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".


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