Posts Tagged ‘politics


No greetings this time…

I have a hard time greeting Muslims on Eid, and here’s why:

1- There are those who don’t live up to the meaning of Eid or even understand what it stands for.

2- There are those who wake up on Eid and decide to be good… for few hours.

3- And there are those who are suffering so much that greetings would seem an insult to them. Those who live the meaning of Ramadan and Eid every day of their lives.

So forgive me if I don’t greet this year. As a Christian, I think it will also make greetings sound even cheesier and display a total lack of understanding of Islam.

Instead, I will say this: If God and the prophets knew we, as a race, will get to this, they probably would have blessed another planet…


Women scare us… and I love it!

This is to men who “wear” manhood instead of living it.

So, we give visas to every nationality; we harbor every terrorist group you can imagine; we open our border to foreign workers who flock by the thousands; we sell 100% ownership of land and property to every citizen in the world (including aliens from outer space)…

But hey! If the Lebanese woman gives nationality to her children, our social fabric equilibrium is screwed.

We elect deputies based on how much money they have, which religion they represent, how corrupt they are, how much “donations” they can make, who they follow (including which “foreign regime”), how low they can bend over…

But hey! If we bring women to the parliament, the country is screwed.

She gives birth, she raises, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she runs, she follows, she manages, she represents, she satisfies, she beautifies, she smiles, she endures… so much.

We watch her give birth, raise, cook, clean, work, run… and endure… so much.

And yet, we have the guts (no, no balls… at all), to deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

We brag about freedom, of expression, of religion, of choice, of marriage, of political affiliation, as if we are the gods of freedom, as if we have grasped the breadth of the word… And yet, we deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

Yes, this is manhood. We are the proud Lebanese men, those who are in the know. We are the ones who know how to harness the best of the world’s laws and jurisdictions to erect a nation.

We picked women treatment from Afghanistan, women civil rights from Saudi Arabia, women human rights from Iran.

We forgot to look at India, Great Britain, Iceland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Argentina, Bolivia, Switzerland, Philippines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Lithuania… where women were not elected to parliament, they were presidents, heads of state.

I pity a nation with double-standards.
I pity a country built on prejudice.
I dread the men of Lebanon, and you know why?

Because they are afraid of the Woman. They are afraid of loosing their clout and hegemony. They are afraid of being stripped naked, revealing their ignorance, short-sight, lack of tact. They are afraid of facing a peer they consider a foe; someone who might for a change use a brain instead of balls to induce change; someone who would negotiate instead of argue.

Can man do better? I don’t mind, but then again, if he could, he would have accepted the woman as equal centuries ago.

©2013 – Ibrahim N. Lahoud

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Women scare us… and I love it! by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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I once tweeted asking if the kidnapping and counter-kidnapping thing works with mosquitoes… I had to make use of the learnings from the latest happenings in Lebanon.

We are beyond pathetic. We are beyond pitiful. We are beyond acting, let alone thinking. We are way beyond solving.

Did the Lebanese-Syrian trade treaties stipulate anything about importing and exporting revolutions? I will most certainly not get into analysis and speculations. I will leave that to the poor souls who think they are in the know, and those who have teleported their personalities straight onto the tip of their tongues.

I am not eloquent when it comes to politics, but defense strategy? Seriously? What strategy? To defend who, what?

The best defense strategy, tested and proven, is education and civic sense. Deprive people from both, and that’s you get: Lebanon. Speaking of education, teachers are one of the most under-payed categories. To make things worse, students are now a bargaining chip. If we get this far, no wonder families have their own armies!

So, I just wonder…

I wonder why since the new government came into being, theft and crime rate shot up.

I wonder why bank robberies suddenly skyrocketed to new heights.

I wonder why the electricity became inversely proportional to the pledge the government made to fix it.

I wonder why gas prices go up when worldwide oil prices go down.

I wonder why only the mentally challenged earn a place in the government.

I wonder how they could devise a long-term planning strategy when they can’t even implement a simple traffic law.

I wonder why can’t they defend the country with the same fervor they defend the “neighbors”

I wonder how they dare to speak and give lessons in patriotism when their allegiance is invested everywhere but in their nation.

I wonder where do the inter-religious feuds fit If Israel is the common enemy.

I wonder if Syrians fought amongst themselves during the Civil war in Lebanon.

I wonder where did the 10452 Km2 go if the North is an Emirate, the South is off-limits, the Bekaa is an enclave, and most of Beirut is a military barrack…

I wonder how can they lie so bluntly to themselves before lying to us.

I wonder how do they still believe that they are actually lying to us.

I wonder what they tell their children when asked about what they do.

I wonder what to say to my own children when asked why are we still here.

I wonder why I am still here.

But beware, we all can wonder this much. We soon will ponder, and when we do, your lies, schemes and petty strategies will rule our leftovers. Our leftovers.

The thing is, we live in a rat hole where every family can have one army instead of having one army for all the families…


What’s wrong with my country?

There are those who publicly and arrogantly sell their country.
And then there are those who sit on their ass and feel sorry about their country being sold.


There are those who believe in the wrong cause and destroy a nation.
And there are those who do not believe in any cause and sit on their ass feeling sorry for their destroyed nation.

Here, we have both, and both are wrong.

That’s what is wrong with my country.



Shame on the country where religion is politics and politics are religion.

Shame on the country that doesn’t protect those who protect it.

Shame on the country that doesn’t advertise from what it creates.

Shame on the country that doesn’t say what “it” thinks.

Shame on the country that doesn’t believe in what it preaches.

Shame on the country that doesn’t respect what it forces others to respect.

Shame on the country that doesn’t aim as high as those who carry it far up.

Shame on the country that doesn’t breed from within.

Shame on the country that doesn’t put rights above privileges.

Shame on the country that doesn’t punish those who punish for the fun of it.

Shame on the country that doesn’t force respect instead of respecting force.

Shame on the country that doesn’t dare look me in the eyes when speaking to me.

Shame on the country that exports what it should retain and retains what it should expel.

Shame on the country that brags about it’s grottos instead of its flag.

Shame on the country that puts civil servants above their employers.

Shame on the country that uses the illiterate to educate its intelligentsia.

Shame on the country that uses inertia as its way forward.

Shame on the country that buys its dignity instead of earning it.

Shame on the country that yields to threats and cheers its oppressors.

Shame on the country where I am me on if I am someone else.

Shame on the country where politicians are hired, creeds are slogans and “I” is “Him”.

Shame on the country where you’re as important as your plate number says you are.

Shame on the country that still debates the rights of women to full equality.

Shame on the country where civil marriage is a political bargaining tool.

Shame on the country where schooling fees are a hundred fold the salary of teachers.

Shame on the country where criminals are free and the free are criminals.

Shame on the country where your opinion is owned… but not by you…

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Shame by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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© 2011 Ibrahim Lahoud



“You suck!”
“No, you suck!”
“No no, no, You suck!”
“No, it’s you who sucks! And your family, and neighborhood, and whole damn town!”

This was a political debate between two Arabs in the know, brought to you courtesy of Arab Spring TV.

Now, here are the options:
1- Either one of the two sucks, and that’s 50% of the population.
2- Both suck, and that’s 100% of the population.

In either case, we’re screwed.

We are a race driven by pure emotions. This renders us inapt to judge, be objective, and consequently, speak about politics. We either do what we’re told, or act upon our own emotional judgement. And both scenarios are scary. Yet, we proudly claim how patriotic we are.

Or is it? It’s amazing how branding can create a revolution. It is amazing how much momentum an embryonic idea can gather when it gets a face and a voice.

Ask the Soviets!

Revolutions are the brainchild of basic emotions. No “real” revolution was erected upon a rational idea. Although rooted in rational beliefs, “revolutional” triggers are ignited by an emotional fuse, one that rallies the deprived, the oppressed, the change-makers, and of course the mentally blind followers, around a basic “feeling”.

Indeed, ask the Soviets. Their legacy of propaganda is still praised today as more art than politics. Yet, how rational was it?

I ask: Whether you live life, or love it in colors, what have you done about it?

A message remains embryonic until, just like in a fetus’ cells, it starts multiplying itself, creating clones of its own DNA, until an entity is born. And that’s what happened all over the Arab world. Having said that, not all newborns are healthy… or alive…

I love the coined term “Arab Spring”. Another branding slash media tour de force.

No, really, spring? What spring? Let alone “Arab”…

Poland had a spring. Arabs have nothing. They never will, and for a simple reason; they can’t agree on a real unified brand positioning for their “Arab” or “Spring”, let alone the 2 combined words.

We’re Arabs when need be, and we’re not when need be. Egypt’s spring shifted from bringing down a corrupt regime to a Christian-Muslim conflict. How cheesy is it to get married in Tahrir square among your “brothers” from the opposite religion at noon, and go get a mosque or a church burned down to rubble at sunset?

It is indeed about priorities. The question is “who’s” priorities.

I’m not defending those regimes, as a matter of fact I’m quite thrilled they vanished, but I am starting to get the feeling that they represent more our inner fears and psychological complexities, than they do the physical nation’s situation.

Why did the Syrians have to wait for 3 revolutions to trigger theirs? Oh yeah, they where learning the ropes… Did it take Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to wake them up? Or was it another case of everyone’s partying, let’s party too?

Spring? What Spring? It really sounds more like Fall…

Everyone is jubilant, but let me tell you this, we Arabs, were never, and still are not ready, to rule ourselves. Comes to me? We never will! We’re still just novices, mediocre apprentices. We’re like that tail of the class student that loves to brag about his or achievements only because mom and dad said so… A pure exemplification of a famous Arab proverb (A monkey is a deer in his mother’s eyes)

We call for help, we wait for it, and when it comes, we shoot everywhere, mostly in the air to express joy, and end up performing the weird ritual of walking on or burning leaders’ effigies and posters.

Oh come on! How childish is that?! Please.

– If the intelligentsia runs revolutions, intelligentsia does not stampede posters.

– If the illiterate mass is running the revolution, what revolution would it be?

– If the intelligentsia runs the revolution using the illiterate mass, they’re not intelligentsia anymore, they’re freakin’ Machiavellian dictators in the making.

Do you have any other scenario for Arab Springs?

You want a real Arab Spring? I’ll give you one:

Nations are made of humans. Not educated, poor, illiterate, rich, Christians, Muslims, blue, red, green, or yellow…. Humans; full stop. Classification is the first ingredient of division, and division will never make a revolution… Look at Lebanon…

Get the humans to revolt. Get the emotions to speak. Be subjective, be real, be you. Only then, Mr. PhD will accept to mingle with Mr. delivery boy, Peter and Mohammed will meet, not for a photo-op, but meet, really meet.

Tyrants and dictator are afraid of unity, nothing else. Divide and conquer was not a ballad title. It works. And we’re so idiotically stupid to listen to politicians manipulating us like Kermits and Miss Piggys.








You tell me…

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Arab S”T”ing by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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© 2011 Ibrahim Lahoud



Wassim Tabbarah, God rest his soul, in one of his plays back in the eighties’ performed an act where he owned a fresh produce shop. One day he was standing in front of his shop shouting for people to come and purchase his fresh vegetables. One passer-by stops and tells him “But there’s nothing on display! Your shelves are empty”, and Wassim answers him “I’m selling tomorrow’s vegetables!”

Why wait for a newspaper or TV news when I can have it as it happens?! If the conventional media needs to know something, ask me!

24 hours news channels have also contributed to making print and news casts obsolete. What’s left for those? Analysis, that’s what’s left. But that’s a different story.

Now, don’t get over excited. Not every new website is a news website! If a newspaper starts its own digital delivery, that does not make it an immediate success. How many new websites do you read everyday, all the time? Really.

Most of us are stuck with one or two sites that we visit all the time to quench our thirst for news. ANd all we do is read the news. Who cares for useless gimmicks and hoopla? Yes, being able to share, print or email and article is great, but that does not make you a pioneer! And it does not either give you the right to invade my screen with annoying animations, buttons, links and stupid stuff I will never use.

Now, let’s look at what makes us read news at the first place. I think that there are 3 important drivers:

1- Immediacy
News as it happens. I have many times tweeted and read tweets about news way before it was published on leading news sites. You see, we the tweeters, are not after scoops. We do not sort material according to priority to yield more readership. For us, immediacy is the word. We are attracted to news when it happens. The digital age is about living the event, not reading about it later.

2- Relevance
We want to read news that are relevant to us, in any way. And relevance is also child of immediacy, because when it gets old, it might simply become irrelevant. Relevance is subjective, and the winners are those who manage to cater for all tastes. The meaning of “news” varies drastically from one individual to the other. Take me for instance, local news are the least of my worries, which means I skim through the titles. For others, they are the heart of the matter.

3- Discovery
We do not know everything. We never will. But that does not mean that unknown news are not relevant. Discovery happens on well structured digital delivery systems. They guide you through to find out about matters you ignored.

So as you see, immediacy generates relevance, and relevance generates discovery.
What makes what?
It is undeniable that a perfect symbiosis has started to exist between the event and the news. We hear a lot about news that magnify events to the extent of blowing it out of proportions. OJ Simpson was a great example. And mind you, the digital age had not really dawned by then.

Celebrities scandals have become prime news now, sometimes over-shadowing political apocalypse. Why is that? The digital age caters to the widest target audience possible. In doing so, it reaches ages otherwise inaccessible via traditional media unless heavy investments are made. The younger generation has at reach a plethora of digital access points that constantly deliver news of celebrities and the fringe. Previously, traditional media had all these news packed in five minutes at the end of their newscast.

The result, a total blurring of the border between “serious” and fringe news. This blurring has created that ultimate symbiosis, the result of which was a similar blurring of news delivery and audience. Portals like The Huffington Post, AllTop, even CNN epitomize such a trend.

Events do not always make the news. Today, it is about the potential news portals see in specific stories that “internationalize” such stories, blowing them out of proportions, or even sometimes triggering a chain of events that change political landscapes.

Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria, Iraq; are perfect examples. In such totalitarian regimes, “things” used to happen decades ago… Very bad things… And all we used to hear were bits and pieces of “rumors” that used to reach us days, weeks or even months later, and then quickly fade away in the archive of history, without even having proved they ever occurred.

Rallying the masses is what the digital age managed to do. What’s more, it can now do it in a blink. Like a plague, text messages, tweets and Facebook messaging act as catalysts, bringing millions locally to act, and more millions globally to react. YouTube triggers a chain of reaction that gets engraved in our minds, souls and the Internet archives forever.

Here’s the perfect example: How many emails with attachments do you get with warnings about a poisonous food additive, or “immediate” world occurrences, only to find out that they actually date to years back. The sender saw it on the Internet and simply thought it was happening now, without bothering checking the date of the news?

No one ever cared about Sudan or the Ivory Coast! Millions were, and still are, dying from hunger in Africa, and no one ever moved a finger. Today, thanks to the Internet news delivery, rallies are organized at the four corners of the Earth in support of these “causes”. People around the world demand the departure of dictators they never heard of! Or have they? Today it’s about what the digital news tell and show us. Conspiracy theories about media manipulation by super (and not so super) powers is starting to make sense, to me at least.

You want to topple a ruling monster? Here’s the formula: Start a Facebook group, a Twitter account and a YouTube channel. If you can afford it, start a news portal. Start spreading the news by registering hundreds of fake accounts who end up “commenting” and voicing their opinions in support to “your” cause, then sit and watch the snowball effect. Depending on your means, reach, and magnitude of the cause, you can achieve your goals in a few weeks. You can even create your own heroes as a bonus!

Bottom line, and the one million dollar question (That’s 710,000 Euros and 2,802,600 Polish zlotys), is it good or bad?

Don’t ask me!

Ask the idiots who believe websites that claim the end of the world was supposed to occur on May 21, or constantly visit websites that claim to turn you from Gargantua to Brad Pitt in four days.

Or ask the politicians who hire web geeks, writers and journalists to help them build a social media universe in compensation to their lack of meaningful social life.

Or, you could ask those who justly use the Internet to spread the news of oppression, voice the words of the muted minorities, educate, entice to explore, encourage knowledge and turn the global mess into a true global village, one where we don’t only meet to gossip, but one where we gather in empathy and support, and share knowledge instead of rumors.

The true purpose of news in the digital age is this: When your fellow human is in trouble, wherever he or she might be, you are in trouble too. If not today, then soon, pretty soon.

© 2011 Ibrahim Lahoud

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News in the Digital Age by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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