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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Friday, June 06, 2003  
    So in Harisa it is still yesterday as May winds down and the holy month of Mary winds down with it.
    I suppose that can also apply on a broader more philosophical level where most people in these parts of the world tend to live in the past.
    For them the past isn’t even the past, it’s the present – still impacting and impinging on and influencing current developments, thinking and attitudes ( see any days newspaper for more details ).
    How else could you explain my maternal grandfather's name still being in the current Lebanese White Pages (he was assassinated in 1949)?
    J.B Priestly wrote “the past is another country, they do things differently there”.
    Coming from the New World that definitely lives in the present and the future – more because of their mentality and outlook and also because they quite simply cant live anywhere else because they don’t have much of a past – I think I can definitely apply that quote with a few modifications to the future ( where I live and where the New World lives ); namely “the future is a different country they do things differently there”.
    Also, on a much more positive note, I think it’s still yesterday today in Lebanon also due to the more hedonistic life-loving and life-enjoying nature of the Lebanese whereby people don’t turn into pumpkins at midnight ( or earlier for that matter ).
    Twelve midnight doesn’t mean the end of their night, in fact the day and the night is often only just beginning at midnight!
    Often when we go out here to clubs,bars, pubs and stuff they don’t really start rocking and kicking off until at least eleven or twelve o’clock!
    Visitors to Lebanon from the future ( such as myself ) often take a while to get used to that.
    Just as when going back to the future ( such as going back to Australia after being in Lebanon ) it also takes a while to get used to earlier starts – e.g. meeting someone at the pub for a drink at 6.00PM whilst it’s often still daylight!
    I think that just about wraps up this segment and my live coverage of and musings about the haj – the holy month of Mary and those who observe it.
    As it nears 3.00AM I better start my often hours long ( due to what I like to delude myself into thinking is the “curse of the intelligent” – insomnia ) sleep preparations, rituals and attempts.
    Because, after all, in Lebanon tomorrow is a previous day!

    That Breaking News! Was brought to you live via Dictaphone!

    It’s goodnight from Harisa,Kesrwan Lebanon!

    See you next year!

    *Living mainly in Lebanon and relatively autonomous due to their historical isolation (initially in a proto-Orthodox Christian and now Muslim region) Maronite's are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and are the majority Lebanese sect according to the last census (conducted in 1932).
    ** Some twenty kilometers north of Beirut, Jounieh became a capital and place of refuge for Lebanese Christians when the country was effectively partitioned during the war; but don’t expect refuge camps like a friends parents who visited her here and, going by the "place of refuge" tag, were expecting to find cold huddled masses living in tents on the side of the mountain and instead found the Monte Carlo of the eastern Mediterranean.
    Some Christians are still wedded to the capital fantasy – in 1995 at a press conference for the visiting then Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans (who was in Beirut to reopen the Australian Embassy) I heard what was one the stupidest questions I've ever heard when a reporter from a right-wing Christian television station asked him "why did you chose to have the embassy in Beirut?".
    In other words, "why didn’t you put the embassy in Jounieh instead of the capital Beirut where, by sheer definition, embassies are supposed to be?"
    Mr. Evans, either not picking up on that local subtext or choosing to diplomatically ignore it, instead spoke of the friendship and ties between the two countries that necessitated reopening the embassy.
    ***Lebanese pizza – topped with oregano, sesame seed and sumac and drizzled with oil.

    10:04 am

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