“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””

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”

It’s about Garbage and so much more

For once, and if only in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the reality on the ground quite literally reflects the exact state of our country and its politics: garbage.

In fact, if it is hard for you to picture it, the tonnes of garbage piling up in and around our capital city are a perfect way to physically depict what corruption, mismanagement, monopoly, nepotism, patronage, clientelism and misuse of public funds does to a country: it is toxic, it affects everybody and may eventually kill everybody, just like the garbage will, the longer it stays on our streets. Continue reading “It’s about Garbage and so much more”

Martyrs’ Sacrificed Even in Death

A martyr is generally someone who is deeply attached to a cause, belief or faith and is willing to sacrifice for the sake of it. A true martyr does not even shy away from death, the ultimate sacrifice, to protect and propagate  whatever it is they believe in. Within the context of this very simple definition, it may already dawn on you the number of times and ways the word martyr has been used, misused and certainly abused in Lebanon and the Arab region. Not every person killed is a martyr, because not every person has a cause or is killed because of it. Not dying a martyr doesn’t make a death any less tragic, it’s just that not every human being that is killed is and should be considered a martyr. Continue reading “Martyrs’ Sacrificed Even in Death”

40 Years Later…

Today is the day we remember our war (1975-1990), the one we swore not to forget so that it would never happen again (تنذكر وما تنعاد). But just like everything else in Lebanon, the more things change the more they stay the same. Whatever we said about the war, the lessons learned and chances of it happening again, still stand today, as they stood yesterday and will stand for the decade to come. I read through what I wrote last year – April 13: How can we not forget?  – (which you are welcome to read today too) and I would not change a single word of it now. Continue reading “40 Years Later…”

Time to Re-Evaluate the War against Daesh

We all knew that Daesh was capable of horrible things. However, the death by burning to which Jordanian pilot Moaz al Kasasbeh was subjected to broke through a morbid threshold I believe very few of us, if any, thought would happen. This isn’t to say that the other killing methods (decapitation, execution, drowning, etc..) used by the so-called Islamic State are any less brutal. But we dealt with them by exercising a degree of denial,  if only because of the sheer number of times they have and continue to occur and more importantly, as a coping mechanism to deal with the horrors of Daesh at our doorsteps. Continue reading “Time to Re-Evaluate the War against Daesh”

“A century of war and peace in Lebanon”: Eye on the East for Lacuna Magazine

“…resilience might have kept the country from falling apart, but has not helped in truly bringing it together. Resilience is surviving but not coming to terms with the past.” 

As part of their World War I centennial issue, University of Warwick’s Lacuna Magazine invited Eye on the East to contribute a piece on Lebanon and we accepted with pleasure. This was the end result: 

A century of war and peace in Lebanon

As you may already know, Eye on the East regularly contributes to a variety of online and print publications, listed in the Featured page here. I thought I’d highlight this latest contribution, especially since it isn’t usually something covered on the blog and especially in such length! I hope you enjoy it…