30 December 2006

“Hadan Mish Ma’ Hada”

Rola, Sandy, Sarah, Rasha Najdi, and Mohamad Ali Nayel are five members of the group “Hadan Mish Ma’ Hada” (Arabic for “someone who is not with anyone” i.e. not with any political leader or group).

They gathered this week in front of the Lebanese University’s administration building in Beirut to demand a national university that transcends the sectarian and political divides splitting it, among other things.

They accused the opposition and the government alike of ignoring the vital issues confronting young Lebanese.

“Hadan Mish Ma’ Hada” staged a protest a couple of weeks ago in Hamra Street (Beirut) to draw attention to their movement. Their slogan was: “we are not a million but we are ‘some one’”.

It takes tremendous courage for such a group to demonstrate in a season when tens of thousands of protestors no longer satisfy our appetite, in a season when demonstrators congregate in millions and zillions. And even then demands are not met.

“Hadan Mish Ma’ Hada” is becoming a catchy phrase around here as political disenchantment grows.

Photo

Don't cry for me Mesopotamia

Excerpts from prof As'ad's take on Saddam's execution, the rest of it is here...

"Yet again, the Bush administration looks stupid exactly when it thinks it is being smart, or when it thinks it is being strategic in its actions. Saddam Husayn was not your typical tyrant: he was not even a consistent ideologue; unlike what his supporters would like to think. Saddam switched his views and stances, all depending on the interest of his tyrannical regime. He flirted (and more than flirted) with the US and Israel for much of the 1980s. He was a pagan and atheist in the 1970s..."

"The trial itself, like everything that the US managed in Iraq, were bungled. If the US occupiers wanted to show Arabs a legal system or a court proceeding unlike what they have in their own countries, the US failed miserably, just as it failed miserably in translating any of its empty rhetorical promises. The trial was in fact as cartoonish and as politically managed as trials in neighboring Arab countries. From the changes of the judge (and whatever happened to that judge who went missing as soon as he said in "court" that he does not consider Saddam to be a tyrant?), to the selection of the crimes--clearly intending to spare Gulf countries, Europe, and US embarrassment from their association with the crimes of Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war years."

"This execution will go down as a sectarian decision and not as a political or legal decision, as it should be, because the ruling government a) relies on a foreign army of occupation..."

"People in the region will look back at Saddam with some nostalgia because Arab leaders are now more submissive and subservient than ever to US/Israel, and Saddam's bombast and bluster in his last years will be remembered."

"It is a sign that the Bush administration has nothing to offer but same of the same. Some brilliant mind in the White House I suspect came up with this idea of the execution hoping that it will galvanize American public opinion--they don't think beyond that."

28 December 2006

Lebanon: Foreign Intervention and Economics

The Lebanese bloggers are united this week in wishing their readers all the best during Christmas, Al Adha and the New Year.
Some of these bloggers have taken up the issue of foreign intervention in the region as a subject of reflection while others highlight the sad state of economy and the effects that the political situation is having on it.

A reader left a comment praising the positive aspects of colonialism and/or occupation to which Ibn Bint Jbeil responded:

i have a plan for you. i would like to help you advance in your life. i am a very rich man and also own much property, and have immense and enviable political clout. my plan for you will commence soon, with or without your consent, once i locate where you are.
my plan is simple: i will break down your door, move in, turn your living room into my own private barracks, complete with mounted gun near the front entrance. my first step towards improving your life will be to force you at gunpoint to fix the door that i broke down.

Mehlis, who was the investigator in the Hariri murder case before Brammertz, was part of a witty post by EDB in which she ends with thorny questions about the on going investigations:

The problem with March 14th is that they are evidently as foolish as the White House, hiring disreputable Ahmed Chalabi-types to make their case. Mehlis has no credibility. None whatsoever. And why not get someone honest and well-respected to do the job?…
The funny thing is that March 14th’s media will hype any of the UN investigation’s conclusions. If Brammertz reports that Bashar al-Assad was taking a crap when Hariri was killed, well then that’s evidence of foul play. If Brammertz suggests that an aerial attack might have caused the former Prime Minister’s demise, well then what?
We don’t know and I dare say we will never know who killed Rafiq Hariri. It’s shameful, I know.

Russia has suddenly shown interest in the Lebanese affairs and has intervened to resolve the issues in conflict. This has raised Raja’s doubts:

the Russians are very ambitious all of a sudden. I’m left asking myself: exactly what has boosted their sense of relevance (confidence?) all of a sudden? They’re talking of throwing the tribunal into the dust bin of history, hosting a peace conference that would, of all things, bring Iran and Israel to the table, and spewing all sorts of audacious initiatives into the wind. Essentially, they’re telling the Americans: leave the Middle East to us, and we’ll take care of things!

On the internal front, Hilal uses caustic satire to criticize the snobbish and almost racist attitude that some Lebanese are showing towards the the anti-government protestors (Ar).

All of this politics-free post must be read to really appreciate the waste of time and energy involved in a normal business day at the bank according to Jamal:

Read the rest here...

25 December 2006

Free Firas, Abdel Azim and Mohammad

Update: Firas Hatoum as well as cameramen Abdel-Azim Khayyat and assistant Mohammed Barbar were released on Jan 31 2007 after paying a bail of L.L. 500,000 (about 330 dollars) each.

Firas Hatoum, Abdel Azim Khayyat and Mohammad Barbar were arrested while investigating the story of Zoheir al Siddiq.

Al Siddiq is a chief witness in the Hariri murder case.
He turned out to be a major false witness but his testimonies are the bases on which some arrests continue to this day.


Firas and his colleagues were arrested and jailed on theft charges!

Poor Addoum, he could have done a better job at coining a more plausible charge!!


Visit this page and show support for journalistic rights by signing the petition to free Firas, Abdel Azim and Mohammad.

Happy Holidays (all of them)

Oh, by the way, happy holidays (all of them) and best wishes.

Was Jesus born in Bethlehem?
Photo: AFP

19 December 2006

Lebanon: Hassan Nassrallah

The secretary general of Hezbollah S H Nassrallah and his speech that was directed to the demonstrators partaking in the sit-in protest in Beirut was the subject of many posts in the Lebanese blogs this week. And as usual, the opinions are as diverse as the political point of views of the writers. The selections here are from the diverse spectrum of opinions. They are stated at random with no particular order or grouping.

Let us start with Perpetual Refugee who returned after a long break with a post about a conversation with a gay friend and supporter of Nassrallah and Perpetual Refugee’s unsuccessful attempt to convince him of his mistake:

This was what freaked me out. An educated man. My friend. Openly gay (except to his mother). Supporting Nasrallah. All because they belong to the same ‘sect’. Nothing else.He seemed to have forgotten that his fundamental rights as a gay man. A gay Lebanese man. His rights were also being besieged by the demonstrations. The very rights that were struggling to flourish into something real. Starting with the most basic of rights. The right to live. As oneself.
Savonaroll at Remarkz uses wit, sarcasm, and ridicule, to criticize the faults in PM Sanyoura’s reply to Nassarallah’s address to the protestors.

Mustapha at Beirut Spring forsees the failure of the opposition because of what he sees as a misreading by Nassrallah of the Sunni public opinion:
When it comes to the Sunnis, Hassan Nassrallah seems pathetically clueless. By
his calculation, the anti American, anti zionist rhetoric should at least have split the Sunnis. It worked with Aljazeera’s Sunni Arab readers, why isn’t it working with the Lebanese?
Bech at Remarkz explains why it is not in Hezbollah’s interest to destablize Lebanon and criticizes western media for its bias coverage of the protests:
…this party has no interest whatsoever in creating dissensions in Lebanon that would destabilize the country. It always worked in a way to create compromise.Even while looking at it from the mostly realist-cunning perspective they stand to lose by all counts if they try to either monopolize decision making or impede on the power of other groups. Lock it in your heads for good this time: The weak destabilizes and looks for refuge in fragmentation, the strong is more prone towards unity. That’s the strategic advantage of each. But what’s very shocking is western media coverage of the issue. Only today I ran across an article in some American newspaper, which mentions in the last paragraph that there are “some Christian group” that is allied with Hizbullah.
Marxist From Lebanon wrote an analysis of the events in Lebanon from an economical perspective. In this analysis he mentions the role of leaders like Hariri, Aoun and Nasrallah:

Read the rest here...

18 December 2006

The Road to Qana

“The Road to Qana”, by Jallal Khoury, is a play worthy of watching.
It is currently showing at Monot Theater in Beirut.

The directing is simple but the dialogue is deep, reflecting philosophical and political views in a discussion/debate that takes place between four characters. One of them is a born again neo-conservative American who visits Qana with her Indian husband. The couple get involved in very intense quarrels on issues like religion, sex, politics and philosophy. The other two characters are a Lebanese and his alter-ego.

A musical band accompanies the play with music by Sami Hawwat.

Here is rough translation of Jalal Khoury's words about the play:

“Struggles have taken a religious nature since the fall of the Berlin wall which took down with it the secular ideologies that reigned over minds and politics for about two centuries. The divine became a springboard for earthly conflicts, creating and unleashing diverse and clashing extremisms.

Al Quds, Urshalim, The city of peace in Aramaic, has become a title, a motto and the
center of many struggles. Struggles which have lead some to believe that the wars, fears, destruction of the environment etc are all signs of the end of the universe. While others are lead to see that the mayhem we are experiencing is the birth pangs of an age of enlightenment, an age of values which future generations will enjoy.

“The Road to Qana” is a play that is trying to echo all that in the minds. It is also the story of a person looking for a place where ages are manifest and in which s/he finds him/herself…”

17 December 2006

The Fanatic:

is someone who can not change his mind
and
will not change the topic.

-Churchil

Al Mustaqbal

Finally I submitted to Sana’s incessant demand to buy Al-Mustaqbal newspaper and read Fares Khashan.
Sana is a communist and an atheist who loves Nassrallah.
Khashan is a self–proclaimed authority on the matters of the Truth.
I followed him last year during his radio broadcast until he started repeating himself and I started getting queasy.
Back to Al-Mustaqbal (The Future), the newspaper has so many “quotation marks” in it that I thought it was raining.
And then there is this report that I read about how the sit-in is polluting the downtown with hazardous smoke from the protesters’ free–nargillahs when it should have been filled with the sweet aroma of the smoke from the expensive nargillahs offered by the restaurants and pubs.
And there is of course the international tribunal after every comma and every period and before an exclamation mark.
And there is an article about the 480000000000000 USD that Lebanon has lost because of the current “protests” (“attempted coup”).
But there was no Khashan. “Pity” that Khashan did not write in this issue.

NB:
I stand totally and unconditionally with the international tribunal that will prosecute the murderers of PM Hariri and all others up to and including Gemayyel. I also demand an international tribunal to indict Bush and Olmert and while we are at it Rice, Rumsfeld Chenny, Comatose Sharon et al

BTW:
What about Elie Hobeika? Whatever happened to his case? He should have been a witness the case against Sharon before his murder. Why is his case not included in the investigations too?

12 December 2006

The State of the Government Today


Cartoon's Source

Lebanon: Demonstrations, Demonstrations

A series of anti-government or opposition and pro-government protests and demonstrations are literally taking the country by storm. Lebanese bloggers are, as expected, expressing their positions, whether pro, con or independent through opinions, analysis, sarcasm, art, etc. The posts quoted here are, as usual, not all inclusive. All the other interesting blogs could not be mentioned for lack of space and time. As the events are accelerating in Lebanon, a lot more is expected from the bloggers, so be sure to check back for updates. Meanwhile here is a sample of posts from some blogs. It is left to you to decide where each blogger stands.

The demonstrations and the reactions to them inspired the following painting by Ibn Bint Jbeil.
He also wrote:


What do you see?
Fellow human beings?
or faceless crowds
that you can easily dismiss as wrong, irrelevant, peasants, misguided, unworthy,
untrustworthy, different, heretical, decadent, uncivilized?












Then there is this letter from Beirut from a friend of Pierre Tristam who will not partake in any demonstration:


No, I won’t take to the streets. Not now, not again. Not for this cause or the
other. Every time we take to the streets and for whatever reason, we’re
exploited for personal, not Lebanese, volitions. Today’s demonstration isn’t
different from yesterday’s. It’s led by the same willful warmongers. I don’t buy
that option “against corruption, etc.” Bullshit. I don’t believe in a National
Unity government. It never worked in the past and nothing has changed since.


The shortcomings of the leaders of the “Cedar’s Revolution” are the reasons behind the momentum of the anti-government protest according to Charles Malik in this lengthy analysis.

Sophia points out that there are lessons that the Lebanese can learn from Canada’s multiculturalism and also states that:

I have affirmed that the new divide in Lebanon, the economic divide brought upon
a traditionally prosperous country by the civil war and by the disastrous
management of the state by Hariri, is helping bridge the sectarian religious
and ethnic divide. March 14th is the movement of the rich and the few who
profited from the new economy while March 8th is the movement of the
disgruntled and the numerous left behind by the new economy.
I believe that March 14th deceived the Lebanese and lost the popular support and the
political capital it was sitting on since the assassination of Rafik Hariri
as much as Bush has deceived the Americans and lost the political capital it
was given by the American nation after 9/11.

The media was mocked by Bech at Remarkz for its bias and shortsightedness during the covering of the opposition’s protests :

shame on the media that does not understand that the people who are on the
streets are not there for “sectarian” reasons but because they’re fed up of a
government that is incompetent, corrupt, and dangerous.
Shame on the media
that twists information according to where the paycheck come from.
Shame on
the media that is itself sectarian, replicating the confessional discourse that,
we as Lebanese, are guilty of having supplied during the past decades.
Shame
on the media that replicates another demon the Lebanese have created in order to
stay divided the Syria-bashing Syndrome. Again us Lebanese are so guilty. We
have fed the media with our fears. And our fears are now traveling the world as
an biased account of the social reality.

06 December 2006

People


What do you see?

Fellow human beings?

or faceless crowds that you can easily dismiss as wrong, irrelevant,
peasants, misguided, unworthy, untrustworthy, different, heretical, decadent,
uncivilized?

-Painting and caption: by Ibn Bint Jbeil.

01 December 2006

Two Things the PM Forgot to Mention

Responding to the call for open ended protests to topple the government, PM Sanyourah spoke to the Lebanese yesterday promising them that he will be steadfast and that these protests really aim at making Lebanon an open ground for international conflicts etc. He also invoked the spirits of the martyrs Gemayel, Hawi, …and called on the Lebanese to help protect the state by raising the national flags on their homes. Right after his speech gun shots was heard around Beirut mixed with fireworks.

Let's put aside the fact that the state is not the government. And let us not delve into analysis of the loop of contradictions that exist in the call on Lebanese to defend the state against other Lebanese who are going to protest because they want a share in running the affairs of the state. And let's not hold him at error for calling on fellow citizens to help protect him against other fellow citizens. (Does this act reflect panic?)

Forget all of that and also forget the kissy-kissy of Rice while she shipped cheap cluster bombs to Israel that ended up in our backyard promising to keep us busy for years to come.

The PM forgot to mention that winter is approaching fast and that tens of thousands of his fellow citizens are still without houses to shelter them after Israel destroyed theirs in July. He forgot that those tens of thousands of Lebanese were promised - by him and his government (and their friends) - shelters and care but nothing has materialized so far. Let's not mention the roads that were not fixed, the stinking health care system that was never better, the cluster bombs that kills and maims daily etc. One could carry on forever this way. Who or what will stop these tens of thousands of Lebanese from raising the Lebanese flag in protest against the PM and his government who seems to have nothing to say in his defense but ask us to raise flags to protect his government.

The PM also forgot (not the first time) to mention that among the martyrs that he envoked are thousands who were killed four month ago. And that they too paid the price to protect Lebanon. Who or what will stop their families and friends from protesting today against a government that forgot their struggle and sorrows.

The PM's mistake was to give the impression that all Lebanese are martyrs but some are more martyrs than others.

30 November 2006

Open-Ended Sit-in in Downtown Beirut Friday

"Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, terming Premier Fouad Saniora's government "failure," called for an open-ended sit-in Friday in downtown Beirut to achieve what he described as "political partnership" in running Lebanon.Nasrallah, in a televised statement Thursday, described Saniora's cabinet as "a government representing one party … Lebanon should not be ruled by a single party.""

details

29 November 2006

Lebanon: Minister Pierre Gemayel Assassinated

Lebanon witnessed this week the brutal assassination of its minister of industry and trade. This terrorist act overshadowed all other events and topics in the Lebanese blogosphere. Nevertheless, the posts were as varied and different as the political inclinations of the Lebanese themselves. Here is a sample of what they had to say:

Blogging Beirut and Liliane posted some pictures from the scene of the crime and from the demonstration and funeral that followed.

Lazarus comments:

It is telling when a group of warlords point fingers and claim righteousness
when a young man is brutally killed. what is more disturbing however is the
Machiavellian “intellectuals” who expect that riding the tailcoats of warlords
to a sovereign and independent Lebanon is the way to go. They see a goal (which
most us do share) and sincerely believe their path is the “smart one”, yet I
wonder if they realize that they have been walking on a treadmill for the past
two years.
Abu Kais saw that:


The battle for Lebanon right now centers on the tribunal that will bring the
killers of Hariri and others to justice. The court’s local and foreign opponents
are stopping at nothing to block its formation, including assassinating members
of the cabinet that will approve the plan.
While MarxistFromLebanon mentions an SMS message he received calling for him to participate in the demonstration:

I got this sms on my mobile phone and it seems it is circulating through out
Lebanon:
“Imagine Wi’am Wahab, Assem Kanso, Nasser Kandil, Sleiman Franjieh,
Talal Arslan, Mohamad Fnesh as your new ministers, Salim Hos as your prime
minister and Michel Aoun as your President!
Participate Tomorrow and they
will stay home!”
Another point of view from Dr Victorino de la Vega:
President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert and their Saudi Islamist friends were
quick to blame this horrendous crime on Syria and Iran, even though there isn’t
a single shred of evidence against these two countries. Maybe we could ask Dick
Cheney and Mike Ledeen to fabricate a few colorful proofs with the help of the
Israeli embassy in Niger- think nuclear “yellow cake”… hmm yummy! ;)In fact,
Pierre Gemayel was a leader of The Phalange (“Al Kataeb” in Arabic), an overtly
Fascist Christian group modeled after Franco’s Hispanic version of the Nazi
Party called El Movimiento Falangista: not really the standard textbook
definition of a “democrat”… even by the Middle-East’s notoriously low
standards!
The Rambler compares “news” from neighboring countries with “news” in Lebanon: ...

Read the rest (plenty more) here...

26 November 2006

Worse than Sectarianism

The private savings in Lebanese banks amount to about 60 billion US dollars.
This is keeping the Lebanese economy from total bankruptcy. So far this is good.
But .…

60 percent of these savings are owned by 2 percent of the Lebanese.
I will not do the math.
This two percent do OWN Lebanon.

I have observed the democratic and progressive crowds descend on Beirut time after time.
I have heard them chant for the longevity of the Beyks, Sheikhs, Princes, etc.
These titles, for those who are unfamiliar with the Lebanese taxonomy, are feudal titles that are lingering around for hundreds of years now.

The feudal lords happen to be among the two percent mentioned above.
These feudal lords are leading Lebanon to a new century of democracy and equality as they have effectively led us through the turmoil of the previous century. They will lead us as their grandfathers led our grandfathers to modernity.

Our feudal lords, may the Almighty Lord keep and save them, own the land of the eternal cedar and its glorious people.

Yes there is something worse than SECTARIANISM.
It is FEUDALISM.

NB: Don’t nobody get me wrong, I am for the International Tribunal.

22 November 2006

Statements: Impending Gloom

Franjieh’s statement that March 14 needed blood to mobilize their supporters to stand up to and stop the opposition (Hezbollah, FPM etc) from massively demonstrating and toppling the government is just too fantastic to believe. This is like a person committing suicide to see who will attend the funeral. March 14 leaders must be a group of lunatics to do that.

March 14th statement that the purpose of Pierre Gemayel’s murder is to stop the international tribunal is too absurd to believe. The resolution on the tribunal was passed unanimously with no debate as a result of the murder. This has happened before when resolutions were to be passed on Lebanon; resolutions that would have taken some discussions and maybe undergone some changes. The accused must be extremely dumb to keep repeating the same mistake of accelerating the international tribunal that will indict them.

The respect gained whenever leaders (Jumblat etc) state that they were mistaken for taking a certain path quickly vanishes when they decide to stay and lead to and through another righteous path that they just discovered. The people (poor etc) pay the price.

Olmert is worried. He is afraid; in fact he is praying that the latest assassination will not lead to the destabilization of the region. Olmert is man with a heart of gold after all.

I may just be too simplistic and idealistic in my analysis or maybe I am suffering from the syndrome of living in Beirut continuously for more than two decades.

I just heard that ex PM Salim Hoss' home in Beirut was attacked by group of young men raising some party flag. They were repelled by the security guards.

Tomorrow Minister Gemayel will be laid to rest. Cars with loudspeakers are roaming the streets of Beirut calling for massive participation in the funeral.

May he rest in peace and may his killers suffer the consequencies.

Two Questions

A couple of weeks ago Ms Rice and Mr Samir Ja'Ja' went on record for stating that they expected assassinations of prominent figures. The prediction was even detailed as Ja'Ja' expected ministers to be assassinated. At the same time news broke of gun silencers crossing through the airport directed to the American Embassy in Lebanon.
Yesterday a minister was assassinated and a silencer was used.

First question: How did they know?
Second question: Why is it that there was practically no protection or security around Minister Pierre Gemayel?

Who has the answers?

21 November 2006

Pierre Gemayel

Tomorrow, 22 Nov, Lebanon should have celebrated Independence Day.
This will not happen.
Lebanon is not independent.
All three branches of the government are rusty and screwed up.

Today Minister Pierre Gemayel has been assassinated.

31 years ago, an attempted assassination on Pierre Gemayel, the grand father, sparked a civil war that lasted 15 years.
The fallout of that war continues till this day.

Yesterday I remembered Gebran Tueini. I disagreed with most of Gebran’s ideas, but I used to watch him and listen whenever he spoke.

He was like an antithesis, a catalyst instigating the thought process, causing the rethinking of ideas taken for granted.

Pierre Gemayel was starting to fill the gap that Gebran left. Now he is gone.

Who the fuck would want make Pierre a martyr?

Assassination is wrong. Today is another sad day on the road to destabilization.

We are walking a thin line. We expect tough times ahead.

May his mother’s heart, his family and children find peace some day.

Lebanon: Campaigns, Politics and Photos

A wide variety of topics were highlighted in the Lebanese blogosphere this week. There are campaigns against sectarianism, child abuse and AIDS as well as minorities speaking out. There are attempts to define the shades of grey in internal Lebanese politics. We also have posts about the media, nice photos from Lebanon and some political cartoons. Countries around Lebanon also had their share of criticism. Anyway enough of that now and let’s check out a sample of these posts:

The Jews of Lebanon think it’s time to speak up:

Is it time to speak out? We have been seriously considering approaching the Lebanese government regarding our concerns and issues and getting an official response. Every indication suggests that the government regards the Jewish community as any other minority in Lebanon and as such, we expect a favorable response.

Lebanese Bloggers Forum has a post on the campaign against sectarianism in Lebanon:

I have recently received the images below by e-mail from a couple of friends under the heading of “Stop Sectarianism Before It Stops Us”….And given the recent rise in sectarian political tensions in Lebanon, I thought this would be as good a time as any, and this forum as good a place as any to air these fresh, smart, provocative and highly relevant images, and the ideas they raise.

Annie highlights the November 19th International Day Against Child Abuse, saying that abuse can manifest itself in different forms, from verbal abuse to GBV (Gender-based violence) and sexual abuse, school and domestic violence.

While Liliane tells us of 12 ways to join the fight against AIDS.

Moving away from campaigns to the media, Pierre Tristam has the following to say about Al Jazeera English channel not being allowed to broadcast in the US: ...


Read the rest here...


Topics From 192 Countries

This is what you get when 192 persons from 192 countries cooperate to write ONE blog:

you get Topics From 192 Countries .

What did you expect? :-)

16 November 2006

Wanted: Moderate Flock?!


Bush, Rice and Olmert are recruiting moderate Arabs.
Bush, Rice and Olmert have recruited moderate Liberman.
Bush, Rice and Olmert are moderates and hang out with moderates only.
So chill man cuz only
Bird of moderate-feather
flock together.

Image: Laz

11 November 2006

Major vs Minor Changes

Bush has started his minor cosmetic changes in the aftermath of the midterm elections.
Lebanon is minor.
Lebanese politicians are minor.
Lebanon and its political mess will surely witness some changes.
Is change always good?
Joseph puts it this way: “No one in Lebanon is as important to Bush as Rumsfeld has been.”
And yet he is gone.

So beware.

Tribunal and Secular Lebanon

How can one speak about the failures of the Lebanese government, and the entire political system in Lebanon for that matter, without being accused of wanting to derail or disrupt the inevitable forming of the (semi) international tribunal that will indict the murderers of PM Hariri?

Try criticizing the traffic jams in and around Beirut or Fatfat’s proposal to post cameras all around Beirut and observe the reactions.

And how can a new web site about secularism do any good in a country where even secularist are tuning their ears and minds to sect-terminology and sect-taxonomy appreciation? Where the simple questions like “where are you from” or “what food do ‘you’ eat” have sectarian connotations? In a nation where “we” has a different definition for different persons at different times.

Beit Hanoun and its Sister Villages

Where does one get training on how to criticize or argue or show Israeli atrocities and to defend Palestinian rights or disclose their miseries without being labeled as Anti-Semitic?

How can one express one’s anger at or disdain for Zionism or Israel’s policies without being accused of acting as a terrorist or planning in the dark to throw Jews into the sea?

Rice and Olmert are always sorry for ‘their’ massacres (oops I meant mistakes) but then that’s it. No amendments to their actions. No one is held accountable. Even a simple and useless meeting of the UN to declare condemnation (words) is opposed.

Iraq

Saddam is declared guilty and condemned to be hanged for his crimes. Bush and Co agreed. But this verdict did not help in the midterm elections. Maybe the capture of Bin Laden wouldn’t have helped save them either.

Day by day the crimes committed by Bush and Co in Iraq come to light. They even surpass Saddam’s. In fact Saddam is an amateur compared to Bush and Co.

Will anyone be held accountable?

08 November 2006

There is hope


Who said the Americans are politically naive and are easily swayed by the media?

The results of the American midterm elections are simply good news.

Check Pierre's updates of these elections as they go.

Lebanon: Sweet and Sour

Iraq, Palestine, Israel, and an alternative drink to the regular carbonated soda were topics discussed in the Lebanese blogs this week.The reconvening of the internal political discussion among rival Lebanese politicians in the form of “the consultations” was also the focus of many blogs.
Before embarking on the tiresome task of reading about the various conflicts in the Middle East it is advisable to start with the refreshing “jallab” drink which is described graphically by Jamal:

In Lebanon, well in the Middle East to be more precise, the ultimate thirst
quencher is Jallab.Jallab is two parts. The chilled liquid part is made from a
syrup concocted (yes I love the verb concoct and all of its concoctions) from
dates, grapes, and rose water. Part two is best described by…
The issue of female/male relationships in Lebanon (and maybe elsewhere) is a thorny one. An article was published in the New York Times discussing just that. Among the many bloggers who critiqued this article was Rampurple who blasted :
This article make women in Lebanon seem so desperate for marriage where in
reality, if we are simply going to talk about the women clubbing, most of them
are university students and/or career oriented women not so desperate for
marriage as they claim. […]I also find it degrading for men, to place a quote in
the article that all men who stay in Lebanon are not-ambitious, have closed
mentalities and stay to find a virgin to marry. In my opinion hat quote is
hilarious…
Let us now turn to politics, war and other related issues. Let’s start with Lebanon. What does each party in the wide Lebanese political spectrum want from the discussions they are having? Jamal has one answer:

Read the rest here....

31 October 2006

Ban Cluster Bombs and Punish the Users - Dammit!

Join us on Nov 4 for the National Day Against Cluster Munitions.
Remember that Lebanon has none.
But Israel does have some and has used them. Israel threw about 5 million of these bomblets on Lebanon.
40 percent lay unexploded in the soil of quarter of the area of Lebanon.
Almost every day they kill and/or maim youngsters and elders alike.
Not to mention the other phosphorous and radioactive munitions, but let's not digress.

Anyway, it will be at Martyr's Square Area (some call freedom square others downtown but that doesn't matter now). From 11AM to 10PM.

Lebanon: Political Uncertainty and Men

Many Lebanese blogs are reflecting the internal political bickering that is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty about the future of the country. Most of the posts in this weeks review are bleak with little hope for the future. This is something that is very unusual for a people who take pride in being life-lovers. But then this may just be a phase Lebanon is passing through.

As the “war of words escalates” Blacksmiths of Lebanon compiled a list of pro and con quotes that have lead to a general sense of unease.

Hilal (Ar) summarizes the situation by stating: “this is a country hanging in void”.

And to add to the political uncertainty some elements of security doubts, Bech tells us about gun silencers caught by security forces at the airport in Beirut.

The Grateful Arab describes the infinite cycle of crumpling and rebuilding of the Lebanese society by comparing it to the myth of the Sisyphus. Then points out that:

The response of the Lebanese civil society to the July War is infinitely more
important for the future of our country than anything that happened on March 14,
2005. We urgently have to build on these achievements as our only hope of
survival as a country at this point is the strengthening of our civil society.
NGOs in Lebanon need to be supported at all costs, they need both volunteers and
funds (an area where expatriates can particularly help). Change will only happen
from the bottom up.
Liliane sees the political situation getting worse with little hope for the future:
I don’t know how I actually still have hope that Lebanon will shape up to get
better. We all know the children of today are tomorrow’s politicians, so how can
it get better while the way children (most) are being raised will only lead to
more xenophobia and prejudice.
Meanwhile more victims of the Israeli war on Lebanon are falling almost daily more than two months after the cease fire was announced as pointed out by Lazarus.

The rest can be found here...(at Global Voices Online)

26 October 2006

Lebanese Encyclopedia - LebPedia

Samer at Carpe Techno has embarked on a difficult but worthy project of a wiki-Lebanese-encyclopedia which he calls LebPedia.

This is an online encyclopedia which anyone can edit or add contents to just by visiting.
The same as WikiPedia, the free encyclopedia.

The search is on for volunteers to add contents etc. So if you are willing to help go to CarpeTechno or visit LebPedia and contact Samer or sign up to the mailing list.

Good Luck, especially when adding contents on Lebanese history (ya latif) which, I am sure, will be continuously edited.

Lebanon: Communities and Contradictions

Weekly roundup of Lebanese Blogosphere for Global Voices Online:

The Lebanese blogosphere is growing like crazy. This means that the following summary is not all inclusive. And in the attempt to cover as many new blogs or newly discovered blogs as possible, other interesting posts and/or blogs are missed. But you can always find links to worthy blogs in previous summaries or check back here every week.

The end of last week was the end of the fasting month of Ramadan or Eid al Fitr, and Amal commemorates the occasion with a not-so-smiley face reflecting the situation in the region: (the script in the photo is Arabic for “Happy Holiday”)


The issue of the Lebanese Jews is not a popular topic of discussion in Lebanon. The Jews of Lebanon is a blog tackling this topic in particular. In this post the author summarizes and critiques the book “Jews of Lebanon: between coexistence and conflict” and declares that the Lebanese Jews were pioneers in promoting nations independence.

There is a Palestinian community in Lebanon. Most of them are refugees since 1948. And Hilal has this to say about them:

Read the rest here...

24 October 2006

Julia Boutros Sings Nassrallah's Words

The theme of Julia's new video clip is Nassrallah's reply to a letter sent by the fighters resisting the Israeli invasion last July.
The reply was transformed into lyrics by Ghassan Mattar.
Mattar, the composer (her brother), the director (a Boutros too) all belong to the secular trends in the Lebanese spectrum (sectrum) of "colors".
They do not even belong to the same religion as Nassrallah. (Boutros = Peter)
Go figure it out...
Bravo Julia!

Watch the video clip here.


via Hilal

Julia Boutros Official Website


Lebanon: Beirut and Blogging

Weekly roundup of Lebanese Blogosphere for Global Voices Online:


This week some of the bloggers of the Lebanese blogosphere flirt with Beirut and with blogging. But you will always find politics, religion and war. Remember that Lebanon is in the Middle East.

Why do you blog? Why do I blog? Why does Maya[at]NYC blog:

read the rest...

17 October 2006

Angry Neighbour

I have been itching to post this photo for months.

Now seems to be a perfect time with Olmert screaming at us to smoke the peace pipe with him right after whacking the hell out of us and shouting "now look what you made me do to you?!".
I don't know the source of this photo so if you do please tell us.

15 October 2006

Call for Support

A call for support from my blogger friend Karin for:
...1st. Lt. Ehren Watada who refused to go to Iraq, deeming this an
immoral
and illegal war. The important part is that not only HE will be standing
trial (and facing up to eight years in prison) but the war
itself (and
together with it it's "organizers") will be legally
questioned.

I feel that Ehren is the one who stands up for what all
of us feel ... and don't find it fair to let him stand alone!

14 October 2006

Lebanese Blogs Round Up

This week's round up of blogs in the Lebanese blogosphere for the Global Voices Online:

Lebanon: Politics and the Finer Arts

The political turmoil in Lebanon seems to be taking its toll on the Lebanese blogosphere. Many posts reflect on the internal squabble going on. But we can still find some art, poetry and environmental concerns.

Starting with the fine art of caricature: Amal started a series of cartoons in which she draws Lebanese bloggers in addition to her cartoons on current events. Her latest was that of Jamal. Check out her depiction of other bloggers like jij, eve and hilal.

In the spirit of Ramadan, Jamal defines the meaning and job description of the “Msaharati”:

Read the rest here...

12 October 2006

Book of Genesis. "Brand New Middle East"

And God created G W Bush.
And God saw that he was good.

And God said to G W Bush.
"Go to the chosen land and bring the folks back to me."

And G W Bush came to land of Iraq.
And worked and preached and prayed and fasted for three years.

And G W Bush sent 655 000 of the people of Iraq to God.
And G W Bush is still working and preaching and praying and lying as hard as he can.

G W Bush has not seen the light yet.
And neither has God.

10 October 2006

Oct 9, First Day of School

In a show of solidarity, all of Lebanon started official teaching yesterday, Oct 9.

I started my official classes - as a teacher - yesterday.

Before entering the school courtyard at 7:15 in the morning I saw a homeless sleeping on the doorsteps of a church on Makhoul St, in Beirut.

While returning home around 5 PM, I met another homeless picking up and eating grapes from the trash cans facing the Picadilly, Hamra St, Beirut.

This is not my Lebanon?!

Slander

Karin is receiving hate comments because of her position on the affairs in the Middle East and the world. And of course she is accused of being - guess what - an anti-semite...

Over the last number of days I find myself being the victim of rather nasty
and even malignant harassment. The two people who seem to have as goal to
unnerve me are IBRAHAM AV, STEPHEN KOHN and SHLEMAZL. They were both warned by
me in no uncertain terms to stop this despicable conduct otherwise I would take
consequences and delete their comments. They decided not to pay attention and
continued slandering me...

the rest...

06 October 2006

An Urgent Call

The following call is from our fellow blogger Sophia at Les Politiques:
"Foreword:
Because the US, the first power in the world, is an integral part of the Israeli-Arab conflict, siding with Israel no matter the circumstances, and even intiating wars in the middle east on behalf of Israel and asking Israel to do the same on ist behalf, it is becoming clear to everybody by now that the US is incapable of playing the role of a honest peace broker in the region. The EU was and is still absent from this scene trying to work out its internal divisions and to catch up on the US's hegemonic new role in the region and the world. The future is grim in the middle east. It is this context, I [Sophia] believe, that pushed the signatories of the following decalaration to unite in one voice calling for an immediate settlement. I [Sophia] am translating here their statement as published in French by le Monde. The list of the signatories is long (more than 140) and include, as you can notice, many personnalities from across the globe and the political spectra; ex head of states, ex prime ministers, ex ministers, ex ambassadors, etc... "

"The text, which is my translation from French here, is also in English at
the site of the
International Crisis Group who launched the initiative ."

Bringing the Israeli-Arab conflict to an end

"We are calling, as the middle east has been going through its worst crisis ever, for an urgent action from the international community to come up with a global settlement to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Except the extremists who prosper across the world stage by exploiting the rage generated by this conflict, we are all losing. Every passing day is taking away from us the perspective of a peaceful and durable solution. As long as this conflict will last, it will engender violence and instability in the region and beyond. [...] "

read the rest here...

04 October 2006

Blog Round Up

This week's roundup of Lebanese blogs for Global Voices Online:

The Lebanese blogosphere keeps growing day after day. Rampurple, who is a member of the Lebanese Blogger Forum and who maintains the Lebanese Aggregator in addition to her own blog states that the total number of Lebanese blogs in the aggregator have reached 287 so far. This makes the task of a round up of blogs even harder; nevertheless the following is a sampling of some of these blogs starting with the non political posts.
Maya@NYC and Ana Min Beirut are back with the male-female debate. Maya@NYC started the deliberation like this:
In the morning, the reflection in my bathroom mirror is just a façade. It
carries nothing in it. Just shapes, colors, forms. I am not there. I am in
someone’s mind, on someone’s thoughts, in someone’s heart. In someone’s eyes.
There are men that look you in the eyes. They look at you intensely and make
every effort to hear your laugh.
To which Ana Min Beirut replies:
For us men, that experience is much much less philosophical or existential if
you want. Of course we do look at the mirror to size up the shape of that ever
growing gut and we pat it in and out trying to make it disappear or we can just
turn half-way so that the angle is such that we see no gut. Of course we do
stand and flex those muscles and say to ourselves: “Damn, those muscles put that
Schwarzenegger dude to shame”.

Murphy’s laws may be well known but Ahmad mentions some lesser known dictums of Murphy:
Light travels faster than sound.
This is why some people appear bright until you hear them
speak.
He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
Those who live by the sword get
shot by those who don’t.
Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented
fool.
Perpetual Refugee is the Lebanese blogger who wrote about his experience while working in Israel. Perpetual Refugee stopped blogging for a while after the latest Israeli war against Lebanon. He returned to blogging this week with a post in which he says:

02 October 2006

Good Deeds

Don't congratulate them when a new child arrives. Congratulate them when the child grows to do good deeds. -African Wisdom

Updated Photos Here...

01 October 2006

Haifa - Nassrallah - Twist

Lebanon is a twisted country. Not lemon twist. DNA chain twist. A twist within a twist within a twist.
I did not see Haifa Wehbe's interview on New TV, but Prof As'ad reports that she said her heart beats for Hassan Nasrallah when she sees him. I don't believe it is only a sectarian thing (she being a Shiite et al) as he said. I have heard admiration and adoration for Nassrallah from ladies across the sects. Although I have to agree with the Prof that sectarian polarization has reached a critical point in Lebanon with no secular alternatives in the horizon. Secular parties have so far been a total fiasco, but that is another story.
This sentiment towards Nassrallah is shared by ladies around Lebanon who also have a thing for the Italians landing on the shores of the South.
Do we need social scientists to explain this phenomenon?

27 September 2006

Catch-22 Irony!

The chief of Hezbollah (Party-of-God, Islamic-Resistance-in-Lebanon) forbids (tahreem) his followers from engaging in any form of sectarian strife in Lebanon, stressing that the split, although critical, is political, not sectarian, and is part of the democratic struggle and claiming that both sides of the divide include representatives of all major sects.

The leaders of the Cedar Revolution (which includes the Future Movement, Progressive Socialist, Lebanese Forces and which is Bush’s validation for the success of his democratic “crusade” in the Middle East) collect, separately, their followers in separate sets according to their sects and speak sectarian (and feudal et al) to them.

And as if this situation is not absurd enough, Rice herself intervened, in this internal Lebanese “democratic” post-war struggle, in favor of the anti-Hezbollah camp, predicting more assassinations (?) and a brighter future (??) in “probably several years”.

Bush did not deliver in Iraq!

Bush will not deliver in Lebanon!!

A Rally for a Rally and a Tooth for a Tooth

Minister of Social Affairs (or Welfare?) Nayla Mouawad (barbie of the parliament), whose voice and poise were absent during the war, except when helping in the attack against Hezbollah, rides in style to be on time as not to miss a moment of the counter-victory rally by sectarian Lebanese Forces. (Photo)

Another Lebanese patriot at the Lebanese Forces Counter-Victory-Rally (Photos):

Now for photos of "Non-Lebanese-Patriots from the other Non-Lebanese-Virtual-Devine-Victory-Rally"
Here is Sheikh Hariri (mini) putting on the "robe of leadership" and vowing "a rally for a rally and robe for a robe" or something like that (photo):

And another less publicized Lebanese-Rally from up north of Lebanon sometime in the past (photo)


Conclusion:
Nassrallah is so HUGE we need three speeches by three large leaders (Hariri, Ja'ja', Jumblat) to counter one of his.

Bremertz may have found the tooth of the suicide bomber who was involved in the killing of PM R. Hariri.

The word on the street in Beirut is that it is coated with gold!

26 September 2006

Nassrallah & Ja'ja'

The following is a beatiful post on the Lebanese Forces rally and Ja'ja's speech from Remarkz:
Political Desperation is Never a Good Thing

And by the way, the not-so-civil-war at Ain el Roummani has nothing (and I mean nothing) in common with the resistance in Maroun el Ras. And those who did not call for a government of national unity when Ja'ja' was in prison [and Aoun in exile] are his present allies the Hariris and the Jumblatis. And the asshole on LBC who was trying really hard (squeezed butt, squinted eyes) to convince FPMers and Aoun that those at Harisa (Ja'ja's LF martyr's rally) are his people (flock=sect) not those at the other rally (Victory rally), well he's just an asshole...

On the other hand Nassrallah's speech is given a very thorough analysis by Sophia in this post:
Hassan Nasrallah: The New Face of Moderation in Lebanon and the Middle East ?
Reading it is worth the time and effort.

And while your are at it I will be going about being busy waiting to welcome my second child to this world.

25 September 2006

The Misery Unfolds - Slowly...

"The bodies of five children have been removed from under the rubble of a collapsed building in the south more than two months after it was hit by an Israeli air strike....Ali Alawiyah identified his two daughters Aya and Zeinab, his son Hussein and his nephews Batoul and Abbas..."
- Naharnet

24 September 2006

Environmentally Friendly Weapons!!

Green Peace should love this.

Environmentally friendly artillery with reduced carbon emissions, quieter warheads to reduce noise pollution, recyclable bombs that produce less smoke and can be converted into manures, and lead free bullets. Like that when you shoot and kill a person your conscience is clear that you did not cause lead poisoning.

Don’t dare suggest beating the sword into a plow head [how naïve!].

How could you think that the concept of green munitions is a contradiction in terms?

Can it be Called Victory Rally?

HezbAllah can claim victory.

And this rally can be called Victory Rally.

Why?

Because one of the main goals of the Israeli collective and indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon during July and August was: to create a major schism between HezbAllah and its civilian supporters.

This evidently did not happen.

23 September 2006

At the Victory Rally

Look who was there in red!

20 September 2006

Lebanese Blog-Round-Up

This week's roundup for Global Voices Online:

This week Lebanese blogs discusses circumcision, the environment, the Pope’s quote on Islam, Lebanese politics, post war hardships and suspicions among other things.

Let us start this weeks sampling by answering these questions: What if Google was used to settle battles … who would win? Interested in knowing? Lazarus has graphical answers to a number of world conflicts.

What do you think about male circumcision? Maya@NYC wrote on this and other stuffs. Her post sounds like this:

Female brains work in mysterious ways. Even for a female observer. I have seen the tantrums, the jealousies, the possessiveness, the suspicion, the disregard… But male brains… not to be sexist or anything…. Men have this PC-inspired quality: shut down completely before updating the information. Tonight, an American female friend, after 3 hour of chatting and 1 glass of wine (or was it the other way around?) finally gathered the courage to ask me: so is circumcision a big thing in Lebanon?

What do you think of the environment in Lebanon? Take a look at the photo of the sad state of the Beirut River taken by Anarchorev.

Now let us look at the topic which had the most posts in the Lebanese blogosphere this week: the Pope’s quotation about Islam during one of his lectures. The reaction to the Pope’s quote was not just a simple attack or defense. They were in fact very diverse. They range from a call for inter-faith marriage to declaring that all religions are intrinsically intolerant.

Sietske in Beiroet makes the following call:

I myself am very much fed up with the whole religion issue, and I think my best contribution to this society has been to marry someone of a different faith. And when I think about it, all my good friends are mixed couples. We’ve got a Christian-Druze couple, a catholic-Sunni, an orthodox-Sunni, a Shia-protestant, a Shia-Sunni, to name just a few. And these are all marriages of 13 years or more. They all have kids that are oblivious to the fact whether someone is a Christian or a Druze or a Muslim. You want to do something for your country? Marry someone from the other sect. And make it fast. Time is running out.

Read the rest of the round-up here....

18 September 2006

One of Naji's Unpublished Work

Here is an unpublished caricature by Naji Al Ali. It shows a boy sitting and poking his penis. The boy's feet are cut off. The script (Ar) reads "It is forbidden to stand in the face of America [USA]. [Signed by] the Arab regimes.

Sabra and Shatila

"There’s another significant anniversary this week, but not one that’s attracted the sort of attention the 11 September commemorations have.

On the morning of Saturday, September 18th, 1982, reporters entering the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila near Beirut, Lebanon, were met with a ghastly sight. Piles of bodies littered the dusty streets of the camps, mass graves had been hastily constructed and buildings had been bulldozed over corpses. The slaughtered were old men, women, and children. A massacre had taken place here. The estimated death toll were in thousands.

What had happened here? What could have provoked this type of inhuman slaughter? Who did this?"

Thanks Sabbah

13 September 2006

More Cluster, Phosphorous and Inaccurate Rockets Used by IDF

It turned out that the UN was wrong about the number of unexploded cluster bombs (duds) still lingering in South Lebanon.

It turned out that the number is not 100 thousand. It is actually around 500 thousand since the total number of cluster bombs delivered to Lebanon is around 1.2 MILLION according to an article by Meron Rapoport in Haaretz today.

The article quotes a commander of a MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as saying:

"In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs, what we did there was crazy and monstrous..."

He also said that the

“IDF fired some 1,800 cluster rockets on Lebanon during the war and they contained over 1.2 million cluster bombs”

The United Nations' land mine removal team in Lebanon expects that 40 percent (equivalent to half a million) of the bombs remain unexploded.

The MLRS commander also said that the IDF used:

“cluster shells fired by 155 mm artillery cannons, so the number of cluster bombs fired on Lebanon is even higher.”

The article goes on to state that:

“…soldiers in the artillery corps testified that the IDF used phosphorous shells…”

And how accurate (surgical precision?) were the rockets used?

“The commander asserted that there was massive use of MLRS rockets despite the fact that they are known to be very inaccurate - the rockets' deviation from the target reaches to around 1,200 meters - and that a substantial percentage do not explode and become mines.”

Read the rest. Very striking revelations…

12 September 2006

Round Up of Lebanese Blogs

Here's this week's round up of Lebanese blogs for Global Voices Online:

Lebanon: Field Trips, Wardrobe Personification and Poetry

Have you wondered why most women like shoes? Or can blogging be life threatening? Then read on and see what answers the Lebanese Blogosphere has. This week’s blogs have topics that are as serious as a threat to a fellow blogger for his political cartoons and as light hearted as a comparison between shoes and men and neckties and women. You will also find trips to and photos of the battle fields in South Lebanon plus stories of recovery and accounts of the horrors of unexploded cluster bombs. This roundup ends with an interestingly “looking” piece of poetry.

Maya@NYC starts a post by asking: “Why do most women really like shoes?” She then starts her detailed answer by saying: “Shoes are like men.” Well, you may want to read the rest.

Ana Min Beirut does not let Maya@NYC get away with her hypotheses. He replies in a post of his own: “Women are like neckties”.

The war on Lebanon may be over but the problems it created still linger. Many bloggers wrote about leftover ordinance that are causing post-cease fire casualties. Especially cluster bombs:

Sietske-in-Beiroet visits the South of Lebanon and posts photos and information about this problem.

“When Criticism of Cluster Bombs is “Anti-Semitic”” is the title of a post by Mirvat at the Lebanese bloggers Forum. ...

Check out the rest here...

11 September 2006

Not in my Name!

PM Tony Blair was one of three leaders who refused to support a cease fire during Israel’s indiscriminate war on Lebanon few weeks ago. The other two were Pres Bush and PM Olmert for obvious reasons.

PM Blair admits that he allowed British airports to be used to transport US smart bombs to Israel. And we all know where these bombs exploded.

Blair collaborated with Bush in propagating false basis for the invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq. Casualties in Iraq amount to tens of thousands and still counting.

Blair days as PM have expired. His ministers are resigning. His people are asking him to leave.

Yesterday he was in Palestine/Israel instigating Palestinians to fight each other and supporting Olmert who has in custody (read kidnap) members of Palestinian cabinet and parliament. The same who were elected according to US and British set standards.

His visit to Lebanon today prompted the deployment of army and security around Beirut. His visit prompted a quarantine of downtown Beirut to protect him from Lebanese love and hospitality.

Lebanese have gathered on the outskirts of downtown to welcome him with banners that read: “You are NOT welcome”.

Was he invited and if so by whom?

Is he carrying a message? What is this message and what a poor choice for a messenger?

Will PM Sanyoura give him a hug and a kiss too?

Will he be offered baklava?


9/11

September 11: International Day AGAINST terrorism.

All forms of terrorism.

State sponsored terrorism included.


"Latuff Threatened by the Israeli Right-Wing Party"

Freedom of speech and tolerance?!
My blogger friend Ahmad has this story about the cartoonist Latuff. Many of his cartoons on the recent Israeli aggression against Lebanon were posted at Ahmad's blog. They seem to have caused some hurt to some Israelis prompting some threats against him:


It was not very surprising when I learned that my friend Carlos Latuff has been threatned by the Israeli right-wing party. His courageous cartoons must be causing a lot of discomfort for those who cannot handle an opposing opinion. The initial page is in Hebrew. (You can view it here) Below is a screenshot.


"This Carlos should have been 'taken care of' a long time ago, in some way or another. The question is: what should we do, and whose responsibility is it to do so?"
More...

Jim Webb for U.S. Senate*

Jim Webb is a Republican centrist who served as Assistant-Navy Secretary under President Reagan.

He quit the Republican Party in the early 1990s, after clashing with the staunchly pro-Israel
“Neo-conservative” ideologues he viewed as enemies of America and the West.

Today, Jim Webb is running as a Democratic candidate in the Virginia senate race.

It is said George W. Bush and Nancy Reagan are furious about
Jim’s soon to be released television ad featuring excerpts from a 1985 speech by President Reagan praising his leadership…

I believe that Jim Webb will make a great U.S. Senator from Virginia.

Jim is running against George Felix Allen, a self-declared friend of the Israeli fascist far-right and a staunch supporter of President Bush’s neo-colonial wars in the Middle-East and South Asia.

You can make your voice heard in Washington by supporting Jim’s campaign: even a modest donation can help make a difference.


Please visit Jim's website to learn more about him and about his candidacy.

*This post is copied as is from "The Middle East Memo"

08 September 2006

The Divine Council of Maronite Bishops (and Sex)

Divine President (to be)

The Council of Maronite Bishops wants a president who is competent, experienced, objective and altruistic with high moral and physical qualities and above trivialities….

For this, they will need to forge the powers of Our Lady Zeinab, Our Lady Aicha and Our Lady of Bishwet and even then they will need divine intervention and even then they will need…

Divine Nation

"Lebanon is considered a nation of minorities that coexist in peace and love and thrive for the common national good. In Lebanon, there are 18 religious confessions. Each of them has rights and obligations as stipulated in the constitution," - The Council of Maronite Bishops

Yesssss! 18 sects happily enjoying one larger than life orgy party beyond your wildest fantasies. 18 sects squeezed in a country smaller than kisss el 3a2rabi [scorpion’s vagina].
18 religious confessions coexisting in peace and love.
Not 4 million citizens with equal rights and opportunities!
No!
18 herds of sheep lovingly, peacefully and happily following their divine leaders… eh wAllah!

Divine Victory

"But there are groups that take unilateral decisions and take the country to where we don't want to go" - The Council of Maronite Bishops

You thought they are talking about the Shiites?!
Nah!!
The Maronites, Sunnis and others had their turns in the past.
Yes!
This is a divine nation of 6x6 mukarar.
What is done by or to one sect [herd] must also be done by or to the others.

Divine Sectarianism

A modern secular Lebanon is not in the near future.

Divine Sex (recycled)

We are screwed.

Divine Leaders (and Sex)

Divine Bush

This secret of secret prisons is no more a secret. The other secrets will have to wait for now.

And:

Detainees are not tortured (emphatic with bangs on the table). We just smoke them out and beat umm extract the hell umm the information out of them. Our methods are tough [macho], safe [condoms] and lawful [that is the reason for secrecy].

But we do not use torture, I say!
Read my lips!
And by the way, are you with us or against us?!

Ahmadinejad is nothing when it comes to God’s will. Ahmadinejad is not part of God’s will.
God told me [Bush] so.

Divine Ahmadinejad

Bush is nothing when it comes to God’s will. Bush represents the greater Satan. God told the Imam Mehdi (GSHA) who told the Ayatollah Khomeini (GBHS) who told me [Ahmadinejad] so.

Divine Sex

We are screwed.

Air Blockade Lifted (yeh right)

Minister Aridi said the Jewish state lifted its blockade because of Beirut's "steadfast position" and "pressures" brought to bear on Israel.

Poor Lebanese officials.

Actually thinking their silly sleep-in, few courtesy phone calls and theatrical press conferences actually bore pressure on Israel.

Tsk tsk a nation whose leaders are as such.

Pity us if we think we are ever NOT besieged.


Meanwhile more casualties from leftover ordnance.

Crocodile Hunter

I always feared that "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin will be killed by a crocodile.

06 September 2006

This Week in the Lebanese Blogosphere

This week's round up of the Lebanese blogosphere for the Global Voices Online:

Topics discussed in the Lebanese blogosphere this week involved, among others, literature, war-art, the art of souvenir production and war-humor.
Peace is a topic that is almost always present. A few samples discussing and dissecting the concept of peace with Israel have been selected for this week’s roundup. In addition to these we have historical account, from a personal view point, of one blogger who lived the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and what followed. Happy surfing. Check out the rest...

05 September 2006

Take a Look

Look at (read and study if you like) this table of the list of collective massacres perpetrated by Israeli Army in its attack against Lebanon in summer 2006.

Now have your say.

Did you know that the number of Palestinians killed (in Palestine by the IDF) during the Israeli attacks on Lebanon is greater than the number of Israeli killed by Hezbollah rockets on Israel during the same period?

Isn't it a shame that Lebanese (including Danny in Emirates and other nationals) would rather send their donations for the reconstruction of Lebanon to Hezbollah than to the Lebanese government?!
Their reason: Hezbollah is known for its honesty while the Lebanese government officials are notorious for their corruption.

Back to Square One

Breaking news this morning:

A convoy carrying former head of the intelligence branch of the internal security forces Lt. Col. Samir Shehade was targeted by an explosion in Rmeileh near Sidon. He and five of his companions were injured.

more: Naharnet and the BBC

04 September 2006

Nano to Terrorism

What is nanotechnology?
A basic definition would be: the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale.
In other words it is the engineering of tiny machines.

How tiny is tiny?
Atomic and molecular tiny.
A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. The average human hair is about 25,000 nanometers wide.

What can nanotechnology produce?
Lifesaving medical robots or untraceable weapons of mass destruction.
Networked computers for everyone in the world or networked cameras so governments can watch our every move.
Trillions of dollars of abundance or a vicious scramble to own everything.
Rapid invention of wondrous products or weapons development fast enough to destabilize any arms race.

Who’s so hot about the idea these days (and has always been)?
Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres.

Why?
He wants it to be used in the fight against terrorism of course.
Read this quote from what said the other day:

In a war of this type, it is necessary to have the use of a completely new kind of technology, such as nanotechnology - a new dimension, and not merely enhancement of existing technologies. A terrorist activist may be deterred if he knows that he could encounter new means that make it possible to detect him, even among a large crowd; that his hidden weapons could be found by invisible means. The defense system should use tools that are operated from a distance, robots and intelligence of a kind not yet known.

I had the privilege to introduce new weapons systems into the Israel Defense Forces that gave Israel the deterrent capacity it still enjoys today, that is to say, a capability that remained in force for some 50 years. I am convinced that it is possible to do so again, and for a long time.
Fair enough. Terrorism is abhorring to say the least.
Have all other methods failed, or is it because of the large investments Peres has in this industry?

More on nanotech...

 

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