No more clusters

Dear friends, dear Comrades,

Over 2.8Million submunitions were dropped over Lebanese territory. Up to 40% of
these have not yet exploded. Since the August 14 ceasefire, 151 people have
been maimed or killed by these weapons.

WE INVITE YOU TO PARTICIPATE in the first national day against CLUSTER MUNITIONS
on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH at Martyr’s Square Area, across from Azariyeh bldg.,
from 11AM to 10PM.

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Hamas, Israelis, and some silencers

According to Israeli TV (and reported by Annahar) some Hamas officials met with Israelis last month and tried to convince them to recognize the party as a possible negotiating Palestinian stating that Fatah has no power. The Israeli present were people from the Oslo accord.

Great so on the one hand we have Annahar getting its “scoops” from Israeli TV and on the other we have Al-Akhbar getting its stories from “security” or “informed sources”. Kel wa7ad min mayleto.

For example today Al-Akhbar ran a front page article on Silencers (gor guns) caught by security customs at the airport in Lebanon destined to go to the American embassy. Well, that’s re-assuring. Also, why is it that it’s only Al Akhbar who snatch stories on Israeli agents/spies caught in Lebanon? Are they the only dudes who have “security sources”? Or is it that others just don’t care.

Anyway more on the silencers tomorrow because as I know Al-Akhbar, they will continue unfolding details.

Lebanese media sensitivity to communist rallies


Did you know that today, L’Orient Le Jour did not mention that there was a Communist party rally that took place yesterday in Lebanon. By contrast, Al-Akhbar had four or more articles on the subject. Oh, and Annahar had one towards the bottom of it’s local politics pages.

In any case, I mean let’s admit it in Lebanon, secularism does not sell.

TVs according to Al-Akhbar there were no mentioning of the communist party rally, except for…yes you guessed it folks: Al Manar, Hizballah’s official broadcaster! Yes my friends not even New TV the carpet kisser.
Make your own conclusions.

Is Nasrallah meeting with Saudi officials?

If this is true than how come the Lebanese press is not talking about it? If this is true again, then Al-Akhbar should be the first to mention it. Has anybody heard about this? Anyone has sources other than Angry Arab?

Peretz appointed Egyptian defense minister

Following reports that Egypt would deploy 5000 additional soldiers on the Gaza border to protect its citizens from Israeli air raids against arms smuggling, and despite the fact that Israeli defense ministry officials admitted that they where “unaware” of such a plan, Amir Peretz declared that:

Beyond the 750 Egyptian border troops deployed in the area, there won’t be any additions

Quite naturaly, if you want to know what Egypt’s military plans are you should go ask the Israeli defense minister, seems that he is the one making the calls.
While Israel can freely carry out air raids on its frontiers and beyond it appears that Egypt on the other hand has to make an official request to the Israeli government to fortify it’s borders. But why bother now, Peretz already gave his answer…

Artistic prostitution


On october 22 an artistic event took place in Paris to raise funds for the humanitarian relief efforts in Lebanon. An overall very positive gesture undoubtably. However some aspects of it are highly critisizable and from my personal perspective utterly revolting.
As it is often the case the power and importance of culture through art is totally undermined and counter-productive on the very level it is supposed to act on. If the purpose is just to raise money then ok averything goes, but wouldn’t it be more efficient if we combine the money thing with a real reflexive artistic stance? Is this not what distinguishes artistic fund-raising events from other humanitarian efforts? Is this not also the opportunity to mark a clear cultural message around Lebanese identity?
There where some major names of Lebanese art involved from Roger Assaf and Etel Adnan to Elias El-Khoury or Zad Moultaka, great! Also some interesting french artists, but then another name comes up and is the one that French press will quote abundantly: Dick Rivers. Most of you probably don’t know this guy but he is third in line of the infamous french crooners (after Johnny Halliday and Eddy Mitchell) who made it big by becoming french clones of Elvis Presley and other champions of multinational american culture. Unlike the other 2, Dick Rivers has not changed, he still has his banana haircut and sideburns.
So, Dick Rivers singing for Lebanon? Doesn’t this sound odd to you? Are we on our way to have our own Lebanese crooners? Does anything go in an artistic event as long as it can help raise money?
I’m sorry to not agree with this idea and feel great shame because the people who organized this event are otherwise highly respectable. They clame to have no political affiliation but I have to insist that in art everything is political and specially the choice of artists that you wish to feature. Thinking about art and what it represents or refers to has much higher importance than “listening to the music of happiness” (translated from their “project” statement).

Hizballah’s humor and reflecting on the concept of Accountability

(Taken from the Islamic resistance website)
On top of the door it reads: Plastic Surgery operation room (literally from Arabic it reads: center for beauty operations), on top of the helicopter, Apache, on top of the tank, Merkava and on top of the boat, “helper” (I don’t know what type of boat it is but certainly it refers to the boat that was blown out during the first rounds of Israeli attacks in July.

This drawing shows the three symbols of Israeli military might being crushed by Hizballah. It is interesting to see how strong is the urge of Hizballah to express its achievements. The general effort of being credible and trustworthy is impressive by all means. But Hizballah was always eager to represent as best as possible political reality. There is an auto-inflicted process of accountability at work here which severely contrasts with anything the Arab world has known so far.

Likewise during the war through the well-tempered speeches of Nasrallah, who never exagerated nor diminished the unfolding of events, to the point where even Israelis were only listening to Nasrallah if they wanted to know what the hell was going on.

Nevertheless, this urge is also motivated by the necessity to keep a symbolic system of representing reality intact and effective at convincing people of the credibility of the causes espoused by the party (which if yo notice means exactly what I said about accountability). The ideological dimensions of the militaritic overtones of the resistance group have to be cultivated in a hermeneutic way, as a comprehensively exhaustive system. Stated differently, you will never have different Hezbollah discourses one talking of alternatives to the current state and another talking of the current state. Only the latter will be officialized. The current state is a state of confrontation.

What I mean is that accountability (the democratic principle) and ideological constructions are basically one and the same thing. Two sides of the same coin.