Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who needs a President?

Call me a fool (not in my face), but I have this strange "free" feeling ever since the Presidential Post moved under the "Help Wanted" section. When Emile Lahoud left the Presidential Palace last Friday, I felt relieved that I lived to see him depart, and proud that regardless of all the traumas and scandals we Lebanese manage to bring on ourselves, and all the dependency and immaturity our political class never fails to display, that while we cannot as a people run our own affairs without hailing the whole world paratroopers and maniacs in, I was proud that we manage to get rid of those in authority eventually, peacefully, but not quietly. What is a 9-year term when it comes to a lifetime president, or to hereditary rule? I even felt a tiny shred of respect for the ex-President. He overstayed his welcome, but at least he walked out, and unlike other Arab rulers, was not hoarded out by an ambulance, a mob, or a funeral procession. I do not want to act as a judge, so I will not comment if Lahoud has blood on his hands, in his veins, or elsewhere. Eventually, long as it may be, Justice shall prevail to either indict the criminals or to acquit the innocent.

Maybe it is that I am the only person in the country thinking -- drum roll -- do we really need a president? It's time to spurt out the suppressed feelings on authority, and a religiously branded officials in specific. Let me go through some arguments on the media on why we need a Maronite President - hopefully I'll run the same comparison one day when the House Speaker retires and no replacement is found:

1- Symbol of the country: Yeah sure, we have been the butt of half the world political jokes lately, and this is only the beginning. Sudan (home of Darfur, Halayeb, and Southern Sudan crisis) sent a peace envoy. Get it?

2- Preserving the Post for Christians: Huh? Demographically speaking, the Christians should press on a secular state – the sooner the better, and drop the religious confessional thing forever, and that goes to the rest of the Lebanese if they knew what's good for them. The Christians do not need a post to keep them or to preserve them, and if they JUST cannot live without that representation, they should realistically seek the Prime Minister's Post or the Parliament Speaker post. In reverse, the Druze go unrepresented in the top three posts, but Weam Wahab is the shining star and spokesperson of the opposition, comprising Maronites, Shiias, and Druze. MP Jumblat is one of the most influential figures in the Majority Party.

3- Protect the Christians: Let's quickly run through who invited the Syrians to protect the "Christians?" – Answer: a president. Who appealed for them to stay – Answer: another "two presidents" – Who ran civil conflict in the so called "East Beirut" – Answer: A presidential candidate assigned by another President at the end of his term. The result: half the Christians immigrated. So much for protection, representation, and preserving the symbol of the Republic.

The so called "Christian politics" have done more harm to the christian presence in the last 50 years than 2000 years of Christian presence in this land.Again and again we fall for the political lies, for the sectarian "bo3bo3" (monster), again and again we stand for our Feudal Masters in power - they manipulate us.

Having said that, enough with the religious labeling rubbish, it's time we think of ourselves as citizens, not tribesmen, or else – there won't be anyone of us left to tell where we went wrong – Christian, Muslim, or Monkey worshippers for all I care.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

جزيرة الحلوم

هي المرة الرابعة التي أملئ فيها طلب الهجرة، وأحزم أمري، ثم أرمي بالأوراق في سلة المهملات. هي المرة الرابعة بعد المئة التي أسأل فيها نفسي إن كان البقاء خيار أم فرض، وإن كان في البقاء صموداً أم أن في الهروب صمود، والسؤال يبقى، إلى أين؟

لقد زرت البلاد كلها، ولم أجد منزلاً غير منزلي، فما الحل؟ كندا، جميلة وهادئة، باردة، خضراء ومثلجة، ولكنها بعيدة عن لبنان. أميركا، صاخبة وغنية، وفيها كل أصدقائي، ولكنها.. بعيدة عن لبنان.. أوستراليا.. جنة الشمس والمحيط والطبيعة العذراء المترامية.. ولكنها بعيدة عن لبنان.. البرازيل.. بعيدة بعيدة بعيدة.. ولكن.. أليس لبنان بعيد عن لبنان؟ أما من حجة إلا البعد؟

الرومانسية داء لا دواء له.. الرومانسية كجرح الحديد الصدئ لا تزول.. أما الغد فضباب.. أخاف الأمل خشية أن أصاب بخيبة الأمل! ما أصعب الإنتظار.. ما أصعب القرار، والأصعب منه، اللا قرار. وما الأصعب، الألم أم الندم؟

قبرص.. نعم قبرص.. جزيرة الحلوم والشطآن والحمير البيضاء.. لأن قمرها قمرنا، ولأن بحرها بحرنا، ولأن شتاءها مطرنا! إن تضيعوني تجدوني على الشاطئ في لارنكا أرنو نحو الشرق

أن تغادر الوطن لا يعني أنه سيغادرك..فربما أصنع من طلبات الهجرة مركباً من ورق ومن نسغ أحلام ذائبة، وأخاف من الغد لأنه قد يكون اليوم الآخير

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Northern Tail

I am fed up! Surrounded by an enemy for a southern neighbor, and a pest of brotherhood on our northern and eastern border, we just needed creepy guests in the Palestinian Camps to make our life perfect! Fat7 El-Islam my foot. A collection of moron sociopaths - nothing less; a collection bank looters and highway robbers, Thelma and Louise were better gangsters!!

Have they run out of enemies in the IDF so that they start killing the Lebanese Army personnel? I heard on Jazeera there spokesman (sic) claiming he wants to defend the “Ahl el Sunna” in Lebanon. More self-appointed saviors for those who do not need saving. Who’s next? The Simpsons?

Bearded Ma Bakers! Islam does not need you. Sunnis do not need you, and God knows, God does not need you. Palestine is Southward, Nahr El Barid is 150KM far off your destination. March away, and watch that you do not trip with your tails.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Divine Discourse: God

I have developed this great fascination with "Hinduism" and Buddhism. A Hindu friend of mine has pledged to send articles relating to the "Hindu" views of the divine, which is more or less the same as everyone else's view of the divine.

In Lebanon, for some reason, we grow to believe that the world ends near the Euphrates. It's quite a shame, considering that interaction between India/China/Persia and the Arab countries persisted for centuries.

I will do my best to post all the articles I get, and later on, perhaps my experience with Hinduism and Buddhism. One thing I can say with confidence, I am a Buddhist in the making, and I need to learn more.. more.. and more..

Thank you Radha for the article.


A great sage once fell in with a gang on non-believers in an atheist settlement. They crowded around him and plied him with impertinent queries and insisted that he must show them the God in whom he believed. The sage promised to do so, but, asked for some milk, before he could demonstrate God. The vessel of milk was brought; he sat silent for a long while, stirring the milk with his finger. The crowd got exasperated at the delay and at his silence. They asked him what he was
at; he replied that he was only trying to spot out where the butter was, top, middle or bottom? The crowd shouted that it was everywhere, in every drop of milk and that he could see it only when the preliminary process of churning was done. Then, the sage answered, "Well, the Lord too is immanent in every atom of this universe. He can be perceived and experienced only when the preliminary spiritual exercises of Saadhana are done. There is a definite well-known process for God-realisation also, just as there is a definite well-known process for butter realisation.

- From Bhagawan's Divine Discourse in Prashanthi Nilayam, December 1963

Monday, March 19, 2007

Running out of Passwords...

For as long as I could remember over the last decade, my pet's name, Fluffy, was my favorite password, and pastime. There is a strange ambiance pets create in our lives, whether a cat, a dog, a parrot, a hamster, or even a turtle.

Fluffy, a Chinchilla Persian white feline – with charms and manners that get the better of anybody - has been central in my family's life for the last 11 years. She passed away Friday, age 11.

It is surprising that with all the death and pain around us, one is able to shed so many tears over an animal. One cannot control his emotions though. Sadness and Happiness are not mutually exclusive.

For such a long time, our life at home revolved around Fluffy: From very early morning wake up visits to morning grooming sessions. Fluffy determined our family vacations and our travel schedules – we could not all travel together, there had always to be a cat-sitter. Fluffy had to be kept out of my suitcase every time I pack, and her long white hair was a long time trademark on my dark suits and corduroy pants.

Fluffy were the first thing that greets me when I returned home, and the last thing that chased me out of it. Fluffy was my laptop arm-rest, my wake up alarm, my hot water bottle, and my reading companion.

Most of all, Fluffy was the password I used as part of my password combinations.. I spent last weekend changing those – just to avoid the sinking heart feeling when I type in my password on my computer or phone every morning.

A friend of mine who lost his cat "Lenin" last year wrote: Shakespeare compared life to a stage on which every person acts his part effectively and then leaves. I know that cats are one of the best stage actors, because they profoundly affect your life in all aspects… Sleep well buddy for she watches you back stage.

Fluffy, lovingly called "Beeti" - now rests in peace at a beautiful spot under an old tree near a water spring. Having lived for 11 years, but kept the manners of a queen and the character of a kitten, she's not an easy thing to forget.

If cats go to heaven, Fluffy would already be as I shall always remember her, sitting in the cool shade of the large Jasmine tree like the one in our garden in regal poise.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Flower: What is Spring-time?

It's almost spring, and nature is bursting with greenery, and with tiny little white daisies and red anemones.. Below is a list of flower meanings, courtesy of www.Lebaneseflowers.com

There is another imaginary flower than only I and a friend of mine (a.k.a Putty Putt) know the connotation of, Percatitum. It stands for fun, friendship, wild dreams, and reality-checks.

Acacia - Secret love
Acorn - Nordic symbol of life and immortality
Aloe - Grief
Allspice - Compassion
Ambrosia - Love returned
Amaryllis - Pride; Timidity
Anemone - Unfading love
Angelica - Inspiration
Aniseed - Restoration of youth
Arbutis - Only love
Apple - Preference
Aster - Love; daintiness
Azalea - Take care of yourself for me; fragile passion; Chinese symbol of womanhood

Bachelor Button - Celibacy
Baby's Breath - Everlasting Love
Basil - Best Wishes, Love
Bay Leaf - Strength
Begonia - Beware
Bells Of Ireland - Good luck
Bird Of Paradise - Magnificence
Bittersweet - Truth
Bluebell - Humility; constancy
Borage - Courage
Bouquet of withered flowers - Rejected love
Burnet - A merry heart
Buttercup - Cheerfulness

Cactus - Endurance; warmth
Calendula - Joy
Camellia - Admiration; perfection; good luck gift to a man
Candytuft - indifference
Carnation (in general) Bonds of affection; health and energy; fascination; woman love
Carnation (pink) - I'll never forget you
Carnation (purple) - Capriciousness; whimsical; changeable
Carnation (red) - My heart aches for you; admiration
Carnation (solid color) -Yes
Carnation (striped)- No; refusal; sorry I can't be with you; wish I could be with you
Carnation (white) -Sweet and lovely; innocence; pure love; woman's good luck gift
Carnation (yellow) - Rejection; disdain
Cattail - Peace; prosperity
Cedar – Lebanon; eternity
Chamomile - Patience ; attracts wealth
Chrysanthemum (in general) - Cheerfulness; You're a wonderful friend
Chrysanthemum (red) - I love
Chrysanthemum (white) - Truth
Chrysanthemum (yellow) -Slighted love
Coreopsis - Always cheerful
Coriander - Lust
Cowslip - Pensiveness; winning grace
Crocus - Cheerfulness; abuse not
Cyclamen - Resignation and goodbye
Clover Good luck

Daffodil Respect
Daisy Innocence
Dandelion Wishes come true

Eucalyptus - Protection

Fennel - Worthy of all praise
Fern - Sincerity
Forget-Me-Not - True love
Fern (Magic) - Fascination; confidence and shelter
Fern (Maidenhair) - Secret bond of love
Feverfew - Protection
Fir - Time
Flax - Domestic symbol; fate
Forget-me-not - True love; memories
Forsythia - Anticipation

Gardenia - You're lovely; secret love
Garland of roses - Reward of virtue
Garlic - Courage; strength
Geranium (Scented) - Preference
Gladiolus - Love at first sight
Grass - Submission; utility

Heather (lavender) - Admiration; solitude
Heather (white) - Protection; wishes will come true
Hibiscus - Delicate beauty
Holly - Good will, Defense;domestic Happiness; foresight
Honeysuckle - Generous and devoted affection
Hyacinth (general) - Games and sports; rashness;flower dedicated to Apollo
Hyacinth (blue) - Constancy
Hyacinth ( purple) - I'm sorry; please forgive me; sorrow
Hyacinth (red or pink) - Play
Hyacinth (white) - Loveliness; I'll pray for you
Hyacinth (yellow) - Jealousy
Hydrangea - Thank you for understanding; frigidity; heartlessness
Hyssop - Wards away evil spirits

Iris - Faith; hope; wisdom and valor
Ivy - Fidelity and friendship
Ivy - sprig of white tendrils - Anxious to please; affection

Jasmine - Amiability; attracts wealth
Jonquil - Love me; affection returned; desire; sympathy; desire for a return of affection

Larkspur - pink - Fickleness
Lavender - Devotion
Lemon - Zest
Lemon Balm - Brings love
Lemon verbena - Attracts opposite sex
Lily (general) - Keeps unwanted visitors away
Lily (calia) - Beauty
Lily (day) - Coquetry
Lily (eucharis) - Maiden charms
Lily (orange) - Hatred
Lily (tiger) - Wealth; pride
Lily (white) - Virginity; purity; majesty; it's heavenly to be with you
Lily (yellow) - I'm walking on air; false and gay
Lily of the valley - sweetness; return to happiness; humility

Magnolia - Sweetness; beauty; love of nature
Marigold - Comforts the heart
Mint - Protection from illness; warmth of feeling
Marjoram (sweet) - Joy and happiness
Mistletoe - Kiss me; affection; to surmount difficulties; sacred plant of India
Monkshood - Beware, a deadly foe is near; chivalry
Moss - Maternal love; charity
Myrtle - Love; Hebrew emblem of marriage

Narcissus - Egotism; formality; stay as sweet as you are
Nasturtium - Conquest; victory in battle; maternal love; charity; patriotism

Oleander - Caution; beware
Orange Generosity
Orange Blossom - Brings wisdom
Orange Mock - Deceit
Orchid - Love; beauty; refinement; beautiful lady; Chinese symbol for many children
Orchid (cattleya) - Mature charm

Palm leaves - Victory and success
Pansy - Thoughts; love
Peach Longevity
Peony - Aphrodisiac
Petunia - Resentment; anger; your presence soothes me
Pine - Hope; pity
Poppy (general) - Eternal sleep ; oblivion; imagination
Poppy (red) -Pleasure; consolation
Poppy (white) - Consolation; sleep
Poppy( yellow) - Wealth; success
Prickly Pear - Satire
Primrose - I can't live without you; early youth
Primrose(evening) - Inconstancy

Rose (general)(Red) - Love ; I love you
Rose( white) - Eternal Love ; innocence; heavenly; secrecy and silence
Rose(pink) - Perfect happiness; please believe me
Rose(Yellow) - Friendship ; jealousy; try to care
Rose(Black) -Death
Rose(red and white) - Together; unity
Rose(thornless) - Love at first sight
Rose( single, full bloom) - I love you; I still love you
Rose bud - Beauty and youth ; a heart innocent of love
Rose bud(red) - Pure and lovely
Rose bud(white) - Girlhood
Rosebud (moss) - Confessions of love
Roses(Bouquet of full bloom) - Gratitude
Roses( Garland or crown of) - Beware of virtue; reward of merit; crown ; symbol of superior merit
Roses ( musk cluster) - Charming
Rose(tea) - I'll always remember
Rose(cabbage) - Ambassador of love
Rose(Christmas) - Tranquilize my anxiety; anxiety
Rose(damask) - Brilliant complexion
Rose(dark crimson) - Mourning
Rose(hibiscus) - Delicate beauty
Rose leaf - You may hope
Rosemary - Remembrance

Sage Wisdom - long life
Salvia -(blue) I think of you
Smilax - Loveliness
Snapdragon - Deception; gracious lady; presumption
Spiderflower - Elope with me
Stephanotis - Happiness in marriage; desire to travel
Stock - Lasting beauty
Strawberry - Perfect goodness
Sunflower - Loyalty; wishes
Sweetpea - Goodbye; departure; blissful pleasure; Thank you for a lovely time

Thyme - Strength and courage; ensures restful sleep
Tulip(general) - Fame,charity; perfect lover
Tulip(red) - Believe me; declaration of love
Tulip(variegated) - Beautiful eyes
Tulip(yellow) - Hopeless love

Violet - Modesty; calms tempers; induces sleep
Violet(blue) - Watchfulness; faithfulness; I'll always be true
Violet(white) - Let's take a chance on happiness
Viscaria - Will you dance with me?

Woodruff - sweet humility

Yarrow - Health,healing

Zinnia - Thoughts of friends
Zinnia(magenta) - Lasting affection
Zinnia(mixed) - Thinking of an absent friend
Zinnia(scarlet) - Constancy
Zinnia(white) - Goodness
Zinnia(yellow) - Daily remembrance

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Translation of a Poem

There is something about war and violence that makes love ever brighter. I have no explanation, following is someting I jotted down in Arabic to reply to a post by Eve, and I have grown to like it, so I translated it.. just for the heck of it! During war,, people cuddle around, hugs are longer, kisses are warmer... the fear of loss makes every moment as good as a lifetime..
Arabic is a language of music and poetry. No translation would ever do an Arabic poem any favour.. Arabic to Arabs is a sacred language,  it is music, theatre, sculpture, colour, and painting altogether entwined.... It is for that reason perhaps that Arabs fail to make themselves understood (one of many reasons.. I should say)... 
        The nails of your body gather my ashes
        I... the Phoenix
        And I float in a sea of rain drops.. and scent

Your napkins I carry along.. like wine cask

..like Priest's incense, like empty bread baskets


Of the dust of your face I build a shrine for love… I sow grain

Of the light of your eyes I make a star in heaven

Of the scent of your hair I gasp to fill my lungs

I spread them napkins to make sails   

To cruise between droplets

To loose you, too seek you, to find you..


Wings of fallen angels carry me away of the eternal heaven

To the land of sin and land of love

I strike my stick and water bursts

.. birds come by and I steal you a tune…

I split the sea to fetch you a bouquet of pearl

… I take-off my past to make you a gown of memories

And return to you.. my queen


She says "I know you"

Because I know your words

I count your breaths

And I gather the fire of your rage to dry my wet hair


O Lady… I carry the spear and the dagger,

I lock the doors,

Raise the barriers,

Break the stones,

And stab the ground…


But inside, I am the Guardian of the Rose Garden..






حارس حديقة الورد

مسامير جسمك تجمع رمادي
أنا الفينيق
وأطفو في بحر من قطرات المطر

محارم الورق دنان الخمر أحملها
بخور كهنة
وسلال خبز فارغة

من غبار وجهك أبني كعبة للعشق
وأزرع الحنطة
ومن نور عينيك أصنع نجمة في السماء
واشهق لتمتلئ رئتي بعبير شعرك
فأنشر المحارم أشرعة
وأبحر بين القطرة والقطرة
لأجدك .. لأضيعك ... لأبحث عنك

تحملني أجنحة الملائكة الهاربة من جنة الخلد
إلى أرض المعاصي وأرض العشق
فأضرب بعصاي الصخر لينبجس الماء
ولتدنو العصافير فأخطف لك دندنة
وأشق البحر لأقطف لك باقة من اللؤلؤ
وأخلع الماضي فأصنع لك ثوباً من الذكريات
وأعود إليك مليكتي

 وتقول لي أعرفك

لأني أعرف كلماتك

وأعدد أنفاسك

وأجمع نار غضبك لأجفف شعري المبتل


أنا يا سيدتي أحمل الرمح والخنجر

وأوصد الأبواب

وأرفع الستار

وأفتت الأحجار

وأفلح الأرض 


..  والمهنة: حارس حديقة الورد


Monday, January 22, 2007

Beirut's Little Guardians... &Desert Ships

Last Saturday, it was dreadfully stormy in Beirut. I got out of the Gym, and felt like 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.

They should all go.