“A Letter from Beirut” by John Keane

John Keane, Professor of Politics at University of Sydney on Lebanon, Syria and the failure of the democratic world…

“Does democracy have anything to do with the worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria? In recent days, in editorials and columns around the world, many observers have suggested it does. They cite the unusual refusal of Westminster to sanction air strikes against Syria. They point to the French parliament’s grilling of President Hollande for trying to side-step the United Nations. These same observers spotlight Obama’s surprise decision to consult Congress, and to win public support for military action through a specially-staged televised explanation of why America’s ‘constitutional democracy’ cannot tolerate violations of ‘the laws of war’.”

Read full article here.

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Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World? Full Transcript

A conversation that Stephen Dubner had on an airplane inspired a show.  He was on his way to South Africa when fellow passengerNassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, told him something remarkable: “If you look at ten or twenty or thirty of the richest countries around the world, among the richest people in those countries is someone from Lebanon.” Of course Taleb would say this, Dubner thought. He is Lebanese. But the idea stuck.

How successful is the Lebanese diaspora? And how did they get to be this way?

Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World? Full Transcript.

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Imagining Block

Finding it hard to imagine Lebanon these days…. Or, Syria for that matter!

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Lebanon’s Bipolarism

An article from The Wall Street Journal on Lebanon’s state of bipolarism:

On Friday night, some two thousand people packed an open-air stadium in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh for a concert that included acts like the Korean pop star Psy.

Surprisingly, the concert took place only a day after a massive car bomb killed about 20 people and injured dozens more in the southern suburbs of Beirut… Read more here

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Gulf’s Crackdown on Hezbollah May Endanger Lebanon Cash Flow

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes so-called “brotherly countries” like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are expanding visa restrictions on Lebanese, especially the Shia.  So, while Hezbollah gets funds from Iran, the Lebanese will face another financial hurdle, especially with decrease in remittances.

“Plans by Persian Gulf countries to crack down on Hezbollah may pose a bigger threat to Lebanon’s fragile public finances than to the Shiite militant group….  There are about 500,000 Lebanese in the Gulf. The money they send home…has accounted for about 60 percent of remittances flowing to the country in the recent past. That’s about $4.6 billion, according to World Bank data, or more than a tenth of the nation’s $43.8 billion gross domestic product.”  Read more… 

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Ranking near the bottom of the global peace index

While Hassan Nassrallah tries to “liberated” Syria, his own country ranks near the bottom of the global peace index.  Then again, the word “peace” is not in his dictionary.

“Lebanon ranked 142 out of 162 countries in a global peace ranking, making it one of the least peaceful countries in the world according to a report….”

Read more at The Daily Star…

Read the full report at Vision of Humanity

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Beirut, Where Art and Bling Meet Civil War

Frederick Obermaier, journalist working at the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, reflects on Beirut where art, flashy consumerism and war “coexist.”

Beirut, Where Art And Bling Meet Civil War – All News Is Global |.

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