Friday, September 29, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bird of Fire

Yesterday, I was reading a "peaceful and friendly" part-Israeli blog - ‎East Med Sea Peace- cheering the fact that the Lebanese were capable ‎of making political humor out of their tragedy… the old arabic verse, ‎‎"Like a bird dancing out of Pain" came to mind. The bird is Lebanon, a ‎Phoenix.. Much as it dances out of joy in its better days, it dances out of ‎pain in times of hurt... It dances to shake off the ashes.

The Phoenix bursts into fire, then rises again, do the shrieks sound like ‎laughter? Maybe they do. Just like southern mothers who welcome ‎their fallen children back home with a "Ululation," and hide their tears. ‎Somehow their cries resound of pain, a different sound of joy that says: ‎‎"Happy to have you back, torn, wounded, ...dead.. happy to have you ‎back no matter what."

Only with laughter can we welcome back our Lebanon.. our precious ‎little Lebanon.. a secret legend says that with echos of laughter we can ‎herald in tomorrow. Legend says that the smiles in this little rock called ‎Lubnan turn into clouds, and rain back droplets of life..

For its sake, for Lebanon's sake, we tread on our hearts, we swallow our ‎pain, we hide our wounds, and hang our bloody clothes as cheerful ‎banners, we dry our tears and spread the white salt and perhaps throw ‎into air our last ration of rice to bring Lebanon back, we stand up and ‎cry:

O Joy! O Joy! Rise Lebanon, Rise!

For its sake we shall live, and for its name we shall laugh.‎

Recipe: Mjadra Hamra A La Sud Libanaise

Ok, this will sound like a surprise, but during the war I promised Lydia to post the recipe of Mjadra Hamra, a southern Lebanese dish, served with southern Lebanese Salad.

There you go, I had to ask my mum for a favour, and now I cannot seem to get her to stop asking questions: whom is it for, why do you want to know, do you want me to make some now, are you revealing our cuisine secrets to enemy sources, yada yada yada.. I had to pretend I got what she was saying.. I hope I got it right!!

Recipe of Mjadra Hamra:
1 cup of red lentils
¾ - 1 cup of Borgol (Crushed Wheat, you can use large grained Couscous if you have no other choice)
1 large onion
2 large table spoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Salt

For salad
1 or 2 large red tomatos (chopped into large cubes)
Green onions (or a small onion, chopped into wings)
Cucumber (1 or two, chopped into relatively large circles or cubes)
Lemon Juice (according to taste, half a lemon squeeze will do)
Oil (Olive Oil, of course)
Dash of Vinegar
Soumak (don’t ask what that is, I don’t know the English translation, it’s a zesty herbal powder which gives great taste, it's not crucial, but great to have)
Dried mint (a dash)

Salad is easy, chop it all, dump all on top of all, shake well before use. When you're done chopping, put the salt and the dash of dried mint leaves and soumak and mix.

For Mjadra

Boil the red lentils until they are soft. Not mush, they should keep their shape, but they should be soft.
Put the olive oil and the finely chopped onions and stir fry until the onion turns dark red/brown. Dry off the oil. Careful, the shade quickly turns from gold yellow to charcoal black, it's a critical process!
Remove any excess water from the Lentils; water level should be equivalent to the surface of the lentils.
Put quarter a cup of the lentil water on top of the fried onions (make sure you dry the oil or else it will splash). Wait for 5 minutes. Anyway, less oil is healthier.
Put the onion/water mix back onto the lentils.
Add the borgol (dry)
Add salt (careful, if it's too little, you can add some to the salad, when the water dries up, it might turn out to be very salty).
Simmer on very low heat, keep mixing with a fork until the lentils are relatively dry, you should smell something nice. (says mum.. if you smell burning, try again – that's what I do when I'm in charge of the kitchen).

The red colour of the Mjadra is from the stir fried onions.
Serve with salad on the side, or with yoghurt. (Yoghurt + dried mint leaves+ salt + cucumber cubes). If you get hold of Markouk Bread (thin Lebanese Bread), then your are lucky, if not, less carbohydrates won't hurt!

Can be served hot or cold.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Google &Halutz: 35 days

Halutz, above - Google, bottom. Halutz is quiet, she sleeps all day, and can't be bothered. Google, after the search engine, is energetic. He is already climbing couches, but getting stuck half way.

Purpose of Your Visit?

An Israeli lands at Heathrow Airport. As he's going through customs,
he's asked: "Occupation?
He answers "No, no, just tourism!"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

God Telecom

Lately, perhaps with the outbreak of the telecommunication spree, it seems that God has been talking to every moron around this world. He talks to George Bush, to Ahmadi Najjad, might have chatted with Olmert and Halutz about attacking Khizbullah, and has an open line with Bin Ladin and his likes.

Apparently, God is also choosing opposing people as the chosen ones. There is no descending order, only a vague description, and the position seems so widely proclaimed that it's getting crowded at the gates of heaven.

God is also favouring dropping depleted uranium on civilian's homes in his name, chopping off heads in his name, and blowing off trains, buses and Iraqi markets, for his name. God says invade countries, God say hit bridges, and God guides peoples out of concentration camps along the plains of Europe, only to instruct them to build brand new concentration camps against other people. God wills it.

God is not listening to the hungry, to the desperate, to the displaced, to the thirsty, to the suffering, to those under fire, to those under water. God is not listening, for we have used his name in vain so often, we have disgraced the name, we have shamed the appeal that perhaps our prayers and appeals mix with war cries, blood spills, revenge calls, and bombs sounding around this mad God crazed world. Perhaps God has given up on us? Perhaps the lines are busy, for morons have taken care over all the lines of communication. He abandoned us!

I am furious. This afternoon, I read an article on a certain blog why "God selected Jews," and returned home to hear Najjad proclaim that Bush cannot stand against God's will, and for the Crawford-God Spoke to Me- Texan cowboy who lives at LUNA VISTA, this must come as a surprise, Tex-Boy is almost certain he is fulfilling God's message. Other chosen ones want to build the temple because unless the temple is built in Jerusalem, Christ will not reappear. Now I really need to know if Christ cares to appear to save those who built a God's temple from Bones and Skulls. I would like to know if Jesus Christ is the saviour of those who kill in his name. I would like to know if Jesus Christ will bless those who strike their enemies twice on the cheek, pre-emptively. I would like to know if Jesus Christ would love those who see the thorn in their brothers' eyes but fail to see the Log in theirs. Likewise, I would like to know if Prophet Mohammed would care to vouch for those who spill blood of Iraqis Muslims, who attack Jordanian Hotels and Egyptian resorts, who blow up compounds in Saudi Arabia, or who drive planes into towers. Did God promise those rivers of milk and honey in return for spilling rivers of blood and tears? Did the Prophet promise Virgins for every baby that is killed?

Someone answer me before I go Mad.

Last but not least, Solomon would himself have set the temple on fire if he saw what he has started. I think that Hiram the Phoenician architect intentionally left the "hidden stone" – a stone which would make the whole temple collapse if that stone is removed. That hidden stone might not be a brick; it is perhaps called "Mercy." Good luck trying to build a Temple of God using laser guided missiles you guys!

Well, I have this to say, and I cannot be any less blunt, If God selected the "Jews" as his chosen people, or for that matter "ANY" or "MANY" other people and granted them the right to kill and destroy, then HE is WRONG, or HE is not God. If the "Unjust" God sends me to Hell for blasphemy, then a "Just" God would have sent me to Hell for NOT saying it.

For all the imbeciles around the world: Hearing voices and dreaming does not qualify as divine manifestations, especially if those dreams say Kill babies, destroy cities, build temples, pump oil, or steal land. A scientific name could be schizophrenia, a good medical advisor would prescribe Lithium or Haldol, and would highly recommend avoiding prayers for a century until full recovery is attained.

Gibran once wrote, "Have your Lebanon, and I shall have mine," and I rephrase, "Have your God, for I have mine." My God is the God my Grandma spoke of, the omnipresent, the omnipotent, and the forever kind. He is the God who has "pledged Mercy on himself." My God makes water flow from solid-rocks, brings back life to arid deserts. My God makes kites fly to bring smiles to children's faces, and takes care of baby dolphins and sea turtles in the dark dark blue ocean. My God saves the righteous from the fire, but sets desert bushes alight to guide the righteous. My God speaks to people with the word "Read, Read in God's name." My God keeps stars in place, and planets in Orbit. My God raises the dead… My God gives life. My God knows me, but I don’t know him. He sees me, but I don’t see him, He is silent, but I speak to him.

I know what my God is like, now I just have to find Him a new name.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Google &Halutz:Say Meow!

I got back from a 10 day business trip today, to find that two lovely kittens that were born to my cat Fluffy during the Israeli aggression (August 5) have grown, and are displaying adorable "Kitten" features!

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Google, named after my favourite search engine, and Halutz , the white kitten, after the late IDF Bigfoot. The white hair feature between both animals struck me as quite remarkable. We will always have a Halutz as part of our memories here in Lebanon... When the war monger becomes part of our past, I will always remember that the animal version of the name is nicer, cuter, and definitely far more intelligent.