Lebanon: Politics and the Finer Arts

The political turmoil in Lebanon seems to be taking its toll on the Lebanese blogosphere. Many posts reflect on the internal squabble going on. But we can still find some art, poetry and environmental concerns.

Starting with the fine art of caricature: Amal started a series of cartoons in which she draws Lebanese bloggers in addition to her cartoons on current events. Her latest was that of Jamal. Check out her depiction of other bloggers like jij, eve and hilal.

In the spirit of Ramadan, Jamal defines the meaning and job description of the “Msaharati”:

A dude banging a drum and screaming his lungs out at 3 a.m. is one of these factors that aren't programmed into your night noise blocking system. That's the Msaharati. His message is “Wake up and Eat.” A noble cause except he is the bar tender who pokes a passed-out drunkard to sell him one more drink.

The best part about the Msaharati is that he will come to your door the day after Ramadan to “wish you a happy holiday”. No Shame whatsoever.

The Msaharati, a Ramadan tradition for karaoke bar rejects.

While Mirvat has another very interesting poem, in shape and content, which ends:

[…] We’re ruthless to the penniless and the powerless and we’re proud
Overconfident and overstuffed and we’re whores for crowds
We lead the earth and its population into sure obliteration
We foresee doom upon doom with each inauguration
We substitute hard work with mere manipulation
With less smart minds and more smart bombs
Less bookstores and more tanning salons
Less health care and more hair care
Less art and more bleak reality
Less love and more money
Less woman and more
Plastic and aquarelle
Money for apparels
Isolated citadels
For loneliness
In an ipod
A nano
All ….

Will just get worse

The environment was Sietske in Beiroet's topic for a lengthy post about the oil spill, dirty beaches, salt flats and the quarries.

Anyway, the oil seems to have sunk in on beaches. But according to the Seacore guy, this isn’t really a problem. He is planning on cleaning the stretch of Byblos to Anfeh – about 25 kilometers – in exactly 60 days (and with $5 million). That includes getting that ‘rim out of the bath tub’ as he called it – all the rocky parts have this black oil on the water level – the monuments, the beaches, the oil that has sank to the bottom in front of the coast, the quay, and they intend to get the fishermen’s boats out and sandblast them to get that layer off as well.
The French and the Italians are in town as well to do some cleaning. The French guy however is talking about ‘years’, when it comes to cleaning up the coastal line. The American man of Seacore does not quite see why it should take that long. Maybe because the French are Mediterranean, like us (Lebanese).

And if you are one of those who feel bored at your work and wonder why, especially since you were very excited the first few months of work, then Ahmad’s “(Un) Challenged Minds” may have answers for you.

Now let’s turn to politics and war:
First the war in Iraq: Prof As’ad publishes a letter he received from his former student who is now serving in Iraq while Dr Victorino highlights the news that Israel knew about the American invasion of Iraq a year before it actually took place.

On the Lebanese front we have Anarchorev lambasting the Lebanese interior minister after criticizing the airport authorities for censoring an opposition website:

This is your Lebanon of web filters and thought control… of Saudi condemnation for HezbAllah’s “adventurism” and American shipping of “smart bombs” to strengthen democracy and freedom-loving forces led by Mr. Fuad Crocodile Tears Siniora and Ahmad Tea Serving Fatfat (interim interior minister). By the way, Ahmad Fatfat has a personal website, and has a section dedicated to “accomplishments”, and another to “political projects and principles“. Principles and accomplishments: Such as the killing of 11-year-old kids and serving tea to the Israeli occupiers.

Mustapha joins in by advising the government and March 14th politicians on how to deal with the opposition and other issues:

The best thing the March 14 media can do is to leave Aoun alone (Fares Khashan, Nassir As3ad, Paul Shawul and Ali Hmedeh, I hope you read this) and start focusing on important things, like how to deal with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. How can we cajole Nabih Berri and bring him to our side? How can we build a less corrupt political machine that can win elections with bigger margins? How can we implement the Taif accord and consolidate the national partnership? How can we weed out corruption in the system?

Abu Kais who is now visiting Lebanon and searching for the “Divine Victory” reflects on the turmoil going on:

You stop to gaze at the many churches, mosques and remnants of polytheistic temples that make downtown Beirut such a historical wonder. And then you remember the blood that once flowed on those streets, and your own lost childhood. You leave the city center wondering whether your child will see this version of the city, or another.

Civil war. Is the country being dragged into a civil war? If it is, the country is kicking and screaming. But is anyone listening?

And if you were wondering why Israel dropped this huge amount of cluster bombs on Lebanon last July then check Jeha who analyses why he believes it is a tactic to prepare the terrain for a new Israeli round of attacks.

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