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”.

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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.

 

 

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.

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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?

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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.

Pictures: Anti-Racist protest in Beirut.

On the 18th of July 2016, a group marched in Beirut from the Foreign Affairs ministry towards the Interior ministry. They called out and condemned the systematic institutional racism of the Lebanese state, and shamed the government of scapegoating the social and economic problems on refugees.

Pictures by Hassan Chamoun

 

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.

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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 and infamous 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.

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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.

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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. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

This year, enjoy the Baalbek festival with a curfew against Syrian refugees.

Yesterday, Monday 11th of July 2016, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the governor of the Baalbek-Hermel governorate, Bashir Khodor, will enforce a new strengthened curfew for Syrians in the district, from 6PM to 6AM, instead of 8PM to 6AM. The governor said the curfew was to be strengthened during the Baalbek Festival, an annual and renowned festival held in the town. Few hours later, the governor denied it and said that the curfew will remain as it is. No official statement or paper show the reversal of the decision.

Racism in Lebanon isn’t a new story. For decades the Lebanese state institutional racism has limited and restricted the rights of Palestinian refugees, and it is now scapegoating the totality of Syrian refugees in Lebanon for so-called security. The curfew imposed on Syrians in Lebanon isn’t new, dozens of municipalities, as Aley, enforced it since 2013. But it is the first time that an entire muhafaza, or governorate, imposes a curfew.

The curfew was imposed after many suicide attacks targeted the small town of Qaa, which is close to the Syrian border. The police found out that the bombers of Syrian nationalities all came from Syria.

The restriction on movement is inhumane and unjustified, and it is reminiscent on the Zionist regime restriction on the movement of Palestinians. Artists who are performing this year in the festival must boycott the festival until an official statement from the governor lifts the tightening of the curfew.

Sign the following petition by clicking here.

Petition in full.

On Monday, July 11th, 2016, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the Baalbek-Hermel governorate will impose a curfew for Syrian refugees from 6 PM to 6 AM during the upcoming annual Baalbek International Festival, which takes place from Friday, July 22, 2016 until August, 28, 2016.

While Governor Bashir Khoder verbally denied extending the existing refugee curfew, no official statements have been passed by the Baalbek-Hermel governorate indicating that the NNA reported false news.

Many areas in East Lebanon have already imposed tight curfews on Syrian refugees, and more have been imposed after the recent attacks in the village of Al-Qaa, where 7 suicide attacks took place in late June, murdering 5 and wounding 28 others. While Governor Khoder and the Baalbek-Hermel governorate may consider the massacre in Al Qaa and recent threats around the country to be reference points, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces confirmed that the attackers were not refugees or among them; in fact, they came through the Lebanese-Syrian border.

This is a form of collective punishment and a racist policy to implement on people who are fleeing from such atrocities. We believe that these values do not reflect Baalbek International Festival and their performers.

Therefore, we call on the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate to release an official statement denying the curfews, or to reverse them.

We also call on the this year’s performers to cancel their performances unless these policies are lifted. This year’s performers are the following:

Caracalla Dance Theater – Saturday, July 23

Jean Michel Jarre – Saturday, July 30

Mika – Thursday, August 4

Bob James Quartet – Friday, August 12

Abeer Nehme – Friday, August 19

Lisa Simone – Sunday, August 21

Shereen Abdel Wahab – Friday, August 26

Jose Van Dam Meets Carlos Gardel – Sunday, August 28

We also call on ticket-holders and potential ticket-holders to stand on the side of human rights, justice, and dignity, and boycott Baalbek International Festival 2016 unless these unfair curfews stop taking place.