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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, September 26, 2003  
    My doctor says I shouldnt drink - I got to stop going to muslim doctors!

    12:07 pm

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003  
    The 58th Anual Meeting of the League of Nations began in New York today.

    12:11 pm

    Friday, September 19, 2003  
    Visited by only one person (myself) www.renatoobeidsworld.blogpsot.com is the most exclusive site on the web!
    Extrapolating on those figures,
    -Of that one visitor, one of them returned making a one hundred percent reader retention rate!
    -Renatoobeidsworld offers advertisers the oportunity to reach a highly defined, segmented and specific demographic target group (of one)!
    don't visit www.renatoobeidsworld.blogpsot now!

    1:11 pm

    Thursday, September 18, 2003  
    In the late 1990’s a delegation of apologists from various European nations went around the Middle East apologizing for the Crusades.
    Somebody I know in Jbeil (Lebanon) woke up one morning to what must be the very definition of surrealism – a group of Europeans (going from door to door) knocking on his door and apologizing for the Crusades!
    He said something like don’t worry about it, let sleeping dogs lie and that what they were doing would only open up old wounds and create further sectarian discord in the country (he’s a Christian).
    And that is an absolutely 100% totally true story!
    The following scene isn’t – it’s a Monty Pythonesque scenario envisaged in my mind when I was told about this incident.
    It’s definitely true to the surrealism of the whole affair.

    Scene: a house in a street of identical old style terrace houses – similar to the stretch of houses you see in the opening and closing scenes of Coronation Street.
    A John Cleesesque officious, pompous man in a bureaucrats suit (APOLOGIST) knocks on the door early in the morning.
    A middle-aged harpy type housewife answers the door.

    APOLGIST: Good morning madam, I’ve come around to extend my most profound apologies for the Crusades.
    HOUSEWIFE: The what?
    APOLGIST: The Crusades, terrible affair – you know, looting, pillaging, murdering, raping etc! Remember?
    HOUSEWIFE: You isn’t a copper is yer? Well if you are, I don’t know nuthin’ about ‘em – never seen nuthin’, never ‘eard nuthin! When was they?
    APOLOGIST: Oh, about a thousand years ago madam. That’s just the thing madam, we can’t remember exactly when they were – you see, most of the lads were intoxicated at the time. You know lads, being what they are – had a couple of pints and a couple of curries and next thing you know they were here Crusading.
    You know that sort of thing, happens practically every weekend around here.
    HOUSEWIFE: Oh them Crusades! Well, its awright you apologizing for ‘em but who’s gunna pay for mi front room carpet?
    APOLOGIST: Your what?
    HOUSEWIFE: Mi front room carpet! Them, them , um…Crusaders just barged in ‘ere like they were, were, ah…Crusaders, didn’t wipe their feet and brought in all the mud from the street onto MY front room carpet! Ruined it, been scrubbing it eva’ since! Can’t get it clean though.
    APOLOGIST: (confounded) But that was over a thousand years ago madam!
    HOUSEWIFE: Well its awright for you rich Europeans, buyin’ new carpets every ‘undred years, but us Arabs is poor working folks – our carpets ‘ave gotta last us at least a thousand years!
    APOLGIST: Oh very well madam! Here’s a hundred pounds, will that do?
    HOUSEWIFE: ‘Awright, I’ll let you off lightly this time but don’t do it again – coz if ya do I’ve got mi rollin’ pin ready!
    APOLOGIST: Very well madam, no hard feelings – good day.

    The housewife accepts the hundred pounds, closes the door and trudges over to her front room where her husband, dressed in a singlet and shorts, sits in an armchair, which is on a mud stained carpet – watching the football on TV with a beer in hand.

    HOUSEWIFE: ‘Ay Saleh, some geeza’ jus came round and apologized for ‘em Crusades and gave mi ‘unred quid for mi front room carpet what they ruined!
    SALEHEDIN EL AYOUBI: (Historic Kurdish chieftain who defeated and repelled the Crusaders – ending a reign of some two hundred years).
    About bleedin’ time, Ive got ‘alf a mind to charge ‘im interest!
    Now what’s that – ‘unred pound for a thousand years at 10% interest…?
    HOUSEWIFE: You’ll do no such thing - you’ll get off yer arse, go out and get a paper and find a job! A thousand years of you indoors and underfoot is enough for me!
    I ‘eard they is hiring Crusader repellers in Iraq – cant ya’ mate Saddam,you know the one what reckons he’s you, get you a job?

    Ends to the strains of The Pillage People singing (from their Live in Baghdad album) “U.S can’t stop the looting, nobody can stop the looting…”


    10:19 am

    Sunday, September 14, 2003  
    Is it possible that the Washington created an American prescence in Iraq (a shooting gallery) to deflect terrorist attacks from American soil (politcaly unpopular to say the least) and deflect them to and concentrate them on an American franchise in the Middle East (where most of the people with a serious and violent grudge towards Amercians are)?
    Coraling terrorists and terrorist attacks into the one place.
    Just like a child harnesses the entire power of the sun into a single beam of light and onto a single ant using a magnifying glass.
    In this case, the sun is terrorism and the ant is Iraq.
    If that sounds insane then why is that exact thing happening? - by design or default (it doesnt realy matter because the effect is the same) Iraqi civilians and American soldiers (not to mention international aid workers) are sitting ducks for the worlds terrorists, Iraq has become a terrorist magnet and Jiffy Mart and appears to be holding an international terrorism convention.
    This is compounded by the hundreds of thousands of abruptly and arbitrarily decommissioned Iraqi soldiers and Baath Party members who suddenly find themselves with a lot of time (and weapons) on their hands – disbanding the army and the Baath party was definitely a case of throwing the baby out with the Baath party.
    To those misguided souls who claim that these attacks are the work of "freedom fighters" "liberating their people from ocupation" I have one question for you - how can attacks on your own people (the car bomb that killed over a hundred Iraqis' in Najaf recently is just one of many examples) "liberate" them from anything other than their own lives?
    It's black and white, you could tap these details into a calculator and get my result, come to my conclusion!

    1:27 pm

    WHY DONT THEY...? 1
    Just declare L Paul Bremer 3d President of Iraq, put his pictures up all over the place,have him fire a rifle into the air whilst addressing a crowd from a balcony wearing a top hat and turn the Israel Hotel (formerly the Palestine Hotel) where the occupation forces are based into a presidential palace?
    The only drawback I can envisage is that somehow Iraqis' chanting "with our souls, with our blood we redeem you oh L Paul" isnt quite the same as the Saddam version.

    WHY DONT THEY...? 2
    Just formalize what has become an informal proper name for Iraq - New Iraq?
    All you here these days is "new Iraq this", "new Iraq that" - everyone from George Bush to the media and even the Iraqis themselves (I just saw the Iraqi foreign minister on television refering to "the new Iraq") is talking about "the new Iraq"!
    Just formalize it (on the pattern of New Zealand) and get some American advertising agency to relaunch Iraq as "The New Iraq".
    "New Iraq - now with added Americans!"
    "100 percent more looting and common crime!"
    "Saddam free!"
    "Vase free!"*
    "Only 87 billion USD (recommended retail price)!"

    *Recall all that endless TV footage of countless Iraqis' looting countless vases - I'd hate to be a florist in "the new Iraq"! (a vase, a vase, my kingdom for a vase!).

    10:16 am

    John Howard is stepping up to the plate to bat for the One Nation Party again – criticizing Pauline Hanson's three year jail sentence for misusing electoral funds.
    Nothing new for Mr. Howard, during One Nation's heyday in the late nineteen nineties, Howard usurped and co-opted One Nation – essentially turning them into the extreme right-wing faction of the ruling Liberal/National Party (known as the National's) Coalition.
    Presto! It's the "One Nationals"!
    The National Party end of the Coalition spectrum is the natural home of One Nation and One Nation was able to cater to a lot of disenfranchised disaffected erstwhile Coalition voters, particularly as One Nation's main body of support was in the rural redneck parts of the country that were previously served by the National Party.
    The de facto Liberal/National Party/One Nation coalition ought to just rename themselves "The One Nationality (Anglo-Australian) Party".
    Speaking of "nationalities", I find it very unusual that some Australians (usually Australians of non-Anglo ancestry) go around asking each other what "nationality" they are (referring to ethnic heritage).

    5:47 am

    Tuesday, September 09, 2003  
    It appears that the Iraqi's do not have weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) - as the previous regime maintained all along.*
    Now, every week the North Koreans confess to having nuclear weapons and every week the Americans clamour to disavow that; making up all sorts of lame excuses to excuse what has just been said in so many words by a sovereign nations government - "this is just typical North Korean bluster", "theyre bragging", "they were pissed (drunk) at the time" etc.

    UPDATE : On Friday 18th October the North Koreans even went as far as offering to SHOW the world their nuclear weapons ("Here it is,look how shiny it is!") - the Americans (surprise,surprise) dismissed this as "a negotiating tactic".

    *Call me old fashioned but I believe that not finding any WMD's in Iraq over four monthes after the fall of the regime would indicate THAT THEY DONT HAVE THEM!
    As a matter of fact the biggest proof of this (and also proof that that most members of the US administration are just stand up comedians in disguise) would have to be Donald Rumsfelds comments on the eve of the war in Iraq.
    When asked by a reporter whether he thought iraq would use WMD's in the impending war Rumsfeld responded that no,he didnt think that they would.
    Doesnt that indicate that the Americans knew that the Iraqis' did not have WMD's and doesnt that belie American accusations that they did have them?
    Surely a besieged Saddam would use everything he had.
    Rumsfelds' words were the most telling of the entire war,pre-war and post-war and nobody picked up on them (except my friend Peter Casey and I) - here's America about to invade Iraq ostensibly because they claim Iraq has WMD's yet on the eve of war their Defence Secretary says he doesnt believe they'l use those weapons!
    Doesnt that mean that the Americans knew Saddam didnt have WMD's or, as is widely suspected,a deal had been done between them and Saddam that Saddam and most of his cronies would quitely slip out the backstage door during the intermission of this elaborate set piece - without taking a bow at the end and without using there "fireworks" (WMD's).
    Funny old world, isnt it?

    UPDATE : The frequency of North Koreas nuclear confesions appears to me to be increasing.
    Everyday now North Korea says "we have nuclear weapons" and everyday America says "no,you dont".
    "Yes we do".
    "No you dont".
    "Yes we do".
    "No you dont"
    Ad finitum.

    11:59 am

    Wednesday, September 03, 2003  
    Caught up with Jenny, who’s en route back home to the UK after, thankfully, surviving the truck bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
    She told me that the first thing that came into her head after the explosion was “who let that bomb in here!?!”
    Jenny also recounted how, some months ago, she’d been paying a social visit to some American counterparts in the Green Zone and people were popping their heads into the office and casually discussing a "bomb threat at six o’clock" (half an hour away) as if it were like a staff meeting or something.
    Fortunately, their “six o’clock” did not eventuate.
    Jenny’s head of the UNICEF Mine Risk Education Program in Iraq.
    I don’t know how one becomes a deminer but Jenny has studied theology and Middle Eastern politics and both those subjects are certainly minefields.

    12:00 pm

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