From Beirut to Santiago: memories, democracy and about never going back

Note: This is a translated and abridged version of Eye on the East’s post about Chile in Spanish. The original version can be found here.

21 years have passed since I left Chile, but the wave of memories that hits me at the sight or sound of anything that relates to it is still hard to resist. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of simpler days or the longing for a mischievous adolescence. The fact of the matter is that my appreciation for a land often described as being ‘at the end of the world’ has only grown with time. Continue reading

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“Your Time is Now”

“I’m here to get your blessings,” I began, delicately raising my voice to grab the attention of the man lying on the hospital bed in front of me. “How many kilos would you like?” he asked in a rather serious tone, which lasted as long as it took a smile to appear through the sparkling of his eyes. “As much as you can give me,” I replied, hardly able to contain my smile in return. Continue reading

Posted in Activism, Arab World, Beirut, Gregoire Haddad, Lebanese Politics, Lebanon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Please Don’t Forget Me!” “!بشرفكن ما تنسوني”

On September 16, yet again, Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square and some of the main roads leading to Lebanon’s Parliament building came back to life. The families of the Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by Daesh were reiterating their endless calls for the government to bring their sons, brothers and fathers back alive. Others were protesting against the government’s failure to resolve the garbage crisis in a sustainable and environmental way. But everyone was there demanding that the political class meeting under the guise of an unconstitutional, worthless, ineffective so-called national dialogue, start listening to its people, be held accountable, even step down and have mercy on a country they have used and abused for far too long. Continue reading

Posted in #YouStink, #طلعت ريحتكم, Activism, Beirut, Lebanon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Desde Beirut a Santiago: recuerdos, democracia y de no volver hacia atrás…

Note: The following is a post about Chile, written by Eye on the East in Spanish, which happens to coincide with Chile’s Independence Day. It deals with the country’s exceptional political history, as reflected through the author’s personal experience in the country, as well as the futility of comparing how far Chile has come in its democratic transition and how much is left for Lebanon to even start coming to terms with its past. If there’s enough interest, I may consider translating it into English. Stay tuned.

Nota: Para todos aquellos de habla hispana, espero que disfruten my primer post en Español. Aunque coincide con las Fiestas Patrias Chilenas del 18 de Septiembre, mis reflecciones, memorias y admiración del ‘success story Chileno’ no tiene fecha. Y aunque esto también coincide con la triste noticia del terremoto, se que Chile seguirá para adelante como siempre lo ha hecho.  Continue reading

Posted in Beirut, Chile, Democracia, Democracy, Lebanon, Medio Oriente, Oriente Medio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope

“We have been sleepless for years,

We decided to wake up today,

Oh homeland, do not blame us,

We are now beyond the realm of blame.”

                                                      – Anthem of the Revolution,’  (Arabic), Ziad Al Rahbani

You may call the life that has suddenly exploded on the streets of Beirut whatever you like. You may call the energy spreading throughout the veins of its youth – which had started to believe in the sense of defeat inherited from their forefathers as a fact of life – whatever you like too. But we cannot deny that during the past two weeks, as popular protests triggered by a shameful garbage crisis have gained momentum in and around Beirut – from the August 22-23 protests (see Eye on the East’s post “Live from Beirut…“) to the biggest demonstration in Lebanon’s history organized independently of sectarian parties on August 29 – something has broken and something has been revived. Continue reading

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Live from Beirut, from the beating heart of Beirut

I thought there would be no words to describe what happened in the streets of Beirut yesterday, but there are. Continue reading

Posted in #YouStink, #طلعت ريحتكم, Activism, Arab World, Beirut, Blogging, Eye on the East, Lebanese Armed Forces, Lebanese Government, Lebanese Parliament, Lebanon, Middle East, طلعت_ ريحتكم | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember Greece?

Note: This is the second of two posts recounting Eye on the East’s recent visit to Athens. Part one can be found here.

It’s hard to believe that less than two months ago, Greece was on the verge of exiting the eurozone and forcing the European Union to ask serious questions about its own viability. Today, Athens’ social, political and economic battles – under the vigilant eyes of its creditors – no longer make the international headlines, but they are only just starting to be fought. Continue reading

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