Thursday, March 31, 2011

Half a century…… almost!

Half a century almost; and STILL I am in search of answers.
Half a century almost; and I am STILL being forced to deal with forced changes.
Half a century almost; and my future STILL seems insecure.
Half a century almost; and my disdain is STILL ever growing.
Half a century almost; And STILL I can’t claim to be part of ONE nation and ONE people.
Half a century almost; and I STILL have my gun close by in my night stand.

The above is nothing but a mere ‘lucarne’ to the soul of those Lebanese born into the early 60’s, and still believe in the land of the Cedars (and for those less romantic you can call it LEBANON).
From Bechara Al Khoury, Majid Arslan, Kamal Junblat, Camille Chamoun, Fouad Chehab, Antoun Saadeh, to Maarouf Saad, Etienne Sakr, , Saad Haddad, Ibrahim Kulaylat..etc ending with the likes of Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Mouammar Al Kaddafi, Yasser Arafat… and many more; we should have realized a long time ago that we are (according to the “then and now” prevailing powers) “disposable”, not even as a nation or people; just plain DISPOSABLE. And we still are.
Over 180,000 shed blood for their different vision of the motherland; and here we are today standing (gun in hand) at square one. Two generations (and the third is in the making) since our so called independence and the divide is growing deeper. The fear of one (OK only a couple) of the 18 different religious sects trying to take over and change the face of Lebanon, is a notion I never would have even entertained, but has now became ‘food for thought’. On one hand we have a Divine protector who pledges allegiance to Wilayat al Fakih backed by a demented general, and on the other hand we have a new born Christian allied to the very religious sect, who not long ago wanted to push him to the sea and create a Palestinian state within our borders.
And this new generation of ours (the second generation, our hope for a better future) has jumped on the “revolution” bandwagon, and demonstrates almost every Sunday for a secular state. “iskat al nizam” they shout out proudly; but what “nizam” I ask? The same “nizam” which allows you to ride your moped and wreak havoc within safe neighborhood? Or the very same “nizam” which allows you to have darkened windshields on your car, a license to carry arms, to fire RPG rocket in jubilation, to have your dad on the government payroll whilst holding another more lucrative job?
Lebanon is not Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya… or even Sierra Leon. Lebanon is the only country within the Middle East whereby a Christian can have a say and not be persecuted for his beliefs, and his places of worship not burned to the ground (like Egypt even after the January revolution). Lebanon is a Biblical land, and Lebanon is the only safe haven for Christians.
Having said that; yes I am for a secular state. A STRONG state which will provide for ALL its people equally.
The state of Lebanon, where any citizen will not have to notice the difference between any millimeters of the 10452km2.
The State of Lebanon where one can take his camera and take pictures of mountains, valleys, churches, mosques, synagogues, …etc without being told that he couldn’t.
The state of Lebanon, where a mother has the right to pass on the Lebanese nationality to her children.
The state of Lebanon, where “ahwal al shakhsiya” are the same for all its citizens regardless of religion.
The state of Lebanon, where religious figures take care of their flock and do not dwell in politics.
The state of Lebanon, where one religious sect is NO LONGER ALLOWED to impose its way of life within its area of influence.
The state of Lebanon, held accountable towards its people regardless.
The state of Lebanon, capable of providing basic necessities and security to all its citizens.
The state of Lebanon……. The list is long.
Are you going to demonstrate next Sunday? And if you are, for what? 24 hours electricity, decent public transport, health care, clean environment, impartial judicial system, unified history book dealing with the period stretching from 1975 to 1990, spousal abuse law, child labor, demarcation of land and sea frontiers, armed militias, counterfeit food products, civil liberties…etc? Or the more pressing issue, according to you, a SECULAR state????

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michel Aoun, Hotel Dieu?

A few minutes ago, whilst I was flicking through TV channels, the news broke out that General Michel Aoun was admitted to Hotel Dieu hospital with no details whatsoever. In order to quench my thirst for details I spent time checking different local channels in search of more details, but with no avail. OTV’s banner said that Aoun went for a simple check up and that he is doing well (sigh of relief). Ok, fine Hotel Dieu’s lab can open for VIP’s. This little piece of (worthless) news reminded me of the time when champagne bottles were opened on Beit Mery’s roundabout when rumors of Hafez Al Assad’s passing took over the “sharkieh”. Yes I am about to go and buy a few cases myself, but I would rather wait. And while I am waiting, I can’t help but wonder if Hotel Dieu has enough adjacent rooms to cater for the rest of our political class; and what an irony it would be if all (our political class that is) will spend their last days in what should then be called the “seventh gate of hell” hospital.


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Apology !

Those (few) who know me will tell you that I am not a devout practicing Christian. And those (even fewer) who read me, will remember how many times (sorry Zoon) I was critical of Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir.
Today, Bkerke witnessed a ceremony, a “solemn” farewell to a man on who inherited the heavy responsibility of safekeeping the sheer survival of a (religious) community fragmented by (then) 11 years of war. His foes were many and varied, from foreign to local, and even from within his own flock. But the man stood his grounds. From “Kornet Shehwan” passing through “harb al ilgha and harb al tah7rir, to “the Cedar Revolution” and the 7th of May; I was still critical. A man of the “clothe”, I always believed should never dwell (and soil) his hands in politics.
Yes I held him responsible for not letting the people march onto Baabda and dethrone the “Lebanese Olympic swimming” despot we had for president then, and I also blamed him for succumbing to the pressures of having to come up with a list of hopeful presidential candidates when I thought (and I still think) that he should have remained silent; but now I less question his motives (not to say his wisdom and admit that I totally misread him). Today Moutran Abi Joudeh’s apology to the patriarch I related to.
This might be the time of “revolutions”, “freedom” and “power to the people” (although I doubt it). For me this is a time to extend my apology to a Lebanese figure (and not to a religious man) who sought to protect me as a LEBANESE against change from oppression to utter chaos. When today a church was burned down to the ground in Egypt; I can only wonder about some of the slogans that were shouted in “Tahrir Square” which it reminded me of Gibran’s Tweini’s famous “naksimouh bil allah al 3azim…”. Who’s going to protect, not me, but my son now?
Gebran Bassil got his knickers in a twist today and did not attend the celebration in Bkerke, for he did not have a front row seat (being THE representative for Michel Aoun). My answer is to he is the following video clip, and to the Marada movement whom representative decided to leave in the middle of the ceremony I can only say:
“Remember when Slimmy said that “the patriarch is having a “bonner” being amongst his female friends, and when his retarded followers shouted out loud “inta batrakna ya Sleiman”?
Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir is a dignified man, and I apologize for some of the words I wrote about him.

N.B: In the enclosed clip, I wonder if the kid being held during the storming of Bkerkeh is not Gebran Bassil. Can someone shed a light?