Thursday, January 28, 2010

The unbalanced confessional Balance

The Lebanese confessional system is based on ensuring balance between Christians and Muslim with equal representation in the different political spheres. This balance is attributed to the article in the preamble of the Lebanese constitution that stipulates that "there is no constitutional legitimacy for any authority which contradicts the 'pact of communal coexistence'."
Yet, on the other hand that same preamble calls for the "respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinion and belief" (and non belief inherently).
Hence, the aforementioned balance, for those who truly strive to reach or maintain it, is only attained when ensuring balance between Christians, Muslims, and Non-believers. The problem of secular people in this so called country is that they do not have a (non) religious "reference" whom no one dares upset for fear of upsetting the balance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Byzantine debate

Nothing is more harmful to humanity than resisting progress in the name of traditions often used to mean values. Most Arab traditions contradict in essence and in practice human rights, gender equality, and freedom in its widest sense. A debate can only be possible when 1) parties to it speak the same language 2) arguments and reasoning are governed by the law of logic 3) when parties agree that no topic is undebatable.

The family institution

I have rarely seen or known two (adult) generations coexisting under one roof. I am inclined to say that family ties are stronger (if that has any significance in the first place) if children leave their parents house at 18, or even 15. I wonder how young members of the Phalange party (Kataeb) believe in the motto: God, Nation, family, unless Pierre Gemayel, the founder meant, the Gemayel family. The worst of all institutions is the family institution, it just bears the seeds of its own failure.

On my mind

I have faith in you
I put hopes on you
enough for you
What more do you ask
Do you want me to die for you
I am about to die for you
Believe it if you can
enough for you
All my sentences end with you


Monday, January 25, 2010

Dubai-Abu Dhabi

I am leaving to UAE on Friday. Hadi. Do you copy?

Angels falling from skies

Ironically but also very sadly, I always mock Lebanese racism towards migrant domestic workers using the phrase "they fall from skies" referring to the many of them who fall from balconies. Today, they did fall from the skies. The Lebanon gravity refuses to let them leave in peace.

Lebanese tales

A Lebanese Taxi driver told someone (that same one) after hearing about the crash of the Ethiopian plane that a cow that was on board survived the crash and was seen swimming to the shore and carrying a Pakistani who according to the driver survived the crash because he saw the cow and mounted it. The cow then swam with the Pakistani on its back taking it to safety. Had Homer heard the driver, he would have killed himself.

The Trial

I wonder how Kafka had the patience to write "The trial" or although to a lesser extent “The Castle”. No wonder why he hardly finished any book. I struggle nervously when reading Kafka as I struggle when listening to my grandmother moan about every single pain in her body or to her Kafkaesque way in recounting her daily moves and tasks, but I always enjoy his wit and darkness. Besides the controversial "Before the Law" parable, I particularly like Kafka's absurdism and existentialism as in the line "There are also dark moments, such as everyone has, when you think you've achieved nothing at all, when it seems that the only trials to come to a good end are those that were determined to have a good end from the start and would do so without any help, while all the others are lost despite all the running to and fro, all the effort, all the little, apparent successes that gave such joy", and his amusing style as in "A woman's hands will do many things when no-one's looking."
I will name my main character in my new book L.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lebanese superiority

Said Akl started spreading those anecdotes about the genii of the Lebanese population as individuals and as a community and about their superior (phoencian) gene. He seriously talked about how God created Lebanon and then the rest of the world and how the Lebanese superiority comes sometimes from Plato and other times from Aphrodite. Someone needs to tell the Lebanese that Said Akl's words are mere poetry to say the least.


"How can we enjoy sleeping if we are never aware during our sleep that we are indeed sleeping?". The quote is for my sister. Well said! You cannot enjoy sleep retroactively. That is like injecting food through your veins and depriving you of the pleasure of tasting it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Echos and shadows

Two images from the past in both of which I am standing, absorbed in thoughts, and aiming my sight at the far distance remain lively in my memory: In the first one, I felt sadness and hopelessness and in the second, I felt happiness and hope. I was 10 years old in the first and 18 in the second. At both times, I decided to keep that moment alive in my memory and pledged to remember it for the rest of my life. I still do.

Unavoidable crash

For some reason, I always end up being invited to attend meetings that I am not supposed to -or need not- attend . Of course, this has always played in my favour. But. While I also end up knowing more than necessary, I never used the information malignantly. So far, I have been playing the luck card (and the universe conspiring on my side) successfully and it has worked totally fine to the extent where when luck ditched me I found that I was not well equipped to play the "taking advantage" card. I believe that sticking to a straight path might lead to a wall but you can't make a detour if your car is not equipped with a steering wheel.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My mother

I always hurt her. I never say sorry- she never asks- and she can never hold a grudge. My mother.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ad-hoc bed

How true this theory of couch is! That’s why someone (that same one) puts emphasis on comfort over shape. It is seen as an ad-hoc bed.

Speaking of rain

My anger is more like rain than like wind. Wind blows everything away. It destroys. Rain sweeps away dust but reinvents life. But beware, when the flood starts, nothing stands in the way.

My Avatar

The rain is back. I can finally reconnect with my Avatar.

Balcony thoughts

The peeing arid field across my balcony is turning into a splendid green garden. Beautiful things might come out of shit. Fertilized with even more shit, the garden might start splashing a dazzling scent. Remember: You have to hurt your muscle to make it grow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One of those mind battles

Have you not at least once in your life thought of just leaving all you have and everyone you know at once, your house, your family, your friends, your job, your country... just leaving without a notice, without a word, without a note, to a place where no one knows you, a place where you have no past, a place where you start anew? Just pack and leave and never return hoping you will be forgotten. Such an immature thought? maybe, but as immature as it might sound as tempting it becomes. It crosses your mind in adolescence and keeps hunting you throughout adulthood. Some did it. They were called cowards by those who lacked the courage. Sometimes, it takes more than a luggage to leave.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Game of hypotheses

"Les hypotheses en science comme dans la vie sont toujours dangereuses" Albert Camus.
In dealing with people, analyzing situations, events, and personalities, or understanding a sequence of events or attitudes, I rely on sets of hypotheses and start weighing them according to facts. It is sort of a hobby or a game that I enjoy playing in secret and I find pride and joy in proving my hypotheses. I also rate those hypotheses as true, strong, or weak as in Hadith. Very dangerous as Camus says, those hypotheses can consume you but they can be fun too. If you are a good observer and have a good eye for people's attitudes and behavior you can take one example as your lab mouse and lay out some hypotheses such as why they act the way they do or why they have such a trait, etc. and start testing your hypotheses with time. You can go as far as understanding their childhood and acting as a psychiatrist. The less you know the person the more you are apt to success. Closeness can distort vision.

Super Babies

A two year old baby I know has been trying lately to walk on the wall. After a number of failed attempts, she asked her mother "why can I walk on the floor but not on the wall?". Her mothrr was puzzled and couldn't really find an answer suitable for her age. The baby hadn't discovered the ceiling yet . Babies these days look nothing like babies of my generation or the previous ones. Back then Tom didn't have a jet plane and Jerry didn't fly on a rocket. I have been forcibly watching Tiji lately and I was truly amazed by the subliminal messages and the amount of learning they air to babies. Babies do know more than you think although they look stupid only had they learned to speak back in the womb.

Counting Deaths

If someone's job was counting the number of deaths per day, would he really care how each one died? He would certainly hope less people die but for pure counting reasons.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Feminism: Another perspective

I love Ounsi El Hage the philosopher more than Ounsi El Hage the poet. I will not comment on his poetic side now and I don't believe I do have the right in the first place but I might do so at a later stage. I don't have an opinion about his poetry at the moment although he is blamed for paving the way for hundreds of poets-wanna-be's whom I despise. In his last article -or is it better to say piece of writing- in AL-Akhabar, he subtly criticizes female feminists referring to a saying by Baudelaire and I tend to agree with him. You do not need to reject beauty and despise the female masses and all they do from wearing makeup, shaving their armpits, putting on high heels, using their secret weapons to attract, and highlighting their femininity, to be a feminist. And he was also right to refer to all the contemporary female authors in the Arab world, the wide majority of whom being feminists, who indeed care for their appearance (Alawiyya on the side although I worship her but take Ahlam Moustaghanmi for example).

Smiles and laughs

I discovered that I have two types of laughs not to mention the million types of smiles. My smile can reflect sarcasm, shyness, boredom, indifference, apathy, empathy, sadness, anger, sorrow, love, likeness, cheerfulness, etc. But I only have two types of laughs and they can be discerned if you know me from the position of my neck: A true laugh where my neck leans backward and a fake laugh where my neck leans downwards. I smile more than I laugh, and I only use my fake laugh when I cannot avoid laughing because it socially seems as a necessity not to offend or hurt someone. I don't know if my neck position is a universal feature of body language but I do know that I have a quite good control over my facial muscles except for my lower lip which betrays me. Someone I know (that same one) would tell in a second what I am feeling just by looking at my lower lip. In cases of embarrassment or when I am shaking in my shoes, he would look at my lower lip and laugh (backward).

Friday, January 8, 2010

House of Saddam

I like the movie and the actor playing Saddam was brilliantly convincing although the movie was very soft on the American role during the early years (rise of Saddam and Iraq - Iran war). It is the best I have seen or heard about Saddam's personality and I liked the psychological analysis attributing his personality to his early childhood and the beating he was subjected to by his stepfather. The man had a serious obsession in inflicting fear in others obviously stemming from his subconscious attempts to beat the fear and terror he felt every time his stepfather came to beat him. An oversimplified examination would lead to the conclusion that what happened to Iraq and what is to follow came as a result of a man beating a child.

What are you willing to lose?

I tend to put all my energy on one purpose, task, person, or thought, being extreme in many ways. That had always paid back and results had always exceeded my own expectations. But I lost a lot on the way. I think that's why I like that anecdote about the king, the visitor of the palace, and the glass of water.


I miss Yemen for some reason. I miss the camp. I miss the shitty hotel. I miss the adrenaline. I am going to Syria next week. Dull. Hopefully Yemen will be next. It is said that nostalgic feelings slowly start crawling back to you after a while. That's why people start being nostalgic about their childhood when aging.

Keep adequate distance or get in trouble

What is more interesting: to travel around the world as a tourist or as part of your job? I have done both and I have always enjoyed travelling as part of my work than as a tourist although when on duty I don’t get to see much of the touristic sites but I get to see more of the real life. I also get paid for that. Someone (that same one) will argue that it all depends on the kind of job you are doing. Of course I don’t mean travelling to attend meetings or to give presentations. Well, it seems that I am in the mood of arguing today and I did victimize a few people at work. So Warning: Stay away from me today. I don’t promise I will be in a different mood tomorrow. It seems that PMS is real although someone (that same one) would want to argue about that.

Blogger's block

I need to remember that most probably refreshing my blog's page without posting does not bring me a new post.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Only somkers will love this

Bad joke on smoking: A non smoker once said to his smoker friend: Don't you know that smoking is slow death! His friend answered: I am not in a hurry.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


A sweet baby I know as a big baby discovered humor by smelling his feet and then faking a death.


A balcony is always a strategic position. There are tremendous things to see from any balcony specially those that overlook the neighborhood or a part of it, a street or another balcony. Who of us hasn't spent an hour or so on a balcony just observing passersby and acting as an omniscient God? You would be amazed at the funny, sad, and alarming scenes you might witness. Just pray you wouldn't be the witness of someone throwing himself from the roof and staring at you for just a second before jumping. As I move a lot of houses and jobs, I had the chance of standing on quite a number of balconies, not to mention the balconies you visit once or twice or just from time to time. One of those balconies overlooks an empty yard or sort of an unused garage. There, I once saw two young boys playing virtual football. They had drawn a net in pink on the wall, written next to it "the Verdun international football Court" and played football without a ball. I saw them running after an unseen ball and shouting at one another for losing it in the out. Another time, I saw a maid hiding things I couldn't recognize under a plant and watering it afterwards. She would then get inside again and then come back after a while to bury something else under that same plant. She was so at ease and assured that no one could see her that she was dancing and laughing while watering the plant. I wandered what scheme she had in mind. I can write a book about scenes from a balcony and how people act when they think no one can see them. The balcony of my office where I work now overlooks a peeing garden. Well, it wasn't a garden before it was used for peeing purposes. Men peeing in a public area surrounded by buildings all act the same. They would unzip their pants then look around to see if anyone is watching, and whether they see you or not, they still go ahead, turn their backs and pee anyway. When done, they again turn around to see if anyone had watched them. Why do they look around if they were going to pee anyway? It is amazing what people do when they know that where they are they cannot be recognized by their names or who they are but only as a part of the human species.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Double effect

Try this: Imagine yourself doing the thing that you are actually doing while you are doing that same thing (e.g. Imagine yourself eating an apple while you are eating an apple). You get a double effect.

Just a thought

Only a life in sin is a life fully lived. Even Monks would agree.

Stewie: What did you learn?

It is said that everyone learns something everyday. Even if that one does not do anything, talk to anyone, or go anywhere. That person might just learn that a bug can stand still for two hours or that his joints stiffen if he doesn't move. So what did I learn today? I learned that if you throw away from your car an unfinished and lit cigarette, a child beggar will finish it. I learned that the three European countries that hosted the World Cup but never won it are Sweeden, Switzerland, and Spain. I learned that Ahmad Doughan is still alive. I learned that shopping means buying whatever you can live without. I learned that traffic jams can happen in Lebanon for no particular reason. I learned that if you hate someone then that one certainly hates you back (I knew this since ever but I just found new people who fit in there). I learned that if you have the upper hand you dont have to trade, you use force. That stewie knows. In brief, I didn't learn much today but I learned that you think you learn a lot but it takes you a life time to know that you didn't learn much.

La Peste

Yesterday I decided to read, or re-read is a better word, Albert Camus’s “La Peste”, only to discover today that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of his death: A very sweet coincidence but also one that makes you think about a man who doesn’t know that 50 years after his death someone like me in year 2010 and someone else probably in year 2089 would be interested to know what that man in 194- wrote. The funny about it is that I am supposed to have read this book in intermediary or secondary school, but I was at the time more interested in fitting in a class of wackos and looking cool and funny in their eyes (the strange thing about it is that I turned into just the opposite of that person that people could just hate me by looking at me and my nonchalance towards them or what they think). Now that I regret that, not so much actually because I believe that every period of my life had made me what I am now (and I am not so modest), so now that I have to make up for the “lost” moments and now that I have realized the billions of pages that I must and want to read and which I could have minimized to millions only had I been more interested back then, I am re-reading the damn “La Peste” but that is totally okay because there are books worth re-reading anyway only if the list before my eye is a bit shorter or my life some hundred years longer.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Ideas sound better in my head than on my blog. When I read them they are only almost what I had thought.


Love is a kind of intoxication because the deprivation of which is damaging. After a break up, lovers often pass through emotional and physical withdrawal. The intensity of this withdrawal depends, as in any dependence, on the level of addiction versus the level of tolerance… and the theory of DABDA stands true. DABDA is the recovery process from the Love addiction.
P.S. DABDA is the theory of the 5 stages* for coping with death. It does more generally apply to coping with loss.
* D - Denial, A - Anger, B - Bargaining, D - Depression, A - Acceptance

Nothing to lose

I like this quote from "The Book of Illusions" by Auster: "Men don't begin to live fully until their backs are against the wall." For some reason (that you don’t need to know), I have been thinking about that lately, before reading it and I was even discussing it with someone (that same one). The thought I had was closer to "When there is nothing left to lose, you can only win": Simple and plain but too simple and too plain. The discussion was about what men do when all their plans have failed. They stop planning. They start living.

Kundera VS Auster

I have been lately alternating between Milan Kundera and Paul Auster although the latter is 18 years younger than the former yet both are contemporary novelists whose styles savour philosophical themes that interlace at the themes of coincidence, language, and identity among others. Both their novels are intricately sewed around philosophical questions but I enjoy reading Auster more. Although Kundera’s characters are more elaborate, likeable, and real but Auster’s characters are intriguing in their complexities and philosophical insights. Kundera’s characters are relevant by what they do and say. Auster’s characters are often relevant by what and how they think. Auster’s thoughts are conveyed through his characters who are often authors of some kind (or professors) while Kundera’s thoughts are delivered through himself as the ultimate narrator and creator. I only hate Auster’s intentional tendency to unnecessarily refer to the holocaust even if that does not add anything to the overall scheme of the novel and that he somehow feels obliged to have one of his characters a Jew. This is only relevant because Auster is a Jew himself of Polish descent.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lebanon is a prostitute

If countries have personalities then Lebanon would be a prostitute.