Welcome to My Lebanese Dream
When all is far, and all is empty, I set sail and dock on a familiar shore, somewhere in my imagination
Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Houses like stacked cubes, off-white and ochre and grey, balconies touching, whispering, roofs playing with hanging laundry, windows losing glances and promises, strangers, neighbors, brothers, kings, each remaining whole, yet all becoming one. Yes. This is Beirut. The city where I am king. The city where I'm never alone.
When I was thirteen, I used to wonder if behind a closed window there was a maiden, beautiful as sunrise, sitting patiently, waiting to hear the sound of his footsteps, the young man who will save her from imprisonment and crown her queen of his universe. I'm much older now, yet I still wonder sometimes. I guess I will never know.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
"A Tale of Malice" By Detlev Mehlis
Just a few words before I go back to more photography.
The report. An astounding testimony on murderousness and political filth. At first, I thought that Mehlis hadn't brought us anything we didn't already know, besides the cell phone tracking details and the individual testimonies, hence the bottom line being that Hariri's assassination was the result of a collaborative effort between syrian and lebanese officials.
Oh. What a shock. Who would have thought...
Well, no one would have thought, because everybody knew. Still, and all sarcasm aside, there were no smoking guns, and no knock-your-socks-off revelations.
Then, it occurred to me that, maybe, the entire process was not about dumbfounding revelations, or the definitive incrimination of guilty parties, or an exhaustive decortication of all elements surrounding the infamous attempt. Maybe, the gist was more about establishing firm grounds for a radical intervention and eventual dismantling of the oppressive, terrorist-breeding, syrian regime. Just like, not so long ago, Iraq. In that case, the international community would be functioning to a tee, and the future of our safety and independence would not be as gloomy as might have been anticipated, provided we, lebanese, mature and coalesce for and around our precious yet so vulnerable nation.
Either way, knowing as little about politics as I do, I just hope, and more so with the release of the report, that every last soul implicated in the death of Rafic Hariri, Bassel Fuleihan and their companions, not to mention Samir Kassir, Georges Hawi and all the others, get, before any chance of a natural death, the bitter, ruthless punishment they duly deserve.
Alright. All done. Let's get back to art.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Ten days into my vacation, I was somewhere in Sodeco and thought I'd take a cab back to my place in Hamra, through the populous Basta area. The street was packed and the traffic slow, so I mechanically started to look around and observe what I thought was a rather familiar scenery. A scenery that, for so many years, was hiding behind its familiarity. I looked, and as if for the first time, I saw it. The old patchwork houses, the denuded cracked walls, the people with sunburnt sweaty foreheads and wandering eyes, the proud white and ochre mosques, the mysterious almost rundown antique shops, the vibrant "souk el khodra", the bashful grocery stores, the broken sidewalks, the rusted and rackety cars, the wilted small trees, the colorful rubble, the wonderful chaos. Everything. A box full of marvels. Why hadn't I opened it before?
The very next day, I put my camera strap around my neck, and slowly walked through the streets and alleys of the lower Basta. Brick by brick, cobblestone by cobblestone, I tried to take as much of it in as I could. From the little piece of yellow plastic hiding in the trash behind a stone fence, to the old bent antenna still elegantly waltzing with a branch on the edge of a roof, everything was prey to my starving lens and gaping memory. I kept walking and taking pictures for three hours under the same blazing sun, until my head was a bonfire and my legs two pillars of concrete.
But the pictures I took, I thought, were worth every second I spent taking them.
Because they weren't just pictures of houses and people. They were mostly pictures of me, Fouad, hiding between the roughened hands and the bruised ribs of the kaleidoscope country that gave me life, one friday morning, almost thirty one years ago.
I will share some of these pictures with you, probably one picture a day, until it's time for me to move on to another memory, or another dream.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
A Decision Revisited
Two days ago, I was determined to take a permanent leave of absence, not from blogging per se, but from the blogosphere to which I've come to belong over the past few months. Why? because I heard things that were as upsetting and hurtful to me as they were unexpected. So I decided to step out. My presence was not to be crippling to anybody anymore. Today, though, I reconsidered. My quick, call it whimsical if you will, decision to quit, was based on a set of glorifying and appreciative sentiments that were unfortunately largely misplaced. So the whole reason why I should care is henceforth non-existent. In so many words, I am back, only because the reason that pushed me over wasn't entirely worth it, and because I still feel the itch to be around you citizens of BLOG. I am, however, in the need to make at least one minor change. My alias is from now on my real name, Fouad. And to the few of you who are reading this and know me as, or link to my site through "Thermo-crime", I kindly ask you to do away with it and replace it with Fouad, or the title of my blog, or whatever it is you like. But I do wish to be dissociated from this contrived identity that used to mean something and has come to mean something completely different. TC is now officially history. The real moi is taking over, and for good. Most of you are probably wondering what the hell was all that rhetoric about. You're right, it all sounds like gibberish, but it doesn't matter. I said what I had to say, that's the way it came out, and he who has ears to hear, let him hear.
I really wasn't gone for long, but it still feels great to be back.
I'll see you folks around the blog.
Friday, October 14, 2005
This is the portrait of Zach, the nine year old son of a friend in residency. I did it festering in the heat of our living room in Beirut, and while people were out on the streets shouting "enough" to terrorism and crime. God knows if inside, I wasn't shouting with them. But all I wanted, all I needed, was to draw a kid's smile on a piece of paper, and on his young face when he got his long awaited portrait. So I did. And it felt like a million dollars.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Glances from Above
Peaking at the world from my window seat, I cannot escape the thought of how small and vulnerable I am. Sailing through the heavens thirty thousand feet above the ground, my life, erring men, a giant metallic bird and its intricate design, all of us hostages to pending fallibility and imperfection. Yet five hours pass, then eight, then two, and all lives uninterrupted. All lives safe. I let a deep breath in as I walk out of the airport towards the car.
"I made it alright. I made it. For now."
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
To post, leave, shout, shatter tinted glass, bleed, burn, breathe, charge, change, choke on metaphores, choke on skin, rot, drown, deconstruct, reconstruct, spit, smell, embrace, build a minaret to God, find God, lose God, find Man, lose everything, kill, create, negate, save, sweat, walk, fight, agonize, realize, hold, soar, embrace, explode, embrace, laugh, cuss, curse, kneel, heal, for a while, smile...
Smile, plunge a hay needle in a leaf, sow a big purple elephant with a trunk longer than the niger, and give it to little Abayomi whose glassy dying eyes are a playground for ten thousand flies and six billion criminals.
I shall be shaking the sky off my shoulders and the earth off my feet.
Listen! I hear the bell. Time to gather in the dining room and eat.