Sunday, February 21, 2010

So that I can sleep

Oh... How I fear
to knock on your door and not find you
Oh... How I fear
midnight comes and not talk to you


I wish your house was not far away
and the gate under your house was not of steel
In no time I could meet you
and climb to talk to you
so that I can sleep


The formula: Annex

The previous post would zero in to one formula simply:

Lebanese society = Hypocrisy.

Let's see what other adjective you would give to the following phenomena:
1- It is okay to act as and be seen and treated as a female object... "euh, of course I am against premarital sex".
2- I punch in at home from time to time so that I don't hear the phrase "You think your home is a hotel?"... euh, I am a 40 year old (virgin, or not) living with my parents...
3- "Don't forget your jacket!"... "yes mom, thank you for reminding me". From time to time I ask her opinion about what jacket she thinks I should wear so that I don't hear "You never ask for our opinion!"
4- "Dad, today I got a raise at work" so that their happiness for what they consider their own success makes them forget that for the past three days I have been sleeping at my "non existing" Friend Paula (i.e. Paul) and that like them I am against cohabitation. Da!
5- Oh... Thank God, WE in the east, still value the family, the (religious) community, the communal spirit unlike the individualistic selfish self centered west. But, why should I respect general order, wait in a queue, abide by traffic lights and rules? For the good of all? what all? My car is so dirty. I will throw all the garbage on the road, or better on the highway, on speed.
6- "Lebanon is the most beautiful country. I love Lebanon"... and I would die to get another passport. Oh... you are Canadian... you lucky you. I envy you.
7- My favorite joke is "there are two things I hate: sectarianism and Shi'a." Ha.
8- If a female is to undergo an x-ray, nurses here would ask her(to check possible pregnancy): demoiselle or madame?
9. Ah.. the newest joke in Lebanon: Man, you are now ready to become Lebanese. Last step: go get a blackberry. It doesn't matter if you don't have an email account or if no one sends you emails in the first place.
The list is much longer and I don't care if I am generalizing here or victimizing a tiny minority that falls out of this stereotyping. I feel an urge to go shout from rooftops "this is not okay" and then go in the street and start punching every passerby in the face and then say "You know why, and if you don't you will figure out, and if you don't, just know that you deserve it". Rachid in "film ameriqi tawil" did it and ended in a mental institution. But honestly, Lebanon is a big (or small) psychic ward. If a "normal" person enters a psychic ward and adapts easily and manages to smile and live there, then most probably he belongs. Well, everyone here is smiling and nothing feels wrong. They are a bunch of happy psychos. As my sister would say "they are uncomfortable" summarizing all the above.

The Formula

In Lebanon, when people are faced with one of two choices: Be happy but no one notices or be sad but everyone thinks you are happy, they choose the latter. The "everyone" here is "the society" yes THE society that people here talk about in the street, in taxis, inside homes, as if it is one, defined, known, and operating under a set of known rules and standards. When you say the word "the society" in Lebanon, everyone would know what you are talking about and the conversation would go on, while I am trying to figure out that society they are referring to, its norms we are bound to respect, or who had set them in the first place, but to be honest I have an inkling of an idea although I play stupid. It is a society where everyone watches everyone and judges everyone according to distorted standards and a twisted logic which annoys everyone but which also everyone dearly adheres to. These are the cruel and harsh norms by which you judge others and hence you are bound to accept when you are judged by: the Lebanese societal formula. Abide or be outcast. The choice is often not that simple or easy. An even shallow scrutiny would lead to one of those conclusions: 1) Abide and be unhappy (THE society), 2) Do not abide and be, at best, outcast: if you are lucky, you would be outcast and happy but no one knows (often not so happy too because being outcast is being outcast by your own loved ones) and in some cases outcast is not enough punishment and you would be dead. The majority has chosen to abide and when they do they would according to basics of psychology, justify their choices as the right ones and hence keep on preserving the trend, or as La Fontaine put it "les raisins que le renard n'a pas pu atteindre sont trop verts". Unhappiness becomes the rule of life only to be disguised in faking a happy lifestyle. They are all in that same pot which they have themselves created, that upsets them all, but that they refuse to change: The Formula becomes as static as a religion with often blur, irrational, and many times sadly funny commandments. And, as with the omnipresent omniscient God, societal eyes are everywhere, open ,watchful, and ready to punish and praise.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Our political system is backward (moutakhalif) and so is our society, or maybe because of that. The Lebanese people (and the society) are sad individuals, one by one. They project an image of happiness to hide their sadness and personal failures (the failure to be happy) through a fake glittering on the outside. In simple terms, the Lebanese society is a piece of shit* covered with glitter. It is sad society.

* literally and not metaphorically

Monday, February 15, 2010

La la la la

Something in my head goes like this: La la la la lala la la la to cover up the real voices in my head.

Photo © Maya El-Laz

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I work hard to earn money so that I don't have to wash my car or paint the walls myself. But then wouldn't I wash someone's car or paint his walls to earn money? That's sickening.

True story

He is from Hay el-Lija. She is from Hay el-Lija. They are in love. He asked her hand from her father. He refused. Three months later, she got married to her cousin. The following month, he got married. One year later, he stops a cab. There were two other male passengers and the driver. Once in, the driver picks up the conversation from where he had stopped: So, yes, as I told you, there is nothing such as a vagina keeper. The sentence caught the attention of our hero. He steps in: oh, tell me about it. I am married for almost a year now, and I have been sleeping with another woman for the past five months. But, to be honest, I never loved my wife or any other girl. I never loved anyone but her but her father stood in the way. She is married but she sleeps with me. I come to her place when her husband is at work, one time as the electrician, the other as the plumber, or just the delivery guy. It is easy. Oh, except that one time, when as I was leaving her place and taking the stairs, I stumbled into her father going up to her flat. Of course, he had seen me before and there is no way he would forget my face. I lowered my cap to hide my eyes, looked down and ran past him. Later on she told me that her father asked her who that guy was and she said, it is the delivery boy. He pointed out the resemblance to that "cockroach who dared ask for your hand". She nodded: Thank you, I was sure he resembled someone I know! She told him. Imagine, that once, I was out of units to call her. So she sent me units from her husband's phone, and I talked to her while her husband was sleeping right next to her. She even made me listen to his snoring and we laughed together on the phone.

Bla bla bla

I have been extremely busy these days. I wish I dare say doing what but I don't. Let's say that I was busy working on something as pleasurable as reading articles about the bad ways to sell your horse (I did that too).

L'ignorance qui croit tout savoir

An injustice caused by ignorance is by far worse than a premeditated injustice. You see it with your bare eyes everyday, you try to deal with it, and you succumb helplessly to its cruelty. Don't fight back. You are defenseless in the face of ignorance, in all its forms and its changing faces, but particularly that ignorance that comes to save you from your own self against your own will and with the best of intentions. Examples are in zillion but Camus says it all: «Le mal qui est dans le monde vient presque toujours de l'ignorance, et la bonne volonté peut faire autant de dégâts que la méchanceté, si elle n'est pas éclairée. Les hommes sont plutôt bons que mauvais, et en vérité ce n'est pas la question. Mais ils ignorent plus ou moins, et c'est ce qu'on appelle vertu ou vice, le vice le plus désespérant étant celui de l'ignorance qui croit tout savoir et qui s'autorise alors à tuer.L’âme du meurtrier est aveugle et il n’y a pas de vraie bonté ni de bel amour sans toute la clairvoyance possible». Philosophers kill me with their explanatory and lucid tone. People perish everyday because of ignorance, individual decisions based on ignorance turn the world every second into a terrible place, and Mr Camus, decides to illuminate the world with a calm wisdom and in an almost informative way. Thanks for the info Mr Camus, but we learned that the hard way. You can only fight ignorance back by blood, except that it must be your own.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Free fall

I stand there, one half in the dark, the other in the light. The light awakens my senses and sets me in motion, in a singing mood. I am driven. Anxious for beginnings. Darkness soothes my anxiety and I surrender to an appeasing calm, that calm that comes with ends. Beginnings and ends. They are two words, two antonyms, yet two synonyms too, and I am tied at that thin knot of vagueness in between. In limbo. I long for a free fall.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I do have a strong attachment to places, not in the materialistic nor in the nationalistic sense. I had a discussion about that recently. I feel that I leave traces of me in places which makes me feel that I own them. The memory of the place becomes my own history and I adore history. As early as 10 or 11, I embarked on a project to learn the personal history of my family, the tiny hidden memory details. The task was not easy. My grandfather would tell me about that lady who died of unknown causes. When I asked to know more, he would say, that was not important. Only after insisting, he would tone down his voice to tell me that some people said that she died of Cholera but the truth is that she died of a "shattered heart", these were the words he used, when she learned that her beloved boarded a ship and never returned -or was it that "her heart exploded"?. Who is talking about history now. Let's get back to places. But places and history for me are one. What matters is my place and my history in this world. For that, places for me become the landmarks of my existence. They only exist for me because I there existed. Take my office for example, I am dearly attached to that small world where I spend more than one third of my waking hours. Although I don't practically own it, but I definitely own what it has become. The place takes the shape of your habits: the wall becomes the wall where you lean back and the framed photos become the resting space for your eyes. They become yours. I personalize the spaces I own and when I leave they remain in my memory as sweet as my first teddy bear. Stairs. Those are my favourite public places. Wooden benches for two. Corners. Coffee houses. Footpaths. As weaker my memory goes, as stronger my feeling towards places grows. I forget what I did or what I said on those giant old stairs but never how it felt to be there and what it feels to look back. Strange.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh writers of the world. I know.

Words die when written. They die again when read. Only the unwritten is essence.


I don't wait for things to happen to me. I wait for specific things to happen to me. The weird about that is that they do happen.

Tribute to anonymous

There are amazing people out there. People who have a gift to create. They are the anonymous soldiers of brightness. They make the sun rise everyday but they don't know it. They splash colour to a black and white universe. They add the invisible final touch to a dry painting and take it out of frame. Those are the people who must exist for the world to have sense although they themselves cannot draw any sense from the world.

Celebrate stupidity

When we know no other way, we act stupid. When we are truly ourselves, we act stupid. When we are out of words we say stupid things. That's why happy people are stupid and stupid people are happy.

Between lines

I don't want to read stories and wish I had been the hero. I want to read my own story told in millions of ways. My own words and thoughts, monologues and dialogues, my own emotions and emptiness, greatness and stupidity, my own failures and successes, resonating across all the great books and the less great massive stacks of pages. There is nothing as more beautiful and less beautiful story. There is only a better way of telling it. My story is out there told and retold in every written book. I read it in every written sentence. I keep reading it over and over again and rediscovering myself between those small scribbled marks called punctuations.

About Dubai

Dubai is not a city. It is a large factory. I would like to compare it to the UN factory. Money flows in and out. People of different nationalities come and go. They take the experience and/or money they need and leave. What is left are huge glassy buildings. It is all in all tasteless but also the funniest (in the positive meaning of the term, i.e. makes you laugh) and the most stupid place on earth. More to come.

The vicious circle

The best thing that happened to me in Dubai is that I was totally relieved from my daily addiction to news, emails, newspapers, and facebook gossips, not to mention annoying family obligations. I am only now suffering the brunt of such a relief. I decided to assume that nothing was written or said during my absence. That life was in a halt pending my return. I can start by throwing away the stacks of newspapers from the past four days and deleting all the emails that do not date as of today. Now that I am free again to use my time as I choose, I can go back to my favourite hobby: nagging about having nothing to do, and feeling the urge of filling my time and hunger with news, emails, facebook gossips and family fights. Back to square one. That's not that bad after all.