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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, July 20, 2007  
    I’m not giving away any national secrets here, but for about two months, since soon after the shenanigans at the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp began, we have had heavy around-the-clock police security here at the Paradise Buildings.
    One end of the road is blocked off with concrete barriers and there is a checkpoint at the other end.
    Cars aren’t allowed to park next to the buildings on the adjacent highway.
    I must say that the police are very efficient, maybe too efficient.
    Almost every time I’ve left the house since the siege began, I’ve been accosted by a policeman (‘’’Ello Ello, what’s going on ‘ere then?’’).
    Their usual line is ‘’I saw you leaving the buildings’’*.
    My reply is that I was leaving the buildings because I live there.
    They politely apologize and leave to go and harass somebody else presumably.
    But it’s getting a bit much.
    Three weeks ago today I was going for a walk, albeit at 4.30am, I’d cleared the barriers and was walking down the highway when I heard thumping footsteps behind me.
    I stopped and turned around to see one of the cops chasing me.
    I was a bit peeved off and told him, in no uncertain terms, that whilst we appreciate and thank them for their efforts, they can’t chase me every time I leave the house and that we’re neighbours so they should get to know their neighbours already (which they belatedly have – they’ve finally stopped accosting me).
    The usual apologies ensued.
    Shouldn’t proper security be about scrutinizing people entering rather than leaving a secured area?
    If people are leaving a secured area and you don’t know who they are then you’ve already failed. This is not to mention the roaming police commando patrols who also accost me on my walks.
    These are tough times and it goes without saying that the police and the army have my full support but I finally broke my silence when I saw one of the coppers accosting a nun who had parked her car on the highway a couple of minutes ago.
    I couldn’t hear what they were saying but it looked like the nun was pretty adamant about staying there until she had finished dusting her car which she was in the process of doing.
    So she did whilst the copper stood guard, although not right next to the car as they usually do with cars that have broken down and are awaiting assistance.
    When she finished dusting the car, inside and out, she got in, adjusted her habit and drove off.
    Mission accomplished.
    Good on her – the Lord works in mysterious ways and who are we laypeople to judge that she wasn’t doing the Lords work there?
    Cleanliness is next to Godliness as they say.
    How many nuns are there who are members of al Qaeda?
    Maybe he thought she was Whoopi Goldberg.
    But I must stress they’re very decent and friendly blokes.
    My twelve year old cousin even has a crush on one of them (so cute).
    After all, he did say ‘’bonjour’’ to her twice; open the boom gate for her to pass while she was riding her bike even though she could have easily gone through the gap on the side and ask her brother what class she was in at school.
    I must also stress that I’m not making fun of them, just marvelling at their thoroughness.

    *It reminded me of an Australian television comedy sketch from the 1980’s where a psychotic Vietnam veteran security guard at a department store shoots a shopper because ‘’she was looking at the stuff’’.
    His flabbergasted superior tells him ‘’that’s standard consumer practice’’.

    4:30 pm

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