Friday, July 21, 2006


So calm and peaceful, right? Sometimes I think Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hizbollah, Hizbu'llah) –the so called Party of God– designed their flag more for Israeli eyes than for Lebanese hearts and minds.



If I could, I would tell the world the following–

On behalf of the Lebanese people: would all the assholes from the U.S., Israel, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah included:

Would you all just get the hell out of my country and STAY OUT (please).

Most people in the Middle East would be happy with a few reliable bare necessities, such as fresh running water; clean streets; garbage removal; border protection; jobs; electricity; and decent television reception. But they're allied with Hezbollah now because of what they see as a disproportionate response by Israel for the retention of two soldiers.

I don't support Hezbollah, myself, but c'mon, there are Israeli citizens who must think their government is being ridiculous!

Three hundred Lebanese dead? Half a million displaced? A bit much, I think. Are the Israelis attempting an act of retaliation or annihilation? Of course, you could ask the same of the other side, and I may be biased. I'm Lebanese, after all, but I'm also an American. So, pardon me but I think I can actually be quite fair discussing this situation.

Israel possesses a modern equipped army, and you have to respect that, but no doubt Hezbollah will extract much pain from their neighbor before this over. And if Hezbollah can claim even one small concession from Israel, that will not go unnoticed throughout the rest of region.

Lesson learned? –That a dedicated, well-trained and well-led force, however small and humble, can capably defeat a modern military establishment.

Even if that establishment has 200 nuclear warheads sitting in the desert and pointed right at you.

Or maybe the hawks in Washington are correct, that the only way to achieve peace is for one side to completely obliterate the other. Then the winners, after a bit of rejoicing, can go about the eventual business of turning their weapons on each other.

That would happen in Kentucky, mind you, as much as it would in Jerusalem or Tehran. And while such a result would not provide true peace to either party engaged in a given conflict, it would certainly provide peace of mind to an external third party, which may or may not have yet another idea about how best to make the land useful.

See, what I'm saying is in the unlikely scenario that Kentucky and Ohio ever declare war on one another, the eventual winner will probably be Indiana. Capiche?

Keep Lebanon out of it, though! We are a peaceful people.

And the most beautiful, too! I’ve been to Khaldeh and to Puncho Beach in Amchit, where I've admired –OK, ogled– modern Lebanese woman adorned in string bikinis baked to a delicious shade of brown. I've seen it with my own eyes. God made Lebanese people beautiful. Not boasting, just telling you the way it is.

OK, laugh, but seriously, with all due respect to you, Jasper, relocating millions of Jews to the middle of an overwhelmingly Islamic region never made much political sense to me. And I don't say this out of any particular hatred or resentment, but just the opposite! Is there not another place in the world that can offer the Jews safe harbor?

–Because, no doubt about it, if the United States blinks for even a moment, Israel's Mideast neighbors won't waste a second pushing the Jewish state right off and into the ocean. Even if it means a few Druze, Christians and Muslims also tip into the brink as well.

Strangely enough, I've begun to appreciate Malaysia because it actually reminds me of Lebanon.

Like Beirut, Malaysia is an Islamic state, but it boasts an amazingly diverse population. One sees Buddhists, Hindis, Christians and many other cultures here, too. And each quite distinct from all the others. Yet everybody here seems to live and operate side-by-side with his or her neighbors. Tension here isn't entirely absent, but one notices only minimal conflict between the lot.

It's as if these parallel universes possess atoms which simply move one through the other with nary a disruption. Sometimes fortune produces a phenomenal fusion. Absent of that, people just go on with work or go the beach and life continues, ad infinitum.

To my mind, it's as if the American concept has taken root, here on the Asian Pacific panhandle, and certainly more so than anywhere else I can think of on the Asian continent –except Lebanon, of course, before the Civil War.

btw, Annika, the trip to see the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque was indeed AMAZING.

It's HUGE, and topped with a 350 ft high BLUE dome.

As you can see from the picture, it truly is quite beautiful. And I think it would be a moving experience for any who visit it, whether or not one is Muslim.

Also, I've decided we as a group –You, me, Jasper and Terry– all use the word 'amazing' way too much. Amazing, right? But, see, I can't stop using it. The word has simply coiled itself around my brain.

Either that or each unfolding moment of life is really just too AMAZING.

And, also, for what it's worth, tried to sleep, really, but I've been awake now for over seventeen hours. Last night wasn't sleepy at all. Even went to a Malay disco where I drank more in one evening than I should ever admit. How it all stayed down, I'll never know. And yet, here I remain, wide eyed and bushy tailed.

But who knows, maybe I'm posting gobley gook which simply looks coherent to me because I'm composing it through the lens of deep jet lag stupor. Therefore, I reserve the right to amend this posting later, after a good night's sleep.

Weekend ahead, and then I start work on Monday!

Sorry if I offended you IN ANY WAY Jasper. I know you'll let me know if I did, and in no uncertain terms.

Yalla bye!