Sunday, June 26, 2005

Lebanese mural

My first mural attempt and by far the largest painting I've ever done (about 7 feet across). I did it at a lebanese restaurant here in Nashville, where I have been regularly consuming a lot of good food, multiple times a week. Over the past couple of years, the owner has become a good friend and his place an integral part of my weekly nashvillian routine. Now I don't know that I am completely satisfied with the quality of the final result but I think that, for the purposes of a laid-back casual restaurant, it should be ok.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

You know..

I was standing in line at the cash register of the hospital cafeteria behind a thirty something young man and his four-five-year-old kid. the man was reaching for his wallet to pay for cheeseburgers and fries when the little blond thing mumbled a few indistinct words.
The following conversation ensued:

"What?" - the father
"I want to pay for my food" - the kid
"With what, your good looks?" - general smiles
"NO, with my own money!"
"What money. Do you have money??"

Then after a long moment of silence and deep thought, while everyone was waiting, the kid said somewhat timidly gazing at the floor,

"You knoww..."

Everybody burst out laughing. Even my gravely sober self grinned.

The four year old knew, just like a grown-up, how to use a linguistic subterfuge in a situation where he didn't really know what to say. Any other answer would have been either a lie, or a concession of ignorance or defeat.

While the kid was saved by his young age and his innocence, we, adults, spend our lives dealing with many questions we can't give good, strong, honest answers to, be it about us or about others, because of myriad social and psychological constraints, and thus we quickly learn how to become seasoned liars and hypocrits, with a distorted but conventional sense of reality and one heck of a messed up psyche.

A hefty price to pay for being social animals, if you ask me.

So from now on, for all the questions I can't or don't want to answer, I shall reserve a "you know" and a shrug, just like the wise four-year-old standing in line with his old man, then I will look out the window, or at the floor, and I will wait for the inquisitor to think, draw his own conclusion, and peacefully leave me alone.

That's the only way I can heroically preserve both my integrity as a moral, ethically responsible human being, and my behavioral appropriateness as a decent, polite, politically correct, social animal... you know..

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In response to "mad"

I guess I should be a little less poetic when it comes to sharing my political views, so that some people have a better chance at understanding what I mean, rather than describing my writing as "over-the-top drama queen stuff".

Dear "mad", you cannot expect me to applaude the elections that brought Aoun to the parliament on such a glory march just because they were contested and democratic. Let's look at the facts for a second, shall we?

Aoun is a one man show, while the opposition is a coalition with well-defined purposes and ideals.

Aoun, who was NOT willing to compromise changed allies like underwear and ended up joining hands with Murr and Franjiyyeh, the paradigms of feudal secterianism and pro-syrian politics.

Aoun said that Lahoud need not step down, Lahoud you know, that swimmer president guy who managed to become everybody's shameful laughingstock. Lahoud who was tapped on the cheeks by Assad the father at the time of his first election. But Lahoud is General Lahoud after all. Maybe it's just a matter of brothers in arms stuff, you know, unconditional military respect, the kind which us civilians are not very familiar with.

Sooooooo... correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that every action this man has ever taken had one and only one purpose, to get to power. And that's exactly what he did in 1989 and 1990 with his war against Syria and the LFs. He has such a mind-boggling record of overlooking all reasonable and rational considerations to conquer the spotlights and impose his crazy ideals indiscriminately on his followers and adversaries.

But let's give the guy a break for a second and take a look at those who voted for him. They're all after an image, a new fearless leader who doesn't give a damn about anything except what he believes in, right? Well cut me some slack buddy but democracy is not about replacing one tyrant by another. Democracy is not about conducting free elections and henceforth choosing more worthless leaders to add to the pile of shit that we already have.

Democracy is when all the clutter and crap that is still sitting up in its ivory towers, the likes of Jumblatt, Berri, Franjiyyeh, Karame, Murr.. (the list is endless) is brought down and pushed out, and a brand new country is built on a brand new clean slate where all the war criminals and feudal lords have nothing to hope for and nothing to expect.

And that's what the lebanese people will hardly ever be able to change or truly understand, because they're intrinsically divided, intrinsically weak, and intrinsically incapable of rising as a human tide that needs to destroy in order to build again on the ruins of an unworthy past.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Memories for the years to come

I said I was going to be silent for a while, and I will be, but whatever is happening now in Lebanon has my tongue twisting, my throat itching, and my fingers fidgeting with words.

Can somebody tell me how did this stubborn, bellicose, ill-advised, dithering, uncommited to anything but to himself megalomaniac manage to sweep the elections? Well, let me tell you how...

My grandmother used to always say "proverbs, ya teta, never lie". You were right teta, they don't. "kama takounou youwalla alaykom". By the likes of you, you shall be ruled.

How true.

We democratically voted democracy out. We proved yet again that we practice the cult of the individual not the ideology nor the nation and that the ill blood of feudalism and principality still runs plenty through our veins.

We freely and democratically chose an emperor with a 'mirror mirror on the wall', a comical political agenda at best, an amazing ability to switch camps in the blink of an eye, and the most disturbing case of Napoleon/De Gaulle/God complex I have ever seen.

But hey, that's what we need, an independent leader with the courage to speak without thinking, act without thinking, and guide all of us, smiling lemmings, to the edge of the cliff, right?


So let us all welcome our new favorite commander, with arms wide open and legs spread out, flat on our bellies, and let's earnestly gather lots of memories about democracy and freedom, so we can tell our unborn children and grandchildren stories about ourselves and our wonderful democratically chosen leaders, in those wonderful, peaceful, oh so eagerly awaited years to come...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I will quit posting for at least a little while. This place has suddenly become foreign to me, as I have become foreign to myself and the people I love the most. I have hurt and deceived. I have grown ugly and bitter, disfigured by my own disillusions.

It is now time for me to draw a veil over the hideous masterpiece that I managed to foster and create; time to curl up in the darkness of my fretted soul, and feed on the crumbs of all the things that truly matter, that I used to but can hardly recognize anymore; time to maybe break the stone carapace that has shrouded me, and come out, fragile and weak, but able again to breathe and grow.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Kassir est mort

Ca y est. J'en ai ras le bol. Vraiment RAS LE BOL. Du Liban et des libanais, des Aoun, des Jumblatt, des Lahoud, des Gemayel, des chretiens, des musulmans, des druzes, des juifs, des forces libanaises, du courant national, du hezbollah, des socialistes, des communistes, des phalangistes, des syriens, des palestiniens, des iraniens, des bantous, des hottentots, et de toute cette chamaille de merde qui ne verra sa fin que dans la cendre et le feu.

Kassir est mort. Ah le choc et l'epouvante. Ah l'amertume de la perte. Ah la tragedie.
Les stylos couleront du sang et des sanglots, on descendra dans les rues, portant des bougies, sa photo, et beaucoup de drapeaux. Aussi viendront les articles et les discours, les invitations a l'unite et la foi dans un Liban qui persistera malgre les plaies et la mort, le Phenix, le peuple que l'on ne brisera pas, la nation qu'on ne pourra jamais assassiner.

Mais ou est-elle cette nation qu'on ne pourra jamais assassiner? OU EST-ELLE? Je vous en conjure montrez- la moi du doigt pour que je la touche et que je la prenne entre mes bras...

Ouvrez les yeux, mes amis. Ouvrez les yeux et regardez-la bien en face, notre triste verite.
Notre nation n'est plus. Le Liban est mort, et il est mort depuis longtemps. Et nous, les libanais, l'avons tue. Au fait, je ne sais meme plus s'il a jamais existe, ce morceau du paradis, ce mensonge d'une nuit d'ete, ce feerique conte que tant ont celebre, d'annee en annee, en chanson, en texte et en poesie.

Moi, triste moi, je ne vois qu'une terre dechiree, peuplee de gens egoistes et assoiffes d'or et de pouvoir, des gens differents comme noir et blanc, qui n'ont en commun que leur amour pour eux-memes, alors que rien au monde n'aurait pu les unir que l'amour de la patrie.

Oui Kassir est mort. Et sa mort, comme celle de tant d'autres avant lui, sera en vain.

Les syriens sont partis, oui, mais pas vraiment, on est tous unis mais pas vraiment, la guerre est finie mais pas vraiment, la page est tournee mais pas vraiment, on saura la verite mais pas vraiment. Et moi, je suis toujours libanais, mais malheureusement pas vraiment.

Il ya deux ou trois mois, ma foi en un Liban resurrecte et libere etait grande. Aujourd'hui, ma foi, comme pour moi la nation, n'est plus qu'un penible souvenir qui finira, lui aussi, par se dissiper comme un merveilleux mirage vif et ephemere.