Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 8th, 2013

Why aren’t Israeli F-16s over Beirut headline news?

Frequently, you hear sounds coming from the skies over Beirut.  Israeli fighter jets breaking the sound speed trigger unpleasant recollections during the countless Israel preemptive wars on Lebanon

Damned it. Hello, UN general secretary Ban Ki Moon. Beirut is the Capital of a recognized independent State in the UN.

This noise brings with it images and memories from the last war Israel waged on Lebanon, the 33-day war during the summer of 2006. The ominous rumbling of Israeli fighter jets, announcing their illegal incursions into Lebanese airspace, can be heard everywhere in tiny Lebanon.

Moe Ali Nayel, a freelance journalist based in Beirut, posted on  The Electronic Intifada from Beirut  on 24 May 2013

This threatening behavior above Lebanon is non-existent, the Western media corporations would have us believe.

While information-sharing web tools have broken the mainstream media’s monopoly over covering and analyzing world developments, there is still a long way to go. The Israeli politics of dispossession enjoy near unconditional support in the editorial rooms of New York, London and Paris, a bias still undetected by most of the Western audience they claim to serve.

UN soldier atop armored vehicle overlooks Lebanon-Israel border

Israel’s daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty are ignored in the Western press. (Karamallah Daher / Reuters)

On 25 April, these editors saw to it that one story dominated the front pages: Reports of an alleged unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, that flew from Lebanon to historic Palestine, with accompanying reportage and commentary treating information given by Israeli government and military sources as the definitive truth of the incident.

The Israeli Air Force said it shot down a UAV several miles off the coast of the northern city of Haifa after it entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon.

Israel’s deputy defense minister Danny Danon accused Hizballah of sending the drone: “We’re talking about another attempt by Hezbollah to send an unmanned drone into Israeli territory,” he told army radio (“Israel shoots down Lebanese drone,” DefenseNews, 25 April 2013).

Shortly after the Israeli announcement, Hezballah issued a statement denying this was the case (“Hezbollah denies responsibility for drone shot down by Israel,” Al-Akhbar English, 26 April 2013).

This is in contrast to October last year, when Israel said it had shot down a drone over the Negev (Naqab). In that case, Hezballah proudly claimed the drone as its own and celebrated this demonstration of its technological prowess (“Hezbollah admits launching drone over Israel,” BBC).

For its part, a spokesperson with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) announced after the Israeli statement on 25 April: “We learned from the media that the Israeli Air Force has shot down a drone and we’re investigating these reports.”

As part of its peacekeeping mandate, UNIFIL has radars along the coast to monitor Lebanon’s entire airspace, and a few hours later UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said the UN force could not confirm that a drone had flown from its area of operations in southern Lebanon (“Israel shoots down drone off Haifa, Hizbullah denies responsibility,” Naharnet, 25 April 2013).

Inconvenient facts

So Hezbollah denied responsibility and the UNIFIL couldn’t confirm that a drone flew over south Lebanon into Israeli-controlled airspace. But far be it for these inconvenient facts to get in the way of a good story.

This newest threat to Israel burned like wildfire across the pages of major Western media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, France 24, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC, which dutifully reported the worries over Israel’s security being breached.

Poor Israel: one of the strongest armies in the world, sitting on a nuclear arsenal.

These news reports demonstrate the systematic bias of Western corporate media when it comes to Israel.

While the reports all spoke of Hezbollah’s violation of Israel’s “borders” and sovereignty and the threat this posed to Israeli civilians, none mentioned the daily Israeli violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and the threat this poses to Lebanese citizens. Without this, a reader might easily mistake the aggressor for the victim.

Then there was the one-sided sourcing of “facts” to back up the story and the rush to judgment.

On 26 April — the day after the alleged drone was downed — the Israeli government itself began to shift its narrative to more ambiguous finger-pointing at Iran, rather than directly blaming Hezbollah (“Israel points finger at Iran over drone from Lebanon,” The Daily Telegraph, 27 April 2013).

Meanwhile, a May 8 story in Lebanon’s daily As-Safir newspaper claims it was actually an Israeli drone that had been intercepted by resistance fighters en route to Lebanon.

According to unnamed sources close to Hizballah and Western diplomatic circles cited by the paper, when the Israeli Air Force noticed that its UAV was out of its control, it shot it down over the Mediterranean. This suggestion seems at least plausible when stacked next to the UNIFIL report and Hizballah’s denial.

But taking this into account or following up on it would have required understanding Arabic, which few foreign journalists do.

Daily terror

Israel inflicts different daily methods of terror on Lebanon: F-16s and F-15s stage mock raids and drones stalk our skies — all in violation of UN resolution 1701. Lebanese citizens are kidnapped near the border, Israeli landmines and cluster bombs continue to await their victims on Lebanese soil, not to mention the Israeli army’s continued occupation of parts of Lebanon.

While the UN occasionally condemns these acts of Israeli aggression, the fact that they continue unabated reminds us in Lebanon that accountability and international law end at our southern border.

And so too does objective journalism, it seems, given that in the past month Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace have heavily intensified, but none of this has made it into the Western press.

As a journalist, I’ve tried to pitch stories to mainstream media outlets on the constant Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty and have been lucky enough, from time to time, for an editor to bother to reply, if only to say that the story is irrelevant.

The adage goes that real journalism is publishing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.

By publishing Israel’s claims as fact, and ignoring the reality on the ground in Lebanon and Palestine, mainstream journalists show how well practiced they are in the art of PR.

Follow Moe Ali Nayel on Twitter: @MoeAliN.

Note: The Austrian government is pulling out its UN contingent from the Golan Heights: Israel is not supposed to be overflying the Syrian territory, but violating Lebanon airspace is agreed upon with the UN?

Where is “Your Home Country”? Do you feel Exiled?
Witold Gombrowicz wrote in his Journal, 1953, on Homeland and Exile.
On Homeland:
Be assured that your homeland is neither Grójec, Skierniewice, nor the entire country!
Let a forceful blood irrigates your face and colors your cheeks at the thought that You are the Homeland.
Are you no longer living in Grodno, Kutno or Jedlinsk ?
Has a person ever traveled anywhere else but in himself?
You are at home, even as you live in Argentina or Canada: Your homeland is not a location on a map, but the life essence of man.
Come on, no need to cry. Don’t forget that as you lived daily in Poland, Poland never meant mush to you.
Today, you don’t live in Poland, and Poland lives ingrained in you.
This new Poland that you have to define as the deepest of your humanity, the labor of many generations.
Everywhere the eyes of a male discover his destiny in the eyes of a young girl, a homeland is born.
Every time you feel angry or in ecstasy, let your fist rises against infamy, and a new homeland is created.
Every time the words of the wise, or the music of  Beethoven inflames your soul to the highest celestial spheres, in the Equator or in Alaska, a homeland is born.
In the square of Saxe at Warsaw, or in the Market of Cracow, you will be but poor bums, gatherers of miseries without fire or place, ambulating for small money, if you allow vulgarity kills the beauty in you…”
Question: Do you currently feel that you are at home and comfortable among the Silent Majority?
On Exile
The words of Cioran (a French author of the 50’s and 60’s) breath the humid coldness of caves and the dampness of the graves.
His words are too mesquine. Actually of whom this is about? Who should we comprehend in the definition of  “exiled authors”? Rimbaud ? Norwid ? Kafka ? Slowacki ?…
As many men, as many exiled people.
I doubt that any single one of them authors will be precisely scared of this kind of Hell…
Let’s us not forget that Art is nourished of elements of solitude and perfect autonomy. It is in himself that the artist finds satisfaction and a reason to be.
A homeland?
All eminent person, from the fact of his eminence, is a stranger, even in his own house.
Readers? These writers never wrote for their audience, always against their readers.
Honor, success, celebrity, glamour?
They have become celebrity because they learned to have esteem for themselves at a higher level than their success.
Theoretically, and all material difficulties set aside, I think that this plunge in the external universe that exile represents must bring to literature a vigorous impulse.
Here you have the elites of a country booted out of their borders.
This elite class can thus think, feel and write from the outside.
The elite class takes its distance. It acquires a spiritual freedom, rarely attained.
All the shackles and links are broken down. We can be much more than ourselves.
In this generalized effervescence, the established forms are relaxed and untied. We are now capable of walking toward the future in a more rigorous manner…
I don’t deny that in order to vanquish solo these difficulties requires plenty of decisions and moral courage.
Should we feel astonished if, scared of our weakness and by the magnitude of our duties, we hide our head in the mud, and replay past parodies for ourselves, run away from the universe in order to remain in our little world?”
(Lack of opportunities to work, education, and health care… are sources of feeling exiled. You tend to go into isolation and shun company…)
Note: Khalil Toubia shared Littérature et Poésie‘s photo and the original French texts:
Patrie : Sachez bien que votre patrie, ce n’est ni Grójec, ni Skierniewice, ni même le pays tout entier ! Qu’un sang puissant vous monte au visage, et colore vos joues à la pensée que c’est vous-mêmes qui êtes votre Patrie ! Vous n’habitez plus Grodno, Kutno ou Jedlinsk ? Mais l’homme a-t-il jamais séjourné ailleurs qu’en lui-même ? Vous êtes chez-vous, même en habitant l’Argentine ou le Canada, car la Patrie n’est pas un lieu sur la carte, elle est l’essence vive de l’homme. […]<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Allons, ne pleurnichez pas ! Et n’oubliez pas que, tant que vous habitiez la Pologne, la Pologne – chose quotidienne- ne vous frappait guère. Aujourd’hui que vous ne l’habitez plus, mais installée en force, elle vous habite, -cette Pologne qu’il faut définir comme votre humanité la plus profonde, le travail de maintes générations. Partout – sachez-le bien - où le regard du jeune homme découvre sa destinée dans les yeux de la jeune fille, naît la Patrie. Chaque fois que monte à vos lèvres la colère ou l’extase, que votre poing se dresse contre l’infâmie, chaque fois que la parole du sage ou le chant de Beethoven embrase votre âme en la transportant jusqu’aux sphères célestes, alors – en Equateur ou en Alaska - naît la Patrie. Mais, sur la place de Saxe à Varsovie ou sur le Marché de Cracovie, vous ne serez que de pauvres clochards, des colporteurs sans feu ni lieu, des amasseurs de pognon ambulants, si vous permettez que la vulgarité tue en vous la beauté.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 1953
Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 1953
Patrie :
“Sachez bien que votre patrie, ce n’est ni Grójec, ni Skierniewice, ni même le pays tout entier ! Qu’un sang puissant vous monte au visage, et colore vo…s joues à la pensée que c’est vous-mêmes qui êtes votre Patrie ! Vous n’habitez plus Grodno, Kutno ou Jedlinsk ? Mais l’homme a-t-il jamais séjourné ailleurs qu’en lui-même ? Vous êtes chez-vous, même en habitant l’Argentine ou le Canada, car la Patrie n’est pas un lieu sur la carte, elle est l’essence vive de l’homme. […] Allons, ne pleurnichez pas ! Et n’oubliez pas que, tant que vous habitiez la Pologne, la Pologne – chose quotidienne- ne vous frappait guère. Aujourd’hui que vous ne l’habitez plus, mais installée en force, elle vous habite, -cette Pologne qu’il faut définir comme votre humanité la plus profonde, le travail de maintes générations. Partout – sachez-le bien – où le regard du jeune homme découvre sa destinée dans les yeux de la jeune fille, naît la Patrie.
Chaque fois que monte à vos lèvres la colère ou l’extase, que votre poing se dresse contre l’infâmie, chaque fois que la parole du sage ou le chant de Beethoven embrase votre âme en la transportant jusqu’aux sphères célestes, alors – en Equateur ou en Alaska – naît la Patrie. Mais, sur la place de Saxe à Varsovie ou sur le Marché de Cracovie, vous ne serez que de pauvres clochards, des colporteurs sans feu ni lieu, des amasseurs de pognon ambulants, si vous permettez que la vulgarité tue en vous la beauté…”
Exil    : Les paroles de Cioran respirent le froid humide des caves et le renfermé des tombeaux, mais elles sont bien trop mesquines. En effet, de qui s’agit-il… ? Qui nous faut-il comprendre dans la définition d’« écrivains exilés » ? […] Rimbaud ? Norwid ? Kafka ? Slowacki ?… Autant d’hommes, autant d’exils. Je crois qu’aucun d’entre eux ne serait effrayé précisément par ce genre d’enfer. […] N’oublions pas que l’Art est chargé et nourri d’éléments de solitude et de parfaite autonomie, c’est en lui-même qu’il trouve sa satisfaction et sa raison d’être. Une patrie ? Mais tout homme éminent, du simple fait de son éminence, est un étranger, même à son propre foyer. Des lecteurs ? Ces écrivains n’ont jamais écrit pour les lecteurs, toujours contre eux. Honneurs, succès, retentissement, célébrité ?… Ils sont devenus célèbres parce qu’ils ont su s’estimer eux-mêmes plus haut que leur succès. Il me semble plutôt que –théoriquement parlant et toutes difficultés matérielles mises à part – cette plongée dans l’univers extérieur que représente l’exil doit apporter à la littérature une impulsion inouïe. Voilà l’élite d’un pays jetée hors de ses frontières, à l’étranger. Elle peut, dès lors, penser, sentir, écrire de l’extérieur. Elle prend ses distances. Elle acquiert une liberté spirituelle rarement atteinte. Tous les liens se brisent. On peut être beaucoup plus soi-même. Dans la mêlée générale, les formes établies se dénouent, se relâchent, et l’on peut marcher vers l’avenir d’une manière plus rigoureuse. […] Je ne nie point que vaincre ces difficultés et les vaincre en solitaire- exige beaucoup de décision et de courage moral. Faut-il par conséquent s’étonner si, épouvantés par notre faiblesse et par l’immensité de nos devoirs, nous enfouissons nos têtes sous le sable, et, nous jouant à nous-mêmes des parodies de notre passé, fuyons l’univers pour rester dans notre petit monde ?
Witold Gombrowicz -Journal, 195

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