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June 3, 2011

Suheir Hammad – Into Egypt (Official Video)

Directed by Waleed Zaiter, this is a video interpretation of Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad’s “Into Egypt” featuring unforgettable imagery from the revolution and the Arab Spring.


(via Pulse)

Nasrallah Dropped the Ball


KABOBfest, June 2, 2011When he entered the topic of Syria, Nasrallah was unusually reading verbatim from his notes. Anyone who has routinely watched Nasrallah’s speeches would know it is not his style to read. This is the one and only excuse I could find for him, to explain his incredible hypocrisy and his utter disregard for the thousands of victims detained, tortured, injured, and killed by the Syrian regime these past few months.This is coming from someone who has openly supported Hezbollah and admired its charismatic leader for as long as I can remember. What is it that he owes to the Syrian regime that he had to back-stab the Syrian people? Are they not part of our Ummah (nation), as he himself reiterates? Of course he knows that! Some have argued that he sold out his Syrian brothers and sisters for a greater cause for the Ummah, i.e. by defending the Syrian regime it would somehow, in the long term, prove to save more lives, in addition to our freedom and dignity, than if it falls. But to stand with a tyrannical regime, you have already forsaken all dignity and all freedom.Nasrallah’s words show that he was aware that people would find it hard to buy his defense. At one point he stated that: “When we worry about Syria, we worry about its regime and about its people, not only the regime.” Also, he spent twenty minutes explaining the “elements” that his position of support was based on.

In the first element, he talks about all the gratitude that the Lebanese (and all Arabs in general) owe to the Syrian regime for saving Lebanon from division and stopping the bloodiest civil war in its history. Of course, he conveniently disregards the fact that Syria was part of that civil war which it allegedly helped stop, not to mention the Syrian army’s massacres (which he refers to as mistakes) of Palestinian refugees in the very same years he evokes.

In the second and third elements, he brings up Syria’s position in the region as part of the resistance axis. Does he not know that Syria’s position of so-called resistance is only a political strategy to get a better deal with Israel and the US? Did the Syrian regime not cooperate with the US in hunting down “terrorists” and in securing the Syrian-Iraqi border? Did he forget that it was Hafez al-Assad who refused Jadeed’s directive to intervene in Black September and save the Palestinian guerrilla fighters in Jordan?

In the fourth element, Nasrallah distinguishes the Syrian regime from those of Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Tunisia in that the Syrian regime is very serious about reforms and fighting corruption, and therefore they should be given a chance to enact those promised reforms “through dialogue, not clashes.” Well who’s the one rolling tanks into besieged cities, cutting off their water, electricity, and food supplies? Does he not see who’s the one doing the clashing? Of course he does, and that makes him a hypocrite and a liar.

In the fifth element, he affirms that the majority of Syrians (based on trusted information) are still supporting the regime and believe in Bashar’s ability to deliver on his promises for reform. He then asks rhetorically “Who/where are the Syrian people so we can stand by them?”

It is only in the last two elements that he provides the true reason for his support of the Syrian regime: “What happens in Syria has its consequences in Lebanon and the whole region. We must take this into consideration…. Lebanon has commitments and treaties with Syria, starting from Al-Taef Agreement to all other mutual interests.”

Based on these elements, Nasrallah said that the Lebanese are obligated (stressing that this is simply his point of view; that the Lebanese people can choose to disagree) to take the following positions towards what’s happening in Syria:

1. To be assiduous towards the stability and safety of the Syrian regime, army, and people.
2. To invite the Syrians to maintain their country and regime, and to give them the chance to make the necessary reforms, and to choose dialogue over clashes.
3. To abstain, as Lebanese, from interfering with what’s happening in Syria, unless it was a positive interference.
4. To strongly reject any sanctions imposed by America and the West which require Lebanese cooperation. Lebanon should never stab Syria in the back.
5. To work together and cooperate so that Syria can come out of [the crisis] strong and resistant, because that is in the interests of Syria, Lebanon, the Arab world, and the Ummah.

During the entire segment on Syria, which Nasrallah spoke with great enthusiasm and loud voice, there was no applause or cheers from the massive crowd in attendance. Perhaps even the people there thought the same as what many Arabs around the world who love Hezbollah thought: “I wish you did not talk about Syria at all!”

Not even the most cunning Zionist plan could have come up with a way to discredit Nasrallah the way he did to himself! This is a big blow (perhaps the biggest) to his image and influence as the greatest Arab leader since Gamal Abdul-Nasser (some even say since Salahuddin 1000 years ago). Regardless of the disagreements in ideology and the specifics of the overall Arab and Islamic cause, he was loved and supported by millions around the world, up until this speech on May 25, 2011 in commemoration of the liberation of the South of Lebanon. I don’t know how would he recover, unless he comes out in public and apologize for disregarding (and silently supporting) the brutal torture, incarceration, and murder of thousands of Syrians.

As for those Syrians and other Arabs who accuse the Syrian protesters of being part of a Zionist/American plot (thankfully Nasrallah did not openly stoop to that level), since when does peaceful protesting get punished with brutal torture and shots to the head? If you guys wish to support the regime in Syria after all the crimes it had committed, then at least have the decency to pretend to be ashamed of yourselves.

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