Muhammad Bouazizi, ignition behind Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. More cartoons from Carlos Latuff.
South Africa established separate education systems for Blacks, Whites and Coloreds. Non-white education systems were seriously underfunded. 1984 per capita spending on white children was 1,654 SAR, black children 234 SAR.
Israel has established separate Hebrew and Arab education systems. A 2005 study showed that within Israel, Jewish students receive 4,935 Israeli Shekels per year in education funding while Arab students receive 862.
Shame on Nayla Tueni, one of only 4 Lebanese women in Parliament and only 28. She has published an Op Ed in her family’s Arabic newspaper, Al Nahar, accusing Palestinians of bullying Lebanon and telling activists who are demanding equal rights for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to piss off. Written in such self-righteous style, one could forget the fact that it is incredibly racist. I have translated her article into English below. Yes, Nayla, Lebanon is an apartheid state, denying a refugee population that lives on its land (because it has nowhere else to go) their human rights for the single reason that they are Palestinian. Yes, the Lebanese are a racist people because they discriminate against the Palestinians for no other reason than their nationality. It is as simple as that. Your arguments are unsound and invalid and sectarian and – perhaps worst of all – really badly written.
A couple of days ago, I read an article in which an American Palestinian describes his troubles in renting a house in Lebanon, and how he at least has a little advantage on his fellow Palestinians because he holds a foreign passport. He goes on to talk about Lebanese racism towards Palestinians first, and towards migrant workers as well.
Palestinians have a right to a life of peace and comfort that has not been granted to them in their land nor in Arab countries where they live. Their movement is restricted in Egypt, they have suffered in Jordan, were kicked out of Kuwait, and their physical and political activities are closely monitored in Syria. They are discriminated against in most Arab countries, but don’t dare to talk about their situation except in Lebanon, not because their suffering is greater, that is true relatively, but because they know that they will not be held accountable for their words and writings. They will not be held in the airport or at the borders. In Lebanon, they have a freedom they have never known or lived since they were kicked out of their homeland.
Palestinians tried to live their freedom – chaos on Lebanese land. They withheld freedom of expression and mobility and living from Lebanese. Instead of trying to liberate their land and country, they worked to build an alternative state that passes through Jounieh, not through the Southern borders. We don’t want to open wounds of the past every time the Palestinian issue is brought up because their rights are human rights and Lebanon must work seriously to deliver some of these rights according to capabilities that do not affect Lebanese citizens negatively.
But in return, have the Palestinians made any effort to express good will towards Lebanon? Have they controlled terrorism in Nahr Al Bared camp before the Lebanese army had to go into a harsh battle with them and lose over 100 martyrs? Have they delivered to the Lebanese authorities a fugitive who is hiding in Ain El Helwe camp? Did they prevent a terrorist from sneaking in to blow up commercial stores in East Saida villages? Did they control and turn in their weapons outside the camps in compliance with agreements of the National Dialogue Conference and to preserve the respect of the Lebanese state? Did they take permission from the required authorities to hold their military maneuvers in Qusaya and other places?
Is it always up to Lebanon to give up and concede and tolerate, and after all this, someone comes to hold us responsible and accuse our government and people of racism? In all countries of the world, the Palestinian is treated like any other citizen because he is like everyone else. But in Lebanon, he is above Lebanese citizens because he is above the law.
And so enough, a thousand times enough, to the statements and speeches, and television interviews of organizations that don’t exist, or that represent only a hundred or so people, while the majority has escaped from their clutch. Justice, enough offending and bruising Lebanon, destroying its well-being and identity. These are nothing but biddings that aim to hurt others and pay back for older unsettled accounts that belong to no one now that the snow has melted.
And finally, since the Palestinian Authority still exists, why doesn’t it issue official passports to all Palestinians on Lebanese land so that they are counted and identified, and can thereby get work permits just like any other Arab citizen?
Do they dare to discuss this option? More importantly, can they agree to this option? Will the Palestinian Authority respond? Of course not, and if the answer is set already, will it always be “Lebanon’s fault?”
Translated from الاستقواء الفلسطيني على لبنان published in Al Nahar newspaper on Monday, June 28.
Like thousands of other Lebanese fans (and wannabe fans), I was excited about Placebo performing in Beirut this Wednesday. For many years, their music and lyrics, full of hurt and angst and queerness, have accompanied me through phases of depression, anger, calm, and even hope.
Last week the attacks on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla inspired me to learn more about strategies of Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS), widely viewed as a growing movement to end Israeli apartheid and occupation. And so, I put together a quick talk where two speakers explained the basics of the movement to me and some fellow activists. The movement is largely inspired by the similar campaign to end apartheid in South Africa, which was successful back in the 80s due to international pressure. I will not explain much about the movement. Please read about it to find out more. Let me focus now on the issue of Placebo.
I only find out about Placebo playing in Tel Aviv on Saturday (same night of their concert). It was also the same day when I understood why it was necessary to pressure musicians NOT to play in Israel. Our goal is to de-legitimize the state of Israel, which is an enemy state to both Palestine and Lebanon. And boycott should not only be in form of economic boycott on a personal or industry level of companies that are Israeli or that invest in Israel. Economic boycott is not enough. We must also boycott academics, sports, art, and culture that is Israeli or that “invests in” Israel. What does it mean to not “invest in” Israel sports-wise? It means that national sports teams around the world must refuse to play with Israeli teams. The whole world must always, every minute, be pressuring Israel to end its apartheid regime, lift the Gaza blockade, and be held accountable for the crimes committed towards Palestinians and Lebanese over the past 60+ years. Nobody must be playing sports with Israel! Nobody should be performing in Israel either. When a band or a musician perform in Israel, they are not only acting like Israel is a normal state, they are ignoring the fact that only kilometers away from their stage, millions of Palestinians are living in humiliation, starvation, poverty, dirt, rape, fear, depression, hopelessness, and more.
To me, it is as if I went to visit a friend who has someone locked in her basement, crying and starving, while I sit in the living room with my friend having coffee and listening to music. It is not acceptable. It makes my friend’s house seem normal. I would even go so far as to say it makes me an accomplice in the crime. I should no longer be friends with this person. And if I want to be, I should refuse to visit her house until she lets the prisoner in the basement go. The Zionist agenda, on the other hand, works hard to get more artists, more events, more sports teams into Israel to make it seem like everything is normal. Any sane person knows that everything is not normal. Everything, in fact, is rather severely messed up. There is no such thing as: “this is art, not politics” or “why do you have to ruin art with politics?” or “art is above politics.” No, my friends, art springs from the very personal, from the very pains of life, from our struggles, from our feelings, from our oppressions, from our joys, from falling in love, from breaking up, from dreaming, from being, it springs from our hearts and it touches the world. Art is the food of revolutions. Art is always political. And even if you, for some reason, believe art is separate from politics, you should still be able to see the problem in international artists traveling to Israel to perform there as if everything is normal.
I was raised to believe quite strongly that there is no solution to the Palestinian crisis and that Palestinians should just get over themselves and give up. As I read and learn more about the conflict, however, I realize that resistance is important, for me personally, and as a message I must convey to others. I must resist the helplessness promoted by the Zionist entity. I must resist the nonchalance that my family taught me. And I must believe, despite how I have been raised, that there is hope for justice in Palestine. There is hope for justice for all Palestinians. And to me, that hope is in the BDS movement. History has proven that it works since the very first act of boycott the abolitionist movement performed back in the 1700s when the Brits started drinking their tea without sugar because the sugar trade was the backbone of the slavery channels from Africa to America to Britain. There is no doubt in my head. The BDS movement to end Israeli apartheid will work. Check out this song by Artists United Against Apartheid refusing to play in South Africa back in the 80s.
And so, I don’t want any artist, especially one that I love, to play in Israel. Many, such as Carlos Santana, Elvis Costello, Gorillaz, the Pixies, Gill Scott-Heron, have canceled gigs there specifically in protest of Israel’s war crimes. Others have been pressured to do so but have not cared. Placebo is one of them. They played yesterday. Here is a video of Brian describing how he loved eating hommos in Israel and how attractive its people are:
If I had known about this before Saturday, I would have protested, in the humble ways that I protest.. by blogging, tweeting, writing emails, letters, posting on forums, spreading the word, doing anything I can to ask people to pressure Placebo into not playing in Tel Aviv. I have learned my lesson. I will be more alert about these things now. And I start right now by asking you to join me in asking Elton John to cancel his June 17th concert in Israel. Check out this brilliant video made with Elton’s own songs:
and please spread the word.
What Does This Have to Do with Artists Playing in Lebanon?
You might say: Ok, fine, I support asking artists not to play in Israel, but it has nothing to do with artists playing in Lebanon. You might say this for a variety of reasons, including perhaps that you really want great artists to perform in Lebanon or that you think: “But all musicians play in Israel!! Do we boycott all of them??” Well, that’s going to be very difficult, of course. But to not boycott just because boycotting is so difficult is lame. That’s exactly what they want us to think: “Hahaha.. idiots! You might as well boycott everything!” Um, no, but I will boycott everything I can.
You might also ask “but then nobody will come to Lebanon anymore!!” Don’t worry. They will still come. In fact, we are such a powerful cultural destination that we can use it to our advantage to convince artists not to perform in Israel. Ideally, they will choose Beirut over Tel Aviv. Yes, we can make that happen. Wouldn’t that be awesome? And not just Beirut, but all the progressive cities in the world. And so to your question: “Will this small action feed the hungry children of Gaza??” I answer: Maybe not right now. But it is part of a much larger movement that will force Israel to end its occupation and lift its blockade. “All because Tori Amos refused to play there??” you will ask again cynically. Not all because, I will say, but partly, yes. Every little push counts.
It gets particularly difficult with music. I will give you a personal example. I love Regina Spektor. I loved her music for a while before I learned that she plays often in Tel Aviv and that she is a vocal supporter of the Israeli state. It made me very sad. But what do I do? Stop listening to her? Who can hate Regina’s music? Not me. Will I go to her concert when she plays in Lebanon? I will want to buy the first ticket. It will be a difficult choice that I am free to make myself. Perhaps I will build a website, explaining to her, as her fan, why she should boycott Israel. Perhaps I will write her emails and letters. Perhaps I will hope that with the support we are building, she will realize that BDS is important. Perhaps I am crazy? Still, I will do something. I will think about it. I will take action. I will not say: “she is above all politics just because she makes great music.” No. Everyone must be held accountable for their choices, artists especially.
But that is still a hypothetical case that (I hope) we will deal with later. I personally see a much simpler scenario to deal with right now. Placebo just played Tel Aviv, enjoyed Israeli hommos, less than a week after the Flotilla murders, while Gaza is still being bombed, are coming to Beirut a week later, and expect me to just smile & go to their concert? Nope. Aslan, performing under apartheid is so incredibly against Placebo’s spirit that I can’t understand it at all. But it’s too late to explain it to them now. Not going on Wednesday and letting people know why I am not going is a small action I can do. I am as free as you are in you going to the concert.
We were on a mission this weekend to raise global twitter awareness about the Freedom Flotilla heading towards Gaza with tons of aid supplies. The organizers were doing an amazing job with social media, tweeting live from the boats, video live streaming, as well as Google-mapping their locations in the sea on the hour. We wanted to amplify those efforts.
Before the Attack
We tweeted and tweeted and #flotilla did not trend, although it was technically ahead of many trending topics over 24 hours. Even the Jerusalem Post recognized the phenomenal effort we put. I flipped through the TV channels and found no news covering the topic, except for occasional updates from Al Jazeera. By 5am Beirut time, over 13,000 viewers had been watching the live stream continuously for hours. The flotilla had been surrounded by Israeli warships and air force. Nobody reported about it. I stupidly thought there was no way Israel would attack the activists, who all appeared in positive, high spirits on the live stream. One young woman, an Arab American laughed and said to the camera she apologizes to her family for not telling them she was going to Gaza again. She was really cool. Max, I thought, the Israeli warships would block the flotilla near Gaza and escort them to the tents they had prepared in Ashdod. How else does one deal with a peaceful, non-violent protest?
And so, I went to sleep, waiting to hear the news of the flotilla in the morning. I woke up to the horror that 16 activists had been killed and that the flotilla had been captured by the Israeli military. I was shocked and speechless for a good hour. #Flotilla had risen to over 0.7% on twitter but still wasn’t trending. It is undoubtedly a case of censorship. I challenge anyone to tell me it wasn’t. I saved all the graphs. @ShantDotMe suggested that we try and trend another term since twitter must have blocked #Flotilla. I figured they also had the excuse of flotilla being a common noun, so I suggested we go for #FreedomFlotilla. An hour later, both “Gaza Flotilla” and #FreedomFlotilla were trending and have been for the past couple of hours.
We did not mean for #Flotilla to trend because of a massacre. No, that was not our purpose at all. We wanted #Flotilla to trend while the boats were on their way towards Gaza so that the world could follow what was happening.
The Wrong Kind of Trending
But all of that doesn’t matter. We did not mean for #Flotilla to trend because of a massacre. No, that was not our purpose at all. We wanted #Flotilla to trend while the boats were on their way towards Gaza so that the world could follow what was happening. We wanted the world to follow the facts, to meet the faces on board the boats, to see the situation unfold in front of their eyes. The Zionist propaganda machine is extremely powerful and it was on full speed last night with arguments like: people on the flotilla are armed, they are on their way to murder thousands of Israelis, they are smuggling guns to give to Hamas, all bullshit accusations. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was an international group of over 700 people from 40 different countries, carrying thousands of tons of aid to the Palestinians who have been under siege for over 1080 days. Do you think they would be brave enough to sail to Gaza, knowing the threat they were under, if their purpose was to smuggle arms? Of course the point was not only to deliver the aid; they were on a political action to break the siege. Their action was brave and courageous and pacifist and non-violent. The world continues to be silent about the siege. Gazans continue to suffer. And so the activists wanted to wake the world up by sailing straight to Gaza through international waters.
And so, what is Israel to do in the face of non-violent protest? First, of course, Israel tries to play the innocent helpful role: give us the aid, we will deliver it ourselves, knowing the organizers would not agree because this is not an isolated incident of sending aid to Gaza. This is a political message to break the siege. Second, of course, Israel tries to delegitimize the non-violence, accusing the activists of “provoking” the Israeli warships. But who provoked who really? Israel taunted the activists, circling them by sea and sky, in international waters, signaling and threatening to take action. The flotilla boats then huddled close together and diverted their course a little in order to avoid the clash with the Israeli warships, and their spirits remained high. The Zionist taunting did not work. Israel weighs out the options:
- Attack the flotilla, kill a few people, scare everyone from ever attempting such actions again, take a tiny bit of criticism, remain protected by impunity, whitewash the crime with excuses of self-defense, and come out of it unscathed; or
- allow the activists to reach Gaza, break the siege, deliver some aid, and give hope to thousands of other activists that non-violent marches (or sails) actually work?
The choice is obvious. The Israelis thus act ruthlessly – even in the face of such non-violence – to scare the hell out of these activists and any others. Their message is clear: you cannot resist Zionism, not even non-violently. They will shut down every glimpse of it lest it grow too powerful. And no, my dear Arab leaders, you are not getting off the hook so easily. All of you are racing now to denounce the attacks on the flotilla. Where were you a few days ago when the mission needed your support? Where are all the other boat and ships from all the other countries to join the flotilla? Astankir, nastankir.. shut the fuck up!
So. Israel knew exactly what to do. The question now is: what are we to do? Our choice is just as obvious.
After months of incessant publicity (all of which started through social media and then moved into press coverage), the Lebanese Laique Pride, a march for secularism, finally took place this morning with thousands of people participating! Numbers are estimated at two to three thousand, but I am very sure that at least 5,000 people started the march. At one point, they filled up the width of the road from on top of the Expo Beirut tunnel all the way down and around the Phoenicia hotel. Everyone came together for a very simple, yet daring and bold, initiative by 5 friends: Nasri Sayegh, Yalda Younes, Said Chaitou, Alexandre Paulikevitch, and Kinda Hassan. Often, the best organizing for social change starts with an idea that a small group of friends have.
Many news agencies have reported that a maximum of 2,000 participants marched in today’s event, although many of us are sure we had way more than 2,000. Here is a photo by @funkyozzi that shows only a part of the march – clearly in the thousands.
A Unified Stand Against Sectarianism
The march was not longer than a couple of kilometers – starting on the Corniche of Ain El Mraisse all the way up to Masaref Street of Downtown Beirut. Secularist organizations, student groups, women’s organizations (including the awesome Nasawiya), and a majority of unaffiliated citizens marched together with slogans, chants, drumbeats, whistles, led by a truck with blasting music and secularist slogans:
- “Ta2 Ta2 Ta2ifiyyi.. La2 La2 3ilmaniyyi..” (Sec Sec Sectarianism.. No, No, Secularism)
- “Shou tayiftak? Ma khassak!” (What’s your religion/sect? It’s none of your business!)
- “Al-3ilmaniyyi hiyyil 7al” (Secularism is the solution)
In a country so deeply divided along sectarian lines (in the personal status laws, in every aspect of the government, in people’s mindsets) which are manifested in civil wars and conflicts all the time, this march was totally awesome. Who would have thought so many people of all shapes and sizes would show up in such large numbers to support the idea of an anti-sectarian state in Lebanon? I had attended some of the organizational meetings of the event, where many people kept asking: what’s next? How is this going to help? What is it going to achieve? What is your political demand? How are we going to solve the issues posed by sectarianism, which seem like a total political deadlock? Etc. I personally think the organizers played it smart by saying that they weren’t trying to solve the entire sectarian crisis in Lebanon. They were, however, trying to bring people who believe in or work on secularism in Lebanon together on one day, for one march, to show first and foremost that there are many of us. The thousands who actually showed up stand for tens of thousands who were sitting at home. We also showed that we can put our differences in strategy and ideology aside for one day to come together and show solidarity for our cause. What happens afterward? We keep on fighting our battles, debating this system we live in, and maybe, perhaps, who knows, some of us might have been so inspired by the feeling and ambiance today that we step it up a notch in terms of working together and raising a stronger unified voice against the many ugly faces of sectarianism in Lebanon.
Also, I want to give a big shout out to citizen journalism, which is alive and kicking in Beirut! It seemed like every other person had a photo or video camera, and I recognized many bloggers and tweeps taking part and snapping pictures. Of course there was the genius banner: “Sectarian #Epic #Fail” which only a handful of people understood but adored The number of participants on the ground was also a big boost to all of us slactivists who use Facebook and social media as our major tool of organizing. They are becoming more effective tools every day.
Things I liked most: We didn’t have any sectarian infiltrators, though that probably means nobody was taking us seriously =) A woman led the march. There were lots of baby strollers and dogs! Everybody seemed really happy. I got to carry my “3omro ma yirja3 al-tawezon il ta2ifi” (To Hell with sectarian balance) for the second time. Things I didn’t like: singing the friggin national anthem when we got close to Parliament. #Boo. I can’t stand national anthems. There was no mention of Palestinians and a lot of mention of “Lebanese” “Lebanesedom” “Lebanese-ness” which also makes me feel nauseous.
But yeah, awesome march all in all =) Here’s a pic of my favorite people at the march: the feminists and the tweeps (and me, the feminist tweep).
And I had to include this photo of the secularist doggie!
Panic over Arab travelers in New York City’s JFK airport is getting worse every time I pass through it. As soon as they see an Arab passport, the guard at the beginning of the security line ticks your boarding pass twice so that the guard at the screening machines can “randomly” select you for extra screening. In 2007, I was passing through San Francisco airport and was asked to step into a 1m x 1m glass room that sprays something on you for a second. This time, March 2010, leaving New York to Paris, after the CSW meeting, in JFK, was the most bizarre ever. The guard at the beginning of the line didn’t only tick me twice quietly.
Instead, he told me I was selected for “random screening,” pulled me out of the line (good thing was I avoided the long queue), and yelled out “Female, level 2 security!” at least three times while pointing to me. A security woman behind the x-ray machines acknowledged his yelling and crossed over to escort me through the security check. I emptied my bags, took off my shoes, put them through x-ray and was then asked to stand in a glass cubicle in the middle of the security lines. It didn’t spray anything, but I stood there for 2-3 of minutes while everybody else passed by. It felt uncomfortable but comical at the same time. I wanted to wave to the passers by and say, “Yes, yes, I’m Arab.. hello.” The other cubicles in the security lines parallel to mine were empty. Was I the only Arab in JFK that day? A security dude had taken my passport away, while the woman guard took my belongings to a search desk and stood there talking to people for a few minutes. Then she came and escorted me out and to the desk and told me she was going to go through my stuff with those weird gloves, which she did. After she was done, she said I could go. I told her I didn’t get my passport back. She said “oh” and told me to wait a minute. She disappeared and came back a few minutes later with my passport. I am not sure where they had taken it. I assume this was all because I have a Lebanese passport, right? Do others get the same treatment? Doesn’t it count as discrimination? I took the above photo of my boarding pass afterward. Tick me twice, I’m Arab.
*This post was wishful thinking*
Good morning, Lebanon! And Happy International Women’s Day! I am writing from New York city, where I have been attending sessions at the 54th Commission for the Status of Women. Rumors had been going around since last week that the Lebanese government is going to pass the amendment to the nationality law, granting women the right to pass on the Lebanese nationality to their children and husbands. And the rumors turned out to be true! They are passing the law today!!
What a coincidence, just yesterday I attended a panel by WLP with two prominent Arab feminists (Amal Abdel Hadi from Egypt and Lina Abou Habib from Lebanon) who talked about the regional campaign to lift CEDAW reservations. And now our long-awaited dream is finally here:
A Lebanese woman is now a full Lebanese citizen: she can give the Lebanese nationality to her husband and to her son. Congratulations on a right long overdue!
It is said that Minister Mona Afeiche will be announcing this wonderful piece of news later today, March 8, as the world celebrates 100 years since the idea of International Women’s Day was born. What a happy occasion for all Lebanese women to celebrate!
Of course we were all concerned that the Lebanese government would be racist and exclude Palestinians from this human right, but, indeed, they have lived up to their duties and have not excluded anyone. Excellent job, 7oukoumitna! Good for you! Finally, ONE THING the Lebanese government has done that has made me proud. Bravo finally acknowledging that women are human beings too and that they deserve the same rights as men. Bravo for rising above your pettiness and stupid out-of-date political debates. Bravo Lebanon!
I don’t have much information to share at this point, but those of you in Lebanon should contact:
- Ministry of Social Affairs +961-1-612870
- Ministry of Finance (just cos Raya Haffar Al Hassan is a woman and we must congratulate her) +961-1-642758
- Ministry of Interior (because Ziad Baroud has been backing us up for a long time and we must thank him) +961-1-754200
- Prime Minister (if you want to thank Saad Hariri himself) +961-1-746800
Looking forward to reading the papers and analysis about this tomorrow. And for today, happy women’s day all the way from a freezing United Nations.
This is going to be a quick post because I need to get dressed & go to work, but I wanted to give a summary of our spur-of-the-moment campaign yesterday:
I saw a tweet by @RedPlebiscite mentioning how pissed off he was that a zionist was leading the Shorty Awards list in politics. Of course I had heard of the Shorty Awards but didn’t really care much for them. But then when I saw the zionist nomination page accusing the #Gaza activists of being murderers and terrorists (again), I figured we shouldn’t shut up about anything – especially the allegations made online – not even the littlest thing! This is what we are fighting: “#justice will occur when Israel flattens #Gaza, dear” (click on image below)
And so we came together again and I suggested nominating Ali Abunimah @avinunu because he really is one of our best and most active voices on Palestine and human rights today. Google him. The decision was unanimous! It was like an awesome reunion of all the #Gaza tweeters – all of us spreading the word from 2am (Beirut time) till now – which is 8am. The trick this time, however, is that every one of our voices counts as just one. We need to recruit more people. And indeed, at the time of writing this post, we had gotten up to 179 votes for @avinunu. This is our standing now[8am GMT+2]:
@avinunu is in third place lagging less than 120 votes behind the zionist propagandist although he only has 1,500 followers whereas the other dude has 55,000! AND, we only started campaigning for Ali tonight, whereas the other dude had been campaigning for weeks now. The voting closes January 30th at 10am (Beirut/Cairo time) – so please get everyone you know to vote here: http://shortyawards.com/avinunu and bear in mind that only votes from active accounts are counted. Here are some of the tips:
- It is preferable to vote using the box on the page: http://shortyawards.com/avinunu
- Make sure you put a reason after “because…” or else it doesn’t count.
- Your vote is only counted once even if you tweet a nomination a million times.
- There is some formula for counting ranks. You can read about it on their “How It Works” page. That’s how Ali’s ahead of RayBeckerman too although the latter has more votes. But I’m not sure how it works. Anyone?
- Follow the competition in the #Politics category here.
- I am not sure what happens afterwards; the rules say the Top5 become finalists (?) if anyone knows more, please share the info in the comment box.
- Vote! And when you’ve voted, recruit fellow supporters of Palestine to vote! The zionists have already smeared Ali online nominating him for antisemite and terrorist awards. Shuf! And they will continue to do so. So let’s all take a stand for the truth about Palestine
Updates as the day progresses…
It’s 3am [+2 GMT] now and Ali has been winning all day! He is now at 433 votes; almost 100 ahead of his competitor. We did it. We are the people. Let us wait and see what the committee of the Shorty Awards has to say about that.
Tomorrow, Lebanon votes. Big deal. There is nothing about this year’s elections that excites me – not even remotely. I don’t care if the handful of women who are running win. I am sure we will have less women in parliament than we had yesterday. I keep reading about this elections being the most expensive in the world per capita. What a waste of money. What a waste of paper. What a waste of our past 3 months. What a waste of discourse. I wonder what they are thinking, the millions of people who are excited about voting tomorrow.
And so I tried to think: what is it exactly, this change that we seek? How does it translate into achievements, into practicality, into words? What would make me happy? Is it a new law that passes? Those poor lobbyists for the nationality campaign. It’s been over 6 years of them screaming and shouting, and once again they ride the coaster of empty promises. The domestic violence bill? We got excited about it for exactly 2 hours when we heard it was listed on the agenda of the Ministers’ meeting. And then it got bumped, just like that. Countless days of hard work gets thrown into the recycle bin by a mere few words from some guy.
I can’t remember, tonight, what change looks like. We are seeking no change tonight. The most hopeful of us can only wish that nobody dies of violence tomorrow.