July 15, 2006
Lebanon Roundups & Open thread
I'll start a new thread some time, but for now this one will do. There will be some new material after the flip, since Eerie seems to have been a bit irritated at the spammy nature of my last update. So pure linkage before the flip, and some comments afterward, along with all the old links.
Two things I want to highlight out of the last batch of quotes. First, from the conversation piece, an example of how the rally-round-the-flag effect might work for Hizbullah:
Dad: You didn’t hear Nasrallah’s speech yesterday, did you?
Me: No, but I read it later
Dad: You should have seen it. You know, when he asked people to look at the seaside and watch the Israeli ship sinking?
Dad: I could hear shouts of victory from many houses in the neighborhood. It was like some movie.
Second, from the 3 quarks piece, on the "miracle of reconstruction":
I am furthermore pissed off because no one knows how hard the postwar reconstruction was to all of us. Hariri did not make miracles. People work hard and sacrifice a lot and things get done. No one knows except us how expensive, how arduous that reconstruction was. Every single bridge and tunnel and highway, the runways of that airport, all of these things were built from our sweat and brow, at 3 times the real cost of their construction because every member of government, because every character in the ruling Syrian junta, because the big players in the Hariri administration and beyond, were all thieves. We accepted the thievery and banditry just to get things done and get it over with. Everyone one of us had two jobs (I am not referring to the ruling elite, obviously), paid backbreaking taxes and wages to feed the "social covenant".
There's much more even in the paragraph - and the bit about everyone working two jobs (at least!) really rang true. Pop-tart image aside, a lot of Lebanese work fucking hard.
To Everyone Who Thinks Israel's Campaign is Just Fine and Dandy
I guess we in Lebanon should throw away everything that the United States has taught us. I was taught in school about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was taught to stand up to oppression and not use evil against my opponent.
I was taught to empathize with those in pain.
I was taught to do things, especially when a people had been particularly brutalized.
My friends and I have braved violence. We were beaten with batons and sprayed with water cannons by the pro-Syrian Lebanese government.
The entire time this was happening, we were reaching out through the internet to Israelis creating a human bond. Perpetual Refugee actually went to Israel and wrote quite passionately about his personal experiences there.
So, Israel is doing it for us, eh? I thought they would impact on the local dynamic, at first. I thought Israel was going to help prove that they would not abide with Hezbollah's weapons and wouldn't let Hezbollah continue spreading the stupid myth that they can protect Lebanon. I thought this even after they bombed the airport. Okay, it's a major symbol. I don't like it getting bombed, but I get it. At first, they hit military targets and the airport.
But the devastation they have wreaked on us is truly horrendous. The US did not do this to the Iraqis. The US didn't do this to al Qaeda in Afghanistan, for crying out loud.
Really, go read it all. There's other good shit out there, but I can't stand it any more right now.
this interview with Mark Perry of the Conflicts Forum on Hizbullah & many other things
- Lebanese Political Journal (mentioned below) goes dark, as its proprietor goes into exile. Also, leaflets dropped in hamra and on the American University in Beirut (my neighborhood).
- Israel blows up the fucking manara. Why????
- Fouad Seniora (Lebanese PM) gives a speech (from the Lebanese bloggers).
It is easy to hate Israel for this, since it is the outside aggressor. But the more serious criminals who are responsible for this are the leaders which, knowing full well the violence that will befall the people and knowing full well that the military power to support them is nonexistent, continue to escalate violence and refuse diplomacy. Offensive violence is a useless tool and false hope for both the Palestinians and the other Arab countries--it does nothing more, at this point, than satisfy selfish urges that stem from a legitimate desire and necessity for dignity, freedom, and independence. The problem is that we are addressing legitimate concerns with illegitimate and ineffective tools, and changes need to be made to this strategy for both moral and practical reasons.
The satellite news stations show the empty streets of Beirut's downtown, but no one actually lives there. It's a symbol, a tourist attraction, a place to spend recreation time, a place to celebrate. That's why no one is there right now.
The neighborhoods are lively with residents chatting and giving each other a helping hand. Residents with generators invite their friends over to recharge their mobile batteries and drink a cup of tea in the air conditioning.
We're not cynical. We're not aloof to the crisis. It's on all of our minds. In fact, while we're outside, a radio or television is always within earshot. But we, too, make rational decisions about our lives.
Also at the Arabist, much more of the debate over Hizbullah (which I should have linked from my earlier article): part 1, part 2, part 3. A very good debate, if somewhat heated at times. Parts 2 and 3 have some interesting back-and-forth on whether, and how, it is possible for a secular grass-roots movement to be built in the Arab countries, or whether only Islamic movements are going to be able to take hold in the foreseeable future.
Posted by tomscud at July 15, 2006 08:26 AM
Filed Under: Levant
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Abu Aardvark has some nice commentary on Arab public opinion, media coverage and (the lack of) US public diplomacy.
Posted by: eerie at July 15, 2006 11:01 AM
Thanks for all the info.
Posted by: pantom at July 16, 2006 02:50 PM
Not spammy, just hard to follow updates. I have been reading every link though, very helpful.
Also, feel free to start new entries if this one gets pushed down.
Posted by: eerie at July 16, 2006 08:20 PM
The retitle was mine. Didn't like the title.
Afraid I am travelling else I would jump in on this topic. We should grab this by the horns.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at July 17, 2006 05:45 AM
For the record, I am not a Palestinian American. I am an American citizen and my parents are Syrian.
Posted by: Yaman Salahi at July 17, 2006 07:52 PM