Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lebanese Syrian Relations 4

A recent incident occurring on the Lebanese-Syrian border has put the issue of border demarcation between Lebanon and Syria at the forefront again.

It took Syria about 60 some years to recognize Lebanon as an independent and sovereign nation by finally agreeing (albeit under pressure) to exchange diplomatic missions with Beirut. This however, has not stopped Syria from wanting and working towards the goal of meddling in Lebanese internal affairs to assure it's hegemony over anything Lebanese.

The mere presence of an ambassador in Beirut is not proof enough that Syria believes, wants, and works towards a free and independent Lebanon. After all, nobody hears anything from the guy, and he rarely appears in public. There is no shortage of issues that need to be dealt with when it comes to Lebanese-Syrian relations, and this blog has previously listed some of them.

One of the main issues, is the demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian border. Syria has refused for years to demarcate the Lebanese border for various reasons that I will not get into in this post. However, one reason the border should be demarcated is the recent spat between the village of Arsal and the neighboring Syrian villages. Farmers and residents from both sides of the border have agricultural land that they tend to. The catch here is that since the border is not demarcated, and the propriety of the land is in question, and since apparently Wild West mentalities (video) are prevalent, every now and then, each time somebody goes out to tend to their land, they get killed. Usually, casualties are mostly on the Lebanese side of the border, however this time around, both a Syrian and a Lebanese were killed. The villagers are hoping that this will serve as a deterrent to what they see as a clear, concrete and constant violation of their rights by the Syrians.

Whatever the reasons are for Syria to not demarcate the border between the two countries, this however should not be used as an excuse or pretext by the Lebanese government to not protect its citizens and ensure their rights, no matter where they be found on Lebanese land.

It's time for the Lebanese government to take serious actions to pressure the international community and Syria to force a demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian border. If this cannot be easily achieved, I believe that the Lebanese government should take unilateral actions to demarcate the border itself, at the very least to protect its citizens and territorial integrity.


Having Sex in Lebanon

I have a story for you. It’s a sad story. My 22 year old best friend just started having sex, obviously pre-marriage. So we were talking, and I happened to ask her what kind of protection she’s using.
He pulls out,” she says.
I’m, sorry, what?? Yes, yes, ‘he pulls out’ was her response. No condoms, she is not on the pill, no plan B, nothing.

Oh, sorry, let me note that this is all taking place in Lebanon.

So I begin to patiently lecture my friend about the fact that the pulling out method can still get you pregnant, that it does nothing to prevent STDs, and then I go to the computer, do some research on all these things, and send info to her in an email.

She then proceeds to have sex two more times using, again, only the pulling out method.

Ok, so part of this is, no offense, because my friend is being an idiot, and the bigger part of it is there being NO SEX EDUCATION IN LEBANESE SCHOOLS. Yes, I realize it is a conservative society in the sense that people, more specifically women, are expected to wait until marriage until having sex. Let’s not get into how ridiculous that is and that the same is not expected of men and that that is a double standard which makes no sense unless these men are fucking each other.

So again I look up more information and send it to my friend. I also tell her we are setting her an appointment this week with a doctor to get her a prescription for birth control.

This morning I stopped by a pharmacy to buy her condoms and the morning after pill. She asked me to do it for her because I guess she is too embarrassed to do so herself. Goes to show you how much sex is a taboo in Lebanese society. Even more taboo is that I walked into the pharmacy and as there were two other customers there, I walked out, not wanting to buy condoms and try to explain the morning after pill (il suba7 b3daan pill?) to the pharmacist. I felt like a coward, but I looked at my watch pretending to be late for something and got the hell out of there. I’m planning on going back on my way home tonight, fingers crossed that no one else will be there.

Anyway, I was really disappointed to see how little my very intelligent, well-educated friend knew about sex. It made me wonder how little other Lebanese people knew about this. Obviously they don’t talk about it with their parents. I mean fuck, I remember a couple of years ago my girlfriends here thought that virgins couldn’t use condoms because it would break their hymen. They were like 21 at the time.

So looking up information for my friend I found out about this sex hotline in Lebanon where you can call and get information on sex and ask any questions you want anonymously. It wasn’t even easy info to find. So the point of this post, I hope someone in need will come across this in their search on the internet, or will send it to a friend in need (as you can see by the many, many labels I have attached to this post). Let’s do our part to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the spreading of STDs until the government starts doing its part and requiring sex education.

So girls and guys, my advice to you? Stay safe and go to your pharmacy and buy condoms (keep a couple on you at all times) and the morning after pill, you never know when you or your partner will need it.
Girls, if you’re having sex regularly, go to the doctor and get a prescription for birth control. If you’re worried your doctor will tell your parents, they can’t if you’re an adult (over 18) as doctor-patient confidentiality exists. Also, you can tell you doctor you are having really bad periods that are painful and want to go on birth control, which is very common, so you can be on birth control with your parents knowing…(in case you need them to pay for it). And please, no sex without condoms. Are you interested in getting AIDS or gonorrhea?

Stay safe,



PS: Many may be wondering why the guy himself didn’t use condoms. Apparently he is convinced that the pulling out method works, that all the times he has used condoms it breaks, that when ur in the heat of the moment you really don’t want to put a condom on, and probably also that its not quite as pleasurable for him. Well I’m sorry, but fuck him. Is he the one that is going to end up pregnant? Is he ready to be a father? Do you want the STDs that he is going to give you from having unprotected sex with other women? And if he doesn’t even care about you enough to put on a condom to protect the both of you, why the hell would you want to be having sex with him anyway?

PPS: Thanks to the anonymous post from before for directing me on how to get through the Arabic language obstacle on blogspot.com


If you're in Lebanon and have questions about sex, AIDS, STDs, etc., call the LFPA or SIDC anonymously.

The Lebanon Family Planning Association (LFPA)

Contact InformationTelephone: (961) 1/ 318575 or (961) 1/ 311978Fax: (961) 1/ 318575 or (961) 1/ 311978

P.O. Box: 118240 Corniche El Mazraa, Masken Bldg

'Soins Infirmiére et Développement Communautaire' (SIDC),

Youssef Karam st, Daou bldg, 1st floor Sin El Fil El Metn Lebanon
01 480714, 01 482428 01 480714, 01 482428
P.O.Box: 55391 – Sin El Fil


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Politics as a hobby?

Can somebody please explain to me how a Prime Minister-designate tasked with the almost impossible job of forming a Lebanese government decides to take a family vacation to France??

For crying out loud, should he not be trying to form a government as soon as possible that can tackle the multiple issues that are plaguing the Lebanese people, most importantly pressing economic needs and minimum bare standards of living, rather than vacationing with his family?

I don't know about the rest of the Lebanese people, but the official reason and statement issued by his parliamentary block was definitely not making sense to me:

"Hariri wanted to distance himself from the heated rhetoric regarding the cabinet’s formation and the political make-up of the March 14 coalition."

Well, taking a break every once in a while is fine, but the timing could not have been any worse. The need to form a government in Lebanon that will actually try to handle the multiple problems we have is and should be of paramount importance to all politicians, and especially so the politician tasked with putting that government together.

Oh, and if every politician in Lebanon were to take a break and leave to blow some steam every time Walid Jumblat maneuvers or takes a new position, then I think politicians will spend more time outside than inside Lebanon and we'd only be left with Jumblat as the sole politician in Lebanon.

Accountability people!

These guys need to be held accountable. If they were, I don't think Hariri would take the issue of premiership lightly and Jumblat would definitely stick to a position for longer than 24 hrs.