Saad Hariri and the IDF spokesman!

Saad Hariri member of the parliament, former prime minister of Lebanon,  and son of the late Rafiq Hariri, has joined twitter since October 5, 2009. This account was hold with his PR department who followed up  his meetings and travels. However, last November he personally started tweeting via twitter to follow up the news with his supporters.

Anyway, Hariri seemed to enjoy this twitter. That today (12 January 2012) saluted the spokesman of the Israeli Defense Army IDF!!

Not only Avichay Adraee settled his bio on his twitter profile as ” The spokesman of the IDF to the Arabic media”, but he is pictured infront of the “Israel” flag. Later on, Hariri  tweeted “While answering greetings this morning I sent a good morning reply to someone whom some of you later said they think is an Israeli official” And then added: “If it is true, I want to clearly say I wouldn’t have answered if I had known, because Israel is our enemy.”

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What Best Describes the political and the social changes in the MENA region?

Dear Readers,

I would appreciate your help to vote on this question, any comments on the matter are welcomed as well.

*Note: This survey deadline is on 5 February, 2012.

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This writer of Elaph: steals articles, translates them, and then publishes them under his name!

I wonder how much is he paid for his extensive reports and analysis!!

This writer of the electronic magazine of Elaph, Abdul Elah Majeed, translates newspaper articles – from American websites – into Arabic, and then publishes them under his name.

I wrote about this case in a previous post.

For the record, there is no mention whatsoever for the genuine writer of the articles he takes. And there is no mention that he has translated this article in the first place!

The Article in Elaph

The genuine article written by Clifford Krauss in the New York Times

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We need respect and professionalism in the Arabic Media!

On the 2nd of January the Time Magazine has published an article written by Steven Sotloff: “Why the Libyans Have Fallen Out of Love with Qatar”. The article was tweeted 118 times.

On the next day, the 3rd of January, I stumbled upon an article in the Arabic electronic newspaper Elaph titled in Arabic “Sahaher al’asal al Qatari fi Libya entaha.. w hazihi Asbaboh” (The Qatari Honeymoon in Libya has ended.. and here are the reasons). The article is tweeted 27 times.

When I read the article I had the thought that it is a coincidence for both articles to show resemblance in the title. However, reading through the article it was a genuine and easy copy & Paste but with a translate into Arabic!!

Unfortunately, the writer didn’t mention that this article is translated and has been taken out from the Time website, but he went  thoroughly explicating the facts of Qatari money in Libya, the exact same ones presented by Sotloff, as if they were his own efforts.

 Abdul Elah Majeed, the article’s writer in Arabic,  dismissed to accredit Sotloff analysis and facts. In addition, Elaph website has used the same picture put for Sotloff’s article in the Time without sourcing the picture.

However, Majeed who claims that he wrote the article (since there is no mention whatsoever that this article is translated) has sourced the Time  six times when the genuine article stated some crucial facts and interviews:

– Today, they are preparing to fund a program to send Libyan troops to train in France. (In Arabic: واليوم، يستعد القطريون لتمويل برنامج تدريب قوات ليبية في فرنسا، كما افادت مجلة تايم في تقرير من طرابلس.)

– “I think what they have done is basically support the Muslim Brotherhood,” says former NTC Deputy Prime Minister Ali Tarhouni. (In Arabic: ونقلت مجلة تايم عن علي الترهوني نائب رئيس المكتب التنفيذي للمجلس الانتقالي الليبي ووزير المالية والنفط السابق ان ما فعلته قطر من حيث الأساس “هو دعم الاخوان المسلمين”.)

– Qatari officials have indeed exerted influence in Libyan politics. During deliberations to choose a new Cabinet in September, a senior Qatari official was seen huddled with the outgoing Defense Minister, allegedly trying to guide appointments to sensitive security positions. (In Arabic: وخلال الاتصالات والمداولات لتشكيل حكومة جديدة في ايلول/سبتمبر الماضي، شوهد مسؤول قطري كبير يتباحث مع وزير الدفاع السابق محاولا على ما يُفترض توجيه التعيينات في المناصب الأمنية الحساسة ، بحسب مجلة تايم.)

– “Qatar is weakening Libya,” says an NTC member who requested anonymity because he was speaking about a sensitive topic.  (In Arabic: وقال عضو في المجلس الانتقالي طلب عدم ذكر اسمه ، لمجلة تايم “إن قطر تضعف ليبيا، وهم بتمويلهم الاسلاميين يخلُّون بالتوازن السياسي ويجعلون من الصعب علينا ان نتحرك الى الأمام”.)

– “We fought to be free,” he explained, “not so that new rulers from abroad will take away our freedom.” (In Arabic: وقال محمود لمجلة تايم “اننا قاتلنا من اجل ان نكون احرارًا لا ان يصادر حريتنا حكام جدد من الخارج”.)

– It was a refrain seldom heard during the revolution. But with Libyan politicians taking an increasingly vocal stance against Qatar, the tiny Gulf emirate whose friendship Libya was proud of has become an obtrusive guest that many wish would leave. (In Arabic: وتردد هذا الرأي الذي نادرا ما كان يُسمع خلال الثورة على لسان آخرين. ولكن إذ بدأ سياسيون ليبيون يجاهرون بالحديث ضد التدخل القطري اصبحت الدولة الخليجية التي كانت ليبيا تعتز بصداقتها، ضيفا ثقيلا يريده كثيرون ان يغادر، على حد تعبير مجلة تايم.)

Seriously, we need more respect and professionalism in the Arabic media!

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An Article I wrote in 2009…

A year before my graduation in 2009, I have joined a group of students and instructors to establish a newspaper empowered by youth.  The main aim was to create a new media outlet unlike the mainstream media that are affiliated to political parties. It is supposed to be unbiased and powered by diversified editorial board. It was issued the week prior to the 2009 parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

We discussed ideas. My idea was to highlight the minorities in Lebanon and whom they are going to vote for.

I was interested in minorities and their rights. But I was interested strongly in the Jewish community, that once resided in Lebanon, before the civil war. My knowledge on this issue was too little and insignificant; and I assume it is the same as my counterparts fellows.

Anyway, I am posting my article down here.

However, I will be writing another post on my experience in this issue …
Lebanon is famous for its religious diversity, with 18 sects living within its 10,425 km². However, one of its most controversial sects is witnessing its decline unless their rights are restored.

It is known that Lisa Khodor Nahmoud is not the last native Jew in Lebanon, however dozens of them who live in Mount Lebanon and some Christian neighborhoods refuse to declare their religious views due to political and security concerns. She might not be the ideal one to represent the Lebanese Jews, but she is the only one that accepts to speak publicly to the media.

Lisa lives in Hayy el Yahoud (nowadays Wadi Abu Jmil), a poor neighborhood amongst the fancy buildings of downtown Beirut. She lives in an old building and shares her home with her cats.

Liza in Her House, downtown Beirut

“Habibi, why are you mad? Are you starving, habibi?”  She talks to her cats.

Two things would hit your mind when you see and talk to Lisa: her lovely face and her accent. She puts on a lot of make-up and tints her hair monthly, and her accent clearly has a Syrian flavor.

Lisa never got married. She once fell in love with a man whose sect differs from hers, but her family was very upset. Then, the civil war broke out: “there was no place for love then!”

During the war she was afraid of being kidnapped. She burned all her belongings, especially those which showed her religion. “I had nothing from the past, and I preferred nothing could prove that I am a Jew. After the Lebanese state omitted the religious status from identity cards, I made one!”

She refuses to go to Israel: “I am not Israeli, and I won’t go to Israel in my life. Here I was brought up and here I shall die,” Lisa said. She feels annoyed when someone describes her as “the last Israeli in Wadi Abu Jmil”.

In Lebanon, where there is insignificant information about the Jews, most people think that there is no difference between a Jew and Israeli. “I never heard of any existence of a Jewish community in Lebanon, but I think we have to deal carefully with them,” said Nader Saleh, a 32-year-old engineer.

Despite their concerns, however, the Jews are not the only ones stereotyped according to their beliefs, with each sect considered an ally of particular foreign countries. Jews are considered affiliated with Israel as Shiite are affiliated with Iran and the Sunni with Saudi Arabia.  But like all stereotypes, they are largely false.

The Jewish community in Lebanon is much older than the State of Israel. “The Jewish community in Lebanon didn’t decrease as it has been mentioned in different media outlets” said Dr. Kirsten Schulze, specialized in Political Science and the Arab-Israel conflict in London School of Economics and Political Science.

“After 1948, the number of Jews [in Lebanon] increased through Syrian and Iraqi Jewish refugees, since Syria and Iraq adopted anti-Jewish policies after the creation of Israel. Many of them fled to Lebanon where the state had no anti-Jewish policies and there were no inter-communal tensions.”

In her book: “The Jews of Lebanon: Between Coexistence and Conflict”, Schulze takes the position that the number of Jews changed during the 1920s and the 1980s for different reasons: “Before the establishment of the State of Israel there were around 8,000 Lebanese Jews. The community reached its height right before the 1958 civil war at around 14,000. After the war, the Iraqi and Syrian Jews left Lebanon because of the instability, but the Lebanese Jews stayed and the community was again around 7-8,000. Then between August 1967 and 1970 around 3,000 Lebanese Jews left as they saw Lebanon change with the influx of Palestinian refugees and then guerrillas. They were worried about the increasing Christian-Muslim tensions. Most of the rest left in 1975-76 when the second civil war broke out.”

The Jewish community had three synagogues in Lebanon: Beirut, Deir el Qamar, and Sidon. The most famous one is Magen Abraham synagogue located in Beirut Central District.

“The synagogue was not destroyed by the Israelis,” said Schulze. “It is still there. It took a hit during one of the Israeli air raids in 1982 and part of the roof collapsed.”

Efforts to reconstruct the synagogue face financial problems. The Jewish community in Lebanon is responsible for looking after the needs of the community, but the community is small. Isaac Arazi, the head of the community in Lebanon, could not be reached for this story, which is not surprising considering how disconnected they are.

Inside Magen Abraham Synagogue Before Restoration, Central Beirut

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Yo do not Stand Alone!

The Olympia girl!

This is an article from Rachel Corrie’s Journals “Let Me Stand Alone”, in her 8th martyrdom anniversary. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer when she tried to stop the demolishing of a Palestinian home in Gaza.

Here is a message from her parent in this anniversary.

I would like to share with you one of her articles.

February 7, 2003

I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It it most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I am not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me: Ali-or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they laugh when I say “Bush Majnoon” “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited Arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn’t quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: Bush mish majnoon… Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say “Bush is a tool,” but I don’t think it is translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the golbal power structure than I was just a few years ago- at least regarding Israel.

Nevertheless, I think about the fact that no amount of reading, attendances at conferences, documentary viewing, and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it- and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot unarmed U.S. citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. Ostensibly, it is still quite difficult for me to be held for months or years on end without a trial (this because I am a white U.S. citizen as opposed to so many others). When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m doing. So, I feel outrage at arriving and entering briefly and incompletely into the world in which these children exist, I wonder conversely about how it would be for them to arrive in my world.

They know that children in the United States don’t usually have their parents shot and sometimes get to see the ocean. But once you have seen the ocean and lived in a silent place, where water is taken for granted and not stolen in the night by bulldozers, and spent an evening when you didn’t wonder if the walls of your home might suddenly fall inward waking you from your sleep, and met people who have never lost anyone- once you have experienced the reality of a world that isn’t surrounded by murderous towers, tanks, armed “settlements,” and now giant metal war, I wonder if you can forgive the world for all the years of your childhood spent exisiting-just existing-in resistance to the constant stranglehold of the world’s fourth largest military apparatus- backed by the world’s only super power- in its attempt to erase you from your home. I wonder what would happen if they really knew.

As an afterthought to all this rambling- I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately sixty percent of whom are refugees-many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Rafah existed prior to 1948, bbut most of the people here are people-or descendants of people- who were relocated here from their homes in historic Palestine-now Israel. Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt. Currently, the Israeli army is building a fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah, Palestine, and the border, and carving a no-man’s-land from the houses along the border. 602 homes have been completely bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Comittee. The number of homes that have been partially destroyed is greater.

Today I walked on top of the rubble where homes ones stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border: “Go!Go!” because a tank was coming. And then waving and “What’s your name?” Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kinds curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peek out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International kids standing in fornt of tanks with banners. Israel kids in the tanks anynymously- occasionally shouting- and also occasionally waving- many forced to be here, many just aggressive-shoting into the houses we wander away.

In addition to the constant presence of tanks along the border and in the western region between Rafah and settlements along the coast, there are more IDF towers here than I can count. Along the horizon- at the end of streets. Some just army green metal-others these starnge spiral staircases draped in some kind of netting to make the activity within anynymous. Some hidden just beneath the horizon of buildings. A new one went up the other day in the time it took us to do laundry and cross twon twice to hang banners. Despite the fact that some of the areas nearest the border are the orginal Rafah-families who have lived on this land for at least a century-only the 1948 camps in the center of the city are Palestinian-controlled areas under Oslo. But as far as I can tell, there are few, if any, places that are not within the sights of some tower or another. Certainly nowhere invulnerable to Apache helicopters or the cameras of invisible drones we hear buzzing over the city  for hours at a time.

I’ve been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza.” Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents- but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here- instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. I went to a rally a few days ago in Khan Younis in solidarity with the people of Iraq. Many analogies were made about the continuing suffering pf the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and the upcoming occupation of Iraq by the United States-not the war itself- but the certain aftermath of the war. If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region, then I hope they will start.

I also hopel you’ll come here. We’ve been wavering between five and six international. The neighborhoods that have asked us for some form of presence are Yibna, Tel al-Sultan, Hi Salaam, Brazil, Block J, Zorob, and Block O, as well as the need for constant night-time presence at a well n the outskirts of Rafah after the Israeli Army destroyed the largest wells (providing half of the water for Rafah, according to the municipal water office) last week. Many of these places have requested internationals to be present at night to attempt to shield houses from further demolition. After about ten p.m. it is very difficult to move at night, because the Israeli Army treats anyone in the streets as resistance and shoots at them. So clearly we are two few.

I continue to believe that my home, Olympia, could gain a lot and offer a lot by deciding to make a commitment to Rafah in the form of a sister- community relationship. Some teachers and children’s groups have expressed interest in e-mail exchanges, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of solidarity work that could be done. Many people want their voices to be heard, and I hink we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the U.S., rather then through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself. I am just beginning to learn from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage in the ability of people to organize against all the odds, and to resist against all odds.

Thanks for the news I’ve been getting from friends in the U.S. I just read a report-back from a friend who organized a peace group in Shelton, Washington, and ws able to be part of a delegation to the large January 18th protest in Washington D.C. People here watch the media, and they told me again today that there have been large protests in the United States and “problem for the government” in the UK. So thanks for allowing me to not feel like a complete Pollyanna when I relatively tell people here that many people in the United States do not support the policies of our government, and that we are learining from global examples how to resist.

My live to everyone. My love to my mom. My love t the cult formerly known as Local Knowledge program. My love to smooch. My love to FG and Barnhair and Sesamees and Lincoln School. My love to Olympia.


*Corrie, R. (2008). Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie. In the Corrie Family (Ed.),  February 7,2003. (pp 243-247). London: Granta Books.

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Today Marks the Occupier’s Birthday!





This is really impressive, signs of Peace!

No comment!

Climate Change took revenge too!

In his last visit to Iraq, the former president of USA George W. Bush was holding a good-bye conference. He had only few days, and then he will be a normal American citizen.  For an instant, everything went right, until came Montazar al Zaydi and threw his two shoes targeting Bush.

To celebrate this moment I searched for some cartoons that celebrated the humiliation of the illegal occupier!!

A training session!

A shoe can achieves more than resolutions and negotiations!

New Signs!


Courageous Pesident!


Training sessions!

No comment!

Weapons of Mass Destructions should stay outside conference room!!

Great job Maliki!!

Democray, what democracy?!

Good One!

Santa's Gift

yes, this is what we will see in history books!

Obama is not better!

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