This is your Lebanon – Episode I

The offices of Michel Aoun’s LFPM party (which is busy surveying damages in “Christian villages” in the south) in Msaitbeh were broken into and severely damaged, and a computer containing important information, such as a database of names of Beirutis who support the party, was stolen. The vandals spray-painted in blue colour (associated with Hariri’s Future Movement) various swears and threats, including one that stood out: “Hariri, warning, Beirut”. Following the discovery, security forces were called to conduct a survey of the damage and lift fingerprints, but a lone officer was sent to the scene…

In other news, world media is absolutely delighted with the 2000-strong gathering to commemorate warlord Samir Jaa’jaa’s gangs of mass-murderers. Sources from the area inform me that organizers deliberately closed roads to create traffic (I am sure that the neo-cons over at LGF will be delighted to expose this photo-op), and give the gathering an air of popularity. Needless to say, March 14 revolutionaries, including the thief and liar Marwan Hmade (using March 14 vocabulary, the head of the snake), and presidential hopeful Butros “I would kiss anyone’s ass for the chair” Harb (who has the rhetorical skills of my cousin’s 10-year-old son), and others were present… On that note, it seems that many Lebanese leftists are convinced that Butros Harb, however corrupt and politically inept he is, would be the better choice for the presidency (compared to Michel Aoun). They point to his “moderate” positions (what moderation? Skipping a rally that clearly represents more than 40% of Lebanon’s population while rushing to a gathering that does not represent more than 2% of the people is not exactly my idea of moderation, especially for someone who wants to be the president of the country, which includes that 40%!) and rhetorical “skills” (what skills?). I ask these leftists to come forward today and say the same things they were insisting on only a few months ago…

Meanwhile, the installation of water pipes diverting water from the Wazzani to the Israeli-occupied village of Al-Ghajar is now complete and the Israelis have begun routine pumping of water. The March 14-ruled government insists that it will sue Israel for the oil spill (which caused severe distress among Saudi oil tycoons because it poured cold, or oily, water on their vacation plans – though the war awarded the KSA [or rewarded it with???] a net gain of $500 million a day), but no word on demanding that Israel halt its water theft, or that it make reparation payments for the damage it caused to infrastructure and residential buildings, as well as for the ritual mass-murders that it perpetrated with American-made bombs that were shipped via the U.K. America is, of course, Lebanon’s great friend. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Those are your revolutionaries. This is your “cedar revolution”. Enjoy.


28 responses to “This is your Lebanon – Episode I

  1. Interesting. Isn’t it odd that Aoun is alligned with Hezbullah?
    Wasn’t he traditionally anti-Syrian and anti-Hezbullah? That’s was my limited understanding, anyway. How strong is the alliance? Are there platform issues that intersect or is it a marriage of convenience?

    And just so Chris Swift doesn’t pop another blood vessel, I won’t note google results, but suffice it to say that the Hezbullah rally got much more press, although most reports put the numbers at “tens of thousands” not 2000.

  2. It’s not too odd to be honest. The two parties are by far the least corrupt in Lebanese politics. Their platforms do intersect at some points but not at all points, and that’s only natural otherwise they would’ve merged. Aoun was not anti-HezbAllah. Before the latest round of war he was attempting to arrive at a diplomatic solution to HezbAllah’s arms issue, but the March 14 forces continued stirring the hornet’s nest. The alliance – well it is pretty much unofficial, so let’s say they are on the same side – is pretty strong at the moment and isn’t expected to fall apart any time soon, at least not with the way in which March 14 parties continue to antagonize both (and the minor parties allied with them).

    As for the media coverage of the HA rally, I can assure you that had it not been for the possibility that the Israelis would take out Nasrallah, the rally wouldn’t have gotten much of a coverage, if at all. In fact, major media outlets did not give it as much attention as any random rally by, say, Haririst/March 14 forces would be given. From what I can see, there seems to be an emphasis in the media that this rally gathered as many people and was as popular as the HA rally. Actually, there is a misrepresentation. It wasn’t a rally, it was a mass/gathering to commemorate the dead mass-murderer gangs of Samir Geagea & co. But I couldn’t help but notice that Jaa’jaa kept referring to the Lebanese Forces as a “mouqawama” (resistance). It seems he is now the self-styled leader of the Christian “resistance”.

  3. That’s just a ridiculous claim. The rally was front page of LA Time, NY Time, Post etc. with almost quarter page pictures.

    The “poor me-isms” become laughable at a point. Check out NYTimes, (yeahe Chris Swift, I know it’s controlled by the all-powerful Jewish Lobby)

    Poor Geagea doesn’t even get a photo. And what was it? 10’s of thousands or 2000?

    Do you just make things up for fun, or are you really so out of touch with reality?

    It makes it very hard to take the rest of your points seriously when you can’t even take rational stock of the issues you comment on.

  4. I can’t even find an article on the Geagea rally on BBC. There must be something – but it come up in my searches. the HA rally got tons of coverage. Even Sinoria’s blasting of the UN.

  5. Interestingly Al Jazeera online also failed to cover the “delightful” Christian Right memorial.

    Don’t worry, I’ll find the delight somewhere. Here is the first tow paragraphs of the most widely reprinted wire article I found.

    In Beirut, large rally against Hezbollah


    BEIRUT, Lebanon — An anti-Syrian Christian leader dismissed Hezbollah’s claims of victory in its war with Israel as tens of thousands of his supporters rallied Sunday in a show of strength that highlighted Lebanon’s sharp divisions.

    The rally north of Beirut came just two days after a massive gathering by the rival Shiite Muslim Hezbollah that attracted hundreds of thousands. The two sides have been at sharp odds over the future of the Lebanese government since this summer’s Israeli-Hezbollah war.

  6. Al Jazeera online also failed to cover the “delightful” Christian Right memorial.
    Don’t worry, I’ll find the delight somewhere. Here is the first tow paragraphs of the most widely reprinted wire article I found.
    Again, what?
    One more time, what?
    For the fourth time, what?????
    For the fifth time, what?
    More here, here, here.
    And here:
    and here:
    + Lebanese right-wing papers.
    I can get you more links if you want.
    Show of strength? Tens of thousands? More like around 2000 hooligans. For a gathering of 2000 hooligans vs. a rally of 800,000 – 1 million people, the coverage of the former is enormous. Ever heard of proportional coverage?

  7. So Hezbollah didn’t win. I can accept that as a fact. They released the two captured soldiers. They are currently being disarmed. Weapons never arrive from Iran. They are no longer cross the river into southern Lebanon.

    Meanwhile, back at the Israli cave, they are celebrating the return of the two soldiers. They are celebrating that Hezbollah does not have 20,000 missiles left over. They are celebrating the fact that Hezbollah never comes across the river into southern lebanon. They are celebrating the UN force that is disarming Hezbollah daily, taking their weapons and selling them on the black market to supporters of Israel.

    Yes, I can believe Hezbollah did not win. Oh, who am I? I’m in the Information Minister from Iraq. You remember, you saw me saying, “There are no American’s in Baghdad. Do not believe it. It is a Hollywood movie. Don’t you believe it.

  8. You do realize most of your links are to reprints of the AP article I quoted which says IN IT’S FIRST TWO SENTECES that Geagea’s attendance was “tens of thousands” and Hezbullah’s was 800,000. Perhaps you studied the new math, but in my youth 800,000 is not 10s of thousands.

    And, as I mentioned, in the print editions of the major US newspapers the Hezbullah rally was given large, often nearly quarter page front page photos. I did not see one daily with a photo of Geagea (the AP photo that seems to be the one on all those links save, I think it was, Haarets or Jers Post) on the front page. Obviously, I didn’t see them all, but I am a bit of news hound and on the weekend I usually glance at the NYT, Globe and Mail and LA Times or Wash Post.

    It is simply, patently false to say that major news outlets said or even suggested Geagea got the same numbers as Hezbullah and it is also falso to say that they got the same coverage. I do think Geagea got much more than his rally would have garnered without the Hezbullah rally, and the amount of coverage he got may even be disproportionate, but it is not to the extent you have claimed.

  9. The AP had another article on Nasrallah that mentioned the Hezbullah rally today. LA times had at least 3 – including two, I think, about the lead up to the rally. Similar the Post. (Although I should have written a qarter page article and photo, not giving the impression it was a quarter page photo – a quarter page photo would have been massive press indeed.)

  10. The Geagea rally got bottom pg. 5 of LA Times today – photo with 5 or 6 line caption that also mentions the Hezbullah rally, no article. Didn’t notice an article yesterday, but I’ll look again. Meanwhile 3-4 full page (2nd in series – front page) article on Special Forces (reservists) killing two detainees in Afghanistan a while ago. Mulitple photos, interviews etc.

    Where are those links to everyone claiming the same number of people at both rallies?

  11. Tired, what is your point? The Jaa’jaa gathering was highly insignificant, even in Lebanon it was mostly ignored except for the LF station LBC TV (which was the mouthpiece of Israeli propaganda throughout the 2006 war). That the world media made more than a passing reference to it is more than odd. Even stranger is the emphasis on the “tens of thousands” (and in some reports on the HA rally they said “thousands” of people attended it – why didn’t they specify that there were hundreds of thousands, since they also specified the “tens of” figure for the LF gathering?). Moroever, please pay attention to what I say before you jump the gun and twist my words and put words into my mouth. I said: “there seems to be an emphasis in the media that this rally gathered as many people and was as popular as the HA rally.” I never said they say that the same number of people were present at the 2 rallies, but that there seems to be an emphasis on such an aspect. This is what I mean when I refer to the tens of thousands vs. thousands figure, and also that the LF gathering got more media reporting than any such event anywhere in a conflict zone would get.

  12. Erm why does everyone care how many people showed up at either rally?
    Who cares if there were 2000 or 200 000 people at the LF mass?

    Anarchorev… what do you think of how New TV presented both rallies on it’s news? or Al Manar? or LBC? Those are obvious answers I don’t even know why you are tackling them?

    On Friday, LBC showed approximately 3 minute report on the rally, and on Sunday they placed the entire speech by geagea except they cut out all the cheering and booing in between.

    On friday, New tv had over 10 mins on the rally and on Sunday they had a 3 minute report.

    On friday, Al Manars entire news was about the rally and on sunday they briefly mentioned the LF mass.

    Inno whats your point?

  13. Why shouldn’t we care? First there is the issue of popularity, and clearly Jaa’jaa doesn’t command the following of more than 2% Christians. Second there is the issue of media representation. The media was quick to snatch this opportunity to “prove” that there is a sizeable opposition to HezbAllah within the Christian ranks, when this is not the case at all.

    I was not talking about Lebanese media. You can’t really take the case of Lebanese media as the norm, since they will cover most things on the domestic scene that have to do with leaders and parties. My argument was about world media jumping on the Sunday “rally” as if there is anything internally significant about it!!!! Now compare the coverage by the local and world media of the LF “rally”, and you will see that there is not much of a difference!!!! In fact, world media took its freedom to make insinuations that local media often skipped.

  14. So you are saying that the media should cover rallies in importance by the amount of people who showed up?

    The “big” thing about the LF mass was not about the amount of people who showed me and i doubt anyone assumed 800 000 LFers were going to show up!

    This is a mass that takes place every year and this is the first year that LFers get to go to their Martyr’s mass without the fear of being caught or whatever and the first time Samir Geagea is at the mass. That was the highlight of that story… which is why I tell you that you should not care how many LFers showed up!

    Is Hezballah more popular than LF? Definitely, not questions required there. You don’t need people to show up to know that (even though Fridays rally was not a pure hezbollah rally) but for the fun of it lets do our calculations.

    According to statistics from I dont know what year, 35% of the population is Shiite. The two main parties that represent shiites are Hezbollah and Hezb Amal. Majority goes to Hezballah. According to those statistics, 35% of the population are Christian (from all sects therefore including Armenian, orthodox, catholics, maronites, etc). How many political parties represent Christians? Aoun, LF, Marada, Ahrar, Kataeb, etc. See how the christian community is divided? Plus the aounists and the marada would never show up to a LF rally nor would the ahrar. Hence this case is over.

  15. So you are saying that the media should cover rallies in importance by the amount of people who showed up?
    Where did I say that? By their political significance, of course. Someone sitting in China doesn’t care and also doesn’t need to know that the LF held a gathering, and if he/she does, then he/she can check out what Lebanese media are reporting.

    Re: the fear of being caught, that was barely if at all reported in the reports in non-local media!!! The emphasis (I mentioned this before) was on two points: anti-HezbAllah sentiment and Christian representation. The rest of your post is irrelevant, as I was not advancing a numbers argument. The point is that there was a lot of emphasis on Christian sentiment and the misrepresentation thereof. An outsider often doesn’t know the details of Lebanese politics, and there seems to be a deliberate misrepresentation on the part of the media and in fact the Bush administration that the LF party is the legitimate/true representative of the Christians…

  16. Erm but Aoun is known as THE Christian representative. I haven’t read anywhere where people consider LF the Christian representative… please link to something of the sort.

    Listen, I am not a fan of Samir Geagea and not to keen of the LF. I criticized all “leaders” recently by saying I do not want them to bash each other and waste our time with that. I would rather their speeches were about OUR issues… economy, jobs, stability…

    I do approve of what Geagea said since I am anti Hezballah and was glad someone spoke out BUT if that’s the direction we’re going to go at then Lebanon is doomed my friend.

  17. What is your point???
    I haven’t read anywhere where people consider LF the Christian representative… please link to something of the sort.
    All along the Bush administration has been trying to boost Ja’aja’s perceived or real standing in domestic politics. World media, especially U.S and European media have been towing the line.
    I do not want them to bash each other and waste our time with that.
    Interesting that you STILL think that these leaders (the Junblatt and Hariri clans, and warlord Ja’aja and a few insignificant others) would ever talk about the people’s concerns. The closest to these things that we’ve gotten to have been through HezbAllah (and its social welfare programs and transparency) – and you say you are anti-HezbAllah, and LFPM.
    I am anti Hezballah
    Interesting that you define your position in such terms.. Either you don’t know the difference between HezbAllah and HezbAllah’s arms / policies or it makes no difference to you anyway. Either way, since you do recognize that the Shi’ite community is largely supportive of HezbAllah, you would by extension be institutionalizing anti-Shi’ism. It seems you are by-and-large decided on this position, so I ask you, what next? Cantonization (since you seem to be so fond of Ja’aja’s guts)? Imposing the rule of warlords, feudal chieftans, and clan leaders on a group that makes up at least 35% of the population? Or is it that you don’t have an answer and only talk to bash HezbAllah (and Syria, and and and Iran – though never Hariri, Ja’ajaa, Siniora and their pro-Israeli and pro-American positions?)?
    For lack of an ability to win the debate you stick to the arguments of a warlord who has the blood of innocent civilians (Lebanese, if it matters, since you seem to be a nationalist of the first degree) on his hands, and about which he does not want to talk, because we should “let bygones be bygones”, and who still talks in the language of a sectarian warlord. Is this the best you can come up with? Seriously. Glad someone spoke out? Why not ask your hero Sa’adeddine al-Hariri why he’s not the one constantly barking about HezbAllah and instead has put Ja’ajaa and other insignificant would-do-anything-for-the-chair Christian politicians on a tight leash and is training them on how to attack his father’s masters? Why not Siniora? Or does he not know anything other than crying in front of the cameras? Is this your idea of Lebanon? You and your “anti-HezbAllah” friends continue to bring up the Ta’ef, but do you even realize that it is the very dogs that are constantly barking about HezbAllah, Syria, Iran (even when there is no provocation on the part of these three and their leaderships) – often in synch, often out of tune – that are rendering, slowly but surely, the Ta’ef an insignificant piece of paper (not that it was significant in any way, but I am referring to the division of seats in the parliament)? Or would you rather spend your time praising a sectarian warlord who still boasts of and defends his alliance with a party (Israel) that slaughtered thousands of Lebanese (and Palestinians in Lebanon – but that part is not important for you, obviously, since you are a Lebanonese nationalist and don’t care if the Palestinians rot in the camps; if they don’t, after all, they might tilt the “delicate” sectarian balance), and then preach others on the meaning of patriotism and loyalty!!!!

  18. Anarchorev… erm none of the above that you stated is right in my case.
    The reason I placed the word “leaders” in quotations in my last comment is because I mock these so called leaders… and if you ever read my blog, you would see I do not approve of any of the leaders and would rather have people representing me as a Lebanese, us as a Lebanese.

    As for my being anti-Hezbollah, I will not get into the details of them being the resistance and all that music, instead let me discuss Hezbollah internally. I completely understand why the Shiites are loyal to Hezbollah and I do defend their stance and il hamdellah that Hezbollah does take care of THEIR people, but what about the rest of the people. For example, in the last war, my TINY village took in around 700 refugees during the war, and a vast amount of homes and the only church got destroyed during the war. Why weren’t they looked after? Thi s is the 3rd time that my village gets destroyed by Israel.. the last time it was totally demolished… and we are not even close to the borders…

    Anyways, besides the entire point…. in 2005 when I saw that Geagea was being released from jail, and Aoun returning to Lebanon and the Christians jumping for joy because their “leaders” were back I was so disappointed by the people. I also said that if Aoun or Geagea were to be made President then I would not step into Lebanon for as long as they are president and that Lebanon is hopeless. (these are all stuff I did say on my blog so you can go back and refer to those posts that were posted sometime between February 2005 and April 2005.

    In regards to my opinion of the Palestenian issues, well obviously I am against giving them citizenship because that would mean that we have surrendered the cause which is a free Palestine BUT I am also against them holding arms in their camps, creating a state within a state and causing problems with my army. It is a sticky situation that I personally do not see a solution for and would like to see it solved for our sake, and the sake of these Palestenians.

  19. il hamdellah that Hezbollah does take care of THEIR people
    Yes, but don’t forget that this is the (declared) duty of governments, and successive governments throughout the decades since independence have completely ignored the Shi’ite populated areas (South & Bekaa). Instead most of the development projects have gone to Beirut and Mount Lebanon and to a certain extent also the north. Now it’s mostly Beirut and not so much Mount Lebanon (those in Mount Lebanon continue to complain that their “plight” has been ignored, maybe they should visit the south or the Bekaa where often basic services aren’t even there).
    Re: presidency and Christians’ “leaders”, well I can see only one candidate who gets as close to being a “good” president (at least from what we can tell NOW), and that’s Aoun, though I have time and again criticized his and his party’s totalitarian inclinations… But definitely better than Ja’aja’a (he has presidential aspirations???? If the Lebanese support such a thing, then we might as well condemn Lebanon to the wastebasket) or Nassib Lahoud or Butros Harb (who, I still insist, has the rhetorical/debating skills of my cousin’s 10-year-old kid).
    I don’t understand you – you say giving the Palestinians citizenship would mean the surrender of the idea of the liberation of Palestine. How so? You see, my friend, those refugees will never go back to their home towns and cities in case of a peaceful settlement, so they would have to go “back” to the WB &/or Gaza, and I can assure you, when there ever is established an independent Palestinian state, they will go back. Anyway, to condemn the Palestinians to servitude just because of that is unthinkable. Moreover, there are other (racist) calculations. For example, the Palestinians are not allowed to work in many fields. There is no issue of citizenship in this. They could easily be granted this right, especially that they are not migrant workers who at the end of the year will pack their bags and leave to their home countries. They are born and raised here, and they have a right to AT LEAST that. But instead they are preferred to be used for menial labour, especially now that a lot of the Syrian workers are no longer in Lebanon (for fear for their lives, given the continuing racist murders and attacks by followers of Hariri, Ja’ajaa, Junblatt, & co.). Also, how can you even talk about the weapons issue when their basic rights (under international humanitarian law, to which Lebanon is bound) are not given to them???? Consider this: You have a slave labourer (the Palestinians) in your own house (Lebanon), and at some point you have massacred that person’s children (e.g. Sabra & Shatila) and you still go around freely and say inciteful things against him. Well this labourer kept his weapon after the terrible massacre was over, and you have been trying to convince him to give that weapon to you. On what bases will he give that to you? On the basis that he is your slave? On the bases that you have massacred his family? On the bases that you treat him as a human being and not as a tool to further your luxury?
    Your army would be better off oiling the tanks left over from the French Mandate. Your army and security forces were serving tea to the occupiers in Marja’ayoun while you were whining about Palestinian arms in the camps. Your army was being bombarded from air and sea while Israelis were conducting ground invasion, and what was your defense (sic) minister saying? That when (sic) the Israelis invade, the army will fight alongside HezbAllah against the Israelis. Your army would be better off laying down its weapons and taking up a full-time tea-serving job. At least that would cost the Lebanese taxpayer less money, instead of paying for retired captains’ vacation trips to the Bahamas and their children’s tuition fees while we work day and night to pay for our tuition fees. Hah! Your army? Who needs your army? Seriously, you believe that this army can defend you? You think the world (that loves Lebanon, but turns its head away when civilians are being massacred and the entire south is being riddled with cluster bombs and illegal phosphorous shells) will give you air defense systems against Israel? Hah! What a thought!

  20. Lebanon definitely does need a deterrent against Israel, but can Hizbollah really considered an effective one? Hizbollah’s rockets didn’t deter Israel from bombing Lebanon back to the stone age, and it’s hard to deny that its presence in Lebanon provoked Israel – or gave Israel a pretext – to attack Lebanon. Just to play Devil’s Advocate, don’t Geagea Gemayel et. al have a point that Lebanon’s security would best guarunteed by returning to the way things were before 1969, where Lebanon’s army has unchallenged control over the country and prevents any cross-border attacks, in exchange for being left in peace by Israel? That if Lebanon posed no
    threat to Israel’s security, Israel would leave Lebanon alone.

    That’s the argument, anyway.

  21. Hizbollah’s rockets didn’t deter Israel from bombing Lebanon back to the stone age
    Do you really think that Israel will actually dare to do the same again? HezbAllah’s rockets might not be a military deterrent but they are a strategic deterrent, and it’s the best we have and can have. And who knows, in the long run HezbAllah might improve its air defense capabilities.
    Please let me remind you that before HezbAllah’s presence Israel continued bombarding Lebanon and kidnapping Lebanese. Israeli terrorism in Lebanon did not start with the birth of HezbAllah. Rather, HezbAllah’s birth was a response to that. And needless to say, Palestinian “terrorism” was also a response to Israel’s continuous violations. Israeli strategy has always been punishing the innocent majority for the crimes of a few, which often did not even amount to anything (i.e. only theft). Just an example, the Qibya raid in which more than 60 civilians were killed and an entire town was razed was in response to an attack by infiltrators who had absolutely nothing to do with Qibya, and despite the fact that Jordan had denounced the infiltration and the Jordanian legion had been doing its best to prevent cross-border attacks.
    The problem with the issue of “posting a threat to Israel’s security” is: how do you define this? What qualifies as posing a threat and what doesn’t? Is there a list of standards by which to determine whether or not Israel would perceive something as a threat to its security? What if a bordering country decides to divert water sources for its own irrigation needs, will Israel perceive this as a grave threat to its “security” (water security, etc.), like it did with Syria in the 60s?
    And why doesn’t Israel clearly state what it’s final borders are? Clearly its messianic practices of settlement and Zionization of the land speak louder than any map that is used to refer to Israel. And clearly there have been many prominent voices in Israel calling for expansionism and insisting that the “people of Israel” are instructed to be holy “not moral” because the chosen people are not bound by moral laws. These fundamentalists unmistakably make up the bulk of successive Israeli governments (whether disguised by Labour “dovism” or manifesting itself as Likud “hawkism”). Clearly Israeli official policy is guided by a messianic vision, and that in itself (and Israel’s actions speak louder than any reassurances to the contrary) is enough to worry Israel’s neighbours. So no, I’m afraid it’s not as simple as “live and let live.”

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