Saturday, June 16, 2007

Vote Now: International Monitors on our Borders

I think I've been running away from the truth. Just last week I was still contacting pro-Hizballah/anti-government blogs and suggesting ways in which we could exchange ideas and try to bridge the ever-widening gap that is plaguing Lebanese society today (my offers were rejected). When the NBN anchor-woman story broke, I refused to put it up thinking that it would only make a bad situation worse (I have to say, though, I am extremely impressed by the very calm street reaction in the wake of the NBN 'leak'). And today, as I was preparing this post and going over the result of last week's Blacksmiths of Lebanon poll, I still couldn't believe that there were people who were still voting 'No' on the question of Syria's involvement in any one of the many terrorist bombings, assassinations, and insurgencies in the country - even while our acting Foreign Minister was presenting facts and evidence to that effect!

The truth is that our society is in a severe crisis, one that continues to be made worse by unrelenting campaigns of disinformation and mind-boggling propaganda that is swallowed up by each party's respective audience. If a soundbite conforms to one's already present political beliefs and loyalties, then it is good (no matter its 'truthiness'), if it doesn't then it sure is false or part of an opposing propaganda campaign - take for example one commentator who referred to Hizballah's kidnapping of three members of the country's ISF, yesterday, as 'benign' and 'being blown out of proportion for political reasons'. Funny, it was my impression that no one was above the law, or above kidnapping the law. Unfortunately, that is the state of the country.

And so we come to the breakdown of the last week's Blacksmiths of Lebanon poll results. For every voter, of the 197 who voted, who cast a vote absolving Syria of any responsibility for the death and carnage in the country, there were nine clearly pointing the finger at Syria. Ninety percent of those nine blaming it for both the bombings and the imported insurgencies in the camps.

So despite that 10% maybe I'm wrong, maybe there still is a hope that we can unite behind the underlying truth that we are a country under attack and that if we are to come out victorious we have to unite. The reprecussions of allowing the propaganda campaigns to take over could, afterall, be devastating.

In replying to another commentator's question as to why the government doesn't simply go to the UNSC with its evidences, a glimpse of the devastation that propaganda could precipitate was revealed. My response went something like this:

Although we know that Syria is behind all these attacks, its allies in Lebanon will continue to work against any attempts to hold that country accountable. In presenting this evidence [eventually to the UN] , we should expect nothing less than a full mobilization of the opposition masses under the mantra that this "corrupt, Zionist-sponsored government is trying to pull Lebanon into war against Syria under Western orders".

That is to say, Hizballah and the rest of the pro-Syrians will launch a very real attack on the state, similar to the Jan 23rd one, on the basis of the propaganda and disinformation those groups feed their citizenry.

So we have to be careful. We have to present it to our Arab "bretheren", even though we shouldn't need to, we have to elicit support from all quarters of the Arab and Islamic world because at the end of the day that is the angle from which Syria and its allies will try to counter our attempts at defending ourselves.
And so, as we mentioned in our earlier post, the government should and will take this evidence to Arab League (it already did), to the OIC, to the UN and to the UNSC. In Lebanon there have already been calls by some groups for the government to present the evidence as part of an official complaint against Syria. In this week's Blacksmiths of Lebanon poll, we explore the possibility of the government using this evidence to officially request the placing of International Monitors along the country's borders with Syria.

Let us know what you think by voting and don't forget to post any comments, suggestions, or complaints about our poll series in this post. We're always looking for ideas for new polls so don't be shy about making suggestions.


  1. Anonymous7:01 PM

    You are exactly what you criticize other of being. Your poll, with its couple dozen responses, obviously represents the "truth"...the lebanese army should invade syria with the help of all the LF thugs...

  2. Arabic Coffee Pot8:10 PM

    Wow, well presented argument, did you think of that all by yourself? 197 votes, 10 guys who love bashar...haha good for you!

  3. Anonymous8:52 PM

    hahaha anonymous, your reply qualifies you as a complete ignorant opposition cheerleader who can't read "London" very best all. Did you see invading Syria as an option ... Oh sorry, you probably also saw an LF militiaman in the picture Aoun photoshoped for the public, you also saw fate7 el islam as Hariri-backed.. what can I say, idiots like you are the ones who really, I mean really deserve to live under the Syrian boot forever....I guess you people don't deserve freedom ever because you don t understand the meaning of it.... Yalla go cheer for Iran and Syria you idiot, don t waiste time

  4. Just last week I was still contacting...
    Don't quit on the good deed.

    I refused to put it up thinking that it would only make a bad situation worse
    Very decent of you. Very refined indeed. Most of us have shameful anecdotes (and I mean really scary statements from very responsible people) from both sides that some of us refrain from using or repeating in order not to be part of the situation becoming worse.

    As for the polls, well I wouldn't give them too much credits, as the percentage of error is higher than what you assume, because of the uncontrolled sample etc etc.

    Anyway, cheers. Hope better days befalls Lebanon.

  5. :) Thanks for the positive comments and encouragement Moussa.

    Yeah the polls are so very very far from being scientific but I like having them up anyway. Combined with the comments section they're a good way of allowing feedback and interaction with visitors of the blog (so its more of a discussion than just my rants).

    What I haven't given up on at all is the 2007 Presidential Debate Questionaire that was started over a month ago here. I continue to add questions to it but am awaiting the end of the conflict in Nahr el Bared before putting it up. My coverage of the battle there has decreased somewhat over the past week but I don't think we should go about everyday politics while our soldiers are still dying there.

    Yalla, hope that day won't be too far away.

  6. El Cid4:11 AM

    You have such a lovely country. I'm sorry that the sane world, has failed to make sure Lebanon, is Lebanese. May that soon change.

    It won't change with the UN involved, there isn't a dictator that the UN hasn't loved and money given the UN, by those thugs, makes that bond even stronger.

    The chinless Opthamologist, is nothing more than a lackey, of the Persians. Persia, or if you prefer, Iran, is the head of the snake, that needs decapitation.

    May that decapitation, come soon.

  7. Anonymous10:35 AM

    BJ “…unrelenting campaigns of disinformation and mind-boggling propaganda…”

    That kind of stuff is everywhere, but in the particular worldview of hypocrites and bigots yet another lie soothes the soul whereas the truth of the matter in question surely injures that self-righteousness. From those expect mindless retort rather than any direct response to whatever facts you may state or write.

  8. saltydog11:18 AM

    I agree that the UN would be as worthless as tits on a stag. That particular institution has done more to further the aims of dictators and tyrants than any other. It is corrupt to the core. Inviting the UN into your country is like inviting an armed robber into your home. It is too bad that the world seems to think that it must have the permission of UN thugs and bureaucrats to protect itself. If we had an honest international media, this would not be the case.

  9. BJ,
    Have you been out lately? One word can describe the situation in Liban lately...Ghost Town!

    Beirut has turned into an actual Ghost Town; people are afraid to even go out to buy grocery! Who knows what those maniacs do, and when will the next explosion be??!!

    The only way to make people feel safe again, is to provide some sort of security at the borders. No matter who are the criminals making all these hazards in Liban, the ONLY way they can get in with their arsenal is the damn borders with Syria. And it has become obvious that we can't monitor the borders on our own, we need help, and the only ones who could provide such help are the UN forces.

    Only when Lebanese realize that all their borders are being monitored tightly, will they start feeling alive again, and maybe, just maybe, they will bring life back to our lovely Beirut, and the rest of Liban.

    UN forces all over the borders....NOW

  10. Jimmy5:41 PM

    What are you talking about saltydog? We need the UN on our borders with Israel and Syria! We need to be protected from both!!

  11. failasoof -- I certainly agree that Lebanon needs help with the borders, but do you really think that is going to make you safe? What about all the Syrian agents and proxies in Lebanon that are just waiting for the next order?

    It will take more than stopping weapons at the border - it will take cleaning house.

  12. "So despite that 10% maybe I'm wrong, maybe there still is a hope that we can unite behind the underlying truth that we are a country under attack and that if we are to come out victorious we have to unite."

    No offense, but as an outsider I would think the better explanation for the disparity is that a poll of your readers isn't likely to be a random or representative sample.

    What the poll shows, in essence, is that the vast majority of the readers of a pro-March 14 blog blame Syria. Much as I wish it were otherwise, I don't think that leads to the conclusion you are drawing from it.

  13. Thanks for your comment Akiva. I addressed that issue in an earlier comment:

    Yeah the polls are so very very far from being scientific but I like having them up anyway. Combined with the comments section they're a good way of allowing feedback and interaction with visitors of the blog (so its more of a discussion than just my rants).

    As far as conclusions are concerned...I did say maybe. :)

  14. @Ace

    Yes, it will take more than just closing the borders, if anything, we're likely to see a spike in violence in the aftermath of any decision to seal the border.

    But at least it'll be a stop-gap for smuggled weapons and fighters. Once we close the borders the next order of business will be the rest of the security islands throughout the country. That means no more PFLP-GC bases in Naameh and the Bekaa, no more Palestinian weapons in the camps, and no more Hizballah kidnappings of ISF soldiers in Dahieh and the rest of the southern suburbs.


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