30 April 2007

Haring

Keith Haring
Untitled, 1986
Acrylic on Canvas

Lebanon: Art, Water and Tensions

This week was marred by the kidnapping and killing of two Lebanese youth, bringing back memories from the dark years of the Lebanese civil war. This was the topic updated and analysed by most Lebanese bloggers. In addition to this sad event, there are blog posts featuring paintings, poetry and political analysis about the expected water crisis in the Middle East as well as the huge billboard with photos of the captured Israeli soldiers that was place on the southern Lebanese borders.

Read the rest of this review for topics like: paintings and poetry, water and billboards in South Lebanon and the kidnap and murder...

27 April 2007

Moment of Meditation

24 April 2007

Lebanon: Anti-Semitism, Fist-Fights, etc

Check out the following topics freshly picked from the Lebanese blogosphere this week. Enjoy:

A Case of Anti–Semitism?
An intense argument erupted between Prof Marcy Newman, who lectures at the American University of Beirut, and one of her colleagues after she sent out a flyer to AUB faculty announcing that the Lebanese Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid (LCEIA) would be screening two films as part of their campaign. Prof Newman posted her statements and the responses she got from the colleague. It is an interesting debate, considering that it is taking place in the political science department of one of Beirut’s prominent universities:

So apparently I’m a self hating Jew. Maybe I can be the poster child for this. I was called that yesterday by a colleague in the political science department at AUB. I was also called an anti-Semite, which I suppose is the same as self-hating since I am a Semite.

Questions for the Non–Secular
With Lebanon falling rapidly towards sectarian polarization, NightS poses these questions to the “non–secular”:

Questioning your god/faith shouldn’t be a pissing off subject!!
Think about it:
-All the prophets/messengers lived on this earth weren’t born with the faith they spread later.
-They had to think, wonder, analyze and “question” the existing faith to reach the new one.
-If they didn’t “question” anything, they wouldn’t have been what they are to us now.
-People followed them after they were convinced, convincing needed some “thinking” (both sides).
okay so far?!

Read the rest (Barricades and Graffiti, Fist Fights, Politics and Marriage, Virginia Tech) at Global Voices Online.

Image by diamond: "Barrier Art...".

22 April 2007

My Kind of Soap


Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap
The soap, called Shower Shock, supplies the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee per wash, with the stimulant absorbed naturally through the skin. Scented with peppermint oil, each bar is designed to provide a stimulant boost within five minutes.

more...

21 April 2007

Good Question

"Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."

These are the words uttered by the name now known across America-and much of the world; the name plastered on every newspaper headline, internet magazine, radio and TV station.

But very few networks or newspapers chose to emphasize this statement, or even publish it. It was relegated to the end of the text in almost every article I read on the incident.

Why then is there no media frenzy to uncover and parse to death every possible “Christian fundamentalist” connection that Cho might have had, even seemingly benign ones (“you belonged to the Christian fellowship you say? You attended a local church? The church once hosted a controversial right-wing leader? Your highschool roommate’s estranged cousin attended anti-east rallies?). You get my drift.

There is no question that Tuesday’s attack was horrific, and very sad.
What I am interested in though is-as is often the case-how the media is covering it?
more ->>>

Lebanon could well become Chirac’s Iraq

French President Jacques Chirac is set on starting a new bout of civil fighting in Lebanon. For months, his ambassador to Lebanon, Bernard Emié has been pumping steroids into the muscles of the US supported Lebanese Government. The French are conniving with the US administration to block all possible avenues for compromise between the Lebanese Government and the Opposition. This is effectively paralyzing the country and creating an environment conducive to civil strife.

Read the rest of Prof Rami Zurayk's article for an idea of why many Lebanese fear that a UN-sponsored International Tribunal may lead to a civil war.


16 April 2007

Four Years of Life Left

The honeybees are disappearing.

Honeybees pollinate most of the world's crops.
Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".

100% of almond trees (crop value $2.2 billion), 90% of apple trees (2.1 billion), 90% of blueberries (0.5 billion) are among the fruits, vegetables, nuts and other crops pollinated by honey bees each year in the United States.

Therefore, when the honeybees start disappearing at a rate reaching to 70% in some regions of the United States with no traces left, and when this phenomenon starts spreading out and reaching Europe, then there is a genuine reason for alarm.

It is still not clear why this is happening, but there is speculation that the use of cell phones may be the culprit.

15 April 2007

Lebanon: Remembering the Civil War

April 13, 1975 is officially the date when the Lebanese civil war began. It lasted for 15 years and it officially ended in 1990 after the Taif agreement. More than 150,000 died and hundreds of thousands were injured or displaced. Almost every Lebanese was affected in one way or another. Local groups and organizations commemorate this date with activities that remind everyone of the catastrophe of war with the hope that such activities will prevent its repetition. These activities may be of great significance today since the tensions and bickering among Lebanese political groups are reaching heights similar to those reached in the pre-civil war years during the seventies.

Following is a selection of some blog post that mentioned and discussed this topic.

In this post, Blacksmith Jade mentions an interview with three current leaders who were also militia leaders during the civil war. The paper interviewed them about their regrets and/or apologies for their actions during the war. Besides the defensive tone in their replies, their answers are interesting and may give a clue of what to expect in the near future.

Sietske In Beiroet
mentions and posts one of the leaflets dropped over Beirut by a group calling themselves “Lebanese Women for Civil Peace”. The leaflets call on the women to play a role to stop the re-emergence of violence. She also points out the name that Lebanese give to the civil war:

The Lebanese, when talking in Arabic, refer to it as ‘the events’. That phrase ‘civil war’ was coined by the west. There might be war in one part of town, but in the other part of town life went on as usual.

In this article, which discusses some of the reasons that cause civil wars, Courtney C. Radsch discusses the Lebanese civil war and calls on the leaders to work on preventing another one from taking place:

Today, Friday the 13th, marks the 32nd anniversary of the beginning of Lebanon’s bloody civil war, the day that sealed its future not as the Paris of the Middle East but as the war-torn emblem of sectarian violence and destruction. Today should be a day for the politicians in Washington as well as Lebanon to reflect on the causes and effects of the civil war and to try to learn from history in order to prevent another war from breaking out in the currently tense political environment as well as keeping the civil war in Iraq from lasting as long as Lebanon’s.

Skylark posts a poem (Ar) in which he admonishes people to think hard before taking up arms. He also posts pictures of Beirut during the civil war with links to where more pictures may be found.

M Barbay posts a 14 minutes video which claims to capture the past 30 years of Lebanese history with the aim of finding a way to end the template of random repeats of wars.

And here is a different perspective on the war from Angry Anarchist. After pointing out that

On the 32nd anniversary of the eruption of the civil war, virtually all the war criminals, all the fighters, all the butchers, are on the loose. And what is worse, many of them preside over political parties, and hold political office.

She goes on to state that

The mythology of the civil war needs to be destroyed. Not dismantled, but destroyed. There are those who insist, despite what experience has shown, that pampering will lead to the dismantlement of this mythology. That merely “encouraging” people to discuss the civil war is enough to actually get them to do it, and do it in a way that would be more than merely parroting the official version approved by the sect’s self-appointed leader(s).

Finally MFL writes an article which he describes as a summary of a summary of some factors that lead to the breaking out of a civil war, including the Lebanese civil war or the “events” as some in Lebanon like to call them.

This post was also published on Global Voices Online.

BTW, check out GVO's new layout.

Lebanon: Random Posts During the Holidays*

Lebanon has been on a holiday the past week. Three holidays coincided together. This year happens to be one of those rare years when the liturgical calendars of the Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians coincide. For that reason, all Lebanese Christian communities celebrated Easter together. Last week also witnessed the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. All Lebanese Moslem communities celebrated it. This may be the reason why Lebanese bloggers, in general, seem to be on a break. Nevertheless, the following are some selections of the past week’s posts. Happy festivities to all.

Let us start with some cartoons. Both the supporters of the government and the opposition have used the “I Love Life” campaign. In this cartoon, Amal simply asked the “I love lifer” to go “get a life”. Shirin also uses this cartoon to express her opinion about the political forces and external interferences that she believes are having an influence in Lebanon.

The Jews of Lebanon blog is taking up the call by the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar which is asking any interested Lebanese Jew, whether in Lebanon or abroad, to speak about their experiences in Lebanon and their lives.

Read the rest here...

(*This was last week's roundup)

09 April 2007

Four Years After the Fall of Baghdad



Tina Arena's "Je m'appelle Bagdad / My name is Baghdad".
Did I say Fall of Baghdad?
I meant four years after the liberation of Baghdad, sorry for the inconveniences this error may have caused.

07 April 2007

Delerium - Angelicus


Delerium's "Angelicus", featuring Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian

Easter Cluster Bomb Hunt

Anti-war groups are protesting the use of cluster bombs by staging an Easter Cluster Bomb Hunt near the White House at the same time as the traditional Monday morning Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn. It should be noted that the U.S. State Department rejected (February) an international call to abandon the use of cluster bombs. Noted too is the legislation introduced by democratic senators to bar US use of cluster bombs in or near civilian areas.

Thousands of outstanding youth won't be joining President Bush as guests at this year's White House Easter Egg Hunt because these children had their lives blown apart by insidious unexploded American-made "bomblets," in places like Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. To highlight the ongoing crippling and killing of these children, we're having a (papier-mâchá, chocolate-filled) Cluster Bomb Hunt for kids. Local activists have created the decorated cluster bombs. Some resemble the decoy relief food packets our military uses. A WMD hunt for the adults will follow. White House North Lawn, a k a Lafayette Square. (Around the Nation)
Lest I forget, Happy Easter and Happy Prophet's Birthday Eid to all.

06 April 2007

What are the Politicians Capable of

Seventeen years after the end of the Lebanese [un] civil war (1975-1990), the fate of the Lebanese missing during this war is still unknown. Although everyone can tell you who the perpetrators are.

The families of the missing held a press conference yesterday. They demanded their right to know the truth about what happened to their children.

They want to know, not because they want to uncover what some of the [current] politicians did in the past, but to reveal what these politicians are capable of [re] doing in the [near] future.

(Image: Al–Akhbar)

05 April 2007

Silly Kisses that may Heal Broken Hearts

Is this supposed to be compatible with the I love the culture of life, truth seeking, democratic, civilized, cedar revolution, progressive future, uber–Lebanese ideals?

I am sure damn–proud–to–postpone–cease–fire Bolton is very very proud of him.

Damn–proud–Bolton just told Marcel Ghanem (LBC) that the intention was to hand sovereignty of South Lebanon to the “democratically” elected government of Lebanon.

Damn right he is!

Handing it over after destroying every home, killing every kid, and leaving it cluttered, like hell, with made in USA cluster bombs.

Damn–proud–to–be–discharged–without–honors–Bolton (and whomever he represents) has the nerve to lecture us on what the Lebanese people deserve.

It is only here that such people, who admit openly their share in the killing of fellow citizens, are honored, visited and allowed to speak their minds on national TV.

Back to the forbidder of hugs and kisses.

What does he want exactly? Does anyone know? Life lover indeed.

Go get a life, but not mine nor my childrens'.

(image by Amal)

04 April 2007

Inappropriate Outfits for British Citizens?

Prof Walid Phares, after describing the British naval officers captured by Iran as POWs, said that the female prisoner was singled out and her individual rights abused by being forced to wear a black headscarf and other outfits not appropriate with her status as a British citizen. (sic)

Really?!
Need I say more?!

Update: The 15 British naval personnel captured in the Gulf will be freed.
I guess this will simply pop all of Prof Phares' soap bubble scenarios of what is about to happen.

Cluster Bombs: Foreseeable Harm*

"Just Foreign Policy and Jewish Voice for Peace have launched a petition, hosted by Democracy In Action, in support of legislation s.594 written by senators Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein to restrict the sale and use of cluster bombs.

Israel dropped over a million cluster bombs on heavily populated areas in south Lebanon last summer, 90% of them were dropped during the last three days before the official ceasefire took effect.

Israel was even delaying the application of the ceasefire when it dropped the bombs.

Clearly, Israel not only meant but planned and intended harm to civilian populations in south Lebanon when it dropped the million bombs over an area only about two thousand Km2. The results of Israel's use of these bombs have been felt well after the end of the July war which left more than thousand civilians, among them a majority of children and elderly, dead. Cluster bombs killed well after the ceasefire where during the first months post ceasefire there have been over 22 deaths, again most of them children. Villagers in south Lebanon have been unable to harvest their orchards and walk in their fields. Cluster bombs are a silent unreported and an illegl war when the official and media reported war is over.

This use was aknowledged by Israel and condemned by humanitarian organisations and the UN.

In the US, who is the provider of these bombs, there have been some aknowledgment of a breach of the official agreement on the use of these bombs but no official condemnation. According to its six year history relations with Israel, the Bush administration is unlikely to take any action against Israel neither toward a more restrictive use of these bombs. I think we have to seize the opportunity given to us by the senators who wrote the new legislation on cluster bombs and support their initiative. Although, a total ban of these bombs would be preferrable to more restrictions (because initial restrictions were not respected), this is all we have now to go forward and try to defend the fundamental rights of civilians caught in war zones.

Please sign the petition here."

*This post was written by Sophia and originally published at Les Politiques.

03 April 2007

Lebanon: Pains and the Arab Summit

This week is about posts expressing pain; pain due to sexual harassment; insecurity and the consequences of war; and because of the political uncertainty that the Arab Summit did little to alleviate. There is also a book review and a computer graphic tutorial.

Poetry and Painting:

“The window is the wound of the wall. The door is a closed mirror. You know, bricks also feel pain.” These brilliant metaphors written by Suzanne Alaywan are graphic in their own right nevertheless she incorporated them in one of her paintings.

Sexual Harassment:

The ugly and shameful act of sexual harassment that women and girls could sometimes be subjected to is the topic of this post by Sham. The personal nature of the experiences mentioned add to its already acknowledged significance:

Did you know that I get ready to sexual harassment as i shot the door?
Did you know that I’ve seen naked guys on my way to school?
Did you know when was the last time I saw guy masturbating in front me as I am taking a taxi? Last month
Did you know that I never shut up to sexual harassments?
Did you know that I am blamed for not shutting up?
Did you know that guys harass western girls because they think that White is superior?
Did you know that guys harass Syrian girls because they think Syrian girls are inferior?
Did you know that I am not a feminist?
Did you know that I am not normal?
Did you know that I used to be normal?
Did you know that you (men) have no idea what I am talking about?

Hebrew-Lover Date Pain

Is this dashing Lebanese man trying to make an impression on his American date or is he really interested in learning Hebrew? Adiamondinsunlight reveals this part of a conversation she had with her date in which he expresses his love for the Hebrew language: ...

The rest of the review is here...

01 April 2007

Call that humiliation?

No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilized bunch.

This is an article written by Terry Jones for the Guardian that I like to share with you.

His article is a satire that does an excellent job in exposing hypocrisy.


"I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn't be able to talk at all. Of course they'd probably find it even harder to breathe - especially with a bag over their head - but at least they wouldn't be humiliated.

And what's all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It's time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That's one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What's more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting "stress positions", which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It's all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is "unhappy and stressed".

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her "unhappy and stressed". She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer - whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq."

 

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