The Pursuit of Happiness

The phrase means something different to every person. The Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Please feel free to comment on any of the posts or browse the topic links on the left hand side below.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Electronic Lebanon Public Service Announcement

In the weeks after Israel launched its attack on Lebanon, a team of New York-based artists, designers, and multimedia producers converged on a warehouse location in Brooklyn to create a Public Service Announcement for Electronic Lebanon. The two minute PSA is intended for wide distribution and public viewing. A laptop version of the PSA, for projection, is also available for immediate download. Project it at events, street actions, in schools and other places in your community. Activists and others seeking broadcast-quality versions of the PSA are asked to contact EI.

It's raining bombs; only two hours of electricity

Zena el-Khalil writing from Beirut, Live from Lebanon, 11 August 2006

Last night, I counted at least 12 explosions. It was a difficult night. They just wouldn't stop. I only heard 12; others say there were at least 18. They just kept going. The Israeli army announced yesterday that they were expanding their attacks into Beirut. And indeed they did, hitting areas in central Beirut!

Today has been difficult getting online. Electricity is less and less. We are down to about two hours a day. Because there is a fuel and diesel shortage, it has become difficult to keep the generators going.

You know in Beirut, everyone lives in apartment buildings; with the electricity shortage, it has become hard for the elderly to move in and out of their homes. No one wants to get stuck having to climb stairs to the 12th floor they live on.

My grandma lives on the sixth floor. She is currently bed-ridden. I went to see her yesterday -- or was it the day before? She is doing well. I told her to enjoy her stay in bed because there was nothing much going on for her to see outside, and that anyways it was waaaaaaay too hot. I am not sure if she really knows about what is going on. We don't let her watch the news and we tell her the bomb sounds are fireworks! She lived the civil war in Lebanon, and definitely knows what bombs sound like ... so I think she is just playing along with us to keep us happy. My grandma was my first muse. I used to paint her a lot when I was younger.

Today I had some errands to run. Along the way, I ran into some friends I hadn't seen in over a month! I drove though roads I haven't been on in weeks! Wow. It felt so gooooooood. So funny how the simplest things can make you so happy now.

As the situation is getting worse, health and sanitation is deteriorating. The streets of Beirut smell bad. But her citizens are trying hard to stay on top of things. So many people have volunteered their time to help. Even the garbage collectors have recruited some volunteers.

We have finally decided that we can no longer wait for a cease-fire to start the oil spill clean up. The oil has been sitting on our beaches for almost a month now. We have been working on putting together a team of civilian volunteers and NGOs to go down to the beach and at least start with what we can do, ie. shoveling the oil off the sand, finding machinery that can suck oil out of the bays and ports. We are all worried about safety, though. The Israeli army has been targeting civilians, UN, Red Cross, etc. They have been blowing things up mercilessly. How do we know we won't be targeted? More to come on this soon.

I saw the news about the Heathrow bombing plot ... don't know what to say ... such devastating news. We don't have to live like this. Things could be so much better. They could be so much simpler. Seeing the passengers stranded, they reminded me of the displaced people here in Lebanon. I hope they are ok.

Go to Electronic Lebanon to link to the above article.