Worried Lebanese

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De l’usage de Facebook: retour sur une triple exclusion

Posted by worriedlebanese on 25/04/2011

no cracks on our cyber walls

Ces dernières semaines, trois “cyber-amis” m’ont exclu de leur page facebook. A vrai dire, je ne connaissais personnellement aucune des trois personnes, mais les motifs derrière leur exclusion me semblent intéressants et significatifs par rapport à certains usages de Facebook.

J’ai été d’abord exclu de la page de J.H. (un mois avant qu’elle ne disparaisse elle-même de Facebook), puis de celle de J-M K et enfin de la page d’A.C..

  • J.H. a décidé que j’étais un “ami de Hezbollah” en se basant sur le principe que “celui qui critique mes amis est automatiquement l’ami de mes ennemis… et donc mon ennemi”. Elle m’a donc exclu en m’envoyant un message expéditif du style “salemlé 3a tes amis du Hezbollah”.
  • J-M K., l’a fait après m’avoir courtoisement demandé – à travers un message personnel – de relever mon identité. En fait, il l’a fait une semaine de voyages successifs et rapprochés, et je n’avais pas eu le temps de lui répondre… A la fin de mon voyage, j’ai constaté qu’il m’avait exclu de sa page. Quelques semaines plus tard, j’ai découvert qu’il m’avait également exclu du “groupe de refléxion et d’action politique”, groupe auquel on m’avait invité et dont j’avais contribué à franciser le nom. Il a donc rejeté mon choix de l’anonymat (relatif) que j’ai suivi en m’inscrivant sur facebook pour ne pas verser dans l’étalage public du personnel. Je pense que l’anonymat est le seul moyen de “détourner” facebook de son usage premier et de l’utiliser comme une véritable plate-forme de discussion socio-politiques. Le motif de l’exclusion était clairement mon choix de l’anonymat. Et en quelque sorte, je le comprends puisque c’est une violation de “l’esprit” Facebook. Mais c’est justement la raison derrière mon choix! Mon pari était de m’effacer derrière des arguments pour que l’échange reste au niveau des idées.
  • Quant au Professeur A. C., il m’a rappelé à deux reprises que mes commentaires n’étaient pas les bienvenues sur sa page. J’avoue qu’ils avaient tendance à être sarcastique par rapport à certains positionnement politiques. Et pourtant je m’étais gardé de faire des réflexions personnelles (alors que de son côté, il ne s’en était pas privé sur le mur d’un ami commun). Certains de mes commentaires constatais la dynamique derrière quelques réactions que j’y lisais; la section commentaire avait tendance à se transformer en caisse à résonance, en espace de surenchère où les émotions explosaient (au dépens des arguments) et où l’on pouvait diagnostiquer un syndrome de la Tourette (à chaque fois que le nom de Michel Aoun était prononcé, ou celui du Hezbollah). M. C. m’a répété à deux reprises qu’il ne voulait pas que j’écrive des commentaires – en me disant en ces mots – que c’était son mur et par conséquent il était libre de décider de ce qui pouvait y être affiché. Face à cette sommation de me taire, non accompagnée d’une menace d’exclusion, j’avais compris qu’il fallait que je me contente d’une lecture… silencieuse! Mais j’ai découvert cette semaine qu’il avait changé sa politique, et a finalement décidé de m’exclure sans autre forme de procès… alors même que je m’étais abstenu de tout commentaire!

En fait, je ne me serais pas permis de parler de ces trois pages/profils facebook si leur usage principal n’était pas politique. Car en cela, ils rejoignent l’usage principal que j’en fais. En outre, MM J-M. K. et A. C. envisagent explicitement Facebook comme une Agora, un espace ouvert de discussion politique. Or est-ce que l’on peut toujours parler d’Agora, d’espace de discussion, lorsque le désaccord est rejeté et lorsqu’on s’érige en arbitre d’une discussion à laquelle on participe (ou qu’on initie)? Certes, un espace de délibération peut être perturbé par la présence de participants “masqués” (par l’anonymat). Toutefois, si l’anonymat pose un risque considérable, il ne constitue pas pour autant une présomption nécessaire d’abus. Il faudrait encore qu’il soit constaté. Or je ne pense pas en avoir abusé.

Comment alors expliquer ces exclusions? Est-ce que cela illustre que la discussion politique au Liban s’assume et s’affirme aujourd’hui comme fragmentée, et qu’elle cherche surtout à réconforter les lignes de fractures (au lieu de chercher à les dépasser)? Dans cette perspective, on cherche à barricader les murs de facebook afin de préserver “son” groupe en lui assurant sécurité et de réconfort…

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Posted in Blogosphere, Lebanon, Personal, Version Francophone | 4 Comments »

Third trial at reviving the blog

Posted by worriedlebanese on 05/03/2011

As you could have noticed, this Worried Lebanese hasn’t been publishing any posts for some time now. I had actually started writing a few during the past three  months, but never took the time to develop the ideas and actually publish them. I will be doing this in the coming days.

I will be publishing them on the day they were actually written:

– “Islamic extremism & Christian immigration from the ME” (December 27, 2010)
– “Le réveil douloureux des Quatorze Marsistes” (January 25, 2011)
– “Retour sur un réveil douloureux” (February 15, 2011)
– “The Missing Dialogue” (November 25, 2010)

& only then will I publish the three posts that I worked on this week.

Posted in Personal | Leave a Comment »

Irresistible, don’t you think?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 22/11/2010

This picture of Saudi Military men in camouflage suits made it on the first page of Monday’s Al-Akhbar newspaper. Priceless, don’t you think?

The uniform does seem biodegradable. If it’s proven to be, I believe it should be adopted by Greenpeace asap.

Posted in Personal, Security | 1 Comment »

Two conversations that kept me silent for over a month

Posted by worriedlebanese on 07/11/2010

I jumped head-on into two discussions with friends about a month ago that confirmed a strong feeling I’ve felt for some time now but never acted upon. I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with the way I argue my points. I don’t have any problems with my analysis per se. I believe that many of the points I make are valid, and that what I criticise is indeed criticisable. But I know I’m not doing it the right way. My approach is too cold, too analytical, and by criticising the other’s reasoning, I’m putting him/her in a defensive position in which things become personal. And I know that were I in their shoes, I’d be extremely agressive and quite bitter. What amazed me in these two conversations is the generosity and goodness that they showed towards me, withstanding what I had said and how I had said it…

Conversation 1

Que peuvent ils faire? Tuer? Ils tueront 1, 10 ou 100 hommes libres, et après? Le sort du Tribunal Spécial n’est pas entre nos mains. 02 October at 14:27

Quels hommes libres? Franchement, je n’en vois pas beaucoup au Liban. Je ne vois que des hommes et des femmes apathiques ou embrigadés derrière leurs certitudes. Le premier signe de la liberté est l’autocritique et non pas l’autocélébration. Il est plus facile de chercher une aiguille dans une botte de foin que de trouver une conversation rationnelle et raisonnée avec un quatorze marsiste sur le TSL ou avec un hezbollahiste sur la résistance.

Il n’y a rien d’héroïque dans la mort, ni même d’exceptionnel dans un pays qui célèbre annuellement des bouchers et dont les habitants se laissent conduire périodiquement vers l’abattoir.

Wissam Saade Meme si le TSL revet de la valeur d’un mythe fondateur pour le 14 mars comparable dans cette dimension au mythe fondateur de la Resistance, je crois pas que cette analogie pourrait transgresser facilement les limites separant ce qui est le symbolique et ce qui est factuel. Car justement, dans le cas ou la Resistance est impliquee dans l’affaire du TSL, le parallelisme possibilisant cette analogie est rompue. Et la c’est le Fait qui se substitue meme symboliquement au symbole.

Nous ne parlons plus de la même chose. Et à mon avis, dans toute discussion, il faut s’efforcer à rester clair avec son interlocuteur, et non pas à se perdre dans les subtilités (même délicieuses) de son propre raisonnement. Ma comparaison n’est pas entre le Quatorze Mars@ et la Résistance@, elle ne porte pas non plus sur le rapport qu’ont ces deux “mouvements” à leurs mythes (je pense d’ailleurs que la référence au mythe fondateur n’est dans ce cas ni pertinente ni utile) mais sur le rapport qu’ont les partisans/militants/embrigadés des deux bords à un objet présent et actuel qu’ils ont sacralisés… et de là sur l’effet de ce rapport sur leur discours. Toute discussion sur ce sujet ne fait que confirmer mon propos. 03 October at 10:56 ·

Wissam Saade hahahahaaaaaahaaaa 03 October at 11:59

Wissam Saade dans ce cas tout ce que vous disez libneni kalik n est que du blablablablablabla assez stupide 03 October at 12:08

Michel Hajji Georgiou Ya Jihad, ta pseudo “neutralite”, qui n’en est pas une, voire ton politiquement correct, sont ecoeurants. La plupart de tes anciens professeurs, notamment ceux qui ne sont plus la, t’auraient flanque pour le coup un “hors sujet” depuis bien longtemps… 03 October at 12:39

Wissam Saade aha.. Libneni kalik c’est le fameux Jihad? Wawww. 03 October at 13:35 ·

Lıbnéné Qaliq ‎@ Michel. Je n’ai jamais prétendu être neutre. Et je ne m’attends pas à ce que d’autres le soient. En revanche, je m’attends à ce que des gens que j’ai longtemps admiré et continue à admirer gardent une distance critique. Si le “sujet” est l’embrigadement, la bipolarisation, le travestissement des victimes en héros et des bourreaux en victimes, le rejet de toute responsabilité sur l’autre, le remplacement d’une lecture politique par une lecture géopolitique, alors oui, je fais du “hors sujet”, mais je préfère l’appeler recadrage. 03 October at 22:59 .

Michel Hajji Georgiou Je trouve cela parfaitement pretentieux, cher Jihad. Je pense que tu devrais recouvrer un peu d’humilite et cesser d’etiqueter les gens. Surtout ceux que tu “recadres” sur ton blog en fonction de categories d’analyse parfaitement martiennes (et tout a fait partiales, l’air de rien). Tu accuses les autres d’avoir sombre, cher ami, mais en fait, tu derives aussi, plus que les autres meme. Dommage. 03 October at 23:02

Lıbnéné Qaliq Peut-on étiqueter des gens qui avancent sous un étendard? Tu fais sans doute référence à un billet dont je suis peu fier, mais je pense y avoir en son temps explicité la démarche. je pense qu’elle est quelque peu liée à l’acte d’écriture. Mais bon, certains d’entre nous s’en sortent grâce à l’élégance de leur plume. Ce n’est malheureusement pas mon cas. Et t’es également en droit de me reprocher mon agressivité, ma tendance à la circularité dans le raisonnement et mes écrits plutôt brouillon. Mais tt ça reste loin de Mars, et surtout du parti pris. 04 October at 00:33

Michel Hajji Georgiou Mais tu as autant de parti pris que n’importe qui ya Jihad. Khalas ba’a. Si tu ne t’en rends pas compte, c’est que tu es atteint d’une cecite grave !! Arrete de donner des lecons et de juger les gens ! Tu peux exprimer l’opinion que tu veux, mais finis-en avec cette attitude scolieuse et condescendante a la fin !! Quand a tes billets, je t’en remercie, mais c’etait facile et mal informe.Une attaque gratuite en fait, qui se cachait derriere une pseudo demarche intellectualiste. Mais t’en fais, c’est quand meme un plaisir de te lire. Moi, au moins, je ne te juge pas. De grace, ecris ce que tu veux, mais, s’il te plait, descends de ton super piedestal analytique !!!

Lıbnéné Qaliq Entendu (un mot qui résume 15 minutes de relectures) Merci Michel


Conversation 2

Hicham Bou Nassif Had the Good Samaritan arrived a bit earlier on the scene, should he have let the wrongdoers beat the innocent traveler, possibly to death? Had he intervened, how would that conform to the obligation of non-violence? Had he not intervened, how would that conform to the obligation of defending the innocent? 03 October at 05:24

Lıbnéné Qaliq I’m genuinely surprised by the way you revisit the parable of the Good Samaritain. You seem to be reinventing it in a way to justify violence. And to think that the parable is given as an explanation to the commandement “love your neighbour as yourself” in which Jesus radically redefines the “neighbour” as possibly an opponent (belonging to another faith). Ironic, don’t you think? 03 October at 22:33

Hicham Bou Nassif How can I be justifying violence when i actually refer to non-violence as an”obligation”? In fact, how can I be making any kind of statement when I use three question marks in one status? Isn’t it clear I am troubled by what I perceive to be contradictions in Christian teaching? Granted, this contradiction my only be apparent. There may be a way out of the moral/intellectual quagmire. But your answer doesn’t offer even a hint in that direction. That’s because once again, you fail to read carefully. It seems that the Libnene Qaliq just cannot make himself read carefully anything HE did not write. He just takes a quick look at a text, jumps into conclusions, then jumps into Rosinante, and Hola ! Here goes the Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote Libnene Qaliq of La Mancha, ready for the windmills.
Yours are the ways of the permanent monologue. Sad, don’t you think.
03 October at 23:51

Lıbnéné Qaliq Absolutely. 04 October at 00:02

Hicham Bou Nassif Absolutely, you said it. But i am not done yet: I think it’s sad because it’s a waste of talent. I have always believed in yours and will always continue to do so. Not because i am easily… impressed, but because it is indeed impressive. Disagreements about politics are no problem. In fact, they are a sign of good intellectual health. But things are beyond “politics” now. What is at risk is the very meaning of our country, its intimate liberal raison d’etre. I am sorry we dont see eye to eye on this 04 October at 00:09

Lıbnéné Qaliq now that was an unexpected blow; humbling and embarrassing all at once. gotta sleep over it. 04 October at 00:40

Posted in Blogosphere, Discourse Analysis, Lebanon, Personal | 4 Comments »

Season’s greetings: رمضان كريم

Posted by worriedlebanese on 11/08/2010

Posted in Islam, Personal, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Hooking up: my month with Facebook

Posted by worriedlebanese on 17/07/2010

Well now I actually am.

I’ve been on Facebook for a little more than a month now, and I have to admit that I’m rather hooked. I still haven’t discovered all its possibilities, and even less engaged in them, but I do believe that this medium has an extremely interesting edge to it. Set aside its extremely limited language (where all people who are linked are “friends”, and all pages that you follow are those that you “like”), and look at its possibilities. It gives you the opportunity to communicate with people you know without having to knock at their door every single time. It allows you to work on your readership, nurture it, engage with it, interact on a personal level.

Like many, I heard through friends about Facebook. I learnt that it was a fascinating mutant interface that combines email/chat/blog/social networking. For a long time I was wary of its exhibitionistic and superficial tendencies, and wasn’t very comfortable with the idea that it would link the different networks I’m engaged in (they are not exactly compatible). So I resisted Facebook until a friend of mine (my number one fan and paragon) convinced me that it could be tempting and that I should give in. And so I did.

Truth to tell, I’m rather put off by the “personal” dimension of Facebook and decided from the onset to keep private things private: so no holiday pictures, no display of mood swings or details of my personal and social life (when I have one). No posting will seem to be torn off from my diary (one that I choose to share with others while I write it; that sounds very Tanizaki, doesn’t it). I’d rather share ideas, explore them as I write them, throw them around and see what bounces back. And instead of chasing info, roaming from one blog to another, it’s really great to find so many interesting things scattered around on my page every time I log in.

Tapping into the unexpected

One thing really caught me off guard: The process of creating a “friend list”. Here’s the catch, when you open a personal page with your name on it, you send an invitation to all the email addresses in your possession, and you’re sure that friends and family will accept it. And gradually, people you have met or who fancy you, or know you by name or you’ve lost contact with will send you an invitation. And that’s that. Well, things play differently when your profile is anonymous and you only deal with political issues. Friends and family are certainly among the least interested in your political prattle. So they’d probably refuse your invitation unless you revealed your identity… And even then, you’re sure they’d be the first to roll their eyes (and suck their teeth) every time you post something.

So here’s what I did. After activating the automatic search engine to find the facebook profiles of the people I interact with through mail, I started asking myself whether or not I should invite this or that person. How would (s)he likely respond? Would they be interested in my political rambling? So I started asking myself questions about my readership that never ran through my blogger’s mind. Why wouldn’t people be interested in my political prattle? Is it because it is political or because it is prattle? Could one interest them and how? As I wrote my second note on Lıbnéné Qaliq, I felt things were starting to change in my writing process. I wonder if it is noticeable.

Posted in Blogosphere, Civil Society, Communication, Personal | 3 Comments »

Credo in form of a decalogue (changes I believe in)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/07/2010

Some people have very rightly said that my approach to “Laïque Pride” (among other things) is too negative and that instead of simply criticising, I should be presenting some alternatives. So I took two hours to think about it and came up with this decalogue.
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1. I believe that we should pressure the parliament into establishing the “communauté de droit commun” that was recognised in the 1930s!!!! And allow it to have its own institutions and its own laws in matters of mariage and inheritance, and also its own courts. In other words Create a democratic and liberal “op out” mechanism to communal membership.

2. I personally think the Lebanese state should stop financing the muslim clergy and the muslim courts, because it is discriminatory towards non-muslims and it contradicts the principle of separation between religion and state. In other words Enforce the principle of  separation between State and Religion.

3. I also believe that the civil inheritance law that applies to Christians should be abolished because it is patriarchal and discriminatory. I believe Christians should be allowed to have their own inheritance laws (the catholic inheritance law for instance is more liberal than the secular Lebanese inheritance law), just like Muslims do… In other words: Enforce the principle of equality between communities.

4. I believe that the “clergy” has the right to express its political opinion, like all other citizens do. And that we have the right (and the duty) to criticize it when we don’t agree with it. However, the Muslim “clergy” BY LAW doesn’t have the right to express political views because it holds the status of “state agent”. If it wants to benefit from this right, it should set itself free from the state. In other words Enforce the principles of rule of law.

5. I also believe that people who belong to a community should pay a specific tax for this community (like in Germany) in order to to finance each community’s institutions (courts and non-clerical representative institutions) and give it the means to have a properly trained personnel (most importantly judges)! And where there are taxes, there’s accountability! In other words Guarantee a greater autonomy to communities.

6. I also believe that pressure should be made on state courts to reinterpret Law 534 of our criminal law that doesn’t mention homosexuality but speaks of sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature”… I believe this sentence’s interpretation should be restricted to bestiality… and not include adultery, homosexuality and what have you: In other words “upgrade” Personal Freedom to international standards.

7. I also believe that there should be NO censorship. And that the censorship board should be replaced by a rating board (like in the US). I believe freedom of opinion and information should be guaranteed. For this we need a new legislation and excerpt  a lot of pressure on our political class (that controls the media and restricts the creation of new media). In other words “upgrade” Freedom of Expression to international standards.

8. I believe that military courts should not be allowed to try civilians. And that even soliders should be given the right to oppose a military court’s ruling by bringing the case to a higher civil court (Constitutional court, Court of cassation, Council of State or preferably a common supreme court that replaces them). In other words Extend the principle of Due Process.

9. I believe that the history of communities should be taught in schools because people are extremely ignorant about these things and they replace their lack of knowledge with prejudice. Our students should learn about communal persecutions, conversions, liberal and conservative religious movements… They should learn about the dhimmi laws, and that they were not always applied. They should learn about religious extremism (how Syriac and Protestant converts were persecuted by the Maronite church, how Chrisitans, and non orthodox Muslims were persecuted by the Mamlouk, how the Eastern Catholic churches were latinised by Rome and missionaries, how the Oriental Orthodox clergy were discriminated against by the Greeks (and how the Arab speaking orthodox clergy revolted in the 19th century, how the Iranian clergy and schools changed the Lebanese Shiites religious practice, what sunni religious reformers proposed in the 19th century… In other words, Replace prejudice and ignorance with knowledge.

10. I believe that the confessional system can be reformed… But this reform should keep in mind the basic principles on which this system is based: inclusiveness and diversity. That’s why all recognised communities should have a representative in Parliament! Today, the rule applies only to 11 communities out of the 17 established communities (the “communauté de droit commun” just like the Ismaeli community is recognised but not established, once it is established it will become the 18th community). Moreover, we should have a law that sets a procedure for the recognition of other religious communities (the Czech law is quite a good one). I also believe that there are competent people in all communities and that “confessionalism” shouldn’t be an excuse to choose the most corrupt or the least competent of them, or an excuse to strengthen the power of patrons over people who belong to their community (within the state and outside it). In other words, Enforce the principles of Inclusiveness and Diversity inherent in Confessionalism.

When are we going to start doing something about these issues instead of parroting an almost centennial discourse that is produced and manipulated by politicians and that leads to nowhere?

Posted in Diversity, History, Intercommunal affairs, Islam, Judaism, Levantine Christians, Memory, Patronage Networks, Personal, Prejudice, Reform, Religion, Secularism, Values | 6 Comments »

Paul the octopus new envoy to the Middle East

Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/07/2010

In an unprecedented step, the Quartet on the Middle East decided to appoint Paul the octopus as their special envoy to the Middle East. Paul will be taking over the position held by British former Prime Minister Tony Blair. The new Special Envoy seemed rather confident and unshaken by the daunting mission that was bequeathed to him. He will be arriving to Jerusalem tomorrow morning and Helga, his official spokesperson, announced that he would immediately start working on solving the Middle East’s most pressing problems. Paul chose Helga as his spokesperson earlier today, as she sat cramped at the bottom of his fish-tank in one of the two transparent boxes the public has grown accustomed to seeing on every news edition. He seemed so happy with his choice that he clung to her with eight arms, almost suffocating her. Three divers had to plunge into the tank to detach them from one another. The Quartet agreed never to put Helga or any other person in the tank again.
Instead of predicting the outcome of a sports game, Paul will be recommending the best move to make in the Middle East’s most intense political game. Every morning he will be presented with an Israeli position and a Palestinian position, and he will announce which one will have the most favourable outcome for Peace in the Middle East. Tony Blair, in the name of the Quartet wished Paul the best of luck, even though he confessed that his successor clearly didn’t need it.

The Quintet was established in Madrid in 2002 and is made up of four sides involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process: the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The Quartet’s first Special Envoy was James Wolfensohn, the former president of the World Bank, who stepped less than a year after his appointment when he realised he couldn’t do anything. The Quartet’s second Special Envoy refused to admit his failure in his mission and only learnt of his dismissal through an article in the Jerusalem Post.

Posted in Fiction, Israel, Middle East, Palestinian territories, Palestinians, Peace, Personal | Leave a Comment »

A week away from the news

Posted by worriedlebanese on 22/06/2010

I took a week off from the internet right after finishing a post that went to the draft section instead of being published. So I published it on the date it was written and hope to resume this week some regular blogging. I will be publishing two new posts on the “Four amendments presented by Jumblatt a week ago.

Posted in Blogosphere, Personal | Leave a Comment »

Rendez-nous Michel!!!

Posted by worriedlebanese on 10/06/2010

Photo de MHG

Une envie me prend depuis hier soir: Monter une opération comando et libérer Michel. Lancer une campagne pour l’arracher aux Sélim Abou, Samir Frangieh, Fares Soueid, Patrick Laurent et autres personnalités publiques qui ont su reconnaître sa valeur et se l’ont accaparé. Je voudrais retrouver le Michel que j’ai connu et qui parfois transparaît derrière MHG, la figure publique quatorzemarsisée et quatorzemarsiste.

Dans un Liban virtuel, celui où toutes les énergies créatives et tous les talents sont libérés, un “Second Lebanon”, j’aurai aimé écrire un article laudateur intitulé “Michel Hajji Georgiou, ou l’itinéraire d’un journaliste engagé”. Mais ce mot “engagé” me reste au travers de la gorge. Car nous sommes bien loin de ce Liban virtuel. Ici la majorité des talents sont captifs ou récupérés. Les énergies sont bridées ou canalisées. Lorsqu’on est engagé, c’est toujours dans un combat politique réduit à son sens le plus politicien, dans une arène politique habitée par des égos surdimensionnés où la médiocrité côtoie une intelligence prédatrice et ravageuse.

Ma critique m’a déjà fait perdre son amitié. J’ai l’impression d’assassiner aujourd’hui un espoir, celui de pouvoir regagner son amitié. Mais c’est la douleur qui me pousse à écrire ces lignes. La douleur et la nostalgie, celle de voir une personne que je respecte pour son coeur, son cerveau et son esprit, une personne que j’aime et j’apprécie disparaître sous le masque d’une personnalité publique qui le trahit.

Le meilleur signe de cette trahison, de cette captivité est le manichéisme qui se dégage de ces articles, un manichéisme mêlé de mépris. Et il n’y a rien de plus dangereux pour une personne qui entend observer le monde que le mépris. C’est une lorgnette qui déforme tout à son passage. En fait, elle empêche l’observation et la remplace par la réflexion d’un préjugé, d’un pré-jugement, d’un soi tout aussi déformé que l’autre qu’on est censé observer. Observons le ravage, et commençons par une petite analyse lexicale de l’article d’hier: Placebo pour complexes existentiels.

Je ne parlerai pas de l’image de soi qui se dégage de cet article. C’est bien simple, prenez un dictionnaire des antonymes et retrouvez tous les qualificatifs employés pour décrire l’autre. Et vous verrez que ce travail d’opposition est soit explicite soit implicite.  Regardons plutôt le champ lexical associé à l’autre, le radicalement différent de soi, l’opposé avec lequel il est impossible de communiquer: les “boycotteurs d’Israël” (ces guillemets sont de MHG, mais pas ceux qui suivront). Voici les mots utilisés pour les décrire: “complexés”, “insondables stupidité”, “impuissances”, “haine”, “foule endoctrinée, biberonnée aux obscurantismes”, en mal de reconnaissance, qui lancent un “florilège d’accusations stupides, de slogans imbéciles, de diabolisations mesquines”, qui cherchent un “bouc émissaire”, et s’adonnent à la “liberté d’interdire”; des “satanés chenapans” qui nous servent “leurs tournures les plus fielleuses”, des “aveuglés” qui ont l’habitude de recourir “à la violence morale ou physique pour obtenir gain de cause”, des personnes victimes d’une “cécité intellectuelle” que “quelques exaltés […] ont convaincus, à travers les années, que la vérité était au bout du fusil et que la censure était la solution à tout”. Cette phrase est intéressante parce qu’elle explicite deux idées qui sous-tendent le texte: L’appel au boycott est assimilé à une interdiction et à une censure (Une campagne civile est assimilée à la décision d’un pouvoir politique) Et la condamnation (ou le procès) est double; on peut le subdiviser l’autre en deux catégories, une masse endoctrinée et une élite (le Hezbollah). N’oublions pas que MHG et les autres éditorialistes de l’Orient qualifient régulièrement “l’Opposition”(qui n’en est pas une) de fasciste. Et donc nul besoin d’observer cet autre, on peut le juger à partir de l’idée qu’on a de lui (un peu comme l’erreur d’Aristote sur le nombre de pattes qu’ont les mouches, reprises pendant deux millénaires par des naturalistes qui n’ont même pas pris le temps d’observer ces créatures qui pourtant les entourent).

(à suivre… je dois me mettre au travail)

Posted in Culture, Journalism, Lebanon, Personal, Semantics, Version Francophone | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Blogging: Searching for a better format

Posted by worriedlebanese on 31/05/2010

As many might have realised, I’ve been forcing myself to blog for many months now. And it’s not because I have little to say or don’t have an opinion on any particular subject. I’ve often come across as an opinionated person, and even an arrogant one, for a good reason. And it’s not because I lack the time for it; I struggle with every word when writing, but still:  when there’s a will, there’s a way!

So what’s the problem? Frankly, I’m a bit bored and tired of rambling on the Middle East. I’m weary of hearing my own voice and knowing its inconsequentiality. This “regular” exercice isn’t really meaningful and certainly doesn’t bring anyone (including myself) much. As one of my (recently deceased) professors hinted to me years ago using Blaise Pascal’s terminology, I belong to the second category of people, the half-clever people (demi habiles): I’m blessed with the capacity to “discern” (perceive or recognise matters) but instead of working with that knowledge, I rebel against the order that I recognise as being flawed. Such an attitude is expected of a teen or even a young adult (or a socialist come to think of it), but it becomes ridiculous after a certain age.

A quick glance at my posts should bring anyone  to the following conclusion: they are not informative enough to be journalistic, and they are not precise enough nor methodologically driven to be academic. This is quite normal for a blog, but I was trained as a journalist and I work in academia… so what’s my contribution to the blogosphere?

I believe my posts do give an informed and non conventional view on matters relevant to the Middle East (and more specifically to Lebanon). But once you’ve heard it, how useful is it to keep on hearing it? The more it is repeated, the more it borders on ranting.

I’ve seen bloggers use their blogs for academic purposes, and have followed others who used them for journalistic purposes. I’m not using this blog for any purpose other than blogging. And this type of blogging isn’t what we need in Lebanon. Most articles in our newspapers resemble blog posts. And the views you come across in the academic world are extremely conventional (and frankly detached from reality, at least as I see it). So my challenge is to find a way to make my writing more meaningful.

As the title of this post clearly states it, I’m looking for another format, a new approach that would make my modest contribution meaningful and useful. Here are a couple of ideas I’m rolling around.

  • Create or integrate a collective platform that focuses on the Middle East or Lebanon. Does anyone know of any interesting existing platform? Or is anyone interested in participating in such a platform?
  • Link my blogging to the my involvement in Peace and Diversity education. I have been involved in this field for 4 years now. I have actually followed several platforms on Ning (Mepeace, Ipeace, PalestinianMothers) for 3 years to see what is done, how it’s done, what is missing and what can be done.

Does anyone have ideas on that subject?

Posted in Blogosphere, Communication, Culture, Personal | 4 Comments »

Resuming after a long break

Posted by worriedlebanese on 01/05/2010

Hello Reader(s). I will be backtracking today. I will be publishing two short posts that I wrote sometime ago (one on April 14th and the other on April 25th. And I will be developing the notes I took while visiting three cultural event in Beirut last week. I hope all this will be visible in the following 2 hours. And expect an article on the municipal elections tomorrow. Be good!

Posted in Blogosphere, Personal | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Bourne identities in cyberspace

Posted by worriedlebanese on 10/01/2010

Things sometimes are not what they seem. The net is quite a convenient place for “role playing”, assuming false identities and parading as someone else for multiple reasons, including political ones. When I was an active member of a ning-platform a couple of years ago, I noticed a couple of such obvious cases. There and elsewhere, I sometimes found myself wondering if the person I was chatting with was a fraud. Some thing in our interactions made me suspicious. I found inconsistencies in certain arguments, unusual (and I mean extremely atypical) positions and reasoning, strange use of words or spelling… something just didn’t feel right or sounded somewhat fishy.

Two weeks ago, I found myself on the other side of the magnifying glass. A person I was having an argument with told me outrightly “By the way I know that you are not Lebanese, I found that out from your writing and do not tell me how”… When I objected to her accusation, she answered, “Regarding being Lebanese , your arguments say otherwise, and your style of writing […] Even if you were born Lebanese you do not sound like one any more “. I heard this type of reasoning before, right here, on this blog. A year ago, a former reader accused me of being a fraud before slamming the door. And I realised that I had followed the same reasoning I described above on several occasions. This allowed me to uncover some frauds (judging from their reaction), but on other occasions I might have been totally wrong. Some people are incoherent. Some people are atypical and do not share the same ideas as “their likes”. What does one loose by giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Posted in Identity, Personal | 6 Comments »

Blogging resolutions?!

Posted by worriedlebanese on 05/01/2010

Yes, it’s this time of the year when you look back at what you’ve done and try to evaluate it. I ran across a dead blog today that sums things perfectly! It’s titled “Unnecessary, and not very diverting, musings”… and this tag line follows: “Much like other bloggers, I have the vanity to believe that strangers will want to read what my actual friends are not interested in hearing”. It cracked me up!

So here’s my plan for my blog’s facelift and body sculpting:

  • Less opinion pieces! many have slipped into agressive or humdrum  rants… and I’ve been repeating myself. It’s true that the risk of repetition is high in a country where things never seem to change (except for the main politicians’ alliances). So less commentary and more analysis on our preferred idiosyncrasies.
  • More reviews. I’ve been skimming through lots of blogs lately, and I think it would be interesting to write a weekly review on them, maybe take an issue and see how it’s being treated by fellow bloggers.
  • Renewed interest in regional matters. And I’m not talking about geopolitics. I do not care where the Egyptian government stands on such an issue or how the Saudi King wants to deal with his northern neighbours. I’ll focus on one country every two weeks. See what its press has to say about current issues it is dealing with.
  • Some interactivity. But you’ve got to help me out on this one. It takes two to tango and at least 10 to interact fruitfully. So please, throw the ball back instead when you see it coming towards you. For that. I’m going to try a couple of new tricks.
  • Improved linguistic skills. This will not show overnight, but here’s my plan. I haven’t read a book in English for years. Most of the analysis I do is in French (in real life that is) and my sources are mostly in Arabic. So no wonder my writing is so stifled. A nice book every now and then will certainly improve things.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Posted in Blogosphere, Personal, Propositions | 6 Comments »