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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 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؟

© Dave 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.

Ten years ago, I admired Hezbollah.

Ten years ago, in what is known today as the “July War”, Israel had for declared objective the destruction of Hezbollah in Lebanon, but what it did instead was destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure, bombing urban areas, tearing off children’s arms and legs. It was obviously a war against Lebanon itself.

I had just arrived to Lebanon, the country of my origins, after living abroad for 13 years. I was in Nabatieh, in South Lebanon, with my brothers, cousins, aunt and grandmother. My parents had gone to Beirut a day earlier to search for a house. We were moving back to Lebanon.

I remember very well the sound of artillery fire far from Nabatieh on the first morning. I also remember a warplane bombing a structure. I remember how we had to run away to the basement the nights of heavy bombings and how we eventually moved to the basement. We all lived in a spacious living room, we were refugees in our own house. I remember the stress of being away from my parents. I remember the phone call from Hassan Nasrallah, the night when Hezbollah famously bombed the Israeli military ship. I remember the carnage, the blood I saw on TV, the burning cars (or what was left of them) the destroyed bridges, the food getting scarcer, my aunt getting thinner, my grandmother reciting prayers, the electricity disappearing for 7 days. I remember how we feared going to the toilets and being “far” from the living room.

As hundreds of thousands of Lebanese, I still have nightmares of Israeli warplanes obliterating my country. I had one not so long ago. For a long period of time after the war, my heart used to pound much harder in my chest after hearing a loud sound.

07hezbollah.xlarge1
Hezbollah soldiers paraded in Southern Lebanon in 2002. Credit James Hill for The New York Times.

Eventually, after 12 days in Nabatieh, we fled to Khaldah, a small town just south of Beirut. There, we used to feel every vibration from the bombings in Dahieh, the southern suburb of the capital that was most heavily bombed by Israel.

I also remember the nights when Hezbollah sent heavy missiles into Israel, their sounds resonating in the valley. To me, an answer against Israel is justified, natural, and I will continue to support any resistance against Israel in the future.

After the war, I learned by heart many of Hezbollah’s propaganda songs. I cheerfully went to concerts of the team behind many of those songs.

But my admiration and respect of Hezbollah eventually died down, partly because of their very questionable and violent politics and policies inside the country. But the biggest reason was and remains its involvement in Syria.

How can Hezbollah stand with Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria, when the SAA, the Syrian Army, acts so similarly to the IDF, the Israeli army? Both the Syrian and Israeli regimes have bombed civilian areas relentlessly, with smart bombs or, notoriously with Assad, barrel bombs. How can I stand with Hezbollah in Syria and continue to admire them, when they are helping Assad remain in power, and make millions of civilians endure what Israel made myself and my family endure.

Israel made me a refugee in my own country, as well as outside of it. Assad has done the same to Syrians.

How can I respect Hezbollah when it stands by a regime that is torturing and killing thousands of detainees? How is that anti-imperialist? The Assad regime gladly took part in the CIA’s torture program in the months and years after 9/11. The Assad regime gladly invited Iran into Syria. The Assad regime gladly welcomed Russian imperialism with open arms. How is that anti-Zionist? Israel targeted Gaza’s Al Quds hospital several times throughout the years. Assad destroyed Aleppo’s Al Quds hospital in April of 2016. They say they are involved in Syria to defend Palestine, but how does it help?

Here’s how one Aleppo doctor described Assad’s attack on Al Quds hospital:

“The people who are in Aleppo now are people who decided to stay here. We used to look at people in Gaza and wonder how they live their lives normally – but now we know.”

They know because Assad acts like Israel, even exceeding it in its relentless brutality.

How can Hezbollah stand with the regime responsible for the worst refugees crisis since WW2? How can Hezbollah stand with Assad when he created a Nakba against his own people, just as Zionists created a Nakba against Palestinians?

It’s very simple. I do not differentiate between the suffering and the oppression of the Lebanese at the hands of Israel and the suffering and the oppression of Syrians at the hand of Bachar el Assad and his military apparatus, including Hezbollah.

How does Hezbollah defend Palestine by fighting in Aleppo? Hezbollah has been coldly and cynically pragmatic, allying itself with the most murderous regime of modern times, to continue receiving weapons from Iran. I ‘get’ that, but how does that make it more acceptable? How does Hezbollah stand with Palestinians when hundreds of thousands of them were besieged in Yarmouk, the Palestinian camp near Damascus. And no, Palestinian factions allying with Assad doesn’t it mean Palestinians stand with Assad – the latest poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) put Palestinian support of the FSA at 40%, with 18% in favor of Assad – or that their oppression there is acceptable. Why should I condemn Netanyahu wars and massacres on Gaza, but not Assad’s war on and massacres of Syrian themselves?

Dave-Simonds-12-February--002
David Simonds.

Today, there is absolutely no justification in standing with the Syrian regime, no righteousness, nothing. Assad is just a mass-murdering dictator who would gladly choosing ruling over a destroyed and lifeless Syria, a Syria in which his supporters tag the walls of besieged areas with “Assad or we burn the country” and “kneel or starve”.

I used to respect and admire Hezbollah because it wanted to fight on the side of the oppressed. Today, it is fighting side-by-side with the oppressors.

Author: Hassan Chamoun.

Joey Ayoub helped with editing and suggestions.

Why should everyone join the Anti-Racist protest today?

Today, July 18th 2016, in Lebanon, Beirut, an anti-racist march will begin at 6:30PM at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Achrafieh and will end at the Ministry of Interior in Sanayeh.

 

Why should everyone join the Anti-Racist protest today?

Refugees and migrants face racism in Lebanon. They are the scapegoat of our problems that are present since before the Syrian civil war.

Electricity? The Syrians.
Water? The Syrians.
Garbage? The Syrians.
Security? The Syrians of course.

Syrians and Palestinians and many other nationalities fled war and death, just to face state racism in Lebanon. Migrants face an open-air prison with the Kafala system, where the employer effectively “own” the employee.

Join this protest if you don’t believe that every town and neighborhood should have a watch against “strangers”. Join this protest if you believe that the nationality of a terrorist doesn’t determine how the totality of a population should be treated. Do some people really believe that a curfew will ameliorate Lebanon security? Do some people really believe that terrorist groups will run away to their homes at 8pm and that will stop their attacks against Lebanon?

I hate to speak in this manner, but in 9/11, four planes were hijacked, two planes infamously crushed against the twin towers in New York, one plane against the Pentagon, and the fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, it was brought down after the resistance of passengers. The hijacker and pilot of the fourth plane was a Lebanese national: Ziad Jarrah. Does it matter? Not really, but bigots and racists need to ask themselves: would you be pleased to have all the Lebanese in USA under a curfew, because it happened that a Lebanese was lunatic enough to join AL Qaeda? Would you find it just? Fair? If the answer is yes, then you have other serious issues of self-blame.

That I need to use this fact as an example is problematic in itself, what if all of them were Saudis? Would you accept the bigotry? What if Steve Jobs wasn’t partly Syrian? Who would have Banksy drawn on the walls of the Jungle, the infamous refugee camp in France?

Can’t we see that racism, bigotry, and stupid bigoted generalizations have led us to a civil war in the past? Today it is the Syrian, tomorrow, it might be (or it is already) the Palestinian, the Sunni, the Christian, the Shia, the Druze, the Jew, the Maronite, the homosexual, the black, the Arab, the handicapped ..
The other.

The other is only the other if we want to make it so.

Today, it is important to join to show the refugees and migrants, that some people in Lebanon will stand by them, and help them to lead by themselves the struggle against state racism and racism in our streets.

Protest against rape and rape culture in Beirut, Lebanon.

The 12th July 2016, a group gathered in front of the justice palace in Beirut to protest rape and rape culture in Lebanon. The protest was triggered by a rape case in the northern town Tripoli, Sunday, 3 boys alledegly raped a 16 years-old girl, the 3 suspects, are Khaled M. Houssam D. and Najib D.

Protest holding a sign: “Rape and marry for free!” The sign makes reference to the article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code, allowing rapists to marry their victims, thus nullifying the rapist conviction.

Although a gynecologist confirmed that the girl in question was indeed raped, the coroner denied she was, he reports he found no marks on her body suggesting she has been raped. The girl, identified as Ibtisam M, reported to Al Jadeed TV that she has been raped by three boys over the course of three months, she was afraid to report her case to the police because she was blackmailed with pictures. The Daily Star reports:

“He took me to the apartment where he told me I’d be meeting his relatives, however I arrived and found no one there. He pulled out a knife and threatened to kill me if I didn’t sleep with him, and he said I had to sleep with his friends too,” she said, referring to one of the boys.

Lebanon rape apologism is institutional and “lawful”, the legal system will not prosecute a rapist and will cancel his conviction if the rapist marries his victim. [article 522 of the Lebanese Criminal code]. Article 503 and 504 also adds oppression to the victims of rape and do not consider marital rape (rape within a marriage) as rape.

 

NewsroomNomad, a blog that report and comment Lebanese news, adds that “Combating rape and sexual assault goes beyond just criminalizing and prosecuting it. It needs a societal change and an understanding of the attitudes that empower misogynistic traits and laws in the country. A society that can emphasize with a television series, [Fatmagül, a Turkish series about a woman blamed for her rape] but show little to no sympathy to a real victim is a society that is disengaged. 

“If women who are sexually harassed generally provoke harassment by the way they look, dress, and behave, why do kids get sexually harassed too?”

 

 

 

 

 

Beirut and Paris. The old story and the new.

In a perfect world, every bombing in every capital and every town gets perfect equal attention. Perfect equal coverage in media. Perfect equal shock from people across the world. A bomb in Nigeria would shock the world populace as it shocked Paris.
In a perfect world, no bombing would happen.
I wish the victims were equal everywhere, I wish we lived in a perfect and equal world but we’re not, and here’s why a bombing in Iraq, Nigeria or Lebanon won’t get the attention it gets in Paris 

Orientalism :

Sadly, Beirut has become throughout the years “a capital of death”, just like Baghdad and Kabul. This simplification and perversion is done through the media lens. We, the people living inside those dangerous places, become pieces of analysis to foreign and local journalists. Death becomes a tool to sound more “expert” and clever about the situation. When the bombing happened in Beirut, the Thursday 12th November, many newspapers rushed to call the neighbourhood where the bomb took place, Burj al Barajneh, as a Hezbollah stronghold. That suddenly militarised the bombing and the latter become somehow acceptable in many eyes, especially foreign ones. 44 innocent victims became the pawns of political but inhumane analysis. Some articles didn’t even utter the word “innocent” or “victims”.
Burj al Barajneh has certainly more Hezbollah presence than some other neighbourhoods, but everyone living in Lebanon knows it’s not a stronghold. The victims were ridiculed, they almost became legitimate targets.

Many newspapers ridiculed and oversimplified the Beirut bombing through the amalgam of the violent Arab, the Arab that is accustomed to death, the Arab that creates death. That’s orientalism in its purest sense and it’s just another term of its wider umbrella, racism.

Bombings and politics. 

Bombings are always political and the shock created by the bombing, especially in Paris, is being used drastically by France’s authority to refrain liberties in the country and bomb IS as an act of revenge in Raqqah, (when Raqqah is already bombed daily by the anti-IS coalition and Russia).

France is actually using the “Etat D’urgence” or State Urgency to repress environmentalist activists. According to his lawyer, Joël Domenjoud, an activist, is under house arrest because until the 12th of December. He is accused of belonging to the “ultra-leftist movement and challenging the tenure of the COP”. He isn’t alone, according to the Guardian, 23 other activists are also under house arrest. France is also building a “strong anti-IS coalition” and for the first time ever, the French FM Laurent Fabius considered working and coordinate with the SAA. Making the attacks on Paris working towards the indirect easing of relations between Assad and France and, of course, serving the propaganda of IS.

Lebanon? The Lebanese Parliament voted to elevate the national debt the night the explosion happened while no one was paying attention.

Read more about the connection between bombings and politics here.

 

Beirut Marathon should have been cancelled.

Lebanon has witnessed a terrible garbage crisis for more than 3 months now, this marathon is a joke to all the people suffering from bad smell and toxic waste.

Dead rats have been piling up under garbage, attracting a major fly infection in Beirut, Achrafieh, reported the Daily Star. And yet the organisers and partners have the nerve to allow this event. The officials partner, such as the Beirut Municipality, should have stood against the marathon.

This marathon is a lie, a Public Relations stunt for this country, a way to say that Lebanon is a “normal” country, in a normal situation, when it’s absolutely not.

Voices criticising the marathon could be found online and from inside the marathon itself.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156296133340492&set=a.10151327029975492.829941.874055491&type=3&permPage=1

The campaign “Badna Nhassib” or “We want Accountability” used the slogan : “No one is faster than cholera”, warning of the deadly sickness that has been spreading in the Middle East, notably Iraq.

#ما_حدا_اسرع_من_الكوليرا#بدنا_نحاسب

Publiée par ‎بدنا نحاسب‎ sur Dimanche 8 novembre 2015

It’s a shame that the prime minister runs for cameras, for lies, when he accused the viral videos of garbage rivers to be fabricated. 

Misogyny among some Hezbollah supporters : “I just see Hypocrisy”

This post is written by M, the writer chose to remain anonymous in order to prevent attacks against herself. She denounces and condemns the grave issue of online misogyny and stresses that even though those are online attacks : “…every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. “

A couple of weeks ago an issue emerged on Twitter which resulted in the harassment of a woman, on the social media website, under the accusation that she “disrespected” the political figure Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. The woman, falsely accused of doing the “crime” herself, the crime being exercising her right to a political opinion on her own country, as well as practicing the right to freedom of speech, was subject to the revealing of her per-hijab pictures all over the social media website. The hijab is a piece of cloth that Muslim women, as well as Orthodox Christians, use to cover their hair in order to please God by following his orders. The hijab is a sign of modesty, a sign of respectfulness, and a sign of purity. Any women can put it on, and this particular woman decided to do so a couple of months ago. The recent change in lifestyle made it hard for her to track down every single hijab-less picture of herself on the internet- allowing these vulgar, disgusting, disrespectful, misogynist supposedly MUSLIM boys to find her pre-hijab pictures and post them all over their profiles. They thus went on to call her derogatory names and attack anyone who defended her in the situation. Anyone who spoke out against this got targeted.
In order to “protect themselves” from being a subject of this, some women even encouraged it through the reasoning of “she supports X political group”, “she’s from X sect”. Now many of you might not see the issue here, just another case of “internet fun”, just another something to put to the list of things “we should ignore”. I don’t see it that way at all.

Three things that make this issue relevant, other than it not being the first time these boys have attacked a woman on social media:

Firstly, and most obviously, these aren’t just people on the internet. I hate to break it to you, but every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. This could result in rape, domestic abuse, violence etc. These disgusting excuses for human beings exist in real life. And harassment accepted on the internet, easily becomes harassment accepted in daily life. Not to mention the impact of the event on women themselves. In this particular case, everyone who now sees this woman with a headscarf knows what she looks like without it, which may not seem like a big deal to non-Muslims, but it’s a big deal. This has the potential to effect the whole point of the hijab and what it stands for. Nobody, EXCEPT THE WOMAN HERSELF, has the right to rip her hijab off.

Which brings me to my second point, the fact that every single time these people attack a woman, I see very few, if any, stand up against it. I don’t see people standing up for the morals they preach so adamantly. I don’t see people stand up like the religious figures, they praise so much, have in the past. I don’t see any reaction. I just see the “oh ignore it”, “oh she asked for it, you know how they are”. “oh she should have kept it to herself”. NO. She had EVERY right to tweet whatever she did. She has the right to express herself. She has the right to discuss political orientations that don’t mirror your views. She has EVERY right to not be harassed because of a tweet you don’t agree with.
Stop victim blaming. Stop defending the perpetrators. Stop being an apologist. Grow a spine. There is no justification for sexual harassment. None whatsoever, stop looking for one just because you’re a coward. Stop trying to rationalize a woman being stripped of her identity and her dignity because of a controversial political view. You’d think that these people preaching justice, resistance and righteousness for RT’s (Retweets) all day long, would at least use one of their 20,000 tweets a day to put their money where their mouth is. The most surprising aspect of all of this all was the HIJABI MUSLIM WOMEN who laughed and attempted to justify this repulsive behavior. Internalized misogyny at its finest.

Lastly, the moral and religious aspect of the issue. These perpetrators, as well as those who encouraged these acts, are supposedly Shia Muslims. Shia Islam is a persecuted minority sect of Islam that places special emphasis on the family of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, referred to as “Ahlul Beit”. Throughout the history of Shia Islam we see the honour of martyrdom. The importance of standing up for what you believe to be right, even if it means being oppressed, murdered, or detained as a result. We can easily see this with the majority of the Imams and many of their followers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I see nothing honourable about harassment of women simply on the basis of their political views. I don’t see anything noble about making fake Snapchat accounts to send fake “nudes” to each other and claim them to be those of a woman you disagreed with.
I see nothing promising about making up rumors about women on the internet that have the capacity to ruin their reputation and stain their name. I see nothing heroic about stalking a woman’s internet profile to scavenge for pictures of her without a headscarf and paint the internet with them. I see nothing great about exposing women’s private pictures. I see nothing Shia about making a fake account of a individual’s mother and zooming into her breasts while tweeting dirty comments at boys. I see nothing Muslim about ruining the life a woman through her social media account. I see nothing Muslim about smearing the life of a sister. Of a daughter. Of a mother. I don’t see justification.

I just see hypocrisy.

M,