Tuesday, December 12, 2006

666 days of martyrdom, the perpetual mistress & another counter rally

Yesterday marked the 666 day anniversary since Rafiq al-Hariri's assassination. I wish I had photographed the billboard at the entrance to Hamra; a pensive Hariri underneath the numbers '666'.

I am sick to the death of flags. I don't care who is waving which flag, it gives me a bloody headache. There's nothing "civilized" about waving a flag, a term I've noticed many Lebanese use as a synonym for "the rule of law".

Late one night Maya and I visited our local cornerstore, which is run by two very old Armenian ladies. The younger of the two, struck up a conversation and asked us where we were from. Maya responded, "Palestine". The little old lady gasped in terror; perhaps she hasn't seen a Palestinian in her neck of the woods since the Qarantina massacre of 1976. Her eyes widened and she looked like she was going to hit the burglar alarm. "But... but, you must have another passport, too, no?" To which Maya, the master of short and sweet answers, responded flatly, "No." The old lady was at a loss for words, until Maya reassured her that she had lived abroad, in Spain. The lady breathed a sigh of relief. "How is it there? Aren't they much more civilized and educated than us?" Maya responded, "No" again and then took a deep breath. Counting on her fingers, she relayed that the Spaniards were "more violent, more dirty, more disrespectful, more uneducated" than Arabs. The old lady stared in amazement. "Really? But I thought all Europeans were... you know..." "No," Maya responded again. End of conversation. As we left the store, I asked Maya if this was true about the Spaniards. "Of course not," she said matter-of-factly.

An-Nahar and the pro-government have borrowed "the war on Christmas"-theme from American rightwing hysterics. Every day a different neighbor in Achrafiye complains that we won't have Christmas if Hezbollah continues to camp out in downtown Beirut. What the "divine victory" isn't to Santa's liking? One minute the opposition's bid to overthrow the government is too festive; the next minute, it's not festive enough for Jesus' birthday. I noticed today that businesses are opening again in the lower half of downtown Beirut.

I spent three hours in a cab sunday trying to cross town from Achrafiye to Hamra during the opposition rally. That's three hours of driving further and further south, in order to go ever so slightly west and then being forced to head back east to Achrafiye to try the same route again. The road leading downtown was packed with protesters all the way to Tayoune. The cab driver, a Hariri supporter from Tripoli, honked enthusiastically for the throngs of protesters surrounding our car. The other passenger, a Shia from a prominent family with plucked eyebrows and bleached white teeth, an aspiring popstar, kept us entertained by crooning Celine Dion songs. He cursed the protesters for being "uncivilized" and "dirty". I insisted we get out and walk, but Maya maintained that our "fate" was sealed with the driver and additional passenger, and so instead she shouted out of the window at the soldiers blocking the road that this was unacceptable, much to everyone's amusement. "I've never seen so many happy Shia," Maya remarked. We spoke at length about the Shia tradition of martyrdom and suffering, unjustice and persecution, and how the Shia are having a good time for the first time in 1400 years.

Saniora, Jumblatt & co. have warned that the opposition is staging a "coup" to overthrow the government. In my estimation the real coup is an aesthetic one. They have hi-jacked the March 14th look with all those Lebanese flags, the carnival-like atmosphere, their declarations of "unity" and "one Lebanon". Al Manar now runs a clip depicting workers sporting Rafiq Hariri's favorite headwear, the yellow construction helmet. It only seems more bizarre when you see a "counter rally" in support of the government staged in Tripoli with participants waving the same flag. The average age of the Tripoli rally participants was nine; Future TV zoomed in close to conceal the actual size of the gathering. They have all kinds of visual manipulation techniques, where they shoot the same crowd of 20 people from different angles.

Today is the first anniversary of Gebran Tueni's assassination. David Ignatius, a columnist with the Washington Post, attended an event in Beirut in Tueni's honor and Thomas Friedman put in his two cents via a pre-recorded televised address.

"Ignatius said 'Tueni and An-Nahar remind us that journalism is about telling the truth, even when others want you to be silent,' said American syndicated columnist David Ignatius.

'Courageous words' from prominent figures such as Tueni, 'are not bought cheap,' Ignatius added."

I wish those old farts would just go away. An-Nahar has not been the voice of "truth", or balance for that matter, in many years. Like Friedman, Ignatius lived in Beirut in the early 1980s, when he still considered himself a "progressive" or whatever. He has since gone over to the dark side. And if you consider Friedman a good columnist, then you are illiterate. A critic once wrote, "Reading Friedman is fascinating–the same way that it’s fascinating to watch a zoo gorilla make mounds out of its own feces." Read the entire hilarious review.

We now refer to the frequent gatherings of the black-clad Christian widows of deceased leaders as "the wives' club". May Chidiac always looks a bit awkward at these events, a party crasher of sorts; the perpetual mistress with her bloated silicone lips and trashy attire.

May Chidiac with the deceased Gebran Tueni

I wonder if the wives gather in the bathroom to re-apply lipstick and gossip about her. Word has it she was Samir Geagea's mistress throughout the civil war and that he dumped her to marry a pretty village girl, Sti rida. How interconnected and incestuous. I had no idea.

A demonstration under the banner, "Ana misch ma hadda" (I'm not with anyone) is scheduled for Thursday at 4.30pm in Hamra. It is in opposition to both March 14th and March 8th/December 1st, because the former sucks and the latter does not tackle the issues of confessionalism, and social and economic justice. Rather the opposition furthers sectarian politics, despite its parading of Sunni supporters. Yes, the opposition is a rather promiscuous assortment of parties who are vying for a bigger piece of the pie, and are wasting our time if this is all for a "national unity government." Are they all going to sit back down at the table and continue like before until the next crisis arises?


laila said...

great post EDB. i hope you dont mind me borrowing the photo of the thursday demo, with reference to you of course.

apokraphyte said...

brava ...

Anonymous said...

your comments about the women, including may chidiac (who evaded death miraculously), is entire inappropriate. you don't deserve to be living among lebanese.

Paul said...

Very nice post.
Unfortunately, what you said about May chidiac, even if true, is very degrading. Let's say that she was indeed with Geagea before he married, strida, so what? Too bad, you ruined your own post with small meaningless details. Is lebanon dependent on their sex life?

Joseph said...

How can she be his mistress if he wasn't married?

Your posts are becoming very lame. Tabloid like. You remind me of FOX news in the US and The Sun in the UK. Except it seems your doing your bit for the divine victory!

In any case, will you now comment on Michel Aoun's divorced daughters or the rumours that Nasrallah (from the South, not Diman) was once married to Haifa, who made her give up custody of their daughter?

Ghassan said...

I would just like to say that May Chidiaq, despite the assassination attempt that nearly killed her from which she courageously recovered, is also a political persona and therefore not immune to criticism. Being Gea Gea's girlfriend throughout the years of his killing sprees, is seriously comtemptible. And just shows that everyone in Lebanon has plenty of dirt on their plate and perhaps more people who would like to see them dead than just Syria. Lighten up guys. EDB didn't say anything bad about the wives, except that they have formed a club

EDB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

wow...Edbs readers are really humourless. can we no longer mock the dead or "living martyr"?
Listen to this: fuck Gibran Tuyni, fuck Rafiq Hariri, fuck May Shidiaq, fuck Ariel Sharon, fuck Marwan Hamade,fuck all Gemayyel family. fuck them all but Samir Qassir who was a real journalist, unlike May, even if i dont like him

Oberon Brown said...

While we're at it, let's start also mocking the victims of the Qana massacre... I'm sure we can come up with extremely subtle jokes about orphans, widows, mutilated people...

rabih said...

Chidiac and Hamade are holocaust survivors... you shouldn't talk about them like that! shame shame! tsek tsek... the M-Asses are hilarious... Give hariri inc. a couple of years in power and they will create a law that forbids people from questioning their official dogma, and the M-Asses will say yes yest! We are civilized, tell us we're the cleanest demonstrators known to mankind and that lebanon is the greatest protest center in the universe (after inventing the alphabet!)

Anonymous said...

dom't be sorry about Chidiac come on she still have ahalf of her self :D . assissnating may chidiac is not equal to assassinating kids, because they are not equal targets. Kids from Qana were not involved in dirty shit during the civil war,but may chidiac did .
It is not Ok in general to decide to end somebody's life, but also it is not ok to glorify and forgive poeple that have their hands covered with blood.

Anonymous said...

wait untill the people that took care of chidiac will take care of you in the same way .
we than will see how funny it will be for other bloggers to joke at your expense . my guess is that your German roots take control of your brain from time to time .shame on you .

EDB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EDB said...

Alright, last anonymous,

You are free to object to the content, style and bad taste of my ramblings. But thinly veiled threats, the expressed glee at my anticipated demise will not be tolerated on these pages.
Slightly uncivil for someone as outraged by an aesthetic jibe against this survivor of presumed Syrian barbarism.

Please keep in mind the egregiousness of my infraction regarding
Chidiac's personal aesthetic:
I remarked that she looks out of place in the midst of the the black-clad young wives, and that there's something trashy about her.
You may think otherwise.

I wish upon no one what happened to May Chidiac. Her miraculous recovery is impressive; the crime barbaric. I concur with anonymous (comment #10):
"Itis not Ok in general to decide to end somebody's life, but also it is not ok to glorify and forgive poeple that have their hands covered with blood."

And Oberon I can't think of any "subtle jokes" about the children killed at Qana. I didn't mock Chidiac for the crime perpetrated against her but rather despite of it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

>Letter to May Chidiac
>September 23, 2006
>by Carla Faissal Sabbagh
>Dearest May,
>It is with a lot of disappointment and anger that I find my-self
>writing to you this letter; but I guess things are getting beyond what is
>humanly and ethically accepted.
>I have been watching your program on LBC almost every week.
>I had my concerns and personal opinion but still, I could understand
>your biased position towards some political views (although I strongly
>believe that professional talk shows should be unbiased by nature), and
>chose not to watch it as I personally do not agree with such a direction.
>But what really pushed me to write this letter is the last interview
>you had with the French
magazine Paris Match.
>I truly understand your concern regarding the infrastructure in
>Lebanon that resulted from the last war on Lebanon in July 2006.
>I also understand your anger regarding all the destruction.
>I can also admit that Hezbollah did a calculation mistake regarding
>the operation done on July 12. However, what I cannot understand, what I
>totally refuse and get ashamed of as a Lebanese citizen, is that you gave
>comments that could fill 2 full pages in a magazine, criticizing a Lebanese
>party from our country which was in fact initially enhanced and
>supported by our own government.
>You expressed your anger towards Hezbollah, which is understandable
>in a democratic
>But not ONE word concerning the atrocities committed by Israel
>against our country?
>Not one word on more than 1000 citizens dying in what can be easily
>called a genocide?
>Not one finger pointed against a country who massacred innocent
>children in the South, or any word regarding illegal gas bombs used on our
>I haven't seen one concern regarding the pollution that the Israeli
>boats deliberately caused to our Mediterranean Sea. Not one thought
>regarding the villages that were encircled and blocked to make the Lebanese people
>starve from scarcity of food and basic needs. Not one line to express
>regret concerning babies who had to survive without milk, and mothers who
>were feeding them with water and sugar or the old women who were

>gathering leaves from the trees to make food out of them for their families.
>What do you think of Human Rights? Did it occur to you that this is
>more important to mention then criticizing people resisting?
>I completely understand the fact that you could be against
>Hezbollah's political views, but the idea of insulting a Lebanese party in a
>French magazine and disregarding all the crimes against humanity caused by
>Israel is not only unacceptable, it is revolting!
>On top of all that, you mention St Charbel and your devotion to
>Well I am a Christian too and I know what Christianity stands for.
>It is by all means Love, Loyalty, Compassion and Forgiveness.
>Do you feel you are an example of any of those values in this
>Do you think Lebanese
Christians are proud to read this article?
>How would you feel if you were in those people's shoes?
>You had your share of violence and tragedy. Don't you think you
>among all others could understand better?
>Who is the enemy here? Hezbollah or Israel? Why don't we say it out
>Why don't we tell the world what Israel did to us? All you mention
>is that the country is destroyed and nag about a couple of bridges. Who
>destroyed the country? Was it Hezbollah? Who conducted war on our soil? You
>are asking what Hezbollah is trying to prove. Why not ask what is Israel trying
>to prove? Why do we have to always behave like traitors? Why do we

>always stand against each other instead of standing against the intruder?
>And who defended our dignity and raison d'etre? Why should it be
>Why can't it be the Christian media people like yourself? Why should
>I be ashamed to be a Christian in a country where Christians became
>nothing but followers? Why is it so hard to grasp that any foreign offence
>against ANY particular party, is an offence against our Nation? Why did it take
>some of us 30 years to finally consider Syria an enemy?
>Is History repeating itself?
>I am sorry to say this, but we are fed up with media propaganda.
>Your article is an insult to the Lebanese people, specially the
>Christians. We are fed up with showing the world a Lebanon
that is never united.
>Where is our national dignity?
>What is the real problem here: that Hezbollah initiated all this
>(like you said in PM), or that Israel is attacking our fellow citizens and
>Why showing to the outside world your personal unconcern with other
>Lebanese people's resistance instead of shouting out loud that Israel has
>been attacking them for more than 35 years? Why don't you mention that
>your own government did nothing to build a powerful and solid Army during
>decades instead of raising taxes and fulfilling personal interests of men in
>power at the expense of a poor immigrating population?
>I hope that your TV Show "Bi Kil Jerka", can be really daring by
>exposing ALL points of
view without taking any sides, and at least not the FL
>side, which does NOT represent the Christians' point of view, at least not
>the majority. You have to be sure of that.
>Your article in Paris Match is a shame as it presents Hezbollah as
>the main enemy of Lebanon, while the real enemy has destroyed the
>infrastructure and children of the nation you say you adore.
>I would like to finish this letter by reminding you, Mrs Chidiac
>that when tragedy hit you, all these people that you are denying, stood by
>you, supported you and prayed for you. It is terribly sad to realize that
>when evil hit them, you disregarded them. You didn't even mentioned them,
>as if they are not human beings; as if they are not Lebanese; because
>believe it or not Hezbollah members are Lebanese; as if
w:st="on">Lebanon should only be
>a place for machiavellic corruption, personal interests, and where the law
>of the jungle is the only one prevailing.
>I don't think St Charbel is very happy with that.

Anonymous said...

well then since everyone "okayed" making fun of people who have been killed and those that survived assassination...

hahahaha @ the 1,300 shee3as that died this summer! yarett khalestna minnon killon israel! they deserved it...w yaret kamalo! we wouldn't be in this situation if Israel had completed its mission! kill wa7ad bi da7yeh meht 3milnaloo party :)

It's pretty funny to make fun of may chidiac,isn't it guys ?

EDB said...

OK, posting comments is now restricted to registered users, because I am tired of erasing spam messages. It takes two seconds to create a blogger profile. Sorry to all the anonymous commentators. I enjoy (some of) your contributions and hope you register and continue to post comments.

oldboy said...


As'ad said...

E.: Did Ignatious really consider himself a progressive in the past? When he was writing for the WSJ?

Gerry Hannah said...

Hey Joseph, come on lighten up! EDB's posts like "FOX News" or the "Sun"? Hardly. Okay, so she often throws a little wit, black humour and sarcasm in with her political observations. Great! It makes for dynamic, informative reading and takes some of the sting out of the injustices she documents (a valuable talent in these times). If you want straight faced, boring commentary, there's a sea of it out there already just waiting for you.

ugarte said...

Tell Maya to relax a little bit. I don't want to face an angry Armeninian woman questioning my personal hygiene. She can blame me for the Crusades stuff, but the hygiene thing would be rather shameful.

ayre bil shi3a killoun said...

ayre be rabb el flastiniyye 3arabb hezball ayre be 7asan nasrallah el kalb jeye dawrak ya ibn el sharmouta ya 3on ya khayin ayre be 8 adar killouun ayre be rabbkoun ya kleb samir geagea baddo ynik rabbkoun la7 nitsalla7 windammirkoun bi2ouwwwit alla wisrael

Anonymous said...

I came across your nasty blog and read your filthy comments about May chidiac whose feet are better than your mama's face, you nasty fuckin pig need to know what you are talking about before you utter a single word about the amazing Dr. Geagea and the great Ms. chidiac, I bet your mother was fucked by a dog then she had you

david malik said...

who are you to judge people and spread rumors about our living martyr May ??????????!!!!!! you have a very dirty mind , shame on you

Hassan said...

Mate, this is a very interesting blog. I must say I'm not usually into this kind of stuff, but your article made me laugh. I particularly like the little story about Maya and the Armenian old ladies, and what you had to say about May Chidiac. I can’t imagine why anyone would waste his or her energy attempting to assassinate such a useless person. Something about May just annoys me. I think it’s the silicon lips that you pointed out. Anyways, what I understood from your article is that you don’t support either the March 14th or the March 8th alliance?

Hassan said...

"ayri bil shi3a kilon" please watch your mouth.
Be considerate of people around you. I’m not religious but I am Shi3e.
If you want to talk crap go somewhere else. Can someone please delete his post?