Worried Lebanese

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Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Pretending to be Jewish turns consensual sex into rape

Posted by worriedlebanese on 23/07/2010

Another “sophisticated and smooth-tongued” criminal

The first article I read today was about the Roman Polanski case, the second one was about an Israeli case of “rape by deception”:  Jurists say Arab’s rape conviction sets dangerous precedent, by Tomer Zarchin (Haaretz, July 23). So withstanding the heated debate surrounding Nasrallah’s declarations and the ICJ’s advisory opinion on the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, I will be commenting on this extraordinary Israeli case.

Here are the facts: Sabbar Kashur (30 y/o) had consensual sex with a woman after he posed as a Jewish bachelor interested in a long-term relationship. When the woman found Kashur was not Jewish but Arab, she filed a police complaint that led to charges of rape and indecent assault. Sabbar Kashur has been under house arrest for two years and was just condemned by the District Court of Jerusalem for “rape by deception”.

Now let’s look into the legal arguments. Judge Zvi Segal justified his verdict by stating that “the court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price — the sanctity of their bodies and souls”. He based his decision on the High Court of Justice’s precedent in the Zvi Sleiman case that established “rape by deception” in which a “person does not tell the truth regarding critical matters to a reasonable woman, and as a result of misrepresentation she has sexual relations with him”.

The legal category of “rape by deception” or “rape by fraud” appeared in common law countries in a bid to protect the weak and “moralise” the interaction between two adults leading to a sexual relation. In most cases, the “perpetrator” misleads the “victim” into believing that the sexual relationship will procure benefits (medical healing in a welsh case, insurance benefits in an Israeli case…). Gideon Levy is quoted as saying that this judgement would have been quite different had the “perpetrator” been Jewish and the “victim” Muslim. I’m not sure that is true, and I don’t believe that the problem lies there. It’s more about the legitimacy of the claim. Should the court support and defend as “public interest” all considerations considered as crucial by the victim, in this case sectarian considerations?


Posted in Intercommunal affairs, Israel, Justice | 6 Comments »

A debate on how to manage a virtual network

Posted by worriedlebanese on 29/03/2010

I tried to access Palestinian Mothers a couple of minutes ago but couldn’t do it. The site’s introductory page announced that “this Ning network has ben taken offline by its owner”. It was a bit surprised by this announcement even though things haven’t been going very smoothly on that network. Its owner and main animator Iqbal Tamimi had informed all members that she will be terminating a certain number of accounts. And soon later she started implementing her new policy. I voiced my objection to such proceedings and a rather animated debated was launched surrounding Iqbal Tamimi’s policy and my complaint.
Oddly enough, Iqbal Tamimi had problems publishing some articles two weeks ago (on her own network) and today the network was shut down, for reasons I don’t know. I though the debate that my comment launched was rather interesting, so I will publish it here (the discussion is found in the first comment).

Blogging under Damocles’ sword
Posted by JC|WorriedLebanese on March 16, 2010 at 10:40pm

As I write this entry, I cannot help but think of the sword of Damocles that hangs over my head. Like all members of this network, I’ve received of late two emails from the creator and animator of Palestinian Mothers threatening the following categories of members of expulsion:

  • Anonymous members (people who do not share a “real name” and “personal picture”);
  • Old members with false identities (because they cause the creator and animator of Palestinian Mothers a great distress);
  • Passive members who do not participate (because they do not take the Palestinian cause seriously) ;
  • Peepers (a sub-category of passive members who are busy with other stuff but who indulge in their voyeuristic urges from time to time);
  • Spies (people who are here to eavesdrop on other members’ activities).

I have a problem with this type of “spring cleaning” or screening, and not only because I’m very likely to fall victim to it. I believe the logic behind it is flawed. Doesn’t everyone find this compartmentalisation impoverishing? What is great about the internet is that if offers us the opportunity to hear voices that we are not likely to hear in our every day life. It allows us to interact, argue, learn, teach, inform, question our certainties. I’m not sure all this is possible in a network of totally “like-minded” people. The reason I came to Palestinian Mothers in the first place was precisely because it offered a different voice that was no longer heard on MEpeace after several members were either excluded or driven out because their views were different. And I followed them here so as not to loose their voice.

Posted in Blogosphere, Check them Out, Culture, Intercommunal affairs, Israel, Justice, Memory, Middle East, Palestinians, Peace, Personal, Pluralism, Political behaviour | 1 Comment »

The third Ibrahim Kanaan affair

Posted by worriedlebanese on 16/06/2009

Ibrahim KanaanAs a Lebanese citizen, and a Metn voter, I’m particularly interested in knowing a bit more about three affairs that involved my constituency’s MP this year  :

    • The arson attack on his house (Ibrahim Kannan’s family home was set ablaze. His foes accused him of staging the fire)
    • The shooting in Mansourieh (He claims that his convoy was shot at & shot back, while his foes claim that he wasn’t attacked and simply shot at another car).
    • The accusation of corruption (or to be more accurate failing to honour promises of bribery). Ibrahim Kanaan considers this accusation to be fabricated.

I tried to search the internet for more information, but all I found was accusations and counter-accusations. “Proofs” being broadcasted on television and then on youtube… After two hours of searching, I can safely say that I found no court judgement (even though they are all criminal acts), no police report… nothing. What I found were FPM partisans refuting accusations in anyway possible, and FPM foes claiming the opposite. None were really convincing and nowhere was an independent report to be found. Conviction follows ones political preferences…

Posted in Conspiracy, Journalism, Justice, Lebanon, Politics, Prejudice | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Out of court… on-air “settlements”

Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/06/2009

al-fassadI received two emails with the same content: an extract of a TV show in which MP Ibrahim Kanaan (Free Patriotic Movement, Metn) answers accusation of corruption and vote buying by screaming at the show’s anchorwoman, Ghada Eid.

When I first watched the show, I was appalled by Ibrahim Kanaan’s reaction. The first few words he uses are quite revealing about the way he perceived this episode of al-Fasad. He called it “a political assassination”. And after saying that, he started yelling, scolding the anchorwoman, denigrating her work, insinuating things, accusing her of corruption and threatening her with a lawsuit for libel (something NTV is rather used to). She on the other hand insinuates that Ibrahim Kanaan’s party is corrupt and doesn’t hold its promises, she starts yelling as well, saying that her voice will always be higher than the others” and threatens him with a lawsuit for insults.

Now here is the interesting part of the story, Ibrahim Kanaan isn’t accused of actually bribing people, but of promising to bribe people and not honouring his promise. How can you prove that? And how can you prove that wrong?

This being said, Ibrahim Kanaan’s on-air reaction is shocking, and I wanted to know more about this incident, so I tried to search the internet for more info. What I found were two OTV news extracts. Now OTV is operated by the Free Patriotic Movement. One can hardly expect it to be neutral on that matter. So here is how the anchor answered the accusation: he showed two men apologising for their brother, Nabil Fala’s conduct (that of falsely accusing Ibrahim Kanaan of failing to honour his promise of bribery). The anchorman also showed an interview of Kanaan in which the latter didn’t apologise for his language and tone on Ghada Eid’s show, and instead talked about the accusers criminal records… These criminal records were later shown on air! A TV show answers another TV show’s circus with another circus (that of denigration and publication of criminal records… doesn’t that infringe Nabil Fala’s rights?).

So it’s not only about Lebanese politics being at their worst, but Lebanese journalism too.


OTV followed this news broadcast with another one on June 17th. Here, the television questions and answers another witness’ allegations by showing that part of another TV’s investigation was actually fabricated.

Posted in Conspiracy, Discourse, Journalism, Justice, Lebanon, Political behaviour, Politics, Violence | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Remembering Nahr el Bared

Posted by worriedlebanese on 20/05/2009

bombThis most will probably strike my countrymen as being anti-patriotic. Under Lebanese law, such posting is considered illegal because it sullies the image of Lebanon and the Lebanese armies. Two accusations that are considered to “prejudice national security interests”.

Rubbish if you tell me.

Two years to day, violence erupted in Nahr el-Bared Camp between the Lebanese army and Fateh el-Islam. The battle raged for 15 weeks, scattering the camp’s residents (around 30 000) claiming the life of hundreds, levelling the camp’s center (the “old camp”).  most of the campIt took the army  more than three months to vanquish Fateh el-Islam. The battles had a devastating effect on the camp and its population. Its center (“the old camp”).

1192897162As expected, no investigation was carried to determine the responsibility in letting Fateh el-Islam arm itself within the camp (didn’t the army intelligence know about it? why didn’t it prevent it? why didn’t it inform the government? why didn’t the Ministry of Defence react?). And no investigation was done surrounding the actions of the army during the battle. Sure Fateh el-Islam was ruthless, but does that justify or excuse the exactions carried out by some soliders (summery execution, insults, humiliation, looting…). Certainly not. I ran across a very disturbing site on the internet. It’s accusations might be groundless, but then maybe not. I would have liked to have a thorough investigation with the rights given to the victims to press charges against the army or soldiers.

In the fight against armed islamists, taking a moral stand is not only a moral necessity for those who are waging the battle, but it is a condition for its ultimate success.

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Palestinians, Security, Values, Violence | Leave a Comment »

Someone please tell Siniora that charity starts at home

Posted by worriedlebanese on 09/03/2009

siniora-clinton-420-03309013049Siniora pledged 1m $ to Gaza last week. How considerate, how charitable, what a great signe of arab solidarity, right? nah.

What a PR stunt! What a typical arab face saving scheme!  What a pitiful action to obscure the fact that the Lebanese government did nothing when the battle was raging in Gaza. This kind of reaction is expected from the Gulf’ Petro-States. Petro-dollars are surely their best diplomatic and political asset.  But Lebanon is no petro-State, and the country doesn’t have a dollar to spare.

What it has is a relatively old diplomatic tradition, some very dynamic and imaginative diplomats (No, this comment is not intended for a regular reader), and quite a numerous Palestinian population born and raised in Lebanon. So why not start with that? Why wasn’t Lebanon more active in December and January? Why didn’t our diplomacy find a way to reconcile the two arab positions concerning Gaza? Why doesn’t the government find an imaginative solution to have a diplomatic representation in Palestine ? Why doesn’t Siniora use the million dollars he promised to Gaza to help out Lebanon’s Palestinian or to finance programmes (or a larger public institution) to advance the condition of this disenfranchised population and its relations with Lebanese nationals?

Instead of those necessary actions, all Siniora did was secure a photo-op with Ms Clinton.

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestinians, Values, Violence | Leave a Comment »

Bitter Lemon trees

Posted by worriedlebanese on 16/06/2008

If the title song doesn’t send U screaming out of the theater (luckily, my feet were aching), I’m sure U’ll find Eran Riklis last movie enjoyable and thought provoking (in a subtle way). Sure, the story has been told, but Riklis does it a bit differently. He doesn’t do the whole work for you. He offers all the elements – most of them we are familiar with – and it’s up to us to put them together. 

What he shows are two societies trapped in their mental systems: the Palestinians in their informal “intifada” mentality, the Israelis in their institutional “security obsessed” framework. Both societies speak different languages; and it’s not just about Hebrew versus Arabic, it goes deeper… it’s about institutional versus emotional, consumeristic versus economical survival, jewish-centric versus palestinian-centric…

This “linguistic” clash clearly comes across in the courtroom… the woman’s lawyer brings in a witness who tries to translate what he considers to be “key sentences” from Arabic to Hebrew. His language is poetic, he is appealing to the judge’s humanity. But the judge doesn’t hear him. She listens to the military lawyer’s arguments. They are factual, grounded in law, grounded in a law that allows the military complete powers on security matters, powers that even the Minister of the Interior doesn’t question. The Lemon tree are a security issue. But instead of uprooting the trees, as the military has decided, she decides it’s enough to trim them down to bonzaïs. 

This argument is similar to the one given by the Higher Court concerning the Wall. The Higher Court doesn’t question the opportunity of building a “security fence”/”separation wall” between the Palestinians from one side and the Israeli and Jewish settler population from another… It doesn’t try to balance short term “security” issues with humanitarian principles. It only tries to limit the “shocking” aspects of the israeli policy and its consequences. 

Posted in Communication, Intercommunal affairs, Israel, Justice, Palestinian territories, Palestinians | 2 Comments »

Third commemoration of St Hariri Day

Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/02/2008

800px-rafik_hariri_memorial_shrine.jpgThe French satyrical weekly, “Le Canard Enchaîné”, published an article proposing to move France’s national feast from July 14th (Bastille Day) to February 14th (St Valentine’s Day) because of the French president’s very publicised mariage and love affair. Ironically, the Lebanese government seems to have gone ahead with this plan, but obviously for other reasons.  The government decreed this February 14th a public holiday.The Lebanese government could have decreed that day one of national mourning, and marked the time of the assassination of the former Prime minister by a public speech. But even that would have been quite shocking in a country that has never marked an official holiday for its 200 thousand citizens butchered during the civil war, or the assassination of two Presidents (Bachir Gemayel and René Mouawad),  two Prime ministers (Ryad Solh, Rachid Karamé) and the heads of two of it largest Muslim communities (Musa al-Sadr, Hassan Khaled). So why should we commemorate that day in particular? To what purpose? And why decree the closing of banks, schools, universities and public administrations on February 14th? Is it to encourage and facilitate the organisation of a large public manifestation in downtown Beirut in which all the pro-government parties and figures were partaking in? This is quite obviously a kind of abuse of dominante position.  

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Political behaviour | Leave a Comment »

Good reason for confusion 2: Daniel behind bars

Posted by worriedlebanese on 29/09/2007

I discovered a couple of days ago that a person I knew was in jail. I learned it from the news, in a gradual manner, by putting one and one together. I had met that person three years ago and had kept in regular contact with him since, through email and telephone messages, seeing him once a year, first in Beirut and then in Paris.
I didn’t know his family name and wasn’t sure he had given me his real first name. I didn’t feel he was very truthful about his identity. But I didn’t find that important. I found him complexe and interesting, many times exasperating. He was obviously smart, but sometimes extremely futile. He was at the same time mature and purile, which was quite unsettling. And there was something about his coldness that was compelling; something in his heart/soul was broken, and I didn’t know what. There was something tragic in the way he played around, enacted his role/character.
I gradually discovered by piecing things together that Daniel Sharon, the Israeli guy imprisoned in Beirut was no other than the guy I knew.

Posted in Israel, Justice, Lebanon | Leave a Comment »

Security in the foreground… reframing an issue in Lebanon (1)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/06/2007

Since 2005, and in the midst of car explosions, political assassinations and terrorist attacks, security wasn’t seen as a seperate concern, an issue in itself. It was linked to another political issue: the ongoing fight against the Syrian regime (or for “Justice” as some people put it) and its remanants in Lebanon (what the pro-government forces called the “shared syro-lebanese security apparatus”).

The explosions and attacks were either seen as messages meant to convince the Lebanese that their sole protector was Syria, or as a punitive measure towards the political class for its pro-independence drive. The only way the pro-government politicians responded was by attacking the Syrian regime even more and accusing it of being responsible for all the terrorist acts that had taken place in Lebanon since February 2005. No serious inquiry followed these attacks. Neither the Minister of the interior nor the Minister of Justice made it a top priority concern. No regular accounts were given to the citizens about any progress in this issue. The finger was pointed at Syria, and the politicians thought that this was enough, and that everything will go back in order after the establishment of an Special International Court to prosecute Hariri’s muderers. So security was equated with the tribunal.
But now that the UN has decided to establish such a tribunal, and is in the process of doing so, it is quite clear that the establishment of the tribunal is no solution to the security threat. But then what is?

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Middle East, Political behaviour, Security, Violence | Leave a Comment »

Resolution 1757 or International law perceived as “fact on the ground”

Posted by worriedlebanese on 03/06/2007

One of the most surprising outcomes of resolution 1757 was that it was immediately perceived and present by the Lebanese political class as a fact on the ground. The government’s supporters hailed it as a victory, while most of the opposition forces described it as an imposed fact with negative consequences.

The Future Movement’s leader and Sunni Zaïm, Saad Hariri, started a series of symbolic acts, a prayer at his father’s tomb (while the government ordered the opening of the seaside road where his father was assassinated), fire works and a political declaration in which he said that a page was turned and a new one could be started, inviting the opposition to join the government again.  

He made it seem as if the hardships were over, and now that the international community had decided for the Lebanese on a matter they did not agree on, the differing parties could come together and govern hand in hand again.

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Political behaviour, Syria, Violence | Leave a Comment »

Is the international tribunal timely?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 07/01/2007

For some odd reason, there hasn’t been a debate in Lebanon over the timeliness of the international court that is to be set up to find the criminals behind Rafic Hariri’s assassination. No one questions the importance in principle of such a court. Justice is obviously of paramount importance. And such a trial might put an end to political assassinations by rogue regimes in the region, would  argue the overly optimistic.

But let’s be realistic, what exactly can be expected of this Court?
– It is an ad hoc structure that will disappear after it has judged those found responsible for the assassination of Rafic Hariri. This will certainly not prevent or have a dissuading effect over similar crimes, because the judicial reaction was slow and only came about after painstaking efforts that could have been avorted by many factors: internal political pressure in the country where the crime happened, diminushing interest in the international community, a political decision by one of the veto holding powers in the Security Coucil…
– If it does find the perpetrators of the assassination and those who ordered it, the court’s decision could very well be seen as a politial one regionaly. It is a foreign court, and everything foreign is usually seen with a lot of distrust by middle-easteners, population and analysts, who are staunch believers in conspiracy theories.
– It is quite likely that the assassination was ordered in Syria, by parties “close” to the regime. If this is the case, what will the political repercussion of such a judgement be? What is the international community likely do? What will be Syria’s reaction? What will Lebanon have to suffer because of that?
Why isn’t anyone discussing these eventualities publicly?

Posted in Justice, Lebanon, Middle East, Security, Syria, Violence | Leave a Comment »

The Raml el-Aali affair

Posted by worriedlebanese on 09/10/2006

Real drama, a very telling Lebanese story. Here are the main ingredients:

  • illegal constructions
  • Hezbollah dominated area
  • rule of law
  • police intervention
  • shootings
  • underaged victims

Will we ever know the real story behind it? Probably not. And this has nothing to do with conspiracy theories but the simple lack of professionalism of Journalists and Police investigators, lack of interest of the public in the truth behind the event (everyone is comfortably seated in his prejudices).

Posted in Civil Society, Conspiracy, Hezbollah, Journalism, Justice, Lebanon, Violence | Leave a Comment »