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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, October 15, 2007  
    Eli's in da house.
    Three years ago when he was in Sweden (where he lives for most of the year) Eli asked me for my residential address in an instant message exchange so that he could mail me some stuff.
    I was reluctant to give it to him because I didn’t want to bother him.
    He misunderstood and said that he understood if I didn’t want to disclose it for ‘’security reasons’’.
    ‘’Dude!’’ I exclaimed ‘’It’s the same address as yours – minus two floors!’’
    He saw the humour in this and said that it would be funny if he wrote on the package ‘’4th Floor minus two floors’’.
    I must stress that I’m not laughing at Eli but laughing with him.
    Eli is a very intelligent young man with great potential (this sounds like a school report card) but, at twenty years of age, he is a member of the first generation of internet kids who are now coming to maturity – impatient, helter-skelter and with a very short attention span.
    This gentle giant (Eli is six foot two and weighs one hundred and forty kilos but that's all heart) reminds me a bit of Lenny from ‘’Of Mice and Men’’ only because of his size, innocence and good heartedness.
    If he’s Lenny, then I must be George the a***hole*.
    Our night walks are getting a bit dangerous – with crazy taxi drivers and citizen militias** etc – so, in the best tradition of Lenny Small, Eli said ‘’I’m the brawn and you’re the brains, so if we get into a fight, I’ll do the fighting but if the police get called, you do the talking’’.
    All right Eli – you do the sockin’ and I’ll do the explainin’.

    *I’m going to end up talking like Eli.About two weeks ago the usually demur Francophone senior secretary at Eli’s dad’s office sent another secretary at the office a SMS in English saying ‘’this f***ing manouchie made me sick!’’.The other secretary replied jokingly ‘’what – you’re talking like Eli now?’’
    **Last Tuesday I was approached by an ad hoc militia comprised of a chef (minus the rolling pin a la the cliché) and two other characters who were God knows what from a nearby restaurant because I happened to be standing at an intersection on a main street in the nightlife centre of town at three o’clock in the morning waiting to catch a taxi back home after my walk – obviously highly suspicious behaviour!
    Maameltien at night is essentially a red-light zone so I think that these gentlemen can find lots of shady characters to interrogate without harassing innocent walkers.
    Heck, why don’t they start with their own bloody patrons – that’s the seediest bunch of people I’ve ever seen outside of a strip club.
    They politely asked me for my ‘’my good name’’ but I declined to divulge any information to them – telling them that this was public property and they were behaving like a militia.
    They said that they just wanted to make my acquaintance to which I replied that they could make my acquaintance if I went to their restaurant but that, in the meantime, I was not obliged to tell them my name.
    They threatened to call the police or the army and I said that I wished they would so that I could report a militia.
    This happy gathering broke up when the taxi I was waiting for arrived and I hopped in and left them.
    If this is a portent of things to come in Lebanon, then we’re in serious trouble.
    I don’t know what I prefer – terrorism or militias.
    They’re both the same thing anyway.
    If plebes can go around harassing people in the name of ''counter-terrorism'' then I’m not sure what I prefer.
    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 (which calls for, amongst other things, the disbanding of all militias in Lebanon) shouldn’t just apply to dudes with beards (Hezbollah).

    5:30 pm

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