27 February 2006

“Dialogue” (Al-Hiwar) VS "Truth and Reconciliation"

What if we continue ignoring the skeletons in our closets?
What if the policy of one-person’s-hero, another-person’s-traitor persists?
How long will it be before the children of the heroes from both sides re-live the heroic acts of their fathers and seek martyrdom for God, country and honor?

The passage of time alone cannot bring closure, nor resolve feelings of guilt or trauma for those affected by the events of the civil war (1975-1990) and its consequences or reasons. Simply forgetting what happened will not make the side-effects go away.

Unless the truth surrounding these events, and the ones that followed is honestly confronted, the suffering fully acknowledged, accountability established, and forgiveness and reconciliation facilitated, we will always be faced with the risk of a new civil war.

What we need in Lebanon today is a model more like “truth and reconciliation” model that was applied in South Africa and elsewhere.

The call for “dialogue” (Al-Hiwar) is good, but it will keep the problems and postpone them instead of solving them once and for all.

Anyone who has traveled on “old Saida highway”, which is the road separating Chiah from Ain el Rummaneh, and seen the amount of army personnel deployed there will understand what I mean. This same road was the “demarcation line” with two opposing factions fighting each other across it during the civil war.

The feuds and quarrels are rampant among teenagers and youngsters in schools these days, in addition to the universities. In some places, even children in middle school are involved, echoing the battle cries of their parents.

We need to confess our grievances and our guilt. We need to accept for once that we (by we I mean sects or whatever) are not infallible and that each one of us has done and can do wrong.

Otherwise the future is bleak.

Wa Al-salamu-a-ly-kome. (and Peace be upon you)

More links: no to war; 7iwar; civil war (1); civil war (2); leb war; the photo

26 February 2006

Petitions… Re-runs

The petition to remove the president that is being signed now with the hope of getting a million signatures, brings back memories of the petition we campaigned for a few years ago for civil marriage to be a choice in Lebanon.

We gathered 55000 signatures, a large number then, considering the issue and the time.

We marched with the signatures to Nijmeh Square (Parliament Square) on the 22 of March 2000, (8March+14March=22March for those who find meanings in numbers).
We even got a large number of signatures from members of parliament.

It also came to pass during those days that the cabinet voted with a majority of two third to send the law (Pres. Hirawi’s proposal as it was called) to the parliament. The bill was not sent, the one third who voted against it, Prem. Hariri and his bloc, vetoed it.

Any way the law was not passed and was never ever discussed.

But we keep on living happily ever after. Thank God for Cyprus.

24 February 2006

خصخصة المؤســســات الدســتورية والســياســية

يقول عـلي:

اما بعد…

لما كان السـبب الذي يبرر للحكومة اللبنانية خصخصة القطاعات العامة هو افلاس هذه القطاعات، وبما ان المؤســســات الدســتورية والســياســية مفلســة ، فإني أقترح خصخصتها ايضأً.

وإذا كانت المحافظة على الســيادة الوطنية عذراً مانعاً، فلتعرض على الشـعب اللبناني.

وبما انه ليس من شــعب لبناني بل طوائف متعايشـة وفقاً لإتفاق الطائف، يمكن التحايل على هذا الإتفاق وعرض المؤســســات الدســتورية والســياســية على المزاد العلني. ولتتقدم الطوائف وتزايد. ومن يدفع اكثر لمؤســســة ما، يأخذها.

وبذلك يمكن لطائفة ما ان تعلن امتلاكها لمؤســســة ما.

"ما هِـيّي دافعه حَقْها.

وْإذا بدّن، ياخدو وصل."

اسـمي ليس بيانا ســياســياً

يقول عـلي:

ليس لإســمي اي معنى ســياســي ولا يعبر عن اي موقف طائفي او فلســفي.

وأقســم بالله العظيم انني لســت جزءا من اي تحالف اقليمي او دولي، ولم اتظاهر، لا في 8 ولا في 14 آذار.

لســت مندســاً.

ولا احمل اي جنســية اخرى غير الجنســية اللبنانية.

فأنا لبناني حتى يثبت العكس.

بشــرفي " قصـدي طيّب وما بدي إلا إخدم."

"لإنو انصرع راســي."

أنا الآن، وبدون اي ضغط او ترغيب، وبكامل قواي العقلية، أبصم بالعشرة، ان كل الســياســيين معهم حق.

بس يحللولنا اياها، العمى!.

23 February 2006


What is this orgy of insults and profanity taking place in “freedom square” tonight? It is being broadcast live too. Demanding the president’s resignation is one thing but demanding revenge, and taking turns in "zajals" of insults is another thing.

This is not the democracy that we want to replace this regime. These are not the people who would make me feel secure if they ever rule. They are not different from the other regimes.

Hide and Seek

Most of the ministers refuse to meet in the same place with the president.

He insists on presiding over the meetings.

He insists on following them.

Therefore, from now on, the ministers have decided to outsmart him by not telling him where they will hold their future meetings.

He will have to figure it out all by himself (the smart man he is!) in order to meet them.

It will be a game of “hide and seek”.

And to hell with the people and the country.

22 February 2006

Metamorphosis of the Wimps

Our “all wise” parliamentarians have issued a statement stating that they were coerced to accept the extension of the president’s term in office.

Our “brave” representatives claim that the pressure was too much to bear.
They were weak then. But now, oh yeh, now they are stronger, better, faster…
They ate their share of broccoli. The Syrian did not allow them to eat broccoli then.
They got their shots of guts and balls. They are now immune. They can now withstand any pressure.
Shit, who are they bitching?

If they broke under pressure then, when they should have resisted, how can we trust that they will not bend today.
This statement is self-convicting.

This statement should bring them down too with the president.

No wimps for parliament.

How did they get there in the first place?

Consider this: I learned recently that the Arabic word for drinking straw is: المــاصّــة (Al-mass-uh)
The literal translation is “female sucker”.

20 February 2006

Quoting Ali. يقول عـلي

على سيرة الشريك الآخر في الوطن: "الشــريك الخرى، خســار وخســرو."ء

شــعار المرحلة: "لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله."

فالآن فهمت زياد الرحباني في قوله: "جربنا نتّـكل عليكم، رجعنا اتـكلنا عالله."

17 February 2006

We and the governments of the west

We* go way back with the governments of the west. We have a long history of misunderstandings and misconceptions. Many centuries of “cultural exchange” could not create a common language or bridge the gap between us in spite of our great admiration for their progress and strength, and despite our sincere attempts to learn from them and even to mimic them.

We were so carried away with the ideals of the French revolution and enchanted with the symbol of liberty, Paris, but what did we get? We got Napoleon and his troops.

The age of nationalism swept us and we threw the Ottomans out to make way for secularism. But instead of secular national states we got the rule of mandates of France and Great Britain with their cutting and dividing games.

To them we were reduced to a “canal” here, a “rail-road” and an “oil well” there.

We embraced or were embraced by the age of the United Nations and its charter. We hailed human rights, and the right to self determination. However, the west supported and endorsed the throwing out of Palestinians and replacing them with Zionists from Europe and other places.

We contended the issue of Palestine. They added to it Iraq and littered the gulf with military bases. Now Syria and Lebanon are within the critical range of the occupation.

They fought and destroyed quasi-secular nationalistic trends for decades giving way to fundamentalist religious and sectarian groups. These groups – once their allies against socialism and communism – are now their enemies.

In Iraq we were in a dilemma. We were so ashamed of the dictator – their protégé – that we did not know how to demand lifting the ten-year-sanctions. These sanctions led to the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi children. And later we could do nothing in the face of the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

Of course, we were not and still are not capable of managing our own business. We were, and maybe still, lost in the clichés. We failed in war, in development and in the true meaning of revolution. We failed when we accepted tyranny in the name of liberation. We lost our liberty.

We are being dragged, by force, to “civilization”. Will we be alive to see how this will be done using tanks and jet fighters.

We want human rights, liberties, democracy etc. We also want to be treated as humans. Thus, demonizing and dehumanizing most of the Lebanese, Palestinians, Iraqis and Syrians are unacceptable.

We owe the west for uncovering our archaic ways and methods. We know that they are powerful to the extent that they can invade and occupy us. They are so advanced that we need them if we ever want to advance. We know that we don’t have the weapons or the knowledge to resist them, at least not now. But we call upon them to let go – like we are trying to do –of their own fundamentalism, of the myths of Zionism. Their fundamentalism has awakened ours. And now they are feeding each other in a vicious circle.

Some may say this is an ancient language. This is the sound of a defeated past in the face of the glorious global village where identities disappear in the face of economic oceans without borders.

If this is true, then tell me why the Palestinian issue is placed on hold for more than fifty years now. And why was Iraq invaded and occupied despite the United Nations will to do otherwise. And why is a small country like Lebanon bothering the engineers of the “new and great Middle East”.

All this may be small in the eyes of the great nations but it is the life and livelihood of millions of humans on this side of the world.

*Arabs or whatever you think our identity is, this being a different problem that needs to be resolved.

** Special thanks to Suleiman Takeyyidine.

13 February 2006

Sham* Squared

May the souls of the martyrs rage till justice is done!

Tomorrow, Feb. 14, Lebanese activists will take ‘Martyrs Square’ again (‘Liberty Square’ or ‘Hariri Square’ as it is now called).
They will try to relive those beautiful moments of ‘Beirut Spring’ of 14/3/05– (bil izin, Mustapha).

Even Hezbollah and Amal are going to take part.

They will try to regain the feeling of euphoria felt then, before our ‘all wise’ politicians touched and corrupted the occasion with their petty quarrels.
Those unifying moments that bore sour fruits of feuds and divisions for silly elections and power games.

But we can not expect more from these ‘great’ politicians, descendents and heirs of feudal lords who controlled and enslaved our forefathers for generations.

Yet we allow them to take over every liberating moment!

It is very difficult to experience those feelings again!

A lot has happened since 14 Feb. 2005. Events that would have taken this already divided country to civil strife. Miraculously the country has kept its peace.

Some say this is because there is no political decision to take up arms. Others say that it is the spirit of unity that binds both squares (8/3/05 & 14/3/05) under one flag.

What ever the reason, the country has kept it peace so far, and let the souls of the martyrs rage until justice is done.

*sham = deception, fraud, con, pretense.

Anonymous heroes of Ashrafieh

This is an account of a man – a hero – in Ashrafieh. He was so furious when he saw the mob destroy his neighbor’s car during the infamous Denmark-cartoon-demonstrations last Sunday, 5th Feb. He went to his room and got his rifle (AK-47). But just as he was about to leave his house and take action against the vandals, he remembered the bus of Ain El Rommani that started the civil war in 1975. He went back to his room and swallowed his pride. I don’t know his name. I am sure others did the same. These people did not fall in the trap.
They are true heroes. I salute them.


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