Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
Andrew Butters is incompetent
|Speaking of articles that are repuslive and a waste of paper:|
Andrew Butters is incompetent.
Case in point: "Beirut buries a dream" published in Time Magazine on November 24th, 2006. This is what I wrote them in response:
I thought I should let you know that your coverage of Sheikh Pierre Gemayel's burial is inspiring nothing but contempt among Lebanese who attended or watched coverage from abroad. Does the Time even send people on the field, or does it just look at the pictures and make up a story? The title of the piece alone is the complete antithesis of the event, which in reality breathed new life into the Beirut Spring, as we were all aware of even as we made our farewells. Nobody, not even the bereaved father who kicked off the rebirth himself, would describe this day as "Lebanon burying a dream".
Furthermore, the article comes across as positively drooling over the prospect of a new civil war. Did Mr Butters look closely at the crowd and at the signs promising "war no more"? We already know he completely overlooked the fact most of them made positive statements about Lebanon and loving life, because "carrying catchy anti-Syrian slogans" served his slant better. Did he even listen to the contents of the speeches? Or was he too busy fantasizing over the exoticism of the Lebanese mosaic of sects gathered in the same sacred place to grieve together? That must be something new to him indeed, because his writing doesn't betray any real understanding of social dynamics – at least, no more than a tourist would pick up in passing.
By the way, this took place Thursday, not Friday; the liturgy is not in Assyrian, it is in Syriac; Pierre Amine Gemayel never led the Phalanges, his GRANDFATHER, Pierre Gemayel first of the name, did. So much for intelligent reporting.
Shame on you and on Mr Butters for such a slanted and shallow piece of misinformation, and for such low journalistic standards.
So let's revise the facts a little. Andrew Butters has been in Beirut for 3 years, and he comes up with a piece like this. A piece that shows:
- In 3 years he has not learned a word of Arabic, because obviously he couldn't read a single one of the signs in the language (and did not ask a single person what they said).
- He does not speak to the locals to understand what's going on, and did not wait or ask for a translation of the speeches before sending off his article, making it something a clueless tourist could have written. His writing is, at best, a form of neo-orientalism, far less interested in informing the readers than in painting an exotic picture to them.
- After 3 years in Lebanon and presuming to write about sociopolitics he doesn't know there are 2 distinct Pierre Gemayel, one of which passed away in 1984.
- After 3 years in Lebanon and presuming to write about religious sects he doesn't know Maronite liturgy is in Syriac, which also shows that when he is ignorant about something, he simply makes assumptions to fill the gaps. "Arcane Assyrian"? Iraq is on the other side of Syria.
- He makes whatever generalisations will give his articles a dramatic edge ("carrying catchy anti-Syrian slogans") and even makes up facts ( "not a single Shia bandanna in sight", doubtlessly due to the combined fact he doesn't speak Arabic, did not speak to anyone present, and never even stepped among the protesters).
- In sum, he's either incredibly naive/ignorant, and should be removed until he has gained enough real knowledge to be allowed to write, or he's of such dishonesty to his readers, presenting them with his own fantasy of a place where he lives not for the sake of journalistic investigation but for the thrill of being here, that he simply should be barred from writing. Pop journalists and tourists have no business covering serious events, and we have more important things to worry about than how western publications are misrepresenting us again.
More of Butters' writings, no less colonial and un-knowledgeable, can be found on his website: www.andrewbutters.com
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Where the boys are...
This article from the New York Times has been circulating the Lebanese blogosphere the past couple of days.
I find the article degrading to all women in Lebanon. This article was written in an extremely shallow level. The ration of women to men being 5:1 might actually be true although there aren't statistics to prove it.
It is obvious that the author of this article, Katherine Zoepf, did not do her homework properly. It seems like this lady simply visited the clubbing districts in order to write this article instead of visiting different areas of Lebanon.
It is a known fact, that many Lebanese women dress "freely" but not all Lebanese women dress that way, and the reason they do dress freely is not to grab attention of the Lebanese men living abroad visiting Lebanon.
This article make women in Lebanon seem so desperate for marriage where in reality, if we are simply going to talk about the women clubbing, most of them are university students and/or career oriented women not so desperate for marriage as they claim. Also, if the author of the article is going to discuss marriage, she should be aware that the average marriage age in Lebanon has gone up to the age of 27 for females, whereas she has interviewed 19 year old girls!
I also find it degrading for men, to place a quote in the article that all men who stay in Lebanon are not-ambitious, have closed mentalities and stay to find a virgin to marry. In my opinion hat quote is hilarious. Many men prefer to stay in Lebanon, in their homeland for their love for it no matter how hard things may get; a lot of men stay in Lebanon instead of travelling to the Gulf countries so that they can continue enjoying the freedom they have there rather than being closed up in Gulf countries; and I think most people are aware of the sexual life available in Lebanon.
I simply find this article repulsive and a waste of paper.