Friday, November 18, 2011

Lebanese TV Talk Show Brawl over Syrian Uprsising



On a Lebanese TV talk show hosting two politicians from opposing camps earlier this week, a heated argument about Syria degenerated into a shouting match followed by a near brawl. To the left of the talk show host is Mustafa Alloush, a politician from the Future Movement and to the right of the host is Fayiz Shukur, the head of the Lebanese Baathist party (allied to Bashar Al Assad). When the topic turned to Syria, Shukur asks Alloush if he had listened to Assad's speech. Alloush said "yes but I don't believe him, I think he is a liar". Shukur, taking offense as he plays the role of obedient sycophant,asks Alloush sarcastically: "who do you think you are to call president Bashar a liar". Insults are exchanged, water and pens fly across the table and then, Shukur, Bashar's man to the end, gets ready to throw his chair before he is stopped by the host. In the final seconds of the video, one can hear Shukur swearing and calling Alloush's sister a whore.

It is a sadly comical video and I blame the uncivil behavior completely on Shukur. His behavior is emblematic of anyone working for or supporting the criminal regime in Syria. Beside the horror perpetrated on the Syrian people, their long arm reaches into Lebanon where they use their allies to threaten, harass or kidnap anyone opposing the Syrian regime. Recently they unleashed their goons to sack embassies of governments who go against them and send death threats to the head of the Arab league.

I applaud Alloush for taking a stand against the Syrian regime, a courageous move given that it is done at the risk of his own safety. Mustafa Alloush is an old classmate from medical school. Warm, honest, soften spoken and always with a ready smile, Mustafa was liked by everyone in class. In fact this video may be the first time I see him lose his temper. Not that he is a pushover; he is short but built like a rock and has a black belt in Judo. Had Shukur, in his rage, managed to reach him, Mustafa would have taken him down in a second.

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