Always in Our Minds....

Friday, March 30, 2007

Gebran Tueni... We Miss You

tueni

Gebran Tueni's last writings......
May your soul rest in peace.....

Picture taken from: www.naharashabab.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nando's Night

We decided to go out and have dinner outside for a change. And after the usual debate, we settled on Nando's at City Mall, Dora.

I have to admit it was an excellent choice. We started the evening with the waiter Elie, who spent almost 15 min. explaining the "unique" taste of Nando's, and why it is different. But what got my full attention was the fact that they are proud of their different "peri-peri sauces" that have one thing in common, they are HOT, but in different degrees.


IMG_2228_resize



And so, the gang challenged me to use the "Extra hot" sauce, since I always say I ADORE hot food, and so I did. I have to admit that I got a a little bit worried in the beginning, especially that Elie warned me that there have been many customers who screamed from the "extra hot" they tried. But I said "what the heck, there will always be Pepsi to wash it down if things got out of control.

And while I was busy trying the "extra hot" sauce, Carlos couldn't stand the "mild hot", and started ordering as much "sprite" as possible! Soon he was followed by Nabil, though the latter tried the "hot" one.


IMG_2220_resize
Carlos before the "sauce

IMG_2227_resize

Carlos after the "sauce"


As for me, I was able to survive the "extra hot" sauce. I admit it was the hottest sauce I tried in Liban, but it wasn't to the level that I would go madly asking for Pepsi to wash it down :)

Unfortunately, between the "extra hot" and taking pictures, I forgot to get a picture of me with the gang, But all in all, it was a lovely night, and we ALL encourage you all to try Nando's out :)

IMG_2218_resize

Friday, March 23, 2007

Berri... Who Are You Fooling?


Speaker of House Mr. Berri made a press conference couple of days ago, trying to explain his attitude, and show the Lebanese people how he has being fulfilling his role exactly as a patriotic figure should do.


He was so mad, and almost lost his usual calmness because 70 MPs asked for a parliament session. NOT only that, he actually challenged them, and promised that he will "delay" such session as much as he can, if he will ever call for it.


Mr. Berri was very clear in saying that what he is doing is the only way to save the Parliament, and protect it from sectarianism. And that the worst thing that could ever happen at the current time is for a Parliament session to be hold!


Then, he made sure to use the same strategy all March 8th parties are using, which is trying to divide the March 14th front, and showing how Jumblatt and Jeajea are the reasons for the current conflict never reaching an end.


One question, Speaker of House, why didn't you tell us the real reason why you don't want a session? Do you really think we can't know the real reason? Well, let me assure you sir, we perfectly know why you don't such session to see the light.


Mr. Berri knows for sure that the first thing the government will do -if the session is held- is to ask for the Parliament trust, and for sure it will gain his trust since 70 MPs will give it (Majority of votes), and so Seniora's government will have an additional "formal" legitimate support.


One more thing, the Parliament is where the country's conflicts are dealt with, it is where the people's representatives discuss and find solutions for the state's crisis. You protect the country when you allow MPs to do their duties, NOT when you "lock" the Parliament and threaten NOT to open it till the opposition demands are met.


I said it once, and I'll say it again, March 14th made their BIGGEST mistake when they re-elected Berri, and now we are paying the price......

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Reply to Antoine

Since I wrote my post "Cold Civil War", I met a guy (not in person, only via the blog) named Antoine, who had a strong feelings against Sunnies, and insisted that in Liban, Christians and Muslims simply can't co-exist. I am totally against such concept, and I insisted that Liban is for people, and so many share this point of view with me.

Normally, I tried to prove him him wrong, and he tried to prove me wrong as well. Which is why I allowed "crossing" some red lines that I usually try NOT to in my blog. I wanted to reply to his last comment, but i couldn't find better than kahwwta's amazing post. So dear Antoine, check out that post, and you'll see that all Lebanese can co-exist, regardless of their sect :)

Waiting for your comment Antoine....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Aoun...Strikes Again

03606975



General Aoun, one of the most controversial personalities in the history of modern Liban. He showed up yesterday, and as usual, he opened fire left and right, acting as if he is the only man who represents the Lebanese cause, and all others are just selfish thugs, running after their own interests.

But that's the orange general, we've always known him like that, and many of us admire his attitude, and consider it the main reason why they support him.


03607643



The new thing about Aoun's speech yesterday, the threat he lunched regarding the Presidential Elections. He warned of a "bloody events" if the Parliament gathered to elect a new president. And with no regard to the constitution what so ever, he insisted on that the Parliament can't have a presidential elections session without the presence of two-thirds of its members.

Why the "bloody threat"? And why at this very exact timing? Does the general feel that March 14th and March 8th are making a compromise on his behalf? So he decided that it is the best to show that he's still a main player, and that he is the next president?

Any one who is watching the Lebanese political scene can say that the least likely to become a president is General Aoun. So what bases is he counting on? And how can he disregard the constitution and insist on the two-third of members attending for the session to be legal? Or is it a very smart move resulted from organization between the sides of the opposition; where Berri play the good cop, and Aoun the bad cop's role?

But the shock was his declaration that HA's arsenal is a MUST! Why general? what happen to the famous FPM's "Ma badna jaysh b lebnen...ella eljaysh l lebneni" "We don't want any army in Liban BUT the Lebanese one" ??!! How can you have the nerve to go on public, and shout out loud "I haven't changed any of my principles" after making such a statement? How can we even think of a country and a state power when we have the presidential candidate stating that HA's arsenal is a must??!!!


03606974



One more time, the orange general disappoints me. I can't understand how you decide to stay in exile for 14 years only because you refused any authority but the legitimate Lebanese one, only to come back later and turn the table over the basic principles that made us support you all these years???!!!

As long as the general is insisting on such attitude, he can kiss the presidency good long kiss goodbye.


Pictures taken from: www.albaladonline.com

Samir Kassir Memory...A Celebration of Life

kassir_samir_cp_7759206

It was the spirit of Samir all over the place. The organizers made sure to celebrate "life" and NOT mourn. No political speeches, and no accusation here and there, just a simple celebration to what Samir Kassir loved until his very last breath.... life and youth.

03608058


New youth bands played their music, and sent a message to the soul of Kassir, and his wife Mrs. J. Khory was smiling with everyone, only to prove that March 14th is a celebration of the spirit of Liban, the spirit of Samir Kassir, in its best forms.

I was lucky to meet Kassir when he came to UOB two years ago. In that famous seminar, the smile never left his face, even when some students were attacking his political views, and even tried to nail from his integrity. But in his unique style, he was able to capture the hearts of everyone who attended back then, and was able to prove that our rich is in our diversity.

DSC_5801resize

Taken at UOB April 19th,2005


May your soul rest in peace, we miss all the time, and specially when we start hesitating, and wondering if we should stop and give up. That's when we realize that we can't stop, and we can't give up.....

03608060

Pictures taken from: www.albaladonline.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Somethings to Say

isflogo2


One thing we must say: THANK YOU. From the bottom of everyone living in our lovely Liban "Thank you" for the internal security forces and the army intelligence for all their efforts. One can't to be glad and extremely happy to see that we've been able to find out who is missing with our security. Thank Lewa2 A. Rifi, Minister E. EL Murr, and every one who participated in this, including An-Nahar and Al-Mustaqbal newspapers for their investigations ever since "Fat7-l-Islam" emerged (and so for any organization who made this possible).

So? Now what? What else do you have to say about the current situation? Need more clues? I really hope for all these parties who kept denying the obvious to re-think about where they stand, and what they say.

In all cases, it's still too early to start pointing out fingers, but what I hope is for all parties to start putting Liban above all other interests. It's never too late to admit you were mistaken, and it takes great deal of courage to join the right path and participate in re-building the country, rather than just siding with hose who want nothing but instability....

Busted??!!

According to Naharnet, Reuters and Tayyar.org (tried my best to check different sources), 6 men of Fat7-l-Islam organization were arrested and confessed that they were responsible for Ain Alak bombing, as well as planning for the assassination of many Lebanese politicians.

News still vague as we speak, more to come later (I learned NOT to believe news till it is proven right later on).

Future TV and LBC announced the news 30 min. ago. New TV, Manar TV and NBN haven't said a word.

Spirit of March 14th


Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary for the "Cedar's Revolution"; the movement that carried the hopes and dreams of many of us to see a true independent Liban capable of living in peace, security and prosperity.


But one can't but to stop for a second, look at the present events, then ask him/her self: "Where are we now?"


It is a very critical question at a very critical time. The Syrian troops withdrew from Liban, and for the first time in a very long time, and despite the mistakes, a true Lebanese government was born. And it seemed as if the dream is about to become a shining truth, in a very very short period. Unfortunately, Lahoud is still at Baabda (NOT for long though, check the countdown timer for more info), assassinations never stopped, security became a wild dream we can't even hope to have, and one after the other, conflicts kept hitting Liban endlessly. Many people lost faith in a better future, and many others decided to leave and search for a better place to stay.




In the second anniversary, what is the best thing to do? Should we give up? and just accept that we will never have our dream come true?


NO! Big fat loud NO! The road is still long, and we've been through worse situations, but we stayed, and we kept our dream alive, and so we should continue doing that. But most importantly, we should learn from past mistakes, and make sure NOT to commit them again. We are free people, and we have the right to choose, and we choose Liban, not politicians. When they make mistakes, we should point them out, and demand correction. When we see that there's something that has to be done, we should demand it to be done.


Do NOT loose faith in the spirit of March 14th, it was a glorious day, when we showed the whole world that we are here to stay, and to fulfill our ultimate dream. March 14th was a pure expression of our seek of a better future for us and our children after us. Mistakes have been done, and they should be pointed out, we should criticize politicians when they stray away from the path, NOT just blindly follow them. We should respect the other, his/her opinion, and their right to ive in dignity, and the other should respect our needs and expectations.


It is us who made March 14th, not political leaders. It is us who raised above the pain and shouted out loud "ENOUGH". And it is us who will keep the spirit of March 14th alive inside each and every one of us, till our dream becomes a true fact that no one can deny.....


Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Reply To Jamal

UPDATE:
Jamal sent me an e-mail explaining to me the "strict rules" for mijana songs, and how I didn't follow them as I should. IT seems it needs good understanding of Arabic to be able to write a mijana song.
And since I make sure that things are put in its right place, I wanted to mention that my reply to jamal's mijana was NOT a mijana, you can consider it a simple song :)
Thanks jamal for the explanation.



A dear friend of mine was "inspired" to write a "mijana" (Lebanese traditional songs type) against March 14th. As I was reading his innovation, I was inspired to reply to his lovely mijana by a similar one:

Here's Jamal's mijana:

شـو عملـت برجــال الله يــا ابن صيــدا يا بــار
نَقَعْتُن ميــة يــوم و يـــوم بوِجّ الـبـودا بــار
ما شمّوالوسكي يوم واليوم ما بيشربوا غير أولد بار
من بــاب الجنّة لنـــار جهنّم رقص و غِنــا
...
أوف أوف أوف أوووووف
...
Gateauفؤاد عم ياكل سنيــورة فنمـورة ف
...
فـتـفـت فــات ينـام فبرد و شخّر فغطّـــو
...
يا ست نايلة ناطرين نسمع من تمّك ال"فَغَتو"
...
وباقييــن بخيمــنا لتفلّوا عن سراينا




And here is mine:

نصرالله شو عملت فينا
بالنصر وعدت و كرمالك جينا
تسعين يوم و أكتر و بعدك بتدعينا
خربنا نص البلد و أكيد مش سائلينا
طالما من خيرك ايران عم طعمينا

السرايا بعيدي عن منالنا
لأنو الحق مش بين ايدينا
أولمرت اعترف بالحقيقة
انو شبعا كانت بترجع لينا
بس انت ما بدك شبعا
بدك "حجة" تسلاحك يبقا بايدينا

جايي الحقيقة و جايي اليوم اللي فيه بينعرف
مين الوفي و مين فينا الخايينا
اووووووف اوووف اووووف

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This Is What Olmert Really Said

For the last couple of days, the Lebanese opposition have been using Olmert's testimony to assure the Lebanese that the July war was planned on Liban months before, and it wasn't just a reaction to HA kidnapping the two Israeli soldiers.

Being a HUGE issue, I decided to read the real source of the information (
Haaretz) myself, and as I expected, the war was nothing but a reaction to HA's act:

"The day before he appeared before the commission, Major General Gadi Shamni, Olmert's military secretary, presented its members with the schedule of the meetings on Lebanon.

The scenario presented in the various assessments reflected prior incidents: the abduction of soldiers from Israeli territory accompanied by heavy cross-border shelling. Then-chief of staff Dan Halutz said such an incident would have far-reaching consequences for Israel's deterrent capability. Halutz said Israel could not show restraint in the face of a kidnapping in the north, and it had to respond. Olmert testified that he accepted this stance.

In a meeting in March, Olmert asked the army commanders whether operational plans existed for such a possibility, and they said yes. He asked to see the plans, and they asked why. He responded that he did not want to make a snap decision in the case of an abduction, and preferred to decide at that moment. Presented with the options, he selected a moderate plan that included air attacks accompanied by a limited ground operation. At the time, Shaul Mofaz was defense minister.

The Winograd Commission asked Olmert what he thought his predecessor would have done. Olmert said that following Hezbollah's failed November 2005 attempt to abduct Israel Defense Forces troops in the border village of Ghajar, Sharon ordered the army to prepare a "list of targets" for a military response in Lebanon. The list included an air attack on the long-range Fajr and Zilzal rockets, which were destroyed in an air raid the first night of the war. Sharon said at the time that the status quo, of ongoing Hezbollah raids, could not continue. Olmert told the commission that he behaved as Sharon would have."


As you can see, Israel did plan for a response to an abduction attempt by HA. So in practical terms, had HA NOT kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers, this whole war would have never happened. I'm really sick and tired of how we always abuse sources of information, and insist on twisting facts so it would suit us better. But thank God we live in a world where we can check the sources themselves instead of just believing what they want us to believe.

One more interesting thing I read in the same article was what Olmert set as a goal for the war on Liban:


"Olmert stated that he had decided in earlier meetings that Israel's goal in an operation would be the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for the deployment of the Lebanese army along the Israeli border and the disarmament of Hezbollah."

It seems all what Israel wanted was to make sure the Lebanese Army's deployment in Southern Lebanon. Was that goal met? Yeah it was, so next time you come on stage and shout "Israel was defeated", think again. When will we start realizing that there's a bigger picture to everything?

And as if this is NOT enough, here is yet another thing:

In May 2006, Olmert was informed by then-National Security Council head Giora Eiland and former prime minister Ehud Barak that the Lebanese government would agree to implement Resolution 1559 in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Shaba Farms. Olmert thought that it was best to implement the decision through diplomacy, and raised the issue with U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems Lebanese diplomacy was in fact ABLE TO RETURN SHABA FARMS to Liban without the need to go into a meaningless war that brought the country 20 years back. But thanks to HA's move, we were forced to (we didn't even have the right to discuss such step) go into such war, and now we are stuck at this painful present.

If what Haaretz said is proven to be the truth, then I'm asking all of you who are supporting HA, can you please tell me why HA kidnapped the two soldiers? HA officials admits that they knew Israel was planning the war ahead of time, then they must knew that it would be a response to a kidnapping attempt, and they must have knew that Israel was ready to return Shaba Farms through diplomatic channels. Here is the ugly truth that we refuse to believe, HA knew that Israel returning Shaba Farms to the Lebanese government through diplomacy would mean the end of the need to its arsenal, and Iran knew that such a step would mean disarming HA would be the next logical thing, and so they decided to kidnap Israeli soldiers, so that Israel starts a war on Liban, and they can then defend themselves saying "SEE, we told you Israel wants to invade us, and if it wasn't for HA, they would have brought Liban to its knees."

And yet, they have the nerve to go on public and accuse us of being traitors, irony of life, irony of life.....

The question remains though, what's wrong with March 14th officials? Why ain't they showing the Lebanese public opinion the other side of the story? Why are they allowing the opposition to abuse the current events? Start acting for God's sake, don't just sit on your butts. We need to know where you stand from all this shit, we didn't march and supported you endlessly so that you refrain from declaring the truth. By doing so, you are no better than HA.



For the complete article on Haartz, here is the link: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/834549.html

Nasrallah's Speech, Trying To Look at The Positive Side



In his speech yesterday, Nasrallah didn't jump over the "usual" tone of his last speeches. But since we are in the atmosphere of trying to find a way out, it is always better to look at the positives than the negatives, and this is what I'm trying to do now.

One can't but to admit that both sides of the crisis have realized that escalation can lead no where but to a dead end. And so, it is better to sit and talk politics, than to march in streets and just shout endlessly. This is was clear in Nasrallah's speech, though he was insisting that the sit-in is effective and a must (well after all, you can't just come out and say our move wasn't effective).

I really hope that politicians start sitting and discussion the conflict over closed doors, and try to reach anything, and even if they didn't, but at least the tension will be taken away from the streets.

Once again, I won't focus on the negatives of Nasrallah's speech, for we have suffered enough, and the country does need a break.

Hopefully, we are going to reach something at the end of the tunnel, and I can see some rays of light at the end of the tunnel, though I really hope that we won;t settle for just a temporarily compromise, for we are about to reach yet another conflict (Presidential Elections).....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Huge Mistake, PM Seniora


I was one of the biggest supporters of PM Seniora, and was very proud of his honest response and behavior during the last Israeli-HA war. But I have to say that he made a HUGE MISTAKE.


The very first and most important thing that pushed us to make the Cedar's Revolution a living truth was our desire to gain our freedom of running our business on our own. It is the main pillar in March 14th movement. We refused, and we are still refusing any foreign interference in our internal affairs. We didn't march in March 14th, and support the government with everything we can so we end up replacing Syria with KSA, Iran, USA, or any other country.


While we do thank KSA for its unlimited support, and continuous efforts to establish peace in Liban, but to accept the logic of KSA naming the kingpin minister in the Lebanese government is totally UNACCEPTABLE.


Hope PM Seniora will take back his last comment, and realize that what he committed a horrible mistake by asking KSA to name a Lebanese minister, for no one of us is willing to accept such a step.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Syria and KSA, Where Does That Leave Liban?




According to Elaph website, it seems that the Syrian regime is trying its best to bring the Syrian-Saudi relations back to life.

Arab sources said that the Syrian President sent letters to the Saudi monarch, through intermediaries between the two countries, in which he said that he was ready to go to Riyadh to apologize to King Abdulla and "kiss his head" at the airport in the capital of Saudi Arabia and then return to where he had come from.

The sources also said in this context that President Assad made two steps. The first was in a letter leaked to indicate that he told Khaled Mashaal, the political bureau
chairman of Hamas, that an agreement must be reached with Mahmoud Abbas,
the head of the Palestinian Authority, in Mecca at any cost and failure
is forbidden in Mecca.

The other step was to donate to send information to the Saudis that the Saudi Ambassador in Beirut Mr. Khoja could be subjected to an assassination attempt. Attached to the warning was a report of the Syrian intelligence indicates that two fundamentalists groups are targeting Mr.
Khoja, one of them is "Jund al-Sham".

Where does that leave Liban? Is KSA willing to stop supporting Hariri and March 14th? Is that why Jumblatt and Hariri are trying to gain even more international support? Why didn't the Syrian intelligence tell the Liban about the attempt to assassinate Mr. Khoja? And does the Syrian intelligence know farther info about the past assassinations? Does this mean that the Syrian intelligence is still actually inside Liban? Many questions, and no one seems to know the answers for them.....