Shirin from Lebanon

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A New Face in My Portfolio

On May 16, 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy became the 6th president of the French Fifth Republic. The guy seems pretty reasonable to me… Just last week he sent his foreign minister Kouchner on his first trip out of France directly to Lebanon. The visit was said to reaffirm "French solidarity with Lebanon and its people…". Kouchner also delivered a letter from Sarkozy expressing support for Lebanon and for quick establishment of the international tribunal where Hariri's assassins will be tried. Furthermore France is determined that "stability reign in South Lebanon", and that the presidential elections "should work on fortifying Lebanon's sovereignty and pave the way toward reforms in constitutional and administrative institutions". Now that’s the kind of things I like to hear from a new French government.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has also made a few remarks that put him in my good books. He condemned the terrorist attacks last week (which is something I'd expect any Secretary General to do) and he appealed to the Lebanese people to unite in confronting the challenges facing our country. That might not be such a revolutionary remark, but there's something in the way he expresses his support that makes his words seem very sincere. Calling on the Lebanese to unite in the face of threats to their stability and security certainly gives him the right to enter this post.

In yet another controversial speech last Friday we had the pleasure of hearing Nasrallah's first comments regarding the situation in Nahr el-Bared camp, we were reminded Siniora is a puppet of the U.S. and received a warning that Lebanon is risking getting dragged into America's war against Al-Qaeda. I know we should be cautious about the aid we get, and Lebanon is in need of a range of important things and not just arms, but if anyone is responsible for setting up and training fighters who interfere with our goals of reform, stability and prosperity there are other people to point a finger at before the U.S.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Liverpool vs. Milan

I'm not that into soccer. It's almost like confessing a sin… All my friends have been watching the Champion's League games, and are waiting anxiously for the final game in Athens. Lately I've been watching the games with them. It was hard to understand what was going on in the beginning, but after a few games (and lots of lengthy explanations from my friends) I kind of got it. At least I get to spend some quality time with them, and after the game is over and they calm down we sit around and talk about our studies, philosophy, politics, Lebanon. I actually started liking these evening we spend eating fries in front of the TV watching soccer games. My friends want Milan to win – I am just there to enjoy myself and don't really care who wins, but my friends are so excited about it that I also started hoping for Milan to win.Yet in this atmosphere of preparing for a fierce fight I cannot forget the grave situation in my homeland, where the battle will result in more than winning a cup.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In Memory of one of Lebanon's Martyrs of Journalism

On May 3rd, 2006 during a ceremony held on World Press Freedom Day by UNESCO Beirut, a torch was lit in commemoration of the last fallen journalist Gebran Tueni.
As an artist I sometimes let my mind wander and I daydream about a different reality I would like to see for my country and the Lebanese nation.
When I read biographies of people like Gebran Tueni it's almost impossible to believe this was a real person and the things written in his biography did actually take place. It's like some of my day dreams came true.
A respected journalist, son of publishing magnate, and former statesman who served as an ambassador, a minister, and a member of Parliament and represented Lebanon at the United Nations. Tueni studied in France, returned to Lebanon and became a lead editorialist in An-Nahar newspaper.
The main thing that jumps to my mind when I hear the name Tueni is his part and mainly his vocal drive to free Lebanon from Syrian occupation, and especially his courage to speak up against Syria whilst still residing in Lebanon.
The massive car blast on the 12th of December, 2005 was the only way the goal of the Syrian-installed regime to silence the press could be achieved.
At the ceremony a book named "One Hundred Years of Red Ink", a commemoration for all assassinated Lebanese journalist over the last decade, was handed to journalists and students. The book covers the history of press freedom violations in Lebanon after many journalists had to pay a price to mark and defend press freedom in Lebanon. I feel sad we have such a history, and enough to fill the pages of an entire book.
Tueni is credited for fueling the momentum of demonstrations which culminated in the one-million-strong march on Martyr's Square on March 14, 2005 and for turning the tide against Syria. During the demonstrations, Tueni and his followers would take the following oath: "We swear by God Almighty, Muslims and Christians, to forever remain united, long live Lebanon and the Lebanese". May the torch lit at the ceremony, and all that’s being done towards the fight for freedom of the press kindle our hearts and give us hope for better days for Lebanon and our nation.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Crocodile tears

Are any of our leaders at all capable of calling us to order?!? Are they crying out loud just to get attention? Do they even feel the slightest obligation to the Lebanese nation? Or do they prefer to put on a hypocritical show of emotion every time something happens that shocks us and leaves us with a terrible sense of discomfort and fear. We are not safe in our country, not in our neighborhood, not even in our own homes. We cannot trust our neighbors and always check behind us to see if anyone is following. When will they sincerely feel for the nation, when will they behave like true leaders and lead us to prosperity and peace between us brothers? Do they really feel our sorrow?

As the crocodile our leaders nature is to cry and sob like a lost boy, to gain our sympathy, to provoke us to come closer to them and then to snatch at us...