Saturday, August 05, 2006

A note from Beirut Live

Many Americans reading this blog have complained of the coverage of this conflict and the whole context in which they are given information about Arabs, Arab culture and the actions of Israel. We on beirutlive will endeavour to continue to spread a different voice giving opinions, comment and information and facts on the ground from writers across the board including Israelis. This is an open forum and all are welcome to comment. This blog is tinged with anger it is true. But anger is not hate. I have said it before in my correspondence with my counterpart the editor of Time Out Tel Aviv: hate is a destructive emotion, capable of destroying the person who hates more than the person he hates. That is clear in the current conflict more than ever. But anger at unjust actions in the opinion of beirutlive on the part of the IDF in this war on Lebanon, not Hezbollah, but Lebanon as all the innocents dead, ambulances bombed, UN dead, infrastructure across the country destroyed, and of course the embargo/blockade should not be confused by any reader with hate, anti-semitism or anti-Israeli propaganda. We speak truth to power.

Below are three links to video clips on The first features many American politicians and ambassadors to the Middle East giving their opinions of what they have experienced in Israel and the Middle East and suggests that the American public might just being duped. There are counter arguments no doubt but certain facts really do stand on their own. Please watch on comment.

The second is of British news anchor Jon Snow on CHannel 4 News, a flagship ITN news program (ITN provides much footage for CNN) in an interview with the deputy Israeli ambassador. It speaks for itself but what is clear is that no American news anchor would possibly ask the same questions to an ISraeli official on US national television.

The last link is a brief item from a recent edition of The Daily Show, featuring Jon Stewart's inimitable take on things, to add a little humour.

We on beirutlive are hoping for a ceasefire soon with the latest developments, but few in Lebanon yet are confident. In this situation if one side provokes the other it will continue without stop until there is only winner and a decisive victory - something impossible for either side to really achieve which would just mean war unbound.

Keep reading Beirutlive.


If Americans knew:

Jon Snow interviews Deputy Israeli Ambassador on Channle 4 News (UK):

Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:


Blogger naji said...

so proud of you ram, (and hb and mrtez whom i dont know but i will know, IN BEIRUT, when i am back! soon!) keep doing what you do and stay strong xxx

11:15 PM  
Anonymous one said...

i think you've done a fine job...

you've taken us to the intimate, personal side of any war. i'm glad all of you have taken on this task, which is so show the world the human aspect and devastation, behind the politics and news reels.

thank you

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Jim W., Minnesota, USA said...

Perhaps the people being duped are the Lebanese who allow a terrorist group to gain control of their government and start a war without the government's consent. Lebanese who tacitly support such groups by remaining silent during the past 6 years now are unwitting accomplices. You should be fixing the political mess of your own country before you start telling we americans that we got it wrong!

Could you not see where the aim of Hezbollah was taking your people? I suspect there are lots of Hezbollah sympathizers among the "innocent" civilians.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Stephen Eli Harris said...

Here's a great documentary dealing with this subject. It's a MUST watch for all, especially those in the western world and definitely Americans.

Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land

Keep up the great work and as always, be safe out there.

1:03 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

You know, Jim, I think you also must be the "anonymous" dope who keeps opening his mouth because the crap in his head builds up too much pressure to be kept inside. Let's say I think idiots like you are a threat to the United States - let's say, like in Miami or Chicago - you chat up some people who think it's cool to bomb something. Do I go kill your mother because she raised an asshole for a son? why don't you try this, as well: You talk in little senseless sentences, tell us all in 25 words or less how you would fix "the political mess of [Lebanon]." Perhaps you could use some examples from your own fine state on how to do it - Jesse Ventura comes to mind as a possible statesman. The problem is there are too many idiots running their mouths about "where the aim of Hezbollah was taking your people." You have NO idea what you're talking about. You are one of those complete fools who is nearly never right but always talking.

HCB - from USA (I'd give you my name and address but then you'd probably have to kill me with an airstrike by the brave Israeli pilots)

1:07 AM  
Blogger mrs p said...

Thank you for being there. Please know that not all Americans are clueless. Some of us are awake & paying attention. We are horrified with the "greenlighting" of the Israeli Governments evil deeds. Some of us actually read books. The other half of the country is watching sound bytes from Fox news. It's true that Americans are the most entertained uninformed people of the world but there are also many more of us who are conscious, reading, thinking adults who seek out "independent" journalism. Such as LINK TV (television without borders)--Ch. 9410 on Dish Network and Ch. 375 on DirectTV. My family watches Democracy Now and many other fine programs that report from independent journalists like Robert Fisk. We think the Israeli Government sucks as much as the U.S. Government sucks. These are not "governments of the people." they are corporate run and they don't give a bit of hoo-haw about any of us on either side of the isle. It's all about money and control. We understand that not all of Hezbollah is wrong. We also understand that Israel created all this mess, they've been cooking it for 40 years. To hold the Lebanese people & government responsible for everything is nuts. We can't even control our "gangs" here in California! Either way, the murdering of innocent civilians is way over the top! To kill 600 plus innocent civilians in order to wipe out 3 or 4 Hezbollah is perverse and immoral! The use of depleted uranium is also immoral and perverse as is the use of phosphorus weapons. These horrific acts will go down in history as wicked. The Israeli government is behaving like Nazi's. So ironic. Also the Israeli Army has many who refuse to continue this genocide. I've seen them interviewed on Democracy Now. They podcast at Anyway everyone in my family & friends have been calling Washington in protest to this obscene war. Know that we pray for Lebanon and it's people. The universe will not support Israel because they are wrong.

2:24 AM  
Blogger mrs p said...

P. S.:
"It's not about being liberal or conservative; it's about telling the truth". mrs p

2:30 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:52 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Here are a few more videos in continuation to the truth and facts info:

2:57 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

May 14 1948. At 4pm today, eight hours before the British mandate in Palestine was due to end, the Jews proclaimed the new state of Israel. David Ben-Gurion, the Jewish Agency leader, is to be Prime Minister of a provisional government until a general election is held in October...Israel is to open its doors to all Jewish immigrants, revoking immediately the 1939 British law limiting immigration. There is a pledge of social and political equality for all, full freedom of education and culture, and equal rights for Arab inhabitants...President Truman, in a shock announcement from the White House a few seconds after the proclamation, recognised the Provisional Government. Chronicle of the 20th Century, c.1988, pp671

And so the seed was sown.

Although deeply subversive, if only 30s could be viewed I would implore everyone to see from 1:10 to 1:40 of; Paul Finchley.

To Jon Snow I would award the Jeremy Paxman Medal of Excellence. Maybe Ravner should have been replaced by a better actor. I thought that Jim Carrey was good in Liar, Liar.

American humour still perplexes me though.


3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim W,

With all due respect, your "argument" that the Lebanese people are willing accomplices to Hezbollah's actions are absured...and SO, so tired. Nobody's buying it here or in any other post on Beirut Live.

While HB's dictum for Beirut Live is that everyone's voice is heard on the blog, regardless of opinion, your words are patently misguided and hurtful. So if you are looking for shock value by continuously re-posting the misinformation that you received from whatever baseless source you aquired it from, you should probably try a pop culture blog. (fiction)

It is my belief that you are just trying to get get a rise out of people that have come here to share honest discussion about such a horrific conflict.


4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

poor Jim. I really feel bad for him and others who are so misguided and are clueless about how the real world operates. there are just so many flaws in his argument, its a waste of energy to address each point. anyways, I found these videos very enlightening....thanks for sharing

7:12 AM  
Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

I second Naji.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Chris Baker said...

Also as an American I strongly second the comments of "mrs p" and very well said! It is my personal belief that Hezbollah is an issue for Lebanon and it's allies to deal with, not the ruthless Israeli military and it's flagrant violations of the rules of war. Also many Americans are susceptible to pro-Israeli propaganda on Christian TV especially, where it's quite subtle and where viewers are perhaps more susceptible to being "indoctrinated".

"mrs p" mentioned "Democracy Now", an independently produced 1-hour TV program out of New York City which is especially sympathetic to the plight of victims of Israeli aggression. I've read the executive producer is herself Jewish. They reported Friday that the US is feeding Israel signal intelligence from Syria and Iran from the US National Security Agency. If the NSA is already assisting Israel it's reasonable to assume they are also passing on to Israel signal intelligence from the Lebanese military and Hezbollah. From Friday's "Democracy Now" transcript, link below:

Report: NSA Assisting Israel; Neo-Cons Pushing “Four-Front” War

A report has emerged Israel is being assisted by a new partner in its attack on Lebanon – the National Security Agency. In a piece published on, former Clinton administration official Sydney Blumenthal says the NSA has been providing signal intelligence to Israel to monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new weapons to Hezbollah. Citing unnamed national security sources, Blumenthal writes the secret intelligence sharing effort has been pushed by Vice President Dick Cheney and other leading neo-conservatives.

Blumenthal writes: “The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.”

The Salon article is here:

9:36 AM  
Blogger Sarmad said...

Thank you mrs p and chris baker. Unfortunately you seem to be in a minority of Americans that are awake and realise what is going on.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lilu, I understand on some other posts that you have attacked the authors for making Jews look bad or showing them in a bad light.
I just have to say that the third video you have suggested is completely disgusting. You have no right to place such a video on this blog. We are not talking about Muslims and Jews here. We are talking about Lebanon and Israel. Anyway, One must ask themselves why radical muslims were not prevalent or even heard of before WWII. Before this, The Middle East was one big territory with united people all connected and sharing. There were territories such as states in the U.S., but they were all one group. Why then, did the U.S. and some European countries think it their right to split them up and alot a large portion of Palestinian territory to Israel. What else could come out of this but extremisim and hatred for those who have intruded on their lives. Now I am not for this type of attitude at all, but when the people on the video declare that it just arises from the Muslims want to destroy Western Civilization for no apparent reason, they are only showing half of the story. Something does not come from nothing. Before Israel, the Arabs had nothing against the Jews. They even used to live side by side. But when, people come to steal your homes and your lives, and those people happen to all be from the same religion, what does one expect but hatred. People in Israel want peace, but how can you say one thing and do another. They want peace, but they still willingly live on land and in houses that are not theirs.

11:28 AM  
Blogger in indigo said...

mrtez, rs, and hb,

there are sweet moments when you feel like you've hit a nerve. this blogspot is one of them.*

i keep coming back because your anger is on par with the beirutis that i've been able to keep in touch with. it makes me twinge (far more than certain sensational, gory images) and it helps me process the most recent of events, which i check on an hourly basis.

thanks for all your work,
and i hope this all ends v v soon.

*another nerve is this leb-israeli forum:

1:25 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

No actually.

I was challenging the so-called portrayal of reality by this blog, as in many others, which pretty much ignores a large group of people that are also a part of this war and suffering much, which is Israeli civilians (note, not Jews, Israelis).
It is very easy to focus on just parts of the situation, on parts of the bigger picture, and then make blames. Focus on certain aspects and then judge (especially if you are sitting comfortably and safely somewhere very far away from the real action). Then we can all have a quick and easy solution, we all know who are the culprits and who are the victims, and fix the world. We are all experts, right?

Yeah that video is only half the story. So are the others. They show only the Israeli side (that third one mirrors what many Israelis' see in the situation, and it also has some very interesting ideas on propaganda).
You cannot begin to truly understand the situation in the Middle East unless you openly and objectively listen to all sides. Especially if you are on one of those sides. And you cannot make any true progress to peace if the dialog isn't equal and balanced.

In any case, this blog often refers to alot more than Lebanon and Israel, Ramsay has a tendency to link this conflict directly to the situation with the Palestinians (and he would be right to do so as all parties and events are connected).

2:03 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Just to say i continue to appreciate your comments on this blog and the fact that you post views from the Israeli side, from all sides on the Israeli side, whether we agree or not. Watch any videos, comment, and respond. We are always trying to find common ground. I do strongly believe in linkage - it is the story of this region - but the Palestinian issue is one that really needs to be solved and clearly won't be in our lifetimes I am afraid. The fact that ISrael is now using this war to attack Palestinians in Lebanon - the PFLP, HAmas in the camps, at Ain El Helweh in Sidon and at Naameh, is an example of the connections.

Any of you would like to hear a recent conversation - not really about politics - but about the situation between myself and Time Out Tel Aviv editor Amir Ben David can go to the following link and scroll down till you see the Time Out item. It is an American Public Radio show called Weekend America.

Hoping for a ceasfire and an end to killing of innocents across the board.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Israeli Jew said...

Anonymous 11.28 AM:

Your contentions that no Muslim hated the liberal west, and that Arabs and Jews used to live peacefully side by side prior to the creation of the Zionist State, are both rose-colored wishful thinking on your part: Check out the history of the Hebron Massacre of 1929 or the Jerusalem Mufti's collaboration with the Nazis.

If this situation were as black and white as you portrayed it, the "stupid people" you decry would be the first to realize the truth, no? Or would you argue that are they being blinded by the world Jewish conspiracy? Shit, yeah, what am I even doing reading blogs, I'd better get back to controlling the world...

Whether you like it or not, this is a complex situation with a complex history. It isn't pretty, but it isn't going to be solved by fielding petty and facile theories.

Sincerely and hoping for peace,

Israeli Jew

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an American, I would be pretty silly to complain that a site from Lebanon, by people in Lebanon, would not be a bit biased toward, well, Lebanon.

It is no secret there are plenty of idiots living here in the U.S., but I assume every country has plenty of their own. I am somewhat embarrassed at times to see Americans visit sites and blogs and struggle with the idea that not every person in the world worships the U.S. There mere fact you are typing this blog from a locale with violence and people dying all around...immense destruction, and you have a few Americans complaining because you are not more pro-western right now while we are the ones who held up the cease-fire?? These are idiots, and that is fine.

The only problem I ever have is when those from other countries decide that Jims a moron, so we all are...and also, it doesn't mean we are not "awake" if we have different opinions.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war" Plato

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

RS, you seem like a hypocrit and a one sided journalist.
you dont allow yourself to dream... you are not a positive thinker and choose it easier to HATE and iflate that anger feeling across your writings.

get over it, and try to think a little on ALL sides and try and inflate the positives and dream a little and as we say chill out so that a little good and connections and dialogue is inflated rather than anger and hate.

4:39 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Jim really IS a moron - his is not a different "opinion." His is a silly stream of nonsense that he spits just to be heard while he thinks it's making an impression.

Yes - that's what Plato said, alright. But this is not a war. This is the infliction of unconscionable killing, destruction and misery by a country of bullying pigs supported by a country of idiots. Jim says Lebanon should get it's "mess" of a political situation cleaned up. I tried to do that here - even without threat of being bombed. And we still got the fools and idiots we have running the country.

An "opinion" ought to have SOME basis in careful thought. Not just the mindless spouting of generic nonsense.


4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicholas there is nothing hypocritical in what RS says on this blog and no hate, merely anger at injustice - from HZB and most certainly from Israel - and a side of the the story that is not corrupted by American/Israeli propaganda.

If you think of course that killing children and over 1000 dead and destroying most of LEbanon by Israel is valid of course then you clearly are a lost cause.

Of course this blog will lean towards the Lebanese cause and be against ISraeli mas murder. They are the people who are living and experiencing the consequences of ISraeli bombardment every day and seeing their livelihoods strangled by the embargo and American intransigence.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

HCB, wars are GOING to happen, and this IS a war, or more so a battle in a long running war.

"bullying pigs" comments make you little better than Jim.

Hezbollah is funded by Iran, who publicly announces to the world on a daily basis they live for the chance to destroy Israel. Are they not pigs? by proxy is not Hezbollah pigs? and then by proxy are not the southern Lebanon Shiites pigs for supporting Hezbollah?

Sounds like tree hugger stuff to me. Are you putting together aid packages for Lebanon, organizing rallies, writing your congressman, and sending money to those in Lebanon.... or sitting in a chair like me spewing forth my opinion on a blog as if it will change anything?

"a country of idiots" and "bullying pigs"?? All it seems to me is that you want the people here from Lebanon to say..."wow, hcb really knows what's up"...people in Lebanon know Hezbollah made a mistake giving Israel a reason, but good luck getting them to trash their own country like you do.

Our airports are up and running, so if it is so bad here, feel free to hop a flight out.

5:41 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Well said, Mr Wrath

"Wars are going to happen" you say and someone else quoted Plato "only the dead have seen the end of war." I suppose, therefore, Gettysburg was just the latest battle in a long war? There's still hope the South will rise again?

I don't equate Hezbollah and Israel because Hezbollah is smart. Both are pigs but Hezbollah is the smart pig. Hezbollah NEEDS this "war" - they NEED Israel to come in as bullying pigs. Does no one understand that anarchists and radicals and warmongers can't survive in a stable society where basic needs are satisfied? Does no one understand yet that Iraq has become a recruiting base and training ground? Do you REALLY believe the "terrorists" are just "evil" people who want simply to do evil things? Look at the three phases of communism - poverty, revolution, utopia. It goes nowhere if people are happy with their lot. If Israel was anything but a bully, they'd understand that. Likewise the US

And, "trashing my country?" I suppose you're not old enough to remember vietnam and 1968. The only reason we're not still in that country is that a lot of people rose up and "trashed" what we were doing. The only reason that hasn't happened so far in this present fiasco is that there's no draft. Institute a draft and see how quick the nonsense stops.

Aid packages for Lebanon? No. And if I did, I'd be inviting an airstrike on my home. Writing my congressman? Every day. Organizing rallies? Yeah, right - everybody already has a little thing on the back of the SUV saying they "support the troops." "People in Lebanon know Hezbollah made a mistake ...." It was NOT a mistake. It was a chess move. And Israel responded exactly as Hezbollah anticipated. Hezbollah isn't a country - it's a state of mind forced on us by some radicals with weapons. Hezbollah has nothing to lose but everything to gain - they built their forts, armed themselves and then invited Israel to a "war." On their battlefield at a time of their choosing. To prove to the world they are the bullies Hezbollah has always said they are. Likewise Syria - Israel bombs and destroys and kills. Syria cynically sits by and welcomes the hundreds of thousands of refugees Israel created. Whose side do you suppose the refugees are on now? And the world looks at the destruction of a relatively weak people by an overwhelming force apparently bent on destruction of the country. So the world decides Hezbollah may be bad but not nearly as bad as Israel. Meanwhile, Israel keeps on pounding away in the name of protecting her borders. While creating thousands of new "terrorists" and providing their breeding grounds. And our president and secretary of state wring their hands with no clue about what to do.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

I quopted Plato but wasn't logged in...nothing but crazy theories, and you are giving Hezbollah WAY to much credit like they planned this all...I simply don't believe it.

Same thing for the chaos in Iraq, many people say we planned it, knew it would happen, and want a civil war. Again, it's not a case where we had some super secret plan to destabilize the midlle is the fact we fucked up and it didn't go's that simple really. Conspiracy theories make good books, but most of the time are just fiction.

Many times in the past Hezbollah has taken prisoners and traded them to Israel for Lebanon prisoners held there, THAT is what they were doing, this is not a movie plot, and Hezbollah did not plan this...I believe they were as shocked as the rest of the world at Israels response.

After this is over, and I think it will be soon I hope, Hezbollah will claim victory as many people look around at the destruction and ask "wtf? this is victory?" It is the end for Hezbollah, watch and see...they cheer them on now because who else is on their side? Nobody, but in reality, this is not what the people there want at all. When the fighting stops, they will want a real government and not Hezbollah at the border launching rockets...

10:13 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

And who is going to provide this "real" government? Isn't that what happened in Iraq? Isn't there a "real" government there now?

You make the point brilliantly - you don't think Hezbollah is smart enough to plan this. I don't imagine even Hezbollah thought the destruction would be quite on the scale it is - it's a dream come true for them and Iran and Syria. And, I don't argue there is some kind of conspiracy within the American government. We did it - and continue to do it - wrong. We not only have no plan, we have no concept yet that all of this is tied together. Iraq and Iran and Syria and Lebanon - soon, maybe, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It' not a conspiracy - it's ignorance. It's the whole idea of trying to run a foreign policy by refusing to even talk to the adversary. How, for instance, can ANY peace "plan" be considered without involving the "warring" parties directly in the planning process? Just say, "either you do it this way or we'll bomb you again?"

Don't underestimate Hezbollah or Syria or Iran by saying they aren't smart enough to plan this. That's what the French said about the viet minh just before dien bien phu. Whatever you might think of the late and gladly gone Arafat, he described the problem. Israel is talking about now. The terrorists are talking about next year or ten years or two hundred years. Keep the population in poverty with no hope and you encourage "terrorists" and, actually, create them. It's no different, except in degree, to the gangs we think we can control in the US. They survive because they can control a population in turmoil with no hope of being better off. What Israel and the US do for Hezbollah and Al Queda and Iran and Syria is make them relevant - make them heroes. We should be trying to figure out how to make them irrelevant. And that starts by giving hope. And security. And meeting basic needs. And providing a sense of stability. Not by absolutely destroying everything that represents any kind of hope or success.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

People/governments take advantage of doesn't mean they planned the situation, and you have to take a break on the conspiracy theories...they are almost never true and you could entertain yourself for years with every theory on the internet.

Hezbollah fucked up, but have played the PR game amazingly well while saying little.

Iraq and Lebanon are so very different, but I use Iraq as example because one aspect is the same...."west meets east". Although Lebanon in general such as those we will talk to here, are in favor of more west style living, more hardcore Shiites and Hezbollah are not as keen on this.

Lebanon has yet to celebrate it's true "independence day"...I believe they will.

People want peace, and I understand that, but when a country such as Iran flat out says they want to wipe an entire country off the map...seriously, there comes a time to say fuck diplomacy and do something about it. That shit is like 1500 years ago....hezbollah is an Iran proxy.

so we will go all over this again when Iran is fighting the U.S., and we will be called all kinds of names again...

Did you guys see the video of Bush talking with his mouth full of food saying "if Syria would just tell Hezbollah to knock it off it would be over"? That was not a staged video, the idiot has no master plan for the middle east...

10:54 PM  
Blogger Terry Crane said...

Hi RS,

Your team keep sending thanks to those who demand immediate ceasefire. You want Israel to stop bombing. Yet you are not prepared to enforse ceasefire on Lebanon side, are you? You are a fit able-body man, yet you are not prepared to take an AK-47 or M-16 and man a block-post, to make sure more Katjushas are not smuggled to the South. You believe it is not your problem. Well, it is your problem because it is your country. And because nobody is prepared to establish and man such block-posts, Israel is against "re-supply ceasefire"

Say, you see a medium-range missile outside or your window, possibly aimed at Tel-Aviv where your friend lives. You wouldn't do a thing, it's not your problem. Yet if next moment the misssile is destroyed by an Israeli fighter plane and you get hurt, you would be really angry at Israelis, how could they hurt your innocent life! Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

Stay safe,


9:52 AM  

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