Algeria Faces the UnknownFinally
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Chancellor Mady Tawfiq Al Dakn: â€œFared El Shawky was One of the Driving Forces Who Led to My Father Getting Cast as Film Villainsâ€?
Issue 1776- November- 29/11/2019
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1776- November- 29/11/2019
Joelle Mardinian: the Bullying I Endured in London Changed My Life www.majalla.com
The Great Political Realignment of Britain www.majalla.com
A Weekly Political News Magazine
www.majalla.com/eng As the UK gets ready to vote in the next general election, the parties have been hard at work campaigning to gain as much support as they can. As it stands the country is in a largely unprecedented period of political instability since its third general election in four years. One phenomenon that has made elections since 2010 distinguished is the number of voters who switch political allegiances between elections. Data from the elections of 2015 ,2010 and 2017 shows that 49 percent of voters switched their votes between each election. Meanwhile, between 1964 and 1966 only 13 percent of voters did the same. This week’s cover story by Yasmine El-Geressi analyzes this recent phenomenon of vote switching and how such a trend has made predicting this election’s outcome difficult. Tawfiq Al Dakn was one of the most prolific Egyptian actors from the last century. Having starred in 233 films, he has ingrained his place in the history books of Arab and Egyptian cinema. Having had a modest upbringing in Al-Minya, he was slated to become a professional footballer, but his love for acting soon took over and he soon entered the acting profession starting his career in the theater. This month marks the 31st anniversary of Al Dakn’s passing and Safa Azeb recently conducted an interview with Chancellor Mady Al Dakn, the late actor’s son, who spoke of his father’s early years as a footballer, and his last days in Cairo. Joelle Mardinian has one of the largest social media followings in the Middle East, having amassed 11 million followers on Instagram. Her areas of expertise include beauty, makeup, and fashion and she gained notoriety through her 14 years a TV presenter for MBC. She has recently made headlines after adopting a baby, something that is uncommon in the Arab world and since then she has used her platform to talk about other issues such as motherhood. Nour Al Huda Bahloq has recently interviewed Mardinian who talked about her love for her fans and followers, and the duty of care she feels towards them. She also talked about her journey of adopting a child and the prospect of her returning to the television business. We invite you to read these articles and more on our website eng.majalla.com. As always, we welcome and value our reader’s feedback and we invite you to take the opportunity to leave your comments on our website.
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A Weekly Political News Magazine
18 Foreign Affairs Has Always Been at the Heart of Impeachment
Issue 1776- November- 29/11/2019
26 How to End the War in Ukraine
22 The Fall of Berlin Wall Almost Ended in War
08 Iraqi Forces Kil 35 Protesters After Iranian Consulate Torched
42 Is It Too Late to Save Your Posture?
Jeanine Añez: Bolivia’s Interim President Vows to ` ‘Pacify’ Country but Heightens Polarisation 3
Facebook at Center of 30 Google, Escalating Political-ad Tension
Pope Francis walks out from Assumption Cathedral as Thai youth reach out to touch him in Bangkok, Thailand on November 2019 ,22. (Getty)
A frog on a pond lotus leaf after the rain in Lalitpur. (Reuters)
eekly news Christian and Shi’ite Muslim groups. A senior Shi’ite cleric warned on Wednesday the street could spin out of control and push “our nation into a slide towards anarchy”. Sheikh Ali al-Khatib urged politicians to “remedy the situation and contain the deterioration”. Lebanon has been sinking deeper into turmoil since protests erupted against its ruling elite on Oct. 17, fuelled by anger at corruption that has led to the worst economic crisis in decades.
Protesters After 35 Iraqi Forces Kill Iranian Consulate Torched
Iraqi security forces shot dead at least 30 protesters on Thursday after demonstrators stormed and torched an Iranian consulate overnight, in what could mark a turning point in the uprising against the Tehran-backed authorities. At least 29 people died in the southern city of Nassiriya when troops opened fire on demonstrators who blocked a bridge before dawn on Thursday and later gathered outside a police station. Medical sources said dozens of others were wounded. Four others were killed in the capital Baghdad, where security forces opened fire with live ammunition and rubber bullets against protesters near a bridge over the Tigris river. Two died during the day in clashes in Najaf. In Nassiriya thousands of mourners took to the streets, defying a
curfew to bury their dead after the mass shooting. Video of protesters cheering in the night as bright flames billowed from the consulate were a stunning image after years in which Tehran’s influence among Shi’ite Muslims in Arab states has been a defining factor in Middle East politics.
Fears of Violence Grow as Lebanese Crisis Deepens
The crisis sweeping Lebanon has taken a violent turn this week with three nights of skirmishes that have prompted warnings of bloodshed and revived memories of the 90-1975 civil war. Trouble flared in several areas of Lebanon on Tuesday night, including the Beirut district of Ain el-Remmaneh, where the civil war began. The army deployed to prevent a confrontation between supporters of rival
U.S. Accuses Russia of Helping Syria Cover Up Chemical Weapons Use
The United States on Thursday accused Russia of helping Syria conceal the use of banned toxic munitions in the civil war by undermining the work of the global chemical weapons agency trying to identify those responsible. The comments by the U.S. representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Kenneth Ward, drew a rapid denial from Moscow and came as Western powers and Russia clashed at the agency’s annual conference in The Hague. Moscow has for months cited dissent by two former OPCW employees who leaked a document and an email as evidence that the OPCW doctored the conclusions of a March 1 report which found that a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in a 2018 attack near Damascus. More than 40 people were killed in that attack in Douma, a town on the outskirts of the capital then held by rebels, on April 2018 ,7.
Trump Approves Legislation Backing Hong Kong Protesters
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed
into law congressional legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong despite angry objections from Beijing, with which he is seeking a deal to end a damaging trade war. The legislation, approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate and by all but one lawmaker in the House of Representatives last week, requires the State Department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify favorable U.S. trading terms that have helped it maintain its position as a world financial center. The law also threatens sanctions for human rights violations. Congress passed a second bill, which Trump also signed, banning the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control munitions, such as teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.
in Albania 21 Powerful Quake kills as Buildings Bury Residents
At least 21 people were killed when the most powerful earthquake to strike Albania in decades shook the capital Tirana and the country’s west and north on Tuesday, tearing down buildings and burying residents under rubble. Residents, some carrying babies, fled apartment buildings in Tirana and the western port of Durres after the 6.4 magnitude quake struck shortly before 4 a.m. (0300
GMT). The Balkan country was jolted by 250 aftershocks after the main tremor, Defence Minister Olta Xhacka said, two of them of magnitude 5, testing strained nerves. The quake was centered 30 km (19 miles) west of Tirana, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, and was also felt across the Balkans and in the southern Italian region of Puglia,
choice between Prime Minister Boris Johnson, promising to complete Britain’s departure from the European Union, and Corbyn, proposing a radical socialist vision for the world’s fifth largest economy. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, in an article in The Times newspaper, questioned how complicit in prejudice an opposition leader would have to be to be considered unfit for office. “It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party,” wrote Mirvis, of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. Ever since Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, shocked the establishment by becoming Labour leader in 2015, he has been dogged by criticism from some members, lawmakers and Jewish leaders that he has failed to tackle anti-Semitism from elements within its ranks.
U.S. House Judiciary Panel Invites Trump Impeachment Hearing 4 to December
across the Adriatic Sea from Albania.
Britain›s Chief Rabbi Warns «Poison» of Anti-Semitism in Labour
Britain’s chief rabbi said opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unfit to be prime minister because he had failed to stem anti-Semitism “sanctioned from the top” and now gripping his party. His comments stirred up campaigning ahead of a Dec. 12 election in which voters face a stark
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Tuesday invited President Donald Trump to its first impeachment hearing, scheduled for Dec. 4, starting a new phase of the inquiry that could lead to formal charges against the president within weeks. Trump is not required to attend the hearing. But the move allows the president and his legal team access to congressional impeachment procedures that he and other Republicans have denounced as unfair, partly because the White House has not been able to call or cross-examine witnesses. The House Intelligence Committee, which has led the impeachment investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine through weeks of closed-door testimony and televised hearings, is expected to release a formal evidence report shortly after lawmakers return to Congress on Dec. 3 from their Thanksgiving recess.
The Great Political Realignment of Britain The British Electorate and Party System are Evolving â€“ and Old Certainties about How People Vote are Crumbling 10
This is not to say these smaller parties they will win – but if they manage even 10 percent of the vote, it will be who that 10 percent comes from that will make a difference in many seats.
` Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn answer questions during the ITV Leaders Debate at Media Centre on November 2019 ,19 in Salford, England. (Getty)
by Yasmine El-Geressi In less than two weeks Britain will go to the polls in the most consequential election in years. The election is intended to break the deadlock and finalise Britain’s often-delayed departure from the EU, but will also influence the likelihood of a second referendum on EU membership, a second independence referendum in Scotland, the most economically radical Labour Party for a generation, and, ultimately, its positon in the wider international order. If you look only at the latest polls, then the outcome looks highly predictable. Ever since a majority of MPs voted to hold the election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his
party continue to average a double digit lead – a commanding position which would usually lead to pundits predicting a comfortable majority for the Conservative Party. The incumbent Conservative Party has averaged 38 percent, the opposition Labour Party 27 percent, the Liberal Democrats 16 percent, Brexit Party 10 percent, Greens 4 percent and Scottish National Party 3 percent. So why is this election being called one of the most unpredictable in years? Apart from widespread mistrust of opinion polls after most of them failed to accurately predict recent election results, these polls hide many shifts that are taking place within voting patterns. This election is already Britain’s fifth nationwide election in only four years. After the 2015 general election, 2016 EU referendum, 2017 general election and 2019 European parliament elections, Britain’s political system and electorate have been in a state of almost continual instability. Along the way, a large number of voters have reassessed their loyalties making the 2019 General Election a big gamble for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and may not give the Conservatives, or the Labour party, an overall majority in Parliament. For many decades people have been relatively stable in their voting patterns, choosing to sick with their chosen party through thick and thin. But the trend of weaker identification with the main parties in the UK has been growing in recent years. In the 1900 general election, 99 percent of the votes cast went to Conservative, Labour and Liberal candidates. In the 2005, the equivalent figure was 95 per cent. In 2010, a record of 10 percent of the vote went to nonestablishment candidates. In 2015, this number
more than doubled– a full 23 percent of all votes cast went to non-Conservative/Labour/ Liberal Democrat candidates. But when it came to the 2017 election, things began to look up for the Conservatives and Labour, who recorded the highest joint vote percentage share in any election since the 70s. But just two years later, the European elections proved to be politically devastating for both with the Labour and Conservative parties unable to muster even a quarter of the votes between them. The Conservatives came fifth with their lowest level of support of in any national elections since 1832; and Labour came third with its lowest vote share since 1910. The scale of this unprecedented voter volatility was recently analysed by the British Election Study (BES) team. The BES has captured voting behaviour at every general election since 1964, through a series of substantial surveys of voters. The study is currently supervised by academics from Manchester University and Nuffield College, Oxford. Last month they presented some remarkable data and declared the electorate the most volatile in modern political history. As the study makes clear, the current rate of ‘voteswitching’ in British politics, where people switch their vote from one election to the next, is largely unprecedented in the post-war era. Across the three elections held in 2015 ,2010
As the study makes clear, the current rate of ‘vote-switching’ in British politics, where people switch their vote from one election to the next, is largely unprecedented in the post-war era.
and 2017, a striking 49 per cent of people switched their vote. By contrast, between 1964 and 1966, when the survey began, just 13 per cent of voters changed their mind. “Given the UK’s recent history of vote switching and the unpredictability of the current climate, it would be unwise for any political party or commentator to presume how voters will behave in a general election,” said Edward Fieldhouse, professor of social and political science at Manchester university. Underscoring these developments is another set of BES data that tracks the collapse in strength of party identification over past decades. In 48 ,1964 per cent of Conservatives described their party identification as “very strong”; the figure among Labour supporters was 51 per
Britain›s Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photo wearing boxing gloves emblazoned with «Get Brexit Done» during a stop in his General Election Campaign trail at Jimmy Egan›s Boxing Academy on November 2019 ,19 in Manchester, England. (Getty)
This election is already Britain’s fifth nationwide election in only four years. After the 2015 general election, 2016 EU referendum, 2017 general election and 2019 European parliament elections, Britain’s political system and electorate have been in a state of almost continual instability. as an “unpopularity contest.” Data compiled by Ipsos-MORI reveals that while Johnson has the lowest ratings of any new prime minister, Corbyn has the lowest ratings of any opposition leader since records began.
cent. In 2017, the comparable figures were 14 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. This is not all about Brexit, but Brexit is now accelerating this process with the emergence of partisan Brexit identities cutting across traditional left\right party loyalties, which has long distinguished Labour and Conservative voters. Most voters now feel a closer affiliation with “Remain” or “Leave” than to any of the main parties. Leave voters currently see Johnson as the man to get Brexit over the line and their only route to victory, while Jeremy Corbyn is the most favoured candidate to be PM among Remain voters. The weakening of party loyalties can also be attributed to what unites Britain’s current generation of party leaders - that they are all unpopular. Sir John Curtice, one of the country’s most renowned polling experts has even dubbed the election
The EU referendum and the three years of chaos allowed the Lib Democates to regain much of the ground they lost after the 2010 election by offering a distinct position to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50, and the Brexit party to reoccupy the space filled by UKIP in 2015. This makes the outcome of constituencies more difficult to predict as in areas where there are four or more parties gaining larger chunks of the vote, a candidate can therefore win with a relatively modest vote share. Recent modelling by Best for Britain has suggested that some seats may be won by vote shares of less than 30 percent. This means that for the two main parties, they must not only focus on winning over new voters, but also to hold as large a share of their 2017 voters as possible. Both Labour and Conservative are likely to lose votes to the Lib Dems and the Brexit party. This is not to say these smaller parties they will win – but if they manage even 10 percent of the vote, it will be who that 10 percent comes from that will make a difference in many seats. All this suggests that more shifts could be on the way during the lead up to the elections, and that polling and predictions of the election outcome should be viewed with a dose of scepticism.
Algeria Faces the Unknown-Finally An Electionâ€™s Failure Will Be a Democratic Success 14
As the date of Algeria’s presidential election looms, so too does the regime’s presence in the streets, where police have arrested and detained an increasing number of protestors. The near future is full of uncertainty. landscape since late February: le hirak. Among the protest movements that have recently erupted across the globe, Algeria’s hirak, the Arabic word for “movement,” stands apart. As persistent as the protests in Hong Kong, the hirak remains resolutely peaceful; as insistent as Catalonian separatists in their call for independence, the hirak nevertheless swears by the Algerian nation; as resistant as France’s yellow vests to anointing leaders, the hirak nonetheless accepts the necessity of political alliances and organization. Algeria’s future will be determined by the hirak’s ability to sustain these tensions while managing the nation’s transition to democracy.
Demonstrators shout slogans as they march with placards and flags during a rally at Place de la Republique in Paris on March ,10 2019, in support of the ongoing protests in Algeria against the president›s bid for a fifth term in power. (Getty)
For the millions of Algerians who filled the country’s streets and squares on November 1, the date held particular meaning. The protest fell on the 65th anniversary of the official start to Algeria’s war of independence. But whereas France was the oppressor 65 years ago, that role has since been assumed by le pouvoir, or power, the popular term for the militaryindustrial interests that have ruled Algeria for the past half-century, hand-in-hand with the state and its security apparatus.
by Robert Zaretsky What if an election is held and no one votes? This question now confronts Algeria, where the government of interim President Abdelkader Bensalah has scheduled a presidential election for December 12. Yet the election risks ending as an exercise in absurdity: nearly all Algerian political and civil organizations have refused to endorse the five official candidates and have called upon Algerians to refrain from voting. The failure of this election will, paradoxically, mark the success of the country’s democratic aspirations, as expressed through a phenomenon that has dominated the Algerian political
The significance of the anniversary was too great to ignore. The crowd of more than a million men, women, and children joyously riffed on the theme of independence. In their chants (“Algeria is retaking its independence” and “The people demand their independence”) and their banners (“The generation of the revolution liberated the land, that of the hirak will liberate the nation” and “The nation is in danger: the Battle of Algiers continues”), the protesters associated the current struggle with that of their forebears two generations earlier. As one participant
declared, “Our ancestors fought the French for independence, and we are fighting the Mafia that has confiscated that same independence.” This sequel to the original battle of Algiers began on February 2019 ,22, when millions of Algerians flooded the country’s squares and streets to protest the announcement that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika would run for a fifth term of office. This sudden and popular eruption took by surprise not just the security apparatus but also an intellectual apparatus convinced that Algerians had resigned themselves to the status quo. The novelist Kamel Daoud had written that “there were no longer citizens in Algeria, but only believers,” while his fellow writer Boualem Sansal sighed that “like a gas, Islam covers all of Algeria.” In a book titled Where Is Algeria Going?, the essayist Mohamed Sifaoui wrote, “Nowhere.” Apart from a handful of utopians, he concluded, “citizens no longer even try to engage themselves in politics.” To the author’s chagrin, however, the book was published on February 21, the eve of the first mass demonstration. Twenty years earlier, Bouteflika’s election had seemed providential. The new president did not challenge the military-industrial system, but his civilian background reassured civil society. By brokering an amnesty law, Bouteflika managed to end the “black decade” of savage war between the state and Islamist rebels that had killed approximately 200,000 civilians and combatants. The lasting impact
Algerians “have the right to the unknown. For the last fifty years, we knew who our president would be, along with the exact level of participation and percentage of votes. For the first time, nothing is written in advance.”
of the war benefitted Bouteflika, making Algerians reluctant to reject or resist a political settlement that had imposed peace. That reluctance lasted well into this decade. In 2014, when Bouteflika was reelected after a profoundly debilitating stroke, he was “already a zombie,” one Algerian recalled, but Algerians still “suffered from the trauma of the civil war … All of us were afraid to relive that era.” By 2019, however, Bouteflika’s presence had become a provocation. The combination of a faltering economy and flourishing corruption had deepened the rift between the state and the public. Moreover, his candidacy violated not just constitutional norms—a law passed in 2016 imposed a two-term limit—but also ethical ones. Since his stroke, Bouteflika has used a wheelchair and is incapable of independent movement and speech. His drooping frame and deadened gaze became an emblem of a deeply corrupt state, capable of little more than rewarding an elite while repressing most everyone else. This odd state of affairs has inspired a cottage industry of bitter jokes, such as “Even cancer has only four stages,”
A protest rejecting the December presidential election in Algiers, November 2019. (Reuters)
regime pushed ahead with plans for elections. But the opposition movements dismissed the election as no less symbolic than the purge, and they refused to offer candidates. During weekly demonstrations, protesters now chanted, “There will not be a vote.” At the same time, civil society groups—including associations of lawyers, judges, professors, and students—organized strikes, insisting that the generals and interim leaders were the problem for which they pretended to be the answer. As the Algerian journalist Akram Belkaïd argued, the arrests “were concessions, not a reform. It’s a classic move: in order to survive, the system sacrifices a part of itself.” Protestors demanded that Salah step aside to allow a transitional government take office. By midJune, an alliance of 70 political and professional organizations, claiming to represent civil society, issued a detailed plan for Algeria’s transition to a fully transparent and democratic system. Saïd Salhi, the vice president of Algeria’s chapter of the League of Human Rights, insisted that following the plan’s four steps would “mark the rupture with a system that is now maneuvering and manipulating public opinion in order to remain in power.”
and “Bouteflika promises to die should he win a fifth term.” The demonstrators maintained their weight on the regime throughout the late winter and early spring of 2019. Braving threats and warnings from the government, protesters filled the streets with chants of “20 ans: ça suffit” or “20 years is enough.” In late March, le pouvoir chose to interpret the demand as applying only to Bouteflika. The army chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Salah announced that Bouteflika’s “debilitating” state of health disqualified him from a fifth term. Having wheeled his former patron off the stage of politics, Salah replaced him with Bensalah. At the same time, Salah ordered the arrest of several former ministers and officials connected to Bouteflika, most importantly his brother Saïd Bouteflika, who was then charged with financial corruption and political conspiracy. The political scientist Luis Martinez noted that the motivation behind these arrests was transparent: Salah will “have heads fall in order to convey the appearance of political change.” In the wake of this symbolic housecleaning, the
While the pouvoir has proved as stubborn as the protestors, it has also proved more tentative. Salah has refused to retreat in the face of the hirak’s demands, and has instead ordered the arrests of numerous strike leaders, as well as youths who display the Berber flag or emblem as a reminder that the one-party state has long suppressed Berber ethnic and linguistic identity. At the same time, though, he has mostly avoided open confrontation with the protestors. Even the use of water cannons by the security forces seems halfhearted, leading protestors to demand shampoo for these occasions. For the moment, Salah has decided to double down on the election. In mid-September, he reaffirmed the regime’s determination “that elections will take place on the appointed date.” As that date looms, so too does the regime’s presence in the streets, where police have arrested and detained an increasing number of protestors. The near future is full of uncertainty. For Daoud, this mystery is welcome. For the first time, he remarked in an interview, Algerians “have the right to the unknown. For the last fifty years, we knew who our president would be, along with the exact level of participation and percentage of votes. For the first time, nothing is written in advance.” This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Foreign Affairs Has Always Been at the Heart of Impeachment High Crimes From the Middle Ages to the Age of Trump by Frank O. Bowman III Presidential impeachment in the United States has always seemed to be a domestic matter. President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about sexual misconduct. President Richard Nixon resigned to avoid certain impeachment in the wake of the Watergate scandal. And in 1868, the House of Representatives leveled 11
articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson for defying a Republican-led Congress and its positions on Reconstruction. The current inquiry into President Donald Trump is different. Sometime in December, it is likely that a U.S. president will for the first time be impeached for misusing his foreign policy authority in the service of personal political interests. The evidence laid out in House Intelligence Committee hearings establishes that
Trump conditioned the release of congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine on an announcement by the Ukrainian government that it would conduct investigations of Trump’s political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and of the baseless allegation that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But it should not be surprising that dealings abroad could precipitate impeachment. Foreign affairs have often been at the heart of impeachment, from the origins of the practice in medieval England through its adoption by the United States. The history of impeachment over the centuries shows an abiding awareness of how vulnerable the practice of foreign policy is to the misconduct of its makers. The fact that the Senate will probably not remove Trump from office is not a measure of the ineffectiveness of impeachment as a tool but, instead, a reflection of the particular and peculiar transformations in the political culture of the United States that insulate the president from the consequences of his misconduct.
IMPEACHMENT THE ENGLISH WAY When the framers of the U.S. Constitution included a provision that presidents and other “civil officers” may be impeached for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” they were drawing on British parliamentary practice that was, in 1787, already centuries old.
A protester holds up a sign reading «impeach» outside the US Capitol building during the «People›s Rally for Impeachment» on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 2019 ,26. (Getty)
In 1678, the Earl of Danby was impeached for soliciting—on behalf of the English King Charles II—a bribe from Louis XIV of France in return for English neutrality in the Franco-Dutch War. Unfortunately for the duke, he was abducted by pirates in the English Channel and beheaded. In 1625, the Duke of Buckingham, a close confidant of King Charles I, launched a disastrous and costly naval campaign against the Spanish port of Cadiz. Parliament tried to impeach Buckingham the next year. One article in Buckingham’s 1626 impeachment arose from a loan of English ships to the Catholic French king for use against Protestant Huguenots at La Rochelle; English parliamentarians were furious that Buckingham had effectively sanctioned the suppression of Protestants on the continent. Rather than see Buckingham impeached, Charles protected his aide by dissolving Parliament.
The English Parliament invented impeachment in 1376 as a tool through which the elite interests represented in that body—the hereditary aristocracy, the established church, the landed gentry, and in due course professional lawyers and the moneyed class— could check the power of the crown. The nature of European kingship, with its entangled family alliances and unending crossborder quarrels over territorial and dynastic claims, regularly placed foreign relations at the center of national politics. England’s involvement in the wars of religion following the Reformation, proximity to the continent, and, eventually, management of an overseas empire also made foreign affairs important to the ruling class. Accordingly, missteps in foreign relations were often the subject of Parliament’s impeachments of royal ministers, judges, and others.
In 1667, after an expensive and unnecessary war with the Dutch, the Earl of Clarendon was impeached in part for seeking money from France to evade parliamentary controls on royal finance. In what was effectively a repudiation of pro-Catholic foreign policy, Parliament impeached Lords Oxford, Bolingbroke, and Strafford in 1715 for advocating the Treaty of Utrecht.
The impeachment of key royal officials followed debacles abroad on several occasions. In 1450, the Duke of Suffolk, a principal minister of King Henry VI, was impeached for the supposed betrayal of English interests to the French, including his role in arranging Henry’s marriage to the French princess Margaret of Anjou. The English had recently lost swaths of territory in France, and Suffolk’s rivals claimed that the Duke had conspired with the French during the marriage negotiations. The king tried to save Suffolk from imprisonment and possible execution (the punishments for impeachment then were harsher than the U.S. Constitution permits) by sending him into exile.
The last significant British impeachment, that of Warren Hastings, governor general of Bengal, began in London just as the delegates to the constitutional convention arrived in Philadelphia in 1787. The trial, which lasted seven years and attracted a large following on both sides of the Atlantic, centered on fundamental disagreements about the proper relationship of Great Britain to its Indian possessions and the states that abutted them. The conservative politician Edmund Burke led the prosecution and argued that although Hastings’ actions did not necessarily constitute clear violations of existing laws, they were still crimes “against those eternal laws of justice, which are our
Perhaps most interestingly, in light of current events, in 1678, the Earl of Danby was impeached for soliciting—on behalf of the English King Charles II—a bribe from Louis XIV of France in return for English neutrality in the Franco-Dutch War. The king suspended Parliament to protect Danby, but years later the earl was impeached again, this time for accepting a bribe from the British East India Company.
rule and our birthright: his offenses are not in formal, technical language, but in reality, in substance and effect, High Crimes and High Misdemeanors.” The Hastings affair illustrates the key point about British foreign policy impeachments: the procedure was not limited to questions of criminality or violations of the law. Rather, Parliament claimed the final authority to determine the nation’s fundamental interests in foreign affairs and to impeach officials, even those supported by the crown, who subverted those interests.
AN AMERICAN INHERITANCE By the time of the American founding in 1787, “high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” first used by Parliament in 1386, had become a term of art—familiar both in Britain and its American colonies— embracing the various behaviors that Parliament traditionally found impeachable. Virginia delegate George Mason proposed inserting “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” into the Constitution right after lamenting that “treason and bribery” wouldn’t capture the kinds of offenses committed by Warren Hastings. By writing the phrase into the U.S. Constitution, the framers, quite consciously, adopted along with it the body of British precedent including impeachments for the betrayal of the nation’s international interests. Other founders were explicit in relating misconduct in foreign affairs to impeachment. James Madison argued for its inclusion in the Constitution because the president “might betray his trust to foreign powers,” and contended at the Virginia ratifying convention that, under the new Constitution, a president could be impeached for advocating a treaty that “violated the interest of the nation.” James Iredell, one of the first Supreme Court justices, said at the North Carolina ratifying convention that a president should be impeachable for “giving false information to the Senate” about a treaty pending ratification.
believed that doing so would place the legislature at the heart of foreign policy decisions. Thus, declarations that a president could be impeached for impropriety in relation to the treaty process were expressions of the same fundamental view held by Parliament: the legislature is the final guardian of the nation’s interests and impeachment should serve as a check on presidential misbehavior in the international realm.
These remarks about treaties may seem quaint today, but the founding generation understood foreign relations primarily in terms of formal treaty relationships between nation-states. They gave the power of treaty ratification to the Senate because they
The foreign emoluments clause of Article I, Section 9, is a further expression of the fear that other countries could seduce the president from his proper allegiance. Edmund Randolph insisted at the Virginia ratifying convention that a president “may be impeached” for “receiving emoluments from foreign powers.”
The history of impeachment over the centuries shows an abiding awareness of how vulnerable the practice of foreign policy is to the misconduct of its makers.”
THE IMPERIAL TRUMP Despite the undeniable constitutional authority for impeaching a president for misconduct in foreign relations, carrying a Trump impeachment to his actual removal on that ground will be uniquely difficult. Those who would unseat a president must not only prove his conduct to be of a constitutionally impeachable type but persuade the public—to whose views legislators are exquisitely sensitive—that such conduct was sufficiently egregious to warrant expelling a lawfully elected chief executive. And as the power of the presidency in foreign affairs has metastasized far
Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George P. Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. are sworn-in prior to testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 2019 ,13 in Washington, DC. (Gett)
The fact that the Senate will probably not remove Trump from office a reflection of the particular and peculiar transformations in the political culture of the United States that insulate the president from the consequences of his misconduct. leverage to gain personal political advantage.
beyond the role envisioned by the framers, the public has lost sight of the framers’ intent. The framers thought that by bestowing on Congress the powers of the purse, ratification of treaties, confirmation of cabinetlevel officials and high-ranking military officers, regulation of “Commerce with foreign Nations,” raising the army, maintaining a navy, and so forth, they were keeping even adventurous presidents within congressional control. But in recent decades, dramatic increases in the executive establishment, in U.S. military power, and in the U.S. role in the world, combined with Congress abstaining from exercising its own constitutional authority, have transformed the president into a largely unconstrained actor in foreign relations. But as anomalous as the framers would have thought the modern presidency, the modern U.S. public has never known any other reality. The imperial presidency developed during the New Deal and World War II. Virtually no one whose political consciousness predates those events remains alive. Unilateral action by a president in the foreign sphere—even the bullying of weaker states—seems quite normal. This makes it hard to differentiate legitimate presidential behavior, such as conditioning aid on genuine anticorruption efforts, from illegitimate abuses of power, such as withholding aid as
The American public has also become more isolationist in recent years, skeptical of defense commitments to other countries and increasingly ignorant of the rationales for them. The generations that fought World War II and supported the long Cold War struggle against the Soviet Union generally believed a peaceful, democratic Europe to be worth protecting and the Kremlin’s expansionism to be a serious problem requiring a U.S. response. A few decades ago, the problem with Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine would likely have been self-evident to bipartisan majorities. Today, it remains self-evident to the U.S. foreign policy establishment of both parties. But to many ordinary Americans, these experts speak a nearly extinct language as they warn of horrors that have passed out of living memory. The rise of Trump has exacerbated this trend. Trump came to power in part by endorsing a simplistic, transactional view of the United States’ role in the world and his own role as president: “America first.” U.S. foreign policy should embrace only narrow self-interest. Alliances are suspect. Foreigners will yield to the demands of the strong leader of the strongest nation. Neither the institutional Republican Party nor its supporting media ecosystem has proved willing or able to reject this authoritarian parody of statesmanship. As a result, the long slide toward presidential unilateralism in foreign policy has melded with isolationist disillusion and the bitter partisan spirit of the day. It has produced in a large chunk of the electorate the apparent acceptance of an overt and historically unprecedented presidential abuse of American power. Unless something unforeseeable occurs, the Senate will vote to acquit. By refusing to wield the tool bequeathed by fourteenth-century English parliamentarians and eighteenth-century American founders, Congress will normalize Trump’s offenses and abandon the United States’ moral claim to world leadership in the twenty-first century. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
The Fall of Berlin Wall Almost Ended in War Hereâ€™s What the United States Did to Prevent It 22
After coming to power in the mid1980-s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did much to ease tensions with the United States and improve the EastWest relationship. Germany was the most important strategic prize in Europe. Debates over its reunification and geopolitical alignment had nearly sparked a war on several occasions in the 1950s and 1960s. And as late as October 1989, U.S. officials warned that if Soviet influence in East Germany were threatened, the Soviet Union would “use force to prevent the collapse of a Communist East German State.” When the wall opened just one month later, no one knew how the Kremlin would interpret the end of travel restrictions and the broader challenge this posed to Soviet influence; after all, the higher-ups in Berlin had announced the decision to open the border without Moscow’s explicit approval. A crackdown—perhaps even a war—was a real possibility.
Some people walking on the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin, 1989. (Getty)
by Joshua Shifrinson Thirty years ago this month, the opening of the Berlin Wall ushered in the last great diplomatic struggle of the Cold War. As cheering crowds danced atop what was left of the Iron Curtain, the fate of Germany hung in the balance. In retrospect, it is easy to see that triumphal moment as part of an inevitable march toward German reunification. At the time, however, the future felt anything but certain.
Why, then, did the events in Europe end with a whimper and not a bang? One must give credit where credit is due: after coming to power in the mid1980-s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did much to ease tensions with the United States and improve the East-West relationship. But dozens of recently declassified documents reveal that a large part of the story was the care and caution shown by U.S. policymakers. Their restraint created space for the events in East Germany to unfold and enabled the United States to capitalize on the weakness of communist authorities in a remarkable strategic coup: peaceful German reunification within NATO.
THE CROWN JEWEL FALLS Fear of a violent Soviet reaction did not emerge
from the ether. The Soviet Union had crushed previous uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. Those states were less geopolitically important than East Germany— which the U.S. State Department had called the “cornerstone” of the Soviet security posture and “the jewel in their imperial crown.” It was all too easy to imagine a Soviet-led crackdown drawing in West German forces, triggering NATO military protocols, and provoking an allout conflagration. Documents at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library show that already in August 1989, one National Security Council (NSC) official had advised National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft that “we should restrain the euphoria,” as the “evolution in Eastern Europe is very much at the mercy” of the Soviet Union. Picking up this theme, the CIA warned in mid-October that “despite scattered hints . . . that Soviet thinking on intra-German relations is evolving, we believe Moscow remains fundamentally opposed to German reunification.” U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Scowcroft, and other senior officials recognized the danger. They responded to the imminent collapse of East German authority not by immediately calling for reunification but by arguing that the German people should be allowed “self-determination.” Bush also refused to endorse West German
The push to reunify Germany within NATO by exploiting Soviet weaknesses may have later contributed to the progressive collapse of U.S.-Russian relations starting in the early years of the twenty-first century.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s plan for the gradual reunification of East and West Germany until after he met with Gorbachev at the December 1989 Malta Summit and the Soviet leader promised “peaceful change.” After all, as the NSC had told the president just before Malta, there were no guarantees that the Soviet empire “would go quietly into the night.” Indeed, the collapse of East Germany risked pushing the Soviets into an “act of desperation” that could well trigger “a European central front war.” But even Gorbachev’s promise at Malta did not fully alleviate American worries. Soon after the Malta Summit, Soviet forces in East Germany suddenly went on alert. U.S. policymakers were sufficiently concerned that the Soviets might be preparing to forcibly “restore communist rule” that Bush dispatched his secretary of state, James Baker, to meet with the Soviet, British, and French foreign ministers in Berlin to defuse
Former US President George Bush (R) is shown in this file photo talking with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (C) 01 June 1990, during a signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC. (Getty)
German reunification created stress within the United States to respond to developments within the Soviet sphere of influence. But even more important was the collapse of the Soviet military position throughout Eastern Europe following the revolutions of 1989. With Eastern European populations mobilized and governments in the region rapidly moving away from communism, the Soviet Union’s ability to maintain a military presence in the region and to credibly threaten its use was diminishing by the day. American policymakers knew this and called the Soviets’ bluff. By late January, NSC analysts concluded that Bush could simply “remind Gorbachev that his troops are fast being pushed out of the region” and that his best bet was to cooperate with the United States on whatever terms it offered. Condoleezza Rice—who at the time was the NSC’s senior Soviet analyst— argued that “the Soviet Union is probably unable to reextend its tentacles into Eastern European” countries. As the Soviet threat receded, U.S. ambitions expanded—enabling German reunification inside NATO and the peaceful end of the Cold War. Bush and his team have been rightly praised for their tactfulness and diplomatic caution. More than the situation. Given what Scowcroft called “the that, however, they understood power politics. significant Soviet military presence in Europe,” Rather than charging headfirst into the breach U.S. leaders were willing to grant the Soviet once the Berlin Wall opened, they calibrated Union a wide berth, using dialogue rather than U.S. policy to the facts on the ground—avoiding crises, exploiting opportunities, and linking ends economic pressure or military showmanship. and means to advance U.S. interests. Of course, the push to reunify Germany within NATO by A SECOND WIND exploiting Soviet weaknesses may have later Early in 1990, however, the caution and contributed to the progressive collapse of U.S.circumspection that had dominated NSC Russian relations starting in the early years of decision-making in 1989 seemed to evaporate the twenty-first century. Still, at a time when and U.S. policy abruptly changed. Within a span the foundations of the post–Cold War system of weeks, American and West German officials are shaking, great-power politics are back, and crafted a plan to reunify Germany under NATO. current American leaders seem determined to By the spring, this process was sufficiently far throw the United States’ weight around against advanced that even Soviet objections could not friends and foes alike, strategists would do well to recognize that circumspection and restraint are dissuade the United States. often the keys to victory. A number of developments likely factored into this shift. Mounting social and political upheaval This article was originally published on in East Germany and the resulting pressure for ForeignAffairs.com.
How to End the War in Ukraine
What an American-Led Peace Plan Should Look Like by Steven Pifer For more than five years, Russian forces and their proxies have waged a bloody war against Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives, driven almost two million people from their homes, and caused immense material damage.
France and Germany have together sought to broker peace but failed to produce a durable cease-fireâ€”let alone a political settlement. On December 9, French President Emmanuel Macron will host a summit with his Ukrainian, Russian, and German counterparts aimed at bringing the conflict to an
end. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appears committed to making peace, while Moscow appears committed to sustaining the war. Whether the summit will yield any progress toward closing that gap remains in doubt. If European efforts continue to falter, the United States should take a more active role in the peacemaking process, working with European countries to make Russia’s military engagement in Ukraine more costly and a settlement more attractive. Moreover, Washington should set forth its own peace plan—one that builds on previous diplomatic efforts but includes a UN-authorized peacekeeping mission and an interim international administration in Donbas.
A SIMMERING CONFLICT Moscow’s primary objective in Ukraine is to bring the former Soviet republic back into its orbit. In February 2014, pro-European protesters ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who had enjoyed the Kremlin’s backing. Russian special forces responded by seizing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Regional authorities there organized a hasty and illegitimate referendum to join Russia, and in March 2014, Russia formally annexed Crimea—a move that most of the world denounced.
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) before their meeting at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on June 2019 ,17 in Paris. (Getty)
The following month, fighting broke out in Donbas, a separate region in eastern Ukraine that borders Russia. Socalled “separatists”—with the help of Russian leadership, funding, weapons, ammunition, and, in some cases, regular Russian military units—declared “people’s republics” in the provinces, known as oblasts, of Donetsk and Luhansk. Unlike in Crimea, where Ukrainian military units remained garrisoned, in Donbas the Ukrainian military fought back. By August 2014, Ukrainian forces had retaken most of the region from the “separatists,” prompting the Russian army to intervene directly to forestall defeat. In September of that year, in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, both sides agreed to a cease-fire, but it didn’t hold. Five months later, in February 2015, France and Germany brokered a new framework for a political settlement between Russia and Ukraine. The Minsk II agreement, as it was dubbed, was supposed to facilitate a sustained cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact between the two sides, and, eventually, prisoner swaps and local elections, among other measures, to restore normalcy. The agreement succeeded in stabilizing the line of contact, but the cease-fire never fully took hold and not all heavy weapons were withdrawn. Most observers primarily blamed Russian and Russian proxy forces.
France and Germany have together sought to broker peace but failed to produce a durable cease-fire—let alone a political settlement. Ultimately, the conflict in Donbas has undercut the Kremlin’s aim of turning Ukraine into a client state. Fiveplus years of conflict have forged a strong sense of national identity in Ukraine and strengthened the desire of many Ukrainians to integrate fully into Europe. For the first time since Ukraine regained independence in 1991, polls show that a plurality, and sometimes even a majority, of Ukrainians favor joining NATO. With Kyiv now unlikely to return to Moscow’s orbit, the Kremlin appears to be pursuing a more limited secondary goal: to pressure, distract, and destabilize the Ukrainian government so that it cannot successfully tackle its reform priorities. From Russia’s point of view, a weak and distracted Ukrainian government is better than a stable, democratic, and successful one that fully embraces Europe. A simmering conflict in Donbas advances the Kremlin’s goal of disruption. Moscow has incurred significant costs in pursuit of this aim. The West moved to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014—for example, by suspending the G8- and meeting without Russia, as the G7-. The United States and the European Union have also imposed a range of visa and economic sanctions against Moscow and against individual Russian officials and businesspeople. Those sanctions have cost the Russian economy an estimated one percent of annual GDP, a not insignificant share for an economy that has grown roughly 1.5 percent annually in recent years. To date, the Kremlin appears to believe that the benefits of sustaining the conflict in Donbas still exceed the costs. Altering Russia’s cost-benefit analysis is the key to changing its behavior—and the United States and Europe have the ability to do so. Washington should not attempt to displace the diplomatic efforts of Berlin and Paris, which have sustained a common European Union policy of support for Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. But it should work with European capitals to ratchet up pressure on Moscow: for example, if Russia continues to resist a mutually acceptable settlement, Western countries can expand the visa sanctions to include the spouses and other family members of those on the current list. In addition, the United States and Europe
can impose harsher sanctions on Russian industry and discourage the holding of Russian sovereign debt. Finally, the United States and certain NATO members can plan to enhance their military assistance to Ukraine in the event that peace fails. Russia should know that it will pay a heavy price if it continues to resist a settlement in Donbas.
A PLAN FOR PEACE Having laid this groundwork, the United States should propose a path to peace that would retain the essential features of the 2015 Minsk II agreement. But the new proposal should go farther, introducing a UN-authorized peacekeeping force and an interim international administration to manage the transition back to full Ukrainian sovereignty in Donbas. The blue helmets and the interim administration would provide political cover for Russia’s withdrawal, while the international presence, both military and civilian, would restore the confidence of the local population. In accordance with Minsk II, the first step would be a sustained cease-fire, accompanied by the verified withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact. (Absent a firmly established cease-fire, the other elements of the initiative will be impossible.) After that, Russian and Russian proxy forces would withdraw from Donbas while a U.N. peacekeeping force deployed to the region in stages, ultimately taking control of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The peacekeeping force, whose troops would not be drawn from NATO members or Russia, would plan to remain for 12 to 24 months, although it could withdraw earlier if conditions allowed. At that point, Ukraine would
From Russia’s point of view, a weak and distracted Ukrainian government is better than a stable, democratic, and successful one that fully embraces Europe.
assume full sovereignty over Donbas. An interim police force comprising Ukrainian national police, local Donbas police, and international police elements might assist the peacekeeping force. Starting at the same time as the peacekeeping operation, the interim international administration— perhaps organized and staffed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe—would restore basic governance and manage the transition back to Ukrainian rule. The interim administration would oversee detainee releases and swaps and organize local elections. To make the transition complete, the legislature in Kyiv would have to devolve some powers to local governments in all oblasts and award special status to the two Donbas oblasts, Donetsk and Luhansk. National-level policies—foreign, defense, macroeconomic, and financial, among others—would remain Kyiv’s responsibility. Donbas will need economic assistance to recover from the war. To that end, the U.S. plan would include a fund, under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, with contributions also from the World Bank, the United States, and other countries, such as Canada, to assist the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Donbas. Even if Ukraine could be promised a full political and economic recovery in Donbas, its leaders will surely still seek a more lasting guarantee of the country’s security. The United States, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France, and perhaps others should open a joint diplomatic dialogue on European security issues as the peace process unfolds. These discussions would take up the matter of Ukraine’s relationship with—and possible future membership in— NATO, starting from a position of “Not now, but not never.” Such a starting point reflects the fact that there is currently no consensus within NATO on whether Ukraine should join the alliance, but it leaves the possibility open. In such a dialogue, Russia could articulate its security concerns, even while it is forced to recognize those of Ukraine. With each step forward in this peace process, Western countries would gradually lift the related visa and economic sanctions on Russia, with a major relaxation of sanctions coming once Russian and Russian proxy forces vacate Donbas. The West would also move to restore other
Children hold a flag of the so-called "People's Republic of Lugansk" during their rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on June 2014 ,29, organized by pro-Russia separatists, activists, and armed militants and calling on the Ukraine government to stop its military operation in the east of the country. (Getty)
ties with Russia that have been severed or strained since 2014, including the G8-. For this peace process to succeed, the United States will need not only to shift the Kremlin’s calculus on Donbas but to shore up Zelensky’s position, as well. Segments of the Ukrainian public opposed the Minsk II agreement and are likely to object to granting Donbas special status. Zelensky’s early preparations for the December 9 summit in Paris, including reaffirming Kyiv’s commitment to Minsk II, have already engendered protests. He will have to make the difficult case to his people that concessions in Donbas are the necessary price for restoring Ukrainian sovereignty. A bold diplomatic gambit from the United States is far from guaranteed to succeed. But if it does, it would advance U.S. interests vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russia. An end to the conflict in Donbas would allow Kyiv to
An end to the conflict in Donbas would allow Kyiv to focus on reforms that would contribute to European stability and security. focus on reforms that would contribute to European stability and security. Peace would also improve the battered U.S.-Russian relationship. The alternative— continuing conflict in Donbas, and persistent tensions between the United States and Russia—hardly seems preferable. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Google, Facebook at Center of Escalating Political-ad Tension Social Media Platforms under Pressure to Change their Political-ad Policies 30
Last month, Twitter Inc. said it will ban political ads on its platform altogether, and is restricting targeting for other ads related to some politically charged issues, like climate change. messages to people based on their physical location, age or other characteristic, referred to as micro-targeting, has become an increasing focus of the broader debate about political advertising online. Last month, Twitter Inc. said it will ban political ads on its platform altogether, and is restricting targeting for other ads related to some politically charged issues, like climate change. Google has recently said it will ban candidates from targeting election ads based on people’s political affiliation, though the messages can be tailored based on gender, age and geography. The company also is eliminating a feature called Customer Match, which allowed advertisers to upload their own lists of email addresses or phone numbers, and target ads specifically at those people.
Google, the world’s most popular search engine. (TNS)
by Eric Newcomer, Kurt Wagner and Mark Bergen Facebook Inc. and Google were drawn into an escalating battle of wills on November 20 over the use of political advertising on social media. Trump campaign officials pressured Facebook to maintain its permissive political advertising rules, while Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced an overhaul of how campaigns may target their messages across the world’s largest search engine. The ability of candidates to show different
Facebook, the largest platform for online political advertising, has been under pressure to follow suit. Several prominent Democrats have attacked the company for refusing to fact-check political ads. Facebook has rebuffed those calls, saying it doesn’t want to police political speech. In October, hundreds of Facebook employees sent a letter to the company’s executives calling for new limits on ad targeting for political campaigns. The letter became public after it was obtained by The New York Times. Carolyn Everson, a Facebook vice president, said Monday at a Recode conference that the social media company wasn’t considering changes to its targeted advertising options for
political ads. Later that day, however, she told Axios, the news website, that Facebook hadn’t ruled out any specific changes, raising the prospect the company may change course and limit targeting in some way. The Trump campaign reacted directly to Everson’s comments. It sees Facebook as an essential tool for speaking directly to voters, instead of relying on critical media outlets that the president says treat him unfairly. Gary Coby, the Trump campaign’s digital director, argued on Twitter Wednesday that stopping campaigns from pairing in-house data with Facebook’s advertising tools would suppress voter engagement. “This would unevenly hurt the little guy, smaller voices, & issues the public is not aware of OR news is NOT covering,” Coby tweeted, saying it was very “dangerous” and a “huge blow to speech.” Tim Cameron, chief executive officer at FlexPoint Media, a Republican media strategy firm, said the Trump campaign is likely concerned that new restrictions could result in Facebook deciding to begin fact-checking political ads. “I think the Trump campaign is looking down the road beyond this decision and are actually more afraid of subsequent decisions that Facebook may make,” he said. Facebook hasn’t announced any changes to its policies. “For over a year, we’ve provided unprecedented transparency into all U.S. federal and state campaigns — and we prohibit voter suppression in all ads,” a company spokesman said. “As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads.” During the 2016 election, the Trump campaign ran 5.9 million different versions of ads, constantly testing them against different groups to increase engagement, according to internal Facebook documents reviewed by Bloomberg in 2018. It spent 44$ million on Facebook in
the six months before the 2016 election. So far in 2019, the Trump campaign has spent more than 15$ million in ads, and is the largest political spender on the platform, according to Facebook’s political ad library. Before Google announced its changes, the company touted its ability to target voters based on political affiliations, like “rightleaning,” as a major selling point. “They were all heartily selling us this for years as the coolest thing since sliced bread,” said Will Ritter, the founder of Poolhouse, a political advertising firm. Google’s new restrictions mean campaigns may have to spend more after losing the ability to hit key voters, Ritter added. For instance, a candidate could identify frequent Republican voters in Democratic-heavy areas of the country, and reach them with ads on search and YouTube. Now they can’t.
Anti-Brexit campaign billboard in Jeremy Corbyn's Islington constituency by the Led By Donkeys group. (Getty)
So far in 2019, the Trump campaign has spent more than 15$ million in ads, and is the largest political spender on the platform, according to Facebook’s political ad library. misinformation that is cleverly targeted to produce a very different response or action,” Knapp said. Knapp said Google’s Customer Match tool could be used to target racial groups, or engage in other behavior that violates the policies of the platforms. The equivalent tool on Facebook, “Custom Audiences,” still exists.
“It’s just going to increase costs because there’s going to be so much waste,” Ritter said. Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who now works for Tech Inquiry, a political advocacy group focused on ethical issues related to technology, said the ability to target makes online advertising particularly susceptible to abuse. Campaigns can test messages on certain audiences, find which ones resonate, then use tools provided by Facebook or Google to target those people with new ads while also reaching people with similar characteristics. Misleading messaging can be directed at specific audiences without drawing widespread attention. “You can be seeing one message that seems fine, and your nextdoor neighbor can be seeing some
Chancellor Mady Tawfiq Al Dakn to Majalla: “Fared El Shawky was One of the Driving Forces Who Led to My Father Getting Cast as Film Villains” How a Young Up and Coming Footballer Shifted to Becoming a Big Screen Villain by Safa Azeb Tawfiq Al Dakn was one of the most prolific film stars from Egyptian/Arabic cinema. He started his film journey in the 1950s and 1960s and extended all the way to the 1980s. Despite his talent and tenacity in playing a myriad of roles, he became most known for playing villains in films. He was able to give film villains a comedic flavor, something that distinguished his performances from that of his contemporaries. Al Dakn starred in 233 films throughout his career, 33 of those were in the 1950s, 78 in the 1960s, 92 in the 1970s and finally 30 films in the 1980s. The first film he starred in was one on the beginnings of Islam, in which he played Omar Bin El Khataab’s sister’s Quran teacher. Among his most known films are “Derb El Mahabeel” (The Path of the Idiots), “Adham El Sharkawy”, “El Naser Salah El Din” (The Victorious Saladin), “Fe Baitona Ragol” (There’s a Man in Our House), “El Shaimaa”, “Sera’a Fe El Mina’i” (Conflict at the Sea Port), “El Qahera 30” (Cairo 30), “Leil w Kodban” (Night and Rods), “Kharag w Lem Ya3od” (He Went Out and Never Came Back), “Ibn Hamedo” (The Son of Hamedo) and “El Fatwa”. He also performed in a number of plays including “Sekat El Salama”
(Safety Rail), “El Farafeer”, “El Mahrousa” (The Protected), and “Entaha El Dars Ya Ghaby” (The Lesson Has Ended You Idiot). His work and dedication to the entertainment industry has not gone unnoticed, in 1956 he received a First Class Medal of Science and Arts and in 1978 he got a Certificate of Merit. Some of his individual performances received accolades as well; these include his roles in “Fe Baitona Ragol”, “El Shaimaa”, “Sera’ Fe El Mina’i”, “El
Al Dakn starred in 233 films throughout his career, 33 of those were in the 1950s, 78 in the 1960s, 92 in the 1970s and finally 30 films in the 1980s.
Qahera 30” and “Leil w Kodban”. Tawfiq Al Dakn passed away in November 1988 at the young age of 65. As this year marks the 31st anniversary of his passing, Majalla sat down with Al Dakn’s son Chancellor Mady Tawfiq Al Dakn, the head of the Association of Children of Golden Age Actors. Q: What do you remember most about your father, Tawfiq Al Dakn? A: I remember everything about him, for he is my father. I also greatly remember his film era which was teeming with artistry, love and trustworthiness. Q: How did he treat you and your siblings around the house? Did you feel proud to be the children of such a big film star? A: He was a kind and loving father. Despite his fame, he was never big headed and whenever he noticed one us showing off because of his fame, he would quickly straighten us out.
A: Yes he was a professional football player, when he was young he moved with his family to El Minya in Upper Egypt, where he took up two sports boxing and football. He played in El Minya Football Club as a left-winger. One day El Minya played against El Zamalek, which they defeated and my father played brilliantly during that game. Afterwards, El Zamalek wanted to sign my father, but he refused since the club had a policy at the time that all their footballers had to shave their heads. My father had luscious hair and he had no intention to shave it all off so instead he opted for a move to El Sekka El Hadid SC. Q: How did he get into the acting business? A: Before he got into acting, my father did a number of different jobs. As he was the oldest one among his siblings, he felt the obligation of supporting his family. So he postponed his artistic ambitions to work as an accountant in a dairy factory. He used to go with my grandfather to the prosecutor’s office during the summer, that’s where they discovered his calligraphy skills, so the Counsel President of the Court hired him to write court case reports. So during that time he balanced his work with his studies.
Q: When did his love for acting start? And is it true he used to turn his home into a mini-theater and do performances for the neighborhood children? A: I’ve never heard of that anecdote. But I can tell you that my father was the president of his school’s acting troop in El Minya, so his talent Q: Is it true that he was a professional footballer was evident from an early age. during his younger years, and played for El Q: Is it true that his mother, your grandmother, Zamalek SC? loved Mahmoud El Melegy’s acting and that’s
why she wanted her son to be an actor, so that he could be like Melegy? A: At the time, Mahmoud El Melegy was the most popular actor, which is why my grandmother viewed him as a positive role model for my father. As such, she encouraged him to go to the Acting Institute and she would secretly smuggle the fees for the institute in sandwiches which she would give to his cousins to give to him. The reason for that was because my grandfather was an Azhar alumnus and he wouldnâ€™t approve of his son pursuing acting as a career, as a matter of fact most of society in the 1930s and 1940s
wouldnâ€™t have approved of such a career path. Q: Was his enrollment at the Acting Institute the stepping stone that led to his acting career? A: Fate seemed to have played a big part of my fatherâ€™s rise to stardom. There was a play starring Rohia Khaled and Abd El Aziz Khalil was meant to play her opposite, but he could not do it since he fell ill. After one of his football games, Rohia came to him outside the dressing room and said he would be the perfect replacement. He refused
El Zamalek wanted to sign my father, but he refused since the club had a policy at the time that all their footballers had to shave their heads. My father had luscious hair and he had no intention to shave it all off. 36
at first citing his stage freight, but she persuaded him to do it and he quickly learned the lines. After his debut play, he went on to study at the Acting Institute. Q: He played a good guy in his first cinematic role, so how did he transition to playing evil characters? A: Directors Yousef Shaheen and Tawfiq Saleh once watched my father perform in an independent play called “El Nas El Taht” (The
President Abd El Nasser gave him the First Class Medal of Science while President Sadat awarded him with a Certificate of Merit. People at the Bottom) and they noticed he had the features that would suit him for villainous roles. So Tawfiq Saleh chose him to play a role in the film “Derb El Mahabeel” (The Path of the Idiots), where he met with actor Fared Shawqy whom he formed a long friendship with. Soon after the passing of actor Anwar Wagdy, Fared Shawqy became the new star in the industry and he decided to nominate my father to play prominent roles in films such as “Sultan” and “Port Said” and others. Eventually my father became known as the actor who plays villains in films. Q: Could you tell us about your father’s friendship with Mahmoud El Melegy? A: My father was close friends with Fared Shawqy, Rushdy Abaza and Mahmoud El Melegy, and he was absolutely devastated when they passed. His mental wellbeing deteriorated after they left this world as he considered them
president mentioning his name.
Q: Could you shed a light on your father’s work with Adel Imam and Mohamed Sobhi? A: He initially started working with director Galal El Sharkawy on a play called “Dababes” (Needles), but the production fell through. So instead he went to act in another play titled “Entaha El Dars” (The Lesson is Over) which starred Mohamed Sobhy and was directed by El Said Rady. He would go on to star alongside Adel Imam in a number of projects such as the film “Ala Bab El Wazir” (At the Minister’s Q: Who did he like more, Abd El Nasser or Doorstep) and the TV series “Ahlam El Fata El Ta’er” (A Flying Boy’s Dreams). My father Sadat? A: He loved both leaders, as they appreciated would always love interacting and working with him. President Sadat, who was known for using young actors, and he would always tell them that colloquial expressions and anecdotes in his he learns from them just as much as they learn speeches, once recalled the time he was working from him. My father also worked as an instructor for El Gomhereya Newspaper: “I once worked for El Gomhereya where I would write about Samiha Ayoub and Tawfiq Al Dakn” Of course, my father would smile whenever he heard the Q: Did your father have any political leanings, and what was his relationship like with politicians? A: President Abd El Nasser gave him the First Class Medal of Science while President Sadat awarded him with a Certificate of Merit. He became one of the most prominent actors post the 1956 Revolution and he received national recognition, just like Abd El Halim Hafiz and other performers at the time.
When Al Dakn was young he moved with his family to El Minya in Upper Egypt, where he took up two sports, boxing and football. 38
in the national theater where he had the honor of teaching many young actors at the time like Salah Kabeel, Khaled Zaky and Ashraf Abd El Ghafor. He was also the first person to nominate Khaled Zaky for villainous roles. Q: Why haven’t you or your siblings pursued acting careers? Was that at the behest of your father’s request? A: No he never pushed us away from performing arts, and he had nothing to do with our decision not to pursue acting. The thing is, acting is a risky career choice and the fact that talent can’t be inherited we couldn’t exactly go into the family business, per se. Q: Is it true that your father dreamt of his death before it happened? A: It wasn’t a dream, but one day he suddenly woke up saying “Shubra’s air is in my lungs”, Shubra is a district in North Cairo where our relatives live. After which he demanded that we go to Shubra so that he could see his siblings, so we took my car at night and drove to Shubra, where he spent time with my uncle and aunts, and he also proceeded to call his siblings that couldn’t come that day. Later as we were driving home, we stopped at a traffic signal and he sarcastically quipped “It looks like either I will die soon, or one of them (his siblings) will die soon. Good riddance I say.” My dad was always sarcastic and a bit of a philosopher. After that night, his health deteriorated and he died in hospital within a week.
Q: Could you tell us more Association of Children of Golden Age Actors? A: It’s an association founded by children of actors from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema, and we strive to win the royalties for our parents’ films.
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1776- November- 29/11/2019
Joelle Mardinian: the Bullying I Endured in London Changed My Life www.majalla.com
Is It Too Late to Save Your Posture?
Even if Your Posture Has Been a Problem for Years, It's Possible to Make Improvements 42
The key to fixing poor posture is strengthening and stretching the muscles in the upper back, chest, and core. activities and strengthening your muscles," says Saloni Doshi, a physical therapist with Harvardaffiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
WHAT CAUSES POSTURE PROBLEMS? Poor posture often stems from modern-day habits like working in front of a computer, slouching on a couch while watching TV, or looking down at a smartphone. Poor posture could also be due to many hours spent carrying heavy objects (like equipment at work, grocery bags, or a heavy purse). All of these activities can make you stoop or bring your shoulders forward. "This overstretches and weakens the muscles in the back of your shoulders, and shortens the muscles in the front of your shoulders and in your chest. Gravity then pulls the muscles forward, because the muscles are too weak to pull them back up," Doshi explains. If the core muscles in your back and abdomen have grown weak from inactivity, that can also cause you to lean forward. Those muscles are crucial to lifting your frame and keeping you upright.
by Harvard Health Letter
Another cause of poor posture, as we reported in September, comes from broken bones in your Rounded shoulders and a hunched stance may back. People with brittle bones (osteoporosis) seem like they're set in stone by the time we reach may experience compression fractures when the a certain age, and you may feel you've missed the bones in the back (vertebrae) aren't strong enough boat for better posture. But there's a good chance to support the load placed on them. The bone you can still stand up taller. collapses on the front side, the part closest to the chest. As collapsed vertebrae stack up, the spine "It's not as hard as you may think. Better becomes rounded and bends forward, a condition posture is often just a matter of changing your called dowager's hump (dorsal kyphosis).
POOR POSTURE CONSEQUENCES "Sometimes people ask, Why should I change my posture? I don't mind it.' But one of the big things that happens with forward posture is that your center of gravity goes forward. This increases the risk of falling," Doshi says. Poor posture can also cause back or neck pain, headaches, trouble breathing, or trouble walking. "Back and neck pain seem to be the most common," Doshi says.
MOVE OF THE MONTH: SEATED CHEST STRETCH Sit up straight facing sideways in a chair. Clasp your hands behind you, locking your fingers so your palms face you. Lift your hands upward to the point of tightness. Hold 10 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat two to four times.
PERK UP YOUR POSTURE If you have a spinal cord injury or you've had surgery to fuse or remove bones in your back, there may be some limitations to your posture improvement. Otherwise, Doshi says, it's usually not too late to correct posture, even if you've had broken vertebrae (once they've healed and your doctor says it's okay). "In that case, we'd try to prevent fractures in other segments of your back," she says. "We can't change bones, but we can change muscle mass."
TIPS TO STAND TALLER The key to fixing poor posture is strengthening and stretching the muscles in the upper back, chest, and core. Shoulder strengtheners include scapula squeezes (squeezing your shoulder blades together for 30 seconds at a time) and rows (using a resistance band to pull back your elbows like you're rowing).
Core strengtheners include modified planks (in which you hold a push-up position while propped up on your elbows) or simply tightening your abdominal muscles, pulling your navel in toward your spine. An easy way to stretch your chest muscles: simply put your arms behind your back, grasp both elbows (or forearms if that's as far as you can reach), and hold the position. You'll also have to work on your posture in everyday activities. A simple trick when you're sitting (even watching TV): "Put a rolled towel behind your shoulders. It makes you sit up straight so the towel won't fall," Doshi suggests. Cut down on activities that have led to poor posture, too. Take breaks from computer and TV time, and exercise more. "In six to 12 weeks," says Doshi, "you'll see an improvement in your posture."
Poor posture often stems from modern-day habits like working in front of a computer, slouching on a couch while watching TV, or looking down at a smartphone.
` Jeanine Añez: Bolivia’s Interim President Vows to ‘Pacify’ Country but Heightens Polarisation Majalla - London Jeanine Añez was the senate vice president and little-known even in her native Bolivia before longtime President Evo Morales resigned on 10 November 2019 when the Bolivian armed forces, the National Police Force, opposition parties, and anti-government protesters overthrew Morales’ socialist government. With Morales and other top officials in the line of succession gone, Añez used a constitutional article to elevate herself to interim president. Now, amid a serious political crisis, she finds herself trying to hold Bolivia together long enough to organise fresh elections, as Morales, the country’s most powerful political figure and Bolivia’s leader for 14 years, vows to return after quitting and fleeing to Mexico. Añez was born in Trinidad, Bolivia on 13 August 1967. She became a lawyer in 1991 and campaigned against gender violence. She then worked as a television presenter and media director at Totalvision. Añez served in the Constituent Assembly for the drafting of a new constitutional charter from 2006 to 2008. In 2010, she became a senator for Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence (PPB-CN), a right-wing coalition and the country›s largest opposition force following 2009 elections. She was also named second deputy leader in line with a tradition that all parties be represented in the top posts.
In the 2015-2010 period, Añez became a fierce opponent to the construction of the road through the heart of the Indigenous Territory and Isiboro Secure National park (Tipnis), a Morales project that received a strong response from indigenous groups. In her second term as a senator, since 2015, she focused legislative work to prevent femicide and violence against women. Now a member of the minority conservative political group, Democratic Unity, she is Bolivia’s 66th president and the second woman to hold the post after Lidia Gueiler Tejada, who also held the job on an interim basis in -1979 1980. The parliamentary session to appoint Áñez was boycotted by lawmakers from Morales›s leftist Movement for Socialism party, who said it was illegitimate. Bolivia›s highest constitutional court backed her assumption of power. Añez has promised to hold fresh elections as soon as possible and that she will accept the result, even if voters pick another candidate. «I am going to work for you all, because Bolivians deserve to live in peace and never have their vote stolen again,» she vowed to the Bolivian people immediately after assuming office, in a clear swipe at Morales and the election fraud allegations against him. The former president, however, refuses to go quietly. Writing on Twitter from Mexico, he condemned the «sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history» and lawmakers from his party, who hold a
majority in Bolivia›s legislative assembly, have threatened to nullify her appointment. Añez’s new cabinet has meanwhile attracted some criticism for failing to include a single indigenous member, despite indigenous groups making up 40 percent of the country›s population, ginning up controversy over racist tweets she posted in 2013. The posts — later deleted — described and ridiculed new year celebrations by the Aymara indigeneous community (“Nobody can replace God!”) as “satanic.” In another tweet, she questioned their reasons for going barefoot. Morales was widely seen as Bolivia›s first indigenous president and still elicits major support from these groups, who now fear hard-won gains may be reversed. But Morales’s forced resignation has not led to the “restoration of democracy” in Bolivia, as some of those who supported his ouster claimed, but to the rise of a far-right regime of terror. “Áñez is turning Bolivia into a farright military dictatorship. The regime’s vindictiveness, fomentation of racist speech and action, repression of political opponents, willingness to kill peaceful protesters, and flagrant dismantling of accountability mechanisms that protect human life and basic freedoms are deeply disturbing,” wrote The Washington Post. More than 30 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces since the October election. However, most have died since Morales stepped down.
Joelle Mardinian to Majalla: the Bullying I Endured in London Changed My Life Fashion Expert and Influencer Joelle Mardianian Gives Us Her Take on Online Bullying, Her Newly Adopted Baby and the Lebanese Protests by Nour Al Huda Bahloq Beirut: For the past two decades, Joelle Mardinian has been one of the most prominent Arab women, particularly in the world of fashion and beauty. Her 14
years as the host of her television program “Ma’a Joelle” (With Joelle), helped her become a household name in both her home country of Lebanon and the Middle East as a whole. As it stands, she is the second most followed influencer throughout all social media platforms. Her ubiquitous presence on social media has enabled her to campaign for life principles she believes in, such as motherhood, self-confidence, anti-bullying, especially bullying towards children and teenagers. Naturally, she also utilizes social media platforms to showcase her expertise in fashion, beauty, and makeup which are her main areas of expertise. In addition to her work in the beauty industry, a large following on social media, Mardinian has also been influential for being the first Arab celebrity to adopt a child and wholeheartedly welcome him into her family. As such, she is raising Nathan, her adopted son, and is treating him the same way she treats Billy, her eldest child from her first marriage, and Ella Sophia, her daughter from her current marriage to Kamal Kaddoura. Majalla recently sat down with Mardinian where she gave us a delightful interview discusses her plans for the future and her decision to adopt a child. Q: Do you consider yourself one of the biggest influencers on social media? A: I don’t think of myself as the most important influencer, rather one of the most prominent ones.
Influence isn’t the most vital factor in my social media presence since influence can be either positive or negative. I strive to leave a positive impact on my followers, which is why I campaign for issues that concern girls and women. That doesn’t mean that I only present serious issues, my platforms present a good balance of fun posts and important posts. I feel a great sense of joy when I become a positive influence on my followers because I truly care about them. I always try to give my followers advice on a number of subjects, and I especially love helping small business owners by promoting their businesses. I love reading direct messages from followers thanking me for my
help, and I thank my followers for making me the second most followed influencer in the Arab world. Q: Do you think you were influential before the advent of social media? A: Of course, I wasn’t as famous as I am today. However, as a television presenter, I was well-known. After my ventures in television, I decided to go into the beauty industry and was dedicated to my clinic and beauty salon and that helped continue my popularity. While I wasn’t as famous as I was today, those days had many benefits that I took for granted, namely a more private personal life. That isn’t to say though
that I donâ€™t appreciate my followers on all my social media platforms. Q: Have you ever considered going back to television given how successful your program on MBC was? A: (She laughs) I happen to know some great news that I cannot fully disclose, but there are plans to renew my MBC program. This program meant a lot to me, and I only truly appreciated it after it came off the air. It was a program that channeled my beliefs of giving viewers self-confidence, hope, and strength. It was truly a unique program that continuously stayed on the air for 14 years, and its popularity never waned during this almost decade and a half long period. Many similar shows that aired in Europe and the US never had this longevity, and I plan to get back on the air with this program in the near future.
to take. I enjoyed acting more than fine arts, one of the more unconventional reasons why I liked acting so much is because you can never lie in the fashion industry otherwise youâ€™d never go far. But, in acting, you get the license of adopting personas that are different from your own, provided the role makes me feel comfortable and is interesting in its own right. Q: Do you think Arab women need TV programs centered on beauty, skincare, makeup, and fashion? A: Of course such programs are needed. However, the programs I presented werenâ€™t just about making women happy with their appearance; they also featured serious topics regarding the beauty industry. For instance, we understood that we had a responsibility to present
Q: Do you ever see yourself going into acting and the cinema industry? A: (She laughs) Why not? I studied acting while I was at school and I loved it very much. Moreover, I grew to love it even more after I moved to London from Lebanon. In England, acting was a compulsory course that everyone had
I always try to look at instances of ridicule through a positive and lighthearted lens. 50
the benefits and drawbacks of plastic surgery, as well as the pros and cons of certain beauty products and how to properly use them. I took this responsibility very seriously and saw to it that my advice had all the important information and all the minute details. I ensure that the products and services I provide in my clinic and salon are of high quality, and the same goes for the advice I give on my shows. I don’t like lying to people, and I cannot do so, being honest is one of the simplest things a person can do. Q: As a famous person, you have suffered multiple incidents of bullying and ridicule. Does that bother you, and how do you react to such instances? A: I always try to look at these instances through a positive and lighthearted lens. I don’t have followers who mock me, but there are pages on social media that satirically make fun of me, but they don’t bother me since other celebrities have satirical pages made about them. Furthermore, my family members and I often partake in lighthearted banter towards each other, so I know how to take a joke. I also never receive any insults, I only receive petty remarks like “Your hair color is horrible”, and that doesn’t bother me, as a matter of fact, I view it as a blessing. An insult from my husband, brother or son would break my heart, but words from faceless individuals fly over my head. Q: You recently announced that you recently adopted a child, even though you already have two children. What’s the reasoning behind your decision? A: The decision to adopt a child didn’t come overnight; it was something I decided to do ever since I was really
As Arabs, we have a lot of history to be proud of and how we destroyed this history is beyond me. young. As a matter of fact, it was actually something that I have been pondering over since I was a child. Eleven years ago I told my husband about this desire and he wholeheartedly supported it. Five years ago, we started telling our son and daughter about our intention to adopt so that the idea is implanted in their heads by the time we do it. We tried adopting many times since then, but things wouldn’t end up working in our favor. The entire ordeal was a private matter and I would only discuss it with family members and loved ones, and I never thought it would become a massive subject of interest on social media. As such, today I openly discuss it on my platforms for the followers who interested in the topic. The day I adopted Nathan was without a doubt the most wonderful day of my life, that isn’t to say that the birth of my older children weren›t happy days. However, my pregnancies with my biological children weren’t strenuous experiences, but the process to adopt Nathan was a long and winding road and to this day I cannot believe that he is part of our lives, it feels as if it’s a dream. My dream is for all orphans can leave their orphanages and live in homes with families, perhaps when things get better I can help all orphaned children in some way. Adoption
isn’t just for families that can’t conceive, but naturally, they should have priority since they cannot have children of their own. Nathan is my child and I do not treat him any differently than my biological children, I love him with all of my heart and he is the best thing I have ever done with my life. Q: Do you ever fear that Nathan’s biological mother will come back for him? A: I am Nathan’s real mother and I have played this role every day ever since I adopted him. I was just telling my elder son, Billy, that I feel sorry for Nathan’s biological mother since she does not know where he is, she doesn’t know what he’s doing and she must be asking herself every day on the whereabouts of her son. But, I am certain that she is a good person, but difficult circumstances have forced her to make difficult decisions. When Nathan turns 18, we will try to find his biological mother but only if he wants to do so, of course. Every day, I think of how difficult it would be for us if we find his biological mother, but I am certain that she will thank me for raising him and always being by his side. Q: Your media presence today doesn’t pertain only to fashion and beauty, you have since expanded to covering motherhood and its challenges. Do you ever worry that your children might get bullied because of your fame? And how do they react to such situations? A: My children are well aware of my fame, but they don’t give it much thought and they don’t engage with any detractors on social media. Billy, my eldest son, is very mature for his age and often acts like an adult rather than a teenager. He is focused on his university studies and is has chosen his own direction in life and isn’t engaged in the same social media platforms as me. As for my daughter, Ella, she doesn’t bother with social media altogether and only uses YouTube to watch
I hope one day that Lebanon becomes a united nation not affected by sectarianism, religious intolerance, and social stratification; I hope that the nation can rise up and build a great country for our children and generations to come…
videos that appeal to kids her age. I have taught my kids to be open and honest with me and if they ever suffer from any kind of bullying they would tell me. Bullying is a terrible phenomenon, of course, my daughter’s friend gets bullied at school and I hope one day I can use my social media influence to bring this issue to light. Q: For the first time in its history, the Lebanese people are revolting against its corrupt ruling class. Do you support this revolution and how so? A: I hope one day that Lebanon becomes a united nation not affected by sectarianism, religious intolerance, and social stratification; I hope that the nation can rise up and build a great country for our children and generations to come, and I hope that the revolution isn’t swayed to another direction. I am always amazed when I see old photos of Lebanon, the nation used to be much more open and much more developed in the past and if it weren’t for the civil war we would have been in a much better place now than the place we are in today. As Arabs, we have a lot of history to be proud of and how we destroyed this history is beyond me. I have seen my country at war since my childhood, a war that has forced me to flee to London. My life turned upside down in England, as I faced a lot of bullying while I was at school there. Our rulers have not taken the responsibility of serving the people. Even though I have Armenian roots, and have dual Lebanese-Italian citizenship, Lebanon will always have a special place in my heart; I was born there and am proud to be Lebanese.