23 January 2007

Strike and What the Sect-O-Meter did not Measure

Once upon a time, fifty or more days ago, about a million Lebanese took to the streets. They were protesting about some things. They shouted, they screamed and they camped close to the offices of the prime minister and his cabinet. They ate kaak and aranees of corn near the offices of their elected parliamentarians.
But what was the response?

1– A racist campaign led by ministers and representatives of the nation, accusing the protesters [most of them Lebanese with no other nationality] of adopting a “culture of death” that is incompatible with the superior Lebanese “life loving culture” [forget the fact that some of the accusers were themselves warlords].

2– A campaign of racist–sectarian–fascist insults calling on the low–life–dirty–tfeh–not–like–us to go protest somewhere else, like at the site of their demolished homes in Dahiyeh and the South. What about the others that are not from the Dahiyeh or the South? Well let them go with them too.

3– A campaign calling for the division of Lebanon into cantons because those protesting do not have the genetic makeup to become civilized–cosmopolitan–savvy Lebanese with the ability to go shopping.

4– Myopic, loud statements by some representatives of the government saying: we don’t care, you can stay as long as you want, and we will not even blink an eye.

5– The sect–o–meter* was used to determine the sect–concentration of the protestors. It measured a high concentration of a certain sect proving that they are not worthy of any response. What about the other Lebanese from other sects present? What others!? The sect–o–meter did not measure any other!

6– And so on…

What is the result?

The result is today.

The result is an escalation of the protests into strike, riots and confrontations, reminiscent of the spring of 1975, the year when history was paused (and still is) for Lebanon.

LBC mentioned 5 deaths and more than one hundred injuries during the day. A reporter expressed her dismay because in some places, the opposing parties were Christian Maronites. She even asked them, at one location, for the reason that they were protesting and facing members of their own sect [skin?!] since the sect–o–meter did not measure the presence of Christian Maronite in the sit–in protests during the past fifty or more days.

One comforting difference between today and spring 1975 is that the army is still intact. But what's new is the criticism, by the "pro–government leaders", of the army’s performance today.

By the way, Hezbollah is not the only armed party in Lebanon and I believe all Lebanese should be disarmed before it is too late.

*The sect–o–meter is a proud Lebanese invention (like hummus and tabbouli) that can measure the concentration of sects in any crowd. It still needs some fine tuning though.

21 January 2007

Identity Revealed (updated)


First, there was the "I love life" campaign, which I thought was a promotion for the New Year's eve celebration at Biel (silly me).




Then came the "I love life with dignity" campaign with graffiti-like alterations of the above mentioned campaign (aha, now I got it, slow me).
The first is a pro-government campaign meant as a sequel to the "Independence05" slogan. And the second is the opposition's rebuttal (right?)



And then (for now at least), comes the "I love capitalism campaign" correcting the identity of the first pro-government (pro-KSA pro-West) "I love lifers" and their campaign.


Nevertheless, always the more...

Addendum:

Oh yeh, and there is this mini-campaign (now on blogs, not yet on billboards near you): "tell me what you love and i'll tell you who you are" that Hassan kindly reminded me of.
It is a production by Mazen Kerbaj. He calls on the lebanese to print and forward it but tells the international reader: "do not try to understand" it.

18 January 2007

State of Affairs

Poor to non-existent connection at home.

Barred from connecting to blogger at work.

Too lazy (depressed anus) to go to an internet cafe.

Lebanon: A Bouquet of Topics

A variety of subjects were brought up in the Lebanese blogosphere this week. Following are some of the topics with links to selected posts about each. Hope you enjoy reading them.

On the Environment:
The oil spill that covered the Mediterranean coast last July as a result of Israeli bombardment of civilian oil fuel depots in Lebanon is well underway and largely successful according to this update with pictures by Blogging Beirut.

On Art, Poetry and Paintings:
When coffee is prepared in the traditional Lebanese way, also called Turkish coffee, coffee grinds are left at the bottom of the coffee pot. Ibn Bint Jbeil used these leftovers to paint. The paintings are posted on his blog with accompanying poems.

There are more drawings and paintings by Mazen which he posted on his blog Kerblog. And even more paintings by Suzanne Alaywan which she also posted on her Blog.

On the Economy:
Lebanon ski resorts, which are a major tourist attraction, and a source of income for Lebanon are suffering according to TearsforLebanon.

The labor unions in general and the Lebanese Labor Unions that have recently joined the protests going on in Beirut are the subject of an analytical and historical article by Marxist From Lebanon. The article ends with the conclusion:...

Read more about other topics here...

11 January 2007

Doomed to Repeat the Past

America used the school to create a melting pot; we used it to reinforce sectarian identity at the expense of the national identity,”

said Nemer Frayha, the former director of the Education Center for Research and Development, a research organization that develops Lebanon’s curriculum.

“From the start, I am forming the student as a sectarian person, not as a citizen. And what’s worse is that the people who are encouraging this are the intellectuals themselves.”

The young are doomed to repeat the past. Contemporary history is fed by families, passed on in the streets or handed down by political leaders with agendas.

Is history in Lebanon cyclical, helical, spiral, rectilinear or simply a big pile of horse shit?


Daddy Comes to the Rescue

Don't send a child to do a man's job. The CIA has decided to take charge and handle things directly, with the help of its democractic-life-loving Lebanese friends.

The Central Intelligence Agency has been authorised to take covert action against Hizbollah as part of a secret plan by President George W. Bush to help the Lebanese government prevent the spread of Iranian influence. Senators and congressmen have been briefed on the classified "non-lethal presidential finding" that allows the CIA to provide financial and logistical support to the prime minister, Fouad Siniora.

The Bush administration hopes Mr Siniora's government, severely weakened after its war with Israel last year, will become a bulwark against the growing power of the Shia sect of Islam, championed by Iran and Syria, since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Mr Bush's move is at the centre of a fresh drive by America, supported by the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt as well as Israel, to stop Iranian hegemony in the Middle East emerging from the collapse of Iraq.

the rest...

Bush's new policy in Iraq: copy-paste the liberation of Iraq with all its effects and outcomes to Lebanon.

10 January 2007

Lebanon: Politics of Economy

The Lebanese blogosphere seems to be in a semi-lull this week. Nevertheless some bloggers reflected on topics such as the theory of evolution, the economical situation in Lebanon and the execution of Iraq’s ex-president.

Omar does not believe Darwin’s theory of evolution. He discusses natural selection, fossil records, hominid theory and his faith to explain the reasons why.

Anarchorev
, at Blogging the Middle East, posts a photo of Jews celebrating Bar Mitzvah at Magen Abraham Synagogue in Beirut.

And check out Ibn Bint Jbeil’s attempt at a bi-lingual poem (English and Arabic).

Now away from science, photos and poetry and back to war, economics and politics.
A special eulogy dedicated to the ex-president of Iraq titled “Saddam Died Beautiful” is posted at The Middle East Memo.

The Lebanese government is preparing for a conference in Paris, called Paris III, with the goal of getting financial aid for Lebanon. Remarkz is among the blogs posting about this topic.

Marxist From Lebanon also discusses the Paris III conference, criticizing both the government and the opposition for their positions towards such conferences and the financial and political obligations attached: . . . .

Read the rest here...

03 January 2007

“Hadan Mish Ma’ Hada” or "The Beirut Collective"


Remember the brave hearts mentioned in this post: "Hadan Mish Ma' Hada" on the 30th of Dec?

Well they are officially called "The Beirut Collective".

And they can be reached through e-mail at the following address: beirut.collective@gmail.com

or at their website: beirutcollective.taharar.org

Thanks for the info Sarah (member of BC).

Lebanon: Saddam Hussein and Lebanese Politics

The last week in 2006 wasn’t just about the celebration of the holidays. There’s also the anti-government protest, the hanging of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and politics in the Middle East. Let’s start with the non political posts.

The environment was the concern of Dove’s Eyes View who comments on the Bush’s administration most significant concessions to date on the dangers of global warming as it proposes protecting the polar bears. This, she wrote, marks a reversal by the administration from its reluctance to acknowledge the consequences of climate change.

And Layal voices the concern of a Lebanese youth who refuses to leave Lebanon despite the current political conditions and even though all of her high school and university friends are traveling abroad.

The hanging of Saddam Hussein brought many bloggers back from their holiday-break. The following is just a sample of the opinions and comments on the subject.

Pierre Tristam wrote about the hanging of Saddam Hussein in a very strongly worded critique about the invasion of Iraq in what is known as Operation Iraqi Freedom and about the policies of the US administration in the Middle East:

There was, at dawn on Saturday, no “justice” meted out in the assassination of Saddam. It couldn’t even have that Mussolini feel about it: a popular execution in broad daylight, unafraid and unquestioning, because in this case the executioners themselves have too little to distinguish them from the executed. It isn’t just their faces that are masked, but their motives and future plans. Meanwhile the hanging has been merely the enactment of a scene written in American stage directives almost two years ago, to fulfill another one of those sensational benchmarks the Bush administration invented as substitutes for real strategy, for policies that could make a workable difference for Iraq.

Sophia also had this to say about the hanging of Saddam: ...

Read the rest of the summaries here...


01 January 2007

I may be breaking the law just by posting this:

This legal ruling in Sydney may become a precedent that will radically change the internet as we know it.

It considers a simple link to other websites as a breach of copyright and as piracy.

If this rule is copied around the world then alternative news websites, search engines etc will have to be significantly modified or just shutdown.

What about blogging?

Well this would effectively put an end to all blogs.

Happy new year everybody.

 

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