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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

    Saturday, May 31, 2008  
    I don’t want to break ranks (Maronites need to be united now more than ever) so I won’t mention names.
    But I used to think that a certain Maronite political party represented a majority of Maronites but I now realize that they are a minority who stand out because they are a loud minority of unrepresentative hoodlums who are very active and prevalent at a grass roots level among lower-class and less-educated Maronites but do not represent wider Maronite opinion.
    The silent majority of Maronites are the ones who don’t chant slogans and wave party flags, we just don’t hear much from them because they’re…silent.
    Practically the only time we do hear from them is at election time when the drawing of the electoral booth curtain unveils real Maronite opinion.
    The church panders to the unrepresentative group because it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil and because religion is the opiate of the people and thus must pander to the lowest common denominator – the grass roots where both faith and fascism have their most vociferous supporters and where the two meet (just like the alliance between the church and the mafia in Italy) i.e. where the cross meets the dagger and the two combine.
    This alliance of the two pillars of obscurantism (faith and fascism) holds up the very low ceiling of the house of ignorance.

    7:30 pm

    Friday, May 30, 2008  
    Just got back from my walk to Jounieh.
    There was no electricity but the silver lining in the cloud was that I couldn’t see all the posters of the new president aka the traditional Maronite greeting of a new president.
    Maronites will greet their new president with fireworks, posters and praise (especially if he’s a military man) and will see him off with boos and insults at the end of his term (if he lasts that long).
    This is despite the fact that in Lebanon it is illegal to insult the president.
    I hope this doesn’t count as an insult* and I certainly don’t mean it as one but I thought that the tie he wore to his swearing-in (light grey) was a bit ‘weak’’.
    A stronger color (red or dark blue) would have made a stronger statement.

    *Technically, I thought of it before he was actually sworn-in.

    11:15 pm

    Thursday, May 29, 2008  
    Finally found an Arabic to English English learning program for the taxi driver.
    ‘’Learn English in one week!’’ it promises on the cover.
    I believe them – in one week’s time students will have literally learnt the word ‘’English’’.

    8:00 pm

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008  
    Still waiting for the internet bloke to come up and install a wireless internet connection for me.
    I fell out with the last bloke I’d engaged to do the same thing because he kept me waiting for three hours* and it looks like I’m headed the same way with this bloke.
    I called him last Friday to confirm my interest and have him go ahead with it and he told me that he would ‘’get back to me on Tuesday or Wednesday’’.
    This is insane.
    I’ve been laughing at it ever since.
    Since when do tradesmen ‘’get back to’’ people?
    Tradesmen are summoned and they attend.
    Common people have run amok in this egalitarian era.
    In ye olden times his predecessor, the TSP (telegraph service provider) guy or, even earlier, the CPSP (carrier pigeon service provider) guy, would have been summoned and would have attended immediately, cap in hand, mumbling ‘’good day me lord’’.
    Nowadays, you have to chase him and he will ‘’get back to you’’.
    Common people can do whatever they like nowadays, it’s gentlefolk who are burdened by propriety, protocol, manners etc.
    I want to live like common people!
    I put all this change down to the fact that the aristocracy don’t oppress people anymore.
    Not that I’m in favour of oppressing people but in the old days plebeians were kept polite because they were kept under the thumb of the ruling class.
    Now the ruling class don’t care about the manners or mien of the people anymore as long as they work for them, pay taxes to them and vote for them.
    A little bit of oppression goes a long way towards keeping people polite and in their place.
    And I must stress that I am not a snob, I’m every taxi driver’s best mate after all, I just insist that people treat me the same way I treat them.
    No, not write nasty things about me (my writing is done by my evil alter ego – I’m not this mean and obnoxious in real life although I can be worse at times) but treat me with decency and respect.
    I’m for egalitarianism but this is not egalitarianism this is just a reversal – commoners now oppress gentlefolk.
    People here will give you that old chestnut about this being Lebanon so you have to be patient and put up with these things.
    That’s no excuse.
    The taxi driver was recently telling me that he was punctual because he has a ‘’Western mentality’’.
    I told him that I don’t have a so-called Western mentality but a civilized Lebanese mentality.
    There’s no such thing as a ‘’Lebanese mentality’’ and a ‘’Western mentality’’, there are civilized Lebanese and there are uncivilized Lebanese just as there are civilized and uncivilized Westerners etc.

    *He wanted me to wait outside for him (because of the police checkpoint)!
    The nerve!
    The arrogance of ignorance is astounding!
    Anyway, he didn’t need to ask me to wait outside for him because I had to be outside anyway to review security, see to it that the red carpet was unrolled and placed properly, to check the honour guard, to make sure that the brass band was in tune so that I could receive him properly. This guy kept me waiting for three hours (albeit indoors although he would have kept me waiting outdoors if he had had his way) and would have kept me waiting longer if I hadn’t have called him and cancelled.

    7:30 pm

    Sunday, May 25, 2008  
    All eyes are on this afternoon’s presidential ‘’election’’ and inauguration.
    The Lebanese parliament will vote in as president Lebanese Armed Forces Commander, General Michel Sleiman, who will be literally waiting in the wings, and then bring him in soon after for the inauguration.
    It reminds me of those cookery programs on television where the host has already prepared the dish beforehand – ‘’here’s something I prepared earlier’’.

    Christians need not fear Michel Aoun’s alliance with Hezbollah.
    It’s ironic that the Shiite ‘’party of God’’ has evolved into the least sectarian party in Lebanon.
    When Hezbollah took effective control of the South after Israel withdrew on this day in 2000 (the only significance of May 25th in Lebanese history despite today’s events) not a single Christian was as much as tickled.
    Compare this with the massacre of Christian civilians by Walid Jumblat’s Druze militiamen after the 1982 withdrawal of Israeli troops from Mount Lebanon.
    My most enduring memory of the events of eight years ago were television images of the last Israeli soldier to leave Lebanon closing and locking the border gate after him.
    It was very nice of him – we don’t want the chickens to escape.
    This seemingly leisurely withdrawal (how many retreating armies get to shut the gate and leave a cancellation note for the milkman?) belied the fact that they were harried out by a twenty-two-year war of attrition.

    3:15 pm

    Saturday, May 24, 2008  

    ‘’People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’’
    - Adam Smith

    Preparations are underway across the country for Sunday’s election (by parliament) and inauguration of Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Michel Sleiman as the twelfth president of the Republic of Lebanon and the accompanying celebrations.
    I suggest that they shred the Lebanese constitution and use that as confetti.
    This is the forth consecutive presidential ‘’election’’ that has been in violation of the constitution.
    The first three times the Lebanese parliament voted to amend the constitution ‘’once and once only’’ - the 1995 extension of then-President Elias Hrawi’s term despite the constitutional prohibition of a serving president being re-elected or having his term extended; the 1998 election of then-army commander Emile Lahoud despite the constitution barring serving first-grade civil servants from running and the 2004 extension of Lahoud’s term.
    They've gotten so used to it that this time they’re not even bothering to amend the constitution anymore – they’ve concocted some sort of loophole that does away with even the need to do that.
    No respectable polity changes it’s constitution without the people’s consent.
    Not that the people know any better than their leaders – they don’t- but such major decisions should not be in the hands of the few in order to prevent conspiracies by cliques and because we should all bear responsibility for them.
    Unlike the Bible or the Koran, the constitution isn’t a sacred text that can’t be changed but, if it needs to be changed, let the people do it.
    And to think that the Syrian diktat to unconstitutionally amend Lahoud’s term in 2004 prompted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 which was the catalyst for the upheaval that we are still experiencing in Lebanon to this day.
    So what was all the fuss about then when the constitution is now being violated again?
    Is it okay for the West to dictate a constitutional violation to us but not okay for the Syrians?
    So all the fuss back in 2004 was not about the constitution being violated but about who was doing the violation.
    Is not a ruse a ruse by any other name?
    I suggest that soon-to-be President Sleiman’s first task on assuming office should be to restore the legitimacy that he and other politicians have so undermined through his election.
    And make no mistake about it, army commanders have always been politicians.
    When has the commander of the Lebanese army not been a politician and when has that position not been used as a stepping stone to the presidency (parliament’s election of army commander, aka president in waiting, is the closest thing we have to a presidential primary)?
    They talk about the army being neutral as if they were above politics but it’s the exact opposite – the army is neutral because it's leadership wants to appeal to all the political factions.
    But I don’t blame the military brass (or anyone else) for taking what they can get, I blame Maronite politicians for being so greedy and covetous of the presidency that they can’t agree on a president from within their ranks and have to resort to the army as they’ve done three times now (which means that a quarter of our presidents have been from the military).
    It must be noted I have the utmost respect for the Lebanese army.
    The Lebanese army remains the only army in the world to beat and totally obliterate an Al Qaeda cell as they did in the Nahr el bared conflict last year.
    That’s the very reason why I don’t like to see them tarnished by politics.

    At the end of the day Lebanon Doesn’t Decide 2007/2008 isn’t so much about electing Michel Sleiman but about not electing Michel Aoun.
    The March 14th Movement and their ally the Maronite church wants as president any Michel except Michel Aoun who, ironically, is favoured by a majority of Lebanese in general and Lebanese Maronites specifically (Aoun had proposed direct presidential elections but, knowing what the outcome would be, the powers that be opposed this).
    The list of preferred candidates that the Patriarch drew up last summer included two other Michels namely Michel Edde and Michel Khoury.
    Michel Sleiman, Michel Khoury, Michel Edde, Michael Jackson, Michael Shumacher, Mickey Mouse, Michele my belle… any Michel (or any other variation thereof) but Michel Aoun!
    Because this honest but mad* general is the person who keeps the Establishment awake at night.
    They’re obsessed to the point of nympholepsy about the one major Christian politician in Lebanon that they can’t co-opt.
    The man who doesn’t play by the rules of the old colluding cartel.
    The seventy-three-year-old with a mainly youth following who’s the freshest thing to ever happen to Lebanese politics.

    *There’s plenty to be mad about in this country and it’s enough to drive you mad!
    Besides, you have to be crazy to deal with these people.
    As Seal sings ‘’we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little bit crazy’’.

    1:40 am

    Saturday, May 17, 2008  
    Day one of the latest round of dialogue between Lebanese politicians…in Doha Qatar.
    As soon as they had left for Doha yesterday afternoon the simplistic clichés began
    ‘’Let them stay there’’, ‘’don’t come back until you agree’’ etc, etc, etc ad nauseam.
    The latest in a similar vein – ‘’they all ought to be shot, thrown away, put in the fire’’ and any other form of disposal you can think of.
    Apart from it being a simplistic cliché, it’s also denial because the problem in Lebanon is not the politicians but the people and the system.
    The politicians are the tip of the iceberg, just the manifestation of this and the representatives of the people (warts and all) so it’s a good way of shifting blame.
    Who was actually doing the physical fighting last week (and in previous wars)?
    Was it the politicians?
    No, it was the people.
    Disclaimer: I’m just as guilty as anybody else of using this sort of simplification but, in my defence, I do it knowingly in a phatic way when I’m talking to taxi drivers and other simple folk when I want to get down to their level and to draw them out as a gambit to get them talking.
    Actually most of what I say to them is purely phatic, I don’t mean a single word of it!

    11:00 pm

    Friday, May 16, 2008  
    Just got back from my second night walk through my ‘’private forest’’.
    I’m beginning to warm to the concept.
    At least it’s close and I save time too (I don’t have to catch a taxi back home) and it takes twenty minutes, which is the recommended time you should walk daily, so it’s shorter than my walks down to Jounieh but still kosher.
    It’s psychologically easier too – at the end of a long day, the thought of having to walk all the way down the mountain is a bit daunting so it’s much easier to contemplate just going for a walk ‘’around the block’’ so to speak.

    On the political front, the war that raged for a couple of days has subsided (for now).
    An Arab League delegation visiting Beirut yesterday secured an agreement from the warring parties that ‘’things would return to the state they were in prior to the events that occurred after May 5, 2008’’
    Far enough, that’s understandable because the state we ‘’were in prior to the events that occurred after May 5th 2008’’ (i.e. eleven days ago) were so f***ing great that we all have to hop into a time machine to take us back to that golden era, that Camelot.
    Weren’t those the very same conditions that lead to the actual fighting?
    What a waste of a time machine.
    If I had a time machine I’d go back in time to Victorian London but the Arab league wants me to go back in time to last Monday week.
    As if that would make any difference anyway.

    People say that I repeat myself (especially when I talk) but I maintain that I’m just ‘’on message’’.

    12:30 am

    Thursday, May 15, 2008  
    A girl I know was recently telling me that she was depressed.
    I told her that that suited me fine because I’d just read an article about a study that found that depressed woman put out more.
    I feel your pain, now put out.
    She must be within the margin of era.
    Serves me right for believing everything I read.

    5:30 pm

    Just got back from my first night walk along ye olde abandoned forest road (although I used to walk there at night years ago whilst the road was still in use).
    I think I broke a world speed record.
    A fearful walk is a fast walk.
    It was quite scary but having to walk all the way down to Jounieh whether you’re up to it or not and then having to pay ten thousand lira for a taxi back up is just as scary.

    3:00 am

    As you may have gathered from my exposés of Lebanese animists, Lebanon is quite a windy place which is, despite what the animists might think, a good thing.
    There’s almost always a cool breeze in summer.
    Lebanon is a very good place for drying laundry.
    I’ll often put up my washing, go and have lunch and come back to find the washing dry.
    Lebanon has great capacity for wind farming although I don’t know whether this animism would extend to being afraid to use electricity generated by wind.

    Lebanon’s other great natural resource is water.
    Lebanon has a water surplus in a water deficit region so if we were to utilize this asset properly we could probably live of it.
    Water is more precious and less abundant than oil in this part of the world.
    They say that before the civil war the Saudis proposed that they build an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon and send us oil in exchange for a pipeline going the other way supplying them with water.
    I don’t know why it never happened but I imagine that the oil companies may have had something to do with it.
    Even nowadays, drivers of Saudi road tankers delivering petrol to Lebanon will often fill their tankers up with water after they’ve delivered their load and drive back to Saudi Arabia with it.
    There was recent talk about Lebanon importing water to Cyprus, which is experiencing a drought, but the Lebanese government nixed it after public outcry here – despite having all this water our infrastructure is very bad and most Lebanese will often suffer from water shortages (‘’water water everywhere but not a drop to drink’’.
    In the meantime most of our water is ‘’exported’’ straight to the Mediterranean and it’s a terrible waste.

    12:00 am

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008  
    I’ve been reassessing my view of ye olde abandoned road and have been occasionally taking my walks there (most recently yesterday morning).
    It takes twenty minutes to do the loop so it’s good for a ‘’half marathon’’ when you‘re not up for the ‘’full marathon’’ (all the way down the mountain which takes about double that time).
    And because it’s blocked off at both ends it’s like having your own park with a quaint little road winding through it.
    It’s secure too.
    One of the cops was telling me that they literally swept it (of rocks etc) because their boss exercises there “so he won’t trip over’’.
    Somehow I can’t imagine the head of the Lebanese police rapid intervention force tripping over so easily (i.e. strolling through the forest).
    With the exception of Gerald Ford, survival of the fittest ensures that people with a tendency to trip over don’t usually reach the upper echelons.
    The cops, like their boss, are very civic and community-minded, keeping their prefabricated base and its environs spotless (even beautifying it with a small garden) and undertaking various projects around the buildings*.
    Because it’s no longer in use it’s not as polluted and hectic as the main road.
    You can actually smell the pine trees.
    I’m just scared of snakes because years ago I nearly stepped on a snake there and hyenas because someone told me that they once encountered a hyena thereabouts.
    Hyenas are no laughing matter as far as I’m concerned.
    But I can’t imagine that they'd be any worse than the taxi drivers I’d have to encounter if I walked to Jounieh instead.
    Maybe if I encounter an actual hyena on my forest walk, I can give it ten thousand lira (the usual night time taxi fare) and it will leave me alone.
    It works with the taxi drivers.
    The road might be secure as far as dangerous humans go because of the nearby police presence but I’m sure that the wildlife hasn’t received the memo yet.
    Although it seems quite safe, I wouldn’t fancy walking there at night especially now that it’s no longer lit up.

    -5.45 am Tuesday 3rd June 2008
    And pray for insomniacs!
    Just got back from my walk ‘’around the block’’.
    I’ve been trying to sleep since 10.30 last night and this was the mandatory walk that I have to take after my second failed attempt at sleep.
    My insomnia’s getting so bad that I’ve sought police ‘’assistance’’.
    At the end of my walk I was talking to one of the cops, mainly about my insomnia, and when we parted company he said ‘’God willing you’ll sleep now’’.
    ‘’Pray for me’’ I replied jocularly.
    He took it seriously and said that he would indeed pray for me.
    That’s very nice and I appreciate it a lot but I think it would be better if he just shot me – that would cure it for ever.
    Eternal sleep.
    After all Omar Khayyam, the medieval Persian philosopher, did promise ‘’awaken, you have eternity for sleeping’’ although I think his emphasis was more on the first part of that not the latter which I’m looking forward to.
    Who died and made you an alarm clock?
    I bet that he never had insomnia.
    Still, it’s reassuring to know that the cops are on the case.
    As often happens, my telling people about my insomnia illicit their own so-called ‘’insomnia’’ complaints.
    The cop was telling me that he’d been having ‘’insomnia’’ lately.
    It’s been taking him an hour or two to get to sleep lately.
    My heart bleeds for him.
    -4.00 am Friday 6th June 2008
    And kill snakes!
    Was just talking to one of the cops after my walk and he told me that he’d just killed a snake (the seventh snake they’d killed).
    He showed me his kill – a tiny baby snake that looked more like a worm than a snake except for the distinctive head - and waved it around a bit for me and then draped it over his gun barrel like a cannibal warrior wearing the skulls of his victims around his neck.
    That’ll scare of Al Qaeda!
    He also told me that there are no hyenas around here so close to civilization and that they’re mainly found in remote mountain valleys.
    Still, I’m not taking any chances.
    What if a hyena gets lost or goes’s on holiday or something?
    This is a tourist area after all and there is a hotel under construction next door.

    1.00pm Friday 23rd May 2008
    UPDATE: I did some ‘’research’’ (Wikipedia) on hyenas and they’re a lot more dangerous than I thought.
    I’d never taken them seriously because they look so funny and because the cartoon cartel conspires to present them as benign amusing creatures (that’s so irresponsible!).
    I urge people to take hyenas more seriously!
    I even asked my neighbour about their prevalence in the area and he told me that the good folks up in the village had recently shot and killed one.
    When I asked him whether they were deadly he replied ‘’I haven’t tried them’’ in his dry laconic style.
    So hyenas, coupled with reports of ‘’Patriarch police’’ (army intelligence officers at the nearby Patriarchate which we overlook) pouncing on walkers, have put me off walking on my ‘’private road’’ at night.

    My ‘’hyena research’’ also included chancing upon a documentary on television that showed hyenas getting all smart-alecky with tigers (encircling them, nipping at them and then running off etc)!
    Whilst my estimation and fear of hyenas has increased, my estimation and fear of tigers has greatly decreased.
    Tigers are wusses.
    I reckon I can take them on.
    Why can’t we have tigers around here instead of hyenas?
    Life is so unfair.
    Bring back tigers I say.

    Misleading: hyenas as depicted by Big Cartoon
    Finding pictures of Hardy Har Har isn’t as easy as it sounds (there aren’t the many suitable pictures of him on the internet).
    I need a research assistant.
    ‘’I need pictures of cartoon hyenas and I need them yesterday!’’ I would demand of my assistant.

    8:45 pm

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008  
    Worrying about long-term problems is a distant luxury for this insomniac.
    It’s the short-term problems that keep me awake and they’re mainly to do with the insomnia itself.
    Insomnia feeds on and perpetuates itself until it supplants the original problems that may have caused it and it becomes the problem itself.
    During the day we busy ourselves and don’t have much time to worry about our problems.
    It’s at night when we’re trying to sleep that those problems that have been hiding under the bed all day ambush us.
    Tomorrow is a long way away when you’re trying to sleep.
    “Tomorrow’’ for me begins when I wake up whenever that is.
    Everything is magnified when you can’t sleep.
    You really think that you’re going to die sometimes and you don’t really care as long as it’s not painful and protracted.
    Last night I had a dream that there was a coffin in a hearse outside my building.
    Quiet unsettling but I didn’t give it much thought during the day but, now that the insomnia demons are back, I know who it was for – it was for me.
    It never occurred to me to think that it was for me until now.
    It’s always somebody else.
    ‘’Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’’
    Maybe I’m already dead and in hell (I certainly feel like a like a zombie and this certainly feels like hell) and maybe you’re dead too (God forbid) and reading this is your hell.
    As for the cause of death, no need for an autopsy, the cause of my death will be nearly every person I’ve dealt with substantially throughout my entire life.
    Everybody murders everybody else they just don’t know it.
    See you all in hell - I’ll introduce you to the devil even though I suspect we’re already there and that you don’t need introducing.

    8:00 pm

    -If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it probably is a duck

    Day seven of the new Lebanese civil war.
    Speaking of which, I’ve noticed a strange reluctance in both the local and foreign media to call it a war.
    How many euphemisms for war can you come up with?
    ‘’Unrest’’ my a***!
    Denial is not just a river in Africa, it also runs through Lebanon.
    I’ll leave the causes, details, blame game etc to the media (which I call ‘’the list’’ because they’re just a temporal list of events) but let’s just get one thing straight – this is a war.
    Are people not shooting guns and stuff at each other (that’s a good enough definition of a war to me)?
    Yes they are.
    Thus this is a war.
    They say that admitting a problem (‘’hi, my name’s Lebanon and I’m a waraholic’’) means that you're halfway towards solving it so, according to my calculations, we’re now (that I've declared that we're at war) halfway towards solving our problem and have another halfway to go.
    Although I must admit that there’s no hard-and-fast definition of war or exact amount of time that has to elapse before a fight becomes a bona fide war but if we look back through history we can find examples of shorter wars that were nevertheless still wars.
    This is day seven so, according to my calculations, it’s already lasted one day longer than the Six Day War (which lasted for six days).
    A war doesn’t have to last for fifteen years (like our last civil war did) to be a war.
    So the details and the duration are immaterial to the actual fact that we’re at war, we’ve already established that.
    Just like this anecdote about Winston Churchill.
    Churchill (to irritating socialite): Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
    Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
    Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
    So we’ve already established that it’s a war but we just don’t know how long it will last for and what the ‘’price’’ will be.
    Hopefully it won’t last for much longer.
    Admittedly, it can’t be a genuine dyed-in-the wool civil war without the Maronites who have so far uncharacteristically sat this one out (their invitation’s in the mail) although the Druze (Lebanon’s other warrior tribe) are involved.
    There’s a saying in the Arab world ‘’no war without Egypt, no peace without Syria’’.
    There’s also no Lebanese civil war without the Maronites.
    With a key Maronite faction (the mob that started the last civil war) just chomping at the bit to get involved, this Maronite pacifism could be short-lived.
    God help us if the Maronites join in the fray.
    That’s when the real fun starts.
    As for the impact of the war on my neck of the woods (the Mount Lebanon Maronite ethnarchy), there is none yet although there is a palpable sense of fear and foreboding that permeates throughout the entire country.
    Lebanon is curiously compartmentalized.
    In Lebanon it’s not uncommon to have war raging in one part of the country or even one part of the city and yet have life going on as usual in other parts.
    This I’m told happened during the last civil war.
    Even during my time here, I recall partying in East Beirut while West Beirut, Southern Lebanon, Northern Lebanon and Eastern Lebanon (and all other points of the compass) were being attacked by the Israelis during the 1996 onslaught.
    Abraham Rabinovich wrote in the Jerusalem Post (02/18/08) about a similar reaction to the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp massacres just 500 metres away from the camp outside the Kuwaiti Embassy.
    ‘’A dark-skinned custodian chatted outside with a Lebanese army sergeant. They spoke with us about the massacre in a detached manner, as if passing on gossip about unruly neighbors down the street.’’
    All this denial and all these euphemisms are not surprising considering that Lebanese refer to the last civil war as ‘’ the events’’.
    It’s like the Northern Irish referring to their civil war ‘’the troubles’ but even that is more accurate.

    There has been rightful across-the-board condemnation of the attacks on and occupation of the Future Movement's media outlets that silenced them for a few blissful days.
    The editor of the pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper even said that he would buy a copy of the Future newspaper and force himself to read it when it was published again.
    Poor bastard – now there’s a media martyr!
    But, while we’re at it, one should also condemn the attacks on opposition property over the past months which these attacks were allegedly in retaliation for, the alleged use of these outlets as militia bases and also the sectarian rabble rousing that they engaged in.

    7:30 am

    Sunday, May 11, 2008  
    Ironically the worst thing that can sometimes happen to an insomniac is that they actually get to sleep only to wake up to the next day and the causes of their insomnia and an ‘’insomnia hangover’’.

    9:00 pm

    Sunday, May 04, 2008  
    Was just having a discussion with my brother, who’s visiting from Australia, about whether one would like to know the exact date and time they were going to die.
    My reply was in the affirmative because I can’t wait and that it would give me something to live for.
    A couple of years ago some so-called clairvoyant gave me the exact date and time that I was going to die.
    I won’t disclose it because I don’t want to create public panic and unrest and I also don’t want to give people ideas (wouldn’t it be funny if some smartalec psycho, in collusion with the clairvoyant, went around killing people on the same date their death was prophesized to prove the prophecy).
    Suffice to say that it’s when I’m in my f***ing eighties!
    That sucks – I think I’ll get a second opinion.
    She claims that the ghost of her dead husband (who she calls her ‘’guide’’) appeared to her soon after he died and that she’d been channelling these prophecies, on demand, through him ever since
    That’s when I knew she was bullshitting or delusional.
    It’s inconceivable to me that a man released from the bonds of matrimony (via the handy ‘’until death do us part’’ clause) would choose to reacquaint himself with his wife from the afterlife.
    If I was a ghost I’d want to appear in J Lo’s shower or somewhere like that.
    She claims that her husband’s ghost is a Hindu but that he was a Catholic when he was alive (as she is).
    Becoming a Hindu and haunting your wife!
    The poor bastard’s in hell!

    11:30 am

    Thursday, May 01, 2008  
    Our freelance Sri Lankan maid is a bit too free if you ask me.
    She’ll often not turn up as agreed and when the Hajji will ask her about it the next time she’ll just laugh.
    I tell the Hajji that she’s too lenient with her and that even the President of the United States has to turn up to his appointments.
    The Hajji was just telling me how dad had to go looking for her yesterday.
    My reply to that was that you shouldn’t have to go hunting for your maid unless you’re armed with a rifle and feel like a bit of sport.

    1:15 am

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