The war is over...

… and everybody is talking about the next war. seems to somehow involve iran, the US, israel, the valet parkers, Syria and Lebanon, but there is neither real agreement about the constellation nor does anyone come up with a credible motivation for someone to attack the others or the other way around (except maybe for the US to attack Iran). Meanwhile last summer war has once again (see here for last years favorite ad) been picked up by the advertising industry, this time in the form of an billboa…

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

I have just finished uploading my pictures from last weeks trip to lebanon to my flickr account. Among them are five or so that show massive energy saving light-bulbs (or CFLs as they are officially known) used for outdoor lighting of shops and a gas station. This is a trend that i had already noticed last December in China (not sure if in India): Energy efficient CFLs seem to be all over the place in areas like the Pearl River Delta with it’s rapidly growing energy consumption or Lebanon,…

I love life...

Is the PR campaign by the march 14 camp against the ongoing demonstration by the opposition in downtown Beirut. They argue that the ongoing protests are strangling Lebanon’s economy to death and because of that those who love life should rally behind them (the slogan also is a reference to the martyrdom culture entertained by Hezbollah). These days large parts of the city are covered with i love life stickers (in arabic, english and french) and there are i love life x-mas trees at random locatio…

Beirut safer than Berlin...

The German government advises against trips to lebanon unless you have important business or family matters to attend and recommends to stay well clear of political gatherings and the south of the country. It seems a bit exaggerated especially as the ongoing protest by Hezbollah and their allies in downtown is about the most peaceful demonstration i have ever seen. Most dangerous thing that has happened to me was being forced to sit down with a couple of Lebanese teenagers from boston to smoke t…

Christian(?) Hezbollah youth

We spend all day today in south Lebanon, which is not as badly destroyed as i had thought (sometimes it is a bit difficult to tell if a ruin is the result of the local culture of leaving lots of buildings unfinished or of an israeli air raid). Some of the villages seem more or less undamaged, while others look like it has been attempted to raze them from the ground for good. We spend some time in Bint Jebel, where the entire center of the the village is in ruins (the place saw intense house to h…

TXL --> BEY (revisited)

This post does not really make sense (in the sense of being one coherent entity) but rather shares a couple of observations that have nothing to do with each other. Fortunately i can tie them together by pointing to my first ever blog post (the ones that appear to have been posted earlier have actually been inserted at a later point in time) which was also written on the plane to from Berlin to Beirut. What i wrote then also holds true for the behavior of the passengers on tonight’s flight (the…

'We can read, but we know as well how to build and destroy, and sometimes kill'

I guess the recent weeks have shown that the use of the word ‘sometimes’ in the above quote by Shimon Naveh, a retired Brigadier-General who directs the Operational Theory Research Institute of the IDF is somewhat misplaced: the IDF definitely knows more about killing and destruction than about reading and building. While the article ‘the art of war‘ by Eyal Weizman from which the above quote is taken does portray the IDF as an extremely sophisticated and almost lovable bunch, reality has again…

From Beirut to ... those who love us

Is a four minute or so short film produced on July 21, 2006 at the studios of Beirut DC, a film and cinema collective which runs the yearly Ayam Beirut Al Cinema’iya Film Festival. This video letter was produced in collaboration with Samidoun, a grassroots gathering of various organizations and individuals who were involved in relief and media efforts from the first day of the Israeli attack on Lebanon. Click the image above to watch the movie or go to www.beirutletters.org to download it. The f…

Cityblogging

After yesterday’s extremely depressing and upsetting morning news i went running (which is always a sensible thing when you don’t know what to do and/or are angry). During that run i was thinking what to do about the whole situation and finally came up with something that seemed like a sensible idea: In the last two weeks mazen kerbaj’s drawings have been one of the strongest most vivid expressions of the whole mess that is unfolding in lebanon that i came across (to the extend that i am dissapo…

History repeating

It is incredible how extremely stupid IDF commanders can be (I guess it makes no sense of complaining about their lack of sensibility as that is a trait of character that seems to disqualify anyone from becoming a military commander). Looks like today they managed to stage a repeat of the April 18, 1996 Qana Massacre in which IDF artillery shelling killed 106 lebanese civilians sheltering in an UN compound. This morning – 10 years, 3 month and 12 days later – the Israeli air force targeted a 4-s…