“Noun” to support the Christians of Mousl – Iraq?

Mousl in Iraq has been emptied of its Christians. They fled amid threats to convert or die. Mosul is considered the second largest city in Iraq. It housed around 60,000 Christians. Today no Christian is left in Mosul.

Muslim extremist group ISIS ordered all Christians to convert to Islam or get killed.  They left.

The end of Christianity in Iraq is very near. Two million Christians called Iraq home before operation desert storm. Many have left during the wave of attacks against them in Baghdad and other regions years ago and the rest have been forced to flee today.

Who is to blame? We can blame many factions. The West for creating the fiasco in Iraq and the region. The Arab regimes who supported Muslim extremists for many reasons. The Christians themselves. Yeah the Christians of Iraq. They should have reacted long before. They should have seen this coming. After all what happened in the pas years, they should have predicted that the time will come and they will be attacked and forced to leave. They saw what happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. They saw what happened during the waves of attack with car bombs and executions after. With the rise of ISIS in the region, they should have seen it coming. What did the Christians of Iraq do since the 1990’s? They relied on the Iraqi government for security. This would be normal if the country runs normally. They could have learned the lessons from the Christians of Lebanon. Lebanese Christians saw the danger coming. They experienced it in 1958. What did they do? Instead of staying idle, they started by training and arming themselves. This could have been an option to Iraqi Christians. Out of 2 million Iraqi Christians, they could have mobilized a hundred thousand to defend them.

Where we ended up today? Iraq empty of its Christians, France offering them asylum (maybe this was the plan from the beginning).  This was the plan for Lebanon, but Lebanese Christians defied it, paid the price by blood, lost a bit of their political power but they are still alive and doing relatively well in Lebanon.  In Syria, the Christians are clinging to a dictator hoping he will save them from the outcome of Iraqi Christians. In Lebanon, the Christians leaders are drowning in their ego and alliances and if they don’t pull their shit together, they will face the same outcome.

Charles Malek, in his article “A lot is required from Maronite Christians”, he wrote: “If free Christianity fell in Lebanon, and Lebanon is its last stronghold in the Orient, it will end not only in the Middle East, but also in Asia and Africa.  This responsibility is serious and dangerous!  The Maronites are the first responsible of this free Christianity in front of her divine providence. Are they aware of this responsibility?  Do they realize the danger? Do they understand the significance of what they have been entrusted with? Are they ready to carry it in front this holy providence and history? Are they able to carry this burden?”

Where are the Maronites of Lebanon? Can they carry the burden? They did for a while. They stood up and defended until the day they got divided and fought each other.  Since that day decadence took over. Since the 1990’s they are in a free fall. They can’t change because their leaders don’t want them to change. Their leaders own existence is based on this division. Yet the supporters, with all what is going on in Lebanon and the region, can’t realize that this division is the end of free Christianity as Charles Malek put it.

What can the Christians of Lebanon do? Sadly, all they can manage is an online campaign to post a “Noun” (N in Arabic) on a Facebook status, a tweet about it or wear a t-shirt with “Noun” on it.

What a tragedy …  What a loss …. what and end ….

260 Arab intellectuals against ISIS

Bravo to these 260 intellectuals. They stood up against the expansion of ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham ). There is always hope in this Arab world. There will be a better future if regional and international country support the intellectuals and not radical groups to make political or geographical changes in the region. 

The Intellectuals saw in the expansion of ISIS and their declaration of the Khilafa, as a serious threat to the rights to freedom, justice and peace of the people of the Levant.  To read parts of the statement in English, follow this link. The Arabic statement is on this link (this one has the names of all 260 Arab intellectuals who signed the letter).

Let us hope regional and international powers to not bank too much on ISIS to make the changes in the region like they put their bets on Muslim Brotherhood couple of years ago.

Note: I wish the media stops abbreviating the name of Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. ISIS should always stay for the ancient Egyptian goddess.

Designate Lebanon as a Land for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Cultures

Petitioning Secretary-General of the United Nations H. E. Ban Ki-Moon and UN Member States

The petition is prepared by Guita Hourani. Please join us and sign the petition. Link to sign Petition

Like St. Pope John Paul II, Ayatollah Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddine, the Muslim-Christian Summit at the Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon and hundreds of thousands of people in Lebanon and around the world, we believe that Lebanon is more than a country it is a message of freedom, a model of pluralism and a special space for dialogue and coexistence of different cultures, ethnicities and religions. We also believe that Lebanon’s vocation is to embody this message and to strive to live it and to promote it despite all the challenges and the obstacles faced.  CLICK HERE PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION.

 

Art censorship

According to Beirut.con article, On May 8, Fransabank launched the 9th edition of its JABAL exhibition at Hotel Le Gray to great success, with 18 of the 25 artists having sold their artwork during the launching event alone.
But one artist’s work – which appears in JABAL’s official catalogue – never made it to the actual exhibit. Mhammad Saad’s Farewell Beirut depicts Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (in addition to various other Lebanese politicians, including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea among others) as a character in one of Michelangelo’s most renowned works, The Creation of Adam.

Saad, winner of the Jury’s Prize last year at the 31st Salon D’Automne for his paintingAlleluia often conveys notions of politics in sarcastic or puppet-like environments in his work.
The artist told Beirut.com that his Farewell Beirut painting was removed from the exhibit just two days before the show opened because members of the Le Gray administration asked for it to be taken down.
The artist maintains that this particular work “isn’t disrespectful in any way to any leader,” explaining that “the image is a contemporary [take] on many internationally renowned paintings in the history of art… [and expresses] the ongoing conflict between the different Lebanese parties and its impact on society with a sarcastic twist. This is my newest creation and I was looking for a decent, respectful and established place to exhibit it.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Zeina Antonios, the spokesperson for JABAL, told Beirut.com the reason Mhamad’s piece was pulled from the exhibit was that it was “too expensive for the show,” and that they had to replace him with someone else at the last minute.

Endangered Language Project by Google

In an alliance with scholars and linguists, the Internet powerhouse introduced an Endangered Languages Project website where people can find, share, and store information about dialects in danger of disappearing.
“People can share their knowledge and research directly through the site and help keep the content up-to-date,” project managers Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman said in a Google blog post. ”

A diverse group of collaborators have already begun to contribute content ranging from 18th-century manuscripts to modern teaching tools like video and audio language samples and knowledge-sharing articles.”

This is another opportunity for Lebanese scholars and linguists who are trying to save the Syriac language to jump on the wagon. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic spoken in the Lebanon and neighboring countries until about the 13th century AD and still in use as a liturgical language of certain Eastern churches. The language is still spoken in small communities in the area and the Diaspora.

Sheikh Qataya is ready to wage civil war

In this video Sheikh Ahmad Kataya, Imam of the mixed Bekaa town of Nabha, threatens priests, monks and the Christians by launching a civil war (don’t blame him but I am sure he meant religious war) if his daughter wasn’t returned to him. Benin, his daughter, got baptized three years ago in Our Lady of Bechwat Church. The 24-year-old girl got baptized willingly and decided to become a Christian with the help of Father Elias Gharios, According to LBC TV. Why he snapped and threatened the priests and the Christians now? Well Benin left her parents’ house six days ago. The parents threatened Father Gharios over the phone last Sunday before kidnapping him Monday afternoon on the Douris – Al Ansar road. They intercepted his car and pointed guns at his face. After several interventions, Father Gharious was handed over to Hizbullah official Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek following his release.

Last Wednesday, unknown assailants fired gunshots at the house of a priest from the Kairouz family in the town of Nabha, and a similar incident occurred on Sunday before the start of the municipal elections, when shots were fired at the Our Lady Church in Nabha.
In the above video, Sheikh Ahmad Kataya, accused Father Gharios of sorcery. Sorcery !!!! Where does he live??? Kataya told LBC that “a number of monks and priests practiced witchcraft and sorcery” on his daughter to make her convert to Christianity. Not only that, he adds that Christian holy men were trying to convert all Shia kids in Baalbek and elsewhere with their witchy ways. It seems Love is called sorcery by some. Because this is what Father Gharios said to his kidnappers: I love you now and will always do.

They wonder why I strongly believe in a Federal system for Lebanon’s problems!!!

What an early morning !

I woke up early today to catch up on some work. Soon after, I received a tweet about a huge fire in a carpet factory in the coastal town of Safra, North of Beirut. I didn’t give it much importance. Then I got another picture tweet of the fire. It caught my attention.
I opened MTV Lebanon online and watched a live feed of the tragedy.
While watching, I was wondering why the firetrucks are not fully engaged in fighting the fire. I didn’t see firefighters or their equipments trying to fight the fire from inside the building. It turned out that the fire fighters are not equipped to fight such fire. Probably they also lack training to fight a fire of this magnitude.
It seems that even the helicopter team that was dumping water on the fire (supposedly) also lack training. Couple of times I saw a helicopter passing over the fire and dumping water on it. On both occasions, the pilot or the person who released the water didn’t hit the target.
I tweeted asking when will Lebanon adapts fire codes for buildings. I got a reply from an friend who is an engineer. He said we have fire codes and standards for industrial buildings but “they can be bypassed by bribes”. Even if they were implemented there is no way to follow up with inspection and maintenance, he added.
I wondered at that moment how the owner of this factory feels at this moment. He might have saved few thousands of dollars by bribing an inspector but that costed him his factory. When will they understand that investing few extra dollars will save lives and businesses in case of an accident.
Come to think about it, if they installed fire sprinkler system, from where will they get the water? We all know the sad story of the water system in Lebanon. The owner probably needed a special water tank for the sprinkler system.
That made me think of the firetrucks. From where they fill up their water? In Lebanon, we do not have fire hydrant system that is linked to the city or town water reservoir. So an empty fire truck had to leave the fire scene to go fill up water.
But wait a minute what city or town reservoir? We don’t have those in Lebanon. Cities, towns or villages don’t have their own water plants.
By that time, a huge part of a carpet factory and I started to have a headache at 5 AM trying to figure out how to implement a system to fight these fires.
Time to switch off the online Live TV feed and go read other news. Headlines of the day:

– Unknown assailants kidnapped Basma al-Sabaa from her car in Sidon.
– Mohammed Hassan al-Turkmani was kidnapped from his house in al-Qaa.
– A Building in Ain al-Remmeneh in danger of collapsing.

The headache evolved to a migraine. Billions of dollars in debts, no water, no electricity, no safety, …. and the politicians are busy cursing each others over a new electoral law. Each fearing from implementing a law that will work against his future as a deputy. What did these deputies (all of them) do in the past 4 years for YOU, my dear Lebanese? What did they do for YOUR well being, your health, your safety, your job, your economy, your necessities, …..
Next time think, if you feel compelled to cast your vote in the next election, think about that and try for once elect a person that works for you and not his pocket. A person who will serve YOU first and not his close family and friends. After all they are PUBLIC SERVANT. They are elected by YOU to serve YOU.