This blog will no longer be updated (personal reasons).
Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
(Click on photo to visit the campaign website)
Click for information on how to donate
(Click to find out how to place this graphic on your website or blog;
Click to find out how to place the small button in the sidebar on your website or blog.)
Did you know? :-)
Monday, May 28, 2007
1. The armed Salafi group Jund al Sham in Ein el Helwe refugee camp in South Lebanon is referred to by the inhabitants of the camp as "Jund al Sitt". Jund al Sitt Bahiya al Hariri, that is.
2. The bank (Bank al-Bahr al-Mutawassit / BankMed) that was robbed, and through which the Fateh al-Islam people used to withdraw their cheques, is owned by Hariri Empire. Now you will say, why would they rob the bank (or rather, $1,500 from the bank) ? Because Hariri Empire, somehow "discovered" that Syria (someone should write a Syrian version of "Blame Canada"...) has managed to infiltrate and use the Hariri Empire bank to pay the Fateh al-Islam fighters, and duly froze the accounts. BankMed is like a pressure cooker (I never liked it when my mom used pressure cooker, once she forgot to open the 'air' vent thing and the whole thing was about to explode. Now I always say, if I survived the pressure cooker, I can survive anything). It seems the Bank al Madina scandal will pale in comparison to this one. Interesting times indeed...
The plot/conspiracy/Syrian infiltration thickens.
Stay tuned for more fascinating developments, folks.
And now for the best part... I now have added a new label/category on my blog: Blame Syria.
In their own words :-)
Saturday, May 26, 2007
من الذي ركّب ملف أحداث الضنية ومجدل عنجر، وأقنع مراكز القرار الغربية بوجود القاعدة المختلق في لبنان، من أجل المتاجرة بالحالة الإسلامية في بازار الإرهاب الدولي؟
أليس الذي فعل ذلك النظام الأمني اللبناني ـ السوري المشترك، وهو الذي يستمر اليوم في استباحة المسلمين والمسيحيين معاً من أجل الإبقاء على رموزه في السلطة بأي ثمن؟
[The Salafi Current/Movement]
يعتبر التيار السلفي في لبنان من ابرز التيارات الاسلامية، وان كان لا يشكل اطاراً منظماً وموحداً بل هو خليط من مجموعات وشخصيات ومدارس وجمعيات ومعاهد شرعية تختلف في ما بينها سواء على الصعد السياسية او الفكرية او حتى وصولاً الى الخلافات الشخصية.
ويمكن تقسيم التيار السلفي في لبنان بين اتجاهين اساسيين:
الاول ما يسمى السلفية الجهادية، وهو يضم المجموعات المتأثرة بتنظيم "القاعدة" وبعض الجماعات الاسلامية الجهادية في مصر والجزائر وحالياً في العراق.
والثاني التيار السلفي الفكري ويضم شخصيات ومجموعات متنوعة تعمل في الاطر السياسية والفكرية والتربوية.
ويبرز الاتجاه السلفي الجهادي من خلال بعض المجموعات التي تنفذ عمليات عسكرية او امنية ومنها عملية اغتيال الشيخ نزار الحلبي ومتفجرة البلمند ومحاولة اقتحام السفارة الروسية او تهريب الاسلحة الى الاردن وصولاً لمجموعات البقاع الغربي ومجدل عنجر ومجموعة احمد الميقاتي.ا[Angry Anarchist: who gave amnesty to the Majdal Anjar gang?]وليس لهذا الاتجاه اطار معلن وان كان بعض افراده ارتبطوا عملياً بمجموعة "عصبة الانصار" الموجودة في مخيم عين الحلوة، كما برزت بعض المجموعات المنشقة عنها كـ"جماعة النور" وجماعة "جند الشام".[Angry Anarchist: Who funds Jund al Sham? Not Sitt Bahiya al Hariri, by any chance...?]وهذا الاتجاه يبرز في بعض المناسبات أو لتنفيذ عمليات محددة وإن كان نشاطه في لبنان ينطلق من اعتبار هذا البلد "ممراً وليس مقراً" للذهاب الى دول أخرى.
وثمة تخوّف كبير من ازدياد نشاط هذه المجموعات في المرحلة المقبلة بعد الانسحاب السوري نظراً للدور الذي كانت تلعبه سوريا في لجم هذه المجموعات أو ضبط تحركاتها.
وإن كانت محاولة ربط عملية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري بهذا التيار من خلال قضية أحمد أبو عدس لم تنجح وأثبتت معظم الوقائع عدم صحتها.
أما الاتجاه السلفي الفكري والسياسي فمن أبرز رموزه التاريخية الشيخ سالم الشهال الذي أسس في السبعينات "نواة جيش التحرير الإسلامي"، ثم بدأت تظهر شخصيات ومؤسسات جديدة أبرزها "معهد الدعوة والإرشاد"، و"جمعية دعوة الإيمان والعدل والإحسان" التي يرأسها الدكتور حسن الشهال، و"مركز حمزة للولاء" ويشرف عليه الشيخ زكريا المصري، و"معهد الأمين" و"معهد طرابلس الديني" و"معهد الإمام البخاري" و"مسجد أهل السنة" و"معهد الوقف الإسلامي". وتنتشر هذه المعاهد في بيروت وطرابلس وعكار وصيدا والبقاع الغربي.
وقد بدأت التيارات الإسلامية في الأسابيع الماضية سلسلة اتصالات ولقاءات في ما بينها للتنسيق والتعاون وثم تشكيل "المكتب السياسي الإسلامي" برئاسة الدكتور حسن الشهال.
ويبدو أن الانسحاب السوري من لبنان واغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري ساهما في تعزيز تحركات التيارات السلفية التي تسعى لـتكثيف نشاطاتها وتحركاتها في المرحلة المقبلة، وهي تلقى دعماً مالياً ومعنويات من العديد من المؤسسات الإسلامية في الكويت والسعودية.ا[Angry Anarchist translation: "they [the Salafi currents/movements] receive financial and moral support from a number of Islamic associations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia."]إضافة للتيارات والحركات والجمعيات التي تحدثنا عنها سابقاً فإن هناك الكثير من المجموعات والجمعيات والهيئات الإسلامية الناشطة على الصعيد الإسلامي في مختلف المناطق اللبنانية، والتي ازداد نشاطها بعد اغتيال الرئيس الحريري واتخاذ قرار الانسحاب السوري، وبعض هذه الهيئات كان يعاني سابقاً الضغوط الأمنية والسياسية التي تعيق تحركه ويجد اليوم أنه أكثر قدرة على النشاط والحيوية.ا
Stay tuned for the next round of "in their own words". :o)
Summary for those who do not read Arabic:
These are two articles that appeared in Al-Mustaqbal (Hariri) newspaper in May 2005, which addressed the question of the Dinnieh and Majdal Anjar events, as well as the Salafi movements in Lebanon. The excerpt I quoted from the first article argues that Al-Qaida in Lebanon is fictitious, and that Syria was just trying to convince western "centers of decision" that it does exist, in order to do business with the "Islamic condition" in the "global terrorism bazaar". The second article talks about the Salafi movements post-Syrian withdrawal, and heaps praise on the newly found freedom of activity of these groups, which are divided into two groups: the "Jihadi" ones (which carry out military operations), and the "intellectual" ones. It also says that Syria used to restrain these groups, but following the Hariri assassination and the Syrian withdrawal, their activities have increased. Most importantly, they receive financial support and morale boost from various Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian associations.
Lebanese "Leftism" 101
Thursday, May 24, 2007
These days Lebanese "leftists" seem to be very much into bashing of Palestinians. I think it might have to do with their inability and unwillingness to do much else (except accuse anarchists of being "compulsive" and of "accusing people of things"). I'd be inclined to say that they are not "leftists". They are pseudo-leftists. But then, what is "leftism"? It seems that there are way too many things going under that term these days, so much so that a right-wing nutcase would be able to take shelter under it and still have people cheer for him. "Leftists" are fighting amongst themselves for monopoly over the term/label. As for the content of the label, it does not matter. At all.
For example, read the following excerpts from the "analysis" of a Lebanese "leftist":
The Syrian connection:
Naher el-Bared is located only 7 Kilometers away from the Syrian borders in the North. If you draw that on a small scale on any paper in front of you just now, do not draw anything but a "camp" and then "borders". And trust me... their is NOTHING that can stand between the most convenient armament and supply line for both points. That made a huge difference between Naher el-Bared and the other camps.The proof:
This proves Syria's role in giving such primacy to the Islamists through a highly unbalanced presence where no other palestinian group could've opposed or even merely competed. This is why the civilians were caught in the middle considering the surprise attack that started this operation.And now, the "leftism" kicks in:
If the civilians have been silent enough to get the militants to entrench themselves and to establish such firm control before the fighting broke out, doesn't that imply that they knew that militancy brings war? what's a damn cannon for? Beautifying the scenery? Or threatening the Israelis not to attack? This doesn't of course mean that the Palestinians are all in on this... Probably i leave this to Amine Gemayyel or Geagea to conclude. But militancy is not done in secret and particularly in the case of Fateh al-Islam people have known about it for 6 months to say the least.Some more "leftism":
In defense of the Army, you cannot envision the army of being hitting blindly the whole camp careless of who exactly their shells hit. The army WAS BEING ATTACKED. It was Fatah al-Islam that broke all agreements for ceasefire in order to allow the safe exit of Palestinians. It is not equipped with proper weapons to return fire against specified accurate targets even if it could differentiate between civilian and militant. This opens up a political pandora's box about how much burdens this army carries amidst this endless turmoil. Still, the army hit back with the minimum damage to civilians. Everytime the army stopped shooting it was Fatah that hit first.Be warned: the dosage of "leftism" is increasing as we move along:
The whole propaganda about bombing civilians started with the pro-Syrian sources saying that there's a humanitarian crisis in the camp. The humanitarian crisis was trigerred by Fatah without even needing the army. Since if you have militants overtaking your house, you're already in deep shit no? If you are against it, then don't you do something about it?My initial response:
Huh???Excerpts from the reply:
Are you for real?????????????????????
Man, I would've never expected such a post from you.
But then this proves my theory.
That Lebanese "leftists" are a joke.
That nationalism blinds even the most (presumably) open-minded and non-racist people of all.
Have you seen the civilian death toll? Before you shower me with your "humaine" emotions? Check the Red Cross Official Report: 56 dead - 4 of which are civilians - 3 males who were actually found with the militants. Check for facts, its always important to do so before engaging in debate - u don't want to be a misinformed participant - it's silly trust me.Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori:
I join MFL in Saluting with Honor those who died in vain Palestinians, Kurds, AUbergines, and whatever u want to choose! I also extend my respect and sadness to the lost souls and brainwashed minds of those who are fighting on the wrong side and for the wrong cause... And allow me to remind you that they are NOT PALESTINIANS.. Again, check the facts... The highest percentage of the fighters is SAUDI, then SYRIAN, the PALESTINIAN."Leftists" do worry about human rights (while supporting the indiscriminate shelling of a refugee camp populated by more than 30,000 people):
Now, concerning the camps. Since you might (considering that case lo precedence u are misinformed and compulsive and anarchist by all means and u will act accordingly) be hasty in throwing all types of accusations at me, I am gonna explain it to u in simple and clear words. The social, political, and economic conditions in the camps are below zero. No respect for human rights, not even the minimum living standards.Diversionary rhetoric (trust ME, I have experienced such rhetoric and tactics from many of your ilk):
Corrupt palestinians who use their guns and terrorize other Palestinians in the name of empty causes in order to fill their pockets. I have EXPERIENCED IT. Trust me, a real Palestinian refugee (in that term) would tell u this: U want to help us? emancipate us from the grip of those robbing us off from within the camps. It is weird that Abou al-Aynayn is a millionaire and he's representing a big chunk of the camps. LEt's do an estimation of the GDP of a certain camp or the overall income per day at least... I challenge you it won't compare to this man's fortune...My reply:
Now you are rambling left right center.Need I say more???! Read the whole thing here.
Did you read what I said?
Did you actually read what you wrote?
Please do. Read what you wrote, that is.
Your post is full of reactionary arguments. Not just conspiracy theories about Syrian involvement, but also generalizations and blaming the victims for bringing it upon themselves.
Your argument is eerily similar (if at all distinguishable) from the Israeli argument of "collateral damage". Indiscriminate shelling (whether or not the army has accurate weapons) is a crime. If you do not have the appropriate weapons that is your problem. If you do not care if it is your problem and support the indiscriminate shelling, then you are immoral and are in my eyes no different than the Israelis, who also claimed to be acting in the interests and defense of their people from "terrorists".
In other words, "comrade", allow me to conclude this based on your post and subsequent rant: you are the "same shit, with a different name."
And yet, to cover up your blatant reactionary and racist rant about the Palestinians having to be blamed for not doing anything when they clearly saw those people training, etc., you bring a thousand things about millionaire Fateh leaders and so on. Where did you see me defend those???? Oh for goodness's sake, try your diversionary tactics with someone else. Fateh is a sellout (you can guess to whom, and no, it's not Syria for goodness's sake, though I am sure you will find a way to make that argument, too). So are all the other parties.
Your argument was clearly not about parties, though.
"If the civilians have been silent enough to get the militants to entrench themselves and to establish such firm control before the fighting broke out, doesn't that imply that they knew that militancy brings war?"
And then you distanced yourself from a possible comparison with Gemayel or Geagea. But your argument still stands. Or else, why did you mention it? You merely put in a corollary, that "not all" Palestinians are in on this. But then again, even Geagea would be willing to give you that!!!
Man, if you do not see anything wrong with what you said, then I pity you, really, and pity the "leftism" in the name of which you speak.
If you cannot see beyond the tip of your nose, then you are ignorant. You have allowed yourself to be dragged into the petty finger-pointing, much like at some point people used to blame (less so today) every single thing on Israel or America. MUCH LIKE the Islamist radicals continuously blame the "kuffar" and America and "crusaders" on every single thing.
For goodness's sake, read your post. Look in the mirror. Stop justifying your racism and ignorance by accusing me of being "compulsive".
What more can I say.
It's good that such circumstances expose people's true colors (though they might try to justify this exposure of colors by accusing others of being "compulsive" or misinformed). Misinformed about what? If you have any information about Syrian responsibility for what is happening now (and not how they built mazes in the camp some years ago!!) then clearly you know something that we don't, and why don't you inform your beloved shitty army of it? The same army that is indiscriminately shelling the poor Palestinian refugees (for you they bear the responsibility for not speaking out) did not dare launch a single bullet let alone a shell against Israel. Your problem is that you see things in black and white, good vs. evil. For you, the army in this fight is "the good", fighting against the "evil terrorists". I salute you for taking this very brave position.
and no need to reply!!!! I have nothing more to say, nor do I feel the need to read more of your diversionary arguments!!!
Monday, May 21, 2007
عمبيرتكب مجازر بحق اللاجئين الفلسطينيين
كلو تحت غطاء محاربة فتح الإسلام
فمين اللي عمبيفتح ابواب الجهنم ع مين؟
ومين اللي وصّل الأمور لهالحالة هاي؟
سوريا سوريا سوريا سوريا
الها ايد بكل صغيرة وكبيرة بتصير بلبنان
والنداءات من داخل المخيم
ما حدا سامعها الهيئة
ولا حدا شايف القتلى المدنيين
ما اصلاً هني لاجئين
ودمن مش غالي
بس مش لنهر البارد
ولا لعيون نهر البارد
ولَو نسيتوا؟ عيب عليكن
من اجل لبنان
آخ لو كان الحريري معنا
كان انقذ لبنان
من القوى اللي بدّا تدمر لبنان
بس عالقليلة ابنو سعد الدين
عارف مين هي هيدي القوى
واذا في ناس ما عارفين
ونحنا معركتنا ضد الأوهام
والأوهام القاعدين بالـ"داونتاون"
او بالأحرى قوات الإحتلال الوهمية
الذين هني أضرب من قوات الإحتلال الصهيونية
لازم يضبوا غراضن ويفلّوا
وأهل الخليج ناطرين
بدن يعملوا "شوبينغ"
ويعملوا الإشياء اللي ما فيون يعملوها بالسعودية
وما تنسوا التبضع
بس لليلة وحدة مش اكثر
يعني معليش نحنا منعرف انو الشعب اللبناني معروف بصموده
بس شوفوا هآ نحنا كمان عنا ناس معترين بالسعودية
يعني منكن لوحدكن
وها قد دخل لبنان الفلك الأميركي
حرب على الإرهاب
دفاعاً عن النفس
وأكيد لعيون رفيق الحريري
فلم اميركي طويل
"بولد آند بيوتيفول"
واحد بيقتل الثاني
واحد بيفقد ذاكرتو
وحدة بتقتل وحدة ثانية
اغتيالات ، مثل ما بسمّيها مدير مركز الشاي احمد فتفت
اغتيالات بالجملة والمفرق
في "ديليفري" كمان
اذا اشتريتوا البضاعة من اميركا
بيجي عليها "ديسكاونت"
بالإضافة لـ"ديليفري" بظرف ثلاثة ايام
بس اهم شي
برأي واحد شيوعي
(وشو شيوعي يا عيني)
انو الجيش يقضي ع فتح الإسلام
بأية وسيلة كانت
فتح ابواب الجهنم اذا لزم الأمر
شرط انو باب الجهنم ما ينفتح بالجميزة
يا عهد الأممية
وتحية للجيش اللبناني
ارهاب فتح الإسلام واللاجئين الفلسطينيين
مش ارهاب الصهاينة
تحية تحية لجيشنا
وما تنسوا قوى الأمن
والميليشيات التي قدمت خدماتها ضد الإرهاب مبارح
وتحية لمدفعيات الجيش
والله يفتح ابواب الجهنم على اعداء لبنان
وما تنسوا شيخ سعد بيعرف مين هني
ووليد عيدو بعدو ما باع دمو ليجيب سلاح؟
يمكن حان الوقت
وعين الحلوة من قبل شوي
سوريا سوريا سوريا
من الشمال للجنوب
من الشرق للغرب
بعد شوي رح يطلع سعد الحريري
ويعلن انو نظام البعث هو في الحقيقة الله عز وجل
بس اهم شي
انو واحد شيوعي
طالب بتطهير المخيمات من فتح الإسلام
بس بعدو مهووس بدور الجيش بتل الزعتر
آه العماد عون
يا عهد الأممية
It IS funny. It is DAMN funny (can't you hear me laughing?)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I hate to take on such a tone, but sometimes I am left with no other choice. This is one of those times.
You, and your truth, your international tribunal and your masters and your slaves and your blood-selling politicians and your zu'ama and your ta'ife and your tarik jdide and your bcharre and your rabieh and your dahieh and your chouf kingdom, and your shallow, idiotic analyses and finger-pointing and ignorance, are living proof that my Lebanese passport is not even fit to be toilet paper. Though I paid 300 fucking thousand Lebanese liras for it. Your currency by the way is equally unfit to serve as toilet paper.
I will not even waste my time preaching about not repeating the civil war. Go ahead, do it. You deserve all that you bring upon yourselves. Your herd mentality, your sectarianism, your racism, your hatred, your fucking obsession with Hariri (wlak k** emmo la Rafiq al Hariri w kl beit al-Hariri), are beyond disgusting. You call yourself a nation? I call you a joke. And I laugh. Today I will laugh at you, and you can tell me it ain't funny, but I will keep laughing. Because you are a joke. And you are too busy doing your masters' bidding, or coming up with conclusions based on -- you guessed it -- nothing, not one shred of evidence; and building on it an entire empire of ideas and imaginary explanations of a thousand other phenomena in the past and present, as well as predictions of the future. You are a joke, and I laugh out loud as you get slaughtered. So, do not mind my interruption, continue doing your masters' bidding.
ولعيون لينين كمان. قال شيوعي قال.
اذا الشيوعية هيك بفكروا يعني كارثة.ا
You got the point. I hope.
Yes, it is damn funny.
I think there is an explosion. I heard a very loud blast. I hope it's not all in my head. Maybe it's just that I've been doing too much reading that I've lost touch with reality? Anyone else heard it? I checked the TV, nothing.
في المجال الامني، قال وزير الشباب والرياضة أحمد فتفت امس ان المتهمين بجريمة اغتيال الشاب زياد قبلان والفتى زياد غندور "معروفون وهم من بيت شمص. وقد ترك العمل والتحقيق للقضاء اللبناني". واضاف: "هناك معلومات بأن المتهمين موجودون في الضاحية الجنوبية، فيما تشير معلومات أخرى الى انهم هربوا الى الخارج، ولكن من المؤكد ان الجناة لن يفلتوا من يد العدالة ولو بعد 50 سنة".ا
In the security field, Minister of Youth and Sports Ahmad Fatfat said yesterday that the accused [Angry Anarchist: not "suspects"] in the crime of assassination of Ziad Qabalan and Ziad Ghandour "are known and they are from the Shamas clan. And the job and investigation has been left to the Lebanese judiciary." He added: "There are information that the accused are in the Southern suburbs of Beirut, whereas other information indicate that they have escaped the country, but one thing is for sure, the criminals will not get away from the grip of justice, even after 50 years."
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
Monday, May 14, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
You know those moments you just wish you had a camera at hand to capture a scene? I had two of those moments, today.
On my way home, I take the "north" highway-which-does-not-look-like-a-highway. Today, something extraordinary happened on the highway. And no, it was not the discovery of yet-another-enormous-pothole. I was driving in my lane (well there are no lanes... no need to, really, after all that is the unique Lebanese way of doing things; but by lane I mean line of traffic) at around 40 km/hr (due to moderate traffic) when all of a sudden, a jeep came up right next to me. I turned my head to check out what was the matter as the jeep was keeping up my pace even though it could go faster in its own lane. To my amazement, I saw two guys (aside from the driver), one in the front one in the back, with their windows rolled down, holding RIFLES, staring at me. At first I ignored them. I was so shocked that I turned around again to check out what the hell this was all about. Even by Lebanese standards it is unusual to see people going around in unmarked jeeps, with windows rolled down, and holding rifles. Then, one of them moved the rifle a bit out of the window, to make sure that I saw it. He then put his arm out of the window and gestured that I move to the right. What the hell? At first I did not know what was going on. So I moved a bit to the right. Then, I realized what was actually happening. It was actually a 3-car convoy, with the jeep leading it. All three cars, including the jeep with the armed gunmen, were unmarked in any way whatsoever. The last car in the convoy was a black brand-new Mercedes-Benz. It, along with the other 2 cars, bore standard/regular license plates. The mixture of shock and amusement soon wore off, since the cars actually passed me and disappeared into the traffic. Then, somehow, I don't know how, it so happened that I actually found myself having caught up with the convoy. To my amazement the man sitting in the front gestured again for me to move away, to the right. Being the trouble-maker that I am, I gave him the most disgusted look, shook my head, looked back at him, shook my head again, and not only did I not move away, but actually cut them off.
I was told by the person sitting next to me, that I should not be doing such things, that it was risky, and that on another occasion they might actually get out of the car and beat the crap out of me. I had to laugh out loud at that. First: beat the crap out of me?? The last time anyone tried to do that (and no I do not have a martial arts belt) they not only wished they had not thought it a good idea, but that they had not even been born, so as not to think it. Second, I am supposed to take their crap because they might beat the crap out of me??? What kind of twisted logic is this? And who are these people? Their cars are unmarked, their license plates regular, and even if not, then so what? If they are officials, then officials get paid to do their jobs rather than have red carpets rolled out for them on highways as if they are distributing money to the people from their pockets. And what are unidentified gunmen doing going around and threatening people like that???
Speaking of cameras: I passed through a red light today, and I was unlucky enough to have one of those camera thingies (courtesy Hariri, Inc.) snap right at that instant. I thought to myself, what the hell, why do I have to be so unlucky? Then I chuckled, and told the person riding with me in the car that the state of affairs in this country can be summarized when you look at, on the one hand these cameras that are supposed to catch traffic violations and other wrong-doers; and on the other hand the release of Mark Hoayek's shooter.
By the way, have you been noticing the fancy brand-new American-donated Internal Security Forces black Ford Explorers touring around the Hariri, Inc. part of Beirut? Did you also notice they almost never leave the Hariri, Inc. part of Beirut? I saw one today. It was stationary. The driver and the rider next to him had parked the car in the shade and were sleeping.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
The brush jar...
(Re-producing Yuroz's "Before Sunset", with some variations)
powered by ODEO
and the music...
(Dimitri Chostakovitch - Valse No. 2)
Friday, May 4, 2007
I am being tempted time and again to publish that old angry post of mine (which still sits as a draft in my account).
I used to check my mail every morning, looking forward to receiving emails. I used to love getting emails. Now, I don't check my e-mail until late afternoon, and sometimes in the evening; sometimes I don't check it for a few days. I am afraid that it would contain something that will ruin my mood. As usual, I was right in my assessment. Just at a time when I was in no need of a mood-ruining email, given how stressed I am with the amount of work I am expected to hand in, I made the mistake of checking my e-mail. It was an e-mail from one of the professors I work with. I was assigned to him against my will, despite the fact that his main research at the moment has to do with sociology more than political science. I am supposed to work with him only 7 hours per week (2 hours on Monday, 3 hours on Tuesday, 2 hours on Wednesday). At the beginning of the semester, he handed me a stack of (two 300-page) books and some four-five 40+page articles, and told me, given that you are a good student you can probably read all of this in 2 weeks (that's 14 hours of reading time). I rolled my eyes and told him, "we shall see about that". I started reading the book, but soon concluded (not that there was any doubt about it, but I did give his assessment the benefit of the doubt) that not only was 14 hours not enough for that ONE book, but that I could not possibly handle all the books and articles unless I took the whole semester at a rate of 7-hours/week to read them all and write a review of each... He did not bother me for two weeks, and by that time I had finished reading one article and was halfway through one book. One day, 2 weeks after handing me the to-be-read-and-reviewed stack, he came up to me and said, how are the readings going? I told him I had read the article and was halfway through the book. He dropped a hint and asked me if it was because I was too crowded with coursework. At the time I didn't get the hint, I thought that it had nothing to do with his assignment, since I did it from campus and not from home... Now I understand what he meant: he knew it was impossible to read all that he handed me in 14 hours, and he expected me to put in as much work at home as at university. Anyhow, that day I felt there was something wrong with me, and so I took the book and articles home with me, and finished the book and a 150-page article (well, half a photocopied book) in a week's time. As a result of that, I had to skip doing my own coursework readings. The next week I started writing the report and decided I would not take anything home with me that had to do with his research. Last Wednesday, he came to me and inquired about me, again making the coursework hint; I told him I was almost done with the reviews, and he said we should schedule a meeting to discuss where I had reached. I said fine, and he asked me if Friday was fine. We agreed to meet and talk on Friday. After he left, I emailed him my review, and he replied, telling me I had done a great job, but that he was running late on a deadline and needed me to finish everything by next week. On Thursday the bodies of the two kidnapped youths were discovered, and it was officially announced that Friday all schools and universities would be closed. Down the drain went our meeting. This past Monday I went to work for my scheduled hours and continued reading the book, actually skimming it as fast as I could, so that I would finish it by Wednesday. Ditto for Tuesday and Wednesday. I was close to finishing the book on Wednesday, but ran out of time, and thought I would put the finishing touches this coming Monday.
A while ago, I received an e-mail. I will share it with you, without naming the professor of course:
Dear ----,The e-mail was CCed to the department head. Needless to say, hot-headed as I am, I felt the need to reply; I sent a reply, and CCed it to both the head of the department, and the secretary, who sees me every time I go there, as I get the key from her for the room I usually sit in and do the research; or when I do not sit in that room, I cover for her while she goes on a coffee break because there are no other assistants who are present at the department to cover for her.
I have noticed your absence over the past few weeks while not reporting to me during your scheduled work hours. I hope you’re doing well and fine, please let me know if a specific reason is preventing you from coming or from completing your already past due research assignment.
Dr. ----,He replied (there is a reason I am posting these):
I have been coming to the office upstairs or otherwise working from downstairs (at the department); the only days I have been "absent" were Friday (which was not a school day given the fact that the minister of education announced official university closure) and this past Tuesday (May Day). I am not sure if I was expected to show up on those days.
Given the amount of work (two books and a number of articles) you handed me, I have also been forced to do additional hours from home, which has taken up from my own research and study time. Moreover, ---- also handed me an assignment for the [upcoming] conference, and I have been working on that as well (putting in at least 5 hours for the poster design, and more than another 5 hours for schedule leaflet design, which is the equivalent of more than a week's work- 7 hours-with you). I thought he might have mentioned that to you, as that is part of my working hours and not an additional task I am being paid to do. I have accepted ----'s request as per the faculty needs policy that was highlighted to me by ---- himself prior to assigning me as your assistant.
Moreover, I think the secretary and faculty members can testify to my presence in the past few weeks on Monday afternoons, Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, which is when my hours with you are supposed to be.
P.S. I have also attached the short report (as you requested last Wednesday that I keep my reports short) on the Cultural Resistance book.
Dear ----,At this point I was beyond angry. Keep in mind that this whole affair is taking place after a very serious clash between me and the head of the department, on the issue of assignment of graduate research assistants. He had told me in response to my objections to being assigned to professors in sociology, that I was being selfish by not taking into account faculty needs. He insisted that there must be a happy compromise and mutual understanding between the faculty needs and students' interests and abilities. There was not much else that I could do, and I yielded, following which I was assigned with the professor who is the subject of this post...
More than two months now have passed since I made my request for article reviews. My requests do not require you to read the entire books. As I informed you in the past, you are supposed to work on this 7 hours a week from your office in room 302 B as scheduled and not elsewhere. I do not require you to do any of the assigned work at home. We had a previously scheduled meeting for updates and set deadlines according to which my research has to progress accordingly. Please see me in this regard.
So, I wrote a long reply -- I will not post all of it because it is quite long and you don't need to read the technical parts of it.
Dr. ----,I probably should not have made these e-mails public, but I am beyond disgusted. I am disgusted by how there is no definition that is upheld in this country, where people can define and re-define everything according to their daily needs and whims. Where people expect more than they are entitled to, and won't shut up about it when they are put in their place by the truth. I am most of all disgusted that a professor, with a PhD, can actually stoop to this level (there are other things that can be said about this certain individual which would literally drop your jaw to the ground, but I will refrain from publicizing them, because that is none of my business). It is beyond beyond disgusting. Sigh. Another afternoon gone to waste.
First of all, the email I received for G.A. [Graduate Assistantship] assignment from ---- is dated March 19, and I received it only on March 20, following which I talked with you on March 21 and we arranged that I would work on Monday afternoons, Tuesday mornings, and Wednesday afternoons. I believe I officially started on March the 26th. Thus, it has not been two months, but rather, 6 weeks. Six weeks, during which I was supposed to put in 7 hours / week. That makes it 42 hours total, 10 of which I had to put in for ----'s request (which was urgent and deadline-specific, and was handed to me before you told me that you also had a deadline to meet, which you told me on Wednesday, following which I have made every effort to read the 300-page book, or skim it as thoroughly as possible, and write the report). That left me with 32 hours total, for 2 books and more than 5 articles (one of which was half a book), and I do need to read them to a certain depth to understand and be able to summarize or review them.
Moreover, we agreed last Wednesday on a meeting on Friday, which went down the drain given the closure as a result of the killing of the 2 youths. It was only last Wednesday when I forwarded you my report for the book and the article, that you told me that you did not need me to write down long and thorough reports, and I followed your request in my report on the Cultural Resistance book, which I attached in the previous email. I had also read the Planet of Slums piece, and reported to you on that, saying that there was not much to be written, as it was primarily a quantitative / statistical overview.
In addition, I do not recall us having set a specific location for my work, we only agreed that I would work from "here", and by "here" it was not understood your office, or 302 B, but rather, that it would not be work from home but from on-campus, where I would be accessible for any other task that you might need me for. Having said that, much of my work, with the exception of a few days (when I was downstairs at the department for one reason or another, the reason being that another faculty or staff member needed my help which I could not turn down as per the faculty needs policy), has been done from that office, including when you were away from the university for some time (due to travel, from what I understood).
Having said that, I believe ---- was clear when we talked about the policies of assigning G.As, that assistantship dynamics is not a one-sided process of faculty needs (nor only of student needs) , but rather one of mutual understanding and acceptance of the needs, interests, and abilities of the other. This includes the interests, needs, and time constraints (as specified in the "contract" sheet) of the student. I have also assumed that the faculty would take the hour limits into consideration when setting up and defining their expectations.
I am not sure what more is specifically required of me; I have thus far read 2 books and 2 articles in the span of 32 hours of reading time (and additional hours from home, which you seem to dismiss for some reason). If we are to follow a policy of 7 hours and not one second less, then don't you think we would be better off to set up a counter, which would ward off potential controversies in the future?
Lastly, as far as I can recall, and please correct me based on prior email correspondence we may have had, the only time you mentioned a deadline is last Wednesday in your email; since you are dismissing the hours I have put in from home, I could only start working on meeting your deadline from Monday. I have shown up on all three days since then: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Here are my hours, as I have kept track of them on the sheets:
The above amounts to, even without my attendance during vacations: 42.5 hours. This does not include the hours I put in from home, and 10 hours of work I have put in for ----. Given that I officially started on March 26, which means that I have been your assistant for 6 weeks and not "more than two months" as you said, it would mean that I was required to put in, had there been no vacations, 42 hours in total (6 weeks, 7 hrs / week). This shows that not only have I worked my full times, but also more than that, if we count in the vacations and April 24 (despite which I showed up to work). This does not even include the hours I put in from home, to satisfy your expectations , at a time when I was short for time on my schoolwork.
I suggest, since this correspondence has been CCed also to ----, that we would hold a meeting between the three of us, to further discuss this matter. Because it seems there has been some misunderstanding about the hours that I am expected to put in, and expectations of what I can do within those hours -- and reading two 200+page books and 4-5 articles (almost all of them 30+pages long) in 42 hours is, even by PhD student standards, quite high.
I will be at university for my scheduled hour on Monday, and if ---- is able to meet and would like to discuss this issue, I would love to talk further about this, because I am not very happy with how I am being held over-accountable not for what I am not doing, but for what I am doing.
See you on Monday. [يعني حلّ عنّي بقى...ا]
The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) and Tadamon call upon you to join a picket against the Chapters-Indigo bookstore chain which funds apartheid in Palestine/Israel.
Saturday, May 5th, 2007, 1:00-3:00 pm
Indigo Bookstore, west of McGill College (McGill Metro)
For more information about the campaign, check out the following leaflet
Or call: 514.941.9792
Or email: endapartheid aaaaat riseup dooooot net
Please circulate widely and inform your friends and relatives.
Even if they might not be interested in attending the picket, they would be aware of where their money is going.
Don't forget to boycott the bar code 729 (made in Israel).
Some Thoughts, in Bullet Form
Thursday, May 3, 2007
No pun intended in the title, of course. I don't have time to blog much and for that I apologize, but I thought maybe I could instead tease you with a share of the observations I have been making to myself these past few weeks (or days, I lost track).
- Did you notice how subdued (drugged?) Walid Jumblatt looks these days? Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks that. Mind you, as the saying goes, do not judge a man by his looks, especially if he happens to be Walid Jumblatt.
- Western media as usual does a cosmetic surgery of the ugly reality of the Israeli opposition to Olmert and Peretz; here's a typical headline: "Israelis protest over Lebanon war" (BBC). Of course, the opposition to Olmert and Peretz is not because they went to war instead of choosing the diplomatic track, nor because they killed too many civilians, but solely because they failed to achieve victory. Had victory been achievable, and achieved, would anyone have cared about the price in civilian lives that the "enemy" had to pay, or for that matter, expressed anti-war sentiment (not that they do now)?
- The Israeli left, or what was left of the Israeli left, i.e, the right of the Israeli left, i.e. the center, which is the left of the Israeli right, which is the same as the Israeli right since the left is always at a loss for directions and somehow always tends to move in the opposite direction, has at last shed its image of "leftism", and officially joined the ranks of the right.
- Chavez is on a rampage (what's new).
- People are still arguing about whether Lebanon won or lost the July war...
- I rarely check out, let alone participate in, the "have your say" section of the BBC website; a few days ago, I saw something on the Winograd commission, and decided to write up and send a reply. They still haven't published my reply. I think my name (Anarchist) turned them off. I wrote about the Winograd Commission, and I said that its purpose was twofold: first, doing cosmetic surgery on Israel's image by emphasizing Israeli "values" of accountability, etc. (but not for war crimes and mass murder) ; second, reassuring its patron (do I have to mention who that would be?) that the mistakes of the July war will not be repeated, and that Israel will be a good partner in the "war against terror" from now on. I did not take into consideration the public opinion factor, and still don't. I do not like public opinion much, especially when theorizing about correlation and causality; it is too tricky and slippery, it is not exactly quantifiable except in rare cases where referendum data is available. I do not think Winograd Commission is specifically for a domestic audience, though it certainly may take on that role, too.
- On July 20, 2006 Gideon Levy accused Israel of launching "Operation Peace for IDF", in an article of the same title. I love the title (which in case you did not get it, is a play on "Operation Peace for Galilee"), though I do not approve of some of what came in the article.
- Aoun suggested a one-time break from sectarianism (at face value), by having people vote directly for the president. Only a one-time thing, then we can go back to our neat boxes and profess allegiance to this za'im or that, "a strong Christian figure", "a Sunni za'im", "a heroic Sayyed", "a drugged chieftain", etc.
- If as many people gathered in Lebanon as there were in the anti-Olmert rally in Tel Aviv, people would have been talking about 1.5 million protesters taking to the streets. Not only that, but people would have immediately monopolized that date, and started arguing about "which date" fielded how many supporters. The Lebanese like playing the numbers game, I guess; except when it comes to the debt, and the number of people butchered by Israel (that's when they start arguing about how Israel "won" the war).
- The Lebanese talk about how Israel really won the war by pointing to the accountability process there; these same Lebanese, when faced with any talk whatsoever about their zu'ama being held accountable, turn into blood-sucking wild-eyed "patriots" and accuse you of wanting to weaken Lebanon and serve -- of course -- Syrian interests.
- Israel still does not have a constitution nor defined borders. Remind them to get one, or if they have a phobia of specifying their borders, tell them not to claim to be a state. The latter is better.
- Can someone please give me one good argument in favor of absentee (expatriate) voting? Or for that matter, voting in and of itself?
- Lebanese sectarian politics: coming to your hometown? (see previous bullet)
- At the current (oil) Reserve/Production ratio, the U.S can produce oil for another 12 years only, KSA for another 65 years, Iran for another 93 years, Iraq and Kuwait, for more than 100 years. Here, I bolded the important parts for you, draw your own conclusions. And do share your thoughts.
- The Israeli government and defense forces should wage a war against car drivers. Traffic accidents claim the lives of dozens every week in Israel. But that doesn't violate the sovereignty of Israel. Sorry, my bad.
- Apparently, HezbAllah won the propaganda war "by its strict and undemocratic control of the media". Israel, however, is as usual very democratic. Will Harvard remove its logo from this publication?
- I had to chuckle at "May Day" demonstrations; communist parties in every country holding national flags.
- The Azmi Bishara plot thickens... I have come to increasingly view the whole affair as one that is not unrelated to the Winograd commission and attempts to quell domestic dissatisfaction by busying the public with a case of treason, against an Arab citizen to make things marketable of course. This enables the authorities to play on the feelings of the Jewish citizens especially that the July war brought to the forefront fresh divides between the Arab and Jewish communities, along with accusations of mass-treason against Arab citizens, leveled by their Jewish counterparts. Azmi Bishara seems to be the scapegoat, and his framing not only serves a public opinion purpose, but also could be related to new policies to be adopted vis-a-vis the Arab community in light of the increasing strain it places on the authorities in the domain of demographic challenge (or perceptions thereof).