Saturday, April 14, 2007

O diário de Tal

UPenn doctoral candidate Stacey is currently in Yemen (being on the receiving end of impromptu stonings, cheerily identifying herself as part of a "third gender", and breezily ignoring US State Dept advisories).But now she weighs in on the situation in Lebanon:
I'm still in Sana'a, but wrapping up here with the intention of heading to Beirut by April 1st, so I've been contacting friends about sublets and whatnot. In one particularly chilling response, a fellow scholar/friend writes: As for things here, they're a bit too exciting for my taste. Gangs of shebab are riding around the streets at night from both the opposition and loyalist camps. Several people were shot over the weekend in Achrafieh/Gemayzeh....Meanwhile, there are very scary rumors about Ketaeb being in contact with Israel and plotting things for here. And this comes from both the Israeli press and rumors here. I really don't trust them, or Aoun. The Christian militia youth are spoiling for a fight, even though they'd be creamed. I think they feel Christians lost the war and they missed their glory days by not fighting in their own war - a very dangerous combination.Great. Her advice? Buy a refundable ticket.
You really have to love those academics don't you? The pro-Syrian elements are the "loyalists" and the pro-democracy demonstrators are the "opposition" who travel around in "Shebab". And of course they have us sinister Israelis down pat - always pulling the strings behind the scenes aren't we?I'm sure Stacey doesn't agree, disagree, or have a stance about her scholar friend's nomenclature or speculations of conspiracy; she just finds them chilling unlike the warm people in Yemen. But I'm fairly certain that the global media would jump on the opportunity to tell the story if things were as bad there as she seems to suspect.Update: Stacy responds to my sarcasm with a dose of her own, and writes that
Tal's basic objection seemed to be to my posting of a colleague's on-the-ground view of the evolving situation in Lebanon, and failure to condemn her use of the terms "Opposition" instead of "Pro-Democracy."This, of course, puts her in league with all but, say, Fox News...including many within the Opposition itself!
No. I made two observations: a) Stacey brooked no enthusiasm for the apparent emergence of an Arab trend towards democracy (an enthusiasm shared well beyond the Fox News viewership), and used conspiciously antiseptic language that masked the sense that there might be anything positive going on.b) Stacey's colleague made conspiratorial insinuations about Israelis pulling the strings behind the Lebanese political scene. These remarks were apparently such a commonplace that she doesn't even notice them (or notice my noticing them) or perhaps even find them worthy of skepticism. You'd be interested to know that Israelis don't like to be viewed as diabolical.

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Posted 4:25 PM by Tal
Imshin's blog has photos from the site of Friday's pigua. I don't have much to say about these things anymore.

Posted 2:23 PM by Tal
Disappointing concert by Roy Campbell's Pyramid Trio at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival last night. Rhythm section William Parker/Hamid Drake were terrific, but Campbell's trumpet playing was sloppy. And it got really strange when Campbell horribly and inexplicably began to "sing" some very makeshift lyrics for his compositions (something that he hasn't done much before according to Google).

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Posted 9:32 PM by Tal
This blog might still come back to life at some point. Life here is much less interesting these days, and there are so many blogs doing a good job of highlighting things from the Israeli media.Some Americans and Europeans try so hard not to be judgmental. This woman writes from Cairo where she is researching her PhD:
... Abu Mazen's electoral scheme may very well represent such a shift in thinking, a recognition that the most effective martyrs are not those who blow themselves up in cafes, but those who die while trying to care for their communities.
Well that would just be great ... maybe only the less effective martyrs would try to blow up Israelis in cafes. She wouldn't actually say to her hosts that the cult of martyrdom is bad, just that it's not effective for youngsters to kill themselves (just like ISMers who talk about Palestinian "suicide", Israeli victims aren't even on her conceptual radar).She's also not able to acknowledge that any current Palestinian moderation is at least partly due to the fact that the intifada failed to secure any gains ie. that the Israelis won.Update: Stacy responds in the comments
I should thank you for increasing traffic at my site by "reviewing" my comments regarding the Palestinian elections. You might note, however, that it was a post about the Palestinian elections, not a broader post about political violence, innocent victims, etc. You have no way of determining what my judgements are, or whether I am "capable" of acknowledging your truths. I may be, or I may not be, but you certainly have no way of knowing based on the little that you selected here.My blog rarely ventures off topic, and mainly focuses on discourse and the structuring effects of a particular kind of Islamist discource in Arab parliamentary practice (since this is the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation, and the reason for my frequent travel to Beirut and Sana'a). When it does go off topic, I certainly expect to "take fire", but I would hope that you see my post for what it was - a discursive analysis of Abbas' electoral campaign materials and campaign promotion, and not a broader manifesto on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.Further, I found your assertions about what I would or would not say to my "hosts" to cross a line and violate your own rule on ad hominem attacks. First, you have no idea whether or not I have been "hosted" by Israel, as well, and whether that may have influenced by thinking on the Middle East. Second, you really have no idea what my relationship to Egypt is. As it happens, my husband took a job here to facilitate my regional travel, and neither of us do any research here or have an serious connection - we're just plain old expats. So to infer that my thoughts or words are couched because I am in some way endebted to some kind of aggregated concept of Arab "hosts" was both presumptious and unfairly dismissive.And as for the quote, which I believe you took out of context (but will allow readers to determine for themselves), the quote that preceeded it in the original post was by a friend who is a rabbi at a large NY congregation and visited us in Cairo en route to Jerusalem. It's his opinion, after years of working with Palestinian policymakers, and one which I share. You should, I would imagine, be more concerned about him then you are about me, since he stands a chance at disrupting your "base."
I will try to reply later, but most broadly:1. In this particular blog post (and the others that I scanned) you are adopting the "Islamist discourse" rather than merely analyzing it. Certainly you do not seem to be analyzing it in a critical manner. Dialog is admirable, but not when it requires adopting a "discourse" that "disadmits" things like moral objection to attacks on Israelis. 2. I don't have a "base". Also I'm not "concerned" with you. Like many blogs I just write what's on my mind. 3. I do apologize for assuming that your presence in Cairo was related to your PhD work when it is in fact during your travels to Beirut and Sanaa that you do your research. I don't see this a relevant to my central point. That said, I do regret the final sentence of my original post which dealt with broader political issues.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Posted 4:51 PM by Tal
Today already feels like the longest day ever since I started reading blogs.I'm concerned about what it would mean for Israel if Kerry wins. My primary impressions of Kerry revolve around his apparent lack of clear positions, his reputed reliance on polling, and his tilts to the far left of his party. To me this recalls Ehud Barak, who managed to do a fair amount of damage to this country.....