Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If I ever think of marrying a woman from Maarakeh, stop me

That is of course not me talking in the title. It is actually Timur Goksel speaking at a conference at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He used to be the chief spokesperson to the UNIFIL (the UN military force tasked with keeping the peace in southern Lebanon). I personally love this guy. I grew up watching him on TV. He came on practically every night during the nightly news sections, given that there were security incidents almost every night in the south when I was growing up and I've also followed his news closely since his retirement from his post at UNIFIL. He usually does interviews and TV appearances every once in a while.

On a side note: I don't know if my fascination with this guy is due to my fascination with press conferences in general and the process of Q & A. I've basically dreamt of having press conferences since I was a little kid. I have always imagined situations where I stand in front of so many microphones to answer tons of questions with smart, quick, crude, crass and often acerbic responses.

But anyway, back to subject.

His most recent gig was as a speaker at a conference at AUB. You can find the Daily Star's report HERE.

What is most intriguing in that story is Goksel's amazement as to how the UNIFIL or any other policing force in the south was unable to detect or discover Hizballah activities when it came to underground tunnel building. I have to say, I find that equally amazing. Where does all the dirt go, asks Goksel. He goes on to say that the UNIFIL force has never been able to find all the dirt dug up from these tunnels. Kids eat dirt all the time, I wonder if Hizballah supporters' kids have a higher incidence of kidney stones??!! Nah, just kidding.

The best line comes when he is describing a battle with the Israelis in a town called Maarakeh. Apparently women in that town came out of their houses and starting attacking Israeli tanks with pots and pans! Way to go women power! Ahem, ahem LZ. (In case you haven't figured this one out yet, LZ is my fellow co-blogger La Zaytouni, who is in Paaaareee for now and whom I miss daily.)

Here's your line: The strength of the women and their determination impressed him. "I said if I ever think of marrying a woman from Maarakeh, stop me.

Given his description, boy am I glad I don't have that problem.


Monday, February 23, 2009

What country?

A series of security breaches have happened in Lebanon recently that pose a serious threat to the government's legitimacy as an effective protector of the state and it's people. There was the abduction of an engineer that works for MEA a couple weeks ago or so followed by the murder of another MEA employee, this time a pilot. All sources in Lebanon argue that both incidents are unrelated. However, of note, is the fact that they all happened in and around areas occupied/controlled by armed/security forces of Hezballah. A couple days ago, a yet unidentified armed group, sent a few rockets towards Israel. A few actually landed in Lebanon and never made it across the border. Again, this happened in Hezballah areas and under the jurisdiction/watchful eyes of the UNIFIL force, originally there to prevent this same exact kind of activities.

Equally important but on a different security scale is the hand grenades that have been launched at a few March 14th offices including the LF and Phalanges offices. These might have more of an election relevance rather than a security/resistance/let's pick a fight type attacks.

The most serious affront to state security happened with the attack on the police officer in Beirut's suburb. According to various sources, his and his driver's weapons were confiscated along with their Jeep. If police officers can't even protect their own, how the hell are they going to protects citizens?

you can find a video about the officer attack at the following link (in arabic):

All these are of course dangerous situations that might easily spiral out of control.
The south Lebanon situation can easily become very dangerous given that Netanyahu is back.
The situations occurring in and around Hezballah areas have become way too common, and the government needs to assert itself and kick some serious ass.
As for the LF and Phalange situations, I think they fall into pre-election campaigning, Lebanese style, and are not much of a serious security issue, an unacceptable one nonetheless.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy maroon day

Yesterday was St. Maron's day in Lebanon. So if you are a reader of our blog and are a Maronite and give a hoot, then happy St. Maron's day.

A very interesting cartoon appeared today in Annahar newspaper about the status of the Maronites politically.

The voice coming out of the church is calling out to St. Maron, and on each side of the church, different people and ringing the bell to different tunes. This might just be quintessentially a Lebanese thing, but each party in Lebanon has its own "tune". People would beep their car horns to in a certain way indicating their political affiliations. The guy on the left in the cartoon is ringing tara rat tat tat, ren ren ren (or tara rat tat tat, ge ne ral) so he is a aounist, the guy on the right is going, ren ren, ren ren ren, ren ren ren ren, ren ren (or ren ren, ren ren ren, ren ren ren ren, ha kim) so he is a geageaist. I really like the satire on the divisions within the Maronite community.

On a different note, I am impatiently waiting for the Israeli election results. I am personally wishing for a Kadima and Livni win, but it seems that although she's behind in the polls, she might after all end up with enough seats in the Knesset to be an obstacle for Netanyahu. He is far too much to the right for my own taste and possibly very detrimental to peace. Not that she is going to usher in a period of calm and peace herself, but options for peace and a two state solution under her leadership might be better served.

On a personal note, I am still dissapointed and possibly even MORE so now than before with him.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Greetings from Paris!


I'm away in Paris now so you can bet that my posts shall sadly get fewer as I take in the city of lights. Although if you ask me, NYC should really hold that title...

Thought this article from the Wall Street Journal titled "Celebrities Raise Reem Acra's Profile" on Reem Acra's sudden increase of fame might be of interest, since I've been following her recently:

The Acra dress Jill Biden wore that's mentioned in the article:
All my love,
A bientôt!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Bobcorrn continued...

Hope you guys enjoyed the 2 other movies, and, as promised, here are the remaining 2:


WOW. My father put this on the TV (mom and I instead wanted to watch the Red Carpet for the SAG awards) and since I was cooking dinner in the kitchen I could only hear the program. It was reporting the current situation in Israel, focusing on the living conditions of the Palestinians there, and I was amazed by how fair (READ: "not slanted in favor of Israel" as all American media is) the reporting was. I couldn't see the TV, but I was sure it was BBC or some public program like Bill Moyers on PBS. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was CBS' "60 Minutes!"

What is going on? Really, CBS is finally doing some fair, unbiased reporting in regards to Israel? What gives? Maybe the recent month-long genocide in Gaza did it, or maybe "change" really has come with this new president?

Either way, you NEED to watch this documentary "Is time running out for a 2-State Solution?": http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/23/60minutes/main4749723.shtml

(It's segmented into several short videos)

Again, WOW.


Also watch "OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" about how, pretty much, Rupert Murdoch is the devil and has a monopoly over media in the US and thus a very large amount of the "news" (READ: "far-right conservative propoganda") that Americans receive, and how this determines things such as, i dunno, say, who runs the most powerful country in the free world--kinda important.

Think corruption is only limited to Lebanon and the third world? Think again

The documentary focuses on FOX "News" with real producers and reporters, etc that worked for the station coming out and speaking about how much of a biased, corrupt enterprise FOX is (I particularly love the part about the reporter that was suspended for not making Reagan's birthday seem like Sky Bar on Saturday night)