Carina Aoun: The Lebanese Cycling Holland For The Children of Gaza


It hasn’t been a year yet since Israel brutally attacked the Gaza sector, leaving hundreds of dead and thousands of families torn apart, but our collective memory has already dismissed the whole thing as another “been there, done that” event.

We may have forgotten, but those in Gaza are still trying to put their lives back together after all the destruction. It’s always much, much harder to rebuild following destruction, and that is the brave thing to do after war. However, those little children of Gaza that Arabs care about only through Facebook statuses and rarely in action, cannot rebuild alone.

Wars have devastating effects on people, especially children who are in the tender ages of forming the people that they would become. They end up being scarred for life, along with a constellation of psychiatric issues to add. The estimates are that about “373,000 children in Gaza suffer from emotional and psychological trauma and are in dire need of mental care support and reintegration into society.”

To that effect, a Lebanese named Carina Aoun is taking part of an initiative called Cycling For Gaza, and along with 45 other volunteers from across the world, intends to cycle 300km in 3 days this coming July from Amsterdam to The Hague in order to raise money for ” The Mental Health Project of Gaza.”

The goal is to raise $286,000, of which only $5,400 has been donated so far. Each of those 45 volunteers has their very own donation page with the total amount ending up converging into the required $286,000.

The volunteering is taking place within the framework of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) which is the main organization that takes care of Palestinian children, sending them abroad for medical care or providing medical attention to them locally from visiting surgery teams. They have helped over 10,000 children so far.

Their purpose behind the Mental Health Project of Gaza is to start a pediatric mental health hospital as well as run it for an entire year, including providing care to children, screening them, as well as provide training for personnel (link).

Carina Aoun is trying to raise $3000 only for the project and she’s about halfway there. Help her out, and make a difference in the lives of countless of children who can’t make it otherwise.

This is the link to donate (click).

Lebanon’s 2012 Picture of the Year


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The above picture is worth a few thousand more than that – but don’t worry, I won’t write them.

Antoine Zahra, LF MP of the Batroun Caza, sporting a Palestine solidarity scarf… on his trip to Gaza. Who knew there would come a day when such a sentence would actually be written?

As they say “3ish ktir, betchouf ktir.” I personally don’t know what to make from March 14th visit to Gaza. On one hand, some see it as an act of solidarity, on another hand others see it as absolutely useless act of propaganda.
I’m leaning more to the latter but people already think I’m overly negative lately so good on March 14th for going there.

However, Antoine Zahra, it seems, is sticking it to whoever is saying the LF hate all Palestinians. Now cue in those reminding the world of the “atrocities” the LF have done during the civil war because that is entirely the point here.

In short, for so many reasons, I guess it’s fair to assume the above picture cannot but be Lebanon’s 2012 picture of the year – by far.

Syrian AUB Students Protesting For Gaza… Silenced and Beaten Up

The students who left their conflict-torn home in Syria to come get the best education in the region at AUB never thought they’d be silenced in a country which sports itself to be the beacon of free speech in the Near East at a university whose charter boasts about the importance of freedom especially that of speech.

Some AUB students gathered on Monday in support for the Palestinians of Gaza. The sit-in was organized by the Secular Club, the Palestinian Club and the Civil Welfare Club, which is the club of the SSNP at AUB. The protesters were joined by Syrian students from the AUB community who wanted to express their sympathy towards Gaza. A lot of them also happen to be members of the Secular Club.

The protestors held up banners. They shouted against the atrocities taking place in that sector of living hell. They shouted for ears that will not listen, hoping in vain that they do. “The people want freedom.” The students were talking about the freedom of the people in Gaza.

But it wasn’t understood that way.

The freedom that those students sought in AUB and which they thought they had was narrowed down by the narrow-minded hypocrisy of some of AUB’s political parties, representing the agenda of their national bigger heads, to what they believe speech should be about.

Some SSNP students, who were part of the protest, took it upon them when they saw the posters that those Syrian students held to make sure they were silenced for drawing similarities between their struggles as Syrians and the struggles of the people in Gaza… because the posters offended them. “Freedom blowing from Houran to Gaza” offended them. A poster from Deir el Zour offended them. Mentioning the Palestinians of Syria’s refugee camps bothered them. So they tore the posters off. And they beat up one guy and threatened others and ganged a professor whom they knew was with the Syrian revolution because they saw them as a provocation.

Some of the students are still receiving threats today. The same people who threatened a friend yesterday followed him around AUB today… up to the cab that was taking him home where they started shouting and tried to assault him. How longer should AUB students be forced to tolerate the hypocritical stupidity of others who believe only their version of the truth goes?

I don’t know the absolute truth about the politics of it all. I don’t pretend to. But neither do they. I do not think about zionist plans for the region when I think about the situation in Syria. But I don’t mind if they do. I do mind though that they have no problem with people getting killed when it works with their political agenda but have no issue whatsoever with others getting killed just because it serves a purpose they believe is righteous.

Those students seem more knowledgeable about the struggles of the Syrians than the Syrians and they sure as hell know more about the daily struggles of Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves.

Syrians at AUB today are not allowed to speak about the atrocities taking place in their own home without a Lebanese silencing them. They are not allowed to express sympathy stemming from their own struggles towards a place that they can identify with more than others.

Some people may not agree with what those Syrians and Palestinians have to say but they have every right as people first and foremost and as AUB students second to say it especially inside their own campus.

The security personnel at AUB, which is usually very active in stopping such quarrels, didn’t bother. The IDs of students, typically taken in similar scenarios, were never demanded here. The AUB administration which approved the rally that took place within its campus has to take disciplinary measures against those who believe they are above reproach. It is beyond vital for those who think they can silence others this way to face consequences for their mindless actions. It is beyond important for the AUB administration to let the students who were silenced that they care about restoring their voices.

The Lebanese Hypocrisy Towards Those Terrorist Children

A friend posted a picture of a dead child yesterday on his preferred social networking website, along with a slur of swear words at the Zionist regime that he figured had taken the life in question. Soon enough, that friend found out that the child in the picture was not an inhabitant of our neighbor to the South but our neighbor to the East. He then deleted the picture. I’m sure he had a good night’s sleep too.

That child, regardless of his nationality, was still dead.

Read the rest of my second NowLebanon post here.

Innocent lives are innocent lives, regardless of nationality. And this applies to those Israeli children too.

The Palestinian Hypocrisy

The Arabs.

Pray for Gaza… you’ve been praying for Palestine for about 70 years. I’m not sure if it should be considered sad that the only thing you know how to do is pray or it’s just you being delusional. You seem not to have gotten the hint: if prayers worked, Palestine would have been liberated, Gaza would be free and everything would be swell. But things are obviously not. Perhaps you should start looking into other options? You know, such as trying to get your governments – hard as that may be – to actually man up and try to change things in Palestine instead of making under the table dealings with Israel while you all pretend as if those things are not happening. In case you don’t know which governments I’m referring to, let me name them: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt.

Gaza on my mind…. Yes, please tell me more how Gaza is on all your minds. Only when it is bombed. You see, the situation in Gaza was pitiful last year, last month and last week. And yet none of you cared. But whenever shit hits the fan there, suddenly you all become concerned. So you change your Facebook profile pictures in solidarity and tweet accordingly, rejoicing whenever one of your hashtags manages to trend. And panicking whenever an opposite hashtag manages to trend as well. Because that’s rare feat for Arabs on Twitter. Meanwhile, as you legitimately panic about all the children dying in Gaza, at least half of you have no problem in extrapolating the situation in Syria to some cosmic entity then bringing it back to give you some peace of mind as to why the children killings there could somehow be justified (here are some pictures if you feel like ruining your day). But what do I know, I haven’t changed my profile picture on Facebook yet nor will I ever. And that’s surely detrimental to the cause of saving all the children. I’d throw in a line here about religious minorities too but that would be all too much to handle.

The bottom line… a week or a month from now, when the situation in Gaza dies down, you will all change your profile pictures back to some version of a duck-face and you won’t care again. And when all those Facebook events asking you to show compassion to Gaza stop, you’re all going back to your normal lives. But the people of Gaza will not. And you’ll keep on preaching about how the state of Israel needs to be abolished from existence, which is just delusional. But I guess you can pray on that too.

The West.

Pray for Israel… I didn’t know you knew how to pray! Now that is a revelation in itself. Israel is the victim here, you say. Please tell ignorant me how did you get to that fascinating conclusion. Hamas is firing rockets! 12,000 rockets have been fired in the past year on Israel! Cue in the outrage. Or not. How many Israelis died due to those 12,000 rockets? One, two, twenty? How many Palestinians were killed in the past year due to the Israelis? And here’s your answer right there. No, the Palestinians are not terrorists. The only terrorists here are people like you with a mentality that keeps praising the oppressor… only because your media has told you so. Then you get your official spokespeople to come on the airwaves and bestow upon the world their rhetorical questioning: But we don’t get why the Palestinians are doing this! Let’s see… Suppose that they started all of this, the correct answer begins with a big fat O. And in case you couldn’t guess what that was, here it is for you: occupation. But you wouldn’t understand because while you live off your cloud nine, worrying about the few thousand dollars less you’ll be making per year, you’ve never been occupied. You’ve never had to go through life wondering if today would be your last just because a foreign military is present on your land. And you’ve never – ever – bothered to think critically about Israel. So pray you do. And give money to Israel you do. And indirectly kill children, you also do.

Israel on my mind… but of course it is on your mind. How could it not be? The only ally in the region to your countries. The only place where you feel safe visiting. The only place that’s fighting terrorism. The only place where religions are protected. The mini-west in that hellhole of the East. Israel is perfect. Only you don’t know that Arab Israelis are treated as second rate citizens because they’re not jews, you also don’t know that with every day passing, it oppresses the Palestinians in whatever piece of internationally recognized territory they have, but that’s not terrorism. And they don’t have the right to do anything about it because if they do, then Israel has the right to defend itself. And Israel is a beacon for democracy… as long as the same people keep winning. Because if the Israeli left ever dared to win, they’d be assassinated. Instead, you throw at the world the only thing you think you know about this piece of the world while you know next to nothing. And you take your ignorance as scripture. And let Israel be on your mind.

The bottom line… While you freak out about violations to human rights everywhere, I don’t see you seeing violation of human rights that happen to the Palestinians every single day. Because you consider them all as less than people – they are not worth living when they’re infringing the rights of the great Jewish State of Israel. While you get appalled at all the dead children in Syria and other parts of the world, you have no problem not caring about the dead children of Palestine… because one Israeli child died… not knowing that the ratio is like 12:1.

The bottom line. 

This is not a repeat of Goliath and David. The weak Palestinians and their useless rockets and their pitiful stones are not threatening the security of Israel – they could only dream of doing so. And anyone who thinks that the Palestinians are a threat is delusional, ignorant and pitiful. More Palestinians have been killed in the past few days of Gaza airstrikes than all the Israelis whose deaths have caused this. But let’s just tweet about it.  And for the record, I am as unbiased a source as you can get from this part of the world regarding this matter but some things need to be said. You can update your Facebook status now and share this because you’ll be saving a life.