Lebanon

An English Version of al-Akhbar?

akhbar-logoMy friend Sean over at The Human Province sent me an email this morning speculating about whether there was anything to the rumor about the excellent Lebanese daily newspaper al-Akhbar launching an English version. The paper, while following a mostly pro-opposition line, is the only widely-read publication that regularly goes after parties on both sides of the political divide.

It is also, as As`ad Abu-Khalil has noted, one of the only papers in the Middle East that has openly supported gay rights.

Sean pointed out that the tag /ar/ has begun to appear in all of al-Akhbar’s URL’s, so he tried navigating over to http://www.al-akhbar.com/en/ only to find that the site is “Under Construction”.

Promising…

Update: While we’re on the subject of the media, I just read this interesting piece about the reported firing of 50 editors and employees at an-Nahar, a venerable Lebanese newspaper.

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Discussion

17 thoughts on “An English Version of al-Akhbar?

  1. Excellent news!

    Posted by Sasa | September 29, 2009, 9:42 am
  2. QN,

    Akhbar is very well known to be a Syrian mukhabarati supported rag…I have still to read anything anti oppostion by Ibrahim Amin…
    Sasa’s glee proves the point lol…

    Posted by danny | September 29, 2009, 10:11 am
  3. Is it really? Evidence?

    Ibrahim Amin is very pro-opposition, but Khaled Saghiyyeh (the editor-in-chief) regularly criticizes Hizbullah and the FPM.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | September 29, 2009, 10:19 am
  4. I don’t know about this..the paper’s website is powered by drupal..and the AR thing in the URL has been there it’s not a new thing..I guess they added the language as a “second” one to drupal and set it as the default..that’s why there’s an “ar”..

    I’m not saying they’re not preparing an English version..actually I hope they do..
    But if they’re doing it..it’s not new..and my guess is that it’s only drupal multi-language configuration

    Posted by nightS | September 29, 2009, 10:28 am
  5. Hmmm, good point.

    Umm, what is drupal?
    :)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | September 29, 2009, 10:35 am
  6. Drupal is a CMS just like WordPress you’re using..but more complicated and has lots of extra features..it’s more suitable to a “paper” website..
    And it supports multi-languages obviously :D

    http://drupal.org/

    Posted by nightS | September 29, 2009, 10:38 am
  7. danny, your frustration is understood and you’re not offered any help from the administrator. Now try to deal with glee by building on this (I apologize QN for the unusually lengthy comment which I try to avoid).

    The performance of President Suleiman has deteriorated recently to a degree that may jeopardize the sovereignty of Lebanon. The President is entrusted with the task of guarding the country’s sovereignty and its constitution. In a recent statement which he made while in New York, the President handed the two obstructionist States a free certificate of good conduct by declaring that Syria and Iran are not engaged in obstructionism in Lebanon. In my opinion, that was a short-sighted statement which rewards a thief for his theft. Many Lebanese politicians immediately provided an apologetic explanation to the President’s bizarre statement as a diplomatic attempt to keep channels open with the two countries.

    It didn’t take long for Syria through its mouthpiece ‘rag’ Tishreen to pay back the President of Lebanon for his good will towards a non-deserving so-called neighbor seeking to control Lebanon through various means of subversion and outright obstructionism. It is a reminder of the same pay back the so-called Syrian orchestrated opposition of Lebanon has reciprocated PM-designate’s extended hand which he offered during his first attempt to form the government. Tishreen is desperately trying to portray Lebanon as a country that is terminally ill (this was the exact phrase used by the newspaper) with the obvious implication that Damascus is seeking to restore its previous role, albeit this time through its stooges.

    It is a very well known theme that we have heard over and over again. But of course, this time, the Syrian merchant is hoping to sell a ‘merchandise’ that it does not possess ahead of the upcoming Iranian negotiations with the West. Syria has already failed to gain any concessions in Lebanon from the more important regional players as well as from the Europeans and the Americans. In addition, it had failed to position itself as the mediator between Iran and the West after it has been rebuffed by the Iranians during Assad’s recent visit to Tehran. The Iranians seem to be unwilling to take the backstage and allow the Syrians to collect commissions at their expense, and there could also be a lack of trust between the two so-called allies. In other words Iran wants to take the driver’s seat and Syria was plainly told it can only be a client State in this Syro/Iranian marriage of convenience. Recently, Syria tried to explore a Turkish avenue to assert itself with no tangible results so far.

    The recent attempt to galvanize the Iraqi streets has also backfired in the face of the Syrian spoilers. It looks like the government of Syria may soon have to deal with another STI similar to the ongoing STL which may soon begin deliberations with unknown consequences to the ruling Syrian Junta. Hence the Tishreen article is the only distraction this Junta has left at its disposal to export its own failures to the only arena it hopes to score a win. It looks like, the West and the Arab allies are steadfast in their answers to Damascus so far, i.e. Lebanon is off limits with or without government in Beirut. This makes perfect sense considering what few cards Syria has left in its hands, it is doubtful that the Syrian merchant, despite all its reputation for being clever, will be able to short sell the West and the regional players. If you cannot hedge your bets, then ask Walid Beyk.

    This does not absolve President Suleiman from taking a firm stand with regards to this clear intervention in Lebanon’s affairs by this Syrian government mouthpiece. The article clearly negates whatever good will the President has shown towards Syria. He must come out with a strong statement condemning such poisonous and cheap acts of propaganda and demands an apology from the Syrian government. Of course Lebanon can live without a government for a year, two years and even three years. It is the opposition which will eventually pay the price.

    Posted by mike | September 29, 2009, 12:21 pm
  8. QN,
    I do not have time at the moment to write a detailed reaction to the above but the sad news is that I have been expecting such developments for aver two years not only at the AnNahar but all the rest of what passes as Lebanese dailys. The arithmetic needs not be daunting. If my memeory serves me correctly all the Lebanese newspapers combined have a circulation of under a 100,000 each day. Many do not reach the 2000 mark. Such low circulation , partially due to the high prices of almost a $1 per copy each daymake it impossible to either do investigative journalism or charge decent advertising rates. This means only one thing, in order to publish each of the newspapaers needs to sell itself to the highest bidder and be at their mercy. That is one reason there is no decent respectable journalism in the country. Many Lebanese are proud that Lebanon publishes such a large number of rags when we would be much better of if the quasi viable ones would merge and publish a regular respectable daily that people can trust. The current system is responsible to a large extent for the current state of affairs in the country. When journalists abdicate their responsibility to investigate, inform and hold all parties feet to the fire we all lose.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | September 29, 2009, 1:58 pm
  9. Mike,

    You said “The performance of President Suleiman has deteriorated recently to a degree that may jeopardize the sovereignty of Lebanon.” with all due respect but what the hell are you talking about? What sovereignty?

    And as for the rest of your comment, it again mirrors this overwhelming Lebanese belief that their particular party/sect and their allies are somehow “good” while the others are “evil”. As long as the majority of the Lebanese public continues to give in to this philosophy while their leaders manipulate them, the country’s crisis will linger. Where is your criticism of Leb/Saudi/US media that biasely supports M14 and regurgitate similar crap to the one pro M8 media outlets dish out if only in the opposite direction?

    My humble view is that the reality is not so black and white. Instead it’s an ocean of grey. Which side is less-evil is open to interpretation and subject to current regional and international will.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | September 30, 2009, 5:18 am
  10. Excuse Innocent,
    Are you saying that President Suleiman should not respond to the crap spewed out by the Syrian ruling junta’s mouthpiece rag “Tishrin”?

    Are you saying that Lebanon is not a sovereign State?

    Who the hell are you? And where do you come from? I need to know that before I respond to the rest of your crap. I do not want to make assumptions. In particular, I need to know if you’re Syrian.

    Posted by mike | September 30, 2009, 10:57 am
  11. Folks excuse the little Nazi Mike he is having a bad day
    Mike chill man and have a barazi :)

    Posted by V | September 30, 2009, 11:38 am
  12. This is a warning to everyone. Drop the silly ad hominem attacks or you’re banned for the day.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | September 30, 2009, 11:42 am
  13. Ok no more from me and sorry for the trouble :) by the way whats a ad hominem sounds like an exotic dish

    Posted by V | September 30, 2009, 11:53 am
  14. I need to know if you’re from Bhutan before I can respond to such a warning.

    Posted by sean | September 30, 2009, 4:11 pm
  15. QN,
    I think nightS is spot in the ‘ar’ url theory.

    But it’s a bit surreal that the article about An Nahar that you linked to is an English (summary) translation of an Al Akhbar article: http://www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/158671

    Or did you do that on purpose? :)

    Posted by RedLeb | September 30, 2009, 4:23 pm
  16. Reverting back to the topic of the post, I was excited at first about the rumour, but after contacting a journalist for Al Akhbar, I’ve been told there is no English version in the works. Too bad!

    Posted by Blackstar | October 8, 2009, 1:31 pm
  17. I thought Innocents response to Mike was an attempt at being diplomatic when Mike’s assessment (be it too long and one sided) was nothing but cheap propaganda. Talking about the steadfast “West and arab allies” as if they are the only thing standing in the way of Syria taking over Lebanon again. It’s just absurd and the situation is far too complicated to dwell on one evil neighbour. It’s obvious you’ve put your lot in with far right christian Nazi’s, Wahabis and the saintly U.S government (which has never screwed over another country for it’s own interests). Obstructionist states. PFFT! He was in the biggest obstructionist, imperialist state of all when he made these diplomatic comments. Sleiman is treading a thin line.
    And it doesn’t matter where one comes from because where one is born bears no relationship to one’s character. And he was being so nice!
    Al-akhbar is as close to an unbiased newspaper the arab world has so thumbs up! The only one to even remotely care about releasing wikileaks. Al-Akhbar news channel is what we need next!

    Posted by Mahmoud | January 1, 2011, 3:48 pm

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