All entries for November 2006
November 02, 2006
Strange things are afoot in Lebanon. Or rather, strange things are afoot around Lebanon, concerned with Lebanon, and having very very little to do with the actual people who live in Lebanon. Like the Poland of the Middle East, Lebanon is rapidly turning, once more, into a very very odd arena for conflict. Yesterday saw two very conflicting news items about the country.
The first insisted that Hezbollah had been having indirect talks with Israel to sort out the two Israeli hostages. As the BBC later reported, Israel is still conducting operations to try and get those soldiers back, albeit not bombing to buggery a country which hasn’t got the strength to stop the terrorists within. Israel had every right to want its troops back, it just went about it wrong and appears to have made progress through (shock horror) talking.
But just as good news seems to have appeared then suddenly we get the Americans wading in with their thinly veiled accounts of a Syrian/Iranian/Hezbollah plot to overthrow Lebanon’s government.
The plot isn’t all that incredible. What’s so odd is the timing. Syria has almost certainly been plotting to regain control in Lebanon since it was booted out. Ditto Hezbollah, who have probably been consolidating their power since the Israeli incursion made them popular with many in Lebanon who had previously been sceptical. And hell, if Iran aren’t trying to get influence and allies then they are stupid.
So why has this plot been unearthed now? And is “unearthed” really the best word could have used, seeing as no proper evidence was presented? It’s a mind boggler. Is it an attempt at further US bravado after the news that the much derided UN has managed to get some progress on the Israeli soldiers, despite it also being a big critic of Israel. We all know how much GWB hates the UN. But the main supposed cause of this plot is the UN sponsored enquiry into former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri’s murder which everyone knows is Syria’s fault. Naturally the Syrians would rather not have this confirmed officially. So is the US throwing its weight around to protect a UN venture?
I am concerned that my suspicions could be just that, stupid suspicions which really have no grounding in reality. But this is the Middle East, can you not forgive someone for wondering at the timing of anything to do with that region?
Whatever happened to coincidences?
Yeah, 1984 was a while ago…
November 01, 2006
I swear, there’s a clear psychological need in humanity to have some sort of fabulous annual tradition in November, yet the sheer nondescriptness of the month (it’s not that exciting really, is it?) means that cultures and countries have to stretch themselves to find traditions to have in this month. Religion is, in this case, not the great saver, but the rather large mocker as Islam (Eid), Judaism (Yom Kippur), Hinduism (Diwali) and Paganism (Halloween) all happened this year in October.
So the desperate scramble includes saying yey to eating strange poultry to stay alive (hi there Thanksgiving), remembering crap terrorists and Catholic persecution (hello Bonfire Night) and the dead (All Souls Day) which is at least a vaguely decent excuse.
In exasperation I have come up with a new tradition – the losing of my voice. Yes, a year after I first lost it, it has now partially deserted me and will probably be gone by tomorrow. And I have a seminar… shame.
So enjoy the silence and be careful kids, don’t try and replicate my lack of voice by swallowing lit fireworks. They are worse than vindaloo.