15 March 2007

Lebanon: Women, Politics and the Zalghouta

This week’s summary of the Lebanese blogosphere has posts about politics, peace activism, internal tourism, tradition, feminism and how to cook moghrabiyeh. So let’s start:

In an educational and well prepared historical essay, Mustapha Mond discusses what he sees as the major reasons of the political crisis that Lebanon is stuck with today:

The time has come to congratulate the Lebanese for creating the most polarized and dysfunctional country in the world. Here we are, roughly divided into two groups busy demonizing each other. and going out of our way to reject any validity in our opponents’ views. Each side asserts some kind of monopoly to what being Lebanese really represents, and holds massive demonstrations waving the same flag, but agreeing on little else. […] Of course, as Lebanese we have excuses which include a litany of grievances. Our first basic problem has to do with our history: it is the most exclusionary narrative you can think of, as it is only relevant to about a quarter of the population. Furthermore, history books go out of their way to alienate the rest of the country.
[…] Some people will argue that history is irrelevant, that it is just a lame excuse used by those not patriotic enough, who refuse to adapt to the widely accepted paradigm. But in order to believe in Lebanon, you have to be part of it. Currently we have two well-defined camps who accuse one another of not being Lebanese enough. They are both wrong as no single movement has a monopoly on what being Lebanese really represents.

Still in the domain of politics, Tearsforlebanon reports about a group of peace activists that demonstrated in Beirut for the politicians to lay off and stop driving Lebanon to the brink of a civil war.

Beirut- Hundreds of Lebanese peace activists demonstrated in Beirut against perceived threats of civil war to tell politicians to keep their “hands off” the fate of the people. Responding to calls by 12 groups, the protesters rallied at the intersection that once divided Christian east and Muslim west Beirut in the 1975 to 1990 civil war. One protester said: “By this action, we want to tell our politicians that they are irresponsible and that the Lebanese people will not let themselves be dragged into a new civil war.” Another protester said: “To live in uncertainty about tomorrow and in continual fear is not an inevitability.”

While Hillz writes an Arabic post in which he discusses civil war and political turmoil and contradictions from which the following passage is translated:

I need to write a script that does not end. After you finish reading it, you find that you are back at the beginning. Then you have to read all over again. […]
When I looked at the new ID card that does not have a mention of the owner’s sect, the barcode on its back caught my attention. I innocently said, (yes, I was innocent once upon a time), that the sect is hidden here. I said that the future has a war in store for us. Militia men will stand on road blocks with tech–devices that can swallow the ID card and reveal the sect that is hidden in the code. I expanded my theory to say that killing will become killing according to the electronic ID card version 2.1.

With all the problems, Lebanon is still loved by its inhabitants. Check out this photo essay by NightS about the southern Lebanese city of Tyre: .....

Read the rest of it here...



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