Monday, September 25, 2006

a little introspection

It amazes me how those of us who like to think of ourselves (or present ourselves) as above sectarianism, never the less, cannot seem to escape from the sectarian pull or grip. Very few bloggers blog as Maronites, Sunna, Shi’a, Druze, Orthodox or as representatives of other sects. Most of us wrap the Lebanese flag around ourselves and suggest to each other that our voices are those of independent free-thinkers, who are able to transcend our sectarian folds and reach out to one-another as Lebanese. Yet, although we refuse to identify ourselves as sectarian partisans, openly promoting the interests of our respective leaders (we are obviously above such behavior), we consistently appear to carry the banners of the causes adopted by those very men. As such, we as individuals sum up to not much more, in an intellectual sense, than those high school drop-outs who make a living as bullies and thugs, roaming the streets to enforce the wills of their respective patrons.

Every one of us ought to remember that one of the main tasks of a politician is to define the boundaries of, and lay out the details of what constitutes “appropriate” political discourse. Therefore, we, as Lebanese do not need to come out and scream: “Druze Power!” or “Shi’a Power!” or articulate similar overt sectarian gestures. Fortunately/Unfortunately (however way you wish to see it), much more subtle means of practicing sectarianism exists; one of which being, acquiescence to the boundaries and rules of political discourse set by our sectarian leaders – all we effectively do is translate their words to English.

To give a very obvious example, a battle between two discourses exists in Lebanon today: one that asserts that the last war was a catastrophe for Lebanon, and another that characterizes it as an unprecedented victory. The level of consistency whereby bloggers of certain sects (and I know quite a few, including, of course, myself) took the side of their particular sectarian leader was frightening. This reality begs the following question:

Are we Lebanese Citizens who, like shoppers in a competitive market, have the power and judgment to choose among the different discourses displayed to us? Or are we, unbeknownst to ourselves, partisans who merely justify and promote the discourses of leaders based on sectarian kinship?

I think that bloggers need to step back, take a moment, and answer these questions. For ultimately, doing so will help us realize whether we are merely peddlers or Citizens.

In answering those questions, I suggest asking another: What is it that I would like Lebanon to be, or to look like in the near (and not-so-near future)? I need to know what it is I want, and therefore, what it is I expect before I can judge politicians and their discourse. Inevitably, we all have our unique answers because we are all different – but I doubt the differences are enough to justify the dramatically polarizing (and sometimes, unnatural) political choices we have made.

41 comments:

kachumbali said...

Let me open up a third option to shopping for discourses or mere partisanship:

How about developing your own discourse? Open up a 'third way'? Create public awareness and promote Civil society? Bring together Lebanese living in Lebanon and the diaspora?

Citizenship does not end at following the leadership of the few, whatever opinion they may stand for, but instead developing and promoting your own ideas, and THEN elect someone to represent those ideas (yes, I know, very idealistic...)

Try breaking with one of the things binding you: your perpetual quest for leaders.

Sherri said...

Conflict resolution is really at the heart of the question.

Under the Lebanese system of government, there are representatives for the different groups and they exert power by forming alliances with each other. They, individual representatives, are going to act for what they view as the interests of their members.

How do they all come together to do what is in the best interests of Lebanon? And they have different perspectives on what is in the best interests of Lebanon.

What I read is there are two views.
One view is that the war was a disaster and Hizbullah must disarm. Another view is that the war was a victory and Hizbullah is stronger and further established its legitmacy and should not disarm.

I think that the solution is a compromise between these two positions and the different groups need to be working towards finding a balance, a middle ground, and not wasting time criticizing and insulting each other and not dealing with the problem. The problem will not just go away.

The government needs to have control over the country, icncluding the south. But the Shiites and others in the south need to be protected from Israeli agressions against them and their properties. Israel has a long time practice of violating Lebanese sovereignty, trespassing into Lebanese airspace and onto Lebanese land and water space. Why should this be tolerated by the Shiites and others in the south or the entire country, for that matter?

A military force that stands up to protect the rights of all Lebanese is needed. Can the present Lebanese Army perform this function? Does it have the ability and the willpower to do this? Until it is established that the function Hizbullah has been acting in (protecting Lebanon and Shiite Muslims from Israeli aggression and occupation (Sheeba Farms issue) and standing up for Lebanon's rights to be treated as a sovereign country), is not needed, how can there be any hopes of disarming Hizbullah?

Can Hizbullah play a role in the future defense of the country, in some type of an alliance or agreement with the government?

Successfully resolving conflicts, like the conflict in Lebanon or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, cries out for people coming together and understanding each others points of views. And respecting each others points of view and finding solutions that meet all parties needs. The blog seems a good way to communicate points of view, but sometimes it seems nothing is being accomplished because everyone has their own view, that they keep restating. It's like we read each others comments, but do not really listen or understand them. And even when we do listen and understand them, how do we take what we have learned and do something good with that knowledge.

An example, the one thing that affected me most during the past Israeli Lebanese conflict (and I am from the US) was the innocent civilians who suffered and died, many women and children among the over 1000 civilian casualties in Lebanon. I never really felt that anyone I communicated with from Israel felt empathy for those lost lives. It was like they were not human or something. And I know that they felt I did not feel empathy for those who suffered and died within Israel. All who suffered and died were human beings with families and loved ones thaey left behind. I feel sorrow and sadness for all of them.

I was reading this book called Light Force A Stirring Account Of the Church Caught In The Middle East Crossfire by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen. The author concludes that the only hope he sees for the Middle East conflict was in the Church bringing people from both sides together where they can begin to understand each other and care about the welfare of each other and have reconciliation. People reaching out and caring about each other. The Hope I see is the very message of my religion, Christianity, "Love One Another."

The book ends with the following story:

A certain man had two sons. One was rich and the other was poor. The rich son had no children, while the poor son was blessed with many sons and many daughters. In time the father fell ill. He was sure he would not live through the week, so on Saturday he called his sons to his side and gave each of them half his land as their inheritance. Then he died. Before sundown the sons buried their father with respect.

That night the rich son could not sleep. He said to himself, what my father did was not just. I am rich; my brother is poor. I have plenty of bread, while my brother's children eat one day and trust God for the next. I must move the landmark my father has set in the middle of the land so that my brother will have the greater share. Ah, but he must not see me; if he sees me he will be shamed. I must arise early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark! With this he fell asleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.

Meanwhile the poor brother could not sleep. As he lay restless on his bed, he said to himself, What my father did was not just. Here I am surrounded by the joy of many sons and many daughters, while my brother daily faces the shame of having no sons to carry on his name and no daughters to comfort him in his old age. He should have the land of our fathers. Perhaps this will in part compensate him for his indescribable poverty. Ah, but if I give it to him he will be shamed; I must awake early in the morning before it is dawn and move the landmark that our father has set! With this he went to sleep and his sleep was secure and peaceful.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, a long time before it was day, the two brothers met at the ancient landmark. They fell with tears into each other's arms, and on that spot was built the new Jerusalem.

I continue to hope and pray for peace in the Middle East.

And I pray for those kidnapped Israeli soldiers (from Gaza and those kidnapped by Hizbullah), that God watch over them and return them safely to their homes and families.

R said...

I think the questions you ask are deep questions whose answers require tackling the very core of the Lebanese problem. We need to ask ourselves more questions before we can even hope to reach the ones you asked though.

Are we all Lebanese? Do we identify with Lebanon? or do we identify with the Lebanon of our sect?
I think the answer varies from person to person, and the extent to which each individual adheres to his sect's line is a subjective matter, and it is rather unfair to clump all bloggers together...

In any case what I am trying to get that, is that at the moment there is a vicious struggle going on in Lebanon. I cannot believe for one second that I am neutral in that struggle. Philosophers such as Marx and Machiavelli suggest (loosely) that to be neutral at a time of a power struggle is to side with the loser. In this particular case, I will say that I am anti HA. I disagree with their ideology to the core, but I concede that they have a right to express it. They have no right however, to bear arms, use them, and prostitute Lebanon to achieve their messianic goals...

As for the Lebanon that I dream of, well it is a Lebanon that neither you or me will ever see in our lives I am afraid. I hope that a secular Lebanon that can respect individual rights and freedoms of speech and belief or lack of belief. A Lebanon that is built as a progressive state with Liberal values... But who are we kidding, that is not Lebanon, it never will be.

Doha said...

The problem is that we are not given much choices to pick from the "Politician Menu" provided to us. Moreover, most of the politicians who exist on the political arena take stands when events take place, not necessarily strategizing their long-term stand based on situations that might take place in the future. So I remember when the war started, we asked each other, "Yee, what did Jumblatt say about this? We haven't heard his position yet." Or, "Still Aoun did not comment on what's happening." Etc... We find ourselves waiting for the honorables to comment on this or that and then we say, "Okay, that sounds like what I think is right."

The country frankly speaking is not in a great position. For God's sake we've contracted out the job of keeping the peace in our country to foreign troops. How are we going to solve our problems? We have such polarizing visions of how our country should be and the problem is that there is no "system" or "process" that all the Lebanese follow or acquiesce to.

Raja, yesterday we had this discussion, how people here in America almost struck a contract with the state: they acquiesce to the system, follow its rules, provided that their rights are upheld and they can be their own individuals and can seek the happy life they aspire to achieve.

In lebanon, we don't have that. No one wants to acquiesce to anything. We want to create our own rules and follow them. No, worse, some leader will come and create some rules and we'd think that it's better following his rules than the rules set by the state. How pathetic!

kachumbali said...

@Doha

I think that saying that people acquiesce to the system is a bit strong, in my eyes you see the whole issue backwards:

The system is constructed in a way that let's people accept it, and acquiesce to it - not the other way round.

One of the biggest paradoxa in the history of political thought (especially the philosophy of Enlightening) is that freedom need rules. In order to be free, you have to make and follow rules. The rules have to be clear and indiscriminately apply to all, implying equality.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

You folks are in a hard position.

If sectarian divisions are too tough to overcome, the only hope for a "stable" Lebanon is a dictatorship that squashes and supresses the sectarian BS. Not much of an option.

Another option is civil war, so that one sect gains clear dominance over the others. Not pretty, but at least if the Christians win, the others will live a better life as compared to if an Islamic sect wins. The problem with this scenario is that so much outside money would come in supporting one side or the other that it would go on forever. The UN would of course take action that only causes the suffering to be eternal, which is what they are doing now. Their troops will not do anything about Hizbolla, yet they provide them international human shields, not in the best interest of Lebanon.

The last option is an Israeli takeover. Perhaps if Lebanon invited Israel to pass thru to Syria, wiping out Hezbolla from the south to Bekka, the Lebanese army could gain some control. But the UN will interfere as much as possible.

This sectarianism is your bane, I've said before that the UN is no friend, and as long as you blame your troubles on Israel, you will live in sh*t.

Raja said...

kach,

I want to make a point: at the national level (in all countries), it is usually political machinery that sets public discourse with the assistance of the media. Therefore, Jumblatt, Nasrallah, and the rest have their partisans, their organizations and their media outlets. Each of those entities help impose those leaders' respective discourses, and combined, constitute pretty daunting opponents to up-and comming voices. Kach, my dear, it appears that the "barriers to entry" are pretty high.

Your recommendation that we tred on a "third path" is what I have suggested in my entry. This path, in my opinion, ought to be founded on the selfish question of what we as individuals want for our country, and where we would like to see it go.

sheri,

thanks for the long expose. I hope that all the conflicts in the region can be resolved. It is a selfish hope - because I seek peace and prosperity.

doha,

this post was mainly a critique on how individuals such as myself and yourself apparently (and I stress apparently) chose sides in this conflict based on sectarian impulse - even though we would like to think that we're better than that. Your point was that Lebanon lacks a system that resolves conflicts and determines a national agenda. I agree. And I wrote about it in one of my previous posts. However, in this post, I questioned the nature of the differences themselves. Why do they have to be based on sectarianism among what may be termed a relatively cosmopolitan, worldly and educated "elite?"

mr. smarterthan,

Your comment deserves one response: thank you for offering your wonderful knight in shining armour to rescue us Lebanese. You are so kind! First though, why don't you go and train him some more? You see, the last time he strutted his stuff, he tripped over his own toes and fell flat on his face.

Anonymous said...

We lack a strong debate in Lebanon, and the wider Arab world.

The main issue remains, however, that we talk little TO one another, and mostly AT one another. Anyone who points out the obvious shortcomings of our leaders is attacked as a Zionist agent, and his voice drowned out. To paraphrase Balthazar Gracian, "the fewer words, the fewer" oppression...

You are right in pointing out that we need some introspection and perspective. However, now that we are in a fight for the Arab soul, I can see little other option than confronting the intolerant among us.

There is little can do but either wait for the madness to die down, or just pack up and leave.

Lazarus said...

raja,

excellent points. politicians DO set the parameters of discourse; that is after all, their job, and their means to achieve the end the want.

our job is to try (emphasis on TRY) and to define our own parameters. if both sets overlap, then so be it.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

I offer no one. I am not Lebanese nor Israeli. I am just an American who is sick of having to deal with 3rd world screwups that thanks to oil, and political correctness, now have the ability to screw up my life.

I told you that I see 3 options out of your trouble. I don't know what will happen, maybe you will surprise me by showing more intelligence than I expect. What I think will happen is that Lebanese will squabble among themselves too much to present a united front, the UN will, thru sheer incompetence, drag out the conflicts even more, and HB will strike again, prompting another israeli response that won't be near thorough enough.

My guesses on this are probably not far off. Heck, I forcast what the UN would do before the French turned chicken.

M. Simon said...

The key to civil society is the defeat of Tribalism

Anonymous said...

simon,

That's a tall order; we had an earful on Friday and Sunday. Tribal it is; with Flags...

turtlecurls said...

Although political groups in the US is very different from sectarian groups in Lebanon, I'd like to offer a bit of possible optimism from how it's worked politically here...

There are groups that vote largely as one, yet over time subgroups have found themselves shifting some but not all of their views. For instance Blacks vote around 90% democratic. Yet as some of them have gained wealth, they show interest in republic business oriented views, making the black vote & their pressure on their representatives more of an ameoba than the once uniform view. Another example are Orthodox Jews while traditionally democratic, are meanwhile also supporting school vocher programs of republicians. There are many examples of these across many groups. It forces more cross-view dialog by politicians. Currently, in spite of the way it sometimes looks because of who makes noise, most americans are moderates sitting only slightly off center.

What's important to see is that when looking at the groups they continue to look very uniform, such as being 90% democratic, but there's a shift inside to make the group less uniform & more involved with other groups. So while it may appear that bloggers are commenting from within their sectarian backgrounds, & may continue to appear to do so, shifts in views can be happening & listening between groups might be happening where it wasn't before.

A More powerful yet subtle change over time... If there is a position that is shared by multiple groups, that view moves outside the group or sect & becomes a part of the larger political scene of the country. It's a subtle shift, but it removes the energy the group has about maintaining the position "because of pride in the group" since it is now shared with other groups. When enough pieces become part of the larger political scene & not sect specific, a trust in the nation is formed that competes with the sectarian unity. To put it another way, by reducing the connection of the position to the group there is more trust in the political system as a whole & therefore more trust in going along with (acquiencsing) to positions that aren't your's. There is a sense that the position itself was heard & given a fair chance to be voted on since it was on the country level & not just one sect talking at another.

Also an obvious is that shared interests adds some measure of trust between groups.

I hope I've explained that clearly. Certainly was hard to do.

This would lead to the idea that if Lebanese continually put their views on the public table - while separating out each piece of the view - ultimately some common grounds would be found & some of these views would cease to be sectarian & would be part of the national political views that are possible to have.

kachumbali said...

Raja,

I thing you are constantly overestimating the importance of the 'political machinery', i.e. falling for its propaganda.

You write that the political machinery sets the public discourse, the media being its assisstant. Well, I dare to disagree, since you write 'in all countries':

The media is a power of its own, with its own laws, and has to be considered separately from the political system. True, there is a symbiosis in some areas, but nevertheless, the media continues to exist as a separate force, one that controls, follows its own agenda, and one that can topple politicians and political agendas, e.g. Watergate.

Now, this of course was speaking from the viewpoint of an open society. Lebanon is a different case. Media is not as independent, opinions tend to be controversial on a basic level down to the point of denying somebody's right to exist or express himself. But in saying that it is up to the politicians to form the discourse you give them a power that they do not deserve. Politicians CAN, and also should, form public opinion, but they are not the only ones! They and their parties have to take their responsibilities towards the whole country, the public good, whatever, seriously. They should have to educate, enable the people to emancipate themselves.

My idea of a third path mainly is based on this concept of self-emancipation, i.e. not attributing the power of shaping the public discourse to politicians the way you seem to have done it in your first entry.

A politician is supposed to be the servitor of the people, not its king. At the very least he should act in accordance with the greater good of his electorate/people, even when telling them which way to go.

Back to reality:

Of course Jumblatt, Nasrallah & Co have enormous power in shaping public opinion through their media outlets, and the obstacles to entering the discourse with an independent opinion are high.

In respect to blogging this means even higher obstacles, as the blogosphere is a highly fragmented and biased medium, in that respect very democratic. One idea would be to try and bring Lebanese bloggers together, but this would require a great deal of mediation...a full-time job I guess. And, of course, you would have to convince people of the need for this step. Create some sort of giant Lebanese-politics wiki. I might be over my head here, but does sth like that already exist? Some sort of Toot, but just for Lebanon? Create some sort of circle only containing worthwhile blogs, i.e. not just containing blind and mindless screaming...they can be biased to the point of denying Lebanon's right to exist as a sovereign country, but that should be expressed with rational arguments...at least as far as possible. For the moderation of these kind of things it might be worthwhile to study the history of wikipedia and the philosophy behind it, and the current steps to revive the original idea with the 'citizendium' project currently trying to take of.

Take a grassroots approach to democracy with blogging...but if you look at the history of democracy you will see that there was one pre-requisite to all other practical efforts: a forum for a polis to develop. So, if you seriously want to change something, work on creating such a forum.

Yeah, and finally: I know, I am sitting here in a peaceful and quite prosperous-boring part of the world, and I have the spare time to patronize the world...but it would be a pity if the Lebanese couldn't somehow get their country on a better path, and I think a lot of people worldwide are currently and would continue to support you in these efforts. And it all begins with and idea, a dream...

hummbumm said...

Raja,
My stance is clear I want an open, democratic, pluralistic, free market society for lebanon, and I support anyone who follows that route. So If Nasrallah had a makeover I would kiss him. When Jumblatt made his electoral alliance, I castigated him, when Aoun changed his spots, he got on my shit list. So I don't think sectarianism has anything to do with it at least in terms of my POV, and I would say most commenters on this blog.

Fearless said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jij said...

Well the answer is simple. You're not secular; you're sectarian. Not everyone is, though. But I salute this rare moment of lucidity. I don't expect it to last too long.

Raja said...

fearless,

if you would like to participate in a discussion you're welcome, otherwise... .

jij,

I do not need you to tell me what I am or am not. I am humble enough to disclose my faults and shortcomings. However, it would interest me to know how it is you perceive yourself. I am curious because you appear to stand on such a high pedestal. Yet, five days ago, you wrote this in your blog:

There are two shining spots in our otherwise gloomy history: Israel’s withdrawal from the South in May 2000, and the heroic resistance of the Lebanese people in July-August 2006.

Fuck the naysayers.

Long live Lebanon.

Hmmm... . That particular piece of discourse might as well have come out of the mouth of a one-track-minded Hizballahi. I wonder why it is you chose those two particular incidents, and not others (like the "glorious" expulsion of Syrian forces from our country). Are not Syrian troops as foreign as Israeli troops?

Are we some province of Syria in your mind? Or maybe you'd allow your "brother" to forcibly move into your house and become head of the household at your expense, but "definitely" not a filthy stranger.

Of course, you could have chosen those two incidents for ideological reasons. For example, maybe, you are a member of (or prescribe to the ideology of) the SSNP. I bring that up because of your apparent (non-sectarian) bias in favor of Syrian occupation as opposed to Israeli occupation. In that case, and in light of your preferred political discourse, I think you need to ask yourself the question I posed in the original entry:

"What is it that you would like Lebanon to be, or to look like in the near (and not-so-near future)?"

If I am correct, and you do see Lebanon and Syria as part of a "Greater Syria," then do you believe that Hizballah will help you realize that dream (which, of course, I need not remind you, is secular)? If I am wrong, then I am perplexed as to your reason for adopting the most extreme of Hizballah's discourse as your own? Might there be a sectarian rationale (even if you yourself were not Shi'a)? Or would you really trust Hizballah with the fate of Lebanon (in that case why are you not training to become an engineer at the University of Tehran as opposed to whatever university it is you attend in Massachusetts?

FreeCyprus said...

>>
Brilliant post. Too many people shout the divisions, at least, inside their heads. Those who cannot escape from the sectarian pulls are destined to have their children live with violence on a daily basis.

It's why my Lebanese friend's mother told him "Do not go to Europe, it is too close to Lebanon. Go to Canada."

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2006/09/24/1889810-ap.html

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

"Heroic Resistance" sounds like a soviet slogan.

Israel ran over Lebanon at will, and we keep hearing how the poor Lebanese are victimized by the Syrians, Iran, HZB. Where is the heroic resistance? From guys like you that left, avoiding the battles, avoiding solving your political problems to live in another country? Who were the heroes? Did Lebanese forces engage the Israelis? Or do you call the actions of HZB "Heroic Resistance", thus admitting that the Lebanese people and HZB are one and the same?

Until you guys get over your delusions of granduer, you will remain a banana republic, with strife and turmoil.

jij said...

Raja, I was just congratulating you on an uncharacteristic moment of honesty from your part. Why did you take it badly?
I am sorry but you are wrong in the conclusions you draw. I stand by what I said. Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon has brought nothing good from where I stand; sectarianism has increased ten folds and the country is at a complete standstill. Lebanon is at a much more backward point now. Why must we always be neurotic in our assessments? The Syrians withdrew, and then what? How is this any better? And what plans does your ilk have to make things better? Your “secular fun-loving” friends have simply shifted their subordination from the Syrian government to some other powers (which have much more sinister visions for our region I am afraid).
Your drive to assign tags to me is lamentable (“brother”, “University of Tehran”… What’s next? “mooo” and “khayyo”? Please be serious). So celebrating Israel’s humiliation or withdrawal is now equivalent to “adopting the most extreme of Hezbollah’s discourse” as my own? Shame shame… What has become of us…
I’ve said this before, let me say it again. I think of reasons why I should be opposed to Hezbollah, and I come up with a hundred. But with March 14, I don’t even have to think about it. The exercise is pointless. They are garbage a priori. They combine everything I despise in life: Tribalism, greed, appalling corruption, lack of spine, sectarianism, racism, and utter moral bankruptcy. I’ll side with Hezbollah any day rather than seeing my country being completely handed over to a bunch of medieval spineless thugs in suits you like to call “the Lebanese state”.
I guess Raja can better understand my positions by trying to figure out why the Lebanese Communist party has consistently sided with Hezbollah before, during and after the war. I am not a member of that party, but I honestly think they represent my views better than most. Note that they are sectarian (dah), nor do they believe Lebanon is a Syrian province, nor have most of their members been educated in Najaf or in Tehran. It must be some other thing. Something that might enlighten us on what secularism really means in Lebanon. But I’ll leave it to you to decide.

dick said...

For what it's worth: this site has always seemed admirably above the fray to me, a symbol of the great society that Lebanon can one day become. (Trying, here, to balance the marxist slogans with a little LBJ.)

But what would I know? I'm just a limey living in the usa.

Fares said...

Divine Victory

Lirun said...

these are questions that a state should never stop asking of itself..

turtlecurls said...

Most substantial political change has taken place through grassroots efforts. Only then has a leader stepped forward to say what those in the grassroots movement already knew. Black civil rights, India from England, Women's vote, Democratic g'vts in Europe.

I would agree with the prior comment, that there are many of us who would support Lebanon on it's path & are wishing you well. If Lebanon can figure it out, it will be a model for other places in the world too.

Raja said...

jij, you apply your logic selectively.

You ask what good has the Syrian withdrawal brought to Lebanon. However, you portray Israel's expulsion as a worthy end in and of itself. I tend to think that the liberation of a people from military occupation is a worthy end, in and of itself – whoever the occupier was and whatever the outcome.

May I not also ask you what good Israel's expulsion has brought about in Lebanon? The United Nations recognized Israel’s withdrawal in 2000 (as opposed to Syria’s recognized withdrawal in 2005). That length of time gave the country around five more years to reap the rewards of such a momentous event. Did we even get the peace that we all so longingly sought? I’ll leave you to answer that question.

You note in your response that ever since the Syrian withdrawal, sectarianism increased “10-fold,” and that “the country is at a complete standstill.” I find this analysis intriguing – especially considering the utter absence of any scientific basis of that assessment. Are you saying that the sectarianism you and I witness today was absent from Lebanese society and politics prior to the Syrian withdrawal? If so, please share with me the information you consider as evidence. As for the country being at a standstill, I ask, similarly: was the country “moving” anywhere under Syrian occupation? Can you even claim that the country existed – independent from Syrian tutelage? I doubt so.

No jij, it becomes increasingly clear to me, as you share your thoughts, that despite your gift for writing, you are lacking in the department of maturity, with regards to your political and social outlook. You make vague assertions about sectarianism and “movement” without providing us with any explanation of what you mean, or evidence to reinforce your claims – this despite your apparent scientific training. You make sweeping and extreme statements that only betray your disgust with the status quo. And lastly, you agree with an ideology that, if history has taught us anything, cannot be translated into reality despite numerous attempts in almost all corners of this globe.

Raja said...

hummbumm,

I have one comment: a free market society can only exist when the rule of law is instituted. I am a little pessimistic on that front. I am also pessimistic about a free market developing in Lebanon because it threatens the political elite who maintain their power (at least partially) by monopolizing the wealth.

In Lebanon we have private enterprize, but markets, unfortunately... .

kachumbali said...

Let me be a bit more patronizing:

Do you know what one of the main problems is in Lebanon? Somethign that is crystall-clear from my point of view, something I learned from my experience in Lebanon and other places?

You do not have a real history. Of course, every place has its own way of dealing with its history, that is constructing its own past, but in Lebanon (and the Arab world in general) this is being totally overdone.

Int he case of Lebanon: every party (and its leader) claims some part of the cake, every party committed massacres during the war, every party in Lebanon at one point fought other Lebanese, brothers killed brothers, all fought with the Syrians, against the Syrians, with Christians, against Christians...Amal against Hizballah...

There has not been any real reconciliation, at least not countrywide. You keep living in a de-facto Federalism, or let me but it more drastically, you keep living in parallel societies in the same tiny spot that is called Lebanon.

How can anyone seriously claim that the war against Israel was a shining victory and NOT be shipped off to an asylum immediately? How can anyone leave such a claim uncontended and not be shipped off to an asylum immediately? 1000+ Civilians dead, the war started from Lebanese soil (I know, I know, Israel had invaded Lebanon, Israel was only looking for an opportunity, all that...)

How can opinions left standing by the Lebanese public (at least the part that is not thinking the same...) that it is acceptable to have a militia who's aim it was to kill and maim innocent civilians, all along, who's whole strategy was just aimed at creating terror and kill Israelis...how can such a militia continue to exist and have legitimacy awarded to it for the sake of national unity?

I know that everyone is afraid of another Civil war, but it won't do any good to shy away from confronting radicalism...the more you ignore it, the more power you award to it...national catharsis doesn't always come cheap, but is a process, a fight...where's the March 14th spirit that managed to send the Syrians back over the border?

The problem in Lebanon summarized: you do not know where you want to go. You do not know what Lebanon even is. You do not even know what Lebanon isn't!

Do you want to be a sovereign people? Which are the core values you stand for?

If you don't find an answer to these questions soon, demographics will find the answer for you. Now is the time...

jij said...

naturally raja. Of course. If I am not a chief Iranian, or a baathi, then I am talking out of emotions, or I'm immature. It's one or the other. The logic is unimpeachable. U ask about "scientific evidence". Have you followed the demos, elections, debates and speeches of the last year or so? What, do you want me to put it in an equation for me? As if you ever do such a thing.

Fearless said...

Syrian officers under the guise of" workers" enter Lebanon with doubtful purposes. The Government does nothing- of course.


Des officiers syriens sous couvert "des ouvriers" entrent au Liban avec des buts douteux. Le Gouvernement ne fait rien - évidemment.

Chas said...

Raja,
an interesting post.
In order to ensure representation of all its various communities Lebanon adopted a "confessional" system which, in effect institutionalized sectarian voting.
But at any rate sectarian voting would probably have predominated. I imagine cross community voting is very rare.
The big problem is, as you point out, that who a politician represents becomes much more important than what they represent. The result is that politics becomes stagnant.
I can think of one possible constitutional fix for this. If Lebanon had a second chamber, with members elected from a list (ie not tied to a constituency) using proportional representation. It would not be possible to be elected without cross community support. This would balance the sectarian nature of the current system.. but i don't think Lebanon's constitution is up for debate at the moment and any such reform would be resisted by those with a vested interest in sectarianism.
Peace, Chas

Fearless said...

Lebanese Advertising: Manipulating the Post-War Spirit


http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=7&id=6494
24/09/2006
By Ali Al Uzayr


Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese advertising industry, both audio and visual, changes depending on the country's mercurial moods and protean political events. Last year, advertisements were primarily focused on notions of independence and freedom, with slogans such as "each to his own words" and "everyone has the right to do what they want". But today, advertisements have sharply shifted their emphasis onto the reconstruction and revival of Lebanon. Almost every political or commercial advertisement in Lebanon nowadays articulates the people's desire to see their country flourish and be prosperous once again, whether expressed on television, radio, or on street billboards. Advertisements assure citizens that their yearning for rapid reconstruction is supported - but they must remember to either pay, or elect [particular representatives] in return for it. A political party rebuilding a plundered bridge adopted the motto: "They destroy, we build. Our hope is eternal". One bank tells the people, "We will build bridges with you," but what is the price for that?

Upon the return of the displaced Lebanese from their forced exile after the recent Israeli war, the first vision to greet them on the plundered roads was that of billboards (mainly belonging to banks) pledging to rebuild what had been destroyed with unanimous determination. A billboard carried the word “dammar” (destruction), where the first letter of the word was dropped and replaced with the Arabic letter 'e' so that the word became “e'mar” (reconstruction). With a simple play on letters, the situation is transformed, changing the negative into positive. Another billboard bore the slogan: "He who has reconstructed once, will reconstruct again", displaying the dates of previous wars that had once devastated the small country. Another billboard had the image of a bridge being rebuilt with the caption, "together, we build the bridges between today and tomorrow," underneath. This intensity in advertising, both in number and spirit reassures Lebanon's citizens, who had returned from their painful journeys frightened, disheartened and mourning the loss of their lifetime achievements that had become nothing but rubble. Such advertisements tell their viewer that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, that matters are not as tragic as initially assumed, and that the rebuilding of ravaged houses is a seemingly easy task. Advertising efficacy is empowering to a dispirited pedestrian on a damaged road.

But the advertising industry is not new; it is as old as history itself. Starting out with naive and rudimentary methods, it continued to develop until it reached today's level of effectiveness and presence. Perhaps messengers who were dispatched by kings and rulers in ancient times to inform the masses of imperial decrees were the most primitive form of advertising. The messenger would first beat on his drum to attract the people's attention until they gathered round; he would then recite the decree that he was assigned to deliver. The auctioneer who strives to bring a particular commodity to the people's attention in the marketplace can also be deemed a cunning advertiser whose main goal is to convince customers of the quality of the commodity - without necessarily being honest. The art of advertising in such cases runs parallel to the art of make-up in terms of concealing defects and highlighting advantages - at any price. In this day and age, the principle seems to remain unchanged, despite the number and variety of means used to achieve it.

The television scene that welcomed the Lebanese on their homecoming to the ruins of their nation was equally significant: Bank advertisements dominated the screens and the eyes and minds of the people. Employing what was intended to be a more interesting and compelling approach, one advertisement retained its old image sequence from the pre-war period only changing the words, which were replaced by words that have more relevance to the circumstances. Terms such as 'solidarity', 'sacrifice', 'volunteering', and 'loss' were substituted with words like 'success', 'achievement' and 'excellence', reinforcing the idea that the new era requires the appropriate terminology.

Before the latest war in Lebanon, the country had witnessed several pivotal stages; perhaps the most prominent of which were two events that followed in succession: The first was the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri followed by the evacuation of the Syrian forces from Lebanon. The Lebanese recall a mobile phone operator that took advantage of the political climate and public mood, which veered towards liberation and independence, by launching a distinctive advertisement that said: "each to his own words".

The advertisement was referring to the ingenuity of mobile telecommunications in expressing what it had to offer to its customers in terms of independence and efficacy in communication, all the while running parallel with the dominating political atmosphere that clearly pointed towards a new era in which individuals have freedom of speech after many years of compulsory silence.

Syria's departure from Lebanon also left a marked presence on another televised advertisement that sought to promote national industries. Catchy and clever, it starts with a group of university students discussing what they had sacrificed for their nation, each student voicing his own political vision. One of the students boasts that his people had liberated the land from the Israeli occupation, another speaks of being jailed, alluding to a former era, while a third recounts his forced exile, which had been imposed on the leader of his political party. As they speak, a girl walks past the charged young men, noticing their consumption of foreign goods, and says, "If you love Lebanon, then love its industries."

It seems odd that advertisements would rely on politics to strengthen the advertising of a product to the target audience, which begs the question: is advertising in Lebanon politicised? Or rather, is it the abundance of empty slogans in politics that brings it closer to the advertising game? Without a doubt, the current state of advertising reflects the overwhelming presence of politics in the minds of the citizen 'consumers', which is a fact that could be attributed to the inherited and instinctive Lebanese inclination towards politics. This raises the question: is it a case of inherited genes, or is it more of a need to identify a deficiency in everyday life, which is the other face of the so-called 'politics'?

We will leave this question hanging to continue exploring the brilliant rationale behind the innovative minds in advertising; with their ability to invest in mass tragedies and tremendous historical events in the process of attracting consumers to one product or another. How could the terrifying and deadly war become a contributing factor to promoting one bank over another? The answer may be that the competition between people of the same profession is a war in its own right that derives its means from the traditional tools of war. However, members of this profession see it differently…

Distinguished advertiser Carlos Amsian stated that "advertising is a realistic representation of a given country's state. It reflects the image of the country in its citizens' minds as well as in the minds of others. A country without advertisements is a country in stagnation and isolation." As for the advertisements that have filled the streets of Lebanon, in his opinion, this is an indication of the nation's stoic determination to survive in the face of barbaric aggression. Amsian added that he understood that some people would question how he, or anyone else, could think of money and ways to invest at a time when the nation is caught in the heart of battle. His response was that, "monetary activities are one of the essential means to escape a tragedy, rather than succumb to its consequences. A bank's duty, as the source of money to be utilised to regain the country's bright image, is to support the citizens, at least by re-instilling their confidence and reminding them that what has been demolished can be reconstructed. Our task is to re-establish a sense of hope." He added: "We are not interested in marketing a particular commodity under these circumstances, but we believe that our simple duty is to support our country during such difficult times. For us, advertising is our strong point, and so that becomes our contribution for solidarity."

For her part, Malak Al-Baba, a public relations officer of a Lebanese bank, refutes the idea that the advertisements all over Lebanon’s streets since the war are a means of promoting their activities. She said, "We simply wanted to say that we are part of the community which has undergone the same crisis, and that we are keen on moving the economic wheel forward after the war had stalled its motion. We wanted to say that we are capable of that task and have the means and vision to reconstruct our homeland, despite the enormity of the loss." But doesn't the situation expose the desire to strengthen the presence of a particular bank at the expense of others banks, especially in light of such catastrophic circumstances? Amsian affirms that the issue is far from that. He said, "The current advertising campaign has been launched after an agreement and synchronisation between several existing banks. The reason behind such a campaign stems from an awareness of the importance of advertising and its profound impact on the general public spirit."

Still, the question remains: How do the citizens fit into all this? Has the aforementioned campaign helped to boost morale? One of the citizens liked the idea of advertisers attracting customers to banks so he inquired about the necessary prerequisites to obtain a loan in order to rebuild his demolished house. After a series of exhausting efforts, he managed to get hold of the person in charge of one of the banks. The reply he received was somewhat diplomatic but also carried a blunt suggestion that his house was best left demolished until the message of the advertisement could become a tangible reality.

Fearless said...

http://www.robertredeker.net/accueil.htm


Le Dhimmis dupes de France

Un intéressant article du philosophe Robert Redeker paru dans le Figaro et depuis supprimé du site de ce torchon:

Les réactions suscitées par l'analyse de Benoît XVI sur l'islam et la violence s'inscrivent dans la tentative menée par cet islam d'étouffer ce que l'Occident a de plus précieux et qui n'existe dans aucun pays musulman : la liberté de penser et de s'exprimer.



L'islam essaie d'imposer à l'Europe ses règles : ouverture des piscines à certaines heures exclusivement aux femmes, interdiction de caricaturer cette religion, exigence d'un traitement diététique particulier des enfants musulmans dans les cantines, combat pour le port du voile à l'école, accusation d'islamophobie [1] contre les esprits libres.

Comment expliquer l'interdiction du string à Paris-Plages, cet été ? Étrange fut l'argument avancé : risque de «troubles à l'ordre public». Cela signifiait-il que des bandes de jeunes frustrés risquaient de devenir violents à l'affichage de la beauté ? Ou bien craignait-on des manifestations islamistes, via des brigades de la vertu, aux abords de Paris-Plages ?



Pourtant, la non-interdiction du port du voile dans la rue est, du fait de la réprobation que ce soutien à l'oppression contre les femmes suscite, plus propre à «troubler l'ordre public» que le string. Il n'est pas déplacé de penser que cette interdiction traduit une islamisation des esprits en France, une soumission plus ou moins consciente aux diktats de l'islam. Ou, à tout le moins, qu'elle résulte de l'insidieuse pression musulmane sur les esprits. Islamisation des esprits : ceux-là même qui s'élevaient contre l'inauguration d'un Parvis Jean-Paul-II à Paris ne s'opposent pas à la construction de mosquées. L'islam tente d'obliger l'Europe à se plier à sa vision de l'homme.



Comme jadis avec le communisme, l'Occident se retrouve sous surveillance idéologique. L'islam se présente, à l'image du défunt communisme, comme une alternative au monde occidental. À l'instar du communisme d'autrefois, l'islam, pour conquérir les esprits, joue sur une corde sensible. Il se targue d'une légitimité qui trouble la conscience occidentale, attentive à autrui : être la voix des pauvres de la planète. Hier, la voix des pauvres prétendait venir de Moscou, aujourd'hui elle viendrait de La Mecque ! Aujourd'hui, à nouveau, des intellectuels incarnent cet oeil du Coran, comme ils incarnaient l'oeil de Moscou, hier. Ils excommunient pour islamophobie, comme hier pour anticommunisme.



Dans l'ouverture à autrui, propre à l'Occident, se manifeste une sécularisation du christianisme, dont le fond se résume ainsi : l'autre doit toujours passer avant moi. L'Occidental, héritier du christianisme, est l'être qui met son âme à découvert. Il prend le risque de passer pour faible. À l'identique de feu le communisme, l'islam tient la générosité, l'ouverture d'esprit, la tolérance, la douceur, la liberté de la femme et des moeurs, les valeurs démocratiques, pour des marques de décadence.



Ce sont des faiblesses qu'il veut exploiter au moyen «d'idiots utiles», les bonnes consciences imbues de bons sentiments, afin d'imposer l'ordre coranique au monde occidental lui-même.



Le Coran est un livre d'inouïe violence. Maxime Rodinson énonce, dans l'Encyclopédia Universalis, quelques vérités aussi importantes que taboues en France. D'une part, «Muhammad révéla à Médine des qualités insoupçonnées de dirigeant politique et de chef militaire (...) Il recourut à la guerre privée, institution courante en Arabie (...) Muhammad envoya bientôt des petits groupes de ses partisans attaquer les caravanes mekkoises, punissant ainsi ses incrédules compatriotes et, du même coup, acquérant un riche butin».



D'autre part, «Muhammad profita de ce succès pour éliminer de Médine, en la faisant massacrer, la dernière tribu juive qui y restait, les Qurayza [2], qu'il accusait d'un comportement suspect». Enfin, «après la mort de Khadidja, il épousa une veuve, bonne ménagère, Sawda, et aussi la petite Aisha, qui avait à peine une dizaine d'années. Ses penchants érotiques, longtemps contenus, devaient lui faire contracter concurremment une dizaine de mariages».



Exaltation de la violence : chef de guerre impitoyable, pillard, massacreur de juifs et polygame, tel se révèle Mahomet à travers le Coran.



De fait, l'Église catholique n'est pas exempte de reproches. Son histoire est jonchée de pages noires, sur lesquelles elle a fait repentance. L'Inquisition, la chasse aux sorcières, l'exécution des philosophes Bruno et Vanini, ces mal-pensants épicuriens, celle, en plein XVIIIe siècle, du chevalier de La Barre, pour impiété, ne plaident pas en sa faveur. Mais ce qui différencie le christianisme de l'islam apparaît : il est toujours possible de retourner les valeurs évangéliques, la douce personne de Jésus contre les dérives de l'Église.



Aucune des fautes de l'Église ne plonge ses racines dans l'Évangile. Jésus est non-violent. Le retour à Jésus est un recours contre les excès de l'institution ecclésiale. Le recours à Mahomet, au contraire, renforce la haine et la violence. Jésus est un maître d'amour, Mahomet, un maître de haine.



La lapidation de Satan, chaque année à La Mecque, n'est pas qu'un phénomène superstitieux. Elle ne met pas seulement en scène une foule hystérisée flirtant avec la barbarie. Sa portée est anthropologique. Voilà en effet un rite, auquel chaque musulman est invité à se soumettre, inscrivant la violence comme un devoir sacré au coeur du croyant.



Cette lapidation, s'accompagnant annuellement de la mort par piétinement de quelques fidèles, parfois de plusieurs centaines, est un rituel qui couve la violence archaïque.



Au lieu d'éliminer cette violence archaïque, à l'imitation du judaïsme et du christianisme, en la neutralisant (le judaïsme commence par le refus du sacrifice humain, c'est-à-dire l'entrée dans la civilisation, le christianisme transforme le sacrifice en eucharistie), l'islam lui confectionne un nid, où elle croîtra au chaud. Quand le judaïsme et le christianisme sont des religions dont les rites conjurent la violence, la délégitiment, l'islam est une religion qui, dans son texte sacré même, autant que dans certains de ses rites banals, exalte violence et haine.



Haine et violence habitent le livre dans lequel tout musulman est éduqué, le Coran. Comme aux temps de la guerre froide, violence et intimidation sont les voies utilisées par une idéologie à vocation hégémonique, l'islam, pour poser sa chape de plomb sur le monde. Benoît XVI en souffre la cruelle expérience. Comme en ces temps-là, il faut appeler l'Occident «le monde libre» par rapport à au monde musulman, et comme en ces temps-là les adversaires de ce «monde libre», fonctionnaires zélés de l'oeil du Coran, pullulent en son sein.



Robert Redeker *



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Suite à la publication de cet article, Mr Redeker s'est retrouvé dans la situation qu'il décrit à son ami André Glucksmann:

Cher André, Bonjour.

Je suis maintenant dans une situation personnelle catastrophique. De nombreuses menaces de mort très précises m'ont été adressées, et j'ai été condamné à mort par des organisations de la mouvance al-qaïda. L'UCLAT et la DST s'en occupent, mais...je n'ai plus le droit de loger chez moi (sur les sites me condamnant à mort il y a un plan indiquant comment venir à ma maison pour me tuer, il y a ma photo, celle des lieux où je travaille, des numéros de téléphone, et l'acte de condamnation). Mais en même temps on ne me fournit pas d'endroit, je suis obligé de quêmander, deux soirs ici, deux soirs là...Je suis sous protection policière permanente. Je dois annuler toutes les conférences prévues. Et les autorités m'obligent à déménager. Je suis un SDF. Il en suit une situation financière démente, tous les frais sont à ma charge, y compris ceux eventuels d'un loyer d'un mois ou deux éloigné d'ici, de deux déménagements, de frais de notaire, etc...C'est bien triste. J'ai exercé un droit connstitutionnel, et j'en suis puni, sur le territoire même de la République. Cette affaire est aussi une attaque contre la souveraineté nationale: des lois étrangères, décidées par des fanatiques criminophiles, me punissent d'avoir exercé un droit constitutionnel français, et j'en subis, en France même, grand dommage.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lucien Samir Oulhabib de Resilience TV a ouvert une pétition de soutien au Pr Redeker: http://www.resiliencetv.fr/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1271


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sans surprise, Pierre Rousselin, le directeur adjoint du torchon le Figaro a déclaré sur al Jazeera (la vraie pas France 2), que la publication de cet article était une erreur car l'article était islamophobe et haineux (en quoi, il ne le dit pas). Nul besoin de rappeler que ce détritus s'illustre régulièrement par la publication d'articles anti-israéliens tellement biaisés pour un professionnel de l'information qu'il est certain qu'il ne fait qu'exprimer son antisémitisme borné. Cette réaction est en tout cas typique des couillemollistanais qui jouent les forts avec ceux qu'ils croient faibles et baissent leur froc devant ceux qu'ils croient durs. La réaction de Gilles de Robien le prouve parfaitement:

Sur RTL, le ministre de l'Education nationale, Gilles de Robien, s'est déclaré «solidaire» de Redeker : «Chacun peut bien sûr exprimer ses opinions, nous sommes en démocratie.» Mais il a aussitôt nuancé, faisant valoir qu'en tant que fonctionnaire, l'enseignant aurait dû se montrer «prudent, modéré, avisé en toutes circonstances». La solidarité a ses limites.
http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/societe/207448.FR.php?rss=true

Comme le dit Libé, la solidarité des collabos a ses limites, celle du vocabulaire, par contre, de là à joindre les actes paroles, il y a un pas: il faut enjamber la francisque du pépé.

Adam Ben Yoel said...

The Maronites must be reenfranchised before the point of the confessionalist entity disintergrates. Both in the diaspora and within the country.

le maronite said...

Nice point Raja, I however never shy from exposing who I am, where I'm coming from. I remain,

le Maronite

Fearless said...

Yakul al Kalb Suri:


His Master' Voice
"Tout le monde sait que notre armée est incapable de faire face à l'armée israélienne. La seule façon de combattre et de vaincre Israël, c'est d'avoir une guérilla", a dit M. Lahoud estimant qu'"il faudrait être un traître pour vouloir retirer les armements à la résistance. Car le Hezbollah, c'est la résistance nationale".

M. Lahoud a affirmé que sa non-invitation au sommet de la francophonie à Bucarest est le fait du chef de l'Etat français. "Chirac a dit à de nombreux pays amis de la France de me boycotter. C'est lui qui a fait en sorte que je ne sois pas invité à ce sommet. Il a toujours eu des contacts personnels au téléphone sur le mode: +Faites-moi ça. Donnez-moi ça. Je le sais parce qu'il a essayé avec moi.", a-t-il rapporté.

Israel ne pas l'enemie du Liban ce la Syrie qui est l'enemie d'Israel.

Fearless said...

Thursday, September 28, 2006
Syria and Iran sign a number of Agreements and Memos of Understanding

Syria and Iran sign a number of Agreements and Memos of Understanding
Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 12:10 PM
DAMASCUS, (SANA-Syrian News Agency)
www.sana.org/eng/21/2006/09/28/70952.htm
On the occasion of the visit of Iranian investors delegation to Damascus, a
number of agreements and memos of understanding were signed between Syria
and Iran in the presence of Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri.

Otri hailed the Syrian-Iranian joint cooperation in the developmental and
economic domains, calling for boosting and promoting prospects of
cooperation to match the distinguished political relations between the two
countries .

The Primier also stressed the role of the businessmen and investors in
establishing joint projects and companies which participate in increasing
the volume of economic and trade exchange besides benefiting from joint
experiences in tackling transportation, housing and environment safety
between them.

For his part Chairman of the Board of Iranian Amiran Company Hasan Ahmad
Ikhuandi stressed the importance of cooperation between Syria and Iran as
well as the joint desire to develop it in different fields, pointing out to
the facilities the Syrian government has offered to attract and encourage
investors to establish projects in Syria.
During the meeting, A Memo of Understanding on establishment of Iranian
80,000 Square Meters Industrial City in Hesya was signed.

The city includes heavy strategic industries like a factory for iron
Industries with a capacity estimated at 800,000 tons per a year, a 800 mega
watt electricity generation plant, a factory for tempered glass, a cement
factory and other industries.

A Contract was signed between Iranian Amiran Company and Syrian Interior
Transportation General Company on providing Syria in the first stage with
1200 PRT-buses.

An Agreement on establishment of a Developmental Industrial joint Bank
between the two countries was also signed with a capital estimated at USD
200 million.

A Memo was signed between the Syrian Housing Company and the Iranian
Construction Company to build 45,000 housing units and 5 villas in Adra
City,
Damascus Countryside.

H.Zein/ Idelbi

Muxecoid said...

The ability to associate yourself with lagrer group comes with intelligence and education. Many of the Lebanon-born posters here speak 3 languages and are well educated. They define selves as "Lebanese". When you are stupid and uneducated you associate yourself with yourself, as your level grows you define yourself as member of your family, your village, your town, your nation or even mankind in whole.

Anonymous said...

Ideas are always the keys to salvation in situations like the one in Lebanon.

Instead of trying to appease certain interests along ethnic/religious lines such as electing Hizbollah to represent the impoverished Shia, why not enact a national minimum wage?

There are poor among Sunnis, Maronites, Druids, Kurds, and other groups, right?

The problem with leaders is that they often focus on retaining power, and can change their whims and ideals accordingly to stay in the political game.

Ideas have no paymaster and either yield results or don't. A minimum wage would give all Lebanese in less than well to do standing a common cause that crosses the ethnicity boundary.

It's obvious that political reform is needed, but before that can be possible with long term success, you need economic reform.

Anonymous said...

When I say "enacting a minimum wage" I mean to say an enforced minimum wage.

Improvement of local business situations with pro growth inititatives like tax break incentives for small business, an improved chamber of commerce to build jobs and provide security in typically impoverished regions based on a citizens own satisfaction with his or her own lot in life.

Anonymous said...

Lak ayri bi Michel Aoun, crazy mother fucker, lak w ayri bi neseralla, w ayri bi lahood