Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Los Angeles Times' article was nice; and I liked Robin, which made it easier for me to talk openly. In fact, the very way in which she first approached me about the idea via email was appealing. Geraldo will not be doing a feature on me, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding. I now will be teased forever about the "gardener" in my house. Somebody who takes care of my lawn once a week. But please: don't confuse my gardener with my live-in potato slicer, without whom I can't even survive. The picture (which appeared in the print edition) but not the web edition: showed me looking very angry. But I told Richard that I did not want to smile or act for the camera. All the people who are close to me commented that the article captured my personality or my essence accurately, whatever that means. I enjoyed doing AlJazeera show; I felt very animated and excited; I felt that many things about Lebanon need to be said and are not being said. Despite all my commentaries and pontification on the show, I still felt that I wanted to say more. So much so, that this was the first time that I kept talking to the very last second. I was reading the biography of Albert Speer by J. Fest on the plane. I have always detested Speer who tried to absolve himself of the crimes of Nazism. Albert Speer exists in every authoritarian or fascist regime: not the true believer of the regime, but the unprincipled opportunist, who adjusts to the times, just as he adjusted in Nazi times and post-Nazi times. He deceived the world, but recent books about him (the three that I recently read) do a good job of exposing him. I expect Tariq Aziz in the upcoming trials in Iraq to play the Albert Speer's role. He can't do that. This avid propagandist has a trail record of hate speech behind him, and sat at the most horrific meetings of the Revolutionary Command Council of Saddam. But he will play the role; he will claim that he was busy reading Western literature and did not notice the crimes of Saddam, just as Speer unbelievably claimed that he did not notice the shattered glass the day after Kristallnacht. And there may be evidence that Speer was present at that notorious event in October 1943 when Himmler talked about the extermination of Jews. I worry that Tariq Aziz will be released, and will get a job propagandizing for another Arab government. Do you know that there are people who assign Thomas Friedman's books in college courses? Is that not an insult to the intelligence of the students? The racist anti-Syrian (against the people I mean, as opposition to Arab governments, all of them, pleases me) campaign in Hariri's newspaper, AlMustqbal, continues. Today, they printed one of their reliable rumors; that Ka'k (a kind of bread) vendors (who are often very poor Syrians, and many of them have been killed or beaten up in recent Hummus developments) suddenly disappeared from Samir Qasir's neighborhood. They are basically accusing those poor Syrian vendors of killing Qasir. The poor Syrian vendors are too poor to sue Al-Mustaqbal for the slander. It is easy in the media (east and west) to defame and lie about poor people. Did they capture a "senior aide to Zarqawi" while I was flying? Is Bush still "making progress" in Iraq? Public opinion surveys indicate a change of mind among Americans about the war; Bush may be able to fix that in one prime time speech. In the last one, support for the war went up 10 percent.