Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Archive for August, 2007

Sukkar Baneit (Caramel)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 30/08/2007

“At last a Lebanese flick that is watchable… and entertaining too!”, said my father when asked him if he had seen Nadine Labaky’ “Sukkar Baneit”. His remark seemed to me rather unfair. We have seen a great deal of “watchable” lebanese flicks these past years. “Falafel” was quite entertaining, “Perfect day” gave us food for thought and “Bosta” took us on a bollywood ride.

Posted in Culture, Lebanon | Leave a Comment »

The Spider’s web…

Posted by worriedlebanese on 26/08/2007

25082007007.jpgOr how Hezbollah is exhibiting last year’s war with Israel.
I visited Hezbollah’s exhibition yesterday in Beirut’s southern suburb. It was set up as part of the commemoration of the July war (or 33 day war). Interestingly enough, Hezbollah was the only political force that commemorated this war. The government and almost all the other parties remained silent (even those allied with Hezbollah).
The whole set up of the exhibition was impressive and amazingly professional. Hezbollah had converted and arranged a rather large plot of land where several buildings had once stood into a temporary museum that from the a distance could easily be mistaken for a sculpture garden. It seems that the buildings were destroyed by the Israeli army last summer. Hezbollah converted the rumbles and ruinds into a very modern museum with an interior and exhibition space, a conference room and a projection room.
I wonder what is more interesting, what they chose to exhibit or what they did not.
Let’s start with what was actually exhibited. You first enter into a discrete opening reminiscent of a tunnel used for warfare. There you are shown the space Hezbollah combatants lived and fought in during the war.
In a very well

Posted in Hezbollah, Israel, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Staging the Metn elections – 2

Posted by worriedlebanese on 25/08/2007

1.jpegUntil the very last week preceding the Metn by-elections, no one was sure if they were even to take place. Only two candidates were running and the party supporting one of them (Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, FPM) had announced it would withdraw his candidacy if it’s legal claim was heard. The FPM argued that the elections were not constitutional because the decree wasn’t constitutional because it hadn’t been signed by the President. They tried to cease the court
As it is usually the case in Lebanon, the real campaign started a week before the elections, and it was terrible. It couldn’t go lower, more trivial or personal.
On one side there was Amine Gemayel, a former president… backed by brigades of hysterical Christian politicians (all of those who lost against Michel Aoun’s candidates in the 2005 parliamentary elections, and a couple of those who won with very few Christian voices).
And on the other… Michel Aoun, even though he wasn’t running in these elections. Instead of backing his party’s candidate, Dr Camille Khoury, he totally eclipsed him, and transformed these elections into a dual between him and Gemayel.

There was no political debate to speak of. No platform, no program. The Lebanese media did a terrible job. For weeks they literally campaigned against the elections. Their offensive were spearheaded by the Maronite Patriarch who’s archaic-conservatism borders on the illiberal and the antidemocratic. Journalists insisted that the elections were unethical because the parliamentary seat rightly belonged to the father of the slain MP. Moreover, they argued, it was customary in Lebanon for a family member to replace an MP who died during the legislature; such bi-elections usually ran uncontested. Some politicians and journalists even added that contesting the elections, supporting the candidacy of any person against that of the person “chosen by the family of the diseased” or even voting for such a candidate, amounted to supporting the assassinations, and being an accomplice in them added the overzealous. For once, no one gave the “economical argument” stating that elections are expensive and actually too costly for the Lebanese State considering the state of the economy!

Posted in Democracy, Lebanon, Political behaviour, Politics, Violence | Leave a Comment »

Reclaiming my blog

Posted by worriedlebanese on 25/08/2007

During the past three months, I’ve been working day and night on a peace education workshop for a young Lebanese peace organisation that a group of friends founded last year. This has kept me away from the blog. In fact, I had little time to ponder on very worrying political stuff happening around me. Moreover, I felt that such intelectual speculation worthless. During these three months, my thoughts had to be action oriented; i had to set up, lay the ground and then carry out the project.
I will try to resume where I left off, even if it may seem as yesterday’s news.

Posted in Blogosphere, Personal | 2 Comments »