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This is a follow-on from Most of what I know about social inequality.

A few months ago I finally joined Facebook. Although I had said emphatically that I would never do it, and after being a bit proud of being the only person I knew who didn't use it, I was sick of being hassled about it. So I joined. It's not such a bad thing, I suppose, but I still don't feel good about it. Anyway.

So a few weeks after I made my Facebook account, a little message appeared. It said, "Josh S. would like to be your friend!" He had friend-ed my Mum too, and she had sent me an email asking me what to do. She didn't want to be his friend, but didn't want to be rude, and she was asking what I was going to do. I didn't know.

So I accepted, we're Facebook friends. I didn't want to do it, because I didn't want to talk to him. I don't know why not, but I don't like talking to long-lost people. All that catching up is just tiresome and depressing, maybe because we never have as much to say as we should. He called me once, about a year after he left my school, and I had nothing to say except "how do you know my new 'phone number?" I still feel bad about that.

As soon as I accepted his friend request, he posted on his wall, "I just got back in contact with one of my best ever friends!!" I was scared by his enthusiasm, I hoped that he didn't live near me, so that he wouldn't want to get together. Fortunately for me, he now lives about 700km away (but planning to move again, though, he says).

We talked a bit. He met a girl in year 11 and now she is his fiancée, he lives with her and her mother. He finished high school a year after I did. He is unemployed, but a few days ago he applied for a job at Coles (an Australian supermarket chain). He plays bass guitar and still likes to draw, mostly anime.

When I knew him, his mother was pregnant with her fourth child, a boy. She smoked and drank. Now that boy is in primary school, and she has had two more boys since then. He said that his Dad is sick and probably doesn't have long to live, the result of lifelong alcoholism. I don't remember his Dad drinking more than mine, but then again, I don't even remember his Dad's name. The way he spoke about it worried me a bit, because he seemed very indifferent about it. I don't know, maybe not. Maybe something happened between him and his Dad in the last 6 years (or thereabouts). He said that his sister and her boyfriend are trying to conceive. As far as I recall, she was at least two years younger than me, which makes her 17 or so. It's not a nice thing to say, but all I can think about it is, "at least it'll be intentional."

I suppose that none of this really adds to the story, but I had a mental picture of Josh's life after I knew him, and now I know some of it. I was right about his fast-expanding family. I was right about their habit of moving somewhere new every couple of years. I was wrong about him never finishing school. Right now, I don't really have any strong feelings about him, one way or the other.

Is this what Facebook is all about?

I'm currently in Beirut doing an academic year abroad, but I fear that may get cut short.

A U.N. backed court is probably going to be releasing names of members of Hezbollah involved in Lebanon's former prime ministers assassination (Rafiq Hariri). Hezbollah says it's all B.S. and that it will cause a ruckus and great instability in the country (ie; don't say anything or we will raise holy hell.) In an attempt to maintain peace, the release of these names is going to be postponed because Ahmadinejad (Iran's president) is visiting this week to show support for Hezbollah. To compound matters Syria has just announced arrest warrants for 33 individuals involved in the case concerning the assassination, claiming that false testimony was given by said individuals which caused the imprisonment of one Jamal As-sayyed. Furthermore rumors that that false testimony was given due to economic incentive by Saad Hariri (Rafiq's son) current prime minster of Lebanon,is being tossed around which has caused some members of parliament to call for his resignation as P.M. These calls of course coming from the largest opposition party, the March 8th Alliance, which holds the second largest number of seats in the Lebanese parliament, and is generally considered to be pro Syrian.

Syria seems to have gotten the names of these individuals from the former general security chief Jamal As-sayyed who was just released from prison recently after a 4 year stint on charges of being involved in Rafiq Hariri's assassination. The only reason he got out was because an international investigation (the STL, or "Special Tribunal for Lebanon" the same people who are potentially going to be implicating Hezbollah personnel) just had him released (in 2009) due to lack of evidence. Upon arriving in the Beirut airport he was given an armed guard escort buy Hezbollah to the executive lounge. What does that say about his loyalties? Or how about the fact that Hezbollah can still just waltz into the airport armed to the teeth without any resistance?

Furthermore we all know that Syria and Iran are good chums, and Iran has been supporting Hezbollah for years.

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