Presidential etc…

Yep, Moussa didn’t manage, and so it’s been delayed for the 15th time, to the 11th of March.
Hezbollah meanwhile managed to kill 2 Iraeli soldiers without lifting a finger: they were on an Israeli military base ‘testing’ a Hezbollah anti-tank rocket they’d found in Lebanon during the July war, and lo behold! it worked
Here‘s an interesting interview my friend and colleague Gabriela Keller did with Tunisian psychoanalist Fethi Benslama in 2006, discussing the (in)compatibility of psychoanalysis and islam.
Here‘s a Lebanese socialist blog linking to many similar ones, throwing a different light on some Lebanese issues.
Here‘s Raid Khoury on Electronic Intifada doing a good analysis of Mughniyeh’s significance from the resistance’s point of view. Ramzy Baroud shines his light on the same issue here.
And here‘s a hilarious, cutting-to-the-bone editorial of Marc J. Sirois, managing editor of the Daily Star – a man I’m getting to appreciate more as I read more of his editorials. This one’s set up as a ‘beginner’s dictionary of Lebanese politics’. Some excerpts:
Hizbullah: “Party of God.” Powerful movement based on confrontation with Israel, supply of social services to historically disenfranchised community, and austere religiosity. Only thing in Lebanon that works as advertised but pursues risky strategies that threaten to destroy that which it has fought so hard to achieve.
Israel: Nasty neighbor. Individual citizens met in airports are often perfectly normal, but ruling class is led by mystic racists bent on punishing Arabs for monstrous but decades-old crimes perpetrated, in any event, by an Austrian who was himself a mystic racist.
Lebanon: A magical but forlorn place stuck between two devils and the deep blue sea. Filled with beautiful scenery, great food and wonderful people who don’t get along very well.

March 8 Forces: Opposition alliance named for largest mass demonstration in Lebanese history.
March 14 Forces: Government alliance named for largest mass demonstration in Lebanese history.
Politics: 1) The art and science of using the trappings of government to steal from the general public; 2) The art and science of calling people (including other thieves) names when they accuse you of stealing.
Sectarianism: Formula by which Lebanese remain serfs controlled by competing Mafia families.
Sectarian strife: Tensions between believers in rival superstitions, usually stirred in concert by competing Mafia families to keep the masses from noticing that they are all being screwed – left, right, and center – by sectarianism.
Syria: Nasty neighbor. Source of most evils that don’t come from Israel.
United Nations: Organization of sovereign states that pretend to act in concert but are prevented from doing so by veto-wielding great (and formerly great) powers. Sets myriad rules for relations among peoples and nation-states but enforces them selectively. World’s leading manufacturer of acronyms – e.g. UNDP, UNAMID, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNPROFOR, UNTSO, etc.
United States of America: 1) The Great Satan; 2) The Great Savior; 3) Useful Idiot; 4) Dangerous Idiot.
Warlord: Individual who commanded militia forces during Civil War, responsible for loss of hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of innocent human lives. Most now playing roles as respectable politicians and managing to fool large numbers of people here and abroad.
Zaim
: A holder of traditional authority in an Arab society, generally without merit of any sort save widespread belief in how his great-grandfather hid wheat from the Ottomans. Note: The zaim typically lives in a large home but is often cash-poor owing to his having squandered the proceeds of his ancestors’ crimes and/or been pushed out of his own racketeering ventures by other zuama (plural); if you visit such a home, watch your wallet.’

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