Friday 17 August 2007

On vacation

Sursock will be away on vacation until 23 August.

keep safe.

Beirut 1920

Rebuilding Beirut following the famine of 1917
Picture: Aziz Zabbal/Roberte Zabbal Sawaya Collection
Copyright © Arab Image Foundation

Thursday 16 August 2007

Lebanon 1978

Lebanon July/August 2006

On the anniversary of the end of the Israeli war on Lebanon it is worth revisiting some of the best blogs written at the time.

The Siege of Lebanon is a remarkable collection of eyewitness reports of everyday life during wartime, while the Samidoun relief network gives a detailed insight into the suffering and destruction.

The most cutting comments remains, however, Anecdotes from a Banana Republic. ABR's description of how rich Lebanese drank and danced while the country was in flames is one of the best descriptions of all that is wrong in our country.

Socialist Worker Issue 2064

The new Socialist Worker is now online. This week we cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; India; the 1977 battle of Lewisham; updates on the postal workers dispute; Heathrow climate camp v. anti-terror laws; China under Mao; the global economy...

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Who's army?

One year ago the Lebanese army was serving tea to Israeli troops who invaded the south.

Today they gun down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the Bedawi refugee camp, Tripoli.

Radio Tadamon

“Notwithstanding President Bush’s new 'forward strategy of freedom,' the United States has marshaled nothing more than a few hollow demurrals against the antidemocratic abuses by its allies, and it maintains close partnerships with all of America’s old authoritarian friends in the region.”

Tadamon, the Canadian solidarity network, are podcasting an interview with the editor of Harpers Magazine, Ken Silverstein, on Islamic Democracy and the War on Terror

Saida 1950

Eid Sabbagh (left) in his workshop
Picture: Hashem Madani/Studio Chehrazad. Madani, Hashem Collection (Copyright © Arab Image Foundation)

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Aita al-Shaab 2006

One year ago I travelled with photographer Guy Smallman to the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab. We interviewed locals and fighters about the ferocious battles between the resistance and Israeli troops that had taken place during the July war.

My report was published in Socialist Worker.

There is one memory that remains with me. When the Israeli troops abandoned their positions on the edge of the town they left their supply of bottled mineral water—most of it was still cold.

As the town was cut off for over a month, and water was desperately short, it was a godsend for the survivors. Did the soldiers leave the water as a humanitarian gesture? One of the locals seemed to think so. If any of the Israeli soldiers who were involved in the battle reads this I would be interested to know if there is any truth to the story.

The picture above is of a civilian car hit by shrapnel on the edge of the town. It is one of a series taken by Guy of the war.

I have learnt that Guy spent the anniversary of the war under interrogation by the US Department of Homeland Security when he was returning from covering the elections in Mexico. I'm sure he was not too hard on them.

Cluster bombs 2007

The United Nations estimates that Israel dropped 4 million submunitions on south Lebanon in the last 72 hours of the July war. Of the 219 civilians killed or injured by unexploded cluster bomblets since the war ended on 14 August 2006 about 35 percent have been children.

Monday 13 August 2007

Tripoli 2007

“‘Mother, I’m injured’, he told me and I could hear the bullets flying,” she says in the family’s three-room flat in Bab al-Tebbaneh, a poor quarter in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli. “Then there were no more words, only bullets.”

Truancy and child labour are endemic in poor parts of Tripoli. Picture: Lucy Fielder/IRIN

Mohammed Al-Jassem holds a picture of his dead son, killed by the Lebanese army as an alleged Fatah al-Islam militant. Picture: Lucy Fielder/IRIN

Poverty despite the promise. Picture: Lucy Fielder/IRIN

Sunday 12 August 2007

Palestine 1975

Yawmiyat Siyasiya

Lebanon’s Leftist Assembly for Change Tymat is hosting two days of debate and discussion called Yawmiyat Siyasiya

Meetings include: The labour unions and the movement; the campaign for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon; sectarianism and the state; challenges to the Islamic movements; plus more.

Thursday 16 August 2007 at 5pm to Saturday 18 August 2007 at 10:00pm at the Sunflower Theater, Tayyouneh Roundabout, Beirut

Contact Info:
Phone: 03647605

Welcome the new US ambassador to Lebanon

According to the International Herald Tribune, it appears that the US has taken the unusual step of appointing Antoine Chedid, a friend of the March 14 bloc, as the Lebanese ambassador to Washington.

This might seem a change in diplomatic etiquette, as usually it is the right of a sovereign country to decide who should be appointed to represent it.

Chedid pleases Condoleeza Rice, it appears. Whereas the actual ambassador, Farid Abboud, did not. Apparently Abboud was "too close to Syria" (not sure if this is politically or physically).

But why rest on old fashioned protocol? If the US can decide who represents Lebanon in Washington, then surely we can decide who represents the US in Beirut.

My nomination for the post is Mumia Abu Jumal. Welcome Mr Ambassador.