War Games

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the event traditionally considered to have provided the spark for the beginning of Lebanon’s Civil War. Lebanon’s politicians are commemorating it with a friendly game of soccer.

The game starts at 6:30 PM Beirut time, and apparently will have no spectators. Does anyone know if it will be televised? If not, then the choice of the memorial will be absurdly fitting: a bunch of politicians gathering together to replay their heroic struggles away from the prying eyes of their meddlesome followers, who will simply have to wait patiently for the results.

PS: I apologize for the light posting but I’ve been busy with various writing projects, some of which I’ll be able to link to soon enough. For anyone in the New Haven area who has an interest in Classical Arabic literature, there’s a wonderful colloquium taking place this weekend.

Update: The red team won the game, thanks to the goal-scoring prowess of Sami Gemayel. Gemayel had this to say after the game:

سامي الجميل بعد المباراة السياسية: اهم رسالة اليوم ان استراتيجية الحاج علي عمار الدفاعية عاطلة جدا

Pretty cute. I’ll try to find some pictures. [Update: see below]

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13 thoughts on “War Games

  1. Besides the terrible cost in human life and all the misery and squalor that accompanied it there is also the real economic cost.

    The Lebanese must be one of the very few people in the world who should be asking where have the past 35 years gone. Lebanon enjoys currently a GDP per capita of around $11,700.00 (PPP). A study by the WHO reported over a decade ago a Lebanese GDP per capita for 1973 that was $13,500.00 (PPP). Enough said about the terrible toll that the struggle and the continuing bickering have exacted.

    Posted by ghassan karam | April 13, 2010, 7:48 am
  2. I’ve been told Future TV is airing it. Maybe there will be others?

    Posted by Cathie | April 13, 2010, 8:42 am
  3. That’s just sad. (The football game thingie).
    Really? Come on!

    Further proof that the Lebanese and their leaders have learned absolutely nothing from their past mistakes.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 13, 2010, 12:11 pm
  4. This seems like it should be one of Elias’s patented Qnion posts…but I don’t think it is.

    Posted by david | April 13, 2010, 2:16 pm
  5. L was covering it for Saudi television, and I saw parts of it on LBC, MTV and Mustaqbal, although I didn’t check al-Manar.

    I’ve got the promotional postcard for it, which says: كلنا فريق واحد

    Posted by sean | April 13, 2010, 3:00 pm
  6. Anybody want to venture a guess why Asad is giving scuds to Hizballah now? Seems a move with zero advantage to Asad. What am I missing?

    Posted by AIG | April 13, 2010, 9:23 pm
  7. BBC video: http://tinyurl.com/y56bz8u

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 14, 2010, 4:18 am
  8. 1) Could be a selfless move made by the Asad.

    2) Or it could have been imposed on him by Iran during the tripartite summit held a few months back.

    3) Or it could be propaganda being peddled by the Israelis to prepare for a preemptive strike. There has been lots of activity by the Israelis on our southern border. Crossing the blue line – but not the ‘official’ border to ‘repair’ the fence, dismantle bulldozers and water pumps. I think your politicians are trying to entice the hizb into military confrontation to cover the potential mass expulsions in WB (as reported by Ha’aretz) or settlement expansion in East Jerusalem.

    I don’t think it’s the first option but the latter two are equally plausible – IMHO.

    Posted by Johnny | April 14, 2010, 4:25 am
  9. Here’s aninteresting op-ed from Sateh Noureddine from As-Safir:

    Summary in English from Middle East Reporter:
    Noureddine says the Lebanese have yet to overcome the prejudices that started the civil war and “playing football and praying in the memory of the war” is not enough. “The choice of playing football to show that the Lebanese people are now a united team was ironic, because football in Lebanon is synonymous with the mentality that got the country into a civil war.” He said that the public has not been allowed to attend football matches for the past few years because of the fights that broke out between teams with political backgrounds. “People often died in confrontations between fans during football matches,” Noureddin said. He added that the organization of the football match between Lebanese politicians was “marred by tensions between the politicians themselves,” rendering the football match “just another folkloric act which didn’t achieve anything.”

    Noureddin also criticized religious personalities in Lebanon. He argued that the joint prayer that was held near the building where the war started 35 years ago was also a “folkloric attempt to convince the Lebanese people that the war is in the past now.” He said that only positive thing about the joint prayers that were held was that the event “has become so redundant that the eyes of the Lebanese people turned completely towards the football match between the politicians.” He concluded by saying that the football match, while “innovative,” only entertained the Lebanese people and stole the spotlight from the “tradition” of the joint prayers. “Neither the prayers nor the football match, however, sent credible messages to the Lebanese people that the war was over. Tensions are still pretty much there,” Noureddin said.

    Posted by Umm iDriss | April 14, 2010, 8:09 am
  10. Gotta agree with Moureddine on this one.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 14, 2010, 12:22 pm
  11. What am I missing?


    President Obama’s ambivalence on ME issues.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 14, 2010, 2:32 pm
  12. Um iDriss,
    I am going to take this opportunity of your above post to indulge in shameless promotion:-)
    The Moureddine article in Assafir is spot on. I had cobbled a post a few days ago for YaLibnan and for rationalrepublic.blogspot.com that makes a parallel argument. The following is a segment from it:

    “It is clear that we have paid a huge price during the civil war but our only reward thus far has been a forceful hijacking of democracy, personal rights, rule of law and economic prosperity. Yes we have paid a heavy price but so far we have been denied to collect any rate of returns on that investment. To make things even worse, the Lebanese are one of the very few people in the world who are economically worse off currently compared to where they were over 35 years ago…..

    It is a shame isn’t it when all the pain, suffering and hurt fails to result in any kind of a payback in any field whatsoever, not even the economic one.”

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | April 14, 2010, 4:56 pm


  1. Pingback: Intramural football in Lebanon « the human province - April 14, 2010

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