Where do I stand?

A dear friend of mine told me yesterday that I’m taking sides. That it seems as if I’m condemning only one form of violence. I thank him for that note — it forces me to clarify my position. So, here is my position on what is happening now in Lebanon. I wholeheartedly condemn the attacks against the Lebanese Army. I find it especially abhorrent that many of these soldiers were not killed in “battle” but where actually killed in their sleep, and killed in a most brutal manner. EI contributor Rania Masri writes. 

Die-in at Lebanese army checkpoint at Nahr al-Bared entrance

We drove up to Baddawi refugee camp Sunday morning at the request of the women of Nahr al-Bared refugee camp who are now among the thousands of internally displaced Palestinians (IDPs) in Lebanon. They asked Lebanese and internationals to join them in a die-in at the southern checkpoint of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. We painted our t-shirts with red paint and we made signs in English and in Arabic; each sign had one of the seventeen known names of Palestinians who have died as a result of the Lebanese army’s siege of the Nahr al-Bared camp. 

Whose Truth?

1 June 2007 — Since early morning U.S. weapons have bombarded the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon, though no one can get a clear idea about what exactly is happening there. On the news we watched bombs going off every few seconds all day long with huge clouds of black smoke smoldering in the sky. A journalist friend who was trying to photograph the scene called me and asked me to bring him more equipment from his home in Beirut. Since I needed to deliver medicine to Nahr al-Bared refugees in Bedawi refugee camp I drove his equipment up to Nahr al-Bared where he was trying to take pictures. 

Lebanese bloggers react to refugee camp siege

The clashes between the Lebanese army and the organization of Fatah al Islam, as well as the explosion in Ashrafieh (Beirut), took precedence over all other news and blog posts in almost all of the blogs during the past two days. Following are quotes from a number of these posts including a post quoting a civilian trapped in the camp of Nahr el Barid in North Lebanon, in the crossfire, between the army and the organization. In a very rare blog post on the conditions in the camp where some members of Fath al Islam are reported to be hiding, quotes Ahmad, his friend, who is one of many trapped in the crossfire. 

Satisfaction, frustration and pride

BEIRUT: Nothing encourages artists to produce better work than competition. Last summer, for 34 days straight, two artists - one holed up in Achrafieh and the other holed up in Sin al-Fil - made drawing after drawing. When the power supply was on, they posted their pieces online, filling their respective blogs with diary-like accounts of living through the war in Lebanon. They each checked out the other’s work, as they each wondered how the other would respond to the day. Sometimes they felt the satisfaction of seeing a particularly trenchant piece of work. 

Anxiety and Cautious Optimism

Most of the posts in the Lebanese blogosphere reflect the atmosphere of anxiety, pessimism and mistrust that is the general mood of the Lebanese nowadays. Here is a summary of some of the posts. An attempt has been made to include one or two light posts with brighter outlooks, but they did not drown the overall disposition mentioned above. Let’s begin by mentioning Lebanon’s loss of Joseph Samaha, a very prominent columnist and political analyst, last week. Many bloggers posted about the man and his works. Jamal Ghosn wrote a post about Samaha which he began with: “Life Goes On, but it must not go on dumber, less informed, mentally poorer.” 

Photostory: Solidarity in Solidere

In recent weeks and months Lebanon has faced major political upheaval, marked by massive street demonstrations, international political intervention and a national general strike. Lebanon’s political opposition maintains an ongoing open-air demonstration in central Beirut, which commenced on December 1st, 2006, fueled by popular discontent toward the current national government. Vivid political debate in Lebanon and throughout the Lebanese Diaspora presents challenging political questions toward both the current government and political opposition regarding growing sectarian strife across an increasingly divided nation. 

Curfew and questions in Beirut

Today, January 25, 2007, violence broke out around 2:30pm at the Beirut Arab University, which is around the sports stadium close to the airport road. According to one report, it seems like the original conflagration occurred in the cafeteria and was then taken out into the streets. By now most people have seen images of the chaos that ensued. Many of us learnt about it when we first tried to use our phones and found all lines down. It is 11:30pm as I sit to write this; I am locked in my apartment along with the rest of the residents of Beirut. There is a military enforced curfew that went into affect at 8:30pm and will last until tomorrow morning at around 10:00 or 11:00am. 

The Cedar Revolution Goes South

Two years after the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, America’s Cedar Revolution in Lebanon has gone “Citrus”. The chic Lebanese divas with maids in tow wagging protest signs on their employer’s behalf are absent. Riad El Sohl Square in downtown Beirut is now occupied by a working class tent city with “Citrus” supporters from the Opposition: Religious Shias — Hezbollah (yellow), secular Shias — Amal (green), and Christians of the Free Patriotic Movement (orange). But all are united under one banner “Clean Up the Government!” 

Strike or Riot?

It has been an insane twenty-four hours in Lebanon. It began when a photojournalist friend called to invite me out to accompany him on his shoot. The first stop was the tent city sit-in downtown. I’ve been there many times, but he was going around with Aoun and Hezbollah officials so I was excited to have an opportunity to speak with them while my friend shot his pictures for a European newspaper. It’s so interesting periodically walking around this space. Each time I go there I see new elements of a mini village set up. One tent in the Aoun area has potted flowers and tents all around it and last night I met the woman who stays in that tent.