Pros and cons of Lebanon’s car service.

Before jumping into the pros and cons of the service, I will try to shortly explain what is a service.

The “service” is a method of public transport in Lebanon. A person who wishes to move within Beirut, for example, has to stop a car and communicates where he or she wants to go. If the driver accepts the destination, the person hops in and the default cost will be 2,000 Lebanese Lira. One service is 2,000 L.L.
If the driver is not happy with the destination (not on his way, too far), he or she can either just drive away and the person wishing to move waits for another car, or the driver can try to negotiate.
The driver will either negotiate with the destination (I can drop you in X place but not further), or usually with the price. The driver could ask “two services”, which costs 4,000 L.L.
A service can be shared with other occupants.

A service can be “transformed” into a Taxi, if both parties agree. One could stop one taxi / service car and just say that you want a taxi to X destination. The default price of a Taxi is 8,000 L.L This can also comes under “negotiation”, the driver can simply rejects it or try to elevate the price. A taxi is usually negotiated for longer distances or if someone wants a ride alone or a straight A to B path. (and of course if the persons has the means for a taxi)

The pros of the Service:

  •  The driver has power into deciding if a trip will be cost effective or not, (with regards to time, traffic, distance).
  • A car can be filled into its full capacity, a service might be much “greener” than a taxi, only filled with one or two persons most of the time.
  • More availability for people seeking to move. A car with one person or two doesn’t mean that you cannot take the service. With taxis, a car occupied by one single person is not even an option.
  • You could go to a place and the price that you pay would be actually less than the real price to move there (in terms of gas). (this is due to the very grey area of what a service in distance actually represents).

The cons of the service:

  • For other drivers, the service is disruptive. Most of Beirut streets are narrow, meaning that a service that stops and negotiate with a prospective occupant takes time and disrupts drivers behind.
  • You could be paying for more than the trip deserves, but again, this is all due to the grey area of what a service actually means in terms of distance.
  • The driver seeks other occupants and might not take the straightest path to your destination. So a service can be actually less cost-efficient than a taxi if there is a single occupant. And usually, it is slower for all occupants.
  • Although the system is clear, some drivers tweak it and began asking more money because of traffic, or just because they consider that the price ought to be higher.
  • The driver can decide to suddenly drop you somewhere because he or she found new occupants that are judged to be more profitable. This means two things: you could be dropped closer to your destination without paying anything. Or you could be somehow further than where you were originally. In both ways, this means that the person has to find a new service, which is not a very practical way to move.

 

We live in a sexist world and society where survivors of harassment (mostly women) have to struggle through other sexist institutions to have their voices heard or to have justice. This of course is also true to public transport.

Possible solutions:

  • Taxis / Service should have a place where they could stop and talk with prospective occupants.
  • There should be a system where occupants can’t be evicted from the service and where drivers can’t suddenly change the cost of the service.
  • Cars have to be traced back by only the occupants. The car number and the name of the driver have to be visible inside the car. Any harasser would be apprehended with more ease. (I do not support any kind of citizen police).

People living in Lebanon have of course more ways to move within cities and between cities. Public transport can be more pleasant, fairer and must keep its low prices.

Finally, it is self evident that if we want to have a more pleasant ride for all, the number of cars have to be reduced, including taxi / services cars. This can happens through the expansion of public transport like dedicated lines for buses, trains, tramways.

 

 

 

Let’s not wait for the passing away of X politician.

In Lebanon and its hopeless economic situation, a lot of people wait for the death of X politician or leader. “After that X leader will pass away, the country will be better off,” and I can understand why people residing in Lebanon and outside are hopeful about the old age of some politicians.

But losing one head of the multi-head snake that is the ruling class won’t kill the beast.

A politician that has passed away doesn’t remove the debts he enforced on the citizens of this country, nor it doesn’t remove the system of capitalist / sectarian oppression he installed over the years with many partners and institutions.

Usually, the “Leader” will be replaced by a member of his own family, and Lebanon is a great example at “recycling” the political families with each generation. Teymour Jumblatt, today is refilling the role of Walid Jumblatt, who filled the role of his father, Kamal, and the latter also filled the role of his father, Fouad.

Some people rejoice at the idea that a party without a strong leader will wane away because of internal political battles within the party created by a power vacuum. This is not impossible, but this is not enough to make the life of people in this country better.

Dismantling the ruling class system of oppression will take time, and the passing away of a figure or two obviously won’t change the economic apparatus of Lebanon.

 

 

 

 

 

If I am against Assad, it doesn’t mean I am with…

A simple explanation for simple minded pro dictatorships people.

If I am against Assad, it doesn’t mean I am with Daesh nor any form of regressive Islamist forces in Syria. (And by the way, you have a MULTITUDE of sides in Syria).

If I am against Assad, it doesn’t mean I support the USA nor Israel. It doesn’t mean I stand with American imperialism. Nor with its involvement in Syria. (very limited compared to the Russian “invitation”).

If I am against Assad, it doesn’t mean I support Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE. It doesn’t mean I support Erdogan. It doesn’t mean I support the Saudi onslaught on Yemen. It doesn’t mean I support the Saudi invasion of Bahrain.

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Chris Riddel cartoon.

If I am against Hezbollah invasion of Syria, it doesn’t mean I do not stand with the right of self-determination in Palestine, it doesn’t mean I am a Zionist.

If I am against Hezbollah invasion of Syria, it doesn’t mean I want peace with Israel.

If I am against Assad, it means that I am with the downfall of all dictatorships and dynasties. The dynasties of the gulf, and the dictatorships of the world, including Iran and Russia. And hey, no, it doesn’t mean I love the system in US and other parts of the world.

Go on, treat me as an Arab traitor, treat me and condemn me with your simple and unjust perception of the world. I will always stand with oppressed Syrians under the repressive regime of Bashar el Assad and regressive factions, and I will always stand with the oppressed Palestinians under the repressive Zionist colonial state.

I do not need your approvals nor your sad strategy of “resistance”.

Students Harassed by Online pro-Hezbollah Crowd.

At the moment of writing, Aleppo rebel held areas are collapsing one after the other under the heavy bombardments of Assad and Putin. The aerial bombing is helping the ‘Syrian army’ and various militias on the ground, mainly funded or trained by Iran. The bombing does NOT differentiate between civilians and rebels. Aleppo has been under siege for 110 days.

In Lebanon, Beirut. The American Universty of Beirut (AUB) Secular club held a silent vigil for the victims in Aleppo on December 6th 2016. Students held signs, some of the latter were protesting Hezbollah intervention in Aleppo. The protest triggered  violent online reactions from some Hezbollah supporters. The club hid the face of a protester for security reasons, but not the message itself.

Due to the multitude of disrespectful comments, death threats, and rape threats that were being posted on a photo…

Publiée par AUB Secular Club sur Mercredi 7 décembre 2016

 

Karim Safieddine, a member of the AUB Secular Club, reflects on the nature of the online attacks.

A few comments on the reaction many activists received by some of the pro-Hezbollah community online.

These activists, mainly part of the AUB Secular Club, engaged in a demonstration concerned with the on-going battle in Aleppo. As a Lebanese political and military organization, Hezbollah was taken into account as it intervened in the Syrian conflict and is responsible for the survival of the Syrian government and much of its policies.

The demonstration was purely political, as these activists held political ideals they expressed quite freely. To no surprise, when politics intersects with the concept of ‘religious duty’, ‘sacredness’ and martyrs, it’s no longer a political question, but an absolute answer. Hezbollah’s attaching of ‘sacredness’ to their political and military intervention in Syria lead to an enormous sensitivity among its youth circles.

The very ‘sacredness’ attached to the intervention of course renders it unquestionable, as in, it must be taken for granted. It’s the apriori.

This doesn’t completely differ from the pro-rebel Islamist reaction when activists critique them, it’s all ‘sacred’, from both opposing poles.

Besides that, it’s quite interesting to observe the backlash. Much of it wasn’t politically-oriented. There were no moral or clever analyses. The backlash was centered around ‘honor’ and insults made towards the ‘women’ of the demonstrators (as if we own ‘our women’).

In other words, the backlash was based on the clear patriarchal and man-based honor culture Hezbollah, as a political organization, is based on; almost identical to the Lebanese Forces during the civil war actually.

As expected, much of the remaining section of the community was mainly silently supportive. The blame would be put on the activists for expressing their views (“lesh la t7ot 7alak b hek maw2ef? why are you putting yourself in such a situation? “); they were then asked not to ‘generalize’.

Comrades such as Farah Baba (who received rape threats), Nour Hawila, Ali Zeineddine and many more have encountered countless sexist insults and harassment. This isn’t a recent and entirely new event, it’s one of a sequence.

Again, we repeat, quite frankly, that what’s happening in Aleppo is a massacre and Hezbollah is complicit in its active military support of the regime.

 

 

قبل عشر سنوات، كنت معجباً بحزب اللّه

قبل عشر سنوات، بما يُعرَف اليوم بِ” حرب تمّوز”، كان لإسرائيل هدفٌ معلنٌ وهو تدمير حزب اللّه في لبنان. ولكن ما فعلَتهُ في المقابل كان تدمير البنى التّحتيّة في لبنان، قصف المناطق المدنية، وتشويه الأطفال. كانت الحرب بوضوح ضدّ لبنان بحدّ ذاته.

 كنت قد وصلت إلى لبنان، بلدي الأصلي، بعد أن عشت خارج البلاد لمدّة ثلاثة عشر عاماً. وكنت قد مكثت في النّبطيّة، جنوب لبنان، مع إخوتي، أبناء أعمامي، عمّتي وجدّتي. أمّا والديّ كانا قد ذهبا إلى بيروت قبل يوم واحد من بدء الحرب للبحث عن مسكنٍ لنا هناك. فنحن كنّا عائدين للعيش والاستقرار في لبنان.

 أتذكّر جيّداً صوت قصف المدفعيّة بعيداً عن النّبطيّة في الصباح الأوّل. أتذّكّر أيضاً طائرة حربيّة تقصف مبنىً. أتذكّر كيف كان علينا أن نهرع الى القبوّ خلال ليالي القصف الثّقيل وكيف إنتقلنا للمكوث في القبو في نهاية المطاف. كما اني اذكر كيف لجئنا جميعاً للعيش في غرفة معيشة واسعةٍ، وكيف أصبحنا لاجئين في منزلنا. أتذكّر الضغط النّفسي والتوتر بسبب بُعدي عن والديّ. أتذكّر الإتّصال الهاتفي من حسن نصر اللّه، ليلة قصف حزب اللّه الشّهيرة للبارجة الإسرائيلية. أتذكّر المذبحة، الدّم الّذي رأيته على التّلفاز، السّيّارات المشتعلة (بالأحرى ما تبقّى منها)، الجسور المدَمَّرة، قلّة الطّعام، خالتي تنحف وتخسر وزنها، جدّتي وهي تدعي وتتلو الصّلوات، إنقطاع الكهرباء لمدّة سبعة أيّام. كما أتذكّر خوفنا من الذّهاب إلى الحمّام وان نكون بعيدين عن غرفة المعيشة.

 مثل مئات الآلاف من اللّبنانيّين، لا يزال لديّ كوابيس عن طائرات حربيّة إسرائيليّة تدمر بلدي وتمحيه عن وجه الأرض. رأيت كابوساً مماثلاً منذ فترةٍ ليست بطويلة. ولمدّة طويلة بعد انتهاء الحرب، كان قلبي يدقّ ويخفق بقوّة شديدة من الخوف كلما سمعت صوتاً عالياً.

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James Hill “جنود حزب اللّه يُكرَّمون في جنوب لبنان، سنة ٢۰۰٢.”

 في النّهاية، بعد اثني عشر يوماً، هربنا إلى خلدة، بلدة صغيرة تقع في جنوب بيروت. هناك كنّا نشعر بكلّ ذبذبةٍ جراّء القصف في الضّاحية، الضّاحية الجنوبيّة للعاصمة الّتي تلقّت معظم القصف الإسرائيلي المكثف.

 أتذكّر أيضاً تلك اللّيالي عندما كان حزب اللّه يطلق صواريخ من العيار الثّقيل نحو إسرائيل. واتذكر كيف كان صدى اصوات الصواريخ يرنّ في الوادي. بالنّسبة لي، الرّد على إسرائيل هو ردٌّ مبرّرٌ، طبيعيّ، وسأظلّ داعماً لأيّة مقاومة ضدّ إسرائيل في المستقبل.

 بعد الحرب، حفظت عن ظهر قلب الكثير من أغاني حزب اللّه الدعائيّة. كما اني ذهبت بمرح إلى حفلات الفرق الموسيقيّة الّلواتي أنتجنَ الكثير من تلك الأغنيات.

لكن إعجابي لحزب اللّه وإحترامي له ماتا في النّهاية, جزئياً بسبب سياستهم وسياساتهم العنيفة والمشكوك فيها كثيراً داخل البلد. امّا السّبب الأكبر كان ويظلّ تدخّل حزب اللّه في سوريّا.

 فكيف لحزب اللّه أن يقف مع نظام بشّار الأسد في سوريّا، عندما يتصرّف الجيش السّوري بشكل مشابه لجيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي؟ إنّ النّظامان، النظام السّوري كما النظام الإسرائيلي قد قاما بقصف المناطق المدنيّة بلا تردّد وبعدم شفقة بواسطة القنابل الذكيّة أو المعروفة الآن مع نظام الأسد ب “البراميل المتفجّرة”. فكيف لي أن أدعم حزب اللّه في سوريّا وأن أستمرّ بإعجابي له عندما يقوم بمساعدة الأسد من أجل إبقاءه في السّلطة، ويخضع الملايين من المدنيّين الى العذاب الذي تحمّلته أنا وأهلي وغيرنا من إسرائيل خلال حرب تموز.

 إنّ إسرائيل جعلتني لاجئاً داخل بلدي وخارجه.  الأسد قد فعل الشّيء نفسه في سوريّا. فقد أصبح الشعب السّوري شعباً لاجئاً داخل وطنه وخارجه…

 فكيف لي أن أحترم حزب اللّه عندما يقف إلى جانب نظام يقوم بتعذيب وقتل الآلاف من الأسرى؟ كيف يكون هذا النظام معارضاً للإمبرياليّة؟ إنّ نظام الأسد شارك بكل فخرٍ وكالة المخابرات المركزيّة للتّعذيب في الأشهر والأعوام الّتي تلت أحداث 9/11. نظام الأسد قد دعا إيران بفخرٍ إلى سوريّا. نظام الأسد إستقبل بسعادة وبصدرٍ رحب الإمبرياليّة الرّوسيّة. كيف يكون ذلك نظاماً معارضاً للصّهيونيّة؟  إن  إسرائيل إستهدفت مستشفى القدس في غزّة عدّة مرّات على مرّ السّنين والأسد دمّر مستشفى القدس في حلب، نيسان ٢۰۱٦. يقولون أنّهم متورّطون في سوريّا للدّفاع عن فلسطين, ولكن كيف يكون ذلك؟

  إن إحدى أطبّاء حلب وصف تدمير الأسد لمستشفى القدس قائلاً:

” النّاس الموجودون في حلب هم ناس قرّروا البقاء هنا. كنّا ننظر إلى النّاس في غزّة و نتساءل كيف بإمكانهم العيش بشكل طبيعيٍّ- و لكن الآن بتنا نعرف.”

 هم يعرفون كيف يعيش الناس غزة لأنّ نظام الأسد يتصرّف تماماً مثل الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، حتّى أنّه تفوّق على وحشيّة إسرائيل وقسواتها.

 كيف لحزب اللّه أن يقف داعماً لنظامٍ مسؤول عن أسوأ أزمة لاجئين منذ الحرب العالميّة الثّانية؟ وكيف بإمكان حزب اللّه أن يقف مع الأسد الّذي نَكَبَ شعبه، مثلما نكب الصّهاينة الفلسطنيّين؟

 إنّه أمرٌ بمنتهى البساطة، أنا لا أفرّق بين معاناة وظلم اللّبنانييّن على يد إسرائيل ومعاناة وظلم السّوريّين على يد بشّار الأسد وجهازه العسكري، بما فيه حزب اللّه.

 كيف يدافع حزب اللّه عن فلسطين عبر قتاله في حلب؟ حزب اللّه بات عمليّاً بشكلٍ بارد وساخر، متحالفاً مع أكثر الأنظمة إجراماً في العصر الحديث، من أجل حماية مصالحه، أي ليستمرّ في تلقي الأسلحة من إيران ونقلها عبر الأراضي السورية. أنا “أتفهّم” ذلك، لكن كيف هذا يجعل الأمر أكثر قبولاً؟ كيف يدعم حزب اللّه الفلسطنيّين حينما مئات الآلاف منهم كانوا محاصرين في اليرموك، المخيّم الفلسطيني قرب دمشق؟ وكلّا، تحالف بعض الفصائل الفلسطينيّة مع الأسد لا يعني تأييد الفلسطنيّين للأسد- آخر وأحدث إحصاء من المركز الفلسطيني للسّياسة والأبحاث الاستقصائية أظهر دعماً فلسطينيّاً بنسبة ٤۰% للجيش السّوري الحر، ودعماً بنسبة ۱٨% لنظام الأسد.

لماذا عليّ إدانة الحروب والمجازر التي يرتكبها نتنياهو ضد الفلسطينيّين في غزّة، وليس الحروب والمجازر التي يرتكبها الأسد على السوريّين نفسهم في سوريا؟

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David Simonds

 اليوم ليس هناك أيّ مبرّرٍ لدعم النظام السّوري، لا صواب وصلاح في ذلك. لا شيء يمكنه أن يبرّر دعم ذلك النظام، لا شيء… الأسد ليس اكثر من جزار، سفّاح، وديكتاتور اختار بكلّ سرور أن يحكم سوريّا بسفك دماء شعبها حتى اصبحت سوريا مدمّرة ومجرّدة من كل أنواع الحياة حيث يكتب داعموه على جدرانها البائسة في المناطق المحاصرة “الأسد أو سنحرق البلد” و”اما ان تركعوا أو تجوعوا”.

 كنت أحترم وأُعجب بحزب اللّه لأنّه يقاتل إلى جانب المظلوم. اما اليوم فإنّه يقاتل إلى جانب الظالم.

الكاتب: حسن شمعون.

 ساعد جوي أيوب في المراجعة و التعديلات.
 ترجمة منى بيبي ونور حجار.

Palestinians respond to the smearing of the White Helmets and troubling discourse on Syria.

Palestinians wrote and signed a petition titled “On The Allies We’re Not Proud Of: A Palestinian Response to Troubling Discourse on Syria”

Writers didn’t name the work they are criticizing nor the old allies they are blaming, but it is a clear answer to Max Blumenthal latest articles and the heated exchanges on social media before and after the articles.

Max Blumenthal, journalist and author wrote two posts on the Syria Campaign and the White Helmets, smearing the open and transparent fact that they receive foreign aid.

Max Blumenthal notoriously covered the Israeli onslaught on Gaza in 2014, but it seems that oppression, to him, is not universal. By smearing the White Helmets, he is helping Russian and Assadist conspiratorial propaganda that the White Helmets are but an occidental scheme that has close ties to Al Qaeda.

Max Blumenthal even brought the spotlight to Omran, the sadly famous 5 years old boy. Omran was filmed and photographed as he was saved from a destroyed building bombed by government forces. His numb face, the way he removed dust and blood from his face attracted the too short international media attention on Aleppo. But Omran made the mistake to be photographed by a man who took selfies with Jihadists. Max Blumenthal didn’t criticize the relentless Assadist bombing on Aleppo, nor the fact that a 5 years old kid was found in rubble.

The journalist didn’t think to interview Syrian people on the ground in Aleppo.

Blumenthal and many other journalists and activists allied with the Palestinian cause shared the shameful articles, it is as if they cannot see they are helping the Assadist discourse.

These people believe that Syrians cannot feel the need to topple a regime that has been oppressing them for dozens of years. They play with the dangerous orientalist racist discourse that Arabs will be always tools in the hands of occidental imperialist forces and that they cannot be the masters of their own destiny. Ironically, they never denounce Russian imperialism.

The bombing of schools and hospitals is openly carried by government forces, and any dignified journalist must at least condemn it. They should consider Aleppo in a similar way to Gaza “wars”, where hospitals, schools and civilians were bombed relentlessly for weeks by the Zionist regime.

Both Assadist and Zionist regimes should be openly condemned and fought.

Max Blumenthal: should Syrians stop the White Helmets because they are receiving foreign aid? Should they be ashamed of being helped by these courageous first responders?

Here’s the petition in full.

We, the undersigned Palestinians, write to affirm our commitment to the amplification of Syrian voices as they endure slaughter and displacement at the hands of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. We are motivated by our deep belief that oppression, in all of its manifestations, should be the primary concern of anyone committed to our collective liberation. Our vision of liberation includes the emancipation of all oppressed peoples, regardless of whether or not their struggles fit neatly into outdated geopolitical frameworks.

We are concerned by some of the discourse that has emerged from progressive circles with regards to the ongoing crisis in Syria. In particular, we are embarrassed by the ways in which some individuals known for their work on Palestine have failed to account for some crucial context in their analysis of Syria.

The Syrian revolution was in fact a natural response to 40 years of authoritarian rule. The Assad regime, with the support of its foreign financial and military backers, is attempting to preserve its power at the expense of the millions of Syrians whom the regime has exiled, imprisoned, and massacred. We believe that minimizing this context in any discussion of Syria dismisses the value of Syrian self-determination and undermines the legitimacy of their uprising.

We also believe that an important consequence of all foreign interventions, including those purportedly done on behalf of the uprising, has been the setback of the original demands of revolution. The revolution is a victim, not a product, of these interventions. It is imperative for any analysis of Syria to recognize this fundamental premise. We cannot erase the agency of Syrians struggling for liberation, no matter how many players are actively working against them.

Though we maintain that the phenomenon of foreign aid demands thorough critique, we are concerned by the ways in which foreign aid has been weaponized to cast suspicion on Syrian humanitarian efforts. Foreign aid is not unique to Syria; it is prevalent in Palestine as well. We reject the notion that just because an organization is receiving foreign aid, it must follow then that that organization is partaking in some shadowy Western-backed conspiracy. Such nonsense has the effect of both undermining humanitarian efforts while simultaneously whitewashing the very crimes against humanity that necessitated the aid in the first place.

Furthermore, we object to the casual adoption of “war on terror” language. Enemies of liberation have historically used this rhetoric to target humanitarians, organizers, and community members. From Muhammad Salah to the Midwest 23 to the Holy Land Five, our community is all too familiar with the very real consequence of employing a “war on terror” framework. Therefore, we reject a discourse that perpetuates these old tactics and peddles harmful and unwarranted suspicion against Syrians.

Along these lines, it is our position that any discussion of Syria that neglects the central role of Bashar Al-Assad and his regime in the destruction of Syria directly contradicts the principles of solidarity by which we abide. We have reflected on our own tendency to heroize those who advocate on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, and we fear that some members of our community may have prioritized the celebrity status of these individuals over the respect and support we owe to those Syrians affected most directly by the war, as well as those living in the diaspora whose voices have been dismissed as they have watched their homeland be destroyed.

We will no longer entertain individuals who fail to acknowledge the immediate concerns of besieged Syrians in their analysis. Despite reaching out to some of these individuals, they have shown an unwillingness to reflect on the impact of their analysis. We regret that we have no choice left but to cease working with these activists whom we once respected.

We would like to encourage others who are guided by similar principles to do the same.

 

On The Allies We’re Not Proud Of: A Palestinian Response to Troubling Discourse on Syria.

Palestinians wrote and signed a petition: “On The Allies We’re Not Proud Of: A Palestinian Response to Troubling Discourse on Syria”

We, the undersigned Palestinians, write to affirm our commitment to the amplification of Syrian voices as they endure slaughter and displacement at the hands of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. We are motivated by our deep belief that oppression, in all of its manifestations, should be the primary concern of anyone committed to our collective liberation. Our vision of liberation includes the emancipation of all oppressed peoples, regardless of whether or not their struggles fit neatly into outdated geopolitical frameworks.

We are concerned by some of the discourse that has emerged from progressive circles with regards to the ongoing crisis in Syria. In particular, we are embarrassed by the ways in which some individuals known for their work on Palestine have failed to account for some crucial context in their analysis of Syria.

The Syrian revolution was in fact a natural response to 40 years of authoritarian rule. The Assad regime, with the support of its foreign financial and military backers, is attempting to preserve its power at the expense of the millions of Syrians whom the regime has exiled, imprisoned, and massacred. We believe that minimizing this context in any discussion of Syria dismisses the value of Syrian self-determination and undermines the legitimacy of their uprising.

We also believe that an important consequence of all foreign interventions, including those purportedly done on behalf of the uprising, has been the setback of the original demands of revolution. The revolution is a victim, not a product, of these interventions. It is imperative for any analysis of Syria to recognize this fundamental premise. We cannot erase the agency of Syrians struggling for liberation, no matter how many players are actively working against them.

Though we maintain that the phenomenon of foreign aid demands thorough critique, we are concerned by the ways in which foreign aid has been weaponized to cast suspicion on Syrian humanitarian efforts. Foreign aid is not unique to Syria; it is prevalent in Palestine as well. We reject the notion that just because an organization is receiving foreign aid, it must follow then that that organization is partaking in some shadowy Western-backed conspiracy. Such nonsense has the effect of both undermining humanitarian efforts while simultaneously whitewashing the very crimes against humanity that necessitated the aid in the first place.

Furthermore, we object to the casual adoption of “war on terror” language. Enemies of liberation have historically used this rhetoric to target humanitarians, organizers, and community members. From Muhammad Salah to the Midwest 23 to the Holy Land Five, our community is all too familiar with the very real consequence of employing a “war on terror” framework. Therefore, we reject a discourse that perpetuates these old tactics and peddles harmful and unwarranted suspicion against Syrians.

Along these lines, it is our position that any discussion of Syria that neglects the central role of Bashar Al-Assad and his regime in the destruction of Syria directly contradicts the principles of solidarity by which we abide. We have reflected on our own tendency to heroize those who advocate on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, and we fear that some members of our community may have prioritized the celebrity status of these individuals over the respect and support we owe to those Syrians affected most directly by the war, as well as those living in the diaspora whose voices have been dismissed as they have watched their homeland be destroyed.

We will no longer entertain individuals who fail to acknowledge the immediate concerns of besieged Syrians in their analysis. Despite reaching out to some of these individuals, they have shown an unwillingness to reflect on the impact of their analysis. We regret that we have no choice left but to cease working with these activists whom we once respected.

We would like to encourage others who are guided by similar principles to do the same.

Shimon Peres died the wrong way.

Beirut, Lebanon.

I do not want to spend too much energy and time writing on the dead former Israeli president and twice prime minister, Shimon Peres. He doesn’t deserve too much effort.

Peres has lived too long; for most of his 93 years old life, he worked against Palestinian right to freedom and life. He directly participated in the Nakbah, in 1947 he joined the Haganah, the terrorist Zionist organization that became the IDF, Israel’s army.

During the Nakbah, the Palestinian catastrophe, he was responsible for personnel and arms purchases. Basically, he bought the weapons that killed thousands of Palestinians. He is directly responsible of the 700,000 Palestinians who exiled to neighboring countries. Today, more than 5 million Palestinian refugees are out of their own country, because of Shimon Peres and his terrorist friends, including mastermind Ben Gurion.

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The Palestinian Shatila camp in Beirut, Lebanon. Picture from Hassan Chamoun.

Peres held many ministerial positions, and from early on, he was involved in Israel defense policies, he helped buying substantial weapons from France in the 50’s as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense. From 1959 to 1965, he was deputy defense minister. In 1974, he became Minister of Defense. He developed Israel nuclear capabilities.

In the 90’s, he directly participated in  the so called peace deal, the Oslo Accords, between Israel and Palestine. The Accords didn’t properly address the Palestinian right of return, it just postponed the issue.

As Prime Minister, Peres started the “Operation Grapes of Wrath”, an intense war against Lebanon which culminated with the Qana Massacre, where 106 Lebanese civilians died when they were sheltering in an UN compound. He later addressed the massacre: “Everything was done according to clear logic and in a responsible way, I am at peace”. The war intentionally bombed Shia villages in South Lebanon. According to the official Air Force website [in Hebrew], the “operation” was described as “Massive bombing of the Ahia villages in South Lebanon in order to cause a flow of civilians north, toward Beirut, thus applying pressure on Syria and Lebanon to restrain Hezbollah”.

qana-lebanon-massacre-1996
Qana Massacre aftermath, 1996.

All his life, Shimon Peres lived as a war criminal, he didn’t deserve to die in a hospital, just as Ariel Sharon.

He should have rotten and died in a prison, just like every war criminal.

Palestinian, Lebanese and all people that were oppressed by him celebrate his death, including myself.

Good riddance.

Author: Hassan Chamoun. 

Israel and USA are still best friends (despite it all)

Israel will receive the long expected 10 year pact military aid offered by the US.

The US administration military aid  Israel is an all-time record, Israel will at least receive $38 billions over the next 10 years. Israel will get at least $3.8 billion a year, up from $3.1 billion it is currently receiving under the current deal that expires in 2018.

Israel has made so-called concessions. Netanyahu initially sought $4.5 billion a year and Israel agreed not to seek and lobby the American congress for further missile defense funds during the 10 years pack. The latter “concession” is likely to be flexible, according to Reuters, as Israel could lobby the US during wars or other major crisis. In other words, when Israel is relentlessly bombing the besieged Gaza strip or Lebanon, Israel can receive a boost from the US, besides the record annual military aid.

The 10 years deal helps immensely Israel. The country will continue to receive a subsequent military aid regardless of the next US president and his or her policy on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

The aid shows and proves that last year “tense” relationship between Obama and Netanyahu wasn’t enough to shake up and undermine Israel and US special relationship. Netanyahu visited the congress in March 2015 and expressed his strong opposition to the Iran deal in a speech praised with 26 standing ovations from congressmen and women. The speech was boycotted by dozens of Democrats. Netanyahu visited the congress after a Republican invitation that bypassed the White House authority. Obama refused to meet Netanyahu.

The US and Israel are still best friends despite last year cold confrontation between Obama and Netanyahu. The catchphrase “Follow the money” has never been more meaningful.

Obama legacy won’t be the disastrous Nobel Peace Prize he received for “ending” the occupation of Iraq, nor the Iran deal. His “legacy” will be directly felt by millions of people in the Middle-East, from (at least) 2018 to 2028, when Israel and American bombs will be dropped on their heads.