The True Cause of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is not a normal storm. It is not a byproduct of weather conditions that sometimes end up creating such huge storms. No, hurricane Sandy, currently pummeling NYC, is a manufactured storm. Or at least some people think it is.

This is a screenshot from the Syrian Army News Facebook page.

 

“There are sources confirming that Hurricane Sandy which is hitting America was made by very advanced equipment owned by the heroic Iranian regime, with coordination with our resilient regime. The sources have also confirmed that there are Syrian experts who contributed to this. This is the punishment of those who threaten Assad’s Syria and its security.”

You know what’s even funnier? That there are actually some people out there buying it. This is another screenshot that was sent to me by a friend (because the current state of the post has over 900 comments):

Iran’s nuclear program must be a decoy. Who knew their core research is in weather control?

 

 

 

David Letterman on Driving in Beirut

Don’t mind his guest, Justin Bieber.

“If you can drive in New York City, it’s like driving in Beirut. You’ll be just fine.”

And of course you have the torrential Lebanese commentators who are proud of driving like baboons in Lebanon.

 

9/11 Remembered. And Put in Perspective.

I still remember this September day, ten years ago, when my whole family sat dumbfounded in front of our television set, not believing what we were seeing.

How could the United States, the world’s leading country (despite some in-denial people thinking otherwise), have this happen to it? Shouldn’t they have been more prepared? After all, two airplanes hitting their country’s biggest towers and an attack on the Pentagon isn’t exactly a small feat – for any terrorist group.

Any group responsible for the attack must have taken months, if not years, to slowly brew the intricate details of the assault. Therefore, it’s very hard to believe the United States’ intelligence agencies had no idea about it. Instead, they chose to shrug these threats off. There’s no way something like this could happen to us, I’m sure they thought.

But it did happen, taking the lives of 3000 people with it and launching the “war on terrorism” propaganda that has been going on for the past decade.

I still remember holding my mom’s hand as she saw those people jump out of the building, hoping they would be saved somehow, thinking that jumping increased their chances of survival. I still remember news anchors going silent for minutes on end because they were out of words. I still remember my whole household feeling shaken. I still remember my grandma’s panic-stricken face as she stumbled towards the phone, trying to call her sons even though she knew they were far from New York City.

What we did not think of was the aftermath.

I never thought I’d be automatically labeled as a person of suspicion just because of my country’s geographical location. I never thought my aunt would have to wait three hours in LAX before they allowed her to go out and see my family. I never thought it’d become so difficult for me to go the United States, even if I hadn’t seen my family for over five years. I never thought my Muslim friends would automatically become one of the most hated groups in the world just because of their religion. I never thought things would change as much as they did.

I am not a mean person. In fact, I am probably one of the most American-sympathizers you can find – at least in Lebanon. But the thing is, 9/11 needs to be put in perspective.

It will always be a memory of hurt. But ten years later, where should we really stand regarding 9/11? The people who lost their lives should forever be remembered. They were innocent victims who fell to the brutality of a radical group that has a distorted view of their religion.

But ten years later, that’s the only thing I can take out of 9/11. And here’s why.

Sure, 9/11 revealed the United States’ vulnerability. But I’m sure the ship has sailed on that vulnerability. Following that day, the United States’ assumed the role of the policeman of the world. No one did anything unless the United States approved. And if some country happened to dare the United States, they were met with a bunch of sanctions they could never get out of.

The War on Terror has led to the death of not 3000 but more than 900,000 people, most of which are women and children whose only fault was to be in the wrong country at the wrong time of history. What do these men, women and children differ from those 3000 men, women and children that died in the World Trade Centers? Their ethnicity? I hardly think so. Their religion? I’m fairly certain all victims were not uni-religious. The main difference is that the world thinks more of those 3000 people that died on 9/11 that they do of those 900,000 that died in the War on Terror. Why? because in the world’s mind, those 3000 are innocent. The 900,000 are terrorists. Wrong place, wrong time.

The 9/11 attacks also gave the U.S government a free pass to do whatever it wants militarily until it was too late. Example? The Iraq War – also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I still have no idea, even to this day, how Iraq fit into the whole Al Qaeda scenario of the 9/11 attacks. Their only fault? Too much oil beneath their soil. I am also fairly certain the United States’ intelligence agencies were more than knowing that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Live and let live no more.

But why go so far back in time – even if all of this is a few years old. Let’s look at what’s happening around the world today.

There’s a famine in Somalia. Children are dying every few seconds out of hunger. The United States has the world’s highest obesity rate. They’re throwing food away because they can’t eat it anymore. The children of Somalia, on the other hand, don’t even have access to bread crumbs that fall off a table and we don’t notice.

As a result of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” thousands of Iraqi Christians lost their lives and were forced to leave their land and country, becoming not welcome there anymore. Their only fault? They were of the wrong religion at the wrong time in the wrong place. What could have the US done, for instance? Protect them.

Massacres are taking place daily in Congo. Women getting raped has become their way of life. Children getting murdered just because they happened to be caught in a crossfire between greedy tribes, who happen to be the pawns of bigger players, in a game of gold and diamond.

Palestinians get murdered every day by Israeli “Defense” Forces. The U.S covers those murders to the extent that they vetoed the Palestinian request to become a recognized UN state. I am not the most Palestine-sympathizer. But when the United States asks for its victims to be remembered, then all victims that are falling because of the United States’ involvement need to be remembered as well. I am fairly certain Israel wouldn’t be as ferocious if it didn’t know the United States had it back, whenever and wherever.

Thousands have been murdered by a tyrant Syrian regime, since their protests began, and the international community (led by the United States) has done very little to help alleviate the suffering of those people.

And not very recently, in the calm country of Norway, a Christian fundamentalist let loose on teenagers whose only fault was, yet again, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The American reactions to that are summed up in this video.

Yes, it has been ten years since 9/11. But that is precisely why it’s time to get over it. 3000 people that died do not compare to the thousands dying everyday because of 9/11 ramifications. 300 million Americans are not better people than the other 5.7 billion that make up the rest of the world. After all, isn’t equality one of the fundamental and founding principles upon which the American system is built?

There are way worse things taking place everyday all around the world. Their only fault? They’re happening at the wrong place.

Attention Lebanese Expats: You Can Vote in 2013!

Having my American family over these past 3 weeks, Lebanese politics and elections were always a topic of discussion whenever we got together. And one of the recurring elements of that discussion was how much those family members wanted to vote in the Lebanese elections that took place in 2009. Some of them were even wondering if voting would be worth a trip to Lebanon in 2013.

Lebanese expats everywhere, or at least in the United States, wonder no more as by the looks of it, you will be able to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections, set to take place in 2013. All you have to do is register by December 31st 2012 to be eligible.

A friend brought my attention to this as he stumbled on a pdf document posted at the website of the Lebanese consulate in New York.

The document, which you can download here, discusses the registration procedure as either one of two ways: go to the consulate personally with the required paperwork (valid Lebanese ID or passport) or mail the attached affidavit, after having it notarized, to any of the three Lebanese consulates in the United States, along with a copy of any Lebanese identification document.

Nothing is said, however, about the practical aspects of this vote. It is mentioned that the ministry of of Interior and Municipalities is undertaking the necessary measures to allow such a vote to happen.

This is definitely a step in the right direction for the political system in Lebanon. Now let’s hope for a voting system that allows fair representation to all.

Thoughts On Weinergate

Weinergate

The latest “scandal” to hit US politics has been named Weinergate, a play on the infamous Watergate scandal, involving president Nixon.

For those who don’t know what Weinergate is, here’s a brief description of the events.

Anthony Weiner (that’s his real last name, not a pun) is a democrat representative in the state of New York. A picture of a man in underwear got sent from his twitter account to some woman. Weiner said his account got hacked. A couple of weeks later, cropped pictures of a shirtless Anthony Weiner, which were meant for another woman to see, got leaked also. That afternoon, a press conference was held in which Anthony acknowledged that he had, in fact, sent out those pictures, as well to other more explicit ones. He added that he had been in six inappropriate relationships using social media, that he wasn’t going to resign his seat and that he had his wife’s full support. She’s “the good wife” isn’t she?

Well, soon enough, this whole thing exploded in the US news and media circuit. Everyone was bashing Anthony Weiner, up and down. Parodies about the situation were made and calls for his resignation started (the most recent of which is US president Barack Obama).

What started out as tabloid gossip has turned into an American cultural frenzy, up for discussion whenever by whomever.

But should this whole “scandal” be as big as it is?

I believe not. What Anthony Weiner did is, after all, something that everyone does. Granted, it is a representation of indiscretion and dishonesty, but don’t we all do that? Why the hypocrisy? Haven’t those people, who are bashing Weiner today, sent similar pictures before, except those pictures did not come back to haunt them yet?

With the current cultural atmosphere and political craze, Anthony Weiner was also portrayed as a harasser. I don’t understand that as well. Not only did he not have any power over the women he was sexting (they could have ignored/deleted him anytime) but I believe those women had the upper hand in their virtual relationship. If Weiner was a harasser, then what do you say about he millions who send dirty pictures and receive them?

So as Weinergate gained momentum and attention shifted to it, it also shifted away from things more important than a congressman’s nakedness. After all, how messed up does the American economy need to get before people focus on how badly the current administration is handling it? Or how long do the Americans want to go without a decent healthcare plan before they cry wolf? Or when will Americans notice more intently that their troops haven’t left Iraq?

Sometimes the most hip thing in a political scene is not the one you should be discussing. And weinergate needs to die already – enough overanalyzing a horny man’s behavior.

The Godfather – Movie Review

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” has become one of the most popular and famous phrases to come out of a movie – ever. And that movie is The Godfather.

Set in 1940s New York, The Godfather tells the story of the Corleone family, a mafia, and their struggle to protect their legacy as rival families seek out their demise.

I will not write out a more detailed synopsis because it is near impossible to do so for this movie without ruining some plot moments. However, The Godfather is a tale that extends over many years without making it feel overstretched or even segregated into different time epochs.

The Godfather is a body of outstanding performances – and not only acting wise. The movie’s score, by Nino Rota, is haunting. Francis Ford Coppolla, a relative unknown at the time the movie was made, is absolutely brilliant in directing. The cinematography, run by Gordon Willis, plunges the movie’s character’s in their world perfectly.

The acting performances are beyond top-notch. Marlon Brando embodies the head of the Corleone family, Don Vito. His performance lets his character strut along the line of good and evil without blinking. As you watch Brando’s performance, you start remembering the many instances when you saw a character similar to Don Vito being acted out – be it with the voice, the attitude, the context…. And the many imitations of this character, after watching the movie, are justified.

The movie is also propelled by an outstanding performance by Al Pacino, as Don Vito’s son Michael, a returning war hero and a character that is even more fascinating that his father – wanting out of the “family business” because he thinks he doesn’t fit well with what they do. Diane Keaton is unrecognizable at first as Kay, Michael’s love interest and Robert Duvall is as mysterious as his enigmatic character Tom Hagen, Don Vito’s adopted son.

The Godfather is a movie in which, scene after scene, those making it prove they know what they’re doing. Be it the long wedding scene which sets the tone for a Machiavellian patriarchy, a character’s “bed” discovery, the many deaths that plague the mafia families, a character combing his hair in a restaurant nervously, etc… it keeps you attached, wanting to know how these characters would interact with what life throws at them.

It is no wonder The Godfather is considered one of the best movies ever made. There is an amount of ingenuity and creativity at work here that is unapproachable. Keep in mind this is a movie released about forty years ago (1972) – and there are movies today, with much better technology and resources available to them – that fail miserably at making something that would transcend the ages.