Friday, 30 January 2009

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

Antiwar protesters chased away Israeli colonel Geva Rapp when he tried to address a pro-Israeli rally in central London. Unfortunately his timing was off as 50 metres down the road was a pro-Palestinian rally.... so much for the much vaunted Mosad security services. They need to check Facebook more often.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

So farewell then... the Daily Star

Lebanon's English language newspaper, The Daily Star, has folded.

It does not come as a surprise, and I feel deep sadness for the journalists and production staff who turned up to work last week to find the doors locked.

The newspaper reached its peak in the years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, where it combined good local reporting—especially on the rise of worker's disputes—with some very fine arts writing from Jim Quilty.

Its managing editor Marc Sirois is a gutsy hard working journo who combined a healthy contempt for politicians with a deep respect for ordinary people (who he felt were getting a rough deal).

And although Sirois was a proud and unreconstructed "conservative", he was able to engage in a real way with ideas he did not agree with—even avowedly Marxists ones.

The Star lost its voice when it hired a cabal of neo-cons whose only interest was to peddle the US line on Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine. This turn drove away its readership—who were far too well read to buy the gush pushed by bought-and-paid-for hacks like Micheal Young.

These pro-war liberals have destroyed everything they touched. The world eventually grew tired of their false moralism and sickening justification for blatant imperial conquest. They lost all credibility and destroyed the Star in the process.

In the end the paper became a mouthpiece for the US embassy in Beirut. It killed off any hope for a future when it abstained from reporting the 2006 war (it ran pictures instead).

When the whole world was desperately looking for answers and some independent reporting, the paper was muzzled. This was the worse form of journalistic suicide.

The best reports (in English) on that war came from the former journalists in the form of a blog.

I wish all the best to its staff, and thank them for all the great times we had.


Here's the IHT report:
The publisher of Lebanon's only English-language daily says a court order forced the newspaper to shut down over financial troubles.

Jamil Mroue says judicial authorities shut and sealed the Beirut offices of The Daily Star on January 14, less than two hours after the order.

The paper has since been out of print and its Web site hasn't been updated.

Mroue says he is appealing the decision and looking for new investors. The Star is a rare English-language daily in the Arab world independent of government control.

The paper, founded by Mroue's late father in 1952, has suffered from financial troubles for years. Mroue says the newspaper owed a Lebanese bank around $700,000.