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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

    Thursday, November 25, 2004  
    Storm’s in, cable’s out (the pirate cable man hides under the bed and turns off the transmitter at the first sign of bad weather –what kind of pirate is he!?!) so I’m watching a very politicised “children’s program” on a local fundamentalist television station (the only one available now).
    The show’s puppet character, a sparrow, is, according to his signature tune, “smart, cute, likes cartoons and fasting” (it rhymes in Arabic - it's only saving grace) and receives drawings from kids depicting themselves and he “in a helicopter fighting the Zionist enemy”.
    Today he was asking kiddies to identify an “occupied Arab country”.
    I don’t think he’s cute at all – I think he’s a toady puppet!
    There’s also a quiz show that involves veiled chador-clad adolescent girls answering questions entirely to do with the Koran and a cameo by a five-year-old girl, in mufti not wearing a veil or chador (slut!), reciting, by heart, a sura from the Koran.
    Years ago, I watched a live broadcast on this very channel of some rabble-rousing pep rally – as the broadcast ended and the credits rolled, the incidental music playing in the background was none other than an instrumental version of the “Marines’ Hymn" (you know, "from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"), the very same marines whose country (the USA) they had just condemned to death in their chants.
    Nothing new here, I often see news footage of youths protesting against America whilst wearing t-shirts emblazoned with “USA” etc.
    One of my all-time favourite programs used to be on this channel too (I don’t know if it’s still on), it took a Western, usually American, film and deconstructed it by running a very ironic and dry voiceover over it pointing out the so-called stereotypes, racial vilification, colonialist and chauvinistic mentality etc of the “imperialists”.
    During the dramatic ending of one of those films, “Navy Seals”, where Charlie Sheen and a handful of his buddies have rescued an American hostage in Beirut and are escaping, the wry voiceover asks us “do you really believe that five Americans can take on all of Beirut?”
    Another amusing program is one where historical figures played by actors in period costume (e.g. Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, gets a lot of attention) are put on trials for their alleged crimes.

    My favourite foreign broadcaster is some Polish broadcaster (whose name I can’t recall) where foreign films are dubbed into Polish by one guy doing all the voices in the same monotone deadpan voice.

    There is no religion in heaven.
    Just as there isn’t, for example, an Australian Embassy in Australia.
    Religion is merely the earthly often self-styled and alleged representation and manifestation of God.
    Paradoxically, religion can often lead us away from God, distract us and wrap us up too much in the minutia of it all.
    The essence of most religions can be summed up in a couple of words – Christianity can be summed up in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and Islam can be summed up in “God is great”.
    Even a non-Muslim like myself can agree with this because it’s universal – God is great, we’re not so let’s just shut up and let God “speak” for himself.
    God is indeed great, thus He doesn’t need the likes of you and I to speak for him.
    Who am I, who are you to speak in the name of the Almighty?
    Any mortal claming to speak for God is but an impertinent blaspheming impostor.

    4:30 am

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