Lebanese bloggers weigh in on today's Nasrallah-led rally in Beirut. The rest of cyberspace discusses the latest torture stats out of Iraq and the magical realism of The Science of Sleep.
Nasrally in Beirut:Marking his first public appearance since July, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah addressed a huge crowd at a "divine victory" rally in Beirut on Friday. He boasted that his militia still retained 20,000 Katyusha rockets and that Hezbollah would never disarm. Some bloggers in Lebanon see the rally as more of an internal consolidation of Nasrallah's power than a nose-thumbing to the United Nations, United States, and Israel.
Marxist from Lebanon writes: "Even though the demonstration is meant to tell 14th of March block a message that his size is strong on a national scale, as well as to bring his supporters (such as the Lebanese Communist Party, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, etc.), the balance of power is back. Again, Nasrallah proved to USA and Israel that Hezbollah is still alive with bigger support."
At July 2006 War on Lebanon, Nasser reminds readers that there are two rallies scheduled for this week: "On Sunday, Christian Maronite Lebanese Forces will organise its 'Martyrs Day' in the church of Harissa to the North of Beirut. … Two rallies organised under religous banners; Though the two rallies are attracting support from across the sectarian communities, they reflect the role of religion in shaping Lebanon's politics. Whatever comes out of these two rallies will contribute to the polarization of Lebanon's political factions. The political tug-of-war shall continue."
"The major new problem for Hezbollah is that its allies are showing signs that they might abandon it," says Mustapha at Lebanese blog The Beirut Spring. He cites domestic sectarian scuffling—with former Hezbollah allies blaming Nasrallah for the war—as well as Syria's weakened role as the group's paymaster: "[I]t is easy to understand why Hezbollah is holding a major rally on Friday to declare its 'Divine Victory'. If enough people showed up, they calculate, Nassrallah can convince its reluctant allies that it still has a lot to offer and it would be an error to abandon them. Hezbollah's logic seems to be: If you're in a hole, keep digging."
Read more about the Hezbollah rally.
Worse than Saddam? According to Manfred Nowak, the United Nations' anti-torture expert, the frequency of torture in Iraq currently exceeds that under Saddam's regime. A few bloggers wonder about Nowak's forensic methods in light of the fact that he hasn't actually been to Iraq.
Count Rob at Say Anything isamong the wary: "Right. Wouldn't want to go to Iraq and, you know, actually verify these claims he's been hearing before throwing a bunch of gasoline on an already volatile situation. Honestly, sometimes I get the feeling that people like Nowak want our mission in Iraq to fail."
Chris at lefty AMERICAblog takes the report at face value and isn't much surprised: "There goes yet another reason for invading Iraq. The torture angle was always weak because if that was a reason for going in, the US would have to add quite a few other countries to that list, including itself in the GOP control era."
Conservative Robert Mayer at Publius Pundit thinks these compare-and-contrast studies are flawed at their very premise: "The torture that is happening in Iraq right now … is of a completely different nature. It is decentralized. Sunni insurgent groups and private militias connected to Shia political parties have usurped state power, effectively taking the law into their own hands. … Whether it is Saddam committing torture or Moqtada al-Sadr's men, it doesn't matter. It's still happening, and the impact is the same. Only now nobody knows who is doing what, and the cycle of revenge killing will go on until Iraq is no longer a country."
Read more about the torture findings on Iraq.
Less than dreamy: Hyper-Surrealist filmmaker Michel Gondry's latest offering, The Science of Sleep, has critics scratching their heads with smiles on their faces. But bloggers are slightly more beguiled than enraptured.
Erik Davis at Cinematical callsScience a "dizzying exploration of the mind and how it's constantly playing tricks and distorting reality, keeping us on our toes. The uneven narrative is brilliantly constructed to serve the story and its characters, though some may find it difficult to follow along. It could help to continue reminding yourself that this is just a story about a guy who likes a girl -- a minuscule aspect of the entire film, but a good way to keep you on track."
The IFC Blog was one of the ones who found it difficult to follow along: "When you tilt your head the right way, you can see the story Gondry probably intended, that of tentative love blooming between two prickly, quirky young people with rich inner lives…. But, like [main character] Stéphane, the film can't seem to get out of its own head, and it rambles along like a disjointed anecdote that makes more sense to the teller than the tellee."