Lebanon: Palestine & Israel, Values that don’t work & the Sahsouh

The Lebanese blogosphere this week seems to be directly affected by the situation in the occupied territories of Palestine. Anti-Semitism in Lebanon, the besieging of Gaza, Israeli flag in the World Cup and books by Israelis that “distort” facts are some of the topics discussed. In addition to these we find out about a case where the values we are taught when young do not work well when we get older. We also learn about a common Lebanese practice called the Sahsouh.

Sietske in Beiroet, a Dutch blogger in Beirut, posts on the difficult task of writing about anti-Semitism in Lebanon:

“My newspaper asked me to do a story on anti-Semitism in Lebanon. And on how the terms anti-Jewish, anti-Zionistic and anti-Israeli are being used intermittently. I struggle a bit with the subject because I don’t think most Dutch have a clear idea as to how the Lebanese have suffered from Israeli actions over the past, what, say 40 years now? And I am not taking the Palestinian cause into consideration now, just the Lebanese. […]
But this anti-Semitism issue is a bit of a painful subject here in Lebanon. […] Over here there are very strong anti-Israeli sentiments, and understandably so. As there are so very few Jews (left) in Lebanon […]
I live in one of the most mixed neighborhoods in Beirut, and many people I have spoken with say that at one point in time they either had Jewish friends, or went to school with Jewish people. These have all left since the war. And they will tell you very clearly that they have no problems at all with Jews. It’s the Israelis that bug them.”

The Arab – Israeli conflict was also the topic of a post by Anarchistian where she critiques two books “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East” by an Israeli ex-diplomat Michael Oren and The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World” by Avi Shlaim :

“Let me give him the benefit of the doubt (as I usually generously do with Zionist authors, if only to avoid being accused of anti-Semitism – although at the end of the day it won't matter because unless I support the Zionists I will be considered an anti-Semite) for simplifying this issue, and let's say this cause-and-effect analysis is accurate. […]
Detonating bombs in Egyptian cinemas (by no means empty of civilians) is now considered, by this ex-member of the Israeli delegation to the UN, “vandalism”, but detonating bombs in Israeli cinemas and on buses is of course, terrorism, a terrible crime committed by a people (a people? I thought they considered the Palestinians cockroaches and two-legged beasts for the longest time – still do???) […]

The on going Lebanese National Dialogue received a mocking post from Jamal where the Palestinian plight was also noted:

“As I type this Elie Skaff [Leb MP]and friends are once again meeting to discuss a defense strategy against summer season bugs and mosquitoes. Don't you hate it when you're enjoying a day on the beach and a zionist dragonfly dives into your mojito? That won't happen anymore if Elie Skaff gets his way today in session #500 of the national dialogue. […]
500 Palestinians will be crushed under 500 tanks in the next week. 500 people worldwide will notice, the rest are busy watching the World Cup.”

Perpetual refugee, a Lebanese whose work sometimes takes him to Israel, discusses the warmth of human relationship he experienced when he met three rabbis and how this experienced was marred by the news of the seven family members that were killed on the beach of Gaza.

writes on the values that we learn as children and the disappointments that we experience when we grow up:

“When we were little children, they kept teaching us that we should “study hard” in order to succeed. Then in our minds, we made a link between working hard and success.
During university, I still believed that hard work breeds success.
Anyway, working hard to get a grade means that the student has to fully grasp the technical literature, then practice by solving problems before going to the exam. The problem is I never had enough time to grasp 9 courses literature and solve problems. Other students concentrated on solving problems instead of trying to fully grasp the course text, some got better grades than I did. Hence, working hard is not a valid solution.
All this reminds me of Disney cartoons and Uncle Scrooge who would repeat, “Don't work hard, work smart.” After all you will not be judged for hard work, you will be judged for the results. Nobody cares how you did what you did as long as you get it done.”

A Ghanaian player raised the Israeli flag when his team won during one of the matches in the world cup. This incident raised some commotion in the Arab world. Mustapha tackles this issue in a post where he states the different views on the event as portrayed in the Arabic media and goes on to analyze and criticize them.

June being the month against torture, Moussa writes a post in which he concludes that the situation in Gaza amounts to collective torture.

On a lighter note, Jamal writes about the “ritual” of slapping the back of the neck when one gets a new hair cut, a practice called the Sahsouh:

“The Sahsouh is a ritual performed on a male who's showing off a freshly cut head of hair. It aims at restoring a feeling of warmth to a recently-shaved, cold, and naked neck through a severe blow from the palm of a hand. The Sahsouh is always accompanied with the word “Naeeman” which you'd think means “Die motherfucker!” but is actually part of hair cuttery pleasantries.
There are no documented cases of paralysis caused by a Sahsouh, but any look around town shows that brain damage is clearly widespread.”


  • Gisella

    I am very much afraid that if american citizens are rescued, there might be an attack by the israeli army, some might be killed in order to blame the Sirian government. Of course this will be the excuse for the Bush administration to intervene. I remember that durin the “Yom Kippur” war, the israelis painted an airplane with the american colours, just to inflame the egyptians. This behaviour from their part has always been the same.
    I cannot stop crying for the innocent killed, you just have to do your maths to see who are the real victims.

    PHILIP RUDDOCK is now Australia’s Attorney General.Philip Ruddock is also known as the “Walking Cadaver.”
    The following is an article from the “Sydney Morning Herald”September, 17th, 1996.
    The Government will cap and kill applications by Australians to bring their overseas spouses into Australia a move which would see long-term separations of married couples unless the Opposition allows through the Senate tough new measures to curb applications.
    The Minister for Immigration, Mr Ruddock,said the draconian move,allowable under present law but never used in relation to spouses, would help curb huge increases in applications for spouses, some of which were shams, but others ‘a fraud on Australians’.
    Under present practise,applications for offshore spouses to come are allowed regardless of the quota set.Mr Ruddock wants to enforce his quota by a cap and queue regulation, making applicants after the qouta is reached to wait, possibly for months, until heading the queue for next years intake.
    But in the face of Labor opposition in the Senate, he threatened to use his general cap and kill power to terminate applications made post-qouta.This would force Australians to apply again next year on equal terms with next year’s applicants, causing indefinite separations.
    Mr Ruddock’s threat, which contradicts the Coalition’s strong pro-family rhetoric but is part of a clampdown on migration numbers,was denounced by Labor’s immigration spokeman, Mr Duncan Kerr, as social engineering.
    The Opposition last week knocked off in the Senate one of several changes to regulations to tighten elegibility for ‘preferential family’ migration,available to spouses and aged parents.Mr Kerr told the Herald Labor would also disallow Mr Ruddock’s ‘cap and queue’ regulation.
    Mr Ruddock told the Herald that if people who had already applied were allowed in,the progam would overstep this year’s 36,700 quota by about 13,000.Rather than allow an overshoot, he would use his general power under current law to cap and kill,unless Labor stopped trying to micro-manage his immigration program by disallowing regulations in the Senate.
    Mr Kerr said that ‘Australians have always exercised their own choice on who they’ll marry,and I don’t believe any red-blooded Australian will allow the Government to force couples to queue up to live together.Now he’s saying if he can’t queue them he’ll cut them off.
    ‘If you meet and marry in January,thats OK,but if you’re a December bride or groom you mightn’t be able to get your spouse in for years.’
    Mr Ruddock said he did not regard cap and terminate as the best outcome, but if it is necessary I will be applying it.
    He said Labor had maintained a steady 37,000 quota for four years,before lifting it last year to 50,000.Many people had reported partners ‘walking out the door as soon as they arrive in Australia.’ ‘The fraud is being occasioned on Australians by people seeking to migrate,’ he said.
    Mr Kerr blamed the increase on the wash-up of the Tiananmen Square massacre,under which Labor granted 40,000 Chinese people refugee status.But Mr Ruddock said there rises in applications accross the board, and the percentage increase was as great in England.”
    JOHN HOWARD-The Lying Rodent.John Howard wants free trade but not the free movement of people.He thinks Australias biggest assets are its sheep, coal and uranium not people.He says he has the final solution to our problems “Too many people.”
    The Blacklist
    “Philip Ruddock gazetted regulations when he was Australia’s immigration minister[number S241 of 1997] to stop visitors from many countries coming to Australia and among them is Poland.[Israel is also on the list as well as the following countries-Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritius, Nauru, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Yugoslavia].”
    More at

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