Tag Archives: Bashar Assad

The Poetry of Hizbullah.

To say that my question “Is this book pro-Hezbullah?” wasn’t well received on Tuesday night at SOAS is an understatement.

I was at the book launch of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication written by Lina Khatib, Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer.

After I had asked my question Dina Matar said “I knew you were going to ask that” and Lina Khatib waved the book at me and said “Why don’t you read it?”

The book explains how Hizbullah has been successful in staying relevant since its 1982 inception by adapting itself to changing situations and communicating these adaptations through various means such as poetry and social media.

Hizbullah are poets? Who knew.

One can imagine: “To kill a Jew, or not to kill a Jew. That is the question.”

So, according to the authors, Hizbullah’s 1980s narrative was one of “victimisation” to attract Lebanon’s marginalised Shia Muslims.

During the 1990s it was one of “resistance” against Israel and connection with “Palestine”.

From 2000 onwards it was focused on “defence” after Israel had left south Lebanon with Hizbullah disseminating the narrative that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon from Israel.

Now Hizbullah is back to a “victimisation” theme after being implicated in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and also due to its fighting alongside Bashar Assad in Syria.

Dina Matar said that although Hasan Nasrallah has lost some credibility because of Syria he is still popular, and people in the Arab world listen out for his speeches.

She said there’s a sense that Nasrallah is “just like us, he’s approachable, he speaks the language of the people, he’s funny, he jokes and he’s humble in appearance”.

If this is true then it is a sad indictment on the Arab world that with Hasan Nasrallah complicit in the deaths of over 200,000 innocent Syrians he is still thought so highly of.

I wasn’t trying to be controversial when I asked whether this is a pro-Hizbullah book. I was concerned by this comment by Lina Khatib at the beginning of her presentation on the book to the large student audience:

“Books on Hizbullah seek to frame Hizbullah as a terrorist movement. This is primordial. We have evidence to the contrary. But this is the dominant discourse in America.”

Khatib lives in America. One might forgive Americans for thinking such a thing with the murder of 241 of their fellow citizens by Hizbullah in Beirut in 1983.

And what about the 200,000 dead in Syria and Hizbullah’s attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aeries in 1992 (29 dead) and on the AMIA builing in Buenos Aeries in 1994 (85 dead), the Burghas Airport bombing in Bulgaria in 2012 (6 dead) and Hasan Nasrallah, true to his word of going after Jews worldwide, is now targeting Jews in Peru.

This book is worth reading (if you can stomach the 30 page chapter on Hizbullah poetry) but only with a view to finding out how a modern day Nazi group, totally funded by Iran, portraying itself as a positive force continues to hold a beautiful country like Lebanon to ransom while bringing death and destruction both to Lebanon’s citizens and to Syria all with the final objective of destroying Israel and the Jewish people that live there.


Anti-Israel activists in London: “Slaughter in Syria? What slaughter?”

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Outside the Natural History Museum today.

Anti-Israel activists in London didn’t seem to have a care in the world today about Bashar Assad’s continued slaughter of his own people in the cities of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus.

Instead, they urged people queuing for the Natural History Museum to boycott an exhibition sponsored by Veolia because it does business with Israel.

They could have joined Syrian opposition activists outside the Syrian Embassy or Amnesty’s Mass Rally in Trafalgar Square for Syria, Egypt and the wider Middle East, but, instead, they handed out leaflets which falsely claimed that:

1. Veolia placed job adverts for the Jerusalem Light Railway which were racist being “deliberately designed to stop Palestinian citizens of Israel from applying”.
2. Veolia operates buses to “illegal” Israeli settlements on the West Bank and that “Palestinians are often stopped from using the buses that Veolia runs”.
3. “Veolia takes waste and rubbish from Israel and illegal Settlements and dumps this on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.”

The leaflet concludes by asking you to tell the Natural History Museum that you disagree with Veolia being the sponsor of the Exhibition and to “ask the museum to drop Veolia”.

Well, luckily, the Natural History Museum hasn’t capitulated to the lies and the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is set to run until 11th March 2012. Judging by the long queues it’s a must-see.

Although there were some 20 anti-Israel activists there were about 10 pro-Israel counter-demonstrators to give some balance to the proceedings, including Phillip who brilliantly drove down from Wales to add his support.

Things did almost kick-off as one anti-Israel activist spent the two hours intent on making his presence known, including this incident when he accosted Jonathan Hoffman until being ushered away by museum security:

The final counter-demos. against the Israel-haters outside the Natural History Museum are due to take place on Feb. 25th and March 10th, if you can make it. Until then please tweet your approval of the exhibition @NHM_London

In the meantime, if you are an anti-Israel activist this is for you. It’s a clip (thanks Daniel Marks) of one of Bashar Assad’s tanks looking for more innocent Syrian civilians to slaughter. Just in case you hadn’t heard:

And more photos from today outside the Natural History Museum:

Why so ashamed?

Why so ashamed?

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Handing out lies to museum goers.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Sadly, reading the lies.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Phillip from Wales, placard in hand, shows his support for Israel.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Two Israel-haters show their love for each other.

Still ashamed.

Still ashamed.