There is a new audacious conduct by Gulf countries. The previous generation of Gulf rulers were all cautious and reserved even if they were engaged in covert operations alongside the US or Israel (like the Saudi regime in the Yemeni war). The previous generation was nervous about antagonizing Arab public opinion too much, and their relationship with the US was within the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable publicly in their estimation, regardless of how far they go in their subservience in private.
A glance at the title of this text is sure to take you on a wild trip aboard surreal setups that we wish actually existed. Yes, I am as confused as you are. There’s someone happy to be living in Lebanon. He is a taxi driver that once tried to open up his own taxi company but failed. Nevertheless, he remains happy. I got to know all of this as his car reeked of joy last Saturday night while he and I were deciding which route would bless us with the least traffic on that godforsaken night of the week.
The fetishization of women during times of war, especially women in combat, can be argued as being a reification of patriarchal power; the patriarchal view of female violence as being a demonstration of chaos reimagined as tolerable and even acceptable so long as this violence serves patriarchy, militant or otherwise. Despite the female identity being granted space for violent expression, the sexualization of these spaces and the bodies which take up these spaces, has become normalized.
A trained speculator is not needed to realize that this country’s mess will birth more mess, if left to take its own course. Lebanon is meticulously designed to erupt at very low boiling points, so turmoil remains the name of our game. Read any article, watch any televised broadcast and sadly listen to any of our radio stations to easily conclude this omnipresent mess we’re in. But look closer, as cluttered, dense and oversaturated the ingredients of our current situation seem to be, they’re not really the roots of all our evil. They’re byproducts of a single seed.
Western governments love to give awards and grants that bestow honors and legitimacy to selected groups and individuals. In the Middle East, the West prefers the award-giving business in order to pick role models for the natives, not knowing that those who are endorsed by the West are automatically despised by their own people. There is no Arab who has received more Western accolades than Anwar Sadat, yet this person is one of the most despised by Arabs and Muslims. No matter how much American government, media, and institutions try to elevate Sadat to the status of saint, Arabs continue to despise this dictator who was imposed on his people through an elaborate American-constructed military dictatorship by the US, in order to take Egypt out of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
If Israel’s largest shipping firm Zim Integrated Shipping Services, self-described as being “one of the largest, leading carriers in the global container shipping industry,” thought troubles were over for them and their cargo, they soon figured out how wrong they were. Last month Al-Akhbar English reported on the steadfast Palestine solidarity activists of Block the Boat, who prevented the Israeli-owned Zim Piraeus from unloading its cargo. The investigative report highlighted the necessary work of the Block the Boat Coalition, whose members were spurred into action by shock over Israel’s latest crimes against the people of Palestine and the ongoing occupation, as well as the call by the Palestinian General Federation Trade Union (PGFTU), which asked for workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods. The report detailed the results of the pickets, including the severe toll that the protests had on Zim and companies that shipped with them.
I rarely drive in Beirut, but when I do, I have to deal with parking, and when I do, parking meters come in, as well as parking tickets and the subsequent hell that is paying the penalty fee at postal offices with insanely bored employees who have developed endearing relationships with their smart phones that customers don’t necessarily need to come first anymore. It is distressing so I try my best not to say insane things like, “It’s only going to be a minute,” or “it’s almost four in the afternoon, and no one’s going to check the parking meters now,” because it’s not worth the subsequent drama.
It is said in Arabic: take their secrets from their minors, and we can also take the administration’s secrets from its minors, i.e., Joe Biden. Joe Biden is infamous for not being smart, and is well known for bombast, buffoonery, and plagiarism. But Biden can also, due to lack of judgment and mental restraint, reveal what Obama wishes to conceal. Obama is quite adept at concealing his intentions and even his policies (and wars) when it is politically convenient. Biden is less skilled in concealment and for that he is rarely assigned important tasks of policy. One wonders whether Biden is even privy to the secrets of the administration.
Members of one of the largest anarchist groups in Turkey, Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF), or the Revolutionary Anarchist Action, who are known mostly for their local demonstrations and solidarity actions, have traveled into the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobanê (Ain al-Arab), located in northern Syria, in order to confront the self-described Islamic State (IS). Their slogan has been, “We are all Kawa against Dehak,” a direct reference to traditional Kurdish mythology – the story of the ironworker Kawa who faces and then defeats the tyrant Dehak. According to the BBC, Kobanê has seen an exodus of at least 150,000 civilians, an overwhelming number of them being Kurdish, fleeing “across the border into Turkey seeking shelter,” all this in the shadows of US airstrikes and increased Turkish involvement in the region with the prospect of Turkey’s armed forces joining an already splintered international coalition combating the IS.
“We only sell items that last for a couple of years,” said the salesman, “so we don’t bother getting spare parts for them.” That’s not exactly what you would expect to hear when you go back to an established furniture store hoping to redeem the functionality of your much-loved, yet very broken new purchase. My sister had bought herself a beautiful floor lamp that she accidentally knocked over on one dark night’s electricity cut. She stood next to me at the store as baffled as I was, when she realized her salesman couldn’t care less about what had happened. He just shamelessly hinted that it was time for her to buy something new, “this looks just like it!” he added pointing to another floor lamp.