Sunday, October 30, 2011

Elections 2013 in Lebanon, last chance for reforms

PM Gen. Aoun said that the 2013 parliamentary elections in Lebanon are the last chance for reforms.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the more unequal a society, the more unhappy its members

in this TED talk by Richard Wilkinson, statistical proof that among rich countries, income inequality lead to greater mental health issues, violence, and other social problems. The solution? Reduce income difference between classes. Will Lebanon make good news of this information?

Monday, October 24, 2011

AFP report: US warns Lebanon... to not take sovereign decisions?!

Below is the position of the US regarding having Lebanon fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, as reported by AFP. Some in Lebanon see the STL as a politicized and unconstitutional court. It was supposed to investigate the murder of several eminent Lebanese victims but it reduced this list to one: Rafic Hariri. The STL was funded among others by the Saudi regime, who's agenda is to silence the minorities that oppose it, including the Shiite minorities in Bahrain, Lebanon and elsewhere. Using a sectarian label is regressive for some of us, but from the Saudi Regime's point of view, it's the norm. Hezbollah represent the ambition of a large fraction of rural shiites, to become citizens with equal rights. They have, for better or worse, taken matters in their own hands in the south of Lebanon and Beirut suburbs, built the infrastructure the government was denying them, and got help from illegal sources when they had to. Not exactly loyal to Lebanon, but ultimately a reaction caused by the extension of the Saudi cast system into Lebanon. Lebanon treated southern Lebanese as a bottom cast. Back to STL, it is funded in part by the Saudi regime who is intolerant of the minorities that oppose it. It's no surprise then that some see it as a tool to provoke a civil war in Lebanon. AFP misrepresented the facts by saying that Hariri's death almost plunged Lebanon into a civil war in 2008. It was foreign Saudi manipulation that attempted and failed to manipulate Lebanon into a civil war. This was described in the New Yorker's article The Redirection by Seymour Hersh (March 2007). He reported how a Saudi backed foreign mercenary group, Fatah el Islam, was smuggled into Lebanon and attempted to provoke Hezbollah. Hezbollah did not react and the Lebanese army apprehended these mercenaries. This is not Lebanon plunging into a civil war, this is the Saudi regime trying to fabricate one. The STL seems like another attempt to do the same. It operated in an unprofessional manner, overlooked witnesses that self-professed to be false, and conveniently framed the party that irks the Saudi king, with the murder of Hariri. The Saudi regime has pseudo-colonize most arabic countries, and propped banana republics in them until the Arabic spring challenged that status quo. Today Memorandum of understandings between political parties in Lebanon have made it difficult to control Lebanon through fabricated divides. AFP used a racist, or sectarian label to be exact by saying the "Christian leader and his patriotic party in Lebanon". He is a Lebanese leader who championed these memoranda of understanding. His party identifies with a principle, but AFP reduced it to a clan formed around an icon. It's in fact a pro-citizenry party that advocates equal rights to Lebanese of all backgrounds, and a functional country free of corruption. This is what the US is waving its finger at, and the STL seems like the excuse. Some Lebanese say that colonial time is over. The Lebanese, not the US, will decide what action Lebanon should be taking.

US warns Lebanon on Hariri tribunal funding

(AFP) – 8 hours ago

BEIRUT — The US ambassador to Lebanon on Monday warned of possible "serious consequences" if Lebanon fails to meet its obligations towards a UN-backed court investigating the murder of the country's ex-premier.

Ambassador Maura Connelly made the statement in a meeting with Christian leader Michel Aoun, whose Free Patriotic Movement is allied with the powerful militant group Hezbollah that has a key role in the Lebanese government.

"Ambassador Connelly told General Aoun that the US expects Lebanon to meet all of its international obligations, including Lebanon's obligation to cooperate with and fund the Special Tribunal for Lebanon," a statement issued by the embassy said.

"She expressed the United States' concern that a failure by Lebanon to meet its obligations to the tribunal could lead to serious consequences if Lebanon does not meet its international commitments," the statement added.

Hezbollah toppled the previous government headed by Saad Hariri over its refusal to cut ties with the tribunal, set up in the aftermath of the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, Rafiq Hariri.

The tribunal has indicted four Hezbollah operatives for the February 14, 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others in Beirut.

But the Shiite party and its allies, which dominate the new government, have dismissed the court as part of a US-Israeli conspiracy and have vowed to block any efforts by the Lebanese government to contribute its share to the tribunal's funding.

Beirut has yet to pay what it owes for the year 2011 and in 2010 transferred the funds without government approval.

Hariri's killing plunged Lebanon into a series of political crisis that brought the country close to civil war in 2008.
No notice, no mention in that report of the failed Saudi-west backed attempt to provoke a civil war in Lebanon in 2007. This attempt was lead by AlQaeda mercenaries, which were indicted on July 19th, 2007: Lebanon Indicts Dozens From 2007 Clashes : NPR.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

a Lego set for starting a civilaization!

I love it when PhD's go rogue! Here's a starter kit designed by Marcin Jakubowski to "transcend artificial scarcity". It's called the Global Village Construction, now seeking backers on Kickstarter. I hope to see this kit empower villages in Lebanon and throughout the middle east.

brutal bird hunting in Cyprus, Lebanon

1 million song birds killed in Cyprus. In Lebanon reports on LBC and MTV chanels encouraged this activity, revolting Lebanese environmentalists. I am waiting to find copies of these reports.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lebanese-American academic wins award

Dr. Joseph Aoun, PhD ’82, President of Northeastern University, receives the 2011 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science. He seems to have introduce the Lebanese "global villager" philosophy to Northwestern, he is "a highly respected voice on the value of global and experiential education, he has enhanced Northeastern's signature co-op program with opportunities around the world".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The side of syria we don't often hear about

Head of Syrian dictatorship Bachar Assad went against his family's will and married an educated woman from the opposite clan, the Sunnite one. Of course in this article, we hear here-say about his wife Asma al-Assad, but not her opinion directly.  Why is that? I wish she was on twitter, so we can tell what she really thinks, and if she has a positive influence on her country. There is no doubt that Syria can do better than a dictatorship, but what if some of the members of the current dictatorship agree?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Save Lebanon's heritage-fundraiser

An NGO campaigning to save Lebanese heritage is organizer its first fundraiser.

campaign for more humane jails in Lebanon

Soujoun is a campaign for more human jails in Lebanon. At their next outreach event, a Lebanese comedy troupe will help them convey the message!

an independent movie theatre in Lebanon

In Lebanon, it's more common to be an independent movie theatre like Metropolis. Two movies about turning a village around played there; "Where do we go now" by Labaki and "La source des femmes" by Mihaileanu.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

There is hope.. in ending littering and traffic jams

A Lebanese NGO found that campaigning to end littering is paying off.
Another group of organizations organized a bike protest to promote sustainable transportation.
Imagine if these organizations scored Lebanese political parties based on their responses to these causes, and if we could vote from abroad. We would use these scores to evaluate and pick candidates that would serve the causes shared by Lebanese NGO's and the diaspora.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

pharma accused of covering up data

Pseudo science takes over science, but not every supplement is bogus. More importantly, parmaceutical companies are not ethical in fully disclosing their research data, so how can we trust their trials?
In Lebanon, is the public safe from under-performing, imported pharmaceutics?

saving a Lion in Lebanon

Animals Lebanon uncovered an illegal trade of lions in Lebanon. They rescued this lion cub now relocated to South Africa.