30 May 2006

Les Drapeaux de Mon Pays

Did you believe that all that cedar-flag waving on all those glorious days and dates actually united the Lebanese under one drapeau? Well think again.

The cravings for a strong, serious and honest national team continue.

Meanwhile we expect more spectacular displays of more and more colors.

The more you look the more you see.

27 May 2006

FBI, now you see them, now you don't

Why weren’t the FBI asked to investigate this explosion in Saida yesterday like they were asked to do with the other ones before? Those killed yesterday were Lebanese too.

Snips and Snippets

Pierre Tristam on the "Marines’ Haditha Massacre":

Of course the first line of defense, for those craven enough to defend atrocities just because Americans commit them, is to say that Iraqis do worse. And in fact the U.S. military, after lying about the massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last year, then lying about the number of Iraqis killed, then covering up the massacre…
All lies, of course. There were no insurgents hiding among civilians. There was no crossfire. The Marines weren’t defending themselves. They were out on a rampage, murdering at point-blank leisure, logding bullets in the heads of women and children, My Lai-style.

Les Politiques on "Compassion, Israeli style: Sending arms to Abbas" and "Being a victim: A political definition":

On the other hand, it is ironic that while blocking financial aid to the Palestinians Israel is transfering arms to them! This move is designed to make sure that no solution will emerge from ongoing street battles between Fatah and Hamas other than the one which will benefit Israel by ingniting a civil war in the Palestinian territories. At this point Israel will be able to tell the world again and again that there is no partner for peace to speak with on the other side and finally goes its own way.

Israel has been shelling Gaza daily recently and the matter seems abstract, the casualties are always reported (when reported) in abstract numbers. For those who are not killed by Israeli shells, the hardship is unbearable, even by local standards.

The Big Think Tank on the Nakba, Hamas and Abbas:

In reality, there was a major "purification"of Palestinian land by Jewish military and paramilitary forces in 1948, which amounted to partial ethnic cleansing. "'Disappearing' the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence," writes Israeli historian Tom Segev.

While we are constantly reminded that Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel, we are never told that, since its creation, the Jewish state has sought to destroy the Palestinian people and erase the very memory of their existence from history.

Sabbah's on "Samson Blinded: The Book of Israeli Terrorism Manual"

Yahoo and Google banned the book from advertising programs, Amazon deleted all reviews, GoDaddy canceled hosting, and Booksurge terminated publishing contract. Denounced by leftists and criticized by the ultra-right, author claims receiving threatening letters from both Jews and what he calls “anti-Semites”.

26 May 2006

Longest Living Lebanese Ritual

Place: LAU [Lebanese American University]
Time: Few minutes ago
Event: Progressive Socialists [Lebanese for Druze] and AMAL [Lebanese for Shiites] celebrated the after Liberation Day party with sticks and stones that actually broke some bones. They also strengthened their brotherely bonds by the traditional Lebanese ritual of spilling and mixing blood. Now their unity is baptized with blood.

Another Place: LU [Lebanese University]
Time: Couple of days ago
Event: AMAL [Leb for Shiites] and Hizbullah [Leb for Shiites] participated in the same ritual as they were gathered to prepare for the Liberation Day festivities. They also used belts and bones when democratically disputing who should be Walley el Faukih. The spirit of brotherly love ruled.

Yet Another Place: Another one of the many Lebanese universities
Time: More than a couple of days ago
Event: Lebanese Forces [Leb for Maronites] and Free Patriotic Movement [Leb for Maronites] competed in a clean and fair fight. And of course the traditional ritual was practiced accordingly. The spirits of freedom, seyada [Leb for sovereignty] and independence were flying around them while true blue Lebanese blood was quenching the thirst of the land.

While these events were taking place, Dr. Charles Elachi was visiting universities and schools in Lebanon and lecturing our students on the possibilites of conquering space and sending manned missions to Mars and beyond.

25 May 2006

Liberation Day: the Good, the Bad and the Bullshit

Today is no longer an official national holiday. PM Saniora decreed earlier that it should not be. The rationale: we need to work harder to catch up with progress. Yet most, if not all schools and universities in the Bekaa, Southern Beirut and South Lebanon closed today to commemorate Liberation Day.

Today most of Lebanon relives the triumphant liberation of more than half of Lebanon from the Israeli occupation. Invasion and occupation: started before 1978, completed 1982.

On the 25th of May 2000, after 22 years of resistance led by Lebanese from many different parties and from the north, south, east and west of Lebanon (my Lebanese secular way of saying different sects) Israel officially announced its withdrawal. Back then, during the years of the resistance, sectarian differences were not yet amplified by the magnifying glass of the all-caring and compassionate international community.

On that day, and for the first time in its history, Israel was forced to withdraw and acknowledge defeat. I remember that day clearly. I remember the surge of euphoria that I felt. How I regained my confidence in activism. Those feelings became dilute when Baghdad fell.

Today the other most of the Lebanese don’t want to celebrate for fear that this may indirectly give credit to those obnoxious pro-Syrian parties that took part in the resistance. This is the ugly face of our Lebanon that we can no longer hide (thanks to the microscope of the international community). This is when and where everything done or said finds itself transformed instantaneously, spontaneously and magically into a gruesome incomprehensible sectarian beast.

Some of these most Lebanese genuinely believe that Israel withdrew from Lebanon on the 25th of May 2000 out of its own accord and from the kindness of Sharon’s ailing heart, and that the resistance was in no way even remotely responsible. Israel was simply and honestly complying with UNSCR 425. It means nothing that it took them almost 20 years to do that. Now this I believe is one big smelly pile of bullshit.

24 May 2006

Qatar: [F] Probation. Bolton: [A] Summa Cum Laude.

Upon observing and evaluating the work and performance of the following cadets at the United Nations, ًWe [I] the undersigned and the most judicious and exalted among all examiners decree the following:

Cadet Qatar: "has played a very counterproductive role so far as a member of the Security Council and has shown a mixture of weakness and submission which most people [we] did not expect. We feel that this is very unfortunate. We hope there will be a change in the behavior, in the attitude which [cadet] Qatar is showing."

Cadets Russia and China: We feel "dismayed and disappointed by their role, [they are] stalling and delaying [and not doing their assignments as they are told]"

Cadet Iran: a bully and a nuke pusher and should be severely punished to serve as an example for other bullies and nuke pushers.

Cadet Bolton: a secret member of [our] own team at the United Nations. [It was our secret but] "today the secret is out. We really are not just five diplomats [in the team]. We are at least six including John Bolton."

Master Sergeant USA: [Our] lead defender in the Security Council, using the veto power to kill critical resolutions.


The most astute and glorious of all assessors and ambassadors:
Dan Gillerman
Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations

23 May 2006

"Beyond Traditions"

“Beyond Traditions” is the newest album by Ziad El Ahmadie. It is truly beyond tradition. It’s oud going really wild and happy with percussion and all other instruments.

The signing of this album will take place at La CD-Thèque, Achrafieh, Independence Street, Beirut. Date: Thursday June 1, 2006. Between 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Let there be music!

17 May 2006

Cedars grow on Everest too

As Pierre said: "For all the failures of those talks, at least that one image manages to be so moving." photo source

16 May 2006

The Days after the "Nakba"

58 years after the "nakba" [Arabic for catastrophe]. This is what is left of Palestine. Plus some old keys of old homes and some hopes. source of map

15 May 2006

"The Pain"

The words are part of a song by Lebanese "pop-star". They translate as: "look at the wawa, kiss the wawa". Wawa is baby-talk word for pain.
Thanks Amal

"The Model"

Whether it's "Iraq the Model", "Gaza the Model", "Palestine the Model", "Lebanon the Model", "Afghanistan the Model", or "Wherever the Model", the results are always the same... a trademark, and registered too... (beware of imitations)

13 May 2006

A Lebanese Low: Bolton Honored

"There is no such thing as the United Nations. United States makes the U.N. work, when it wants it to work. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it would not make a bit of difference. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States." - J. Bolton

John Bolton was awarded the “Shield of the Cedar” by the "American Lebanese Coalition" and the council of the “Lebanese Forces”.

This ceremony was attended by representatives* of “March 14 movement”.

This is a Lebanese low.

Is it an inferiority complex that drives us to generously compensate westerners for their courtesy?

Five representatives of the March 14 (or is it Feb 14 or April 1) leaders went out of their way and took the effort to attend the honoring of John Bolton.

John Bolton was honored for his invaluable contribution to the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon.

Yeh right!

His contributions are so great that our teeny-weeny brains can not comprehend or even detect.

Or maybe we should just be patient and wait for their glorious arrival as was foretold by the oracles.

Can’t we all see his team’s extremely evident contributions in Iraq and Gaza?

This man disdains and has no regard for the U.N. and is not ashamed to declare it.

His own country’s Congress refused to give him a job at the UN.

Bush had to play around with the law and appoint him during a recess.

The man is an extremist, to the right of the right of the neocons.

He prides himself for being responsible for annulling a UN resolution that considered Zionism a racist doctrine.

This man is low. His boss has hit bottom with ratings even less than Nixon during his final days.

Yet our “freedom-fighters”, for some mysterious reason, took the “Shield of the Cedar” and presented it to him.

How cheap is the cedar of the “Cedar Revolution”?

Bolton’s support for sovereignty and independence of Lebanon is as intense and genuine as Sharon-the-man-of-peace’s support for peace and green-peace.

*Dishonor roll:
Parliamentarian Antoine Zahra (Lebanese Forces), Parliamentarian Ghazi Yousef (Future), Ex-Parliamentarian Fares S’ayd, Douri Shamoun (President of the National Liberal Party), Lt. Sharif Fayad (Progressive Socialist Party).

10 May 2006

Demonstrators' banners read:
"We passed by but we didn't find anybody"
"We will be back soon"
Caricature: Saad Hajo

Google-bombing action for Alaa

This idea from Sabbah's Blog

Ok, let’s do something productive. It is called "Google-bombing for Alaa." Here is the deal: http://freealaa.blogspot.com/

A team of bloggers from all around the world are teaming up to create a special blog about Alaa’s detention. Then bloggers from all around the world are asked to link to this page using the text "Egypt". (Due to the way that Google’s PageRank algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor text.)

The initiator chooses a word to be searched : "egypt"
The initiator chooses the target website : "http://freealaa.blogspot.com/"

The initiator places this link in his website, as his signature in forum, in his blogs as a tag to a post, on his sidebar, etc… do whatever you like with it.

The initiator talks to other people about the “bomb” and tells other people to use the code in their own writings.

GoogleBot indexes and ranks, resulting in Google search having Alaa’s case as a first result


09 May 2006

Posing for a Cause (not for a tan) in Tripoli

Mohammad Omary believes in the power of pantomime.

Mohammad Omary has a message of peace, love, brotherhood and tolerance.

24 years old Mohammad strives for a society devoid of disease and corruption.

Mohammad chose the very “traditional and Islamic” northern Lebanese city of Tripoli (Assafir today) to act.

He mounted a monument, in one of the city’s squares, with only his shorts on and posed like a statue.

Everybody called everybody to enquire:

Who’s responsible for placing a “naked” statue on the city’s clock?

Who dares?!

The sheikhs and imams were called.

The mayor and the powerpuff girls were called.

Crowds gathered to see.

The police were prompt to reach the scene so that they can tear down that horrible thing.

Mohammad then started to take different poses.

Mohammad is happy for the confusion and the crowd.

It is clear in his mind that the people of Tripoli need this type of art.

He will surprise us with new activities in the near future.

Mohammad is brave.

Mohammad is high.

07 May 2006

Towards a Secular Society? (Part I)

The conference of the seculars in Lebanon was a tad short of a total fiasco.

I attended the concluding sessions on the second day of the conference. This activity was spearheaded by Bishop Gregoire Haddad and his Civil Society Movement. Although we were told that forty organizations were involved, the participants were just a few dozens, most of them young enthusiasts of one of the cults of Guevara (Guevara I respect, cults I abhor).

I asked the coordinator of the organizations participating in the event about this low turnout. His excuse was that they did not hand out invitations. Those invited got it by mail or email. And those who were handed invitations were the political parties and the parliamentarians, who obviously were not too eager to participate.

The concluding session was a reiteration of old clichés, wishful thinking and declaration of intents. It was agreed that plans of action will be planned later by some action committee that will be formed. Details of the topics discussed in all sessions can be found here.

This event was followed by a movie called “Dukannet el Sheikh Ali” (Sheikh Ali’s Shop). The picture could not be seen. The sound was inaudible. But we were told that it was a senior-year project. It is about three students, a Moslem, a Christian and a leftist (who represented the non-believer or the atheist or the secular). The movie was a mix of dialogues and interviews by these three and Sheikh Ali who is the shop keeper. While the Moslem and the Christian were shown in part of the movie in their respective temples worshiping, the leftist was shown in his cluttered room with pictures of Guevara, K. Jumblat, and Bob Marley etc. covering the walls and an empty bottle of booze on his table.

The events ended with singer Sami Hawwat and his group singing to the few dozens of activists adorned with Guevara-T-shirts, berets and kufiyas.
Here too the coordinator told me that Hawwat’s participation was not announced because they did not know early, during the planning, that he was going to contribute. He also complained that the media did not publicize the conference and that they don’t have enough finance to do so themselves.

What I saw: no money, no coordination, no participation, good intentions, wishful thinking, and no secular laws in the near future.

Sectarianism continues.

The opening session according to Al Nahar.

To be continued...

01 May 2006

May Day, Beirut - Lebanon

Some shaghlat/work that occurred today:

- Three celebrations in three different locations in Beirut, organized by different coalitions of some 500 officially registered Lebanese workers and trade unions.
N.B. Coalitions are in no way a reflection of political and sect-ual alliances. Any similarity is accidental.

- One of the six official factions of the Lebanese Communist Party organized a demonstration which climaxed with Gen. Sec. Hdadeh throwing a tantrum at everybody who was not in the demonstration.

- Four Israeli war planes paid the workers and farmers of south Lebanon a courtesy call.

- Israel officially declared that it can see, with graphic details, all our quirky sexual habits, wherever we are in the Arab world. It has the technology, the satellites and the curiosity.
Voyeur web sites now have an excellent source to increase the income of their workers.

- In another location, my friend Nouj voiced her anger at the news of the eminent closing of the Wimpy restaurant. It will be changed into a fashion outlet by the same people who bought Modca. These restaurants/street cafés served as meeting places for the “intelligentsia/intellectuals” of Lebanon since the sixties.
Wimpy has a higher status. It is the site of the first shots of resistance against the Israeli occupation of Beirut. This was carried out in the eighties by the secular Khalid Alwan.
Nouj is anxious that the closing of Wimpy is part of a planned “destruction of our collective memory.”
More out of work workers and intelligentsia are expected.

- Enough for now, although I have a feeling that I missed something.


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