25 November 2007

Maxime Chaya: The Three Poles Challenge

Maxime Chaya is currently attempting an unassisted (on skis without dogs) and unsupported (without re-supplies) crossing of Antarctica, from the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole (1130 km). Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents.

This crossing, for Maxime, will be the second milestone of the Three Poles Challenge. The first was completed when he raised, for the first time in history, the Lebanese flag on the summit of Mount Everest. The third is going to be the North Pole.

Completing this challenge will place Maxime with a handful of people who have achieved this seemingly impossible task.

Maxime Chaya was officially nominated a Seven “Summiteer” on May 15, 2006, after having conquered the 7 Summits - the highest peaks on the seven continents.

Maxime Chaya is blogging his adventure at thethreepoles.com

23 November 2007

Army entrusted with the authority to maintain security

…so basically the situation can be summarized as follows: effectively at midnight tonight, Lebanon is without a president; the government (that is, granted its legitimacy is not contested) is resigned, the parliament’s session for electing a new president is postponed till the 30th of November, and the army is in charge of the security of the land.

Now this is a country protected by "divine intervention"...

22 November 2007

Aoun offers to step down...

Gen Michel Aoun proposed, this evening, a “six–point salvation initiative” in which he will withdraw his candidacy on condition that he names an interim presidential candidate, who is not a member of his bloc, to be “elected” tomorrow. The initiative also proposes that Saad Hariri should name the prime minister of the new cabinet that will be formed after the election:

1- General Michel Aoun will name a candidate for the presidency of the republic provided the latter is neither a member of his parliamentary bloc nor of his party and provided he fully agrees to the memorandum of understanding signed with Hizbullah. This candidate will be elected by parliament and his mandate will come to an end immediately after the new parliamentary elections; thereafter the constitutionally required quorum (i.e. the two thirds) will be provided for the election of the new president.
2- In parallel, MP Saad Hariri will name a consensual prime minister provided he is not a member of the future movement and he is committed to the international tribunal.
>>>the rest of the initiative...
Aoun has set 10PM tomorrow night, two hours before the end of Pres Lahoud’s term in office, as a deadline for his proposal.

March 14 leaders are currently holding a general meeting in which they are discussing the proposal as well as tomorrow’s session in parliament which is scheduled to elect the new president.

France’s foreign minister, Kouchner, told a news conference this evening that the issue is complicated and that we will have to wait for tomorrow without much hope.

Anxiety is high in the country. Many schools are not opening tomorrow despite the minister of education call for a normal school day. Many universities have postponed classes. Teachers have postponed scheduled quizzes and tests since students have decided not to attend. Most people have decided to stay home or limit their movements.

The whole show is non–democratic non–constitutional, but people are tired and fed up. Any initiative that gives the slightest hope of easing the tension will be welcomed. But will this initiative see the light or solve the problem? Will March 14 leaders’ declarations for concessions and rejection for any kind of strife, during the past few days, be reflected in their decisions tonight?

Are these the last hours before the declaration of "the settlement" that many believe has been reached between major parties with the blessing of major foreign powers?

Did I hear Kouchner mention that a "divine miracle" may happen tomorrow?

Update:
March 14 leaders reject Aoun's initiative and call on MPs to attend the election session tomorrow.

Lebanon's Independence Pension Plan

And on its 64th birthday, Lebanon's independence retires with no pension plan.

20 November 2007

Hailstorm helps in clearing left-over cluster bombs

Hailstorm has caused hundreds of cluster bombs [bomblets] to explode in the valleys of South Lebanon. The cluster bombs were dropped by Israel during its July 2006 Lebanon War.
The hailstones were as big as walnuts.
Divine anybody?

14 November 2007

The Israel we have to put up with



Transcript of the above video:

Facts about Israel

Israel, a country the size of new jersey can only claim to the following achievements:

1. Israel was established upon the ruins of another nation that she destroyed: Palestine.
2. Israel holds the world record in the number of towns and villages she ethnically cleansed: 500+
3. Israel holds the world record in the number of refugees she deported: 4 million +
4. Israel holds the world record in the number of homes she demolished: 60 thousand +
5. Israel is the country with the highest record of UN condemnation: 500 times +
6. Israel is the country with the highest number of protective US Security council vetoes: 100 times +
7. Israel has killed more innocent civilians per capita than any other country 50 000 +
8. Israel has imprisoned more civilians per capita than any other country: 250 000 +
9. Israel has rendered more innocent civilians handicapped per capita than any other country: 50 000 +
10. Israel has injured more innocent civilians per capita than any other country: 200 000 +
11. Israel has only two countries to defend its policies in the United Nations; these are the US and Micronesia.
12. Israel is the only country on Earth that denies the right of return of refugees.
13. Israel is the only country on Earth that still occupies a whole other country and parts of two other countries.
14. Israel is the only country on Earth that publicly steals the water of its neighbors
15. Israel is the only country on Earth that has legalized home demolishing as a method of collective punishment.
16. Israel is the only country on Earth that uproots trees as a method of collective punishment.
17. Israel is the only country on Earth that deliberately targets civilian infrastructure and justifies it.
18. Israel is the only country on Earth that has legalized assassination.
19. Israel stands unique in using human shields in military operations.
20. Amongst all countries, Israel is the only one that has legalized torture.
21. Israel is the only country on Earth that builds illegal settlements in occupied lands.
22. Israel is the only country on Earth that publicly jails activists without trials.
23. According to Guiness Book of World Records, Israel has created the highest number of checkpoints.
24. According to Guiness Book of World Records, Israel holds the world record in the number of days of curfew she installed on the Palestinians.
25. Israel is the only country on whose checkpoints women, denied access to hospital, give birth, babies usually die.
26. Israel is exceptional in being the only country whose checkpoints patients die due to denied access to hospitals.
27. Israel is the only country on whose checkpoints wedding parades end.
28. Israel is the only country on Earth on whose checkpoints school children denied access to school end up having their classes.
29. Israel is one of two countries that, against the International law, use cluster bombs and depleted uranium bombs.
30. Israel holds the world record in the number of soldiers refusing to serve in the army.
31. Israel, despite being a rich country, receives the highest financial aid, more than the sum of aid to all sub–Saharan Africa.
32. Israel claims its enemies want to wipe it off the map, but she has indeed wiped a whole country off the map: Palestine.
33. Israel is the country that has introduced nuclear weapons into the Middle East. But is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the nuclear non–proliferation treaty.
34. After East Germany, Israel is the only country that is building a segregation wall.
Second to South Africa, Israel is the only current country to establish an apartheid regime.
35. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first iron gates on roads.
36. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first cities turned into jails with gates and opening hours.
37. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first Apartheid walls.
38. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first electrified segregation fences.
39. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first eye specific rubber bullets.
40. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first abortion efficient infant killing tear gas
41. Israeli engineers developed the world’s first humiliation guaranteed human cages.
42. Israel is the only country on Earth that has a political party that publicly advocates ethnic cleansing on the native citizens.
43. Israel is the only country that still has racist laws that discriminate against its native citizens.
44. Israel is the only country known to have memorial dedicated to a terrorist, where his followers gather and dance.
45. Israel is the only country on Earth that imprisons kids for political reasons.
46. Israel is the only country on Earth where you get a one month community service for intentionally smashing the head of child.
47. What other country does not hold its soldiers accountable for shooting peace activists in cold blood?
48. No other country has towns and cities allocated exclusively for one ethnic group.
49. The only place on Earth where people live in homes stolen from living refugees is Israel.
50. The only place on Earth where people cultivate fields stolen from living refugees is Israel.
51. Israel has the highest number of towns built upon ethnically cleansed villages, whose former residents are living refugees.

52. Israel ranks amongst the top countries in lack of security.

10 November 2007

Marakeb: Marwan Abado



Marwan Abado is a Palestinian singer, composer and oud player. Born a refugee in Lebanon, he later moved to Austria to continue his studies. Currently performing as a solo musician and member of ensembles in Austria and worldwide. Abado's music is an improvisational mix of Oriental forms and Western elements.

"Marakeb" is Arabic for boats. The lyrics are inspired from the tradition of wishing sailors a safe return home, to the "lost" shores of Palestine.

This performance was held at the Union Chapel.

Enjoy.

07 November 2007

She saw Ramallah



Amal saw Ramallah...

04 November 2007

Occupation 101

Ninety years after Lord Balfour worked with Chaim Weizmann, the head of the world's Zionist organization on the Declaration. Ninety years after Lord Balfour wrote a simple letter to lord Rotschild promising Jews a homeland in Palestine. Ninety years after Balfour’s Declaration: suffering, misery, frustration and the occupation continue. Occupation-101 is:

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict -- 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.

The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The roots of the conflict are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

The film covers a wide range of topics -- which include -- the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880's, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy.
The documentary can be watched, through YouTube, in ten parts:
part1, part2, part3, part4, part5, part6, part7, part8, part9, part10

Or it can be seen in one-part full copy at Sabbah.
Support this documentary by purchasing the Occupation101 DVD.

 

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