When Ruhollah Khomeini, while visiting Iraq met with Muhsin Al-Hakim, he urged him to take action against the Baath regime who has just arrived to power in 1968. Al-Hakim is said to have replied: “If we took drastic measures people would not follow us. The people lie and follow their whims, they are in pursuit of […]Read More Remnants of Nietzschean aristocracy
Interesting parallels between Poland and Lebanon (this probably applies to Ireland as well). Two places where a strange marriage between Catholicism and nationalist projects took place. In both cases, a perceived “external threat” led groups to find in the Catholic church a way to not just defend their interests but also to imagine their national […]Read More Poland, Lebanon, and the Catholic Church
I’m not saying that Zionism and ISIS are identical or anything as simplistic. But in trying to find generalizing labels for ISIS, such as being a fascist organization, or a totalitarian state and so on, and in the effort to draw parallels between different political experiences one can more subtly propose that ISIS and […]Read More ISIS and the specter of Zionism
The media has been swamped by a defense of French culture and values as being superior and enduring than the culture of those who were seemingly targeting it. I just want to propose some nuances that would advise to tone down this rhetoric. Given that people like to call the Paris attack, a French 9/11, […]Read More France and the Question of Culture
Check this article. While it makes a great point about the fact that state building is a bloody business, and while it goes through numerous (although quite stereotypical) historical instances that makes this point clear (England and Empire, France and the revolution, Germany and the holocaust, etc) it conveniently omits the US case. In fact […]Read More State formation and the US
The fates of the modern states of Lebanon and Syria are inextricably linked. It is important to read their history not just as was done conventionally that is Syria never fully recognizing Lebanon as an independent state but also the reverse, as Lebanon, or particular segments of the Lebanese political establishment involving and using Syria […]Read More Lebanon in Syria
The date of this event is not relevant anymore as it is just a template for similar recurring events in the land of the Lebanon. Crumbling under the weight of her make up the talkshow host of “للنشر” (for publication) bullied for about 20min a Syrian woman nursing a baby. The woman turned out to […]Read More Spectacles of Jadeed TV
وقال عليه السلام: أعجب ما في هذا الانسان قلبُه وله مَوادّ من الحكمة وأضداد من خلافها: فإن سخ له الرجاء أذلّه الطمع وإن هاج به الطمع قتله الأسف. إن عرض له الغضب اشتدّ به الغيظ وإن أسعد بالرضى نسي التحفّظ. وإن ناله الزع شغله الحذر وإن اتّسع له الأمن استلبته الغرّة. وإن أفاد مالا أطغاه […]Read More A wisdom interlude with Imam Ali: The Heart
This is a summary of the latest events between Israel and Hizbullah. It starts when Hizbullah’s SG Hassan Nasrallah engaged in a long description of Hizbullah’s readiness to fight Israel even if involved in the Syrian quagmire, on Mayadeen TV. Obviously, I would be simplifying if I started the story then, as it is involved […]Read More Israel and Hizbullah: A quick round up
The recent events in France betray the primacy of the political (and not religious) dimension in the way different communities, groups, and states have handled (and have been handled in) this affair. One facet is Israel’s urge to profit from the situation and attract a few more Jews to the promised homeland to which France […]Read More France and antisemitism: It’s the politics stupid!
Finally the Lebanese are discovering the extent of the mess of their food industry. Rats have found their home where all the wheat in Lebanon is stored. There will be much more to discover as I have explained here.Read More The food saga continued
A recent scandal has been added to several previous scandals about food quality in Lebanon. But as in the previous cases, the focus was on meat products that are imported and stored in the worst conditions. Few people seem to understand the true extent of the catastrophe that runs deep into a general economic and […]Read More Food in Lebanon
There are three main (intersecting) orientations “mainstream” Sunni politics perceives (or deal with) more radical militant movements such the brief hollywoodean movement of Sheikh Asir, Jubhat al Nusra or Da’esh (ISIS). 1- To secretly feel that they are scoring points against their more traditional political enemy that is Hizbullah 2- To despise them but have […]Read More Sunni politics in Lebanon
My article at Opendemocracy on the use of images in war situations.Read More The War with Images
ISIS is the expression of different social and political phenomena that must be understood separately. One of them is undoubtedly the significant amount of “Western” fighters of which some elements are also at the forefront of their media campaign. By Western I mean people who have lived and were educated in Western countries (mostly Western […]Read More ISIS and the West
وفي الحديث أن جبريل عليه السلام أتى آدم عليه السلام فقال له إني أتيتك بثلاثٍ فاختر واحدةً، قال: وما هي يا جبريل? قال: العقل والحياء والدين فقال: قد اخترت العقل فخرج جبريل إلى الحياء والدين فقال ارجعوا فقد اختار العقل عليكما فقالا: أمرنا أن نكون مع العقل حيث كان من كتاب السؤدد – ابن قتيبةRead More العقل والحياء والدين
While Israel is pounding Gaza and killing in the hundreds, demonstrations in support of the Palestinians and Hamas’ fight are taking place all around the globe. Of course this doesn’t reflect dominant public opinion in the West that still is apologetic of Israel’s actions. Not one official state declaration has condemned the Israeli attacks. If […]Read More The Lessons of History: Thoughts on the events in Gaza (part I)
In Lebanon, I’d say half of the population parks the cars of the other half. And when they are not parking cars, valet youngsters roam around the streets with scooter bikes reserving spots for potential customers. You also have another sizable portion, serving as security guards for residential areas, political figures, and other “big projects”. […]Read More Security Guards and Valet Parking
If you thought Beirut was a complicated place in a complicated (made-up) country, in a chopped-up region, then wait until you travel to one of the Balkan territories where different religions, languages, tribal affiliations are stacked in territories formerly part of different age-old empires. Their entry into “modernity” is paved with tragedies: first joining the […]Read More Zagreb
Le Marteau sans maître (1934) Commune présence Tu es pressé d’écrire, Comme si tu étais en retard sur la vie. S’il en est ainsi fais cortège à tes sources. Hâte-toi. Hâte-toi de transmettre Ta part de merveilleux de rébellion de bienfaisance. Effectivement tu es en retard sur la vie, La vie inexprimable, La seule en […]Read More A Poetic interlude with René Char
The new Christian maronite patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros el Rai, has been making some bold moves since the beginning of his mandate. First his visit to Syria in the midst of the conflict degenerating, and now his decision to visit Jerusalem as the Catholic pope has schedule a Middle East tour, all show that Rai […]Read More Raï in Jerusalem
The recent bombings in Beirut elevates Lebanon to the ironic status of a democratic country, in the modern Western sense of the term. Sadly, this is no privilege at all, more of a burden really. As I argued earlier, Terrorism as a particular form of carrying out political action is only possible if certain democratic […]Read More Illusions of Terrorism and Democracy
From Human All too Human, “A Glance at the State” Paragraph 472: But what if a quite different conception of government such as is taught in democratic states begins to prevail? If it is regarded as nothing but the instrument of the popular will, not as an Above in relation to a Below but merely […]Read More Nietzsche: Prophet of the Twentieth Century?
I know it is a bit late now, but I forgot to add this picture I took in a Sainsburys supermarket in Dalston, London, a week or so ago. If you zoom in on the photograph, you’ll be able to see that the dates offered come from Israel. A nice way to celebrate Eid! I […]Read More Ramadan “made in Israel”!
Make no mistake, democratic deliberations will always be inversely related to community formation and actual political action. What we see taking place in Syria, Egypt, and in other countries of the Middle East all bear witness to the fact that there is no such thing as democracy if there isn’t prior to that, a non-democratic […]Read More The myths of democracy
EU’s decision to label Hizbulah’s military wing a terrorist organization is a silly decision, one that betrays a simplistic understanding of the politics of the Middle East in the last three decades. My intuition is that this decision is the fruit of years of erroneous analyses about the organization that is thought to have “changed”, […]Read More EU blacklisting Hizbullah’s military wing
The peculiar thing about the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar is that they do not really publish news as such but commentaries on news. They assume that you have read or watched the news already and they build on it. If you’re looking for “what happened” on a particular day, the last place you want to […]Read More Sri Lanka: Al-Akhbar’s lesson to Lebanon
Recently the Phalangist MP Sami Gemayel has proposed to “amend the preamble of the constitution to stipulate Lebanon’s neutrality towards regional conflicts”. “We request amending the constitution to clearly state that Lebanon must stay neutral towards regional events,” Gemayel said after the weekly meeting of the party’s political bureau. He elaborated: “We are very concerned […]Read More Isolationism or Regionalization?
The disparity between the general care given to Beirut’s “Saifi village” in comparison to certain areas of Lebanon is outrageous. This picture show a man dusting the sidewalk pole of one of the main street of Saifi, downtown Beirut, otherwise known as Solidere land.Read More Aspects of Capitalism’s waste
I came across this paper written for a particular Middle East Policy Council. I have never seen a more awkwardly posed question regarding Hizbullah’s political development: Hezbollah’s evolution speaks to a larger question in the literature on nonstate actors, both in the Middle East and elsewhere: Why do some nonstate military groups survive attempts to […]Read More The framing of a “research question”