Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Nothing but the truth. Even if against me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Aoun, Bassil and the Expats: Make Lebanon "Normal" First?

More so Aoun than Hariri, but the new Lebanese "administration" has been promising heaven on earth in Lebanon. To his many visitors crawling at his feet in Baabda, the new president - the "father of everyone" as they call him here (although he has been more generous to his own immediate family than to other Lebanese) - is promising pie in the sky. Not unlike Trump with his "make America great again" slogan, Aoun is even promising that Gebran Bassil, his beloved spoiled son-in-law brat, will soon be herding expat Lebanese cats from all over the five continents where millions of emigrant Lebanese have sought refuge over a couple of centuries, disgusted by decade after decade of unrelenting primitive governance and corruption, barbarism and sectarian violence and massacres, racism, tribalism, and ultra-religiosity, and other such hallmarks of backward Middle Eastern societies.

America may have been "great" once, and so Trump's slogan might have some relevance, although he too is promising Americans lots of hot air because "going back" is never a solution to a world moving forward. But Lebanon was never "great" to its people  to begin with. It may have been so to the feudal political bosses living high in their castles, and to the religious neanderthals lording over their herds from their grand monasteries, in collusion together to maintain the ordinary Lebanese sedated in a state of stupefied religious torpor with beliefs that the solution to their miserable lives are with a multitude of "holy men" (saints, hermits, ulemas, sayyids, etc.), and not in seeking better government. In Lebanon, religion is really the hashish of the people, and it makes them unlikely to rise up in revolution against the rotten status quo from which they continue to flee to the far flung corners of the world.

In their brief moments of lucidity, the Lebanese have always fled the country in disgust. It was never "good" to them. They abandoned entire villages and towns and moved en masse to the Americas, Australia, Europe and elsewhere because they were hungry, because there is no electricity, because there is no running water, because you suffer humiliation after humiliation for every piece of garbage official document, because you have to pay exorbitant fees and bribes to assholes and politically-appointed peons who man every public administration. In their new homelands, they discover that ordinary people are respected, that governments function normally, that there is some system in place, in contrast to a Lebanon where nothing works, government has no respect for its people, and where there is no system. I know from my own experience as an emigrant Lebanese that most of my expatriate countrymen curse Lebanon in their private conversations (كس إخت هالبلد وملا شعب، فارط، حاكمينو الزعران، بسوقو متل الحيوانات etc.), all the while professing their adulation for it in public.

And so the emigrant cats that Bassil now wants to herd back to the motherland will never come back for real. They may pay lip service and attend the fancy functions that Bassil throws for them in Brazil, Panama, and New York. They may declare their love for the country of their grandmother in their heavily accented languages, but they know deep down why they will never come back, nor will they acquire the Lebanese citizenship that Bassil is urging to request back. Why? Because they don't want to be taken for a ride; they don't want to be milked of their money for some fake patriotic slogan; they have dealt with Lebanese consulates and embassies and they know how incompetent and insulting their experiences with Lebanese bureaucrats have been to their dignity; they know from their relatives that trash and rubbish litter every street and road in Lebanon; they have seen the millions of plastic bags and bottles that litter the forests and the Mediterranean; they have seen the smog that hovers every morning over the coastline, spewed as thick black smoke from trucks, vans, buses and cars; they know that there are no public beaches in Lebanon because the political Mafia has stolen every meter of public seafront land to build their own resorts and force people into a system of servitude; they know that in Lebanon you can't simply go to a beach, put down a towel and enjoy the ocean; instead you have to deal with money-grabbing urchins with valet parking, exorbitant entry fees, and swim alongside corrupt rich snots who won't let their indentured "brown-colored" maid-slaves take a dip in the pool lest they stain the water! They know that in Lebanon, any man in a long robe, with strange headgear, and a beard is unelected, and immune to criticism and to accountability, because apparently these three signs are the Almighty's hallmarks of wisdom from the Bronze Age.

To the millions of expatriate and emigrant Lebanese: Bassil has two hidden agendas in his beggaring you to help your old homeland: 1- He wants your money to build more buildings and more roads, the only two functioning industries in Lebanon that unfortunately keep destroying Lebanon's nature and environment; he should instead be working for a modern public transportation system that will reduce cars, reduce the need for more roads, clean the air and the water, etc.... 2- He wants you to register for your Lebanese citizenship because you are Christians in your vast majority, and by your registration in the population rosters, you artificially increase the Christian population relative to the Muslims, and Bassil can now say that he must defend Christian rights. In other words, you are like cattle in Bassil's mindset. He just wants more cows in his Christian, but otherwise dirty, barn.

To Aoun and Bassil: Stop begging the expatriates and emigrants to acquire Lebanese citizenship and return to the conditions from which they fled in the first place. Start by fixing what is wrong in the country, and that is unfortunately pretty much everything (electricity, water, Internet, roads, air, incivility, ocean, forests, corruption, dirt and garbage everywhere....), and then the expats and emigrants will come by themselves and will have some dignity in spending money and acquiring the Lebanese citizenship.

Friday, December 2, 2016


Beirut, December 1st, 2016 - The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) calls on the Lebanese President, General Michel Aoun, to take decisive actions and fulfill his responsibilities in all matters of human rights, as they are inherent to his mandate as the new President of the Republic.

His Excellency General Michel Aoun, President of the Republic of Lebanon,

The Lebanese Center for Human Rights congratulates you on your election and hopes that you take all possible measures to effectively promote the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Lebanon, endorsed by The Lebanese Constitution and the country’s international commitments.

CLDH has been established in Lebanon since 2006 and represents the extension of SOLIDA association (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily), which has been active since 1996 on issues of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and impunity. Over time, CLDH has broadened its mandate to the fight against discrimination, racism and ensure the protection of refugees’ rights.

Unfortunately, Lebanon's picture today is very bleak, and every day, individuals –  often among the most vulnerable – become victims of an out-of-control system that violates fundamental human rights. There is no justification for torturing persons presumed innocent; having detainees languish in prison without access to a fair trial; arbitrarily holding in custody refugees by police and General Security officers for the sole reason of being a “refugee” because the State does not recognize such status; arresting children and separating them from their parents because they are undocumented; neglecting the families of the disappeared and not giving them any answer to their cases – but instead, using their cause as a showcase by politicians who do nothing to help them; not holding accountable human rights abusers, slavers, including  criminals nor bringing them before justice. 

Using the argument of the fight against terrorism, the promotion of national security or the existence of various emergencies to justify this situation, is a shameful demagogic and electoral response making Lebanon a State that fails to uphold the Rule of Law, as evidenced by the current situation in the country.

As the President of the Republic, you enjoy the power to act decisively on the following immediate steps, and we have no doubt you shall take into consideration the following:

-    To grant a presidential pardon for any person arrested before 2005 from the time of the Syrian army occupation insofar as Justice at that time enjoyed no independence;

-    To have a case-by-case review of the records of any person who has suffered an unfair trial after 2005 in order to grant presidential pardons for all doubtful cases when it is not possible to reconsider the case by an independent court;

-    To immediately establish the National Commission on Enforced Disappearances in the form of a decree as presented to the Government by Minister Chakib Qortbaoui;

-    To take firm public positions on refugees by condemning all arrests related solely to the legal status of persons. Only persons formally accused by the Justice (and not on the basis of an officer's statement) of a crime or offense shall be arrested;

-    To order the immediate protection by the Lebanese State services of any foreigner having fled his/her country and present within Lebanon’s territory - and safeguarding their basic human rights;

-    To take firm public positions on the fact that migrant workers, including domestic workers, should enjoy the same rights as Lebanese nationals and that the so-called "kafala" system is a legitimation of slavery

-    To have a peaceful, anti-racist and non-discriminatory discussion in all circumstances aiming at effectively alleviating social cleavages between Lebanese people on the one hand, and between refugees and local communities on the other hand.

The global trend towards human rights violations can be thwarted and we want Lebanon, for once, to become an example of compliance with its international commitments. At this time, most of those measures remain solely in your hands.

In anticipation of your positions and actions, please accept, Mr. President, our highest consideration.

The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hezbollah to Aoun: Ne me quitte pas...

It's been 4 weeks since Hariri has been trying to form a government, and the knot to be disentangled rests squarely with President Aoun's own ally, Hezbollah. Just as it did in the months preceding the presidential elections, Hezbollah plays the king maker, working from behind its haughty tower and dispensing various sticks in the wheels through lowly intermediaries like Berri and Frangiyeh. Lord Nasrallah, hovering high in his sublime aura and busy with more important business than his own country, such as the Syrian war and other tentacular shady ventures across the globe, will not deign come down and play with the dwarfs of Lebanese politics. By playing politics via puppets, Nasrallah maintains deniability and keeps alive the semblance of an alliance with Aoun, while in fact he keeps screwing Aoun every which way, then plays the arsonist-fireman who comes to the rescue of Aoun after he (Nasrallah) initially started the fire to begin with.

Meanwhile, all the oracles and signs keep pointing to an inexorable divorce between Nasrallah and Aoun, on account of the latter's volte-face and recent rapprochement with Hezbollah's avowed enemies, Hariri and Geagea. In his two critical speeches since his election, Aoun barely paid lip service to the "Resistance" (a.k.a. Hezbollah): In his swearing-in speech in parliament, he quickly mentioned it, but then in his Independence Day speech, Aoun completely ignored Hezbollah. Aoun's stated focus appears to be on domestic issues - corruption, rehabilitating the judiciary, etc. - and not on fighting the Quixotic "liberation" battles in Palestine-Israel and Syria that Hezbollah'e entire empire rests upon. The "alliance", as it were, has never been solid, and was never grounded in any ideological convergence; it was merely a tactical maneuver by both sides: Nasrallah needed a fig leaf on the Lebanese stage to continue abusing the country and Aoun provided it, while Aoun needed a credible raft to remain afloat while creating a lebensraum for himself in the Lebanese political pantheon after his return from exile in 2005 and Hezbollah provided that albeit reluctantly and never wholeheartedly.  

Since his appointment by Aoun as Prime Minister-designate, Saad Harri has not been able to put a government together because of Hezbollah and its puppets Nabih Berri and Suleiman Frangiyeh. Yet, 4 weeks into the stalemate, Hariri is said to have made up his mind, and has a 30-minister government ready to be signed off by Aoun. But the problem lies with Nabih Berri and Sleiman Frangiyeh who are being manipulated by Hezbollah to tarnish the start of, and maybe even derail, the new presidential term. Why? Any semblance of a return to normality in the functioning of the Lebanese State is Hezbollah's Achilles heel. The Iranian militia of Hassan Nasrallah has so far being successful only insofar as the Lebanese State was weak and dysfunctional, and this has been true since the early 1980s when Hezbollah was imported from Iran and transplanted in the midst of the Lebanese Shiite community. The stability promised to Lebanon by the Taef Agreement never materialized for one simple reason: Hezbollah, as a militia, and contrary to Taef and to the other militias, refused to lay down its weapons and was backed in this by the Syrian enemy occupation of the country. The curriculum vitae of Hezbollah is rife with acts of warfare, many of which clearly in the realm of terrorism, both within and outside the borders of Lebanon. That is the raison d'etre of the Iranian militia whose extant existence is solely at the expense of a normally functioning State. The more the State is weak and dysfunctional, the better Hezbollah does, and the stronger and better functioning the State is, the worse Hezbollah does. The coexistence of the two systems is similar to a parasite-host relationship in which the parasite feeds itself off the sick host, but without causing the demise of the host, for if the host dies, so will the parasite, and by the same token, the host can only heal by removing the parasite. As an illegitimate entity whose entire construct is an absolute antithesis of the State in which it operates, Hezbollah thrives only in a sick Lebanon. So far, this has worked because many actors, both inside and outside Lebanon, have agreed to this equilibrium. 

But things are changing. Syria's war may be coming to an end. The Lebanese have, for the most part and except Hezbollah and its puppets, come together and agreed to re-invigorate the State. This has been most obvious with the two rapprochements: one within the Christian camp (Aoun and Geagea), then another one between the Christian and the Sunni camps (Hariri, Geagea and Aoun), leaving Hezbollah without a fig leaf to cover its anomaly. As a result, and with its survival still dependent on it being a parasite leeching off a weak and dysfunctional Lebanese State, Hezbollah has every reason to want to derail any attempt at restoring a strong State. And the government formation crisis is just a reflection of this Hezbollah strategy, now that the country has a "strong" government in the personas of Aoun and Hariri.

So in the end, and contrary to appearances, Aoun may in fact have used Hezbollah more than Hezbollah has used Aoun. Aoun aimed long term with a strategy to win the war, while Hezbollah's goals were to winning small battles along the way. By riding Hezbollah long enough to recoup the space he lost in 1990 on the political chessboard of Lebanon, Aoun has surrendered much, but is now in a good position to divorce himself from Hezbollah, even at the price of a confrontation between the Lebanese State (Aoun is now the Commander-in-Chief of the Lebanese Army) and the Iranian militia. Aoun's reputation of volatility might come in handy this time around, just as it did back in 1989. The stakes are gradually rising: As Lebanon's army marched on the first (in decades) truly independent Independence Day a fortnight ago, Hezbollah staged its own show of force, parading itself in the ruins and devastation it itself has caused inside Syria, as a challenge and a warning to newly-elected Aoun. Hezbollah made the headlines with its transformation from a militia into an "army". Aoun is old and sometimes appears like a smarmy old chap, but he is not dumb, and he has picked up the scent. Now, Hezbollah is challenging Aoun again by derailing the formation of Aoun's first government. The tension buildup is clear; but the outcome is perhaps even clearer. The Lebanese army has received from the US and the West hundreds of millions of dollars worth in so-called anti-terrorist weaponry in recent years (more than ever before), supposedly to counter the Jihadi (Sunni) terror threat. But as soon as ISIL's back is broken in Iraq-Syria and its threat significantly diminished, guess who the world will turn its attention to: Syria's own Assad and his appendage the Iranian Hezbollah, and who better than the Lebanese army than to subdue a tried and experienced, but tired and exhausted, Hezbollah?

Aoun will within 10 days at most sign a decree giving birth to the government, regardless of whether Hezbollah agrees or not, signaling the trigger of a long and painful breakup between the two unlikely allies. Will Hezbollah be in the opposition against the Aoun-Hariri tandem? Hezbollah might be calculating that since this government is by definition short-lived, as it is principally tasked with preparing for the May 2017 parliamentary elections that will yield a new government in their aftermath, Hezbollah might lay low and not put a fight with Aoun, not just yet. But by withdrawing from the fight now, Hezbollah will appear to have buckled down in this first round, giving Aoun an even greater political boost on the domestic stage, and that is not a good omen either for Hezbollah.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro to Donald Dumb

If any world leader stood up to the mercantile colonialism of the US, without ever posing a threat to the US, it is Fidel Castro. Today, Cuba has given American imperialism and the jackass-elect Donald Dumb a huge middle finger.

Was Cuba Communist? Yes. But so is China, America's largest trading partner and home to all US multinational corporations. Was Castro a Dictator? Yes, but so is China's ruling party and Russia's Putin, Donald Dumb's new friend. Dissidents and repression? Yes, but so are China and Russia. And Cuba was nothing like the North Korean, Russian or Chinese dictatorships with nuclear weapons. Yet, the American double standard on Cuba was exposed for 50 years by Fidel Castro's revolution that poked the Americans in the eye every minute of their lives, for it exposed the bottom-feeding bigoted Americans who hated the guy not because he posed a threat to it, but because he was small, weak, insignificant, and defenseless against them, yet he brashly survived numerous assassination attempts (remember Salvador Allende?) by the CIA, and over 50 years 10 US presidents.

Castro's achievement is that he prevented a fate for Cuba that was slated by the US to many small defenseless islands like Puerto Rico or Hawai or Marhsall Islands: To become a junkyard for American expansionism and junk be pilfered of its natural resources by American expansionism against the wishes of the native people, and ultimately to subjugate the native population to second or third class status, just as the plight of North Dakota's native population is demonstrating to us today.

I am not a Communist. I hate dictatorships. But I love underdogs. I particularly love underdogs who screw their white trash bullies for 50 years and tell them to go to hell. Donald Dumb's racism can take him as far as his ignorant peasant followers can go, which is nowhere but back to the Stone Age of humanity.

Thank you Fidel Castro. Despite your shortcomings, you've shown that any underdog can lift a mighty middle finger in the face of bullies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Poles Turn Right: Back to Stupid with KING JESUS

The Polish people have long been known for their stupidity. We all have heard Polish jokes in the US and Europe. Regressive right-winging is fashionable again - you know, the degenerate British numskulls and their Brexit, the backwoods Neanderthals of the American South and Midwest and their election of Donald Dumb, and many others... in a global domino effect taking the planet back to early 19th century.

And the stupid Polish people are, of course, in the vanguard of idiocy. What have they done now? Well, they have done what the stupid Jews of Bronze Age Palestine could not do: They have declared one Jesus Christ - an obscure Jewish rabbi from said Bronze Age Palestine who mounted a failed rebellion against the Roman occupation - THE KING OF POLAND. You got it. Catholic Poland now has a Jewish Palestinian king from the Bronze Age. Too bad Jesus wasn't mummified like Egyptian pharaohs.

Mind you that the Vatican was opposed to the idea. It wasn't the senile Bishops' idea to begin with, so they wouldn't have it. But says "father" Paul McDonald in Rorate Caeli BlogSpot: "This was done in the official presence of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Many pilgrims were present in Poland for this event. The act will be repeated in all the Polish cathedrals and parishes. This took place yesterday, Saturday, at the Church of Divine Mercy in Krakow."

And "father" McDonald (no relation to the infamous Canadian child molester priest, whose blog should more aptly be entitled "Rorate Braccis" [drop your pantaloons]) continues in his nonsensical theological garbage: "The providential and proximate origin of the act is to be found in revelations received, or said to be received, by the Servant of God Rosalia Zelkova. The Lord -- she said -- demanded that He be enthroned as King by the Polish Nation as such, and not just in the hearts of the Poles, in a particular manner, and this would have saved Poland in the war that was coming."  Sounds almost Socratic in its logic.
And to buttress this solid argument with even more obtuse trash, McDonald expounds: "But the social kingship of our Divine Lord is absolutely founded in necessary and dogmatic truths about Christ. It is not merely an element of private revelation. St. Gregory the Great said that they were heretics who denied that Christ is the King of and over everything." Case closed. McDo nailed it.
Not one history book from the contemporaries of the said renegade rabbi Jesus mentions him. There are serious doubts as to whether he actually existed. His fame was built up out of nothing by some of his followers who were kicked out of Palestine by the Romans when the latter destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Soon he was made to be the son of God, then he was made to have been born out of a virgin who was impregnated by God without breaking her hymen - the angel Gabriel apparently stealthily "beamed" the sublime sperm across her hymen, and she didn't even feel anything. She had to be told later that she was knocked up - and mystery of mysteries, she remained a virgin even after giving birth to the rebellious baby in a stable with donkeys around. Then he was made to have risen from the dead and ascended to the Big Zombie in the sky. The stories told by his "disciples" a century after the death of the rabbi became fertile ground for exaggerations and mystification, so much so that the credulous wife of a Roman Emperor facing extinction at the hands of the northern barbarians (the Polish people's ancestors, to be exact) became a secret follower of the Jesus movement and convinced her husband to dump Jupiter for Yahweh, Juno for Mary, and Apollo for Jesus and embrace the new religion. Roman practices did not change much with the switch and adoption of Jesus as the new hero: They still built statues to worship, lit candles, intoned hymns, sacrificed slaves, ate flesh and drank blood (figuratively, but still), enslaved other peoples.... all the way to about the 19th century, with genocide and inquisitions in between, when secularism opened the eyes of a few enlightened humans who liberated us from the barbarity of Christianity, and for that matter that of Judaism and Islam as well.

In any case, the regression of the Polish people back to the Bronze Age is astounding. "King Jesus", as far as I can tell, cannot form a government or enact budgets etc. to manage the country. All he can do is "miracles" - often intended as brief suspensions of natural physical laws, and of reason of course - Obviously, none of Jesus's disciples and the thousands of other super-human Christian heroes known as saints was ever able to regrow a severed limb, for example. That would actually be enough to convince me into returning to the faith. Unfortunately, all Catholic miracles are cryptic, invisible, sudden and unproven claims of healing that only an idiot with half a brain can believe. No saint has ever resurrected a dead person, for example. Why? After all, Jesus is claimed to have done it with Lazarus and himself. So if a saint or an apparition of Mary can heal cancer or quadriplegia, why can't they bring back the dead? Or grow a severed limb?

I used to like the Polish people - not for having given us a Pope by the name of John-Paul II  - but for having stood up to dictatorships and for always being victims of oppressive Russians or Nazi Germans. I admit, I used to like the Polish people also because of an impenetrable (meant only metaphorically, of course, because ...well, not here, and not now) Polish woman I met long ago by the name of Lidia who, in between fantastic voyages to the twilight zone, used to proofread scripts for Roman Polanski. Now, I don't know anymore. I think Polish people, like all stupid people, almost always deserve their predicaments. The Lebanese people are one outstanding example.

So, after congratulating Aoun in Lebanon, Trump in the US, and soon Marine LePen in France, let me extend my heartfelt congratulations to the right-wing extremist, anti-refugee isolationist, white supremacist Jewish King Jesus of Poland. Perhaps Latin might catch up again, and King Jesus might ban anyone who is not Catholic from entering paradise upon their death. After all, jackass King Donald Dumb, himself a
descendant of euro-trash English peasants, wants to ban anyone who is not a white anglo-saxon protestant from entering the earthly paradise called the United Scams of America.

Halleluiah, brothers and comrades. Ad Majorem Dei Ignominiam.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gebran Bassil Out: Kanaan as FPM President

The dirty secret of the Free Patriotic Movement (founded by Michel Aoun and currently headed by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil) is all out. Now that Aoun has "arrived" to the Baabda presidential palace, the infighting within the FPM is coming out to the fore in as much dirty laundry as you want.

First, you have those who hated Aoun for shoving the incompetent Bassil everywhere he could. From Minister of Power to Foreign Affairs, then to President of the party itself, all in flagrant violation of all the principles of democracy that the FPM has claimed as foundational principles of the party. Never mind the change from the old claim of secularism and broad universal human rights platform, to the regression into a barbaric and narrow Christian party defending minority rights. Never mind the change from "Assad Syria as a dictatorship" to the "Assad Syria savior from Daesh"....All water under the bridge. All of this pales, however, when Bassil, who lost in successive parliamentary election after another, was constantly elevated to Minister and to FPM president, in an insult to the other senior FPM cadres who served Aoun and the Cause for decades more than Bassil ever did.

Right now, the feeding frenzy of the FPM hounds - beginning with the family of President Aoun - is such an embarrassment. Aoun's three daughters, each one of them wants ministerial portfolios for themselves and/or for their husbands, Aoun's son-in-laws (Bassil, Roukoz, Hashem). Infighting within the royal family as it were also includes Nadia, Aoun's wife. Then there are all the nephews and other more or less distant relatives (Alain Aoun, Selim Aoun, Mario Aoun, etc...).

It is a sad spectacle that the so-called champion of "change and reform" has become yet another political family farm whose job is to promote and breed future generations of Aouns. They just need an Ottoman title (Afandi, Bek, Sheikh, etc.) to become one of the established political farms in Lebanon for generations to come.

I urge the enlightened cadres of the FPM  to really prove to all those who supported Aoun for decades, in the belief that he will be an agent of change in this moribund Lemon Republic, that the FPM will, in fact and in deed, promote merit and not blood and genetics as its primary criterion  for leadership within the party and the country.

One good start would be to dump Gebran Bassil, the opportunistic leech that no one really likes, specifically because he has been forced on everyone else simply by his being Aoun's son-in-law. The real powerhouse in the FPM is not Bassil; it is Ibrahim Kanaan who engineered the rapprochement and alliance with the Lebanese Forces, and its subsequent disentanglement of the presidential election stalemate. The strength of Mr. Kanaan, a capable and well-spoken attorney, rests in his understated dignified leadership, unlike the braggart streety Bassil, and that is what the Lebanese people want. Someone who has merit and credentials, and not blood or genetic kinship to the Dear Leader (as one sees in places like North Korea), who has proven himself in elections and in diplomatic maneuvering, and who can restructure the FPM and salvage it away from the downward trend in which Bassil has sent it. But Kanaan too must not accept forever his second status membership in the FPM hierarchy while he does all the leg work, unless he savors being the "Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries" (خادم الحرمين الشرفين، أي عون وباسيل).

Even if Michel Aoun's family members are all geniuses and super-capable people, it should be the deliberate policy of the party - any political party for that matter - to keep them out of party hierarchy first, and then out of government as well. To respond to charges of nepotism and cronyism by saying that the relatives and friends of the President are capable people is simply unacceptable. It is precisely because someone is related to the Dear Leader that they should be excluded from visible leadership positions, even if they have all the merit in the world. They can still contribute with advice, counsel, promotion, and many other ways of supporting the party or the President, but they should not be shoved down the throats of equally, if not more, deserving and meritorious individuals, for the simple reason that they are "trusted family members".  If Michel Aoun cannot trust his party members and cadres as he does family members, then what is the point of even having a party. Nepotism and cronyism send the message to everyone else that they are inferior, untrustworthy, incapable people. This is the same disgusting spectacle one sees in the Kataeb (Gemayel), the (fake) Progressive (actually feudal) Socialists (Jumblatt), the Marada (Frangiyeh), the Salams, the Hariris, and all the other tribal political families of this tormented country. By what measure of modern democracy should the FPM follow in their track and become a primitive political family farm?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Change in Lebanon: Evolution or Revolution?

Evolutionary biologists have long argued over whether change and speciation (the birth of new species) in biological evolution occur in slow gradual increments over long periods of time (gradualism) or in abrupt catastrophic changes that happen infrequently and are separated by long periods of stability (punctuated equilibrium). 

The advocates of punctuated equilibrium cite the example of the sudden disappearance of dinosaurs and other species at the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary event some 65.5 million years ago. It is generally believed that the suddenness of the event can only be explained by some catastrophe (meteor striking the earth, climate change that changed the food supply, etc.). This event opened the earth for re-settlement by surviving species that diversified and speciated into millions of new species, including the modern mammals.

What does that have to do with this blog's general proclivity for political polemics? 

At this time, now nearly three weeks after the election of Michel Aoun to the presidency of the Lemon Republic (which itself was 2.5 years in the making) and his appointment of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister, we do not have a government, yet. Like all their political fights, the Lebanese almost always reach a stalemate because of disagreements over process, not substance. In this they are like all Arab and African countries, where not a single leader leaves office willingly or according to the laws. There is always unrest, fighting, leaders insisting on staying in power against their own constitutions or the will of their peoples...

For example, in the US Barack Obama is leaving office and transferring power to Donald Trump without a fight. The rules of the game are set in advance, and everyone plays by the rules. In Arab and African countries, the rules of the game are set, but then when the game starts, everybody starts challenging the rules, and mayhem ensues. 

Prime Minister-designate Hariri has been trying to form a government for the past 3 weeks, without much success. Before answering the question of WHY has Hariri has so far failed, one needs to know that the election of Aoun as president was accompanied by an effusion of patriotism and unity and goodwill. So what happened?

What happened is that the show of primitive political traditions must go on, particularly on the part of Nabih Berri and Hezbollah who, railroaded as they were into electing a President they hated, are now seizing the opportunity to put stick in the wheels and defeat Aoun before he even begins his term. It took a mere few days, and all the beard-kissing, back-patting, fake effusions of patriotism, and grandiose declarations about the higher national duty that were on display in the Lemon Republic when Aoun was elected by parliament, have vanished into thin air. As has been the case for the past 3 decades, governments in Lebanon must always be governments of national unity, i.e. you put the winners and the losers together in government. Not only is this counter to the claims of Lebanon being a democracy, but all these governments end up in stalemates, impasse, incompetence and ineptitude. They never achieve anything of substance, except sign memoranda of grants donated by the US, the EU, and the UN. The Lemon Republic of Lebanon is a sovereign beggar. The Lebanese governments function only insofar as they accept money from outside with which to line the political bosses' pockets.

And so now, the tribes, religious sects, families, regions... are haggling over ministerial portfolios. They in fact have "sovereign" ministries (Defense, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance) where political and military power rests. Then they have second class but fat "service" ministries (Public Works, Telecommunications, Power, etc... ) where money is to be had. And third down the ladder is all the other "useless" ministries (Culture, education, tourism, environment...) So you see where the priorities of the "educated and civilized" Lebanese are. The big fight is obviously over who gets the sovereign and service ministries.

We thought that all the goodwill and the "reform"-minded Aoun and Hariri would somehow avoid the fish-mongering show, but alas, we are back to the stinking fish bazaar as usual.

Hariri and Aoun have two options:
1 - Ditch Berri, Hezbollah, Frangiyeh etc. and form a one-sided government. Let Berri, Hezbollah and consorts become a genuine opposition and fight their filthy battles from outside the government.
2 - Ditch all the traditional parties, families, bosses and their corrupt ways, and appoint a government of technocrats - people with decency, integrity, education and expertise - who would begin the long haul process of rehabilitating the Lemon Republic. 

I want electricity, water, decent roads, Internet, clean air, garbage pickup, protection of beaches and forests from political scavengers, end the endemic corruption..... I don't care what religious or tribal or familial cocktail the government is. I just want a government that works.

Watching the bazaar made me think if there is ever hope that this country will change and evolve from its backward ways and into modernity. If there is change, then can we assume that it may happen by EVOLUTION, slowly and gradually getting better? Or do we need catastrophic change - a REVOLUTION - to clean up the filth and begin anew?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ghazi Aad: A Rare and True Hero

 Ghazi Aad passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack and complications from it.

I knew Ghazi in the late 1970s, early 1980s as a fellow AUB student, and I would tease him by pronouncing his name in the manner of people from the north (A is pronounced as O), itself a relic of our Aramaic past: Ghozi 3od.

Then the war displaced us to far flung corners of the world, and then many years later I saw his name somewhere in the late 1990s or early 2000s as a founder of SOLIDE (Support of Lebanese In Detention and Exile). Together with the France-based sister organization SOLIDA, he raised Lebanon's consciousness about the country's lost, disappeared and imprisoned innocent people who were snatched by the Syrian occupation and its local collaborators and allies, often for no reason at all other than take them to Syria's prisons and use them for years to extort their families for money and bribes. Ghazi (now in a wheelchair following a road accident) and others began the tedious work of recording each disappeared person's circumstances from interviews, witness accounts, and also from those lucky few who made it back from Syria, released by the regime of the butcher Assad in the same vulgar and ordinary way as it kidnapped them. I am proud to have contributed to that process of recording the facts, in the hope that justice will be served one day.

Thanks to Ghazi and his associates, we now know there are 17,000 estimated people who were made to disappear and were never accounted for. Ghazi organized the families to hold a permanent sit-in in front of the UN offices in downtown Beirut because the UN is more interested, for example, in rebuilding the Palestinian camp of Nahr El-Bared than in helping to account for all these people.The UN, the EU, successive Lebanese governments and others have encouraged the Lebanese to engage in amnesia and not look back at the ugly past of their country, for fear that talking about the past might resurrect the ugliness. Somehow the conventional wisdom of talking about the past as a way of healing the present, reconciling, and preventing future wars and barbarity does not apply to Lebanon.

With Ghazi, the saying that no cause dies if someone calls for it has proven true. Even if we only talk about the disappeared, and rarely do anything about it, at least their cause is alive. His fight was peaceful. His cause was Ghandiesque because he fought it from a strictly moral standpoint. He had no militias. He had no political bosses. He had only a just cause on his side. And that is where his greatness is. His journey is a very rare one in a Lebanon that is a hotbed of machismo, violence, and cruelty that the Lebanese seem to enjoy inflicting on one another. In a small but significant way, Ghazi managed to overcome the filth and declare civility as a force to reckon with. Rare indeed.

Thank you, Ghazi. You were a friend of mine, and better yet, you were a hero to many of us.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bassil and Aoun Risk Death by Ditching Ally Hezbollah

Now that Aoun has "arrived" and become president, after whoring himself to Hassan Nasrallah for 10 years, he and his poodle son-in-law Gebran Bassil have begun the process of ditching their alliance with Hezbollah.

For the past decade, I have predicted a "divorce for irreconcilable differences" between the two unlikely allies. But Aoun, Bassil, and their lackeys have foamed at the mouth trying to explain to their credulous followers that:

- Hezbollah was in Syria to protect Lebanon's Christians
- Had Hezbollah not gone to fight in Syria on the side of the same Assad regime that kicked Aoun of Baabda in 1990, they say that Daesh would today be ruling in Lebanon.
- The Shiites are "better" than the Sunnis. So, we Lebanese Christians are better off in alliance with the Shiites (i.e. Iran) than with the Sunnis (i.e. Saudi Arabia).
- The Assad regime is protecting the Christians of Syria, so we should support Hezbollah's fight alongside the regime.
- It is an American conspiracy that created Daesh in order to bring down Assad. That was, of course, before Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. Now that the US is on the side of Iran, so Bassil and Aoun must start loving the Americans and stop talking about the conspiracy.

Bassil and Aoun may not be flat headed morons, though you can see clearly through the thin grey matter of their brains because there isn't much of it. But their followers are absolute morons because they have to be de-brainwashed (from their love of Iran) and re-brainwased (to fall in love with Saudi Arabia).

When Bassil declared last week that "all parties must withdraw from Syria" (emphasis mine, since Bassil did not exclude Hezbollah from this wise pronouncement), a Syrian MP - Ahmad Shallash, retorted to Bassil, saying, "You are a  puny dwarf for calling for Hezbollah's withdrawal from Syria. The fact that your father-in-law (i.e. Aoun) is now president is not a license for you to be insolent. Don't play with the big guys...Otherwise, watch out."

So, my friends, you are watching Aoun's idiots make yet another U-turn. They have "arrived". Aoun, senile as he may have become, is now a "strong" 82-year old president. Let us hope his allies, Assad's Syrians and Iran's Hezbollah, let him die of natural causes. They have a tendency to interfere with the process of aging and natural death by catalyzing big blowout deaths of former allies using top quality explosives. Just as they did with Rafik Hariri and other former allies in 2005.

قال عضو مجلس الشعب السوري احمد شلاش في مقابلة ورد على ما صرح به الوزير باسيل حول انسحاب كافة الاطراف من سوريا قام برد وبتهديد الوزير جبران باسيل بالقول له : انسحاب حزب الله من سوريا اكبر من حجمك بكتير...واذا عمك رئيس مش يعني تطول لسانك ... لا تلعب مع الكبار ... والا ...
اقرأ المزيد
قال عضو مجلس الشعب السوري احمد شلاش في مقابلة ورد على ما صرح به الوزير باسيل حول انسحاب كافة الاطراف من سوريا قام برد وبتهديد الوزير جبران باسيل بالقول له : انسحاب حزب الله من سوريا اكبر من حجمك بكتير...واذا عمك رئيس مش يعني تطول لسانك ... لا تلعب مع الكبار ... والا ...
اقرأ المزيد
قال عضو مجلس الشعب السوري احمد شلاش في مقابلة ورد على ما صرح به الوزير باسيل حول انسحاب كافة الاطراف من سوريا قام برد وبتهديد الوزير جبران باسيل بالقول له : انسحاب حزب الله من سوريا اكبر من حجمك بكتير...واذا عمك رئيس مش يعني تطول لسانك ... لا تلعب مع الكبار ... والا ..
اقرأ المزيد
قال عضو مجلس الشعب السوري احمد شلاش في مقابلة ورد على ما صرح به الوزير باسيل حول انسحاب كافة الاطراف من سوريا قام برد وبتهديد الوزير جبران باسيل بالقول له : انسحاب حزب الله من سوريا اكبر من حجمك بكتير...واذا عمك رئيس مش يعني تطول لسانك ... لا تلعب مع الكبار ... والا ..
اقرأ المزيد

Donald Dumb Trump as Nero

Two outcomes to Dumb Trump's election aftermath:

1- If his outlandish promises were merely tactical (i.e. destined only to get him elected, but knowing he can't deliver on them), then he will not act on them, and he will thus quickly erode his credibility with the illiterate and discontented base that elected him. So no second term, but a troubled first one for sure.

2- If, on the other hand, his promises were genuine, albeit still reflections of his ignorant thinking, and he proceeds to try and implement them, then he is bound to cause much havoc across his own party, his own country at large, and internationally as well, thus sealing his demise both internationally and at home.

The scary thing is that Dumb Trump will have his stupid hands on the dangerous nuclear buttons which, like Israel, he could use in a "Samson option" kind of way. One hopes that more enlightened Republicans, if they do exist, will surround him and control his temper tantrums and uncontrolled verbal diarrheas.

What is certain, however, is that his election does indeed represent the early twilight of WASP-dominated America. Statistics say that by 2050, WASP Americans will no longer be a majority, but will become another minority in the American mosaic. Unlike all other immigrations, which typically eventually stop leaving the space and time for assimilation, Latin American immigration into the US draws on a vast reservoir of potential immigrants who, in their abutting geographical proximity to the continental US are unlikely to assimilate, since the continuous influx creates a critical mass favoring non-assimilation.

Trump is thus a lot like Nero, a prophet of doom called upon by fate to catalyze the inexorable forces of natural law, bring down the temple and usher the fall of Rome.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Dumb in the White House: America's Twilight Zone

Ok. I admit being very wrong on Donald Dumb's chances. I guess the American people - thanks to blind democracy - are dumber than I even tought, and I underestimated their dumbness. Electing Donald Dumb as a spiteful gesture against the establishment may stem from a genuine thirst for change. But spite (of electing an idiot) will not bring about political or institutional change.

Just watch Donald Dumb's discourse once he's in power. He will start wheeling and dealing. He will start failing to keep promises, although his promises were so poor on substance that he may get away with it. He will start having to negotiate with the special interests against whom he said he was running, because different special interests will pull him in different directions, and he will have to make decisions that inexorably will erode his credibility with the backwoods idiots who elected him.

He has already toned down his rhetoric in  "how far he will go in repealing Obamacare"; now it is only a few modifications. He now says the wall he said he wanted to build along the Mexican border is only a metaphorical wall; he didn't actually meant a wall of concrete and steel, he only meant reinforced control of the border. Pretty soon he will declare that NATO is by no means "obsolete", and that he really meant in his campaign's frequent verbal diarrheas is that he just wanted to put pressure on America's European partners. In other words, watch the backpedaling as he hurtles down political reality, and climbs up from the cesspool of his reality show campaign. What a jerk and what an idiot.

Watch him make a fool of himself with other countries. Watch him unravel decades of hard work. Watch him drive his out-competed white dumbasses from middle America sink further in their holes of "I refuse to evolve with the rest of the world".

His election will be sorely regretted within a few months, if he tries to keep his stupid promises of re-inventing the wheel. Just like the stupefied English numskulls who waxed nostalgic about their fucking Empire and decided on Brexiting the European Union; they are now backpedaling and wondering how on earth could they be so stupid. Watch Trump's America slap sanctions on other countries just so he proves he has balls, but then watch other countries slap sanctions and boycott "made in America" and drive the US economy to the ground.

America is changing. There is no room for superpowers anymore. We are a century away from world wars and empires and superpowers. Just as this election is the last gasp of a dying white America, submerged as it is by the unstoppable tsunami of brown immigration from Latin America and elsewhere, America the superpower is no more. One century ago, the US had a brief but failed love affairs with old style military colonialism in places like the Philippines and elsewhere. But this quickly fizzled out as the dynamics of demographic evolution proved it impossible to sustain millions of troops overseas, as the British and the French had done earlier.

Without troops in other countries, America tried economic colonialism. And for a while, it seemed to work. But now it's an old tired story. How long can you sell trash to the rest of the world, and pollute the rest of the world, and buy dictators in the rest of the world? No more. The odds are leveling off.

America's success is in the fact that it was an empty ecosystem in which newly arrived illiterate peasants from the boonies of Europe had no competition to speak of, definitely not from the few millions of native Indians who were unaware of the white Englishman's treachery, and who were quickly and summarily genocided away into tiny reservations. No competition means monopoly, so you could be the grandest idiot on earth and yet "succeed" in America. That was the America of the 18th and 19th century. And that is the America that Trump, in his abject ignorance of history, thinks he can resurrect.

But the America of the 21st century is no longer competitive because it has equated ingenuity with cheap marketing tricks and quick Wall Street trading schemes. Trump has a long ways to go before he can resurrect the rust belt; times have changed. No white idiot from Indiana or Michigan can today get a job with benefits tightening screws at a factory for the rest of his stupid life. Trump thinks he can make America "great again" by imitating primitive coal-operated, pollution-saturated, cheap-labored China. What a fool. Times have changed. Today, America has to contend with many other players and competitors, both within its borders in the shape of all the Spanish speakers who continue to pour in and alter forever the original founder pool, and outside its borders in the shape of many emergent economies and educated countries whose emancipated peoples are finding America in their own backyards. Trump needs to have the children of bible-belt neanderthal Appalachia learn about evolution, and not about a cosmic zombie who allegedly created the world 6,000 years ago.

The Belgian singer Jacques Brel once said in one of his songs, "Il n'y a plus d'Amerique". Indeed, Trump has fooled his millions of illiterate white American peasants by promising them something that no longer exists, except in his and their obsolete nostalgic minds. Major disappointments ahead. There will NOT be a second Trump term in the White House. I guarantee it.

A new dawn has emerged last week on the United States, but it is in fact the first glimpse of a long and troubled twilight falling on an experimental land that has yet to find itself by respecting itself and the rest of the world.

H. A.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Aoun Clan: Cheat and Re-Farm Rabieh to Baabda

Gibran Bassil - Son-in-Law:     The forever minister
Shamel Roukoz - Son-in-Law:  Possibly a minister in the new govt.
Alain Aoun - Nephew:             Member of Parliament and possibly a minister in the new govt.
Mireille Aoun - Daughter:         Senior Advisor
Roy Hachem - Son-in-Law:     Public Relations and Communications Advisor

والخير لأقدام .... More to come.

We were worried that if Frangiyeh became president, the whole of Zghorta would move with him to Baabda. But the Aoun farm is proving to be more of a "reform"-minded neanderthal clan than the Frangiyeh clan. Rabieh appears to be shutting down, moving en masse, and re-planting the Aoun family in Baabda.

Now we know what the senescent Aoun means by "Change and Reform" (in Arabic: تغيير واصلاح)... He actually means "Cheat and Re-farm" or in Arabic  (تزوير وإنكاح).

Vote Dumb! Vote Trump!

To my fellow Americans, especially those of Lebanese descent: Vote Trump, and confirm that you have become genuine DUMB AMERICANS.

Walid Phares, Walid Maalouf, et al.... you haven't learned anything from supporting Reagan and the Bushes... They promised, but then backstabbed us.

America hates Lebanon. Period. America does not like little countries, except, of course, Israel, because the Israeli lobby has America's balls in a tight grip.

The Republicans make promises but never keep them, and Lebanese-Americans are just village idiots for believing their lies. Democrats are at least honest about hating Lebanon. They'll tell it to you in your face. They don't lie about it.

Remember who sold us three times to Syria: First Reagan, when he ran away after the Marines bombing in Beirut in 1983. Then Bush Sr. who literally handed Lebanon to Assad on a silver platter in 1988-1990. Then the other idiot Bush Jr. who fell back on Syria's allies and collaborators (Hariri, Jumblatt, etc.) after September 11.

But you never learn. Primitive, ultra-religious, stupid conservatism is in your genes. And now Donald Dumb is making promises he can't keep, and you know it. But you love him.... Why? Because you are dumber than he is.

This is the president you will have if you vote for this idiot....

But thankfully, this is how the loser will look after he feels the rectal shaft later tonight: