My reading list of late

Three articles I read over the past few days that I couldn’t get out of my head. They left me sitting back and pondering, thinking about what I just read. The topics in itself of none of the articles was new to me, one is about the hostage taking in the school in Beslan in Setember 2004, the other about life in Chechnya, the third about the harassment and persecution of dissidents in China. But all are so powerfully written.

The article on Beslan appeared in the June issue of Esquire magazine. It recounts the tragedy as told by former hostages. The article can also be read here.

The second is an article by Anne Neistat about life in Chechnya that Sean mentioned on his blog. Neistat has written extensively and has visited the war-torn Russian republic several times.

The third is a blog entry I found on Global Voices, it consists almost exclusively of translated excerpts taken from the blog of Zeng Jinyan, wife of a Chinese AIDS-activist. She writes about how she deals with becoming a target of the Chinese secret police herself. The full text on Global Voices is here and Zeng’s blog is here (in Chinese).

All three articles are must-reads in my opinion, some of the best I have come across recently.

Other than this, I have been trying to keep up with what is happening in Lebanon now. While definitely not agreeing with Hezbollah‘s actions, I think bombing Lebanon is way out of proportion. Anarchistian has some good posts on what it’s like living in Lebanon these days. Also, Lisa Goldman pointed me to Lebanese Bloggers, a very regularly updated blog from Lebanon. Global Voices has an overview of what Lebanese bloggers are saying, and both Lisa and Anarchistian have links to Israeli blogs.

While I was in Lebanon last year, my boyfriend and I spent some time in the south and at one point we drove all the way down to Naqoura, where the UN peacekeeping forces are based (I wonder what they are doing these days, there’s not much peace to keep anymore). On the way, we were listening to Israeli radio (the only station we could find with normal music) while driving through Hezbollah-country, a very weird experience in itself (don’t worry, we had the windows closed). Southern Lebanon is a world apart from the rest of Lebanon, with the possible exception of southern Beirut, another Hezbollah stronghold. There were posters and banners of guns, bearded men (Nasrallah and others) and the Hezbollah flag on every streetsign, electrical pole and wall along the main road. In Naqoura there was an official streetsign pointing to the road towards Israel, only the streetsign didn’t say Israel – it said Palestine.

My boyfriend has been out all day, so I don’t know if he has talked to his family yet. They live in a town in the Christian area north of Beirut, so they should be okay, but still it’d be nice to get confirmation…

7 thoughts on “My reading list of late

  1. Where exactly does his family live? There isn’t much (well, anything) going on in Mount Lebanon.

  2. They live mostly in Antelias or directly up the hills from there. I figured there isn’t much going on there. I guess it is mostly in the south of and to the south of Beirut. Well, unless Israel starts hitting power plants etc.

  3. Antelias is so far safe, but I reckon it won’t in the coming days. I live a mere 15 minutes away from it.

    Israel is hitting residential areas, so if it spreads to this side, chances are it won’t spare civilians here either. Though I think at the moment Israel is trying to foment sectarian strife… It thinks the Christians are its “natural” aer slowed her down. I am so blessed to have a perfectly normal healthy toddler. One day I’ll have to convince her to let me try to get a picture of the repaired palate. Except for the fact that the back (closest to her throat) isn’t quite symetrical, it looks like she

  4. Hi everyone I came across this site and was wondering if any of you would be kind enough to help me and offer me some sort of support?

    I am a British woman living in Cyprus and married to an Armenian/Lebanese man. I am horrified at what is occurring in Lebanon having visited Lebanon with my husband and met his family and friends there who I have only ever heard them speak of peace at last.
    Unfortunately my husband will not speak much about his family or the current situation in Lebanon very much and I am finding this very distressing as I feel I am more interested and involved in trying to find out what is happening than he is? Can anyone offer an explanation of what I have thought of as cold hearted attitude towards his own country yet he is not normally like this? He says I don’t understand war as he lived through this situation all his life from being born there and that he deals with this differently from me who has not experienced war first hand in my own country.
    I agree with him except I am frequently finding myself in tears looking at the details and photographs of dead children etc. I worry about his family and his mother who is not of good health. I know that he receives texts and telephone calls but am not aware what he is speaking because the conversation is in Arabic or Armenian and when the phone call is finished he says all is okay with them! How can that be? Can anyone please tell me if the people in Anjjar in Bekkaa is okay as I do know that’s where most of his family live?

    I worry that they are cut off and cannot receive supplies but feel helpless as to what to do if I cannot gain much information from my husband. We struggle here in Cyprus to keep our head above water financially but this is nothing compared to my fears of them without, shelter, food and water etc. I want to do something for them if they need it and for others in a similar situation but how can I do this with limited finances and information. Has anyone any ideas of something I can do as I just cannot turn my thoughts away from this.
    I am sorry to have rambled on but all my feelings have poured out and arrived on this page.
    Thanking you in advance.

  5. Hi anonymous,

    That’s quite something you have on your mind. I can sort of imagine though, what you must be feeling. I have an Armenian-Lebanese boyfriend whos parents and many of his relatives are still in Lebanon. Fortunately, my bf does talk about things, although I kind of have been wondering why he has fairly little contact with his parents and sister. I know he talked to his sister once on the phone, and that he has been trying to get in touch with his parents, but couldn’t get through (he suspects his mom is on the phone all the time…).

    Maybe your husband is worried (I can’t imagine he is not worried) but he doesn’t want to share it with you, because he is afraid you’ll get upset. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about what he thinks or feels, because he feels better keeping his emotions to himself, because he is afraid to show that he is indeed worried? Have you asked him why he doesn’t want to say more, why he is so quiet on the subject? I don’t know, these are just my two eurocents worth of amateur-psychology.

    As for Anjar, I do know that there has been bombing in the Beka’a, but I don’t know whether Anjar is being targeted. Unfortunately, my guess is that the town has been targeted, as I seem to remember there are some Hezbollah-hotshots who have houses there and there may be other Hezbollah-buildings or inrastructure there. Don’t forget that the Syrian regime used to have their military or secret police HQs in Anjar. Sorry if this is not very comforting for you. However, remember that the majority of the Lebanese population still has a place to live, that not all parts of the country have been bombed to the extent that the south and part of Beirut has been razed. Even if Anjar and the Beka’a have been targeted, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your relatives are not okay.

    There are lots of good Lebanese blogs that write extensively about events in the country. I listed a few under Middle-East Blogs on the right side of my blog. They would be a good starting point to get more information and to find out about the situation in Anjar.

    I wish you all the best!!

  6. Hi Myrth,

    And thank you so much for the comments you have made they allow me to feel a little better regards the area itself as I scan the daily news to see if i can find anything out about the area. Like you say with your b/f you wonder because he does not appear to have a lot of contact with his family etc? I mean I do not consider myself terribly close to my family back in the UK but if this happened I would probably have a phone bill the size of british telecom lol. As for him keeping stum so not to worry me I have tried to explain to him it is having the opposite effect right now but he still behaves the same so I will just have to wait and see what the outcomes are. I was also not aware that anjjar held HG for certain fractions in the area either so that is kinda worrying. Can you tell me if Anjjar is a mainly Armenian town? as that is his decent and I know he has expalained to me before that certain religouse groups tend to live in areas populated by there own nationality but live together in as much harmony as possible? Also have you any ideas if I sent some money to his family if this would be possible still by such as western union? Maybe I am being over imaganitive here because I am sitting thinking every one is trapped totaly and I suppose that may not be the case. I will take a look at the other blogs too if you could recomend me some where I could make some friends to chat with who are maybe more in the know than me as I think it would help me at this time. Kind regards Julie

  7. Hi Julie,
    I’ll try to answer your questions one by one.

    Though I am cannot positively say that Armenians are the majority in Anjar, the town does have a large population of Armenians and they do make a big share of the town’s population.

    I have absolutely no idea whether money transfer services like Western Union still work these days. Also, I don’t know if money is what your husband’s relatives need most these days. That is for you and your husband to decide based on what you (he?) know(s) about the situation there.
    About the blogs, has been a very good source for what’s happening and what area’s have been targeted etc. The blog is being very frequently updated. Also, Anarchistian at Blogging the Middle East – – is a Lebanese-Armenian living in or near Beirut. These are two blogs I would recommend for starters. Both have many links to other Lebanese blogs.

    Also, if you feel like it, feel free to drop me a line at armenianodar[at]yahoo[dot]com.

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