Monday, July 24, 2006

He’s coming home!

He’s coming home!

First of all I want to thank everyone who sent their best wishes and prayers for Khaled's safe return from Lebanon. I’m always surprised by the affection and care many people express toward a complete stranger they never met. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Khaled was evacuated from Lebanon two days ago, disembarked in Cyprus, spent the night in a high school gymnasium, and was later on bussed towards Lanarca airport, where he got on a chartered flight one-way towards Montreal. He’s expected to land in a few hours. And I finally get to breath!!!!!!

I also wanted to apologize (once again) for suddenly disappearing for the past few days. Like I said a few days ago I’ve been doing pretty much anything to avoid the news. That meant purposely staying long hours at work (I am waaayyyyy ahead of schedule for my projects), re-arranging the furniture in my condo, helping neighbors with any home maintenance tasks (Fixing A/C’s, Chairs, Painting a room), alphabetizing my CD’s, balancing my checkbook…basically whatever the hell gets my mind off the situation. I’ve even been avoiding friends, because I know the first question they’d be asking when they see me is “Hey…how’s Khaled?” Not that I didn’t appreciate the concern, its just that I wanted to get my mind off the fact that he was in danger.

But he’s safe now. I honestly have no idea what the hell I’m going to say when I pick him up (what? “Ummmm…so….nice trip?” or “How’s Lebanon?”), I have no idea what to say to a person who was listening to bombs fall close to his location for that past week. In way I’m wondering whether or not I made the right decision by taking the day off tomorrow, I hate awkward moments.

So basically, feelings of gratitude, relief, nervousness, guilt, anxiety and uneasiness all wrapped in one….

I better hit the bar before going to the airport~

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Deserved and undeserved criticisms of Harper

Apologies again for not staying on top of things for the past two days, but considering the circumstances of what’s going on in the Middle East and the little dilemma I face, I’ve been trying to keep myself as busy as I can just for the sake of not loosing my mind pondering the situation. A couple of things I need to comment on regarding the Prime Minister’s handling of the situation and the reactions from the so-called “Arab-Canadian” advocacy groups.

1.The CAF blaming Harper for the deaths of the Canadians killed in Lebanon:

What a fu*cked up accusation to make! Let’s first consider the entire scenario before even taking this seriously. First of all, the Canadians that were killed were (according to Newsreports) located in Southern Lebanon. An area which the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affaires has long advocated to citizens visiting Lebanon to avoid at all costs. Even after the initial Israeli withdrawal in 2000. Second of all, when the situation got out of control last week, the Canadian Embassy in Beirut urged all its citizens to stay indoors and await further instructions for evacuation. These are two instructions which the victims tragically chose to defy.

Now that is not to say that the victims are to blame for their own deaths. Far from it, in fact had I been in a similar situation, I would have also tried to get the hell out of the area as soon as humanly possible. What I’m simply saying is that the Canadian government, bearing the circumstances, has done everything it could to warn its citizens from experiencing this kind of tragic fate.

And as for the accusation that Harper deserves flak for the deaths because he has not called for an immediate ceasefire, I find that unbelievably naïve. As much as I hate to point out the impotence of my country whenever it comes to matters of International affaires, this has to be said:

If the Israelis were not willing to listen to the Presidents of France and Russia to stand down, then chances are they wouldn’t exactly jump for the Prime Minister of Canada either. The Israelis were going to go through this military action with Canada’s blessing or not. So please, let’s leave out the retarded accusations throughout this nightmare from hell. Unless the CAF has unmistakable evidence showing that Harper was the pilot of the jet that launched the air-to-surface missile that killed the Canadians, the CAF has just made itself to be the biggest joke of all the advocacy groups in Canada.

2. Harper said he has not contacted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seeking an explanation of the air strike that killed the Canadians on Sunday, nor had his officials.

Now this is just straight out bullshit on Harper’s part. I understand his pro-Israel sentiment and I agree with his opinion that Hezbollah and Hamas are the principal parties to blame for the escalation of violence and rising death toll. But…the Prime Minster of Canada has the duty to make sure that justice prevails for all his citizens. No matter what the circumstances are. He should at least call Prime Minister Olmert and ask for an inquiry into the deaths. Was there a viable threat in the area in which the Israeli pilot fired the missile at? On what basis? Was the targeted threat worthy of such a response? Israel has an explanation to do…and the only person who must make sure that these deaths were not killed in cold-blood or human error in the Prime Minster of Canada. If it is indeed the case of human error, than he should ask for a compensation for the family members of the victims from the Israeli government.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

There's no light at the end of this tunnel

"Its all a bad dream".

For the past 4 days, I've been trying desperately to convince myself that all what's happening in Lebanon at the moment is just one gigantic nightmare in which I would soon wake up.

I try not to think of how a country like Lebanon, a country that was a beacon of hope to many Arab democrats and moderates has fallen in the current mess its in. With its democratic reforms, its secular nature and booming economy, many of us hoped Lebanon would turn out to be the shining example people around the Arab world would try to emulate for the sake of everyone. This is why the current events have been have been extremely hard to accept as reality. After a long painful 16 years, we were so close, and now were back to square one.

For almost 10 hours a day, I've been desperately trying to think of any feasible, armchair solution to this whole mess. In the past, whenever a military conflict arises, those of us in the west simply listen to the news, and come up with our theories for a peace settlement for both sides. In the Gulf War, the armchair solution was for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait and mediate the problems between both countries regarding the oil dispute. In the Israel/Palestine conflict, everybody agreed that the Palestinians had to recognize Israel and stop all terrorist activities against her. Israel in return would give back the land it took from the Palestinians in the 1967 war. Land for Peace.

Those solutions may have been easier said than done, they may have even been unrealistic.But (and I hate to say this), they gave us a secure sense of denial in which we thought eventually all parties involved would come to the same conclusion. After all, you can't live in a state of war forever.

But for this conflict, I don't even have that. I can't think of any possible solution that would get all parties involved come to one level of compromise. Not after we add up the different variables and evaluate what's at stake for the different parties involved and take account the history of this god forsaken bloodbath.

Let's evaluate what's at stake here for the different players involved and why they will not back down this time:

Player: Israel
Why is it in this conflict: Two of its soldiers were kidnapped at the border, in which Hezbollah demanded prisoner negotiations.
What's at stake: Israel is now fighting in two areas it thought to be history to them. Southern Lebanon and Gaza. When it withdrew from those lands, it had hoped (naively) that cooler heads would prevail and that the Palestinians and the Lebanese would view it as an extension of an olive branch. Reducing the incentive for young men in those regions to become terrorist and hope to annihilate it and her people. But as I explained, that's not what happened. And the withdrawals backfired making Hamas and Hezbollah more popular, more confidant, and more determined. With that factor considered, Israel will not be fooled again. It will make sure that the infrastructure and determination of both groups to be wiped off before even thinking of coming back to the negotiating table. If It backs down, and accepts Hezbollah's demands, the enemy gets stronger and more determined. Therefore, its a fight to the death as far as its concerned.

Player: Lebanon
Why is it in this conflict: Having negotiated with Hezbollah to include it in its government, it is linked with the terrorist organization in the eyes of the Israelis. So when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, the Israeli government had no choice but include the country as Hezbollah's accomplice (as they have negotiated to integrate them in their government).
What's at stake: Lebanon is by far the biggest victim in all this mess. Whatever decision it makes, its dammed to destruction. It can either:
a) Ally itself with Hezbollah, provoking an all out war with Israel: Which would lead to its destruction (Socially, economically, politically, everything).
b) Ally itself with Israel: Provoking the ire of its huge Shiite population (which is supportive of Hezbollah) provoking an all out civil war between Shiites and the Rest of the Lebanese. Which would also lead to its destruction economically, socially and politically.
c) Door number three is the worse, it can turn on both sides and have an all out civil war AS WELL AS an all out war with Israel.

Hezbollah and Hamas
Why is it in this conflict: Believes in the destruction of Israel in order to complete their goals of a giant Islamic Caliph to dominate the Middle East. So they kidnapped Israeli soldiers and provoked Israel into war. Knowing fully well Israel will not comply with their demands.
What's at stake: These two organizations suffer from the opposite fate that awaits Lebanon. Its a win-win situation with them. If they press forward with this conflict and eventually (in their eyes) get Israel to agree with their demands, it gains more power and popularity from its people, if they don't, then they will simply keep on fighting, and those that die believe that they would end up in heaven along with 72 virgins for their sexual pleasure. How can you fight that? So in conclusion: They fight and win: They get their lands and wishes back over time, they loose: well...they die as martyrs and enjoy the company of those virgins.

Players: Syria and Iran
Why are they in this conflict: For the supply and support of Hezbollah and Hamas. The incentive is to get both groups to cause as much havoc and destruction distracting the international community of their own totalitarian rule and "behind the scenes" activities.
What's at stake: Very very simple. They keep this conflict going, the international community is distracted and bickering on how to resolve the issue. Should there be a ceasefire, then all eyes are back on them. Its in their survival instincts that this mess prolongs itself as long as humanly possible. As long as Lebanese, Israelis and Palestinians are dying, they're living.

A must read for all.

As usual, Canadianna is dead on with her commentary regarding the French response to the situation in the Middle East.

Be sure to read it.

8 Canadians Killed in Lebanon:

Eight Lebanese-Canadians are dead and six others injured after an Israeli air strike in Lebanon, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.

"Pending further information and contact with their families, all we can say is that there are eight confirmed casualties (and) six who have been critically injured, and we're actively pursuing as much information as quickly as possible," MacKay told CTV Newsnet on Sunday.

According to The Associated Press, five of the dead are Lebanese-Canadians from a single family who were killed in an Israeli air strike while in their home in Aitaroun, on the border of Israel.

Deepest prayers and condolences goes out the families and friends of the deceased and injured. The most tragic episodes in a armed conflict is whenever innocent civilians get caught up in the crossfire.

But probably what's even more sickening is the that the political grandstanding some of our resident progressives have been making of these deaths. At a time when the middle east is about to explode in world war 3, the only I thing can make out from their reactions is a sense of joy that these deaths might end up hurting Stephen Harper's political game.

Let us first go through some facts and questions regarding the deaths and the "progressive" response:

  • Do many of the people who are calling this an act of war believe that Israel deliberately targeted these civilians?

  • Southern Lebanon (which according to the news report is where the Canadians have been killed) has always been an area which the Department of Foreign affaires has warned Canadians of going whenever you travel to Lebanon. And I know this because I remember being contacted by the Canadian Embassy in Saudi Arabia 48 hours before departing to Lebanon in 2002 for a 3 day vacation, warning me specifically to avoid the southern region (any region south of Saida to be specific). As the region has always been a point of constant violence between Palestinian and Lebanese militias as well as attacks from the Israeli border. We must therefore assume that proper warning have been in place for the Lebanese-Canadians involved, and that ignoring the or disregarding that warning comes at their own judgment.

  • Liberal MP Dan McTeague also tried to politicize the situation on CTV by point the finger of blame on the Harper Government and tried to look informed in the whole matter by giving out a number in which Canadians in Lebanon can access. The turd apparently had no idea that Canadians in Lebanon who were calling the embassy were already being transferred to the Ottawa Switchboard, at least according to my friend Khaled.

  • Since when did the left in Canada ever give a dam about Canadian residents in the middle east in the he first place? When the storey of Iran jailing a Canadian professor came out earlier in the year, it was met by stunning silence by the leftist blogsphere. Ditto with the Kouzimi case. Why weren't they screaming bloody murder at Iran for clearly and intentionally harming Canadian life then? Simple: Because that would mean having them agree with the new Government's tough approach to Iran. Therefore there was no need for an outrage. Or even care. This compliments what I've been saying all along when it comes to the Left and the Middle East: Deaths in the region to them are only tragic when it can be spun into an attack on their political opponents.

  • The Israeli government owes Canada an explanation. There's absolutely no denying this whatsoever. What exactly were the Israelis targeting? Did they have solid evidence to back up that a threat did reside in the targeted location?

  • Most important point to consider in all this: ALL these deaths, Canadian and non-Canadian, could have been avoided without Hezbollah declaring war on Israel by kidnapping two of their soldiers and demanding appeasement.

That's it for now. I'm still working the phones like crazy trying to get Khaled out of the fucking country as soon and as safely as possible. He's still alive, I talked to him last night. He was contacted by the Ottawa Foreign Affairs Bureau, who told him to expect instructions for evacuation in 1 to 2 days. But according to him he's going to try to get out of there on his own through the north.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

And the chutzpah award goes to...

Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha!

I don't know how many of you caught this interview Thursday evening on Wolf Blitzer, but for those of you who didn't, you missed one hell of a comedian act by the official spokesperson of Assad's tototaltarian regime in Washington.

Luckily I caught a glimpse of it, and let's just say there are some talking points the good ambassador neglected to mention during his stuttering in the CNN studios.

Here's the transcript of the interview between Wolf Blitzer and Imad Moustapha along with some rather interesting hyperlinks that would either make you laugh or cry at the level of chutzpah this prick demonstrates:

Mr. Ambassador, thanks for coming in.


BLITZER: You heard earlier from the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Ayalon, that Iran and Syria right now are, in his words -- are playing with fire and it could have serious consequences.

How worried are you that Israel could take retaliatory action against targets in Syria?

MOUSTAPHA: Well, of course, this is pretty preposterous. The only party to blame for this collision of violence in the Middle East is Israel itself with its continuous occupation and with the atrocities it has committed against the Palestinians, particularly in the past two months.

Now, suddenly, it is Damascus once again, and it's Iran once again. Who is to blame for the results of their occupation?

BLITZER: But you acknowledge that it was in recent days, along the border between Israel and Lebanon, that Hezbollah guerrillas crossed into Israel, killed some Israeli soldiers, kidnapped two others, took them back into Lebanon.

Isn't that an act of war?

MOUSTAPHA: Look, for the past -- past decade at least, the Israelis have abducted many Lebanese. They are still in the Israeli prisons. Hezbollah has repeatedly demanded in the past six months that the Israelis should release their prisoners. The Israelis have done even worse things in the Palestinian territories.

BLITZER: But Israel withdrew from Lebanon six years ago.

MOUSTAPHA: Not all of Lebanon. The Shebaa Farms are still under Israeli occupation.

BLITZER: That's a tiny sliver that Syria -- that your government says it's part of Syria.

MOUSTAPHA: But also -- no, we don't say -- we never have said this is a part of Syria. We have always said this is a part of Lebanon.

But, most importantly, Israel continues to have Lebanese prisoners in its prisons, and Israel continues to infringe on the Lebanese sovereignty.(AK:!!!!!!!!!) Continuously it has done this, without any cessation in the past two, three years. But an important thing...

BLITZER: I don't want to get into a debate over Shebaa Farms right now.

MOUSTAPHA: Yes, of course.

BLITZER: It's a very complicated, small, little area. But do you justify Hezbollah going in and recent days and starting this escalating situation?

MOUSTAPHA: What I do not justify is that -- for the whole world to sit silently watching Israel doing whatever it wants to do. In the past two weeks, Israel has killed many, many Palestinian civilians. Today, Israel has killed tens and tens of Lebanese civilians. Families are wiped out completely.

And what happens? The United States -- this is very important. You have to compare the attitude of this administration to the past attitudes of all -- all past administrations in the United States.

BLITZER: Does the Syrian -- does the Syrian government want these Hezbollah militants to give up those two Israeli soldiers and to calm the situation down?

MOUSTAPHA: Hezbollah has said they want to exchange their imprisoned soldiers with the imprisoned Lebanese.

BLITZER: So do you support that position?

MOUSTAPHA: Would you agree with me that the Lebanese prisoners are also human beings equal to the Israeli soldiers?

BLITZER: But do you support that position of Hezbollah?

MOUSTAPHA: What we support -- what we support is the following: We want a comprehensive solution to the problem in the Middle East. Israel has stopped -- has to stop its occupation of the Arab territories. Israel has to understand that it cannot go on forever with immunity, doing whatever it wants to do.

Only last week they went into the Palestinian territories, they abducted, the Israelis, tens of civilians from Palestine, cabinet minister, elected members of the parliament. Nobody gave a damn about what the Israelis are doing.

Once two Israeli soldiers are captured by Hezbollah, look -- look at the reaction. And the stereotypical reaction of this administration is to blame Syria.

In the past, you know what the U.S. administration would have done? It would have sent envoys to the Middle East, it would have mediated, it would have calmed down the situation. This administration...

BLITZER: The administration isn't just blaming Syria. They are blaming Iran, too.

MOUSTAPHA: Yes. Yes, this administration typically would only blame other parties and they would do nothing. This flagrant bias towards Israel is not helping the situation in the Middle East.

BLITZER: You heard -- maybe you didn't hear what the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in the last hour here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

MOUSTAPHA: No, I didn't.

BLITZER: Something similar to the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Ayalon. Said almost the same thing, that they sense that Iran, under great pressure to suspend its nuclear activities, is trying to change the subject now by allowing or encouraging Hezbollah and Hamas to go ahead and kidnap Israeli soldiers.

MOUSTAPHA: There's a dichotomy here. What we say is the following.

Israel is trying to divert attention to what it has been doing to the Palestinians since Hamas was elected democratically by the Palestinian people. Israel has driven the Palestinian economy into collapse. Israel has killed tens and tens of Israeli civilians (AK:???????), including men and women and children in the past three, four months. And everything that is happening has Israel to blame because Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories

BLITZER: Is there an alliance now in effect between Syria and Iran?

MOUSTAPHA: No, there is no alliance. Iran is our regional neighbor. We have good relations with all of our neighbors: Iran, Turkey, Jordan Egypt.

We want good relations with everybody. And repeatedly, repeatedly we have invited Israel itself to engage in peace talks with us. It was Israel who categorically refused, because does not want peace to prevail in the Middle East.

BLITZER: That border between Israel and Lebanon had been very peaceful in recent years since the -- relatively peaceful since the Israeli withdrawal in the year 2000. Only two weeks ago you were here in THE SITUATION ROOM, and you said this -- I want you to listen to what you said.

MOUSTAPHA: Very good.


MOUSTAPHA: Once the Israelis left Lebanon, Hezbollah has not been involved in any way whatsoever in anything that has nothing -- that has not to do with the Lebanese issues. This should be clear, and we should not believe Israeli propaganda.


BLITZER: Do you want to clarify what you meant?

MOUSTAPHA: Of course. Let me remind everybody of what's happening.

Israel actually holds Lebanese prisoners who happen to be members of the Hezbollah. Hezbollah has repeatedly invited Israel to engage in a prisoner exchange. It's very similar to what Israel has twice done with Hezbollah with German mediation.

And Hezbollah is saying today the same, we want Israelis, through mediation, through third parties, to involve in a prisoner exchange. Why do you think it's fair for Israel to have Lebanese prisoners while it's not fair for Hezbollah to have Israeli prisoners?

BLITZER: Is there any solution?

MOUSTAPHA: I think the only solution is for the United States to play the role it used to play in the past and to undertake its responsibilities as a superpower, and to impose on its ally, Israel, restraint, not something similar to the -- to the killing that is happening today under destruction in Lebanon, and to ask all parties to involve in real serious peace talks.

BLITZER: Are you afraid of all-out war?

MOUSTAPHA: It is a possibility. Israel is trying to escalate the situation, the tension in the region. We have -- we have to call for restraint.

The United States has a play to role. It is the role of the United States. Today, what did the United States do? It vetoed a United Nation's Security Council resolution.

This is negative diplomacy. We want proactive, positive diplomacy from the United States. The United States has to undertake its international obligations.

BLITZER: Imad Moustapha is the Syrian ambassador here in Washington.

Thanks for coming in.

MOUSTAPHA: You are welcome. Thank you.

Friday, July 14, 2006

World War 3 begins in T-minus 10...9...

According to From Beirut to the Beltway the Lebanese army has officially joined the fighting against the Israeli Unit that landed on Sideon Beach, marking the first time in recent memory where you have two democratically elected governments engaging in a armed conflict.

The feeling out of Lebanon right out is mainly anger. Anger at Hezbollah for having kick started all this, anger at Israel for causing the destruction, Anger at the United States for refusing to diffuse the situation, Anger at Syria and Iran for backing all this up and using their country as a means of a shield and political posturing. And that's understandable, for years now, Lebanon has undergone a series of political and social reforms and experienced an economic boom that was helping the country establish itself once again as the "Jewel of the Mediterranean".

But unfortunately I can't agree with the feeling which some Lebanese have been expressing concerning the Hezbollah connections, like this:

Every one knows that the Lebanese government has no control over Hezbollah. The government didn’t even know of Hezbollah kidnapping plans, even though they (Hezbollah) are part of the government. Hezbollah is a "state within a state ", thanks to Israel, Iran and Syria.

. Israeli continued occupation of Shebaa farms territory gives Hezbollah an excuse to hold onto its arms.

. Iran's financing of Hezbollah, will allow it to use the organization to achieve its objectives in the region, regardless of the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese.

. Syria's support to Hezbollah, allows it to use this organization as its card in dealing with Israel. Every time Syria is under pressure, Hezbollah creates a crises of some sort in South Lebanon

But who is the biggest loser in all of this: Lebanon and the innocent Lebanese people. The Lebanese will again have to rebuild their country on their own and accumulate more debt, in addition to the $38 billion they have accumulated so far, in rebuilding their country during the Syrian occupation.

But unfortunately, I believe the Lebanese government bears some responsibility in all this. They have partnered themselves with Hezbollah when it comes to governing, knowing fully well that Hezbollah's terrorist operations against Israel hasn't ceased. But then again Lebanon never really had a choice in this, like I said yesterday, the Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in the Spring of 2000 has painted Hezbollah as liberators and saviors in the eyes of many Shiite Lebanese. The country could not have acted in any way against the organization without risking a huge backlash from its Shiite community and risking the spark of another civil war. So needless to say, the situation is far too complicated for anyone to come up with a solution.

I honestly cannot predict what will happen tomorrow or even in 2 days. All I can say is that its amazing how 16 years of social, economic and political progress can be smashed up in 16 short hours.

A glimpse into Beirut

Just hung up on a disturbing phone conversation with Khaled. A Lebanese-Canadian buddy of mine since High school. We both attended the same private, US-accredited high school in Saudi and were in the same grade. When we graduated, we both came back to Canada. He attended McGill and majored in Management, I registered in Concordia and studied accounting. We shared an apartment for 4 crazy years and when we were finally free from the hellhole that is called "higher education", we finally parted ways. I got a job with RBC here in mtl, and he left to Beirut to work as an assistant manager to his brother at a 4 star hotel in Beirut. He was, and still is my best friend to this day. So you can imagine the shock and fear that I had to go through when I heard his angry, terrified voice on the phone just 10 minutes ago.

4:15 in the mourning.

*me passed out on the couch in the living room*
The phone rings. And after 20 seconds of constant ringing, I finally wake up and stumble towards the phone.

Me: Who the fuck is this?
Khaled: Top of the morning dickhead...
Me: HEY!!! Were have you been? I've trying to call you since mourning, but for some reason I keep getting Turkey!
Khaled: Phone lines are mess right now. This was my 19th attempt to call you.
Me: What's going on? Are you allright?
Khaled: I'm ok...Alaa is ok...Rania is ok...were all good.
Me: Thank god!

*Fast Forward 5 minutes*

Khaled: The streets are deserted man...its like scene from Resident Evil only more creepier.
Me: Are you in a shelter?
Khaled: No no. Were in the apartment. But no one is going out. Not even to the store.
Me: You have enough food and water in there?
Khaled: Umm not really. The people in the building have locked the front door and have opened their apartment doors. So in a way its like living in a crowded 9 story house. Everybody's sharing their food and stuff. So were ok for now.

*Fast forward 2 minutes*

Me: How are people handling this?
Khaled: Its a mess! Some women are sobbing, the men are screaming in outrage, everybody's scared. And angry at the same time. Can't really describe it in have to see it to believe it.
Me: shit...
Khaled: Just when things look to be going on the right path, shit like this happens. Fuck man! Does trouble come looking for our people?
Me: (laughing) I don't think so. It seems to know where we are most of the time.
Khaled: This isn't the right time to be cute with me....
Me: Sorry, Sorry.

Fast forward 2 minutes:

Khaled: I don't know what the hell I was thinking of coming back here. Dude were never going to live in peace in this fucking region. Its always going to be like this.
Me: *silent*
Khaled: Its never going to end....never..
Me: Things will change eventually..I mean Rome wasn't built in a-
Khaled: NO MAN! This is who we are! Let's face it. There are some areas in this world which were just not built for peace. First the civil war, then Southern Lebanon, then the Syrians, and now this!!!

Fast forward:

Me: So what are you going to do know?
Khaled: That's why I'm calling you. I'm planning on coming back to Canada.
Me: WHAT?? Bro...
Khaled: Its already been decided man. I cannot live in this freaking environment. My bags are packed and Alaa has my letter of resignation. Its now just a question of how to get to Damascus. Unless the Jews begin to bomb that as well, then I might have to make further plans to go into Jordan. And from there I can easily book my return to Canada.
Me: And you need a place to stay (laughing)
Khaled: *laughing*..just for a couple of days. If its okay with you...just a few days to get my stuff in order and then head on over to Alberta.
Me: No problem.
Khaled: I owe you BIG TIME man! Thank you very much.
Khaled: I just wanted to tell you, I might be on your doorstep at any time now. Could be in 24 hours. Could be on 6 weeks. Whenever I could find a safe passageway out of here. Its now choked. There;s almost now way out of Lebanon.
Me: There's no chance that the airport might get fixed any time soon?
Khaled: Forget it. Not any time soon. They're saying it might take a few months. But given how we usually do things around here, I'd say we'd be lucky if things are back in place by next July.
And what's worse is that the highways are all destroyed-
Me: Yeah I heard.
Khaled: And there's rumors that some Israeli destroyers are patrolling our sea.
Me: Really? Sea as well?
Khaled: That's what Alaa heard from the neighbors.
Me: Call the embassy. They'd surely help you out of here.
Khaled: Embassy's closed man. We keep getting transferred to the Ottawa switchboard, but I have to hold for like hours and I always get cut off.
Me: *sigh*

Khaled: Just a heads up allright. Could be tomorrow or a month from now.
Me: Sure thing. Take care of yourself man.
Khaled: Thanks. I'll call you whenever I get to Am-

*Phone line gets cut off*.

Israel pays the price for appeasement

First of all let me apologize for the blog neglect for the past few months. The reason for this is a combination of work, moving into my new condo, and great weather tends to keep me from indoor activities. I've honestly haven't even glanced at a newspaper or a T.V. news program from the past 4 weeks. but judging from the current chaos
that were now witnessing in the region, I cannot neglect things any longer.

The last thing we ever want to do during a time of chaos and tragedy, is blame the victim. Not for being the principle reason for the damage done, the blame mainly lies with the perpetrator of the crime But for taking gullible actions that indirectly leads to the present day damage.

Examples: You wake up one mourning to find out that your next door neighbors' car has been stolen from their own garage and their tools have also gone missing. You feel terrible for the guy, and at the moment there's nothing more you want to do but cause as much pain to the burglars as possible. But somehow, you still cannot get the thought out of your mind that this burglary might have been prevented to steal had your neighbor actually remembered to close his garage during the night instead of leaving it open.

Another scenario: Your brother gets robbed while walking home from a party last night. His wallet is gone and is suddenly missing a pair of shoes. For a second you actually contemplate lobbying your government to adopting the same crime policy as Saudi Arabia when it comes to these things, but you just cannot resist the temptation of slapping your brother across the head for being dumb enough to walk through a crime-ridden neighborhood at 3 o'clock in the morning, wearing a 500$ Versace suit and 200$ shoes.

Getting back to the relevant subject, I cannot help but feel the same away about Israel during this whole series of conflict. Now the blame for all this squarely lies with Hezbollah and Hamas, there's absolutely no justification whatsoever for their actions of kidnapping and missile launching against Israeli civilians. But Israel did in fact exercise some action which does play a huge part in all this; appeasement.

Think back to the summer of 2005 and the spring of 2000. That's the time frame when Israel bowed to international pressure (that was dictated by the ever-naive line of thinking that Islamic militants are reasonable souls simply fighting the occupation of their lands) and withdrew their forces from Gaza and Southern Lebanon respectively.

And what occurred afterwards was something all terrorism experts predicted a long long time ago. More chaos, more terror, more bloodshed and no decreased security for either side. Far from taming the two terrorist groups, or the hope that the withdrawals would be perceived as an extension of an olive branch, the withdrawals made Hezbollah and Hamas more forceful, more popular, more power hungry and the perception? That was considered as plain old weakness. Which further ingrained the idea that should they increase their activities, Israel would make more and more concessions for land and power.

The reaction from the people in Southern Lebanon and Gaza were, not surprisingly jubial. Both people credited the terrorists for driving the "Jews" out of their lands, and were now completely indebted to them

To make maters worse, moderate Palestinians and Lebanese who have tried warning their people of the threat groups like these pose to their lives, were seen as useless, traitorous fools. In the eyes of most people it was "Yeah, well they got rid of the Israelis for us, what did you do?" So unfortunately cooler heads did not prevail following the withdrawals.

And in both cases, the people have rewarded the terrorist groups handsomely. The Lebanese government gave Hezbollah autonomy in the south, as well as political power. The Palestinians elected Hamas to form their legislative branch.

So all in all the withdrawals resulted in both cases:

-Two terrorist groups who were still armed and at large.
-Hamas and Hezbollah receiving the gratitude and respect of the people.
-Isolation of the Arab Moderates.
-More power and determination given to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Other countries should take note of what has happened here and notice how this ties to their battles with terrorism. We now have proof first hand, that withdrawal always causes more havoc and destruction than the alternative.

Coming back tot he original point, the actions we see today are simply reminders to the Israelis of their mistakes. Mistakes that have come back to haunt them in a brutal way against a brutal enemy. Just like the next door neighbor who made the mistake of keeping his garage door open at night, or the brother who walked right into a crime-ridden neighborhood, Israel's decision to show weakness at a time it should have shown strength, is one mistake they are paying for dearly today.

Update: Mideast Bloggers speak out:

Beirut Spring:

Hezbollah is trying to fool us. It wants us to believe that it’s offering Israel a fair deal. We are being bluffed to relax, to conclude that Israel will eventually do “the right thing”; because -and here goes the bluff aimed at Israel- we have “Surprises” hidden up our sleeves. (…)
By unilaterally provoking the trigger-happy Israelis yesterday, Hezbollah is squarely to blame for the Lebanese lives wasted, the infrastructure destroyed, the inconvenience caused to millions because of the stalled airport, and the unearned millions of dollars in tourist revenues (with the resulting unemployment and immigration).

Rambling Hal

There are so many outside forces that are constantly working against the happiness of multitudes. I want to slap the members of every single Middle Eastern government - and especially the heads of these allegedly 'democratic' parliaments and governments we adhere to coz we have no other choise - I want to slap them silly with a cheap flip flop and tell them to get the hell out of our lives.

I also want to slap religious fanatics that think they have the right to call violence and murder and terrorism by Islam. Them I don't want to just slap. I want to do other things to them instead. But I won't go into that now. I'll try and curb my violent tendencies. It's too early in the day for blood.

2:48 AM: (No, really that's the name of the blog)
With these current attacks you would think the government would wake up and realize that its time to distance themselves from Hezbollah and let the whole world know that the Lebanese people are against Hezbollah and against their actions. But, of course that didn’t happen, the Lebanese government is calling all parties to be united against Israel. What a load of political crap, they are going to make things a lot worst for everyone.”

itoot has more roundup of reactions from mideast bloggers.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cherniak tries to BS his way out of his own stupidity.

Unlike many in the Canadian Blogspehere, I'm not of those who tend to view Jason Cherniak as either intelligent or a good political spinster. Heck, I don't even have respect for the guy. Having read some of his posts during the last federal election, and listening to him regularly on the Bloggers Hotstove, I knew that in the political world, Jason Cherniak is as bad of a Hack as they come. I'm not going to mince words, he strikes me as snobbish, arrogant, clueless, there's a whiff of elitism whenever he describes his political future, and is someone who takes party affiliations very seriously. I mean if the entire Liberal caucus grabbed a bunch of AK-47's and started a rampage across Toronto, I can guarantee you that Jason would be spinning it into a version of how those MP's have been driven to madness by the actions of Stephen Harper, and should anyone bear the responsibility for the murders, its the PM himself.

Anyway, after his latest post regarding the Muslim Community and Omar Alghabra, we can also add incompetence and soft bigotry into the whole mix.

He begins:

For those who do not know the background, when I was on the Coren show I tried to argue that Muslims will not vote Conservative because if you consider the manner in which many Conservatives talk about Omar, you will realize that they are not exactly open to the Muslim community.

(emphasis mine)

Right off the bat, Jason surprises us all with his remarkable skills of Telepathy and Divination in stating that Muslims in Canada will simply be turned off to voting Conservative simply because of the manner in which Conservatives have raised the alarm over one Muslim's scary past and statements.

Now right away, this raises a flag. What the hell does Jason know about the Muslim community? So far the only thing he demonstrated in knowledge is that he believes Muslims in Canada all think alike and interpret any action in the same manner. Whether they are male or female, Arab or non-Arab, Pakistani or Moroccan, rich or poor, landed immigrant or naturalized, all Muslims are the same. Apparently to Jason we are unable of exercising independent thought, and interpret events and words in a different manner he does.

Among the many things we have learned in grade school when discussing prejudice and racism, is that to never group any minority group into one big "groupthink". Not all Muslims think alike, Not all Blacks think alike and not all whites think alike. The reason why we were taught in that manner is to never paint an entire ethnic group with one brush. But there he is, labeling us all into one groupthink
and dictating our voting patterns for us.

But it doesn't really end there for out Star liberal blogger.

"because if you consider the manner in which many Conservatives talk about Omar, you will realize that they are not exactly open to the Muslim community."

In these 20 words or so, Jason exemplifies more bigotry and stupidity at the same time. Take note of the logic: The manner in which many Conservatives talk about an MP who:

-Is a member and speaker for a student group which calls for divestment from Israel and has circulated anti-Semitic conspiracies in their literature. The group has also incited a riot on September of 2002 in which many anti-Semitic attacks occurred.
-Is involved with an organization that's under investigation for terrorist funding.
- Does not consider Hamas or Islamic Jihad to be terrorist groups and strongly lobbied the Federal government against criminalizing them.
-Does not believe in mixture of religion and politics. But is all for the implementation of Sharia.
-Constantly attacks law enforcement of racism.

is according to Jason...brutal. And this alone signifies that Conservatives are not "open" to the Islamic community. Now if Cherniak believes that Omar Alghabra is the true representation of the Islamic community when all those points are considered, then Jason himself is the true bigot who mislabels the Muslim community. To this liberal, an attack on Omar Alghabra is simply an attack on his religion and nothing else.

Since 9/11, we have constantly heard from political, religious and social leaders to not group or label an the entire Muslim community of being from one mindset. Perhaps the real person who should remember that and take it to heart is none other than Jason Cherniak.