Skidding into 2007

So, after a series of planes, pre-dawn trains & stolen laptops peppered with pneumonia & other chest complaints, the Remarkz team looks to be re-emerging.

And to what?

The last digit’s now 7, Michel Hayek has another shot at emulating Nostradamus (he too was a charlatan speaking in tongues), Saddam’s dead, and insane business as usual prevails in the Middle East. Sticking with Saddam, I read somewhere (sorry, can’t find the link) that Al Jazeera conducted a poll asking how Saddam’s lynching impacted on readers/viewers. The overwhelming majority saw it as a humiliation over the other options of justice for his victims or proper legal process (cue laugh). Did the decision-makers anticipate this? When I say decision-makers, I am referring to the occupation force, not the ignoble puppets they’re riding. Only the Empire can make a death’s door hero of the man. The Angry Arab reliably captures the significance.

Just as an aside, if the ever-googling-yourself Michael Totten comes across this, look up the word irony and then apply it to As’ad’s use of his blogger name. Oh, & I hear the stars (& stripes) say 2007 sees you and your “pro-democracy” brethren in Lebanon come into some serious cash.

On to another battle of civilisations. So, we have a resurrection of the word Savafids as a pejorative stamp on Shiias, specifically aimed at de-Arabising Arab Shiias. Would this make the modern champions of this word, namely Al Qaeda (who first brought it back into vogue), miscellaneous extremists whose dystopian vision of a Middle East is being fleshed out everyday (or de-fleshed), and Walid Jumblatt, good Ottomans? And how does Safavid Arabism fare as compared with, say, Ottoman Arabism? If I did not have the reputations of my esteemed co-bloggers at heart, I’d say it’s all the usual divisive horseshit from the usual suspects. More on the Iraqi sectarian divide here.

On bringing history into the present day, there’s one unfairly disadvantaged period in Lebanese history, and that is the civil war. Bech recently posted about the sale of the Ein el Roumaneh bus, and Bashir advised that the motivation of the seller was a need for money. Understandable. But the non-Lebanese mind must boggle at how key symbols of a key period in Lebanese history have no national currency. Of course, the fact that this period of brutality is not taught in schools gives some indication. What does a bus mean in a 15 year blackout? No easily accessible light switch for Lebanon, no unified history, no truth, no reconciliation, just the same sadly not-tired-enough war criminals obstructing any real effort for progress. A formidable foundation for a shining future.

Bring on 2007.


8 Replies to “Skidding into 2007”

  1. On the subject of Michael Totten, not that it his worth paying him much serious attention, but is there any truth in his claim that Hezbollah does not allow the government to spend funds or start reconstruction in the south? or is it just more rubbish?

  2. more rubbish.. first of all as the government is a set of different factions, there was no ‘government’. there was the ‘hariri government’, for most of the post-war time, and in effect hariri just left thing to be handled by either Berri or Hizbullah provided that it did not interfere with his service-economy-development plan in the regions he selected.

    The ‘government’ historically could not provide anything to the south because basically the challenges in terms of infrastructure were just too great and required a ‘national’ government, or a fully exhaustive (in terms of constituency), statist policy towards the whole of the country.

    meaning that economic, social, and other development policies should be aligned towards the provision of the general public good. This is completely in contradiction with the essence of the confessional state.

    In this, Hizbullah just played by the rules. So it’s not Hizbullah that did not let the government enter the south, but the government, or the other rival factions of the country that saw it convenient that someone was taking care of a region and relieving them from this burden, so that they can take more time for crony capitalistic activities.

    In sum, Hizbullah could be ready to work within statist institutions provided that these institutions exist. this is where we are today. Is Hizbullah ready to do just that? Can they and their allies transform the way public practices went on since the creation of this cancerous state?

    In any case, although the difference is minor as an explanation, as a political practical fact, the difference is huge. but this is what Totten and other half brains try to use in order to advance their ideological agenda.

  3. at any rate, a mere cursory glance at his website gives you the impression of an amateur blogger out of his depth rather than a journalist

  4. the lack of historical significance to the civil war is one of the more serious impediments in lebanon. the social attempt at this amnesia is truly fascinating – if only it wasn’t so counterproductive. anyways, good to see you guys back.


  5. A little passage I just came across from Judith Harik’s book on Hizbullah (The changing face of Terrorism):

    “The party’s strong inclination to cooperate with the authorities that was mentioned in the chapter on social services was echoed by newly elected council head al-Khansa in a newspaper interview [Al-Ahd, 29 May 1998, p4]. He said that the most important activity he foresaw was attempting to coordinate with the government and attaining full cooperation between the municipal council of Ghobeiri and government agencies to provide services for the locale. In this respect, he foresaw the creation of a taskforce to intervene when any problem arose over the implementation of the disctrict’s priorities, which he stated as improvement of health and water issues, work on the roads and other infrastructure.” (p. 104)

    This is just a little example burried in the turbulent history of post civil war lebanon. One needs to do an archeological digging of everything Lebanese never understood in terms of social practices. Actually Lebanese must learn the meaning of the term “historical matieralism” to start with and before anyone else, Lebanese leftists 🙂

  6. Tottenism – The act of imbuing an ordinary occurence with an inordinate sense of danger or drama. This is so named after the style of journalist Michael J. Totten. It is sometimes thought that tottenism also refers to stating an assertion based on a single experience or testimonial as an unassailable and universal fact.
    more about Tottenism

  7. thanks guys. it’s great to see we haven’t been deserted by our favourite people. on totten, i’m as guilty as the next guy – i’ve done what i vowed not to & yet again given him undeserved publicity. from now on, zip!

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