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. 

Saddam Hussein and Lebanese Politics

The last week in 2006 wasn’t just about the celebration of the holidays. There’s also the anti-government protest, the hanging of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and politics in the Middle East. The environment was the concern of Dove’s Eyes View, who comments on the Bush’s administration most significant concessions to date on the dangers of global warming as it proposes protecting the polar bears. And Layal voices the concern of a Lebanese youth who refuses to leave Lebanon despite the current political conditions and even though all of her high school and university friends are traveling abroad. 

Lebanese bloggers roundup: Foreign Intervention and Economics

The Lebanese bloggers are united this week in wishing their readers all the best during Christmas, Al Adha and the New Year. Some of these bloggers have taken up the issue of foreign intervention in the region as a subject of reflection while others highlight the sad state of economy and the effects that the political situation is having on it. The Lebanese bloggers also addressed the March 14 investigations and media coverage thereof. 

From Hamra to Dahye

Tonight I caught a tiny glimpse of the anger that the masses might express here in Lebanon. Tonight’s confluence of national forces in the main squares of downtown Beirut were complemented by spontaneous action in the neighborhoods. Gift in hand, a great dinner invitation from a host and hostess who live in Dahye, and looking foreward to a wonderful home cooked meal, I found myself in a taxi with a driver patiently, and kindly doing his utmost to maneuver the side streets of various neighborhoods to avoid a huge demonstration on one of the main highways between Dahye and downtown. Suddenly he pulled a political photo from under a pile of papers on the dash board and placed it on top, face-up, as we passed small cliques of men and teenagers, some holding wooden sticks as weapons. 

When Rain Becomes the Nightmare: National Day Against Cluster Bombs!

When it comes to cluster bombs, rain was again an issue; a big tent was put up in Martyr s square in downtown Beirut to host the event to avoid the pouring sky. Many NGOs, local and international, gathered to raise awareness about this indiscriminate weapon and to voice a demand for a ban on its manufacturing, distribution and usage. School children and adults toured the multiple sections of the event, an extensive photo exhibit revealing the perilous impact of these weapons in Southern Lebanon; a booth and area where specialists illustrated the stages in constructing prosthetics and artificial limbs, and where the public could also try them along with wheel chairs; and a puppet show for children raising awareness amongst the children. 

UNIFIL: What are they here for?

Resolution 1701 ignores, apparently deliberately, the investigations held not only by the United Nations itself, but also independent investigations conducted by international organizations like Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International — only to name a few — which find Israel responsible for serious violations on many levels, some irreversible. Resolution 1701 equates between an act of invasion and aggravated damage to the Lebanese infrastructure, environment, and population both Lebanese and Palestinian, with the legitimate response and (in comparison to Israel’s military power) the microscopic military power of Hezbollah. 

I was crying and shouting, but nobody was answering

Mahmoud Zeidan with Lens on Lebanon conducted interviews with citizens of southern Lebanon after they had been evacuated to hospitals. They and their doctors tell of indiscriminate bombing, the targeting of civilians and the use of unknown and exotic weaponry. Ahmad Ibrahim Hachim: “I lost my wife (31 years) and my three sons (2 years, 8 years and 12 years). My brother lost three sons (10 months, 7 years and 11 years). My third brother lost his two daughters (2 years and 4 years), and I lost my father (67 years). My cousin also lost his wife and five sons.” 

A prisoner in my own land

I was just released from prison. It has taken me a few days to sit down and calmly write about this experience as I have been slightly shocked and dazed. For safety purposes I am choosing to leave out the details of my arrest. It is enough to say that the reason for my detention was that I was “suspected of being a spy for Israel.” The ultimate crime: treason. And who but me to be a spy for Israel! I have been trying to tell my story, what I was doing, why I had been here or there, all of it, but every time I begin writing I feel like I am speaking, again, to my interrogators; I don’t like that feeling. 

"And still, it continues ...": Lebanese bloggers react to massacre at Qana

“The families will grieve. The children will grow up without their mothers. The memorial at Qana, already displaying the coffins of 106 civilian deaths, will swell by at least 55 more, at least 20 of them children’s sized. And the atrocities, tacitly and repeatedly permitted, will continue. ” Today in the Lebanese village of Qana, over 54 civilians, including at least 34 children, were killed in Israel’s most deadly strike on Lebanon since it began bombarding the country 19 days ago. The attack echoes Israel’s strike on the same village 10 years ago, when 100 civilians taking shelter in a UN base there. Here is a collection of posts made on Lebanese blogs in reaction to the massacre. 

Growing Grassroots in Beirut

Beirut is a city that vibrates with political culture and is defined by a history of social justice struggles. Currently, Lebanon is undergoing massive political changes, sparked by street protests following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February and the subsequent withdrawal of approximately 15,000 Syrian troops and intelligence officials last April. The future for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in refugee camps throughout Lebanon is also central to current political discussions in the region, as refugees continue to demand their right to return to occupied Palestine.