31 December 2008

Israel blogging its "precision airstrikes"

"Days after sending aircraft to strike Hamas militants in Gaza, the Israeli government is launching a campaign to dominate the blogosphere.
Among other things, the Israeli military has started its own YouTube channel to distribute footage of precision airstrikes."

"Precision airstrikes"?! Of course! And here are images of what those genocidal "precision airstrikes" did:

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

"a good Arab is a dead one"

"We were trained to believe that ‘a good Arab is a dead one’. A few weeks before I joined the IDF in the early 1980’s, General Rafael Eitan, the Chief of Staff at the time announced that the “Arabs were stoned cockroaches in a bottle”. He got away with it, he also got away with the murder of many thousands of Lebanese civilians in the 1st Lebanon war. In a word, Israelis manage to get away with murder."

they kill children, all the time

"A mother whose three school-age children were killed, and are piled one on top of the other in the morgue, screams and then cries, screams again and then is silent."

Screams Under the Rubbles

"I saw all my sisters around me and I couldn't move. No one could see me from above. The neighbours and ambulance men couldn't see us. They were walking on the bricks above us. I started to scream and told my sisters we would die. We all screamed: 'Baba, Mama. Come to help us.'"

Israel's live demo arms marketing

"... they [Israel] are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death."

30 December 2008

Lebanon: Solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza

“In Gaza There is a Boy Standing and Waiting to go to Sleep” these are the words that Mazen Kerbaj chose to summarize the situation in Gaza in one of his cartoons. Taking a second look, the cartoon seems to say: “In Gaza There is a Boy Standing and Waiting to die”.
in gaza there is a boy
This can also be considered as the view of most Lebanese bloggers who posted about the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Most Lebanese are relating to what is going on in Gaza because of the fresh memories of the July 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, nevertheless many have expressed that the already bad conditions of Gaza is making their predicament far worse than those of the Lebanese in 2006. Green Resistance expresses this feeling in one of many posts about Gaza by saying:

The onslaught against Gaza seems worse than the onslaught against Lebanon in July 2006.
At least, there was a narrow corridor for escape for the southerners in Lebanon in July 2006. Although many were killed en route, many were killed on the highways as they were going north; still, many were able to leave the bombardment. The people of Gaza have nowhere to go. The prison on the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza keeps getting smaller.

Tarek at Beirut NTSC writes about his friend and her family of three children, the youngest of whom is a 15 months old girl. They are in Gaza as the shelling continues. To him, the tragedy of Gaza today has a human face:

I write this blog entry because only this morning I was explaining to a German friend in Beirut that during the war there was always a haven of safety in the middle of all the madness and for some reason I added “I know someone in Gazza right now, I hope she and her family are safe, but I also know that there must be a haven there too….” I am by no means diminishing the intensity or magnitude of what is going on in Gaza, but I have to admit that whereas previously I was sympathetic with the people in Gazza “theoretically” and just out of sheer human altruism, today, tragedy has a human face for me - Ola, her husband and her three children. I particularly think of Rasha, her 15 months-old daughter, who is either blissfully unaware of what is going on, or - on the contrary - has her mind registering the sights and sounds in front of her....

>>> Read the rest at Global Voices

Zionism: History of Child Killing

Zionist bombing 1947

A Palestinian police officer carries a wounded girl from the site of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, 29 December 1947. Militants from the Irgun Zionist group threw a bomb into a bus in the Palestinian residential quarter outside Herod's Gate, killing 17 Palestinian civilians. (Photo: Walid Khalidi/Before Their Diaspora).

Zionist bombing 2008

A Palestinian police officer carries a wounded girl into the emergency room at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 27 December 2008. Israeli warplanes pounded dozens of targets across the Gaza Strip in unprecedented waves of air strikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310. (Photo: Majed Hamdan/AP)

thanking Lawrence of Cyberia

28 December 2008

Sameh Habeeb blogging from Gaza

"A family of 9 members, 15 young children, and some women were killed but not recognized. The Ministry of Health is not able to recognize the ID's of casualties...
Gaza hospitals announced inability of receiving the wounded due to lack of medical equipment and tools. Corpses of Palestinians were thrown on the corridors, rooms and units of hospitals. Meanwhile 2-3 wounded victims shared one bed due to lack of medical equipment, a result of the Israeli siege imposed 2 years ago...
Israel warcraft still hovers on low distance on Gaza vowing of a hot night!" Writes Sameh A. Habeeb, who lives in Gaza where he maintains his blog: Gaza Strip, the Untold Story.

Atrocity Sanitized

"My parents live in the the city center, and the Israeli war planes attacked people and locations all around them. Over 50 "targets"by 60 warplanes, read the headlines in Haaretz. And over 220 killed- in broad daylight; in the after-school rush.
Like a movie tagline. Or a game. If you say it enough times, it does not sound real anymore: 50 targets, 60 warplanes, 200 people, 1 day.
All very sanitary. Very sleek. Neatly packaged: war in a gift-box." -Laila El-Haddad

27 December 2008

Palestinians: Right to remain silent while killed

"... today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.

What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren."
Ali Abunimah - Electronic Intifada

Today, Israeli warplanes carried out a massive air-strike inside Gaza, a prison like strip of land about 370 sq km with a besieged population of 1.5 million, killing at least 210 and wounding hundreds others.

Palestinian blood for Israeli elections

"As in years past, the yardstick by which all candidates in Israeli elections are measured is their security (re: war) credentials...

… they must prove they too can flaunt international law, expropriate land, dismiss as self-inflicted the suffering and hardships of an occupied people, and more importantly, shed Palestinian blood. What better testing ground than Gaza?...

Leadership credentials will be built on spilling Palestinian blood. The image of the mighty Israel Defense Forces will be rehabilitated, albeit against a besieged and starving population. Egypt, along with the Arab monarchies, will watch approvingly from the sidelines. And the remarkable ability of the human spirit to resist foreign invasion and occupation will again, in the end, triumph."

thanks: Rannie Amiri - CounterPunch

21 December 2008

Honor vs Shame

"There is one question left unanswered in the saga of the Shoes Seen Round The World: What does it take to actually offend George W. Bush?"

Answer: Nothing can!

A person who does not know what honor is can not be expected to feel shame.

16 December 2008

Sock and Awe

Sock and Awe is an online game where anyone can emulate Muntathar Al Zaidi and hurl shoes to hit Pres Bush in the face.
The seemingly simple act by Muntathar has become a major event that has unlocked emotions of pride and anger around the world but especially in the Arab world. Protests and demonstrations of support for Muntathar and denunciation for Bush's policies and atrocities are taking place in countries of the Middle East including Lebanon.
This game comes with a counter that is continuously counting the millions (so far) of successful slams, from around the world, on Bush's face. Check it out, just for the fun of it.

15 December 2008

Bush gets a "goodbye kiss from the people of Iraq"

"Never in the history of humanity have so few shoes expressed the sincerest feelings of so many to one who was so deserving of that expression."

Journalist Muntathar Al Zaidi shouted: "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog" with the first shoe he threw at Bush, followed by "this is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq" as he threw the second shoe.

And maybe no one has put so much time and effort to explain the implications of throwing or showing the soles of shoes in "The Arab Culture", as has the Angry Arab, since the American invasion of Iraq. A national day commemorating the "sole-of-shoes" should be declared and then everyone can celebrate, especially the dude who offered 10m dollars to buy the "hurled shoes".

14 December 2008

Keeping the light on Palestine

"As you read this, one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are without access to food, medicine or fuel from outside the tiny territory. Half of the bakeries in Gaza have shut down, and others have resorted to baking bread with animal feed. This is not the result of a natural disaster, but the intended consequence of a political decision by Israel's government.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip an "abomination" and said that the international community's "silence and complicity" about the crisis in Palestine "shames us all."

>>> Read more from The Electronic Intifada (EI) especially the appeal to keep it working on breaking the silence, exposing the complicity, and giving voice to those working for a different world.

08 December 2008

Palestine: The Culture ...

... that rejects fading into oblivion.
So, Mr. and Ms. Zionism and Co, you just go ahead and blockade all you want; shoot, kill and then go around crying and begging for sympathy; lie all your lies; commit massacres and genocide with all your might and then lobby, trying to keep everyone blind to your acts; do all that you can, you'll never be able to end or break this culture, or to even stop this song

Gaza's Reality: A Glimpse ...

... a glimpse ... and my impotent attempt to take a stand and contribute to ending the misery or breaking the blockade...

02 November 2008

Maha Taki's Blogging Questionnaire

The following message is from Ms Maha Taki. Kindly read and fill the questionnaire, if you are a blogger, to help with Maha's research on blogging in Lebanon and Syria. Thank you for your time.

Hello bloggers

I'm currently doing exploratory research on blogging for my PhD degree at the University of Westminster, UK. I would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes of your time to fill out this questionnaire in order to help me find out more about blogging in Lebanon and Syria. Your replies are crucial to helping in my evaluation. Most people are able to complete the questionnaire in less than 8 minutes.

Please note that your responses and any comments will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and your annonymity will be granted throughout my analysis. If you have questions at any time about the survey or the procedures, please do not hesitate to contact me at mahataki@gmail.com.

Thank you very much for your time and valuable input and please pass on the link to other bloggers and put it on your blog if possible.

I have two versions: One in english and one in Arabic. Please only fill out the one of your language choice, they are identical.

English version:

Arabic version:

26 October 2008

Lebanon: Dichotomies R Us

Dichotomy: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities, "the dichotomy between theory and practice"...

For example, Tajaddod Youth quotes Nassib Lahoud as saying:I am a Maronite when I’m not doing politics”, and the writer believes that this is "certainly one of my [his] favourites from a politician. [He believes] it sums up an ideal in one sentence, a day when Lebanese would deal with each other not as Muslims or Christians, Druze or Maronite, but as citizens of a secular state."

"As citizens of a secular state" he says, yeh right. Wonder how it escapes us that the above quote only shows why "a secular state" is not possible. This quote simply voices the core of the Lebanese problem, that of the "Lebanese Identity". A moderate and respectable "Lebanese leader" will identify himself by his sect first and foremost, even when he is making an anti-sectarian statement for a secular Lebanon. And if you live in Lebanon, you don't have to look far to see what the rest of the "Lebanese" believe and say when asked about their national identity. You get dichotomies, trichotomies and quadrochotomies that are fit for case studies in psychological anomalies.

But then again, is there really something as a "Lebanese Identity"?

12 October 2008

Lebanon: the stench of decay

Okay, since we are now in agreement that Lebanon is blessed with great attributes and glorious aspects, let's put that aside and take a closer look at what is rotting.

Let us fast forward past our clearly diagnosed diseases such as racism, discrimination against foreign workers and abuse against women. Let's look past the mass migration of young graduates and a report, a couple of years ago, that 50% of Lebanese youth do drugs.

Let us just look, for now, at these statistics, compiled during the past months of this year (2008). The numbers show, when compared to the previous years, that:

  • murder is on the rise by 58%. This percentage excludes those killed during May clashes. Motives include theft, family quarrels and rape.
  • suicide indicates an increase of 116% with motives such as despair over illness, emotional or financial problems.
  • divorce has increased by 44% with seventy percent of these being marriages that have taken place during the past 5 years. This increase is parallel to a decrease in the number of marriage contracts..
  • theft, especially theft of cars, has increased by 27%.
Now add to these numbers like:
  • 54% of the Lebanese do not benefit from health insurance and rely of the Ministry of Health to cover health care expenses.
  • 26% of Lebanese families do not own a house.
  • 43% of Lebanese families do not own means of transportation at a time when public transportation is practically non existent.
  • 90% of our waste water goes into the Mediterranean sea and leak into underground water.
  • the joke of the hours of electricity supply per day
Also add to these: the numbers of registered mentally ill or physically challenged as a result of the conflicts, the millions of square meters of land that are inaccessible because of the land mines planted by the waring factions etc etc etc.

What's worse is that the same stinking shit-heads who are supposed to be held accountable and guilty for this mess, keep marketing themselves and their children as the saviors of the wretched Lebanese and they keep winning back their positions as leaders. What's worse is that they proudly announce that they are preparing their grandchildren to inherit their legacy. Now that's a favor that deserves gratitude.

But the worst stench comes from the people who accept, with complete submission, that they are blessed and honored to be accepted as faithful followers and believers.

11 October 2008

The State of Affairs - An Update

14 September 2008

dust in the wind

strange!.. feels like this blog has accumulated some dust... i can almost smell it... dammit! is that a spider web i see in that corner?!..

28 August 2008

now my free will is taking the blow

Many scientists and philosophers are convinced that free will doesn’t exist at all. According to these skeptics, everything that happens is determined by what happened before—our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action—and this fact makes it impossible for anyone to do anything that is truly free. This kind of anti-free will stance stretches back to 18th century philosophy, but the idea has recently been getting much more exposure through popular science books and magazine articles. Should we worry? If people come to believe that they don’t have free will, what will the consequences be for moral responsibility?
My free will, my poor poor free will, my pride and joy, now they tell me to abandon even this sweet illusion!

27 August 2008

honorable white minister enchanted by our women

charming honorable white minister is pleased with our women?! joyful honorable minister does us the honor of flirting with our women?!
... be happy honorable white man ...
we know that every time one of you honorable white men is unhappy, many of us suffer the consequences ...

Gaza Siege Cracked [Cartoon]

Image credit where credit and gratitude are due and they are due to Latuff.

26 August 2008

Lebanon: migrant domestic workers die at a rate of more than one per week

"Kamala Nagari, a Nepalese national who injured herself on February 20, 2008 while trying to escape, told Human Rights Watch from her hospital bed:

“I was locked in for two days, and they [the employers] did not give me food and water. Then after two days, I wanted to run away. The apartment was on the fifth floor. I tried to go down using cable wires running along the wall of building. The cable broke, and I do not remember what happened afterwards.”"
"Since January 2007, at least 95 migrant domestic workers have died in Lebanon. Of these 95 deaths, 40 are classified by the embassies of the migrants as suicide, while 24 others were caused by workers falling from high buildings, often while trying to escape their employers. By contrast, only 14 domestic workers died because of diseases or health issues. (For basic details of cases compiled by Human Rights Watch, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/pub/2008/women/Lebanon.MDW.Annex.082608.pdf.)"

"“Domestic workers are dying in Lebanon at a rate of more than one per week,” said Nadim Houry, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “All those involved – from the Lebanese authorities, to the workers’ embassies, to the employment agencies, to the employers – need to ask themselves what is driving these women to kill themselves or risk their lives trying to escape from high buildings.”" >>> for the rest of the report go to HRW

16 August 2008

Robot with biological brain

Although the invisibility cloak may still be in the realm of the nano scale (billionths of a meter) and has not yet been developed to normal human perception size, the mechanical robot with the biological brain is here. This robot is a step towards the sci-fi images that you may be envisioning. Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons.

The robot, named Gordon, represents a remarkable bridging of the gap between biology and technology (bionics). Gordon’s brain is made up of some 300,000 neurons taken from the neural cortex of a rat fetus, which are contained in multi electrode array that packs 60 electrodes to pick up the signals generated by the cells and control the robot.

Research and work are now directed towards getting the robot to learn from its experience. Researchers aim at witnessing how memories manifest themselves in the brain when the robot revisits familiar places.

"This new research is tremendously exciting as firstly the biological brain controls its own moving robot body, and secondly it will enable us to investigate how the brain learns and memorizes its experiences," said the university's Kevin Warwick of the School of Systems Engineering. "This research will move our understanding forward of how brains work, and could have a profound effect on many areas of science and medicine."

Watch the video below (almost a min) of the rat-brain robot in action:

14 August 2008

mourning good question

Here it is, posed by EDB:

Yesterday morning, 14 people were killed and a further 35 wounded in a bus bombing in downtown Tripoli. In response, Prime Minister Saniora called for "one hour" of mourning today. What happened to the three-day mourning period for every two-bit politician?
And here's the terrorist attack.

10 August 2008

Darwish was put under house arrest for years

"this man--this poet--was put under house arrest by the Israeli military occupation for close to a decade and only because he wrote poetry that offended Israeli occupiers of Palestine. Just think about that. This is why the question should always be: not why would anybody support Israel, but why would any humane person not to be opposed to the very existence of such a state. This is a state that puts a poet who never carried a gun under house arrest."

how we used theater to conquer 33 days of barbarism

"This clip is an excerpt from the film "33 Days" by Mai Masri.
This edited clip follows a theater director who devotes his strength and time to the Lebanese children affected by the massive Israeli bombing that took place on Lebanon's city's and suburbs."

Mahmoud Darwish: ايها المارّون

08 August 2008

"Mossad kills 350 Iraqi nuclear scientist"

Dar Babl published, two days ago, a synopsis of a report, which it claimed was sent to President Bush by the State Department (foreign affairs), stating that the Mossad (Israel's Intelligence Institute) has killed 350 Iraqi nuclear scientist in addition to more than 200 university professors from different scientific specialties. It stated that this was done with the help of the American occupation forces. According to the report, these killings were done after the American forces failed in their attempts to recruit these scientists to work in and for the USA. According to Dar Babl, this measure, which targets about 1000 scientists, was taken because Israel believes that the scientists pose a threat to its security if they remain alive.

Update: A commentator brought my attention to this article (En), published May 2006, with the same information. (Thanks).

Dedicated to Lebanese Ultra Nationalists

This is a very beautiful song. Its lyrics are written by Said Akel, music composed by the Rahbani Brothers and performed by Fayrouz. All three are depicted by Lebanese nationalists as symbols and proof of the "uniqueness of the Lebanese race".
I dedicate this song to all my ultra-nationalist Lebanese friends.
Fayrouz sings to the glory of Syria, whose existence marked the end of history's dark ages as well as to the vital bonds between Lebanon and Syria. Enjoy.

شام يا ذا السيف
شعر: سعيد عقل
غناء: فيروز
ألحان: الأخوين رحباني

شامُ يا ذا السَّـيفُ لم يَغِبِ
يا كَـلامَ المجدِ في الكُتُبِ

قبلَكِ التّاريـخُ في ظُلمـةٍ
بعدَكِ استولى على الشُّهُبِ

لي ربيـعٌ فيـكِ خبَّأتُـهُ
مِـلءَ دُنيا قلبـيَ التّعِـبِ

يومَ عَينَاها بِسـاطُ السَّما
والرِّمَاحُ السودُ في الهُدُبِ

تلتوي خَصـراً فأومي إلى
نغمـةِ النّـايِ ألا انتَحِبي

أنا في ظِـلِّكَ يا هُدبَـها
أحسُـبُ الأنجُـمَ في لُعَبي

طابتِ الذكرى فَمَنْ رَاجِعٌ
بي كما العودُ إلى الطربِ؟

شـامُ أهلوكِ إذا همْ على
نُـوَبٍ ، ٍقلبي على نُـوبِ

أنا أحـبابيَ شِـعري لهمْ
مثلما سَـيفي وسَـيفُ أبي

أنا صَـوتي مِنكَ يا بَرَدَى
مثلما نَبعُـك مِـن سُـحُبي

ثلـجُ حَرْمُـونَ غَذَانا مَعاً
شامِخاً كالعِـزِّ في القُـبَبِ

وَحَّـدَ الدُنيا غَـداً جَبَـلٌ
لاعِـبٌ بالرّيـحِ والحِقَـبِ

Sami El Haj recounts time spent at Guantánamo

"His account is crucial. Like the other detainees, also wrongly labelled as “terrorists”, Sami El Haj was never tried and was never informed of the charges against him. Which demonstrates that President Bush, and the journalists who supported his theories, must have invented the “Islamic terrorists”. Human beings like Sami El Haj could never have been arrested or remained hostages of this barbarism, for the simple reason that they are Muslims, without the complicity of European governments and those Islamophobic propagandists under the orders of Tel Aviv and Washington who, for decades, have been disinforming public opinion and influencing the powers that be with their lies."

"They beat us up. They taunted us with racist insults. They locked us in cold rooms, below zero, with one cold meal a day. They hung us up by our hands. They deprived us of sleep, and when we started to fall asleep, they beat us on the head. They showed us films of the most horrendous torture sessions. They showed us photographs of torture victims – dead, swollen, covered in blood. They kept us under constant threat of being moved elsewhere to be tortured even more. They doused us with cold water. They forced us to do the military salute to the American national anthem. They forced us to wear women’s clothes. They forced us to look at pornographic images. They threatened us with rape. They would strip us naked and make us walk like donkeys, ordering us around. They made us sit down and stand up five hundred times in a row. They humiliated the detainees by wrapping them up in the Israeli and American flags, which was their way of telling us that we were imprisoned because of a religious war."

06 August 2008

bulldozing the "moral superiority of Israel"

The bulldozer as a destructive and even lethal weapon was not invented by the Palestinians. They are merely imitating an Israeli "fashion" that is as old as the state, or at least as old as the occupation. Let us forget for a moment the 416 villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948...

In 2004, for example, 10,704 Palestinians were made homeless after the IDF destroyed 1,404 homes, mostly in Gaza, due to "operational needs." In the Jenin refugee camp, Israel destroyed 560 homes; the legendary bulldozer driver "Kurdi" told how he would swig whiskey as he "turned Jenin into a soccer field." ...

Do not say that our bulldozers only destroy but do not kill. Who killed peace activist Rachel Corrie ... And what about the Shubi family in the Nablus casbah - a grandfather, two aunts, a mother and two children - crushed under bulldozers? And who killed Jamal Faid, a handicapped man from the Jenin camp, whose wheelchair only was found under the ruins of his house, with his body never recovered? Was that not bulldozer terror?

another one on the "moral superiority of Israel"

Spy or die:

Seriously ill Palestinian patients are being pressured to collaborate with Israeli intelligence by informing on militant and other activities in return for being allowed out of Gaza for medical treatment a report says today. full report at the Independent

on the "moral superiority of Israel"

"An Israeli child from a far-right settler group in the West Bank city of Hebron hurls a stone up the stairs of a Palestinian family close to their settlement and shouts: "I will exterminate you." Another spits towards the same family.

Another settler woman pushes her face up to a window and snarls: "Whore!"

They are shocking images. There is footage of beatings, their aftermath, and the indifference of Israel's security forces to serious human rights abuses. There is footage too of those same security forces humiliating Palestinians – and most seriously – committing abuses themselves." - the rest at the Guardian

here goes nothing

30 June 2008

GV Summit- Day Two Completed!

While Day One of the Global Voices Summit focused on Advocacy, today focused more upon Global Voices proper, with information presented on the other GV projects of Rising Voices and Lingua.

The day began with an introduction by Georgia Poppelwell (GV Managing Director) and Solana Larsen (GV Managing Editor), in which our wonderful wonderful sponsors were thanked. David Sasaki (Rising Voices Outreach) spoke briefly about the latest ongoings of the Rising Voices project, and showed a short film that featured the current independent projects being funded by Outreach.

David Sasaki

Session 1: Web 2.0 Goes Worldwide was moderated by Lova Rakotomalala, with Catalina Restrepo (HiperBarrio, Colombia), Collins Dennis Oduor (REPACTED, Kenya), Cristina Quisbert (Voces Bolivianas, Bolivia), Mialy Andriamananjara (FOKO, Madagascar) speaking. It was live blogged by Rebecca Wanjiku. This panel gathered leaders of cutting-edge Web 2.0 initiatives from Colombia, Kenya, Bolivia, and Madagascar who seek to make the global conversation more representative of the global population. Issues pertaining to their specific projects and the challenges that they have overcome.

Session 2: The Wired Electorate in Emerging Democracies focused on how the rise of blogging, social networking and micro-blogging services like Facebook and Twitter, video- and photo-sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr, and the spread of mobile technology have given ordinary citizens the means to participate more fully in the democratic process. Looking at the impact these tools have had on recent elections were Daudi Were (Kenya), Onnik Krikorian (Armenia), Hamid Tehrani (Iran), Luis Carlos Díaz (Venezuela). Solana Larsen moderated the session, while Jillian York livedblogged the proceedings. >>>

>>> read the rest here, at GVO

28 June 2008

"GV Summit: Day One a Success!"

"The first day of the Global Voices 2008 Summit in Budapest, Hungary was a wild success, as far as we can see (obviously we can't know all of the implications this early in the game). The morning started with an introduction from Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, founders of Global Voices, during which they acknowledged the many sponsors and friends of the Global Voices Summit. Of particular note, they thanked Georgia Popplewell, Managing Director of GV and major guiding force of the Summit. Rebecca explained the impetus behind GV:

I came from journalism, Ethan from non-profits; we both shared concern about the media and global attention flows. I saw the international English-language media focusing a lot of attention on certain people and places, and less attention on other voices and places. Ethan was doing a lot of research on media attention patterns. We were studying the blogosphere and wanted to talk about all the people around the world who were starting to blog.

Following the introductions, Session 1: “Toward a Global Anti-censorship Network,” started up, with Helmi Noman moderating. Jillian York and Renata Avila liveblogged the session using CoveritLive. Internet filtering, self-censorship, and related issues in Egypt, Morocco, Belarus, Japan, and Pakistan were discussed during this session, which featured Sami Ben Gharbia, Chris Salzberg, Andrei Abozau, Ethan Zuckerman, Awab Alvi, and Alaa Abdel Fatah.

Session 2 was liveblogged by Juliana Rotich. Mary Joyce moderated; Ory Okolloh of Kenya, Wael Abbas of Egypt, Amine of Morocco, Oiwan Lam of hong Kong, Au Wai “Alex” Pang of Singapore, and Hamid Tehrani of Iran spoke on the subject “Citizen Media and Online Free Speech.” Issues broached during the discussion were the use of twitter, proxies and SMS to get around internet filtering and censorship. Each panelist shared stories of recent events from their countries.

Jillian York liveblogged Session 3, entitled “Living with Censorship.” Awab Alvi of Don't Block the Blog moderated, whilst Helmi Noman, CJ Hinke, Andrew Heavens, Rezwan, Yazan Badran, and John Kennedy were panelists. Each panelist discussed what it's like to live with censorship, and each had a different perspective on the issue ..."

>>>Read the rest of this at Global Voices Online ...

"Shhh… The Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 Has Begun"

"If it's quiet on Global Voices the next couple of days, it's because we've transported around 80 of our editors, authors, and translators to Budapest, Hungary for a Summit about online freedom of expression, citizen media, and the role of Global Voices in the next year. You can follow all of us live throughout the day via webcast, liveblog, Twitter, and photos. See how, on our Summit website.

Many Global Voices bloggers who have worked together virtually for more than a year are meeting here face to face for the first time. It's a public meeting that has attracted around 200 participants from all continents, including over two dozen journalists from mainstream media. Thank you to everyone who is here in Budapest, or following from abroad."

Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 in Budapest

A snap shot of the conference room towards the end of the first day. By Neha Viswanathan

(cross posted from Global Voices Online)

27 June 2008

This is where I am now ...

... and this is what we are doing at the "Citizen Media Summit", please visit us, it will mean a lot:

Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 in Budapest

... "Advocacy" also posts updates of what is going on at the summit, click and visit, you will find many topics of interest to you:

Global Voices Advocacy - Defending free speech online.


The Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2008 will explore topics around the theme “Citizen Media and Citizenhood”, and address fundamental issues surrounding the actual and potential role of citizen media producers in the public life of the countries they live in. As the Internet and the increasing accessibility of citizen media tools offer growing numbers of people throughout the world the means to distribute information globally, how does this affect or change the ways in which people participate in public life? Can citizen media make people better citizens? How can citizen media help affect lasting social change?

23 June 2008

Dear Mustapha

Ali is not a fictional character.
Ali is a Lebanese lawyer and political analyst and I have quoted him before.
Ali does not represent Shiism.
Actually, Ali is a secularist.
Ali was neither talking about Shia versus Sunni nor is he against Omar.
Ali was not talking about Hezbollah.

Ali was talking about resistance (mouqawama) to the injustices of occupation and expulsion.
Ali believes that resistance to Zionist atrocities, both of which began during the beginning of the 20th century, has evolved over the decades. Hezbollah is one manifestation of this evolution. And even if it vanishes, a new form of resistance will emerge. This has and will always go on.

It’s a shame how sectarian interpretation surfaces among Lebanese even if the topic is the color of a cockroach.
Ugly attitudes like this is driving young educated secularists either away from Lebanon or into the arms of sectarianism.

I say that the Middle East, and maybe the world, will not find real peace until the bleeding wound of UrShalim is healed.

21 June 2008

resistance: here to stay

Quoting Ali:
"We consider the existence of the Palestinians in the refugee camps in Lebanon as a continuous Israeli infringement against Lebanese sovereignty and therefore we have the right to resist. So, until all the Palestinians in Lebanon return to their homeland, the Lebanese resistance (mouqawama) to Israeli encroachments will continue."

Once Upon a Time in Rafah

- Latuff

13 May 2008

our war: the lighter side

Let me break the piercing silence here with a couple of jokes circulating around. Making up jokes in the face of adversity is a phenomenon for social scientists to analyze. I will not even venture there. Some of the humor is lost to the translation so I will try to translate those that are least affected. As with all local jokes, you may have to be familiar with the local politics to really appreciate the humor. Anyway here goes:

  • Minister Nayla Mouawad has threatened the opposition forces that she would go on national TV without makeup if they do not withdraw their militia from the streets.
  • The opposition demonstrators protested against the government, calling for its resignation, because it allowed the import of bad quality tires that do not produce very thick dark smoke when burnt.
  • Carlos Edde forces have taken over the amusement park in Beirut.
  • The opposition took over the ministry of education and forged a brevet certificate (grade 9) for minister Suleiman Franjieh.
  • The Super Star singers (program on Future TV) have surrendered their places to Firqat el Wilaya (Hezbollah related choral group)
  • Michel Mouawad is giving a press conference on Tiji channel (for children).
And if you come across more, feel free to add here.
Stay safe.

02 May 2008

Israel: more like "shit onto the nations"

It is the smell of shit. Across the occupied West Bank, raw untreated sewage is pumped every day out of the Jewish settlements, along large metal pipes, straight onto Palestinian land. From there, it can enter the groundwater and the reservoirs, and become a poison.

Standing near one of these long, stinking brown-and-yellow rivers of waste recently, the local chief medical officer, Dr Bassam Said Nadi, explained to me: "Recently there were very heavy rains, and the shit started to flow into the reservoir that provides water for this whole area. I knew that if we didn't act, people would die. We had to alert everyone not to drink the water for over a week, and distribute bottles. We were lucky it was spotted. Next time..." more...
Talking about the "promise" 60 years ago of Israel that will be "a light unto the nations".

Sixty years ago in Palestine

Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, wrote in 1937: "The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war."

So, for when the moment arrived, he helped draw up Plan Dalit. It was – as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe puts it – "a detailed description of the methods to be used to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; and laying siege to and bombarding population centres".

In 1948, before the Arab armies invaded, this began to be implemented: some 800,000 people were ethnically cleansed, and Israel was built on the ruins. more...
Talking about the myth of "a land without people for a people without land".

25 April 2008

impotent government and cluster bombs

Hasan Al-Muallem 13, his brother Hussein 15, Ahmed Zreik 11, his brothers Hussein 10 and Ali 12; these boys are the latest victims of the cluster bombs that were sprinkled over South Lebanon in August 2006 by the wounded, scared and fleeing Israeli Offensive Force.

Remember, the bombs that were supposed to be the seasoning on Bush's "New Middle East", making it more palatable?!
The same Bush who is still shoving his support into our government day in and day out.
The same government that is still nagging, whining and complaining day in and day out about not being able to govern.
The same government that is so intoxicated by Bush's support, it does not even blink an eye to the hurt and misery of its people.
The same government that blames its people for their misery, but demands their support.
The same government that is so busy NOT caring for the spikes in food and gasoline prices, it does NOT have time to clean the leftover cluster bomblets.
The same bomblets that have killed and maimed more that 300 since the ceasefire in August 2006.

But then it may be more feasible for Lebanese kids themselves to clean up the millions of leftover ordinance than to dream of a responsible government that is capable of providing them with a descent future.

24 April 2008

They will never forget their homes

Assurances that they would be allowed to return after a fortnight were not honoured; weeks of exile turned into months, years. Despite several court rulings in the inhabitants' favour, the Israeli military prevented their return citing emergency regulations.

On Christmas Eve in 1951, army officers took some village elders to a nearby hill and they watched as the old stone houses were blown up with dynamite and tank fire, as many other Palestinian villages had been.

...it is hard for the former residents of Iqrit [an Arab Christian village vacated during the 1948-49 war] and their descendants to understand why the authorities block them - full Israeli citizens - from re-establishing their community in the village...

Why are the authorities blocking them? Because the authorities are Zionists, that's why!
story and photo credit

20 April 2008

"shooting and crying"

He videotaped as his fellow troops scurried for cover from incoming fire, as ambulances bearing the wounded raced to the hospital, and as disenchantment grew over a misguided battle plan that left the soldiers feeling, as one tells Mozer's camera, like "somebody fooled us."
Wrote Griff Witte about Yariv Mozer, an Israeli reservist, who took along his video camera to the "2nd Lebanon War", summer 2006. An "embarrasing" war for Israel (to say the least) but which, as it seems, Israel will have relive through Mozer's film.

19 April 2008

"two thirds of the ministers are thieves and donkeys"

“One third of the ministers are thieves, another third are donkeys …”
said the late prime minister Rafic Hariri about his cabinet.

This was disclosed by Rafik Khoury, editor in chief of Al Anwar, in an interview with Warde on VDL this morning.

16 April 2008

To hell with protocols!

Many sleepless hours I suffered, wondering about the presence of elegant Ms Sisson at this graduation ceremony. But fortunately, Abu Stef comes to the rescue and clears my clouded mind. Ms Sisson was there because her government funded the ten-week-state-of-the-art-program-module to train 166 ISF members on sophisticated stuff like: modern police practices, administration, democratic policing, human rights, criminal investigations etc.

And next on the stylish and graceful Ms Sisson's agenda are:

  • Attending the commemoration of thousands of Lebanese children and civilians massacred by IOF, because U.S. governments funded the ammo and the murderers.
  • Attending the commemoration of the hundreds of civilian victims killed and maimed by the millions of cluster bomblets still lying around in large part of country, because U.S. governments funded the bombs and the killers.
  • ...
Now I understand.
What a joke!

15 April 2008

Protocol Please?

Does anyone know anything about the protocol governing such events? I mean shouldn't the ambassador be wearing "blue blazer of glory" too? And maybe a couple of medals? What about her hands, is that where they should be during the salute? Umm, just wondering! Is that how they do things back where she came from? Is Rice her mentor?

US DCM Sisson inspects ISF graduates with Achraf Rifi courtesy of Friday Lunch Club

14 April 2008

Democratic power of a kiss

Rice has been quoted as saying:

"What's wrong with keeping the situation in Lebanon as it is?

Our priority is to keep Fouad Siniora as head of the democratically elected government...and that he acts according to the powers granted to him and the president

Even the issue of the next parliamentary elections (2009) is not a priority for us. We would welcome any formula that guarantees the extension of the current parliament's mandate..."
I knew it! It is the kiss! The out of this world, divine kiss that she got Summer 2006 from him! That magical moment that will last forever! The kiss that is burning an eternal flame! Can you blame her? She's a sucker for sensitive, poet and oud player dude.
Wait, here they come, I can now hear the chants of the other divine chorus: 7urriyeh, siyedeh, istiqlal!!
Hehee, what a joke!!

13 April 2008

sexiest camel beauty pageant

"Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the son of Dubai's ruler Sheik Mohammed and his heir apparent, bought 16 camels for $4.5 million during a camel beauty pageant ..."

Sheik Hamdan paid $2.7 million for one lucky camel.
This particular camel (code name sexy Camilio) is not only the sexiest camel in the whole wide world but is reported to have miraculous healing powers and was seen once flying without the magic carpet.

image credit

06 April 2008

I O F Military Maneuvers

I have tried for the past half hour to be calm and polite while trying to write this post. I struggled hard not to utter or type profanity. I lost.

So: what the f*** are these Lebanese news outlets and f****** politicians doing. Why are they explaining, justifying and excusing the Israeli Offensive Force's most comprehensive military maneuvers in its history?
Al-Mustaqbal describes the IOF actions as "defensive maneuvers". Where the hell did they copy-paste that from?!! Naharnet does the same shit by describing the military actions as "non-hostile". And take this illuminati member of parliament Antoine Zahra, making an effort to explain the purpose of these "non-hostile, defensive military maneuvers".

Why not just simply say that they are conducted because IOF ate shit July 2006 when they attacked Lebanon? Why not say that these actions reflect pee-in-pants-scared Zionist Israel; an Israel panicking that the words of their early Zionist anthem will be reversed.

That instead of "In blood and fire Judea fell; in blood and fire shall Judea rise", it is now more likely that "In blood and fire Judea rose; in blood and fire shall Judea fall."

05 April 2008

"they dream our dreams, and we dream theirs"

Let Me Stand Alone reveals Rachel’s striking gifts as a poet and writer while telling her story in her own words, from her earliest reflections to her final e-mails. Her writing brings to life all that it means to come of age—a dawning sense of self, a thirst for one’s own ideals, and an evolving connection to others, near and far. Rachel wrote about the looming issues of her time as well as the ordinary angst of an American teen, all with breathtaking passion, compassion, insight, and humor. Her writing reverberates with conviction and echoes her long-held belief in the oneness of humanity: “We have got to understand that they dream our dreams, and we dream theirs.”
More about Rachel and her struggle: "The Bulldozers Just Came"

22 March 2008

Global Voices Online reminder

I have continued to, and still am doing, the weekly roundups and summary (weblogs) of the Lebanese blogosphere at the Middle East and North Africa region of Global Voices Online, even though I have stopped linking to these summaries in posts here on this blog.

Nevertheless new posts about Lebanon at Global Voices/MENA are always linked to on the left sidebar of this blog, right under reads.

All previous summaries and roundups of the Lebanese blogosphere can be found at my page at Global Voices.

If you are a Lebanese blogger, or have a blog about Lebanon or know of a blog about Lebanon, and believe that it has not received its share of linking to at GVO, please be kind to send me a note.

Meanwhile, do pay GVO a visit and surf through its projects like Voices Without Votes, Rising Voices, Lingua and others, or at Global Voices Advocacy etc.

18 March 2008

King George's Holy Promises

Holy King George has voiced another of his divine, true and ready to be fulfilled promises.
The high priest, his holiness Ja3Ja3 (Geagea) has revealed to us, the sublime utterances spoken only into his ears.
Holy King George ensures that Lebanon's independence and sovereignty are 100 percent guaranteed, said his holiness.
His holiness Ja3Ja3 (Geagea) also revealed that King George is against the Palestinian refugees remaining in Lebanon (right of return?!) and guarantees that he will endeavor to get the Israelis out of the Shebaa farms (join Hezbollah?!).
All this was revealed to his holiness, true believer, exemplary role model, high priest Ja3Ja3 (Geagea).
Holy King George Bush has always been a holy man of his divine words. He has always been true to his promises.
Allah yihdina. Amen.
image credit

14 March 2008

uuhhh or is it oohhh

Are you as sweet as Fouad? May I kissy kissy you??
Ahhh!! I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...
kissy kissy ikht hal shaghli...

09 March 2008

Calling on Bush to save the women

In oil-rich Saudi Arabia, women are treated as lifelong dependents, under the guardianship of a male relative. Deprived of the right to drive a car or mix with men publicly, they are confined to strictly segregated lives on pain of severe punishment.

I say President Bush should do something about this! I say he should bring freedom and equality to oil-rich Saudi Arabia just as he did for the women in Iraq and Afghanistan! And while he is in the neighborhood, I say he should honor us and share our tabbouli and kebbe nayyi (ye-cole kharra)! Hey, and I say he should bring Rice with him too (bala ma3nah)! I know someone who is yearning for her hugs and kisses. Allah la y jarribna! Amen!

06 March 2008

'Hagop' by Zareh

"A pencil drawing of Hagop, a homeless man who died years ago. I met him about 12 years ago in Hollywood at the corner of Fountain and Normandie, he was sleeping on the sidewalk. Hagop used to collect bottles and cans from garbages or elsewhere in order to sell to make a living, he was never begging money. He was divorced and had children. It was interesting talking to him, he had something to say. I asked to do a drawing of him, he agreed, in return I paid him. He has stayed in my memory." - Zareh

(click on the image to enlarge)

02 March 2008

The F*loating attrocity: USS Cole 'Khara'

"Anyway, the F-word according to Bush is coming to Lebanon in the shape of a Floating attrocity called USS Cole, like Cole Khara (for the non lebs: Cole Khara means Eat shit ). It will Bring stability, Freedom, Democracy to Lebanon exactly the same kind that the Afghan and Iraqis have and cherish so much that they blow themselves up in market places, its pure happiness I tell you." --Kodder

Gaza - Black Ribbon

By Za3tar via Haitham:

Put this on your social networking profile page (e.g. Facebook and MySpace) to help raise awareness of the massacre in Gaza and notify those who might not have seen/heard of this yet (specially in the West).

Al Quds - Tamim Al Barghouthi

في القدس رغم تتابع النكبات ريح براءة في الجو
ريح طفولة
فترى الحمام يطير يعلن دولة في الريح بين رصاصتين

إذ فاجأتني بسمة
لم أدر كيف تسللت في الدمع قالت لي وقد أمعنت ما أمعنت:

يا أيها الباكي وراء السور.. أحمق أنت؟
أجننت.. لا تبك عينك أيها المنسي من متن الكتاب

لا تبك عينك أيها العربي واعلم أنه
في القدس من في القدس لكن لا أرى في القدس إلا أنت

Thank you Delirious

09 February 2008

Winograd's lamentation

Whether Israel carries out investigations about its failures in the war it waged against Lebanon in July 2006 or not, that is not the point. Whether Winograd’s Report is published in part or in full, that is not the issue. Whether Olmert resigns and Netanyahu or Barak becomes prime minister, all will be the same.

The core of the matter is very simple: Israel wants the world to believe that it is a democratic and just country which holds its officials accountable for their actions.
And it does. Israel’s officials, whatever their ranks are, are answerable for any action, grave or minute, that counters the highest interest of the Zionists. And that is all.

Winograd’s report did not blame Israeli officials for destroying half of Lebanon, killing more than 1200 Lebanese civilians, of whom more than 60% were babies and children, nor for the use of cluster bombs, which, by the way, “are not harmful if used properly” according to U. S. of Bush.
Winograd’s report essentially blames the Israeli political and military officials for failing to destroy the other half of Lebanon and for not killing and wiping out more Lebanese. It blames them for waging a war that lead to the killing of 33 Israeli soldiers.

This report will have no effect on Israeli policies, whoever takes the place of whomever. Israel will always be an extremist Zionist state with no regard for human rights except for those whom it considers humans. It will remain an extremist military state with no regard for any form of peace except the one that keeps it superior in its brutality or a peace which it can utilize as a truce during which it prepares itself for its next war. This is so until it fulfils its fantasy of a Greater Israel with borders from Euphrates to the Nile.

1– Winograd Report shames Israel’s army for letting a paramilitary group of a couple of thousands to stand up in the face of the strongest army in the Middle East and forbidding it from accomplishing its task of dismantling, defeating, destroying the same paramilitary group.
2– Olmert declared that the war waged in July 2006 was planned and prepared for, long before July 2006.

08 February 2008

min-el awwal (from scratch): we shall overcome

Diana Ross, Budapest concert: 'We Shall Overcome'

(alternative lyrics)
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day

We shall all be free
We shall all be free some day

We are not afraid
We are not afraid some day

We are not alone
We are not alone some day

The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

19 January 2008

Nassrallah is a Lebanese citizen

Naharnet is also a Lebanese internet news outlet. But Naharnet describes Nassrallah as a very dangerous Israeli fugitive. Naharnet does not want Nassrallah to be associated with Lebanon. Naharnet adopts the language and mood of the wild wild west (praise be to Bush):

Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, one of Israel's most wanted men...
Naharnet overlooks decades of Israeli occupation and blames the existence of Hezbollah on Syria and Iran. Israel is the reference here. The 2006 war was fought on another planet and for alien causes.
Nasrallah has been Israel's top public enemy since Hizbullah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, fought the deadly 2006 war.
Naharnet also made up its mind about the identity of the state of Israel. It is a Jewish state, and to hell with all the Christian, Moslem, Jews, Buddhists or Atheists of the land of Palestine who think otherwise. And to hell with all the refugees everywhere. But Naharnet is also very objective, it does not forget to mention, on equal footing, the victims of both sides of the war:
Hizbulla's capture of two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 led to a 34-day war with the Jewish state that left more than 1,200 civilians dead in Lebanon, a third of them children, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Naharnet is the pride of the Lebanese press.
Dichotomy is also the pride of the Lebanese way of life.
But that is another story.

who said cluster bombs are bad

Cluster bombs do not kill.
Cluster bombs do not maim.
All 100 countries seeking its ban are naively mistaken.
In fact cluster bombs are not bad.
You just have to know how to use them appropriately.
You have to use them right.
Follow the user's manual, now available courtesy of U.S. of Bush and cluster bombs will spread rainbow monkeys with love, sunshine and flowers.

13 January 2008

beating about the bush

Two friends were discussing, over a drink, Bush’s farewell visit to the Middle East. You know that Bush is here checking the progress of his master plan; the one that Rice asked us to bear its birth pangs while she gracefully played the piano in summer 2006. I wonder what happened to it. Yes, the “new Middle East” thingy! Anyway back to our friends:

He: Why did Bush cancel his surprise visit to Lebanon?

She: Because Hezbollah kicked IDF’s butt July 2006! Cheers!!


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