27 August 2006

Everyone's a winner?

Everyone's a winner is an incomprehensible headline of a "dialog" organized by BBC some time ago (the date of the article is August 14, so I am quite a bit late with this post).

BBC asks its readers to venture an opinion about the winner of the Lebanon war. To whet the readers appetite, BBC has chosen two bloggers - Lisa Goldman of On The Face and Rania el-Masry, who blogs at Siege of Lebanon, to initiate a discussion.

I am familiar with Lisa's blog and some other activities for quite some time. Lisa is much much more than a fellow blogger. She does more for the dialog between people and for understanding between warring nations of the Middle East than some government-sponsored outfits.

I am not familiar at all with Rania el-Masry, Lisa's partner in this dialog, so I have decided to read the blog to get some first-hand impression. And the more I read, the more my incomprehension of the BBC choice of the partner grew. First of all, it is not Rania's blog - it is a joint venture, welcoming everyone who has some anti-Israeli poison, no matter what quality, to spread. Secondly, Rania's own posts are so full of overused language coins of a typical anti-Israeli propaganda hack that I caught myself looking for the insidious "Zionist entity". So far no lack, but I have not read it all yet. Otherwise: this war is the fruit of Israeli aggression, anything IDF does is a "massacre" and, to top it all, Hezbollah is the "resistance movement". (True, nothing new here, but I dearly wish somebody would explain once and for all what it is exactly Hezbollah is "resisting" and why does this specific resistance require 12,000 Katyushas?)

Anyway, this post is not about the war. So why has BBC made such a doubtful choice of a partner for the dialog for Lisa? A true anti-war peacenik that has a lot of pen-friends and real friends in surrounding Arab countries, including Lebanon, gets a clearly anti-Israeli "my Lebanon right or wrong" hostile opponent instead of a sober and open-eyed blogger (and there is no lack of bloggers like these in Lebanon). Strange indeed.

It is very instructive to read the e-mails exchange in the dialog. Compare the first one by Rania starting with "If victory is defined in the level of destruction one imposes on the other, the level of massacres one commits against the other, the number of families that one forces out of their homes, then clearly Israel has won." against the sober and true Lisa's opening "Nobody won this war. We are all losers." Compare the empty sloganeering by Rania, escalating during the exchange with Lisa's factual commentary.

I agree with Lisa - there are no winners in this war. But there is one in this dialog. Good job, Lisa!