President Mahmoud AHMADINEJAD and the political awakening....NAJAD is always Welcome in Lebanon.
"... Firstly, let us put to one side the nonsense: The President of Iran’s visit was not about embedding Lebanon as a part of the Iranian state, nor was it about paving the way for any Hezbollah ‘take-over’ of Lebanon; and nor can the visit be described as a ‘provocation’. It was of course self-evidently intended to express defiance towards Israeli military hegemony and to assert a stand of counter-deterrence to any Israeli military threat, but that it is very different from an ‘act of provocation’ deliberately intended to draw an Israeli response. All these claims for the purpose of the visit are just a part of the psychological warfare mounted against Iran, and can be ignored.The visit was, in fact, a State visit. The Iranian President was formally invited by the Maronite Christian President of Lebanon some while ago. Iran is a prominent regional state, just as Turkey is – whose Prime Minister happens to be visiting Beirut today.Iran’s popularity on the streets should not surprise anyone. It is real, and it is heartfelt – and extends beyond the Shi’i of the south of Beirut. Having been present here in Beirut throughout the war of 2006, I experienced the almost universal shock at how leaders and so-called ‘friends of Lebanon’ such as Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice tried to fend-off and delay a ceasefire – in order to allow Israel more time to ‘finish the job’, i.e. to destroy more bridges, more infrastructure and impose civilian casualties – as our ‘price’ to be paid for Hizbullah’s seizure of Israeli soldiers. Feelings here are still raw on this point, and all sectors of opinion know that the only real support for Lebanon in those dark hours came from Syria and Iran. Unsurprisingly, there was a direct element of gratitude in expression to Iran in recent days both for the support then, and its subsequent economic assistance to repair the damage.But this does not constitute the deeper significance of the welcome extended to the representative of Iran in Lebanon – Lebanon, the bellweather of the wider politics of the Middle East. It goes beyond a belated ‘thank-you’.In May this year, Zbignew Brezezinski gave a brief talk at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) in Montreal. He told his audience that there were two factors shaping global politics in the world today. The first, he said was that “for the first time in all of human history, mankind is politically awakened and stirring”, adding that “all over the world people were aware of what was happening politically and are “consciously aware of global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect, and of exploitation”.His second point was that the élites that rule us are less united and more diversified than before (he gave the transition of the G8 into the G20 as example); the élite is both less homogeneous and less restrained by adherence to traditional values and culture; the consequence of this is a more surveilled, and a more controlled society, Brzezinski has written....When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Hassan Nasrallah quote Imam Ali (the son-in-law of The Prophet)’s dictum that Muslims should be the ‘friend of the oppressed; and enemies of the oppressor’, or speak of western ‘double-standards’, New York Times sophisticates may sneer at this talk as ‘all hat and no cattle’; but they simply miss the point.Simplistic to some, perhaps – Islamist movements and Iranian leaders do harp continuously on just those global inequities, inequalities, lack of respect and of exploitation to which Brzezinski attributes the unprecedented political ‘awakening’. The tables are turned: as the values of ‘the market’ and the secular liberal world order appear increasingly hollow to those who see in it only privilege, disparity of wealth and self-enriching self-interest, the language of resistance and defiance of western political and business élites, who style themselves as ‘the international community’ of course resonates deeply in a Middle East that is ‘awakening politically’ and ‘stirring’.This, it should be understood, is the underlying dynamic to the shift in the strategic balance of the Middle East and to the emergence of an ‘resistance axis’ to that very that very élite dominated ‘world order’ and its systems of control imposed upon societies. The élites fear this awakening; and are determined to ensure its failure.In short Islam – particularly Shi’i Islam – is taking over the clothes of the European early Renaissance (before the Enlightenment); Islam stands, for many Muslims, for a humanism and a respect for justice, human dignity and defiance of tyranny that Europe once espoused. Of course, few in the West will see it in these terms: they have been too busy creating an inverted mirror image of what they perceive still to be western ‘virtues’ – and call it Iranian ‘theocracy’.The significance of President Ahmadinejad’s visit was the popular articulation of this awakening, and the profound struggle ahead that it portends – more than just a signal of gratitude to an Iranian President...."The United States is clearing out and leaving its Sunni Arab allies in a lurch....The United States is trying to get back into a position where the natural Arab-Persian divide in the region balances itself out.....LOL...Hence all the desperate attempts of CIA/MOSSAD of igniting a generalized FITNA....[ sectarian proxy wars...]All GCC states are far from warriors.... In spite of all the state-of-the-art equipment the United States floods into countries like Zionist Saudi Arabia, the Saudi military severely lacks the leadership, ethos, training and doctrine to proficiently and coherently employ any of these systems...., even the systems severely downgraded on purpose by USA's ZOG.... The Persian Gulf states’ dependence on Washington is what allows the United States to militarily and stealthily...entrench itself in the region's armies and intelligence services for decades.....
Western Decadence through and through...."Last month I had a terrifying experience as journalism betrayed me for the first time in my four years of working as a fixer. When I first met freelance journalist Ruthie Ackerman in a cafe in Beirut in early September, I realized that she did not know anything about Lebanon. Ms. Ackerman had arrived in Beirut to do a story on social networking, but it quickly became apparent that this reporter had not done her homework. Ms. Ackerman did not know who Hassan Nassrallah was. Ms. Ackerman did not know that Saad Hariri was the name of the prime minister of the country who’s coffee she was then sipping. When, later, I took her to see a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Beirut she asked, “Where are the tents?” Ruthie Ackerman’s ignorance of even the current status of a country she planned to write about was, in short, shameful. Though taken by surprise at this, I considered that perhaps her interest in social networking meant her cultural and historical background knowledge could afford to be less than someone writing a more political piece. I was wrong. Ms. Ackerman did not end up writing a piece on social networking in Lebanon, but rather chose to cover the visit of the Iranian president Ahmadinejad to Lebanon. She published these in the Atlantic, and Slate here:Would it surprise you to learn that Ms. Ackerman did not even know that Ahmadinejad was visiting Lebanon until the very day before, when I (most regrettably) told her? Ruthie emailed me saying, “I had no idea he was coming or I would have planned to be back for it!!” Keep in mind that this visit had been the talk of news agencies around the world (including the USA) for the full two months preceding. Is it any surprise, then, that Ms. Ackerman’s articles fit into a steady stream of ill-informed and orientalist media propounded by journalists in the West and around the world? That her articles promote misinformation, perpetuate cultural stereotypes, and propagate racist caricatures of the Middle East? Does Ruth Ackerman realize how her irresponsible ‘war tourist’ journalism compounds the problems faced by the people of the Middle East in light of the way ‘the West’ views and treats us? In my job as a fixer, I provide foreign journalists with the necessary contacts for a story. I arrange, facilitate, and translate all sorts of social interactions, including interviews with everyone from shoe-shine boys to top governmental figures. As the journalist’s local eyes and ears I am oftentimes the one to provide a foreign journalist with the story—‘the scoop’—itself. In Beirut, where I live and work foreign journalists come to town usually in need of a fixer and I am one such fixer. If a journalist comes to me and wants the perspective of a Palestinian refugee, I can take them to him. If they want a translation of an interview with a Hezbollah politician, I can get it for them. If they want me to take them to the dirty and impoverished parts of Tripoli, I can do that too. Being a fixer means keeping up-to-date on the Lebanese political and security scene. Being a fixer means establishing and maintaining contacts with all types of people, from top politicians to the guy on the corner shining shoes. Being a fixer means being freelance and not knowing when you might next get paid. Being a fixer means using a social toolkit that is not taught at any university. I stick with this job because I believe in it fundamentally, and not for the great pay or the low hours, or the great retirement package....I am writing this because I am sick and tired of the stereotypes and narrow angles taken by ignorant and prejudiced foreign observers. Ackerman writes “Camels… had been sacrificed, their long, graceful necks slit open. The men who slaughtered them held their butcher knives and the camels' heads as they smiled for pictures.” Could Ackerman not have spared us one more out-of-context reference that reduces a celebrating crowd to a bunch of stupidly-grinning camel butchers? I mean, who is this person to jump into deep cultural traditions and compare them to western values and cultures? What she fails to explain is why they are out killing camels for the guest. Rather she hopes to exaggerate the apparent “savagery” of such an act, and give it a deep political metaphorical meaning that seems beyond her understanding of Lebanese history. She does not hesitate to paint a whole group of people with her ignorant one sided brush. She spoke about the people welcoming Ahmadinajed as if she knew them and was one of them (lest we forget she didn’t know he was coming in the first place). No, she was not one of them, and she did not know anything about them. Ackerman’s observations reveal the blatantly skin-deep level at which she works. She writes that, “...old women ululated. One tiny baby had her fingernails painted green—the color of Islam. Many held up their fingers in what to my naive eye looked like a peace sign but turned out to be a V for victory. Victory against Israel, that is.” And there it is, one more portrayal of Arabs as Islamic warmongers. What Ms. Ackerman fails to mention is that in 2006, Lebanon was being bombarded by Israel with the south of the country—where much of Lebanon’s support for Iran comes from—receiving the worst damage. Thirty three days of war left many people homeless and the nation in paralysis. Iran, like many other countries, donated money to build homes for the families from southern Lebanon, made refugees by Israeli bombardment, to shelter in. The fact that people cheered Ahmadinejad’s arrival meant so much more than her naïve eyes could see and her uninformed pen could write. But of course, these might be irrelevant details to a journalist like Ackerman, especially considering that she had arrived in Lebanon without knowledge of the 2006 war either...Today, I’ve changed my tools from fixer to writer and attempted to use my own pen to battle ignorance and utter misinformation....."