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The bell of an abandoned Lebanese public school rings again for Syrian students

“He grabbed his backpack, which his mother filled with a shabby pile of papers and a pen bleeding his family’s agony, and headed to school. He arrived after an hour and a half walk with cold gusts slapping his face red and howling trees mourning the innocence of childhood.

But it seemed that the trees’ shrieks were not louder than the past voices of his family members. He described how the sounds of the family’s weeping because of the father’s death were still resonating in his head and in his heart.

Ali Al Awad, a 12 year old Syrian refugee, marched on the path of education down a valley in Chanay Mount Lebanon to reach his new school. “I arrived to Lebanon 7 months ago. This is the first school I attend in Lebanon”, he said.” …  Follow Ali’s education journey in Lebanon and find out more about the education-related difficulties Syrian refugee children are facing in Lebanon by reading my article published on Your Middle East website. 


Feminist TV channel to empower women in the Mediterranean countries

This is my article about Nissa TV , the first Euro-Mediterranean TV channel aiming at promoting gender equality and empowering women, published in Your Middle East ! Check it out!!


الطفلة جنى كمال الدين

يحب الكآبة عندما تغنى… عندما تصبح لحنا شجيا يطرب نبضات القلب…

يعشق الوحدة الخرساء …

لا أعلم لماذا حاول لبنان الانتحار لكنه لم يمت بل أمواج الموت باتت تلف من كل الجوانب…

تبحث في جيوب معطفها عن بقايا ذكريات… محرمة نسيتها في الجيب الأيمن تحمل آثار عرق يدها من شدة توترها عند سماعها طلقات الرصاص…

تبحث عن تلك اللحظة…لكنها ستجد دائما تلك الكلمة الماكثة في قعر فنجان قهوة ممولي السلاح…

يحب تلك الكآبة المرتدية قناع الفرح والمتعة متعة الجنون نعم…متعة الفوضى والسلاح… أحلام صغيرة تتحول إلى إعصار…

جنى كمال الدين تسأل بكل براءة  لماذا القتل “عن غير قصد”؟ ولكنها ستجد دائما تلك الكلمة: القدر

يرقَع حياة لا يملكها بأوراق الخريف..هل ينجح في تغطية الفتنة والطائفية  بأوراق الخريف المتآكلة؟ … لا يعلم لماذا وكيف يرقع…

لماذا معارك القتل؟؟

لبنان يريد سماع لحن الموت فقط لا غير …

*توفيت الطفلة جنى كمال الدين جراء الاشتباكات التافهة بين جبل محسن وباب التبانة



Logo of the United Nations (B&W)

A dispute between Lebanon and Israel over their respective claims to a maritime territory of 5 kilometers of the Eastern Mediterranean that potentially holds billions of dollars of undrilled gas reserves presents an intriguing paradox. In what ways the roles of sovereignty, international politics, and the United Nations are manifesting themselves in the framework of this conflict?

International laws like United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and treaties have been tools for each country to claim the ownership of the disputed “common area”. While international law is based on a set of universal principles, it can be subjected to a variety of interpretations via foreign relations of a particular government or party especially in the case of Lebanese-Israeli maritime dispute as regional and international interests have much impact in the region. How is the United Nations as a mediator approaching this issue amid various factions’ interventions in the matter?

Appealing to the International Court of Justice might be a good choice to resolve the conflict; yet, drawing on other countries’ experiences with similar disputes might reveal that agreeing on not-agreeing might be a temporary solution in the present times.

Vague laws including UNCLOS corresponding to demarcation of maritime borders

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a state is given the rights of exploring and exploiting up to 200 nautical miles (around 370 kilometers) from its shore. In case there is common Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or when two neighboring states are along the same coast, delimitation negotiation among states through treaties is required.

States must deposit charts and lists of geographical coordinates of the EEZ to the UN Secretary-General according to UNCLOS article 75, paragraph 2.

Lebanon signed and ratified UNCLOS in January 1995, but Israel is not a party to UNCLOS.

In this case, should the UNCLOS be binding on both states if one state is signatory of UNCLOS?

According to Wählisch, an international lawyer, in general UNCLOS rules are considered binding on both states as customary international law even if in a certain maritime dispute one state is signatory of UNCLOS and the other state is not.

If the law is binding on both states, this means that Israel is violating international law (which is not a big surprise, really).

On the other hand, international law is not the only and ultimate decisive tool in demarcating maritime borders. In “Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World”, Ganster & Lorey (2005) mention that no given method is required by international law to delimit maritime boundaries rather,

“It requires that they be delimited in accordance with equitable principles, taking into account all of the relevant circumstances of the case so as to produce an equitable result. The equitable principles are indeterminate and the relevant circumstances are theoretically unlimited.”

The resolution of maritime boundary is ultimately a political process and UNCLOS seems a peripheral ado to the issue rather than a basis on which states should use to demarcate their boundaries

The only likely avenue for settling this outstanding jurisdictional dispute is through negotiation of treaties and the establishment of an effective mediator capable of finding a way to facilitate dialogue among the involved states.

So, if UNCLOS, the jurisdictional hand of U.N., proved to be ineffective in maintaining a vital role in this dispute, what about U.N.’s role as a mediator in this issue?

U.N. as a mediator in the mid of ghost wars

The Lebanese government since the beginning of 2011 asked the U.N. to protect its maritime boundaries and wealth. For instance, the former Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Shami sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking him to stop Israel from exploiting Lebanon’s maritime wealth. However, the first requests were refused by the U.N. based on its argument that UNIFIL resolution 1701 doesn’t state that U.N.’s role is to delineate maritime borders as stated by U.N.’s Spokesman Martin Nesirky.

In July 2011, there was a change in U.N.’s stance regarding the issue of offering help in demarcating borders between Lebanon and Israel. During a tripartite meeting between Lebanon, Israel, and the U.N., UNIFIL commander in Lebanon Major General Alberto Asarta said that UNIFIL has the means and funding to accomplish the delineation, but it needs an agreement between Lebanon and Israel. This unfortunately is very difficult to accomplish… What is U.N. asking from Lebanon and Israel is actually convoluted and requires time.

In 2007, a bilateral agreement was signed between Lebanon and Cyprus in which the edges of the zones were marked by six coordinates maintained to be equidistant between the two countries. But this was considered a suicidal mistake for Lebanon. After using Point 1 as a terminal reference (Point 1 is far too north) serving as the point of intersection between the three states, Israel took advantage of this and signed an agreement with Cyprus in just two months after Lebanon submitted its southern maritime boundary proposal to the U.N.

Lebanon reestablished that Point 23 is the real terminal reference in determining the maritime borders. By then, Israel refused the new change claiming that this modification infringes the signed agreement with Cyprus; or more accurately, it doesn’t serve its own interests.

The controversy culminated in Israel’s July 2011 unilateral proposal of its northern maritime boundaries with Lebanon and Cyprus based on the 2010 Israel-Cyprus Maritime Agreement to the United Nations. The Lebanese government protested to the U.N. complaining that the zone defined in the Israel-Cyprus 2010 Agreement infringes on parts of Lebanon’s EEZ.

What we can understand from both countries’ treaties with Cyprus on defining their maritime boundaries is that things are becoming more complicated and that the issue is still stuck regardless of the attempts to reach a certain compromise. Under international law, Israel’s and Lebanon’s maritime boundary submissions to the UN are only unilateral proposals; that’s why chances for a near-future solution to the issue remain minimal.

International Court of Justice: U.N.’s last judicial solution?

According to Article 63 paragraph 2 of the statute of the International Court of Justice,

“Every state so notified has the right to intervene in the proceedings; but if it uses this right, the construction given by the judgment will be equally binding upon it”.

So far, neither Lebanon nor Israel referred their case to the ICJ. The principle of the binding decision might be a hindrance towards particularly Israel’s reach for the ICJ since from Lebanon’s perspective it is infringing on Lebanese maritime boundaries. Israel exceeded by signing contracts with companies like Noble Energy and its partners for drilling and gas extraction and is expecting production as of 2013 while Lebanon is still procrastinating the gas drilling and drowning into its own internal affairs…

Israel might not be reaching for the ICJ while Lebanon, which would benefit from appealing to ICJ, is busy as its sectarian politicians are fighting against each other to harvest the greatest amount of gas wealth into their own pockets…

ICJ isn’t the only judicial body the countries could appeal to; International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) could determine the maritime boundary. Since only Lebanon is a member to UNCLOS and the ITLOS was established as an international judicial body pursuant to Annex VI of the UNCLOS, any decision pertaining to the case between Israel and Lebanon, Israel would have to expressly agree to the jurisdiction of the ITLOS.

Adding to this, Israel seems to have few chances of winning over Lebanon claims of Israel’s breach of Lebanon’s maritime borders since Israel has not signed on UNCLOS. Its claims to international law, regarding both the potential offshore resources opposite the Gaza coast and with regard to the North adjacent to Lebanon, are problematic.

In light of the regime change in Egypt and the approach of Morssi, Muslim Brotherhood candidate, to win the presidency in the historic current Egyptian elections, Israel will face new challenges to the agreements over the Egyptian transfer of natural gas to Israel. For this reason, it is integral for Israel to have an alternative source of gas. That is why Israel (for its own sake), although it has already started drilling, should seek a fair agreement with Lebanon concerning the delineation of maritime boundaries and comply with the international law.

Source: gulfnews

The role of the United Nations is still ambiguous although UNIFIL said it was working with Lebanon and Israel to try to establish a maritime security zone close to the Blue Line in order to prevent any future exacerbation of the conflict.

Until the matter of its role is clarified, the United Nations may prove to be a persistent predicament rather than a positive model for resolving such conflicts. UNIFIL is not a solution, but a transient conflict management tool that serves as a means to an end. There remains a generalized lack of political will, particularly to pressure Israel towards reaching a final statement to the conflict.

The legal framework for maritime boundary conflicts is relatively clear, although the practical difficulties are complex especially if the conflict is crafted by regional and international interests. The outcome of the uprising in Syria, the developments in Egypt, and the dispute about Gaza’s offshore gas will likely affect the maritime conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

The vicious circle of legal and judicial tools of the United Nations will, voluntarily or not, give time for Israel to siphon out the gas resources and lead the way to a very prosperous near future for Israel while leaving Lebanon lagging behind.

Well-written post about the influence of the interpreters’ own ideas and prejudices on the meaning they allude to Quranic verses!

the fatal feminist

As someone who has studied Arabic for a couple of years, compelled primarily by a desire to understand the Qur’an, and who remembers the frustration of not being able to understand it (and is aware of it still, because I have not mastered the language) I’m heartbroken when religious people—particularly women—dismiss their own interpretations on the basis that they are not familiar with the language, essentially surrendering the task to patriarchal scholars. Throughout Islamic history there have been an incredible number of female scholars, and it’s no accident that the numbers have dwindled to nothing as soon as self-appointed male gatekeepers were established. For women, acquiring an Islamic education has been deliberately made exceptionally difficult: most classes are segregated by sex, and to travel to other countries and enroll in Islamic schools the schools often require that the women are accompanied by a guardian. (Never mind that after the Prophet’s…

View original post 1,770 more words


لا أفعل شيئا طوال النهار سوى مكوثي في نتانة ازدواجية قيم وأفكار السياسيين اللبنانيين والنظام السياسي-الطائفي المشمئز…أحاول أن أغير…أبعث بتغريدة توبيخ على تويتر… أكتب تعليقا هنا وهناك… أشارك رأيي على الفيسبوك… ولكن القليل القليل يلبي ويبادر بمبادرة فعلية لإسقاط النظام السياسي-الطائفي…لأن الكل مستفيد من هذا النظام بطريقة مباشرة أو غير مباشرة…

 هم منشغلون في سياسة الهرج والمرج اللفظي والقلبي لا الفعلي…والجمهور يصفق ويغني “واوا”… البرلمان يصرخ ويتألم… إنه يعيش حرب أهلية مستمرة… واللبنانيون يرقصون الدبكة على قبور ضحايا الحروب السالفة…

ازدواجية المعايير تطلق صفارات الانذار ولكن اللبنانيون منهمكون في أخد الصور على الزيتونة باي, غير مدركون لرائحة الفساد القادمة من وسط بيروت ,قبالة الشاطىء…

من القضايا الكثيرة العالقة (بالأحرى المعلقة عمدا) قضية المسجونين خلف قضبان الأسى… لا أفهم هذا البلد البائس والمتناقض مع ذاته… لا أفهم كيف طار هدا الجسد الملائكي النبيل من السجن وغط على الرابية ثم أكمل مساره المقدس إلى وكره… هل هو إذاعميل عميد أو عميد عميل؟؟؟… بعثت بتغريدة للرئيس ميقاتي حول قضية المسجونين… لم يجب…كنت متأكدة من ذلك…

أكتب كثيرا من الأحيان ثم ما ألبس أن أضع كتاباتي في ال recycle bin

لا أعرف لماذا أفعل ذلك؟؟ ربما لأنني اعتدت على ألا أكتب إلا إذا كنت متأكدة من معلوماتي وعندي مصادر موثوقة ولكن كتاباتي الشخصية مصدرها أنا.. “أنا” ونقطة على السطر… أشعر بالخوف من نشرها.. ليس ذلك الخوف من ردة فعل الناس  والمجتمع فقد طلقت أفكار المجتمع منذ سنين… لكن الخوف من نقدي الشخصي لنفسي… لا أريد مواجهة نفسي الآن… لا يوجد وقت لذلك

أكتب لأموت قليلا ثم أحيا… أكتب لمجرد رغبتي في إضاعة نفسي في العدم… نعم العدم… أريد أن أزرع نفسي في طيات صفحات كتاب ممحي… أريد أن أضيع الزمان,المكان, والأحداث… الأحداث تتكرر.. كل شيء يتكرر…وأنا أريد أن لا أتكرر…

أنا مدركة تماما أني وصلت مرحلة الجنون…لم أعد أفهم ما الذي يحدث أو لا يحدث…

ولكني أفهم أن الفوضى أوجدت لبنان ولبنان أوجد الفوضى… ولبنان غير مسؤول عن كل هدر للثروات بما فيها مصادر الغاز, السرقات والنهب المنظم,الفساد الإداري والبرلماني,و فضائح فساد الغذاء, المستشفيات وووو …

لم أعد أؤمن بلبنان!

الآن أستطيع إكمال فنجان قهوتي…

يمكنكم البدء من هنا:

“The Mediterranean’s foamy waves have brought more than the regular Lebanese garbage to the shore this time. They have brought with them the dirty Israeli methods for drilling, the deviated technologies that are employed to make the language of the sea more difficult to comprehend in this much exacerbated region…”

Will the mechanism of horizontal drilling be employed in the Eastern Mediterranean region by Israel and how would it affect the Lebanese gas resources?

Find out:

This is a link to my article published on hibr



(Originally published here)The suitability of Gorleben from a geological perspective has sparked much controversy over the years. A new study revealed the existence of gas penetration at the salt dome.

GORLEBEN- Not just darkness… but a black hole engulfing hundreds of protestors into one main cause. It is a cause that has been lingering on the farmers’ tractors and on the yellow crosses, symbolizing the anti-nuclear movement, for decades. Pointing to the woods, Martina Lammers, a board spokeswoman of the Greens, said that she spent the night with the protesters trying to block the train carrying nuclear waste towards Gorleben two weeks ago. “It was very cold and the place was thorny,” Lammers described. However, not thornier than the issue of using Gorleben salt dome as a nuclear waste storage site, is to the citizens there. The suitability of Gorleben as a nuclear storage site from a geological perspective is still debated as well as whether it is safe or not for the environment and for the people living nearby.

Five hundred Hiroshima “saltedbombs at Gorleben yet safely stored

Martina Lammers explained that one castor casket contains five or seven like Hiroshima bombs. “We have around 100 containers in Gorleben, so you can imagine how significant this is,” she said.

However, Sven Dokte, spokesman for the Association for Plant and Reactor Safety (GRS), explained that not much radiation is actually being emitted compared to the amount of radiation the average person receives on a yearly basis. He said, “If we presume that we don’t have any major catastrophe that goes beyond the design, the only thing coming out of these facilities is radiation. There are limits like 0.3 mSv (measure of radiation dose) a year which is the maximum for radiation which is allowed to be measured at the facilities. From a scientific view, this dose limit will probably not be exceeded. The daily measurements are very hard to measure in these areas. Those limits have to be held. This is something I don’t refer to as dangerous.”

He added that one receives this amount of radiation which is 0.3 mSv a year when standing at the fence site 365 days and 24 hours a day which is not a realistic thing. So scientists won’t label the house and environmental effects of that as severe.

Dokte made clear that the radiation emitted from a nuclear waste storage site isn’t as dangerous as people might think. He said,

“A lot of people aren’t really thinking about whether they receive the third… the fifth… or even the sixth X-ray examination in one year. They just go there and don’t even worry about it, but they fear these 0.3 mSv at the fence site that they would receive if they stood there for one year. The majority aren’t familiar with the scientific background of the issue, the dose limits, and the effects of radiation.”

Gorleben salt dome

Radiation amounts:

The natural background radiation that one receives from radiation that comes from space and also from the radioactive elements underground in the earth in Germany is about 2.3 mSv (measure of radiation dose) a year. There are some variations depending on where one lives in Germany and that is because of different geological spheres that sometimes contribute to radiation. When one takes a look at what a normal person on average receives radiation a year not only from this natural radiation but also from other things like x-ray radiation examinations, smoking, flying and all things that don’t have to do with nuclear power then one easily can get up to doses like 5 6 or 7 mSv a year.

If someone works in nuclear facility in Germany then he/she may receive up to 20 mSv a year which is acceptable. And the probability of cancer which one can measure is from about 100 mSv a year.

Regarding the safety of casks, Michael Koebl, head of press and public relations at GNS Group, Competence for Nuclear Services, the company responsible for packaging the nuclear waste for disposal, said that all of the packages are safe and “transporting them whether on streets, railroads, or storing them in our interim storage facilities doesn’t cause any danger to the environment or to the people living near our facilities and also for the people working in our facilities.” He added that they as a company has to prove there is no danger because it is the only way to get a license to do the work.

Jorgen Auer, Public Relations Manager for GNS at the Gorleben site showed a video explaining how the casks maintain their integrity and remain intact after different deliberately induced actions are done. There were tests pertaining to cases of earthquake simulations and train carrying nuclear waste crash accidents. The tests proved how the casks preserved the nuclear waste inside regardless of various deliberately induced actions.

Billboards at GNS showcasing casks where nuclear wastes are kept

Water and Gas at Gorleben Storage Site

Under the name “uncertainty analysis of Gorleben”, the geologist Dr. Ulrich Kleemann, who was the head of the Department Safety and Nuclear Waste Management at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) in Salzgitte, discussed on Tuesday 13 December the geological shortcomings of Gorleben as a waste storage site and the reasons behind the unsuitability of Gorleben as a final nuclear repository.

Dr. Kleemann came to the conclusion in his study “Evaluation of the final repository Gorleben: Geological problems and open questions in connection with a preliminary safety analysis Gorleben (VSG), Regional geology and site suitability” that the salt dome lies in an active fault zone, beneath it are “potentially gas-bearing strata.” This means that there could be dangerous ground movements in the area. His study showed that a protective layer of clay is lacking above the salt dome and that there might be sub-salt gas that could penetrate into the salt dome. He concluded in his study that Gorleben site does not satisfy the minimum requirements for a Repository site and is classified as unsuitable.

For more information on the study (in German), please refer to:

The Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen had already announced in November 2011 a new beginning in the repository search. Florian Emrich, the spokesman for BFS, The Federal Office of Radiation Protection, expressed his gratitude of this announcement, “we were quite glad with this process, but nobody knows yet what will the final outcome be. We need another 15 years.”

From a geological perspective, Emrich seemed hectic to give a clear answer about this. He said that they don’t know if Gorleben is suitable or not. He added, “The number of questions have been identified which will take some time to answer them for example we have found gas and oil around the walls and traces of gas and oil in the salt mine.”

The Federal Office of Radiation Protection, BFS, has to look on how the whole dome is formed especially “if there is any possibility of water and reservoirs in the salt dome or even if there’s danger of water from over ground or from higher and other geological structures that might be getting to the salt dome”, Emrich explained.

Rebecca Harms, the co-leader of the Green/European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, seemed to confirm the unsuitability of Gorleben as a nuclear storage site from a geological standpoint by pointing several crucial points, “Firstly, the salt stock in Gorleben lacks of a stable bearing. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection demands as a minimum requirement for the suitability of salt stocks to be radioactive waste repositories the existence of a natural multi-barrier system, which is not given in the case of the salt stock in Gorleben.”

Secondly, she said that the salt dome has contact to the ground water. Interstice volumes in the salt stock caused by the ground water contact are hence very likely, which makes the salt stock itself unstable. In case of direct contact between nuclear waste and ground water, she explained, a contamination of the biosphere would be the consequence, as the ground water directs to the ground level both collateral and vertical of the salt stock.

In addition to that, Harms elaborated that current analysis has found the greatest occurrence of natural gas in Germany under the salt stock, which disqualifies it once again. The place around Gorleben will be contaminated as the result of that, stressed Martina Lamers.

“We don’t need another Fukushima to remind us about how dangerous nuclear energy is”,

expressed Martina Lammers. The solution in her view is to use alternative energy. She pointed out that she is working on several projects in order to show people how non-renewable energy could replace nuclear energy in their daily lives.

For more information, watch this video:

I hated it… that moment…the wrinkled faces are so dear to me…so dear you can’t imagine how dear they’re …the wrinkled faces… the thick glasses… the tired eyelids… the shivering hands…You can’t imagine how dear the wrinkled faces, the thick glasses, the tired eyelids, and the shivering hands are so dear to me… you can’t because you haven’t inhaled the moment of death …

The shivering hands… the blooded eyes… are so dear to me … but you still can’t imagine how dear they are because you haven’t sipped the coffee of death…

There is the torn part of me… a shadow that lurk beneath the dying sun….

I hated it. I just did.

The Arab spring is struggling death… Revive it before it perishes.

It’s really unacceptable to see Women blamed for such gruesome acts! This is inhumane… Changing the mindset of these deeply entrenched cultural beliefs takes a lot of time… Therefore, I prefer a much stricter judicial system that PROTECT women and more importantly that’s IMPLEMENTED! (That’s why we need CONVENTIONS and LAWS as with the case of the much debated issue of the protection of women from violence law in Lebanon )

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