Monday, December 28, 2009

Current status: Drunk

To pee or not to pee.

fake VS real

Why do women always have to prove to men if anything is fake or real while most of them prefer (the result of) fake had they thought it real?

A dream

I found this part of a poem by Edgar Allen Poe by chance right after publishing my previous post:

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream - that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

Edgar Allan Poe

Writer's block

I like to see writing as a form of sleeping. Some would have clear dreaming visions and others hallucinating, blur, and incoherent images. Those visuals would be the scenes of their writing. They all experience a state of wakefulness known as a "writer's block". My problem with writing is that I tend to write while observing, anything and everything around me, that I am accused of day dreaming or day sleeping and when I sit down to write I am in a state of wakefulness. I have written many books that never made it to paper. They get lost in the air like screaming echoes of the dead.


There are many forms of anger and different expressions and responses for such a feeling. Those variations of anger and anger expression are equally found among men and women but I am particularly concerned about the suppression of anger. I believe that the result of suppressing anger largely varies between men and women. When men suppress anger, it goes straight to the neural devices of the sexual organ, melts with all the sexual frustration there exists, and splashes out with the first ejaculation. With women, anger goes straight to the womb and starts eating it inside out resulting in a high energy of heat that sends alarm signals to the nervous system which can result either in hysteric responses or in another suppression of hysteria that again goes straight to the inflamed womb resulting in a high feeling of depression and "melancolie", a sweet and sour "melancolie" in most cases.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Breaking Point

One of those days where you just want to get to bed and bury your head under the pillow. You do not even feel like cursing or nagging. Crying would be too much effort to make and you do not even have the emotions to do it. Anger? is it anger what you feel? No. It is too human a feeling. It is rather disgust. One of those days you long to get lost in a silly movie or wish you sleep and wake up to find yourself on an undiscovered island or turned into a giant bug.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Paul Auster's "Invisible"

Not so brilliant but a very close shot. The New York Trilogy was much more intriguing philosophical and much deeper but I found "Invisible" highly entertaining and absorbing. I could recommend it for boring rainy afternoons.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When I am old

When I am old
Too old to remember
I will tell you a secret

You will not believe me
But it will be true
I will doubt myself
And you will tuck me in

When I am old
Too old to remember
My darkest self will speak to you
And you will lie and say I believe you

Then you try to wake me up
From a secret you believe not
Fed up you think you are
No more taking it, enough

You have never been to Cannes
You have never written a book
You have never met Shakespeare
You were not even born, you will say

You will not believe it
But it will be true
And you will soon be there too
Too old to remember

Too old not to believe
And you will have a secret too

Monday, December 7, 2009


I enjoyed reading kafka's metamorphosis with the eyes and mind of a child, totally believing and living the story like a fairytale or just like watching Spiderman. When I read some analysis of the story, or better said the many confusing and conflicting analysis of what Kafka might have meant, the symbolism and all, I liked Kafka even more. I found the theory of a reference to Freud's oedipal complex the most convincing although I like to think that kafka who asked that all his books be burned, intended it to be just that absurd.

Brain chaos

I tend to forget most of my dreams the moment I wake up but I never forget how it felt in each dream. I always wake up knowing very well if my dream was a happy or a sad one even when I have no clue what it was about. Not just that, I wake up with the same feeling I had while dreaming, as if dreams leave residues of emotions or maybe dreams for me are not brain visuals but chapters of emotional happenings. My memory works in mysterious ways. I usually tend to forget a lot, a lot of incidents but I always know how I felt in each of them. I might not remember a person for instance but I would know for sure if I liked him or not.

More on rain

What I love more about the rain is what you can do when it rains. Sleep. Or do nothing. Nothing at all


The other day, as I was walking the few meters separating the main road from my house, all distracted in my own thoughts, my usual state when walking, maybe merely thinking about the pace of my walk or I could have been fantasizing about the day I throw a resignation paper in a burst of anger on the desk of my supervisor, making its R E S I G N E D letters echo throughout the building, as I was walking those few meters, a man walking a few steps ahead of me spotted me and some brilliant idea must have banged in his head. Not weary of the pain striking his neck turned ninety degrees to watch me, he follows me eagerly with his eyes, until he reached a turn which he desperately thought might bring such an adventure to an end losing the sight of me should I take it or decide to take it. Then, a statue of the Lady standing there right at the corner saved him from such an imminent danger and a religious call suddenly fills his heart. One hand on the statue and the other in his pants, one iris on the statue and the other at the corner of his eye, he watches me taking the turn and follows. As he walked less than a meter by my side and as I summoned the soldiers of fury to invade every cell and nerve of my body, he asks me with as much idiocy as he could gather,"Can I ask you one question, and please don’t take me wrong, my intentions are good. But why are you sad?" What does he expect? Does he expect me truly that I would turn to him and indulge in a discussion about my sadness? Does he seriously expect an answer to that? What runs in his brain cells? Does he expect that I turn to him in a sudden for a sympathy hug? But more, does anyone walk alone in the street with a huge smile on their face? I say "none of your business" with an arrogant and disgusted tone and keep walking at the same pace. I was not mad at him. I was rather mad at this society that has no room for privacy. At the airport or in the plane, anyone who takes the seat next to yours feels an urge to talk to you, even if you are fully absorbed in a book. If you happen to sit alone in a cafe, your face buried in a newspaper, beware to show your face or turn your eyes away, lest someone there is waiting for that exact move opportunity to raid your privacy and ask you with all the memory of innocence left from his childhood "why are you sitting there alone". Most probably he is not prince charming. In a bus, don’t even try to have a book, as someone who has never opened a book in his entire life will ask you what you are reading about. Just lie there and feint a deep sleep. Privacy is a luxury forbidden in some corners of this world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An orange without fingers

I dont appreciate most of the modern Arabic poetry. How can this line for example be of any meaning? "Whenever a day passes by you realize that the universe is a mere sad apple that you keep under your left breast." It is not even poetic. Or "An orange peeled from the inside" as someone named his poetry book and included in it a poem that says "I like you without fingers", or that "Great Poet" who has a piece about Yellow panties. I can't find it now. But I will keep looking.

15 and below, maybe.

How can someone be more than 15 years old and still be a member of the Lebanese Forces?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheese-y Watermelon

I wanted to write something about watermelon but I changed my mind because someone (that same one) told me that I have no right to talk about watermelon if I don’t eat it with cheese.

The dormant beast

When I was a kid, I used to wake up at night to sit under the Christmas tree in the corner of the living room. I would feel an inexplicable sweetness and joy as I watched the twinkling lights and the reflection of colours all while dozing at the sound of peaceful Christmas lullabies. Those moments used to fill me with an odd feeling of serenity. I don’t particularly enjoy sitting there anymore but those songs still fill me with joy. Despite all the changes that might hit someone’s personality, beliefs, or thinking, one can never break free of some sweet childhood memories. They glue to the brain and inhabit the soul like a dormant beast only to upraise again in a sudden like a splash of an old odour.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Second Chance

There are people you meet in life where you feel totally useless before their calamity that you wish that there exists some kind of reincarnation so that they may have a second chance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am sure you have no questions.

I discovered that once you overcome a certain fear in your daily life you also gradually beat that fear in your dreams. I used to hate cats. Okay fine. I used to be afraid of cats and used to have those dreams where someone throws a horrified cat at my face and then I would wake up screaming. I am not afraid of cats anymore. I still hate them though. Yesterday, I had a dream where I am staring at a cat right in the eyes and making fun of her. I even gave her the finger and she said "Meow". What did she mean? I forgot to ask her. I know this is not a new discovery but you have to know that I am not talking about cats here. Neither about dogs nor cows.

I am sure it is clear.

I think that if I were a professor I would be the type who would end every lecture with: Of course you dont have any questions.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Celebrate your democratic regime

It is amazing how Lebanese people and politicians disagree on almost everything about their country except on what makes their country backward. Come to think of it, the Lebanese people dont deserve to be considered as citizens before the law. This country is tribal despite all the glamour projected about it and a tribal mentality dominates across all its societies. I changed my mind and I am now against abolishing sectarianism in Lebanon, all forms of sectarianism not from the Noufous(souls/mentality) nor from the Noussous (texts/Laws). The current system is indeed the most representative. I hate representative systems.

Any limits to where this is going?

What is the replacement of the phrase "flow of a pen" in the euphoric technology era? something like "flow of board keys"? if in few years books in paper disappear to be replaced by electronic books only, instead of flipping pages, people scroll down and stare at a screen there will be no need for an index or a glossary in the presence of the find option. Technology makes life less poetic but will never beat the longing for beauty. Cameras did not replace painting portraits for example. Someone argued with me once that they can even make electronic books smell like paper if need be. I hate that. Imagine a time where kids are not taught how to write but only how to type.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am not writing a book about it so there you go.

I hate democracy. It is said that this system of rule is the best one available because never two democracies ever fought a war, which means that it is the most peaceful; maybe but never the best. Democracies make everything imperfect and I am a perfectionist. I am still looking for an alternative and "best available" is too short of my ambitions. I even prefer dictatorships to democracies where the stupid mass reigns. In a democracy a stupid mass can elect a stupid ruler, or worse a stupid dictator. Do we have exmaples? Not so hard to find one not so long gone home. Why is Platonism considered unattainable?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Memo to self: Airport observation

I hate flying but I love watching out people in the airport. It is one of the most peculiar places to watch how different people react vis a vis waiting. It is also the place where you can watch people without feeling embarrassed because everyone watches everyone. The whole scene differs from one airport to the other. For me the Beirut airport is so far the best place for such an exercise, especially with Lebanese women in their forties or fifties living abroad and coming to visit. Those women have such a bourgeoisie attitude and such delicate manners especially when in public areas -like in an airport- that you cannot stop watching them... like this one lady who can be summarized by blond hair, nice legs in high heals, lots of tanning powder and a very high chin. I would have said how snobbish she looked, but holding a book and reading in the one cafe at the airport, I could only say that she looked stunning. Give me a second, I might need to check on something... about my gender. No, I guess I am fine. She was like a pure combination of confidence and beauty. There are others who always remind you to tear your passport apart, but not this one. Later on I will tell about my observations at the Sanaa Airport or Hodeida.

The great battle

Loneliness can get addictive once you realize the value of time. The problem is that it can be repulsive for some for the same reason. While time passes are you in the course of living or in the course of dying? It all depends on how one perceives time. This is not a question of optimism versus pessimism or seeing the glass half empty or half full, it can be rather compared to drinking to forget or drinking to remember or more accurately drinking to suffer without pain. Most people who drink to forget a certain misery end up just remembering it, yet they do it because it is a means to remember their suffering without feeling it with the same intensity. It becomes a way of testing their tolerance for pain or of enjoying their endurance to suffering which without alcohol can be unbearable, something similar to pain killers that replaces pain with numbness. Now going back to loneliness, if you are someone who is of the second category of people, those who tend to drink to remember without suffering, then you don’t want to waste time forgetting, and hence you will be in constant strive for defying time. Remembering does not necessarily mean living in the past. It is a state of conserving the present and denying the future, in the sense of depriving time from the privilege of reigning over your future. In your struggle with time, you tend to make it as meaningless as possible, as slow as possible to the extent of boredom. In this, loneliness can be your best weapon. Yet, in your battle with time, you might win a battle but never the war. Time does not know defeat. Sooner or later, you get to enjoy your loneliness, boredom withers away, leaving you alone in the battlefield and time supremely reigns thereafter. Philosophers have always been consumed by the theme of time. Most of them concluded that it can only be defeated by death. This dilemma has also been a recurrent theme for art and literature which tried to defeat time with greatness or with utmost absurdity, or more stupidity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

About Kundera

Love, infidelity, communism, Einstein's eternal recurrence, philosophy, existentialism, are all themes unbearably crammed in Kundera's book, the Unbearable Lightness of Being. All would have been nice only if Kundera realized that the reader knows very well that he is the author of this book with his photo big enough on the back cover and his name bigger than the title on the front page. Yet, Mr. Kundera in all his books, likes to inject his ego throughout the pages of the book unnecessarily. Had it been a literary art, he could or should have done it more subtly or at least make it consistent, yet, he suddenly pops out of sentences reminding the reader every now and then that the characters of the book are his creation and explaining how he created them losing the artistic storytelling style. This is only relevant because Kundera likes to think of himself as a novelist rather than a philosopher or a political writer. I do like most of his characters and themes and he does have some interesting philosophies there but he is the most annoying author to read despite the fact that I like his books.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nun or Prostitute.

In the context of joking and playing games, someone once asked me if you had no choice but to be either a prostitute or a nun which one would you choose? I thought about it and found the question to be very philosophical, existential even. After my long struggle with existential questions in my early adolescence I somehow stopped caring much for answers. I found that questions can be much more informative most of the time. But for this question, I have a clear cut answer. Not a nun.

Haradh... The Horror.

Tomorrow I fly to Hodeida then take the car to haradh. oh, how I miss that part of the world! This time I am taking food, a blanket, a towel, wet napkins, necessities there if you are planning to come back alive. I am also taking a bottle of Martini, another necessity I realized to have some hope.

Learn from them... and if you dont, at least you will laugh

I love listening to religious channels on the Radio, the best entertainment you will ever get. I laugh nonstop. Priests and Sheikhs are the most hilarious people when they are serious. I just remembered that now when I turned to a religious channel on TV for less than 10 seconds and laughed for the first time today. In 10 seconds I heard a hilarious joke; a sheikh saying that "plays are forbidden in Islam because they entail acting and that some leading religious scholars had a fatwa saying that acting means lying because the actor is playing the role of someone he is not and hence he is lying on the public and lying is a vice." What I love most about those fatwas is that they use logic and come out with the most brilliant conclusions. Genius.

The banana republic

A Japanese friend who had been living in Lebanon for the past three years once told me with obvious excitement that if it were up to him, he would remove the cedar from the Lebanese flag and put a banana instead. He was so happy with his conclusion and was so disappointed to know that there is already a group on facebook with such a flag as a profile picture and the idea is not quite new. He was not the first to think of Lebanon as a banana republic but in a way coming from him gives you an idea of how obvious this is to a foreigner. In the streets, some people call him Jackie Chan and laugh and he is still wondering why. He would have appreciated the joke only if it had a little humour.

Lebanon: The State of Justice

The Minister of Justice in Lebanon represents the criminals or in other words the Lebanese Forces. That's just a small example on how things are run in Lebanon and some still wonder why nothing works or why foreign maids throw themselves from balconies, they are most probably giving a leading example to the Lebanese on what they should be doing. I heard the Lebanese lawyer Nizar Saghiyeh speak once and I thought that unless he is given this ministry, foreign maids will keep falling on our heads. Can you imagine how cruel someone should be to drive another human being to throw himslef from the balcony?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yemen News

First news from Yemen: They are still chewing Qat.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Someone once said...

"She turned out more than one would think. A special magic originates from her eyes, travels a distance in no time, and penetrates your skin to find your heart, spreads out to your blood throughout your veins, and possesses your soul… that is only her look. I haven’t even talked about her smile, or her cheerful spirit, funny gibberish talks, endless determination, her success, her beauty, her skin, face, boobs, toes, legs… ok enough. Somebody’s head will explode with vanity."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barely a country and a lesson never learnt

Driving calmly in my car today, I was thinking about the famous stupid statement by the former pope about Lebanon that is being echoed in almost every official document here, stating that "Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message". The Lebanese, so in love with vagueness and vague statements about their country, like "Lebanon is a cedar", or "Lebanon is too small to be divided and too big to be swollen", or "Lebanon is... is... is... more than words can is very big", as a famous singer once said, etc. etc. etc. examples are innumerable. So I was thinking about the pope who said that Lebanon, barely a country, is more than a country, when I pass by the famous Holiday Inn. I look at the huge holes in almost every square meter of the building in every single floor, and I could imagine the mortars firing on real human beings inside not so many years ago, but before I was born. And I thought that in wars (maybe strictly Lebanese wars) people survive by mistake. They don’t die by mistake. That's when I remembered that I have heard somewhere before a similar idea. Only now I know where; Sami Hawwat once said it "I live for lack of death".


Finally, someone acknowledges the beauty of this blog's name. Diana wrote: "awal shi (first) i like the name.. second i knew there would be a photo of ali somewhere... third it's got interesting stuff!".
Did I ever tell you where eography comes from? First, the name is my creation (copyrighted as well). Second, "Informally, an ography is a field of study or academic discipline ending in the suffix -ography. The word ography is therefore a back-formation from the names of these disciplines. Such words are formed from Greek or Latin roots with the terminal -graphy derived from the Greek verb γραφειν (graphein), to write. The word ography is thus misleading as the 'o' is actually part of the word stem that receives the -graphy ending.". Third, based of this definition, maybe Egraphy would have made more sense with the "e" standing for "electronic". However, for aesthetic purposes, the misleading suffix is hereby used.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Like You

To like someone is usually the lesser state of to love someone. Yet, when you love someone, to like him (still) becomes the higher state.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Of Mice and Men

"I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of ’em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land." John Steinbeck

Monday, October 19, 2009

Out of nowhere

A good massage has to have a sexual touch.

The Crossroad of Love and death

The first thing you realize when you fall in love is that the one you love is ephemeral. For some reason you think you are not. The first thing that comes to your mind when the one you love falls out are the rivers of tears shed on your death bed.

Now somewhere

Now somewhere there is a lady positioning a gun on her forehead
And another pulling the trigger
Now somewhere there is six year old boy wetting his bed
And a 60 year old
Now somewhere there is a delinquent driving full speed on a highway
And a valley waiting to swallow
Now somewhere there is a mother and a last push and a first cry
and a father in the hallway
Now somewhere there is an apple, red, ripe, and full
And a starving African in the desert
Now somewhere there is a rapist looking, wanting, and lusting
And a boy in the corner
Now somewhere there is a rope and a man’s neck waiting to embrace
And an audience
Now somewhere there is sand on a shore and two lovers
And more
Now somewhere there is someone watching them all in silence and boredom
And stretching his legs

Friday, October 16, 2009

More than a couch

Every single couple I knew including newlyweds have told of at least one time where the husband had to sleep on the couch, the same couch they happily bought together and fantasized about its uses and romantically had wine and sex on it on the first day. Why doesn't a wife sleep on the couch some men would ask.

The God of Small Things

If reading is the bread for the soul, then this book is its best bakery. "They broke the love laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much" she writes. I wasn't reading a book, I was rather remembering. The wordplay Arundhathi Roy often used in the book very cleverly narrated through the eyes and mind of a child, or more specifically the twin souls Rahel and Estha, awoke the child in me. I was dazzled by her ability to still remember and tell a story with the same feelings of a kid without losing the poetic touch. A breathtaking story beautifully told in the sad and happy parts. Once again, one of those books that make you understand the complications of the human nature and remind you of how cruel the human can be and how soft his soul.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Intimate Prophecy

There are things I believe in that are not purely logical and that have no scientific ground (although some would argue that they do). Forget about Osho, or the silly "Secret" book, or the million theories on energy, I believe that:
1- If I wish and when I decide, my guardian angel would visit someone (I want) in his dreams and would ask him to do something, and he will (This applies strictly and solely to me)
2- Whatever harm (intentional or not) you do to someone, will happen to you. One day, when it happens, you will know why it happened and you will remember the person you harmed. vividly (This applies to all)
3- Positive attracts positive. Negative attracts negative (hell with my Physics teacher)
4- Attraction, evaporation, and melting, are chemistry not physics

Hamra... to be continued...

Hamra, I believe is not a word that refers to a place, rather to a phenomenon. A friend of mine who hangs out in Ashrafiyeh, Kaslik, Jounieh, Monot and Gemaizeh from time to time (for its proximity to West Beirut, I guess), was telling me that he went yesterday to Hamra for a change. "I like diversity," he said, "but this is too much." He described wittygraphically a lady who was sitting on the next table: her nails painted four months ago had grown leaving "des marque en haut", as he put it. "I dont mind hippy, but there were spilled oil tâches on her shirt. Her boots, yes winter boots, smell. Bon, une saleté"
I laughed but it seriously made me think. The reasons why I love Hamra are exactly the same ones why I hate it because Hamra is different yes, but Hamra is no exception to the Lebanon psyche of exaggeration and ranking obsessions (As As’ad Abou Khalil graciously summarized it). A hippy in Hamra is the hippi-est, a leftist in hamra is a Mao, a drinker in Hamra is a Homer (Simpson), a philosopher in Hamra is an Einstein-looking, a beauty in Hamra is a dazzling beauty, and sex in Hamra is talked about loud as loud as can be, that's it, as openly as can be, as blatantly as can be. Talked about. Full stop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unspoken Thoughts

Often you are influenced, touched, impressed, or inspired by someone else's spoken ideas. That's because at one point they were your own but you never put them in words.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Al-Qaeda dont chew

Unfortunately, there's one group that could solve Yemen's khat problem. The angry puritans of al-Qaeda don't touch the stuff.,9171,1926015,00.html

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lebanese restaurant

Regardless of any patriotism, the best restaurant here is a Lebanese restaurant called Al Diwan. Oh, and I had a mankoushe. This is how it is called although it doesn't taste like one. It just reminded me of the mankoushe taste.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Human trafficking

I had all sorts of weird things happening to me in Yemen but this is probably the funniest, probably not the safest. I took a taxi and suddenly the driver starts telling me that he works in trafficking to Saudi Arabia, "Human trafficking" he explained and added "I never traffic Qat or drugs, God forbids, only humans!". Then he told me how he does it and then I realized after a while that he is actually promoting his work. He probably thought that I would like to be trafficked to Saudi Arabia as well. That would be interesting actually, among all things I never thought I will ever end up doing. And this is how it goes: I pay 90,000 Yemeni Riyal, which is 450 USD and the guy will take me from Sanna and drop me just few meters away from the legal border crossing with Saudi Arabia up north. Then we run on foot for half an hour once we get the signal by phone from the guy's collaborator on the other side of the border who would have paid 250 USD to silence a Saudi guard. Then trafficked men all dress up in women's Burqu' could peacefully go anywhere in Saudi Arabia. He even told me that this is the safest job ever and that he is doing it for a good cause; Trafficking Yemenis looking to work in Saudi Arabia. Some of them even come back this way for their vacation. He seriously offered to take me there.
On the other hand, I met a really nice Yemeni taxi driver who listens to fairouz all the time, doesn't chew Qat, very quiet and peaceful in his car, and drives slowly; and I only care because I know there are other Yemenis like him.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guns... Real Guns

For the first time in my life, I held a real gun in my hand. I was terrified when I saw it. It all happened when a guy, an educated and famous person here in Yemen, told me that he is a leader of a tribe, a big one and a dangerous one, as he put it. He was laughing. Other guys with us in the car said that they all have weapons at home, one of them named bazoukas, machinery guns, and other weapons, I can't name. Then this guy takes out the gun from under his seat. I was terrified and asked him to keep it away. I asked if it is loaded and he was positive. Yemenis are crazy people, just watching them drive and getting with them in their cars makes you think that they are suicidal. They are totally hypnotized by Qat and lose all common sense. They say that every new born Yemeni gets 3 weapons as a gift right after he is born, which means that weapons in Yemen are three times its total population.


Sometimes I feel that I belong to the world and other times I feel that I only belong to that small space between his elbow and his shoulder (he would probably prefer that I say biceps, but that would be much less poetic!)


I am so annoyed that people don’t leave their signature on their comments. But appreciated anyway.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Veil

Somehow, I got to like the veil, I mean, one way of wearing it whereby it only covers half the hair and goes down the neck, the Iranian way. It is stylish. I am gonna miss it.

Time to go home

I need to go to the Gym. Today I started running in the small space of my appartment like a psycho and I felt I am in a psychic ward! It is amazing the things you do when you are alone. It is amazing how creative you turn to be and how productive! but there are times when you suddenly realize that you turned into a machine and you try to act stupid, as stupid as you can be!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Captain and the silicon girl

I took a flight today from Hudaidah to Sanaa. As we had to stop for 20 minutes at the Aden airport, I asked the flight attendant if I can get out for a minute to smoke. He said he will ask the captain. I followed him to the captain's cabin (not the hamra pub of course), when he turned to tell me that the captain refused my request, so I come forward and say, Captain, won't you make an exception? This is when the captain turned towards me and said, only if I go with you (mmmmmm, i just craved for a cigarette, for god's sake!). So we went outside, walked a little and had a cigarette. When I was back, a female flight attendant, half veiled with red lipsticks on her silicon lips, who was smiling to me just a minute before when she knew I am Lebanese (don't know why) and who was so nice to me throughout the flight, frowned at me and in her eyes I saw a plan for murdering me. The Captain is a good looking Mexican guy and I must have caused her unintentional pain. But still, I had a little evil laugh inside me. Blindness!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I would like to claim the copyright for the word "Qatoholic" or "Khatoholic" or any other spelling for the word meaning someone who is addicted to Qat or Khat. I didn't find the word on Google!

A hidden message

I love technology. At least I know that when I am back in Beirut, I won't have to talk for a month about Yemen, Harad, and the camp! I also know who loves it even more for the same reason.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am leaving again to haradh tomorrow early morning. I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to take an internal flight to hudaidah airport and wait there for two hours before a driver picks me up to Haradh in a two hour drive. I am already exhausted and I have no energy at all left to do anything. I have reached my breaking point and I keep meeting new people, interesting people, inviting me to dinners, parties, and drinks, and I have no time to go. It is a real shame. Sometimes, the price for success is just too high. I just hope that the plane does not crash like the latest Yemenia because then I don’t know if I can even talk about a price!
And I keep receiving those verbal congrats which never materialize into real action. There are hugs I used to have that are worth millions of this nonsense.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My kitchen

My TV room/Dining Room/Office

Best food I had in two weeks

Small things in life

After two weeks in Yemen (Haradh, Amran, Khaiwan, Sanaa, and the Saudi Yemeni desert) and after all the unhappy things I saw and all the miseries there exist in life that we know of but choose to go on in our small world, ignoring, where basics are always available, not knowing that this does not apply to everyone, where we get upset because the connection is slow, or because the wine is not so good, or even because electricity is cut... now I got used to feeling happiness in the small things in life. Just thinking of the small pasta salad I am going to cook now makes me want to dance!

To be (online) or not to be

Si Descartes était là aujourd'hui il dirait: "Je suis online, donc j'existe".

Friday, September 11, 2009

I desperately long for a mankousheh

Why dont they bake manakish in Yemen?

Blindness... again

There are books you read and then you forget. Well, this one, you wont. This is one of the books you remember for your entire life. And when years later you are asked, what is your favorite book, and you try hard to dig in your memory for the best you read, probbaly this one will surface first even if you liked other books more.
(The second person, YOU, suddenly emerged in my blog. That's because I heard that I have readers now. I have to watch my mouth from now on.)

Never appreciated Almaza as I do now.

They say Qat is the alcohol of Muslims. Oh how I miss Almaza!
(At Geneva airport, they are training dogs on sniffing Qat, as all UN staff, most of them based in Geneva, got addicted to it and are bringing some back home!)

When I am back...

In Lebanon, at this hour of the day, I am usually in Prague. Here in Yemen, at this hour of the day, I am listening to the Sheikh from the nearby mosque. Not only at this hour, 5 times a day!

When I am back, i will go to Prague everyday to get his voice out of my head!
Freedom at any cost!

Comme d'habitude

I heard this song a million times, but never carefully listened. It almost brought tears to my eyes! Here in Yemen, for no particular reason, I simply got addicted to it. Life works in mysterious ways!

Comme d'habitude, toute la journée
Je vais jouer à faire semblant
Comme d'habitude je vais sourire
Comme d'habitude je vais même rire
Comme d'habitude, enfin je vais vivre
Comme d'habitude

Tout seul j'irai me coucher
Dans ce grand lit froid
Comme d'habitude
Mes larmes, je les cacherai
Comme d'habitude

Birthday Gift for Everyone

From now on, I will never hesitate before deciding on a birthday gift. There will be one gift and the same one for everyone, even if I had given it before. "Blindness", the book, a must read book for every human being before sudden death strikes!
Brilliant, among the best books ever written! I just finished it and I already feel I want to start reading it again. "A book that must have been written and I am glad I wasn't born before it was".

I will buy some 50 copies of it in English and Arabic as a gift stock!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Now I appreciate the weather in Lebanon!

Yemen... still

I might be saving lives, but I am also killing lots of cochroaches!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Armed bedouins and not Gypsies.

I have to accept the fact that i am now in a nomad area, a tribal one, or more precisely a bedouin region. A roof is not something common, so yes, if i am in a hotel this is indeed fakhama. It is true that people here dont seem to notice the cockroaches walking on their bare feet and that they enjoy theit food mixed with the sweat of the 50 degree temperature but still if we manage to find a restaurant who serves food with utensils then we have found the best one. And people envy us because we are sitting on one of the tables! I never thought that I would sound like the shallow bourgeoisie but where do you draw the line? I have survived hard conditions and not the best ones even in quite modern cities but there is a threshold for everyone. This is a bedouin sahara. Tribesmen with rifles on their waist sharing a table with you a common. Armed men inside the so called hotel is common but I look in the eyes of the people and all seems to be normal for them. All is relative. if so, then let it be. All is just normal. I did eat in that restaurant, I did fight an urge to throw up and a i did postpone a tear ready to scroll down. It is not that bad, because I know it is temporary but I just never thought there is a limit to what I can bare when it comes to standards of living yes there is a threshold to everyone. I wish they were gypsies, but they are not.

Food of the day - Harad again (Nomad area)

Best restaurant and best hotel in Harad:
(note that the hotel has the latest technology: TVs)
I came to think that when Darwin spoke of evolution he also meant that human being adapt in different ways. You cant say for example that since there are human beings in Harad, then Harad is a livibale place. Wrong. The thruth is that some human beings are able to survive in harad and others are not. All depends on adaptation and knowledge of possibilities.

50 degrees

Well, under 50 degrees, I doubt that my mental abilities will still be the same. Now add to that the sight of sweat mixed with dirt and all sorts of amrs both primitive and Kalashnikovs on people preparing your food and sweating above it, their hands in their pants or skirts is a more precise description, others eating along cats with full dirty hands and looking at you. Just opening my eyes made me want to throw up. Now you imaging serving me laban as a jus. Do I need to say more?


I am not fasting but i havent put anything in my mouth since early morning. I didnt have time to buy food but even if i did i wouldnt find any shop open! I am staying in Herad till Saturday in a hotel named "fakhama"(luxury) that is not fakhama at all.

Sanaa to Harad

Four hour trip from Sanaa to hajjah (herad) where an IDP camp has been set in coordination with the authorities. Emran which is another governorate by which we passed as well is another location for a possible camp but I was told that they still need the consent of the tribes there despite the government approval.
We are driving amidst large fields of qat and amazingly beautiful little Yemeni houses and going up a tight road between a deserted mountainous area of volcanic nature. We could see the volcanic rocks used to build a small watching house to protect qat fields!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Racism, Qat, and IDPs

On my first day in Yemen, and before even leaving Beirut, adventure has started first with some racist Lebanese guy. At the airport a Lebanese worker (manager or something) in charge of the Yamenia flight was giving orders to some Yemeni passengers, speaking to them with superiority. I look around me and I find 3 workers helping the snobbish Lebanese women on the nearby Air France ticketing booth and none helping those poor Yemenis. I am sure that they take them for maids or something because they are black and skinny so the guy left them to place their heavy luggage on the trail on their own whereas 3 guys were helping that fatty Lebanese going to Paris. Suddenly he got notice of me and with surprise and full of respect he asks me where I am going. It seems that since I don't look Yemeni, the guy suspected I stood in the wrong line (as if saying what are you doing among those dirty people) and when I said Yemen, he said, please come forward and ordered the lady behind the contoir to make me pass first. I objected saying that those people were here before me so why should I bypass them? He said: I am helping you. I said: and why me, why don't you help them too? He said as if he did not really get what I am saying, so that you finish fast. I said: only because I am Lebanese (actually non Yemeni, non black) then my time is more precious? they came first, they pass first, and he still couldn't get that I am accusing him of racism and he still had this awe look on his face as if he doesn't understand why I would turn down his offer to help me and that I should be grateful instead! Why don't those Yemenis stand up for themselves anyway? Had there been someone else in my place, probably they wouldn't mind crossing over them and they would still not utter a word!

Other than that, two pictures remain of my first day in Yemen: The long line of people lined on the edge of street shewing qat and the many guys holding a khanjar (old authetic sword) on their belt and dressing like 6th century!

They also lost my luggage on the Yemeni airport and found it in transit!

Fries here are called chips. I should remember that. Tomorrow I am off to Harad in the north where it seems UNHCR is setting an IDP camp. More to come.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shorcut to Spiritual Fullfilment

Why do all the people I know who are interested in spritual fullfilement and the like smoke hash (in doses, I mean)? Is it kind of a shortcut?

I am Water

I believe that according to the chinese thought or theory Wu Xing or Five Elements (the five basic elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water), I am water.
Color: Black or Blue
Season: Winter
Climate: Cold
Mental Quality: Spontaneity
Emotion: fear
Taste: salty
Life: death
Someone studying the Karma, Shakra and the like, told me some years ago that I am water. I like that! maybe that's why I like the rain? We bond?
Also, someone told me that I have a strong feeling of my shakra or something like that and that I should cultivate the feeling (and study) of my shakras. He said that I have a positive one. That was when I wore his hat for like 5 minutes and when I removed it, I had the feeling that the hat was still on my head. He then said that this is his shakra (or energy) that was stored inside the hat before I wore it and when I removed it I could feel it strongly. But doesn't this happen to everyone? If not, then I should seriously consider my shakra powers!

Rain and more

Oh, how I long for the rain, for a cloudy morning and the smell of the wet soil, when I start my engine and look at the drops of water scroll down my window making that sweet yet heavy sound that mingles with the voice of Fairuz coming out the radio and tingling the top of my stomach. I would close my eyes and suddenly a flash of the sweetest memories of my 28 years on earth would rush before me in a mo.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Osho on Civilization

Perhaps civilization is still an idea -- it has not happened in reality. Osho

Book: Chicago

I just finished reading "Chicago" by Alaa Al Aswani. It is an excellent novel although I have read better. Mostly striking are the well developed characters and their personification. You almost fall in love with Dr Graham, Nagi, Chris, and Marwa and you are totally amazed by the personality of Dr Salah, Tarik Hasseb, Shaymaa, Dr Ra'fat Thabit, and Carol. The book seems to be written to be turned into a movie with chapters making up fully fledged scenes of events ascending into a well weaved plot. I was however disappointed by some exaggerated scenes that reminded me of some stupid Egyptian movies like when Dannana greets and cheers for the President or even when Safwat Shakir breaks into Nagi's room. I liked the dramatic unfolding of events and the sad ending for the different characters and stories. Throughout the book I was a bit disappointed by how the author creates golden opportunities to his characters (Carol's friend appearing suddenly to give her a job, the love team formed for Sara, Salah getting in touch with Zeinab after 30 years and finding her a widow, etc.). Aswani had yet cleverly used the dilemma of the US's double standard democracy after 9/11 and his description of the military and totalitarian Egyptian regime is remarkable. I enjoyed reading it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Memory of a memory

When I am sad, I remember you. I know that you never saw the light but you existed in a way or another and you must be somewhere. Somehow you give me strength. Just remembering the feeling you gave me makes me feel that I own the universe.It was just you and me and it was everything. I cant and will never forget you.

Love & Hope

Love and hope cannot go together. You either love or hope.



"If you can see, look. If you can look, observe". The Book of Exhortations/Blindness Jose Saramago.
This line was crossing my mind throughout this lousy weekend which made me look like a freak but I understood.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ghassan Bin Jeddou

I just talked to Ghassan bin Jeddou of AL Jazeera on the phone. He addressed me with "ya sayyidati" (my lady) which he also uses on TV. He is an extremely polite and well mannered man. His coverage of Lebanese politics which is always very delicate and sensitive is examplary. If I ever go back to Journalism I would only want to work with him. I remember I listened to two different interviews with him on the Radio. And Bin Jeddou is famous for his eccentric choice of colors of his ties and clothes. The host asked him what are you wearing right now and he said "a purple tie that goes well with my orange belt". I have never knwon anyone who is as knowledgeable and innocent at the same time. You can feel his transparency through the screen and needless to talk about his professionalism.


Osho and Mouhamad Hussein fadlallah. i was just stuck by how they look alike!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taha Ahmad Scofield Arrested

Reports of LAF arrest Fatah al-Islam member Taha al-Hajj Sleiman, who escaped on Tuesday from Roumieh Prison, in Bsalim


Al-Akhbar published today that Abdel Aziz Khoja (Saudi minister of information and former ambassador to Lebanon and much more) had a secret visit to Lebanon two days ago at night. The following day, a Fath al Islam militant escapes from Roumieh. Let's fantasize a little, why not, and yes conspiracy theories are the norms here and I dont believe in coincidences. So why not link the escape to Khoja's secret visit especially that no one knows what he was here for. Let's just consider this scenario: Syria and Saudi Arabic are in the process of correcting their relations, and of course many demands from either side would arise. Can't Taha Ahmad Suleiman be on the agenda for example? Let's consider this too: Lately, a decree was issued whereby clerics entering Roumieh prison shall not be searched. The decree was the results of pressures from some highly religious establishments (most of them are linked or have their allegience to or in Lebanese terms take orders from Saudi Arabia). So Khoja comes to Lebanon in secrecy and a Fath el Islam member is free. I am just helping out the investigation which will never get to an end and which will soon be forgotten. Yet the relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia will be cheered and embraced by all especially the US.

Taha Ahmad Scofield

A Fatah al-Islam militant by the name Taha Ahmad Sleiman escaped yesterday from the main Lebanese prison, Roumieh in a pre-dawn jail break, and in circumstances very much similar to how Micheal Scofield (Wentworth Miller) breaks free from Fox River.
Looking at the pictures above, i wouldn't be very much surprised at the similarity!!

So they come for the fun! I see.

From nudist beach parties and wild bashes hosted by the likes of Paris Hilton, to gay clubs, gambling and showgirls, Beirut is rapidly earning a reputation as the sin city of the Middle East." The daily Star/ AFP

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tourism or prostitution?

The ministry of tourism announced that there are 2 millions tourists in lebanon now. Of course the statement implies that this is an achievement given that it will positively impact the overall economy. The reality on the ground is yet different. The majority of those tourists come from the gulf (Some Lebanese coming from abroad are also counted among the 2 million by the way) and most of them only visit Down Town Beirut, Broumana, ALey, and Mameltain. Hence teh following conclusions can be drawn:
1) I am not sure they can be called tourists as they dont visit the known touristic cites in Lebanon (Baalbeck, Jbeil, Jeita grotto, Beiteddine) or the famous festivals that go on in the summer
2) Only less than 1% of the population (that already wealthy portion) benefits from those tourists, especially owners of down town cafes and restaurants.
3) None of them visited the Kaak seller at the entrance of Baalback or the owner of that shop in Jbeil
4) Ordinary people are only affected by the traffic, that they cannot access all restaurants since owners reserve table to gulfy tippers, and the insults they endure during the tourists' stay in the country (this one wants to pay for a night with this guy's boyfriend, this one thinks he can block the road with his hummer baring a saudi plaque, and ABC mall is now charging 2000 L.L. for its all year free parking)
5) why do those gulf tourists still come to lebanon if they only meet fellow gulfies?
6) More important: why do the insulted lebanese still go to those down town restaurants at the end of the touristic season. Isn't there any dignity left to boycott them?
7) What pride is there in having a state whose economy is based on touristic prostitution?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The age of full womanhood potential

"The age of 28 has been pinpointed as the time in a woman's life their hair looks the best, body shape is at its peak and confidence is at an all-time high. It is also the period in their life when they enjoy the best sex – but the happiness is relatively shortlived", a study has shown.
Did I realize my full potential? I ask myself on my 28th birthday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Et ton esprit n'est pas un gouffre moins amer

L'Homme et la mer

Homme libre, toujours tu chériras la mer!
La mer est ton miroir; tu contemples ton âme
Dans le déroulement infini de sa lame,
Et ton esprit n'est pas un gouffre moins amer.

Tu te plais à plonger au sein de ton image;
Tu l'embrasses des yeux et des bras, et ton coeur
Se distrait quelquefois de sa propre rumeur
Au bruit de cette plainte indomptable et sauvage.

Vous êtes tous les deux ténébreux et discrets:
Homme, nul n'a sondé le fond de tes abîmes;
Ô mer, nul ne connaît tes richesses intimes,
Tant vous êtes jaloux de garder vos secrets!

Et cependant voilà des siècles innombrables
Que vous vous combattez sans pitié ni remords,
Tellement vous aimez le carnage et la mort,
Ô lutteurs éternels, ô frères implacables!

— Charles Baudelaire

Friday, August 7, 2009

Clowns without borders, clowns without food.

I was blamed today for not giving food to clowns. It sounds absurd, I know, but I feel bad because it is true.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Genre of Prostitution

Scene at a barber shop in Beirut:
Barber: are you fucking these days?
Customer: to be honest, I can't afford it these days. 3al 2eed 2ajallak (self-hand masturbation)
Barber: look, there is a place where they charge 5,000 LL for the penis (licking it), and 2,000 LL for each egg (licking). You will be done with 7,000 only!
Customer (happy and puzzled at once): where?tell me, where?
The barber named the place.
Does this happen anywhere in the world? Is it a sign of poverty or Lebanese genius? Are those girls providing this service virgins waiting for the right lebanese man who will wait on his first night to see the blood-stained sheets?

I saw "hamam baghdadi" by Jawad Al Asadi. It is an amazing play. I fell in love with Fayez Qozaq.

Something to tell you

I finished the book ''something to tell you", by hanif Kureishi. Although I liked the book in general but I was disappointed with the ending which is so Hollywood-like.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers," said Barak Obama in his inauguration speech today. The line sounds coming from any typical Lebanese leader or politician, if not for the non-believers. Many are disappointed now. Even non-believers in Lebanon have to elect their representatives in parliament on a sectarian basis. This is the magic of it probably!

Lebanon, the Magical state

Magida al-Roumi couldn't find words the other day (Kalam al Nass, on January 1, 2009) to describe how grandiose Lebanon is. She ended up saying 'Lebanon is so special in many ways, that cannot be described in words!'. No one explains this "phenomenon" better than blogger Asa'd AbuKhalil. Click on title. She also said ''the Lebanese human being is a cedar and the cedar is a human being"!!!!

From Hanif Kureishi's "Something to Tell You"

"Just looking for a G-String to floss". I love Kureishi's witty sarcasm. His characters are always complex and disturbed à la Dostoevsky. He has a very "modern" sense of humor.

After Khalil Gibran

Pity the nation where sexual abuse is widespread and sex is a taboo.