Sunday, July 23, 2006

Winning the Hearts and Minds...

I get a huge kick out of the Israeli radio interception. Halfway through a news broadcast on the Lebanese Communist Party radio station, a monotonous, droning voice interrupts to address Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah fighters (in Arabic): "Come on, oh Hassan, you coward. Pack your bags and go to Masnaa [the remaining border crossing to Syria, last time I checked].. come on, you brave men hiding in your tunnels and caves..."

Couldn't they do that to the TV stations, too? It might diversify the content a bit, if we weren't just seeing bombs and dead babies. Also, I'd love it if they dressed up like "real Arabs" to interrupt the broadcasts. That would be ultra-effective; a guy in a turban interrupts a cooking show or, say, Fashion TV, which is also still broadcasting, to say, "Surrender now, Jesus... I mean, Allah loves you".
Intercept every media outlet and tell the Lebanese what to think and do; then you will be welcomed with flowers and baklava. Do they have figures on how successful the conversion rates are from their propaganda? More successful than penis-enlargement spamming? Surely not. People aren't grateful for being bombed. That's a tough lesson.

The UN is re-routing aid packages to Lebanon, marked "To Baghdad". Well, it is all the hellish "Middle East". And everyone loves peanut butter in their care package, from Kabul to Cairo. Just leave out the Danish dairy products.

While the majority of Lebanese are now unemployed, the Phoenician entrepeneurial types can work for the international media as fixers and drivers, and risk their lives for a few dollars. But please bring your own sleeping bag and bulletproof vest, if you're a local. The BBC can't afford one for you, darkie.
Or they can deal drugs. An acquaintance told me that it's easier to deal drugs now, what with the police not around quite as much. He detailed how his distributor, who is usually extremely cautious, now whips out bags of various shapes and sizes and content, and goes into full marketplace bargaining mode, right in the middle of the street. Lebanon, the heartland of supply and demand. The vast service industry here can apparently adapt and revamp with ease; although beauty parlors are still in business, they might soon be better advised to start frying people's brains rather than their hair. Everyone wants drugs to take their mind off what the post-American and -European evacuation phase will bring.

It's bizarre driving around Beirut, and making mental notes of places to avoid, places you would bomb if you were the Israeli Air Force. Bridges and major roads are obvious (and all that silly civilian housing in its midst). What they are aiming for is to make life more inconvenient, without unleashing a barrage of inconsequential protests from Kofi & co.

Speaking of which, what did Kofi say on TV tonight, and why did it take him close to five minutes? "I am in favor of...a.... eh... ceasefire. Diplomacy is, eh, um, sheesh, pff, I dunno, taking...hold". I guess repetition makes the tongue grow tired; or that gun that's been cocked and pointed at the back of his neck has taken the last semblance of life out of him. Or maybe it's pre-retirement blues. I'm worried about you, Kofi. You've lost your unique style of fiesty, bold statements. "I am in favor of milk in my, eh... civilian, I meant, tea... If the US doesn't mind too much. Oh no, there's that maniac John Bolton running towards me, fresh falafel crumbs in his moustache, from celebrating imminent victory with the Guardians of the Cedars!"

Well we'll see who we get next, after Kofi goes home. Hopefully someone with the same first and last name again. I always loved saying, Boutros Boutros Boutros Ghali.

Back to Beirut:
Ironically, the rule of law in Lebanon was still in its birth pangs before this "July war" errupted (that's what they're calling it here. Only 8 more days to go!) When I first arrived in Beirut ten months ago, there wasn't a one-way street you couldn't barrel down at full speed in the wrong direction. Then sometime around last March, the Internal Security Forces sent text messages to the million-or-so mobile phone-wielding Beirutis that read, "As of tomorrow, traffic laws will be strictly enforced." They were, of course, not enforced, but the police did install a lone speed radar camera, near the Phoenicia hotel. Today, driving by there with a friend, we hesitated for a second before running the red light. Such are the minute pleasures of war.

Old habits die hard, despite the short-lived and symbolic phase of law and order and the era of "national dialogues". A friend who is working as a fixer for Norwegian TV says he saw 30 Druze men in military garb with AK-47s training up in Mukhtara (where Druze leader Jumblatt has his house). Now thirty men is not a hell of a lot, but maybe they are just the official PSP welcoming committee for the Israelis, should they make it that far north (which I doubt). For those of you unfamiliar with what I'm implying: Lebanon is going to have an ugly situation on her hands once the dust settles. I could be wrong, though; the Jumblatt followers could be getting ready to fight Israel, if it comes down to it. Depends how their master is feeling today, doesn't it?


3li- said...

You made the Huffington Post..

I am simply pointing it out, and not necessarily congratulating you.

Did they consult you first BTY?

Congrats, however, on a great blog. Your honest mutterings, amid the impenetrable cacophony and sophistry, is refreshing.

Take care of yourself...Looking forward to your next batch…

PNB said...

Yeah, your blog is great! I'm happy to see, that you succed more and more with your blog, that it get more and more linked by other sites.
Hope to see you soon. Take care until!

Herlock Sholmes said...

:) I used ot listen to this radio station

Anonymous said...

Just read the SPIEGEL article. MB in Berlin sent it to me yesterday. Congratulations! Keep them coming. - TR

Maha said...

Just want to say I love your blog. Very interesting perspective. Keep up the good work.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr Victorino de la Vega said...


Did I tell you were my hero?

“A guy in a turban interrupts a cooking show or, say, Fashion TV, which is also still broadcasting, to say, "Surrender now, Jesus... I mean, Allah loves you".
Intercept every media outlet and tell the Lebanese what to think and do; then you will be welcomed with flowers and baklava”

Me thinks you’ve summed up quite neatly 40 years of Neocon “intellectual” history.

And “all the rest is commentary” as a leading Israeli sophist famously said!

Once again, stay safe.

And switch into EVAC mode ASAP: you’ve had more than your fair share of baklava republic martial thrills

Plus Old Europe is waiting for the return of her prodigal daughter…

EDB said...


Thanks! Is MB my uncle, and who are you? Just out of curiosity...


EDB said...

Jeez, thanks, Dr. Vic,

I think another week of the baklava republic (or what's left of it) will be enough to last me for a lifetime. In the meantime, I'm not evacuating with the luxury cruise ships, nor the warships. What to do? I'll wait until the roads are open.
Condi's in town! Quick wheel out the baklava and flowers!


Subatomic Karma Boy said...

we've been here before and last time we just hated eachother.

this time we just hate the zionists.

next time we will realise that the devil does not care which side we are on as long as we just keep on that hate trip.

hate hate hate - one day we will defeat the real enemy TOGETHER (it's the only way) and life will be ecstacy evermore.

and Lebanon will have rental cars and no smoking areas for everyone.

don't carry the poison that is hate in your heart - lose it and spike Lebanon and Israel's water supply with serious amounts of top notch liquid acid. it is the only way.

EDB you've lifted the hearts of many many people - much love and 3 bouses on each cheek

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

1) “In the meantime, I'm not evacuating with the luxury cruise ships, nor the warships.”

Hmm...Morally commendable, but I’m afraid not recommendable in the current circumstances.

2) “What to do? I'll wait until the roads are open.”

Cos' you might wait longer than it takes for Ja’afarism’s Vanished Imam to reemerge miraculously from his millennial mystic retreat...
Remember: you don’t want to be a “young shaheedah” for the Lebanese cause however noble this might be from a purely moral perspective (see point N°1)

Bottom Line: I don’t want to sound like Robin Wright nor is it my intention to emulate the title of Tom Tykwer’s famous Teutonic movie- which I haven’t seen but I’m digressing:


M. Simon said...

I can tell you what Hizbollah has in store for Israel (and as a side effect Lebanon):

The Doves of Hizbollah.

Hossein Safiadeen also reinforced earlier threats by Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah to widen the scope of attacks, which have included unprecedented missile strikes deep into northern Israel.

"We are going to make Israel not safe for Israelis. There will be no place they are safe," Safiadeen told a conference that included the Tehran-based representative of the Palestinian group Hamas and the ambassadors from Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority.

"You will see a new Middle East in the way of Hizbullah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel."

D. Ghirlandaio said...

"You will see a new Middle East in the way of Hizbullah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel."

And thanks to Israel, they may be right.

You... stupid... fucking... idiot.

Abu Lanjri Al Farrân said...

"You will see a new Middle East in the way of Hizbullah and Islam, not in the way of Rice and Israel." [H. Safieeddin, Teheran-based Hezbollah lunatic]

"Arabs are fleeing from Jaffa and Haifa. Bedouin are fleeing from the Sharon. Most are seeking [to join up]with members of their family. Villagers are returning to their villages. Leaders are also in flight, most of them are taking their families to Nablus, Nazareth. The Bedouins are moving to Arab areas. According to our 'friends' [advisors], every response to our dealing a hard blow at the Arabs with many casualties is a blessing. This will increase the Arabs' fear and external help for the Arabs will be ineffective. To what extent will stopping transportation cramp the Arabs? The fellahin [peasants] won't suffer, but city dwellers will. The country dwellers don't want to join the disturbances, unless dragged in by force. A vigorous response will strengthen the refusal of the peasants to participate in the battle. Josh Palmon [an advisor to Ben-Gurion on Arab affairs] thinks that Haifa and Jaffa will be evacuated [by the Arabs] because of hunger [D. Ben-Gurion, First Israeli Fuhrer]

“First law: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon them; Second law: The rate of change of the momentum of a body is directly proportional to the net force acting on it, and the direction of the change in momentum takes place in the direction of the net force; Third law: To every action (force applied) there is an equal but opposite reaction (equal force applied in the opposite direction)” [Isaac Newton, famous closet Arianist with a weirdly Semitic name- no pun intended]

Spare us the hypocritical verbiage Simon mio!
And I thought you were a “chief engineer”….

Anonymous said...

Yes, MB is your uncle and I am an old friend of his from Salem and UK times. I live in Minusio. E-mail? - TR

Anonymous said...

Ahh the sarcasm, the blatant hipocracy, the contributing to the problem.

2 Israeli lives mean more than countless Lebanese? Yep. But of course those two would have become countless more as long as the Lebanese government supported fucking terrorists dedicated to the erradication of a race of people.

Hamas, Hezballah, whatever. War was declared democratically by Palestinians Hamas became an elected majority. They should have been destroyed.

The Lebanese government declared war (and I do feel for the citizens of Lebanon, they're typically nice people) when it supported Hezballah. Let's hope that they can back it up.

It's time for a real war in the middle east, a war of attrition. Nothing to settle diplomatically, but a brawl to the finish. Let's stop counting the days of the war, and settle something. Too bad the U.S. won't let Israel lose, though, isn't it?

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