Lebanon: Palestine & Israel, Values that don’t work & the Sahsouh

The following post was published today on Global Voices Online. It is my contribution to GVO where I will write a weekly summary on blogs from or about Lebanon. Any comment, advice or interesting blogs in the Lebanese blogosphere, or concerning Lebanon, that you may tell me about will be highly appreciated

The Lebanese blogosphere this week seems to be directly affected by the situation in the occupied territories of Palestine. Anti-Semitism in Lebanon, the besieging of Gaza, Israeli flag in the World Cup and books by Israelis that “distort” facts are some of the topics discussed. In addition to these we find out about a case where the values we are taught when young do not work well when we get older. We also learn about a common Lebanese practice called the Sahsouh.

Sietske in Beiroet, a Dutch blogger in Beirut, posts on the difficult task of writing about anti-Semitism in Lebanon:

“My newspaper asked me to do a story on anti-Semitism in Lebanon. And on how the terms anti-Jewish, anti-Zionistic and anti-Israeli are being used intermittently. I struggle a bit with the subject because I don’t think most Dutch have a clear idea as to how the Lebanese have suffered from Israeli actions over the past, what, say 40 years now? And I am not taking the Palestinian cause into consideration now, just the Lebanese. […]
But this anti-Semitism issue is a bit of a painful subject here in Lebanon. […] Over here there are very strong anti-Israeli sentiments, and understandably so. As there are so very few Jews (left) in Lebanon […]
I live in one of the most mixed neighborhoods in Beirut, and many people I have spoken with say that at one point in time they either had Jewish friends, or went to school with Jewish people. These have all left since the war. And they will tell you very clearly that they have no problems at all with Jews. It’s the Israelis that bug them.”

The Arab – Israeli conflict was also the topic of a post by Anarchistian where she critiques two books “Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East” by an Israeli ex-diplomat Michael Oren and The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World” by Avi Shlaim :

“Let me give him the benefit of the doubt (as I usually generously do with Zionist authors, if only to avoid being accused of anti-Semitism – although at the end of the day it won’t matter because unless I support the Zionists I will be considered an anti-Semite) for simplifying this issue, and let’s say this cause-and-effect analysis is accurate. […]
Detonating bombs in Egyptian cinemas (by no means empty of civilians) is now considered, by this ex-member of the Israeli delegation to the UN, “vandalism”, but detonating bombs in Israeli cinemas and on buses is of course, terrorism, a terrible crime committed by a people (a people? I thought they considered the Palestinians cockroaches and two-legged beasts for the longest time – still do???) […]

The on going Lebanese National Dialogue received a mocking post from Jamal where the Palestinian plight was also noted:

“As I type this Elie Skaff [Leb MP]and friends are once again meeting to discuss a defense strategy against summer season bugs and mosquitoes. Don’t you hate it when you’re enjoying a day on the beach and a zionist dragonfly dives into your mojito? That won’t happen anymore if Elie Skaff gets his way today in session #500 of the national dialogue. […]
500 Palestinians will be crushed under 500 tanks in the next week. 500 people worldwide will notice, the rest are busy watching the World Cup.”

Perpetual refugee, a Lebanese whose work sometimes takes him to Israel, discusses the warmth of human relationship he experienced when he met three rabbis and how this experienced was marred by the news of the seven family members that were killed on the beach of Gaza.

writes on the values that we learn as children and the disappointments that we experience when we grow up:

“When we were little children, they kept teaching us that we should “study hard” in order to succeed. Then in our minds, we made a link between working hard and success.
During university, I still believed that hard work breeds success.
Anyway, working hard to get a grade means that the student has to fully grasp the technical literature, then practice by solving problems before going to the exam. The problem is I never had enough time to grasp 9 courses literature and solve problems. Other students concentrated on solving problems instead of trying to fully grasp the course text, some got better grades than I did. Hence, working hard is not a valid solution.
All this reminds me of Disney cartoons and Uncle Scrooge who would repeat, “Don’t work hard, work smart.” After all you will not be judged for hard work, you will be judged for the results. Nobody cares how you did what you did as long as you get it done.”

A Ghanaian player raised the Israeli flag when his team won during one of the matches in the world cup. This incident raised some commotion in the Arab world. Mustapha tackles this issue in a post where he states the different views on the event as portrayed in the Arabic media and goes on to analyze and criticize them.

June being the month against torture, Moussa writes a post in which he concludes that the situation in Gaza amounts to collective torture.

On a lighter note, Jamal writes about the “ritual” of slapping the back of the neck when one gets a new hair cut, a practice called the Sahsouh:

“The Sahsouh is a ritual performed on a male who’s showing off a freshly cut head of hair. It aims at restoring a feeling of warmth to a recently-shaved, cold, and naked neck through a severe blow from the palm of a hand. The Sahsouh is always accompanied with the word “Naeeman” which you’d think means “Die motherfucker!” but is actually part of hair cuttery pleasantries.
There are no documented cases of paralysis caused by a Sahsouh, but any look around town shows that brain damage is clearly widespread.”



  1. the perpetual refugee · · Reply

    Great round-up Bashir. I didn’t know that you were a contributor to GVO. I like your style. It’s balanced. Even though I don’t agree with you all the time, I like the civilized approach.

  2. bashir · · Reply

    Thanks PR

  3. a h m a d · · Reply

    I just had the chance to do my visit to all the friend blogs. Thank you so much; I am touched. 🙂

  4. Bashir · · Reply

    No. Thank you. 🙂

  5. usaCHRISTIAN · · Reply

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