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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

    Monday, January 02, 2006  
    Watching bits of the Australia versus South Africa Test cricket match live on Supersport.
    Last time I was in Melbourne (early 2002) I was telling my friend Noel that I had only managed to attend the first day of a particular funeral back in Lebanon.
    ‘’The first day!’’ Noel exclaimed’’ it sounds like the cricket’.
    I explained the elaborate Lebanese funeral ritual to him – how the afflicted receive visitors paying their condolences for three successive days after the funeral etc.
    On reflection, it does sound a bit like Test cricket which takes place over a maximum fives days but often doesn’t last that long.
    And just like the cricket in some parts of the world, some of these rituals are televised live on Lebanese television (usually when it’s a political figure).
    Most recently, the tragic assassination of Lebanese journalist and parliamentarian Gebran Tueni and its aftermath last month received extensive live television coverage for five days – the assassination on Monday, the funeral on Tuesday and three subsequent days of his family receiving condolences.

    I find the rampant sectarianism of cricket very disquieting though - bowlers are classified according to their religious affiliation (either orthodox or unorthodox of all things)
    It sounds like the sort of classification you would have had in Constantinople after the Great Schism!
    It reminds me of the positive discrimination I used to engage in when hosting my programs on Lebanese radio - I remember making sure that Muslim participants were amongst the winners in the phone-in competitions I used to host.
    I even remember the manager picking out Muslim names for me on occasions to counterbalance our station’s predominant sectarian and regional demographic.
    We were even frantically looking for a Shiite DJ at one stage when the government began to regulate and licence radio and TV stations and required that staff had to be from all sects.
    (where does one find a Shiite DJ in a pinch?).
    Not surprising when you consider that Lebanon is the ultimate diarchy with Christians and Muslims represented 50/50 in parliament, the bureaucracy etc (or they’re meant to be anyway).
    I’ve even been told that in the old days executions were even carried out according to this 50/50 ratio.
    Executions aren’t so common in Lebanon these days but the last executions, in January 2004, appeared to follow that same formula – a Shiite, a Sunni and a Maronite were executed.

    7:00 am

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