Archive for category Editorial
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 »
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
Where could G.G. possibly be after having made history as the first Head of General Labor Confederation to stand against the modernization of the Labor Law drafted in 1936 and the provision of better wages and more favorable working conditions? Ghassan Ghosn (G.G.) failed to stay true to the objectives on which the confederation he presides over was premised:
- Defending Lebanon’s labor force and lobbying to improve its professional, social, economic and moral status.
- Remaining independent of any political party or influence. Read the rest of this entry »
What did Hawking tell Khaled Meshaal and Azmi Bishara?
Nothing, of course. Chances are they haven’t even heard of him, for they’ve been too busy grasping grandiose concepts from His Eminence Al-Qardawi. Meantime, Stephen Hawking has been wasting time pondering black holes and quantum physics, let alone that the wheelchair-bound physicist cannot move and has to speak through a computer with a voice reminiscent of the omniscient oracle of Socrates.
For those pushing him to visit Israel to gain a better perception of how matters actually stand, Hawking has already visited Israel several times. And for those calling on him to give up his Israeli-designed Intel chip, the answer is simple: Should we cease using the airplane because it is an American invention, while we are against the US invasion of Iraq? The matter to Hawking is connected to a set of consistent values. Israel is a nuclear state, and he is a firm believer that a nuclear war in which humans destroy themselves and the universe around them is no longer unforeseen. His stand implies that science, morality and politics should go hand in hand, and this is at the core of the matter.
Hawking’s decision to absence himself from the high-profile scientific conference scheduled for June in Israel was not only in response to the appeals of Naom Chomsky and the other 19 academics, Palestinian in particular, but it was also in response to the inner voice inside him.
Doubtlessly, Hawking hasn’t heard of Al-Qardawi’s celebration of al-Bouti’s murder, nor has he solicited the rich or instigated violence. All he did was distance his name from the heinous crimes committed by Shimon Peres, the host of the conference, against the children of Qana and Gaza.
So has his voice echoed to Bishara and Meshaal in Doha? And will Al-Qardawi speak of faith to him? Perhaps Hawking can then quote Prophet Mohammad: “It is better to teach knowledge one hour in the night than to pray all night.”
Stephen Hawking, the atheist believer, spoke to them and to us alike. Let us not turn a deaf ear.
Jawad N. Adra
The March 8 Forces have for a long time held their March 14 rivals accountable for the deplorable state of the country’s economy, education, medical services and infrastructure. The fingers were pointing since 1993 at each successive government, particularly those under the premiership of Rafik Hariri, Fouad Seniora and Saad Hariri. If the past were good, then why complain about it? And if it weren’t, then why persist in the same practices? The fact of the matter is that the March 8 Forces are reinforcing the lingering effects of the past they keep lamenting.
Below are a few matters overlooked by the March 8 Forces: Read the rest of this entry »
Reveling blissfully in the absence of a decent taxation system that could ruffle their tranquility, and putting issues like the electoral law and the judiciary at the bottom of their priority list, the “Committees*” are strictly objecting to the slightest change in today’s economic and fiscal conditions. They actually fear any restructuring of the economy, or any measures proposed to reform the National Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Health.
The “Committees” refuse to sacrifice their comfort zone, yet keep complaining about the status quo. This glaring paradox begs the following question: “What are the “Committees” fussing about if they’re resisting the change?” Read the rest of this entry »
“Why did we defeat the Israelis and the Palestinians didn’t?”, the nine-year-old girl inquired, heedless that her question ramified into thousands of questions converging into one single answer.
First, who are “we” and who are the Palestinians? And why did the girl assume we emerged victorious, at a time when a considerable number of Lebanese and Arabs believe otherwise? Read the rest of this entry »