The Politics of Finger Pointing

“We just want to remind people, for those who don’t know what is secularism, secularism doesn’t mean being against God, secularism is just the separation between religion and state, secularism makes all citizens equal before the law with the same rights, secularism leads us from confessionalism to citizenship.”

(Closing remarks on satirical show “CHI NN” on Lebanese Al Jadeed TV, February 4, 2013)

With raging discussions on a new electoral law and civil marriage in recent weeks, the role of religion has once again been brought to the mainstream political debate. The role of religion in politics and our daily lives is certainly nothing new in Lebanon. Continue reading “The Politics of Finger Pointing”

Obama’s Middle East Strategy: A Brief Commentary

Recent events in the Middle East seem to dictate that, at least in the short and medium-terms, America’s hopes of turning increasingly towards Asia in the 21st century do not seem to be anywhere near coming to fruition.  And if there was ever a more pertinent time for a clear-cut and long-term U.S. strategy for the Middle East, it is today.  In light of the region’s ever evolving political landscape, ongoing transitions, ferocious battles and rotting stalemates, America’s role in the region is once again put to the test, with an opportunity to overturn weaknesses and mend past failures. Continue reading “Obama’s Middle East Strategy: A Brief Commentary”

What Turkish Model for the Middle East?

At a time when many argued that democracy was incompatible with the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East, the Turkish democratic model was always used as the ultimate example to the contrary. Developed in the backdrop of a ruthless military and a fiercely secular tradition, it provided a model that could be easily emulated by its neighbors, given similar societal composition and other commonalities that came with geographic proximity.  But is Turkey the best democratic example for its neighbors to follow? The more I read about Turkey and its recent trajectory, the more I believe the answer is no. Continue reading “What Turkish Model for the Middle East?”

Gaza: When Will the Guns Fall Silent?

With Gaza no longer in the headlines, it may seem as if nothing ever happened there.

But for the eight days of Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, we all discussed the futility of declaring victory for either side, because so long as innocent civilians died and the possibility of such attacks recurring remained, there could be no real winner. We were angered by Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians, children and journalists, wondering how their deaths would strengthen the security of the Jewish state. Continue reading “Gaza: When Will the Guns Fall Silent?”

Battle of the Beards

In the aftermath of the events in Saida last week, pitting Sheikh Ahmad Al Assir in direct confrontation with Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the only thing that I could think about was my next blog post. I came up with what I believed was the best title for it, as used herewith[1]. However, I seemed unable to fill the post with anything other than the usual, yet always valid, criticism of the absurdity of Lebanese politics and the way we always seem to swiftly move against the current of modern times (so much so that we could earn yet another pathetic Guinness record for it).

Continue reading “Battle of the Beards”

Activism in Lebanon: Looking at the Bright Side

It looks like I have been pretty angry recently. Or at least that seems to be what my blog followers and friends think. I have been accused of being too critical, focusing on everything negative about Lebanon. Although if you ask me, I would have to write day and night to even get to the core of what is slowly destroying the essence of this country. Continue reading “Activism in Lebanon: Looking at the Bright Side”

Lebanon: History must not repeat itself

One of the images that always comes to mind while recalling the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, is that of a group of young and peaceful protesters I once read about who headed to Beirut’s infamous Green Line. Defying snipers and tenuous ceasefires, they held their humble signs and white roses to say no to the conflict that dragged on for too long and no to all those who held on to Lebanon solely as a battlefield for their selfish wars. Continue reading “Lebanon: History must not repeat itself”

Lebanon at the Crossroads: Do We Have the Courage for Change

“Seeing the tears of a wounded child, the fear on the elderly’s face, or the panic of a young adult at the thought of having to go through all this absurdity all over again… Why does it affect me and not the cold-blooded murders that undertake these crimes? We’ve had enough of these targeted assassinations.

But I care more about the innocent citizens that pay the price, the anonymous civilians who will succumb to their wounds, flee the country or live quietly in sadness and despair hereafter. Today, I think about you and pray for you and hope to help you the best way I can. You are priceless. YOU are Lebanon.” Continue reading “Lebanon at the Crossroads: Do We Have the Courage for Change”