Beyond the end of sectarianism, and beyond civil law.

The Lebanese parliamentary elections are approaching quickly and a wide array of new groups aim to challenge the traditional power holders of this country, (the ones in parliament, the government and beyond).

Some of of them, such as LiBaladi, Haqqi, hold progressive and liberal point of views.

Participating in a sectarian, proportional, and complicated elections, many new groups believe in a civil state, basically, justice, law and state have to be separated from religious authorities.

Sectarianism is an obvious ill in Lebanon, but it is often a layer (or a curtain) to the ills behind it.

I personally feel that a lot of people and groups often believe that if sectarianism comes to an end in Lebanon, if political parties don’t rely themselves anymore on sectarian manipulation and quotas, if law is separated from religion, then Lebanon would be a functioning nation, with fair services and laws to citizens, and a fair justice system.

It is obvious that it is not the case, all we have to do is to look at other secular, civil nations. Inequality and corruption are also present there, and there is one common layer to all current societies, and it is a harsh, neo-liberal form of capitalism.

Current groups and people fighting for seats in the parliament (or change) have to see this.

Sectarianism isn’t the greatest ill of this country.

To end the current post, I’ll cite the late thinker Bassem Chit:

The reason why many consider sectarianism as a “counter-nationalist” and a “pre-modern expression” is due to the fact that most dominant interpretations of the historical developments of modern Arab and Middle Eastern societies are crude and Eurocentric – in which the development of capitalism (and thus modernity) is understood to follow the European model. In this case the understanding of modernity is that of an ideological break with religious establishments and ideas.

Lina Khattab, a Palestinian journalism student and activist, has been freed from Israeli prison.

Lina Khattab is a Palestinian journalism student and activist from the West Bank, Palestine, she has just been freed after 6 months in an Israeli Prison.

The IDF soldiers had kidnapped Lina Khattab on the 13th of December 2014, she was participating in a nonviolent protest to mark the 47th anniversary of PFLP, the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and to protest the numerous political prisoners jailed up in Israeli prisons.

IMEMC, the International Middle East Media Center has reported that she was mistreated and faced very difficult situations after her arrest and during her interrogation.

To have a strong voice against Israel in the West Bank is enough for the Israeli authorities to jail persons. Standing against apartheid, injustice, racism and the violations of Palestinian rights are crimes for Israel.

Her release doesn’t dwarf the violations of Israel against Palestinians, the Middle East Eye Monitor reports that for the last 48 years, 5 Palestinian children were arrested every day

Data provided by the Israeli military and the UN has revealed that since martial law was imposed on the occupied West Bank in 1967, around 95,000 Palestinian children have been arrested by Israel, an average of more than 5 children per day. Almost 60,000 are believed to have been subjected to some form of physical abuse whilst in detention.

The details were revealed this week in a report submitted by rights group Military Court Watch(MCW) to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Over 300 pages of evidence relating to the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention were included in the report.”

Despite this alarming data, the United Nations dropped Israel from the annual list of countries that violate children’s rights. Israel not only jails up to 5 kids per day, the IDF has killed more than 500 children during last Gaza onslaught in 2014.

Lina Khattab has been freed, but many Palestinians remain detained, very often without charge or trial, Khader Adnan, starving himself for Freedom, is one of them.

To end this post in a happy note, here are some joyful pictures of Lina Khattab release from the International Solidarity movement of Palestine (ISM).

The moment of her release, Lina runs towards her family and friends.
The moment of her release, Lina runs towards her family and friends.
Lina Khattab in the arms of friends and family.

The video of her release.

Al Akhbar responds to the Israel “Defence” Force spokesman on Twitter.

The political leaning of al-Akhbar is well-known in Lebanon, its “leftist” or pro-Resistance stance is not really hidden from the masses.

It has tweeted earlier this evening (12/24/14) a link to an article published today entitled : Israel kills Palestinian in yet another ceasefire violation.

To sum the article up, al-Akhbar expresses concern about the incessant ceasefire violation of Israel that is happening almost daily in Gaza. The ceasefire was to be respected after a violent war that killed more than 2160 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel has lost 66 soldiers and 6 civilians (one thai).

Peter Lerner, “IDF” spokesman responded to the tweet.

Al-Akbhar could not stay silent and answerer to the Spokesman with this tweet.

It is important to understand why Al Akhbar indirectly blamed Peter Lerner of Propaganda.

I believe it blamed him for the Hasbara, the strategy Israel uses to embellish its image in the media and in public relations. It is a pitiful euphemism of propaganda.

The Hasbara is taught to Israeli defenders. The Israel project, a US based group that lobbies for Israel, teach Hasbara makers to defend Israel, notably the sensible subject of settlements.

So here’s the five-step approach to talking about civilian casualties in Gaza:

  1. Empathy: “All human life is precious. We understand that the loss of one innocent Palestinian life is every bit as tragic as the loss of an Israeli life.”
  2. Admission: “We admit that Israel isn’t always successful at preventing civilian casualties…”
  3. Effort: “We remain committed to doing everything in our power to preventing civilian casualties.”
  4. Examples: “Let me tell you how our armed forces are trained, tasked, and operate to ensure that Palestinian civilians remain safe.”
  5. Turn tables: “It is a tragedy that Iran-backed Hamas shoots rockets at our civilians while hiding in their own … This causes tragic deaths on both sides.”

Al Akhbar has every right to call Peter Lerner, “IDF” spokesperson, a propagandist.

Continue reading Al Akhbar responds to the Israel “Defence” Force spokesman on Twitter.

Hamas off the EU terror list ; Cuba and USA Bff’s

EU removed Hamas from its “terror list” because it causes the EU “procedural” problems, it comes after a vote to recognize the Palestinian state and the two-state solution. It is in fact technical and have no real consequences yet.

The court added in a statement that Wednesday’s decision to remove Hamas from the EU’s blacklist was based on procedural errors and did “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group”.

Now of course, Bibi Netanyahu was very pissed off, how could the EU do that ? Are they antisemitic or something ? He was not satisfied because this move may actually help develop peace ! Not that I support the two-state solution.

The two-state solution omits completely the Palestinian refugees that fled their homes during the Nakba, a lot of these homes are in present-day Israel. And Israel keeps colonizing the West Bank by a rate never achieved before, in fact, Netanyahu has confiscated more land than previous prime ministers.
Hamas applauded the removal. Who likes to be called a terrorist ? Israel doesn’t when it bombs civilian homes…but hey !

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On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, USA and Cuba have had a historic rapprochement.

The two neighbor states have tensions since 1960 after Castro revolution and the fall of Batista.

Cuba have been under a heavy embargo since 50 years. It’s no surprise that Obama called the “isolation” a failure. Because it is. US will soon have an embassy built in Cuba, but it seems that Cuba didn’t decide yet to do the same ; I couldn’t find it in all these reports. Weird.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greets Cuban President Raul Castro before giving his speech at the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank soccer stadium, in Johannesburg Tuesday. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

A lot of US residents are applauding the reconciliation that were marked with prisoners exchange. Some cite the economic benefits, others a new “Spring Break Destination”. Guevara must be turning in his grave.

The involvement of the Pope Francis surprised me, the latter facilitated the tense relations, sending letters to USA and Cuba Leaders. Oh and Happy birthday Pope Francis.

What Assad Supporters need to know.

It is always useful to take a step back, look at some (not so old) history and place yourself within the given new context.

Pro-Assad people will never hesitate to blame pro-opposition in Syria to support IS, Al Qaeda and sometimes as far as Zionism. They will point out how evil powers of the world are all plotting to make the Assad regime fall, including Turkey. In fact, the latter is allowing Jihadis to pass by its porous frontiers and getting directly to the front.

But what about the role of Syria in the Iraqi turmoil ? Let’s quote some parts of an article in the Guardian.

Like the Americans, General Kamal was convinced that Syria was destabilizing Iraq, an assessment based on the interrogations of jihadists who had been captured by his troops. Throughout 2009, in a series of interviews, Kamal laid out his evidence, using maps that plotted the routes used by jihadists to cross the border into western Iraq, and confessions that linked their journeys to specific mid-ranking officers in Syrian military intelligence.

General Kamal was the director of intelligence of Iraq’s Interior ministry.

As Isis activity ebbed in Iraq, he had become increasingly obsessed with two meetings that had taken place in Syria early in 2009, which brought together Iraqi jihadists, Syrian officials and Ba’athists from both countries. […]

The attendees included senior Iraqi Ba’athists who had taken refuge in Damascus since their patron Saddam was ousted, Syrian military intelligence officers, and senior figures in what was then known as al-Qaida in Iraq. The Syrians had developed links to the jihadists since the earliest days of the anti-US insurgency and had used them to unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq.

Abu Ahmed, a “senior official” within IS adds.

“The mujahideen all came through Syria,” he said. “I worked with many of them. Those in Bucca had flown to Damascus. A very small number had made it from Turkey, or Iran. But most came to Iraq with the help of the Syrians.”

Militant Islamist fighters waving flags, travel in vehicles as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Stringer/Reuters

To sum it up, the Syrian regime of Al-Assad helped Jihadis install chaos in Iraq. Those Jihadis then used the chaos in Syria and grew much bigger than they intended to.

Before blaming Turkey and their evil plans, (and you have every right to do so), take a second and think about the Syrian contribution to terrorism in the region. Blame both.

Continue reading What Assad Supporters need to know.

A Palestinian minister has been killed.

I know nothing about Ziad Abu Ein, the minister that got killed by the Israeli “Army” during a clash, but I know one thing for sure, his death will be at best condemned by leaders of the west, and probably won’t even make waves in the western world.

In the status quo of Palestine, the late minister won’t get justice, like his Palestinian fellows. He was minister of Prisoners, what kind of country get a minister for prisoners ? A country under apartheid of course.

What a day to celebrate the Human Rights.

Now let’s imagine if he was an Israeli minister, imagine the reactions of the leaders of the Western World, the reaction of the bloodthirsty Netanyahu that would probably launch a new war in Gaza or the West Bank. The massacre “Protective Edge” was after all started after three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed. Israel unexpectedly blamed Hamas without any proof and stopped the atrocity after killing 500 children, lives worthless to Israel.

The expected reaction of the Western World will show how much Palestinian blood is worthless, and how much overvalued is Israeli blood.

Update : Pictures on the Internet are showing an Israeli soldier choking Ziad Abu Ein, it may be the cause of his death, the autopsy is being conducted.

http://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2014_50/802026/141210-ziad-abu-ein-1120a_7420324464b9a6bed29c82518b2fd97a.nbcnews-ux-640-440.jpg

And as Expected, no real reaction from the Western World, just cowardly silence.

Lebanon still corrupted.

Transparency International is an NGO that fights the corruption worldwide, and they even have here, in Lebanon, a “chapter” related to them.

Lebanon is the 136th most corrupted country in a list that contains 175, it has a score of 27 i.e, the lower the score the more corrupt. This score is actually worsening ; in 2012 the score was of 30 and for 2013 the score was 28.

And some wonder why we don’t trust our government.

I don’t know who is bringing who. What I know is that the corruption is born within the state and develop outside. If a government act responsibly and punish those corrupted politicians, the country will follow.

We can fight for a better score.

1) Don’t bribe. This rule is simple. And even if “it’s the way of things” in Lebanon, if you want it to stop, you have to begin by yourself.

2) Report it, you could do it here or here.(international website)

Let’s hope Lebanon’s score will get better with time.

Budget in Iraq soon, none for Lebanon.

I don’t really like to compare different governments, but it could be interesting to see how Iraq, a country deeply in war against ISIS, bombarded by foreign powers, works more than the Lebanese government or state when the security of this country is relatively much calmer.

Lebanon hasn’t ratified and voted a budget since years, thus we don’t know how the Lebanese government spends their money. We don’t know the prioritizing of the government. Education ? Interior ? Military ?

Essentially, we also don’t know where our tax money is being spent. Worse, those taxes collected and spent is constitutionally illegal. We may have the right to stop paying taxes.

France’s Hypocrisy or the illusion of Freedom.

France is always showing off with its history, its revolution, the declaration of the rights of Man and the Citizen, the monarchy abolition. And it has the right to brag about its past, but the present France doesn’t respect itself regarding its history.

Why does France is somehow the first country to welcome the new dictator of Egypt Sisi, a leader that massacres his own people at protests. A “leader” that closes the border of Rafah, the only exit for Palestinians in Gaza that wanted to save their lives during the last Israeli massacre, and that still want to evade the Israeli blockade.

Liberté-Égalité-Fraternité is France national motto, yet it seems that this is only applicable to Frenchmen and not the citizens of the world.

Hollande isn’t the first president to develop a friendship with a dictator, nor France the first country ; Sarkozy welcomed in Paris his late friend Gaddafi, ex-bloody dictator of Libya, and it has been revealed that Gaddafi had paid for Sarkozy’s presidency campaign. Years later, Sarkozy was the first to call for international action in Libya, talk about dirty politics…

At every speech  about freedom and equality, you will be laughed at, because you openly ally yourself with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other dictators of the world.

Continue reading France’s Hypocrisy or the illusion of Freedom.

The Policing tendency of some Lebanese citizens.

I wrote that us, Lebanese citizens, were too much blaming each others for misconducts or our “uncivilized” tendencies, for example some will blame the people that won’t respect laws. In my point of view, this tendency to blame the “uncivilized” other should be redirected on the government’s lack of control in the country. With control, the incivilities would shrink and eventually stop.

This lack of control is dangerous because it also leads to policing each others ; in other words, everybody becomes everybody’s police because there is a clear lack of authority and appliances of existing laws. We begin to point out our fingers on some incivilities, shaming some in public thinking it would help to improve the society.

This is clearly visible on Twitter regarding the violation of driving laws, the dangerous of some vehicles and the illegality of some license plates. Some may tweet an image to the Traffic Control, and they will retweet you. I also did that, thinking it was enough. But it’s not. Let’s look at some of these revealing tweets.

https://twitter.com/AngRy961/status/535096775854788608

This brings us to another result. We police each others and report it to the formal authority, consequently, the formal authority will “reshame it”, pointing out a finger on the citizen, omitting that it is their lack of control that is the base of this situation. Let’s stop with taking pictures of entire families on tiny motorcycles and be surprised about it. Some families may have not the money to buy good cars, and some may find that getting on those tiny motorcycles is better than using the public transport. In some areas of Lebanon, the public transport is rare, sometimes nonexistent. Those people know that they risk their lives, we mustn’t me surprised every time we see these “backward” people, we must go to the origins, the lack of the control, the lack of basic transport. If the police were effective, we wouldn’t see them much, and if the government were effective, it wouldn’t exist.

Let’s say that the Police will act after the pointing out, great you may think. But is it our role as citizens to help the police solving clear road safety and law issues ? The common citizen may help the police to solve a mystery when it is asked to do so.

The lack of control doesn’t come from the citizen but from the government.
Another outcome of this could lead to expressing short but strong outbursts of Power from the government ; it is clearly shown with the minister of Health Abu Faour iron fists on food and water irregularities. The current government, lacking power over the people on social and sanitary issues, will try to inverse this situation. Abu Faour strikes the restaurants, shaming them and blaming them for their lack of control and their disrespects expiration dates etc. But is it not the origin, the base of all this debate the lack of the government control on food and water ? Abu Faour clearly wants a better country, but is the way of doing it ?

Let’s stop this nonsense, and point our fingers at the correct persons responsible for all the irregularities, the misconducts, the disrespect of laws, the “shocking” pictures you could see on twitter. Let’s point our fingers on the government because it simply can’t do a proper job.