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Copyright© 2001-2010, Renato Obeid
"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, November 24, 2006
Watching the funeral on television yesterday and watching the curious Lebanese phenomenon of live television coverage of receiving condolences, I notice a brave noble stoicism in the Gemayel family, particularly in President Gemayel.
They are obviously devastated but bear it well as if martyrdom was a duty.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Lebanese Industry Minister Sheik Pierre Gemayel, who was assassinated in Beirut on Tuesday, will be laid to rest later today.
The martyred son of a martyred family of a martyred people (the Lebanese Maronites) will be buried before his time today like so many of his family and his coreligionists before him.
The Gemayels are lions amongst lions - the Maronites, the last bastion of Christianity in the land of Christ are the only free Christians in the Middle East.
Former President Sheik Amine Gemayel (brother, uncle and now father of a martyr), standing beside his sister,(and our sister too for Sister Arzi Gemayel, a daughter of privilege, choose to take holy orders to serve her church and thus country - as her family have been doing for centuries) urged enraged supporters to exercise restraint when he addressed them hours after the assassination.
I’m no expert but the modus operandi of the Gemayel assassins seems to indicate a private sector (i.e. mafia or organized crime) hit rather than the blow-everybody-up- and -hope –to- get -lucky method favoured by government and terrorist groups in this part of the world.
Also the audacity of the killers, i.e. the operation occurred in broad daylight, the assassins weren’t wearing masks etc, indicates that they were confident that they weren’t going to get caught and that they knew they could operate with impunity.
If someone’s going to rob a 7-Eleven they’ll wear a mask yet these assassins felt so confident that they could fire twenty two shots into a minister’s car in broad daylight without any form of concealment.
And why did Gemayel’s State Security bodyguard, who was heavily armed in the back seat, run away when the incident occurred (apart from the fact that people were shooting at him – which he must have known was an occupational hazard when he signed up for the job)?
You can only import a dog into Saudi Arabia if you can prove that it is of practical necessity so a family I know, going back to Saudi Arabia after a stint in London, got a certificate from their amused vet there testifying that their pet Chihuahua was a guard dog.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The saving grace of being fastidious is that you can’t dwell on one thing for too long - one ‘’crisis’’ can’t last very long until it’s soon replaced by another one.
‘’Oh my God I’ve got an uncovered (tiny little) scratch on my hand – it’s going to ooze blood and pus all over the place (although there’s no sign of that)’’ is soon replaced by ‘’oh my God I accidentally swallowed a mosquito* – I’m going to get mouth malaria!’’.
It’s not like I’m always thinking of these things because I’m usually thinking of other things (I’m either reading or writing) but sometimes it’s just the by-product of a mind that’s always thinking.
Some Philistine once told me that I think too much when I was expounding on one of my conspiracy theories (is it so outrageous to suspect that ex-South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje’s death in a light airplane crash wasn’t entirely accidental?).
I told him that you can never think too much (he agreed) which indeed you can’t but you should try and think about the right sorts of things – productive and enlightening things - which I generally try to do.
*A couple of hours ago I was having a smoke and, just as I was inhaling, some mosquito made a dash at me and I accidentally swallowed it WHOLE.
At a dinner party, some woman once good-naturedly remonstrated with me for not helping the women clear up afterwards.
I told her that it would be disrespectful to the womenfolk present (which I really do believe).
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Finally got to see Anthony’s movie ‘’You Can’t Stop the Murders’’ on DVD.
Even though I had seen some of it being filmed and saw it at a private screening for some of the backers (various film commision types), I still can’t get enough of it.
Although I genuinely found it hilarious, I expressed my appreciation more demonstratively than is my habit at that screening to show these cultural A-leets (how ordinary Australians like myself pronounce ‘’elites’’) that this kind of movie was appealing to the common man.
It wasn’t quite ‘’ knock it of you guys, you guys are killing me – I’m gunna bust a gut here!’’ (in an American accent) but I think it ended up backfiring and I become the cinematic equivalent of a hostile witness.
Apparently I laughed in the wrong places, during the sad bits which I really found funny – ‘’I’m worried about your cousin’’ some lady from some film commission later told Anthony.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Earlier this evening my cousin Omar fell asleep there and then on the spot right where he was sitting on the couch while we were gathered in the living room.
I don’t trust him.
I don’t trust anyone who can fall asleep that easily.
I have to perform a whole ‘’mass’’ (various pre-sleep procedures and rituals) before I can even contemplate going to sleep.
Knock on wood and God bless the boy – it’s a good talent to have.
If I had such a freakish talent, I’d perform it at circus freak shows across the world.
The Amazing Sleeping Man!
Sleeps instantly at will anywhere, everywhere!
“Roll up, roll up, roll up, the man who can sleep anywhere will now demonstrate his extraordinary talent’’ and I’ll get on stage and just fall asleep
I think that being able to sleep properly is truly a talent and that anyone who can sleep easily and properly is truly talented.
I remember when I was a boy and I couldn’t sleep and I’d tell my older brother (with whom I shared a bedroom) that I couldn’t sleep he’d say ‘’just don’t think of anything’’.
How do you do that?
Is it even possible?
I think therefore I am…not sleeping.
People always simplistically think that if you have insomnia it’s because you have something on your mind.
It’s not always the case and definitely not the case for me – in my case I have insomnia because I have a mind.
It’s not that I can’t sleep because I’m thinking but I can’t sleep because I think.
Furthermore, it’s not that I can’t sleep because I have something on my mind but I can’t sleep because I have a mind.
After I told him that I used to read the dictionary when I was kid, my neighbour Eli said that there should be a warning on dictionaries to the extent of ‘’WARNING: reading this will give you a lifetime of insomnia’’ and that I ought to sue them.
Insomnia is the thinker’s disease.
How many stupid people do you know who can’t sleep?
The sleep of the just all right - the sleep of the just stupid.
I don’t necessarily mean that but I’m just pissed off at people who quote that to me hinting not so subtly.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
LESS IS MORE
I read on some woman's blog that she was ‘’in the vast minority’’ on a certain issue (and she wasn't joking).
A couple of years ago a man from the north doing the begging rounds came over.
In no position to help him, I told him that I don’t keep cash at home.
He kindly offered to take me to the bank to get some money.
He told me that he had five unwed mute daughters.
I felt like telling him that he should have stopped at one or at two when he saw a pattern emerging and that their being unwed must have been due to his lack of emphasising and advertising their being mute to potential suitors – any man would die for a mute wife.
Hell – sign me up for one of them!
He told me that he was hungry so I proposed a practical solution – that we have lunch together.
He replied the he couldn’t because he was fasting (although it wasn’t Ramadan, Muslims do have various kinds of extra-Ramadan fasting so it was at least theoretically plausible) and I felt like telling him ‘’there’s your problem – if you’re fasting you’re bound to get hungry’’.
It reminded me of what I felt like telling the taxi driver who told me that his uncle, who had just died suddenly, had never taken a Panadol in his entire life – ‘’there’s the problem, a fat lot of God it done him – maybe he should have, maybe it would have helped him’’.
Its flu shot season although not for me.
I once had a flue shot and it worked – I promptly caught the flu.
I foolishly though that flu shots were supposed to prevent the flu not cause it.
I begged the pharmacist who gave me the jab for an antidote but none existed.
Friday, November 03, 2006
GOODYBE AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH
If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a report in today's issue of the journal Science.