Beirut's Little Guardians... &Desert Ships

Last Saturday, it was dreadfully stormy in Beirut. I got out of the Gym, and felt like eating a Corn Arnous (roasted Corn Kernel) & perhaps Nescafe on Ein Mreiseh.

Those who know the Corniche Ein Mreiseh facing AUB would know how the waves crash on the railings and over the pavement. I thought perhaps I'd test the madness of whoever would push a cart to sell Corn and Coffee in such weather.

Well, there you go – on the way – following observations:
1- Pouring Rain, guys having their cars washed at Car-Wash Station. Makes sense! Rain on a clean car is cleaner, and, the inside has to be Vacuum cleaned &polished.
2- From afar, I saw a line of cars near the pavement of the seaside awaiting their turn to be window served under the pouring rain.
3- Not only did I get my roast corn reward, I had Foul with extra-salt and lemon and cumin, at regular prices, followed by another stop at the Coffee Cart for 500 LL.

My Conclusion:
1- Lebanese are mad people, myself-included; there's no reason to stop such lively madness though.
2- Whatever drives the Cart-Owners to leave home in such a storm and stay in the rain is a combination of service excellence and inability to survive without one day's pay. Strikes do not serve either purpose.
3- Whatever drives people to leave home, get their cars washed, and wander around the Corniche in such a storm is love of life, perhaps terrible frustration of what one hears on TV, and determination to move on. Strikes and Politicians are counter productive in that sense: Burnt tires get cars dirty, there's no where to get the car washed, or even to go out with the car. Politicians on the other hand are filth-engendered.
4- I haven't heard of an MP or a Speaker, a PM (elected, removed twice by popular revolt "Omar Karami" or militarily assigned), a minister (incumbent, resigned, or Mr. Weam Wahab), or anyone else with a Divine or Earthly conquest or vocation whatsoever, who has to work under the rain, or who has an installment to pay, or a child to put in school. I'm eager to know if the resigned ministers have returned their "pay-Cheques" since November?

Politicians are our "public servants," not our masters. I for one have no master whether hereditary, political, self-proclaimed, or divinely assigned. While I encourage and welcome the disabled brothers and sisters to run for office, Mental Disability does not qualify for a Handicap Parking – especially where politicians are concerned.

For some of us, leaving this country is easy – worse, living in a bubble in this country is even easier. It is those people who make the bread and coffee of this country that guard it. They are the people, they ARE the country – they are the Guardians.

Our tragedy is that politics is the game of the big guys, and the telltale of the middle class. It is something to practice when other basic needs are fulfilled. Them politicians and self-assigned saviors have pushed political thought and "causes" down to the lowest stratum of the society – Paris III is what a taxi driver would be defending, Divine Victory is what the Falafel-Shop owner is arguing for,… Colonialism, or the right of Iran to build nuclear arsenal, or the Hegemony of the US is what the lowest most deprived, most ill-treated, most-ignorant, most-tired stratum of society is discussing instead of their livelihood, or their future. The oppressor is always "the other side". Those people fail to see that their biggest oppressors are their own. Their Fuedal Rulers, their Beiks, their Political Party Leaders, and their clerics.:

They have busied the people with filth. They have fooled the people. In the name of God, in the name of Bread, in the name of Right, in the name of revolution, in the name of salvation, they have lied.

For the sake of clarity. I am biased! I do take sides! I am pro-government because I dislike the figures of the opposition. That's not a smart or intelligent choice, some of you would say - But then again, neither one of us on this blog have to walk or work in the rain or starve – so we can afford to argue this over coffee, someone else has to Prepare the Coffee.. and he has barely any energy left to go on.

So… I have what it seems as a fair proposition. Let us all go down to the streets, let us carry the opposition politicians and the government politicians, and hurl them all in a sinking ship. Wait!!! Add the religious clerics from the 18 recognized confessions. Except for Haifa Wehbi, you are welcome to add a selection from the entertainment industry – Mr. Wahab is my choice to go into the engine room.

I would have said the one who survives let us make him president, and then I remembered that we have at least one very good swimmer.

Make it the middle of the Desert then; perhaps the winged horses could fly some of them back. Better go without 10 innocent politicians (yeah right…) than keep the whole herd alive.

The wonderful Eve was encouraging us to write something for the blog. Now you have my answer to abstention, I was keeping quiet because what I have to say cannot be said in public.

Well, there you go: They should all go.


At Monday, January 22, 2007 3:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post man, I agree with most of what you said.

The country is economically drawning, and we should focus on taking the country out this conflict, NOT continue fighting and turn the deaf ear to the other side.

One thing is always right though, people come and go, and only Liban stays forever.....

At Monday, January 22, 2007 3:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mental Disability does not qualify for a Handicap Parking – especially where politicians are concerned."

Nice one.

At Monday, January 22, 2007 4:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep they should all go

At Monday, January 22, 2007 6:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just listen to the song posted here:


Great post, Fadi.

At Monday, January 22, 2007 7:27:00 PM, Blogger Hisham said...

As long as Haifa Wehbe stays, I agree with the plan...

However, since this is a dream not to come true, I have this to say:
I liked the flow of the post. It starts with daily life, something the reader can relate to; then it moves to describe the poor and humbled man serving you corn, something the reader can have sympathy to; then it escalates to describing the political standof with a subtle mentioning of all the problems the opposition are causing by calling for the strike tomorrow (ofcourse with no mention that the reason why this poor fellow cannot afford to stay in even on a treacherous rainy day is 15 years of stealing by the same people who are in office today); then the article moves on to describe a problem we all face, the politicians, "our servants" (empowering the reader), and a solution we all desire, the removal of all the politicians, such a utopic dream; with this time a not so subtle mentioning of the writer's bias, "maybe" signifying that since we cannot get rid of all the politicians, we should get rid of the opposition.
Pretty impressive!
I would say along the lines of how you see CNN describe the Israeli-Palestinian issue (is it a cliche drawing parallels with the March14-Opposition issue? well maybe, but just for the sake of argument). Starts with describing the life in Israel (pretty similar to life in the US), moves on to describe the lives of the families of the two innocent victims that died yesterday in the shelling of Nahariya, a son, a father, a dream dead (pretty sad), then moves to describe a utopic solution (why can't violence stop???), then proposes the only possible solution (retaliation against the agressors and the crazy Palestinian mobs, at the same time justifying the death of the 23 children, 5 women, and 2 men killed by Israeli F16 bombing of a neighborhoud)
However, the Lebanese has a lot more at stake in the issue at hand, his whole life and the livelihood of his family is at stake. Now the question is: is the solution to stay at his work, and get the money to feed his family OR to protest and express his opinion, and be heard? is the opposition calling for a disruption of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? I would say not! I refuse to sit at my home and feed my family bread and cheese, while the government goes on to Paris 3, get us more into debt, and divides the money between them (note: Geagea, Gemayel, Mouawad, etc... are new to this game, and they definetly want to compensate for all they lost over the past 15 years)! The TAYYAR website has a nice show of figures: debt at Paris1: 26 Billion, Paris2: 32 Billion, Paris 3: 45 Billion... can you tell me again why we are going to have that conference? Consider no foul happening (meaning no stealing from Jumblat, Eido, etc...) well this strategy is obviously failing! How much longer do we have to bang our heads against the wall?
I say one of the main reasons why people should go on the streets tomorrow is the same reason that was presented in the post: to be able to feed your family, not just tomorrow, but a year from now! Without a member of the family having to leave his country and provide for his family back home... Again from the TAYYAR website: 42% of our young men have left their country, and it is not because we hate it there, I too would like to go out of my Gym and go to the cornishe and grab '3arnous dara'; but even with my 11 years of college, I doubt I can afford the Gym membership, and would rather spend my money on bread not corn!

At Tuesday, January 23, 2007 9:03:00 AM, Blogger Fadi said...

Thanks Guys,

Hisham. I was trying to get out of the rhetoric. I have the figures you posted from the Ad-posts all over the highways. These cost money, don't they?

I agree that we shouldn't keep our heads against the wall, and definitely not move from Dalf to ta7t el mezrab, for the non-arabic speakers, it's moving from under a drip to under a pour - roughly.

Beyond Paris III, and beyond the Radio Damascus vs. CNN rhetoric - I have serious doubts the opposition has any plan at hand. But I want go any further because of the classist remark you concluded with - what a thoughtless accusation - I'll have you know that I have been working since I was 17 (I'm 31). Today, I can afford bread and corn, or Sushi- due to my hard work ALONE.. and I spared you the details... Not to mention that I never told you how much my Gym membership cost. Perhaps I was luckier than others, or was it that I was more focused?

There's an alternative I guess to life failures: Work instead of talk, and excercise every now and then to keep the mind clear. Sorry I have to cut this short, I'm heading to work.

At Tuesday, January 23, 2007 7:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hisham, I should guess you are a young man working hard to support the family,and trying your best to have a lebanon where you can live in comfortably and peacefully....and i totally respect that, because it is my dream or my aim too.
But dear friend, dont't make the example of palestine and israel...There it is an enemy and people fighting for their country and no matter what CNN says or doesn't we all know that big countries support the enemy and they are not going to change in the near future...
Now let us switch to us...im no fans of nobody. i dont believe in anyone except myself...a person who wants peace doesnt start a war, and a person who wants economic prosperity doesnt support the people who agreed on the VAT and all the taxes we have paid when they were part of the government.
The opposition wants change now? just a reminder, they were (at least most of them) part of all the corrupted country from the start of this state till now. As for the back comers to lebanon who are part of the opposition too, you dont want peace when you were already part of a war (or u created one), as for the others: Franjieh, wahhab....puppets and dummies...no other comment
Let us switch gears, the government: they are all a bunch of people who robbed the country and still continue to do so...and the funny thing is that they and the opposition leaders are all eating sushi and laughing their guts off at the people who just follow...
final comment...when the opposition is a true one, its leaders mingle with "3ammit sha3b" and they drive the strikes and the change, not just stand behind bullet proof glass or somewhere underground and bullshit talk about change...read the history people, every change was led by people to the people not from leaders sitting in their castles costing millions of dollars ( w ntibho mish bil 3imli libneniyyi) and babbling...

At Friday, January 26, 2007 1:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not here to analyze what you wrote, i agree with what you said, i couldn't put it any better. Thoughts in my head are like a raging storm, there's so much i wanna say but what's the point? I can talk till i'm out of breath and nothing's gonna change, Evil is winning and my hands are tried.

At Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:07:00 AM, Blogger xu zaqq said...

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