Thursday, February 28, 2008

USS Cole scheduled for a surprise visit

"Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Even today mercantile morality is really nothing but a refinement of piratical morality."

Israeli Preperations

Morning reconnaissance flights all over the south, military preparations, trainings and maneuvers all along the border.
And, Walid Joumblat is worried because the Hezbollah weapons are not controlled by the "state", and he's afraid that the opposition is preparing for a round of chaos.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Le Chef - Gemmayze

A River runs through it

mo from New Phoenicia has a very interesting and informative analysis on Israel's quest for water and the coveted Litani in south Lebanon.

The Litani River, whose entire flow is within the borders of Lebanon, rises in the northern Bekaa Valley and runs southward to where Beaufort Castle used to stand, where it turns westward, to the Mediterranean Sea.

Since the inception of the Zionist movement, the Litani has been considered vital for the survival of the then planned state of Israel.

Presidential relay race - French taking over?

...Moussa's initiative jammed beyond repair (or so it seems) with no hope for any breakthrough before the Arab summit.

وتزامنت مغادرة الأمين العام للجامعة العربية عمرو موسى مع وصول رئيس دائرة الشرق الأوسط في وزارة الخارجية الفرنسية لودوفيك بوي الى بيروت في زيارة استطلاعية، تأتي في ظل التباين القائم بين الفرنسيين والأميركيين في الموضوع اللبناني وكذلك سعيا الى حصول باريس على تطمينات متعلقة بموضوع قواتها المشاركة ضمن «اليونيفيل» في الجنوب اللبناني و من المرجح أن يلتقي وفدا من حزب الله دون سواه كون الحزب معني مباشرة بالموضوع.

LETTER FROM LEBANON - November 8, 1952

Beirut's Martyrs' Square during celebrations marking the release by the French of Lebanon's government from Rashayya prison on November 22, 1943, the day of Lebanon's independence. Adib Ibrahim.

Joseph Wechsberg, Letter from Lebanon, "LETTER FROM LEBANON.," The New Yorker, November 8, 1952, p. 143

Lebanon is a beautiful, mountainous country on the east coast of the Mediterranean, but not enough land is under cultivation to feed its population so about 15,000 people leave every year. Lebanese in foreign countries mail home money which accounts for a large share of the country's income. A number of American cars are imported which are sometimes used as taxis; drivers are exceedingly reckless. There are not many natural resources but people are enthusiastic hotel keepers and money-changers. Country has highest standard of living, lowest rate of illiteracy, is most civilized and advanced of all Middle East states. Was under French mandate from 1920 to 1941. French still control banking, industry, public utilities and have strong cultural and and culinary influence. Population about half Christian half Moslem. Two finest colleges in Middle East are in Beirut: the University de St. Joseph, operated by the French Jesuits and the American University of Beirut.

L’Histoire Du Liban - Marie Nassif-Debs


Que veut-on du Liban, répondront certains, puisqu’il n’a ni pétrole ni sources d’énergie, tout en étant un petit pays ?

-Le Liban a, d’abord, l’eau dont Israël et, avec elle, les nouveaux maîtres du monde, les Zionist-Christians et autres fanatiques appuyés par les capitalistes du nouveau monde ont besoin pour vaincre le désert et pouvoir rassembler de nouveaux colons dans une « Terre promise » vidée de ses habitants.

-Le Liban, donc, a ensuite le plus fort rassemblement de Palestiniens qu’il « doit garder » au détriment de ses intérêts et de ceux du peuple palestinien. N’a-t-on pas, en 1993, acheté des millions de mètres carrés à Qoraïaa (sur la route de Saïda) afin d’y rassembler tous les camps palestiniens du Liban en un seul ?

-Le Liban a aussi du pétrole, dit-on. Un immense lac de pétrole dans ses eaux territoriales.

-Le Liban, enfin, est voisin, non seulement d’Israël, mais aussi de la Syrie dont il avait constitué le « ventre mou » pendant assez longtemps.

A tout cela s’ajoute la présence d’une forte résistance (populaire et armée) contre toute normalisation des relations avec Israël, tant que celui-ci rejettent les Palestiniens, vole l’eau et viole toutes les lois internationales. Résistance qui fut créée par la Gauche libanaise, les Communistes notamment, à partir de 1969 et qui se poursuit, actuellement, à travers le Hezbollah, grand ami de l’Iran.
Et, le Liban est facilement inflammable, comme nous venons de voir.

Full text here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


From the talented Armand Homsi; Amr Moussa's driving school. "Oh God" he says...

I tell him, Mr Moussa, it's no use. Just ponder on this excellent Lebanese proverb:
الثلم الأعوج من الثور الكبير

National identity...

Max Ryan, an actor, works with a sniper rifle on loan from the Lebanese Army.

“It brings back the memories,” said Emil Zir, 38, who fought near the building in the 1980s as a member of the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia, and was twice wounded.

Another cast member, Abbas Sayed, returned to Lebanon for the first time since 1985 to work on the film. He remembers seeing the hospital, which also housed a school, in 1974, before the war started.

“It’s terrible to see it like this,” he said, gazing around at the blackened, graffiti-scrawled concrete structure, where water from recent rains dripped from huge gaps in the ceiling.

Nearby, shivering in the cold, stood Grant Masters, a chiseled 43-year-old British actor who plays the leader of the three-man private security team.

“When you’re standing next to someone who’s actually been on the front line, that’s a reality check,” he said. “We’re working with a guy who was shot nine times.”

«الشارع للشعب» لوحة لكرمى حمادة من معرض للتصاميم البصرية استضافته الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت بعنوان «الشارع البيروتي»
Karma Hmede's painting entitled "The street is for the people" from AUB's expose of graphic design on the theme: "Beiruti Street".

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Departed

Time's Andrew Lee Butters take on Lebanese mourning rituals in Time's ME Blog.
February 21, 2008

Earlier this year, an 18 year-old boy Lebanese named Mickael Ain Malak died in a snowboarding accident on the slopes north of Beirut. His death seemed like a tragic but explicable example of the dangers facing adventurous young men who play risky sports; and it's understandable also that his family should be stricken with grief. What seems unusual however, is how they chose to express it: with a whole series of posters and billboards in several parts of East Beirut that show the photograph of a smiling young Mickael wearing his snowboarding gear, giving the viewer a big thumbs up.

Beirut is a city covered with portraits of the dead. But mostly these portraits are of martyrs. Practically every region, every town, every neighborhood, every sect and political party has its favorite martyr, who are the latter day saints of Lebanon's holy and unholy wars. And often there are more than just one. On roads leading into southern Beirut, the streets lamps are adorned with a display of Hizballah fighters killed during the 2006 war with Israel, whose individual faces have been photoshopped onto the same uniformed body used over and over in the different posters. But most of the photos are of politicians or public figures, and most of them have been assassinated.

The billboards of Mickael seem me to be one of the first examples of private grief taking on the rituals normally used to express public grief. It's true that families often post death notices on shopfronts and street corners in Beirut. But there was an overtly political tone to the Ain Malak billboards. "Who's Next?" read about a dozen of them posted on the main highway north. For inhabitants of a city living under the threat of a terrorist bombing campaign, it almost looked like someone was blaming the Syrians for killing Mickael. Leaflets invited the public to attend the boy's funeral, much as the public had been welcomed to the victims of recent assassinations.

I don't know how deeply to read into one sad event. Lebanon is a country that is full of grief, and more often than not, unresolved grief. Killers walk the streets, criminals hold public office, plots remain uncovered, victims disappear forever, and wars never really end. Perhaps these rituals are like a cultural meme, taking on a life of their own in a society that has become defined by its dead.

Ares on post-castro Cuba

Via Ares Humor

30LL Interviews with Party Delegates - Part I


30LL correspondent Samir Na3na3 (SN) is on a tour to interview different political parties’ delegates (PDs).
This week, he conducted his first interview. SN was the host of the Progressive Socialist Party delegate, and here’s the text:

SN: Mr. PD, why did you change the party’s flag’s color?
PD: In the current situation we decided that it is in the best interest of our constituency to become the party that defends the Druze interests. Even though we are a secular party, with the current rift in the society, we are now the self-proclaimed defenders of the Druze community.

SN: But doesn’t that contradict what the party stands for?
PD: Well, our leadership knows better about what the party stands for, so please don’t try to act smart with me.

SN: Absolutely not Mr. PD, but I was just wondering because I thought you believed in accountability?
PD: I really feel you are antagonistic, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt. We do believe in accountability. As a matter of fact we hired a lot of Lebanese accountants to be able to arrange some of the irregularities that went on in the ministry of the displaced, but …

Full Interview Here

Saturday, February 23, 2008

الدكتور جعجع رد على نصرالله ، والنائب انطوان زهرا ايضا والنائب فارس سعيد كذلك..ومن الطبيعي ان تكر سبحة الردود على المغالطات والطروحات والاقتراحات العشوائية والقراءات المغلوطة والتهديدات التي اطلقها نصرالله بحق قوى 14 اذار.....وايضا وفي هذا السياق وفي اطار تهديده لاسرائيل التي "ستواجه بما لم تشهده من قبل"، سالت مصادر...اذا كانت اسرائيل سقطت في حرب تموز ورئيس وزرائها "غبي واحمق" وجميع الاسرائيليين والصهاينة مرتزقة ومجتمع اسرائيل مفكك والثقة مفقودة بين الجيش والجنرالات.. واذا كانت اسرائيل ستزول تلقائيا وبعد سنوات قليلة بفعل العوامل التاريخية...اذا اذا كان هذا هو الواقع بنظر نصرالله فلماذا يعلن الحرب المفتوحة على اسرائيل ويجر لبنان الى مغامرة جديدة وتشريد ودمار وشهداء... فليترك التاريخ يأخذ مجراه اليس هو من يؤمن بالنصر الالهي .....لنرى التاريخ الالهي ايضا على عهد نصرالله.

This is the level of sophisticated analysis and arguments used by the Geageaist Lebanese Forces militia to discuss current political affairs. It's posted on their website for their partisans to reflect upon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Reflections on the Hariri memorial

From left to right;

Geagea: (In the name of the Rafik, the Saad and the holy guacamole...)

Mini-Hariri: eeee, .... (1.238.876, 1.238.877, 1.238.879, 1.238.880...)

The higher president of the Phalanges party, former president of the Lebanese republic, keeper of the Lebanese holy grail and chairman of the middle eastern hair club, president Amine Gemayel: (i can see my reflection on this glass... my hairdo is sure better than Walid's.)

Walid: (Wi2am... what can he possibly be saying right this instant, i hope Noura is recording Otv)

Monday, February 4, 2008