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Tex Arabia

If I were in Beirut right now, I'd probably be hearing the sound of Israeli jets as they bank up the Mediterranean after dropping bombs on Gaza and then perhaps make a pass across the Lebanese coast to intimidate any resistance from across the border. But this week I'm in Texas, where the skies are blue, the tortillas are hot and no one seems to have a clue about what is going on in the Middle East. 

"Separation of Church and State"

It seems the Middle East is not the only place where God and guns go together. This alternating digital display was running constantly on screens throughout New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Whitewashing continues at New York Times

Violence toward Palestinians continues to be downplayed or completely omitted by "The Paper of Record," i.e. The New York Times. 
Yesterday, I reported how dead Palestinians have no names in the Times' coverage, in contrast to dead Israelis who are described in personal, humanizing detail including ages, full names and schools they attended. 

Amal in the tabloids

Lebanon always makes headlines for the wrong reasons. But thanks to one 36-year-old lawyer, we finally graduated to the supermarket checkout lane. 

Lebanese war art

I recently stumbled upon a familiar sight at a Middle Eastern art exhibit in Chelsea, New York. It was a view anyone living in Lebanon during the 2006 war may have seen.

The piece by Ali Cherri was projected on the wall at the center of the gallery:

Ruins near Bank Audi cleared?

Credit: Rayya HaddadCredit: Rayya HaddadEarlier this summer I posted pictures taken by my photographer friend Rayya Haddad of the extensive ruins discovered near the Bank Audi building in downtown Beirut.

Getting profiled at JFK, surprise.

John F Kennedy Airport New York Daily News/Jesse Ward
"We need to ask you a few more questions. Come this way sir," the buzz cut-sporting customs agent said firmly, as he led me away from the other passengers. Of course I know the drill. I have been profiled at airports all around the world for the past 20 years since my teenage days.

New Lebanese brew

Hamra is back to normal except...

... for the "Hawker" private security guard staring and squinting at me while taking this picture (because I haven't shaved?) comes rushing toward me (bottom left)--tells me photos are illegal in front of the "mahal" /store (Starbucks) he is protecting.

"Do you want to call the police," I ask, calmly reminding him he is not law enforcement.

"I don't need to call the police," he replies. "I will take the law into my own hands."