Saturday, November 14, 2015

Je suis Dahiyeh. Je suis Bataclan. The Price of Prevarication?

I never advocated the involvement of the US and France in Syria. I am not about to change my mind. Let the Syrians, let the Muslims, let the Arabs and Iranians... fight their own demons of authoritarianism, archaic social structures, tribalism, outrageous religious beliefs from the Bronze Age... and liberate themselves from themselves first. The West should not get involved. We have yet to hear the end of complaints about the Crusades, the French and British mandates... both long gone pretexts used by Arabs and Muslims to hide behind their own shadows instead of facing their constitutive problems and do what must be done to emancipate themselves and join the modern world. The fact remains that the bombing in Paris yesterday is ISIS-DAESH's revenge for France's involvement in the Syrian war.

Neither have I ever advocated that Hezbollah - itself a clone of ISIS-DAESH, but with some standing right now because it is the avowed enemy of ISIS-DAESH, albeit for different reasons than the French or the Americans - get involved in the Syrian war. Hezbollah has basically changed its objective from "fighting the Zionists to liberate Jerusalem" to "fighting the Syrian Sunnis to protect the Assad regime". Its involvement in Syria, against the advice of all other Lebanese communities, is now coming home to haunt Lebanon. Last Thursday's bombings in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah is headquartered, is ISIS-DAESH's revenge for Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian war.

While the attacks against Hezbollah seem justified within a context of warring Muslim factions and the Sunni-Shiite divide, the attacks against France have a different take. France, like the US, has refused to intervene directly with boots on the ground in Syria, and like the US, the prevarication, hesitation, to what to do about Syria is now coming back to haunt the West. Half-ass, half-baked interventions like France and the US's in Syria inevitably lead to a decision fork: To either withdraw completely and let the Syrian stage resolve itself by itself at any cost; or to get completely involved with tens of thousands of troops on the ground with a take-no-prisoner approach to the bloodbath. Since the latter is highly costly and inadvisable, a do-nothing approach is by default the best option, better indeed than prevarication and wavering like the US and France have so far done. From the beginning, the West should have clearly and unambiguously declared that it will never get involved in Syria. Never. Not one bullet. Not one fighter jet. Not one military trainer. Let the scum (Syrians, Turks, Arabs, Iranians, and assorted Muslim barbarians) beat the scum in Syria until there is no end in sight. And as for the refugees streaming into Europe, the EU should have closed its borders and sent back anyone trying to illegally cross into the EU, instead of the pathetic spectacle of an all-out invasion of Europe welcomed by idiotic bleeding-hearted people who can't look farther than the tip of their noses.

The argument above also goes for the Russians, obviously, whose more direct involvement in Syria has already netted it a downing of an airliner above the Sinai. While the Russians may have become more involved in Syria than the West, their intervention remains tentative, so to speak, since they have no real fighting armies on the ground.

Any predictions as to what the French, and behind them the Americans, who are now shitting in their pants at the prospect of similar ISIS-DAESH attacks on their soil, will do? It is too late to disengage from Syria. They have already paid the price. Sunken costs, says the accounting. My prediction is a much heavier involvement by France, the US, and the West in Syria. A ground offensive is not an unlikely scenario, despite the realignments it will force. The now-friendly forces of Iran and Hezbollah, along with their Russian sponsor, will turn against the West and side with their Sunni foes against the invading European and American neocolonialists... We know the tune. We saw it in Afghanistan. We saw it in Iraq. Muslims and Arabs are very good at "biting the hand that feeds them".

Grab a beer. Sit and watch. Thanks to the inventors of television, we can watch and cheer the Syrian bloodbath continue ad infinitum, without putting our own boots on the ground. A very wise precept that the French and the Americans, and Hezbollah, have not respected. Now they will march and claim "Je suis Dahyeh; je suis Bataclan". But for what purpose?

Hanibaal Atheos

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Circle is Complete for Lebanon's Christians: 1975-2015

It took more than 40 years, close to 45 years to be more exact, for Lebanon to face its own demons, to get closer than ever to the abyss, for the Muslims and Christians of the country to finally call a spade a spade. Just as they did circa 1970, when the lines were clearly drawn between the two incompatible constituents of this ill-conceived monster, sewed together as if by Dr. Moreau from disparate animals, Christian and Muslim Lebanese are finally, existentially  face-to-face, and without someone else dictating to them how to dance the dance of death they have been avoiding for decades. There is no Syrian occupation. The Saudis and the Iranians so hate one another that their puppets on the Lebanese scene are not receiving clear instructions as to what to do. America and Europe have washed their hands from the Lebanese cesspool, pouring in money right and left in the hope that the Lebanese will, as always, be bought to keep the Syrian refugees from boarding boats across the Mediterranean destined for the Greek islands.

In fact, the current crisis is caused primarily by a money issue. The political establishment, Muslim and Christian, could not care less for the affairs of state - electing a president, agreeing on an electoral law, passing innumerable laws needed to keep the country going, handling a garbage crisis that is unprecedented in the history of any country around the world. The Mafia bosses that rule this country have been playing political games without any consideration of consequences. But now, the monetary authorities around the world are threatening Lebanon with downgrading its financial standing, which means the money pilfering that the Lebanese are so adept at is under threat. And so, Nabih Berri, the Don Corleone of the Shiite camp, serving as speaker of parliament for 25 years, is watching his money making empire begin to crumble, and he is urging parliament to meet and vote on all measures necessary to keep the money flowing into Lebanon so he can continue skimming from the rising butter. Electing a president? not important! Garbage mountains everywhere you walk in this fucked up country? No problem. Parliamentary elections? No need, MPs meet and vote - twice already - to extend their own term! Similarly, the "legislation of necessity" imperative, which means that the MPs meet and vote only on "necessary" issues only - applies to either their own pockets or to the flow of foreign money into the country, which indirectly goes into their pockets.

And so, Nabih Berri is determined to have his parliamentary session tomorrow Thursday to vote on a number of money-making bills of "legislation of necessity", even though the Christian half of parliament is, for the first time in decades, in agreement to boycott the session. Now that there is no Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, America, France, Europe, Arab Emirates... to dictate outcomes or buy everyone en masse to meet in Taif, Lausanne, Doha... and come up with last minute stitches to a hole-poked nation, the Christians are united in their national demands. Just as they were united in the early 1970s against any Palestinian guerrillas' freedom of action from Lebanese soil, they are today united in beginning to reverse the losses they have incurred since the 1970s.

For one, the Christians are demanding a new electoral law that ensures a representative parliament. Currently, a good 50% of the Christian MPs in parliament were not elected by their own Christian constituents in their districts, but rather were carried in by "lists" of successful Muslim candidates, a process that eliminates the Christian candidate who had the majority Christian vote in the particular district. If a new electoral law is passed that ensures true representation, all Christian MPs would represent Christian voters in all districts. This would disadvantage Muslim bosses like Berri, Jumblatt and Hariri because they would have not a single Christian MP in their pockets. For 4 decades under the Syrian occupation, the Muslims managed to steal the show and deny true Christian representation in parliament with the backing of the Syrian Assad regime occupying Lebanon and its American and Saudi sponsors..

Two, the Christians are united in demanding a "Citizenship Restoration" law, whereby the millions of Lebanese Christians who fled the country during the Muslim-Syrian occupation and live abroad with their children would now be able to restore their Lebanese citizenship and eventually be able to vote in parliamentary elections. Naturally, such a law would essentially restore a Christian majority to the country and fundamentally alter the status quo. Suffice it to say that between the 1940s and the late 1960s, when the Christians had more power in the State, Lebanon thrived and became a prosperous peaceful jewel of a diverse country in a Middle East of radical Muslim and Jewish theocracies. In the 1970s, the Muslims challenged that status quo, as they have done ever since the country was cobbled together from a historic Christian-Druze Mount Lebanon entity to which a hodge-podge of Muslim Syrian provinces were attached to create the Greater Lebanon monstrosity that has been limping along in its chronic dusfunctionality and sporadic civil wars and unrest. The Muslim challenge of the 1970s resulted in a Saudi-, American- and Syrian-sponsored Taif Agreement that took powers from the Christian president and gave them to the Muslim Prime Minister, thus essentially allowing the Muslims, rather than the Christians, to set the tone and rule the country. The results of Taif? 30 years of abysmal poverty, regression, financial collapse, totalitarian rule, boundless appalling corruption, a deteriorating infrastructure, etc... leading up to the current garbage crisis. Muslim rule has not worked. It has ruined the country. It used foreigners (Syrians, Palestinians, Americans, Iranians, Saudis....) to steal power away from the Christians, but it has failed miserably because of its corruption and incompetence.

What happens tomorrow in parliament could a decisive moment in Lebanon's history. The moment signals the bottom of the abyss for the Christians who seem bent on restoring their power, given that the Muslims do not have the backing of anyone at the moment. The Saudis are busy with Yemen and have not time for the Lebanese Sunnis. The Iranians are busy with Syria, and their new alliance with the Americans and Europe has toned down their rhetoric among Lebanon's Shiites, including their puppet militia Hezbollah now fighting and losing big time in Syria. The Americans and the Europeans, who heretofore enjoyed watching all the Muslim scum slaughter one another in Syria, have suddenly awakened to the flow of millions of Syrian refugees pouring into Europe and really could not care less for internal Lebanese headaches.

The Lebanese are alone facing the abyss tomorrow. The stakes are high. If the Muslims persist in holding a parliamentary vote that ignores the Christian half of the country, they would have sounded the death knell of the "shared" Lebanese formula. If the Muslims give in to the Christian demands, they would be effectively surrendering power back to the Christians. For the Muslims, who in fact cling to the Christians like grim death because without the Christians, there is no Muslim Lebanon, they are facing a lose-lose conundrum. For the Christians, who have lost everything, they stand to win big time. And even if they do not convince the Muslims to play, they can always go their own way - partition, federalism, cantonization.... all manners of divorce between the two communities.

It took so long for the Christians to get their act together. Let us hope they do not fuck up like they did in the 1970s. Let us hope they have learned the lessons.

Hanibaal Atheos

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Please not again: Enough Military Idiots!

Lebanon Files has an "opinion" today about why Chamel Roukoz would be a great President. Another General of the Lebanese Army. We have had several over the years as presidents and they never did anything other than perpetuate the status quo. Under the Syrian occupation, they were all Syrian puppets and collaborators.

The reason for this infatuation with former military men as presidents is that the Lebanese people are themselves idiots who worship violence. They project a kind of "terminator" or "superhero" quality to a man in military fatigues, having watched too many Hollywood movies and mixing fantasy with reality. The Lebanese people are by and large ignorant people. Yes, they are literate in the sense that they read and write. But the religious schools they graduated from teach them to be dumb: Faith, not reason, is the modus operandi.

Lebanese culture is a culture of violence. In the mountain village where I live, there are no birds. You do not hear a single birdsong all day. Why? Because the neanderthals of the village shoot them, day and night. Children and men go around the village shooting birds around the houses. Not that they need the food on their tables. No. They all drive huge, noisy, supped up, aggressive looking SUVs with which they terrorize other drivers by driving like maniacs and violent criminals, as they imitate the hot car pursuits they watch on American movies. The village has 5 churches, one for each of the neanderthal families that inhabit the spot. These are of course feuding families, and with time, they each built their own church.

And so, imbeciles comprising large numbers of the Maronite peasants love Chamel Roukoz because of the military looks, not because of any presidential credentials the man has. They did the same thing with Michel Sleiman, the Syrian collaborator. As a general, he was army chief when the Lebanese army besieged the Palestinian Nahr El-Bared camp, and dislodged a handful of Islamic terrorists at the cost of 250 dead Lebanese army soldiers. Because of this, Sleiman was considered a hero, and he was made President.

What has Chamel Roukoz done to deserve the sudden notoriety and glorification. His last job was to lead the Commandos Battalion. The Lebanese army prides itself not on its achievements, but on the fact that it has NOT YET fractured along sectarian lines, as it usually does. In other words, the Lebanese army is a success story insofar as it remains a virgin, cloistered in its barracks, while terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and the Palestinian gangs and others roam the country free. To wit, the Islamic groups of An-Nusra and Daesh manages 17 months ago to snatch 25 Lebanese army and security personnel and has been holding them hostage along the Lebanese-Syrian border. WHERE WAS CHAMEL ROUKOZ and HIS COMMANDOS? Why has nothing has been done by the army to try and free those men? Hiding behind the pretext that this is a political decision, not a military one.

The day after he retired, Chamel Roukoz graced us with a speech in downtown Beirut. The man is a fumbling idiot who couldn't even read from the paper he was holding in his hand, making grand statements like "I have retired, but I will not be silent". He is Aoun's man. He is Aoun's son-in-law. The rite of passage in the Aoun farm involves fucking one of Aoun's daughters as a way to prove suitability for political office. Jibran Bassil did it, and Roy Hashem did it. Aoun has no sons, only daughters. If Aoun had sons, BAssil, Roukoz and Hashem would be chauffeurs in the employ of Aoun's sons. But Aoun has no sons, so instead of promoting his daughters, he promotes the men who fuck them. You see, in Lebanon, women remain cattle, unworthy of political office. The Aoun son-in-law system is serious and has rules. For example, Roukoz was not Claudine's first husband. Sami Nader, a professorial educated smart intellectual and a gentleman was. But since Nader did not fit the military imbecile superhero of Aoun's MAronite peasant crowd, he was evicted from Claudine's bed and quickly replaced by Roukoz. Now the Aoun pantheon of idiots was complete.

Lebanon does not need people like Roukoz. No more generals please in political office. They have all been a total failure, and they mostly acceded to power under the Syrian occupation. There is no occupation anymore. Lebanon needs educated smart people to lead it. People like Sami Nader. Like Ziad Baroud. Like Riad Salameh..... These are professionals with the knowledge and the training to solve problems by other means than shooting at things.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tammam Salam and the Proverbial Bald Man - REVISITED

In February 2014, when Tammam Salam was handed the prime ministership of Lebanon after all the usual bazaar haggling in the brothels and alleyways around the garbage-strewn country, I wrote the following:
The new Prime Minister of Lebanon is a Lebanese "politician" with an average-to-mediocre background that, thanks only to his genetic background (as once a male gamete in his father's gonads that lucked out in scoring!), catapulted him into political power.

Not unlike the majority in the Lebanese political pantheon where the mechanism of hereditary transmission of political power rules supreme, regardless of inbreeding, imbecility, propensity for treason, incompetence, and other such feudal qualifications. Not to be unfair to Lebanon, this is something Lebanon shares with its Arab brothers (you know, the Assads, Mubaraks, Qaddafis.... etc, in the so-called republics, and the Sauds, the Sabbahs, etc. in the monarchies).

The sad thing, though, is that the Bald Man just dawning on us, just like all the others, will continue by incompetence and tradition to keep Lebanon the familiar cesspool of corruption and violence. I think the Lebanese proverb will aptly apply to Mr. Salam: جبنا الاقرع ليشجعنا، كشف عن قرعته وفزعنا which translates into "We brought the bald man to encourage us, instead he uncovered his bald head and scared us."

But let us not be too negative (despite all the signs): Let us give the Bald Man a chance and see whether he can make a dent in Lebanon's galactical problems.
Predictably, and despite the chance given to the Bald Man, he has failed as we speak in October 2015. Many defend him or some of his ministers that they failed of no fault of their own, but because the others keep obstructing and hindering and impeding.... While this may be true at some level, the fact remains that anyone in a position of public responsibility who find themselves unable to discharge their duties SHOULD RESIGN REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

People who remain in power under a foreign occupation are traitors. France's Petain is an example. But in Lebanon, all the traitors who served the Syrian occupation are still in power today. Similarly, all the idiots in the Lebanese government today are collectively responsible for the failure of the government, and if they had any integrity, they'd resign. From Tammam Salam to Jibran Bassil...all of them. كلّن يعني كلّ ...But these ministers are operatives for feudal lords, Mafia bosses, demented dictators, money whales, mercenaries and puppets for Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and others... They can only resign when their puppeteers tell them to resign. This stalemate is ample proof that Lebanon is NOT a democracy. It is a federation of profitable sectarian Mafias, and as long as they can squeeze the country for a few more millions to add to their billion-dollar Swiss bank accounts, they will persist. Until the very bitter end.

In typical Mafia culture, the political establishment 's ignorance, coupled with its criminality and lack of ethics, makes it truly believe that it is actually serving the country, even as it is chocking it with their own hands. The proverb (عدو عاقل خير من صديق جاهل) applies here. It is in fact reminiscent of the Munchausen syndrome where the child's own mother wants her child to be sick so she can validate her motherhood.

Time for the Salam government to resign or fall. It has completely failed. What do we do afterwards is anybody's guess. But Lebanon's 50-year agony is just too unbearable. It is much better to kill the beast once and for all, and see where we can pick up the pieces to begin rebuilding. The fear of the unknown is for cowards and opportunists who have something to gain from the disease. Radical surgery is the only hope left for survival, even if it means setbacks, amputated limbs, and so on.

Hanibaal Atheos

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lebanon's Sunnis Find Driver's Seat a Pain in the Ass

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Maronites were in the driver's seat in Lebanon. The Maronite president, believe it or not, had some authority, unlike the castrato we seat in Baabda after Taef. The Shiites at the time were essentially serfs working in their feudal lords' employ and had no say whatsoever in government, other than occupy the mostly ceremonial number 2 post of Parliament Speaker. Kamel Assaad and Sabri Hamade were the two uncontested Shiite leaders who alternated as speakers, and when asked by his Shiite constituents about schools in their districts, Kamel Assad would answer: "Why do you want to teach your children? I am educating [my son] Ahmad on their behalf; this should be enough for the community".

The Sunnis had, and still have, the number 3 post of Prime Minister. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, they were spurred by the Syrian, Egyptian, Libyan ...revolutions to rebel against the National Pact, the unwritten agreement dividing power between the three communities. They had already attempted a rebellion in 1958 prodded by Gamal Abdel Nasser, but it fizzled out when the Maronite president called in the US Marines as allowed under the Baghdad Pact, which afforded friendly countries US protection if threatened by Soviet friendly countries like Egypt at the time.

The reason for this bit of history is to provide context for Lebanon's paralysis today. People without memory or without an understanding of the trajectory of events find it difficult to make sense of the present. Beginning in the late 1960s, Lebanon's Sunni prime ministers (Rashid Karami, Rashid Solh and others) started doing what Michel Aoun is doing today: obstruct and paralyze government and country just to spite the Maronite President and to side with the Palestinians and the Syrians against their own country of Lebanon. When President Frangiyeh ordered the Army and Air Force to oppose Yasser Arafat's PLO and/or bomb PLO and PFLP positions, for example, the Sunni Prime Minister would boycott government and demand the resignation of the Army Chief. The disgusting Rachid Karami did not convene his cabinet for 7 months in 1969 to protest the Lebanese Christian president's refusal to grant freedom of operation for Arafat's Palestinians in the south. Karami did the same thing in 1975 at the onset of the War when he insisted on boycotting the Kataeb out of his own government because the Kataeb took it upon themselves to fight Arafat and the Palestinian gangs in lieu of a Lebanese Army that was paralyzed by the Sunnis' desire to give the Palestinians, but not the Lebanese Army, freedom of action on Lebanese soil. If there is a definition of treason, it is what the Lebanese Sunnis did to Lebanon back then. The allegiance of the Sunnis - as they still do in disguise these days - was to so-called "Arab causes" (i.e. الوحدة العربية Arab union, or the Palestinian Cause, etc...) Lebanon was the last thing they cared about. So, in any issue arising of the Palestinian armed presence, Lebanon's Sunnis sided with the Syrians, the Palestinians, and every other gang and foreign terrorist against their own country and army.

Fast forward to today. Those of us who lived long enough to know where we were 30-40-50-years ago, have a problem trusting the metamorphosis of Lebanon's Sunnis into their Lebanon-first nationalist platform of the present time. It is true that the Sunnis were the ultimate victors in the war of 1975-1990 because they fought essentially with Palestinian arms and blood, except for the insignificant Mourabitoun militia and the renegade seditious Lebanese army traitor Lt. Ahmad Al-Khatib who took the Sunni units of the army in 1976 out of the army to create his own Arab Army of Lebanon. Khatib proceeded beginning in January 1976 to attack and sack all the Lebanese army barracks in the entire south of the country, committing massacres against innocent Christian villages in the area, and ultimately besieging and cutting off Marjeyoun and the surrounding area on the Israeli border from the central government, which forced the Lebanese Army command in Yarze to order Major Saad Haddad to defend Marjeyoun even if he had to seek assistance from the Israelis. Haddad did, and this area was the nucleus of what was later to become Israel's security zone after the 1978 and the 1982 Israeli invasions.

The Sunnis of Lebanon were not satisfied until the Taef Agreement stripped the Christian president of his prerogatives and gave them to the Sunni prime minister. The Sunnis then ended their war against the Lebanese state. I am not mentioning the Druze, because just as they do today under Walid Jumblatt, they did under the leadership of this chameleon's father, Kamal, namely to side with whomever was winning, and throughout that period, the Druze walked behind the Sunnis in the destruction of the Lebanese State. Taef gave nothing to the Druze, except that the war of 1975-1990 afforded the Druze the opportunity to massacre and ethnically cleanse their Shouf area from the Christian majority whom the Druze won't even allow to return to their villages today.

In essence, this history may allow some people to understand what Michel Aoun is doing today to the Sunnis. In his political trajectory, Aoun is returning the favor and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Michel Aoun believes, in his pedestrian low-grade politics, that to take the country forward, we need to take it backward to its pre-1975 condition. Abrogate Taef, restore his prerogatives to the Christian President, etc. all under "giving the Christians their rights". Aoun is saying: "You Sunnis paralyzed the country, boycotted governments, sided against the Lebanese army with the Palestinian militias, and used all these to secure powers to the Sunni prime minister at the expense of the Christians? Well, now the Christians, under my leadership, are paralyzing the country, boycotting the government, siding with the Iranian militia of Hezbollah against the Lebanese Army, etc..." The Sunnis today are doing exactly what the Maronites were doing back then: Call for patriotism, standing with the army (against Hezbollah and against the armed Palestinian gangs), Lebanon first, neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, etc... In other words, nothing has changed between the late 1960s-early 1970s and today, except that the roles of the Sunnis and the Christians have switched: the Sunnis (custodians of power) are defending the status quo because it serves them, while the Christians (powerless) are challenging the status quo. The tools are the same: Foreign militias beholden to foreign countries, a castrated Lebanese army afraid to act lest its splits along sectarian lines.... The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's really boring. Lebanon's political establishment has no imagination: They still operate like fishmongers in the old souks, trying to squeeze another stinking reeking penny out of every rotten fish they have on display.

Unfortunately for Aoun, his old age is blinding his view and limiting his horizons. Aoun's solution to Lebanon's chronic problems is to take us back 50 years, and simply flip the switch....But this is no solution. I am surprised at those who follow him in this barbaric strategy... They really think they can just move some pawns on the chessboards and everything will return to the golden age. Idiots and imbeciles, these Maronite peasants holding portraits of Putin as the defender of Lebanon's Christians.... Neither are the Sunnis doing Lebanon any favor by sticking to their pathetic gains from Taef. I predict that the Sunnis will slowly migrate to a Qaeda-Daesh political platform within a few years as they see their Taef gains eroded. The Sunnis too have no imagination beyond the boundaries of the Wahhabi Qoran... That is where they always return when challenged or threatened, whereas when they have power, they turn into fake American liberals. Not to mention the Shiites who live in a parallel universe whose priorities are myths and fairy tales from circa 800 AD.

The only visionaries in the cesspool are the educated elites of the "الحراك المدني", the civil society movement challenging the primitive Bronze Age status quo. Problem is that the movement is not organized enough yet, and has refrained from formulating a political vision beyond taking us out of the current stalemate. That is, in my opinion, their biggest challenge. Only a vision beyond the Bronze Age will lift Lebanon out of the quagmire.... It might take time, and the enemy within is well entrenched. Feudalism and religious primacy in this country have kidnapped the vast illiterate majority of the Lebanese people who pray in mosques on Fridays and who toll bells and pray in churches on Sundays, in the belief that only God and his divine associates can save them, not reason, political action, and sacrifice. How do you convince people to believe first in themselves before they believe in God? That is the question. Anything else is treading water until the next religious and sectarian civil war.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lebanon's New Flag

For thousands of years, Lebanon was known for its cedar tree. Forests of the tree covered the entire mountain chain. The Lebanese, filthy merchants of anything that makes money (they'd sell their mothers if they could fetch a good price), sold the timber to kings, pharaohs, emperors and such from antiquity. The mountain became barren, except for the pine tree and oak that took over. The cedar even adorned the Lebanese flag for some time.

Then modernity came, and the Lebanese, as the imitating baboons that they are of every piece of filth that the West manufactures, discovered that their springs and their mountain fountains and sources and rivers and brooks with clean water, were not cool enough for them. It was a little "peasant"-like, low class, not up to the imitating baboon code of conduct, and so they opted instead for the civilized, modern and cool plastic bottle.

My brother yelled at me the other day because I still go to a spring in one of the mountain towns and fill up my two water jugs for drinking water. He said the water is contaminated. He truly believes that the filtered tap water coming in the form of plastic bottles is safer. The government itself does not believe in delivering drinking water to the homes, for the same reason: Water from the tap is so archaic and obsolete, that the Ministry of Health insists on people buying water by the plastic jug.

So, the Lebanese government, in a rare moment of unity, decreed yesterday to change the Lebanese flag and replace the dead cedar with the brand new shiny plastic bottle. Here is our new flag. I get emotional at the sight of this old country embracing modernity like this.