my fridge is too cold/ crisis in Lebanon

We have the fridge set at whatever recommended temperature to keep the food fresh/preserved. But it’s really too cold; the ice tea is so chilled that it’s a little painful to drink. I usually have to pour it out and let it stand on the counter for a few minutes to bring it up a little to a more tolerable temperature.

Likewise fruit I bring straight out of the fridge doesn’t taste very sweet; or you can’t even taste it much. It has to ‘thaw’ a little before you can taste the true flavour of summer.

I realise it’s a little ironic to complain about my fridge being set too cold (and Joe won’t let me set it higher!) when we’re in the midst of a heat wave. We’re toughing it out, and haven’t switched on the air-conditioner yet.

But if the heatwave is all I have to deal with, I’m one of the lucky ones. There’s been a tsunami in Java (please don’t forget them and donate what you can for relief). Wildfires in the western states. And the Hezbollah-Israel attacks: my heart goes out to the Lebanese and Beirut in the ‘crossfire’.

Most people here don’t realise that Lebanon suffered a long drawn out civil war in the 70’s/80’s, (Beirut sustained prolonged shelling) and have only recovered since the 90’s.
And now, all the newly rebuilt infrastructure is being destroyed, in what must be a horrifying deja vu like flashback. The normalcy of life which they have just begun to enjoy again . . . boom! It’s like if New Orleans got completely rebuilt, and Katrina’s twin hurricane sister came along. . .

(There’s a good short story by Micha Warde called “An Ave Maria for Beirut” that paints a vivid picture of what it was like in the 70’s/80’s civil war. I found it in a compilation of women’s stories called ‘Cosmopolis.’ More than that, I think I’m only aware of the Lebanese civil war and its devastation because I grew up in Bangkok (!), and went to a school where there were some Lebanese kids.

I’m also horrified that the US is not pushing for an immediate ceasefire . . . Come on, Israel starts attacking over two kidnapped soldiers? Not that the Hezbollah are the nicest people you could invite to a tea-party. Well, with this administration’s paranoia-based/blinders-on handling of ‘terrorists’ issue, am I surprised? It’s just that even this is turning me, decidedly not a Muslim, against Israel. Honey, not vinegar, folks.

This whole messy on-going saga in the Middle-east is the most nightmarish epic that rivals any telenovela; the plotlines are so tangled up, how it all came about, it’s too hard to keep track of the players, who’s feuding with whom, and why they don’t like each other, etc. I’m sure there’s a whole lot going that’s not being reported in the media. Maybe I’d be too dumb to understand.

I wish that the US could walk away and wash it hands of all this, and leave those fools to deal with their own mess (after all, the US manages to stay out of the conflicts in Darfur, Rwanda, Haiti, Kashmir, etc. very easily.) Without the oil, how much would the US really care?

I utterly resent my tax dollars being devoted to the ineffective way we’re dealing with Iraq (In 2004: $18 billion), not to mention ‘foreign aid handouts’ to Israel ($2 billion). [Egypt and Afghanistan get over $1 billion each, and then 12 countries get $100-500 million, of which the only Pacific Asian country is Indonesia. Silly me, I thought foreign aid was need-based, but it’s actually based on buying ‘friendship’: diplomatic alliances. Source: Congressional Research Service

In my own simple way, I wonder what would have happened if instead of setting up the Jewish state that is now Israel on the land it’s on now (i.e. what was once just ‘Palestine’?), they set it up somewhere else (biblical considerations aside)? What if it had been 8,000 square miles elsewhere, that had been sparsely populated, say in Alaska or Australia. (Isn’t that the average size of a sheep ranch Down Under anyway?)
The Jewish immigrants being intelligent, enterprising and resourceful, could have probably built up similar types of economic success anywhere they land. After all, Israel currently has very little natural resources (they don’t even have much freshwater!), its wealth has come about through diligence and hard work.

Actually, I’m curious, why exactly is it that started the Israel vs. the other Arab countries vehement dislike of each other; after all it there’s a lot of countries where various ethnic-religious groups all manage to co-exist in one society.

I wonder how much of a Jared-Diamond type argument would account for what’s going on, that it’s actually a battle for the very limited natural resources, i.e. water, agricultural land, natural resources etc.

Tell you what, let’s settle this for once and for all, by organizing a mini-World Cup, well, it would be the Middle East Cup soccer tournament. Victory in bragging rights . . .


One thought on “my fridge is too cold/ crisis in Lebanon

  1. peoples gots damn short memories or else i’m just too old. i remember lebanon, the paris of the middle east being turned into rubble by the civil war and israel’s attempt to drive out PLO who were attacking from lebanon. also remember our macho president RayGun withdrawing Marines from lebanon after one suicide bombing. gee, what would john wayne say about that??

    I ain’t no history-type, chain-smoking, beret-wearing berkeley grad, but I think the anti-israeli stance came after the zionist were given palestine by the british, who were tired of terrorism by both zionist and arabs, to make israel. arabs objected to the plan and israel accepted. then in a series of arab israeli wars/conflicts, Arabs got their ignorant tribal asses whupped by Israel. The smarter ones made peace with some (OK, lots) economic/military assistance from the US: Egypt, Jordan, some other smaller arab countries i forget. Dumbasses with delusions of grandure did not: Syria for example. past decade or so, this current generation of Israelis, who didn’t experience the holocaust nor grow up fighting for their lives against all the arabs (post late 1960s), seem to favor politicians with a more peaceful attitude. It seems in my opinion, that ignorant tribespeople and thugs seem to use and only respect one thing: Brute Force. So, currently the middle east thugs and fanatics believe that israel is weak, despite the fact that it has been restrained in it’s reponses to provocation, at least by arab standards (remember the Hama Massacre in 1982 by Syria?).

    This misperceived weakness and the fact that authoritarian Middle East countries (aka our “friends and allies”) have been putting out anti-israeli and anti-western propaganda as a scapegoat for all their domestic problems (oppression , censorship, mismanaged economic policies, religious/racial discrimination) is a large part of the cause of these conflict. Palistinian situation is also a part, but that is a whole ‘nother topic for another time.

    I should add that moderate muslims just sit by and let the thugs do what they want in the name of islam and then cry like babies when they have to pay the consequences for their refusal to deal with their own thugs and radical religious nuts like any responsible person would have.

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