Friday, 10 April 2009

So farewell, dear brother

A personal note. I want to say farewell to my dear brother Carlos who died last week. He fought for reason in a world that is cruel and brutal and shallow. He finally made that gesture of ultimate protest when he took his life. We lay him to rest on Saturday.

I have few words to describe the grief I feel, not just for Carlos, but for all those who have been taken before their time.

This from the revolutionary poet Percy Bysshe Shelley:

'And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again - again - again -

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

US obsessed by July war

The US and Israel keep reminding us that they beat Hizbollah in the July 2006 war. Still all the news emerging from the Pentagon confirms what even the most simple minded Israeli politician knows—they lost, and lost bad.

So take a look at the row raging inside the US military, reported here in the Washington Post:

Soon after the fighting ended, some military officers began to warn that the short, bloody and relatively conventional battle foreshadowed how future enemies of the United States might fight.

Since then, the Defense Department has dispatched as many as a dozen teams to interview Israeli officers who fought against Hezbollah. The Army and Marine Corps have sponsored a series of multimillion-dollar war games to test how U.S. forces might fare against a similar foe.

U.S. military experts were stunned by the destruction that Hezbollah forces, using sophisticated antitank guided missiles, were able to wreak on Israeli armor columns.

Unlike the guerrilla forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who employed mostly hit-and-run tactics, the Hezbollah fighters held their ground against Israeli forces in battles that stretched as long as 12 hours.

They were able to eavesdrop on Israeli communications and even struck an Israeli ship with a cruise missile.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Remove sectarianism

We don't teach history

The BBC notes that Lebanese schools don't teach modern history. But the radical left do (see below for meeting with Fuad Traboulsi, author of A History of Modern Lebanon)

The BBC story:

Modern history is not part of the curriculum in Lebanon and, just like thousands of other children, Kristina and Ali - who are both 14 - turn to their families for answers their history teacher cannot provide.

"When I want to know something, I ask my dad," Ali says.

Kristina, who comes from a different religious background, says she does the same.

Their history teacher does not like the arrangement but, in a country split along sectarian lines, she prefers to stick to it.

"Sometimes students ask about more recent events," she says, "but it's difficult to explain things to them without getting into sectarian divisions."

In Lebanon, children are not taught modern history because adults cannot agree on it.

Even the country's ancient history is a thorny issue.

Lessons of war

Wednesday, 8 April 2009