Electronic Lebanon

Few rights, low pay for 200,000 migrant domestic workers


BEIRUT (IRIN) - Loud screams break the quiet of a Beirut neighborhood in the early hours of Sunday 15 June: It’s Angelique, a 26-year-old domestic worker from Congo, crying for the police as she runs to the balcony. From inside the apartment, a man’s voice yells her name, swearing in Arabic and French. There are the sounds of fists and slaps and more screams, before all falls silent. 

"Lost generation" of Iraqi refugee children in Lebanon


BEIRUT (IRIN) - Of the 10 million refugees worldwide, half are children, estimates UK-based World Vision — children who will grow up as a “lost generation” unless more is done to address their needs. “To preserve the young generation growing up today, we need to shield children from violence, enhance humanitarian access and provide more resources targeted to children’s specific needs,” World Vision said in a report highlighting the plight of Iraqi refugee children in Jordan, released to coincide with 20 June, World Refugee Day. 

UNRWA "not satisfied" with pace of reconstruction in Palestinian refugee camp


BEIRUT (IRIN) - One year on since the fighting between Islamist militant group Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army destroyed most of the northern Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp and displaced up to 40,000 of its residents, the pace of reconstruction remains grindingly slow. The “old camp,” inside the official boundary, is mostly rubble and is the responsibility of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) to rebuild. 

Meet the Lebanese Press: All the prime minister's men


Efforts to form a Lebanese government come against the backdrop of a surprise visit by US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and intermittent armed clashes between loyal and opposition groups in various parts of the country, mainly the central Bekaa region. Rice’s visit, stalling the implementation of the Doha Accords, as well as regional developments including announcement of a truce between Israel and Hamas and Turkish-mediated Syrian-Israeli “peace” talks could be seen as efforts to sideline Iran’s allies in the Arab world in preparation for a possible showdown between Washington and Tehran. 

Refugee children chronicle life in camp


BEIRUT (IRIN) - A photograph of the sea, perfectly framed by the ragged window of a gutted building, illustrates the contrasts of Lebanon. Hanging in Medina Theatre as part of an exhibition in Beirut’s fashionable Hamra district, it could easily be the work of a professional. But the photographer is seven-year-old Manah Moustafa Diab from Rashidieh refugee camp, one of the 12 camps for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 

Karim Makdisi discusses the Doha Agreement and Lebanon's economic crisis


Neo-liberal economic policies adopted by successive political parties since Lebanon’s 15-year civil war came to an end in 1990 have left the country in economic ruins. All of the main political parties neglect the growing poverty rates, crumbling economy and staggering emigration in Lebanon today. Karim Makdisi, a professor in the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, spoke with Stefan Christoff about Doha and the economic and social policies of the government and opposition forces in Lebanon. 

Meet the Lebanese Press: Deal struck in Doha


The Lebanese are deal-struck: in one day, their parliamentarians were to ratify decisions agreed upon in Doha, Qatar that will lead to the installment of a new president, the formation of a national partnership government, and the holding of parliamentary elections in one year’s time under a resurrected electoral law of the 1960s with some amendments. The speed and suddenness of the deal were a direct consequence of the change in the balance of power on the ground in the wake of the Hizballah military operation that exposed the weakness of the loyalist camp. 

Nahr al-Bared: more questions than answers


One year ago, on 20 May 2007, the fighting began between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. During more than three months of fighting between the army and the extremist group, more than 47 Palestinian civilians, 178 soldiers and at least 220 militants were killed. More than half a year after the battle came to an end, only a fraction of its residents have been allowed to return. 

Journalist Anthony Shadid discusses Qatar talks


As negotiations in Doha, Qatar take place between Lebanon’s political leaders in an effort to reach a settlement to the current internal conflict, Ola Hajar spoke with veteran journalist Anthony Shadid. Shadid spoke about the impact of US-driven policies in the Middle East within the context of the “war on terror” and their specific impact on Lebanon, and he also commented on the US position towards Hizballah’s role in Lebanese politics.