i dont get it. i am sure i am missing various pertinent details and middle east political subtleties, but here is a very rough outline of lebanon's recent political history as i currently understand it:
1975-1990 - civil war continually exacerbated by outside powers using lebanon as a pawn/destabilizing influence
1990-2004 - the country is dominated by syria politically and militarily
2005 - the cedar revolution - after a slow burn of protest and steady economic improvement lebanon experiences a popular uprising and boots syria. the US holds up lebanon as a shining example of the success of its middle east policy in iraq and claims to support the current govt. pro US/pro western feelings are at an all time high.
june 2006 - hezbollah is politically active in lebanon but only in the minority. although it operates in lebanon, its support rate is 29% (according to the globe and mail) and its main power base is in syria. beirut is swinging once again and regaining its reputation as the paris of the middle east (i remember a patient in edmonton telling me how the ladies in lebanon dress to the 9s). apparently it is one of the most free and open of the arab states.
july 2006 - 2 (count them, 1, 2) israeli soldiers are captured by hezbollah fighters. israel retaliates by bombing the entire country concentrating on airports, bridges, ports, government institutions, power plants, communications towers etc. thus reducing to rubble most of the infrastructure that allows modern societies to thrive. lebanon looks to their new buddy george w. to help them out but he sides solidly with israel.
inside 1 month support for hezbollah has grown to 87%!!!!!!!!!!!!! (again according to the globe and mail) lebanese with political clout who had previously supported moderate govt and peaceful ties with western nations now look like idiots and traitors to their countrymen. thus far they have been left high and dry.
what is going on here? i think i left my conspiracy theory days behind me a couple years ago but i dont get it! why did the kidnapping of 2 soldiers (hezbollah has been killing bombing and kidnapping innocent people for years) ostensibly set off a massive air strike and potential ground invasion? and how can the israelis possibly believe that alienating/destroying an entire country that did not even support their enemies (but does now) would solve the problem? and why did the US (and harper for that matter) condone the whole thing?
i am trying to come up with reasons but all of them veer wildly into conspiracy theory and radical conjecture b/c IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE!!!!!! i am left looking for answers in the globe and mail and various online news sources and listening to rage against the machine... zack de la rocha please come back and help me channel my anger and frustration!
along that line (the online news, not my plea to zack) i realized a while ago that a big reason to link to our blogosphere was to make it easy for us to access all the blogs that we read, not necessarily to connect previously disconnected people. while scrolling through my history to find the article i was reading the other day i realized that people link to other sites for the same reason, hence i am adding links to my main news sources for my own benefit and to declutter our bookmark bar. i'm all about parsimony.
as a canadian sidenote (and a story that has a particularly canadian angsty self deprecating edge) i would like to highlight some local news that i have been discussing with a couple of you guys lately. a few weeks ago the CBC announced that it was pushing "The National" back an hour to 2300 to allow for a simulcast of the next big thing, a clone of american idol called "the one". this ticked me off as i (along with a lot of others) had been bemoaning the decline of the CBC and this was a slap in the face, albeit one that did not directly affect me in any way. in my opinion, CBC's job as a govt sponsored broadcaster is to provide quality programming even when the general public is demanding crap (thus the public funding to make up for lost ad $$). in pushing out their flagship (that word has come up a lot lately) news program to make way for a 2nd rate american pop culture copycat wannabe, the CBC was clearly stating that they are now diametrically opposed to the function for which they were created and funded (a fact which i had been suspecting given the decline in quality of their radio programming recently).
with this in mind i had a serious rush of "i told you so" vindication when i read in the paper this morning that, after taking a lot of flack for putting their $$ and hopes behind this shining example of crass copycat band wagoning (who made this decision anyways?) ABC just announced that they are cancelling "the one" after just a few episodes (poor potential "ones") which leaves CBC high and dry and looking just a little stupid. maybe this will be the kick in the pants the CBC needs to get their act together (apparently the president is a chretien appointee with little to no media experience).
lastly i just came across this article about a town in pennsylvania that has just established openly racist civic laws to keep their town white. wow. canadians are racist too, but the fact that this town feels able to break through the antiracist social taboos says something.