Archive for Lebanon

Remembering Qana

Posted in Lebanon, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18/04/2012 by arabrhizome

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the first Qana massacre perpetrated by the israeli armed forces in South Lebanon. During the murderous war of 1996 launched by israel and termed operation Grapes of Wrath, which on a side note makes me unable to actually read the book because I get so angry when I see the title, israeli forces shelled a UN compound in the village of Qana on the 18th of April. The compound was being used as a makeshift refugee camp for South Lebanese citizens who had been displaced by the israeli attack on their homes. That shelling killed 106 civilians and injured 106.

I remember this massacre very well, as that was the first attack by israel on Lebanon I remember. I was in Lebanon during the 1982 invasion, but do not remember that as I was two years old. This one however, is a very clear memory. I remember visiting friends when the first images from Qana were shown on television. An image that is etched into my memory, and which I recall everyday, is that of the little girl’s lifeless body being held to the camera. The child was missing half her head. She had been torn apart by the hellfire rained on that refugee camp by “the most moral army in the world”.

That little girl became a symbol for me, and probably everyone else who saw that photo, of the savagery of israel and its army. This was one of many massacres perpetrated by the israeli army in Lebanon. In fact, Qana would witness another massacre 10 years later when a civilian building was bombed and destroyed during the 2006 war. However, that massacre holds a special place for me. It is the first that I remember as an almost adult. I remember everything about it. I remember all the gruesome photos and videos that were taken there. Children, women, men, killed in a place where they were supposed to be safe, a UN compound.

Of course, that wasn’t the last time a UN compound was targeted by israel. In fact, UN compounds seem to be some of their favourite targets, along with schools, mosques, civilian buildings, hospitals, ambulances, power plants, and bridges. They basically like targeting civilian infrastructure. That is always very high on their target list. But returning to that particular massacre. I remember how I felt that day. I remember the amalgamation of anger, sadness, feeling of helplessness that I felt. I also remember the sense of determination it gave me. My anti-zionism was reinforced that day. I would never shift from that ideological position after witnessing that callous mass murder.

I will never forget the images from Qana. Those responsible must be brought to justice and tried for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN and Amnesty international both conducted independent investigations of the massacre. They both found that the evidence contradicted israel’s story. However, thanks to the US’s continued support the criminals are still free. This shows why we all need to do what we can to keep up the pressure on israel. Our governments have failed to hold israel responsible for its many crimes. We as citizens of the world must join the Palestinian led non-violent call for BDS against the state of israel until it complies with international law and human rights.

63 Years Since the Nakba

Posted in Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 15/05/2011 by arabrhizome

So today is the day we remember the Nakba. I have already written a post about it on here, in fact it was my second post on this blog. I am not going to go into the history of the Nakba again. If you want to read what I have to say about that here’s a link to the post I wrote almost a year ago. I’m sure some of you will have fun comparing how different my style of writing has become (maybe it’s still just as bad. Who knows?). I thought that rather than write about the history of the Nakba I would write about the extraordinary events of today.

If you follow me on twitter you would have followed my frantic tweeting all day. If not let me summarise the events for you. It all started early this morning with some excitement. This particular Nakba day comes at a time of seismic changes in the region and it would have been naive to think that they wouldn’t affect the commemoration events across the Arab World. Many very interesting events were taking place. Palestinian refugees and Lebanese people were planing to hold a rally in Maroun Al Ras, a border village with israel that has some history of resistance, especially during the 2006 war. There were rumours of a simillar rally in Syria at the border with the occupied Golan Heights, but the recent events in Syria meant that we didn’t expect much. Jordan and Egypt were also set to have protests at the border. Of course Palestine was going to be the centre of it all.

It is interesting to note a couple of things about the commemorations in Palestine. Israel has passed the Nakba law which makes it illegal, more or less, for people to commemorate the Nakba inside Israel. Also, the fact that the Palestinian factions have signed an agreement meant that the Palestinians in the occupied territories would be able to concentrate on the Nakba without worrying about internal divisions. Finally the arab revolutions have energised the Arab populations and most see the Palestinian cause as the central arab struggle. The right of return of the forcibly displaced Palestinians in 1947-48 is the central demand of the Palestinian cause and Nakba Day is when it is made most forcibly.

As the day started a meme emerged on twitter it took the form of “I am israel and…” followed by atweet that exposes israel’s unacceptable practices and policies. Let me give you a few examples to explain it. “I am israel and my imaginary friend told me in his book that this land is mine. Therefore it is.” “I am israel & the Palestinians & Lebanese & Arabs make me kill them. I swear I’m a victim I’m always the victim”. “I am Israel and I brag about making the desert bloom, even though most of the land is fertile and green.” “I am Israel & I force my young impressionable 18 yr olds into a 2-3 yrs military service that dehumanises Palestinians.” And so on. You get the idea. That passed the time until the protests started. What was funny was seeing zionist twitter users try to highjack the meme but giving up very quickly and failing miserably.

Anyway, soon the protests started. I was following people who were on their way down to the South of Lebanon from refugee camps in Beirut. Soon they were at the border and Palestinians were starting to protest all over historic Palestine. It was interesting that Tel Aviv had a huge demo with Palestinian flags demanding the fulfilment of the internationally recognised right of return of Palestinians to their land and homes. The majority of the protests inside israel went without any violence. Most of the Egyptians were unable to make it to Rafah as the army didn’t allow them to get there. Jordan seemed to be going well but since they are at peace with israel no one thought anything would happen.

Then things went crazy very quickly and pretty much all hell broke loose. First, news from Gaza started filtering that people in Bait Hanoune were protesting and got too close to the Eretz crossing with israel for the israli army’s comfort so the IDF (remember they call themselves the most moral army in the world in an almost beautiful Orwellian move) shot 4 tank shells at them as well as live sniper fire. Very quickly around 30 or 50 people, mainly children and teenagers, because it was an unarmed peaceful protest, were injured and sent to hospital. This led to a rise in tensions. For the rest of the day, and as I far as I know still now, Palestinians protested using rocks and the IDF shot live rounds at them. So far over 100 are injured including one journalist and one teenager is dead.

But that’s not all. In Qualandya in the West Bank there was a peaceful protest as well that was met with unimaginable amounts of tear gas and rubber coated bullets, later in the day those were traded for live ammunition. Of course this made the protests more intense and soon Palestinians started throwing stones at the israelis while they shot at them with rubber coated bullets, live bullets, and tear gas. So far over 100 are injured and one is dead. What is interesting is that the Palestinian numbers kept swelling and they were swelling with young men and young women. Clearly something very important was happening there. I know that East Jerusalem saw some violence as well but I didn’t get much info on it.

But in the middle of all that we got some very strange news. The border between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights had witnessed some very fierce clashes and 4 people had died and at least 20 people were injured. It turns out that around 20000 Syrians and Palestinian refugees had made their way to that border and an unspecified number of them walked across a mine field cut the border fence and crossed into the occupied Golan. This is huge! The Syrian regime has made sure not to allow any protests on its southern borders. However they are clearly too busy killing their own people to have noticed what was going on. Basically, a number of Palestinian refugees had exercised their right of return and were refusing to go back to Syria.

The israeli army sent a whole bunch of reinforcements to try and round them up, or kill them, and move them back to Syria. However the people of the town they went into Majdal Shams protected them and started contacting the israeli army in order to try not to get them killed. But their exact number was unclear, even now we still don’t know how many made it through reports varied between 68 and over a thousand. Eventually, many were able to return without being injured because the citizens of Majdal Shams protected them and got them to the border. However, many who got in had said that they aren’t planning to go back to israel but to go back to their land. Are some of them still there? no one knows. This episode clearly rattled the zionist state. Israeli Kneset members were calling for the IDF to use severe force and to kill all those who crossed the border. They described the episode as a grave intelligence and security failure. The reason is that no one expected it to happen in Syria.

Finally, let’s talk about the events in Lebanon because they are by far the most dangerous in their significance. The commemorations were set to take place on a hill that overlooks a field that meets the border fence between south Lebanon and Northern israel. However a group of a few dozen at first and then a few hundred protesters made their way towards the border fence. They didn’t attack it or try to cross it but were very close to it. They were waving their flags and chanting to demand the fulfilment of the right of return. It was all rather jolly but then the israelis started shooting in the air one bullet fell over the border and injured a woman in her left shoulder. This was bad but it could very easily be described as an accident, although why they needed to shoot in the air in the first place is not completely clear.

But then something very dangerous happened. They started shooting across the border at the unarmed civilians. Over a few hours 10 people were killed and over 100 injured. Eventually the Lebanese army forced the protesters to move back from the fence. But this is a major breech of Lebanon’s sovereignty, not that this ever stopped them before, but this is also a clear breech of resolution 1701. It is incredible that the IDF thinks that it can simply flaunt the border and shoot across it killing 10 and injuring over a hundred. I really hope that Lebanon doesn’t stay silent about it, although I imagine they will crawl and grovel and do nothing.

The point though is that all these events add up to some very important facts. The Arab people have set a marker, there will be no peace without the recognition and fulfilment of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees that were forcibly evicted from their lands and homes in 1947-48. We know that the PA was ready to give up that right, the Palestinians and the Arabs have said today that this is unacceptable it is an unalienable and unnegotiable right. Also, israel continues on its self destructive path. They are showing themselves as a racist and violent state that is willing to kill and maim anyone who oppose them, including unarmed and peaceful protesters. The problem for them is that cameras were all over the place and we could see everything that happened so the usual talking points are not going to be enough to get them off this time. I hope that this turns out to be a turning point in the struggle for the rights of Palestinians. Until Palestine is free stay safe. Love you bye.

The Palestine Papers 2, and Lebanon

Posted in Lebanon, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24/01/2011 by arabrhizome

Right two major news stories that I need to cover today. First, I’ll focus on the new revelations found in the new batch of the Palestine Papers released today by Al Jazeera and the Guardian. Second, I’ll talk about what’s happening in Lebanon tonight. I am not as angry today, so I’m probably going to be able to write a more focused and less emotional post. Although, I say that, but I’m still outraged. The only difference is that I expected most of the revelations of today. Yesterday, I was really shocked at the extent of the PA’s collusion and treachery. Again, I knew they were treasonous collaborators, but I didn’t know the extent of that collusion. Today, the PA has nothing to do with the revelation, except for one. The main protagonists are the israelis and the Americans.

So let’s begin with the first revelation. Tzipi Livni, the supposed moderate israeli leader, was bartering with her own people. She was negotiating the population transfer of arab israelis. Israel was founded on the principle that all the people living on its territory, regardless of their race sex and faith. This means that Israel has a large arab minority, about 20% of the population. That population has been, and continues to be, a disenfranchised and oppressed minority. Their place in israeli society and their loyalty has always been questioned. This is the main political food-stuff of the far right in israel. The strange thing is that the so called centrist leader is ready to barter her own people in this way. The good thing that might comes out of these revelations is that the charade that Tzipi Livni, the war criminal, is a proper peace partner. It also shows the contempt of all the israeli political parties are undemocratic and are jewish supremacist in search of an ethnically pure israel. She even said that israel would be the land of its people, then adding let me be clear when I say its people I mean jews. This is absolutely disgusting. If anyone still thought that any of the political leadership of israel is not racist.

The second revelation has to do with the PA. It’s about the refugee question. Now as I’ve said before,  The Palestinian refugees that have been ethnically cleansed from greater Palestine between 1947 and 1967 are the real crux of the Palestinian struggle. The right of return has always been at the centre of the struggle and seen as a non-negotiable and inalienable right. The UN resolution 194 states as much. However, the israelis were never willing to accept their responsibility. The Palestine Papers have shown that the PA was ready to give up this right in ways that are unthinkable for the majority of Palestinians. The PA’s starting position was that 15000 refugees a year would return for a period of 10 years. Condoleezza Rice even said that the refugee problem is not the responsibility of israel but that of the international community. She offered that refugees be relocated to  places like South America. The israeli’s starting position was 1000 refugees over 5 years. Saeb Erekat even offered to exclude the refugees, which are the majority of Palestinians, from the potential referendum on the future agreement. This is absolutely disgusting.

The third and final revelation is about the Obama administration. The Obama administration (OA) decided to start over. That means that all the previous agreements were scraped by the OA and the Palestinians were forced to start new negotiations as if nothing had happened over the past two decades. More importantly, the OA was shown to play the role not only of israel’s attorney, but like a prosecutor for israel against the Palestinians. Now we all know that the US has never been an honest broker, but they kept trying to present themselves as such. What we have seen is that the OA is clearly incapable of playing that role. They are simply there to push for all the israeli demands, including the highly controversial description of israel as a jewish state. This would mean that the arab and non-jewish population instantly loses it’s current nominal status of equal citizens.

All of these revelations are highly damaging to the peace process, but given where that process is going that’s not a bad thing. We have all known for a while that the two state solution is well and truly dead. The Palestine Papers are clearly showing that this is the case. The good thing is that they now make it clear for the majority of people. Israel never wanted a just peace, the US played the role of israel’s advocate, and the PA was a collaboration administration. It is time for the Palestinian people to dissolve the PA and seek a new route to liberation. I know where I stand and I think by now you know too. We now know that the Palestinian state that was going to come out of these negotiations was going to be at best a bentustan and that’s simply unacceptable. The one-state solution is the only viable solution.

Right, that’s it about the Palestine Papers. Now, I want to write a few quick words on what’s happening in Lebanon tonight. As you remember a couple of weeks ago the opposition resigned from the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government resigned de facto, once another minister resigned. This meant that a new government had to be formed. This happens through parliamentary consultations, those were today. Basically, a political faction that was with the majority switched allegiance and the opposition’s candidate got the majority of nominations. This lead to the pro-western political side, March 14, to go down and riot all over the country. The burned tyres, closed roads, shot in the air, and took part in armed motorcades in some places. The irony is that the opposition had done that a while ago. When they did, they were called animals and were portrayed as operating a coup. However, now that the tables are turned, it seems that March 14 is willing to do the exact same thing. This just highlights the immaturity of both sides. They are all warlords and corrupt ideologues who prey on sectarian sensibilities. I hate them all.

First Day of a Massacre

Posted in Culture, Lebanon, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 16/09/2010 by arabrhizome

28 years ago today one of the bloodiest massacres in the modern history of Lebanon started, it was the Sabra and Shatila Massacre. The Phalangist party’s armed wing was directly responsible for the murder of around 3500 civilians, the torture, maiming, and rape of countless others. The massacre was facilitated and supervised by the israeli army, which invaded Lebanon and was occupying the city. During the civil war they armed and trained the Phalengist party and its allies. They invaded Lebanon in 1982 and installed the leader of the party, Bashir Gemayel, as president. This was seen as high treason by at least half the population of Lebanon and led to his assassination a few days later. In the wake of his assassination the angry militiamen were transported by the israeli army and were provided with illumination and protection, as well as tactical support, while they went on a rampage that lasted 3 days. They killed, raped, and stole from the civilian population of the two Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla.

It is important to note that the armed wing of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) had been exiled from Lebanon a few days earlier. They had moved to Tunisia. So the camp was filled with civilians, both Lebanese and Palestinian, but mainly Palestinian. This massacre is one of many horrible things that have happened during the civil war. However, this one is qualitatively different to many of the others. The fact that the israeli army had such a big hand in it, and the fact that it wasn’t the result of conflict, but the simple blind murder of a civilian population by a group of fascist scum, makes it so. The israeli army, which remember they call the most moral army in the world, unleashed its rabid dogs, in this case the Lebanese forces and Phalengists, onto an isolated civilian population, but of course we are the terrorists.

The Phalangists are now part of the ‘pro-western’ group in Lebanon. The brother of Bashir Gemayel is one of the major figures of that movement. These people are sold to the west as friends of democracy. They are a fascist party built on nazi and fascist ideology. These people were armed and supported by israel. Just stop and think about it. Israel which is always talking about how it is the only answer to the holocaust and that it is the front line of the fight against fascism today. That same israel has funded, armed, trained, and worked closely with a great many fascist parties in Lebanon, including the Phalangists.

Also, the army commander that was in charge of the whole invasion of Lebanon was no other than Ariel Sharon. He is the one that gave orders. He is the one that provided the helicopters, army transport vehicles, and flare illumination for the militiamen. Of course you would expect israel, being ‘the only democracy in the middle east’, and as one of the spokes people for the government said not so long ago ‘are capable of conducting fair and balanced inquiries into their actions’, would have punished Sharon in one way or another for the murder of thousands of civilians. Well they did, they made him prime minister, and he led a life of power and is now seen as one of the heros of the state of israel. That showed him.

This massacre cannot be understood as an isolated event. Israel was, is, and continues to be, responsible for countless massacres of civilians in the region. The latest one was a few days ago when three civilians were murdered by tank shells inside gaza. They were working their land and the israeli army decided that they were a threat and so shelled them with tank ammunition. I know that I keep banging on about it, but we really all need to send israel a clear message. All of these actions are unacceptable. Everyone join the BDS movement, and maybe, just maybe, all of the people who have died will be given justice.

Sick, Sad, and Completely Out of Sync

Posted in Culture, Lebanon, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/09/2010 by arabrhizome

So after I wrote my post yesterday I watched a little bit of tv and then tried to sleep. But kept coughing and sneezing and not being able to breathe. So I made myself a cup of decaf tea and took medicine and tried to make myself feel a bit better. I started feeling less ill around 4:30 am, so I tried to sleep then. But by that time I wasn’t sleepy anymore and could not get my body to sleep. So, I decided to chuck this night to experience, although what I learned from it I’m not quite sure. Around 5:30 am I decided to just get to work and try to salvage something from this evening.

The problem is I was still feeling ill. In fact my throat was really hurting. So I wasn’t really able to concentrate. I then decided to just watch something online and wait for the other dose of medicine to start working. While surfing the internet I came across a few old revolutionary arab songs. They were all resistance chants. I was happy to come across them as I don’t own copies of them. So I started listening and remembering the days of the 2006 war, the 1996 war, the civil war (I remember a few things). I also started thinking of the people of Palestine and their suffering, and I just felt incredibly sad.

I usually think about Palestine at least once a day. Even at my busiest I take the time to check the news and know what’s happening there. I am usually angry, sad, frustrated, and/or hopeful all at the same time. But this time it was different. I felt a sadness I haven’t ever felt. It was coming from the deepest crevices and holes in my soul. I was beyond sadness. My eyes were filled with tears, but I wasn’t exactly crying. My body was crying, but I was beyond crying, my mind was numb with sadness. And then I came across this song. Now this is a song of the Lebanese National Resistance Front, a front composed of the communist party, the Syrian national socialist party, the socialist party, and a bunch of smaller leftist and nationalist fronts. It was the only resistance against israel in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, after the fall of the soviet union (their financiers), they couldn’t do as much and the resistance front was taken over by the islamic factions, including Hezbollah and Amal.

This song is such a poignant and incredibly powerful description of what it is like to be taken prisoner by the occupier and longing for your loved ones, and what it is like to see your loved ones go on their way to certain death in order to resist the aggressors and occupiers. I attempted a rough translation. Here it is:

On the road to Aitat (a Lebanese village) mother they broke/cut short my prayer
One is the darling of my soul
And one is my life
He cried blood, he cried blood (repeat)
They said good bye to me mother and made their way towards El Nabatiye (A Lebanese town)
And they said what does it mater that we die mother
As long as the cause lives
I wish that my eye was a river mother
So I give them to drink from it
I wish that my body was a bridge mother
So i can help them cross over it
He cried blood, He cried blood (repeat)
Between Ansar (Lebanese village) and Atlit (Lebanese village) mother
I wrote you my passions
With the soils/earth/sands of Palestine mother
Me and my comrades
We saw the torture/pain/suffering mother
And we tasted its meanings
And those who forgot Jammoul (the nick name of the Lebanese National Resistance Front)
Let their lives be damned
He cried blood, he cried blood
on the road to Aitat mother they broke/cut short my prayer
One is the darling of my soul
And one is my life

Now I remember singing this song on drunken nights when we were dreaming of changing the world back in Lebanon. I remember singing this song on my way to the liberated south in 2000, when the 18 year brutal occupation of south Lebanon was finally over. I remember feeling that this was the time when the tide changed. This was the second major set back for the israelis, the first of course came in 1982-3 when the incessant work of the Lebanese resistance forced them to leave Beirut and withdraw to south. However, this was the first proper total victory. They left, the were fleeing leaving their Lebanese allies, the collaborators, behind without another look (here’s an interesting piece of history, almost all, if not all, of the collaborators were handed to the Lebanese judiciary by Hezbollah. Insuring that they weren’t lynched and were in fact going to have a ‘fair’ trial).

This song just continued to feed my sadness. I just kept thinking about all those people, men, women, and children, who are being humiliated, killed, beaten, forced out, starved. All of them seeing the occupier take down their trees, destroy their water sources, raise their houses. I thought about those poor children who live in refugee camps, their parents and grand parents holding the keys to their homes that were left behind on that horrible date of the Nakba 62 years ago. As I was listening to more music, I saw on youtube an image of a boy, not older then 8,  standing his ground in front of an israeli merkava tank, throwing a rock at it. That is one of the first images I remember of Palestine. It was taken during the first intifada. And it became a sort of poster for the resistance of the destitute Palestinians against the crushing, unforgiving, brutal israeli war machine.

As soon as I saw that image my grief became uncontrollable. I sobbed like a little girl for all the people who died because of the zionist project. All of the children who were forced to grow up knowing only oppression, anger, and resentment. The generations of children who, no matter how crushing the israeli war machine is, continue to say no. These generations of people who are flipping a giant pair of Vs at israel and the zionist ideology simply by existing and refusing to go away. Those people who still have the keys to their homes back home in Palestine and who will not give away their inalienable right of return are not going away.

Anyway, between my illness, my sadness, and my lack of sleep I was quite useless. I stayed up until about 12:30 but then couldn’t take it anymore and laid to sleep. I woke up around 19:30 feeling a little bit healthier, although not by much, and found that my sadness was still there, but it was under control. I now knew how to use it and harness it. I will not let it turn into hate. I will use it to resist against zionism and all forms of fascism the only way I can, by not shutting up about it. I will talk about it to people, write about it, share any important article/information/photo/song/film about it. I will continue to boycott israeli products, and encourage my friends to do the same. I will go to rallies and sit ins for Palestine. I will finish my PhD and be an advocate for the people whose rights are crushed by zionism from my position in academia. I feel resolute and in control. Although I am a bit out of sync as this is morning to me.

Tennis Lessons and Waco Texas

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 04/09/2010 by arabrhizome

So, after the disgracefully short post of yesterday, I have decided to try and provide a longer post today. Now we all know this might not work out. It can not work out in many ways: It could just be long enough but be so boring that you would wish it was shorter, or it could go into unwanted details that leave you feeling a little bit dirty, or simply not be long because I don’t have much to say. So let’s go on this merry adventure of discovery, filled with risks of boredom.

Well today was interesting because I signed up for tennis lessons. Yes I am officially middle class. I will be taking tennis lessons for the next few weeks. It’s funny having discovered this, let’s face it, summer sport at the end of summer. But I am excited about it. I’d like to learn how to keep the ball in the court. Also, I’d like to learn how to direct it, because at the moment it kind of decides where to go on it’s own. I’m like an active spectator. I see the ball coming towards me, I move my hand in it’s direction and then it goes somewhere. I don’t really have much choice there. Anyway, hopefully the lessons will help me there.

I’m quite worried that the people taking the lessons with me, because it’s in groups, will be old ladies, but hey you never know I might discover that I am actually a gerontophile. I am hoping that the people there will be cool, or geekey like me. I mean geekey like me, I know I’m not cool. Oh and I’m not saying that so you tell me I am cool, most of you are geeks too. Face it, you read my blog, you can’t be cool. The thing is the lessons are for adults, so at least there won’t be any children there. Although there might be some young people who have their pants showing from under their trousers. Why can’t they just pull them up? Idiots.

Anyway, if you’re still reading after I have ostensibly insulted you and said quite explicitly that you are not cool, you should know that I am lashing out because I’m a bit tired. You see after registering for the lessons, I went and played some tennis. I was a little bit better than last time and I was able to have a few exchanges with my partner, which made the game actually more enjoyable. I’m still only passing the ball around and haven’t actually played an actual game of tennis, but that’ll come after I become a great player from my lessons. I like starting something new, because it’s all potential. So right now I could potentially be a fantastic player, or a horrible one. I will most probably end up being quite mediocre but I don’t know that yet. The possibilities are endless… Well the possibilities are in fact quite finite but they are still possibilities. In a few months I will know, right now I can dream.

In other news, I have registered with lovefilm.com, which is quite exciting. I get to have dvds delivered to my mail box. The first film they’re sending me is Moon. I heard a lot of good things about it and can’t wait to watch it. I am also looking forward to watching Agora, but they said that there is a long wait for that one. It’s good that I can catch up on movies because for the past few years I haven’t watched a lot of them. I will also get a few tv series that I missed in the past, like Life On Mars for example. I am quite excited about this new subscription.

Well, that’s all I can think of that has happened to me today. However, I can hear your disappointed voices in front of your screens muttering that this post was in fact quite short. I am hearing these voices whether you are actually saying something or not. I have always heard voices and so I tend to attribute them to people in order to make it sound less creepy. I am not insane! So I will answer your pleas for more. I will tell you a story from my past. So gather round the monitors everyone and be ready for a tale of courage, cowardice, divine inspiration, and mainly social awkwardness. Some of you know this story, but I think you might enjoy reading/hearing it again.

It was a few years ago, back in Lebanon. I was at my old university with Z. We were hanging out by the main gate. I had my guitar with me. Z went to the loo and I was playing my guitar to myself. My mind was wandering and I had my eyes closed. Then I felt a few shadows around me. So I opened my eyes and was confronted with three American men. Now I knew they were americans because they were wearing the typical westerner going around the world outfit, with the backpack, sandals, short trousers and ‘ethnic’ bracelets/necklaces. But also, because they were clearly surprised that we had buildings and roads and that the main means of transport wasn’t the camel. Also, Z and I had a sort of gift for attracting Americans, sometimes it meant that we made great friends, but mainly it meant that we had to deal with some weird and awkward conversations that were mainly patronising.

So I say hi and start conversing with these people, not pre-judging the outcome of this chance meeting. The conversation started innocuously with a discussion of my guitar abilities and our tastes in music. So they asked me what kind of music I liked and I asked them what they liked. They answered by telling me that they liked things like Dave Mathews Band, Pearl Jam, praise music, and folk music. The first clue to the direction of that conversation and the rest of the encounter is in there. And then I Honestly don’t know how the conversation became about Jesus.

At this point Z got back and as soon as she sat down with us three or four American girls appeared out of nowhere, introduced themselves and then started talking to Z. We were separated, the boys talking to me and the girls to her. They kept telling me about how they found Jesus and talked to him. It was quite creepy especially when I found out that they were actually from Waco Texas. I told them quite quickly that I am in fact an Atheist and that I’m not really interested in religions. Z was quite nice to them, but was still firm in explaining her lack of interest in finding Jesus in her. In fact, at some point one of the girls told her that she could see Jesus in her, to which Z responded quite masterfully by looking down at her stomach and saying wow is there a hole there?

Anyway, the boys kept trying to get me to say that we are all born with the original sin and that we should repent. I kept quoting Nietzsche to their faces and using the argument from evil to counter their claims that there is a loving deity out there. They kept telling me about how when they spoke to Jesus last night he told them that they would meet someone who is lost and needs to find his way to him and that they should help him. The problem is that before we got to talking about Jesus, I had given them my phone number. I know rookie mistake.

So after a while we got rid of them, or left more likely and went back home. They told us that they were around for another two or three weeks so we decided, like the courageous heroes that we are to just avoid uni for the next two or three weeks in order not to run into them. We were mainly successful with one hairy moment when we saw them from afar and had to hide by going inside a restaurant. But the story doesn’t end there.

A couple of weeks later I wasn’t feeling too well. We were at my place when my phone rang. I didn’t recognise the number and so answered. It was one of them. He was calling to see if we could meet up before he leaves. Fortunately I didn’t have to lie and told him that I was in fact a little bit ill and so would not be able to leave my house. He said that he felt sorry for that and asked me if I wouldn’t mind if he prayed for me. I said ‘oh thanks that’s nice.’ At that point this is what he said, on the phone:

– ‘Dear Jesus! Thank you for everything you have done for me. Also, thanks for letting me meet such a cool guy as H. He is a great guy and I hope you can help him feel better and not be ill anymore. Amen’

I was flabbergasted. He had just prayed at me over the phone. I was in fact so shocked that the only thing I could say was ‘thanks?’. In a very small and inquisitory voice. We said good bye and I was left feeling a little bit violated. I was happy though that I didn’t say amen back to him and felt that at least I had this small victory over him. It was quite a disturbing encounter. I was targeted by crazy Waco Texas born-again Christian missionaries.

Anyway, I think that now this post can be seen as long enough. I hope you have enjoyed my little tale of the weird Christians who prayed at me. I am now going to watch something on my lovefilm online watching thing and then shower and sleep. I will try to have some kind of adventure tomorrow in order to have something to write about. Otherwise I might have to think about another crazy story from my past to recount to you.

Gym, Blog, and Stupid Gun Toting Ignorant Fools

Posted in about the blog, Lebanon, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 24/08/2010 by arabrhizome

I don’t really know what to write about as not much has happened to me today, apart from going to the gym for the first time in a while. The thing is there isn’t much to say about the gym. I was able to work out a little bit and it felt good. I was surprised by how much I was able to do. It’s been two almost two months, or maybe more than two months I’m not really sure, since I went to the gym. I didn’t use the treadmill, as my leg is still hurting a little. I used the rowing machine and the bike, and I used a couple of the weight machines. All in all I felt a lot better afterwards. I am going again tomorrow.

I was on the lookout for anorakman. I thought if I saw him then I could at least write about him, as this time I was going to follow him around in the gym and see what he was up to. But he didn’t make an appearance. I’m beginning to wonder if he ever existed. Maybe he is a ghost that only I could see. Maybe he is stuck in the gym running on the treadmill in his anorak. I don’t know, but now that I will be going on a daily basis I will keep my eyes open.

In other news, the Lebanese are still up to their high jinx by shooting at each other for no good reason. Tonight a gunfire fight erupted between kids from hizbullah and others from a crazy bunch of sunny Islamises known as the ‘Ahbash’. They are one of the closest things we have in Lebanon to the Taliban. A crazy bunch of zealots, who model themselves on the Saudis. As I’m writing this 3 people died. I’m just happy I don’t live there anymore. I am sick of this kind of shit and the stupidity of the Lebanese people who still vote for and follow the same bunch of corrupt murderous war lords.

Anyway, I don’t really feel like getting angry so I will leave it alone and mention something else. This is my 100’th post. Can you believe it? I’ve written 100 of these wastes of cyberspace. I should be rewarded or punished, I’m not quite sure. Anyway, the workout and subsequent dinner have made me quite tired, so I will go to sleep soon. I hope to have more to write about tomorrow. all in all I think that this was a disappointing 100th post. Oh well, I’ll try to write a cracking 200th.