Saturday, October 18, 2008


Rasha Abu Zeki (my favorite journalist ever in the best newspaper there is, Al Akhbar) reaches new heights (after the lamentable falafel fiasco). I noticed this piece of news yesterday, but decided it was not worth blogging, but today's events have made a difference. Listen to this: The European Commission has organized a sort of economic forum for Lebanese NGOs and Trade Unions and Private Sector and Parliamentarians from what I can see. They discussed the fate of small and medium enterprises in Lebanon (most of the economic sector is SME). Yesterday, Rasha reported that the forum adopted, in its recommendations, a motion to request government to hasten Lebanon's accession to WTO, in spite of the objection of the worker's unions. She also stressed the fact that the Progressive Socialist Party's (PSP) representative was adamant on including the WTO clause.

In todays "suite" to yesterday's article, Rasha tells us that Waleed Jumblat, the head of the (Druze) PSP called Patrick Laurent, the EC representative in Lebanon and informed him that the PSP's official position as a Socialist party is against Lebanon's accession to WTO, and asked for the withdrawal of the motion from the Forum's recommendations. Apparently, WJ read the news in Al Akhbar, and called Laurent immediately.

It looks like (according to Rasha) Laurent did not appreciate it, as he really wanted the recommendations to include the WTO bit, and he was unhappy and upset, and he told her: you should not report the outcomes of the Forum, this is internal business, to which Rasha answered: I am a journalist and my duty is to inform the Lebanese people of what their representatives are preparing for them. And she goes on, in this little side editorial, railing Laurent (who, I hear, is a very nice man, but I don't know him) and accusing him of double standards, calling for transparency in Lebanon and not practicing it himself. Laurent has become Lebanese, she tells us.

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