“It’s True, I was Made for You”

So for some reason, people think that my existence in conferences is useful in a way. The so-called “Arab Spring” is getting a lot of NGOs rich, and these NGOs must get “involved” in the revolutions that have swept the Arab-speaking region in 2011.  Conferences love bloggers the most. The world still assumes that the revolution in Egypt was made by bloggers, and hence bloggers in Arab-speaking countries must be invited, because they must have some interesting role in their country, and not to mention how journalism always create “heroes” in every “crisis,” the Hollywood-style. I’ve said it many times on this blog and I am saying it again: “online activists are overrated,” and not just in Syria, but all over the MENA region. And the “social media + revolutions” is the stupidest and most irritating topic made by ignorant “experts.”

Anyways, I am now in Spain, attending some geeky conference were geeks talk about stuff I’ve heard so much about but still don’t get them. I am not here for the conference, I am here for Spain. Conferences give you a free ticket, food and a free bed (in Spain we are offered a free tent). This is my first time to Spain and it’s not going well so far for reasons I cannot talk about in a Syria ruled by the current criminal and monstrous regime. Nshalla in a free Syria (in few months so please wait up).

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On Living a Vegetarian Life

Dogs in Beit Shabab Village, Lebanon

I’ve been living for a month now in a very tiny village called Qalhat [Qal7at] in northern Lebanon. It is so tiny that it doesn’t have a single veggies store. And we’re talking about a village here, but no veggies stores. Kinda interesting yet frustrating especially for a vegetarian person like me. There are only two mini-markets and no other stores are found. I kid you not. But that’s because right next to this village there’s another village called Fee’ [Fee3] and it has almost everything. And that’s where I buy my veggies from.

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Would You Be My Palestine?

We can buy Almaza and get to your uncle’s place while he’s having his Argileh with his friends outdoors.

We can buy some of the Armenian nuts you like.

We can sit next to each other on the Sofa.

We can get nervous.

We can allow silence to be so loud.

This is it.

We can turn Valentine into a sacred sin.

Would you break the law with me?

We can wait till we finish our first bottle.

We can forget about your tomorrow and mine.

You can let me start right here and now.

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Helem replies to Massad: We are not agents of the West

Ghassan Makarem founding member and current Executive Director of Helem replied to Joseph Massad’s interview conducted with him by Reset Doc website. Here’s an extract of the interview:

The real problem with Massad’s interview is the lies, fabrications, and insinuations of being agents of the West against the people in Helem. This is an opinion we have heard many times from Salafists and chauvinists. The contention that homosexuals are agents of the West, that they are “imposing Western values”, and that they belong to the upper classes was also used by Khomeini before rounding up homosexuals and executing them. It is the same justification given to call for the arrest of HIV positive persons in Egypt and elsewhere and to pass a viciously homophobic law in Uganda.

Read the whole article here.

Iraq's New Surge: Gay Killings

Excellent article on the killings of gays in Iraq written by Rasha Moumneh appeared yesterday on Foreign Policy:

Western attention has always focused primarily on sectarian attacks in Iraq. Yet al-Sadr’s militia and its counterparts in countless neighborhoods and towns have long had other targets in their cross hairs. These men claim to bear the banners of religion and morality, defending against any transgressors. They paint themselves as the caretakers of tradition, culture, and national authenticity — which often means keeping women, as well as men, in their rigidly enforced traditional roles. Ironically, they sell their violence as a means of security: Amid the total upheaval of Iraqi society over the last eight years, many people regard any relaxing of gender roles as a threat to public order, undermining patriarchal power. And since the coalition forces failed to provide security after the invasion, such cultural conservatives have moved in to fill the role. Many aimless, unemployed advocates of rigid traditionalism have taken up the task with their guns.

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Azmi Bshara at AUB in commemoration of Nakba

Taken from Palestinian Cultural Club at AUB

In Commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba

The Palestinian Cultural Club in AUB

cordially invites you to a lecture by

Dr. Azmi Bshara

“Palestine: the Arab cause or the “Palestinians’ problem”?

Questions of history and the Nakba”

Time: Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 6.00 pm

Place: Issam Fares Hall, American University of Beirut

For further information, please call 70/637624 or 70/236010

Open invitation

في الذكرى الواحد والستين للنكبة

يتشرّف النادي الثقافي الفلسطيني في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت

بدعوتكم لمحاضرة

الدكتور عزمي بشارة

فلسطين: قضية العرب أم “مشكلة الفلسطينيين”

أسئلة النكبة والتاريخ

الزمان: الخميس في 14 أيار 2009، الساعة السادسة مساء

المكان: قاعة عصام فارس، الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت

لمزيد من المعلومات، الاتصال على أحد الرقمين 637624-70 أو 236010-70

الدعوة عامة

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=78595612629

To Lebanese Only: Abolish Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code

The Gay-Straight Alliance in Lebanon is asking all Lebanese inside and in the diaspora to sign a petition that calls for an abolishment of the article 534 of the Lebanese penal code which criminalizes and illegalizes so called “sexual acts against nature”. If you’re Lebanese please help circulating this petition within your circles:

The Lebanese elections are coming up! Will the politicians listen to the real voices of their people? Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code criminalizes “sexual acts against nature” and is used to target homosexuals and promote a general public hatred towards LGBTs in Lebanon. It is high time we strongly demand that the government remove this article and ensure equality for all its population without discrimination.We are asking Lebanese people only (in Lebanon and abroad) to sign this petition so that we reach 10,000 citizens whose voices cannot be ignored in our country any longer. Gay or straight – it doesn’t matter. Our cause is about human dignity and the right to protection. It is time we all stood together and recognized that none of us are free until all of us are free.

Once this petition hits 10,000 people, we will send it to all 128 members of the Lebanese parliament (hopefully right after the elections in June), as well as to the parliamentary human rights committee, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Social Affairs.

Go to the petition to sign it here .

"Curing" Lesbians by Raping Them

An article published on the Guardian on Thursday 12 March reveals that one of the leading football female players has been raped and stabbed 25 times for being a Lesbian:

The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa’s acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa’s best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema… Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call “corrective rape” committed by men behind the guise of trying to “cure” lesbians of their sexual orientation.

It is important to see that precisely because she’s open as a Lesbian and activist that she was subjected to this “corrective” criminal reaction in her society. Like in Lebanon, where gays and Lesbians have their NGOs, bars and night clubs mostly in Beirut and some are openly activists for their rights that we heard of  two gay couple had been subjected to similar criminal reaction only this time by those who were supposed to protect the law.

Societies will never change if things kept in the secret, if things remain within the “political correct” constructed formula. While it is very difficult to be open as a gay person, it is very important to do so in order for societies to process this radical change in its structure even if by doing so you’ll be under serious attack.

In Syria there has been a sexual abuse by Shahabandar police station where police officers were harassing and mocking a transsexual person, male body with female sexual organs. They took off his clothes and touched him sexually and took pictures and videos of him. This harassment has been documented and videoed via cellphone that was distributed all over Damascus via bluetooth. My father who works in the Shahabandar area told me that the shops’ owners neighboring the police station heard a female voice shouting for help from within the station and hence they all went there to stop what they assumed to be a rape taking place. When the shop owners found out that the female voice was actually coming from a male voice with a female sexual organs they all disappeared and left the person alone facing abuse by the police just because he is neither a woman, nor a man, hence not a human being with equal rights that abusing him wouldn’t be exactly as abusing a woman, or man. Wondering if these incidents will ever take place in the Syrian streets, hmm..

There is something about these so called “protectors of law” and LGTB community. It is not a secret that the Tripoli police officers in Lebanon made arresting gays a hobby for them. No wonder why Anarchists hate the police so much ;-)