Lebanese speak out on the Web

Web logs, or “blogs,” have become popular with computer-savvy Lebanese looking to express their anger and grief over the monthlong war between Hezbollah and Israel. The blogs range from furious rants against Israel and the United States to sentimental pessimism for their war-battered nation, which only recently held elections that were hailed as a model for emerging democracies in the Arab world.

One Web site, “Electronic Lebanon,” features a blog entry titled: “War is becoming a way of life,” written by artist Zena el-Khalil from Beirut. “Blogging is a means of survival,” Mrs. el-Khalil, 30, told The Washington Times by telephone yesterday. “It is my way of letting my friends and other people abroad know more about my situation here. … I am able to say things that politicians and reporters cannot talk about,” she said.

Mrs. el-Khalil began writing e-mails to her friends and family the first night of Israeli air strikes. She soon realized that communicating by blogging would be easier because there was an electricity shortage and she would only have to be online for a few minutes to post her updates. “They say that history is written by the winners. In this war, there are no winners, but we can at least know that we did our best to document it so that the world does not forget,” Mrs. el-Khalil said.

Other blogs engage in political exhortations, such as urging Lebanese nationalists to take action. “We stress and add the urgent need TO ACT,” writes Moussa Bashir from Beirut on his blog called UrShalim. A blogger who calls himself Zadigvoltaire accuses Israel and the United States of indifference over the July 30 bombing in Qana, in which 28 civilians died, including 16 children.

“Poor Israel, Poor Israelis. … They can make a mistake and kill tens of children and apologize and the U.S. quickly forgives them. … Lebanese children are Hezbollah supporters that should die for the new and democratic Middle East that George Bush has promised the world,” Zadigvoltaire wrote sarcastically in his “Beirut Notes” blog. The same writer is just as furious at Hezbollah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, for starting the war.

“Get out of Lebanon Hassan and take your ideology of death and hate with you,” Zadigvoltaire wrote. “Go to heaven and let us live in the pro-American hell in peace and prosperity like many other places in the Middle East and Asia.” Not all Lebanese bloggers write of doom. “I have never seen so much unity in Lebanon as I’ve seen in this war. … People are actually SMILING at each other at supermarkets and on intersections, and opening their houses for complete strangers,” wrote another blogger, who calls himself Fadi.

Related Links

  • The Washington Times