Café Thawra: Land Day – BDS Global Day of Action 2011

Link: Café Thawra: Land Day – BDS Global Day of Action 2011

Advertisements

Silence on Tue

Ils n’ont plus de pain? Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!Marie-Antoinette, dont on connnaît la fin peu glorieuse (la guillotine, ça fait désordre)

Ou on assassine si vous préférez. On torture allègrement, on casse des bâtons sur le dos de jeunes qui ont eu l’affront de remettre en cause votre pouvoir tout puissant, on fait craquer des os, on sectionne des veines, électrocute des organes.

On insulte, on tire par les cheveux, on viole, on maltraite, on menace, on dégrade.

Parce que ça nous fait peur, la contestation. Parce que ça a beau faire des années qu’on y est, sur ce foutu trône, parce que ça a beau faire des siècles qu’on s’en met plein les poches sur le dos d’un peuple exténué, apeuré et exsangue, on ne résiste pas à l’envie irrépréssible de grappiller encore quelques années (même si on a au delà des 80 ans, après tout, nos héritiers pourront en profiter à leur tour, et advienne que pourra). On s’en donne à coeur joie, on fait dans la cupidité, l’arrogance et la corruption, on réseaute à mort, on fait des ronds de jambes à d’autres dictateurs, on échange des blagues sur les derniers prisonniers politiques que nos services de renseignements bien entraînés sont parvenus à mater.

On a surtout aucune honte à déblatérer sur la Nation, la Solidarité, l’Amour du Peuple, de La Patrie, de l’Armée. Toute subversion est une intervention de l’Occident soi-disant honni, avec qui les affaires marchent par ailleurs fort bien, les vacances du dernier petit ministre français en date ayant été très réussies, il faudra penser à recommander de ce champagne.

On sent bien que le peuple gronde, mais bon, on s’en fiche du peuple, il rouspète tout le temps celui-là, comme si on lui demandait son avis; et si par malheur un pelé et deux tondus avaient l’outrecuidance de jeter leur poing vengeur en l’air, pas de problème, ces vilains rabats-joie seront liquidés en moins de temps qu’il en aura fallu à Leila Trabelsi pour prendre le premier direct pour Riyadh. Au pire, s’ils crient un peu trop fort, on peut toujours leur tendre un petit sucre sous forme de légère réforme qui n’engage à rien et qui mettra des siècles à se concrétiser, juste pour qu’ils se calment, et d’un autre côté, augmenter les effectifs de services secrets. Voilà, crise résolue, vous comprenez maintenant pourquoi je suis Président à vie?

Sauf qu’en ce moment, le peuple ne se tait pas et ne semble même pas intimidé, ou même reconnaissant, ces animaux. Il avance, le peuple. Il reste comme ça à nous regarder, le ventre vide les yeux brillants, le sourcil froncé et les lèvres serrées, il reste et il hurle, il commencerait limite à nous faire vaguement peur.

Alors on sort l’artillerie, on tue, plus de quartiers maintenent, on soudoie des pauvres hères faméliques qui n’en reviennent pas des sommes qu’on leur offre, on leur donne des machettes et des fusils, des directives simples, va, cherche-les arrête-les, torture un peu mais ne tue pas, non il faut faire peur, il faut que la terreur s’installe dans les coeurs, qu’elle y prenne ses aises, qu’elle ronge tout comme un cancer agressif. S’il meurt, bon ben tant pis, ça en fera toujours un de moi, d’ailleurs fermez-moi ces hôpitaux, on ne veut plus voir un de ces satané médecin recoudre des gens sans anésthésie et aller en parler sur les chaînes télés après.

Parfois, ça a l’air de marcher, parfois il a fallu partir, c’est qu’ils nous ont impressionnés, ces sauvages, on ne pensait pas qu’ils avaient ça en eux, la révolte coriace et la peau si dure. La terreur n’a pas réussi à vaincre l’espoir, mais qu’est-ce qui leur a pris? Alors on s’en va, non sans avoir mis en place quelques uns de nos plus fidèles serviteurs, histoire de ne pas tout perdre et de pouvoir ricaner dans sa piña colada quelque part sur une jolie plage, les imbéciles, ils pensaient se débarasser de nous comme ça.

Mais ils se sont débarassé de nous, malgré tout, malgré la détresse et le chaos laissé dernière nous, ils ont réussi, les séquelles de nos séismes sont toujours là pour le moment, mais un jour elles disparaîtront, et là, nous seront vraiment morts.

On en pensait pas qu’ils découvriraient leur voix, ceux-là.

Bear with me…

Yes please, bear with me for yet another rant.

This time, it’s the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism that has annoyed me, and big time.

Have you seen this ad? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Siovanti2u0 (For some reason, the Ministry has required that comments and embedding are disabled, huummmm why I wonder)

So basically, the Ministry of Tourism is encouraging tourists to come to Lebanon based on the following message : “Come to Lebanon, we have beer, boobs and beaches” (no no, I haven’t written “bitches”, although that’s the idea yes)

Shocked, I posted this on Facebook, with the following message:

“The ad that sparked outrage. Beyond being demeaning, belittling and insulting to Lebanese women, it shows how little these people think of Lebanon: so the only good thing Lebanon has are (fake) boobs, parties and sex? Note to Ministry of Tourism: selling your country as the whorehouse of the Middle East (with all due respect to sex workers) is an insult to Gebran, the Cedars, the people, Saïd Akl, the Bekaa valley, and all the people who struggle under your harmful and pathetic rule. Now Apologize.”

Needless to say, the ad sparked outrage among many activists, bloggers and human beings, who expressed themselves on their blogs:

Beirut Spring: http://beirutspring.com/blog/2011/03/15/lebanese-minister-of-tourism-gives-women-the-hummus-treatment/

Mich Café: http://michcafe.blogspot.com/2011/03/lebanon-blues.html

Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/03/14/lebanon-womens-anger-at-new-tourism-campaign/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

However, among those outraged voices, came some comments which I would like to address here and not on my Facebook wall.

For example, when we said that walaw, the Ministry of Tourism did not find another angle to sell Lebanon to tourists, a country whose history, natural beauty and people are most renowned, some people came back to me saying that the Ministry of Tourism had already explored these areas, and that, Paola, stop being such a prude/party pooper, sex sells and that’s that. Apparently, I had to respect all kinds of tourists, the ones interested in Gebran’s museum and the one interested in tanning at the seaside.

I really don’t see how me being shocked at the message the Ministry is sending means that I don’t respect all kinds of tourists. Come to Lebanon and do whatever you want, but yes, I do have a problem with my government, a government that doesn’t grant me my rights to start with, selling my country as the brothel of the Middle East. I think the sordid stories we hear over the summer with Lebanese women abused by various tourists are enough, thanks very much.

Regarding the “sex sells”: yes, well it does. But is it the only thing that sells? Do we have to be as mediocre as everyone else ? (us, the Lebanese, who by the way drive people mad with all our talk about how the Lebanese are AWESOME and cultured and blah blah blah, don’t make me puke now)? What’s wrong with ecotourism (which by the way would empower economically villagers and not the Director of Casino du Liban, who, let’s face it, is not in need)? Concerts? Cultural life? and yes, even parties, but do you have to showcase parties showing women’s breasts? Is it the only way to party? I don’t know about you, personnally I do enjoy having my clothes about my person when I’m dancing.

Which brings me nicely to the main issue: the use of women in this ad. If someone tells me one more time that Lebanese are the prettiest/sexiest in the Arab world I will not take responsibility for my actions. The government is playing with this idiotic urban legend to bait young men to come to Lebanon. So let me get this straight: if I’m dressed in a mini skirt and I’m raped, it’s my fault and the laws are not there to protect me and make sure the perpetrator is behind bars (worse still, if he marries me, it’s ok), but I HAVE to wear a mini skirt to attract tourists? WTF?

I’ve heard and read Lebanese citizens (men and women) praying for God to get rid of feminists, telling us we’re overreacting, but now it’s my turn to be shocked. So you don’t mind seeing Lebanon portrayed like that? So you don’t mind that the average salary is 700 USD, with people working three jobs to make ends meet, and yet the government is happily showcasing Maameltein and slot machines as Lebanon main selling point?

Would you like your sister/mother/cousin/girlfriend’s breasts to be drooled over next time you go to the beach?

Government of Lebanon, we’re asking you that FOR ONCE IN YOUR USELESS EXISTENCE YOU PUT THE PEOPLE OF LEBANON FIRST. Imagine that most young Lebanese women ban the city centre from their route over the summer, so unbearable the harassment from some tourists is.

Advertise Lebanon, but advertise it in a way that rallies the people behind it, not in a way that alienates us (frankly, I don’t think we could sustain any more division)

As for me, I’ll follow closely the videos Nasawiya is currently brewing up, just to show that there’s an awful lot of things that are wrong in our country that we should work on, instead of nodding stupidly at anything that has our poor flag on it.

Half of Humanity

I am half of humanity.

I am half of humanity, yet I’m very often treated like a second class citizen, if that. It seems as soon as I am born my fate is sealed by powers I don’t even know.

I’m half of humanity, I have a special day created for me, they say it’s enough, they say I should stop demanding more from my life that the crumbs I’m being given, they say I have enough rights, and what more do I want?They scold me for being too assertive, they scold me for being too weak, too vain, too fragile, I’m never just right, I’m never just enough, I’m a woman, and apparently my condition comes with irredeemable sins and faults.

And so I wondered, you see, I wondered if that were true.

My African sister did not have the time to answer my questions, so busy was she caring for orphans, working in the fields, walking unbelievably long distances to get water, running the risk of being raped somewhere along her path. She was too busy supporting her family, village and community, she was too busy having children and burying the dead, she was too busy campaigning for the war lords to stop their atrocities, marching up and down the streets of her towns, refusing to be a victim, standing strong in the face of adversity, she was too busy forgetting herself in the process, oblivious of the mutilations she’s gone through, oblivious to the constant ache of being alive.

My sister up in the North did not have the time to answer my questions, she was too busy juggling with her career and private life, feeling guilty and inadequate all the time, thinking she should spend more time with her children, feeling guilty for wanting to work, feeling angry at her bosses’s attitude towards her work, at her inferior salary, at the macho attitude her colleagues are giving her,tired of being taken for granted, tired of being the woman token in all her meetings, worrying she was too fat, too thin, neglecting her relationship, and what did Cosmo said on the matter again in last’s month issue?

My Arab sister did not have the time to answer my questions, she was too busy resisting against  occupation and political oppression, while minding her home, children and husband, her fists were too busy kicking the air she breathes, asking to be taken into account by her governments, she was too busy lobbying for the laws to change at last, too busy asking why, by the way, she could not give her own nationality to her own children, remember, the ones she’s lost half her weight in blood trying to bring into this world, she was too busy getting married because she just had to, she was too busy trying to go to university to study whatever she wanted, she was too busy facing constant patriarchy, patriarchy who loved to remind her where it thought was her place. At home, by the way, wearing the jewels it had brought her, keeping the house neat and the children clean.

I’ve asked my sisters in the whole wide world and they just did not have the time to get back to me, they were deeply sorry, guilt once more, but second class citizens have to work harder, try harder, twice as much, all the time, to justify their lives and the space they’re occupying, that space  you so wished were occupied by a man.

I am half of humanity, I’ve been around the world, and could not see the equal rights or the equal treatment.

So I’ve decided, I’ll be half of humanity, without me it’ll be the end of humanity, and I refuse to settle for crumbs.