(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Posts Tagged ‘lebanese elections

2 Stories: Lebanon Drug Addiction | Foreign Influence

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I had a story in The Daily Star today about an NGO, Skoun, that helps treat drug addicts and lobbies the government for more treatment and less jail time for addicts. NGOs really fill a huge gap in civil society. I’ve covered events by about a dozen so far and its really interesting to see how prevalent they are. One one hand its a good thing to provide all these services, but on the other it makes people dependent on other countries organizations and individual donors besides the state.
My story in the paper yesterday was on a UNDP report with a section on foreign influence in Lebanon. It was some of the harshest language that I’ve read about the foreign patronage, and especially suprising coming from the UN. Unfortunately it didn’t have a newspeg, but hey you gata fill the paper I guess.

The foreign influence really gets understated, particularly by people with an agenda. You hear people talk about the “Western backed” March 14 coalition (like in my story, not my choice) but really that should read something like “Saudi backed” because of the  hundreds of millions of dollars the Saudis possibly used to leverage the campaign. But as usual the truth can’t be summed up into one or two words. Parties that joined either March 8 and 14 had diverse reasons for doing so that reflect local, national, regional and global pressures that are difficult to encapsulate in a phrase.

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Written by stephenddockery

July 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Election Maddness

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No time for a full post, because I’m still at work. But quickly:
I spent the day with Dana driving around Jbeil, Batroun and Koura.
1)Almost fell of the mountain in Jbeil (which means mountain) a few times, White knuckled the entire way up. But once we got to the top ridge it was incredible, beautiful towns nice people waving flags and wearing orange and red shirts (the opposing parties) camping out and celebrating right next to each other.
2) Batroun, went into more election areas (went into about 12 total) met with Antione Zahra at the Lebanese Forces stronghold, asked him a tough question which he dodged.
3) Went to Koura saw the Greek Orthodox who talked completely different and didn’t understand what I was saying. Saw SSNP and Lebanese Communist Flags and all sorts of different political parties. Very unusual place.

The jist: AOUN, everywhere. If I had to predict just by the amount of Orange Green and Yellow I saw on the street (FPM, Marada, Hezbollah) I would say March 8 wins by a landslide in the districts I was covering. I heard the same for Baabda and Aley and other districts around the office. So if I had to make an early prediction it would be March 8 and just a determination of by how much

Turn it Aoun

Turn it Aoun

Written by stephenddockery

June 7, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Need help understanding the Lebanese elections?

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March 8 and March 14,  Hezbollah and Amal, Lebanese Forces and Kataeb. Lebanese politics is layered in history and can be very unapproachable. For anyone starting to figure it out Deen Sharp, a Beirut free lance journalist ,has some great resources, including background on Lebanon’s main political parties, an explanation of the parliament and a Lebanese media guide.. (Speaking of which my story on the independent youth media  outlet got pushed to tomorrow)

As a British business professor at AUB was explaining to me, politics here is  absurdly labyrinthine for a country with the population the size of Houston, TX. But what Houston is not, is a battleground country for the biggest players in the Middle East and  the world.

Written by stephenddockery

June 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm