Saturday, January 12, 2008

Samir Geagea: close all LF websites except one

In a remarkable exchange of e-mails, it turns out that leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, is ordering fan sites to close down. Only the official website (www.lebabese-forces.com, as per the first e-mail, sic!) is allowed frow now on. That's a rather strange strategy, not to mention a problem for non-Arab speakers as the whole website is in Arabic.

Many followers of LF live abroad and/or are not fluent in written, formal Arabic, so cutting them off from information on LF is not the best of P.R. moves imaginable. Luckily, there are other websites on the Internet that cover the Lebanese Forces, such as Ouwet.com, which was also asked to shut down...at the direct order of Samir Geagea no less.

The e-mail conversation is highly interesting, e.g., the second e-mail revealed: "IT IS A DIRECT ORDER FROM DR. GEAGEA. It is either you follow up the Lebanese Forces and its leader Dr. Geagea or you open another party on your own."

Now, I would love to see a copy of this direct order. It's hard to believe that a increasingly reasonable man as Geagea is so behind the times as to have missed the Internet revolution, despite being in prison for a couple of years. What's more likely, as some have suggested on the Ouwet website, is that Geagea was ill-advised by the people around him. Still, wouldn't you expect from a political leader to be able to estimate the impact of requiring to shut down news channels?

The whole episode could also be a hoax since e-mails are easily forged: just send out fake e-mails to website of your enemies requesting them to shut down on authority of their leader. Could this be the Lebanese version of the electronic Intifada?

So far, it seems that Ouwet.com is standing firm and has rejected the order to shut down. Good for them and good for the followers and non-followers of the Lebanese Forces who appreciate information about the LF outside regulated channels.

Update: According to Marc from Ouwet.com, the e-mails are real so there is no hoax.

5 comments:

Ace said...

I read the blog about this and also the discussions on the forum. You are correct - it might be a "hoax", it might be "bad advise" or it could even be an over zealous supporter/web manager who is just trying to apply pressure.

One thing is certain - it can all be cleared up with the proper meeting that all these web-masters have been asking for. What foolishness to ignore them! Why splinter support when it can be consolidated,multiplied and expanded?

Is there anyone out there on the net that can get the right message to the right person? ... that person has to be Geagea himself. Surely there is someone close to him that is living in the year 2008.

Jeha said...

Why wouldn't it be from Geagea? I do not think he has changed much; he has always been smarter than average, but I doubt that he could be any less brutal...

Ms Levantine said...

I am not a fan of the LF (major understatement here), but it seems logical for a political party to speak in one official voice.

The problem is not a site like Ouwet giving its opinion, but making it appear as being an official party site.

I live in NY, if I open a "Democratic Party blog" I will not get a direct order from the party president to shut it down, but a nice lawsuit.

Outwet site should reopen as say "Charbel and Maroun's blog" and drop the official LF logo and paraphenelia. Believe me, we will still all know where their sympathies are.

N10452 said...

MS Levantine,
The LF blog does not have official tags anywhere over it .. its not an official blog, its a blog and wont be shut down because someone cant take critisim or wants to run things his own ways only ..

Thank you for ur support Riemer Brouwer .. i can assure you the blog is staying open ..

We will never achieve democracy in Lebanon if our political parties dont become democratic ..

Ms Levantine said...

N10452, you could have fooled me. If I open a site and I call it for example "Hezbollah blog" and I put the HA syymbol in the righthand corner, chances are people are going to think I have some official connection with HA. Then if start critcizing Nasrallah chances are he will get pissed.

Yeah I know, it sounds strange.

The name Ouwet and Lebanes forces and the cross symbol belong to the LF, not to N10452 whoever he/she is. There is such a thing as copyright law out there.

I am sorry to break the news to you, but what you are doing is unethical. But then again it is just part of the Lebanese fawda.

Change the name of your blog to "Ouwet guys with a different opinion" and get on with your life.

We will never achieve anything in Lebanon if people can't even respect the most basic rule of law. This is not a freedom of speech issue, just a boring copyright issue.