We knew from the start of the Arab Spring in 2011 that the wave and the urge to revolt against the ruling political establishment will never arrive to Lebanon.
Now, the whole scene looks in reverse; it seems Lebanon exported violence, sectarianism, chaos, militias and instability to the whole region and can compete to be better in some categories…
Below is a video showing an Egyptian version of a typical Lebanese political argument about numbers… Which you can’t argue with.
This time it’s about Tahrir roundabout, errr…sorry, Tahrir Square.
arab spring, Bashar Al-Assad, Beirut, Hezbollah, Kamal Jumblatt, Lebanese Civil War, Lebanese Communist Party, Lebanese Left, lebanon, Nabih Berri, syria, Syrian Army, Syrian moukhabarat, Terrorism, YouTube, Ziad Rahbani
I am from a generation who loved Ziad Rahbani, growing up with his music, songs, shows, plays and ‘revolutionary’ appearances and quotes like most of the youth of my time.
I can nearly recite all his plays, which I think they were masterpieces and will be engraved in our cultural heritage. I can never forget Joseph Sakr’s great songs in Sahriyyeh, the revolution of Abbas and Fahed in Nazl el sourour (which suits our current mood by the way), the social struggles of both Thurayya and Zakariya in Bennesbe La Boukra Shou, the Western conspiracy and our sectarian disease in Film Ameriki Taweel, the broken Lebanese society in Shi Fashel and the stubborn Lebanese people in his last series of Bikhsous el Karameh wel Shaab el Aaneed and Lawla Fos’hat el Amal. I adore his music and songs whether were part of his plays or not. He composed the greatest music and anthems, not exhaustively, but I mention Mays el Reem, Prelude 83, Abou Ali, People’s Winds and The Revolution Anthem.
Today Lebanon Spring blog has been featured in the Lebanese daily Annahar. You can check Reine Abu Moussa’s post on this blog here. So thanks to her.
Also, I have an article in Arabic that was published with a title “Muddling The Arab Spring”. I plan to publish an English translation of it, but you can check the current Annahar version here.
The Arab Spring has been described and associated with such a wide variety of symbolic designations that at times, the term chosen to describe the series of protests that have swept across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region may indicate a person’s political position on the wide and highly polarized spectrum. The term ‘Arab Spring’ has even been criticized by some who support the pro-democracy (or anti-regime) protests, citing this description as being Orientalist and therefore inappropriate.
“I come before you today to urge you to be true to America’s nature, to aid those aspiring to freedom, to strike a blow to terrorism [...] the genuine nature of the Lebanese people is reflected in their love for freedom and their affection towards America; and the genuine nature of America is reflected in its support of those who seek freedom [...] We have never lost faith – and we never will – that our natural allies in the free world will finally see (the Lebanese struggle with Syria) for what it truly is: a fight for freedom against terrorism and oppression.” General Michel Aoun – September 2003 – In the United States Congress for the Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. Continue reading
Today the Syrian revolution is one year old, and the day is featuring a frenzy in the main and social media over the leaked emails of Bashar Al-Assad and his wife Asma Al-Akhrass, published yesterday by The Guardian. The emails were obtained by The Guardian via some activists who were monitoring the Assads email accounts since last year. The emails are full of luxurious shopping lists, iTune downloads, games, music, Harry Potter and other silly YouTube video links exchanged between the couple themselves and with others.
Every time I discuss the Syrian tragedy with an anti-revolution or pro-Assad person, I would be faced with these questions: how do you know the numbers of killed people are right? Can you verify them? Why not count the killed soldiers too? Obviously, these people try to muddle the core problem and cover (unintentionally sometimes) for the Syrian regime atrocities. This is exactly what blogger Sharmine Narwani did in a long article in Al-Akhbar English. From a previous conversation with her on twitter, Sharmine might not be a pro-Assad person, but she is doing her best to doubt the genuine outcome and intentions of the peaceful uprising (yes peaceful, that’s how it started, ok).
In her mentioned piece, she asks:
Perception is 100 percent of politics […] How then does one count 20, 40, or 200 casualties in a few hours while conflict continues to rage around them?
Despite the rumours that there are anti-regime protests in the country for the past 11 months, and rumours that they are being fired at, and persecuted, and that parts of the country are not the under the government rule anymore, and that some of these parts are under siege and heavy bombardment, Syrians are heavily turning up today to the ballot boxes to say YES to the new draft of the constitution.
Follow @TheZakoAgain today, on Marie Colvin’s death yesterday in Homs; I did speculate that her death could have been a result of a direct intentional hit by the Syrian army. My confidence in this speculation has shot up now; this is an interesting but strange piece of intelligence by The Daily Mail: Continue reading
The theory stating that turning the Syrian peaceful uprising into a violent insurgency will start a civil war is treated as a matter of fact now. Signs of Islamization of the revolution recently surfaced, and coincided with the loss of its peacefulness – due to the brutal regime crackdown. Syrian activists always interpreted the Quraan background or Allah ow Akbar chants in some YouTube videos as spontaneous representations of the personalities in some rural areas. This might be true, and quite irrelevant but it doesn’t mean that AlQaeda won’t enjoy the fertile ground of chaos, and may attract some local followers.
Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, the Syrian regime has faced all the accusations of human rights breaches with pure denial. They denied the existence of protests and the lack of support to its leader Bashar Al-Assad. Bashar Al-Assad claimed instead that protesters were saboteurs and armed gangs, and the Syrian people wanted Assad in power (no mention of the 97% anymore though).
As if the Syrian uprising is not living enough surrealism at these times. To muddle the picture even more, Israel said that it’s getting ready to receive Syrian refugees, or to be more precisely – only Alawites. The remarks were made by Israel’s army chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz to the Knesset committee on foreign affairs and defence:
On the day the Assad regime falls, it is expected to harm the Alawite clan. We are preparing to receive Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights
If you believe he is a leader, symbol, hero, eternal, wise, strategist, impeccable, exclusive, fair, educated, comrade, Lieutenant-General (highest military rank in 6 years military career), father, loving, doctor, reformer, secular, early starter of his working day, fighting corruption, building modern Syria, maintaining the country and region’s stability, protecting Lebanon, fighting Israel, protecting the Palestinian people, fighting for their cause, defusing all conspiracies against Arabs, fighting imperialism, facing a UNIVERSAL (yes, from universe) conspiracy, cracking down on terrorism in general, finishing Syria’s armed gangs, and spreading the spirit of Arabism, unification, freedom and socialism, then I think you truly deserve to be his slave, kneeling on your knees and kissing his poster. Even better, if his father previously did all these things, and still his qualities exceeded the above top marks, then he truly deserve you worship him FOREVER.
Since the start of the uprising, Syrian state media wasn’t deterred from claiming the silliest, and illogical claims just to defend their unreasonable case, which no one outside their influence believes. Similar insane claims were for example accusing Qatar and Aljazeera of fabricating the protests and filming them in studios. Or getting sensitive with the Syrian weather forecast on AlArabiya Channel, accusing them of coding the forecast news with orders to insurgents!
Today, the Syrian regime went down to a new low, by implementing the saying that Bashar Assad gave in his first speech (since the start of the uprising) before the ‘parliament’: ‘lie, lie, lie until you believe your lie’. So to proof their lie about the presence of Al-Qaeda, which is supposedly responsible for the bombings in the capital, they fabricated an Al-Qaeda today – literally.
One of good articulated stories that came out of Syria was A Tour Inside Syria’s Insurgency by Paul Wood (of the BBC) to The Atlantic; a really fascinating read, but black in its overall theme. I highly recommend reading the full 4,000-words article, which is comprehensive and diverse in its coverage.
The article shows how corrupt and brutal the regime is, but paints the picture of how the peaceful protests were forced to turn their dignity struggle with the government to be increasingly violent (check this Arabic announcement which I copied from a local revolution facebook page) and militarised. The story talks about the torture of Qutaiba, the peaceful protester who is looking now to buy pistol silencers in Lebanon to protect himself.
Has former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri been carried away with his twitter experience? Since he became lately active on twitter, he expressed not necessarily surprising, but some unusual and unexpected opinions about Lebanon and Syria.
The Arab League should go to the UN, and have a no fly zone, and if Russia vetoes , then a joint force should be done with Turkey [...] to get rid of the regime.
After the extraordinary recent blunder of the Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid Muallem in showing fake videos, and after more than 9 months of the uprising, the Syrian regime has at last some proper genuine terrorist images they can use in their propaganda library.
Two cars bombs went off today in Damascus in Syria, near the heavily secured buildings of the State Security (Amn el Dawlah) and other intelligence bodies. The event is really a ‘shock’ in the Syrian events discourse, which will signal the start of new bloody phase. You can say the explosions were of ‘Class A’ similar to the ones we saw in Iraq and Lebanon in the past, and really unheard of in the tightly secure Syria.
Today, the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forced (SCAF) of Egypt was helping Israel in its continuous never ending war against the Palestinians, with all the moral support they can give; just like any other Arab regime repressing its people.
Reminder: I believe 2011 was the best year yet for the American arms and crowd control weapons trades.
I wanted to post the same interview of the Syrian President Bashar Assad as a ‘caricature of the day’! But then I came across Annahar’s Armand Homsi’s caricature which I thought is convenient enough.
The interview was done by Barbara Walters of ABC, and aired last night on the American channel. You can watch its “highlights” below, but basically it seems Bashar Assad has defected from the Syrian presidency.
You wonder what kind reforms are possible by a Syrian regime, or what kind of ‘terrorism’ they are fighting, when they see the iPhone as a dangerous device!
Below is a copy of a memo issued by the General Directorate of Customs of the Syrian Ministry of Finance; “iPhone is outlawed due to its banned features as per the watchdog regulations”.
With the ongoing popular uprising in Syria, it’s enough for any tourist or guest visiting now Syria to possess a smartphone to be potentially a spy suspect! But not if they have Samsung, HTC or other brands! That’s in addition to the usual confiscation of all the activists ‘facebooks’ they can get their hands on…
Good Steve Jobs didn’t manage to see this during his lifetime; his iconic device being banned in his ‘home country’.