Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Human Rights Film Festival in Beirut was a success!

The Human Rights Film Festival in Beirut was a success. Attendance was
high. Some movies were really great.
The photo above is that of Doulika, the star of "My Sri Lankan is
Lebanese", from a documentary on her life in Lebanon and Sri Lanka.
There were conferences every day discussing human rights issues with
good contributions from the panel and the attendees.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Globalization: a Tunisian burns himself to death and takes down #Mubarak with him #Egypt #jan25

The Egyptian regime shut down Facebook today. Which is more motivating to leave your computer, take the streets and demonstrate: a Facebook event invitation, or waking up and finding that you can't access Facebook at all?

When the regime closes down Facebook and Twitter, doesn't that signal to the masses of people who are hesitant to take the streets that the regime is SCARED and that it is shaking and that it believes that it can fall? Doesn't that motivate people even more?

This is globalization and the fall of Arab barriers. A Tunisian burns himself to death, leading to the fall of the Tunisian dictator. Egyptians take the streets. Unrest in Tunisia. Protests in Yemen. Upcoming protests in Bahrain. Lebanese demonstrators move from one embassy to the other in Beirut in solidarity, trying to organize before the dictator falls.

When US and EU spokespersons declares that the contagions will not spread, aren't they acknowledging that the Arab mass of freedom marchers IS contagious? Aren't they acknowledging that the people are longing to freedom but "they will keep calm".

What is happening right now in the Arab world is first and foremost the fall of the theory of the clash of civilization. We the people are moved by aspiration for freedom and economic justice, not by imagined global identities.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Students from a Harvard course on Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

On Thursday 20th, I participated to the judges simulation panel where
Harvard student teams made final presentations, which ends a 3-week
course in Lebanon. The judges included the head of a Palestinian NGO in
Lebanon, the political counselor of a key embassy in Beirut, and deputy
director of UNRWA, and a coordination advisor for UNSCOL. The Harvard
students presented "hypothetical projects" that answer needs in the
Palestinian community in Lebanon. All the presentations were very
interesting and very much out-of-the-box, while remaining feasible.

Alain Gresh: De quoi la Palestine est-elle le nom ?

"When Israelis talk about their security in peace negotiations, it shows that they have not accepted still that they are equal to Palestinians and that security is not only that of the Israelis, but of both people."

Alain Gresh, Directeur adjoint du « Monde diplomatique »
« De quoi la Palestine est-elle le nom ? »
Mercredi 19 janvier 2011
Espace des Lettres – Rue de Damas - Beyrouth

Thursday, January 20, 2011

News website Facebook advert

News websites keep mushrooming. But what is the business model behind
them? The new website advertised on Facebook has "advertising space" for
$10/month, but is it sustainable? Is it free from political funding?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Doha, Participating in the Civil Society Meeting Preparing for the 7th Forum for the Future

January 11, 2011. Ritz Carlton Hotel.

The process appears to be participatory, especially when you have over
100 Arab civil society "leaders". But when the press is denied entry to
the session where civil society speakers are given the floor, from 10:30
a.m. to 3:00 p.m., it shows that they want to prevent any "uncivil"
topics leaking out of the room.

Doha, Qatar

I was told that many of the towers are empty, awaiting businesses to
move to them.