Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lebanese Communist Party leaders seem to be blaming Israel for the assassination of George Hawi. George Hawi remained close to LCP leaders and members after his resignation in 1993, when he became very active in construction business (utilizing his ties to the former Soviet Union). He was indeed a dynamic personality in Lebanese politics although I do not approve--as I said yesterday--of his past hardcore Stalinist rigidity or his new Christian sectarian flexibility. I could not believe that statement of the US embassy over the death of Hawi. They only identified him as anti-Syrian, although his position toward Syria was more nuanced than the right-wing opposition. But he was much more than that. Did they forget to remember that he spent his entire life fighting (literally in many cases) against Israel and US plots and wars in the Middle East? They made him sound as if he was a right-wing militia type. How deceptive. I remember the words he wrote in September 16th, 1982 when the first communique of the Lebanese National Resistance Movement (against Israeli occupation) was issued (co-written with Muhsin Ibrahim, the head of the Lebanese Communist Action Organization) and it said that Israel and US do not want Lebanon to be "sovereign, free, or independent." Those words still ring true today, propaganda efforts notwithstanding. There is a mood of nervousness in the air; people active in politics are careful when they turn on their car engines. An-Nahar newspaper exploited to the hilt the assassination of Samir Qasir. They did not tell you this: (which I was just told by a confidential source within) when Qasir was persecuted by the Lebanese intelligence service in 2001 (of the Public Security Department to be exact with the participation of the Syrian intelligence for sure), Jubran Tuwayni (general director of An-Nahar) who shed crocodile tears over Qasir's death argued with Qasir over his criticisms of the Lebanese and Syrian intelligence order, and ASKED him to tender his resignation at the time. The publisher Ghassan Tuwayni also lashed out at Qasir in a meeting, and told him that you are "tuwarritna" (you are "dragging us into" this mess). This is the real right-wing Christian newspaper An-Nahar. As-Safir's sales are up 35 % in predominantly Christian areas probably because all newspapers of Lebanon are no more than propaganda sheets. Only in As-Safir you read more than one opinion. An-Nahar still sells more because they also have a monopoly over the distribution and advertisement business of newspapers. For those who care, I will be speaking in Tyre this Saturday at 6:00PM at Al-Muntada Ath-Thaqafi. The LA Times profile of Angry Arab was printed in Monterey Herald and here in the Detroit News which also printed the picture of Angry bed (which did not make it in the on-live version of the LA Times article). I highly recommend the falafil sandwiches at Barbar in Hamra.