Why we love Fatfat


My favourite sentence of the year:
“O Fatfat, o tough guy, one coffee, one tea.”
(notice the Lipton teabags!)

I went down to check out the tents and atmosphere, and eventually made it there (after being stopped by a dozen army officers telling me I cannot go from this street or that, and telling me to take the next street… and moving on to the next street and finding nothing but barbed wire and, well, army officers…). There were hundreds of tents, people of all ages and backgrounds, street vendors, picnickers, argileh-smokers, school kids with their teachers, flag sellers, media crew (I was asked to be interviewed by Al-Manar TV, but declined for a simple reason – although I would’ve loved to bash Sa’ad el Hariri & Future TV while at it – I hate being on TV. But I think I regret not having taken up the offer. sigh). I was amazed by how friendly people were, whether they were non-bearded or *gasp* bearded (you know, the ones you call “terrorists”). The first tent I passed by, I got called up and the people sitting inside said, please please take our picture. I said… OK… I wasn’t sure what else to say. I mean, when someone says take my picture I presume they want me to actually send it to them (??). But no, these people just wanted to have their pics taken. So I took their pics. A funny incident, among many: One (bearded, if it matters) guy from a group whose picture I was asked to take, kept asking me questions. How old are you? What’s your name? (I didn’t tell him of course), and then concluded, “I hope you will find a good husband”….. ok… But to get them excited, I said, when they asked me who I was with (one of the guys said: “I feel you are with Siniora”…), “I’m with HezbAllah”. A chorus of loud (very loud) cheers went up as soon as I said that.

Moving on, another group asked me to take their picture. We had a little chat, then off to the “communist” section. These people had taken up the area under the bridge and had put up flags and pictures of Che Guevara. I wonder, do they actually know what Marxism and communism stand for? I did not ask them, I was just not in that frame of mind to initiate such a discussion. Then there was a huge commotion, and I went to check out what it was. It turned out that they were school kids (aged around 12-13) on a “school trip”, chanting “Abu Hadi” (Hadi is Hassan Nasrallah’s son who was martyred, and Abu Hadi means Father of Hadi) and slogans against Siniora.

I didn’t mention all the parties that had set up tents. For example, the Karameh picnickers were still sound asleep (???). One of the tents had an interesting sentence spray-painted on it: “el-karameh aghla men el-mel” (Dignity is more expensive than money).

Overall, FPM had the biggest presence there, along with HezbAllah. I got the impression that these people are here to stay for as long as it takes.

Off to drink some tea.


29 responses to “Why we love Fatfat

  1. No wonder they’re planning to stay there for a long time, they have nothing else to do. And they don’t care for the econo;y, since they’ve never contributed to it anyway. They don’t care about the business in the city center, since none of them are owners of any of these businesses.

    All these groups that despise each other, but are somehow united for one common goal, is a huge joke. If they reach their goal (which I am willing to bet, none of the happy people in downtown can agree what that goal actually is), they will be back insulting and cursing one another in a few months. Amal will kill some Hezballah, Sleiman will insult Aoun, and go visit Damascus. Hezballah will stab Karameh in the back at the order of Iran and etc. etc.

    March 8th, March 14th, same load of feces, different names. But one is in flagrant violation of the Lebanese Constituion with its weapons, while the other has at least done its mea culpa on its past with Syria.

  2. No wonder they’re planning to stay there for a long time, they have nothing else to do
    Or maybe the “anti-Syrian” awham are more power-thirsty than the ones against whom they protested, and who eventually DID give in. I think that says a lot more about “March 14” than anyone else.

    You are right, they don’t care about the business in the city center, because none of them are owners of any of these businesses. Because they were taken over by Hariri.

    From what I saw, the friendship goes further than the “goal”, and this is very important (and this is what scares you) because it signals that there might be some shift towards non-violent expression of political disagreements. In fact, the people I met in front of almost all the tents were not all from one party, supporters of different parties were sitting together and discussing politics, not just the “goal” (which I can tell annoys you so much) but also about politics in general. You are afraid of the culture of tolerance because only in its absence can people like Fatfat reach such positions.

    Spare me the “March 8” “March 14” datism please. Done its mea culpa on its past with Syria? You mean with Alawite-ruled Syria. Why do I have the feeling that Syria will again be welcomed in Lebanon once the Sunnis are in power there? Or are you so brainwashed that you are incapable of seeing the bigger picture? I would say, yes. And your subscription to datism is a symptom of that. By the way, you talk about mea culpa, but I have not yet seen ANY of these figures come out and say that they were agents of Syria for 15 years. At any rate, we await the mea culpa on Israel.

  3. Anarchorev – I am afraid you are mistaken on the whole line. But only time will tell I guess.

    I invite to look at the tayyar forum to see how confident they are about this disusting temporary alliance with the stenchiest of feces.

    You say, you haven’t seen any of these people come out and do their mea culpa. That confirms what I suspected when I saw your comment. You’re not following events in Lebanon, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just a sheep answering your leader’s call.

    You’re just like all the March 8th and March 14th leaders. They tell you what to do, and you run like a dog. You’re not capable of thinking on your own.

  4. “Majority” if you have a point to make, do so without personal insults. It would greatly add to your otherwise non-existent credibility.

    You accused me of being a sheep, may I ask you who my leader is? Since you seem to know more about me than I do.

    I would like to see you point to the admission of guilt in COLLABORATION with Syria for 15 years. One of your favourite leaders would suffice. I leave the choice up to you.

    With all due respect, neither online forums nor blogs are representative of public opinion (including partisan opinion), especially so in Lebanon, where the internet is not as readily accessible, nor computer knowledge as widespread as it is in other countries. If we are to following your line of thinking we would conclude that 99.9% of the Lebanese support Hariri. Sorry to disappoint, but if your argument is based on such “proofs” then you might want to jump off the balcony (when your leader says so).

  5. mr. or ms. majority (whatever that means)
    if i were in lebanon i wouldv’e gone to these protests and i’m not going to elaborate to you why since i don’t feel like discussing anything rationally with a self-righteous person like you. but keep your prejudiced judgements such as “No wonder they’re planning to stay there for a long time, they have nothing else to do” and “They tell you what to do, and you run like a dog. You’re not capable of thinking on your own” about people you don’t know, to your humble self. my 60 year old mother who thinks as she pleases and no one has ever told her what to do and who has many other things to do since she is a teacher, has been going to the protests everyday, that’s just one example that proves you very wrong. you seem too frustrated that you can’t sip your coffee at cafe najjar or paul on the nice cobbled streets, but hey, many of those protesters can’t afford that coffee and yes, that’s one reason why they don’t give a shit and they’re so damn right not to…

  6. long live Gebran Tueni

    Anarchorev – Personal insults? There are none my friend. The truth hurts and may be interpreted as an insult by you and only you.

    One person that made his mea culpa, which was widely covered by medias i s Walid Joumblatt. But let me guess, you’re going to come up with some lame excuse how he always does mea culpas in different situations.

    Apricot – Want a cookie? Respect to your 60 year old mother. Although I can’t understand how she can stand the stench emanating from that dump. The least these people can do is respect the space they are hijacking, and respect the property of other people.

    Have you been there yourself? Have you seen how people are defecating and urinating in the middle of the streets, how garbage is piling up? It is absolutely disgusting.

    As for my prefudiced statements, it is not because you disagree with them that they become prejudiced. I hate to disappoint you hon, but not everyone thinks like you, and as a matter of fact you arein the minority, despite your claims that you are the majority. These people indeed have nothing else to do. They have been raised to believe that they will be fed, clothed taught and find employment at the heart of the extremist enterprise that is Hezballah. Some (not all, so don’t accuse me of generalising) are getting 25 USD per day for their presence in downtown. That’s more then 90% of these people make.

    As for the second statement, at the clap of his hands, all of Nasrallah’s followers go down to the streets. That is not loyalty hon. That’s a herd of sheep. That’s being beyond brainwashed.

    And guess what. yes I want to sip my coffee in the cafes of downtown. And guess what, that’s what makes the world go round. Not the hijacking of a whole country, because a minority wants to make sure an international tribunal doesn’t see the day of light, or the old incapable army general who dreams of acceding to Baabda.

  7. “Ya Fatfat Ya Abaday, Wahad Ahwe Wahad Shay”
    Of all the slogans, almost everyone is repeating this one more than the others. I wonder why…

  8. i like to sip my coffee downtown as well and there’s nothing wrong with that. but that’s not what makes the world go round and something is very wrong if that’s what you think when there’s so much in this world that has to be fixed. starting from compensating the coffee-growers fairly, but that’s a different story and one you wouldn’t be interested in – excuse me but i can tell that from the language you use, you’re a very typical racist bourgeois who show who they are in the words they use and who do not interest me. i have nothing to tell you nor do i wish to read what you have to say so i’m outta here.

  9. RC – we love our tea-servers, that’s why. 😀

    Al waylu li-ummatin taskubul shaya lil 3aduwwi. Gibran forgot that one. 😉

  10. I got to say, that apricot can parse a racist from those comments is pretty interesting. The racist moniker has got to be one of the US’s biggest exports these days. Which races is he racist against. What are the various races gathered in Lebanon? I see that word tossed around a lot here. How do you all actually mean it?


  11. Actually I would’ve said the same, although I think he/she is more of an elitist and classist than racist, but still, there seems to be a hint of racism and bigotry in what he says…

  12. “Why do I have the feeling that Syria will again be welcomed in Lebanon once the Sunnis are in power there?”
    I will go along with you and consider this statement to be correct.
    Then are you for or against Syrian return to Lebanon. If you are for, then to hell with you, otherwise if you’re against, then you are doing a great job keeping the syrians at bay by sidelining with the people that want them back today.

    About the whole Fatfat slogan, well you’re completely right. Fatfat should have let all those officers be slaughtered in a war the Lebanese state had nothing to do with, but was started by aa madman working according to an Iranian agenda. You want to hold Fatfat responsible for the war with complete disregard to the role Hezballah played. Amazing how easily you let yourself be fooled just to satisfy your political stances.

    Yalla happy camping.

  13. Tired,
    here’ s a line by the person i called a racist bourgeois:
    “I invite to look at the tayyar forum to see how confident they are about this dis(g)usting temporary alliance with the stenchiest of feces.”
    maybe it’s just a figure of speech, but i think it’s a telling one…

  14. Traffic – frankly, I don’t see the need to explain my position on Syria; but I can say that it differs radically from either camp (if they can be divided into two camps that is..). To be even more honest and very blunt, your paranoia and racism are pretty disgusting. I do not view Syrian nationalism and/or interests any differently than I view Lebanese nationalism and/or interests. This is why nationalism should be abolished once and for all. Unfortunately HezbAllah is being pressured to Lebanonize itself, and has been doing so lately, and I am not sure if I like it. And if you don’t like it that I don’t like it, then to hell with YOU. But just out of curiosity, on what bases do you say that the people who are staging the sit-ins/sleep-ins want Syria to return?

    Oh, so Fatfat is the lifesaver. I see. And these “security” forces were there to do what? Suppose some Palestinian factions outside the camps threw a rocket from Lebanon, and Israel reacted in the same manner as it did in the summer, would you support the same actions on the part of Fatfat and his tough “security” forces? You don’t seem to have learned anything from the 1960s. But I’m not sure that you know your history (because talking about it is a taboo in this country, because dialogue is strictly unwanted by your heroes), so you might be excused. And your idea of neutrality = serving tea? I am sorry, but working according to Iranian agenda? I guess you have access to top secret HezbAllah communications/telegrams to/from Iran. And I guess Iranian agenda stinks more than the Saudi Arabian one. Or the American one (but I repeat myself).

    My political stances? And what might those be? Please enlighten me.

  15. I still see “racism” thrown around – now in regard Syria?? maybe. I hate to be a pedant, but the co-opting of the term seems to render it somewhat meaningless. What are the “races” involved?

    How excatly are you guys using the word? (This is not to say there isn’t clear prejudice in many of the comments here – I’m just interested how racism seems to be so much a part of the debate – is it used in terms of sectarian prejudice or national or arab/non-arab or is it a catch all? I

    Just trying to figure out if there is a context for it I am missing.

  16. Using generalizations about a group of people based on national/ethnic characteristics is racist. Indeed when you talk about “Syrians” when you really want to refer to the Ba’ath regime and its policies vis-a-vis Lebanon you have – knowingly or not – internalized the racist, stereotyping discourse. Painting people as a monolithic bloc, a faceless mass, is a strategy used by many to justify oppression, bigotry, and … mass-murder.

    “The Syrians” seems to be the standard word used to refer to the Ba’ath regime. In fact, this has been used to justify the brutalization and murder of Syrian labourers in Lebanon. Such a discourse is not used even in reference to Israelis and the IDF. But when it comes to the Syrian army… it’s “Syria”.

  17. Tired,
    i think calling a certain group of people ( in the case i mentioned above, that group of people were the shiites of lebanon) “the stenchiest of feces” is racist. you can call it whatever you want.

  18. Ok, if using generalizations based on national/ethnic characteristics is racist, then we are all guilty here, as is all of the world’s press and all of it’s writers. That’s a very broad definition.

    Generally, even in the broadest definitions I have seen, there is at least the implication of perjorative. Anyway, off topic. It seems you all are using racist to suggest any sort of generalizing about one group whether by nationality “Syrian” or “Israeli” (it is the height of absurdity to suggest Israelis is not used in the same way) or along ethnic or even religious “fault lines.” Got it. I was wondering if it were more nuanced somehow – but it seems not to be. There has been a lot of discussion in the States and Canada about “racism” and what it does or does not mean. (Spike Lee’s famous assertion, for instance, that African-Americans cannot be racist against Asians, Hispanics or other Anglos because they do not hold societal power). I wondered if the question of racism get that kind of play in Lebanese society but it seems to be more of a catch-all word. (which it is quickly becoming/has become in the States.) In Europe “racism” is mostly used in reference to “anti-immigrant” issues, while in the States, because most people are immigrants and because Blacks have been part of society for so long, racism and anti-immigrant issuesse seem to diverge more often (but not completely, obviously.)

  19. Uh, not really. Not everyone is guilty of it. What I am talking about is not generalizations that have to do with placing people in groups based on language, religion, etc., but with actually using these specifically to paint groups in a bad light. Remember that there is a big difference between ethnic/religious/etc background and citizenship, and attacks based on the former are, yes, racist and/or bigoted. However, criticisms of the country, namely the regime (or successive regimes), the army, etc. are legitimate.

    It is not absurd to say the term “Israelis” is not used in the same way. In fact, whereas Israeli refers to one’s citizenship (so you have “Israeli-Arabs” too), no one refers to them as “Jews” when talking about the conflict. If they do, they are racist (the sub-term would be, anti-Semitic, though I don’t like to use special terms for any groups, because all racism is racism , and none deserves a special term compared to others… whether that’s standard use is another thing, and I do take issue with that).

    The Lebanese, are, as a rule of thumb, very racist. There are exceptions, yes. And there are differences, IN MY OPINION, between sects, in racist perceptions of others. I am not talking about perceptions of Lebanese of other sects, but perceptions of foreigners that are neither American nor European. In particular, people from Africa and Asia. Most Lebanese cannot comprehend that there can be Sri Lankan or Indian professors (!!!) or or or…. no need to bring up the rest. You get the point. So no, it’s not just a word being thrown around, it’s a real problem in Lebanon, and the problem stems from the people’s mentality which is shaped by some of their leaders.

  20. I’m confused. “Israeli” is not a racistist term (I agree with you there) but “Syrian” is? (And, of course, plenty of people use Jew in talking about the conflict.) I think the term “racists” has become so widley used as to be rendered somewhat meaningless, or to at least be applied to such a wide range of actions now as to be not very helpful (a bit like “white” or “islamofacist” or “zionist” – loaded terms that have such wide and divergent meanings to whomever is using them as to render them fairly useless in dialogue.

  21. There are rumors that Geagea is behind the killing of Minister Gemayel. Now that’s going to be an interesting twist when this comes to light. your thoughts

  22. What was Hezbullah’s position when the Syrian troops were in Lebanon? It’s something I don’t see mentioned much, but there seems to be a certain disconnect in Hezbullah’s portrayal as themselves being the only ones able to protect Lebanon, yet it seems they did nothing while the Syrians were there. I suppose it is like the prisoner question. Israel has Lebanese prisoners so Hizbullah attacks them, but Syria has Lebanese prisoners so Lebanon should have better relations with them.

  23. Tired, I did not say “Syrian” is a racist term. I said that the way it is used, it is (or, at the very least, if not racist, then stereotyping). “Syrian” is both a nationality and an ethnicity. “Israeli” is not. Israeli refers to citizenship, it does not refer to ethnicity, at least not in the modern sense of the word. So when you say “The Syrians have a murderous record in Lebanon”, it can be understood both ways, and indeed the racist/bigoted meaning of it has been used by leaders to incite the masses against anything and everything “Syrian”, including Syrian labourers. But when you say “The Israelis have a murderous record in Lebanon” you are NOT, I repeat, NOT referring to a race, nor a religious group, you are referring to a bunch of people who happen to have Israeli citizenship (including Arabs – if you will recall one of the captured soldiers in 2000 was a Druze, and one of the initial 8 who were killed in the operation in 2006, was also Druze) and at the very max, to believe in a certain ideology, but the reference is not to that ideology when you say “Israelis” (it is, when you say “the zionists”), the reference is to certain facts on the ground, that there is a group that calls itself Israelis, and that group has varying ethnic, racial, national, and religious characteristics. The same could not really be said for the usage of the term “Syrian” (although there may be different sects in Syria – Alawite, Sunni, Druze, etc. – the Syrians are still one ethnic group with a commmon background). Anyway I already stated that even in reference to Israel, the term “Israeli” is rarely used to refer to “the Israelis have killed 1200 civilians”.

    Actually Syria’s presence in Lebanon was not to HezbAllah’s benefit. Syria always played the role of balancing out forces in Lebanon, and whenever HezbAllah grew in strength and popularity too much, Syria tried to strengthen AMAL as a counter-balance. In the late 80s there were clashes between Amal & HezbAllah, and Syria was supportive of Amal, providing arms to them (in some cases even participating in the battle alongside Amal). In the end HezbAllah did succeed in lessening Amal’s reach; it did gain control over the southern suburbs of Beirut and significant areas in the south. In the early 90s, 93-94, a number of HezbAllah supporters were killed by the army on orders from the Ba’ath military leadership in Lebanon. Syria also tried to have a tight control over HezbAllah’s weapons and storage facilities and locations. So the relationship was not as great as people want to market it as. Add to the fact that all that while HezbAllah was fighting Israel and the SLA, and its attitudes vis-a-vis Syria cannot be compared to its attitudes now. Today, its attitude differs significantly. HezbAllah does not want to go out of the way and bash Syria like the “March 14” are doing (keep in mind that not even Aoun is doing that, even though he was the real “anti-Syrian” figure when all the rest were actively pro-Syrian, UNLIKE HezbAllah). It has thanked Syria for the support it has lent in liberating the south, which some peopl want to portray it as thanking Syria for its occupation and calling upon it to stay in Lebanon, which is NOT true. HezbAllah would be the LAST to want Syria back, although if you think about it, Israel would DEFINITELY not have been able to wage a war in the summer if Syria had been in Lebanon. Which makes one wonder…

    Your comparison and insistence on the comparison between Israel holding prisoners and Syria holding prisoners, is quite frankly, disgusting. At any rate, I already answered that question, go back and READ what I said. If you want, I can tell HezbAllah to kidnap Syrian soldiers, but when Syria does the same as Israel did in the summer, will you accuse HezbAllah of bringing Syrian occupation upon Lebanon? I surely hope so, for the sake of your credibility.

  24. hehehe. how you got to accusing me that i am a racist from my comment is more showing of your intolerance and prejudices than mine. If the idea that all people who are against the role Syria has played in Lebanon and is trying so strongly to regain are racists, than i’m proud to be the biggest one of the bunch.

  25. The same could not really be said for the usage of the term “Syrian” (although there may be different sects in Syria – Alawite, Sunni, Druze, etc. – the Syrians are still one ethnic group with a commmon background).

    Pure sophistry. Anyway, you forgot about the Kurds.

  26. If Hezbullah kindnapped (and killed, don’t forget that tidbit) Syrian soliders on their own – and sent a few rockets into Syria now and again – and insisted on the return of a prisoner who went into Syria and bahsed a baby to death in front of the kid’s father before killing, oh yes, I wI would say they provoked an ivasion. It’s fairly obvious.

    Now, if Hizuballah did that to Syria, think they would stop at Bekka and then retreat?

    Oh yea, Siniora commited the “crime” of confiscating weapons that were bound from Syria for Hizbuallah. The never.

    And “frankly” your insistance that my comments are “disgusting” is petulantly pedantic, and I don’t really think it suits you.

  27. Tired will love this: 🙂


  28. Yeah, friggin’ hysterical, really. Although the point is not Kuntar, despite him actually fitting a word like disgusting. The real point is that Hizbullah has turned down a 400 person prisoner swap because Kuntar was not included. And every time they kidnap or kill an Israeli Kuntar heads their list, despite, as the host of this blog pointed out, the fact that his crimes predate Hizbullah’s creation. So the question I ask is: does Hizbullah really care about Shaba’a and the Lebanese prisoners or is finding a pretext for a confrontation?

    If Kuntar did what he is accussed of and reportedly confessed to, he is an extraordinarily bloodthirsty and sadistic man. Why leave 400 Lebanese languishing in jail over a man who would bash the head of a toddler on the rocks with a rifle butt, murdering her, in front of the child’s father. Israeli, Lebanese, Canadian or Chinese: it doesn’t matter. That is an awful, sadistic, muderous act.

    If Hizbullah wants to fight a war with Israel, that is their “right” I suppose, but does Lebanon really wish to be dragged into continuing battle over this man? Is that Hizbullah’s “mandate?” Maybe. Maybe Kuntar is loved and revered throughout Lebanon. If so, then “disgusting” can actually be used with accuracy.

  29. i think people in this protest should add one more demand for the us – packed gov. is to establish a international investigation about the stolen money of the lebanese public gov since 1992 to now days gov. and all what raffic hariri had done to original beirut owners, should we retrieve our money from the gulf packed ex-prime minister dead rafic hariri or not !?!?, its all a public money where now his family enjoy it.

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