Thursday, November 16, 2006

The sound of impending disaster

I have dreaded the morning I wake up to Fairuz’s voice crooning from every window in my neighborhood. And it happened yesterday. As much as I love Fairuz, the impulse to simultaneously tune into the infamous civil war soundtrack forebodes badly. A car drove by blaring Lebanese Forces anthems as I was drinking my morning coffee on the stoop outside my house. These days people shout and drive more aggressively; the chorus of screeching tires, verbal altercations, doors slamming, and car horns honking has reached a feverous pitch. Every TV and car radio seems to be tuned to the news. My head feels like it’s about to explode.

If the ruling coalition does not want to share power by granting a veto option to the opposition, which enjoys greater public support and fundamentally disagrees with the course (or lack thereof) the country has taken in the past 18 months, then they must agree to new elections. Are citizen's going to object to new elections more than this crippling state of cold war? I think not. It is dishonorable for the sectarian fiefs and business junta to wrangle at any cost for a greater share of the cake.

In my neighborhood in Achrafiyeh, the geriatric population linger at the entrances to their shops, fruit stands and bakeries, their arms crossed behind their ailing backs, gazing mournfully at the unfolding familiar tragedy. A friend who works at the Phoenicia Hotel says hundreds of employees have been laid off and the rest are working the same hours for half their salary. Those with means, young families and aspirations will pack up and leave; others will retreat to their mountain lair, and the burgeoning ranks of unemployed men will join militias in exchange for a regular salary, if the powers that be don't act soon to avert a crisis.

Can Olmert please stop hugging the wives and mothers of captured soldiers?

Why seek comfort in the arms of a man whose policies have done nothing to bring back your loved ones, but has rather -- as a pretext-- killed thousands of civilians and wrought nothing but senseless destruction? I find it rather grotesque-- this tribalistic culture of embracing politicians. I suppose hugging the President, Katsav, isn't an option; he'd probably just try to slip her his most sympathetic tongue.

If I was Madame Goldwasser-- the wife of Ehud Goldwasser, our very own warbooty-- I'd prefer to hug the lifeless Ariel Sharon. I'd bury my head deep in the folds of his massive belly and listen to the soothing sound of his computer-generated pulse. (And no there's nothing wrong with poking fun at the dead or semi-dead.)

And besides, Madame Goldwasser's darling husband is probably doing just fine. He is one of two very valuable bargaining chips and is probably snacking on delicious Lebanese mezze as I write; perhaps he's even picking up some Arabic, which will get him a good job in military intelligence upon his return. And Mr. Goldwasser will eventually be the one to bring back "Lebanon's son" Samir Kantar, who can then launch his WWF career.

I don't get the whole Kantar craze. I'm opposed to life sentences in principle, especially ones imposed by an occupying army against those who resist. And twenty-eight years served in prison is way too long. But if Kantar did in fact smash a four-year old girl's head against a rock after shooting her daddy in front of her (or did he not? I know a denial is in circulation, but I haven't heard anyone who can back up a claim to the contrary,) well then he is no "hero" in my book. Out of principle-- sure, release him. But it is not my priority and I take greater issue with the thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians -- men, women and children-- languishing in administrative detention. And those who have dissappeared into Syrian custody must also be liberated. No?

I have yet to reveal my full unrestrained opinion of Hezbollah-- the party, resistance, sectarian faction, militia, social service provider, liberator, cult, Islamic movement, divine, pseudo-anti imperialist, dash cunning, brazen friend and apologist of al Assad's Syria, patron of theocratic Iran, and occasional asskisser of the gracious-and-oh-so-merciful House of Saud. I will leave it for an upcoming post.

A cab driver who was trying to serenade me yesterday whispered, "You have eyes like Barbie!"

I laughed so hard I began to choke, and my Barbie eyes welled up with tears. "That's the funniest thing I've heard today," I excused myself. He looked hurt.

By the latest accounts, Hezbollah is gearing up for acts of "civil disobedience" (thankfully not "divine disobedience".) I have never heard of a group with 30,000 rockets at their disposal and a military capacity that far exceeds that of the state, biding their time with peaceful protest. But let's see wait and see what they have planned. Sit ins? Die ins? Pink ribbons? Blocking traffic? Chaining themselves to power plants? Graffiti? I say, take over and squat all of Solidere and (re)claim it for the people. The khalijis won't be returning to their playground anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Kuntar is a hero because he was fighting with the Palestinian resistance when was only 16. When he comes home he will become a big politician. I don't think its true about the little girl. He killed some Israeli soldieres and policeman.

Anonymous said...

Great...another "politician" with a grade school education and blood on his hands. Can't wait till he gets out of jail and comes back to save Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

your comment about fairuz really made me laugh. I have driven my husband crazy for the 10 years of my marraige by refusing to listen to fairuz because she reminds me of war. Whenver she is on I get depressed. The only song of hers that I will allow myself to listen to is "oudak rannan".

euroarabe said...

i heart your blog

Charles Malik said...

This sure was an omnibus post. It was fantastic!

copy editor said...

I'm sure the tension is even worse today.

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