Friday, March 31, 2006

Take heed Mr. Ahmadenijad...

You have stubbornly persisted with your quest to obtain nuclear weapons. In the process, you have isolated Iran in a fashion that is unprecedented since the early days of your pathetic "revolution." Yet it now appears that even the "God" who you and your ilk so idiotically claimed vented His wrath on the United States through hurricanes Katrina and Rita now appears to have turned his attention on you!

It is now my turn to be idiotic!

"God," Mr. Ahmedenijad, has killed at least fifty of your placated subjects and wounded hundreds in an obvious sign of his displeasure with your behavior. God swung his magic wand over Iran and created thirteen tremors - the most powerful of which measured 5.7 on the Richter Scale.

That strike was no absent-minded strike, your Excellency... no... it must have been deliberate. For God to strike Iran with thirteen tremors, He must be really pissed! He wasn't just lying on his couch, drinking beer, and accidentally tipped the wand! Noooo... That would have caused only one tremor! Thirteen tremors could not have been an accident! Such an ugly number too! Have you ever heard of Friday the thirteenth, you Excellency?

So, tell me. What are going to do about this obviously distressing situation?

It is true that though God exhibited his wrath, he failed to disclose his rationale. Who knows? God may actually want you to escalate and ultimately destroy both the large and small Evil Empires – his Arch Nemeses on this planet he created. So allow me to advise you, sir! Why don’t you try escalating for a couple more months... If God swings his magic wand and hits Iran with another set of tremors, say 6 in Tehran, 6 in some other province, and 6 in a third province, then, change course immediately, and stretch your hand out to the world in humility and peace! If on the other hand, God swings his magic wand and blesses all of Iran's drought-ridden regions with much-needed rain, then continue on with your escalation and do God's bidding.

Be careful though, your Excellency. My sources tell me that God loves his beer! So one earthquake or even two will not count. Neither does one thunderstorm. To be absolutely sure that you are actually reading a deliberate message from God, you need to witness sequences and multiple occurrences. That is the only way, you can be sure that God is really sending you a message! Let me give you an example that you may grasp.

Do you remember that speech you gave at the UN? What kind of a question is that? Of course you do! Well… if only one or two of members of the audience were fixed in a trance, then you could say that God accidentally flicked his wand. But, you told all of us, that your entire audience experienced a holy trance. Now that is God’s bidding. Get it?

Good Luck Mr. Ahmedenijad! You need it now more than ever! Your next steps are crucial! It really does not matter how isolated Iran is in this world. All that matters is Iran’s relationship with that beer-loving God! The responsibility for winning him over to Iran's side has now fallen on your shoulders. Good Luck, sir!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Burn Jill Carroll at the Stake!!!!

Oh wait... we're not living in the 16th Century any more! But... but...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

So Eager to Hug!

Lahoud really missed President Assad. Mind you, they did not just shake hands, like what PM Seniora did with Assad, no--Lahoud met with Assad before the Arab Leaders' Summit was about to start in Khartoum.

Interestingly enough, the Sudanese President was quoted stating that on the sidelines of the Summit, there will be a closed session dealing with mending Syrian-Lebanese relations. Guess what the Sudanese President assured everyone?
"The minutes of the meeting will not be kept and no recorded documents will be released," he added.

I must say, how comforting! Is that supposed to be a good thing or bad? And why such an important meeting, if it will occur in the first place, should go unnoted for?

The Arab League is truely a pathetic organization!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Good tidings?

The Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs.

Several commenters and bloggers have noted the dearth of high-profile think tanks and public policy institutes in Lebanon - high profile, meaning an institute that at least dents public discourse on certain issues. Some institutes do exist today. But, when was the last time you read an article that cited the
Lebanese Center for Policy Studies?

The Issam Fares Institute will be housed in a newly constructed building (due to be completed in Oct. 2008) at the AUB campus. For those of you who have graduated from that university, the structure will be built on the spot where the infirmary is located at the Green Oval.

Structure aside, the question to ask is: will the institute carve a niche for itself in the Lebanese political field? [Keeping in mind that it is a field already saturated with people who are dying (and killing) to be heard?]

We'll have to wait and see I guess!

So mark your calendars boys and girls!!! October of 2008 is the month! (Don't hold your breath though!)

Addendum: Curiosity took me to the AUB website to see if the university released its own announcement. Lo and behold, it turns out that the institute already has its own website! Check it out by clicking here.

The site is quite basic, but it does provide you with a timeline for the project (how unLebanese!!!)
Here is a quote from the website that is attributed to Issam Fares:
“The study and promotion of informed public policy and international affairs is vital to the Middle East...With the creation of this public policy Institute at the American University of Beirut, which has long been the educational heart of Lebanon and the region, the University will be able to encourage more debate andresearch on international affairs and state policy. The Institute will provide a base where academics, policy makers, and experts from around the worldcan gather to respond to the region’s needs.”
Here is a picture (also from the website) of where the building is going to be built - to the right of the palm trees.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Another Perspective

Rumor has it that the well known journalists Ibrahim Al-Amin and Joespeh Smaha, both of whom left As-Safir on rather unfriendly terms, are re-opening an old leftist newspaper. Apparently, they are partnering in this venture with Azmi Bshara and Onsi Al-Hajj, An-Nahar’s former editor-in-chief, one of Lebanon’s foremost journalists, and a pioneer of Lebanese prose poetry. Incidentally, Al-Hajj left An-Nahar a long time ago following a clash with the late Gebran Tweini.

Such a newspaper, should it come to be, would hopefully add some color to the local media scene. While it would be naïve to assume that this is a neutral newspaper, it may actually serve to host some voices and opinions which, like those of Smaha and Al-Amine, have been repeatedly suppressed with the events that followed the assassination of the late prime minister Rafic Hariri.

Al-Amine is often accused by the "February 14" forces of having ties to the Syrians. His latest writings, before leaving As-Safir, focused on socio-economic issues and attacked the corruption of politicians who ruled Lebanon under Syria’s tutelage. He also criticized the abuse of the Hariri assassination in local, and regional, politics; he often doubted the credibility of Mehlis team and the course of the UN investigation in the assassination of Hariri.

Smaha is actually one of the best and most cultured journalists in Lebanon. He was the cultural page editor in As-Safir before he made editor-in-chief. Under him, As-Safir’s cultural page became one of the most prominent in Arab countries. He is a profound analyst who, having his own opinions and standings, is able to argue for them in rational and objective ways. Of course, most would still disagree.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Choose your pickings!

So why is it that we support certain politicians and despise others?

I would like to think that there is at least a trace of rationality in our choices, as opposed to sectarian sentiment or simply, sentiment. Through this entry, maybe we will be able to clarify our rationale to ourselves, and each other.

Experience gained in debates with other Lebanese has taught me that in a single argument, several dimensions of a politician can be pertinent. When the argument revolves around a certain issue, like the geo-strategic position a politician takes, one or more other issues will be introduced, such as the politician's integrity and/or ideology (if one exists).

This reality has spurred me to attempt to breakdown the characteristics politicians based on several dimensions. The breakdown is not perfect, but it will help by (at least attempting) to lay all the cards on the table, for all of us to see.

The questions I ask myself when I look at the matrix are:

  1. Did I miss a dimension?
  2. Which of these characteristics are the most important to me?
  3. Which characteristics constitute red lines?
  4. Which political entity should I support based on this matrix?
  5. Do I merely support those who I percieve to effectively challenge the political entities I despise irrespective of their own qualities?
note: If you are having problems seeing the table below, it may have to do with your screen resolution. 800x600 is not the appropriate setting. 1280x800 is.

note #2: The boxes articulate fleeting descriptions of public perceptions as opposed to reality which is definitely much more complex. Of special concern are the categories of "agenda" and "corruption." Agendas, for their complexity, and corruption, for the lack of figures and an effective judiciary. Moreover, one commenter who goes by the name, Aounopolis, suggested a third dimension: time. Considering Lebanon's history, I am sure that time is a relevant variable to consider in this matter of selecting "favorite leaders."

My main worry however, is that if any reflection of reality were to attempt to represent too many facets of that reality, then it would become too complex, and ultimately useless. So while this particular table definitely needs more details, we all walk on a very thin line.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is there a difference?

Is there a difference between doing a foreigner's bidding and trying to do what you want with the assistance of a foreigner?

If there is a difference, which one is more eggregious? And, can we really determine who is doing what in Lebanon? Or is everybody doing both?

Finaly, are there foreign interventions that are more benign or malevolent than others? Can we make an argument that one power's intervention is more desirable than another? If so, how do we do so in the current climate that Lebanese are living in?

I ask these questions because, for me at least, the choices I have to make with regards to Lebanon zero around the regional and international powers. I find myself asking the question of: which powers would I prefer for Lebanon to be under the influence of?

I look forward to reading some of your answers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Losing Hope, While Our Politicians Are Stuck In History!

All this silence on my part...because there is really nothing to write about on Lebanon from this part of the world...

I wonder what all these politicians meeting for the n-teenth time around a round table dubbed a national dialogue do for a living. Really? Have we ever asked ourselves this question. They have so much spare time on them, so much time, to schedule a meeting after another that garners absolutely no tangible results.

And why are we waiting for them to come up with a verdict about our country's future and fate? Sometimes I give up suddenly on politics, even when public policy and politics are what I do for a living.

I've been silent, thinking, trying to answer questions about the way I should view my country. Do I go back to the way I used to be, namely back during the "Syrian tutelage era", where I used to focus on the positive, try to look for ways to improve the country through economic development, trade, and institutional reform, while shunning away the "foreign" and "defense" policies and sweeping them under the carpet because we as Lebanese do not have the power to affect them in any way.

Or do I just become like a Lebanese expatriate, namely give up on Lebanon altogether, except for listening to Fairuz, visiting my family during the vacations, and fantasizing about eating mezze and kibbeh up in beautiful Ehden while listening to the waters running in Nabeh Mar Sarkis. And why am I even talking about Lebanese expatriates, when there are Lebanese living in Lebanon who just survive and live and manage to never watch the news?

I'm afraid of losing hope in my country. For the past year or so, I became interested in Lebanon's "foreign" and "defense" policies because I thought that the Lebanese people for the first time would get the chance to make a difference there. But I'm losing that hope a bit by bit and I'm left confused.

It's taking me time to move away from following the political news religiously to focusing on news items that never get talked about much, issues that really matter to the Lebanese people, such as workforce development, economic development, trade, and business investment, health policy, education policy, environmental policy, social policy, and transparency, good governance, and state reform.

So there's a time lag here. It pains me to admit that I lost hope in the politics, but that's the truth of the matter. Life moves on; our politicians are still stuck in history, back in March 8, 2005 and March 14, 2005.

And I read that if in today's dialogue a verdict about the fate of the Presidency does not come to fruition, Geagea and Jumblatt might call for a return to the streets; I say: please, give us a break, we are not tools. And the same goes for all the other political parties, FPM, Hizbullah, Amal, among others.

I stopped caring about who should be our President. And why should I care when the people do not vote for the President? I don't have a say, therefore, I don't really care. I can back this person or the other, but at the end of the day, the decision will come from some political "leaders" whom I did not vote for because first I was not in Lebanon during election time, and second because for instance the member of Parliament who supposedly represents me, MP Mosbah Ahdab whom I respect his political stands, is not even included on the negotiating table. Oh, remind me, who made the decision about who should be there and should not? Ah, it's Berri! Well, too bad...

And why should I continue to watch the news or read it when I feel everyone is belittling our minds with the issue of the Shebaa Farms and the arms of the resistance? Again, some political leaders around a negotiating table will decide whether the Farms are half-Lebanese, half-Syrian, or all Lebanese, or all Syrian...they will also tell us whether the resistance arms are "holy" or not...and they will also tell us whether we will be "delineating" the borders with Syria or just simply "reaffirming" the borders with Syria (tarsim versus tahdid).

Anyways, my apologies for this sudden loss of optimism in our politics. Let's just focus on the positives, perhaps look forward to Beirut I...that should bring us tangible results more than the NATIONAL dialogue that is not "national" after all....

Update: Just read that the political leaders were deadlocked and decided to postpone the dialogue until Monday. Nabih Berri said that the Presidency issue needs to be resolved not through open sessions, but through behind-the-scenes dealings...Should this statement make us feel good?...

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Speaking my mind

On this blog, I have gone out on a limb. In doing so, I have exposed myself by being unequivocally critical of a political party not only because of its nature but because of its recent political stands. I know that in doing so, I also expose myself to criticisms of hypocricy (people ask why I do not criticize other political players in the Lebanese scene) but also of sectarianism (some others claim that I am merely disguising my "racism" and sectarianism in pseudo-academic discourse).
In response to these criticisms, I say the following:
I characterize myself as both secular and liberal. As a secular person, I find the recent ressurgence of religiousity in the Middle East as an appauling development that needs to be addressed and reversed if possible. As a liberal, all forms socia and politicall authoritarianism (be they traditional or religious) appaul me. As a Lebanese, I consider my country's internationally-recognized sovereignty to be among the highest political priorities. All my statements regarding politics launch from these foundations.
In response to criticisms, I have also taken the time to list rebuttals against the most common arguments used against some of my assertions. I know I have shortcomings... but I strive to honestly and ruthlessly argue for a liberal, secular, economically prosperous and environmentally conscious Lebanon.


When 90% of the Shi'a support the Hizb and Amal...

In the current hyper-sectarian environment in Lebanon, if you are known to be a member of a Shi'a family, you are expected (by all Lebanese) to support Hizballah, and are not taken seriously if you do not. The same applies to members of all the different sects. Therefore, to make the ludicrous claim that Hizballah legitimately represents 90% or 80% or even 50% of the Shi'a population of Lebanon, is merely a manifestation of that innate sectarianism - it is evidence of your own sectarian outlook.

Clearly Hizballah's history puts them head over heals above Lebanon's other militias...

My priority is minimizing the damage hariri and jumblatt have done to the country these last 15 years, and I don't see hizballah doing that much damage...

The thing about Hizballah is that they know they have been more ethical than other militias, so when dealing with them one has to always be mindful and respectful of that...

I find these arguments to be some of the weakest in the current political discourse concerning Hizballah and the future of Lebanon. I find them especially hollow when articulated by liberal-minded individuals who do not enjoy being told how to live their lives by anyone and who generally prescribe to the norms and mores of secularism and modernity.
Will those who articulate these arguments live under the absolute socio-political regime espoused by Hizballah because it is 'less corrupt' and 'more ethical' than its counterparts in Lebanon? I doubt it.
In fact, allow me to go one step further and suggest that a considerable number of people in Lebanon "support" Hizballah not only because of their sectarian impulses BUT ALSO because they are very aware that no matter how powerful Hizballah becomes, it will not be able to impose its social and political agenda on them.
Consequently, their sectarian impulse spurs them to support or 'defend' Hizballah's political positions; and Lebanon's fragmented/sectarian nature makes makes such a position affordable for them because it protects them from Hizballah local agenda.

after all Nasrallah's been transparent in his politics so far and the conditions of giving up his arms have been clearly and rightfully defined in his agreement with the tayyar.

I have heard of three famous monkeys. One of them is blind... the other is deaf... and the third is mute. Whoever makes these arguments is definitely not mute!

Of course, this is not about Sheba'a, this is about keeping pressure on Israel.... Turning the solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict into a one-state solution is the duty of the Palestinians but we as Lebanese have a duty to keep the pressure on Israel through non-violent means and violent means where possible.... If we, the blacks of the Middle East, realize Israel is a racist apartheid state, then don't we have a duty not to leave it alone?

None of us will have a say in Hizballah's disarmament if we don't have a coherent and comprehensive strategy of dealing with Israel as Lebanese.

Some observers are a little more honest, and say that "Shebaa is not the issue," but rather it is all about Palestine. They say that Hizballah will not disarm unless we come up with a strategy for placing pressure on Israel so that it eventually may accept (according to at least one person) the "one-state solution."
Well, at least these people are honest - to a certain degree. They claim that Sheba'a is not the issue, but rather, it is Palestine (so much for Hizballah’s transparency/honesty).
In response, I say that Palestine is as useful to Hizballah as Sheba'a is - and I dare anyone who knows anything about Hizballah to challenge that claim. A peaceful Palestine is not in Hizballah/Iran's interest because the Iranians have not gotten what they want from the Americans and Europeans yet. Palestine is a "field" just like Iraq and Lebanon....
As I said in a previous post, if the Palestinians decided that they wanted to come to a settlement with the Israelis tomorrow (i.e. act selfishly), they would not be able to. Too many powers (including the Iranians) are happy to keep the Palestinian field burning because it gives them leverage with the West.
It is here where the humanitarian community plays right into the hands of the most brutal and cruel regimes of this Earth. They ruthlessly attack the Israelis, but completely ignore the Arab and Persian regimes that are doing their best to perpetuate the conflict (whatever the cost to the poor and suffering Palestinians).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Go Egypt!!!!

Are we finally witnessing the stirrings of an independent judiciary in the Middle East?!?! I don't want to make it appear that I am an expert on Egyptian affairs, or that I completely know the intricate details of the story I am about to present to you through this entry... but, it is definitely a glimmer of hope, so I'll put it up anyways.

an Al Jazeera article titled "Egypt judges take protest to the street" reports that

Egyptian judges are standing by colleagues summoned for questioning over comments on last year's elections.

They also voted against any concessions to the government on a draft law reorganizing the judiciary.
Dozens of demonstrators supported them. "Judges, judges, save us from tyranny," some of them chanted.


Sounds great, doesn' t it? Well... I am waiting for a post from the Sand Monkey or Stacey (who appears to be in Egypt) about this event to see what's really going on. But heck... I desperately hope this initiative is genuine.

Friday, March 17, 2006

And I predicted I would live during a boring era!

What a fool!

I have mentioned this to friends, and maybe even on this blog; and I shall mention it again: As I entered into the world of political consciousness, it gradually dawned on me that I had missed all of the great historical events, decisions and developments that defined the world I lived in. I came to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, I was probably going to live during an era that would be dull and historically insignificant (at least in a political sense)... a world in which skirmishes would be plentiful but great battles of epical proportions nonexistent.

  • I missed WWI, the fall of the Ottomans, Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration
  • I missed the mandate era, the rise of Nazi Germany and its crushing defeat in WWII
  • I missed the rise of the Soviet Union, and only barely caught its humiliating downfall

All of these events, decisions and developments were historical in the sense that they literally shaped the Middle East - among other things, of course. Yet, without exception, they all came about during an interval of time in which I was either not yet alive or not yet politically conscious.

In my life, politics, I told myself, would be played within the boundaries and rules that were created by the politics of my father's and grandfather's generations. I would watch pieces move on the chessboard they witnessed being created. My generation would not set the rules… but rather, follow them. "How blasé!”

How wrong I was....

Among the dates that I know my children will secretly envy me for witnessing are September 11, February 14 and the oh-so-wonderful March 14. But forget dates. Think developments. Think the current duel that pits the United States against Iran, and what that conflict may lead to in the region.

Gradually, every country in the Middle East is beginning to feel the repercussions of this game of brinksmanship that both countries are playing. Two days ago, gunmen in South Eastern Iran set up a checkpoint and killed more than twenty individuals. This brutality is merely a sample of what appears to be monthly operations in Iranian territory that kill and maim tens of people in different parts of the country. In Iraq, dozens are murdered every day. Yesterday, for the first time in years, I heard of Kurdish guerillas clashing with Turkish forces (almost as if in direct response to the Iranian incident). Lebanon's situation needs no further elaboration. Syria is also on the brink. And the list goes on....

The entire region may be on the verge of a new eruption... a new make-over. We are all either in the midst of these developments or in the peripheries, looking in. It is true that not one of the powers involved in this quagmire seek to dissolve the current order, but that is almost irrelevant. Did the Russians want WWI when they mobilized their Army? Did the Lebanese know that they would be killing each other for 15 years when they began shooting in 1975? No. Therefore, we should probably expect that things may get out of hand.

Well… What can I say? I definitely got what I wished for! The question is; should I be thankful?

For certain things, I think I should be... for others no... and for yet others, I say let us wait and see.

The verdict is still out there.

On a day like this

Mad Magazine (1, 2) says something like:

"March 17, 400-something: St. Patrick introduces Christianity to Ireland, thereby giving the natives something to fight about for the rest of their recorded history."

Actually March 17 was the date of his death. It's still a good quote. Apparently, it's also a good reason to wear green and drink pints of beer in Irish pubs all over the world.

"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land." Desmond Tutu

Thursday, March 16, 2006

and... Hizballah will disarm when???

...[Recognizing Israel] is equal to treason under any circumstances and for humane reasons, we are talking about an entity that is based on a single ‘race’ and discrimination and torture against Arabs and Palestinians".

“Let us not forget that Israel has issued a memorandum claiming all rivers in Lebanon as theirs, and when the Lebanese people decided to make use of the water Ariel Sharon threatened to hit all water facilities. We do not accept this racist entity — whether in Palestine or anywhere else in the world. Our vision in Hezbollah for the future is that there will be solutions to fit the human aspect that must prevail in the 21st century.

“Most Palestinians are living in the diaspora, so how can we accept a settlement that does not recognise those people’s return. The Jews always say they were subjected to a big tragedy, which killed many of them, but they forget that the Arabs and Muslims had no role in this calamity and that the West is responsible. So why do we have to pay for it?”

Those are the words of Hizballah's Nawaf Al-Mussawi. But wait, wait ... aren't Hizballah's arms tied to "liberating" the Sheb'a Farms?!?!?

Stupid Lebanese. Stupid, stupid Lebanese! They can see Jumblatt's corruption, and contradictions. They can see the clumsy incompetence of Hariri and the bloody history of all the warlords... but they cannot see where one party is drawing the entire country to! One party! ... and its fanatical ideology!!!

We are all going right back to where we were before Hariri's brutal assassination. We are willingly throwing ourselves back under the thumb of Syria and Iran - indefinitely!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

If only we could

The government minister distributed certificates to 40 participants of a week-long training session on the installation of solar energy systems...

He conveyed his ministry’s determination…to benefit from solar and wind energy to the greatest extent possible.

The minister stressed that cooperation with the private sector should be coupled with a publicity campaign so that the ministry and the energy sector could both benefit from the private sector's capabilities in the collective effort to promote citizens' use of solar energy.

If you thought that the exerpt above was taken from the Toronto Star or the Sydney Morning Herald, you are wrong. It was extracted from an article published by the Daily Star earlier today titled Fneish Promotes Use of Solar Energy.

Quite surprizing istn't it? In the midst of bickering about "the resistance," the presidency and the Sheb'aa farms, here is the Minister of Energy and Water promoting solar and wind energy in Lebanon, and speaking of public-private partnerships and government-sponsored publicity campaigns.

Good stuff! I am genuinely impressed by the Minister, and by his initiative to promote solar and wind energy in Lebanon.

Now if only we could read more of such initiatives in Lebanon.

For example, a week ago, the Daily Star published an article about a new organization in Lebanon called Eco-Power, which is headed by an individual who goes by the name of Elias Aoun. According to the article, Aoun, has succeeded in convincing 90 restaurants to donate their used vegtable oil to his organization rather than throw it down their drains. He then converts this grease into bio-diesel (a much less poluting substitute of fossil-diesel) and sells his product to paying customers.

Lebanon subsidizes conventional diesel heavily. Fossil diesel also pollutes Lebanon's air, and leads to an increase in incidence of resporatory diseases especially among children. For those reasons (and many more), Mr. Fneish should encourage Eco-Power and the bio-diesel industry in general by offering them incentives and gradually eliminating the subsidies that go to conventional diesel with the intent of making bio-diesel more competitive in the market place.

This proposition is one that is win-win-win!

  • The environment wins with biodiesel as do the children
  • The government wins because it does not have to subsidize conventional diesel
  • The economy wins because rather than import diesel, a bio-diesel industry is created

Yalla Mr. Fneish... support BIO-DIESEL! Support Eco-Power! Support Aoun! (Elias Aoun) :-)

Monday, March 13, 2006

95 Percent

95 percent appears to be a big number in Lebanon!

Back in the day when Seniora was in the midst of forming his government, and trying to convince the FPM to jump on board, 95 percent was a term that you would hear over and over again!

After every meeting between FPM and FM representatives, the participants would declare to the press, "95 percent of our agendas are similar...." Of course, we are all aware of the outcome of those meetings!

When Aoun and Nasrallah signed their memorandum, the story was similar. Both parties declared that they agreed on 95 percent of the issues. However, unlike the FM-FPM negotiations, this 95 percent was a productive one. We got the formal, written agreement between Hizballah and FPM.

Today, Nabil de Friege was speaking to reporters after the "Hiwar" session of the day, and lo-and-behold, Mr. de Friege said that the participants agreed on 95 percent of the issues.

Now the question to answer:

Will the participants at least produce a piece of paper to show for that 95 percent of agreement or will they simply walk away in a similar fashion to the FM-FPM 95 percent agreement?

Which 95 percent will it be?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Mental Masturbation

Mental Masturbation… a phrase that I came upon yesterday, for the first time, in the Lebanese Political Journal. The person who penned it so eloquently, Marie, described it to me in the following manner:

Mental Masturbation is an expression frequently used by some mathematicians and scientists to describe those who elaborate fancy, but useless and complex theories or strategies that are entirely based on false premises and/or illusions. They keep going further and further in their fake and baseless theory until they ejaculate and make a splash.

I like it. In fact, I think I like it so much that I will adopt it, and scatter it in my posts whenever I deem it suitable to use. Marie... if you ever read this blog, I'd like extend my gratitude to you. You have just enriched my lexicon.

The question now is, when do I use it? Marie says that it is used to describe "fancy, but useless and complex theories or strategies...." But, can I extend its use in the realm of politics a little further?

Like, how about this: A good example of mental masturbation is when "an academic, or any individual, elaborates fancy solutions to political and social problems that are entirely based on the false premise or illusion that these solutions can actually make a difference on the ground." How does that sound?

In marketing, they teach students that a product is only as good as the quantity of dollars it rakes in, not what the scientist or inventor thinks of it. In politics, they should teach students that an idea is only as good as the number of people who will die and kill for it if necessary, not what the philosopher or professor thinks of it.

Why do people listen so avidly to the political and philosophical proclamations of Nasrallah and Jumblatt? Is it because they are such brilliant thinkers and articulate communicators? Probably. But we all know that the main reason these two individuals' "ideas" are so relevant is because however moronic their ideas are, you will have equally moronic individuals willing to die for them. Hence the wonderful relationship between power and ideas.

Allow me to pose another question. Why has the movement towards secularism, individual rights, and freedom of conscience failed to even dent the sectarian nature of Lebanon's political and social institutions? Could it be because the main propagators of those ideas have been Lebanon's "enlightened" middle class and elite, who flee the country at the drop of a pin? I say yes. I also say that the major failure of academics who propagate those ideas is that they fail to either recognize the need for alternative power structures that may adopt their ideas, or they simply do not know how to go about creating such structures in Lebanon.

Words are cheap. Political ideas are only as relevant as they are powerful. If we (as the “enlightened” middle class and elite) cannot recognize that the problem we face is not a dearth of words or ideas, but rather a dearth of structures and institutions that can genuinely adopt and promote these ideas, then we will continue to fail. The university is not enough. The mind is necessary but insufficient. Ideas need bodies as well as minds. If such conditions fail to materialize, I am afraid we will mentally masturbate for the rest of our lives.

Waiting For Tomorrow...

The more I think I want to write about tomorrow, the more I find myself speechless...waiting for tomorrow.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

they are priming themselves

I barely read The New Republic. I am also only vaguely aware of the Hayyabina organization. But maybe fate led me to an article written in The New Republic by Annia Ciezadlo, in which an official from Hayyabina was quoted.
I say that because I found something that I have searched for, ever since I returned from my trip to Lebanon. For over a month, I struggled to find the words and the courage to express what I saw, heard and felt while I visited in January. Alas... after almost loosing that battle, and by complete accident, my struggle is now over.
Lokman Slim, one of the founders of Hayyabina, said the following about the reality in Lebanon today

... [W]e are living in what some sociologists call the `priming period.' Mentally, [Lebanese] are ready to fight.

The priming period.... If there is any one phrase that encapsulates almost everything that I experienced in Lebanon while I was there, "the priming period" is it.
Some in the blogosphere have asked why my temperment changed after returning from Lebanon... why I wrote differently. Well... the reason is that I learnt a few things while I was there.
I learnt that everyone in Lebanon was acutely aware of the uselessness of words. I learnt of the futility of attempting to convince other Lebanese to take a stand other than what he or she "was supposed" to take. I learnt that blood was on the line... And that when blood is on the line, words are cheap.
On the streets of Beirut, you hear it again and again: Sectarian tensions are higher today than in 1975, when the country plunged into its 15-year nightmare of internecine carnage. "This polarization is much more threatening for me than a frank war where people are killing each other," says Lokman Slim, a founder of Hayyabina ("Let's Go"), a civil society group that promotes a secular Lebanon. "In fact, we are living in what some sociologists call the `priming period.' Mentally, they are ready to fight."

Army Statement

On Beirut, 10 March, the Guidance Directorate of the Army Command issued the following statement:

Following a series of inquiries and investigation, the Army Intelligence Directorate managed to uncover and arrest elements of a security network comprised of Lebanese and Palestinian individuals in the regions of Beirut, Al-Biqa and the south who had gathered explosives, missiles, bombs, weapons and ammunition from several Lebanese regions, and stored them in caves and groves belonging to them in various regions for subversive and trading purposes. The stockpiled weapons and ammunition were confiscated and the arrested individuals were referred to the concerned judicial authorities.
Source: Lebanese National News Agency
Translation: BBC Worldwide Monitoring

Friday, March 10, 2006

Daily Star writes about the blogosphere

I would like to thank Lysandra Ohrstrom of the Daily Star for writing a feature article on the Lebanese blogosphere. My only wish is that the article had been more inclusive and incorporated more input from bloggers other than Tony, myself and Angry Arab.

I would also like to make another comment; she appears to have attributed the following quote to me:

"There is no Lebanese cause to speak of. What cause? Unless you are talking about fraud, sectarianism, clerical interventions, daily political oscillations and fakeries. That is why the cause for me has always been ... Palestine and socio-economic justice ... everywhere."

I've just checked my archives and made sure that I never wrote such a statement. I believe Angry Arab is the source of those comments.

Lysandra also committed the typical American error of treating "Abu" as a middle name and completely discarding it while writing her article. Therefore, she refered to me as "Hassan" rather than "Abu Hassan," and Asaad Abu Khalil as "Khalil" rather than "Abu Khalil." Of course, the fault does not lie with her, but rather with the Daily Star's editors who should have picked up on that common American error, and fixed it.

ANYWAYS... For those of you visiting the Lebanese Blogosphere for the first time, please visit Open Lebanon. It is a clearing house of Lebanese blogs, where you get links to the latest entries from some of the best blogs, including Beirut Spring, Lebanon Political Journal , From Beirut to the Beltway, Letters Apart, Lebanonesque, French Eagle, Jamal’s Propagandas Site, Cedars Awakening and Ms. Levantine .

Addendum: It turns out that I can't read properly, and that Lysandra did not attribute the quote to me, but I just didn't get it! Thanks to some of the commenters who pointed that out.

Addendum 2: Rampurple has published a very interesting entry on what some may term an "Orange lie" at the Lebanese Blogger Forum. It's great! Go check it out!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Hero We Did Not Know About

Just wanted to point out that after all this wrangling to get a consensus candidate for the vacant Baabda-Aley Parliamentary seat, it turns out that Pierre Dakkash has a contestant: Pierre Hashash.

I liked that Hashash decided not to withdraw his name, because, as he claimed, "he decided to run in order to preserve Lebanon's democratic tradition and exercise his right to do so as an ordinary citizen not backed by politicians."

So for all those who disliked the move of arriving at a consensus candidate because it undermined democracy in Lebanon, there it is--the trophy! Pierre Hashash is every Lebanese who does not want to be "shortchanged" by electoral wranglings that many times do not make sense.

I believe that Lebanon has changed since the exit of the Syrian troops. Just imagine what would have happened to Hashash during the "Syrian era"...I'm amazed that he in a very civil manner held a press conference and said that he's continuing head-on for the elections and said what he had to say.

It's a symbolic move; perhaps his chance of winning is slim. But he is a "hero", trying to break a senseless status quo.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hizballah needs to decide whether it is Lebanese!

I think Lebanon may gain a lot by being somehow hezbolla-ized. Many of the party leaders have a lot to learn from Nasrallah, in term of social awareness, charisma, disinterest in bribery, coherence and discipline in his ranks...
That brief statement was part of Why Discuss's response to the last entry, titled Hizbollah-ising the Lebanese State. It is nonsense. It is a useless counterargument because it completely misses the point.

Why Discuss would have us believe that this entire conflict is about Hassan Nasrallah's charisma, his social awareness, his disinterest in bribery, and the coherence and discipline of his ranks. So the Hiwar el Watani has come about because the March 14 forces simply could not bring themselves to accept such a political entity in the government and consequently, refused to cooperate. That type of counterargument, my dear friends, is unfortunately a typical format used most diligently by the nuisance of a commenter Victorino de la Vega. It deliberately eludes the point of the intitial argument in order to distract the reader and draw his or her attention somewhere else.

The point of contention between Hizballah and the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, is not over its bureaucracy, or the charisma of its leader, or the "coherence" (whatever that means) and "discipline" of its ranks. The point of contention is over Hizballah's military wing:

  • Hizballah has a para-military force of about 20,000 - 30,000 men (compared to Lebanon's 60,000-man Army) - most of which are reserves, but never-the-less well trained.

  • Hizballah has a global network of sleeper cells that are intended to carry out attacks and assassinations if and when they receive the orders to do so.

  • Hizballah's arsenal includes thousands of rockets that target Israeli settlements, towns and cities.

  • Hizballah funds Palestinian organizations

  • Hizballah is purportedly training the militia of Musa el Sadr in Iraq

  • Hizballah possesses intelligence services that work in Lebanon in order to "protect its flanks," and in doing so, spy on other Lebanese.
In reaction to the pressure exerted on Hizballah to disarm, it is common to hear the following from the Lebanese Shi'a population:

"baddun e ashtoulna sla7na" (they wanna take our weapons away). Well I would LOVE to ask the following question in response:


or rather,


Okay, Prestige... and Pride... we understand - but how else?

Let me ask those Lebanese who defend Hizballah and its right to bear weapons: Why does Lebanon need sleeper cells in Argentina, Chile, Germany or the US? How are Hizballah's cells in those countries a benefit to Lebanon's national security? If you think that those cells, the rockets Hizballah has positioned in the South, and the men that Hizballah sends to train militias in Iraq are meant to protect Lebanon, you are a fool!

I lived in Lebanon throughout the 1990s. The level of coordination between Hizballah and Syria was SICKENING!!! I was there when the Israelis withdrew, and we all celebrated the fact that Lebanese land was liberated AND that we would no longer have to fight a war in the South. Do you know how it felt when Hizballah declared - OH WAIT, WE JUST REMEMBERED, WE STILL NEED TO LIBERATE THE SHEB'AA FARMS!

That was disgusting - and that was the beginning of the end of Hizballah's legitimacy in Lebanon.

HIZBALLAH NEEDS TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT IT IS LEBANESE. That is it! That is the decision that Nasrallah needs to make today. The Shia need to really ask themselves WHY THE HELL DO THEY NEED THOSE WEAPONS - AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT THEM? The Shi'a should also ask themselves whether those weapons actually harm them.

If Hizballah's leadership decides that it is not Lebanese, then the Lebanese, led by the Shi'a population, should unite and either force it to become Lebanese or expel it from our country.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hizbollah-ising the Lebanese State

Their attitude [on joining the government] is a dramatic change from the past. But they are going to instrumentalise the state to protect the resistance. They know how difficult it will be for the U.S. and Israel to mess with them. The party is not becoming “Lebanonised”; rather it is “Hizbollah-ising” the state.

That was what Amal Saad Ghorayeb told ICG interviewers on June of 2005. Her short analysis was eventually confirmed by a speech Nasrallah gave in UNESCO on February 16 of 2006 (two days after the February 14 commemoration of the late Rafik el Hariri). He said something to the effect that Hizballah would support a strong Lebanese state on condition that it is guided by a clear, unambiguous strategy.
I do not recall whether he articulated exactly what that strategy would be; but he did not need to. Nasrallah gave (and continues to give) Lebanese two choices:
  1. Either maintain the current paralysis and a weak Lebanese state
  2. Or gain a strong state with more centralized authority at the expense of what Saad Ghorayeb termed: the "Hizbollah-ising" of the Lebanese state.
Anyone with half a sense realizes that Hizballah will not compromise. The organization barely flinched even as Lebanese personalities and politicians that opposed its position died at the hands of its stalwart ally in Damascus. If even in the face of such brutality, Hizballah refused to cave in, then what exactly will induce it to compromise?
Once Hizballah gets its way, Lebanon will simply return to the same condition it was in under Syrian tutelage. Those who oppose the Syrian-Iranian-Hizballahi agenda will be forced to shut up or leave the country. Those who remain will be forced to benefit from the status quo to the greatest extent possible. The "resistance" will become an untouchable topic, and Lebanese will be at the mercy of its political calculations, and the Israeli reprisals.
If the Lebanese state is Hizbollah-ised, there will be no need for the Syrian Army, or the Mukhabarat... Simply put, the Syrians would have accomplished their mission.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hiwar Al-Tourshan!

Today Jumblatt spoke at the Brookings Institute in DC. I was there and heard what he got to say.

In my mind now, I am thinking whether the Hiwar back in Beirut was truely a trap after all, a trap to lure all the players to agree to Hizbullah's terms.

Basically Jumblatt revealed the deal that Hizbullah has put on the negotiating table: They will give up the Presidency, if the March 14 bloc agrees to drop the issue of the Shebaa Farms, and by that agreeing to the continuation of Hizbullah's resistance role.

If that's the deal put on the table, well, Jumblatt has revealed it to all of us. He is here, in DC, invited by the U.S. Administration so they could listen to his point of view. When asked what would he demand of the U.S. Administration, he said that as a free Lebanese citizen, he will ask for support to continue on with the Cedar Revolution, namely support through pressuring the Syrian regime diplomatically and economically in order for its President to recognize that Lebanon is a free, sovereign country and that it should be left alone.

Such tough language towards the Syrian regime would not have come if it wasn't for the Syrian President's talk aired yesterday evening on Lebanese TV. President Assad talked at length about his opinions towards the outcome of the Lebanese dialogue that is taking place right now in Beirut. He said that those at the meeting should come out of the dialogue with "black and white" answers to important issues about the Resistance and about the Lebanese-Syrian relations. Bashar had the audacity to even defend the "lame duck" Lahoud and explain why he has called for renewing his term (because he defends the Resistance and has helped Lebanon not veer away from its Arabist agenda!). But what shocked me the most was when he said that this ongoing dialogue will determine where each party stands. He has already decided that this dialogue will lead to polarization!

أنا لا أرى أن التيار القومي والمقاوم سيذهب باتجاه أن يقول اننا نعم اتفقنا على قبول التدخل وعلى حل سلاح المقاومة وضرب العلاقة مع سوريا. إما أن تأتي الأمور بهذا الاتجاه وإما أن يكون هناك انقسام وفشل كما سميته الفشل الذريع

My question is why is President Assad doing what the Syrian regime always did, namely dictate to us what needs to happen and what needs to be? We say: President Assad: Leave us alone!

But to return to the issue of whether this Lebanese dialogue has been sabotaged, I was thinking how on the first day of the dialogue, Parliament Speaker Berri was quick at publicizing to everyone that all players have agreed that the Shebaa Farms belongs to Lebanon. Yet, Jumblatt, since he left the country, has questioned this premise, including his representative at the dialogue table, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.

إنه ليس صحيحاً على الإطلاق أن اتفاقاً تم بالإجماع حول لبنانية مزارع شبعا، أبداً
أبداً. هذا الموضوع كان حوله نقاش، لكن لم نصل الى اتفاق حول تثبيت لبنانية مزارع
شبعا بقرار بالإجماع، وهنا لا بد من الانتباه الى هذه المسألة، فالحوار ما يزال
مستمراً بأجواء هادئة وصريحة

Which leads me to believe that in reality, nothing has been agreed on yet.

Publicizing that all have agreed that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, was a clear signal to Syria that it can relax about the urgent demand to demarcate its borders with Lebanon and a clear signal that Hizbullah's arms are there to stay. Interestingly, in the newspapers we read today that Syria's Foreign Minister Moallem has reiterated that the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese. We say: Can you please head to the UN and provide the proof once and for all and relieve us of our chagrin?

After I attended the Jumblatt event, I quickly returned to watch the Lebanese news. Already reporters were hailing a flurry of questions on the politicians involved in the national dialogue, asking them whether Jumblatt's request for U.S. help is a blow to the dialogue. The politicians said that they need to read his statements first, others said that all is being discussed on the table...

Jumblatt was clear; he said what many Lebanese are thinking and feeling, what many Lebanese aspire for regarding their country. We want an independent, free, democratic Lebanon, a Lebanon with a Lebanese agenda, and a President with a Lebanese agenda who is the final arbitrator amongst all factions and parties. Lebanon cannot solve the Arab-Israeli conflict; at least it cannot do it through violent means. Lebanon cannot defend any country's nuclear arsenal. Lebanon cannot defend a dictatorship against another. Lebanon needs a state that is sovereign, able to defend its territories when needed, without the need for others' arms on its land.

Naseer As'ad wrote today in Al-Mustaqbal, trying to draft a win-win scenario for this ongoing dialogue. He claimed that perhaps a "road map" can be devised where Hizbullah will disarm gradually, within a certain context of the Taif Accord and UNSCR 1559. I couldn't finish reading!

I'm aware that if this dialogue comes out with positive outcomes, Lebanon will be better off and Lebanese will be better off. Nothing can be solved in day or two; everything takes time. But right now, there is so much going on for me to be able to process at once. I'll wait a day or two...before making up my mind.

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lebanese Engineers in the Gulf

Almost as if on queue, I bumped into this interesting piece of information:

In January of 2006, the Khaleej Times interviewed a high-ranking member of Lebanon's Contractor Association by the name of Sa'did Fathah. Mr. Fathah claims that over 9,000 Lebanese construction engineers are currently employed in the Gulf, and that 3,000 of those were hired in either 2004 or 2005.

Of course, statistics in Lebanon are almost unheard of... so this man's claims stand out because he presents numbers. But, to be honest with you, the impression I get is that the numbers he presents are quite miniscule.

Lebanon... the hospital of the Middle East?

In times like these, when Lebanon's head political honchos are sitting around a table with the express intent of preventing a civil war, economic news may seem a little mundane! But no matter what the eclectic collection of god's representatives on Earth like to preach, money makes the world go round, and therefore, matters of the "Green" always deserve their little space in the headlines.

Last week, the Clemenceau Medical Center opened its doors in Beirut. It is the first clinical facility in Beirut that is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, or indeed any other international organization of such caliber. The press release that was issued on the day of the opening read as follows:

CMC aims to be the creator, applicator and the forerunner of a new healthcare concept in Lebanon and the region. The Center is a unique health complex with a multipurpose high-tech hospital, fully-equipped with International standards.... CMC has the facilities and services to cater to the needs of patients from Lebanon and the Middle East. Virtually, all medical services a patient might need - doctor visits, testing, surgery, and hospital care - are available under one roof at CMC....
Sounds great, doesn't it? Except I wonder where all those Arab patients are. From what I hear, Lebanese doctors have formed little "mafias" to prevent new entrants into their field of specialty and protect what little clientele they already have... most of whom are Lebanese!

It is obvious to all of us... Lebanon's potential lies in the medical field. Yet, for some reason the political elite has not exploited that potential! Every mom and pop in Lebanon grooms their children to become either engineers or doctors... and the glut of professionals that this Lebanese obsession has created in both fields is immense! However, whereas engineers actually need to go somewhere to build a structure, or do whatever it is they specialize in, patients usually come to doctors! And the all mighty knows, Lebanon has a lot of doctors!

Where are those patients?!?!?! Why isn't the Lebanese government taking more steps to facilitate the process of traveling to Lebanon for a bypass heart surgery? Why hasn't Lebanon become the hospital of the Middle East? Oh wait... I know... we're too busy dealing such life and death issues as the Shebaa farms, and inter-sectarian one-upmanship!

Another top ten list Lebanon can be proud of

The Associated Press has released a top ten list of the most "lucrative" bank roberies in history. Yup, you guessed it, Lebanon has its place secured in this ominous list... Just scroll down and check it out! On another note, notice how four of these heists took place in England, and that even the Beirut heist was at the British Bank??? hmmm...

  1. $900 million in U.S. bills and as much as $100 million worth of euros Iraq Central Bank, Iraq, March 2003. The thefts took place at the beginning of the U.S. invasion and were blamed on members of Saddam Hussein's family.

  2. $92 million Security company cash center at Tonbridge in Kent county, southern England. The Bank of England said Feb. 22, 2006, the robbery had occurred overnight.

  3. $70 million Central Bank in Fortaleza, Brazil. Theft occurred sometime during weekend of Aug. 6-8, 2005.

  4. $65 million Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Center, London, July 12, 1987.

  5. $50 million Northern Bank, Belfast, Ireland; Dec. 20, 2004. Widely blamed on the Irish Republican Army.

  6. $37.5 million in gold Brinks Mat Ltd., Heathrow Airport, London, Nov. 25, 1983.

  7. $30 million Bank of France, Toulon, France, Dec. 16, 1992.

  8. $21.8 million Brink's Securmark, Rome, March 24, 1984.

  9. $20 million to $50 million British Bank of Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon, Jan. 22, 1976. The theft took place during the Lebanese civil war and was widely blamed on PLO factions.

  10. $15 million in certificates of deposit Bank of Sepah-Iran, London, January 1983.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lebanon: To Be Or Not To Be?

It's not Lausanne, not Taif, not in Damascus, nor in Cairo...It's in Beirut where the Lebanese leaders are meeting to determine the fate of our country. This is new. And interestingly, it's in the heart of Beirut, that heart that was flattened during the war, where they are meeting to determine that fate.

Will they come out with a document that paves the way for instituting the Third Republic? Or will they agree to finally and at last fulfill the mandates of the Taif Agreement that brought about our Second Republic?

Many questions; the fate of this country does rest on the outcome of this meeting. If this meeting fails, we have much to lose. What will the leaders who supposedly represent us decide? Will they decide to agree and save this country or will they disagree and then what?...we enter into the unknown?

And if this meeting fails, it will be even more depressing to see that perhaps Lebanon as a country, as a nation, is a failed idea. Because when the Lebanese are sitting face-to-face without foreign interference on Lebanese soil, they cannot agree on the basics?! Then what is the message we are sending to ourselves and to the world? Then why would anyone be on our side and why should I continue carrying the banner of Lebanon?

But of course if those leaders dialoguing right now come out with a positive outcome, it will be truely a "victory", even if it was symbolic, that Lebanon can be.

We can make fun of the characters taking part in this dialogue; we can mock the dialogue itself as much as we want, but I believe that history will only tell that what Lebanon is undergoing is historical indeed and worth witnessing in earnest.

On a lighter note: Check it out this picture from today's meeting:

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."

8 Oranges

In a somehow pioneering idea for Lebanon, some supporters of the FPM have started a major effort to offer multiple services and products in the Lebanese market, under the umbrella of 8 Oranges. They officially declare that a portion of the profits goes to the FPM.

There is a similar, obviously more developed, experience in Italy, where the Lega (League of Cooperatives) is associated with the Left parties, the ConfCoop (Confederation of Cooperatives) is associated with the Catholic center-right parties, and AGCI, the Association of Cooperatives, quite small compared to the other two, is associated with the Republican parties. Some of these also include agricultural COOP's and the like, but I'm interested in the markets. Any info is welcome. I asked some friends living in Italy and they told me that the hard line supporters of each party shop exclusively at their party’s market, while other people go for the best deals.

Back to 8 Oranges, their services include fuel, water, kiosks, and a loyalty card with which you get insurance… Check the site.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nassib Lahoud For President!

Nassib Lahoud has announced his candidacy for the Presidency, if the March 14 bloc supports his candidacy...or else, he would support any candidate that the bloc backs.

I personally support Nassib Lahoud for President!

"Nobody knows how many rebellions, besides political rebellions, ferment in the masses of life which people earth."