Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Best quote of the day...

The best quote today belongs to Patriarch Nassrallah Sfeir:

"If the Lebanese cannot run their own country, then we ought to seek U.N. help."

I got one better for you: If the Lebanese cannot run their own country, they don't deserve to have one.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lebanon is the only country in the world...

Today, majority leader Saad Hariri said, among other useless claptrap, that Lebanon is "the only country in the world that does not have a president. This is a major crime committed against us and against the country."

Let me tell you what else Lebanon is the "only country in the world" for:

- Lebanon is the only country in the world where "one-time only" constitutional amendments happen more than "one-time".
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where the speaker of parliament gets to treat that institution as his own supermarket, to open and close at will.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where citizens elect MPs to parliament, only to have "dialogue" occur outside of parliament between non-elected people.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world that i know of where government jobs, starting with the President, PM and House Speaker, and all the way down to DMV clerk are assigned based on a sectarian affiliations.
- Lebanon is the only country that i know of where the national ID card includes a field for "Sect".
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where security personnel is routinely detained by private militias, with no shame whatsoever.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where a private militia can install a parallel telecommunications infrastructure, in the middle of the capital.
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where the people complain about their inability to affect the situation, but keep re-electing and backing the same idiots year after year, while blaming "foreign powers" for all their problems.

Ok. So maybe some of these are slight exaggerations...Lebanon might have a couple of other countries to keep it company in some of those categories (all failed states, mind you).

Most states are made up of disparate groups that don't necessarily agree on everything. But generally, there are a few basic principles that everyone agrees on:

- Allegiance to the state.
- The understanding on a basic set of rules for the political game. No matter what.

In other words, we can disagree on a lot of things, including our vision of what the state should look like, but we all agree to work within the confines of a set of rules. Because we understand that without those basic rules, it's the law of the jungle. And without those basic rules, EVERYONE loses. There IS NO state.

Let me add that to the list:
- Lebanon is the only country in the world where people have absolutely no understanding of what it means to be a state (as opposed to a loose confederation of disparate groups who refuse to abide by the same rules).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Legendary hospitality or Pulling the plug?

So much for the vaunted Lebanese hospitality. And so much for sovereignty (not that I had any illusions about that). And so much for Michel Suleiman's constant claims of the army having the entire country under control.
Apparently, a French delegate to an international socialist gathering was apprehended (kidnapped) in South Beirut, for making the mistake of driving around with a camera, looking to take in the sights.

Naharnet reports:

A French delegate to a Socialist International meeting in Beirut said on Sunday that he had been briefly detained the previous day by armed men linked to Hizbullah.
Delegate Karim Pakzad told a Beirut news conference that he was stopped on Saturday by armed men who "spoke on behalf of Hizbullah."

He said they questioned him for five hours before freeing him.
Pakzad said it happened as he was touring the capital in an open-top car with a Lebanese friend and taking pictures of a mosque along the airport road, near Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs.

"Armed men asked us 'why do you have a camera' and 'what are you doing here,'" before viewing the pictures he had taken with his digital camera, Pakzad said.

He was taken blindfolded to an unidentified location where he was kept isolated for five hours, adding that his captors took away his cell phone, wallet and medicine.

Forgive me for my cynicism, but weren't these the same asshats who demanded accountability from the army for firing on demonstrators (who happened to be firing at said army personnel at the time)? It must be nice to act holier than thou and demand the rules apply to others when you flaunt them with impunity.

And someone please inform General Michel Suleiman that his armed forces are NOT in control of security in the capital (or anywhere else for that matter), contrary to his constant claims.
Here's a little tip, General. You REALLY want to enforce security? Start by arresting these guys who kidnap tourists and hold them on no authority whatsoever. And while you're at it, arrest those guys who fire in the air everytime their zaim makes a speech. Or those folks loitering on private property downtown. And don't even get me started on the south. Let's just secure the capital first. Baby steps.

Or, maybe it's time we all get our heads out of our collective asses and stop living in denial about Lebanon. This patient has been on life support for over 50 years. This patient is brain dead. And perhaps it is time we start discussing pulling the proverbial plug. To quote my friend GK: "Even horses get put out of their misery."

The sooner we so-called "Lebanese" accept that our patient isn't going to wake up any minute now, the better we will be. It's time to move on.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

FPM still represents majority of Christians...HAH!

According to Naharnet:

MP Ibrahim Kanaan said that the Free Patriotic Movement of Gen. Michel Aoun still represents the majority of the Christians. Kanaan, in an interview with LBC television, said that according to a new poll, the FPM still enjoys the support of 37% of voters in the Metn region.

"This reflects a climb in our popularity since 2005," Kanaan said.

He said Aoun has the right to run for the presidency.

"Every democratic regime with a head of a (parliamentary) bloc as big as Aoun's has the right to run in the presidential elections," Kanaan added.

Pretty hilarious, these guys, aren't they? We have "polls" in Lebanon now? Reliable ones? Those are numbers I'd like to see.

Dubious claims aside, the funnier bit comes in the second portion of idiot Kanaan's comments: "Every democratic regime with a head of a bloc this big has the right to run in the presidential elections."

Right? On paper, I agree with this statement 100%. But come on...Double standards much, guys? Shouldn't this same logic entitle March 14 (which qualifies as a head of block this big!) to run their own candidate as well? How come you bozos from the opposition insist March 14 accept all your preconditions before electing a president? And why does this president have to be a "consensus" president? I mean...according to MP Kanaan's logic, that wouldn't be very democratic, would it?

Then again, why do I bother pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards that come out of these imbeciles' mouths every day? It's not like it's anything new. Par for the course.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Flawless Logic

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun on Friday said the March 14 majority alliance “declared war on Syria when it left Lebanon. Had they been brave they would have confronted Syria on Lebanese terrain.” (Source: Naharnet)Sort of like how you were brave and confronted Syria from Paris, right, General?(Why doesn’t anyone call these people on this kind of shit?)Aoun said Premier Fouad Saniora’s Government “rejects calls to look for those missing in their land (buried in mass graves), that is why we cannot hold Syria responsible first” for the Lebanese missing in its jails. (Source naharnet)Flawless logic there, as usual. I suppose Aoun also suggest Hizbullah shouldn’t hold Israel responsible for holding Lebanese prisoners (a longstanding issue for Hizb, if I recall) either??? Maybe we can hold Saniora responsible for Samir Kuntar too, while we’re at it.I wonder if Saniora is also responsible for the crackdown in Tibet and the hunger in Zimbabwe. According to Aoun, he probably is.