Vivre avec les ambiguïtés?
Semaine du 30 octobre - 6 novembre 2006
De Philippe Martin: 'Voici la onzième édition des portraits de blogueurs, avec Pamela Chrabieh Badine.
Ceci est la version intégrale'.
On peut aussi trouver l'entrevue sur Dailymotion, Cent Papiers et YULBUZZ.
Merci Philippe! Merci aussi à Christian Aubry!
«Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps », souligne le dicton populaire. Le cycle de « concertations » initié par le chef du Législatif Nabih Berry est, sans conteste, préférable aux surenchères politiciennes ou au recours à la rue. Mais il ne saurait constituer, dans sa formule actuelle, le cadre adéquat à la recherche d’une solution à la crise dans laquelle se débat le pays (...). La formation d’un « gouvernement d’union nationale » (pour reprendre le slogan de l’opposition) ainsi que la détermination du type de loi électorale préconisée pour le prochain scrutin devraient constituer, en toute logique, le couronnement, l’aboutissement d’un dialogue en profondeur entre toutes les parties libanaises et non pas le point de départ d’un tel dialogue (...). Un gouvernement d’union nationale constitue certes une revendication légitime, mais il nécessite au préalable l’établissement d’un climat de confiance et une compréhension mutuelle des appréhensions des uns et des autres. Car à défaut, le résultat serait un blocage des institutions et une aggravation de la crise politique, doublée d’une impasse constitutionnelle".
Document proclamé lors de la réunion du 24 janvier 2002 à Assise au lendemain des attaques terroristes aux États-Unis. Il a été signé par les chefs religieux présents à cette rencontre historique, Chrétiens de différentes confessions, Juifs, Musulmans, Hindous, Bouddhistes, Sikhs et représentants des grandes religions traditionnelles d’Afrique et d’Asie. Dans une lettre adressée à tous les chefs d’état et aux gouvernements, Jean-Paul II suggérait à tous les leaders d’adopter ce Décalogue, affirmant que les 10 propositions du «Décalogue des Religions» renferment tous les principes propres à inspirer l’action politique et sociale des gouvernements.
Nous nous engageons à :
1. Proclamer notre ferme conviction que la violence et le terrorisme s’opposent au véritable esprit religieux et en condamnant tout recours à la violence au nom de Dieu, nous nous engageons à faire tout ce qui est possible pour éradiquer les causes du terrorisme.
2. Éduquer les personnes au respect et à l’estime mutuels afin que l’on puisse parvenir à une coexistence pacifique et solidaire entre les membres d’ethnies, de cultures et de religions différentes.
3. Promouvoir la culture du dialogue afin que se développe la compréhension et la confiance réciproques entre les individus et entre les peuples car telles sont les conditions d’une paix durable.
4. Défendre le droit de toute personne humaine à mener une existence digne conforme à son identité culturelle et à fonder librement une famille qui lui soit propre.
5. Dialoguer avec sincérité et patience, ne considérant pas ce qui nous sépare comme un mur insurmontable mais au contraire reconnaissant que la confrontation avec la diversité des autres peut devenir une occasion de plus grande compréhension réciproque.
6. Nous pardonner mutuellement les erreurs et les préjudices du passé et du présent et à nous soutenir dans l’effort commun pour vaincre l’égoïsme et l’abus, la haine et la violence et apprendre du passé que la paix sans la justice n’est pas une paix véritable.
7. Être du côté de ceux qui souffrent de la misère et de l’abandon, nous faisant la voix des sans voix et oeuvrant concrètement pour surmonter de telles situations convaincus que personne ne peut être heureux seul.
8. Faire nôtre le cri de ceux qui ne se résignent pas à la violence et au mal et contribuer de toutes nos forces à donner à l’humanité de notre temps une réelle espérance de justice et de paix.
9. Encourager toute initiative qui promeut l’amitié entre les peuple, convaincus que s’il manque une entente solide entre les peuple le progrès technologique expose le monde à des risques croissants de destruction et de mort.
10. Demander aux responsables des nations de faire tous les efforts possibles pour qu’au niveau national et international soit édifié et consolidé un monde de solidarité et de paix fondé sur la justice.
To some, the trend foretold the creation of a new space in Lebanon for artistic expression, transnational debate, even friendships across enemy lines. Optimistic reports on the phenomenon cropped up on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Cable News Network (CNN), as well as in the pages of Wired magazine and The Washington Post.
But two months later, directories of Lebanese blogs like those available on "Open Lebanon" read like a graveyard of once-lively sites. "Cafe Younes" stopped posting on August 18, "Beirut Update" on August 23. Scrolling down through "Siege of Lebanon," "Peace Blogger," "Live from Beirut," "Lebanon Updates" and "Bliss Street Journal," it is clear that by the second week of September, the postings had trickled to a halt.
The sudden change left a lingering question: What became of Lebanon's war blogs?
To be sure, a few of the sites that gained fame during the war are still active.
As Mustapha Hamoui, the author of "Beirut Spring," explains: "My blog did not start as the result of the war, and it didn't stop after it ended - it just gained more readers."
Some of those who did just begin blogging this summer plan to continue. In a post on October 1 on "Beirut Live," one of the sites born of the bombardment, journalist Ramsay Short (a former editor at The Daily Star and the editor-in-chief of Time Out Beirut) wrote: "Despite the fact that Lebanon has become a page 10 story or later in most broadsheets in recent weeks, 'Beirut Live' and other sites still have a purpose."
But content, by all accounts, is now harder to come by - and so are readers. During the war, Short recalls, Beirut Live received upward of 1,000 hits a day. When Mazen Kerbaj, another wartime blogger, discovered that his name had gone from turning up 1,000 hits on the search site Google to over 150,000 mid-way through the war, he added a tracker to his blog. In the subsequent two weeks, it recorded 158,000 hits. At the same time, Samer Karam, author of "Blogging Beirut," says his site was receiving a whopping 400,000 hits a day.
Traffic has slowed considerably since then. By the beginning of October, Kerbaj says his site dwindled down to 200 hits a day. To the remaining faithful, he adds: "We're finally alone."
Karam says that "Blogging Beirut," too, has seen its hits-per-day fall to 10 percent of the wartime high.
But neither is complaining.
"I think it's much better for my work" to have fewer readers, explains Kerblaj, who works as an artist and musician and has used his blog in part as a place to "pre-publish" his drawings.
"Before it was like: 'Hello this is your friend from Costa Rica. You should stop drinking alcohol, it's not good for you' ... it freaked me out. It wasn't the thing I wanted," he says.
There were other problems too, according to several bloggers. During the endless confinement of the siege, blogging was often a welcome antidote to boredom, dissatisfaction with mainstream media coverage and the sense of impotence that came from bearing witness to the suffering, without any way of allaying it. When the war ended, there was other work to be done.
"Blogging is a commitment," explains Zena Khalil, author of a blog called "Beirut Update," which started and ended with the war. "Even when you're not sitting down typing, during the day you're thinking about what you're going to type, what you're going to write about, how to structure a certain argument."
After the war, Khalil adds, she threw her energy into another project: organizing an exhibition of 45 Lebanese artists' work, all of it produced during or just after the siege. The show, entitled "Nafas Beirut," was co-curated with Sandra Dagher and is currently on view at the Gemmayzeh gallery Espace SD, until November 17. It features a new painting by Khalil - a portrait of Hassan Nasrallah in lurid pink with glitter and stars - because he was, as she explains, "the man of the hour.
In all the tumult of resuming work or initiating new projects, blogging fell by the wayside. Other bloggers echo the feeling.
Charles Malik of the "Lebanese Political Journal" says that while he turned his attention from blogging to graduate school, his co-bloggers changed jobs or took on new ones. A few blogs, like "Live from Beirut," conclude with a farewell from authors about to leave the country.
Free time, others add, was not all that diminished after the siege. Amin Younes, a blogger who documented the war through snippets of conversations in his Hamra cafe, observes that after the bombardment ended, the unity and mutual concern it elicited quickly gave way to something uglier: an atmosphere fraught with blame and petty arguments.
"It was like something I don't want to share with anyone," he says, "because I was so ashamed to hear it."
Like others, he feared that maintaining his blog would entail joining the partisan political fray - or offering analyses for which he had little interest, or stomach.
The fighting, it seems, made political pundits out of the least likely candidates. For several of them, the subject of government maneuverings soon regained its customary ignominy.
In her final post, a week after the cease-fire, Khalil apologized to her readers for leaving so many questions and comments unanswered.
"I guess I'm not much of a 'blogger,'" she wrote. "It is difficult for me to respond ... I am not a politician. I don't understand how their minds work."
As for all the vaunted contact with Israelis, several bloggers say it never amounted to a sea change - especially since, as Karam observed wryly: "There's a word for that in this country, and it's 'treason.'"
Hamoui says that since the war ended, his exchanges have been limited to the comments and replies that Israelis post on his site, "Beirut Spring." And despite The Washington Post's report that Malik, of "Beirut Political Journal," met up with a fellow Israeli blogger, he says that is untrue - although he is still in contact with the blogger in question.
"Interestingly enough, the Israelis keep in touch the best," Malik says, in an interview conducted via email (Malik moved to the US after the war). "They are often sympathetic to Lebanese views, but a line remains. It's rare that true friendship sprouts between Lebanese and Israeli bloggers, but at least the discussion is alive."
Among the bloggers who continue, at least two plan to turn their wartime blogs into books.
Karam, the writer and photographer behind "Blogging Beirut," envisions a multi-media account of life during the 34-day siege - "to chronicle the war but in a non-casualty-count way," he explains.
Kerbaj is currently compiling the musings and drawings from his site into a book.
"I wanted to write in the forward of the book that I always hated all the Lebanese artists who only talk about the war, as if there's nothing else to talk about," Kerbaj concedes.
That said, for all the attention, Kerbaj quickly grew weary of the interview requests he was getting during the war.
"I didn't want to be the big guy doing an interview with CNN," he says. Yet Kerbaj is nonetheless confident that his French publisher has taken his project on for its artistic merit first and foremost.
Karam, whose site features professional-quality photographs of parties and queues at gas stations alongside pictures of destroyed buildings, says he wants to showcase the other side of the war: the activism and relief effort and multi-media portrayals of it all that made this war somewhat unique.
Theirs are not the only blogs that will carry on. For those that have ceased posting, like Khalil's "Beirut Updates," the possibility of beginning to post anew is always there. After all, despite their partial retirement, Lebanon's bloggers did discover an amazing power to attract, and inform, readers around the world.
Regardless of what they do now, most of the wartime bloggers insist that their initial aims were indeed met.
"I was always thinking of starting a blog," Kerbaj recalls, "to post [the drawings in] my notebooks." Intoning sarcastically, he adds: "I thank forever Mr. Olmert for this excuse."
A volunteers meeting will be next Monday, 6th November, at Club 43 at 7pm, so anyone who would like to participate or learn more about the project can attend!
A briefing about the project is included below. For more information or directions please contact:
Nassim Saab: (961) 3-492662.
See you Monday!
Humanizing the Numbers
The July-August 2006 war in Lebanon claimed the lives of over 1,000 people; the majority of which being children, women and elderly civilians. These people are still unknown and remain as numbers waiting to be stored away in history books. This project intends to raise awareness amongst Lebanese community as well the international community in order to understand the magnitude of the loss. Those that died are people and not numbers.
In order to do this, Na-am will travel to the South with a van having an enlarged map of Lebanon, where the families of victims will place a photo of their loved ones upon it. This map, along with the photos digitally placed on it, will be put on a billboard. A documentary will be produced in the second phase of this project.
Nahwa al-Muwatiniyawww.na-am.org (961) 5-950-952