Friday, July 28, 2006

The Cedar

You can try to chop as hard as you like,
the Cedar shall always stand against any strike.
It has not fallen to civil war or occupation.
And shall certainly not fall to any aggression.
Let us deal with our own problems internally,
but if you want to help, come to us, diplomatically.


Anonymous Jaximou said...

For all the PEACE lovers out there who want to spread it, there's an amazing article called: "Reflections on War, Terror and Human Interaction." Go to Read and pass it on.

4:00 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

Tark, its a shame the picture cannot be edited as I would have put a face to the soldier of Nassrallah... as lets face it its not just the star of david trying to do this!!

open your eyes man!

5:08 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

the point of this image is associated with the text.
we have been trying to solve the problem of the weapons of hezbollah internally for 8 months now...dont forget syria left the country only 1 year and 3 months ago.
change takes time, but it will not happen under any form of attack and collective punishment that israel is currently imposing on us.
one of the things that nearly no one knows outside of lebanon, is that politicians were sitting at historic round-table negotiations to solve the problem. never in the history of lebanon had this happened.
Israel should have followed this strategy instead of attacking the day after the attack:
- moved its troops to the border
- impose a total blockade without bombing the airport
- threatened Lebanon to release the prisoners
- give a deadline of a week at most for the release...
- then looked at the military option
this strategy would have been more effective, especially if it was to deal with the lebanese government. instead israel used its old tactiques of total destruction, which at the end will can already see this from the international uprising against the "dispraportionate" israeli attack...
hezbollah cannot be dealt with by force, because this is what fuels them...only dialogue could have solved this problem...
too late now...unfortunately for us

5:35 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

ok Tarek I agree with your comments fully! I wish too that Israel didnt choose the military option so quickly and severly against the Lebanease people.

its sad and a big shame and Im hurting inside for this is stupid and harming all dreams and hopes of a free and peaceful middle east.

I am sorry for that.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...


8 months? please... 8 months sounds to me like a pretty long time to carry out the only acceptable option of marching into Hizballah's bases and dismantling them of their weapons.. 8 months is too long to diffuse the ticking time bomb that is an organization that you know to be dangerous. 8 months and they weren't even halfway.. they were still only in the negotiations.
Sorry, I'm just not convinced. I think we can see quite clearly what good was your government's way of doing things - while they were sitting around a table talking, Hizballah continued to arm itself with Iranian Zelzal missiles that cover most of Israel as well as plan various attacks. I dunno what your politicians were talking about around that table, but I doubt Hizballah were acquiring those long range missiles for art projects. Yeah, I could see why the Israeli government had such little faith in the Lebanese succesfuly handling Hizballah themselves. The general idea behind the strategy that was followed, was that the Lebanese government is useless in effectively disarming Hizballah, so it was simply taken out of the equation.

As for the strategy you proposed, let's be realistic. We're not strangers to situations such as this. That type of response was pretty much the standard before, and it's what Hizballah was expecting and planning on. Honestly, what do you imagine would have happened if your strategy was used? do you think the end result would have been any different? I'll tell you what would have happened - everyone, including you yourselves, would still denounce Israel as bullies for just threatening with military action, while Hizballah carried on with its plan for the kidnapped soldiers, laughing at the faces of any Lebanese or international negotiators. After a week, there would be no progress, the kidnapped soldiers would have disappeared forever somewhere in Iran (though this may have happened by now anyway) and Israel would probably go on the same military operation. The only difference perhaps would be that this time the Hizballah soldiers in the field would have had the time to be better prepared. So how is this strategy more effective? Do you honestly think if Israel had waited that week, the attitude, YOUR attitude, to this war would have been any different? would you have called the action legitimate? proportionate? what would your government have done? would it have cooperated with Israel? I doubt it.
The outcome would have been the same (including the international uprising). It could not be avoided.
The problem is not in the immediacy of the military option, which was neccesary to signal to Hizballah that this time, it's not going to play out the way they are used to. The problem is in the magnitude of the operation. Again - I am not a politician or an army leader, so I do not presume to know anything about the current course of action and it's not my place to strategise. I do however have the feeling that something has gone horribly wrong with this battle, that somehow things have gotten out of control, if so many innocents end up in the line of fire. I have the sense that the original concept was well intended - to end Hizballah for the sake of everyone (NOT flatten Lebanon and its people) but then something, I don't know what, spiralled out of hand and it all went haywire. Maybe they just didn't really know what they were getting into.

I'm sorry, I seems naive to me to expect to solve the Hizballah problem with dialog, because they themselves are not really after dialog. They care too much for violence, for that. Dialog may be the only way for the Lebanese and the Israelis, but not for Hizballah. Hizballah needs to be reigned in, taken over, they are way too power hungry for anything else. Hey how about this idea for a different outcome? the day after the attack, instead of cowardly trying to cover their own behinds with denials, the Lebanese government and army had themselves acted out strongly against Hizballah. Maybe something within legal limits, like going out and arresting Nasrallah and any publicly known Hizballah member for kidnapping, allowing for negotiations only after the Israeli soldiers would be handed over to the government, showing Hizballah as well as Israel and all the world that the Lebanese people are a force to be reckoned with, and will not allow for rogue parties to have their way with the country and its people. Maybe then, Israel would have had reason to take the Lebanese government seriously, and this would have opened up a place of negotiation and dialog. Maybe the Israelis would even see partners in the Lebanese, and we would have brought on change. But too late now, unfortunately for us.

Am saddened by your choice of image. This type of extreme, negative caricature does not coincide with the peace-wishing attitude I normally get from you, Tarek. For me, it is too reminiscent of some European caricatures published 70 years ago, too similar to some things I saw at Yad Vashem - especially in the way the physical features were drawn and the generalisation under the Star of David (I say this also as a student of Graphic Design and Illustration). It is quite the characterization of Jews as monsters, and personally it sent shivers down my back. It's not much of a way to promote dialog.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Pizza N Coke said...

lilu re the image, see coment from dobegs above. should have also added hizbullah to reflect factual.

but I agree this does not promote any dialogue!

this blog is becoming really gloomy and boooring.

I read in Timeout NY an interview with Ramsay ... it aint looking as if Ramsay or this blog is looking for understanding or dialogue. this blog and the images are promoting lebanese HATE. its easier for them to deal with their anger that way.
sad but thats their choice.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight months is nothing when it comes to political change and ideology of a country. Hizbollah cannot be 'removed' until the ideologies of the country are changed, until they believe that they are safe from Israel's wrath. People say disarm Hizbullah immediately when they fully know that Lebanon does not ahve the military of monetary capabilities. In this case, instead of demanding why not help bring up the Lebanese economy and military in order to have the capabilities? The people of Hizbollah will never be removed from Lebanon because they are Lebanese. The only way to get them to disarm would be to make the Lebanese people look down upon their actions. In this case, it would take at least a few years, not 8 months. Lebanon was well on its way to accomplishing it. Think, if Israel had not reacted immmediately as it had, even the Lebanese would have pressured Hizbulllah to release the prisoners for the sake of peace.

You say that the soldiers will be in Iran right now? How? There is no way out of the country. They are probably dead right now, but not the way that you think. It is likely that they have already died from the impact of an Israeli (American) warhead. You say a week would not have helped. How can you who so easily call for people to care be so heartless. A wee k would ahve allowed many people to evacuate the areas and save their families. NOw there will be no end to the killing.

If only you knew what it feels like to not be able to see your country as it should be until you are 30. I am still young. I can wait, but there are others who cannot.

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice words...

4:46 AM  
Blogger mrtez said...

Lilu, I will maintain that the choice of image is more than perfect. First of all it’s a caricature that was drawn in Canada by a Canadian and published by a Canadian newspaper. Second of all, having the star of david on the helmet should not remind you of any European caricatures published 70 years ago since this was used to illustrate the symbol of Israel, the state. Unfortunately there is no disparity between the symbol of the state and that of Judaism. 70 years ago, the caricatures were unjustly attempting to depict the religion of Judaism and its people through outrageous images. Third, and the most important point, the caricature showcases a soldier – thus the IDF – and not any other Israeli. This caricature is depicting the massive aggression that the IDF – controlled by the state of Israel – is inflicting on Lebanon. No attempt to criticize the people or the religion. If this was the case, believe me I would have never even come close to posting it. My character doesn’t allow me to either mock people or disrespect the religion of others.

However, the reason why I chose this caricature is simple. Currently, the IDF is inflicting great damage on the state of Lebanon, its people, its economy, its infrastructure – and the most dangerous of all – its future. Would you like to know why I proposed a strategy that the IDF should have used? It’s simple: The failure of the IDF to inflict damage to Hizbullah after using such massive force and without even attempting to follow diplomatic channels first will assure us that the group will become even stronger when this onslaught is finished. Already they are being hailed as heroes. What will happen when all this is finished? The reason why I blame the IDF’s disproportionate use of force is because it did not weaken the group, it made it far stronger. And not only that, but by doing what they did, the IDF has turned itself into some sort of bully in the public eye – not something I would much appreciate if I was an Israeli. If the government of Israel waited a maximum of one week, forced an embargo on the country, ,and used all diplomatic means available before force, then the public eye would have looked at the situation differently, even till now. I mean imagine if Kennedy decided to simply bomb or invade Cuba to rid it of the ballistic nuclear missiles planted there. What would have happened?

Now I don’t know where Lebanon will head after all this is over and done with – if that ever happens….i guess we the Lebanese will have to once again clean all the mess and try to make sense of it all…

I hope you understand my frustration to this double edged sword…

4:52 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...


I know what the caricature was supposed to mean, I got it. I don't think the idea behind it or your reasons for posting it had anything to do with those European caricatures, nevertheless, the end result came out too similar and the effect was chilling. Caricatures are powerful things, and their strength is in the little details and nuances (I should know I study it.. :) ). One should be extra careful and sensitive with them. The Star of David, for example, is not just the symbol of the state of Israel, it is also the symbol of Judaism, and it was often used in those awful historic caricatures. It's not that he was using IDF insignia, then the effect would be different. Known symbols are the most dangerous thing to use in visual art, they each stand for so many things. And there's also the way the soldier is dressed and depicted... it is simply all too generalised.
I know you meant something else with the image, but there's alot of people who wouldn't bother to give much thought beyond the obvious. They would not see it as the IDF, they would see a Jewish Israeli character looking like a monster, and this will have its effect on their view of Jews and/or Israelis.
Some visuals will always be burned in our minds - rememember the picture of the Palestinian fiddler at the IDF checkpoint? the IDF could explain forever that it was just a security check, it doesn't matter. We all saw only one horrific thing in that image.
I'm telling you all this because I would hate to see your points missed. For me it immediately brought up negative memories, and many Jewish and/or Israelis would probably say the same. It is the sort of thing that would make people recall in discomfort (if not disgust), and just widen the gap and miscommunication. It would be a shame because I know these are not your intentions.

I agree with you on the effect of the IDF action. I am also frustrated, and do not at all appreciate the way the IDF (and all of Israel for that matter) is percieved now, especially because like most Israelis I was part of the IDF and I have friends and family who have been called on reserve duty right now, and I know there is much more to the picture than what the world sees. I know who the soldiers really are, and they are not those monsters, most are victims of the situation just like we are and they hate it just as much.
But I still doubt the public eye would have seen the situation any differently. It is easy to say this because we know now what the IDF ended up doing, but a week ago no one even imagined this. Unforutnately, Olmert and the IDF are not Kennedy, and our image in the world's eye is problematic enough already with the action in the Palestinian territories and memories of the previous actions in Lebanon, so even just a threat of action would not be welcomed. And in any case, the same reaction to the military operation would not be avoided, because it would result in the same extent of unjustifiable civilian loss. But maybe it's just my cynical and dark view of how the world sees us, from my previous experiences...

As for the day after - well first thing, I hope it comes soon. I hope you guys will be able to make sense, better sense than before. I wish the Israeli government would make a gesture of providing help and support for reconstruction, but I doubt it.. Maybe efforts like yours and mine will make it possible... maybe, ironically, everyone will realize there is no choice but to make peace, because any other way brings only destruction..?

1:24 PM  
Anonymous hadad said...

Dear mretz
"salamu alaykum"
I know that these words sound now pretty funny and I hope that it's ok with you.

My name is Hadad I am an Israeli Arab-affairs journalist, and I really liked your writing and the way you think about the situation that you and apparently all of us , live in .
I am doing a report for my newspapers here in Israel which tries to describe how do you people in Lebanon , and particularly in Beirut, live ? and what do you feel, think and do in those black days. As a journalist who read /watch/ hear the Arabic media every day , including your local TV and radio station (I also speak /read/write Arabic) , my goal is to try tell the people here in Israel that Lebanon (especially Lebanon !) is not made of people who think and act the same way .
Therefore I will be more than happy if we will be able to talk even by phone.
If you prefer to call me and not visaversa , for some reason , I can mail you my phone no.
Is it possible !

Thanks ahead

11:29 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

i have no problem, much the contrary. but you probably dont know that calls between lebanon and israel are non-existant as their is no direct liason.
lets continue this chat over Beirut Live email (

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Hadad said...

Tarek ya hala
I myself called some people in beirut last week and there was no problem with that , so i will be glad to phone you . you can leave me your no. at my mail box and i can give you mine . my box is
If you prefer the internet anyway- i respect that .
Let me know


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