Sunday, May 29, 2005
And allow me to say one more time: Gibran Tuweini makes me want to throw up.
Hey, I voted too! I voted that rollerblading was much more productive than casting a ballot.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Finally in Lebanon
Did I say MEA (Middle East Airlines) sucks big time? My flight was with Air France, but my connection flight to Beirut was operated by the MEA. Oh, and kudos to the airport personnel (passport checking) at BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, they really did their jobs quickly and spared newly arrived passengers (at least me!) some major pain in the arse that we are routinely honoured with when traveling to the States. This has been my best flight ever, even though I literally had to run to my gate at Charles de Gaulle to reach my flight in time...
What can I say... Lebanon is.. unchanged. Same old, same old. Beautiful as ever, the gap between the rich and the poor even bigger, though. On the trip from the airport, passing by the refugee camps was a grim reminder of the injustice that the majority of Lebanese and "aliens" live through, and the vain luxuries that the minority of rich, spoiled Lebanese blindly and stupidly enjoy. I had the honour to see it all in person. I am very dismayed at what I'm seeing in Lebanon, and even though I'm glad I'm back, every minute since my landing has been painful. It's sad, I tell you. Very sad. But today for the first time in my life, I was in West Beirut (never mind the jetlag! :P ) on a Friday, and I saw Muslim Lebanese going to prayers, and heard the verses (? or is that call to prayer?) from the Qur'an being recited from the top of the mosques. It was amazing to tell you the truth. I mean, I HAVE heard it before in Lebanon, but I've never done so in West Beirut, never done so without having my mom tell me that I'm not supposed to go to West Beirut because there are "too many Muslims there" (I guess it's OK when there are "too many Christians"...). I passed by the site of Hariri's assassination. I also went to my childhood school in East Beirut, saw my elementary teachers there (who amazingly did remember me - I was either too quiet or too quarrelsome), went to AUB to check on my admission stats (but with no luck, since they were on lunch break). It was a good day. Given that I woke up at 3 am anyway. Hah. My hours are pretty screwed at the moment, but I didn't (and don't) care one bit about that. I was very restless; I HAD to get out and do something.
Surprisingly, I didn't feel much when I landed at Beirut Int'l Airport. I was thinking I might get really upset (for many a reason), but I didn't feel anything. Maybe I just didn't have the time to think about it. After all, I had too many luggages to think about. :)
Walla, I'm happy, but not as happy as I thought I'd be. And I'm upset, but not as upset as I thought I'd be - well, at least not about the things I thought I'd be upset about.
I am staying at our condo at the moment. I finally got my hands on my dad's camera - actually, make that plural - he also has a USSR-make Zenith camera (my mom bought it for him when she was in Moscow). ;) I also got my hands on 2 ancient books/scripts. One is more than 1000 years old. It belongs to my family - or it came into my family's possession at some point in time in the past 200 years. It's amazing I tell you. Simply amazing. The other one is something like 400 years old. I really don't know anything about how to maintain them, so I might give them to a museum for free or sell it (if it brings in a considerable sum - although I'm very much reluctant to sell items that belong to my family, especially over the course of so many years). I HAVE taken photos of those. I had once posted about one of the books on my other online journal. One is a prayer book by Krikor Naregatsi. It's rather big and heavy, with black leather cover, which has round circles on it. Those circles have a story to them. They were once filled with gold. You see, those books survived the Armenian Genocide. But the gold was taken out by the mercenaries who perpetrated the massacres.
The other book (the 1000-year-old one) was kept in a HONEY JAR because whatever the mercenaries could lay their hand on they would destroy or steal immediately. In fact, some PEOPLE survived that way too.
Will update soon. Did I say that dial-up here simply costs too much (and wireless of course has to be "for those who can afford it" i.e. the rich, because they want to feel... unique. After all, that's the only thing that gives meaning to their otherwise miserable lives and ideologies - if they have any. "Israelis" ring a bell?)?!?!? Well, the phone line does, not the ISP.
And yes, I have decided against voting on Sunday.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Leaving in an hour
BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, here I come!
Monday, May 23, 2005
Hezballah is the only militia in Lebanon. Yup. Look at 'em, they're just... scouts for Christ's sake! One person killed in "clashes" between Phalange and SSNP. I guess this is the "free" Lebanon Bush & co. were dreaming of - where Phalangist fascists can go around killing people without being punished.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
American Jews in Jerusalem demand that traitor Jonathan Pollard be "freed". Those same people did not demonstrate when Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned. So where exactly is "American Jews' " loyalty?
And of course, USA should forget about its own interests and follow those of its
Friday, May 13, 2005
A trumped up card
"In Iraq, Jews owned 100,000 square kilometers of land. Israel itself is only 20,000 square kilometers. How much land could the Palestinians have left behind?"
No kidding???? 100,000 sq km??! Does the interviewee know how much of Iraq that is? 23%. So what "professor" Heskel Haddad is saying is that 150,000 Jews (source: Jewish Virtual Library), that's 3% of the population of Iraq in 1948, owned 23% of the country?
Now let's make some simple calculations. Let's take a hypothetical example: if Jews comprised 66% of the population (which is the % of Palestinians living in Palestine in 1947) and assuming that the same 3%:23% ratio is to be maintained, then the Jews would have owned... 506% of Iraq. Of course, we also have to keep in mind that if the Jewish population were as high as 66% the property-ownership rate might have dropped, but even if the numbers are lowered, Jews would still have ownership of pretty much the entire country. The numbers are therefore impossible. Yes many Iraqi Jews had succcessful businesses, but they were nowhere close to being, all of them, millionaires, which is what is required if we are to arrive at a 3%:23% population:ownership ratio.
"This is one of Israel's best trump cards, and it must not be wasted", concludes "professor" Haddad. My, my, and what a trumped up (sic) card it is!
Long live "the Middle East's only democracy" and its supporters!
Edit: I believe that the photo in the previous entry will give Anne something to cheer for. As a sidenote, though, I wonder why Anne did not post this pic on her blog since she loves posting pics of Palestinian children with
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
A genuine mistake
The IDF, however, felt the need to offer its superior
The Jerusalem Post and other "Israeli" papers report (parroting information provided to them by the government of "Israel" - so much for the freedom-loving country that "Israel" allegedly is) that "[i]t is uncertain if the two incidents are related." Yes indeed, those terrorists are the provocateurs! We must go and carpet-bomb Beirut (again)!
By the way, if the firing of the shell at Southern Lebanon were a genuine mistake, how on earth could the "Israeli" army (oh sorry, the "Israeli" "Defense" Forces - recall the phrase "those poor oppressed Jews always acting in self-defense" and the justification for mass-murder: "see, we're being forced to kill"), given that it is not INSIDE Lebanese territory (well, other than Shebaa, that is), determine so quickly that the shell "fell in an open area, causing no damage or casualties"? Sounds like they already had their facts straight and immediately scrambled to announce it... Oh wait, this could just be it. A provocation on the eve of "Israel's" celebration of "Independence Day" to show the world that after 57 years "Israelis" are still the poor victims coming under fire.
Monday, May 09, 2005
More on timing
Edit: United Press International (via Washington Times) reports that "Israeli" jets violated Lebanese air space at the same time that the shells were fired. Well, that eliminates possibility #1, although Ha'aretz, JPost, Yediot Achronot, and Arutz Sheva (different names, same shit) all report it as an "accident".
Saturday, May 07, 2005
On the occasion of his return
From Robert Fisk's Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon:
I had met Aoun during his 1983 battles at Soukh al-Gharb, but when I saw him again in 1989 he seemed much smaller. His shell-proof bunker used to be part of the presidential palace's underground carpark. A short man in American combat fatigues moved towards me, right hand outstretched in an artificial, slightly embarassed way. There were dark bags under his eyes. He had been directing his artillery all night. His face was white and unhealthy -- he had already been living in his bunker for six weeks -- and he had the appearance of a mole emerging from a long sleep, his eyes bloodshot and blinking. There were loyal aparatchiks everywhere, in blue suits and ties, murmuring 'Monsieur le président' in Aoun's ear. The Napoleon of Lebanon was about to speak from his underground garage.
It was part monologue, part history lesson. Aoun wanted a westernized Lebanon, 'like France, like America' . He could not see why this might not appeal to the Muslims, whom he also claimed to represent. When I suggested that his 'war of liberation' against Syria would turn into a disaster, he lectured me on how not one war of liberation had ever been lost. 'History shows this,' he said with a gleam of satisfaction. 'Look at the French Marquis in the Second World War. Look at the Algerian resistance to te French, look at the Vietcong.' So what were his plans, I asked? 'Plans? What plans?' Well, plans for the war, for the future of Lebanon. Aoun was frowning now. 'I am a soldier. I want the liberation of my country.'
Yet his war was to bring the death of at least a thousand men and women. No 'liberation' was to be vouchsafed to anyone. Moreover, Aoun himself was to rule his tiny, dangerous fiefdom with growing dictatorial powers , prohibiting Lebanese newspapers which disagreed with his policies, banning journalists who did not write what he wanted to read, acquiescing in the public humiliation of the head of the Maronite Church in Lebanon; the old patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir, was forced to kiss the general's portrait by dozens of jeering Aoun supporters . Aoun remained silent when the homes of Lebanese MPs who opposed him were blown up with explosives. Life in east Beirut was becoming more like life in Baghdad than a 'free' Lebanon. (p. 633-34)
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on 2 August, Aoun was one of the few personalities in the Arab world to remain silent. Neither condemnation nor approval issued from his bunker. But he continued to criticize America's interference in Lebanese affairs; his supporters had long ago forced the US embassy in east Beirut to close.  (p. 643)
1 Well, following the "opposition's" logic, he ought to have moved to USA or France right then, without even being forced to.
2 People tell me "well, that was so many years ago, maybe he's changed". But in Lebanon that's easier said than done. The country might change but the people never do. The nature of the Lebanese is a sad affair to be honest.
4 I wonder why
Friday, May 06, 2005
Opinion piece, Nov 2004
Israel: Apartheidic, Undemocratic, Unjust, and Denialist
Distressed as I am at the number of articles I have encountered in the past two months or so attempting to make truth-claims about Israeli democracy and justice and to void all comparisons with apartheid South Africa, I am glad that both sides have the opportunity to express their beliefs - something that is often not possible in Israel, at least not without grave consequences. Unless you are Jewish. Unless you are the “right kind” of Jew - politically, religiously, and racially. It is an undeniable fact that there is much discrimination in Israel, not only against Arabs, but also against non-Ashkenazi Jews. It has been established that Arab schools do not receive the proportional funding that they are entitled to. One only need look at reports condemning such intentionally designed differences in order to realise that Israel is one of the most unjust, racist, and undemocratic states in the Middle East.
I am speaking as an English-Armenian citizen of Lebanon. I am speaking as someone whose great-grandparents were given refuge by Kurds, Bedouins, Syrians, and Lebanese, during and after the Armenian Genocide that was planned and perpetrated by the Turkish government and army during WWI. I am speaking as a person who has lived in Lebanon almost all his life and not once treated differently or unequally, heard any racist statement, let alone being physically threatened. It seems a bit odd to me, given all the facts mentioned above, that Israel can be called a democratic, non-racist, even non-apartheidic state by the children or grandchildren of those who went through a similar fate as my great-grandmother. And here I am not even talking about the large number of apartheid-supporting, massacre-endorsing Israelis who have sold their conscience to bigotry. If you follow Israeli news, you must have heard of the Israeli officer who was reprimanded for having thrown his yarmulke on the ground after a soldier had said that “he would be willing to wipe an entire Palestinian village off the face of the Earth in order to save one Jewish life” (Ha’aretz, Nov. 17, 2004). Granted that the view of one person should not be taken as the view of an entire group of people, but the real issue here is not what was said, but what was done; in other words, who was reprimanded by the Israeli institution and who was not (and this would then give us an idea as to whether or not Israel is a racist state capable of adopting apartheid policies). The soldier who uttered that statement was not reprimanded. On the contrary, it seems to me that Israel encourages such statements by reprimanding those who argue against it on the grounds of morality as well as religion.
Does Israeli conscience apply only to Jewish suffering? Are we to divide the suffering of each group of people, thereby taking them out of the realm of “human suffering” and placing them into the realm of “racial suffering” or “religious suffering”? Wouldn’t this be the equivalent of neo-Nazist terms of superiority and inferiority: whether one group deserved to suffer and the other did not? Is Jewish suffering somehow more pressing and important than Palestinian suffering? Are Jews more human than Palestinians? Should Israelis be over and above any criticism no matter what they do (by virtue of their Jewish identity) - even if that is ethnic cleansing as ascertained by world opinion and various human rights organisations and in fact many Jews as well? Should we excuse the Israeli denial of the Armenian Holocaust? Would or should Armenia get away if it denies the Jewish Holocaust for “diplomatic and economic ties” with the enemies of Israel? Of course, Armenia does not deny the Jewish Holocaust. There is a level of morality that the Armenian government has adopted, one that is surprisingly (or should I say unsurprisingly, given the acts of ethnic cleansing and apartheid that Israel has been committing for the past 56 years) not adopted by Israel. To quote Shimon Peres (acting Foreign Minister of Israel at the time), “we reject attempts to create a similarity between the Holocaust and the Armenian allegations. Nothing similar to the Holocaust occurred. It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through, but not a genocide.” In other words, Mr. Peres is arguing that if it is not similar to the Holocaust, then it is not genocide. Should we see gas chambers, execution squads, deportation trains, and liquidation camps simultaneously in order to call it genocide? That seems to be a very narrow (and even Jew-centric) definition of genocide, given that almost everyone agrees that genocide is not about gas chambers, but about an attempt to wipe out an entire race or ethnicity. Statements such as the one by Peres are uttered by the Israeli government without any reserve. After all, isn’t Israel above the law, above any and all criticism? How dare we criticise Israelis, for they are supposed to have higher moral standards due to what their parents went through during WWII. However, such “higher moral standards” we are yet to see from Israel. In fact, proofs abound that the contrary is true - that Israel is an undemocratic, unjust, denialist, and apartheid state. Its constant denial of its racist policies and its massacre of Palestinian civilians is proof that something is horribly wrong.
There is something wrong with the Zionist Israeli or pro-Israeli conscience. This certainly isn’t the “Jewish state” that anyone had in mind. It has been Nazified. Jewish Palestinian (or Palestinian Jew) Uri Davis argues that Zionism has been transformed from the idea of a bi-national state with Jewish identity into an apartheid state; now this state lives off its “solutions” to the “demographic threat.” And doesn’t the latter term sound horribly similar to the “final solution”... But for Jewish Israelis and the Jewish supporters of the state of Israel, such terms are part of the daily reality and the essentials of survival for the “Jewish state” (and doesn't the idea of "living space" for Jews sound horribly similar to Hitler's "lebensraum", "living space" for Germans? Sadly, this is a reminder that moral codes and the terms that contain them are written by the victors, rather than being a product of an objective, absolutist attitude that does not differentiate between the mass murder of one ethnicity and that of another); it does not “ring a bell.” It does not make them realise that they have descended so low that many feel the need to call them the Nazis of the 21st century. A large part of the Jewish conscience has been devoured by this Nazified Zionism (but it could be argued that Zionism has always contained elements of fascism and racism). Granted that many Jews inside and outside of Israel have bravely stood up and said “not in our name,” protested in support of human rights and against the murderous regime of the Israeli government and Israeli Defense Forces, a large part of the Jewish population identifies with Israel’s actions, failing to realise that Israel’s existence is one thing, its actions are another, and in no way does the latter ensure the former - in fact, it works against it.
Yes, Israel is an apartheid state. Yes, Israel is undemocratic. Yes, Israel is unjust. Yes, Israel is denialist. No, majority and morality are not equivalent (and the Armenian and Jewish Holocausts are proof of this). Yes to peace between Palestinians and Jews. The myth of the apartheid wall being necessary for peace is a lie. Jews and Palestinians have lived together peacefully for many decades without an apartheid wall, and it is still possible. There is still a turning point; lives can be saved on both sides when a just, equal solution is implemented, and that is the one-state solution. One state for Jews and Palestinians. It is the only way to sow the seeds of tolerance. If Jews and Palestinians cannot live side by side peacefully in one country, how can they live side by side peacefully as two separate countries?
Monday, May 02, 2005
A Tale of Three Bulldozers
Less known, however, are two other bulldozers. Perhaps the lack of knowledge is due to the fact that these last two are a new model on the market: designed, approved, and marketed by the State of "Israel".
The first model has been named "Abu Mazen" (otherwise known as Mahmoud Abbas). It was decided that the name would be shortened, in an effort to minimise the troubles of the future Palestinian generations (at least 2 generations, following the Arafat legacy) who will be lucky to utter his name (since they are alive). This is the new kind of democracy (thanks to Bush's doctrine of "no elections possible under occupation"); but the Palestinian people have been reassured by "Abu Mazen" himself that his presidency would be very easy on them, à la Arafat regime.
The product ("Abu Mazen") comes with the following specifications:
• Readily bulldozes beachfront homes [of Palestinians] to prove to "Israel" that he's on the right track.
• Makes no mention of the Right of Return [of Palestinians] to prove to "Israel" that he's on the right track.
• Speaks the language of defeatism to prove to "Israel" that he's on the right track.
• Fires [Palestinian] security chiefs to prove to "Israel" that he's on the right track.
• Promises to do "Israel's" dirty work (arresting would-be [?] "terrorists" without warrants, destroying arms smuggling tunnels, 'mistakenly' killing children, and so on; an upgrade for the "Abu Mazen" model is to be released soon, which would also enable him to conduct assassinations [also known as "extrajudicial killings" in so-called "leftist" circles]).
• Limited warranty; the marketers disclaim any liability for special, incidental or consequential damages. In the case of defects, the marketers will replace him with a new one. No proof of election necessary for a replacement.
The second model has been named "Irineos I", and a sample of that model and make currently serves as the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. Marketers have been receiving complaints about this product as of late, but they would like to reassure new buyers and previous owners alike that there is nothing wrong with him, and that their disappointment is due to the fact that their expectations of the product were probably too high. "Irineos I" is a lot cheaper than "Abu Mazen", but also has less features:
• Sells [Palestinian] land to prove to "Israel" that he's on the right track.
• Plays games with his owners (also known as followers of the Greek Orthodox Church): "yes no yes no yes no yes no. I don't know. I didn't mean to. I wasn't told. I had to do it. I didn't know."
• "Irineos I" is not equipped with Aritificial Intelligence at the moment, and the producers have said they do not plan on introducing that to the model any time soon. He does, however, come with a pre-programmed set of phrases and statements, as stated above.
• Limited warranty; includes police protection, as is the case for all loyal servants of G-d's chosen people. Please keep in mind that the police protection feature is conditional and can vary from 90-day to 1 year warranties, depending on degree of loyalty.
The three bulldozers, "Abu Mazen", "Irineos I", and their godfather Ariel "Bulldozer, Man of Peace" Sharon have joined hands in the fight against... anti-bulldozers.
On another note, do check out this excellent summary of the current state of affairs in Lebanon by Prof. As'ad Abu Khalil.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Hear the song & view the animation
Thanks to my friend Anathema for the link.