29 December 2008

* Sayyid Hassan Calls for Massive Rally Monday

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah called for a massive gathering in Beirut’s southern suburb to denounce the Israeli aggression on Gaza and to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking through a large screen as he marked the first night of Ashoura at the Sayyed Shouhadaa complex in Dahiyeh.
His eminence addressed the situation in Gaza and expressed deep regret at the Arab collusion “that is similar to the Arab collusion during the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.”
“It is truly unfortunate to begin our Hijri new Year and Gregorian new year with a serious humanitarian calamity that has so far taken the lives of three hundred Palestinians in the besieged, oppressed yet resistant and steadfast Gaza Strip. Today, we might not need to speak about the notion as we are witnessing the model of a new Karbala. What is taking place today helps us more to understand history. Karbala’s reality is that a few believers had refused humiliation and yielding to tyrants. Those believers were to choose between humiliation and disproportionate confrontation that may lead to martyrdom, so they chose martyrdom. Imam Hussein peace be upon him created this model and said his famous words: We shall never be disgraced. It was not a matter of emotions, it was rather a matter of humanitarian and ideological commitment. This is the school of Prophet Mohammad peace be upon him in Karbala,” Sayyed Nasrallah explained.

His eminence went on saying that this was the choice in Karbala “and this was the choice during the July 2006 war.” He told the resistance community in Lebanon that “when you were to choose between surrender and confrontation, you chose to stand up, thus refusing disgrace regardless of the tens of thousands of homes destroyed and the hundreds of martyrs and injured. You stood up against collusion, betrayal and disgrace and this is how blood conquered the sword.”

The Hezbollah chief underlined that what is taking place in Gaza today was identical to what had taken place in Lebanon during the 2006 war. “It’s the same choices, the same collusion and inevitably the same consequence,” he said predicting victory in the end.
“When the legitimate Prime Minister Ismail Haniyyeh come out from under the rubble and fire to say ‘we will not surrender and we will preserve our dignity…this is Karbala.”
Sayyed Nasrallah openly spoke about the ongoing confrontation in Gaza. “Allow me to dot the i's and cross the t's, because we’re in dire need for the nation to shoulder its responsibility. What is taking place today in Gaza is similar to what had taken place in Lebanon; there is a US-Israeli scheme in the region and they want to impose humiliating conditions on the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria after Egypt and Jordan made so called peace agreements with Israel. They are working on imposing these conditions by force, pressure, isolation, internal sedition, media and psychological wars, assassinations and wars. For them, it is essential to yield those who have not yet yielded t the US-Israeli scheme.”

His eminence stressed some Arab regimes are partners in the scheme. “It is not true that there is Arab silence; there is real and complete partnership in this particularly the sides that signed agreements with Israel. They are working today on preparing the circumstances for the surrender of the resistance engaged in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

The Hezbollah chief revealed that the war of 2006 was waged with Arab consent and request. “The Israelis were crystal clear when they revealed this and those Arab regimes cannot deny this because the Israelis might possess evidence on their collusion. This is what is happening today in Gaza. Not only those same Arab regimes are demanding Israel cuts the heads of the resistance forces, in fact they are helping the Zionist entity on this. We have heard from Israel that the magnitude of the Arab support to the war on Gaza well exceeds their support to the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also attributed the internal division in Palestine to the same Arab regimes that want division to become internal strife.
He set as example the notorious decisions taken by the previous government in Lebanon against Hezbollah and a senior Muslim Shiite officer managing security at the airport on the fifth of May 2008 and which nearly dragged the country into civil war. “The previous government wouldn’t have taken those decisions on the fifth of May if it weren’t for the support of these Arab regimes. They don not feel embarrassed; they are convinced and committed to the scheme.”
His eminence added that “even on the political and media levels, no one is asking Arab regimes to open its fronts and fight, but the least they could do is to take a fair stance by not holding the victim responsible.”
“We have heard an Egyptian official blaming Hamas for the attack on Gaza. Can anyone believe that this is the position of an Arab official who said during the blockade of Gaza: ‘We’ll break the feet of anyone who will set foot in Egypt? Is this the stance of an Egyptian official in the wake of the slaughter of more than 300 Palestinians in a short period of time?”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned Hamas that Israel’s attack will not stop unless the resistance group stops firing rockets at occupied territories.
                                                                                                 
“Today we are hearing the same positions we heard in 2006 in terms of shouldering the resistance with the responsibility of breaking the war; this is shameful. Some Arab media outlets which should be called “Israeli media outlets” are dealing with the developments in Gaza as if the 300 martyrs were killed in a road accident; they broadcast the news and go back to regular programs as nothing is happening and the worst is that they insist on not calling those killed martyrs.”

Sayyed Nasrallah said that the Gazans have made their choice and they are practicing it through martyrdom and resistance, “just as you did in 2006; nothing stopped you from clinging to your rights and to the resistance.”
“What is the nation’s responsibility today? To triumph, the central objective is to work on stopping the aggression against Gaza and preventing the Israelis from achieving their goals. Arab peoples should press their governments to take action even if this leads to face their regimes with their chests. Those who would fall will definitely be martyrs on the road to Quds. Arab governments should not take weakness as a pretext not to act and Arab people should not take their government’s suppression as a pretext not to take action.
In our present time, the US is in a financial crisis and we have oil, money and political stature and our governments can stop the Israeli aggression with a humble effort. The Egyptian stand is the cornerstone. No one is asking it to open a front; we are asking it to open the Rafah crossing for the living, for food, for water and even for arms. In the war of 2006, Syria did not close its border with Lebanon despite the continuous bombing of the border. Egypt is is the “Mother of the World”; it is not the ‘Red Crescent’ to deal with Gaza like this. Egypt is requested not to exploit the war to pressure Hamas to yield to Israel’s conditions. If Egypt did not open the Rafah crossing to Gaza, he added, it would be considered an accomplice in the killing of Palestinians and they (Egyptian officials) should know that they will be in the circle of condemnation if they do not rush to take an honorable stance.”

The leader of the resistance urged the pride and noble people of Egypt “who we know what really lies in their hearts to take to the streets. If the people took to the streets by the millions, could the police kill millions of Egyptians? People of Egypt, you must open this crossing by the force of your chests," he said. “We know that Egyptian officers and soldiers adhere to their authentic Arab identity. I am not calling for a coup in Egypt, but those officers should tell their government that they are not with watching the Palestinian people being slaughtered while they guard Israel’s border. No one is justified today; the Egyptian stand can change the situation. If Gaza was steadfast for a few days or weeks, the aggression will eventually end because the Israeli enemy cannot tolerate war of attrition and will be forced to stop and abandon its goals.”

Sayyed Nasrallah criticized the sides that are calling for a fair and comprehensive peace with Israel. “I ask them: what has Israel given you except for more humiliation and more conditions? The Palestinians did not gain from Camp David the least rights to save face. It is really silly to believe that the international community will protect us through international resolutions, none of which was implemented by Israel. You say that Arab solidarity will protect us? Where is this Arab solidarity and they could not agree on a summit to address the situation in Gaza because of (Egyptian) reservations? What really protects our peoples and gains back our rights is the sincere resistance and everything else is mere illusion.”

As for Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah continued, “since the aggression on Gaza began, Barak, Livni and Olmert have been sending warnings to Lebanon and the Israeli army has been stepping up measures on the border and calling on settlers in the north to prepare their shelters. Hearing this, there are two options: the first is that everything the Israelis are saying and doing is in the framework of a pre-emptive measure; and the second is that they are planning for something. We should be aware that this bad timing amid Arab collusion, international void, economic crisis and US political vacuum between Bush and Obama, might allure Israel to take a certain action against Lebanon especially that they need to make such move for political and electoral gains.
This requires Lebanon to be cautious and not to underestimate what it happening around it. For instance, who placed the eight rockets discovered lately in the south? Some politicians in Lebanon have been pointing their fingers at us. But I tell them that Hezbollah has enough courage to take responsibility for any action it takes. On the other hand, isn’t it true that Israel has the capacity to infiltrate into Lebanon and plant these rockets, or maybe use its agents in Lebanon to do this job so that the Zionist entity would be justified to attack Lebanon? Unfortunately, some Lebanese politicians are giving Israel this pretext through their silly statements.
I have asked the brothers in the resistance in the south specifically to be present, on alert and cautious because we are facing a criminal enemy and we don't know the magnitude of the conspiracies being weaved around us."

Sayyed Nasrallah concluded his speech by calling on the Lebanese, Arabs and Muslims to act responsibly at this stage and exert every effort to stop the aggression on Gaza.
“Imam Sayyed Khamenei has called for mourning on Monday. We are concerned in this. For my part, I invite you to gather tomorrow at 1500 (local time) at the Raya field, men and women, young and old, to consolidate with Gaza and the martyrs. We have to make the whole hear our voice and see our fists rising. Tomorrow is Ashoura as well because every day is Ashoura and every land in Karbala.”

(manar)



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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.