The People Of Al Qaa Were Victims Of Terrorism… While The Government Didn’t Provide Electricity

Qaa Beqaa Lebanon terrorism

The town of Al Qaa in the Beqaa was the scene of a true horror show yesterday as 8 suicide bombers took to its streets to wreck havoc and spread fear among its people.

The town is home for around 2500 Lebanese, mostly Christians, and currently inhabits around 25,000 Syrians who came there seeking refuge from the war taking place in their homes. A few days ago, many didn’t know what Qaa was. Today, it is forever etched in our collective memory as the kind of mayhem that we can easily slip through.

 

Five people died in Qaa yesterday. Learn their names. Look at their faces.

Faysal Aad.

Georges Fares.

Joseph Louis.

Boulos Al Ahmarm.

Majed Wehbe.

Over and over again, the need to see these people as victims and not martyrs couldn’t be higher. These are men who had families they wanted to be there for. None of them wanted to die. The only cause they were partaking in was to live, let live and provide for their families in a town that is forgotten by the government, and by fellow Lebanese, at the outskirts of a country whose Northern border many believe is Kaslik.

Calling them martyrs absolves us of any guilt in their deaths, but we’re all guilty. We’re guilty of accepting areas like the North and the Beqaa to be as deprived as they are, and not bat an eye. We’re guilty of not demanding equality for every Lebanese, no matter how far from Beirut they are. We’re guilty of not demanding our own government take the security of its own people more seriously. We should do more than hashtag Je Suis Qaa or Je Suis Blom Bank and call it a day.

In a land of perpetual ironies, the biggest of those is definitely that Al Qaa was hit with terrorist attacks at night yesterday, four of them to be exact two of which were targeting the Church where many had gathered to plan the funeral of the victims, while the city was cut off the electrical grid.

Picture this: thousands of people in a small town that, a few hours prior, was witnessing the worst suicide bombing since the Civil War, not being able to see where the terrorists were coming from, who they were targeting or where they were fleeing to.

Picture this: thousands of innocent Lebanese, gathering in a town targeted by suicide bombers, who were not even given the prerogative of having their night of horror actually have a lamp light.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise from a governmental system that has failed over and over again and keeps excelling at failing, but let me ask this: if Qaa’s day had been in Beirut or Jounieh or any other “more important” place for the Lebanese collective, would that place go the night without electricity?

How do we go from here? We need to demand more out of our government. The Lebanese army is not supposed to use flare guns at night in order to see where the terrorists were coming from or fleeing to. Our people are not supposed to beg for light in order not to die in pitch darkness. The fact that after the day it had yesterday, the town of Al Qaa still had no electricity is disgraceful. The fact that after being the victim of 4 terrorist suicide attacks, and security officials asking the people of Al Qaa to remain indoors and vigilant, our government did not think that something might happen after sunset is horrifying.

This is not the time for hateful rhetoric. We should not, as a country, sink to the level they want us to, start pointing hands at people whose only fault was being a victim. This is not the refugees fault. They are not those to blame. This is not their attempt to “turn Lebanon Muslim” as I’ve seen many parade around. This is also not your chance to “bring the Crusaders back” as many seem intent on doing. This is precisely the kind of talk we should avoid.

Don’t blame the refugees. Blame those that made them as such. Blame those that maintain the status quo keeping them refugees. Blame those that made our country part of the Syrian war equation. Blame the government that can’t protect its own people.

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Why Did The UN, Canadian and French Embassies Know About The Explosion But Not Us Lebanese?

News of an explosion in the Verdun area of Beirut is currently the most horrifying thing to happen in Lebanon in a long time.

The positive aspect of things is that the damage seems to be only material with BLOM’s HQ being the apparent target. As of now, there are no casualties. The attack happening around Iftar time means that few people were around the area as well.

At a time when some entities want this to become a reality for us in Lebanon, no casualties is a sigh of relief.

One has to wonder though, how did the UN, Canadian and French embassies know that such a thing would happen over the weekend and we, as Lebanese, had no inkling or warning whatsoever?

The pictures at the top of the article are two statements issued by the UN and the Canadian authorities respectively to their constituents to avoid the specific area of Beirut that was targeted, and Hamra in general.

Two days ago, the French Foreign Affairs ministry escalated Lebanon’s security status and warned its citizens from visiting the country.

The above also applies to the instructions workers at international NGOs operating in the country received this weekend.

The question therefore begets itself: where was our entire security apparatus from all of this? Why is our worth as Lebanese always less than every single other nationality in our own country? If international agencies and foreign countries had suspicions that such a thing could happen, were our security forces not aware or were they not in the loop to begin with?

No casualties is no excuse for us to let such a thing pass by unnoticed. It is our right as Lebanese to live in our country with the utmost levels of security, not to be second class entities in our own land and in our own homes.

Right now is not the time to discuss the politics of such an attack and whether it occurring is obvious or not, or whether the context of such an attack and the bank it targets points fingers. Right now is the time to hope that no innocent life has been lost in this country for being at the wrong place at the wrong time once again, for us being perpetual victims of our existence in this land.

Stay safe everyone.

 

Stop Blaming & Shaming Lebanese Army Freed Hostages For Thanking Their Captives “Al Nusra”

Lebanon Nusra Army

A few days ago, after more than a year and a half of stagnation, a major breakthrough in the case of Lebanon’s hostages with “Al Nusra” came through, culminating in their release in what can only be described as a shameful and despicable swap that paints this proud nation of ours as powerless, useless and utterly, irrevocably castrated.

It took our government more than a year and a half to get our captives home.
It took our government more than a dozen mediations to even reach a breakthrough.
It took our government to beg for the help of foreign nations – as usual – to make sure its sons returned home.
It took our government giving back terrorists, making sure those terrorists are provided for, for our hostages to come back home.

And we still have nine left with ISIS.

The aforementioned is horrific. In fact, the only good thing about the recent hostage swap is that our heroes have returned, that their families are whole again and that this dark, shameful chapter of the history of this nation can now begin to heal.

Most of us don’t even know their names, but here they are for everyone to know:

  • Nahi Abou Kalfouni,
  • Rayan Salameh,
  • Georges Khoury,
  • Ahmad Abbas,
  • Mohammad Taleb,
  • Georges Khazaka,
  • Pierre Geagea,
  • Ehab El Atrash,
  • Abbas Mshik,
  • Sleiman El Dirani,
  • Lameh Mzahem,
  • Rawad Abou Darhamin,
  • Wael Homs,
  • Maher Fayyad,
  • Maymoun Jaber,
  • Ziad Omar.

We also received back the body of Mohammad Hamieh, who was executed in front of his fellow captives on September 14th, 2014.

The release of Al Nusra’s Lebanese prisoners meant the potential for a bombastic field day for Lebanon’s media outlets, and they made sure to benefit as much as they could: Sixteen men freed from a terrorist group meant a whole lot of interviews and “scoops.’

Part of the media frenzy was a New TV interview with freed captive Georges Khazaka which you can watch in the video below:

The video translates loosely to the following:

Georges: I want to also thank “Al Nusra” for the good treatment they gave us.

Reporter: They treated you well? Someone who kidnaps you treats you well? *in semi-outraged tone.*

Georges: Yes, thank God.

Reporter: We used to say you were under pressure to say such things. Today, there are no more outside pressures on you to thank Al Nusra which is a terrorist organization that kidnapped you.

Georges: A terrorist organization, but they were okay with us. No one beat us, no one verbally assaulted us.

Reporter: But you were kidnaped for 16 months! You broke the heart of your families for 16 months. You thank Al Nusra for that?

Georges: Thank God.

The comments on Facebook are of the same outraged tone that reporter sported while interviewing this man who has been, as she said, held hostage for over 16 months in conditions that – so say the least – are much worse than anything that reporter or any of us has lived through in the past year and a half. Behold an exhibit:

 

You’d think that with the prospect of their release, after more than 16 months of captivity, that there would be some research into what to expect from ANY human being who has been in such conditions for such extended periods of time. You’d think they would know what to ask, how to ask it, how to handle such fragile creatures whose only fault really was to be citizens of a spineless country that couldn’t bring them back until 16 months later.

Yet again, expecting Lebanese media to actually do its job before crucifying people in the public eye is similar to expecting an owl dropping your Hogwarts acceptance letter at your windowsill.

In the mayhem of the freeing of these Lebanese prisoners, no one bothered to look up why these hostages had a sense of gratitude to their captives, and it all boils down to one concept in psychology called the “Stockholm Effect.”

 

The Stockholm Effect was discovered in Sweden in 1973 after captives at bank were held hostage for five days and then found to have developed attachment to their captors, rejecting governmental assistance at a certain point.

It’s a phenomenon in which people taken into captivity express empathy and even sympathy and could have positive feelings towards their captives. The feelings are considered to be irrational, emanating from the victims believing a lack of abuse at the hand of their captors is an act of kindness.

Research has suggested that hostages may exhibit the condition in situations featuring captors that do not abuse the victim, a long duration before resolution, continued contact between the perpetrator and hostage, and a high level of emotion. It affects around 8% of victims of kidnapping.

A prominent example is that of the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. Shortly after takeoff from Athens, two terrorists stormed the cockpit and demanded the diversion of the flight to Beirut. After capturing the plane, the perpetrators released the women and children. Two sailors and a group of wealthy American businessmen remained on the aircraft, and the captors held them for 10 days.

During the incident, the terrorists threatened the hostages with guns to their heads and in their mouths. They also beat one of the victims to death and dumped his body out of the tail section of the plane.

After the eventual rescue, reporters interviewed the captives as they disembarked. When asked to describe the captors, one hostage stated, “They weren’t bad people; they let me eat, they let me sleep, they gave me my life.”

 

There are certain Lebanese media using Georges Khazaka’s interview to showcase ‘Al Nusra’ in a positive light, in the sense of “oh look, they’re not that bad,” and those media are as bad, if not worse, then those who are outraged at what Mr. Khazaka said.

Al Nusra is a terrorist organization. They took soldiers and policemen hostage for over a year. They beheaded some of them for political and theatrical purposes. They are not human. They are animalistic barbaric entities that, like ISIS, should be annihilated. Period.

As some of you mighty keyboard clicking Goliaths click away at your Facebook, YouTube and Twitter profiles to shame our freed soldiers and policemen because of their statements, none of you had to go through what they went through for the past year and a half.

None of us had to be separated from our loved ones.

None of us had to take each day one step at a time hoping we wouldn’t die the next.

None of us were forced to watch as our colleagues were decapitated in front of us.

None of us had to go through what they’ve been through, and yet here are many of us belittling them.

This can be a political ploy. In the political chess game overtaking the region, these soldiers are mere pawns being manipulated by those who are far higher up. And isn’t the following picture the clearest indication of that?

Lebanon AL Nusra - 13

Our soldiers kneel while higher powers rise above. Isn’t that the truth everywhere?

Before being soldiers, our hostages are people. And they are people who lost everything they knew for more than a year. They’ve been broken, humiliated and decimated.

Before being soldiers, our hostages are people. Understanding that they might be prepared to fight terrorism in Arsal, where they were placed probably because they don’t know someone who knows someone who can assign them to less risky areas, but were not ready to be taken into captivity for more than a year is key.

Before being soldiers, our hostages are people. Wearing a police suit does not mean they are exempt from being human beings who can be hurt, changed and maimed too.

I’m not saying Stockholm Syndrome is a certainty. I’m saying it’s a possibility. Asking our soldiers to move on from their ordeal just because they’re freed is akin to asking a depressed person to snap out of it. We will never get it. We will never know. Whether psychology or politics, everything that we do will remain nothing more or less but speculation.

But when it comes to me, I look at Georges Khazaka and see a man whose humanity comes first and who breaks my heart at him being nothing more than a scarred pawn in a game of nations that is much bigger than him, than me or any of us will ever be.

 

From Beirut, This Is Paris: In A World That Doesn’t Care About Arab Lives 


When a friend told me past midnight to check the news about Paris, I had no idea that I would be looking at a map of a city I love, delineating locations undergoing terrorist attacks simultaneously. I zoomed in on that map closer; one of the locations was right to where I had stayed when I was there in 2013, down that same boulevard.

The more I read, the higher the number of fatalities went. It was horrible; it was dehumanizing; it was utterly and irrevocably hopeless: 2015 was ending the way it started – with terrorists attacks occuring in Lebanon and France almost at the same time, in the same context of demented creatures spreading hate and fear and death wherever they went.

I woke up this morning to two broken cities. My friends in Paris who only yesterday were asking what was happening in Beirut were now on the opposite side of the line. Both our capitals were broken and scarred, old news to us perhaps but foreign territory to them.

Today, 128 innocent civilians in Paris are no longer with us. Yesterday, 45 innocent civilians in Beirut were no longer with us. The death tolls keep rising, but we never seem to learn.

Amid the chaos and tragedy of it all, one nagging thought wouldn’t leave my head. It’s the same thought that echoes inside my skull at every single one of these events, which are becoming sadly very recurrent: we don’t really matter.

When my people were blown to pieces on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, the headlines read: explosion in Hezbollah stronghold, as if delineating the political background of a heavily urban area somehow placed the terrorism in context.

When my people died on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, world leaders did not rise in condemnation. There were no statements expressing sympathy with the Lebanese people. There was no global outrage that innocent people whose only fault was being somewhere at the wrong place and time should never have to go that way or that their families should never be broken that way or that someone’s sect or political background should never be a hyphen before feeling horrified at how their corpses burned on cement. Obama did not issue a statement about how their death was a crime against humanity; after all what is humanity but a subjective term delineating the worth of the human being meant by it?

What happened instead was an American senator wannabe proclaiming how happy he was that my people died, that my country’s capital was being shattered, that innocents were losing their lives and that the casualties included people of all kinds of kinds.

 

When my people died, no country bothered to lit up its landmarks in the colors of their flag. Even Facebook didn’t bother with making sure my people were marked safe, trivial as it may be. So here’s your Facebook safety check: we’ve, as of now, survived all of Beirut’s terrorist attacks.

 

When my people died, they did not send the world in mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.

And you know what, I’m fine with all of it. Over the past year or so, I’ve come to terms with being one of those whose lives don’t matter. I’ve come to accept it and live with it.

Expect the next few days to exhibit yet another rise of Islamophobia around the world. Expect pieces about how extremism has no religion and about how the members of ISIS are not true Muslims, and they sure are not, because no person with any inkling of morality would do such things. ISIS plans for Islamophobic backlashes so it can use the backlash to point its hellish finger and tell any susceptible mind that listens: look, they hate you.

And few are those who are able to rise above.

Expect the next few days to have Europe try and cope with a growing popular backlash against the refugees flowing into its lands, pointing its fingers at them and accusing them of causing the night of November 13th in Paris. If only Europe knew, though, that the night of November 13 in Paris has been every single night of the life of those refugees for the past two years. But sleepless nights only matter when your country can get the whole world to light up in its flag color.

The more horrifying part of the reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks, however, is that some Arabs and Lebanese were more saddened by what was taking place there than what took place yesterday or the day before in their own backyards. Even among my people, there is a sense that we are not as important, that our lives are not as worthy and that, even as little as it may be, we do not deserve to have our dead collectively mourned and prayed for.

It makes sense, perhaps, in the grand sense of a Lebanese population that’s more likely to visit Paris than Dahyeh to care more about the former than about the latter, but many of the people I know who are utterly devastated by the Parisian mayhem couldn’t give a rat’s ass about what took place at a location 15 minutes away from where they lived, to people they probably encountered one day as they walked down familiar streets.

We can ask for the world to think Beirut is as important as Paris, or for Facebook to add a “safety check” button for us to use daily, or for people to care about us. But the truth of the matter is, we are a people that doesn’t care about itself to begin. We call it habituation, but it’s really not. We call it the new normal, but if this normality then let it go to hell.

In the world that doesn’t care about Arab lives, Arabs lead the front lines.

 

Adel Termos: The Lebanese Hero Of the Borj el Barajneh Terrorist Attacks

45. The number means utterly nothing, and I’m sad to say that even after today this number will still mean nothing. We’re a country that never learned and will never learn. It’s just a bomb. It will always be just a bomb.

We call them martyrs. But they did not choose to die that way, burned bodies melting on the tarmac of a neighborhood they called home, their only fault was to live in an area that demographics and politics dictated would be related to this faction or the other.

We call them martyrs, because it’s easier to lump them under one title, to pretend they’re all the same, to pretend that knowing their names is not important, to make it easier for us to comprehend. We call them martyrs to dehumanize them, even more than the dehumanization that occurs with the politicization of those victims that’s contingent upon the area targeted.

But they are people. And they are somebody’s loved ones. And there are families tonight that were whole and complete a few hours ago, and they are sitting now maimed and shattered because of cowards, of abominations that dare to call themselves human beings.

Tonight, politics are irrelevant. Tonight is about the people and this country whose people are dying, and burning, and whose lives are being lost for absolutely no purpose.

Tonight, Haidar lost his mother and father. Shawki Droubi and Khodr Aleddine, a nurse, were lost to their families. Hussein Mostapha passed away with his wife, leaving their son behind. Samer, a Syrian father of two who fled horrors in his country, was killed in what he had feared back home, and Hussein, a Palestinian man whose family sought refuge here, also passed away. Alaa Awad, a third year law student, was also among the victims. Rawan Awad was a school teacher. Hanady Joumaa, Bilal Hammoud, Ahmad Awwada, Rawan Atwi were among the victims too.

 

They are not nameless.

45 is a number that could have been much, much higher if it weren’t for the bravery and courage of one man named Adel Termos, a father of two. When the first suicide bomber committed the first terrorist attack, Adel saw the second one approaching the crowds gathering outside the targeted mosque.

He ran at him and tackled him, causing the second terrorist to self-detonate. Tonight, Adelis no longer of this world, but his legacy will live on for years, and the repercussions of his heroism will become a tale to tell: Adel is the reason we are not talking about fatalities in the three digits today, he is the reason some families still have their sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, he is a Lebanese hero whose name should be front and center in every single outlet.

 

Adel’s story holds striking resemblance to that of Abou Ali Issa who did the same thing when his city Tripoli was attacked earlier this year. The parallelism is horrifying. It also shows how this country is always going in circles: terrorists attack, people die, heroes emerge, and all is forgotten in a week or a month. The politics maybe change, but with so many victims dying for so little, petty politics become irrelevant.

May all the victims of tonight’s terrorism rest in peace.

Shame On LBCI and Lebanese Authorities For Cleaning Fadel Shaker’s Image

I don't usually use the acronym "LOL" but I feel it's entirely appropriate to the use of the word "قضية."

I don’t usually use the acronym “LOL” but I feel it’s entirely appropriate to the use of the word “قضية.”

Fadel Shaker is the Islamist who cried wolf.

It’s difficult to imagine Shaker as anything other than the bearded Islamist who did a 180 degrees flip from a blasphemous man living in the sin of his songs to one who suddenly saw the light and only wanted to sing to Allah, the one imprinted in our collective memory as Lebanon, who’s been present for only 3 years.

History goes back to 2012 when Shaker popped up in Downtown Beirut at a rally for Assir’s Islamists, harmless and fluffy as they were at the time. I remember how outraged people were at the time: what had he done? Why was he doing that to himself? I even did a meme (link).

Kiss Ahmad el Assir on the forehead he did, bringing Assir into the forefront of the Lebanese news cycle in the process. The rest is history. Flashforward 3 years later and Fadel Shaker is reborn. Do you think his middle name is now Jesus (Or Issa as he’d rather be known I’m sure)?

The beard is gone. The clothes have been replaced with a suit. The shabby looking man of 2012-2014 has suddenly reverted back to his state of pre-2012. How do we know all of this? Because Lebanon’s prime TV station, LBCI, secured a super exclusive interview with Fadel Shaker in which he tried to do the following:

  1. Claim his innocence,
  2. Claim his involvement with Al Assir was simple “sympathy,”
  3. Claim that his relationship with Assir was strained,
  4. Claim that it wasn’t him who killed Lebanese army soldiers,
  5. Essentially kiss Bahia Hariri’s behind, calling her their “big sister” and commanding her efforts into preventing further decompensation of the situation.

Rumors about him trying to secure a deal to get out of the Palestinian camp of Ain el Helwe have been swirling for months through negotiations via intermediaries with the Lebanese authorities to secure his safe passage in return of him leaving his Islamist present behind.

In July 2014, he gave an interview to Lebanon24 (link) in which he essentially said almost verbatim what he told the LBC reporter who strung a report that turned Fadel Shaker from the Islamist to a pop star ready to take the microphone and sing next to Yara (if that’s not haram, I wouldn’t know).

The details of Fadel Shaker’s deal, according to Al Akhbar (link), are as follows:

  • He’s been trying to sort his situation ever since he ended up in Ain El Helwe in 2013,
  • His situation became increasingly difficult as he ran out of cash and his wife controlled his assets,
  • His “difficult situation” forced him into compromises,
  • Through a concert contractor called Imad Qanso, Fadel Shaker got into contact with Walid Ben Talal as well as Layal Al Solh who became his intermediaries with the government,
  • Layla Al Solh managed to get Shaker a deal with the Lebanese army that requires him to 1) return to his basic form and stop the fiery speeches against the army, 2) hire a lawyer to help him in his upcoming “trial” and 3) publicly cut all ties with Al Assir,
  • He got a lawyer called May Alkhansa, close to Hezbollah, after promising her “he hadn’t spilled one drop of blood,”
  • LBC was agreed upon to be the TV station to handle his rebirth, through a pre-prepared interview.

And despite all of this, I don’t blame Fadel Shaker for saying what he did. I don’t even blame Layla Al Solh and Walid Ben Talal for trying to get him off the hook. The latter is Saudi, so what did you expect? And his aunt is nothing more than his voice box, sadly.

The entities to blame here are 1) LBCI who, in typical Lebanese fashion, put the exclusivity of a news scoop ahead of what that scoop means, although in LBCI’s defense no Lebanese TV station would have said no, and 2) Lebanese authorities who are actually going through with such a deal.

By doing that report, LBCI – with all its influence – became nothing more than a mailbox to months long negotiations taking place behind closed doors between Shaker and Lebanese authorities in order to seal the deal and make sure Fadel Shaker turns out unscathed.

That report, being a rehash of a 2014 interview and with Fadel Shaker being prepped for the questions for weeks now, shows that there’s no substance to the content and no attempt at confronting Shaker regarding the terrible things that he did. LBCI shouldn’t have let him use their station to pass his agenda unchallenged, and contemplate the potential of him filling stadiums with fans again.

On the other hand, Fadel Shaker possibly facing trial means nothing. How long did Bilal Deqmaq stay in prison? How long did any of the Islamists caught up with Al Assir stay in prison? Will a few days in prison be enough? No.

By going into these negotiations with a terrorist just because “he saw the light,” our army and whichever authorities involved are saying that the blood of our army members is useless, that calling them pigs is okay and that all can be forgiven if you’re important enough to get away with it. Typical Lebanon.

Shame on Lebanese authorities who are ready to ignore everything just to come about to some deal.

How dim-witted do they think we are not to remember what he has done?

This is him calling the Lebanese army pigs and bragging that his gang killed two and wounded four:

This is him declaring jihad in Syria:

This is what he said of Ahmad el Assir:

“But then there was the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, with four Hezbollah militants accused by the international prosecutors. In May 2008 Hezbollah militias attacked Sunni Muslims in Beirut. To crown it all, they support [Syria’s president] Bashar al-Assad. Sunnis feel frustrated and they have no one to protect them. The sheikh [Assir] speaks the truth.” (link).

This is what he said of Lebanon (and the world’s) Shiites:

“In Syria they kill our Sunni brothers and destroy our mosques. They are prepared to kill all the Sunnis, all the way to the Gulf. They’re infidels, not Muslims. It’s not true the Qur’an is their book. They’re liars, they say one thing and do another.” (link).

This is what he said of his 2012-2015 path:

“That wasn’t my true calling. Thanks to the almighty, I now lead a religious life. I’m at peace. But I have no regrets about the past. It’s my duty to combat oppression and defend people who share my faith.” (link).

This is him in various loving positions with Ahmad el Assir and other terrorists:

Fadel Shaker is a 46 year old man without any disabilities who took decisions of which he was whole-heartedly convinced. If this had been a non-famous person, he would’ve been convicted and thrown in jail. He may have not killed (no one can know) but that doesn’t make him any less of a criminal.

The king of romance is planning a comeback. It’s no longer his “duty to combat oppression and defend people who share his faith,” everyone else be damned. And Lebanon’s very own LBCI is spear-heading that comeback. Perhaps they are dying for another Elissa duet?

The fact of the matter is the only romance he should be singing is to his cell mates in Roumieh, bending over, calling them allah. But that’s not what LBCI or the Lebanese authorities want. In Lebanon, justice is served only to those who are weak enough not to challenge it.

How Lebanon Absolutely Failed When ISIS Killed Our Soldiers

August 2nd, 2014. It has been such a long time. That was at a time when the Lebanese army was fighting ISIS at our north-eastern border with Syria. Nowadays, we call it “The Battle of Arsal.” And on that day, ISIS took hostage several of our army members.

Subsequently, our government became a little irritated. Here was another “mess” they had to deal with. It was nothing major. They weren’t obviously going to try their best as long as the status quo remained the same; that status quo being the soldiers remain alive and the fragile “truce” with ISIS remains in place.

On August 28th, Ali Al-Sayyed was beheaded, becoming the first public Lebanese victim of ISIS. His video did not cause the outrage – even in Lebanon – that the death of James Foley caused. Nowadays, if you drop the name Ali Al-Sayyed in a casual conversation, few would remember him. But he existed, and he left behind a pregnant wife, who gave birth to his son a few days ago, and a daughter called Rahaf.

This is Ali:

Ali al-Sayyed

Ali was one of the brave men who fought against the Islamists in Nahr el Bared in 2007.  When he was killed, our government responded with statements and empty promises. They were considering their options. This beheading was a clear attempt to “cause civil strife.”

Meanwhile, the parents of those soldiers were closing off highways to the dismay of many. Traffic! Ugh. Then when they moved their protests from the Tripoli highway in North Lebanon to Beirut for more relevance, they found themselves being hosed down to clear roads as they chanted for our government to do something – anything – for their sons.

Their protests increased. It was no longer just a matter of a fragile status quo that allowed our government to continue its summer vacation. However, as things usually go in Lebanon, a couple of days after the murder of Ali Al-Sayyed, the news cycle diverted to other issues.

On September 5th, as the hostage’s families caused more “unrest” in the country, as they became angrier and promised escalations, our minister of social affairs Rachid Derbas made the following statement:

“Protesters in Qalamounaccused the government of being too strict and demanded negotiations while others asked for a military solution and accused the Cabinet of cowardice. This was a scary scene…. What’s with the families of the captured soldiers threatening [to incite] a civil war while their sons are still safe?”

Naturally, even the people in our government had forgotten that it had only been 7 days at the time that a public beheading of one of those sons had taken place. What made it even more ironic is the fact that the following day, on September 6th, ISIS released the beheading video of another Lebanese soldier: Abbas Medlej. He was 20.

Abbas Medlej

How did our government respond?

Well, for starters, our PM Tammam Salam gave a speech, straight out a Paulo Coelho book:

“We are not in a weak position. We have several options. There are various elements of strength in our hands…. Lebanon will not be defeated. Those terrorists will definitely be defeated.”

And then, because as we all know Lebanon is a country of utmost respect for civilities and the law, our minister of Interior Affairs Nouad el Machnouk promised to “speed up” the trials of Islamists in Roumieh. He also went to Qatar to see what can be done.

Then, almost 2 weeks later, on September 19th, ISIS executed another soldier named Mohammad Hamieh.

Mohammad Hamieh

Then we forgot about all of this for more than 2 months.

On December 5th, 2014, ISIS released a video in which they showed the execution of a fourth Lebanese soldier named Ali Al-Bazzal. They shot him in the head. A few days later, Ali’s grief-stricken father also passed away.

This is Ali:

Ali Al-Bazzal

And then nothing.

Now let’s contrast this with what happened in Jordan yesterday.

Moaz al-Kasasbeh was a pilot who was captured by the terrorists on December 24th after his F-16 jet crashed near the ISIS stronghold city Raqqa in Northern Syria. Yesterday, a video surfaced showing ISIS’ new style of assassinations: they burned Moaz alive.

It was reported that he had been killed as early as January 3rd, but the terrorist organization still negotiated with the Jordanian government to secure the release of a woman named Sajida al-Rishawi, who had taken part in a 2005 suicide bomb attack in Amman.

Following the news of his death, Jordan’s king Abdullah cut his visit to the United States short and vowed “punishment and revenge” for Moaz’s death. A few hours later, the country had executed Sajida Al-Rishawi as well as another Islamist called Ziad al-Karbouli, before announcing that they would increase their role in the coalition against ISIS.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Jordan managed to highlight the gravity of the murder of their son Moaz Al-Kasasbeh so well that every single international outlet has been addressing the murder at length. The whole rhetoric of “oh, his death isn’t as important because he’s not Western” was rendered invalid.

Moaz al-KASasbeh

Jordan’s TV stations put black ribbons on their screens along with Moaz’s picture. The death of just one of their soldiers sent their country into a frenzy to make sure they hold their own, that it doesn’t happen again and that they would be sure to respond aggressively to put ISIS in place.

By being the only Arab country to respond to ISIS, Jordan has proven that they won’t be yet another pussy-nation in the region to be trampled on by those terrorists.

I can’t say the same for the place we call our country.

6 months and 4 soldiers killed later, how did we make international news? Because of a selfie and a pornstar.

6 months and 4 soldiers killed later, instead of giving the parents of those soldiers a second thought, instead of telling them that we would “increase our role against ISIS,” we hosed them down with water, told them they are wrong to demand justice for their children.

6 months and 4 soldiers killed later, the country never mourned the soldiers who died, whose death was turned into entertainment for the sadists; our media never really bothered and we never cared.

Ali Al-Sayyed, Abbas Medlej, Ali Al-Bazzal and Mohammad Hamieh are four men who were not just killed because of their government’s failure, but who had to die over and over again by that same government failing to stand up against those that murdered them, by failing to make sure that their death translates to anything relevant, by making sure their beheading ends up as a non-event, another filler report in our evening news.

This is a disgrace.

May Ali, Abbas, Ali, Mohammad and Moaz rest in peace.