Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ecological Footprints

I just came across this picture while researching about sustainability. I think such visualizations are a remarkable way to help people understand their actions' impact on the environment. Such methods can be used to empower people with the knowledge and thus the choice, e.g. of what products to buy, which appliances should be turned off, how should products be treated when they are no longer needed, etc.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Back on Track!

After more than a year of posting nothing, I'm back! As you see, most of the posts below were about the 2006 war which I happened to experience in Beirut after leaving Sweden and before leaving for Switzerland. This made this blog seem to be too violent for the mild viewers - sorry for that! The war is more than a year over now and and hopefully there will be no need for war-related blogs anymore!

I spent this weekend to put my new Lebanese Arabic site online, so please take a look and I'm happy to receive your feedback. As you can see it's still in an early stage, but more content will be added every week. I already started a Lebanese Arabic reference grammar and bilingual dictionaries from Lebanese Arabic into 5 European languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Swedish) and vice versa. The next steps will be to add content to the grammar and dictionaries plus add word-search and word-quiz functionalities. Again, your feedback is very welcome.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Qana Massacre, Part 2

The village of Qana in South Lebanon became infamous in April 1996 when Israel, headed by prime minister Shimon Perez, committed a massacre during the "Grapes of Wrath" aggression against Lebanon.

Earlier today, the same Israel, this time under Ehud Olmert's government, committed another war crime, another massacre, in the same village of Qana.

57 dead, 27 of whom are children younger than 13 years old. Most of the rest are women or elderly people. Some of the found bodies belong to infants, even a few days old. This is another proof of Israel's values, their discrimination, and state terrorism. Olmert boldly says that the massacre won't make Israel stop the war.

The bombs used, intelligent bombs as they call them, were a gift from the USA to its ally the state of Israel. It would have been more "intelligent" of the Bush administration to send intelligent politics to Israel rather than intelligent bombs. Apparently they lack the former.

George Bush and Condi Rice just mudered 27 Lebanese children by (1) sending Israel the bombs and (2) giving Israel the green light to continue their war crimes against our civilians. The only difference is that no one will send the American duo or Ehud Olmert to Den Haague for committing war crimes because we live, alas, in times where you can only get what you want if you have the power.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

China, Canada, Australia, Finland

These four countries had something in common last night in south Lebanon. Each of these countries had international observers with the UN peace-keeping forces in Al-Khiyam village in South Lebanon. Four international observers from these four countries were killed yesterday when the Israeli forces targeted the UN forces in Lebanon.

Kofi Annan, the UN general secretary, expressed his shock from this. He was shocked that Israel "apparently targeted UN forces intentionally". I don't why Mr. Annan was shocked. That's not new for Israel, a state that has done this before over and over again. Last time they targeted a UN center in Lebanon was in Qana 1996 during the "Grapes of Wrath" Israeli aggresion. The only difference is that back then, in what is know known as the Qana massacre, more than a 100 Lebanese civilians who were hiding in the UN center were killed.

So another brutal, barbaric, terrorist (call it what you want) action from Israel towards the international community. And still the international community is helpless. Today the US Secretary of State resisted pressure put by many countries in Rome to call for an immediate ceasefire. The Bush administration doesn't want a ceasefire in Lebanon. It's apparently not only giving Israel a green light to kill and destroy: The Bush administration is urging Israel on.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Media day

The war and aggression is still ongoing. Now it's calmer in Beirut and the suberbs, probably because there's nothing much left that relates to Hezbllah in anyway to destroy. But something wierd happened yesterday. Non-Hezbollah media was targeted inexplicably. Al-manar and An-nuur, Hezbollah's TV and Radio stations respectively, were targeted heavily since the beginning of the attacks. The main building of Al-Manar for example, which lies in Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suberb, was comletely destroyed and flattened to the ground. Many (all?) of the station's known antennas were destroyed. Apparently both stations are still being able to broadcast from some place that Isreal doesn't know of.

But all this was expected. Isreal is afterall targeting anything relating to Hezbollah, and most of the targets it can find are non-military ones. But what happened yesterday was new. The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) attacked other Lebanese and Arab stations, both their employees and equipment. Among the targets were stations like LBC, Future, Al-jazeera, Al-arabiyya, NewTV, and TL. The head of an LBC broadcasting station was killed, another injured, and many stations or antennas were destroyed. This was in attacks on places in the north of the country and its mountains in which Hezbollah has no existence. Crew members were attacked in the south while doing their job but luckily none was hurt. In addition to all that mobile phone stations were also targeted.

You are welcome to help me understand what will Israel gain from this. When they attack Al-Manar we say that they are attacking Hezbollah's station. But what they did yesterday is attacking stations some of which are owned by parties that are allies of the U.S. We heard some voices here saying that this is an attack on Lebanon's free speech. I find this meaningless. Maybe it was only the IDF's frustration from not being able to accomplish anything militarly against Hezbollah. But still.. why the media?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

People Slaughtered

I talked to the Swedish radio (P3) two days ago. One of the questions was how did this (Israeli aggression on Lebanon) affect me. I hadn't thought about that yet. How did it affect me? People are dying. Half a million have left there homes in South Lebanon and Beirut's southern suburb seeking a safer haven. They are getting help from volunteers but not as much as they want or should. Many are still stuck in dangerous areas and are being bombarded every day but cannot flea. That's because the roads and bridges that connect the country are destroyed. You can take some road that is still not bombed but you're on your own: nobody guarantees anything. Massacres are happening every day, innocent people are being killed and their corps left to rot. It happened in Marwahin, Srifa, Naqura, Tyr, and many other places. Many dead are left unattended and many injured have no medical equipment for two main reasons: the destruction of roads and bridges and the possible targeting of any large vehicle by the IDF (Israeli "Defense" Forces) because anything can theoretically belong to Hezbollah. Things targeted include residential areas, hospitals, ambulances, a fire brigade station, a dairy product factory, gas stations, shopping malls, and trucks of urgent aids such as medicine or food.

How does it affect me? In a lot of ways but that's not important now. Maybe in another post I can childishly nag about that. But for now people are being burnt alive. The IDF warned the people of Marwahin that their village will be destroyed. The people couldn't leave the town because the IDF isolated the villages. Many went to the United Nations brigade to get shelter there. The UN rejected them. A family of 23 took a van trying to find a way out from the village that awaits destruction. The IDF targeted the van with a rocket. 23 civilians died. 9 children. Burnt alive.

This is happening every day, and today many times. In Srifa a whole neighborhood was targeted and its people are still buried in their homes and nobody can reach them. They are sending SOS from under the ruble.

What's pitiful is how the politicians are reacting to this, all over the world. George Bush says Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorists and gave Israel a green light to continue the attack. The G8 meeting adopted Israel's demands for ceasefire. The Arab governments didn't have much to say except blaming the Israeli aggression on Hezbollah, which is another green light for Israel. The UN couldn't get a minimal resolution, not even to condemn the attacks, thanks to the American veto. That's not to mention their indirect participation in the Marwahin massacre. World media is as unbalanced as ever, which makes our frustration even worse. It shows mostly the Israeli story and their share of the suffering, which we of course don't desire but is still incomparably less than ours.

We need your help, at least by contacting the media and trying to make them look at a humanitarian disaster happening in Lebanon. Many of you can reach radio and TV stations in your countries and talk to them. Otherwise tell others whom you think can do that. You can also donate money to help with food and medication to the injured, homeless, etc.

I am helping a small group of volunteers ( who are providing newcomers with food, shelter, mattresses, etc. You can donate money to the following bank account:

Blom Bank s.a.l
Ain El Mreisseh

For more information please contact Ihab Ghandour on +961 3 856 015

Sunday, April 09, 2006

In the Beginning

Note that this post has been here a long time, long before the war on Lebanon started

VoilĂ , that's my first posting..

It's a pity that in the blog template I chose all the letters of the blog title are capitalized. Explanation.. Well the title is xawaaTir. x is pronounced like j in Spanish or 'ch' in German Buch or h Gaelic loch. Capital 'T' is an emphatic t, an Arabic letter which is, like all other emphatic Arabic characters, is difficult for foreigners to pronounce.

When the template capitalizes the title, it renders all the letters as equals. But that's not the case: some are more equal than others. Anyway, I'll shut up and change the template if i have the jleede. More later on what jleede is and where you can get good jleede buys..

Usually my language description is more straight-forward and clear than this, promise. Check my 'Learning Lebanese Arabic' for grammars, word lists, and songs+lyrics on the language. I put it online just today, follow the link on the right.