What's the best way to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday?
I'll Be Back on May 14!
Israele senza se e senza ma
The French delegate, (who) was attending the Socialist International meeting in Beirut, was touring the capital in a convertible car, (and) was at the time taking pictures of posters showing Hezbollah "martyrs" who died in combat.
The incident was reported by a senior member of Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party, Wael Abou Faour.
French delegate Karim Pakzad was on the airport road when a motorcyclist followed by a four wheel-drive car carrying armed men stopped him and interrogated him, Abou Faour said.
The road leading to the airport is in a zone dominated by Hizbullah.
Jumblatt, a key leader of the anti-Syrian majority, plans to hold a press conference early Sunday to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident, Abou Faour said.
The Socialist International was holding a two-day conference in Beirut for its Mediterranean Committee. In its final statement, the committee called for the immediate election of a president. (YaLibnan)
BEIRUT, April 27, 2008 (AFP) - A French delegate to a Socialist International meeting in Beirut said on Sunday that he had been briefly detained the previous day by armed men linked to Hezbollah. Delegate Karim Pakzad told a Beirut news conference that he was stopped on Saturday by armed men who "spoke on behalf of Hezbollah" -- Lebanon's powerful Shiite militant movement -- who questioned him for five hours before freeing him. Pakzad said it happened as he was touring the capital in an open-top car with a Lebanese friend and taking pictures of a mosque along the airport road, near Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs. "Armed men asked us 'why do you have a camera' and 'what are you doing here,'" before viewing the pictures he had taken with his digital camera, Pakzad said. He was taken blindfolded to an unidentified location where he was kept isolated for five hours, adding that his captors took away his cell phone, wallet and medicine. Contacted by AFP, Hezbollah said it had no immediate information about the incident. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is Israel's public enemy number one and the movement operates stringent security measures in its Beirut stronghold requiring even press photographers to seek prior permission.
Tonight, Bashar Assad & Co will be celebrating the good news! They do have real friends...
It must be comforting waking up in the morning in Damascus and read the news:
"North Koreans helped the Syrians build nuclear facility".
"Olmert may be prepared to sacrifice the Golan Heights for peace".
As long as the news are fixed on this, Assad and Syria have nothing to fear!
Conclusion: a sad day for those who were expecting "other" news concerning Assad. We are still confident though that the innocent blood spilled on Lebanese soil will soon be avenged and the assassins brought to Justice!
Read also my "Trouble in Baku: Iran cargo halted on purpose" (link)
Malula - Aramaic for "entrance" - derives its name from a legend that evokes the town's separate religious heritage. St. Takla, a beautiful young woman who had studied with St. Paul, is said to have fled from her home in what is now Turkey after her pagan parents persecuted her for her newfound Christian faith. Arriving in Malula, she found her path blocked by a mountain. She prayed, and the rocks divided in two, a stream flowing out from under her feet.
Today, tourists walk up and down the narrow canyon where the saint is said to have fled, with rose-colored rocks rising 30 meters above a well-trod footpath. Nearby, two dozen nuns live at the Convent of St. Takla, presiding over a small orphanage. ("We teach the children the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic," said one black-clad nun, "but everything else is in Arabic.") There is a shrine in the mountainside where St. Takla is said to have lived, with a tree growing horizontally out of it.
But even the town's Christian identity is fading. Muslims have begun replacing the emigrating Christians, and now Malula - once entirely Christian - is almost half Muslim, residents say.
Malula's linguistic heritage stirred some interest after the release of Mel Gibson's 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ," with its mix of Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew dialogue. Virtually everyone in town seems to have seen the film, but few said they understood it.
That was not their fault: it included different dialects of Aramaic, and the actors' pronunciation made it hard to understand anything, Sabar, the Semitic languages professor, said.
Aramaic has also changed over the centuries, taking on features of Syrian Arabic, Sabar said.
But most residents of Malula believe that their town's ancestral language is still the same one Jesus spoke, and will speak again when he returns.
"Our parents and grandparents always spoke to us in this language," said Suhail Milani, a 50-year-old bus driver with a wizened face. "I hope it will not disappear." (IHT)