Thursday, March 29, 2007

And the Arab summit is over…

The latest Arab League Summit ended and of course nothing changed and nothing was done, as always. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the latest period of time has ended his period of calm has just ended. The opposition will once more escalate its action to up the stakes. Of course the consequence of such an action will be fully blamed on 14 March…

So all in all nothing new under the sun. Lahoud was humiliated twice in the summit. Once for not being greeted by the Saudi king on his arrival, like all the other leaders, and twice for the King’s refusal to meet him in private while meeting PM Siniora.

Meanwhile Lahoud was so happy to meet up with Bashar Assad that his grin almost split his face. Ahhh that much love can only be for the interests of Lebanon doesn’t it…

On the home front, a frigid stand still permeates the political arena. Some are waiting for the unfolding of the crisis between Iran and the west, other are waiting for the change in the west leadership to take place. They are all waiting, while the country is slowly emptying.

So all in all nothing new under the sun, a time to gather rocks around and a time to scatter them…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

When Love Is a Casualty of War

Here is a very nice article by Joshua Gross, on how the last summer war affected his relation with his girl friend which happen to be Lebanese, while is he is Jewish:

My Lebanese girlfriend does not want to listen to The Cure’s song “Killing an Arab.”

“Turn it off,” she demands.

This is odd. Helen is a huge Cure fan; in fact, I never really listened to The Cure until we started dating. I turn around to face her, my mind racing to produce some witty remark that will make her laugh and defuse the sudden tension, but our eyes meet and I am utterly disarmed. I hear her sigh as she walks away.

It’s not that Helen doesn’t like this particular song, it’s that she doesn’t like songs about killing Arabs, especially when in real life, our peoples are killing each other day after day. We cannot enjoy the song’s catchy rhythm or ironic lyrics when bombs fall and Katyushas fly. What used to be a harmless song has become an unwanted reminder of the gulf that exists between us.

Together, Helen and I had tried to create a tidy little universe with a population of two. In this universe, it didn’t matter that I was a Jew and Helen was an Arab. We were beyond the politics.

On our first date, we set a precedent by skipping out on a proposed tour of the Lincoln memorial, preferring to tour each other’s contours rather than those of a lifeless statue. As the months passed, we discovered that Helen’s attempts to teach me French were as doomed as my own throat-clearing lessons in the correct pronunciation of challah, her favorite new food. We could even laugh at the irony when Helen peeled off my sweater to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with “Don’t Worry America, Israel Is Behind You.”

Politics slumbered alongside us. Sometimes it spoke in its sleep, sometimes it rolled over, but it did not wake up.

And then, the war.

When the morning newscast announced that two Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped along the border of Lebanon, I felt the dream world that Helen and I had constructed around ourselves begin to evaporate. Helen was still asleep in my arms, the splayed skirt of her eyelashes undisturbed.

“Two-hundred twenty rockets fired, antitank missiles, civilian deaths,” the radio continued. Reluctantly, I shook Helen awake.

Helen’s broad face and enormous anime-eyes make her look like a Lebanese version of the waving cat statues you find at Chinese restaurants. When she is happy, that face can move in a hundred directions at once, eyebrows bending and arching, nose scrunching, chin moving in slow semicircles as she bites her upper lip. Her laughter is intoxicating, and I spent much of our time together trying to keep her laughing.

But a serious thought drains Helen’s face of this playfulness like sand sucked through a sieve. As Israelis reservists hitchhiked their way to the northern front, Helen became consumed by serious thoughts, her laughter a distant memory.

As the war raged on, our morning ritual of listening to the news on NPR became agonizing. Helen still hadn’t heard from her aunts and uncles and cousins, and she feared the worst. I switched my alarm clock from “radio” to “buzzer.”

One morning, about a week after the conflict had begun, the tension was especially palpable. All of a sudden, Helen threw down her boots in frustration. Her fingers balled into fists.

“We have to talk,” she said.

“I know,” I replied.

“You are so distant,” she said. Helpless and angry, she stared out the window.

I picked up Helen’s boots and brought them to her.

“I don’t even know what to say,” was the best I could do. I was afraid that if we talked, we would discover that we just could not be together. I was afraid of discovering that love had failed to elevate us to a place beyond politics. “Please,” I begged, “give me some time.”

A few days later, I left Helen in Washington and attended the wedding of a college friend, a Jewish wedding. Most of my friends had already met Helen and, given the circumstances, they were concerned. I told them we were doing our best, trying to get though it, focusing on each other and trying to stay positive.

What I didn’t tell my friends was that I was terrified. Terrified that someone from Helen’s family could get killed by an Israeli bomb. Terrified that every time I saw her Caller ID, I thought it would be our last conversation. I kept imagining her carefully chosen words, her contrite tone as she whispered through the tears, “I’m sorry, I just can’t do this anymore.”

My friends were supportive, and a few admitted to being inspired by us, framing our relationship in hopeful, hyperbolic terms, a microcosm of the peace process itself. When I expressed my own doubts, one overzealous friend scolded me, “You can’t give up! You owe it to humanity to make this work.”

As if I didn’t have enough on my mind. Now world peace hinged on my ability to find common ground with my girlfriend.

While I had spent the weekend dancing and celebrating with my friends, Helen had been glued to the TV, watching the carnage unfold. She did not sound happy to hear my voice.

Why is it that when it comes to Jews and Arabs, there are plenty of books about coexistence between peoples but significantly fewer about love between individuals? In a market flooded with books about relationships and dating rules, helpful pointers for Jews and Arabs are in short supply.

An hour later, we were at a coffee shop, staring at each another, barely speaking. The whole endeavor seemed a lost cause. I prepared myself for the worst and waited for a server to offer us some coffee.

We didn’t even get a chance to order. Suddenly Helen was crying, I was fighting back tears and we were out the door. We spent the next two hours wandering through downtown D.C., exhausted by the heavy, humid air and the burden of our own emotions.

“I just want to be with my own people right now,” she said, her hands sweeping through the space between us. “They’re the only ones that would understand.” “Why?” I said, trying to catch her hands midair but missing. She folded her arms across her chest.

We stopped talking. For a full minute we waited for our heartbeats to slow down and listened to the traffic.

“I don’t want to keep fighting with you,” Helen said, looking into my eyes. I put my arms around her, drew her close.

“Then we need to get through this. If we can’t get through this, what chance is there that anyone else could?” I said. “We can’t allow ourselves to be infected by the hatred that we’ve escaped, that they’ve been born into.”

I thought of Helen picking apples, of the dinners we’d cooked together, all those times we held politics spellbound with our love.

“But still,” she paused, looked away. “This hurts.”

Early last October, weeks after the cease-fire, I attended another wedding. This one was Lebanese, and Helen and I were still together, still very much in love. Our feelings for each another had not become a casualty of the war between our peoples, but I was nervous. The bride’s family members from Lebanon could not come, and the specter of their absence threatened to haunt the ceremony. Despite my best intentions, I could not help feeling like a Jew in enemy territory.

My trepidation was foolish. In the end, the wedding was beautiful, no one talked politics, and at one point a relative of the bride announced that the couple would be making a substantial donation to St. George’s Medical Center, a hospital in Beirut.

The guests applauded passionately. I was one of them, and for a few fleeting moments I felt as if I truly was one of them, without division, just another human experiencing genuine empathy for the suffering of others.

It was a liberating feeling.

But as I write these words, all is not well in the Middle East. The same bellicose rhetoric bounces back and forth. How many more times will we be forced to run this gauntlet of who we are and what we believe?

Another war may come, but for now all that truly matters is what Helen and I see in ourselves when our eyes lock and the rest of the world and all of human history dissolves, when we are filled with the warmth of our bodies and hearts intertwined and it is us, only us, alone in our private universe.

Perhaps, in our relationship, “Killing an Arab” can never just be a song. But there are other, better songs.

By Joshua Gross, who is a public affairs consultant in Washington.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Another setback for the spin masters!

After the previous International Investigation Committee in the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri was published, Hezbollah's media team picked up a small point and
spin it out of proportion to a point that it became a ready and easy answer used by any 8th march politicians when asked about the tribunal and the investigation.

The Judge responsible of the investigation, Bramertz, stated in his previous report that ten countries were not helping the investigation. Hezbollah and its allies started fabricating stories claiming that the countries were France, the US and Saudi Arabia and absolved Syria of any blame , based on the fact that Bramertz said that the Syrian Republic was cooperating, accusing instead the ten unnamed countries (which the spin masters named nevertheless) and of course their perpetual culprit: Israel.

The issue grew so much out of proportion that any discussion of the tribunal usually brought it up, accusing the 14 March of being biased against Syria, and wonders of all wonders, accusing them of being AGAINST finding those behind the assassination.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately for the 8th of March forces, Bramertz explained, yesterday in in section 102 of his latest report, that:

"in its last report the commission noted that responses to requests from 10 member states were overdue. in view of the importance of the assistance requested and the time frame in which it aims to complete its investigation activities, the commission concentrated on following up all outstanding RFAs [request for assistance]. The commission held a series of meetings with relevant Ambassadors to discuss past requests . As a result of these meetings, almost all outstanding matters were resovled to the commission's satisfaction, with responses received and where appropriate, mechanisms introduced to facilitate the resolution of pending issues."
It seems that the web of lies that the spin masters of March 8 have been carefully building, for the last months is starting to crumble. first with apprehending the Syrians perpetrators of the Ain Alq terrorists attacks, which reinforce the blame against Syria in all the other crimes, and now with the debunking of their favorite response to the international tribunal.

I wonder what they will come out with next!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


All those of you who kept defending and covering Syria’s constant meddling and murderous actions in Lebanon I think it is time to offer a public apology!

Seven Syrians, from the Fateh aL Islam group that follows the order of Syria and are part of the Syrians military intelligence, have been caught and confessed that they committed the terrorist attacks that targeted Ain Aleq in Mount Lebanon a few weeks ago. The suspects also had with them a list of 36 personalities which they planned to assassinate, in addition to future plans to attack the UNIFIL, in addition to an important cash of explosives and ammunitions.

The truth will come out, slowly maybe but it will come out eventually!

Friday, March 09, 2007


It is incredible how easily can Hezbollah’s and its media mouthpiece twist logic and common sense to turn any situation to their benefit. In PR jargon this is called spin, and I have to admit that Hezbollah’s media arm is a “spin master” of the highest order!

When Ha’aretz printed an article about Olmert testimony to the commission investigating the war, in which Israel’s PM declared that he discussed and reviewed plans to attack Lebanon almost four months before the summer’s war.

Immediatly, Hezbollah’s media outlets pounced on the article, circulating it widely, claiming that Olemrt’s testimony vindicated their own verison of events and discredited all those who accused Hezbollah of being the one responsible for the war and its tragedies.

For Hezbollah has been claiming, since the end of the war, that Israel was planning the attack on Lebanon months before July, and the war would have happened whether Hezbollah abducted the two soldiers for not! In an effort to placate all the anger and blame that targeted Hezbollah and accused it of being responsible of starting the war.

However Hezbollah missed or purposely omitted the rest of Olmert testimony, the article states that it is true that months before the war, Israel’s PM reviewed plans to attack Lebanon IF, and I stress, only IF Hezbollah kidnapped any Israeli soldiers! In view of the previous failed attempts to abduct soldiers in 2005.

It is a small two letters word, but in this case it is crucial. What Al-Manar TV failed to point out is that if Hezbollah did not kidnap those two soldiers the war would not have happened, neither in the summer or in the autumn as Hezbollah claimed!

In conclusion, Israel war, whether it was planned before hand or not, was directly caused by the kidnapping of the two soldiers. So the responsibility of all the killing, destruction and tragedies lay squarely at Hezbollah feet! And if Nassrallah did not give the order to kidnap those soldiers, Israel would not have attacked Lebanon, and all those innocent civilians would still be alive.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Two years ago

Two years ago on March 8 2005, 22 days after MP Rafik Hariri was assassinated, thousands of Hezbollah followers marched on Riyad Solh Square in Down Town Beirut to thank Syria.

A date that will become the "pro-Syrian" political camp's brand, the infamous 8 March against the 14 March (the brand of the political faction who refused Syrian hegemony).

Maybe as a reminder, that Square is unfortunately occupied by hundreds of Hezbollah tents nowadays.

For what exactly I still do not know, maybe for 30 years of occupation, or for the thousands and thousands of Lebanese citizens killed by the Syrian Army, or maybe for the hundreds of Lebanese still in its prisons.

That rally was followed a week later, on 14 March 2005, by a huge demonstration of Lebanese, who demand an international investigation in the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri and an immediate withdrawal of all Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Two years since that day, Hezbollah and its allies are still thanking Syria, its President and its military intelligence and army…

For me if I had to thank anyone, I would thank all the Lebanese who struggled, bled and died to free our country of all foreign occupations and oppressions.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I finally switched to the new blogger template. This allowed me to implement several improvements such as the Labels menu on the right, which will allow you to find articles and posts by tags.

Additionally, I will try to include more pictures and links in my posts in the future and start on my “Back to Basics” series of article (more details on that later). If you have any suggestion for possible improvements please do not hesitate.

As always thank you for reading! And all your comments, impressions, praises and criticisms are more than welcome.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lies without end...

Two days ago the last episode of the opposition’s arms trafficking has been uncovered. A car loaded with brand new Kalashnikov machine guns has been seized. The owners are the infamous SSNP, a party known for its bloody past in assassinations, for its total subservience to Syria and even for its refusal to acknowledge the existence of Lebanon, calling for total unity with Syria!

This comes after several SSNP arm cashes have been uncovered in Mount Lebanon, and a truck loaded with small caliber weapons has been seized. The SSNP claimed that the arms caches were remnants from the civil war (evidence shows the contrary) and Hezbollah claimed that the arms in the truck are destined to fight Israel (but the presence of several light arms pointed to a different potential use)

Ironically the opposition’s media outlets –Al Manar TV and Al Ahkbar newspaper- have been waging a fierce campaign accusing the 14 March coalition of rearming themselves! Even though not one instance, and I repeat not one instance of arms trafficking destined to 14 March have been uncovered.

What makes these accusations even sillier is that even throughout the whole war Rafik Hariri never armed his followers, encouraging them instead to get a higher education! In addition to the fact that the Amen Al Am (the Border Police) is fully controlled by Hezbollah and its allies.

Finally, it is very clear which faction is rearming itself and who is pushing for civil war. As the old saying states “You can lie to some people all the time or you can lie to all people some of the time, but you cannot lie to all the people all the time!”

In the end no matter how good you are at lying, you will be caught!