Mohamad Chatah (1951-2013)

Qifa Nabki

chatah1I met Mohamad Chatah in late 2011. I was in Beirut for a couple of weeks, interviewing politicians and civil society members for a research project on bicameralism and consociationalism, and a mutual friend put us in touch. He had been interested in the idea of a Lebanese senate for many years, and so he invited me to meet him at Center House, not far from where he was killed this morning.

Mr. Chatah was a Lebanese economist, minister, ambassador, and senior adviser to the Hariri family. In the course of our discussion, he struck me as curious and flexible in his thinking, a realist uninterested in pie-in-the-sky ideologies. We chatted about the political situation, about bloggingand about my doctoral research, and then moved to a discussion about his ideas on the role a senate might play in Lebanese political life. Some of those ideas informed my working…

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Tripoli: In Memory of a Lost Generation

Eye on the East

It is an image I will never forget. A teenage girl, her gently rounded head dangling out of the car window; her long black hair swinging to the beat of the wind, caressing her young features, lifeless; her eyes slightly visible, as she gazed far ahead, at a future she could no longer dream of living. The girl and her family had been killed by Israeli shelling in South Lebanon during Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996. I revisited this image in a previous post but was unable to add the picture to the post, it hurt too much.

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When Poverty is so Dire…

Eye on the East

When I used to look at Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Brazil’s infamous shanty towns, dotting the city’s lush mountains overlooking its glorious shores, it was difficult to imagine the existence of such dire poverty. I had never seen anything like that anywhere I had been, nor had I seen anything like it in Lebanon. It seemed like an irreversible curse that a country, blessed with such beauty and with a people so happy and content with the simple pleasures in life, had to endure such injustice and inequality.

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Lebanon: Another battle in the long fight against corruption

Eye on the East

Here’s what happened in Beirut yesterday, constituting yet another sad day for Lebanon’s freedom of the press, another badge of shame on the government and another example of the public sector’s impunity when it comes to dealing with its own citizens.

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Dubai: The desert, the skyscrapers and everything in between…

Eye on the East

Note: This is the first of two posts recounting Eye on the East’s recent visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

So I finally went back to Dubai. I didn’t expect anything to feel familiar, given that so much had changed in the eight years since my first visit. Part of me knew what to expect, and part of me hoped for something new.

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On Resilience and Perpetual Violence

Eye on the East

It is difficult to stay away from writing and lamenting about bombs, death and destruction for too long when in Lebanon. And it’s all too easy to write and lament about the same old things when this happens: on how we’ve had enough of this perpetual vicious cycle of violence and how our politicians are an indestructible curse;

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Scheherazade: Scent, Illusion and Burial عطر وهم ودفن شهرزاد – ليلى كوركيس 'Scheherazade: Scent, Illusion and Burial' is an artistic collaboration between University of Iowa Department of Dance Professor Alan Sener, the Lebanese-born/Canadian writer Leila Gorguis, and New York City choreographer/performer Columbine Macher. It is the second UITV produced program conceived by Sener - the first was entitled The Lyre of Ur - in which the… Continue reading Scheherazade: Scent, Illusion and Burial عطر وهم ودفن شهرزاد – ليلى كوركيس