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Monday, December 15, 2014

Torture As A Human Characteristic

Have you read the CIA torture report in some of its most gruesome details? Has the cruelty of Islamist groups made you sick? Have you been repulsed by the silence or justification given to cover up the bestiality every time it occurs?

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Monday, December 1, 2014

I Survived Their Lebanon

My latest trip to Lebanon began in a difficult place as the negativity emanating from Beirut continues to build up thanks to an internal political impasse heightened by regional threats of a bloody spillover.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Underneath All The Bad News Lies Even Worse News

They do not know any better than the streets they roam and live in. They are abused, trafficked, forced into a life of drugs and prostitution; they are made to do things no child should be exposed to. Yet, they are out of our sight. During the day they are busy surviving the many challenges thrown at them, and at night they find shelter under a bridge or in the shadows of a run-down building. A homeless child with a connection to a powerful tent-owner is invited in, thus feeling safe from a slew of dangers lurking outside.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

'Jihadi John' A Bad Case of Western-Fed Narcissism

Legend has it that the British press gave him the nickname “Jihadi John” after none other than the Beatles star John Lennon. As if straight out of a James Bond movie, the British Premier has ordered his top security and intelligence agencies to track him down and capture him. All media near and far, headline him and his heinous acts. His despicable videos compete with the Kardashian posterior for eyeballs. As a result, the murderer (allegedly a mediocre rapper previously) revels in his artificially enlarged ego, boasts of his newfound fame, huffs and puffs at world leaders as he performs to the camera.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Islamic Atheism Way Before ISIS

Some would like us to believe that ISIS is to blame for Muslims flocking to atheism in droves. It would be a credible charge had we not been witnesses to a shift in Islamic rhetoric and behavior that began almost a century ago with the Wahhabi movement and the Muslim Brotherhood. Under the guise of western inequality, the creation of Israel and what it ensued of injustice against Palestinians, many groups came to exist and thrive since.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Necessity of Separating Mosque and State

ISIS exposed an angry, hateful and lethal volcano brewing under the surface in many countries across continents.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Downhill and Singing Our Failures

Tell me how you measure success. Actually, you don’t need to tell me. I can probably find out on my own. Just as I can find out your likes and dislikes, hobbies, political views, your friends’ updates, your family’s peculiarities and many other details. Others, with specialized surveillance tools, can find out your secrets, from how much money you make to how you spend it and where.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Kurdish Way of Fighting ISIS

Images speak volumes. Terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ know that very well and employ it in their fear-instilling tactics. It is our responsibility to remember that images are often misleading. Their deceptive impact is at the basis of all propaganda.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Let The Malala Effect Resonate Loudly

For many in the Arab world, the phenomenon of Malala Yousafzai is not a high point worthy of discussion or analysis. Why should they concern themselves with a teenager who defied the odds and stood up to her aggressors, the Taliban no less, in a conservative Muslim nation plagued by Islamic fanaticism?

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Monday, October 6, 2014

This Cataclysm Will Be Televised and Tweeted

I recently spent a week away from news and what I found when I returned seemed truly apocalyptic.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Race to fight ISIS or only a show of force?

If we ask Arabs what is their favorite animal, they are likely to choose the ostrich, as it solves all its problems by simply burying its head in the sand!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Matteh Becomes Hollywood

George Clooney loves Amal Alamuddin and he is proud to be her husband as he announced recently ahead of the couple’s wedding this weekend. Clooney is proudly confessing his love for a well-deserving woman who hails from Lebanon. Amal represents an independent woman model some Lebanese and other Arab societies are still struggling to accept and promote. She is the embodiment of a woman’s right to choose including who to wed and when, irrespective of background, religion, culture or age differences. Good reasons to celebrate.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

America Is Back Late and Pompous. Reason for Concern

There is always a good time for a U.S. intervention (diplomatic in particular, military if necessary) in the Middle East. There is also a better time, just as there is a worst time. History teaches us, the U.S. always misses the former two and goes for the latter with usually terrible consequences.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fighting ISIS Means Suffocating It Without Mercy


In his many diatribes, terrorist in chief Osama Bin laden had a recurring theme: A deeply rooted desire to “bring America to its knees” by dragging it or luring it into conflict and letting it “bleed to death.”

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Keep “God” Out of Your Evil



This is not a column about religion. Nor does it aim to convince you of anything religious. Quite the contrary, this is purely about humans, their politics, evil, and how they dump it all -- for blame or justification -- on religion; or worse, on “God” -- theirs or somebody else’s.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Can Assad Fight Himself? How Else Would He Fight Terror?



In our new world that lives and dies on social media, officials condemn and condone in 140 characters while everyone is certain of the relevance and soundness of their opinion, reason and logic have become alien concepts.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Netanyahu: Symbol of A Defeated Leader



Benjamin Netanyahu is not a dove, nor does he seek to be seen as one. Peace with the Palestinians he does not seek or want. He wants security for Israel and if that means making peace with the Palestinians, so be it. But, in this case, he will make sure Palestinians are weakened enough that their presence or absence, are the same.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Defining Our Struggles In Today’s Middle East



The Middle East has been a hotbed for conflicts and wars always attracting the news media; but it has never been faced with so many tragedies at once as it has since the beginning of Arab uprisings and things keep getting busier. Today there are many aggressors spewing their hatered and barbarism on unsuspecting or simply defenseless victims. Many of those offenders are old, others are new and some are the “friends” of yesterday or yesteryear.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Moral Responsibility Towards Palestine



Palestinians have been struggling for a homeland for seven decades. This struggle has taken on many forms and has raged in several continents. Following a long armed struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine, it became apparent to all involved that peace is the only viable option with mutual acceptance by Palestinians and Israelis of each side’s right to exist and prosper.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Palestine In Search of A Compass



I’m sick an tired of the pretenders who say, “Palestine is the compass,” and ignore the actual abuses the Palestinians have been enduring at the hands of occupiers, jailers and hostile hosts.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

In Gaza Only The Innocent Deserve Support



After every Israeli aggression against Gaza, and they have not stopped for decades, one thinks there is nothing left of Gaza or its people to endure another incursion. Israel has never been able to bring Gaza to its knees despite the military might it rains on the overpopulated strip which Israel with Egyptian support keeps under siege controlling who and what goes in and out.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Waiting for A Global Movement of Change



What if instead of celebrating independence or national day, and instead of military parades and proud displays of national colors on hats, shirts, bathing suits and flip flops, we pause and reflect on whether we are actually where we need to be in this world and the best ways to preserve our freedom and wellbeing?

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tough as nails... and not in a good way

In any business that involves human interaction, you are bound to run into clients you deem “difficult.” In fact, difficult people are everywhere in every aspect of life, including in business. Although difficult clients are a reality every businessperson has to deal with, I find the term “difficult” to be overused and misused, even abused in some instances. Many people use it lightly without appreciation for the impact their opinion has and the weight it can carry where it can potentially unfairly damage or ruin someone’s reputation. When I hear that term used, I take it to mean: “I don’t like this person.” I tell myself not to pass judgment before I experience that person’s “difficulty”, if any, on my own.

Read More at entrepreneurmiddleeast.com »

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Lessons We Learn From Simply Remembering



Forgetting is one of our survival mechanisms and, thankfully, it works most of the time when dealing with trauma or painful memories. However, forgetting history can yield unpleasant results; while constantly picking and choosing what to remember and what to forget is a disaster.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

When ISIS Steals The Headlines



Blame the media for the rise of ISIS and blame them for empowering an extremist Islamic group that has nothing to do with Islam and its teachings and has everything to do with anger, hate and lack of opportunities for a decent life.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy



It’s painstakingly difficult to see things as they are sometimes. This one in particular is a hard pill to swallow. Let’s not dwell on what we thought could have been and what we hoped should have been and what we dreamed will have been. Reality is staring us in the face, as the Obama administration seems incapable of making a difference anywhere in the Middle East.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Lebanon: Phoenix No More, But Wounded Albatross



Lebanon today resembles Baudelaire’s wounded albatross. Unable to spread his giant wings and soar in the vast free skies where he truly belongs, he is exiled on land, wounded, awkward and reduced to a nuisance by ignorant, evil men who shot him for entertainment and now are having fun ridiculing him and his injuries.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

'Treponomics: Toeing The Thinnest Possible Line Between Right & Wrong

In an advertising-driven world where media organizations increasingly identify themselves as businesses first, the ethics line has become blurry in favor of the bottom line. Ethics are eroding fast and risk disappearing or becoming a remote memory in the minds of older generations. There was a time in history when media professionals spoke of a complete separation between “sales and editorial” in the same tone as the separation of “church and state”

Read More at entrepreneurmiddleeast.com »

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Lebanon: The Last of The Christian Presidents



The Maronite presidential seat in Lebanon was weakened tremendously and rendered almost honorary with the Taef Agreement of 1990 after many historic powers were stripped from it. It was at the time two Maronites that brought the Syrian-free Christian-controlled parts of Lebanon to its knees, ushered in a new era of Syrian domination and forced all parties into Taef to find a way to reconcile. But reconciliation came only with a serious re-writing of the constitution unfavorable to Christians.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Lebanon’s “Nakba” Catastrophe



The Lebanese don’t like to be outdone, not in good times nor in catastrophes. No matter how hard they try, they always fall back on the same trouble, same strife, same calamity, same divisions, same politics and same leaders.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Age of Immoral Politics



You can write all you want, demonstrate all you can and shout as loud as possible; nothing will change. Simply because those you are trying to reach have already crossed the threshold of morality. They live in a zone where immoral politics reign supreme.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Blank Ballot, No Quorum Mean No Viable Candidate


Additional Background Reading: Presidential Election: into the fray once more The Daily Star Lebanon

Lower your voices and stop spewing your hate around; the Lebanese presidential elections situation is clear: You have been trained to accept what Syria dictates and whom it imposes unconditionally, and you cannot change now. At the first democratic test, you failed to act like actual elected officials -- probably because you should have expired when your term did but instead you extended your mandate despite your own voters’ protests.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

What We Learned From War



The Lebanese landmark war of fifteen years (1975 - 1990) fed books and articles, inspired slogans and headlines and was the focus of world media. To this day, the Lebanese are recognized the world over primarily for their war, cuisine and successful immigrants. Beirut became a universal synonym for division.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Presidential Elections Between Shameless and Shameful



It’s a presidential race in a country that cannot come together or agree on anything. From the minuscule and mundane to the gigantic touching on national security issues, politicians bicker along party lines, supporters cheer them blindly without questioning or criticizing or holding them accountable. Yet, they demand with the most severe tones full accountability, harshest judgments and absolutely no leniency towards their opponents regardless of whether they were actually guilty or not. Their crime is simply daring to be a foe.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Syria: From Revolution to Chaos to Show and Tell!



How difficult it must be for Syria and the Syrians at this juncture.  It is hard not to feel depressed, desperate and unbelievably sorrowful at how the situation has escalated quickly and dramatically. How pitiful it is for a nation to become broken overnight, its people scattered, poor and hungry in tents waiting for donations, giveaways, or anyone who is willing to give attention to their plight.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

On Heroes and Mad Men



Not every act we define as heroic is in fact heroic. Subsequently, those we consider our heroes are sometimes nothing but rogue mad men. In fact, with a few exceptions of true heroes, most rebels are unstable individuals expressing their anger and sense of failure outward. Those are the ones who cause chaos and complicate situations rather than find solutions. You cannot expect peace to ever take hold as long as they are in control.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

How Everyone Failed Syria



Three years on, Syria is turned into ashes literally. Syrians scattered in heartbreaking ways incomprehensible by any logic or reasoning. The suffering and pain, totally unnecessary, unwarranted and certainly undeserved, are beyond imagination.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

The Middle East: A War of Words and Threats



A major power shift is taking place in the Middle East, this time it signals leaderships waking up to realities long overlooked and left to fester into insurmountable obstacles.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

New World Order: May the maddest man prevail?



What we are witnessing from Syria to Russia is not survival of the fittest, but rather prevalence of the maddest. How else would we describe nations bullying others in plain sight to force them into submission?

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Monday, February 24, 2014

We, The Women, Who Value Life!


Growing up in Lebanon, I always felt that some men and women assumed ownership over me, my body, my thought, even my feelings and my expression. I despised these people who existed everywhere, in families, government, school, and religious establishments. They were constantly clashing with other men and women who wanted me to thrive and to be “me” in all its possibilities.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Makeshift Government To Avert The Worst



The only reason to celebrate the new government in Lebanon is that its formation could help avert a presidential election crisis and an ensuing vacuum. This is the simple reality despite the unwarranted shock and protest by many and the flowery acceptance speeches of ministers.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Boycotts and Sanctions Towards Peace



US Secretary John Kerry is close to releasing a “framework agreement” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though it is only a “framework,” a beginning of a tedious road ahead, it will probably be the best US contribution to date to a conflict that has plagued a region for way too long and has caused only harm, death, destruction and anxiety to far too many. Particularly to generations of Palestinians living state-less and status-less, most of them in refugee camps across the Middle East, while their fate is decided.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Conspiracy Against Syria



They invented Geneva I and II and the sequel will likely continue providing audiences with hours of wasteful entertainment while Syria bleeds and the Syrians die in the hundreds daily.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Land of Cedars or Terrorism?



The Lebanese are loved the world over as a people, and loathed as groups, militias, and terrorists.  This fact is not easy to grapple with, but essential to dealing with our differences and moving on.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

This Is The Tower of Babel… Where The Worst Is Yet To Come!



In search of fresh and different news and views, we drown ourselves in a sea of opinion: Unfortunately, the loudest noise comes from celebrities of post Arab awakening and media experts who were sleeping soundly prior to November 2010. Having been awakened abruptly by the unexpected and having been reacting since playing catch up with the times is no excuse. In the public domain, these noise-making machines are in direct competition with various agendas: Some of them petty and opportunistic, others seasonal and therefore temporary, while a few more are extremely dangerous, even lethal. Not to mention the age-old agendas of bankrupt Arab tyrants incapable of reform, unable to share or relinquish power.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Difficult Year Just Began



A fresh bombing in Lebanon, a militant tied to another bombing died in jail, and a complex tall tale about the identity of a suspect in yet a third bombing is being fed to a numb public with a major case of terror fatigue.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

We Are All Going To Die



A targeted assassination took the life of another Lebanese thinker along with companions and bystanders, exposing once more the evil of those playing God, thinking they win with every voice they mute and every life they cut short.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Is This Year Over Yet?



We have a little of bit of everything and all the drama lined up for a brand new end of the year. We’re invited to a wedding to close this year on a positive note and another wedding to welcome the New Year happily. To complete the circle of life, we have dreaded funerals ahead, as well as anticipated births. And that’s just what we know.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

No Hope Left to Celebrate Christmas



There was a time in my life when Christmas meant a lot more than a religious Holiday. As a child, I used to spend hours staring at the elaborate ornaments on my parents’ Christmas tree. I used to dream of belonging to a faraway land, pure, happy, and loving. A land where poverty is abolished by good-spirited humans and disease is eradicated by scientific advancement. I used to dream of a land where no one was poor or homeless or cold. Orphans were privileged in different ways; rich and poor were equal in their humanity. In my dream world -- the special Christmas version -- life was beautiful and wonderful.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Meaning of Freedom



My grandmother taught me lessons in love and compassion. My mother taught me tolerance and patience. I thrive to teach my daughters the meaning of freedom.

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