Eye on the East Wishes you a Happy New Year (this is not a Year in Review)

No year is ever complete without the cliché of the clichés’ “year in review.” Here at Eye on the East, however, we don’t like clichés and there will be no year in review. We are a blog that doesn’t focus on what I like to call “bulk posting” (posting just to boost numbers and those cliché year in review charts) or so-called quantity, but rather hope to be targeting quality instead. Continue reading “Eye on the East Wishes you a Happy New Year (this is not a Year in Review)”

Prisoners to Oblivion II: the never ending tragedy of the Lebanese disappeared and arbitrarily detained in Syria

Note: this is the second and long overdue post on the Lebanese disappeared and arbitrarily detained since 1975. The first post, Prisoners to Oblivion I  – posted by Eye on the East in 2012 – can be found here. Not surprisingly, no progress in this tragic issue has happened since.

When a 10-year sit-in comes to an end without achieving its main objectives, it doesn’t mean that the sit-in has failed. It simply means that those who were supposed to deliver have failed, terribly, horribly and shamefully. On December 10, the families of Lebanese disappeared and detained since 1975 (many of which are believed to be arbitrarily detained in Syria) decided to end one of the longest, if not the longest, sit-in in Lebanese history. They decided to keep a symbolic tent in place – in Beirut Downtown’s Gebran Khalil Gebran’s garden – where they steadfastly remained for 10 long years, announcing they would continue their struggle through different means. Continue reading “Prisoners to Oblivion II: the never ending tragedy of the Lebanese disappeared and arbitrarily detained in Syria”

Going Further East: Cambodia and Vietnam

It was my first time in Asia ever since my Japan days over 15 years ago. Of course every country in Asia is different and Japan’s uniqueness within Asia goes without saying. However, there is something that is present throughout the continent that all countries share: the seamless blend of old and new, the subtle pervasiveness of religion that isn’t suffocating, the ritual of experiencing the local cuisine and the language barrier, which may limit the travel experience but pushes travelers to use all their senses to uncover the adventure, along with that of the spoken word. Continue reading “Going Further East: Cambodia and Vietnam”

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

“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 ““Your Time is Now””

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

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

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 “With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope”