When Poverty is so Dire…

When I used to look at Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Brazil’s infamous shanty towns, dotting the city’s lush mountains overlooking its glorious shores, it was difficult to imagine the existence of such dire poverty. I had never seen anything like that anywhere I had been, nor had I seen anything like it in Lebanon. It seemed like an irreversible curse that a country, blessed with such beauty and with a people so happy and content with the simple pleasures in life, had to endure such injustice and inequality. Continue reading “When Poverty is so Dire…”

Human Rights Watch on the Children of Bahrain

We live in a world where violence has become common place, suffering a regular feeling we have learned to cope with and the dead just one more number. Or maybe this is the world that the Middle East and Arab World has taken to be its ‘daily bread,’ leaving little left to move us so deeply that it will impact us for the rest of our lives. Continue reading “Human Rights Watch on the Children of Bahrain”

More Than Just a Demonstration

Some have weapons, others have their voice…

To those in Beirut, you may have already heard about the incident between the activists of NGO Nasawiya and the bodyguard thugs of former MP Nadim Gemayel (the illegal self-extension of Parliament, the term of which expired on June 20, 2013, has rendered all 128 MPs illegitimate). To the rest, a comprehensive version of the events, endorsed by Nasawiya, can he found here.

Continue reading “More Than Just a Demonstration”

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?”

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”

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”

In Memory of the Children

We meet them after they have given the world their last breadth. Their bodies bearing witness to what they could fight against no longer, for those who only dared to look.  Their eyes bearing witness to their innocence and youth, for those who could only see.  We become surrounded by their images, their stories and their dreams. We feel we have known them and that part of us has died with them.  We feel we are one and the same and that we must go on so that their deaths not be in vain. These are the children and the young revolutionaries of the Middle East…  Continue reading “In Memory of the Children”