Going Further East: Cambodia and Vietnam

It was my first time in Asia ever since my Japan days over 15 years ago. Of course every country in Asia is different and Japan’s uniqueness within Asia goes without saying. However, there is something that is present throughout the continent that all countries share: the seamless blend of old and new, the subtle pervasiveness of religion that isn’t suffocating, the ritual of experiencing the local cuisine and the language barrier, which may limit the travel experience but pushes travelers to use all their senses to uncover the adventure, along with that of the spoken word. Continue reading “Going Further East: Cambodia and Vietnam”

From Beirut to Santiago: memories, democracy and about never going back

Note: This is a translated and abridged version of Eye on the East’s post about Chile in Spanish. The original version can be found here.

21 years have passed since I left Chile, but the wave of memories that hits me at the sight or sound of anything that relates to it is still hard to resist. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of simpler days or the longing for a mischievous adolescence. The fact of the matter is that my appreciation for a land often described as being ‘at the end of the world’ has only grown with time. Continue reading “From Beirut to Santiago: memories, democracy and about never going back”

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”

Visualizing the Nakba

These days, it isn’t only a picture, but an infographic, that is also worth a thousand words. In commemoration of the Nakba (catastrophe) on May 15, when the State of Israel was established in 1948 after over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homeland, here’s the Nakba itself in one infographic. Continue reading “Visualizing the Nakba”

ՀԱՅՈՑ ՑԵՂԱՍՊԱՆՈՒԹՅԱՆ 100-րդ ՏԱՐԵԼԻՑ

Armenian Genocide Centennial

“In the implementation of its scheme to settle the Armenian Question through annihilation of the Armenian race, the Turkish government did not allow itself to be distracted.” – Paul Wolff-Metternich, German [Turkey’s ally at the time] Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (1915–1916).

“Unfortunately, our wartime leaders, imbued with a spirit of brigandage, carried out the law of deportation in a manner that could surpass the proclivities of the most bloodthirsty bandits. They decided to exterminate the Armenians, and they did exterminate them.” – Mustafa Arif Bey, Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire (1917–1918).

Continue reading “ՀԱՅՈՑ ՑԵՂԱՍՊԱՆՈՒԹՅԱՆ 100-րդ ՏԱՐԵԼԻՑ”

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…”

Love in the Time of Politics

In one of his most acclaimed novels “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez explores the meaning of love through the follies of the heart and the lucidity of the mind. As he recounts, love and its symptoms at the turn of the 19th century could be very well mistaken with those of cholera, which had been spreading across the Caribbean at the time. When there is fever, uncontrollable emotions and madness, followed by either sanity or delusion…can one really differentiate between love and cholera? Continue reading “Love in the Time of Politics”

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”