Enjoy your non-adventurers (This is your Lebanon – Episode IV)

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.

Also see: Episode I, Episode II, Episode III


6 responses to “Enjoy your non-adventurers (This is your Lebanon – Episode IV)

  1. tearsforlebanon

    Me and my husband lived in Egypt for 7 years yes it is dirty, but the people are very humble. I find being married to someone from Lebanon that most Lebanese people seem to think that they are gods gift to the world and the rest of us are below them. It does not matter what country you are from. The few people I met from Lebanon while in Egypt did not impress me much they all have the same attitude the Egyptians are nothing they are dirty, they are liars (like people from Lebanon never ever lie right.) I think the Lebanese are some of the most generous and hospitable people I have ever met, but they do have a big chip on their shoulders you can have pride in yourself with out making the rest of us feel like dirt.

  2. I agree; but, I would say that this attitude is more prevalent among the Lebanese Christians (of all sorts) especially the upper class folks. Though definitely, it is also a socio-economic (classist) phenomenon (for example, many upper-class Muslims also have similar views). There are all sorts of problems all over the spectrum, for example, there is a lot of racism towards non-Lebanese in general, and given that the Arabs are in close proximity to Lebanon, much of this racism has been channeled against them (which is an extension of the dominant Christian rhetoric of the 60s and 70s, including the civil war). Take the Syrians for example. While the anger against the Syrian presence in Lebanon is understandable, the way it has been channeled against the Syrian people in general, is quite scary, and I am convinced that a great part of it has to do with the Christian rhetoric of the 60s and 70s and 80s, which had to hide itself after the war. In truth, it was merely growing stronger under the guise of so-called national unity, and all that blah-blah. Appearances are fooling, especially so in Lebanon. So if you see Geagea or Aoun shaking hands with Hariri & Nasrallah respectively, this does not mean that they do share the so-called dream for co-existence that they claim to represent, nor that their followers love the Muslims so much, for being fellow-Lebanese. Not much has changed since the 70s. Actually, not much has changed since the 40s, and, one can say, since the 1860s! If you go back and read a 1970s article analyzing Lebanese affairs, and ignore that it was written in that period, you might not realize that it is not talking about Lebanon TODAY, in 2006.

  3. By the way, about the last part of my reply, one such piece is written by Halim Barakat, and it’s titled The Social Context. I am not sure if it’s available online. But it is a social analysis of the causal and contributing factors to the civil war. The conceptual (as opposed to historical) sections pretty much apply today, 27 years since that article was written. Very reassuring, eh?

  4. tearsforlebanon

    You may be right while we were in Egypt the Lebanese that I met often refereed to themselves as Phoenicians, and almost always would speak in French and yes they were Christians and yes they were wealthy or pretending to be.

  5. Pingback: This is your Lebanon - Episode V « Blogging the Middle East

  6. Pingback: This is your Lebanon - Episode VII: Islamophobes and Proletarians with Mobile Phones « Blogging the Middle East

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