My neighbour, who went to Egypt with his family during the war and has come back to make arrangements to move there, tells me that there are two contradictory yet simultaneous currents on the Egyptian street. He tells me that on the one hand, there is immense, murderous hatred of Shi’ites, inspired by the Wahabists and Qutbists (and Wahabist-Qutbist mixture) funded ever so adventurously by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Hassan Nasrallah leads the popularity contest by miles. He also tells me that the French schools in Cairo have been instructed to automatically accept and register Lebanese children, whereas Egyptian children are not allowed to register in these schools (or at best have to be placed on a waiting list). Well my neighbour is pretty much a bigot. He kept telling me “how dirty those Egyptians are”. My relatives, who have never been to Egypt, interjected in a chorus, insisting that “not all Egyptians are like that, take the Copts, they are Christians, and they are ‘clean'”. Perhaps they can share their secret to “cleanliness”. Maybe it’s in “ghar soap”. 😀
Then there are my other neighbours, who are of the hummus revolutionary type; they rushed to be evacuated because that’s the patriotic thing to do and because they thought the Israelis might hit “our areas”. So the Israelis didn’t hit “our areas” (save for the bzzzzz sound of the drone that kept me up all night long, and which can be compared to a mosquito feasting on one’s nerves – just imagine, oh the horror), they hit “their areas”, and our poor evacuee neighbours, fleeing the horror of the bzz-bzz of drones and the mzz-mzz of mosquitoes (no electricity, no VAPE) missed the sitting-under-starry-skies-watching-mushroom-clouds-go-up-from-the-suburbs nights and which-one-was-the-loudest-explosion-so-far early morning alarms. But our hummus revolutionaries embarked on their very own adventure. They actually had to sleep at the Biel for one day, then they were allowed onto a (North American) ship. They relate that less than half an hour after setting sail, the ship had suddenly ground to a halt. After numerous inquiries, they had discovered that the Israeli ships had intercepted the ship and another (French) one before it, demanding a list of passengers’ names in order to allow them to continue on. The lists were dutifully provided to the masters of Lebanese territorial waters (so much for Phoenicians, eh? Still, the Lebanonese fleet is something to be proud of: 15 fishing boats, 2 navy balloon boats for the fish-protection regiment, and lots of fishing rods), upon which they were given clearance. After the war was over and the siege was lifted, they returned, and told me this horrific tale of adventurism (moral of the story: non-adventurism better than adventurism). The wife was quick to add that she had been planning on going to the seashore for bronzage (sunbathing) this summer but that “those Muslims” had ruined everything with their “stupid adventures”. She finalized her complaint by saying, “oh well, something that falls into the hands of Muslims… [would have this fate]”. This is your Lebanon, and that is your Egypt. Enjoy.
2:27 a.m. Off to my nightly adventures. Later.