If these don’t make people seek change, what will?

lebnon-flagA parliament that extends its own term. A paralysed government. A constitutional council that colluded with an unconstitutional extension. A Vacuum in the presidency for more than a year. A disabled country due to a disabled government. No electricity. No water. No jobs. A garbage crisis. A corrupt system from top to bottom. Traffic crisis. No jobs. Crime on the rise. Over 1 million Syrian refugees in a country of only 4.5 million people. Sectarian division, terrorist cells, armed groups, …. Yet the average Lebanese is not revolting. He keeps following his traditional, religious and sectarian leaders even if he has to starve to death.

I thought after the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, the people will wake up, throw away those who took him to war, kept him under Syrian occupation ….. Instead, at the first opportunity, they voted those leaders in power. But hey, the Lebanese are proud of being the smartest in the region and defenders of democracy. Eh Ahlen.

Syria killed my father

“Syria Killed my father”, Kamal Jumblatt was killed in 1977 by Syrian intelligence. Since that date, his son, Walid, “was forced” and “Based on my conviction that I am an Arab nationalist and based on the threats that were surrounding Lebanon, I had no choice but to go to Syria and to seal a deal, a political settlement, with those who assassinated Kamal Jumblatt,” became a Syrian ally till few months before the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (in 2005).

It was interesting to listen to Walid Beyk. He laid down before the court a political testimony in Hariri assassination case. Walid words made me remember how his “deal” with those who killed his father affected Lebanon, its people, sovereignty and independence. His words took me back to those dark days, where people were killed because they didn’t believe in “Arab Nationalism”. It made me wonder what is the difference between the actions of “Arab Nationalists” during Lebanon civil war and ISIS actions in Bilad al-sham? Getting killed by a bullet is different from getting killed by a knife? Getting your head chopped by an axe is different from having your through cut by a knife?

Let’s see what Walid Jumblatt forgot to mention how his “deal” with those who killed his father was translated on the ground. This is just a short specimen:

– After the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt, his supporters, proceeded to commit revenge killings against the Christians of the Chouf which left 250 civilians dead.

– In 1978, Walid Jumblatt PSP artillery joined their Syrian allies in bombarding the Christian region of Beirut who were under siege for 100 days.

– In April 81, Syrian troops in Aramoun (jumblatt region) bombarded the East Beirut at a time when students were leaving schools to head home. Casualties and injuries were in the Hundreds.

–  July 14, 1982, Jumblatt PSP ambushed a Lebanese army detachment. Fourteen Lebanese regular soldiers in the attack, and in riposte the artillery units of Jumblatt’s PSP shelled on 18th, 20th and 23rd the Christian-held neighbourhoods of East Beirut (in which over 30 people were killed and 600 injured, mostly civilians).

– September 1983, the famous ethnic cleansing of Christians from the Chouf. The attack was led by Jumblatt PSP and backed by various “Arabist Nationalist” and the Syrian army. Results: over 1,200 killed and butchered and Christians were uprooted from their homes and villages.

The list is long. Walid Jumblatt failed to tell the court the scale of death and destruction that his “deal” with those who killed his father brought with it. Between 1977 till 2005, Walid Jumblatt was a Syrian agent, a Syrian puppet, served the Syrian occupation, lead wars and massacres for them, gained politically from his deal….

Wasn’t it better for him to stand with his father wishes and political ideas (his father opposed Syrian involvement in Lebanon) than killing thousands of Lebanese in the name of “Arab Nationalism”?

Où son mes filles ? Noyées ?

In August 1989, at dawn, Syrian gunners tried to sink a vessel that used to shuttle people between the port of Jounieh and port of Larnaca in Cuprus. They fired dozens of rockets into the sea. Two Lebanese sisters, aged 17 months and 3 years, drowned when a boat ferrying 16 passengers out to the hovercraft capsized in the waves churned up by the barrage. The following is a french article published by Lebanese french newspaper L’orient Le Jour, written by the mother of the two girls. R.I.P Maya & Rouba Azar.

Mon souvenir le plus marquant de la guerre civile en une dizaine de phrases ?
Tous les textes du monde ne suffiraient pas pour décrire le bouleversement que ma famille a vécu.
La nuit du 5 août 1989, Nabil mon mari, nos deux filles Rouba (3 ans) et Maya (17 mois), et moi, tentions de fuir l’enfer libanais via le port de Jounieh vers Larnaca. C’était la soi-disant « guerre de libération » entre l’armée libanaise commandée par Michel Aoun et l’armée syrienne.
On nous informe qu’on est forcés de prendre la petite chaloupe pour rejoindre l’hydroglisseur qui s’était éloigné du port à cause des bombes. On était 14 à bord. Quelques moments plus tard, une bombe tombe dans l’eau et nous propulse de la chaloupe vers la mer.
Rouba était dans mes bras et Maya dans ceux de mon mari. Sous la force des vagues et du choc, elles sont arrachées de nos bras. Des secouristes me repêchent de la mer et me déposent sur l’hydroglisseur. Je ne savais plus où était ma famille. Pleurs, cris, hystérie, vomissements.
On m’informe ensuite que les enfants et leur père ont été secourus et sont restés à Kaslik. J’appelle à mon arrivée à Larnaca et j’apprends de mon mari qu’on lui avait dit que les enfants étaient avec moi.
Mes filles perdues, noyées en pleine nuit dans la mer sous les bombes. Comment peut-on oublier ? Comment peut-on pardonner ?
Guerre de libération ? Guerre de fous !

Joumana AZAR

The Battle of Zahle 1981 – 2015

I still remember the day when Zahle battle began. I was a young man spending the summer with my family in what will become in the future as a major Ski resort. I was in Oyoun el Siman.

It is up there where I met young men rushing to the fronts, battling the snow, cold weather and Syrian soldiers.

 

It is up there where I saw the dead and the injured from a Syrian helicopter attack.

It is up there, where I met the group of an artillery unit (above the Avalanche), who kept bounding the Syrian troops surrounding Zahle.

It is up there, where I met young men in Hotel Mzar, that was turned to a military base, many of whom died trying to enter Zahle or defending the hills around it.

It is up there, where I learned about the “French Room” and its importance.

It is up there, where I met martyr Sleiman Akiki (Shlomo).

It is up there, where I met the first time Bachir Gemayel, played a table tennis match with him, celebrated a mass and visit that artillery unit.

It is up there, where I learned what it means defying all odds trying to protect a village.

It is up there, where I learned “They will never enter Zahle”.

It is up there, where I learned that only handful of men can stand and face an army.

It is up there, where I learned that “Heroes die and never surrender”.

To the martyrs of Zahle battle I say: Rest in peace, one day we will meet on the other side and drink a glass of wine.

To the rest of us, remember when you were one …. you moved mountains.

The ninth anniversary of the evacuation of the Syrian army from Lebanon

On this day, I found the words of a friend, Selmen Smeha, are the best to describe, this day and what many of us are thinking about. Sorry it is in Arabic:

الى ابي و امي و اخوتي،
اليوم الذكرى التاسعة لجلاء الجيش السوري من لبنان…
في هذا اليوم اقدم اعتذاري لكم، لكل ما قضيتموه بسببي طيلة وجود هذا الاحتلال…
لكل السهر و القلق و الزعل و الغضب و الدموع و القهر الذي تسببته لكم…
لم اكن لاعتذر اليوم لو لم يدس كل رفاقي منذ ذلك اليوم وحتى يومنا هذا على كل تضحياتكم…
لم يتعلموا شيئاً من ظلم و ظلامية تلك السنوات…
لبسوا الشالات الحمر والبييض متباهين متبخترين…
غرتهم المنابر و الشاشات…
اضاعت توازنهم القاب ” المناضل” و” المقاوم “….
باللبناني الدارج بيقولوا ” شم ريحة باطو”…
تسابقوا من يريد ان ” يقطفها ” قبل الثاني…على حساب “الثاني” لا مانع…نكاية ” بالثاني” لا فرق…
تنازلوا للجميع وعلى كل شيئ…ولم يتقدموا بخطوة واحدة تجاه بعضهم
تصالحوا مع الجميع…واستعادوا حقدهم وعدائهم لبعضهم البعض…
لكل ما سبق…ولكل ما سوف يأتي من هزائم نهرول اليها بايدينا و ارجلنا…
اعتذر منك امي…ابي…اختي..اخي…

Between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen

Many blames the Syrian conflict for the clashes in Tripoli that have been raging for the past few days. Around 20 people killed and hundreds injured so far. The spill over, they call it. Other blames the battle of Qusair in Syria and Hzbullah involvement there that is turning the tide in favor of the Syrian regime. Again, the spill over, as they’ve been saying.

Those who tell you that this is a spill over do not know the region and for sure they do not know Lebanon. Most important, they do not know the history of Lebanon, history of the religions, the sects, …. . I mean if you spill something, you do it once and you clean it or wipe it off. How many spill overs we had so far in Lebanon? I’ll stick to recent modern history:

  • In 1948 more than 100,000 Palestinian refuges spilled over from Palestine to Lebanon.
  • In 1958 Abdel Nasser Lebanese (and Palestinian) supporters spilled over in Lebanon streets.
  • In 1975 hell broke lose, cold war spilled over. Arab-Israeli conflict spilled over. PLO land spilled over.
  • In 1976 in the name of Arabism the Syrian tanks spilled over.
  • In 1978 Israeli army spilled over in the name of protecting Northern Israel.
  • In 1980 Syrian tanks spilled over Zahle.
  • In 1982 Israeli Army spilled over and reached Beirut in the name of still protecting North Israel.
  • In 1983 Palestinians, Syrian and Druze spilled over the Mountain and Chouf in the name of Arabism.
  • In 1984 Shiite and Druze spilled over from the Lebanese Army and divided it.
  • Between 1984 and 1990 several spill overs: Amal-PLO clashes – Amal-Hizbullah Clashes – Aoun war of Liberation – Aoun-LF war of brothers, ……
  • In 1990 the Syrian tanks with the blessing of the international communities (due to their role in first Iraqi war) spilled over the last free region in lebanon.
  • After 1990 many spill overs in the name of jihad, resistance, … they spilled in the shape of torture, kidnapping and assassinations.

So we had few hundreds spill overs. Yet we blame it on others. They are spilling over, right? Not really or not entirely. Spill over one, shame on you. Spill over twice, shame on us. There is something seriously damaged in the Lebanese society. They attract the spill overs and the most important part is that their leaders encourages those who are doing the spilling and enjoy being the tools of the spill as long as their personal interest and bank accounts are served. They are the one who are arming those who are doing the spilling over. Over and over and over and over …

There is no spill over …. the Lebanese had bend over long long time ago and they enjoy being *&^&#% over and over and over. As a Lebanese proverb says: “Two things cannot be hidden: being astride a camel and being pregnant”. So let us stop the bull and say it as it is, don’t blame the spill over but blame your own for creating and arming their own spills.