Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Hysteric Day

Just what we need in Lebanon, yet another date to commemorate. Now we will have to wait anxiously to see if the vote comes in before midnight Beirut time, to see which new label will be now used to piss off the March 14th crowd. If you thought February 14th got on their nerves wait until you see them called the May 30th/31st forces.

But it is a historic date indeed. This dawn a visitor from McLean, Virginia became the 100,000th visitor to this blog since January 13th 2006. To celebrate this fact I have 2 choices of concerts to attend. I can either stay home and listen to "Beirut 3am Tebki" playing on passing cars' super sub woofed stereos over and over and over and over again, or go check out Ziad Rahbani's new show. Why do they always schedule 2 can't miss events on the same night?

People are even passing out Baklawa in the streets. They shouldn't considering that I started blogging before January 13th, so the 100,000 figure isn't really accurate, which means this date isn't really significant at all. Still, this scene reminds me of the last time people were naively passing out Baklawa in the streets not knowing what the heck was coming their way. If memory serves me right, that day was a summer day back in the year ... 2006.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blame Qatara

Let's See, Geroge Bush wanted to Bomb Al Jazeera. Jordan censored interviews conducted by Al Jazeera. Iran banned Al Jazeera because they criticized the Sistani dude. Egypt and Israel have jailed Al Jazeera reporters. Saudi Arabia is in an all out media war with Qatar. Locally, Jumbo man accused Al Jazeera of being alibis in Lebanon's terrorist attacks. Others attack Qatar and Al Jazeera for being Israel friendly. Al Jazeera reporters have been killed by occupiers/liberators and by insurgents/liberators/terrorists/jihadists in Iraq. They've been jailed in Spain and Guantanamo....

If they are pissing off so many people, they must be doing something right.

Breaking News

Presidential Candidate Carlos Eddeh will indulge us with his oh so cute wisdom over the next 2 hours on LBC TV.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Where are Abou El Abed and Abou Steif?

Part of the noise factor and the dangerous speculation battles taking place is the anonymization of the perpetrators of crime. So while Abou Hurayra, Abou Yazan, Abou Jandal, Abou Adass and Sejaan Saadeh are neck deep in accusations or dead; the people with faces who actually answer to registered triple names and might be involved in this mess remain unscathed and even run for office.

Anonymous masked scapegoats are beautiful propaganda tools. Abou Burghol could be blamed for all of Lebanon's ills and simultaneously be Syrian, Saudi, Iranian, Muslim, a blue eyed infidel Ohioan and everything in between . Spin away.

In other anonymous crimes news we have Ashrafiyeh at 30 Kg, Verdun at 25 Kg, and Aley weighing in at a mere 15 Kg. Let's not forget Ain Alaq at 2 x 5 Kg, and 2 years ago, Bouchriyyeh 30 Kg, Brummana 20 Kg, Samir Kassir 500 grams, George Hawi 500 grams, and Rafik Hariri One Billion Kg. I'm no forensic expert, but maybe just maybe, figuring out the weight of the bomb is irrelevant to finding out the perpetrators. Where are thee Abou Horatio Caine?

Finally in sports, Nejmeh Beat Ansar 1-0 (the Minister of Sports who had been on air non stop since friday had nothing to say about the game). But don't rejoice too much Nejmeh fans, as throughout the game Future TV made sure to remind the viewers (via a Breaking News item) that while Nejmeh did actually win, M14 won the Doctor's thingie (I wonder if Doctor Geagea gets to vote?). So it's actually a tie on the day; thus we now go to sudden death.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Arguile Smoking Security

With the terror bombing campaign touring the country, extraordinary measures have been taken to ensure safety. Now there's a personal approach and perception of what safety constitutes.

On any given friday night, Lebanese youth were always faced with the above choices. Often a 50-50 choice, but these days it has skewed right. For others who refuse these two choices, staying home and away from windows to wait it out is the way to go.

Personally, the sight of bomb sniffing dogs giving an all clear made me feel at ease until I read that sniffing ain't very effective in noisy (check), dusty (check), gusty, (check), and crowded (check) areas. Damn you google.

So now I trust my arguile puffing, dozen strong, neighborhood citizen patrol that keeps vigil on this street everynight and we all know how arguiles boost sensory alertness.

Feeling safe? Now, pop the champagne and celebrate the 7th anniversary of liberation.

Happy RESISTANCE* and Liberation day.

*Capped and bolded for all the playa haters out there.

Disclaimer: 2007 pictures are mine, 2000 pictures are stolen off the internet. I think it was the BBC site.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Parallel Realities

We* are living today parallel realities; two worlds that do not meet (unless God wills it). Ironically, both realities are being fueled by the same factor: Fear. I just crossed Hamra Street without bothering to look for incoming cars, that feat would be Houdini-esque (or what's the name of that new freak on TV?) in regular days. I was expecting a delivery today and the distributor asked me if it is safe for his 4 Syrian workers to come along; otherwise I'd have to carry the half ton fridge on my own.

But I** can't dwell on that. As one of my reader pointed out in the comments section of the previous post, I** have to provide solutions. I** wish he or she was as demanding of his or her elected representatvie who gets paid to come up with and implement solutions. It is our right as citizens to criticize and demand better governance, but I** still appreciate that vote of confidence.

To find a solution we need to identify the problem or problems. In our case I'm pretty sure it's the latter. Just off the top of my head there's Syria, the Syrians in the Palestinian camps, Israel of course, the biggest killer of them all which is traffic accidents, and finally Al Jazeera.

We'll start with hateful Television that can be solved remotely by switching the channel. The Syrians in Palestinian camps are almost done. Israel was kicked out, we just need an air defense system to stop the overflights. The roads can be fixed through law enforcement by properly trainig traffic police and better maintenance of roads which could be financed through the collection of parking tickets issued to all the cars lining up the streets outside Crystal.

Which leaves us with Syria, which is our biggest problem not because they are so hard to deal with. Au Contraire, Assad's regime has proven over and over again a level of ineptitude only surpassed in Syria's little offshoot. The problem is that we are entrusting former Assad tools to take care of that problem for us. We* are living with rats to keep an elephant away.

P.S. For real solutions to real problems just trust Elie Skaff.

* مساطيل

** مسطول

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beware the Noise

A man once upon a time a long long time ago said, "العمى بقلبو اللبناني شو مسطول" and everyday in history since that day has proven the wisdom of this man.

The panic and fear engulfing the مساطيل makes them susceptible to any rumors that might answer their question "Whodunit?" Who's the big bad wolf? Off course the big bad wolf is banking on this chaos and on these rumors to feed the already pre-conceived convictions and ignite the pent up hatred.

Anyways this مسطول just wants to point out that some widely ciculated rumors, are just that rumors, and hopes that his مساطيل buddies do not adopt these propaganda lines as facts and speed up the nose dive into the shit pond that awaits us.

So here we go with some rumor control:

My general rule is the louder they bark, the more full of shit they are. I present Wiam Wahhab and Ahmad Fatfat as Exhibit A.

Let me start with 1.)the Hariri funding of Fatah Al Islam. That comes from former MI6 Alistaire Crooke who was quoted in Seymour Hersh's "Redirection" article published a few months ago. So before you run with it keep in mind that it is only ONE source.

2.) Assad threatening to burn the region from Caspian Sea to Timbuktu also comes from one source. But this time it is an unnamed diplomatic source who only spoke to An-nahar. Of course, Memri quickly picked up the story. For all of you who read مساطيل newspapers know very well, that all esteemed newspapers have unnamed sources that always come up with juicy quotes which are never corroborated. So this automatic indictment of someone following up on a threat is purely for political gains.

3.) The nutbags are not exclusively Palestinian, most of them are actually مساطيل with some nutbags from various other Middle Eastern countries.

4.) The Army was never provided with aide to prepare for fighting, all the footage show that our brave soldiers are being sent to battle without any HELMETS! How many lives could have been saved with appropriate protection of soldiers?

5.) There is no consensual support for army. Many people and I know some very moderate unreligious folks who actually sympathize with these and other nutbags.

6.) The مساطيل don't love life. A large number of people showed more outrage for the glass shattered in ABC than for the tens of soldiers and civilians dead during the day.

Feel free to add to rumor control, because the blind faith in what we are told by the various propaganda outlets is what got us here in the first place.