Sunday, June 19, 2005

Lebanese Mazah: There are so many rumors swirling around the assassination of Samir Qasir. So much so, that the family of Qasir had to issue a statement yesterday denouncing the rumors. The rumors suggest that he was assassinated for "personal reasons." Sulayman Franjiyyah even talked about that on LBC-TV, and Jumblat was asked point blank on LBC-TV about the rumors suggesting his culpability. I personally don't believe those rumors. The method of assassination suggests an "intelligence agency" with expertise in assassinations, and not some enraged husband. But even friends of Qasir don't discount the rumors. I have noticed that obituaries of Qasir in the Lebanese press made no mention in Qasir's membership in the Lebanese Community Party in the late 1970s. This may offend his current right-wing supporters and fans. This is how Hariri Political Inc uses the money during the election: in addition to outright bribes especially to local officials and Mukhtars, they offer a payment of $150.00 for registration of your car with the campaign on the condition that you bring your family or other voters to a specific polling station. I have talked to people who either received the money or were offered it. They also found a way to legalized bribery: they will pay you an amount of money to sit in at a polling station as a delegate of the campaign. This explains why the Hariri Political Inc has some 50000 delegates at each polling station. I have to say this, in praise of the Hariri Political Inc, :Nicolai Ceausescu would be very proud of the manifestations of the Hariri personality cult in the Beirut area. More than one person here have volunteered to be a "correspondent" for the Angry Arab News Service. That made me think about some ideas in the future. But I have to screen candidates and test their hummus recipes. Abu Mazen is discovering that he can't control the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. He thought that he can easily subdue them. They are not loyal to his political agenda, and many are suspicious of him--and that includes Fath members who support Abu AL-Lutf. A Syrian worker told me that many Syrian workers here hide their accents. Some have returned to Lebanon. But it is absolutely impossible to find cars with Syrian license plates in Lebanon, which was quite common in the past. In fact, for a conference of Syrian-Lebanese business people, the Syrian delegation had to rent Lebanese cars from the border area. My hotel had over 60% occupancy rate last year, and 30% this year. They hope that the end of the election will change things. I just received an invitation for some AUB alumni dinner invitation: at $100.00 a person, featuring Nancy Ajram. I never attended a graduation in my life, and certainly would never attend an Alumni event for the elitist and pretentious schools that I attended in this country. I would rather attend a "concert" by Celine Dion in Vegas, as painful as that would be.