Never Angry Enough

I don’t know about you, but when I watched the scenes from Benghazi last Friday, as thousands of Libyans stormed the headquarters of Islamist group Ansar el-Sharia, leading to their eviction from the city, it felt quite overwhelming. The militia that some have accused of not only being behind the attack against the US Consulate, but of spreading terror and fear among the local population, had gotten the people’s verdict of its presence first hand. The government of Libya and its interim leader soon followed with their call to disband all illegal militias in the country, which spread during and after Qaddafi’s ousting. But on Friday, the people of Benghazi had had enough, they spoke and they were heard. Of course, disbanding all militias and transforming Libya into a full-fledged stable democracy will take time, but at least that seems what the people truly want to achieve, no matter how long it takes. Continue reading “Never Angry Enough”

Minister of the People

There is nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning to an episode of one of many inspiring and animated Lebanese political talk shows. Well, not really.  Political talk shows are only a mirror of the dismal centuries-long political vicious circle we have been stuck in, anything but inspiring and animated in a tragicomedy kind of way.  But when I tuned to New TV’s Sunday talk show yesterday, there he was with his salt and pepper mustache that Lebanese men of old days would swear on; characteristically irritated and annoyed; decorating his speech with the vernacular that you’d never think would make it on national television. Listening to Charbel Nahas at any time of day is refreshing and animated, and so I watched on. Continue reading “Minister of the People”

Lebanon: No Reaction, Just Action

Many Lebanese take pride in the fact that their country is a country of “action.” Not where actions are taken, but where action takes place. There is always something to keep us busy not bored. Something always ready to take the news headlines by storm, breaking yesterday’s breaking news as quickly as it will be broken by tomorrow’s new story.

During the past months, if it wasn’t about the adventures of Sheikh Ahmad Al Assir in Saida, it was the dilemma of the temporary and exploited workers of public utility company Electricité du Liban (EDL). Continue reading “Lebanon: No Reaction, Just Action”

Farewell to Fouad Al Turk

Today, Fouad Al Turk bids us farewell, yet we refuse to reciprocate. Today, Fouad Al Turk stands still and silent, on the hills overlooking his beloved hometown of Zahle, yet unrecognizable from his usual dynamic and eloquent self. Today, Fouad Al Turk refuses to admit that he is among the few who embodied the very essence of diplomacy and the best of Lebanese diplomacy, yet we know all too well that his is a breed that is slowly fading away… Continue reading “Farewell to Fouad Al Turk”

فؤاد الترك … وكبير آخر يغادرنا وتفتقر بلادنا

Note: Eye on the East has the pleasure to feature guest writer Ambassador Samir Chamma who in his Arabic article below pays a moving tribute to late Lebanese Ambassador Fouad Al Turk. In “Fouad Al Turk: Another of the Greats Leaves Us, Further Impoverishing Our Country,” Chamma remembers his friend and colleague as the distinguished diplomat, faithful patriot, champion of dialogue, poet and kind and generous human being he will always be known for. This article was also published in Lebanese daily An Nahar (July 22, 2012) and Zahle’s Al Rawaby weekly newspaper (July 19-24, 2012).

فؤاد الترك … وكبير آخر يغادرنا وتفتقر بلادنا

… وباكرا باكرا التحقت باثنين من كبار سفرائنا. احباك واحببتهما. قدّراك وقدرتهما: ادوار غره ونجيب صدقة.

امينا عاما للخارجية انتقض نجيب صدقة.، رفض غاضبا- اواخر الستينات القرن الماضي- ان يكون شاهدا لاتفاقية قاهرة، برؤيته الثاقبة رأى انها ستقهر بلاده فتوقّع مع توقيعها عليها اخذها الى درب جلجلتها وستأخذ معها القضية الى الجحيم. Continue reading “فؤاد الترك … وكبير آخر يغادرنا وتفتقر بلادنا”

Prisoners to Oblivion I

To talk about them is to keep them alive.

While they live in each of their mothers’ bitter tears and in every beat of their fathers’ weary hearts, we must utter their names to keep them alive.

While they live through their pictures, hugged and kissed by those they left behind, we must tell their stories to keep them alive.

And while they live in freedom and dignity in our memories, those they barely had time to build before they left, we must remember them as our own children, brothers, sisters, husbands and friends, just to keep them alive. Continue reading “Prisoners to Oblivion I”

صرخة من المكسيك: احرقوها – A Cry From Mexico: Burn It!

Update Note: Eye on the East has the pleasure to introduce its first guest writer Jorge Seeman, a Mexican-Lebanese residing in Mexico City, who contributed the following post. You will find an English translation at the end. After initial refusal to publish Jorge’s article, Lebanese daily An Nahar published an edited version in its May 14, 2012 issue, almost a month after it was posted in its unedited version on Eyeontheeast.org . Some truths are still too much for the local Lebanese media to handle…

انتفاضة شعبية مكسيكية أوصلت الجنرال Porfirio Diaz الى رئاسة المكسيك اواسط القرن التاسع عشر. مطلب جوهري واحد وقفت وراءه الامة كان الباعث على هذه الانتفاضة هو أن “لا تجديد” للرئيس بعد اليوم, ايا كان هذا الرئيس. اما هذا الجنرال – الدكتاتور فقد أغوتة السلطة – و السلطة تفسد: تنكَّر لهذا المطلب الشعبي الجازم فحكم بلاده على امتداد خمسة و ثلاثين عاما. Continue reading “صرخة من المكسيك: احرقوها – A Cry From Mexico: Burn It!”

And Yet Again, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

It wasn’t long ago when Lebanon seemed absolutely obsessed with setting world records. We had the biggest hummous dish, the biggest tabboule, the longest kebab and largest glass of wine. There also was the largest ceramic plate, largest dabke and largest national flag.  I remember seeing a young bride desperately trying to surround her entire village with her dress to set the world record for the longest bridal train, but I’m not sure if that made it to the book… Continue reading “And Yet Again, Bigger Isn’t Always Better”

Living Like There’s a Tomorrow

If we can rarely enjoy a day in Lebanon without countless and extensive electricity cuts, can we ever expect to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

A day in a life of a Lebanese is a dichotomy between everything that is wrong in our small little world and every way to make it better. The light at the end of the tunnel is our hope for the better life we aspire, our dream of the better place we deserve, our faith in the good will of everyone else to make it happen. Continue reading “Living Like There’s a Tomorrow”