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…”

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”

حان وقت التغيير – The Time has Come for Change

ملاحظة: هذه المقالة قد نشرت لأول مرة في جريدة النهار في 28-03-2013

Note: this piece was first published in Lebanese daily An Nahar on March 28, 2013. You will find an English translation below.

ان ثمة شعارات ومواصفات لتحديد لبنان و ميزاته وفرادته. نتباهى, على سبيل المثال, بأن في البلد حركة دائمة و متجددة لا يشعر أناسه بالضجر. هذه الظاهرة تعني ان المشاكل فيه تتراكم و المشكلة الجديدة هي لتنسينا القديمة و تحل محلها, و يصير حلّ المشكلة في تأجيلها. Continue reading “حان وقت التغيير – The Time has Come for Change”

الغاضبون هم هنا

“هذه ليست أزمة، إنها خدعة.” “نحن لا نفتقرالى المال. المشكلة ان اللصوص عندنا كثيرون.” “من حقّنا ان نكون غاضبين. “

هذه الشعارات- الصرخات وغيرها تزامنت مع فترة ركود اقتصادي ,تزايد البطالة , سياسة التقشف, مشاعر يأس عميقة، فكان أن خرج الشعب الاسباني الى الشوارع و الساحات: رجالاً ونساء، كباراً و صغاراً ، مثقفين ومكافحين لأجل كسب لقمة العيش ليقولوا لحكوماتهم: كفى. Continue reading “الغاضبون هم هنا”

The Indignants Are Here

“This is not a crisis, this is a fraud.” “We don’t lack money, we just have too many thieves.” “We have the right to be indignant.”

With these and many other slogans, at a time of recession, unemployment, austerity and profound despair, the people of Spain, men and women, young and old, intellectuals with those struggling to make a living, took to the streets and plazas to tell the government: enough. Continue reading “The Indignants Are Here”

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”