Song and tear Gas , from Beirut : Naser Deen Al Tuffar

From a marginalized region came this Rab singer , from a poor village in eastern Lebanon where people are forced by want either to join Hezbollah or the Lebanese army or facing humiliation for the whole of their life .. This man chose a different option : to say NO , to sing it in their faces …..

Here , Naser sang , danced , with others like him , in the center of Beirut , which became theirs , even for one night ..

Naser Deen Al Tuffar and Al Ras ‘ song title : we and the garbage are neighbors

translation of song’ lyrics :

They suffocate you , make you starve , destroy you , so stand up … they humiliated you beaten you , marginalized you , tied you , so stand up , this is a blood tax not a tax of the government ….. the reputation is yours , but the real actors are those who are from above , and those who are above you , ordered you , to leave the borders and follow us in Beirut … you are their salve , you don’t really owe even your breathing , they might order you to kill your brother , so they could earn millions , steal millions , the daughter of the MP needs drugs , and officer’son needs heroin , the wall to the wall , garbage is everywhere , and down there are minds stopped but of thinking of the monthly salary , you don’t owe your suit , your weapon , but tell me my cousin , your life isn’t yours … whom life will be lost , those who use your blood , those who never got injured … For you : it is : Obey then object … You are beaten with bottles .. when a solider dies the suit of his officer becomes brighter … who is in front of you , or behind you .. you came from poverty , is it a Molotov or a “pacifist” revolutionary .. Tear gas canister , either I throw it away or find another solution for it … Know with whom you are talking , we will smoke , your voice will always be very weak , even if you speak loudly .. we will perform urine analysis 1 , but they are the ones who actually urinate in their pants … I am the original , I don’t hide my identity , like your informers …. We are happy , and enjoying her , feeling cool because of your water cannon , as we don’t have water in our houses , solideer 2 doesn’t smell stint , there is no garbage in Solideer , solideer is the garbage , and the head cover of imams is not for god , if it belongs to others , those who “liberate” 3 the land enslave the people now ….. let them go to the hell , they will not divide humans , neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran , we and the garbage neighbors …

1 Urine analysis was imposed by the authorities on arrested protesters

2 Solideer : the company that own the center of Beirut , consist of most ruling elite ‘ members

3 Those who “liberate” the land : Hezbollah who claims responsibility for expelling Israelis from southern Lebanon in  2000

say something to Naser


On the current protests in Lebanon : When spring comes late , would it achieve more ?

Soon the massive upheaval , that swept the middle east since late 2010 , was contained or even turned into devastating conflicts between competing authoritarian forces .. That wave spared Lebanon , which is ruled since the departure of Syrian ( read : Assad ‘ ) troops in 2005 by an elite divided between the pro-Iranian regime : 8 march camp , headed by “Shia’a” Hezbollah ; and pro-Saudi regime : 14 march , headed by the “Sunni” oligarch Hariri .. Religious sectarianism is very strong in Lebanon , and local sectarian elites enjoyed undisputed influence over the masses for long time , till nowadays .. This sectarianism was responsible for several eruptions of civil violence among different sects since 1860 .. In 1860 , local Durzi landlords used sectarianism to mobilize their peasants against the revolting Maronite peasants , who were double exploited by those landlords ; this ended in wide massacres against Christians , some targeted Muslims or Druzes themselves ; that reached more tolerable cities like Damascus , under the patronage of the ruling Ottomans .. Western powers soon intervened “to protect” local Christians , the result was “great Lebanon” autonomous region under the direct rule of a Maronite landlord with nominal attachment to the Ottoman government .. This tradition , and tension , continued under French mandate 1920 – 1946 , and the “government” of independence that created the formula of dividing the three positions of presidencies among the three major sects : the president of the republic to be a Maronite , of the government a Sunni , and a shii’a for the parliament .. The Muslim part of elite felt marginalized and sought more representation and influence , that was at the root of 1958 minor civil war , and the later devastating one in 1975 – 1990 .. That war was ended by a mutual agreement between US administration and Assad’ regime , to re-unite the country under the sole influence of Assad …. Despite prosecution of some christian sectarian leaders by the new regime , local elite became very soon accustomed to the rules of Assad , the new master ; and shared the fruits of the new regime with senior Assad government and security officers .. This lasted till 2005 .. A dispute between prime minister Hariri and the young dictator of Damascus , Bashar Al Assad ; ended in the assassination of the first .. Under the shock of the incident , big numbers of Sunnis and Christians took to the streets , it was the first serious challenge of Assad grip in decades .. The angry elite , feeling strong enough due to the wide popular anger against Syrian military presence , and to the foreign support from western and arabian or presian gulf governments managed to force Assad out of Lebanon .. Pro-Assad local agents , especially Hezbollah : that was a double Iranian -Syrian local agent which was invented by both to resist Israeli aggression at first then as the most useful card in the tense and difficult relations with Israel and US ; felt threatened by these developments , and started to fight for more influence in the government .. The country entered in a long cold sectarian war between the two camps , which was about to became violent in several occasions .. The government was tactfully divided between the two competing camps with all the privileges assigned to it .. But the escalating conflict within the ruling elite combined with the greed of this elite had very bad consequences on the old exhausting infrastructure of the country .. Crises ensued … The chronic problem of low wages of government’ employees mobilized them in a series of actions and minor strikes .. The last crisis one was that of removing the garbage from the streets .. The old contract with the company that was doing the business for 20 years expired .. As this company was owned by Hariri , the renewal of the contract was an opportunity to re-divide the profits .. Hariri refused .. And piles of garbage filled the streets of Lebanon .. Activists decided to react , they took to the streets .. Their first protest was harshly suppressed by government police , but this repression didn’t stop the protest but turned it into a real movement and gave it more strength and popularity .. Activists managed to keep the pace of their movement and keep it away from competing sectarian camps of the elite , which gave them more credibility among the people from all sects .. In the protest of 16 th of september , police repression was very brutal .. That attack was combined with a fierce attack by the strong propaganda machine of the elite against the protest movement .. All that succeeded in one thing only : push the activists to more radical stand .. Activists decided to defy the government in the streets in a big demonstration today , 20 th of September .. Despite the reformist demands of their last statement they ended it with more radical slogan : Power , state , and wealth for the people … The majority of the activists came from middle class , and most of them were active in local NGO’s for some time .. This imitates the situation everywhere in middle east .. The activists who were engaged in the protest movements that reached its peak in Arab spring’ uprisings , were middle class , either in their class identity or political and social thinking .. This fact set the frame of Arab spring’ revolutions .. The prevailing liberal ( even neo-liberal sometimes : right – wing “libertarianism” ) politics of the core part of the activists was due to this fact .. That does’n’t mean that lower classes didn’t participate .. But those who represent the widest current in the movement or claimed its leadership or representation were mainly middle class .. That was seen also in Tiananmen square protests – 1989 , when students claimed the leadership of the movement and asked workers to follow … Even in the Lebanese movement there were tensions between middle class activists ( leaders ) and those who came from poor neighborhoods .. That doesn’t mean to underestimate the potential or the libertarianism of middle class activists , especially the youngest ones and the students ; but this is very important to understand their limits too .. On the other side : Lower classes , less represented , under-educated , politically inexperienced and disorganized ; ended in supporting Islamists , especially Salafists , who were very active in poor neighborhoods since long time , since neo-liberal official policies meant to leave these neighborhoods to their own fate and misery .. Salafists , properly financed by their masters in local social elite or by their Saudi counterparts , offered significant help to alleviate the misery of the poorest , and with it they indoctrinated them with their rigid teachings ; turning these neighborhoods into their strongholds .. Salfists themselves were later divided between the ISIS’ insurrectionists and “salvage army” – like moderates who cooperated with the state and its repressive agencies ( today , Salafists constitute an important part of the pro- SISI camp in Egypt ; in Lebanon they were divided between some militant groups and the pro-Hariri imams and scholars ) .. Considering its reformist agenda ( fighting corruption ) and its class content , one can soon feel skepticism about the future of escalating protest movement in Lebanon .. But there is something different here that might lead to different results : more radicalization of the movement maybe .. When analyzing 1848’s revolutions , Anarchist George Woodcock noticed that there were two types of 1848′ revolutions : the majority which took place against very repressive and authoritarian regimes , and the french type which was more proletarian and class conscious .. The bourgeoisie was already ruling in France .. So the revolt was not only to strengthen its control over the state , working class opted to defy it , as Parisian workers did in July uprising .. In Lebanon , the ruling elite practices its hegemony through representative democracy .. In contrast to their neighbors , Lebanese people are used to elections , high degree of freedom of expression , compared to what their neighbors enjoy .. This could have a double effect : that any real change imposed from bellow must go beyond such basic “liberties” , or it could be used by the propaganda machine of the Establishment to convince people of the “benefits” of the prevailing system , despite its rotten corruption .. The marginalized in Lebanon were trying to fight back against the system since long time .. As their situation became more desperate they started to mobilize … But to little effect till now .. The majority of workers work in government’ departments .. They are ill-paid .. They supported the initiatives of the independent Syndicalist cooperating commission to increase their wages , but could get only minor increases .. Government was always successful in containing such struggles and forcing people to retreat .. The coming demonstration ( today ) could break this successful record .. But then , to where ? … Personally , which could be very untrue , I think that the fate of recent protest wave depends on initiating the self-action and self-organization of lower classes , especially workers and unemployed .. This only can be the base for a more radical and libertarian alternative to the status quo .. Could this happen ? If Arab spring could be considered as 1848 or 1905 type of revolutions , their main lesson or experience should be masses’ self-organization during the first days of the uprisings , when police forces withdrew or were defeated in the street battles against young protesters .. Then , masses occupied , organized and protected the whole social space by themselves , through grassroot organs ( what was called popular committees , later these were called coordinating committees in the first popular period of the Syrian revolution ) .. Highlighting those experiences and building on them , as I think , could decide the outcome of the ongoing protests in Lebanon , and tomorrow’s ones everywhere

When Maoist “comrades” help us to define what is really the problem

Maoism , and Hoxhaism , was once a relatively significant current in the Tunisian and Moroccan left , even in the Turkish one ; during 60’s and 70’s , and played a relatively important role in opposing the ruling regimes then .. Today Maoists and Hoxhaists are only a shadow of that past .. Still present , but very weak , and much less popular among students or workers as they were once ….. Their saints : Marx , Lenin , Mao , Hoxha , etc , cannot raise the same enthusiasm as they did once when they were ruling big countries ; where the whole nation and economy and everything , were put under the service of their propaganda machine , in order to promote the virtues of these saints , and virtues of being enslaved by them .. Those times are over .. But their churches are still there , praising the same gods and idols , not better that any other deserted , outdated faith … So why talking about these poor people now ? Even that criticizing them would be justified , but it looks outdated , concerning only with the last few militants who still label themselves as Maoists , or so .. In fact , these people are still “serving” the cause of emancipation of the masses , in their “own” , very “special” way .. Of course , it become clear after the fall of soviet union , and the adoption of private capitalism in China , and the horrible events in Kampuchea and North Korea , that all the alleged self-proclaimed virtues of Marxism , in all its disguises and interpretations , had fallen down , that their master’ prophecies failed to the exam of time ; and most importantly : that Marx was only occupied , from the very beginning , of creating his own church , and his own hegemony in workers’ movement , then his own dictatorship : the dictatorship over the proletariat .. In this way , Marxists “helped” people to realize that authoritarian ways of “emancipation” are just false ways , that lead only to re-establish oppression and exploitation .. What Marx worshiped was the same god of the bourgeoisie : the economy or production forces .. If he breached that we were heading towards a more just and free world , that was not because he liked or wanted freedom or justice , it was because that was the will of his god , freedom or justice were just secondary things , by-products of his god’s will .. And because he didn’t breach freedom or justice , he invented , or helped in inventing , the concept of “progressiveness” to better describe his real intentions and project .. As he was very faithful to his god , he justified all the atrocities perpetrated by the rising bourgeoisie in North America and and Slavic countries , and everywhere ; as simple necessary price for progress and development .. Thus we could also understand the atrocities done by his disciplines in Russia , China , and other “socialist” countries .. They were justified sacrifices for their god , for progress … Anyhow , this story is almost over , most Marxist churches now are totally deserted , no one came to worship their saints or read their gospel , their old miracles are outdated , don’t inspire anymore .. Their time is over .. So , now let’s proceed to our point of all this , after we can be sure that there is nothing could be really gained from criticizing their theological approach or interpretations of their master’s gospel , aside of making sure that authoritarian means would lead to oppression only .. Their last “service” for the cause is how nicely they helped people , the oppressed , activists , freedom lovers , dreamers , etc , to define the real problem or challenge they face .. On the website of the revolutionary communist party in United States , there is an article about leadership and revolutionary movement .. This party , that is built on cult of the personality of Atabekian , his chairman ; starts by asking the “common” or “common sense” questions : why revolutionary people do need leaders ? if they are not supermen , if they do mistakes , and could be sold out or eliminated , etc ; why to treat them as gods , and why communists , who believe in collectivity , need individual leaders ? Aren’t they going to stifle initiative and participation in decision – making and other activities of the “party members” ? That looks really bold , it means that RCP-USA think they really have the answer , a convincing one ; despite the fact that they have to act nowadays without their most decisive prof : Beria’s secret police and mass concentration camps .. After they judge those who usually ask such questions ( 1 ) as middle class intellectuals ( Let’s remember here : for a Marxist , being proletarian doesn’t mean working in a factory , or selling your labor , but not asking such questions , as ordinary worker will have only simple “economic” , pre-political consciousness according to Lenin ; for a Marxist , the true proletarian is the one who believes in Marxism , as the self-proclaimed ideology of proletariat : so Stalin , even he didn’t do any manual work for decades , even when he lived in Czar’ palaces and enjoyed their luxurious life , he was still very proletarian , more than those who worked with their hands , as these “simple” workers could be deceived by the “enemy” to betray their workers’ country or party or leader , without the continuous surveillance of Chekas ) ; anyhow , RCP-USA proceed to add : as the masses cannot do without leadership , without orders , without order-givers , that they still need revolutionary leaders , so let it be their Pope , chairman Atabekian , here is the whole point , presented in the best possible way : How to organize life , production , consumption , etc ; without bosses , without hierarchy , without division between those who give orders and those who have to obey them .. Tackling this problem is the core of the whole issue of human emancipation .. Thanks Pope – Atabekian , no one could ever make it so clear : how we could be free at last ……

( 1 ) In Islam , “good” Muslims are prohibited from asking such “difficult” question that could end in skepticism , like who created god , how does he look like , why he created misery , poverty or suffering .. The real answer that most religions give to such questions is that they don’t know , that the mighty caring merciful god created all these sufferings for a very wise reason , for sure ; but which was kept very secretly from all humans , including all know-everything saints and prophets

Songs are back to the squares

In Tahrir , songs were powerful weapons against police ‘ repression and for change .. Singers fought with their music , inspiring others to stand up and resist .. Rami Essam sang in Tahrir , during and after the heroic days of January 2011

Then against Morsi’ Islamist regime ,

Lately , he sang against Sisi’ s dictatorship

In Lebenon , during the ongoing protests against the miserable situation of the public services and corrupted politicians , songs again took the lead , they could be heard again in the squares surrounded by policemen , high concrete walls , and chanting angry protersters

Long love the rebel !

Long live the rebel song !

Long Live the revolution !

Sword : the symbol of ISIS

T – 34 , and later the mig – 15 could be considered as the true symbols of stalinism ; as panzer and stuka were those of Nazism . Those symbols contain all the ratioanlities and irralionalities of both totalitarian regimes , their way of thinking and their way of acting : worship of power and force , the central role of the fuhrer or the god-leader as a personification of community and its unity behind the Idea – the new religion .. In fact the new religion prevailed , not only through fraud and repression , it won mostly due to the submission and acceptance of the masses .. Those symbols had double functions : to convey the ideological message of the regime , and as means to prevail , to conquer , to achieve the ultimate goal : to conquer the whole universe , and establish its special equivalent of the theological “kingdom of god” , their lasting empire .. ISIS , and political Islam , bear very much similarities to Nazism and Stalinism … It is a complex revolutionary – reactionary , anti-capitalist , anti-working class , anti-imperialist , and would – be – imperialist , movement , all at the same time .. Like fascism , it fills the gap , where ongoing social and political struggles reach a dead-end , where old elites could not rule anymore , but where popular grassroots movements cannot overthrow the the system also … Aside from the traditional black flag , ISIS claimed they inherited from prophet Mohamad , the actual symbol of the new totalitarian power is the sword .. They use it in their Hollywood-like videos of exterminating their prisoners , in their propaganda songs and materials , as a symbol of jihad , determination , and terror .. In his “crime and punishment” , Foucault noticed that capitalism had “rationalized” punishment , reduced it to the least level needed to protect private property and its other assets .. What ISIS trying to do is exactly the opposite , to reverse this trend , and process .. Even Hitler’s gas chambers , and of course : the atomic bomb , and killing by drone , etc , using high tech to kill massively , but more “humanly” , with less theatrical or ritual bloodshed , was the trend since 18 th century , including in colonized Arab and Muslim countries .. The sword as a symbol had twofold functions for the jihadists : it represent an independent , old – new , symbol of power and authority , that stood as a negation of “western” imperialist civilization ( the capitalist one ) and its symbols , and as an old – new weapon of terror … In contrast to Nazism and stalinism , The jihadist utopia isn’t futurist , it exists in the past , which must be imitated in full details , in order to achieve the same result as Mohamad did once : conquering all imperialist powers of his time , and building his own imperialism .. To some extent , that was also the declared objective of “secular” pan – nationalist regimes ( Nasser’ s and the Baathists in Damascus and Baghdad before ) … ISIS is only the last revival of the long going debate about the backwardness of the east , its weakness and manipulation by western imperialist powers .. This was always a double game : how to imitate the west in order to become a match to it , and the need to stay “ourselves” in the struggle against the colonial powers .. Admiration and hatred towards the colonial west , was not felt only by the masses of colonized east , but also by the local social and intellectual elites .. The conflict between traditionalism ( conservatism ) and more liberal or modern way of thinking never stopped … Very few only called for a total negation of the past , and for a total revolutionary futurist solutions .. The majority called for some compromise between the past and the present .. Criticizing Islam was never done up to its end .. Even communists and other leftists ; under the pressure of their societies and their big brother in Soviet union , who tried to play the card of nationalist liberation against its western rivals ( the same was done by western powers who supported the ultra – reactionary Saudi regime and the jihadists against USSR local agents , and finally against Russian invasion of Afghanistan ) were always able to find something “progressive” in Koran and the teachings of traditional scholars … ISIS didn’t start from nowhere … What they did is exactly what their western and eastern likes did ( Nazism and stalinism ) , they push to the extreme all the irratioanlities of their society and its ruling class and the level of alienation of its popular classes … Liberals repeat today the communists’ previous compromising attitude toward the reactionary dogmatic Islam .. Now , big parts of the popular classes fell under the influence of ISIS and likes .. They think that ISIS ‘ victory would bring their emancipation , from both colonial west and local “secular” dictatorships .. For some of the oppressed , joining ISIS’ ranks means going higher in the social hierarchy .. Urban middle class is the main source of skepticism and resistance against ISIS .. Even better organized and represented , this class lacks the courage and determination of popular classes .. Urban middle class is very much right in their resistance against ISIS , but they resist ISIS not because its victory will not mean masses’ real emancipation ; they want to defend their perceived privileges and their less rigid life style ; but they couldn’t manage to fight ISIS back , and they don’t care about the ignorant backward masses .. ISIS’ rise bears a lot of resemblance to Khomeini’s rise .. They represent the same social powers , and the same popular hopes ( read : illusions ) of emancipation ; that will end only in a new Bolshevik – like totalitarian regime .. The time came for a more radical criticism of Islam’s dogmas .. The relented intellectual elite doesn’t have the courage to do it .. Radical criticism must not target Islam alone .. Which would mean only criticizing one dogma for the benefit of another .. More than a Copernican revolution , more negation is needed , something like destroying all the idols , once and for all .. Some sort of surrealist – dadaist liberation of mind , subconsciousness and the bodily desires of every taboo and prohibition .. Not only the sword as a symbol and a weapon of terror and propaganda .. Authoritarian terror and dogmas should be the target .. Authority itself ..

Against Colonialism and fundamentalism

It is a big question for us, Muslims who consider freedom as our main aim or our main principle of life, where we stand in the conflict between what can be defined as neo-colonialist policies of the capitalist west and Islamic fundamentalism. In brief, my answer is that I think we must stick to our main principle: that is freedom, away from both.

No doubt that we would not accept, under any excuse, any violation or denial of the freedom of thought, consciousness and speech; let it be against muslims or any other groups. But this position will change at the same moment that such a criticism becomes a justification of occupation or racism.

It is clear that those cartoons, about prophet Mohammad, tells more than just a simple and just criticism of brutal and intolerant Islamic fundamentalism; in fact, this is a part of a broader campaign that aims to confirm that Muslims are backward people; and to justify that colonialism is a necessary project designed to civilize these people; which in a way, resembles “God supports segregation” that could be seen in US and South Africa’s streets before the triumph of the human rights movement.

It is not surprising that such an argument was repeated also by Bush’s administration. People in the west, like anywhere else, are ready to defend their freedom more than the profits or greed of capital.

On the other side, fundamentalists promote denial of others’ basic liberties, non-Muslims and even Muslims, as a prerequisite of resisting neo-colonialism. Totally the contrary, the antidote of colonialism is freedom, not a reactionary repression. Defending the freedom of speech or press is not equal to supporting the Iraq war or occupation, or neo-colonialism, which badly needs such racist arguments as its basic justification. It is also right that resisting this colonialism does not mean imposing Islamic religious dogmas on others.


Racism is cowardice and stupidity . It prevents people from realizing what is really wrong with their lives .. It is based on biases , prejudices , stereotypes , that simplify and falsify the natural differences among humans ; to the advantage of some elite , either to defend prevailing system of oppression and hierarchy or to substitute it with new one … It is a way to escape facing real problems , and the real sources of them ; of diverting the attention of oppressed toward secondary ( even illusionary ) ones that are , at best , the results , not the causes , of misery and crises created by the prevailing system .. Fighting racism is a must to reach a just and free world .. On the other hand , there are false and dangerous answers to racism : what is called identity ‘ politics , which do exactly what racists do , but in reverse , based itself on opposite prejudices and biases , designed to keep immigrants under the control of religious scholars and priests and their allies in the ruling elites , or to put them under the control of fundamentalists , the self-claimed “true” representatives of the identity , especially its “sacred” part ; those fundamentalists who strive to replace the current oppressive system with theirs .. Previous experiences proved that the problem with authority is not the identity of the bosses , their nationality or their religion or race ; the problem is with authority itself , as a system of social , physical and intellectual control , as a system of cohesion and hierarchy .. What must be fought for , is not merely substituting one oppressive system with another , but to end oppression , now , and here .. This could be achieved only through fighting all types of oppression , slavery in every disguise ; only through relentless fight against all the weapons available for the bosses to control us , let it be racism or reverse racism ( what is called : identity politics ) or fundamentalism or any other form of dogmatism .. This what we can call anti-authoritarian , libertarian , horizontal , grassroots movement to defeat racism and fundamentalism , to fight for freedom and justice for all , for a world without borders , without prejudices , without oppression …