I am blogging much more in my head these days and way less on paper. Even lesser on WordPress. Ah, well.
Politics and violence have been happening so fast in the country that I feel alienated. See, in Lebanon, you grow up to be either so immersed in politics you become an idiot, or totally alienated from politics you become an idiot. Truth is, in Lebanon, you will always be an idiot when it comes to politics. Everyone else is a genius. YOU are NOT.
Today was the first time I googled immigration. It was more to tease my Mom, on the surface. But the truth is I am also scared. A friend told me it is not selfish to leave a place that is insecure to another place where you can be safe and practice what you love. What I love is screenwriting. I can practice it anywhere. But a bit more security and safety in this small country wouldn’t be bad at all, now, would it?
I love my Mom. She’s the type of person who wonders about everyone she sees on the street. Not that I don’t, but I tend to wonder in my own head and make up stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. She asks me aloud,
“Why is that man holding a stone like that?”
“Why would I know? Maybe he wants to kill someone.”
Mom is worried,
“No, but I mean WHY is he carrying a stone in the middle of Hamra?”
I get annoyed quickly,
“Mom, it is none of our business, it’s a free country!”
After a few moments we see a group of people posing for a photo at the entrance of a building.
Mom: “Why are these people there? Did something happen? La Hawla wala Qowata illa BiLLah.”
Niam: “Which people? There’s nothing abnormal here!”
“There! Near the Hearing Aid sign!”
“Oopps. Thats my friend Ahmad. They must be artists or filmmakers. They’re taking a group photo. Nothing happened!”
“I wonder why are they taking it near the hearing aid sign. Maybe they are filming an ad.”
“Its a group photo ya Ummi. They have nothing to do with hearing aid. Maybe they were having a workshop.”
In my head now I am wondering what the hell is Ahmad doing here with people who seem too “fashion civilized” to be artists and/or filmmakers.
The point is, you can’t walk with my Mom around Beirut and not have fun. You will have fun. But you have to be up to it!
Today, January 18, 2011 is a Tuesday.
I watched from the balcony as kids returned from their schools happily.
The Hariri guard underneath our house blocked the road. The driver coming to the stop point got angry. Old man. He said, “I was few meters away and it was open, what happened?” The soldier replied politely, “The road is closed now, sir. You can go down to Hamra and then up near City Cafe.” The old man didn’t like that. Old men don’t like sudden changes to plans, methinks.
A car with four MIBs (Men in Black) approached afterwards. The soldier opened the roadblock. It passed.
Another car with four MIBs approached after few minutes. Again the soldier let it pass. Armed MIBs.
Today, January 18, 2011 is a Tuesday.
My Grandma has an appointment for a heart echo at AUH. It is something medical. This “echo” thing. I hope the bombs don’t fall on AUH today. This is a bad sign.
March 14, 1989, was a Tuesday.
On that day, we were sent back home from school and we returned happily. Well, I was a bit pissed off because we were among the last kids of school to be picked up, but I was happy nonetheless. People blocked roads and Aoun started a “Liberation War”. The same Aoun. Yes.
My Grandma had an appointment at AUH that day. There were no mobile phones and no operating landlines in the first place. So when the “war” started again, we lost touch with my Grandma and Grandpa. They lost touch with each other as well. They later returned. Each one of them thought they’re going to die on that day. The bombs were falling near the American University Hospital and each one of them fled to separate paths.
والله يا طير الحمام اللي تسافر
ودي لاحبابي السلام
واحمل بجنحك رسايل من تهاجر
للي حرمونا المنام
بالله يا طير الحمام
I arrived to Fouad Khouri Hospital today like I usually do every Monday afternoon for my physiotherapy session and entered the elevator, when I saw a gentleman walking in the gate. I re-opened the elevator for the man and heard him thank me bashfully, but clearly enough to identify his lovely Iraqi accent.
I’ve seen lots of Iraqis here since I returned. The un-funny thing is that I saw 99% of them at AUH and at Fouad Khouri and CMC (All Hospitals & Medical Centers).
Seeing the Iraqis around Beirut makes me sad honestly. These are people who were one day part of the strongest and most civilized and richest Arab country. And one of the richest countries of the world. These are people who’ve been through hell under a dictatorship that lasted too long, only to end on the hands of foreigners. These are people who saw the great Baghdad fall into the hands of the Americans and ate humiliation. And these are people who fled a war torn country, took refuge in another country where war itself has taken refuge long before they did.
Things have been bad in town, after all. During these two days, our destiny may be gearing towards war or peace. Most likely towards war though. Whether on the short-run or the long-run.
After working on the documentary series of “Al-Nakba” with my friend Rawan Damen (http://www.youtube.com/user/rawandamen) I now truly believe that the Zionists do not want peace. I am stressing Zionism here because it is totally different than saying “Israel doesn’t want peace”. We grow up and we learn. But our leaders and many of our people don’t do that. Sadly enough.
The same conspiracies and lies which Arabs fell for during the 1910s are happening again. What makes me aware of our stupidity is that we see these things. In the 1910s people didn’t have any means of communication to alert their presidents and governors and tribe leaders. But today? We SEE these things as they take place in front of our eyes and we hear them with our ears, and yet, we fall for them blindly.
During the last two days lots of things happened!
The Lebanon I am giving a second chance to (It’s really an umpteenth chance, but anyway) failed on me once. Lebanon 1 – Niam 0. The government resigned. Was force to resign. Something like that.
Since I realized I have non-clinical delayed PTSD, I cannot hear or watch news about Lebanon.
Not that I care. The only thing that listening to news did, was make me care and waste a lot of time of my -I’d like to think- precious life.
So here we are again: Beirut, Lebanon. No government. Lots of fun.
The Arab Theater Festival is under way in the city. Tomorrow we’ll be expecting some rain.
Life goes on.
For the first time yesterday, I saw a theater set being stricken down by students at my university, LAU, without having Mo’allem Youssef or Milad (God Bless His Soul) around. Seeing a totally different set of people working on the stage we always sweated on was a very spiritually enriching experience.
The play itself, however, was very bad!