Friday, November 30, 2007


The new installment of the Badael page in al akhbar: my opinion piece about the duties of the state and those of NGOs. An article by Nader Fawz who is asking what happened to spontaneous civil society groups who emerged in July 2006 to help the refugees from the Israeli attack, and who also asks: where were they during the Nahr el Bared crisis? Plus the usual stuff about traditional foods (rose water) and medicinal herbs (cannabis, yes it is medicinal).


Leila said...

Cannabis is illegal in the USA but under California law it may be purchased and used for medical purposes. I don't understand exactly how this works legally but I think the Federal government just doesn't want to raid California cities over their pot clubs.

So I have recently begun chemotherapy for the second time in three years, and I am amused at all the pot-head friends coming out of the woodwork to press marijuana upon me. They will give me the name of their doctor who prescribes, they will take me to the cafes and dispensaries, they will help me select, etc. etc.

I have no doubt that cannabis helps people deal with chemo side effects, certain kinds of pain and other issues. I am not against cannabis. However, from repeated experiments in my youth, I know that cannabis is not for me. It makes me feel terrible. I really don't like it. I don't mind if other people smoke it but I just don't want it.

You would not believe how persistent people can be about pressing a cancer patient to smoke weed. It's hilarious. Only in California (or Holland?) could I face such social awkwardness. Somehow just saying - it doesn't agree with me - doesn't work.

Non, merci!

bech said...

the article on civil society groups is really simplistic and does not take into account how a lot of people continued working in the south way after the war (people you know actually), the same groups who also worked with Nahr el Bared refugees.
Instead of interviewing this guy wajih qanso, she could have interviewed people who worked on the ground and helped family rebuild houses during the whole of last year rather than go interview some writer.

Rami Zurayk said...

I agree with you that this is not the best we've written. But you know i'm still working in the south and in Nahr el Bared, and because of that I can tell you that only a tiny minority still does. The purpose of the article was originally to ask: why were these groups unable to institutionalize themselves. Should they have? I know the answer is not in the text...

bech said...

Yes I was just worried for all these guys who have been continuing to work, with really no one to back them up. As you said there is still a minority, and she does not really mention them, or give them importance. For example, teh Samidoun guys stayed the whole year there, initiated the soap project, etc. no?

But towards the question of institutionalization, I think this can be investigated, but then she could probably talk to some of these people. See how communication and coordination happened between them, and see where are they now, how come they stopped, or how come they continued etc. I have seen how they meet and talk, there is really no 'leader', everyone takes decisions that complements other's decision, and that was amazing how in such an anarchic (not in the sense of chaotic, but in the political sense), these people were able to do a lot. Anyway, you know a lot of this and you know the people, so that would be a good idea.