. (2)

The EEC introduced three new points in the Brussels resolution: 1. The inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force, already theoretically stated in UN Security Council Resolution 242;  2. An Israeli withdrawal to the lines of the 1949 armistice;  3. Inclusion of ‘the legitimate rights of the Palestinians’ in the definition of peace.

The first proposal seemed admirable but absurd since all territories were acquired by force. What constituted the legitimacy of states? Ottoman Palestine had been conquered by force in 1917 by the British. In the 1948 war against Israel, Egypt took Gaza by force and Abdullah’s Arab Legion had occupied Judea and Samaria by force, as well as the Old City of Jerusalem and the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, expelling all their Palestinian Jewish inhabitants. Moreover, all the countries that today are called Arab were originally conquered by Arab jihad armies. Were all these land conquests, imposed by force and war, also unacceptable? What criteria would determine the irreversibility of a conquest and an injustice – the occupation of land or its liberation? Did their indigenous non-Muslim populations “occupy” Spain and Portugal, Sicily, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and Armenia lands, or were they population of countries freed from dhimmitude? Is the State of Israel the legitimate expression of a free people, whose land had been Arabized and Islamized by one of the cruellest form of persecution against its indigenous Jewish population after the Roman-Byzantine occupation, or an injustice because it has suppressed this persecution and neutralised the evil power of the persecutors?

On the second point, Europe obligingly adopted the Arabs’ denial of their own defeat in 1967, a war that they themselves had triggered after the 1948 invasion to eradicate Israel. In this way, the EEC set the seal on the Arab-Islamic interpretation of Resolution 242, because in fact this Resolution in its original and authoritative English version only refers to withdrawal from territories, an intentional choice of words on the part of those who conceived it. Judea and Samaria were not, henceforth, described as territories open to negotiation but as ‘occupied Arab territories’ that Israel had to evacuate immediately. But these territories had also been conquered by force in the 1948 war unleashed by Arab states. The combined Syrian, Jordanian and local Arab forces that seized them had also expelled all their Jewish Palestinian inhabitants and had confiscated all their land, houses and property.

The third point of the Resolution introduced an innovation into the Middle East conflict that would prove dramatic for Europe in the future. Until 1970, the expression “Palestinian people” did not exist in this context. People talked only about the Arabs in Palestine who were no different from Arabs in the twenty countries of the Arab League, particularly from the Arabs in Transjordan, that is to say from 78 per cent of the League of Nations designated Palestine. Great Britain detached this vast area in 1922 and created an exclusively Arab country, the newly named Emirate of Transjordan.

UN Security Resolution 242 recommended a solution to the refugee problems, which also implied the more numerous Jewish refugees who had fled from Arab lands, abandoning all their possessions. The creation of a “Palestine people” ex nihilo after the Arab oil embargo in 1973, would lead Europe to create its legitimacy, its history and a right – equivalent and even superior to Israel’s – by resurrecting the theology of replacement, constantly nourished with propaganda demonizing Israel in order to justify its demise. This directed Europe along a path of active solidarity with the Arab policy of Israel’s elimination that involved the encouragement and legitimization of international terrorism embodied by the PLO.

 

The formation of an Euro-Arab Economic and Political bloc

 

The EEC’s anti-Israel decision met the Arab conditions to open a dialogue with Europe, and it was rewarded by an immediate increase in oil supplies. Born of the oil embargo, the Euro-Arab Dialogue was set up from the start as a trade-off: the EEC countries undertook to support anti-Israel Arab policy, while in exchange they would benefit from economic agreements with the Arab League countries.(3) The Arab side demanded a European political commitment against Israel, subordinating the economic aspect of the dialogue to the political context of the Arab war against Israel. The economic domain was thus integrated within Euro-Arab political solidarity against Israel.

President Georges Pompidou, and Chancellor Willy Brandt confirmed the wish for a Dialogue at their meeting on November 26-27, 1973. Less than a month later the French president called a summit on December 15, 1973 in Copenhagen to examine the Middle East crisis and lay down the bases for cooperation between the Arab League countries and the EEC countries. Four Arab foreign ministers, invited to monitor the project, suggested various schemes

On June 10, 1974 the foreign ministers of the nine countries of the EEC, meeting in Bonn within the framework of political cooperation, adopted a text that specified the areas and means of developing their cooperation and their relations with the Arab countries. The areas involved were agriculture, industry, sciences, culture, education, technology, financial cooperation, and the civil infrastructure, etc.

In the course of the meetings that followed, the foreign ministers of the Nine laid the foundations of this cooperation with the Arab countries, according to an institutionalized structure linked to the highest authorities of each of the EEC countries. This formula made it possible to harmonize and unify the policy of the European Communities in their exchanges and their cooperation with the Arab League countries.

On July 31, 1974 in Paris, the first official meeting at ministerial level took place between the Kuwaiti foreign minister, the secretary-general of the Arab League, the president of the commission of the European Communities and the current president of the Community in order to discuss the organization of the Dialogue. The Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation was then founded by the nine countries of the European Community with a view to strengthening the political, cultural and economical co-operation between Europe and the Arab world. All the major trends in European politics were represented in its Executive Committee that since met regularly every six months

The Damascus Conference (September 14-17, 1974), organized by the inter-parliamentary Association of Euro-Arab Cooperation, brought together the members representing all the parliamentary parties of the EEC, except Denmark. The Arabs set out the political preconditions for agreements on economic cooperation with the western European countries. The economic area that interested the EEC was conditioned by the Arabs’ political demands concerning the Middle East in accordance with the principle of barter, a fundamental principle of the Dialogue. The Arabs demanded:

  1. The unconditional withdrawal of Israel to the 1949 armistice lines;
  2. The Arabization of the Old City of Jerusalem which had been seized by force in 1948 and from which all the Jews had been expelled;
  3. The association of the PLO and its leader Arafat in any negotiations. (4)
  4. Pressure to be brought to bear on the United States by the EEC in order to bring it nearer to Arab policy and detach it from Israel.

 

The political aspect as an indispensable condition of the Dialogue was confirmed at the 7th Summit of the Arab Conference a month later (Rabat, October 1974). There it was recalled that the Euro-Arab Dialogue had to develop within the context of the “Declaration” of the 6th Summit of the Arab Conference in Algiers transmitted to Europe on November 28, 1973, which established the Arab political requirements concerning Israel. (5) For the Arabs, the Dialogue had to continue until its objectives were achieved. The political and economic aspects of this Euro-Arab cooperation were considered by them as interdependent

A permanent secretariat of 350 members assigned to Euro-Arab cooperation was then created with its seat in Paris. The Euro-Arab Dialogue was structured into various committees charged with planning joint industrial, commercial, political, scientific, technical, cultural and social projects.

On June 10, 1975, a delegation from the European Economic Community (EEC) met with a delegation from twenty Arab countries and from the PLO based in Cairo. More than thirty countries were represented by a general committee at ambassadorial level and by numerous experts. The EEC and the secretariat of the Arab League were represented at the political level. The Jordanian spokesman of the Arab delegation, M. Nijmeddin Dajani, stressed the political aspect and implications of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The deal between the two parties was clearly defined:  economic agreements with Europe in exchange for European alignment with Arab policy on Israel.

A Joint Memorandum of the Mixed Committee of Experts gave a first formulation of the general principles and aims of the Euro-Arab Dialogue.

In the course of the Luxembourg meeting a year later (May 18-20, 1976), the organization and procedure of the Euro-Arab Dialogue were defined and published in Appendix 4 of the final Communiqué. The Dialogue was composed of three organs:  1)  the General Committee;  2)  the Working Committees;  3)  the Political Committee.

The General Committee consisted of the delegates of both sides, comprising officials of ambassadorial status, members of the League of Arab States and of the European Communities, of the general secretariat of the League of Arab States and of the Commission of the European Communities, as well as the co-presidents and rapporteurs of the Working Committees. The heads of the Arab and European delegations held the presidency of the General Committee jointly. The Committee was the central body of the Dialogue, and was in charge of the general conduct of the Dialogue as well as monitoring its developments in the different areas. It was responsible for its establishment, and for directing it toward the assigned political, cultural, social, technological and economic goals, as well as approving the program of the Dialogue and of its tasks. The varied commitments of the Committee were specified. Its sittings took place behind closed doors and without recorded minutes. At the end of each meeting the General Committee could publish a summary of the decisions taken and a common press release. (6)

The composition of the Working Committees followed the same principle:  each group comprised experts and specialist technicians from the two sides, as well as representatives of the general secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Commission of the European Communities. Each of the two Arab and European groups appointed a president for each Working Committee. The Working Committees proceeded according to the instructions given by the General Committee concerning their mandates. Each Working Committee could create specialized sub-groups whose experts were chosen in conjunction with the general secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Commission of the European Communities.

The Coordinating Committee was composed of representatives of the General Committee and of the general secretariat of the League of Arab States and of the European presidency, with the two parties presiding jointly. The Committee was responsible for coordinating the work of the various working parties under the direction of the General Committee. All information and documentation was transmitted by the general secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Commission of European Communities.

This briefly summarized structure established a symbiosis, an inter-penetration of Arab and European policies, requiring the involvement of the European states at the highest level. It is clear that Europe’s hostile policy to Israel – standardized by the structures of the EEC – is not the result of mistaken judgements, of prejudices capable of being corrected. It rests on a politico-economic construction, meticulously prepared down to the smallest detail, and rooted in its multiform symbiosis with the Arab world.

In the years that followed, this collaboration was strengthened by meetings every six months and by various activities on an international scale: (Rome, July 24,1975; Abu Dhabi, November 27,1975; Luxembourg, May 18-20, 76; several meetings in Brussels in 1976; Tunis, February 10-12, 1977). The European members of the permanent secretariat of the Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation ( PAEAC) travelled frequently to the United States to attempt to influence America policy in favour of the PLO’s claims, and against Israel. The Arabs demanded that Europe recognise Yasser Arafat as the Palestinian leader and a Palestinian state, the implementation of an international boycott of Israel, and a strategy of worldwide political and economic pressure in order to force the Jewish state to withdraw to the 1949 armistices lines. The Working Committee studied suitable methods to condition European and world public opinion to persuade it to support the PLO, whose Charter required the elimination of the State of Israel. According to Saleh al-Mani:

Despite the failure of the EAD, to result in recognition of the PLO the latter was, nevertheless, one of the most active supporters of the EAD. The PLO may have wanted to use the EAD as a channel for airing its demands, and in this regard it may have been successful.

Although failing short of achieving formal recognition for the PLO the EAD did, however, succeed in persuading the Europeans of the need to established a “homeland for the Palestinians” and in “associating” the PLO with future negotiations on the Middle East. Thus the EAD has served certain limited Arab objectives. (7)

 

This comment by al-Mani confirms the direct connection between the PLO and the EEC’s economic transactions. In a speech on 26 August 1980, after describing the PLO’s terrorist war in Lebanon, Beshir Gemayel – Lebanon’s future President-elect – denounced its disastrous role in Europe:

This is a recapitulation of the doings of those people [PLO] on whose behalf the chancelleries of the civilized world are striving throughout the year, and for whose favours the old nations of Europe are competing.  (8)

 

It is clear that the PLO played a crucial role in the exchange of economic benefits that the Arab countries granted to Europe in return for political support in their war against Israel. EAD meetings concluded with declarations by the European delegation in line with those of Arab policy (London, June 9, 1977; Brussels, October 26-28, 1978): Israeli withdrawal to its 1949 borders, Israel’s obligation to recognise the national rights of the Palestinians; the invalidation of all measures and decisions taken by Israel in the territories outside of the 1949 lines, including Jerusalem. Judea and Samaria are described as ‘occupied Arab territories’.

The Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations at Camp David (1977-78) under the wing of American president Carter, put a damper on the EAD, while the Arab League totally rejected them and expelled Egypt from its ranks. The Arab countries were furious with the success of American influence in the region to the detriment of the European diplomacy that they tried to control through economic cooperation. France abstained from recognising the peace agreements, whereas the other EEC countries accepted them, but – at French instigation – with reservations.

Meanwhile, the EAD resumed its activities and the 4th meeting of the General Committee in Damascus (December 9-11, 1978) approved the creation of a Euro-Arab center in Kuwait for the transfer of technology.

 

The Birth of Eurabia: a new political entity

 

Eurabia is the title of a review edited by the European Committee for Coordination of Friendship Association with the Arab World (Paris). It was published with the collaboration of Middle East International (London), France-Pays Arabes (Paris) and the Groupe d’Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva).

In its second issue (July 1975), Eurabia published the resolutions passed unanimously at Strasbourg by the general assembly of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation on June 7-8, 1975. Membership of this Association comprised more than 200 Members of Parliament from western European countries, representing all shades of the political spectrum. In other words, the consensus for the program of Euro-Arab entente covered the whole of the European political scene.

Eurabia specified in its editorial:  “the necessity for a political entente between Europe and the Arab world as a basis for economic agreements”, and the obligation on the part of the Europeans to “understand the political as well as the economic interests of the Arab world”. The Euro-Arab Dialogue had to express “a joint political will” [emphasis by the author]. This preliminary condition for any economic agreements with Arab League countries necessitated the creation in Europe “of a climate of opinion” favorable to the Arabs. The editorial stressed that this question had been examined by a large number of experts from the Association de Solidarité Franco-Arabe (Association of Franco-Arab Solidarity) and from the general assembly of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation in Strasbourg:

If they really want to cooperate with the Arab world, the European governments and political leaders have an obligation to protest against the denigration of Arabs in their media. They must reaffirm their confidence in the Euro-Arab friendship and their respect for millennial contribution of the Arabs to world civilization. This contribution and its practical application will be one of the themes of our next issue. (Editorial)

 

Arab political demands concerning the conditions of the Dialogue were not limited exclusively to Israel. They also concerned Europe. M. Tilj Declerq, Belgian member of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, submitted a study on the conditions of this cooperation to the economic commission of this Association. It was summarised in the second issue of Eurabia  (July 1975) and entitled, ‘A European point of view’.

Declerq emphasis that “Euro-Arab cooperation must result from a political will. “The political interests of this cooperation must therefore be recognized.” In other words, economic exchanges were subordinate to the EEC’s support of the Arabs League’s war to destroy Israel. As far as Europe was concerned, the Belgian speaker advocated economic cooperation associating Arab manpower reserves and raw materials – probably oil – with European technology.

A medium and long-term policy must henceforth be formulated in order to bring about economic cooperation through a combination of Arab manpower reserves and raw materials and European technology and “management”.

 

This clause could have been at the origin of the massive Arab immigration into Europe from 1975 onwards which seems to have been connected to the EEC’s economic agreements with the Arab world. According to Declerq, recycling petrodollars was to bring about the interdependence of Western Europe and the Arab countries in order “gradually to reach as complete as possible an economic integration”. But this Euro-Arab economic integration would remain theoretical if the political aspect – that is to say the battle against Israel – was not achieved. Therefore, “A genuine political will must be at the base of concrete plans for cooperation and must be demonstrated at three levels:  the national level;  the level of the continent; at world level.” From the same point of view, “Euro-Arab cooperation and solidarity had to be brought about through international organizations and international conferences.” Joint Euro-Arab preparatory meetings and symposiums had “to be multiplied at every level – economic, monetary, commercial, etc. – in order to reach common positions.”

Declerq’s proposals were all integrated into the resolutions of the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation when it met in Strasbourg (June 7-8, 1975), and were published in Eurabia. The political section of the resolutions targeted three areas: European policy on Israel; the creation of a climate of opinion favorable to the Arabs; the reception of Muslim immigrants into Europe.

Concerning Israel, the Association went along with Arab demands and called for Israel’s withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines, deliberately misinterpreting Resolution 242. In addition, the Association called on European governments to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian Arabs, a fundamental point that they had to stress in the initiatives that a joint Euro-Arab policy required of them. The EEC had to force Israel to accept the rights of a Palestinian nation and the existence of a Palestinian state on the whole of the “West Bank” of the Jordan, and in Gaza.

Concerning Europe, the Association called for news coverage more favorable to Arab causes and special conditions for immigrants.

The Association requires European governments to arrange legal provisions concerning the free movement of, and respect for, the fundamental rights of immigrant workers in Europe: these rights must be equivalent to those of national citizens.

The Association considers the political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict an absolute necessity for the establishment of a real Euro-Arab cooperation.

 

In the same paragraph, the Association considers that “the harmonious development of cooperation between Western Europe and the Arab nation” would benefit from the free circulation of ideas and citizens. The economic resolution expressed a concern about the political choices that:

had been prejudicial to Euro-Arab cooperation, such as the creation of the International Energy Agency and the signature of an agreement between the EEC and Israel, before the negotiations between the EEC and the Arab countries had been completed. On this subject, it made a formal request that economic cooperation between the EEC and Israel should not apply to the occupied territories.

 

Eurabia: a new cultural entity

 

The cultural resolution contained several statements, including the following:

Recognizing the historical contribution of Arab culture to European development;

Stressing the contribution that the European countries can still expect from Arab culture, notably in the area of human values;

 

The Association called for the teaching of the Arabic language and culture to be expanded in Europe:

Desiring that European governments facilitate, for the Arab countries, the creation of generous means to enable immigrant workers and their families to participate in Arab cultural and religious life.

 

The Association appealed to the press, to friendship groups and for tourism to improve public opinion regarding the Arab world. It:

asks the governments of the Nine to approach the cultural sector of the Euro-Arab Dialogue in a constructive spirit and to accord the greatest priority to spreading Arab culture in Europe.

asks the Arab governments to recognize the political consequences of active cooperation with Europe in the cultural domain.

 

The Resolution ended with a condemnation and a criticism of Israel.

While recognizing the State of Israel’s right to exist, [it] condemns the Zionist wish to substitute Jewish culture for Arab culture on Palestinian territory, in order to deprive the Palestinian people of its national identity;

Considering that by carrying out excavations in the holy places of Islam – the occupied part of Jerusalem – Israel has committed a violation of international law, despite the warning of UNESCO;

Considering that the excavations could only result in the inevitable destruction of evidence of Arab culture and history;

Regrets that UNESCO’s decision not to admit Israel into its regional grouping should have been exploited, sometimes with a great lack of objectivity.

 

The Strasbourg meeting was followed a few days later (June 10-14, 1975) by a symposium of the Mixed Committee of Experts in Cairo for a first formulation of the general principles and objectives of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The introduction to the joint memorandum of this meeting specifies that:

The Euro-Arab Dialogue is the fruit of a common political desire which emerged at the highest level and which aims to establish special relationships between the two groups.

 

The two parties recalled that the Dialogue originated in their exchanges at the end of 1973, and, particularly, the declaration made by the nine States members of the European Community on November 6, 1973 concerning the situation on the Middle East well as the declaration addressed to the Western European countries by the 6th Summit conference of Arab counties in Algiers, on November 28, 1973.

The areas of cooperation listed in the memorandum include cooperation in nuclear technology, finance, banking and capital management, business, scientific research, technological development, technical and professional training, the utilization of nuclear power, the building of cities infrastructures, planning, industrialization, transportation, urbanization, health, education, telecommunication, tourism, etc. The training of specialist personnel for the numerous projects envisaged would take place “either by sending teams of European experts with a view to training the Arab workforce, or by training this workforce in establishments Centers in the EEC countries”. The intention was to set up “effective [cooperation] and exchange of information between Arab and European universities” in research procedures, various programs and projects.

The section on “Cooperation in the fields of culture and civilization” stressed that the principal objective of the Euro-Arab dialogue was to bring closer two civilizations that have contributed considerably in enriching the patrimony of humanity. They consider that their cooperation in the area of culture and civilization should englobe education, the arts, sciences and information; and they affirmed that the principal objective of such a cooperation was the consolidation and deepening of the bases of cultural understanding and of an intellectual rapprochement between the two regions

Various measures were envisaged, like the exchanges of experts, and the development of contacts in the fields of education and tourism. Lastly, the problems of the workforce of emigrant workers had to be settled by equality of treatment concerning: 1) employment situation; 2) working and living conditions; 3) social security systems. (9)

After almost three decades, one may ask: what was the impact on the European continent of this policy, which brought theoretically independent sectors – the economy, immigration, politics and culture – into one single block linked to the Arab world and its anti-Israeli/antisemitic paranoia?

The Spiral:  Arab instrumentalization of the European Community

 

In this correlation between the economic and the political sectors, the difference in viewpoints between the EEC’s perspectives and those of the Arab League are immediately apparent. The EEC is looking for economic gain, profit, through a strategy of expansion in the oil, commercial, and industrial markets. Its actions are characterized solely by a business-like pragmatism on the part of management technocrats who formulate programs of assistance and regional development, as well as massive sales of arms and industrial and nuclear equipment (e.g. the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq destroyed by Israel in 1981) in pursuit of profit.

The Arab faction, on the other hand, exploited the economy as a radical means to make the EEC an instrument in a long-term political strategy targeting Israel, Europe and America. The Arab political grip on the EEC’s economy would rapidly impose on it the Arab political directives vis-à-vis Israel. One of the Arab delegates, Dr Ibrahim A. Obaid, Director-General, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources from Riyad (Saudi Arabia), aptly expressed the spirit of the Dialogue, when the experts of Euro-Arab Cooperation met in Amsterdam in 1975:

Together and as equals, the Europeans and the Arabs can through a “strategy of inter-dependence” forge ahead to remove the thorn from their sides – the Israeli problem – and attend to the Herculean task ahead of them. (10)

 

The economic agreements between the EEC and the Arab world went beyond the sphere of trade treaties and led to Europe’s progressive subjection to Arab political objectives. The EAD became – particularly for France – an associative diplomacy in the international forums, where the EEC fell into line with Arab anti-Zionist positions. A vehicle for legitimizing the PLO and for its propaganda, the EAD procured for it international, diplomatic recognition and conferred respectability and international standing on Arafat and for his international terrorist movement. It was within the framework of the EAD that the whole war policy of delegitimazion against Israel was constructed at the national and international levels of the EEC, in the trade unions, the media, and the universities. The EAD was the mouthpiece that spread and popularized throughout Europe the demonization and defamation of Israel. France, Belgium and Luxemburg were the EAD’s most active agents.

In Europe, Arab strategy was mainly directed toward three goals:

  • attaining economic and industrial parity with the West by the transfer to Arab countries of modern technology, particularly nuclear and military technology;
  • implanting on European soil of a large Muslim population, which would enjoy all the political, cultural, social and religious rights of the host country;
  • imposing the political, cultural and religious influence of Arab-Islamism on European space through an immigration which remained politically and culturally attached to its countries of origin.

The EAD also served the Arab League as a channel to apply pressures on America via Europe to persuade it to align itself with Arab policy on Israel. At the geo-strategic level, Euro-Arab cooperation was a political instrument of anti-Americanism in Europe, aiming to separate and weaken the two continents by instigating mutual hostility between them and by constant denigration of American policy in the Middle East.

The fact that the import of Islamic manpower into Europe was synchronized with the expansion of European markets in Arab countries made it possible for several million Muslim immigrants to arrive without hindrance. The speed and scale of this operation was unique in history. Even in the course of the European colonization, the emigration of Europeans to the colonies took place at an infinitely slower pace. The number of European colonists, including their descendants, even after a maximum of one or two centuries, was incomparably lower than that of present-day Muslim immigrants in each of the countries of Europe after only three decades.

The political laxity of the European governments was worsened by the permission granted to Arab countries to export their culture and their mores together with their population (EAD Declaration, Damascus, September 11, 1978).

 

University of Venice Seminar:  1977

 

The Arab cultural implantation into Europe, was bound-up with the immigration – that is to say the transfer of millions of Muslims from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, together with their original culture – into the host countries. This cultural Arabization/Islamization had already been planned at the University of Venice (March 28-30, 1977) by the Euro-Arab Seminar on Means and Forms of Cooperation for the Diffusion in Europe of the Knowledge of Arabic Language and Literary Civilization.

The Seminar was organised by the Instituto per l’Oriente in Rome and the Arabic literature section of the Foreign Languages faculty of the University of Venice. The participants came from 14 universities in Arab countries, 19 Arabists from European universities, numerous other personalities connected with the Muslim world, as well as the representative of the Pontifical Institute of Arab Studies in Rome (Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica). The seminar was integrated into the Euro-Arab Dialogue, meaning it had the approval of the President of the EEC, the secretary of the Arab League and the foreign ministers of every country represented in the European Community. The Arab participants represented Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Sudan and Tunisia. (11)

Among the subjects broached during the four working sessions, the European rapporteurs presented their reports on the diffusion and knowledge of Arabic and of Arab civilization in their respective countries. The Arab delegates, for their part, described the simplified methods of teaching Arabic to non-Arabs practised in their countries. The seminar ended with the adoption of a number of Recommendations. They cannot all be listed here, but the general tenor advocated creating in European capitals centers for the diffusion of the Arab language and culture in every European country in coordination with the Arab countries. This project envisaged appointing to European institutes and universities Arab professors, who were specialists in teaching Europeans.

The participants in this Seminar unanimously forward the following recommendations for consideration by the governments of the member states of the European Community and the League of Arab States

  1. Coordination of the efforts made by the Arab countries to spread the Arabic language and culture in Europe and to find the appropriate form of cooperation among the Arab institutions that operate in this field.
  2. Creation of joint Euro-Arab Cultural Centres in European capitals which will undertake the diffusion of the Arabic language and culture.
  3. Encouragement of European institutions either at University level or other levels that are concerned with the teaching of the Arabic language and the diffusion of Arabic and Islamic culture.
  4. Support of joint projects for cooperation between European and Arab institutions in the field of linguistic research and the teaching of the Arabic language to Europeans.
  5. Necessity of supplying European institutions and universities with Arab teachers specialized in teaching Arabic to Europeans.
  6. In teaching Arabic, emphasis must be laid on different linguistic skills: the teaching of Arabic must be linked with Arab-Islamic culture and contemporary Arab issues.
  7. Necessity of cooperation between European and Arab specialists in order to present an objective picture of Arab-Islamic civilization and contemporary Arab issues to students and to the educated public in Europe which could attract Europeans to Arabic studies. (12)

 

The following resolutions define the forms of cooperation between Arab and European universities and their respective experts as well as the organization of the funds necessary for this Arabization project in the EEC. The last recommendation considers it necessary to establish a permanent committee of Arab and European experts charged with controlling the pursuance and application of the decisions concerning the diffusion of Arabic and of Arab culture in Europe within the framework of the Euro-Arab Dialogue.

  1. In order to achieve the above, the participants consider it necessary as a result of this seminar to establish a permanent committee of Arab and European experts to follow up on the recommendations for disseminating Arabic and Arab culture in Europe; this be within the framework of the Euro-Arab Dialogue

 

This framework signified the approval of the foreign ministers of the EC countries and its presidency, in collaboration with the secretary of the League of Arab countries, as well as the other diplomats represented on the General Commission whose work proceeded in camera and went unrecorded.

 

The Cultural requests from the Arab bloc

 

Thus, from the 1970s the immigration policy integrated into the economico-political conception of the EAD (1973) did not envisage scattered immigration by individuals wanting to integrate into the host country. It planned a homogeneous implant of foreign collectivities numbering in the millions, into the European Communities. It facilitated the creation of groups who were hostile to their secular European environment, coming not to integrate but with the intention and with the right to impose their own civilization on the host country, while rejecting its secular institutions, considered inferior to those of the shari’a given by Allah. Whereas the EAD claimed for the Arab immigrants the rights conferred by the European legal institutions, the latter despised these institutions since they availed themselves of their own Arab-Islamic culture based on the shari’a. Thus, right from the start of the immigration, integration was excluded.

The Hamburg Symposium (April 11-15, 1983) of the Euro-Arab Dialogue was inaugurated with great pomp by the opening address of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, minister for foreign affairs of the German Federal Republic, followed by a speech from the secretary-general of the Arab League, Chedli Klibi. Genscher strongly recalled Europe’s debt to Islamic civilization and emphasized the importance of the Dialogue in cementing Euro-Arab solidarity. He referred to the beginning of the Dialogue in 1973 and the importance of the political aspect which should not be ignored – in other words, the EEC’s anti-Israel policy in the Middle East as a foundation of the whole economic edifice of Euro-Arab cooperation. He stated:

The Euro-Arab Dialogue would indeed remain incomplete if the political side were to be ignored or not taken seriously.

Both parties to the Dialogue, both partners, should always remind themselves of the joint Memorandum issued in Cairo in 1975, the Charter of the Dialogue. The Memorandum contains the following quote: “The Euro-Arab Dialogue is the outcome of the common political will which strives for the creation of a special relationship between the two groups.” We Europeans spoke out in a clear and convinced manner for a revival of the Euro-Arab Dialogue in the Venice Declaration of June 13 1980. Since then, the various working groups within the Dialogue have become more active and the prospects for the future are now promising. (13)

 

After two years during which the Dialogue was interrupted following the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the Venice Declaration totally aligned itself with the Arab political demands relating to Israel. It confirmed the national rights of the Palestinians “which is not simply one of refugees” (art. 6). Article 7 required the participation of PLO in the negotiations. In article 8 “the Nine stress that they will not accept any unilateral initiative designed to change the status of Jerusalem”. In the following article:

The Nine stress the need for Israel to put an end to the territorial occupation which it has maintened since the conflict of 1967, as it has done for part of Sinai. They are deeply convinced that the Israeli settlements constitute a serious obstacle to the peace process in the Middle East. The Nine consider that these settlements, as well as modifications in population and property in the occupied Arab territories, are illegal under international law.

 

At the Hamburg Symposium in 1983, speakers from both sides presented various reports bearing on the integration of the two civilizations. Participants were divided into three workshops. The first, ‘Prospect for Cultural Exchange’ examined the prospects for future cultural exchanges in all areas. The discussion covered : “exchange agreements between universities, exchanges between students and teachers and others, in the field of creative arts, of audio-visual materials, co-operation in translation, in transmitting Arabic publications to Europe, exhibitions and publication”. The areas of this cultural cooperation were to be defined: “by a general cultural agreement between the Arab League and the European Community. This agreement would provide a framework for more specialized agreements to operate”. A small joint committee within the framework of the Euro-Arab Dialogue would be “set up to monitor the working of the agreement, to examine and accept proposals for future projects and to ensure their execution”

The workshop suggested various schemes which were summarized as follows:

 

  1. The publication twice yearly of a Euro-Arab journal devoted to specific topics with Arab and European contributors […] In addition a smaller newsletter is recommended which would list cultural developments in the Arab world, noting such things as intellectual debates, theatrical performances, important publications.
  2. To invite Arab professional Unions and their members to conclude agreements with their European counterparts to further cultural co-operation and exchange. The Arab side specifically made the proposal to conclude such an agreement with the Unions of Arab Writers and of Publishers […] Such agreements should also include the encouragement of periodical meeting between European and Arab Unions of Radio and Television and between Associations of Film Producers and Actors to promote joint productions.
  3. The convening of small, specialized or professional seminars on selected themes. Among topics already suggested are the religious dialogue, Arab historiography, book publishing and librarianship, investigation of the content of text books at all levels in the history of the two regions.

 

The second workshop focused on the: ‘Social and Cultural Consequences of the Migration of Workers and Intellectuals’. The participants noted that, as Arab immigration turned into permanent residence, carrying out the Damascus Declaration (December 1978), was henceforth inadequate for the situation in 1983. It was particularly necessary to supplement the article stipulating the rights of Arab migrants and the members of their families to: “enjoy equality of treatment as to living and working conditions, wages and economic rights, rights of association and the exercise of basic public freedoms”. It was felt that not enough was done to implement the tenets of this declaration. (art.3) The participants recommended the creation of a permanent institution to improve knowledge of migration and to formulate policies and programs “with the purpose of ensuring the highest level of welfare for the migrants themselves and maximum benefit for both countries of origin and employment with a spirit of genuine cooperation among the countries involved in the Dialogue.” (art. 4)

Article 5 contained several proposals:

 

  1. It is recommended that the social integration of migrant workers and their families in the host countries be facilitated by:
  2. a) giving equal rights in access to the housing market, the labour market and the educational system and to vocational and professional training,
  3. b) making the general public more aware of the cultural background of migrants, e.g. by promoting cultural activities of the immigrant communities,
  4. c) supplying adequate information on the culture of the migrant communities in the school curricula,
  5. d) creating special schooling and training facilities for those who have functional relationships with the immigrants (e.g. civil servants, medical staff, members of the police force, teachers, social workers etc.),
  6. e) giving migrants access to the mass media in order to ensure that migrants be in a position to receive regular information in their own language about their own culture as well as about the conditions of life in the host country,
  7. f) broadening cooperation between immigrant groups and the national population and taking measures to increase the participation of immigrant groups in trade union activities and explore their participation in political life.
  8. It is recommended that the Arab countries of origin strengthen their cultural support to Arab migrants in Europe.

 

The third workshop examined cooperation in the field of Arabic and European language teaching. This group stressed that this question was of the greatest importance because it formed a basic principle of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The decisions of the Venice Seminar (1977) were supplemented by those of the Hamburg Seminar (1983). They repeated the necessity for Arab language and culture to be diffused in Europe by the Arab countries and their specific institutions as well as by Euro-Arab cultural centers created in European capitals. It was necessary to teach Arabic to the immigrant children, and to ensure the publication and distribution of Arabic newspapers and books, intended for a cultured European public in order to give an objective and attractive picture of Islamic civilization. A program for carrying out all the activities examined was planned over a five-year period.

Reading the proceedings of the numerous symposia, one is struck by the difference in the speeches of the two parties. The Europeans employ cautious language, admiring and flattering Islam. Excessive tribute is paid to the great Islamic civilization from which the civilization of Europe has drawn inspiration. (e.g. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German Foreign Minister, Hamburg Symposium, 1983). Platitudinous, humble excuses are formulated for colonization and Europe’s anti-Arab prejudices. The Arab faction, on the contrary, adopts the tone of a schoolmaster wielding the stick, confident of the tolerance, humanism and greatness of his civilization, the spiritual and scientific fountainhead of Europe. Reproaches are not absent, particularly concerning the inadequacy of European measures against Israel, a central and essential point on which the whole infrastructure of the Dialogue is built. The Arab speeches hammer out in venomous terms Europe’s obligation to deal severely with Israel (Zionist usurpation, the hand of Zionism seeking to kill the Arabs in every country, policy of institutionalized racism. Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with Racism had been hammered through the UN General Assembly in 1975). They remind them of the duty to recognize and teach the greatness and superiority of Islamic civilization and Islam at university level. Preachers describe the Islamic origin of Judaism, Christianity and all mankind, born as Muslims in its original purity.

 

The Alignment of the EEC

 

The EEC had fully aligned itself with the directives concerning Israel formulated by the Arab League as early as 1970, as can be seen in the Declaration of the Nine on the Middle East (London, 29 June 1977). Some of these declarations repeat word for word those issued by the 2nd Islamic Conference of Lahore (1974) and are not to be found in the original English UN Security Council Resolution 242.Thus, article 2 of the Declaration by the Council of Europe (London, 29 June 1977) specifies 1) the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force, 2) the necessity for Israel to end the territorial occupation it has maintained since the 1967 conflict, while resolution 242 mentions withdrawal “from territories”; 3) the obligation for Israel – in the establishment of a just and lasting peace – to take account of the “legitimate rights” of the Palestinians, which is not to be found in the valid UNSC Resolution 242.

Article 3 gives the Arab position:

The Nine are convinced that a solution of the Middle East conflict will only be possible if the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to give effective expression to its national identity is translated into a reality which will take account of the need of a homeland for the Palestinian people. They consider that the representatives of the parties to the conflict, including the Palestinian people, must participate in the negotiations in an appropriate manner, to be defined in consultation among all the interested parties. In the framework of an overall settlement, Israel must be prepared to recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. Likewise the Arab party must be prepared to recognise Israel’s right to live in peace within secure and recognised frontiers. (14)

 

This declaration had been prepared by the General Commission of the EAD meeting in Tunis (February 10-12, 1977). Concerning Jerusalem, the final communiqué published at the end of its second session stated: “the European side … has also marked its opposition to any initiative tending to alter the status of Jerusalem unilaterally. The Arab side said how much it appreciated this attitude.”

On September 26, 1977, Henri Simonet, Belgian Foreign Minister and president of the council of the EEC stated at the UN General Assembly in New York that the Middle East conflict had to be based on security resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), that is to say on the Franco-Arab interpretation of them, in the French version, as adopted by the EEC after the Arab oil embargo in 1973,

 

as well as on the following fundamental principles: first, acquisition of territory by force is unacceptable; secondly, Israel must end its occupation of territories it has held since the 1967 war; thirdly, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the independence of each State in the region must be respected, as well of [sic] the right of each State of the region to live in peace within secure and recognized borders; fourthly, the establishment of a just and lasting peace must take account of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

  1. The nine countries also continue to believe that a solution to the conflict will not be possible unless the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to give effective expression to its national identity becomes a reality. This would take into account, of course, the need for a homeland for the Palestinian people.
  2. It remains the firm view of the nine countries that all of these elements constitute an indivisible whole.
  3. One should recall here that the nine countries have publicly stated their concern over the illegal measures taken recently by the Government of Israel in the occupied territories …
  4. Looking forward to peace negotiations, the nine countries reaffirm the concern they have expressed on many occasion that the parties of the conflict should refrain from making any statements or adopting any measures, administrative, legal, military or otherwise, which would constitute an obstacle to the process of peace. (15)

 

The second Islamic Conference, organized by the recently created Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was held in Lahore on February 24, 1974 and its Declaration clearly manifested their policy toward Israel:

 

  1. The Arab cause is the cause of all countries which oppose aggression and will not suffer the use of force to be rewarded by territory or any other gains;
  2. Full and effective support should be given to the Arab countries to recover, by all means available, all their occupied lands;
  3. The restitution of the full national rights of the Palestinian peoples [sic] in their homeland is the essential and fundamental condition for a solution to the Middle East problem and the establishment of lasting peace on the basis of justice;
  4. The constructive efforts undertaken by the Christian Churches, all over the world and in the Arab countries, notably in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Syria to explain the Palestinian question to the international public opinion and to the world religious conferences and to solicit their support for Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem and other holy places in Palestine should be appreciated;
  5. Any measure taken by Israel to change the character of the occupied Arab territories and in particular of the Holy City of Jerusalem is a flagrant violation of international law and is repugnant to the feelings of the Member-States of the Islamic Conference and of the Islamic world in general. (16)

 

The Culture of Eurabia

 

Whereas the EU offers Israel nothing but verbiage which can only be meaningless for the civilizations of the jihad (“just and lasting peace”, “secure and recognized frontiers”), it demands concrete actions from Israel: 1) cession of territories; 2) redivision of Jerusalem; 3) the creation of a second Palestine, another Arab-Muslim state on the historical Jewish homeland Islamized by jihad; 4) the obligation on Israel to negotiate with Arafat, (Venice Declaration, 1980), acknowledged as a terrorist leader up to the time of the Oslo accords (1994) and converted back to the jihad during the process which followed; 5) peace conditioned by a global settlement including with Syria; 6) Israel’s obligation to admit its responsibility and solve the problem of the Arab refugees from Palestine, although this tragedy was provoked by their alliance with five Arab armies, invading with the aim of destroying the fledgling State of Israel, and their subsequent defeats.

The EU complied with the demands of the Arab League and recognized Arafat as its sole representative. It thus conferred respectability and legitimacy on the godfather of international terrorism, the unrelenting enemy of the State of Israel, of the Lebanese Christians, and one of the modern symbols of jihad against the infidels.

The EU demanded that Israel return to the frontiers of the 1949 armistice, pretending to believe that such frontiers were viable. Its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to its ancient capital, Jerusalem, implies a delegitimization and denial of the history of the Jewish people to which Europe by virtue of its Christian origins is still a witness par excellence. The EU adopted the pathological Arab obsession that conferred an evil centrality on Israel, eclipsing all others world events. On the level of Euro-Arab international policy, it explained, justified and morally legitimized a pathology of Arab hate, which imposed the destruction of Israel as an absolute and universal priority. By enlisting in the Arab-Islamic jihad against Israel, under labels such as “peace and justice for the Palestinians”, Europe was rejecting all its values and even the foundation of its civilization. Thus, it abandoned the Christians in Lebanon to the massacres of the Palestinians, and the Christians of the Islamic world to the persecutions under dhimmitude. The liberation of Israel, a minuscule portion of the lands colonized by the Arabs in Asia, Africa and Europe by war and force, provoked a paranoia that masked the sufferings of millions of victims of modern jihad.

At the level of European demography, the EEC’s immigration policy encouraged the Islamist desire to Islamize Europe, and provides it with very solid bases. The real figures of this immigration were concealed from the public as if this constituted a state secret. The export of the immigrants’ culture to the host countries, an exorbitant and unique favor in the history of immigration, was integrated in the agreements between the EEC and the Arab League as an inalienable right of the immigrants. It created an obstacle to their integration, all the more so as the bonds with the countries of emigration were encouraged and supported to the utmost by cultural, political and economic agreements, and by collaboration and exchanges at the university and international level. The EAD’s European agents utilized anti-racism to eliminate any discussion of the insecurity, criminality and religious fanaticism of certain sections of a population, who generally refused to integrate.

 

EAD ‘s cultural infrastructure made it possible to import into Europe the traditional cultural baggage of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish prejudices against the West and Israel, conceived by the peoples and the civilization of jihad. It was in these years that the theme of jihad was resurrected in order to nurture terrorist activism. Immigrant groups became the vehicles to diffuse it in Europe, with the silent collusion of academics, politicians and the whole of the EAD’s cultural apparatus. The discrediting of ‘infidel’ Judeo-Christian culture was expressed by the affirmation of the superiority of Islamic civilization from which, so they said, European sages had humbly drawn inspiration. Neither the centers of knowledge scattered over Latin and Byzantine Europe during the Middle Ages, nor in the following centuries the creation of printing, essential for the diffusion of knowledge, nor the scientific discoveries of Europe and their technological applications, nor the innovating evolution of its legal and political institutions, nor its artistic and cultural wealth can undermine the axiom of its inferiority to the Arabs, creators of science and the arts. This absurdity, obsequiously repeated by European ministers, actually constitutes a religious principle of the Arab world which acknowledges no superiority on the part of the infidel civilizations. The very term ‘Judeo-Christian’ civilization is rejected by fundamentalist Muslims (17) who only admire one single civilization, the Islamic civilization, which embraces, through Abraham – a Muslim prophet – Jews and Christians. That is why so many ministers no longer talk about Judeo-Christian civilization but about Abrahamic civilization. Moreover, Judaism and Israel polarize such hatred that Europe gladly rallied to Abrahamism, that is the Muslim conception of the Islamic origin of Judaism and Christianity, this latter not being connected with Judaism but with Islam, the first religion of mankind and antedating the other two monotheistic religions in the Islamic viewpoint.

The wave of Arab cultural and religious fanaticism which swept Europe was integrated into the functionality of the EAD. The EU thus repudiated its Jewish roots and rejected Christianity because it was born of them. The ablation of the historical memory of Europe in order to graft on to it the Arab-Islamic concept of history today makes possible the diffusion of a sort of negationist and guilt-inducing pseudo-culture, in which veneration for the Andalusian myth replaces knowledge of the devastating Muslim invasions. The obsequiousness of university circles, subject to a political power entirely dominated by economic materialism, recalls the worst periods of the decline of intelligence. The censorship of thought, the suppression of intellectual freedom, imported from Muslim countries in the package of a culture of hatred of Israel, today leads to the exclusion and boycott of Israeli academics by their colleagues in Europe.

Arab antisemitism/anti-Zionism was re-implanted in Europe in the conceptual framework set up by the Euro-Arab Dialogue and its planning of ‘a movement of opinion’ to support Arab anti-Israeli policy. Arab directives, backed by the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association – the powerful Arab/Muslim lobby – were transmitted to the highest political, university and religious authorities engaged in the EAD, and were given practical application in the media, television, radio, the press, the universities, the workers’ unions and a variety of political and cultural activities. The major themes of this Eurabian antisemite culture were borrowed from the Arab world where they had already been diffused since the 1950s. Their main arguments are: 1) Holocaust denial; 2) Jews exploited the Shoah as a means to blackmail Europe for Israel’s benefit; 3) De-legitimization of the Jewish state; 4) The transfer of Israel’s history to the Palestinian Arabs; 5) The cult of the destruction of Israel as a source of the redemption of the world; 6) Cultural boycott of Israel and its isolation on the international scene – a policy which recreated the status of the Jew in Christianity, and of the dhimmi in Islam; 7) Culpabilisation of Europe for the resurgence of Israel; 8) Israel is a threat to world peace, which correctly interpreted means that Israel resists the Euro-Arab policy to eliminate it; 9) Anti-Americanism.

The all-encompassing Euro-Arab symbiosis produced by the EAD led the EU to tolerate the Palestinian terrorists on its own territory in the 1970s, and even later to justify and passively legitimize their terror against Israel, and later to actually finance the Palestine terrorist infrastructure and the inculcation of hatred in its schools. The churches and their media network were the most active agents of the moralization of Palestinian terrorism. Internal opposition was swept away by the political pressures and the funds of the religious organs involved in the EAD.

 

It was during 2000-2002 that Eurabia has perhaps erased Europe. In Eurabia the Islamic conception of history has supplanted the memory of the institution of the jihad and of dhimmitude which governed the relationship of the Muslims with non-Muslims from the seventh century to the present day. The culture of Eurabia today displays a combination of anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-American animosity. The politicians and intellectuals who have brought it into the world with forceps have denied the wave of defamation and attacks against the Jews in Europe, a wave which they themselves have made possible and have irresponsibly stirred up for thirty years. They neglect the reality of antisemitism in the same way as they have neglected the attacks on the fundamental rights of European citizens, allowing ideological currents generating delinquency and terrorism to be established with impunity in their countries. The silence and negligence of the French authorities in the face of the wave of antisemitic aggression in the period 2000-2002 is only the tip of the iceberg of a global policy. Throughout the territory of Eurabia covered by the EAD agreements, the same uniformity of thought is to be found – the same taboos and censorship at universities and in the apparatus of information, the same historical and political counter-truths built into a dogma, the same tactics of obstructing publishers and bookshops, the same demonology of the Jews and Israel, the same attribution of guilt to Jews and Christians in regard to the Arab-Islamic world. When future generations will reflect in astonishment on the genesis of Eurabia, they will find that this mutation of European socio-political culture was driven by economic self-interest, financial greed, Judeophobic anti-Zionism, and anti-Americanism. The EAD, which bound the European economy to an Arab political strategy, planning the destruction of Israel, was the Trojan horse of that European drift toward the Arab-Islamic sphere of influence. The sorcerer’s apprentices have opened the way to a disquieting future.

NOTES

 

  1. 1. Saleh A. Al-Mani, The Euro-Arab Dialogue. A Study in Associative Diplomacy, ed. Salah Al-Shaikhly, Frances Pinter (Publishers), London, 1983, p.48. See also Jacques Bourrinet (ed.), Le Dialogue Euro-Arabe, Economica, Paris 1979.
  2. 2. Documents d’Actualité Internationale , Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris (henceforth DAI), 1974, n°l, pp.2-3.
  3. See Al-Mani, pp 70-73; 111; Bourrinet, p. 4. Analysing the formula of the EAD, John Waterbury writes: “The eventual bargaining took place in the form of a trade-off: the Arab political demands against European economic objectives”, ibid., p.25; Françoise de la Serre, Conflit du Proche-Orient et Dialogue Euro-Arabe: La Position de l’Europe des Neuf’, in ibid.
  4. Report on Islamic Summit 1974, Pakistan. Lahore, February 22-24, 1974, p. 228.
  5. DAI 1974, Conférence des Chefs d’Etat Arabes (Alger, 26-29 novembre 1973) Déclaration de politique Générale (Alger, 28 Novembre 1973) (Source: Conférence des Chefs d’Etat arabes, in French, n°7, pp.122-26).
  6. As this issue of DAI has disappeared from the collection at the Bibliothèque du Palais des Nations at Geneva, this reference is taken from Bourrinet, pp.331-35: DAI 1977, n° 16-17, pp. 315-19.
  7. Al-Mani, pp.70-73.
  8. Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide, Cranbury, NJ, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2002, p. 253.
  9. Bourrinet, pp. 296-301.
  10. Edmond Völker, ed., Euro-Arab Cooperation. Europa Instituut, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, A.W. Sijthoff, Leyden, 1976, p. 179.
  11. Euro-Arab Dialogue. The Relations between the two cultures. Acts of the Hamburg symposium April 11th to l5th 1983. English version ed. by Derek Hopwood, Croom Helm, London, 1983; see the recommendations of the Venice Seminar, pp. 317-23.
  12. Ibid., pp. 320-21.
  13. Ibid., p.19.
  14. DAI, September 2, 1977, n° 35, Council of Europe (London, 29-30 June 1977) n°137. Déclaration des Neuf sur le Moyen-Orient (Londres 29 Juin 1977) (Source: Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris) Textes officiels pp 666-67, translated by the author.
  15. Official Records of the General Assembly.Thirty-second Session. Plenary Meetings, vol.1, Sept.20 – Oct.13, 1977, United Nations, New York,1978.
  16. Report on Islamic Summit 1974, Pakistan. Lahore, February 22-24, 1974, Karachi, pp.222-23.
  17. The rejection of the term ‘Judeo-Christianity’ has often been expressed orally; Bruno Etienne mentions this rejection, in La France et l’islam, Paris, 1989, Hachette, p.l89.

 

 

 

 

ELECTION OF 2004….POLITICS NEVER CHANGE!!

April 9th, 2016

ELECTION 2004

SONY DSC( I wrote this sometime before the election of 2004 between George W. Bush and John Kerry. Then….I happened to stow it in a memory stick and forgot about it for twelve. Last night I happened to find it again and after reading I was struck as to how all elections are the same and how our feelings to those elections are the same. We just forget. And…..I may add…..politicians bank on the fact that people forget. )

Rhetoric, bitterness and demagoguery abound during the course of presidential campaigns. However, I don’t remember the level of intensity as exemplified during this campaign. Not only are the politicians nasty and playing fast and loose with the facts and events but the populace is reveling in the frenzy. The party hacks such as Lockhardt, Biden, Gore, Clinton(both of them), Sharpton, and Jackson with his Rainbow Coalition are voicing expected diatribes but what is amazing is the conduct of the print and video news media. The rot which is passed as news astounds me. The newsfolks who label themselves as liberal or conservative and express those points of view I respect. I may not agree with them but I respect their method and process. It’s honest.! What is worthy of contempt, though, are the rest of the news hacks who beat their breasts and profess their professional commitment to objectivity. All the while under cover of “the truth” and the sacrosanct duty that the “public must know” proceed to weave the news to promote their agenda. The name Dan Rather comes to mind. And all his stodgy and hoary compatriots who are circling the company wagons on behalf of CBS which now is doomed to the footsteps of Ozimandias. And rightly so, for nature always returns to reclaim remnants of empires whose pride has elevated them to too high levels. I look forward to the day when the Rathers, The Aaron Browns, The Forrest Sawyers and that “Howdy Doody” from Nightline are ceremoniously dismissed to sit under a palm tree on a beach chair to a kaleidoscope of pina coladas, delusions of grandeur and reminiscences of self delusion.

Then, of course, there are the democratic party’s standard bearers for the nation’s top posts. The tall skinny guy with the impeccable gray hair and chiseled face that perpetually squeezes a labored smile stands erect behind his podium with regal distinction. Every time I look at Senator Kerry a mental image appears. It’s Imperial Margarine. For those who like me are old enough to remember the family sitting around the dinner table as the father slices a pat of margarine to instantly have a large crown appear on his head. So, here is imperial John Kerry, married to Theresa Heinz, perhaps the woman with the largest bank account and certainly the woman with the largest disconnect from reality, professing to understand the plight of and be the candidate for the middle class. Why should we believe him? Well, because he has a plan! “The wrong war, the wrong place, at the wrong time”. Don’t worry about it, he has a plan. “He voted for it before he voted against it”. You mustn’t listen to those words because he was really tired. Healthcare—he has a plan! Iraq—he has a plan! Tort reform? He and John Edwards have a plan. John Edwards—the man who made a fortune suing companies in class action suits. Something about the “fox in a hen house”. All financial problems can be solved, according to John Kerry, because he has a plan—roll back the tax cut for the rich. That will take care of it, alright!

Many say that it’s difficult to know where Kerry stands on many issues. When queried Kerry retorts that the world is not the simplistic Manichean dichotomy according to Bush. The world is complex. Way too complex to express it in clear, concise terms. We must speak in nuances. Shades of meanings. Create spheres of influence. Deal in worlds of subtleties. Well, isn’t this very, very French. We should be concerned about the world not liking the good old U. S. of A. We must appeal to old Europe and get their support. John Kerry with his rhetoric of nuance and demagoguery of subtlety can bring the French, the Germans and Russians to our side. He will lead them to see the “way, the truth and the light”. Even if he was to “nuance” and “finesse’ his way to make some progress with these duplicitous European nations the question is at what price. The French, Germans and Ruskis don’t do much, if anything, for altruistic reasons. The French are down right corrupt. The only way Kerry could get the French to move our way would be to return to them “The Louisiana Purchase”. And I don’t think that this would qualify as a “nuance” or subtlety”.

Then there is the comical, bungling figure of Theresa Heinz Kerry. She would be a delightful first lady for the news media. With each turn of phrase there would be a new blundering headline. She would be the re-incarnation of Marie Antoinette and Leona Helmsly. You know, the people who brought you “let them eat cake” and “taxes are for the little people”. However, the sardonic streak in me would rather revel seeing her on the throne unleashing those absurd guffaws while her husband is busy equivocating through the world’s problems.

Perhaps, even with a Bush defeat, there is a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud!

“The Tuscan

 

WHY TULIPS MATTER!!!! (in progress)

May 17th, 2015

 

 

Probably the best known work on manias, bubbles and crashes is Charles MacKay’s work, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” written in 1841. The first F043-22[1]hundred pages deal with the tulip mania of Holland in the early seventeenth century. The tulip phenomenon captures everyone’s fancy as it elucidates the foolishness that can be espoused by crowd behavior in the pursuit of easy wealth. This is a collective human phenomenon which most rational people sitting calmly in their homes say….’this insanity could never happen to me’. Well, that may be true and you may be an unusual individual…say, a Donald Trump or a Warren Buffet or a Peter Lynch….but, unfortunately the masses tend to fall in line and repeat the same folly. Usually there is a period of time that passes and a new set of lemmings formed but the behavior of the crowds is the same. And…the bubbles that are inflated by their collective action have a commonality. Ron Insana, analyst and CNBC commentator has written books on the formation of bubbles. Their profiles are amazingly simple: a dislocated asset, cheap money or credit to inflate and widespread conviction that prices will never go down. To those that point out bubbles as they are forming the gurus retort, ‘this time it’s different’ or ‘it’s a new paradigm or ‘the old rules no longer apply’. To the objective observer those phrases should bring instant sobriety.  But….it usually does not. The other phenomenon of bubbles is that they can last for a significant time. Sober minded and careful people watch others making substantial monies. Their skepticism is challenged when they see their friends and associates herald their success. Eventually most fall in line before the final phase of exponential price explosion and catastrophic collapse.

I am a lifetime student of markets. All markets! I contend that all markets behave the same. Whether they be the stock market, pork bellies, gold, real estate, derivatives or collectibles….all markets  behave the same! Why? Cuz the driving force is the collective action of the masses. Sure, some markets are more sophisticated than others but in the aggregate their behavior spans the two peaks of emotions driven by the masses. Those peaks are greed and fear. Wonderfully sophisticated folks with fancy degrees and sane lifestyles are wont to do crazy things when meshed with easy money and crowd mania behavior. If you don’t believe me…just look at history.

During the recent ‘dot com bubble’ bizarre metrics were used to justify those nosebleed type of valuations in the stock market. I say ‘recent’ although it was fifteen years ago. And…now…those lemmings that were butchered on a wholesale basis faded into the background and a new set resurfaced just a few years later only to form the ‘derivative/real estate bubble of 2008. Again….those hordes were massacred for a number of years this time both in the stock market and the real estate market. Many vowing to never to invest in financial asset and even housing again. But…going back to the metrics of 2000 brings to light the absurdity of the ‘extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds’. Companies with earnings were trading at 80 to 100 times earnings while new issues or IPO’s came to market just with a business plan. No earnings or sales. And….on the first day of trading they were doubling in price and going higher. One of the metrics used was the number of clicks generated by their websites. I remember Cramer coming on Sqwack Box in the early mornings and heralding tis or that company whose site had scored millions of hits. One commentator even stated that it was advantageous for companies ‘not to have earnings’. Most principles would describe their company’s financials in terms of Pro Forma. When these ‘new gurus’ could not mark their holdings to market….they simply initiated a new concept. Mark to model. Why not? Now they were deep in fantasyland and the lemmings believed as stocks assumed the exponential climb. Then, of course, just as Wyl-e-Coyote having run a step too far over the cliff……straight down.

In the mid seventies I was working for Varian Associates as a marketing engineer in Palo Alto. Talk about a ‘fish out of water’.  And…I made friends with a production engineer. We became friends as we did business over the cubicles. Gold had recently been taken off the fixed rate of $36 an ounce and promptly shot up. Eventually hitting $800. The mania was raging. My engineer friend was sure that it would continue. He took a mortgage out on his house and invested in gold. He sadly commented later….it’s tough making those monthly payments and having nothing to show for it.

Remember Michael Milken in the 90’s? He was the junk bond king. He put together those wonderful deals financed with junk bonds paying 15 to 20%. One of the first things any student learns in any business school is that higher interest rates imply higher risk. Hmmm!!! So, you know the story. These bonds became popular and made regular payments…till they didn’t. A retired friend from Lockheed put a substantial amount in these junk bonds. And…having a drink one day after it was over…..he kept mumbling….’yeah! but, the 15% interest was awfully good’!

The aspect that I find interesting about the tulip episode is the mechanism that it created. During the build up stage as prices began to inflate and prices of the most prized and rare bulbs achieved astronomical heights they tended to bring the prices of lesser bulbs along. Eventually…as the demand continued to grow….as the pyramid of investor/speculator spread to an ever lower base….producers began to offer for sale baskets of lower quality bulbs. ETF’s, Mutual Funds…sound familiar. They would meet in back rooms of pubs, restaurants and such public places at established times to execute trades. The prices of these lower quality baskets continued to rise along with the rest.

What was is that cracked the market? And…this I find interesting as it has applications today in many and all markets. On one preset meeting a basket of low quality bulbs was offered at a price. There were no takers. It was offered again…still no takers.The news of this event spread like wildfire throughout. It was like a lightening rod of sanity that revealed to all the insanity of the prices. All markets collapsed. The very rare bulbs retained some of their values but the rest became worthless. I think that this is a universal which can be transmuted to all markets. Low quality is the last to rise and the first to fall.

Pro Forma

1) Froth of bubbles….how quickly they end. multiple offers ….where did all those buyers go

2) Apple Campus syndrome

3) Apple campus coming…..glazed eyes

4) low quality vs. high quality……peninsula counties vs. outlying counties

5) crowd or herding behavior  yelp…. greed….. fear…. ask someone you know….familiarity….broad experience in restaurant business with crowds….healthy disregard for common opinion or conventional wisdom….view doesn’t matter unless you’re the lead dog. bottom and broad base of the pyramid. CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

6) Silicon Valley 10 year tech. cycle Began Easter 2012.

7) Current forming bubbles…….silicon valley…….0 interest rates and QE people do foolish things to get yield…..RISK  CARLO, JOE KENNEDY & SHOE SHINE,  THE BAR MONTECATINI AT HEIGHT OF R/E BUBBLE

Does history repeat? Is the human animal doomed to continually repeat the mistakes of the past?

Deal with the notion of value. What broke the tulip mania. It was the failure to sell the basket of second rate bulbs……

Anatomy of an Endless Pool!

March 29th, 2015

This is my story. I installed a standard, above ground Endless Pool over a period of two months. The only items I contracted was the cement pad and installation of a 30 amp GFCI circuit.

1) THE SPACE-we had a section of backyard behind a spare bedroom which was rarely used.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

2) THE CEMENT PAD (9X17)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3) UNCRATING IN GARAGEOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4) THE METAL WALLSOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5) INSULATION (R-14)

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6) STUD WALLS & DECKOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7) PLYWOOD ENCLOSURE (crating material)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8) CREATIVE HOISTING…UP & OVER

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9) THE TILINGOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10) TEXTURE & PAINTOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 11) RETRACTABLE COVEROLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12) POWER UNITOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

13) STORAGE, PUMP & CONTROLLER

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA14) HAPPY CAMPER

 15) SUPERVISOROLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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TOPEKA FINANCIALS!!

February 28th, 2015

RENTS & TENANTS:

1) $1,150     since     2010………..dental assistant

2) $1,250    since     2012………..lawyer

3) $1,395    since     2014………..law student

4) $1,394    since     2015………..scientist

5) $1,095    since     2007………..law enforcement

6) $1,255    since     2012…………hospitality industry

TOTAL MONTHLY RENTS……………. $7,539

TOTAL ANNUAL RENTS………………..$90,468

A TOTAL OF SEVEN RESIDENTS LIVE IN THE APARTMENT BUILDING….

All units are rented and are on a month to month basis.

 

With purchase price of $1,291,000……………GRM(gross rent multiplier)     14.2

*******************

PROFIT & LOSS STATEMENT:

RENTAL REVENUE………………………..$90,468

VACANCY FACTOR(3%)………………………..$2,714

AUTO TRAVEL………………………………………   896

CLEANING & MAINT. ……………………………    645

INSURANCE …………………………………………2,386

LEGAL & PRFESSIONAL ………………………….   120

TAXES ………………………………………………… 6,702

REPAIRS …………………………………………….   2,819

SUPPLIES ……………………………………………….. 30

UTILITIES …………………………………………..   2,227

OTHER ……………………………………………………950

TOTAL EXPENSES………………………………….  19,489

PROFIT…………………………………………$70,979*

*before income tax, depreciation and debt service. Also, these figures were derived from the owner and are approximate. Precise figures according to owner’s schedule E Form 1040 will be updated shortly. Also, owner was a hands on manager and expenses under new management may vary.

*******************************

PRO FORMA P&L STATEMENT & PURCHASE AT LIST PRICE:

Assumptions:

1) All units rented at market ($1,400)

2) Purchase at full price with 25% cash down payment.

3) Loan at 4%, interest portion only.

Purchase Price…………………………………………………………..$1,291,000

Cash Down Payment(25%)……………………….322.750

Loan………………………………………………………968,250

Annual Interest Expense on Loan(4%)………..38,730

Rental Revenue at market($1,400 per unit)……………..$100,800

Expenses;

Property Tax (1.25% of purchase price………………………….16,137

Vacancy Factor………………………………………………………….  3,024

Auto & Travel…………………………………………………………….     896

Cleaning & Maint. ………………………………………………………     645

Insurance…………………………………………………………………   2,386

Legal & Professional……………………………………………………..   120

Repairs ………………………………………………………………………2,819

Supplies……………………………………………………………………        30

Utilities …………………………………………………………………….  2,227

Other………………………………………………………………………..      950

Interest Expense on Loan……………………………………………38,730

 

Total Expenses………………………………………………………………..$67,964

 

PRO FORMA PROFIT………………………………………….$32,836*

*Before income tax and depreciation.

 

PRO FORMA GRM………………..12.8

PRO FORMA RETURN ON CASH……… 10.2%

PRO FORMA CAP RATE……….. 5.54%

Information was derived from seller. Information is believed to be reliable but it was not verified or guaranteed. Leases, Certificates of estoppel and other desired documentation will be provided during contingency and due diligence period of contract.

 

 QUESTIONS: Contact me, Luciano.

DALMATIANREALTY@YAHOO.COM

408-482-3438

dalmatianrealty@yahoo.com  

IT’S MY PLEASURE TO SERVE!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A TUNNEL, PETROGLYTHS & THE BIRTH OF A RIVER!

December 15th, 2014

Did you know that if you are bored…you are boring. Wherever you happen to find yourself there are layers to be uncovered if only you have the imagination, the inquisitiveness and the curiosity to find the stories buried in these layers. Riding through San Francisco, for example. The names trumpet its colorful history. Lincoln-Park[1]Maiden Lane…Van Ness…Lombard…Ortega…Noriega and just across the Golden Gate Bridge there is Sausalito with redolence of its onetime colorful mayor…Madam Sally Stanford and the long gone beatnik colony. Golden Gate Bridge finished in 1937 and on that historical day my mother along with the citizenry of San Francisco walked across the golden gate. Some time ago I met friends and played golf at Lincoln Golf Course just south of the bridge. When we came to the seventeenth hole we carefully surveyed the coast line for the heralded view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s reputed to be an iconic view and spot. But, alas, the thick fog shrouded the bridge from view. Sir Francis Drake centuries before while trying to find the golden gate had the same trouble and ended up in Drake’s Bay near Point Reyes. I thought that to be cool! Each time I make that drive my mind is fully engaged with the names and history of the place. But… it’s not just San Francisco…it’s all places. Some with less spectacular stories, true, but all have the  unique story to tell.

One Sunday morning I was riding my bicycle along old US 395 from Reno to Carson City. If you have ever been you must agree that it’s a unique setting with expansive views, air of unbridled clarity, muted desert OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcolors with the contrasting ruggedness of the Sierras to the west and Washoe Lake blending gently and barely visible. The new Martin Luther King Freeway now services the two cities and what a wonderful thoroughfare it is. Reputed to be the most expensive freeway per mile ever built. There are geothermal resources along the way which are entwined below the surface of the road to control the extreme and hazardous conditions of winter. The centerpiece is the Galena Creek Bridge which joins two promontories over the creek with the nation’s largest cathedral arch. LikeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur and the Rainbow Bridge at Donner Summit the art deco structure blends grace and elegance with functionality. It’s a gem viewed from many vantage points in Pleasant Valley. Just below is a chocolate factory..yep in the middle of nowhere with funky props to garner tourist attention. The taxicab driver who hauled me and my broken bike back to Reno told me all details….some accurate and some embellished I would surmise. But…he was a happy camper as the $100 fare began his financially successful shift.

So…my route was unceremoniously halted at the gates of Carson City. A chunk of metal holding one of the spokes broke and rendered my steed a bit lame. Instead of Virginia City and the Bucket of Blood Saloon I had to search for a bicycle shop. How hard could that be?? After all Carson City is the capital of Nevada. It seems that our level of expectation coming from Silicon Valley is a bit beyond limits…even for the capital of Nevada. All bicycle shops are closed on Sundays. No trains or busses either. Hmmmm!  So, there I was riding with a wobbly front wheel and no practical way back to Reno and a fine dinner with my pal, Roy and friends. A time out is in order in these situations. In my zig-zags about town I noticed an establishment that spoke to me.Firkin & Fox, Carson City Firkin & Fox with outside seating. Parked my bike next to my table and had good beer and deep fried calamari. And….a jolly conversation with the waitress and a couple who commiserated with me about my bike problems. And…we all laughed. This was my type of place. One of the signs by the front door said, ‘Try our burgers…they’re Firkin good!’ Now I have a fine picture in my mind about Carson City. Perhaps one should follow the advice of Melina Merkouri’s film, Never On Sunday!

On this jaunt to the Reno, Carson Valley, Truckee area I came with specific things to see. Sure there was the golf and fun times with the guys but the added attraction for me was the days at the end staying at the historic Truckee  Hotel on Donner Pass Road or main street in Truckee. It’s a marvelous adventure for one who appreciates a living anachronism of our country’s history of the lumber trade, building of the railroads, gold and silver mining and the settling of the West. It’s all layered in this little town. It’s a living museum. And…this time  I wanted to visit the famous Tunnel #6 overlooking Donner Lake, the Petroglyphs at the summit and the origin of the Truckee River in Tahoe City. From the seat of my bicycle, of course!

 Truckee has figured out how to maximize its tourist revenues. And…why not?! The town has a lot to offer and no one should complain. The parking…there used to be five spaces available across the street from the Truckee Hotel by the railroad tracks which were clandestinely free to hotel guests. But…alas…the hotel clerk informed me that they were gone. So, it was hourly parking with quarters and credit cards. Hmmmm! That rubbed me the wrong way. I don’tOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA mind paying $10 for a mediocre glass of wine at the Bar America across the street…but paying for parking?! So, a bit of walk down main street as I normally do. Window shopping and people watching and absorbing the ambiance. I spotted a stretch of land across the street from the White House, an antique Victorian structure, that has housed restaurants and real estate offices and B & B’s over the years and an enterprise that I once considered and almost made an offer on. There were a lot of cars parked adjacent to the railroad tracks and there were no meters of parking signs. That was it….my oasis to free parking. Now I felt shrewd and could go on freely and spend the ten dollars at will on mediocre glasses of wine for the duration.

While golfing in Reno on our many trips over the years we have stayed at fine hotels, fancy hotels with all amenities. Hotels like The Peppermill, The Atlantis, The Grand Sierra and even the newly built hotel at Boomtown. They are comfortable, enjoyable and delightful to rest, play and entertain yourself. But…the Truckee Hotel is a refreshing change to these oases of pleasure. My room was European style; that is, sink in room only and the rest of bathroom facilities down the hall. But…let me tell you for one who rides bike all day and uses the room for its basic purpose…this room at $59 was economical and functional. Did I say clean. Yes, clean! Each morning I would see a crew ofOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA maids cleaning the floors and walls of the communal showers and bathrooms while going down to the complimentary continental breakfast served in perhaps what  is the most western, iconic parlor. So, that’s where my day began…in front of the large screen television updating myself on the events of the market about the world and breakfasting on yogurts, bagels, coffee and juice. The weather for the morning was pleasant and sunny but caught a note on TV about a small craft advisory due to gusty winds. I gazed out the window and all looked placid, sunny and muted. A seemingly perfect day to tackle the Donner Summit and those three items of interest.

This is my third trek over old US 40 by way of Donner Lake and up to Donner Pass at 7200 feet plus in altitude. I sported the same OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAenthusiasm that was present on the other rides. It’s a magical journey with nothing but items of interest along the way. Surmounted by the exquisiteness of nature. To sit at the end of a dock a few feet above the ripples of crystal clear alpine waters rendering visible the granite laden bottom. It’s a feeling of being close to and in accord with nature. To stop, look and appreciate. The wind stirringOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the surface and creating lapping sounds against the dock’s timbers. The sheer granite ledges of the sierras rising majestically to the sky and the straight horizontal lines of the railroad tucked midway up. And…I followed my route up to that aesthetic structure, the Rainbow Bridge. Perhaps the little old man that ran the historical society shop beyond the summit would be there to sell me another of his US 40 t shirts.

I began to climb, slowly and rhythmically. I noted immediately that the incline seemed to require more effort than I remembered. Hmmm, I thought, could it be that extra twenty pounds that I’m carrying. Professional bicycle racing industry spend thousands of dollars getting those competitive bikes a few pounds lighter and I…well…I had added twenty or twenty five pounds to my girth. And…now I noted the difference. But the scenery was exquisite and there were refreshing gusts of wind which created a feeling of being one with the elements. I had to stop several times along the way to get my heart rate down but eventually I made it. The last mile was met with gusts of 50mph wind which made forward progress a matter of inches at a time. Now I remembered the small craft advisory of the morning weather report and garnered first hand its meaning. I would use care for the rest of the day, especially going down the grade, not be fall prey to these gusts. I remembered the song from the 60’s, Dust in the Wind!!!

The route winds through solid granite. Blocks of which loom bigger than life formingOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA insurmountable faces, crevices and remote ledges. Even the most obtuse must be impressed with the grandeur of the handiwork. Thickets of underbrushOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA cling to sources of water running OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdown the slopes. A Jeffery or Western Pine rises from a shelf and one wonders how can the roots find adequate support or nutrition. Its trunk is gnarly and weathered and battle worn but there it stands with plumes of greenery as though heralding to the world the story of its magnificent struggle and victory of the tenacity of life over the elements.  Musical geniuses such as Mozart or Bach or VerdiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA might express such drama in thunderous musical terms. At the summit sheltered from the elements between granite outcroppings is a sublime micro-garden of natureOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA with flowers and delicate plants. From another vantage point I see pools of alpine water resting inOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA hollows of granite. Each is adorned with its oasis of greenery. I sit on a ledge and absorb all this natural drama and feel fortunate to be able to slow my consciousness and mark this moment in my existence.

 

Tunnel #6

For a bicycle rider the conquest of notable summits is always an exhilarating moment. Donner Summit offers all that and much more. This narrow slit in granite was the gateway over the challenging Sierras for many people. The Paiutes, the Shoshone, the Washoe Indians traveling from the Carson and Reno Valleys to California’s Central Valley to trade with local tribes. EarlyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA California settlers seeking a new life out west. The gold seekers rushing to the goldfields to make their fortunes. The railroad folks trying to do the impossible and link this great nation with rail. Early motorists who sported their horseless carriages over the summit to vacation in the Tahoe basin. And…then there are crazy bike riders, like me, who have discovered the thrill of challenging the mountains up close and personal to reveal their secrets of beauty, nature and history.

At one time we skied. Mostly around Incline Village and North Shore but Heavenly and Kirkwood to the south too. But…I sense that we missed the best. At the summit are Donner Ski Ranch and Sugarbowl. D0nner is privately owned and rustic in nature. Sugarbowl was the original. In the thirties it drew the San Francisco crowd from the Ferry building for weekend skiing on a jaunt known as the ‘Snowball Express’. The first chair lifts and ‘magic carpets’ found home here. This program in the thirties was so popular that Central Pacific had to park extra train cars in Truckee to accommodate skiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAers. And…Charlie Chaplain filmed ‘Gold Rush’ here and stayed at the River Hotel in Truckee by the Truckee River. My mind is rich with these thoughts as I ride slowly beyond the summit toward my first stop on Sugar Bowl Road and the railroad tracks.

  This is the view of the famous Tunnel #6 as seen from the bridge on Sugar Bowl Road. I am stunned at the courage that it must have taken to attempt to penetrate this sheer granite. Just look…we’re talking solid granite.

It was the Chinese. Living by the tunnel and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAworking ungodly hours in all weather conditions. Teams of three were formed with one holding a long chisel and the other two alternately swinging an eighteen pound hammer.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It was know as ‘bam, bam, quarter turn’. The goal was to chisel a two inch wide hole, stuff it with black powder, ignite it, run for your life and then come back amidst smoke and dust and remove the debris. And…do it all over again. They began the tunnel at both ends but the progress was painstakingly slow…only a few inches a day.

Eventually the black powder was replaced with nitroglycerin which was more powerful. But….much more unstable. Shipments would find their way around the Horn and through San Francisco. On one occasion a leaking unmarked crate destined for the Sierras was left at the Wells Fargo office near California and Kearny Streets with people wondering what the leaking black substance might be. Well…as bad luck would have it, the unstable substance exploded destroying blocks and killing untold number of folks. Subsequently such shipments were forbidden. And…the resourceful railroad engineers found an English scientist who was knowledgeable and willing to ship the inert ingredients to the site and make the unstable nitroglycerin there. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo speed the pace of construction further a shaft was excavated midway the 1650ft tunnel resulting in four crews working towards each other. When they eventually met they were only off by a few inches. Tunnel Number Six was completed in 1867 and continued to provide service for over a century. The last train chugged through the tunnel in 1993.

Petroglyphs

All these icons of the past, the earmarks of history, are a connection with our ancestors. A piece of humanity which traversed this space in a prior time. The same footsteps, the same vistas….perhaps the same thoughts! The shivering Chinese huddled over a fire outside their tents making a rice dish before they resumed their endless day of work in howling wind and frigid snow conditions. Have you ever laid your hand on frozen granite?? Just try it to share the humanity. Or…the native Indians making the trek to the central valley to trade. They saw the same peaks, snow covered. Or as they looked back they would see the grand view of Donner Lake. What were their thoughts? Whatever deity they recognized they must have given some recognition and gratitude for its beauty. Maybe those oases with pools of alpine virgin water amidst lush greenery was a resting place after the demanding climb and the Shoshone, or Paiute or Washoe parties would drink from the same pools and have a meal. And…feel lucky to be alive in such beauty and pristine environment. Look down from the summit and get a glimpse of a bicycle rider hunched over his bike struggling to conquer the summit. He realized that he is a traveler of time on a communal journey of his ancestors. It’s a bond in humanity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, a little rest on the gentle granite incline with these wonderful petroglyphs all about me.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Were they leaving a message or just doodling as they rested? Kilroy was here?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a placard situated on the roadside for the benefit of the tourists. These placards constitute a colorful tutorial along old US 40 from Cisco Grove to Soda Springs into Donner area and Truckee. From here the my bike trek continues down Donner Pass along South Shore of Donner Lake and south along Highway 89 to Tahoe City. This route along the shores of the Truckee River I’ve covered on other accounts listed under ‘Truckee, Tahoe, Reno Area’.

 

Signs by the Donner Summit Historical Society marking points of interest.

Signs by the Donner Summit Historical Society marking points of interest.

 Birth of the Truckee RiverOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Causeway into the dam.

Clarity of Tahoe water.

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Ducks and Geese looking for breakfast.

The dam controlling the headwaters of the lake and the flow into the Truckee River. The course of the river flows north by ski resorts of Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley by Donner Lake and City of Truckee to Reno and its final destination…Pyramid Lake. Total route is about 120 miles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust across from the dam is a Washoe Indian Museum which I’ve yet to visit. Next time! 

And a surprise!!!

Each trip, it seems, some mishap occurs which yields an unexpected series of twists and turns and present a pleasant and unexpected surprise. On this adventure the last few miles of the bike path into Tahoe City was under repair….so, I had to truncate my journey and return to Truckee at bit early. Just across the river on River Street I proceeded east and came onto the newly built City of Truckee Bike Path OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA . It meanders along the shore of the river for some miles terminating on a rise yielding a majestic view of the Truckee Basin.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Along the path are many placards highlighting the region’s past. The native people, the vegetation, the fish, flowers, ecological formations, watershed information…etc., etc.. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a ride through a natural museum all the while looking on the scenery of the Truckee River. I was delighted. We all complain about governments…but on this occasion the City of Truckee produced a magnificent facility for tourists and citizens alike. City of Truckee…’TI SALUTO!!’

 

 

Auguri

The Cycling Tuscan

Need to Buy, Sell or Lease Silicon Valley Real Estate?

Dalmatian Realty

of

Silicon Valley

Luciano J. Ercolini, Broker/Owner

Landlord & Entrepreneur since 1977***** Realtor since 2000***** Broker/Owner since 2004

DALMATIANREALTY@YAHOO.COM

408-482-3438

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOLF, “THE MOMENT OF TRUTH”

May 29th, 2014

I remember standing in front of this masterpiece in awe. Once with my little daughter, Gina, of nine. Once with the love of my life, Patricia. It was in Florence in the Accademia delle Belle Arte. Standing bigger than life in the center of the rotunda. The white Carrara marble transcending stone and morphing into sinews, flesh, veins and muscle. Standing erect, calm and resolute, muscles firm but relaxed and eyes with that gaze of focus. Concentration, focus, resolve. I pointed out to Gina the protruding veins on the sinewy arm hanging to the side. A comment which she still remembers to this day some thirty years later. the-david-michelangelo[1]It’s the David by Michelangelo with slingshot draped casually over the shoulder. Ready for the challenge to come with nary a trepidation. Prepared in every way to face his moment of truth. This is what I saw then and this is what I remember now.

The toreador…standing on his tiptoes, back erect and leaning forward, eyes focused on that quarter sized target, right hand extended up high, holding a thin sword, moving stealthily toward his target on the neck of the raging bull;the bull… wounded, possibly panicked, bloody, confused and probably just reacting totoreador[2] self preservation instincts. The bullfighter positions himself for an instant over the bull’s horns to garner the best vantage point to the target. One instant of doubt, trepidation or hesitation and he risks death or  serious injury to himself and butchery to the bull. El momento della verdad! Done correctly…instant death to the bull and resounding glory for the bullfighter. A drama best described in ‘Death in the Afternoon’ by Hemingway.

So, a golfer takes the first tee. All are quiet but there is some tension about. The target seems distant and there are obstacles to the right, to the left and in front. A slight breeze stirs the surface waters of the pond just beyond. He tees up the ball and feels his heart begin to pump…just a bit. Time seems to stop. He’s just hit a dozen drives on the range with smoothness and confidence. He gazes down the target and that sureness begins to drain. One last waggle with a relaxing exhale and the swing is set in motion. Any doubt,

554312_3492895239632_824856396_n[1] (2)

hesitation or caution here and all goes awry. Why all the drama…it’s just a game…right??? Yes, but…and the but is…he is dealing with his inner core. All obstacles out there are static. If he falters and does not allow himself to perform as he knows he can, it’s a personal failure. He will not die or be harmed but he knows deep within that he did not measure up. So…is it a game or a stage for that moment of truth? I believe the latter!

At this point I  have to have a good laugh at myself. This, of course, is hyperbole gone wild. And the laugh…well…it began at the dinner table. And…it wasn’t really my laugh. It was on Patricia’s face and if the truth be told…the laugh was directed at me and my ‘piccolo mondo’ which I create. Sometimes Patricia comments, ‘where do you live?’ Well, Well!! Perhaps so? But if you are a golf aficionado you will understand standing over the ball on the first tee and putting all the importance of the world into that first shot while all your peers are looking. It does reveal something of your inner self. Moment of truth in terms of life and death?…of course not! But…there are other inner tensions which produce the same threshold of importance. In any event….trying to explain it to Patricia was a thorough exercise in futility and the more one tries the more one appears ridiculous. So, I sipped on my Chianti and complimented her on her exquisite shrimp salad and quietly exited the topic.

This is the mental threshold that most golfers bring to the game. There is a veneer of confidence but this confidence can easily and quickly be pierced by several errant shots. As I’ve often said…it’s a long distance from the driving range to the first tee, the world of ‘one shot’, no mulligans or do overs. It’s golf’s ‘moment of truth’ syndrome. Every shot is a moment of truth!

So, this is where the mental journey begins. And…now we embark on successive layers which tend exacerbate the process. The first layer is the static versus the dynamic. Tee up the ball and assume the address position. This is fine and dandy. You can even do a waggle, as recommended. But…eventually youhave to embark on that dynamic journey called the swing. It’s smooth and fluid and efficient. Any

deviation from those three little words produces loss of club head speed. The optimum journey travels one swing plane and one only. Make an adjustment along the way to another swing plane and  you reduce club head speed. The best example of the professional that makes this transition absolutely obvious is Jason Dufner. At address he does not linger at the station he embarks the train in a flurry of motion. What’s that you say…at address he waggles the club continuously and on one undetermined waggle he goes into the swing. That’s his way of overcoming the awkward moment of transition from the static address position to the dynamic and irreversible world of the swing. A more deliberate method is that used by Gary Player. One, two three. A move to his right side and backswing, the shift to the ball and a step through towards the target. On the other hand there is ‘Joe Hackhead’. He addresses the ball and waits with dread and doubt for that moment to begin the swing. There is tension and rigidity. Eventually a lurch or a painfully slow motion to the top. When you watch Gary or Jason or a myriad of other professionals the motion looks easy and balanced. Watch ‘Joe’ and…well…don’t watch. The result is predictable.

Picture you body as a coil. Your right foot, if you’re right handed, is the anchor. As the swing begins, the coil tightens only to reach its maximum tension at the top of the backswing. Typically at the top the left shoulder will be under the chin and the back will be facing the target. Wait…did I say that the shoulders are pointing to the target? And there’s the rub. It’s all wrong the little voice inside says. You gotta get back to the target and pronto. So, the anxiety in various degrees begins to build and continues till the ball is struck. And there’s the irony as the torso coils to be in proper position with the necessary power to strike the ball, the anxiety grows because you are pointing further and further away from the target. Where is the top…how far is the top…how long will it take??Doubt creeps into the mind as the swing attempts to find that magical position at the top.

This is an important and subtle point that it warrants repeating from another point of view…

The properly executed golf swing relies on the torque created from the different attitudes of the hips and

BACK TO TARGET

shoulders. The resulting tension felt in the torso area produces the power.The shoulders must point towards the target. And…this is the rub. As the golfers begins the dynamic golf swing his shoulders begin the journey…a journey which also begins the build-up of anxiety. Something in his little brain begins to signal…hey, hey this is all wrong. The target is that way. You’re facing the wrong way. The closer the golfer gets to the top of the swing with his back square towards the target the louder that little primitive voice becomes. At that point the anxiety is the greatest and then there is a rush to get back to the target line.

 There are many other refinements to the game for those with the talent to capitalize. However those areas I’ve outlined are the major obstacles which the average golfer must overcome to sport a repeatable swing and enjoyable game. Most golfers never get t0 that first stage. I being one. I can play six stellar holes on any golf course. Then the remaining holes tend to bring me back to reality. But….I’m still trying…

No article on golf should end without guaranteed solutions. I leave you with two:

1) Always dress in a splendid fashion. Look like a professional golfer. Then go to your favorite course and put for a while. Then go to the 19th hole and have a couple of bloody marys and talk golf with the fellows. Then…go home!!

2)  Take up bicycle riding as I’ve done. I find that you tend to loose less balls!!

FORE!!!

 

Need to Buy, Sell or Lease Silicon

Valley Real Estate?

Dalmatian Realty of Silicon Valley

Luciano J. Ercolini, Broker/Owner

Landlord & Entrepreneur since 1977***** Realtor since 2000***** Broker/Owner since 2004      

 

 

 

SHOULD I STAGE MY HOUSE??

April 6th, 2014
'Best Fee Structure in Real Estate!"

‘Best Fee Structure in Real Estate!”

I am a Realtor®, Broker and Owner of a boutique real estate firm in the heart of Silicon Valley. I maintain a virtual office from my home and compete with the ‘so called ‘ big boys. I have been a Realtor® since 2000 and a Broker of my firm, Dalmatian Realty of Silicon Valley, since 2004. I spent the first four years with the so called ‘big boys’ to see if any had unique insights into the real estate business. If the truth be told….the answer is a resounding NO!!! Those of us who have prospered for more than a decade in this dynamic market of Silicon Valley are all ‘BIG BOYS’.

Each home is unique. Each home has a soul. It is the respite of the work, play, rest and heal continuum. It is not an island onto itself but a conduit to the schools, parks, shopping areas, road infrastructure, and work and play venues. As such each home relates to its environment in a different way and thus is unique. I find that after I spend a time on the property…a week, perhaps, I garner a flavor of this soul. And this is where my marketing begins.                

 In regards to staging the preference of the real estate industry is to stage. There are many staging companies that run the gamut of quality. Some produce good results, most do an average job and some actually do damage. The worst example was a highly regarded staging firm in the San Francisco Peninsula that regarded themselves as real pros and experts in the field. Their opinions and taste was ‘gold’ and not to be questioned.  Their rendition confused potential buyers. Too much stuff and no coherent flow. After a week of uncomfortable deliberation we had them pull out their stuff, paid the initial fee and began anew with another company.

My view of staging is ‘less is more’. Staging is a tool to aid the potential buyer envision how the home might be used. Staging is not an end onto itself. Staging must be done from the viewpoint of the potential buyer and no one else. Homes with large, open living areas which lend themselves to a variety of living options are best candidates for staging. Simple suggestions as to where informal dining might be located…or an entertainment  area or perhaps a reading nook or a conversation/stereo cocktail sitting space. A simple dining room table, four chairs and a silk floral arrangement…period! Just a hint, a suggestion…something to connect with the potential buyer to give them an idea, to stimulate their imagination. To energize that little light in the buyer’s mind with an idea, a concept from which the buyer can embark on colors, furnishings, textures and a myriad of other details. That’s the purpose of any staging. To engage the potential buyer; to light that little light!

Through no skill of my own I happen to own several homes right across the street from where the new Cupertino Apple Spaceship Campus will be located. Being built as I write this piece. We had been living in one of the homes and wished to rent it. It was well appointed with hardwood floors, area rugs, good furnishings and a wonderful array of art work on the walls. As I removed clutter and furnishings and personal items I began to be able to compare and contrast the feelings that the space emoted with the removal of each layer of personal items.

Rugs and Floors–Most homes in the bay area built in the fifties and sixties have hardwood floors. However the choice back then was wall to wall carpeting. So, many of these homes have surprisingly beautiful floors underneath. Floors that need perhaps a light sanding and a layer or two of urethane. Such was the case in my home and I urathaned where needed and cleansed with Windex the rest. The result was a wonderful clean reflection as one entered each room. By the way, wall to wall carpeting is no longer in vogue. I have had tenants and buyers over recent years that insist on the removal of older but usable wall to wall carpeting. Perhaps viewed as carriers of other people’s dirt even though shampooed.

Garage— Removed fifteen years’ worth of accumulated stuff. You know, the stuff that’s too good to throw or give away but whose use has outlived its time. Moved what we needed and gave most to Salvation Army. Once the space was empty I painted the major wall and power washed all other surfaces. Next day I just kept looking at it. Wow! What a difference.

CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN–Clean is one of those words that is generic, non-specific. What one person sees as clean, another considers dirty. Absolute cleanliness is not seen but felt. Let me repeat that….cleanliness is not seen but felt. Dirt, smudges, spots are seen. When a space is marvelously clean it creates a feeling of comfort, tidiness, of neatness…you want to be there.

So, hardwood floors must shine. Windows..not a smudge or glare of dirt in the sunshine. Porcelain sinks and bowls…spotless. You get the idea…do a white glove test!

CURB APPEAL–Start from the street as you exit your car parked in front. What’s your first impression. What do you notice. Are the bushes neatly trimmed? Is the lawn cut and green and in good condition? Are there weeds growing? Walkways clean? Clutter? Believe me….whatever is there will be noticed by a potential buyer or tenant. Whatever first impression is created…this is the attitude of the buyer/tenant as he opens the front door. If the initial impression is negative the buyer/tenant will be looking for additional signs confirming his negative impression. A negative first impression put your property on the defensive.

But…let’s get back to the staging theme! I removed all personal items from the house. Then one day the movers came for the big stuff. The next few days I did all those things I described above. The place was immaculately clean, the curb appeal exceptional, the garden neat and tidy. The house was empty except for the art work on the walls and window coverings. To my amazement the house did not feel empty. It still had the character and personality that was present when we lived there with all our familiar belongings. The rooms, though empty, radiated cleanliness and warmth. Window covering and artwork created the stage for clients to imagine how their furniture and personal items might be best positioned. In the ten days that I had the house on the market I had as many clients visit. Their reaction was overwhelmingly positive with numerous applications to rent. I found what I thought to be an excellent family as tenants.

Removal of Art Work–After execution of lease I removed our art work. When next day I returned to the house I again was amazed. The house felt empty. Barren. Devoid of character. No warmth. It was the art work!! Wow! What a difference. It was dramatic. So, here began an idea. If I am right and art work creates such an emotional difference…why not employ it as a staging tool. Artwork only!

Less Is More!! The more stuff the eye has to absorb the greater the tendency for confusion. The more the eye has to absorb the less the imagination is engaged. The more the eye has to absorb the greater the tendency to become a spectator rather than a engaged participant. 

CONCLUSION: The vast majority of ordinary homes need not be staged. A tasteful selection of artwork on walls creates the optimum desired effect. Those homes with large square footages and flexible living spaces are best candidates for staging. That is staging according to the principle of ‘less is more’.

****Luciano is presently working out arrangements with art galleries to have art available for homes. Art will be the staging technique and will also be available for sale.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DALMATIAN REALTY

SILICON VALLEY

LUCIANO J. ERCOLINI

BROKER, OWNER, REALTOR

BSC,MBA UNIVERSITY OF SANTA CLARA

DALMATIANREALTY@YAHOO.COM

408-482-3438

 

 

NEW FRIENDS IN THE CHIANTI REGION!

January 12th, 2014

Once in a while I receive emails from folks around the world. Gente simpatiche.  If you plan a trip around Florence or Siena and you are a bicycle enthusiast….have a look at these folks. I have not tried them myself…yet…but will on my next visit. And….drink some Chianti too!

Ride Montaione Bicycle Adventures (link)

     Tell Lauro Lotti that Luciano sent you!!!

Peasant Farm-Tuscany 40’s, 50’s & 60’s

January 6th, 2013

Family Pictures 142This was pretty much the summer uniform for a kid growing up in a Tuscan peasant farm in the 1950’s…barefoot, shorts and undershirt. I was fascinated with kites. No one had money for such things in post WWII Italy so we made our own. The kites of choice were in the shape of a six pointed star with tail streaming from the lower points. My brother, Moreno, made the first one for me. I watched him carefully…bamboos cut precisely and straight, paste made from flour and water, two sheets of colored paper bought from Bresciano’s in Molin Nuovo and careful measuring and fastening so that it would fly right and a couple of spools of string. That was one of the favorite activities in the afternoons when there would be an appropriate wind. Soon I was making kites for my cousins and friends.

 

Whenever someone would mention her name he would go off in an ‘ad hominem’ typical Tuscan tirade.Lu 034 That was my maternal grandmother whom I never met. I believe that is she in the stylish clothes with my grandfather, Beppe Magrini, and my cousin Aladino in carriage in 1947. Life was basic and tough in post war Italy in the farm areas of Tuscany. Families were large as the labor was needed to work the fields. All work was done by beast of burden and human labor. The wife would be sent to be a wet nurse after each child was born. My mother, for example, went to Torino after my brother was born in 1937. My grandmother whose name I know not was sent to Marseilles after each of the six children. Then she would have to return to the rudimentary farm, with the chickens and the animals and the smells and the no running water, indoor bathroom, no electricity and lots and lots of manual labor. And then she would be pregnant, have the child and soon leave for Marseilles to tend to rich folks’ children while my mother, being the oldest, would act as the surrogate mother on the farm. I surmise that after each trip to Marseilles the return trip to the backwardness of the farm became more and more unbearable. And…probably, being an attractive woman she probably met some gentleman who was her ticket to a better life. The clothes she’s wearing are stylish and not the type that I grew accustomed seeing farm women wear in that area. Although I never saw or met her I’m pretty sure that is my infamous grandmother.

As a little kid of six or seven I remember my grandfather Beppe…whenever someone would mention her….”Dio cane, puttana madonna, bestia, puttana and on”, and on. Of course, he had it tough. Left alone with six children and a farm to work. But…to his credit he did it. Raised the four girls and two boys, saw to it that all got married with nice weddings and we, the grandchildren would gather about his farm in the summers and have a grand time roaming. He was a nice man and I went to his funeral which happened to occurr during one of my visits in 1980.

Lu 058

The wheat harvest was a family affair. Uncles, aunts, cousins…all would gather and pitch in. Sometime in July there would be the cutting. They would begin at five in the morning for quick coffee and then to the fields. A line of folks with hats and sickles in hand stooped over moving down the field in unison. Wheat stalks would be left on the ground for some time to dry and then bundled. The faggots would be hauled over the shoulder from the fields and spiraled onto the large mound in front of the farm house.The thrasher would be called and that was an exciting day for the kids. Lots of noise, tractor and large machinery, moving leather straps and all the adults moving as a team with excitement and joy. All was ready for the big day.Stacking the wheat and getting ready for the machines in summer of 1947.

Lu 026

Grandfather, aunts and uncles and my brother, Moreno. My father, Giovanni Pasquinelli, stands atop the stack with cocked hat and proud stature! At center with lite beret hat is Bruno Ercolini, my uncle and adopted father, who brought me to America….the very luckiest stroke in my life!!!

Lu 057

Feeding the thrasher…my cousin, Osvaldo, looking on. 1956

Lu 049

My brother, Moreno, and uncle, Beppe, stacking the hay for the animals. 1956

Lu 050

My father, Giovanni and workers sacking the wheat. When my grandmother was alive, till the early fifties, the wheat would be taken to Molin Nuovo a half mile away to the mill. It was an old style mill powered by a canal from the Pescia River and with large stone wheels grinding and churning, flour dust everywhere and the sound of rushing water from below the floor. It was rustic and basic and with motion and lots of sounds. Then My grandmother would use the flour on a weekly basis and make our bread. She would make the loaves the night before and let them rise overnight in a wooden cupboard and then rise at dawn on her baking day and light a fire for embers to be placed in a brick oven to heat at the proper temperature. Then a long handled shovel with the loaves in and out. She was dressed all in black and would work till about noon. The golden oval loaves were marvellous. Rich, thick crust, golden and with lots of texture. However, it was done on a weekly basis…so, the ones at the end were a bit tough.After she died my father worked out an arrangement with the bakery in Borgo a Buggiano. He bartered the blour for bread for the year. The breadman would deliver fresh, store bought loaves every couple of days. They were good…but not like the ones grandmother Agnese made.

Lu 076

Doing the laundry by the well. My stepmother, Eda, in 1956, This was it….the washer and dryer. No running water. Electricity came in 1953.

Lu 078

And…this was the bathroom….no, that’s not correct…the outhouse, right next to the pig stys and indoor stalls. It was basic and had toilet paper to match….usually old newspapers or magazines or such discarded paper. I never saw toilet paper till I went to visit my aunt, Rina in Pescia. On one of my visits after high school my good friend, Michael, came with me and we stayed on the farm for some months. Before he used the outhouse I distinctly remember giving him a good briefing as to what to expect. I’m sure he’s never forgotten it.

Lu 032

My mother, Ida Magrini Pasquinelli. She died in 1953 of nephritis. I remember the trauma to this day when they all came to talk to me. She’s in front of our well and laundry vat. Note the laundry basket behind and to the back. Picture was in 1951 and the well probably had been in use for over 100 years.

Lu 025

In the Valdinievole the water tables were readily available…so we were fortunate to have a well with good water and right in front of our house. Workers clean and scour the walls in 1947. Water by bucket would be poured into a copper vessel(brocca) and placed atop a marble sink in the kitchen. The brocca would hold about 2 gallons of water. Bedroom would have bed pans and portable basins. As a little kid I remember those cold winter days getting ready for church in Molin Nuovo…a G.I. wash at the portable basin on cold unheated brick floors. The process was super quick! At night getting into bed was a challenge too! Cold, cold, cold! So, there was a dome like contraption made from curved reticulated slats which would hold suspended a terracotta pot of embers. It would be placed under the covers for a short while to heat the bedding. Lighting was by candle or an oil lamp with wick and glass tube and of course the fireplace which would be the center of the house on cold nights. It was pretty basic stuff and my brother and I later would comment that we were the last generation to have seen a working peasant farm…a system which probably had not changed since the Romans and the Etruscans.

Lu 033

Getting ready for lunch. No matter how humble the surroundings the table at lunch was always set with clean tablecloth, plates for each course, water, wine and espresso. On Sundays a chicken or rabbit would be cooked and dessert served too. At the well my brother, Moreno and Bruno, fill one of the flasks with water after getting a flask of wine from the cantina. The cantina would have a half dozen large barrels along the walls filled with white and red wine. Usually ten or fifteen flasks would be filled at one time and each flask would be sealed by pouring a small amount of olive oil at the very top. Before serving a wad of flax would be dipped in the neck of the flask to soak up the olive oil and render the wine ready for pouring. To the water there would be a powder added to make it effervescent. It was called ‘acqua di Vichy’. however, non of us knew or cared that it was named after Vichy water of France. Lunch would always be at one pm and would be a joyous affair. Sometimes in summer my father would buy a watermelon and drop it into the well to cool down and then retrieve it by bucket. Other times polenta would be served. My brother, Moreno, absolutely hated it. But it would be stirred in a black pail hanging over the fireplace and when ready it would be poured onto a napkin at the center of the table, left to set for a few minutes and then cut with a thread. It would be served with baccala or some red sauce dish. That was the main meal of the day followed by a nap til about four, chores and then dinner at about soundown. Dinner would be left overs from lunch and much lighter.

Lu 081

Zucchini plants in the foreground, string bean and tomato vines in the back, grass for the rabbits and animals on right and grape vines all around the field. Every inch of the farm was used. In the late afternoons my father would water these plants via a well and electric pump and would pick the tomatoes, beans and zucchini. He would order them in wooden flats with leaves for presentation. Then at five the next morning he would load all on wracks in front and rear of his bike and ride some five miles to Montecatini where there would be a market for fresh vegetables and fruits. Montecatini was a tourist center for the well to do who were wont to come from all about Europe to take the waters. They were mineral waters, saline waters for their purgative health value. You know…cleanse the system. The prices would be determined by pure market forces and prices would change daily. It was pure competition. This was an important cash inflow for the farm and would last all summer.

Lu 084

My father, Giovanni, with a sulphur bellows. Several times before the grape harvest grapes would be dusted with sulphur. It was a whole process of course. It began in the winter when the vines would be cut to bare essentials. Grape vines bordered all fields and were strung on wire with bamboos for support. The bamboos were grown on the farm as was a vine with pliable whip like branches which were used to tie the vines to bamboos or wire. In the spring all the grapes were sprayed several times with a copper solution and all the men would be outfitted with pumps harnessed by shoulder straps with a pump lever jutting out by the right arm. In early summer the grape leaves would be thinned out to reveal the grapes to the sun. In late September the harvest…all members of family to include cousins, aunts and uncles would gather for two or three days to cut the grapes and dump them into vats. A manual wine press would be called and we could see the red juice ooze out into vats as the guys worked the lever around. The juice was poured into wooden bins and allowed to ferment. Then…transferred into barrels and allowed to age for one year…the red, that is….the white was drunk next summer. I remember as though it was yesterday….in the early fifties…me, my brother and father around the lunch table. It was the tasting of the new white wine. My father poured a glass for us to taste. There was a silence. My brother who was always rather outspoken said ‘it’s awful’. I remember the taste to this day, the taste was odd. My father tasted it and re tasted and said ‘mi piace'(I like it!). But with a look on his face. Don’t remember whether the wine was ever drunk, but the scene vividly remains. The meals on the Tuscan table always included wine. The children would be given a light water wine solution. And…I remember not liking the wine much…always preferred a lemonade or orange drink or Coca Cola. As of lately I’ve rediscovered the wonderful childhood delight…the long forgotten zesty flavor of Orangina. It’s a link to my childhood on the farm in Molin Nuovo!

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Need to Buy, Sell or Lease Silicon

Valley Real Estate?

Dalmatian Realty of Silicon Valley

Luciano J. Ercolini, Broker/Owner

Landlord & Entrepreneur since 1977***** Realtor since 2000***** Broker/Owner since 2004