Archive for category Editorial

The Lebanese Are Better Than We Think They Are

How do we balance between what we know in theory and how we live in practice? Ironically, the powers and technologies that have transformed the world into a global village have partly contributed to our segregation into separate clans, tribes and sectarian groups. How can we satanize and eliminate the other person? How can we reduce him into nobody, into a bitter enemy, despite our knowledge that the self and the self of the other are one? How dare we speak of “coexistence” and “civil order” while we fail to have the simplest dialogue in a peaceful manner? We extol the virtues of love but fly off the handle if someone begs to differ with us. Where is our scale of values? What is our point of reference? Do we use the same standards in evaluating issues and politicians irrespective of our personal interests? Read the rest of this entry »

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Lebanon’s Game of Musical Chairs

The few comments made by Ziad Rahbani about the Diva’s (Fairouz) admiration of the Sayyed (Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah), were sufficient to send the March 8 camp into an elated and celebratory frenzy and its March 14 rivals into tantrums of reprehension and condemnation. Whether it was intended or not, Ziad’s declaration deployed the Diva in the trenches of the March 8 Forces, but put her in the cemetery of the March 14. Fairouz did not utter a word. Her son did and Rima, her daughter, responded. So why was the backlash aimed at her? Read the rest of this entry »

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Hypocrisy in Giving

  • Q: What is the occasion of this fancy ceremony?
  • A: It is for raising funds for the poor.
  • Q: Do you work for the organization?
  • A: No. I work for a reception services’ company to bid you a cordial welcome. Read the rest of this entry »
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The General’s Son

general-son

He was not an activist for the Red Cross or the Red Crescent. Mattityahu Peled, known as Matti, was a Zionist General born in Haifa in 1923 to a father from Belarus and a staunch believer that Palestine was a land promised to him and to his people. For its sake, he engaged in atrocious fighting and killing with the Haganah. Yet, during a fascinating journey, the General went from a military hawk during the Haganah madness and later during the systematic violence of the Israeli Army in 1956, 1967 and 1973 to a peace activist, reconciled with himself and “the other”, and embracing a two-state solution, in a metamorphosis worthy of admiration. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maktoub

“..It was all written by God- maktoub.” Those were the words of a Lebanese survivor of the Australia-bound boat tragedy that unfolded off the Indonesian coast. Indeed, our birth, our land of birth and the families we are born into are all ordained events- maktoub. We were predestined to hail from Qab’it, Akkar. But what’s more? Read the rest of this entry »

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Nour and Reem Chamseddine – Two Success Stories

Most of what we write brings distress to the heart. Most of what we see casts a gloom on the spirit and most of what’s around us creates an aura of pessimism. But amidst deepening gloom, bright spots emerge to defy the dark.

Laborers sweating from dawn to dusk, survivors fighting sickness and poverty with a smile, industrialists, traders and craftsmen reaping the yields of their efforts with self-dignity, yet without arrogance, citizens saying no to humiliation, bribery and oppression; those are the unsung heroes. They solicit no posts or money and implore no favors from sects and Zu’ama. Never do they serve as talebearers. Never do they stab a nation or a friend in the back. Read the rest of this entry »

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1985 and 2013: Peak Years for Killings

1982 was the year of car bombings par excellence. Hardly did a month go by without an explosion ripping through Lebanon. As a matter of fact, a total of 34 car bombs exploded that year, thus translating into 2.8 explosions per month. 1985 on the other hand was the peak year for killings with approximately 317 Lebanese dead and 1198 injured in car bomb attacks.

Putting aside the operations against the Israelis, the Americans and the French, which claimed a number of Lebanese lives along the way, the list of yearly car bombings by the highest death toll would be as follows: 1985, 1981,1983 and 1982. Which year ranks fifth?

Here is the gist. It is 2013. At least 74 people were killed and 678 injured in four car bombings that hit Lebanon until mid-September. These numbers put the year 2013 fifth in the list since the 1975 Civil War, and first since 1985. This year alone has seen the death rate of 54% of the total deaths in car bombings since 1990. In other words, the death toll in 2013 exceeds half that registered in 23 years.

No wonder the Lebanese are packing up and leaving the country and the PTSD levels are high.

Jawad N. Adra

drawing

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Neo-Indexers

Neo-conservatives, Salafists, takfiris, nationalists, patriots, resistance fighters, unionists, democrats, poor, rich, Israel, power, Hamas, and so the list could go on forever. The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies has conducted, thanks to funds granted by the Qatari government, a series of opinion polls aimed at studying the above phenomena and the status of people in the Arab world, thus producing what is now known as the Arab Opinion Index. The Index aims at “examining trends in public opinion and exploring the views of the Arabs towards economic, social and political issues including democracy, citizenship, equality and civil and political participation as well as their attitudes towards public and private institutions and towards the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The Process

Sharif Hussein was sitting in his tent in Hejaz, unaware of the role that had been woven for him and his sons when he started receiving the MacMahon letters along with the cunning flattery of the “infidels of the West”. He was very content to be the Emir of Mecca, and perhaps Hejaz, and did not even dream of becoming overnight the leader of the Great Arab Revolt. What mattered most was that Britain had assigned an Emirate named Transjordan to his second son Abdullah and a kingdom named Kingdom of Iraq to his third son Faisal, and gone with the wind were all the promises of an independent Arab state. The Sharif Hussein of Mecca ended up stranded between Cyprus and Jordan and was eventually buried in Jerusalem, far from his kingdom and his Hejaz. His sons and grandsons were assassinated one after the other, with the last assassination being the massacre in Al-Rihab palace in Baghdad in 1958. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Stolen Land

Once upon a time, there was a small village in a country called Lebanon. The village was often mistakenly called “Shekka”, for people did not realize its real name: El-Heri. One day, a man decided to buy a property by El-Heri’s seaside and demolished all infringements around the area, so that his property became exemplary. Slowly, beach sand accumulated, and the shore was restored, an event that was quickly celebrated by the “neighbors” who hurried to launch advertising campaigns urging people to come and swim at the most wonderful beach in Lebanon, at a charge levied in defiance of all laws. And so, they encroached on the property, trespassing and cutting trees and excavating land. Ironically, the landowner became the transgressor, while the beach swimmers and visitors were subjected to threats at gunpoint, should they fail to pay. Read the rest of this entry »

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