Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘7iraak

Of “Masters and Slaves”? Of raising expectations, desires and detachment…?

In June of 2007, I attended a Rajah Yoga retreat in Lebanon

We met for the last session of the day around 7 p.m. and the lecture was of how the relationship between slaves and masters are formed.

The Indian Dr. Prashant, a nose and ear surgeon, was the lecturing “guru”  for all the sessions.

Dr. Prashant said:

“In every relationship such as marriages, mothers and sons,… the one who take the initiative to increase the expectations and desires of the other partner becomes the slave, because the other partner was offered the potentials to act and behave as master.

Thus, if you cannot learn to detach yourself from emotions and passions and desires, then you are doomed to become a slave, fulfilling the expectations and desires of others. The more you are detached the more free and liberated you are.

I asked Dr. Prashant:

“Here in Lebanon we have learned to detach ourselves from the desires to have continuous electricity, clean water, safe environment and true democracy through a huge mismanagement in our society…

Does that mean that we have earned our freedom? That the Lebanese people have become the masters and our politicians the slaves?”

Dr. Prashant nodded but did not comment, as if my concerns should Not affect him.

There were many dissatisfied persons to my question and their noises of hooo demonstrated that the audience has identified the party “pooper”, the angriest person among the lot, Not fit to adapt to the guru teaching.

13 years later, the Lebanese still lack all the facilities and basic infrastructure and the necessary laws for a fair equitable democratic elections.

13 years later, Lebanon is totally bankrupt at all levels

A “mass movement” erupted in October from all provinces, a chaotic and disoriented 7iraak.

Turned out to be a major humongous bubble.

This Covid-19 virus epidemics arrived to salvage the situation and confined people at home.

And nothing basically changed in Lebanon sectarian/feudal/militia/mafia political structure

The roots are far more rotten and infected

The people spoiled rotten their local “leaders” into believing they are above the laws and can rob the budgets as they please.

The funny part is that, as far as I recall, most of these sectarian politicians rarely raised our expectations or desires...

We just supposed that “Eventually, they will shoulder their responsibility and do their due diligence…” toward the citizens

I claim that the Lebanese who remained, and those that returned to settle , in the last 30 years, they constitute the vast Silent Shitty Majority.

And I feel that I am Not exaggerating.

Note: In one of the last sessions Dr. Prashant lectured on the six spiritual levels such as Brahmin (knowledge, simplicity, and service to community), Deity (happiness), Warrior (courage), Merchant (comfort), Shudra (laziness and indulgence), and Demonic (sorrow).

All the time I was meditating with my eyes closed because I was not interested in the talk.

Then I realized that the six levels represent the terrible caste system in India and the discrimination that millions of Indians have suffered through the centuries based on these theological divisions.

I felt furious and commented energetically and heatedly that the lecturer was trying to give spiritual content to these discriminating classes and told him that he is using terms that are politically incorrect and covering them with spiritual meanings.

I offered that it would be more decent to change the terms and not support the religious caste system in India which is providing power control to the Buddhist hierarchy.

The audience was implicitly in favor of my comment but stunned and was wondering why I am always attacking the lecturer who usually never responds and resumes his lecture, as if what I said is none of the business of King Yoga doctrine.

 

Lebanon should never go back to his sectarian/plutocratic political system

The Autumn of Sectarianism?

Any credible and viable facts and society behaviors that could convince me that sectarianism in on the way out?  After 77 years of practicing this feudal/sectarian system since Lebanon “independence” in 1943?

February 2020
Bassel F. Salloukh, Associate professor of Political Science at the Lebanese American University, and LCPS senior fellow

No matter the short-term outcome in this latest battle in a long Gramscian ‘war of position’ against sectarianism, something has changed irreversibly in Lebanon since 17 October, 2019.

Whether Lebanon’s sectarian political mafia elite like it or not, whether they concede it or not, they already know that their grip over society is slowly, but surely, slipping away.

To be sure, sectarianism is not gone, nor will it go anytime soon, but it just doesn’t have the monopoly it used to have over peoples’ modes of mobilization and identification.

And because they see their vivisected ‘streets’—the sectarian political elites’ favorite term to describe what they, and the Lebanese Constitution, consider as docile sectarian subjects rather than citizens with inalienable rights—slipping away from them.

This rotten “militia “leaders” have responded by weaponizing sectarianism and its other distortions in a bid to neutralize alternative types of identities and mobilization. Indeed, they were so taken aback by the protests that one of its unwelcome consequences has been to alert them to the need to reinvigorate their clientelist and corporatist ties with their sectarian base.

Perhaps the revolution’s (7iraak) greatest achievement so far was to insist that there were no grey choices in this grand battle for a new Lebanon: You are either on the side of the sectarian system and its ensemble of violent disciplinary practices, or you are Not.

You are either for the perpetuation of the lopsided political “rentier” economy, distorted social ecology, and environmental degradation, or you are willing to embrace new kinds of identities that are deeply antithetical to the sectarian system’s constructed binaries.

All of us are now faced with simple but difficult choices: Are you willing to defend your privileges in the name of the sect and what John Nagle labels ‘zombie power-sharing’, or to turn the tables on this whole violent edifice?

Are you willing and ready to speak the modern language of accountability, representation, social justice, gender equality, LGBTQI and other minority rights, shared prosperity, and environmental sustainability, regardless of your private sentiments and practices?

And to the angst of the sectarian system’s apologists, the battle over these choices has entered the intimacy of every household and friendship. It sometimes pits parents against their post-ideological siblings, siblings and cousins against each other despite family and religious affiliations.

It even opposes friends who used to assume they shared a minimum of common civic values, only to discover that it was all a fake reverie.

It is in the turbulence of these intimate relations, and the emotional and discursive ruptures they give rise to, that one finds the humble origins of an invented new polyphonic “Lebanese  State” in-the-making.

But this time around it is a nation imagined neither via the homogenizing frameworks of confessional binaries once expressed in the form of the deux negations, (Two negations do Not constitute a nation) nor their postwar sectarian derivatives.

It is imagined instead in anti- and cross-sectarian visions, ones that do not deny alternative sectarian imaginings of the nation yet refuse to allow them a privileged place or monopoly over how to define this nation.

Whether in the graffiti adorning Beirut’s walls (shlah ta’eftak, take off your confession, is my favorite), the explosive rap songs giving voice to late millennials and Generation Zs once assumed disconnected and apolitical, or in every Nasawiya rally (feminism rally) and chant, the public expression of these new imaginings of the nation can no longer be reversed. They are here to stay and make a better Lebanon.

But we should not be carried away by the energy and creativity of this anti-sectarian moment. What the sectarian counter-revolution has shown is just how many continue to hold on to the sectarian system.

Whether for sheer clientelist purposes—despite the near end of the political economy of sectarian—the power of sectarianism ideological hegemony buttressed by a complicated institutional edifice, or the naked fear of the unknown that comes with any kind of systemic change in a plural society still haunted by memories of a 15–year civil war, so many Lebanese refuse to budge and dream a different dream.

And this helps explain some of the more bizarre commentary emerging on social media or in private conversations, as people try to explain their impossible choices.

After absorbing the initial shock, the sectarian political elites are now on the offensive, acting as if they have been preparing for this challenge to their supremacy ever since the war ended.

They spent decades colonizing the state’s public and coercive institutions and packing them with loyal clients who will do their dirty work when the time comes, clients who are now devouring around 40% of government expenditures.

Also, there is no shortage of opportunists willing to parachute themselves under the label of technocrats and stab the revolution in the back. The problem with that group is not a lack of technical talent, but rather that they do not represent in any shape or form the new community and forces that emerged in the past months.

The sectarian political elites have shifted tactics: From playing what in International Relations is called a game of chicken to a game of billiards, by using one bland actor to hit multiple targets.

And yet, the 17 October revolution has achieved so much, despite its many setbacks, with some that are yet to come. It is primarily an introspective interrogation at the very intimate level, a thawra ‘alal-nafs in Bou Nasser al-Tuffar’s beautiful rendition in his song Khayr al-Shaghab featuring Al-Darwish.

This revolution gave us a new calendar—are you still living in the pre-17 October era or have you made that mental leap to the post-17 October dream—and a new lexicon—who would have thought NERDS could stand for Nasty Economy Requires Drastic Solutions?

The past months have witnessed an oversupply of political analysis.

It is now time to invest more heavily in the concrete building blocks of political practice and organization. Disaggregated and competing modes of political organization reflecting varying ideological choices have to be imagined, created, and then institutionalized.

Existing sites for alternative political contestation need to be liberated from within, a process that has already started among the youth, professionals, and inside the Beirut Bar Association.

Disaggregated political and organizational alternatives connecting people across classes, vocations, and regions are the sectarian system’s worst enemy.

Only then will the present moment look as part of a cumulative longer struggle to penetrate the sectarian political system and transform it from within, gradually and democratically.

And only then can we make sure that what today looks like the autumn of sectarianism will not be one day remembered as that autumn of 2019 when sectarianism was jolted, only to reassert itself with a vengeance.

Note: This militia/mafia sectarian elite (1%), which monopolized 80% of the economy and banks, have robbed the budgets of $120 bn in the last 30 years.

7% of the citizens accounts are below $100, 000 and less than $10,000 for the other 90% of the citizens.

And it is this large sector of the poor citizens who are subjected to severe restriction in withdrawing money from their accounts.

Add tho these economic/financial difficulties, the purchase power of our local currency had devalued 30% and higher prices have reduced the monthly intake of the pay to 40%.

Tidbits and notes. Part 435

The ancient city-state of Athens could Not swallow the concept of free expressions in public. Athens political structure was mainly controlled by the oligarchy and the rich conservatives. And the famous “philosophers” like Socrates, Anaxagoras and Protagoras charged extravagant stipends from all these adventurer aristocrats, seeking political status through fomenting successive wars to keep the empire cowed and the subjugated city-sates paying their due taxes. All these “philosophers” ended up exiled or punished with death for their ideas.

“Moi, je denonce les idees des autres ignorants. Le chien a une ame: il peut distinguer les humains amicaux et ceux hostillent a son existence” Diogene

Every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, especially for public figures of intellectuals and politicians. “What is your stand on the Palestinian cause” was the main litmus test for decades. It has come back after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem

If Hezbollah support to reconvene Saad Hariri as PM, then my suspicion will increase that Hezbollah is in acute economic and financial difficulties: this party would be ready to enjoy the Haririyat’s Ponzi scheme for a while longer. To gain time? But Lebanon is set for a long and harsh period. The sooner we get out of our fantasies the better society will come to term with the reality of our defective policies.

I learned that the tent in 3azariyyi was discussing the feasibility of finding a peace treaty with Israel “tatbee3 ma3 Israel“. Is that a timely purpose of the mass upheaval (7iraak)? Stick to the fundamental emergencies and don’t meddle in foreign policies right now.

A week before the mass upheaval (al 7iraak) started in October 17, Jobran Basil (Lebanon foreign minister and leader of Tayyar )declared that turning the table on our defunct political and economic system could become an inevitable outcome. Question: If the President was the first in delivering his speech before Saad PM, the next day of the 7iraak, and told us the economic plan is to be changed to a productive system and opening the trade borders with Syria and Iraq, how this 7iraak would have unfolded?

A US federal judge blocked a Los Angeles law requiring businesses seeking city contracts to disclose any ties to the NRA.

The donations to the Vatican: Uses about 90% of the funds on its administrative budget.

EU is the first economic power in the world and the UK wants out?

Most hotel chains don’t own their  properties, but rather provides capital and training to hotel owners who re-brand to its specs. It then takes a portion of their revenue. Agarwal’s company in India is valued at $10 billion, surpassing Marriott by room count.

In a world where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap, in a world of media where the former audience are now increasingly full participants, in that world, media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals. It is more and more often a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.

1993: Internet pioneer Rick Gates suggests that a free, open-source encyclopedia could exist on the internet (he called it “Interpedia”).

Tidbits and notes. Part 425

Iceland offers many benefits when it comes to bitcoin mining, among them cheapest geothermal energy and frigid air to keep machines from overheating (Block-chain servers).

Some companies are starting to test microchip implantation in employees, raising serious questions about worker autonomy, privacy, surveillance—and humanity itself.

Civil political disobedience against Lebanon Parliament (the main power that ruined the country) should go hand in hand with indirect taxes civil disobedience: stop driving (benzine, mechanic…), stop paying double energy, (for private providers), stop unnecessary mobile communication fees…

House impeachment hearings go public. Two career diplomats testify—with every major network covering the proceedings live—about allegations that Donald Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine for his own political advantage.

Graves are going green as thousands of people every year are giving up on funeral homes, formaldehyde, and coffins, and returning to nature as their forebears did—wrapped in a shroud, placed in a simple hole in the earth, with no trace of their resting place amid the birds, bees, and nematodes

A South Korean firm offers “living funerals.” The goal is to teach participants life lessons by faking their deaths.

Voici que recommence le grand Ordre des Sciecles? Quel ordre? Chaque leader, avec un tant soi peu de pouvoir, veut ramener un certain ordre qui convient a son image. Ces “ordonnances” s’intercoupent a l’infini avec un point focal: Le point ou’ le chaos commence.

Unless you associate with a sincere group (a tribe) in the  mass movement (7iraak) to control your later behavior and position, your participation will end up with no consequences

Probably a few in the Lebanese mass upheaval “7iraak” attended one of these “thousand and one night” (fa7esh) wedding of the new rich ministers and deputies. They are attending the 7iraak to absolve themselves from their sickening monstrosities.

I feel so distraught: how can so many Lebanese felt under the spell of those civil war “leaders” since 1975? Nothing in these leaders talks and speeches had any viable meaning for their future and well-being.

3 years ago, a before the President of Lebanon was elected, the USA didn’t give much damn about Iran in Lebanon, and let the Lebanese go down the drain. No, Iran is Not our problem. Rectify your your North (Sawbo al bousalat)

Depuis longtemps, les vivants du Liban partent pour mourir ailleurs, et puis quand morts, ils desirent revenir mouriri au Liban. Mort, vivant, la terre abhor le vide. Pas de Libanais? On apporte des Syriens et des Palestiniens

In 1902, 114 years ago, Amin Rihani, aLebanese immigrant living in New York, replied to the reforms of the new Ottoman Moutassarref to Mount Lebanon, Mozaffar Pasha. Rihani’s set of reforms priority was:
1) Establish public educational institutions. The religious clerics Must be forbidden to run or teach in these public schools.
2) Religious clerics must be denied interventions in any civic decisions or civic laws.
3) Public employees must submit to exams and be selected according to their capabilities.
4) Confiscate religious real estates and pay back the private owners who donated their lands.

Tidbits and notes. Part 421

Wars of choice“? And decided by the 1% elite class in the “war industry” that plunder other nations raw materials and oil.. and open market

Do you know there are 40% unemployed youth in Lebanon? This anomie system expected that most of them will find jobs overseas. It turned out that there are no jobs overseas at this junction. This militia/mafia system has to contend with all these educated youth demanding drastic changes: This is the real cause for the current mass upheaval 7iraak.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa3 valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive. The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee, mostly toward the Capital Beirut (al Da7iyat)

What is the main institution that ruled and controlled this fiasco in Lebanon for 30 years? It is the Parliament and all its deputies for 30 years. They all, and invariably, elected the non-changeable Nabih Berry by all the deputies. They all have to face the justice system for cooperating with this anomie system

Nothing is spontaneous. Nothing but paying jobs can organize a mass movement. And the more the content is based on abstract concepts (freedom, liberty…) the worse is the “Style” of the particular 7iraak (tent, khaymat)

The higher the indirect taxes the more outdated the political/economic system. Lebanon is the worst: a non-productive society and budget mostly based on indirect taxes that rob the citizens in every of his daily activities

In Middle-East politics, I have two invariable positions, based on daily confirmation for many decades: 1) Israel is our Existential Enemy, and 2) Greater Syria forms one Nation with One people (current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq)

Think with me: if you are an Ethiopian from the center of the country, how could you manage to save $400 in order to flee the country toward Djibouti, Yemen and Saudi Kingdom? Would you take this totally hazardous and and insane  route if you were Not submitted to an ethnic cleansing? I submit that the multinational agro-businesses that rent for cheap vast land and entice the peasant to flee their land? This regulated scheme has been going on for decades in Ethiopia. And how come the world community dare attribute a Nobel of Peace to the President of Ethiopia?  And why this dam on the Nile if Not to provide cheap water for the multinationals?

Same basic rule in Japan: No eye glasses are to be worn by female employees in tourism, fashion industries…

Apparently, frequently catching cold is the symptom of a transformed constitution that is getting allergic to many items and pathogens that it was previously immune of. Kind of the immune system got set on an old administrative routine and unable to cope with the exponential increase in polluters and human-made poisonous products

Let’s us Not be that confused: In every country, there is an “elite class” that managed to take roots with all the privileges that have Nothing to do with “money” as we know it. For fundamental reasons, and Not related to any rational basis, No revolution ever eliminated the elite class.

Every other “citizen” regardless of color, genders, race, financial social status… are necessarily second class, given that the Elite Class conserves its status. Sure, there are third and fourth classes… All you can do is learn and do your best to advance to the second class.

 

 

A few facts on the robberies taken place in the Lebanese institutions: Like Central Bank 

Do you know there are 40% unemployed youth in Lebanon? This anomie system expected that most of them will find jobs overseas. It turned out that there are no jobs overseas at this junction. This militia/mafia system has to contend with all these educated youth demanding drastic changes: This is the real cause for this “7iraak” (mass upheaval going on for 3 weeks)

An anomie system is when every deputy in the Parliament has snatched a monopoly on a few consumer goods, services, communication, energy, financial transactions… and with the blessing of the chief of the Parliament (in Lebanon case is Nabih Berry who has been controlling the Parliament in the last 28 years without interruption)

For 30 years, all Lebanon public institutions have been staffed by “supporters” of the militia/mafia leaders. One third of Lebanon population work in public service institutions. 50,000 dead servants still receive monthly checks. Hundred of thousands are Not meant to show up for work, and those who show up have no official positions or jobs to perform.

At the root of the economic grievances fueling Lebanon’s mass protests lies what looks like a regulated Ponzi scheme (and that for 3 decades).

The problem will not be solved by a change of government—even with a cabinet of experts—or by injections of capital from friendly Arab states: it will require tougher measures, including a compulsory haircut for many of the country’s richest citizens.For decades, Lebanon depended on remittances to sustain its economy and the lira peg.

Fixed at 1507.5  LP (lira) to the U.S. dollar since 1997, the peg resulted in an overvalued currency, relative to the country’s productivity.

This gave the Lebanese a higher income and standard of living than in any neighboring Arab country, allowing them to spend on travel, cars, clothes, and gadgets.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa3 valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive, until Hezbollah came into being.

The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee toward the neighborhood of the capital Beirut (al Da7iyat)

What is the main institution that ruled and controlled this fiasco in Lebanon for 30 years?

It is the Parliament and all its deputies for 30 years. They all and invariably elected Nabih Berry by all the deputies. They all have to face the justice system for cooperating with this anomie system, controlled by the Godfather (Berry) of all militia “leaders”

And why the ministry of agriculture has 92 managers (moudir), and 16 million each one is paid 16 million LP?

And why 340 retired deputies are paid $30 million?

We have no trains in the last 50 years. And yet we have an institution for trains where the manger get 9 million LP per month and 300 civil servants receiving a salary of 3,250,000

One of the batch of the Panama financial leaks, list these figures

The first batch of names are:

  1. Bassam Yammine, a former minister assigned by the potential new President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman
  2. Hind Nabih Berry: Daughter of Chairman of the Parliament for 26 consecutive years
  3. Nader Hariri: Brother of Saad Hariri, former and current PM and political successor of his late father Rafic Hariri
  4. Tarek Sami Nahass: a member of the board director of the Hariri clan
  5. Maysara Sokkar: general manager of Sukleen and Sukomi (waste disposal and contracted out to Saad Hariri)
  6. Wael Fouad Seniora: Son of former PM Fouad Seniora who didn’t deposit $11 billions into the Central Bank
  7. Houda Abdel Basset Seniora: wife of Fouad Seniora PM
  8. Walid Dawook: Relative of Adnan Kassar and appointed minister by former Mikati PM
  9. Riad Salameh: Chairman of the Central Bank for 20 successive yearsNote: Iceland President submitted his resignation after he was listed in the leaks

What the 4 deputies to the Chief of the Central Bank Riad Salami do for what they are paid such enormous money? About 43 millions and paid for 16 months. They receive loans above one billion LB with zero interest rate. And another one billion lean at very low interest rate. And they deposit that money in the Central Bank at 17% interest rate.

ثالث ورابع اقتصادين بالعالم اليابان وألمانيا. كل بنك مركزي عندو نائبين لحاكم المصرف علماء اقتصاد بمعاش لايتعدى مع بدلاتو ال ١٥ الف دولار.

نحنا عنا ٤ معاقين نواب الحاكم من كل مذهب واحد.

المعاش ٤٢ مليون وبيقبض ١٦ شهر.

والو قرض سكني فوق المليار بفايده لاتذكر.

والو قرض تاني فوق المليار بفايده لاتذكر. بيرجع يحطو بالبنك بفايده ١٧ بالميه.

والو كذا امتياز جمركي وخرج راح و…
كلن يعني كلن

 

And why the highways and streets have been blocked in the last 2 week

Ahmad Mroue posted on Fb . 21 hrs

الإعتراض والأملاك العامة :
= الإعتراض هو رفض لقول أو فعل يرى المعترض أنّه يمس بكرامته الإنسانية أو حقوقه الوطنية .
= حق الإعتراض لا يُمكن نفيه أو إنقاصه من أي جهة .
= حق الإعتراض هو مِن صميم حرية الفرد والجماعة .
= الحريات الفردية والجماعية هي حقوق متوازية ومتوازنة ومتساوية بين الأفراد والجماعات وبنحو لا يجوز فيها التداخل المتعدي بحيث تتجاوز حدود حقوق وحريات الآخرين .
= الأملاك والمرافق العامة يتساوى فيها المواطنون بحق الإنتفاع دون ممانعة من أحد .
= حق الإنتفاع من المرفق العام هو حق محصور بإيجابية الإستهلاك بنحو عدم جواز تعييبه أو تعطيله كلياً او جزئياً لأنّ ذلك يُعتبر تعدياً جرمياً على حقوق الآخرين .
= الطرق العامة الموصلة بين أماكن سكن وعمل المواطنين هي من أهم الأملاك العامة التي يتساوى فيها الناس بحق الإنتفاع المتوازي .
= الإرتكاز العقلي الإنساني لا يُجيز لأحد إستخدام أساليب إنتفاع تلحق ضرراً بالآخرين .
= تطرقت التشريعات والقوانين في مختلف البلدان إلى مسألة قطع الطرق العامة بتفاصيل دقيقة منها :
– قطع الطريق العمومي هو قيام مجموعة من الأشخاص بإغلاق طريق بري بقطع جماعى للطريق العمومي للإحتجاج أو بهدف الحصول على منافع عامة، أو إحتجاجاً على تعثر الدولة في علاج مشكلة ما .


الطريق العام هو :” كل طريق يباح للجمهور المرور فيه في كل وقت وبغير قيد .
– إنّ قصد الفاعلين عرقلة المرور وإعاقة السير تعتبر وحدها كافية لقيام جريمة كاملة الأركان وهي قطع الطريق .
– بعض القوانين أقرّت عقوبات على قطع الطريق بالسجن عدة أشهر وبعضها قال بالسجن من 3 إلى 15 سنة . وبعضها إلى ما هو أشد من ذلك .
= إنّ الإعتراض الذي هو حق للمواطنين لرفع الظلم عنهم أو لتحصيل حقوقهم قد يأخذ عدة أشكال مشروعة وتصاعدية وصولاً إلى ما يُعبّر عنه بالعصيان المدني .


= العصيان المدني هو بإختصار عصيان المدنيين على السلطة الحاكمة وتتجلى برفض التعامل مع مؤسساتها والإلتزام بالموجبات المالية المفروضة من قِبلها .
= قطع الطرق بين المدنيين ليس مِن العصيان المدني ويتسبب بسلبيات وعواقب وخيمة على تحصيل المطالب وقد تؤدي إلى إنشقاقات مخيفة بين المواطنين وما لا يجوز ولا يُحتمل .

= مِن أهم لوازم العصيان المدني هو التكاتف والتكافل والتعاطف الإنساني بين المواطنين لتأمين أفضل ما يُمكن مِن إستقرار حياتي لأفرادهم وجماعاتهم .
=====
إبراهيم فوّاز .

And how this Lebanese mass upheaval is guided and controlled?

From the start, nobody claimed to be guiding and controlling this mass movement (7iraak).

All pointed out that in the first 2 days, the movement was spontaneous and totally frustrated with the government insensitive consideration of the citizens.

And then social media started to pinpoint the involvement of hooligans backed by Samir Ja3ja3, Kataeb, Walid Jumblaat, Nabih Berry, the US embassy agents, the funding from Qatar and Saudi Kingdom to 24 hours live coverage of the local channels TV channels (MTV, Al Jadeed, LBC…)

This mass movement spread to Tripoli, Saida and Akkar, The Bakaa3 Valley…

I am Not familiar with the many organizations and movements that mushroomed in the last years, but I don’t mind posting this article for feedback

جهينة انطون posted on FB names of organizations that might be trying to lead this mass upheaval. November 5 at 11:29 AM

من هي تنسيقية الثورة التي يعتدي المتظاهرون بأمرها على طرقات لبنان؟؟

كتبت د. روزا أمين – بيروت بيروت (اسلام تايمز) – يرأسها جورج ….وهو عميد متقاعد كان مقرباً جدا من البنتاغون حين كان في الخدمة. والان هو من كبار المنسقين من اجهزة امنية تدعم منافسين على منصب رئيس الجمهورية.
يشارك في التنسيقية بصفته ممثل ٧٠ الف متقاعد من القوات المسلحة.
يشارك في التنسيقية ممثلون عن كل من:

– تيار المستقبل – اجنحة المنشقين من انصار السنيورة وموظفيه ومن جماعة نهاد المشنوق والمطرودين من جنة سعد الحريري بعد عودته من الاختطاف عام ٢٠١٧.

المؤيدون لاشرف ريفي. ولا تهتمو للتسميات ففي كل يوم يولد خمسين اسم وخمسين جمعية وهم انفسهم يبدلون اسمائهم.

– المنتدى الاشتراكي(جنبلاطيون)
– حزب القوّات (تسميات مختلقة)
– الكتائب اللبنانية(تسميات مختلقة)

طلعت ريحتكم (جاد شعبان ومنى فواز) تمويل اميركي وخبرات اتحاد الشباب العالمي التابع للخارجية الاميركيين وارتباط مباشر بخبراء معهد كاتفاس في صربيا.

– بيروت والشوف – اسعد ذبيان (جزء منشق من طلعة ريحتكم لكن نفس الارتباط)

‎-بدنا نحاسب خليط كل شخص منها ممول من جهات تعادي بعضها يجمعهم ما يجمع الناصري عمر واكيم بتحالف وطني الممول من تحسين خياط.

‎”بيروت مدينتي” برجوازية ليبرالية تضم معظم وجوه الكوادر العليا للنخب اللبنانية المرتبطة مصلحيا بالغرب عامة والاميركيين خاصة.

‎- ثائرون – قوميين سابقين – معارضين لأسعد حردان.
‎- مجموعات من الشيوعي ناشطة جنوباً وفي بيروت ومعهم ستة شباب يشكلون الحركة الشبابية للتغيير ويتبع لهم اتحاد الشاب الديمقراطي اللبناني و
شخصيات شيوعية أنور ياسين و كاسترو عبدالله الخ.

‎- مواطنون ومواطنات في دولة شربل نحاس

‎- الحركة البيئية – بول أبي راشد
‎-جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي – كرمية شبو
‎- هيئة تنسيق الثورة في رياض الصلح وساحة الشهداء – قوميين– جناح جورج عبد المسيح ويساريين معارضين لحنا غريب

المجتمع المدني ( يمثلون ٦٠٠٠ جمعية مسجلة بعلم وخبؤ وتمولها منظمات اميركية وهي التي تسمى منظمات NGO الممولة أميركي.

حزب سبعة (اعجاب شديد من قطر بالحزب واعجاب شديد من السفارة الاميركية لدرجة مشاركة موظفي السفارة اللبنانيين في تأسيسه.

هو ميني كتائب لان مؤسسيه خليط كتائبيين وجماعة اسلامية مثال (مالك مولوي ابن امين عام الجماعة الاسبق والمذيعة في ام تي في ورئيسة الحزب التي هي من ال ماروني وعضو سابق في حزب الكتائب في زحلة وتخفي انتمائها لال ماروني لتبعد صورتها عن ابن عمها النائب الكتائبي السابق ماروني.

– شبان وشابات جمعيات الليونز والروتاري.

حراس المدينة(يعرفهم اهب طرابلس بحراس الدين يضمون ١٢٠٠ متفرغ ويقودهم د. جمال بدوي – مدعوميت من أشرف ريفي الان لكن علاقاتهم بتركيا وقطر سمحت لهم بدفع رواتب ل ٣٠٠ متفرغ طوال ٣ سنوات ماضية. زادوا عدد المتفرغين مؤخرا.

يحيى مولود – مندوب تحسين خياط ورئيس تجمع ثوري يموله خياط الذي يموله الاماراتيون.

– جمعيات ممولة من تركيا في طرابلس وعكار.

– جمعيات تمثل حزب التحرير والجماعة الإسلامية وتتخفى باسماء جمعيات مستقلة.
تمويلهم قطري – دعم لوجستي من قطر ايضا.

– جمعيات تمثل شخصيات سلفية إسلامية (بلال دقماق) (احمد المير) (حسن مرعب)
– رجال دين شيعة مرتبطون بالسعودية وقطر وبعضهم لا يقطع مع ٨ اذار .

– ست عناصر تابعون للشيخ ياسر عودة ومكتب فضل الله يقودهم محامي لديه “شهرةزوفينيا” يدعى حسن بزي يقال ان علاقته بالاماراتيين وثيقة منذ نزل الى ساحات التظاهر مع اشقائه الثلاثة وثلاصطثة اخرين من عائلته.

مكتب فضل الله لم يتبناهم علنا. ولم يدعو انصاره للمشاركة حرصا على عدم اغضاب حزب ال…

– جمعيات تمثل بقايا 14 اذار

– المرصد الشعبي لمحاربة الفساد يضم واصف الحركة وهو بعثي عراقي.

– حراك المتن الأعلى – الجبل والمتن

-حركة كافح

-شبكة مدى (جامعة اميركية واوتوبور وكانفاس)
تضم النادي العلماني والنادي النسوي في الجامعة الأميركيّة في بيروت
النادي العلماني في الجامعة اليسوعيّة،
نادي العلاقات الدوليّة في جامعة سيّدة اللويزة،.

-حدا منَا وهم طلاب (بلا فاعلية)
– تجمع ثورة ضد الظلم ( طلاب )
-تجمع المرأة اللبنانية (بلا فاعلية)
-نادي النسوية التقاطعية في الجامعة اللبنانية الأمريكية. ( اوتوبور كانفاس)

يدعم تلك التنسيقية ويروج لها ويتبناها
تحسين خيّاط – الجديد
ميشال وغبريال المرّ – MTV
ولهم فيها ممثلون وجميعات يفترض انها مستقلة

Third article on Lebanon’s mass upheaval since October 17

Note: If you care to read the second article

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/

From 1971 to the onset of the civil war, Beirut experienced a mass upheaval that turned out to become a continuous movable feast/fair.  The upheaval demanded reforms in the political system that would drop this sectarian/comprador political and economic structure. You may read the link at the end of the article.

The militia/mafia “leaders”, in control of the political system since 1992, were trying hard Not to have a budget within the legal period and then Lebanon forgo the concept of budget from 2005 to 2018.

The current mass upheaval is in its 12th day. During the first 2 days, the protesters wanted to foment the people against the President Aoun and Saad Hariri PM, as totally impotent in governing and perform any change.

Their fake news and lies backfired. Even their hooligans felt shame facing this united massive uprising.

This surprised mass upheaval forced these militia leaders (Nabih Berry, Walid Jumblaat and Samir Jeaja) to backtrack and vote on the budget and all the reforms in the last government meeting.

Hariri was the first to deliver a speech and promised 72 hours before taking a decision for his resignation. Hezbollah secretary general was second in talking to the movement and declared that the resignation of the government is out of the question for practical reasons and to avoid a long lasting void.

Then the President delivered his speech and it was Not basically different from the PM, since Not a single reform action was executed in the last 9 days.

I warned that it was Not advisable for the President to deliver a speech without offering the protesters a tangible reform: Confidence that the President can deliver is worth a thousand speech.

Hassan Naser Allah’s second speech was alarming: he stated that this movement has been guided by foreign powers in order to drive Lebanon into chaos and ordered his followers to desist from joining the upheaval. He warned that if the government proved a resistance to deliver on its promises, then Hezbollah will act vigorously to prevent any chaos.

The army and the internal security forces met and reached an agreement to open blocked highways. The militia “leaders” such as Samir Ja3ja3 and Walid Jumblatt were given 48 hours to call home their armed hooligans and desist in acting as militia by blocking side roads and demanding citizens to show their identity cards…

The main difference between this mass upheaval and that of 1971 is that the newer generations refused to listen to the older “revolutionaries” and could Not produce quality political awareness.

In the 1971 uprising there were cultural events that bolstered the quality of the civil Lebanon, theaters, great movies, discussions… Should we hope for a qualitative change in how the protesters are spending their time?

I have no problems with a few protesters sitting on sofas and surrounded with the facilities of a cozy home. I am disturbed that they are Not discussing to enhance their political awareness: each one of them is isolated with his expensive iPhone. Thus, what basically changed?

Actually, you have people instructing the protesters methods of how to confront the army.

Nothing of quality comes in a hurry: it needs reflective periods and the ability to select the relevant facts in the constant streaming of the mass of facts. And be able to pinpoint the fake news on the base of good general knowledge

All the government institutions have been staffed with personnel that owe its survival to the mafia/militia “leaders” for 3 decades. You can constitute any government you want, the result is “who will execute the decisions”?

A technocrat, if Not strongly politically backed, cannot pressure the civil servant to obey his decision, especially those in the upper echelons.

The question is: How can any change occur if One Third of the population survive as civil servants and are used to sizable “backsheesh” and shady deals?

Pragmatically, only a Big Fish in a stagnant pond can clean it from the smaller fishes.

Thus, the movement must strike a deal with the government to dismiss the main higher level civil servants whom were demonstrated to be as rotten as the main mafia/militia “leaders” and who fully cooperated in this endemic “fassaad” or highway robbery of the budgets since 1991.

This mass upheaval can force this government to move forcefully against most of the civil servants that are in cohort with the monopolies of consumer goods, energy, financial transaction, services, communication…

So far, the movement has been intent on blocking roads and streets, in fact emulating the tactics of the civil war militia without being aware of their behavior. Blocking roads is tantamount of cutting communication among the citizens and making it difficult for the daily economic trade cycle.

This movement keep chanting “Down with this government”, “Down with this rotten regime”… but no viable pragmatic alternatives are materializing.

If the western States, Israel, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar are intent on weakening the social base of Hezbollah by persisting on a long upheaval without any communication with the current government, then I submit that Lebanon will experience a long protracted period of miseries.

The Lebanese will have to invent an alternative financial and economic structure to circumvent the lack of cash flow and investment. We will be going through very difficult time that will last years, until we manage to re-create another economical and financial system that permit us to survive as a State.

Representatives of this movement “7iraak” must meet with the President, the PM, Nabih Berry (chairman of Parliament for a quarter of century)and Riad Salami (Central Bank chief since 1992). They should meet with them on individual settings and on condition that these meetings be Live and transparent. Let see who of them dare meet the people Live.

Note 2: This link for a special article of most of my comments that I posted on FB pertaining to this mass upheaval. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/special-articles-of-comments-pertaining-to-lebanon-mass-upheaval/

Note 3: My article on the long upheaval from 1971 till the onset of the civil war: this movable feast. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/movable-fairs-in-beirut-1971-74/

Recession Without Impact? And why Lebanese Elites Delay Reform? Again, who are these “elites”?

October 2019
Mounir Mahmalat and Sami Atallah, respectively doctoral fellow at LCPS and LCPS director

The survival of Lebanon’s political elites is highly dependent on the well-being of the economy. Why, then, do they delay necessary reforms to avoid crisis?

This column examines the role of politically connected firms in delaying much-needed economic stabilization policies.

Lebanon’s post-war financial and economic woes are perennial.

Initially triggered by the spillover effects of Syrian crisis in 2011, macroeconomic and financial indicators were set on an utterly unsustainable path.

Government debt exploded after prolonged political gridlock led public spending to skyrocket to what is forecast to be more than 158% of GDP by 2021. Combined with increased exposure to external debt and rising interest rates, economic growth may tip into recession this year.

In short, crisis looms.

In an effort to rally support for painful reform to stabilize the country’s gloomy finances, the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri recently declared a ‘state of economic emergency’. President Michel Aoun accommodates the efforts and calls for ‘sacrifices to be made by everyone’.

Lebanon’s elites finally seem to be eager to reform.

Understandably so, because in Lebanon the personal wellbeing of the political elites is highly dependent on the wellbeing of the economy. A recent analysis by Ishac Diwan and Jamal Haidar shows,[i] of the firms with more than 50 employees, 44% are politically connected and have a board member who is a relative or close friend of a member of the political elite. (Basically, mafia “khouwat”: you get shares without disbursing money in return?)

The few reforms that passed, however, involve little structural change that could, for example, improve the competitiveness of the private sector or curb tax evasion.

Instead, the costs of economic distortion continue to be socialized via tax exemptions, the ex post approval of appropriation of public lands[ii] or high interest rates. Despite the economic challenges, political actors still benefit excessively from the status quo.

In July, for example, seven months into the new year, the parliament ratified what it called an ‘austerity budget’ for 2019. It introduced a number of expenditure cuts and revenue increases that aim to restore the confidence of investors and the international community into a government eager to reform.

But as recent research by LCPS shows, the budget law only formally curbs the budget deficit.

It leaves untouched the structural conditions that gave rise to the economic deterioration in the first place, such as a regressive tax regime that exacerbates existing inequalities and crowds out much needed public investments.

Proposals to tax the salaries, benefits, and pensions of current and former politicians were dismissed during the political bargaining.

Amendments to increase the fees on tinted car windows and the licenses to carry guns, widely used among the security entourage of politicians, vanished in the final documents.

Expenditure targets are achieved by simply deferring the bill of investment projects to the upcoming years.

But when the wellbeing of political elites, in fact their very survival, is so highly dependent on the wellbeing of the economy, why would they delay more structural efforts to contain the budget deficit or make the tax regime more efficient?

The high degree of their entrenchment in key sectors of Lebanon’s economy calls into question how political elites calculate the opportunity costs of political gridlock. (Not just key sectors but monopoly for every consumer goods, energy, services and financial transactions…)

And why is Lebanon’s stabilization delayed?

Research on the political economy of reform explains the delay of stabilization as a consequence of the struggle of powerful interest groups to shift the cost of reform onto each other. Precisely because reform comes at a cost for elites, they prolong political bargain by embarking on a ‘war of attrition’.[iii]

Stabilization, or a change in the status quo, occurs when economic conditions deteriorate sufficiently so that one of the groups concedes and bears a higher burden of the costs.

To understand the war of attrition among Lebanese elites, one must look at the structure of their entrenchment with the private sector.

Politically connected firms concentrate in sectors that are not—or are relatively less—affected by a downturn of the overall economy. Economic conditions, at least until recently, simply exerted little pressure for actors on a personal basis to concede and to bear the costs of reform.

Dis-aggregating the data provided by Diwan and Haidar (2019) shows that economic downturn leaves those sectors comparably well-off in which more than half of all firms are politically connected (we excluded sectors with less than 10 firms in total).

Take the hospitality sector, for instance. Firms running hotels and waterfront resorts are, respectively, 61% and 55% connected to political elites.

Passengers at the Beirut airport increased constantly over the past years, while the number of tourists increased by almost 45% from 2012 to 2017. Accordingly, hotels and waterfront resorts recorded a major improvement in their booking records. The occupancy rates of four and five-star hotels in Beirut reached 69.2% (up from 58.9% in 2018) while the average room yield rose by 29.

The banking sector is another example.

Profiting heavily from the huge margins paid by treasury bills, the profitability of domestic banks remained, until recently, almost unabated.

In 2017, Lebanese commercial banks significantly expanded their profits, reaching a return on average equity of above 11.2% for the group of major banks.

Despite the challenging macroeconomic environment and the difficulties sky-high interest rates impose on the Ministry of Finance’s ability to repay its debt, the return on average equity for the sector as a whole (10.8%) is on par with the 11% average of banks in the Middle East and North Africa.[iv]

Other sectors are structurally less affected by economic downturn and exhibit a low elasticity of demand.

Security companies, for example, are employed by politicians, business people and other public figures, for whom security remains a necessity in the face of prevailing political and security uncertainty.[v] The same holds for garbage collection, which continues to be collected at sky-high rates.

Shipping lines are also spared much of the effects of Lebanon’s economic woes, since foreign trade activity must be done by ship after the closure of land routes through Syria in 2011.

In fact, the number of vessels at Beirut port remained almost constant between 2012 until 2018. Public works and investments enjoy rosy prospects due to internationally funded major capital investment programs worth almost 40% of GDP.

The game-changer, however, may be the real estate sector. It is the only major sector with a high share of politically connected firms that suffers from a gradual decline in activity and output.

Since the boom year of 2010, the area of new construction permits has almost halved until 2018: From 17,625 to 9,020 thousand square meters.

Slowing demand lowers the value of sales transactions, which plummeted by 40%, from $4,504 million to only $2,726 million in the first six months of 2017 to 2019.

Given the central role that the real estate sector plays in Lebanon’s economy—the largest contributor to national GDP at 15%—a collapse of major real estate developers can well be the tipping point for the economy to crash.

History might repeat itself.

On several occasions in the past, Lebanon was bailed out by international support when conditions became untenable. Lebanese elites seem to assume that the country remains ‘too small to fail’ for influential regional players.

But with declining interest in the country from Europe and the Gulf countries, this time might well be different.

This time, the war of attrition would not only be lost by Lebanese citizens by suffering through prolonged periods of economic stagnation. As other crucial sectors started to follow the declining trend, uncertainty about the integrity of the pillars of the Lebanese economic model threaten both economic and political stability.

Without concerted effort, Lebanon’s elites cannot win this war either.

This article was first published by the Economic Research Forum.

Note 1: And the mass upheaval (7iraak) that started in October 17, 2019 took every one by surprise. It felt like a miracle that the 2 million protesters all over the cities and the country held only the Lebanese flag and chanted the national anthem. This has been going on for 5 days without interruption.

The government quickly had to pass the 2020 budget with all the associated reforms in a single meeting. The banks were required to deposit $4 bn to get out of that mess and the salaries of all the current and former deputies cut in halves…

But the mass movement is Not satisfied: they lost all confidence in this mafia/militia “leaders” controlled sectarian political system

Note 2: You may read my article on this glorious mass upheaval

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/


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