Lebanon: Pope, Politics, Post-War Casualties and Circumcision

This week Lebanese blogs discusses circumcision, the environment, the Pope's quote on Islam, Lebanese politics, post war hardships and suspicions among other things.

Let us start this weeks sampling by answering these questions: What if Google was used to settled battles … who would win? Interested in knowing? Lazarus has graphical answers to a number of world conflicts.

What do you think about male circumcision? Maya@NYC wrote on this and other stuffs. Her post sounds like this:

Female brains work in mysterious ways. Even for a female observer. I have seen the tantrums, the jealousies, the possessiveness, the suspicion, the disregard… But male brains… not to be sexist or anything…. Men have this PC-inspired quality: shut down completely before updating the information. Tonight, an American female friend, after 3 hour of chatting and 1 glass of wine (or was it the other way around?) finally gathered the courage to ask me: so is circumcision a big thing in Lebanon?

What do you think of the environment in Lebanon? Take a look at the photo of the sad state of the Beirut River taken by Anarchorev.

Now let us look at the topic which had the most posts in the Lebanese blogosphere this week: the Pope's quotation about Islam during one of his lectures. The reaction to the Pope's quote was not just a simple attack or defense. They were in fact very diverse. They range from a call for inter-faith marriage to declaring that all religions are intrinsically intolerant.

Sietske in Beiroet makes the following call:

I myself am very much fed up with the whole religion issue, and I think my best contribution to this society has been to marry someone of a different faith. And when I think about it, all my good friends are mixed couples. We’ve got a Christian-Druze couple, a catholic-Sunni, an orthodox-Sunni, a Shia-protestant, a Shia-Sunni, to name just a few. And these are all marriages of 13 years or more. They all have kids that are oblivious to the fact whether someone is a Christian or a Druze or a Muslim. You want to do something for your country? Marry someone from the other sect. And make it fast. Time is running out.

Abu Kais declares the impossibility for any religion to be tolerant :

I think interfaith dialogue is a waste of time. It’s sort of like Lebanon’s National Dialogue—the participants come to talk at one another, each believing that he and only he is right. And then war erupts, and nobody learns anything. I also find it tragic that some people still expect one religion to exhibit tolerance and understanding towards other religions seen as wrong and inferior. People forget that tolerance cannot be a property of religion. Anyone who describes a particular religion, be that Islam, Christianity or Judaism, as tolerant, is delusional. Anyone who tries to devise/promote a tolerant form of religion is probably wasting our time. By definition, organized religion is an invitation to intolerance towards the “other”. Period.

Prof As’ad directs his request for apology to a different source:

Should not Muslims be insisting (also at least) that their rulers apologize to them for their offensive words AND deeds?

Dr Victorino explains why Pope Benedict is wrong about Islam by posting about Saint Aquinas’ natural law and Saint McLuhan’s law of the media.

Vox defends the Pope’s position and right to free expression.

While N10452 suggests that the Islamic leaders reactions proved the Pope right.

Mustapha has a more moderate post on the subject in which he states:

it is one thing to say that many Muslims are taking a course in their lives that is not based on reason (which I would have agreed with), but it is a completely different matter to suggest that Islam itself is at fault because it’s not based on reason, all the while implying that Christianity is better because it is. As Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a respectable Lebanese Shiite cleric puts it: “We call on the pope to carry out a scientific and fastidious reading of Islam. We do not want him to succumb to the propaganda of the enemy”

Away from this matter there are a few posts on the internal political struggle going on in Lebanon. Let us consider Jamal’s take on the prime minister for example:

At the end of the day, Fouad Siniora is just a loyal employee of Hariri Inc. (Not to use harsher descriptions thrown his way.) His failed 13+ months experiment as Prime Minister was nothing more than a lesson in the grooming process of his boss. While he was dizzy being pushed around in different directions, Boss was lounging on a Mediterranean island beach doing lines and taking notes on the Dos and Don'ts of Prime ministering. Siniora's usefulness seems to be expiring soon and while his name has been battered in many circles, his non-committal Boss is unscathed. Welcome to Feudal Leadership 101.

Charles Malik discusses in length what he sees as crisis in the Lebanese Christian community.

Lazarus outlines the necessity of a new marketing campaign for the March 14 bloc (another name for the Cedar Revolution) after observing their failures.

The issue unexploded ordnance and the post-cease fire casualties caused by them is still a topic discussed Lebanese blogs: Tears for Lebanon posts on the case of a 12 year old boy who is the first case to be taken abroad for treatment from mutilation caused by cluster bombs dropped by Israel.

Sophia also highlights this subject and other war crimes in view of the latest war between Israel and Lebanon.

Finally, this week witnessed the 24th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps (in Beirut) massacres. This subject was discussed in length by Anarchorev.

1 comment

  • You should see the Beirut River after December.

    Aside form that, that was a nice overview of posts. I tend to agree with AbuKais on the issue regarding the pope, with a qualifier; it is MISSIONARY religions who cannot get along.

    In any case, regardless of whether the pope was righ ro wrong, he was supremely right in voicing an opinion, especially one as well researched as his. Those who disagree would better object to his opinion, instead of responding with one liners and bombs.

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