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Beirut’s ‘Wishing Fountain’ asks, what if money was a public resource?

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 awards for the natives

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.

The (ongoing) unpublicized impact of a successful BDS action

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.

‘It’s their fault’

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.

Biden’s Omission

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.

‘We will turn Kobanê into hell for ISIS’

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.

Built to break: the forced collages of everyday life

“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.

The US and Israel are to blame for Arab misery: let me count the ways

It is the season of the revival of the “Arab Mind”: propagandists for Saudi princes around the world are peddling the same message contained in the racist book, The Arab Mind. Propagandists of Saudi princes who write in English have another task: they are competing to inherit the role of Fouad Ajami in Zionist US media. They know how much American mainstream media and Israel appreciate the schtick that Arabs are responsible for their misery, or that, as Ajami put it over and over again in his cliché, Arab wounds are self-inflicted. Saudi Arabia decided on orders of the US to take on ISIS and the Saudi regime may also have its own fears from ISIS. But the propaganda outlets of Saudi regime act and sound in unison, claiming that the Saudi regime is blameless, and that the US and Israel are humanitarian warriors in the Arab world, and that Arabs are backward by their very nature. To blame the US or Israel for Arab wars and divisions is tantamount to blasphemy in the Wahhabi doctrine.

From Lebanon to Brazil: Marginalized communities most threatened by climate change

Drawing an estimated 400,000 protesters, thereby making it “the largest climate change march in history,” the People’s Climate March mobilized, on September 21, on the streets of New York City, confronting politicians attending the UN security council meeting, creatively demanding accountability and “action, not words” from world leaders. Contingents in attendance included local and external indigenous groups such as Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, both of whom are from “the territory known as Canada.”

What if ‘Loulou’ could kill ‘Daesh?’

While having lunch with the family a couple of days ago, ‘Daesh’ came up. It always comes up. There seems to be nothing more pressing or shocking these days. There definitely is, but within our finite vision of what is catastrophic, a terrorist group claiming to be an Islamic renaissance, while killing everyone in sight, rightfully earns its place as a Lebanese table conversation.

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