Yaba Yaba

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Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

Waltz with Bashir, now the graphical novel

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As I said, If you haven’t seen Waltz with Bashir go quick. A sheer kick in the gut, artistically, emotionally, and intellectually. A study into the soul of the middle east and the dark corners we all have inside.

Coming soon: the graphical novel. TomDispatch has a preview.

(digg story)

In related news, apparently Waltz with Bashir is banned in Lebanon.


Written by yishaym

January 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

my high school musical

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If you haven’t seen Waltz with Bashir go quick.


I was in high school when the war started. I had a small transistor radio I used to keep under the table, with an earpiece hiding under my long hair. One ear was enough to follow most lessons anyway. I would relay the news in hand written notes to my classmates.

At first, I was as excited as any any good young patriot should be. We’ve been suffering from the terror of the PLO for so long, its time we made a stand and put things right. But after a few days the numbers started adding up. The casualty numbers, the number of kilometres we’ve gone into Lebanon, and slowly the numbers of civilians killed or driven out of their homes.

I started arguing with my classmates, and before long I was on the streets. Shalom Achsav (peace now) was still far from mainstream, and the Paris sq. Friday vigil never will be. Marching for peace in Jerusalem in the midst of a war does not earn brownie points with the locals or the authorities. Tel Aviv was easier: larger peace crowds, and some sniping remarks from the sidelines. In Jerusalem we would go down Ben-Yehuda street through a torrent of spit, flying beer cans, and angry arms. Pretty soon we developed a formation: the young & strong would lock hands in a chain, encompassing the older and more vulenrable. You can guess where I was.

As the war escalated, so did the demonstrations. But it took the Sabra & Shatila massecre to wake up the masses. Week after week, huge masses congregated in Tel-Aviv, demanding a full independent inquiry. Some say up to 400,000 in one evening – an equivalent of 5 Million in UK terms, considering the population ratio. And eventually, a committee was formed, and its verdict was that although no Israeli troops were involved, Refael Eithan, Ariel Sharon and Menachem Begin (then cheif of staff, miniter of defence and prime minister) are guilty. Within a few month the goverment fell and the war ended. It would take another 20 years for the last Israeli soldier to leave Lebabon.

As I said, Jerusalem was different. On February 10, 1983, six month after the massacre, we were marching in the usual formation. A girl from my class was there with me that evening, and when she needed to go home I offered to walk her to a safe distance from the demonstration. At 20:50 Yona Avroshmi, a young Jewish man, threw a grenade at thedemonstrators. Emil Grunzweig was killed and several others were injured.

We saw Waltz with Bashir with a couple of friends a few weeks ago. After the movie, we were dumb and numb with pain.I wasn’t there, but it felt too close to my experiences from Gaza, and to the stories I heard from friends who were a few years older. We went home and gradually started talking. No one could remember when exactly the war started. So we checked on Wikipedia. That’s when I realised that my career as a peace activist started at the age of 15. I guess that makes me a child-soldier of peace.

Written by yishaym

December 24, 2008 at 2:53 am

If it wasn’t my kid, I would laugh too

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Actually, I did laugh. Even when the joke was on me.

Alia and Yamina kindly invited me to a preview of their new show. I’m not the comedy type, I usually get my laughs from the 10 o’clock news. But these girls hit the nail, and hit it hard. If you’re around Thursday night, come see them at the goodenough.

Disclosure: Alia’s an old friend, so obviously I’m biassed, but hey – what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t promote your friends?

Alia Alzougbi and Yamina Bakiri would like to invite you to a night of quirky comedy. It’s Nothing Personal will explore at least 1001 ways of stereotyping “the Middle East” In this magic carpet ride, we will address the following:

  • Is west of the Middle East still east?
  • What are the political and health benefits of olive oil?
  • Is female emancipation down to shaving hair?
  • Would the Big Bad Wolf discriminate on the basis of religion?
  • Does it make sense to marry a brain surgeon when your father is diabetic?
  • What do the Koran and The Communist Manifesto have in common?

Unfortunately the accuracy of the answers is not guaranteed with the ticket price (£5); as such, we cannot promise you an educative night, but you might just have a chuckle (or two). It’s Nothing Personal will take place on Thursday the 19th of June at 8:30pm in Goodenough College, London House Large Common Room, WC1N 2AB. All proceeds go to SOS children  http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/children-charity.htm

Written by yishaym

June 16, 2008 at 12:25 am

Lisa Goldman in Beirut

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Lisa Goldman reports from Beirut, one year after.

And where did I hear about it?

( digg story)

Written by yishaym

July 23, 2007 at 1:06 am

And the winner is…

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Laury Haytayan reflects on last summer’s war:

It started with no name…Was it a war or not? Was it the summer war? Was it the war of the bridges? Was it the war of the Katyushas? Was it the Lebanon war? Was it the Merkava versus the Katyusha war?
Whose war was it? Hezbollah or Israel? Iran or The US?
Which side won the war? Each side claiming victory…
Really a strange war…
However, the strangest of them all is the hero of this war…The nominations were diverse

And the winner was………………….

(You have to read it on her blog)

Written by yishaym

July 23, 2007 at 12:47 am

Ahmadinejad to Assad: kill peace talks, and we’ll give you nukes

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Who said the man isn’t honest. Here’s a fair deal.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pledged to help Syria conduct nuclear research during a visit to Damascus earlier this week, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.
In exchange, Syria agreed not to engage in peace talks with Israel. According to the report, Iran also pledged to provide Syria with $1 billion in military aid to purchase arms from Russia and North Korea.

If ever there was a man in dire need of a good kick in the balls. I mean, he’s not even funny any more. And as for the “Mouse of Damascus”*, show me who your friends are..

But in truth, it looks like one of his worn-out manoeuvres. As in, ‘you better talk to me, now, or else..’.

(digg story)

*: damn. I picked that one up on a Lebanese blog, and can’t find the spot now. Anyone have a link?

Written by yishaym

July 21, 2007 at 11:51 am

three links

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The Institute for Middle East Understanding provides journalists with quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources, both in the U.S. and the Middle East.


At toot, we want to provide you with a window and a link into an exciting new universe of people-powered opinions, information, dialogue and entertainment. From politics to sneakers. From culture to technology. From boys and girls!

We are bloggers, readers, designers and technologists ourselves. We are excited to build a new medium in which intelligent voices from and for Arabia are brought together and presented to a wider community; where passionate readers and writers can share and communicate without filtering.


This essay contest takes its title from a 1951 poem by Langston Hughes: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?. The poem helped propel the civil rights movement in the US. Today, it will hopefully inspire you to describe your dream deferred for the Middle East, which the UN calls the world’s least free region.

Written by yishaym

January 30, 2007 at 3:25 pm