I have been tagged by zee. I apologize for the delay, but here it goes. ---- * Rules for this tag game are: -Grab the closest book to you -Open Page 123 -Scroll down to the 5th sentence -Post the next 3 sentences on your blog -Name the book and author -Tag 3 people ---- It just so happens that the book I was reading had a picture on p 123, and the caption read:
"Lot and his daughters (1520) attributed to Lucas van Leyden. This depiction of the fall of Sodom, with its intimation of incest, has been a popular subject for artists. The destruction of sinful cities, and a suspicion of the urban is found throughout Vedic, Koranic, Classical and Judeo- Christian texts. Similarly, present-day notion of “urbicide” – attacks on the cosmopolitan and the multi-cultural – have been used to explain assault on cities such as Dubrovnik and Sarajevo." ---- TITLE:
Hello All, Rosie, the author of "Letter from Lebanon" sent me yet another of her letters destined to update and keep the western world informed about what is "really" happening in Lebanon. here it is. _z. ----
December 19, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Less than eight hours after I e-mailed the November Letter from Lebanon, Pierre Gemayel a young minister in the prime minister’s cabinet was brazenly shot dead in the middle of the day, two days before Lebanon’s Independence Day, November 22. He was only 34 years old. I will try to outline what has happened since then. In short, the situation has worsened.
Mass demonstrations against the government that had been planned for later that week were postponed because of the assassination. An international marathon that had been planned for that upcoming weekend was also postponed. Businesses, schools and universities in the greater Beirut area were closed the day of the funeral since traffic and demonstrations would prohibit traffic circulation. The Gemayel funeral turned into a mass demonstration against the perpetrators, mostly aimed at Syria, pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian groups, and against the general situation in Lebanon.
On Friday, December 1, 2006, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, a Shiite group, The Amal party, also Shiite and former General Michel Aoun, a Christian leading the Free Patriotic Movement led the mass demonstrations against the government that had been postponed. They stated that they would continue to stage a sit-in until changes were made in the government: namely, that Prime Minister Fouad Siniora steps down and that they are given more seats in the government and with veto power. To this day the demonstrations continue—three weeks and counting. With each day’s passing Nasrallah’s and Aoun’s rhetoric inches up a notch, threatening the government of more action, yet still adheres, fortunately, to not resorting to arms.
On Sunday, December 3, 2006, the marathon postponed from a week earlier finally took place. It took much courage for the organizers to push for the marathon, on the heels of the first of a set of mass demonstrations against the government. The marathon was a success and went off without a glitch.
On Sunday, December 10, family, government officials, journalists from around the world and many other others joined to commemorate Gibran Tueni, on the first anniversary of his assassination. He was brutally killed on December 12, 2005, one day after he arrived after having been in Paris seeking refuge. He had thought it was safe to return. Gibran Tueni was editor-in-chief of An-Nahar, Lebanon’s premier Arabic newspapers. Samir Kassir, another journalist for the An-Nahar was murdered six months prior and May Chidiac, a television reporter and news talk show host was maimed at an attempt on her life late in September, 2005. All journalists were honored in their attempt to “tell the truth.”
Recently, President Emile Lahoud, a Syrian proxy, refused to sign the bill allowing for an international tribunal to oversee the assassination of Rafic Hariri, declaring that the government is not constitutional because six Shiite ministers resigned. Prime Minister Siniora refused the resignations of the Shiite ministers, and countered by saying that even with their resignations, there is still a quorum in the government. This issue of the international tribunal is one of the major sources of disagreement between the main two opposing groups.
The demonstrations are taking place in Martyr’s Square, the same place the country united on March 14, 2005, to protest the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and against the presence and influence of the Syrians in Lebanese affairs. Within less than two months of that March protest, the Syrians made a formal departure from Lebanese soil, but their influence still pervades Lebanese affairs. Hizbullah wants to promote a non-corrupt government. Yet, many of the demonstrators are being paid a per diem. Is this not paying for the vote? Is this not corruption? Of course, the sit-in will continue. Many of the participants are unemployed; they might as well get paid for sitting and demonstrating.
All the roads leading into the square have been closed. Beige canvas tents now cover the square. Street vendors sell coffee, water, and roasted fresh corn. After work, people stream to the site to show their support. The businesses in Solidere, the area next to Martyr’s Square that was rebuilt after the civil war, are closed. Some which are a little further from the direct demonstration area are open, but who goes there? Businesses everywhere are doing very poorly because the summer war forced many people out of work, not just those in the areas hit. The debt is rising. The toll from the war is in the billions of dollars. The economy is collapsing.
Soldiers and tanks are teaming around the square. In the outlying areas, soldiers dot the main roads and thoroughfares, with tanks here and there. With the Christmas season upon us, Christmas trees are spotted even among some of the tents. Beautiful Christmas street light decorations offer some levity to offset the grave situation.
The Christian Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir continues to warn that the mounting dissension could lead to another war. Arab countries in the region voice their concern about the dire situation in Lebanon. Representatives from the Arab League presented a plan for reconciliation and are active in negotiations with both sides.
Depression and stress describe many people’s state. No one knows where the country is going. All they want is peace. They want a future for their children. The parents know that if Lebanon cannot rebuild itself economically and secure a cooperative and peaceful state, their children will continue to seek their livelihood elsewhere. For a small country where family is extremely close-knit and of utmost importance, this is heartbreaking. And we know, of course, for any country, the youth represent the future. So what will this mean for the future of Lebanon?
Rosie AKL An American in Lebanon Rosie.firstname.lastname@example.org
update: When I first posted this clip, it had a different title... I had adopted my friend None/Dxb's method in citing my own religion ("I am Roman Catholic") as title. Aiming to shock, annoy, and bother readers. A few hours after later, it worked on me; it bothered the the hell out of me, so I opted for another title; this one.
Yesterday, Peter Boyle (Frank Barone from "Everybody loves Raymond") passed away at the age of 71. For years, this man entertained me and many others, portraying beautifully the role of an uptight, can't be bothered, old suburban dad. He was grumpy, didn't like anything, and hilarious as heck. His favorite quote was of course "Holy Crap"! Frank Barone, may you rest in peace.
Now I am not too fond of Michel Aoun, and I happen to disagree with him on almost everything, but that does not negate the fact that many of my closest friends have fallen under his spell; some are even very close to him. To those, I send this honest and sincere plea:
“Someone should take care of the way el Generalissimo Michel Aoun dresses”.
A man, a megalomaniac, cannot appear on National Television looking like a carrot. I am sure that amidst members of the tayyar, many are in or from the design world. And I know they exist. Actually they don’t have to be designers. Anybody with good taste should approach the General, and kindly (you don’t want to tickle his ego) propose new attire. Someone should warn the General about the excessive use of the color orange. It is enough that a group of the population hijacked the color orange, and took it away from the public; they don’t have to rub it in our noses. I think everybody who likes the color orange and is not aounist, should take to the streets in a coup to reclaim the color orange to the people.
General, by no means is this a critique of your politics, therefore I hope you understand when I kindly ask you to lose the carrot/orange suit, and remove your orange cap. You are not cool to wear caps. You know nothing of Hip Hop. You’re not cool, and orONge is making you look like a fool.
- But what does that have to do with anything? - See, if tourists and expatriates don’t come back to their motherland for visits, holidays and vacations, tourism will start to fade. When they come back they spend money, they go out, like we do when we go back. They generate more income for restaurants, shops, and tourism in general… Do you know what income means? - No! - It means the money you make. So tourism in general makes more money; owners and people involved with this industry get richer. Then they spend more money in other areas and venues, or open up more businesses for people to spend again. - That’s way too complicated. - But it’s fun. - Where’s the fun in that? - You’re part of a cycle. You’re part of a society, a country, a world, a life, a planet and a world. … - Emily? - I like being part of a cycle. - Haha, everybody does! Everybody wants to be part of a cycle. - How many cycles are there? - Ohh, there are many cycles. - Name 5. - Euhhh… there’s the economical cycle, which I just described. And then there’s the historic cycle. Because history repeats itself, as I explained to you last time. Mmmm. The cycle of life itself… living and dying, you know.. and euuuhhh… oh enough learning for tonight! Lights out! - Oh you never want to tell me anything! - Oh you’re so difficult… You’re such a baby! - A cute baby. - Yes… indeed… a cute baby. - Hihi.
I sincerely apologize to non-Arabic reading friends for writing in Arabic without translation. I have been away from blog land [November hibernation], and I guess I needed that spontaneous outburst of nostalgia. I think I am back now. And to Arabic readers, I also apologize for posting in childish, MSNish typography. I cannot type in Arabic on my machine. ---- Here’s an ordinary day, in the life of an architecture student… some years ago in Lebanon.
-Chou el shabeb! -Chou hadrit janebak… mbayyin halla2 mcharrif! Eh bakkir rayyis! -Chou fi, ma 3a asses i3tisam! -Eh i3tisam. Bass i3tisam hone 3al daraj bel jem3a, mech 3indak bel beyt. -Tayyib wlo bassita ma stafadet la nem shwayy. 3amil 2 nuits blanches... Tab eh chou sar chou 3melto lyom, min nezil. -Nezlo ktar walla. Ma 7adan fet 3al sfouf! Bass fi T.P. ba3d el doher. -Baddak tsalli7? -No ma chtaghalet chi. -Lesh? -Ma kenna n7addir lal i3tisam wlak chou osstak. -Ah eh! Tab lek ana nezil 3al cafette. Micho hone? -Eh chefto men shwayy. -Wayno? -Ma ba3rif ken hone. -Tayyib bchoufak … -Marhaba Abou Hisham! -Ahla ahla! Chou mannak mo3tosim ma3oun? -Mbala bass halla2 jit. -Eh 3a mahlak. -Wlak lah ya zalame bass kint te3ben. Lek 3tine we7de coca cola w 3ilbit gitanes lights 3mol ma3rouf. -Tfaddal! -Merci. Lek jebet bayd kinder? -La2 3aboukra. -Eh la boukra w 3laykoun kheyr. -W 3lek. -Merci habibi. Tab lek la otla3 chouf weyn saro holeh. -B2ayyedoun? -Eh 2ayyedoun. -Allah ma3ak. -Bkhatrak. … -Hi Sandra kifik? -Ca va kifak inta? -Mni7. Tlo3te la fo2? -Eh halla2 kint 3al daraj, inta tali3? -Eh halla2 tali3, yalla bchoufik. -Bye. … -Eh chabeb… Ze7le shwayy. -Chou weyn sorna? -A3din. -Eh mne23oud. -Min hay? -Wlek hay sa7ebto la chou esmo… 3refto? hayda yalli hek chaklo. Mech mnel jem3a hiyye. -Ah ok! Walla bass mahdoumeh chakla. -Eh ma beha chi. … -chou al 3am bi2oulo ma fi architecture lyom. -Min allak? -El moudir halla2, al asetzit el T.P. mech jeyine lyom. -Ya 3eyn! -Ya leyl. -Tab chou baddkoun ta3mlo. Betrou7o nel3ab counterstrike? -Wlak ma a3din 3al daraj chou osstak. -Khalas ana zhe2et, tali3 3al beyt. -Eh rou7. -Bchoufkoun boukra. -Bye. -7kineh 3achiyye. -Ok. … -Bonsoir! Kifik immeh. -Ahlan habibe kif ken nharak? -Ma 3melna chi kenna mo3tosmin? -Kermel chou? -Chou bi3arrefne… chi… el hay2a el tollabiyye. -Ya haram hal chabeb ya 3amme. -Chou bi3arrefne... Ra7 de22 lal chabeb yejo yo7daro el match, bi2assir? -La ma bi2assir to2borne, 3zemoun. -Fi 3inna bira? -Ma bi2addo yemkin! -Tab ra7 enzal jib shwayy, baddik chi men el dikken? -La habibe, re7et ana w bayyak jebna kteer ghrad mnel supermarket lyom. -Tayyib halla2 berja3... Bekhoud cutie? -Halla2 ra7it hiyye w Melany. -Tayyib. El Baba hone? Byo7dar el match ma3na? -Ma Ba3ref ya7ou jouwwa 3am bizabbit chaghle. -Tayyib halla2 bes2alo. -Al okhtak l7a2a eza baddak, yahiyye sohrane hone 3ind Sara. -La badde o7dar el match ana wel shabeb halla2. -Metel ma baddak. -Eza da22it Emily, oulila nzelet takke 3mele ma3rouf. -Tayyib. -Akid ma baddik chi? -Eh eh habibe khalas. -Yalla bye. -Bye.