Lebanese use blogs to vent frustration at war


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese blogs have sprung up across the country as the newest way to vent frustration and anger at Israel’s month-long war with Hizbollah guerrillas, which has so far claimed over 1,000 lives in Lebanon.

Postings on Web logs or online journals range from daily rants at Israeli aggression against Lebanon to reminiscent memories about Beirut’s once vibrant night life or to personal poems documenting the horror felt during Israeli air strikes.

“I felt besieged, my movement was completely hampered, I enjoyed breaking the siege and having the freedom to write and having space to reach out to people and not feel as isolated,” said 37-year-old Rasha Salti, an independent curator and freelance writer, told Reuters on Thursday.

Salti moved to Beirut from New York on July 11, a day before Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers which sparked war.

She said her postings appeal to people who want to know more about the everyday aspect of living in a country surrounded by war as opposed to media coverage which generally focuses on the breaking news developments.

“The media look for the breaking news obviously. They look for the stories, but when they find a story, they don’t find an ordinary story, one that appeals. I write about the mundane, the everyday,” Salti said, whose postings can be seen at www.electroniclebanon.com.

“People see a human being, not a reporter doing the job, or an ideologue defending an idea. I get positive responses, people that become sympathetic to our plight as Lebanese.”

SCREAMS

Other Lebanese living abroad post blogs of anger and helplessness, torn between feelings of relief that they are miles away mingled with torment and guilt about their fellow unluckier Lebanese caught in the clutches of war.

On ajnabiyeh.blogspot.com, Kata posts a frustrated message at people who offer her sympathetic messages about Lebanon.

“… while I really appreciate and understand the sentiment that is being offered, human to human, they make me want to SCREAM,” she said.

“Horrible war in Lebanon hard on me?! I’m in frickin France! I’m not even living it!!! I wish I were living it with my family and friends there so I wouldn’t feel like a coward tucked safely away in my life and in my career.”

One blog even has a petition addressed to ‘The Concerned Citizens of the World’ to Save the Lebanese Civilians, started since July 15 and which so far acquired over 271,000 signatures.

Other postings poke fun at what they say is the biased and unfair nature of the United Nations in its attempts to find a solution to the conflict, which has killed over 100 Israelis.

One picture has a superimposed person with a Lebanese flag draped on his back, spraypainting ‘ethical’ as a suffix to U.N. to read UNethical. Similar pictures show UNjust and UNfair.

Another popular blog, Angry Arab, by a Lebanese academic and commentator, mocks apathetic Arabs for failing to voice strong opposition at the war.

“To the Arab masses: are you breathing? Just making sure. I have some Danish cartoons if you want me to wake you up,” he said referring to cartoons published which lampooned Prophet Mohammad and which elicited protests across the Arab world.

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