Friday, July 23, 2010

who are the real extremists

Many Lebanese patriots compare sectarianism to bigotry, but it's unfortunately common practice to label people by their religion in the western media. In Lebanon however, extremists are not considered to represent their religion, but that being said I'll call extremists by their religion here, to match the international vocabulary.

You've repeatedly been warned about scary Hezbollah, but unfortunately
this just distracts every one form the real extremists. Sunnite
extremists are openly calling to eradicate the Lebanese nation to form
one pan-middle eastern muslim nation (daily star, previous post)

The opposition, including Hezbollah, opposes that and insists on a
religiously diverse nation. The US pretends not to know who the real
extremists are because those extremists will happily take in the
Palestinians that Israel wants to forbid from coming home.

The irony is this: Israel and the west are now covering for the sunnite extremists
who want to assimilate all of the middle east into Islam (by vilifying
shiite Hezbollah) just because they're willing to keep Palestinians
out of Palestine, and Israel is opposing the champion of religious
diversity, the Lebanese patriotic party (and the Hezbollah it's
influencing) who upholds the right of all cultures, including the
Jewish culture to exist in Lebanon and the rest of the middle east
once Lebanon has influenced its area. Israel has a strange way of setting itself up for assimilation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Re: "What’s going on in Lebanon’s Parliament this Summer?"

In response to What's going on in Lebanon's parliament this summer?

Any Lebanese person with a sense of justice supports the Palestinian cause, but there's a difference between us opposing the fact that Israel has gone "pilgrim" on palestinian natives, asking to reverse that, and us allowing sunnite extremistes to piggy back on the Palestinian cause in Lebanon to colonize our country. This isn't sectarian paranoia talking. I am a Lebanese patriot, and I accuse sunnite and christian separatists in Lebanon (who hardly represent sunnites or Christians) of equal bigotry. The colonial agenda of sunnite extremists and the colonial agenda of the russian settlers (a.k.a. Israel) are equally inacceptable. So would be an Iranian colonial agenda for that matter. This is the agenda that Seymour Hersh talked about in his New Yorker article "The Redirection", and which the Genera Michel Aoun warns about in his interview. This not to mention the economic burden that Lebanon cannot handle, if 400,000 more Palestinians could outcompete Lebanese people of their jobs. I migrated to Canada, after they careful established that I would benefit their society, do not outcompete their citizens, with my skills, and the rest of my family is still not allowed to join me. Why can much richer countries protect their resources and not Lebanon? The injustice inflicted on Palestinians falls on the international conscience, and more wealthy countries should compensate for this injustice instead of carrying the injustice over on Lebanese people, in the form of an economic burden.

The living conditions of Palestinian in Lebanon are unfair, but we need to fix them without absurdly replacing one injustice with another, this time one inflicted on Lebanese people.

and... speaking of extremist neo-colonialists piggy backing on the Palestinian cause, here are flagrant racists calling to eliminate the Lebanese nation and create one pan-middle eastern Islamic nation that assimilates all minorities and exterminates their culture. . For us to have a leg to stand when we protest Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, we cannot have middle eastern who want to eradicate all but one religion!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Which is our favorite super power? None!

Today on the amazingly instructive show, The Agenda (TVO), Steve Paikin addressed the issue of China's authoritarian capitalism.

From a Lebanese perspective, it's tricky whether to fear China or be relieved that the west no longer has sovereignty over the world. The west has two faces. One hand it is the source of principles such as professionalism, parity at work, fairness, reason preceding ego, anti-classism and social justice. These values make life worth living, and make us emigrate from countries that lack them, like China and many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The west also has another face: it regresses to the 18th century in its foreign policy: it still tries to divide and conquer natives in modern times. Civil wars, foreign manipulated, foreign-financed and foreign backed banana republics are the cruel tool used by the west to freeze many countries in the past. China is guilty of that as well, as it poured weapons and money into African countries, most likely to destabilize them.

So which do we prefer? We prefer to benefit from the positive value of the west but without having to watch it snap into pilgrim mode, in its foreign policy. We would like to see Asiatic countries gain speed in the world economy, but also Chinese spokespeople who focus less on smiling and more on not insulting the audience's intelligence when they describe their country to us, and if we're lucky, we'd like to hear from the remarkable Chinese activists that China's government's harasses. So ideally power would be shared among these equally flawed countries, so as to avoid anyone of them being a superpower, which has a standard damaging effect on us small countries, regardless of who the superpower is.

From Prison to Paradise: Extraordinary 2,000 Mile Journey of Hope for 55...

If the organization Animals Lebanon inspires me to do anything at all, it's to pass along news like this about animal rescues anywhere in the world.

Friday, July 16, 2010

don't be racist towards Lebanon

First I should mention that this post is a work in progress, so feel free to suggest how I can better support it, or make it clearer.

The abused abuses, the colonized berates. Colonization, by a series of empires, left scars in our culture that we're still recovering from. general Aoun did mention, that we discourage each other the way other foreign over bearing countries discourage us. While we were colonized, independent countries were free to discover their flaws and grow out of them, like Europe did two centuries ago regarding social justice. In the meanwhile, colonizers tried to develop self-doubt is us, and probably triggered excessive snobbism as a response. Just as free countries did before we were free, we are entitled to have flaws, correct them, and never be berated in the process.

I've heard Lebanese people debate who their favorite abuser is: the European colonizers or the Ottomans. I've seen some shameless praise to Ottoman heritage expressed in the Lebanese press today, as well as some berating of the Lebanese identity, on our own soil. Some claim Lebanon was never meant to be, while they wouldn't dare to face a Turkish or French or British person with the same claims about their countries. These 3 countries, like many others, were built on brutal take overs and arranged marriages over the centuries. The difference between their identity and that of Lebanon? According to the human right charts, none. All countries have a right to autonomy: a nation and its values are defined by its people. Racism and even self-hatred against Lebanon however makes some people believe that they are not obliged to respect Lebanon as they do other countries. All a group of people need to do, in order to have a real identity is decide it is so. An identity is simply a collective decision, not subject to the views of ex-colonizers, fans of ex-colonizers, or people who otherwise see Lebanon as a property to exploit.

Racism is also defined as judging the group based on the actions of some of its members. This judgement is sometime used as an excuse to dismiss Lebanon as a nation. Racism against Lebanon is when generalizations are made such as "Lebanese are shallow, women are focused on appearances, Lebanese are snobs, Lebanese are prejudices against other ethnicities, Lebanese are ignorant of environmental issues, Lebanese are sectarians, Lebanese women as well as men are oblivious to women's rights". Individuals in our country might have these issues, but that's not an excuse to psychologically beat down all Lebanese with racist remarks. The civilized response to these flaws is for the enlightened Lebanese to educate the rest of the population.

Racism even takes the form of "don't teach Lebanese people something new (such as being humane to animals), that would be implying you're better than them. This is quite a twisted form of respect towards Lebanon, to say that learning is an unnatural experience to us. That's a streak left behind by past colonizers, they discouraged learning as well, and dealt a serious blow to common sense as did colonization everywhere in the world. Teaching the Lebanese something new is how we give back to our country, after it has invested in educating us.

Self-hatred, a known side-effect of colonization, is when Lebanese are racists against their own. Regardless of whether you feel part of Lebanon or not, you have no right to morally abuse its people with racist comments, and claims that their identity is not a valid one. It is flagrant racism, and a neo-colonial attitude when people who do not dare to question any other country's identity question Lebanon's. We deserve respect for our identity, and the only acceptable reaction to the flaws of some of our fellow Lebanese is educating them, not berating. One day we might chose to expand our identity beyond Lebanon, but I think that will be after we have culturally invaded the middle east, and made it live up to our standards.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

an organized action alert center

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East have the following action alert center

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

give people control of their operating systems!

my issue with computers is how patronizing operating system are. I am not a programmer, but even I am bemused when Apple or Microsoft is always trying to make things "simple" for us "easily confused users". It's not the complicated aspect of operating systems and softwares that hold us back, it's how little flexibility we have in making them do what we want. Look at how the accessibility of scripting resulted in a myriad of iphone apps, and freeware. What would operating systems achieve if users were free to transform them?

Will an Arabic programmer end the middle east status as an observer of progress, rather than participant, and create an operating system that trusts the user?
Well some of the middle eastern societies still fear creativity and demand obedience from its members, so... I should say will the middle east first stop fearing creativity and independent thought, then be a home to software engineer who create an operating system where the intelligence of computer users is not insulted?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gibran Bassil, a Lebanese minister doing actual work!

Latest efforts of Lebanese energy minister to update the energy department:

Lebanon's ministry of energy promotes solar heaters through lottery

Gibran Bassil is a Lebanese energy minister who actually does his job! It's no wonder the international press is all over that

Lebanese blogs too, regarding Bassil 4-years plan to end power rationing, and him considering oil drilling off the Lebanese shore. Hopefully he'll keep on impressing us by consulting with Lebanese and international environmentalists on that issue. 

More recently, Bassil re-iterated what a genuine solution for power cuts (in the middle of a scorching summer). He at least did not play into quick fixes and other political ploys.

Dec 17, 2012: Bassil points out the $6 Billion yearly losses due to old power plant, which the government has resisted re-furbishing.

Dec 21, 2012: Bassil says all generator owners must be regulated

Jan 10, 2012: Bassil says tenders by private contractors were ethically evaluated, and the public treasury not pilfered. Electricity projects planned to start in March.

When Bassil makes a proposal, it needs to first be approved by the cabinet of ministers by majority vote, then by the parliament. After that the prime minister and president needs to approve the fund transfer from the ministry of finance held by Safadi. This last step is not happening, and that's what is defeating the plan of the ministry of energy.

Feb 6, 2012: Mikati still withholds funds and refuses to hold cabinet meetings

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the right to return

Both the FPM, led by the General Aoun, and Palestinian organizations in Lebanon insist on the Palestinian's right to return.
This right is described here.

While Palestinians remain in Lebanon, some need to learn that Lebanon is not a no-man's land.

Maybe the solution is to identify Palestinians (and Lebanese) by their religious diversity-IQ, not their nationality. In an ideal world, it's those with a high religious diversity IQ that would be called Lebanese, those who support secularism in politics, and equal rights and individual freedoms to all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

like an ex-colony, no more?

For the first time in Lebanon a political party defends every citizen's right to vote, not just those who vote for the party. The Lebanese FPM lead by the General Aoun also denounces the defeatist attitude in Lebanon, in society and the media in a speech addressed to FPM-backed mayors, municipal council members and mukhtars who won May’s municipal elections.

Defeatists attitudes are typical of ex-colonies, who can't quite shake off the psychological beat-down of their colonizers. So, is FPM making history by changing the character that Lebanon inherited from being a colony, and turning it to a real democratic country?

Here's what else the FPM is up against in Lebanon. In good old colonial style, the old ruling class (called "defenders of democracy" by Busch's regime, with no changes under Obama's) does not pay its electrical bills! Minister of Energy Gebran Bassil, appointed by FPM, made these politicians pay most of their bills but 600 million remain .