Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I cannot believe how displeased some of you were regarding my comment about conspiracy theories. I was just talking about that to an audience in the Shi`ite southern suburbs of Beirut last night. There are conspiracies in the world, we just have to be careful to not peddle a conspiracy unless it is substantiated and can stand to the scrutiny of logic, facts, and reason. That is all. Have not seen Moore's movie yet, and will see upon return. Piracy can let me see it here, but would rather see it in a big airconditioned theatre in US. I was referring to his last book, and his references to Bush-Bin Laden connection. That was all. I read the text of the last speech of Iraqi puppet Prime Minister/Car Bomber Iyad Allawi. His speeches really sounds like Ba`thist speeches from the 1970s. Now if the US insisted that car bombing be a requirement and part of the job description for the puppet prime minister of Iraq, could US not find another "qualified" car bomber besides former Saddam's henchman Allawi? He was comparing his enemies to the enemies of Muhammad in early Islam, and this demagogue could ot resist but call the Wahhabi terrorists "zanadiqah," which is a word used in classical Islamic period to refer to free thinkers and atheists? Why that terminology, and who writes his speeches? I have discerned this: when you talk about Iraq, you hear (in general and I am gernalizing) different perceptions among Sunni and Shi`ite Arabs. Sunni Arabs (Arab nationalists in particular) tend to be enthusiastic about "resistance" in Iraq no matter what, and no matter who is using whatever methods. Among Shi`ites: there is more caution, and more fear for the future of Iraq, and for the impact of Wahhabi fanatical terrorists. Certainly there is no love for US occupation, but there is no love for Ba`thists or Wahhabis either. When in Beirut, you run into dissidents from different Arab countries. Just this morning, I ran into two major courageous dissidents from Jordan and Bahrain. I will not name them for fear for their safety, but salute them both. If I were to rank sexist cities around the world, I may select Beirut as the most sexist city worldwide. Best tiramissu in Lebanon is at the El Mondo restaurent at the Pheonicia Hotel. Best hummus is at AlBakawat restaurent, and best food in general is at AlAjami restaurent. AnNahar newspaper had two articles about a new kooky Bin Ladenite group called Jund Ash-Sham (Soldiers of Syria). Apparently they admire Bin Laden and consider all Shi`ites to be infidels. AnNahar sensationalized the article about the group. But I asked people who should know and was told that they number in the tens, no more. There are kooks everywhere, except in Micrnesia, for some reason. Swam at the Reviera beach and the water was filthy and stinky, but enjoyed the experience nevertheless. Best beaches in Lebanon are in Tyre, and I am not saying that because I hail from that city. The clerical book burners of Al-Izhar Islamic University are at it again, and again, and again: now they are launching a campaign to ban a book that merely called for the reform of the Arabic language; it is titled: Long Live Arabic Language, and Down with Sibawayh (a major Arabic Linguist from the classical period).