Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beirut Montage: Political Street Art

It may not be the most colourful or artistic street art in the world, but it packs a strong political punch. Frustrated, angry, desperate, funny, informed and profound, this is a montage of Beirut street art circa May 2011.

A sprayed and barbed wire wall around the AUB; loads of graff around here. The fact that knowledge and learning needs to be kept behind a military-style wall says a lot about the city.

Pure vandalism that begs to be photographed.

"Wake Up and DreAm" Anarchism - look it up if you aren't clued up.

Owls: They see in the dark, a common metaphore for people who understand truth in times of propaganda saturation and widespread misinformation.

A dig at sports fans I think - sports being a major tool of distraction as far as some people are concerned.

Beirut would be better if... Society was looking after this woman a little better. She might not have to sit on the street all day every day trying to sell gum for pennies.

The owls are everywhere...

Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Unknown ·


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lebanon: A Magnified Ray Of Humanity

Imagine the sum total of humanity – all of our religions and rebellions, our wealth and poverty, guns and love; our sex and celibacy, philosophies and knowledge, sciences and superstitions; our arts and our ignorances, our laughter and tears. Then imagine that sum total embodied as our Sun and all of our power being focused througha magnifying glass into a concentrated point of intensity. This point of intensity is Lebanon.

For such a full spectrum of human diversity to be represented on such a small pieceof land is truly mindboggling. It’s no wonder that so many of the Lebanese youth, especially Beirutis, are turning away from their parents conservative sectarian values and looking for a pressure release in drugs and hedonism. This is never the answer though.

The current social, political and economic upheavals of the Middle East and the world in general are expressions of the war between the old and the new; the fight

of people against power; poverty against wealth; liberty against repression; reason against religion, and knowledge against ignorance. This war has been brought about by two main dynamics - a rampant increase in the world’s population which has been facilitated by our exploitation of oil, and rapid advances in technology which has quickened the pace of relative time and allowed previously monopolized scientific knowledge to become accessible to the common individual.

When analysing the population issue it is clear to see that we cannot continue on our present course of growth and consumption. Old norms need to be challenged; our behaviour needs to change if we are to avoid a species apocalypse. We need to stop consuming the produce of our environment so quickly and thoughtlessly. We need to invest our thoughts and energies in peace and cooperation, not war and conflict. We need to invest our sciences and technologies in renewable, sustainable and clean energies. We need to value education over wealth. There’s a lot we need to do.

Rapid advances in technology have quickened the pace of relative time by speeding up the movement of, most importantly, people, ideas, knowledge and decisions.This means that time really is flying by – more and more things are happening in a shorter period of time, and this is a constant acceleration. Older generations who choose not to interact with new technologies and knowledge are becoming distanced from their children faster than any parents have become distanced from their children at any time in history. This distancing can be seen in the fracturing of societies around the world, the widening gulf in values, ideals and philosophies between generations. This is not to say that the younger generation will automatically produce enlightened leaders that will be able to pull humanity out of its self-created nightmare though; power is inherited and institutionalised – we need to break down the institutions of power that pitch man against man, and man against his environment. We need to revolutionise the institutions in which we operate before we can make any true progress towards enlightened living.

So, back to Lebanon, and another analogy. We’re living in pressure-cooker days and Lebanon can be seen as a valve on a pressure cooker. Emotions are going to become increasingly strained; the war of light against dark, new against old, etc etc, is going to be magnified in and around the borders of Lebanon. The Lebanese youth need to be prepared stand up for peace and social justice. They need to be the change they want to see in the world. They are already strong.

Knowledge really is power, it is also liberating, but with knowledge, power and libertycomes responsibility.


Restless Ed

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by Eli ·


Friday, May 20, 2011

A Simple Meaning To Life

Every now and then, during a conversation with someone who had just found out that I am an atheist, I find myself having to answer the same question: “What is the point of living if you do not believe in anything supernatural such as God or the eternal soul?”

To some, my answer sounds somewhat poetic and even lame; but to others, especially to those who don’t mind being honest about their own emotions, it sounds convincing. To me it is simple truth.

What I would say in reply to this question is that “Love” is all you need to have meaning in your life. The love I have toward my friends offers me a feeling of security and belonging. That which I feel toward my family gives me a very powerful reason to take care of them, and to make sure they are as happy as they make me feel. They have been taking care of me beyond the age at which anyone except to be taken care of by his or her own parents. This love sets a goal for me, to try and offer the same safety-net to my own children.
Besides your family and friends the love that will give you a true purpose to your own existence is that which you share with a special someone; for me it is a special girl—Thee—with whom I wish to spend every second of my life with. Even though, this sounds like a cheesy romance flick, to me it is as real as the keys I’m typing those letters with.

All I can say is that I’m a billion times better-off finding purpose and meaning in my tangible lame life than to base it on a myth that would only serve as an entertaining literary classic, better stacked in one’s library next to Homer’s The Odyssey and The Iliad.


Note to Thee: Cheers beebz! If the other 99% are as nice as half the 1%, it would be amazing!

Friday, May 20, 2011 by Eli ·


Friday, May 6, 2011

A Pantomime of Reality: Beware the New Unreligion

There’s a reason that our traditional institutions and religions are crumbling; it’s because they are no longer relevant!’

Bill Hicks

It is clear for any visitor to see that there is a major cultural and religious clash being played out within and around the borders of Lebanon; Christian icons dot the local landscape whilst mosques and churches compete for grandeur in her cities. Arab Christians mingle freely with Caucasian Muslims, the ‘Army of God’ prepares for war with the Zionist behemoth on its southern flank whilst the Lebanese government forever lurches from crisis to crisis. It is no wonder that the youth of Lebanon is questioning the values of its older generations.

Lebanese youth must beware the void though. The new unreligion of the western world is shooting its roots into Lebanese society faster than anywhere I’ve ever seen before; her highways, the veins of the country, are littered with billboards appealing to the narcissism of the new consumption generation. The beaches of Beirut are polluted by steroid-pumped egos that strut and flex their grotesque forms in a bizarre ritual of worship to themselves. Dolly-bird women caked in their war paint sit like shop mannequins in the passenger seats of absurdly expensive look-at-me vehicles…

The transparent irrelevance of the world’s modern institutions and religions has left self-worshipping consumption as the new unreligion being promoted by our corporate slave-masters; we are becoming a parody of ourselves, a hollow pantomime of reality, as we fall into this trap of spiritual emptiness and synthetic aestheticism.

So, how many anarchists does it take to change a light bulb? None, the light bulb must change itself.

Friday, May 6, 2011 by Unknown ·


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fatwa of the Day #10

Breastfeeding-icon-medFor those of you who enjoyed my previous “Fatwa of the day” posts, I’m sure you are going to love this one. This Fatwa revolves, once again, around the issue of breastfeeding.

Back in 1974, a Fatwa was issued by the Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta (Arabic for Home of Fatwa Issuing) in response to following inquiry:

A man was wondering whether he is allowed to marry a women whom his grandmother had breastfed almost 40 times, back when she was a baby (as you will see below, the number of times—here 40—is very important).

Dar al-Ifta, issued a Fatwa in response to this inquiry (you can read the arabic version here). The verdict was as follows:

When a woman breastfeeds a baby not her own, and she does it more than five times, that baby is considered her child. He or she become a sibling to her own children.
Hence, in the case above, the inquirer is not allowed to marry the woman who breastfed from his grandma. She is an aunt to him per breastfeeding; and marrying your aunt is forbidden!

There are literally hundreds of Fatwas concerning the issue of breastfeeding that you can read about on the Dar al-Ifta website (the texts are in Arabic). One other Fatwa, in particular, caught my eye. It says that if two people are already married, a similar discovery to the case above—the partner had breastfed from the mother or grandmother of the other—the marriage must be annulled! Can you imagine the consequences?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 by Eli ·


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