Friday, March 30, 2007

Stalemate and No Chance For Progress

Well, the Arab Summit is over, and of course there has been no change for Lebanon. Probably Lebanon was the only country to have two opposing dispatched teams to the extent not even the Palestinians were in such contradiction (Fatah-Hamas duality).

The Arab Summit itself is nothing but forums to read their opinions, while allies and foes in the Arab Region checked with each other in the “private rooms”. All Arab Leaders would simply hope and wish for a change. I am not talking about intention, I am talking about the speeches delivered. Probably the most repeated words were “we hope” or “we wish”. Of course, words on an empty paper are nothing.

As the Daily Star staff said, the term nation state in Lebanon has been replaced with the term Government. Lebanon as a whole entity does not exist, rather it is the elites of the 14th of March. They tried to take a neutral stand by insisting that resistance movements are not terrorist, but that part it is ironic. The Gulf nations looked the other way as US weaponry was flowing towards Israel via their land, specially those juicy laser guided bunker missiles, which Rice considered them as helping the Lebanese, since the Israelis would become accurate… we all remember how “accurate they were by butchering over 1200 civilians and over 3000 severely wounded.

Egypt and Jordan refuted to kick out the Israeli ambassadors from their nations, and to cover up for mass anger, they decided to donate money to the Lebanese, in amidst of a corruption crisis which struck the High Relief Commission: their stocks were empty because they never expected a war with Israel to ignite, somebody tell them that Lebanon is considered on high tectonic/earthquake region. The Qatari authority most supported Lebanon during the July War, only to invite the Israelis to participate in their Democracy Conference (which Levni apologized because there was the legitimate elected government then Hamas). Saudi Arabia and Egypt suppressed demonstrations in solidarity for Lebanon, and now they say viva Lebanese Government, rather Lebanon.

Syria does not escape the accusations as well. Assad has toyed for a long time with Lebanon, and still never recovered from the fact that he and his machinery (probably exactly the opposite, the current Baathi machinery and Assad) lost their iron grip over Lebanon. If Assad accuses the rest of the Arab Leaders as “traitors” and “half-men”, he should not forget to include himself in that category. Ever since his father, along with Kissinger, the Israelis, and the Christian Lebanese Leaders cooked the entrance of Syria to Lebanon for the sole purpose of “disarming the PLO” and “Ending the War”, Assad Sr. simply balanced the parties the way he wanted to keep the war going in Lebanon, and attain a practical deal to form a hegemony over Lebanon. His breakthrough of course was 1989, whereby the US sold Lebanon to Syria in return for Damascus supports the US in their Desert Rose operation.

Lebanon was forced to sign a separate deal as well: the Brotherhood Treaty (hopefully when I have time I will write a post about it). Part of this treaty included a mutual defense agreement between Syria and Lebanon, which stresses when one nation is under attack, the other upon request comes and assists the other. When the July War broke, Assad Jr. never bothered to lift a finger for Lebanon’s sake, rather the Lebanese refugees were ripped off on Syrian borders, and prices tripled on them. Moreover, Assad argued that Lebanon never asked for his help, while the government (then with Hezbollah) also didn’t ask for his help for not having the Syrian soldiers officially entering Lebanon. In any case, Assad never wanted a confrontation with Israel, and the proof is that every time an Israeli missile was hit near the borders, Assad jumped high and low that it was on Lebanese borders, and they “never dared” to hit Syrian borders. With the war over, suddenly Assad, took credit that he won the war over Lebanese souls while certain pro-8th of March in Syria thanked him for his “heroics”.

Of course, the Brotherhood Treaty can be argued that it does not hold. This is not true. Walid Junblatt never requested to have two separate embassies between Damascus and Beirut, because he himself signed on the Brotherhood Treaty which stated that no embassies are needed between both countries. Assad asked for Walid Junblatt and Marwan Hmaidy to be present for trial in Damascus for imposing national security threats, which ironically again Junblatt is one of those who signed the treaty. Junblatt’s diplomatic immunity saved him. Yet, Lebanon according to the treaty can request Syrian journalists to be present in Lebanese soils, but never did.

“According to Daily Star: “The final statement conveyed the "strict refusal" of Arab leaders of any formula aiming at having Palestinian refugees settled in Lebanon, "because this will lead to drastic repercussions on both the Lebanese and the Palestinians." The Irony is: it was the same nations that empowered the Palestinians to compensate for their humiliating defeat back in 1967. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, Egypt, and others financed the newly risen PLO in Beirut, while blocked PLO operations from their grounds. All Arab nations forced Lebanon to agree towards the Cairo agreement, and Syria became an in-land route for weaponry, and worse, the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA: Palestinian resistance groups/militias created by Syria such as the Sa’iqa) entered Lebanon, and eventually Assad Sr. decided to bomb them when they entered as a “deterrent force” which of course had the “sole purpose of ending the Lebanese civil war”, but by the time the Syrians entered, the Lebanese National Movement (the Left) has already dominated 82% of Lebanon, with the assistance of the PLO, spearheaded by the Gemayels and Chamouns’ arch-enemy: Kamal Junblatt. The funniest part was al-Assad Sr. then kept preaching about the Palestinian Cause as he bombed in 1976, with Israeli blessings (according to Shai Feldman’s Israeli Motives in Lebanon), the PLO. This does not make the PLO innocent of course, and they are disastrous as they were the first who proposed the idea, in the early seventies, to give up the whole of Palestine, and settle for the West Bank. The Arab Leaders should have considered the bloodshed of the Lebanese Civil War, because they had a direct hand in igniting it. At least the Arabs recognized the Palestinians’ right of return, and in case any stupid Zionist want to argue about that, allow me to remind them that they demanded the right of return of “Jewish Diaspora” which started over 23 centuries ago, so spare me the “we are victims” attitude.

The person to lose most was of course, our clown president Emil Lahoud (some of the comrades tend to replace he D with the S in his name). His speeches were falling on deaf ears as he for the past years had nothing to do but increase corruption. Two days ago, al-Diyyar’s editor in chief expressed disappointment in him and how his era will always be remembered as the era of corruption (and afterwards he attacks the Syrian 2nd bureau and hails Assad Jr., go figure that out). Seniora came out with the recognition of the Arab states, while Lahoud is not aware that once his presidency is over, he will be facing all sorts of lawsuits from 14th of March elites (he is expected to live outside Lebanon, but where to? France will not welcome him, to Cuba?). Yet, despite Seniora’s victory over Lahoud, nothing changed in Lebanon, all results were known, and nothing changed inside the Lebanese arena. Seniora had all the private meetings with the Saudis, Qataris (Hamad Bin Khalifa himself), and even with the Russians (Sultanove).

The saddest part of the story, that the Saudis themselves admit that currently there is no solution for Lebanon.

Yes, keep clapping for 14th of March or the Opposition, till they bury you down to starve to death or with a bullet in your head. We wonder how much secret meetings are taking place between the Syrians and the Israelis in Washington, and we wonder how much money all the leaders are making off our back.

It is funny though, the Archbishop Mar Nasrallah Sfair just blew up lately another chance to allow Lebanon to progress by refuting the Relative / Percentage Electoral Law (what is his business anyways, he is supposed to pray and conduct religious masses). What is funnier, last week Northern Ireland just did a historic breakthrough whereby the bourgeoisie leaders of the Catholics and the Protestants signed a deal. Interesting...

The funniest of all is the arrival of General Secretary Ban (new clown in the block) said two contradictory statements: that Siniora had "displayed impressive leadership under difficult circumstances, and I urge you to support his democratically elected government," which triggered a grimace from President Emile Lahoud, according to media reports. The second, a UN statement issued on wednesday saying: ""Much will depend on the outcome of the Arab League summit and on whether any of the current diplomatic initiatives will be successful in brokering a political agreement between the government and the opposition [in Lebanon]," it said." (source from here) Wow, we should be relaxed for such statements.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MFL Account: One Year Old Anniversary

Exactly last year I decided to open Marxist From Lebanon and decided to blog.

It all started in December 2005 when a fellow comrade showed me the Angry Arab blog. I already read couple of articles here and there in my field for Dr. Bou Khalil, and kept a close eye on his blog for academic purposes, specially when he was a critique to US Foreign Policy and even internal policy. I never even thought there were millions of blogs on the web.

Eventually, several comrades started writing their blogs, mainly to express anger towards political entities and to write their own journals. Sadly, I can't link their blogs to their post because it would risk exposing our identities. I discovered my work colleague, a certain famous anarchist over here, was heavily into blogging. By March 28, 2006, I decided to write my first post as a trial.

Probably no day I wrote as much as I did on that day. I wrote about the three left-wing actors, and just spilled my anger ideas. After couple of days, around 5 comrades suspected it was me, and sort of we established our own tiny network. We thought it was for the fun of it. Me and Angry Anarchist had our debates on almost every post, while I thought I would write on class struggle. Angry Anarchist was my first visitor, and encouraged me to be active.

Then the July War broke, and I was involved extensively in relief work. The sad part, I couldn't write as I wanted, specially about the blunders of the political parties during the Israeli aggression on Lebanon. With the war over, a powerful Marxist established contact with me, his name is Renegade Eye. I was about to stop blogging and went as far as to delete my blog. Renegade introduced me to a new world on the blogsphere, and showed me the international sphere of leftists, and how the clashes between the right and left taking place.

When I wrote my first post to Renegade Eye, a powerful debate took place in a post that almost reached 90 comments, then I realized that it was my duty to reflect what is going on. I encountered different friends, and foes. Zionists would attack my blog, while very few Zionists to be objective were interested in constructive debates.

Eventually, through Renegade Eye, I met the comrades of the Further Left Forum. I was invited to be a contributor over there, and comrades Pocho, Say No To Mullets, and my neighbor Puppeteer encouraged me to write more. To a certain extent, we became friends, and the Further Left Forum was to a certain extent my online family.

Red Mantis posted my entire blog on Carnival of Socialism, and ever since I contributed to the Carnival every time I had the chance to do so.

Afterwards, I started interacting with the Lebanese Blogshere. Rampurple devised a gigantic Lebanese Aggregator, and Ur Shalim put some of my posts on Global Voices Online. Both encouraged me to write more. The Lebanese Bloggers were the trickiest of all. I was already a person who enjoyed reading different opinions from other Lebanese. I was, and still am fascinated with Khawwta's blog, and kept a close eye on the Lebanese Bloggers Forum. The trick was how to talk with people without exposing my identity. Afterall, if people knew my identity, I wouldn't be able to write what I want efficiently. I had couple of Lebanese on MSN, and it was great chatting with them. Liliane's "My Lebanon is Being Burnt to Ashes" was another blog of interest, as we agreed more and more with time. Delirious was as hilarious as ever on her blog, and during her short visits to my blogs, while me and N10452 had heavy but respectable debates despite the fact we never agreed on one thing and indirectly we despise each other's movements. La Lebanessa keeps dropping me funny notes from time to time.

Lately, Hillz, and Sham's blog were of massive interest to me, despite the fact I disagree with either couple/or a lot with their ideas (depending on the author).

It is funny, that such a blog, which started out of simple ideas became that important to me. I established contacts with different large organizations, some of them are my comrades, such as

In any case, I wish I can attend those bloggers meetings, but guess I can't. I want to thank all those who supported me, those who sent me kind words and those who read my blog. I am sure more and more articles are coming as class struggle is an on-going issue as I got plenty of my mind. The subjective analysis of the duality camps has ruined most of the blogs and rendered them non-reliable. A lot has to be written from an objective fashion, and observing everything as they take place, and from a class struggle perspective. No War But Class War!!

Happy One Year Anniversary to my blog :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi's New Book: A History of Modern Lebanon

I have been reading the book for the past two weeks, and the more I read, the more I have been surprised. I was lucky two months ago to attain a chapter of it by chance, and to say the truth, the book reflects everything needed to know. I do believe that this book reflects the history of Lebanon, not ala Christian perspective, nor Muslim perspective, nor Syrian perspective, but events as they took place. Despite the fact that Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi is a Marxist, he is also an academic, and when it comes to Academia, he displays 100% of objectivity, and sheds light on all people involved in the war. (There are three amazing chapters on the Civil War, and one chapter how everything started to build up). For those "real Lebanese", whoever you are, I highly recommend you read this book, to know your REAL HISTORY (with its scandals).

Fantastic Book, check what Noam Chomsky wrote about it here.

Enjoy it, because I sure will! When I read it 7 times


PS: for those living in New York, you can meet him there, he is teaching at University of Columbia

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Favorite History Irony: East and West Beirut

If you think current Lebanon is nothing but contradictions, I can't think of a better example to show the most ironic Lebanon ever; which is during the Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982. When the Israelis were welcomed to East Beirut, they isolated West Beirut. (However, the scenario was almost the same with much less brutality, when the Syrians bombarded East Beirut for 100 Days as well). This is taken from John Boylin's Cursed is the Peace Maker (Applegate Press, 2002, P.161)from Philip Habib (Presidential American Diplomat During The Israeli Invasion till 1984)

“That was West Beirut. The Siege was absurdly localized. While the Muslims of West Beirut were the Israelis’ targets, the Christians of East Beirut were the Israelis’ allies. From the veranda at Yarze, Habib could look on the two cities of Beirut at night and marvel at the eerie contrast. Muslim West Beirut would be dark as a cave. Against the Blackness he could see fires burning here and there from the bombings, or the occasional headlights of a car taking a run for it. Just across the Green Line, he could see Christian Beirut lit up as Manhattan.

West Beirut was a skeleton of a city. Everywhere you looked were blown-out buildings: facades with no sides, no back. Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets screamed overhead at night, sometimes shattering sleep with sonic booms, sometimes dropping cascades of flares that lit up the whole city in a fantasy of yellow light. The jets dropped aerial percussion bombs that sounded as if the whole city were collapsing. There were no more coffins for sale in West Beirut; people rented and returned them.

Meanwhile, East Beirut was a party town. People there still jogged, played tennis, and ate in restaurants. By day women in bikinis water skied and sunbathed on the beach; by night they wore their finest jewels to cocktail parties and sampled the smoked salmon and caviar. People living in the Christian suburbs, says Bob Dillon, “could easily forget that the rest of the country was going to hell.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Investigating Lebanon: The Ethnic Dilemma Part III (Final)

Check Part II and Part I

On Causes of Internal Conflict:

“In Brief, states are especially prone to violence if state structures are collapsing due to external developments (such as sharp reductions in international financial assistance, sharp declines in commodity prices), internal problems (new, incompetent leaders or rampant corruption), or some combination of above. Under these circumstances, states are increasingly unable to cope with societal demands”

Lebanon experienced began to suffer instability since 1967 which led chain reactions that led to the civil war. The swift Israeli victory over the Arab front left the Arab nations humiliated, and the concept of Arab Nationalism stomped to the ground. The Arab nations found no other means to compensate their humiliation but to support the fast growing PLO. The PLO were active in Lebanon and Jordan, till Jordan crushed and expelled the PLO (with Assad turning a blind eye to assist the Syrian Tank Brigades with airplanes, which made the tanks sitting ducks to the Israeli Air Force).

By 1967, the first missile crossed borders from Lebanese grounds towards Northern Israel. Israel’s logic of handling the PLO is similar to the current US policies in warfare: bomb the locals in order to “motivate” them into getting rid of the PLO. In 1968, Israel performed a commando elite strike which took off Lebanese owned Middle East Airlines planes and tanks. Confrontations between the Lebanese Army and the PLO occurred. By then Arab Nationalism peaked in Lebanon, which was spearhead by Kamal Junblatt. The PLO aware of their alliance to the left in specific and the Muslims in general, kept doing operations on Israel, while the South suffered from retaliations. By 1969, the Cairo agreement was imposed on Lebanon by almost all Arab States, which made the South an official stronghold for the PLO, and transformed the Camps into PLO ownerships. Syria had its own Palestinian Paramilitary Forces, called the PLA (Palestinian Liberation Army), whose elite units were called the Sa’iqa.

Whenever the PLO were in a tight position, according to Itimar Rabinovich, Syria supported them through artillery from cross borders, or by sending PLA units (which were legitimate according to the Cairo Agreement).

When Jordan crushed the PLO on their grounds, they were kicked out and were welcomed to the last country that offered the circumstances for them to be active: Lebanon. Syria had a role in it, and a large faction the Lebanese Left and Sunnis also welcomed them in order to balance against the Lebanese Army, which was biased towards the Christian Parties. Sham’oun was the first to start building his legendary Tigers Militia, according to Itimar Rabinovich, and the rest followed.

The Eastern European Socialist Camp was pumping weaponry to the PLO and their allies, the Lebanese National Movement.

When the 1973 war was over, it was clear that Syria and Egypt initiated such a war to attain bargaining grounds. Despite the fact Lebanon was not part of the war, the 1973 war changed Lebanon heavily. Syria and Egypt got deals with Israel via Henry Kissinger, while the PLO were left out to rotten, which is ironic because the Syrian and Egypt indorsed the Arab cause, which is the liberation of Palestine for Israeli occupation. The PLO left without a choice, had to bomb their way into the negotiation tables.

By 1973, the PLO were allowed to speak as observant in the UN, and Arafat declined demanding the whole Palestine Proper, rather demanded a faction of it (Gaza and West Bank), and gave the Israelis a choice in the matter, they rejected the offer: they chose the Bullet for the Rose. The importance of the PLO is that since 1948, there has not been an official spokesman for the Palestinians and the PLO won it. This does not mean the PLO are innocent virtuous fighters, they did their mess ups and transformed a lot of Lebanese villages as their local HQ while discriminating against the residents there, who were mostly Shiites. The main HQ was soon to become West Beirut.

By 1975, George Adwan was the first Lebanese to establish contacts with the Israelis. The Israelis started pumping captured Soviet weaponry (via Henry Kissinger again) to the soon to become the “Lebanese Front”. The route was Haifa, Cyprus, then Jounieh. Syria wanted the Lebanese National Movement stronger, but not too strong. They wanted a balance of power to take place. When the war broke, the Lebanese National Movement and the PLO dominated quickly 81% (according to Hassan Krayem) of Lebanon, which pushed Syria, the United States, the Lebanese Front, and Israel to coordinate Syrian entry towards Lebanon and disarm the PLO. El-Khaddam himself said that he will not leave with the PLO a kitchen knife.

Since then, the Lebanese state crumbled. The Lebanese Front leaders didn’t realize to give up their supreme political advantages and establish a fairer system, while the Lebanese National Movement were too engulfed with their alliance with the PLO.

Currently, we have France and the United States meddling in Lebanese Affairs to counter the interventions of Syria and Iran. Some Lebanese naively wrote logos: “Bashar el-Assad is the symbol of Democracy” while others raised the French Flag. Of course, all are demanding “Independent Lebanon” (go figure).

“Political transitions brought about by the collapse of authoritarian rule, democratization, or political reforms also make states particularly prone to violence. The emergence and rise of exclusionary national ideologies, such as ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism, can be destabilizing as well. The emergence of dehumanizing ideologies, which literally deny the humanity of other ethnic groups, is particularly dangerous because it is often the precursor to genocidal slaughter. The emergence of power struggles between and among elites can be particularly problematic, because desperate and opportunistic politicians are particularly prone to employing divisive ethnic and nationalistic appeals.”

Probably Lebanon, in its political chaos, is summarized indirectly in this perspective. Both camps are aiming to cleanse the other politically and even in some occasions socially. The Sectarian blocks are divided into two reactionary camps, each aiming to dump the other in the sea. Each block claims to be “the real Lebanese” while accuses the other with treason. When violence erupts, regions with minority parties clash, and the majority within a certain block kicks out the other. Several Sunni people fled el Dahhieh region during the Black Thursday because they were worried from AMAL and Hezbollah while Future Movement burnt down to the ashes the SSNP HQ in Tareek el Jadeedi. Kornish el Mazra’a witnessed heavy collisions between supporters of both camps. On Black Tuesday, regions concentrated with Christians, witnessed clashes also from Christians belonging to both camps each claiming to be not only the “Real Lebanese” but also the “Real Christian”. I used the term Black, because civilians died for the greed of their politicians. Usually politicians in different minorities sections use the Ethnic card, in Lebanon, however, they use the Sectarian Card.

Importance of the Domestic Elites

Brown writes: “Although mass-level factors are clearly important underlying conditions that make some places more disposed to violence than others, and although neighboring states routinely meddle in the internal affairs of others, the decisions and actions of domestic elites often determine whether political disputes veer toward war or peace. Leaving elite decisions and actions out of the equation, as many social scientists , is analytically misguided.”

Elites in the end in Lebanon call for the Sectarian Card in desperate needs. That is why Archbishop Sfair would receive a group of mourning Christian women demanding the presence of real Lebanon. All politicians claim they are Secular, but in the end, Hassan Nasrallah and Nabih Berri have Shiites as supporters, Walid Junblatt’s PSP has Druz, Amin Gemayel, Samir Jaajaa, Suleiman Frangieh, and Michel Aoun has Christians, and Saad Harriri in general has the Sunnis. Each sect loves the other when their leaders ally with each other. Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement and Nasrallah’s Hezbollah despised each other till they allied with each other. The Lebanese Forces were hated by everyone till Jaajaa allied with Harriri and Junblatt, and so the supporters blindly follow because they think that this is how they would survive towards “better life” conditions.

“Ethnic Minorities are often singled out and blamed for the country’s problems: ethnic scapegoating and ethnic bashing become the order of the day”

Taking away the term ethnic, and replacing it with Sectarianism, it will be more appropriate. I think the Lebanese elites have found a new academic field which is called: trashing each other. Each blames the overall and their personal blunders on the other.

“The more interesting question is: why do followers follow?...Two factors are particularly important in this regard: the existence of antagonistic group histories; and mounting economic problems. If groups have bad histories with each other and especially if they see themselves as victims of other aggressive communities, ethnic bashing and inflated threats seem plausible. If economic problems such as unemployment and inflation are mounting an resonate and more people are likely to accept a radical change in a country’s political course, including armed confrontation…but hostilities escalate only because of the existence of other underlying problems or permissive conditions – problematic group histories and economic problems.”

In the case of Lebanon, everyone butchered everyone in the Civil War. Bad economies, corruption of the Christian Parties, the Rise of the Lebanese National Movement, fear of other, and finally the disintegration of Lebanon almost caused everyone to shoot on everyone (at least on the militia standards) while most of the civilians indirectly supported them because they were convinced that is the situation. Each has bad memory of the other. The problem is currently the elites stir up parts of the war memories against the enemy camp leaders and neglect the others. For example, AMAL supporters only remember how the Lebanese Forces welcomed the Israelis despite the fact they supported the Lebanese Front indirectly from 1978 – 1982, and till 1984 they declared war, when Amin Gemayel preferred a puppy Shiite feudal lord rather the movement. The Lebanese Forces supporters think that the Muslims and the Palestinians wanted to demolish Lebanon. Hezbollah want to impose themselves as the image of a pious party, trying to erase the reign of Tfayli, and AMAL are trying to rewrite history as they played a crucial role against the Israeli resistance in 1982. Worse, the Lebanese Forces still denounce the fact Bashir Gemayel invited the Israelis to come over and install him as a President, while Harriri Sr. is being shoved as a man who always resisted the Syrians. Aoun wants to convince his supporters that (first he is sane then) he has been always fighting for the independence of Lebanon while neglecting the fact he had an alliance with a Syrian supported elite called Elie Hobeika (who drove his family towards the embassy when he was kicked out of Baabda Palace.

Too much hatred and only certain details are highlighted by the elites. Bad economy always is an excuse to blame the other and refresh into the memory of their supporters parts of the war as an excuse to attack their opponents. The case of Lebanon, that as a country, no reform can fix Lebanon’s economic problems, and not to forget the budget deficit and loans. The United States once offered to give the Palestinian refugees the Lebanese citizenship in return of canceling their debt that of course was rejected. The Free Market can never solve Lebanon’s problems; in fact, the only country to get rid of its debts has been Chile, due to US investments in it. All other countries have been buried and buried with debts (due to previous colonial reasons and entering the free market rather late). Immigration has increased, and even the Democratic Left idiots think that the service sector can solve everything. Yet the Service sector can never contain that entire labor source, as previously agriculture for example contributed 40% of labor even though it barely contributed 10% to the overall GDP. Tourism is probably the most imbalanced of all. With the threat of another war with Israel or political turmoil (as well as assassinations and riots), tourism directly hits bottom.

Leaders would blame each other, and Sectarianism is increased in time of trouble, just as riots break, a tip of an iceberg appears, while leaders are trying to maximize their own personal profits.


Lebanon’s case is not ethnic. Its groups may have some ethnic qualities, but they are sure not ethnic. Probably the only three who would be ethnic are the Lebanese Forces, who want to revive Phoenician Nationalism, and have a Marounstan in a seperatist manner, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party who dream of a Greater Syria. The Armenian Tashnaq are the third category who preserve Armenian nationalism, and encourage their members to remain isolated. They still dream of returning back to Armenia. All other political actors want to “win it all” scenario, and would use the Sectarian card to escalate against the other as a warning.

As Marxists, we do not believe in “Sonum Bonum” (Latin: Meaning: Values existing by themselves). The Lebanese Forces for example still believe in Christian Supremacy over the rest. The problem is with the elites and sectarian system. They give values for others to follow, while enforcing amnesia that the leaders need their people and not vice versa.

Each Sect claims to be correct. Within each camp, frictions are present, in a term how each Leader would remain in an alliance and increase his sphere of influence among his/her people. Each camp wants to dump the other while both are inviting the other “for National Dialogues”, which is nothing but a waste of time.

All of this is class struggle. The fact that the masses are mobilized like sheep by their leaders shows that the leaders have been on this stage winners, and the people are lacking class awareness that they do not need anyone but themselves to get rid of their chains and dump their leaders into the sea. The Proletariat are being abused by their leaders for their power struggle.

Happy Birthday Anarchist

To my anarchist friend, as far as old hatreds between the Communists and Anarchists go, we stood togather against an oppressor.

We were the first to cover each other's back, and we are true to comrades due to friendship, despite the fact we almost annhilated each other in debates.

Next time we will party :D
Hasta La Victoria Siempre

Quote of the Day

Nothing can have value without being an object of utility ~ Marx

The more the division of labor and the application of machinery extend, the more does competition extend among the workers, the more do their wages shrink together. ~ Marx

The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them. ~ Marx

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. ~ Marx (Written on his grave at Highgate Cemetry)

The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs. ~ Marx

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bomb Located Next/Within AUB

Well, who would have expected it?

The bomb was found within the parameter of Issam Fares Hall, which is close to AUH. Issam Fares Hall is outside AUB's main gigantic campus, but very close to it (like crossing the street).

This is the first encounter of locating bombs in the Hamra Region. The message is clear, no place is safe, and seriously no place. The American University of Beirut was supposed to have at least best security ever (since Collage Hall was blown in 1993 to Kingdom Come), but again, there are no metal detectors. Worse, AUB campus (the main one) faces the Prime Minister's house on Bliss Street. Securities in that area were taken in a matter that only the neighborhood residents' cars can be parked on the street through a permission and license to park their cars. This security measure is to block any "alien" cars to blow up while the Prime Minister is passing with his envoy.

The bomb's location now would stirr more controversy, specially that Prime Minister Seniora lives towards the end of the Peripheral Gate (known as Dorms Gate). This means, the location of the bomb is only 5 minutes of walking away from the house. No one is safe.

Second, the fear factor has been expanded. No place is safe, and worse, students can be targeted by these terrorist bombs. No location is safe, and this also targets probably one of the few flourishing industries in Lebanon: Education. I think a costive security measures, which was implemented in Cairo - 1997, when the foreign tourists were butchered: placing metal detectors everywhere, and the entrance of almost every store.

Third, the sadest part of the story, anger would explode. AUB, like other universities, has all types of political parties which never sparked fights as huge as the Arab University, Lebanese University, or Lebanese American University. Usually the student leaders themselves sort the problem. However, now accusations of both camps would stirr up, and would reflect anger on the student life, primarily in AUB first, and all campuses second.

Now, the reactionary camps can start pointing fingers at each other.

Here is the full story

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Investigating Lebanon: The Ethnic Dilemma (Part II)

Check Part I

Probably what drives ethnicity or in case of Lebanon, sectarianism, would be bad economy. Leaders would not be capable of abusing the Proletariat for their own interests if economy was flourishing. Brown writes:

“many countries in what we would like to think of as the developing world seem to be in a semi-permanent state of economic shambles. Others are in an economic free-fall. Unemployment, inflation, and resource competitions, especially for land, contribute to societal frustrations and tensions, and can provide the breeding ground for conflict. Economic reforms do not always help and can contribute to the problem in the short term, especially if economic shocks are severe and state subsidies for staples, services, and social welfare are cut. In short, economic slowdowns, stagnation, and collapse can be de-stabilizing.”

Harriri Sr. won elections with the promise of a better economy. His crew’s taxation system led to the increase of class inequality, as the rich got richer while the poor poorer. The Down Town project got monopolized by a single corporation, while the first hand investors were kicked out.

Lebanon has experienced unemployment on the increase, while those who remained inside Lebanon gradually lost their purchasing power. Seniora’s plan to integrate Lebanon the Value Added Taxes (VAT) within 5% suffered drastically. Expectations were issued in the European Issue of the Business Week only pushed revenue up to 10-15% rather cover 50% of the deficit. Worse, Lebanon’s debt, dating back to the Civil War, had 90% going on the coverage of the interest rate while only 10% was distributed as salaries (Business Week European Issue).

The only efficient service system was provided by the private sector, regarding the Banking, Investment, and Insurance sectors; however, not anyone can afford such privileges. The interest rate has been on the decline, specially on the bank deposits of customers in terms of Lebanese Currency. Deposits reached at a one point 20%. The Central Bank follows the Fixed Rate (in opposition of the WTO policies) rather the floating rate. The only way to keep the Lebanese Currency fixed to the dollar (1$ = 1500 LL) is through the Central Bank which sells Foreign Currency and purchases Lebanese Currency from the international market.

Services in general have been bad within the Public Sector, and based on favoritism. Lebanon suffers from inflation, which was reflected after the July War, and immigration of Human Resources increased. Politicians would hijack the Lebanese recession to blame the other. Mass mobilization have been carried out by the opposition under the banner of “We Want to Live” while accusing the Government of robbery. Little does the opposition remember, or seems to impose amnesia, that certain sensitive ministries were in their hands, such as the Ministry of Labor (governed by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, whose ideology opposes Union Activism) and Ministry of Electricity (governed by AMAL). Again, platforms are irrelevant since the core is political. Both factions agreed that the clash is Political while a lot of Opposition party figures, such as Aoun, do not disagree with the government’s right-wing policies.

In the absence of proper economies, Hezbollah succeeded in securing the Shiite rural areas with their own welfare system, similar to that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine or Egypt.

“Second, discriminatory economic systems, whether they discriminate on a class basis or an ethnic basis, can generate feelings of resentment and levels of frustration prone to the generation of violence. Unequal economic opportunities, unequal access to resources such as land and capital, and vast differences in standards of living are all signs of economic systems that disadvantaged members of society will see as unfair and perhaps illegitimate…Economic development is not necessarily the solution. Indeed, it can aggravate the situation: economic growth always benefits some individuals, groups and regions more than others, and those who are on the top to begin with are likely to be in a better position to take advantage of new economic opportunities than the downtrodden. Even if a country’s overall economic picture is improving, growing inequities and gaps can aggravate intra-state tensions”

Prior to the Taef Agreement, the Christian Parties benefited most of the economic situation. Whenever the economy was flourishing, they recruited most towards the public sector since the ration was Six Christians to Five Muslims.

Currently, all benefits are seen going to Harriri Jr. since he is continuing his father’s grand plans of integrating Lebanon in the free market. He represents the top business class.

Reforms taking place during and after the Syrian mandate showed that nothing is solved. The July War aftermath showed that the Lebanese, divided in Sectarian matter, are willing to shoot each other when violence erupts, and worse check-points segregating according to Sect/Region, are applied.

The opposition has been marketing that the government have been stealing the people’s pocket while they also played a role in it.

(The Above Quotes were taken from the Economic Section)

“The Second factor that falls under this broad heading [cultural] has to do with group histories and group perceptions of themselves and others. It is certainly true that many groups have legitimate grievances against others for crimes of one kind or another committed at some point in the distant or recent past. Some “ancient” hatreds” have legitimate historical bases. However, it is also true that groups tend to whitewash and glorify their own histories, and they often demonize their neighbors, rivals, and adversaries…Stories that are passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth become part of a group’s lore. They often become distorted and exaggerated with time, and are treated as received wisdom by group members.”

Probably the most simple example is how the Civil War was relative to the others. Residents of West or East Beirut remember how each bombarded the other. The people of East Christian Beirut argue how they defended Lebanese soverneignty despite the fact they invited the Syrians and Israelis over. The People of West Beirut till current day remember the horrors of the Israeli siege to West Beirut with the blessings of Bashir Gemayel. East Beirut keep reviving the 100 days war with the Syrians. The Shiites supported the Phalange Cabinet till they allied with the Syrians for better positions (in case of AMAL). Till current day, a lot celebrate the death of Bashir Gemayel as victory while others mourn it.

Till current times, the shadow of the war and its hatred lives till current days. No matter what happens, the Lebanese Forces or AMAL would always be remembered as butchers while most of their own supporters call them heroes. Worse, the Lebanese War had no war criminals placed on trial as a means of establishing justice or peace. All warlords have been given amnesty.

The Shiites remember Lebanon in the good old days as bad. Lebanon in the 1960s and early 70s have been disastrous since they were most marginalized from governmental budgets. Hezbollah preserves its supporters in the quest of avoiding the return to such political, economical, and social marginalization.

The most interesting syndrome perceived during the Civil War is Walid Junblatt. Walid’s ancestor Bashir Junblatt has entered a clash with Bashir Shihab in order to dominate the Druze back in the 19th Century. When Walid’s forces entered Deir el Qamar, he loudly expressed that his family’s honor was avenged.

History is relative in Lebanon. There has been no unifying book which talks about Lebanon’s history, rather history has been written to satisfy the different sects. Some go naively as to relate Lebanon’s existence to the days of the Phoenician cities, other have been relating its presence till 1860 or 1920. Recent attempts took place to unify the history of modern Lebanon, all ended in failure as each Sect wanted to erase its dark history with the other.

“These ethnic mythologies are particularly problematic, if rival groups have mirror images of each other, which is often the case.”

In case of Lebanon, things are rather contradictory. The Shiites welcomed the Israeli army, based on the request of Pierre Gemayel, Bashir Gemayel, and Camille Shamoun, with rice and flowers. The Shiites were fed up from Israeli retaliations on PLO operations. Afterwards, the Shiites played a role in resisting the Israeli invasion, in 1984, which to them also were resisting the Lebanese Forces.

The SSNP till current days have not forgotten how the PSP backstabbed them while fighting the two year wars. The Lebanese Forces do not mention how they agreed with the Israelis to enter Lebanon. Worse, current leaders of the bi-polar camps revive parts of history which burns the other.

(Above Quotes taken from the Cultural Section).

(To Be Continued)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Investigating Lebanon: The Ethnic Dilemma (Part I)


Ever since the civil war in Lebanon was over, some scholars dubbed Lebanon as an ethnic struggle. Philip Habib considered Lebanon as a whirlpool that sucked in all those powers against each other, while the main domestic actors are semi-feudal warlords protecting their own interests. The question is whether Lebanon is ethnic or not… the investigation begins. My argument is the sectarian system has been the primary cause rather ethnic belonging.

Lebanon 1975-1976

The first scenario to take into hand is the breakout of the war. Some naively dubbed the break-out of the civil war as a Palestinian – Lebanese war. This has failed to be proven as so. On the eve of the civil war in 1975, the ones who declared war were the Lebanese factions, with Palestinian support for one side, and indirect US-Syrian-Israeli support for another. Despite the war broke as Muslim versus Christian, that was not the case. The Shiite movement, known as AMAL, supported the “Muslim side”, and ended up supporting the Christian side. To be exact, the left-wing tried to win over the Shiites, but they preferred to side with the Lebanese Front to stop Israeli retaliation due to Palestinian operations. It has to be noted though, that most of the Shiite militants were either in Communist movements or of the SSNP.

Second, the combatants from the “West Side” were not purely Palestinian. On the contrary, four gigantic parties were present next to them, they were called the Lebanese National Movement. None of them were Sect based (unlike current days), rather they were left-wing in nature. The Kamal Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, Ra’ad’s Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Hawwi’s Lebanese Communist Party, and Ibrahim’s Order For Communist Work. Dr. Traboulsi dubbed Kamal Jumblatt’s campaign as “Reform By Arms”, which ended with the martyrdom of Kamal jumblatt at the hands of the Syrian Regime, and Maronite Blessing, which succeeded in isolating Kamal Jumblatt.

Third, the Sunni St. were not part of the confrontations. They used the Palestinian issue to advance minor demands of system reform in the name of “Arab Nationalism”. The primary figure of the “Muslim Side” was Kamal Jumblatt. If the PLO were combating the whole Lebanon, then it would have been probably considered as ethnic, whereby the PLO want to dominate Lebanon to launch their own operations, while the Lebanese were fighting for their existence. The glitch is, a huge military faction sided with the Lebanese National Movement in the face of the other.

Lebanon in 1980-1984

The hypothesis goes as Lebanese fighting Israelis, but that also does not stand. Bashir Gemayel and the newly carved Lebanese Forces coordinated the entrance of Israel to Lebanon. Sharon already visited East Beirut and Beit Merri (in 1981) and met with Pierre Gemayel, Camille Cham’oun, and Bashir Gemayel.

The other faction of the Lebanese was supporting the PLO. Over here, in Lebanon, there are written two historical paradigms of what happened: that of East Beirut, and that of West Beirut.

Probably the only ethnic dimension that can be considered over here is the Israelis combating the PLO, specially when the Siege of West Beirut began. Sharon wanted to get of the PLO once and for all. The Sabra-Chatila massacre was the biggest proof of how Sharon wanted to “get rid of the PLO”. This does not make the PLO innocent as a lot of West Beirut residents were fed up from their hegemony over the area. East Beirut were celebrating the Israeli victories.

When Bashir Gemayel was assassinated, the al-Jazeera documentary was correct to say: “Thousands mourned, while others celebrated.”

Lebanon 1984-1990

Well, after President Amin Gemayel’s 17th of May accord (peace with Israel) was shot down by Walid Junblatt’s PSP, the Resistance Front, AMAL movement, and the al-Assad, whatever official institutions of the government collapsed. Lebanon became cantons with each major party having a sea-shore outlet to do their own business trade with the outside world.

This era proves that Lebanon has not been a Palestinian-Lebanese issue, or a Lebanese Israeli issue, and of course a Lebanese-Syrian issue (despite the fact Syria played an indirect role to be discussed in a separate post). If the case that Lebanon began as a war between the Lebanese and Palestinians, then why the war continued from 1982 till 1990. In 1982, most of the Palestinian warriors got evacuated with US blessing into Tunisia, Syria, and Jordan. Some returned to Lebanon to protect their camps after the Sabra – Chatila massacres, and eventually clashed with AMAL movement. Parties of the same sects clashed to establish hegemony over newly acquired lands, which includes territorial gains and civilians being taxed “for their own welfare.”

Shiites slaughtered Shiites, AMAL and Hezbollah experienced the bloodiest warfare between each other. Christians slaughtered Christians, Bashir’s death created a void which pushed two warlords to collide against each other to control East Beirut (probably the only front Samir Jaajaa won militarily in his life, against Elie Hobeika). Shiites and the PSP, after becoming Durzi based, collided to establish hegemony over West Beirut which pushed the people of West Beirut to demand the return of the Syrian Army in 1987 to its area. Eventually General Aoun and Samir Jaajaa collided, and the Christian militias lost the Status Quo once and for all.

Lebanon and Ethnicity

I went through glimpses of the civil war, because I will need them as examples when the investigation really begins, and hopefully shed light on the current situation as well. I will borrow views from ME Brown’s article “The Causes of Internal Conflict- An Overview”, to understand Lebanon from an ethnic perspective. I do not consider Lebanon as ethnic oriented, but the Sectarian groups have some similar behavior to ethnic groups in action.

“Weak state structures are the starting point for many analysis of internal conflict. Some States are born weak. Many of the states that were carved out of colonial empires in Africa and Southeast Asia, for example, were artificial constructs. They lacked political legitimacy, political legitimacy, politically sensible borders, and political institutions capable of exercising meaningful control over the territory placed under their nominal supervision…. The vast majority of these new entities came into existence with only the most rudimentary political institutions in place.”

This is the case with Lebanon. Lebanon was carved out from an Ottoman Empire. It was existent as a tiny autonomous Mt. Lebanon to become the current Lebanon which according to some (has been and always remain to be). The carving of Lebanon didn’t receive legitimacy till the National Pact was agreed upon between all the leaders in Lebanon. Lebanon has a state has always been preached by the Maronites, their concept then was Lebanon is free and legitimate as long as they were in power. Lebanon was carved out by the French from Syria. Mt. Lebanon in the past did not even include Beirut. All documents at the American University of Beirut (prior to World War One) were signed as Syrian Protestant Collage (earlier name to AUB), Beirut – Syria. Till now, the governmental institutions can’t establish all Lebanese sovereignty where the opposition are majority in their region. Again, the government as a legitimate power is weak when all the Sect leaders are disregarding it.

“When states are weak, individual groups within these states feel compelled to provide for their own defense; they to worry whether other groups pose security threats… The problem is that, in taking steps to defend themselves, groups often threaten the security of others. This can lead neighboring groups to take steps that will diminish the security of the first group; this is the security dilemma.”

This appeared slightly in Lebanon, in the year 1958, but drastically in 1970. The center of Lebanon, ie the government, was oppressive in 1958 towards most of the non-Christian leaders who saw with Nasserism they can establish a balance of power. Worse, in 1970, with the increased clashes between the future parties of the Lebanese Front and the PLO, caused Sham’oun to announce his famous elite militia: The Tigers. The arms of the PLO, the aim of the left-wing to demolish the sectarian system through allying with the PLO, the stubbornness of the Christian Leaders to decline any of their better off political advantages, triggered the arming of militia groups which exploded in 1975. Currently, we got the same dilemma, the arms of Hezbollah showed a massive balance of power politically against the government. During the January encounters, all parties turned out to have arms, and the security dilemma continues.

“In some states with ethnic minorities, ethnic groups are intermingled; in others, minorities tend to live in separate provinces or regions of the country. Countries with highly intermingled populations are less likely to face secessionist demands because ethnic groups are not distributed in ways that lend themselves… Direct attacks on civilians, intense guerilla warfare, ethnic cleansing, and genocide may result.”

Lebanon has different sect communities that in a lot of occasions are divided. None are demanding separatist demands, except probably for the Lebanese Forces’ reviving a federation system to establish a Marounstan, but none currently has a separatist demand. Even the audience of Hezbollah does not wish to go to Syria because they know how oppressive the regime is over there. However, when clashes occurred in December and January, the civilians were hurt. Worse, towards the end of January, the PSP and AMAL established check-points asking people for identification cards or passports, those who were Sect enemies or belonged to an enemy region suffered sectarianism and racism.

Back in planning the establishment of Israel, the Zionists had a plan of encouraging Christians to endorse the Phoenician dogma, and push for Sect-redistribution, whereby the Phoenicians/Christians would be in South Lebanon as a buffer to Israel’s North. (Source: Amin Mustapha’s book: Resistance in Lebanon). In such a scenario, the Zionists would attempt to transform the Christians into a race, like they did with their own people by transforming Judaism into a race.

(The Above Quotes were taken from the Structural Section)

“Many argue that the prospects for conflict in a country depend to a significant degree on the type and fairness of its political system. Closed, authoritarian systems are likely to generate considerable resentment over time, especially if the interests of some ethnic groups are served while others are trampled. Even in more democratic settings, resentment can build if some groups are inadequately represented in government, the courts, the military, the police, political parties, and other state and political institutions. The legitimacy of the system as a whole can, over time, falls into question.”

Lebanon under the French mandate suited one minority, who were the Maronites, even a lot of Greek Orthodox sect opposed the separation of Lebanon from Syria. As mentioned earlier, till the national pact was agreed between the Sunnis and the Maronites, the French left, but the system still gave a supreme privilege to the Christian Sects. The President then had more power than the parliament combined, actually the system functioned that the elected President of the Nation was more powerful than his voters, who are the members of the Parliament. To add much damage, the system added a lot of injuries in the long run where by the Public Sector followed a biased logic of recruitment based on sect: For every 6 Christians recruited by the State, Five Muslims were recruited. After the war ended, the status quo in recruitment changed to 6:6. Three President system was created, and the power was divided between the President of the Republic (Maronite), the Prime Minister (Sunni), and Speaker of the Parliament (Shiite). Nevertheless the Sectarian system stands, and most of the clergy men almost caused chaos when Civil Marriage was proposed back in 1999.

During the Syrian Dictatorship mandate over Lebanon, the Syrians played on sectarianism to keep the Lebanese divided. Rather, they gave all warlords and businessmen tempting powers to preserve their presence. Again, the ones who opposed the government were factions of the left, and the Christian street, which was led by two rival warlords, General Aoun (who got exiled) and Jaajaa (who went to prison for not entering the game and aiming for presidency).

Currently, the Opposition naively are trying to impose they are oppressed and they are gambling on community logic to keep their masses mobilized. The government, which also serves the interests of certain sect leaders are also behaving the same way.

“…Therefore ethnic nationalism is the default option: it predominates when institutions collapse, when existing institutions are not fulfilling people’s basic needs, and when satisfactory alternative structures are not readily available.”

This appeared clear during the Civil War, each militia dominated militarily zones it invaded, and applied its miniature financing of political parties. The government was already viewed as biased to one side against the other. The basic needs were satisfied mostly except in the South and rural areas of the North. Over here, Hezbollah entered the scene, replacing AMAL movement’s influence on the grass root level through services and welfares where the government failed. The Christians in 1975 started arming themselves and attained weaponry via Israel (as well as suspected in some occasions Syria) while the Lebanese National Movement via the Soviet Union and PLO. The lack of a strong nation caused all factions to arm. Currently, the opposition are gambling to promote themselves as the starving ones (Hezbollah got the advantage on that side) but the government also has locations full of poor people. In certain areas in North Lebanon, there are a large number of Sunni rural areas who pledged allegiance to Harriri Jr. in return for welfare or believing of the survival of their community.

“Religious fundamentalists committed to establishing theocratic states divide societies into two groups: Those who subscribe to a theologically derived political, economic, and social order, and those who do not.”

The easiest model to define a theocratic state, that model would be called Iran, ie rule of the clergy. In Lebanon, religion was hijacked by politicians to mobilize their own masses, mainly the middle class and the lower classes within the sect. Each Sect-Defender blamed enemy sect leaders during the war, and still do till current day blame the other.

During the civil war, there have been two main groups who demanded a theocratic state, Yakan’s al-Tawhhid movement which declared Tripoli as an Islamic Princedom at the cost of civilians, the Communists, and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and Hezbollah which has the Shora Council (similar to the concept of a Stalinist Central Committee but controlled by clergy men). Hezbollah aimed during the civil war to establish an Islamic State (specially under the bloody reign of Sheikh Tfayli). After 1993, Hezbollah gradually became a hybrid model of political party and a militant group. Currently, both are allied with each other, with Yakan (a Sunni) giving a Friday Prayer to the audience of Hezbollah against the government.

“The prospects for violence are great, it is said, if groups – whether they are based on political, ideological, religious, or ethnic affinities – have ambitious objectives, strong senses of identity, and confrontational strategies. Conflict is especially likely if objectives are incompatible, groups are strong and determined, action is feasible, success is possible, and if inter-group comparisons lead to competition, anxiety, and fears of being dominated. The emergence of new groups and changes in the inter-group balance of power can be particularly destabilizing.”

Currently objectives disagree. Different groups put down their own private interests, and marginalized their objectives for the short run. Hezbollah shook hands with their arch-enemy Christian based Free Patriotic Movement, while the Lebanese Forces shook hands with the Durzi based Progressive Socialist Party. Two coalitions, formed from contradictory groups, are doing a showdown. The problem, whenever a crisis takes place, everyone forgets their ideology, and become two massive movements against each other. The capture of arms of Hezbollah by the Lebanese Army triggered ex-Militias to arm, at least light-weaponry appeared by both parties other than Hezbollah supposed to have theirs. Worse, when Nasrallah announced that he has over 20,000 long distance missiles, the pro-government parties panicked also. The presence of arms is spreading through out Lebanon, but to be honest, attaining arms has always been easiest to attain if one is determined to buy second hand Ak-47 or M16.

The fear of being dominated triggered the civil war, and in January the same fear spread again between the sectarian communities. The masses of Harriri don’t want to be dominated by the Shiites, and vice versa. The Lebanese Forces still dream of federalism o preserve a miniature Marounstan, while both camps have two accusations against each other: the government do not want to be dominated by “Iran and Syria” and henceforth return the era of the Syrian Baathi boots present in Lebanon, while the opposition are preaching they do not want to be dominated by the United States, Israel, and to a certain extent Saudi Arabia.

As for new groups, I can’t believe of any group to change the balance of power except of Hezbollah. The civil war started on the Lebanese side with the Leftists against the Christian Right, but ended with cantons shooting at each other. Hezbollah emerged as the primary balancer of power in the current status quo. The second new group would be the Free Patriotic Movement, whereby they balanced against three traditional Christian Parties that were strong and influential on the Christian Street, the Liberals’ Party, The Phalange, and the Lebanese Forces.

“Ethnic bashing, and scapegoating are tools of the trade, and the mass media are employed partisan and propagandistic ways that further aggravate ire-ethnic tensions.”

In Lebanon, we have sect bashing, and as mentioned earlier, two major coalitions are scapegoating the other. Each leader bashes the leader of the other camp. Nasrallah blamed the government for performing poorly and went as far as accusing the Lebanese government of collaborating with the Israelis (well part of it) and traveled to the US and requested war. Junblatt attacks Nasrallah for launching a war under the banner “The Divine ‘If Only I Knew’ campaign and pushed the Israelis to butcher the Lebanese civilians.
The media is clear. Al-Manar TV (Hezbollah’s official TV channel) and Future TV (Harriri’s TV Channel) reflect different realities of a same event. For example when the shooting occurred in the Arab University, Future TV reported that militants of 8th of March shot first, while al-Manar said Future Militia came and shot on their students.

The media played a gigantic role in exploding the Civil War back in 1975, and currently plays a role to divide Lebanon according to Sects. For starters nobody listens to what the “other” is saying. Al-Manar and NBN (AMAL’s TV) report their own version of the Truth to the extent their followers didn’t care about a TINY detail that they gave Aoun a distorted picture. Future TV wages a war on Aoun, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran. New TV claims to be neutral but ends up putting a lot of Weam Wahhab’s ugly face who does not qualify to be a labeled a politician. Lebanese Broad Casting TV (Pro-Lebanese Forces) also claim to be neutral but every single word that warlord “Doctor” Samir Jaajaa says.

(Quotes taken from the Political Section)

(Part I finishes)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Watching and Watching

How many of you are bored from being accused a traitor by the other camp? Specially if you do not belong to any.

How many come and tell you "we are Lebanese", I thought the term love is relative, I am surprised that "We love Lebanon" is more relative, and most relative is life.

How many times we are fed up from work and prefer to have the day off, suddenly a faction tells you "going to work is loving life" while adding dignity means you are with the other. Someone told me "Having Sex means love of life henceforth viva 14th of March" (go figure that out)

How many of you out of noticed how your friends changed attitude because you refuted to become racist like them?

How many came to you and told you this is a battle of the Rich versus the poor? Or the Corrupt versus the Clean? Or Lovers of Freedom against the Agents (both ways in this case)?

No matter what you do, you are fed up from all those reactionary figures. No one is listening to the facts. Aoun for example, as I mentioned earlier, has put a distorted picture and tagged it Lebanese Forces shooting the demonstrators. In any society over the world, Aoun would be forced to lose credibility and retire politics, but no the other camp would reply: "His heart is in the right place".

How many times you hear Junblatt preaching Freedom but demands any nation of the world to invade the Syrians (except Israel). Some lover of freedom...

How many times you hear Berri despising Feldman and US imperialism, but decides to have lunch with him....

How many times have you seen someone telling you: "They are both disgusting, but I am with this camp because it is the lesser evil among the two..."

The Police discover links, directly they put judgement. An important investigation ended up lost between the chaos of 14th of March and the Opposition. Nothing is credible anymore...

No Parliament has not met because its chair considers the government non-constitutonal but decides to meet with the boss of the Prime Minister, Harriri Jr.

I have not seen so many bullshits for the past four months like I have seen now.

Oh yeah, can someone explain to me how Bashir Gemayel (the right-wing and invitee of the Israelis to invade Lebanon to secure his presidential chair) and Kamal Junblatt (the ally of the PLO - left wing) both wanted in the long run 14th of March? Or because Satchi and Satchi say so...?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aoun's Big Mouth

As I sit and watch Aoun on Manar TV attacking the others and accusing them of fabricating lies, then how come he forgot that he placed a picture on Manar TV which was fabricated of an alleged Lebanese Forces carrying a light weapon aimed at demonstrators? He must have a short term memory. Oh yeah, I noticed he still got the habit of telling people to shut up when he wants to speak.

Samir Qassir and 14th of March Concert

Now, 14th of March named a Square after the late Samir Qassir. Of all those who got assassinated, Samir Qassir probably was the strongest academically.

The Democratic Leftist Movement, of which Samir Qassir constructed, have went bankrupt. They are not leftists, and they will never be as long as they adopted the right-wing's line, and worse goals. Yet, they claim to be leftists. They are probably gambling in this sectarian line-up to recruit the seculars among the Sectarian parties which are gathered for 14th of March. I mean between the Marounstan preacher, called Jaajaa, or Sunni land, or Durzistan, they can pick up the scraps to their side to face Hezbollah Land or Psycho Aoun.

The Democratic Left remained shrinking in size, and will never be the same number as they started (supposed to be 5000, now barely 400 members). They rely on the muscles of their stronger allies while their members defend even as far as Bashir Gemayel, who George Hawwi wanted to assassinate during the Israeli invasion.

Every now and then they try to abuse the memory of Samir Qassir and try to recruit to their ranks and files. I have to mention that last year at a one point, all the members were executive committee, so ironically they needed to invent a central committee for the executive committee (go figure that out). Now, they got the perfect chance. With the opposition still going to strike, and none of the 14th of March are organizing an event, they are the only faction to do so, and are gambling a lot of attendence will take place. However, most of the left-wing will boycott the event as insultive to Samir Qassir and another promotional event to 14th of March rather Samir Qassir.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect, 14th of March. The day a lot of Lebanese hit the street in the quest of a better life, while the politicians hijacked the event to transform the Bristol Coalition towards 14th of March coalition (the Bristol Coalition was carved out by Samir Qassir). There will be a lot of attendence to celebrate 14th of March in the concert, and the DLM will try to recruit in the name of "defenders of Samir Qassir's ideas" will end up indirectly preaching Harriri's grand plan which is the Neo-Con doctrine, something Samir Qassir haven't wrote anything on. Since there are no 14th of March groups doing anything on that event except them, they will try to harvest it. They have been trying hard to counter the weight of the other reactionary stalinist party: the Lebanese Communist Party, specially for the past couple of years the Stalinists did a come back.

To be exact, the DLM are behaving like AMAL did when Moussa el Sadre disappeared. AMAL's recruitment boomed after el-Sadre disappeared while they promoted his ideas and themselves as its defenders. Bottom line, the DLM sank to the level of the Lebanese Forces, AMAL, and all the rest. Elias Attallah wanted his own LCP to rule and he got it. The first generation to join were supposed to have an independent Democratic Leftist Movement, but they ended up in a brainwashed LCP "a la 14th of March" style under the leadership of Elias Attallah. His opponent, according to my birds, told me that Elias Khoury stopped participating totally with the reactionaries. Those who dreamt of a free movement now are parrots to Elias Attallah. Attallah himself abuses his historic friendship with Qassir for his own purposes, and the majority follow.

They already got weaker factions inside the movement, but they too are reactionary while the progressive became political free lancers. The movement itself is destined towards destruction, and was supposed by now to have broken up into several pieces, but remained intact due to the Parliamentary chair, held by Elias Attallah, who got it by the muscles of Saad Harriri. Once they fail to attain the chair, the DLM, like all reactionary "left" wing will scatter to different trends.

Someone should remind them that this whole war is nothing but class struggle.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Marxism and Women's Struggle

On 4th of March 1921, Lenin gave his famous speech on International Working Women’s Day (and not the capitalist Women’s Day), and he said:

“The essence of Bolshevism and the Soviet power is to expose the falsehood and mummery of bourgeois democracy, to abolish the private ownership of land and the factories and concentrate all state power in the hands of the working and exploited masses. They, these masses, get hold of politics, that is, of the business of building the new society. This is no easy task: the masses are downtrodden and oppressed by capitalism, but there is no other way—and there can be no other way—out of the wage-slavery and bondage of capitalism.

But you cannot draw the masses into politics without drawing in the women as well. For under capitalism the female half of the human race is doubly oppressed. The working woman and the peasant woman are oppressed by capital, but over and above that, even in the most democratic of the bourgeois republics, they remain, firstly, deprived of some rights because the law does not give them equality with men; and secondly—and this is the main thing—they remain in household bondage", they continue to be “household slaves", for they are overburdened with the drudgery of the most squalid, backbreaking and stultifying toil in the kitchen and the family household.” Link

Probably the Revolutionary Communists were the first to tackle the term Double Work with women. Marx, Engels, and others were the first in a wave to call for the Emancipation of Humanity, which of course included women. In the 18th and 19th Century, most “leading women” in Europe were the bourgeoisie who played a role in campaigning for their husbands, or assisted socially in safeguarding the ‘family business’. With the Communists rising in the 19th Century, women were not only activists defending their rights, rather they were even leaders. The logic is of course, our science demanded the emancipation of all the Proletariat despite race, GENDER, nationality, color, and religion. The current Neo-Cons seem to forget to mention how the Communist women of the 19th Century and 20th Century played a role in emancipating women to fight not only for their rights, but for other the collective. Sadly, several extremist feminists tried to invent women’s cause as strictly for women, and became exactly the same as Sexists, but from the opposite gender.

A nice glimpse on women from a Marxist perspective is Tony Cliff’s master piece: Class Struggle and Women’s Liberation (1980) and almost a century earlier Eleanor Marx Aveling (along with her Husband Edward Aveling): The Women Question (1886) Avelin Reed provides different reasons, in a simplistic matter, on how from the beginning Women were oppressed, and what were the reasons that lead to them, in The Myth of Women’s Inferiority (1954) and The Matriarchical-Brotherhood: Sex and Labor in the Primitive Society (1954)

Probably the most famous three Communist trio females were Eleanor Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, and Clara Zetkin. Eleanor Marx played a role in organizing the Paris Commune revolution of 1871 and it was her idea, along with Engels and Aveling, to honor the fallen ones of the Chicago Hay Market Massacre in 1886 to establish May Day (known to the Lebanese as Workers’ Day). Rosa Luxemburg was the first female to lead not only one party (the Polish Social Democratic Party) rather also two parties at the same time (the German Social Democratic Party). Rosa Luxemburg evolved to become a school of her own within the Sciences and Ideology of Marxism, and eventually her assassination in 1919 paved way for the rise of the Nazis. Clara Zetkin’s participation in class struggle dates back much earlier. She played a role in developing the famous Iskra (Spark), and was part of a quadratic meeting which also included Lenin, Plekhanov (father of Russian of Marxism), and Axelrod. She initiated International Working Women's Day in 1910 as a day of militancy. Moreover, Clara was 100% supportive of the Bolsheviks (before Stalin came and ended their reign), and was Lenin’s close friend.

Some of the interesting publications would include Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle (1912) , Clara Zetkin’s archive, and Eleanor Marx’s dense activism on the matter.

Marx and Engels again to the core argument paved way for everything to be discussed till current times. No matter how much different schools of “leftist” schools try to defame them or Neo-Cons try to erase their ideas, they will remain till this current day relevant. Marx, from Das Capital, wrote the following on Women: Appropriation of Supplementary Labour-power by Capital and The Employment of Women and Children (link) and Engel’s legendary book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884) . This does not mean that others did not contribute. A lot of the Marxist intellects worked and upgraded the ideology. I mean by “upgraded” as filling the gaps and confirming that our ideas have been correct since then.

Moreover, the first women’s activity was initiated by the 2nd International, not to forget Marx’s contributions during the first regarding the issue. Marx pushed to have the first survey to be done on the status of the female workers, and initiated full activities to emancipate them into the cause. In 1883, women marched out in the streets of London demanded better life conditions and wages. This was the first female demonstration, forged again by the 2nd International. (link)The Second International finally established International Working Women’s Day, which currently reactionaries simply call it Women’s Day, and deviating from our goals of real emancipation of all the proletariat. Worse, some have degraded our goals and called it simply for the women while others tagged it Patriarchy and opened solo rather class struggle. The details of how International Working Women's Day is located here.

In the end, there is no struggle but class struggle


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Women's Day Celebration on March 10

I got this via email... should be interesting... although I got issues with 1/4 of the topics proposed since they are not approached from a class struggle perspective

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Everything That Happened on 14th of March

We all know in Lebanon March 14th 2005 what happened, but let us check other points at history elsewhere.

Gold Standard Act- March 14, 1900: An Act To define and fix the standard of value, to maintain the panty of all forms of money issued or coined by the United States, to refund the public debt, and for other purposes. link

Seven Catholic saints die between 10th and 14th century. link

Albert Einstein was born on March 14th 1879 link

The Nashville Tornado strikes on March 14th 1933, link

On March 14, 1896, seven thousand people gathered at San Francisco's Ocean Beach to celebrate the official opening of the Sutro Baths, an extravagant public bathhouse envisioned and developed by the eccentric one-time mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro.

On March 14, 1955, AT&T Bell Laboratories announced the completion of the first fully transistorized computer. The computer, officially named TRADIC, was informally known as the "giant brain." link

March 14, 1907, a massive flood strikes Southern Ohio link

March 14, 1883 Karl Marx, cofounder of the science of Communism, dies at 64

Deaths of famous people: here

See list of birthdays on that day link

Timeline for events is here


I bumped into couple of people who belong 14th of March. They accused me to be capitalist pig because I am not part of 14th of March and hater of life. When I explained that I am not only neither 14th of March or 8th of March, but rather AGAINST both, they called me a traitor of Lebanon, and one clown said she was never that insulted and decided never to talk to me till I become a real "Lebanese."

What national unity we are living over here

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lessons From Charlie Chaplin's Speech

Listen carefully to his Marxist Speech... he covers everything in that speech, a crash course of Marxist Speech, it is found here: link

You will notice that this is the problem not only in Lebanon, but every single centimeter of the world.