Saturday, 5 April 2008

Palestinian fighters, Saida 1968

Picture: Arab Image Foundation collection

Friday, 4 April 2008


Monsters and Critics reports:

Shia opposition followers and rival Sunnis who back the western-backed Lebanese government clashed late Friday on the streets of the capital, Lebanese police said.

Machinegun fire was heard across the areas of Ras al-Nabaa and Wataa al-Moustabeh but no further details were available, the police said.

Local media reported that followers of the Shia Amal movement, who are loyal to the opposition headed by Hezbollah, clashed with the Future Current movement led by Saad Hariri.

The Lebanese army immediately cordoned off the two areas and closed major streets inside.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Graduates to join strike

The governing body of the Alumni Association and the National Institute for Management and Development decided at an extraordinary meeting:

1 - to call staff and employees in public administrations to participate in the strike called by the union on 4 April.

2 - to keep their meetings open in preparation for a furthers strikes.

Teachers to strike

The Leftist Assembly For Change reports:

General assemblies, called by the Executive Board of the Teachers Association in Lebanon, have decided to strike this Thursday in protest at low pay, the high cost of living and inflation.

They declared, "the strike will take palce in all educational institutions (public and private) to correct salaries and wages, the inflation rate—which exceedes 50 percent and threatens the lives of teachers and others on low income.

The North Branch of the Teachers Association have backed the 3 April strike.


Mike Sergeant of the BBC highlights the plight of stateless refugees:

Mohammed and his sister Maysa are Palestinians, but they have no passports and no identity cards. They are not even given the status of refugees. Legally, they don't seem to exist at all.

They are among about 3,000 so-called "non-ID" Palestinians in Lebanon.

Many don't qualify for aid and have been unable to leave the refugee camps, find jobs or even get married.

"Last year the government prevented me from doing my exams," says Mohammed, a 21-year-old student. "They arrested me because I don't have an ID. Without an ID, I can't do anything."

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

One day strike

Lebanon's Daily Star reports:

The General Labor Confederation (GLC) on Monday called a one-day general strike in Lebanon for 7 May because of the government's refusal to raise the minimum wage from LL300,000 (£100) to LL960,000 (£321) per month.

The GLC said it wanted to set a new monthly minimum wage of LL960,000, with an additional 63.3-percent pay raise for workers in the private sector. In a statement, the confederation called on employees from the private and public sectors to participate.


AFP on Hezbollahs' battle of the billboards:

Hours after Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh was assassinated, huge billboards of his burly face were printed and ready to display all over Lebanon.

Ressalat, is a Hezbollah-funded organisation that handles advertising and cultural events for the group.

Like any ad firm, Ressalat's creative director Mohamed Noureddine and his team hunkered down after Mughnieh's killing to come up with a sophisticated campaign.

"We came up with a stencil of him so that people can remember him like they do Che Guevara," Noureddine said. "This guy sacrificed his life and it is his right to be recognised and for people to see his picture."

Mental pain

Medical researchers have discovered the worrying mental health problems brought on by the war:

Major depression was the single most common disorder.

The researchers calculated that by the age of 75 years, about one-third of the Lebanese would probably have had one or more [mental health] disorder. Only half of the Lebanese with a mood disorder ever received professional help; treatment rates for other mental disorders were even lower.

The average delay in treatment ranged from 6 years for mood disorders to 28 years for anxiety disorders. Finally, exposure to war-related events increased the risk of developing an anxiety, mood, or impulse-control disorder by about 6-fold, 3-fold, and 13-fold, respectively.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Dollars for guns

According to the Jerusalem Post:

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, David Johnson, met with Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, Interior Minister Hassan Sabei and senior security officials, the embassy said in a statement.

Johnson "reaffirmed the United States' steadfast support of Lebanon and discussed the ongoing $60 million Internal Security Forces (ISF) assistance program, which is helping the ISF enforce the rule of law and protect the Lebanese people within their sovereign state," said the statement.

The US has sharply increased its military assistance to Lebanon since the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel in a show of support to Saniora's government. US assistance to Lebanon was $270 million in 2007, more than five times the amount provided a year earlier.

Picture lebgraffiti

Sunday, 30 March 2008


Mark Farha notes in Global Politician:

Over 900,000 Lebanese emigrated between the outbreak of civil war in 1975 and 2001 (about 45 percent during the last decade of Syrian tutelage).

Although it was once assumed that a majority of these recent emigrants are Christian, one study estimates the percentage departure rates within each confession as: 22 percent of Sunnis; 21 percent of Shiites; 21 percent of Maronites; 23 percent of Greek Orthodox; and 15 percent of Druze.

A 2006 study conducted by the Lebanese Emigration Research Center at Notre Dame University (in Lebanon) found that emigration is equally sought by Muslims (59.7 percent) and Christians (61.3 percent), and for virtually the same socio-political reasons.

The available data thus raises questions about the longstanding assumption that the large majority of Lebanese citizens living abroad are Christians.

Picture: Arab Image Foundation