Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy 2006!

My baby hates the sound of my nails clicking on the keyboard. He loves the sound of the key when I come home
He knows landmarks in my memory that unlock a world of dreams and happiness and nostalgia. He knows when to evoke them.
He knows my weaknesses as much as he does my strengths. He loves both.
He makes fun of me when I get angry but helpless. He makes me angry and he makes me helpless.
He interrupts my conversation onthe phone to tell me if I put the phone in my mouth, his voice will resonate in my head. He's right. It does
He thinks homing is a word. He says it indicates a state of existence softer than roaming. I think subjacent is a word.
He invented a new board game. I can’t tell you what it is. He actually wants to patent it.
He loves to cook. He promised he will leave the cooking to me.
He thinks he shouldn’t have to go to work. I agree with him.
He thinks smoking is not cool anymore and wants me to quit. He bought me a hookah.
He says I almost have two opposite sides to my personality. He hasn’t seen the other sides yet.
He says I have a horrible singing voice. I sing all the time when he’s around.
He thinks yellow should only be worn on Halloween, horizontal stripes never work and vertical stripes are dangerous. He has an eye for fashion but he wears sweats.
He told me my nose ring is hideous. He then said worse is the mark left behind.
He doesn’t want to have babies, ever. He thinks he’s a baby himself.
He thinks I can’t commit because I’m a free spirit. He thinks we match because he’s a free spirit too. I think it’s his way of telling me he wants an open relationship.
His best memory of me is dancing on the crocodile table. That was ten years ago.
He says his happiness is what matters the most. He says i'm his happiness.
He says we’re still 28 not 29. 2006 did not count because we were apart. We’re celebrating the new 2006 year this year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Results from the negotiation room
And Happy New Year all

Thanks again Chas,

Andrey, started by disagreeing but he proposed this:

"We start by suggesting the first step in a plan to bring peace". Let me start by not agreeing, as I think that we should start from the other end: How do you see the final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What will it be like, this situation, in which there will be an equilibrium between the achieved and unachieved demands of both sides, between what is just for these and those and of course what is just (period). Why start with this question? Because you can move the discussion on from here, with questions like: "What are the obstacles towards achieving that", "How do we deal with those obstacles" and so on.”

And so we did and this is what we came up with:

( thanks mone, Snurdly, Lirun, Ingrid, Andrey, Ibn Bint Jbeil, Rhiannon and Zee for commenting and moderating)


- Two-state solution: We all agree.

(Lirun suggested peace keeping force running along the borders)

- Fair peace:

(Israel is supported by the US and is the 4th strongest military power in the world but that shouldn't imply that Israel should use its power on its neighbor. Hamas, on the other hand, need to have defined 'demands'. The Palestinians need a fair representation on the way of their independence).
Which raised mone’s concern, “I wonder however, what is the exact ambition of the Israeli government? What is exactly the driven principles behind the Israeli Government backed by the US, especially after I found out more about the philosophy of the "elite" and their own ambition of controlling the world no matter how it maybe destructive to their people or others.”
We agreed that this won't get us anywhere for now.

- Defined borders and real independence:
(with the surrounding countries once and for all, sea, air and water. Plans should be presented to the UN, land mine maps and so on. 48 borders). Andrey said, “If, at least based on 67 borders, Gaza and the Bank should be connected, by land, constructing 2 parts of Palestine and 2 parts of Israel - all connecting in one point (use your imagination), I think that it would be fair, and it would give the Palestinians a better feeling about the arrangement - so they would not tell that they have been tricked. Also people would not have to pass through check points that way, while going from Gaza to the West Bank. Also, if the border includes jewish settelments inside the west-bank, they should be given the right to choose to stay under the Palestinian rule (there are many normal people behind the green line, not just settlers.”

1- Checkpoints should go
2- Settlements should go
3- Jerusalem will be a meeting place (Lirun’s romantic idea).
4- Borders + Water:
Andrey said, “This is actualy not such an issue, water can be dealt with as we have seen in Jordan-Israel peace treaty, where Israel is obliged to supply a given amount of water to Jordan per year. Projects like the National Water Carrier can be built to Palestine, or better: Palestine can be connected to the soon to be built Israely-Turkish pipe line (of gas, oil and water). The question is about the borders between Israel and Palestine: there are some families scattered around the 2 sides of the border, and so on.”

- United Palestinian government:
Unified representation for Palestine in the form of a legitimate government diplomatically respected by the international community is crucial (A just well-defined withdrawal will push the two Palestinian entities in power into agreeing on the proposed solution. that way Hamas won't be obliged to dismiss Fateh and traitors because they conceded to whatever is given to them. something Arafat couldn't do during the Oslo accord).

- Economical prosperity:

(Palestine will need the help of other countries (hopefully Arabic countries as well) to recover economically. prosperity gets rid of anger). Rhiannon said, “Monetary concessions do need to be made to Palestine, for their agriculture, hospitals, and educational systems”.

- Points we didn’t agree on:
1- The refugees. The right to return
2- The prisoners
3- Shabaa farms and Golan heights.



- We need to learn from past mistakes. The unilateral withdrawal and the punishment mentality don’t work and is still under the abuse of power mentality.

- New beginning:

(how do we educate a new Israeli generation that is not mostly military and how do we raise a new Arabic generation that don't hate Israel?). "Recognition of Israel"?

- Think simple:

Any Israeli would not wish to bomb the Palestinians and any Palestinian would not wish to bomb the Israelis. We all agree on peace. How do we bring forth the people's opinions? Who's creating this? (the politicians and we're paying for it and our children will after us. we need to stop the denial. I say there's a dangerous theocratic mentality controlling us and you have to say there's a neo-Zionist movement trying to draw the map for the new middle-east. both scare me to death. we need to say that neither represent people like us. most of the poor people who just want to be safe and go on with their daily life are like me and you)

- Reinstate trust and show good intentions:
Return what belongs to Syria and Lebanon. Then if HA won't have a cause, Syria won't have an excuse and the Palestinians will be content if agreement was reached and they will ask to be left alone)
- Identity and acceptance:
mone thought, “Israel was formed in the middle of Arabic Region that speaks one language "Arabic" and has similar background. It actually seeks an isolated "identity" from its surrounding neighbors. Can this entity get accepted any time in the short or long future? Putting helpful emotions aside, I think not.”
To which Andrey replied, “Mone, there are many things that will bring Israel and Arab countries closer - tourism and economics. Tourism: Israelis love traveling, and if it's cheaper it’s better. Druze, Bahai, Christians - all have holy places in Israel. As for economics, I don't think that you can imagine the amount of Israelis in Arab countries once these markets will open. Another thing is lots of mizrahi citizens - many speak Arabic (so do many ashkenazy, who studied well at school), their home cooking is arabic, there is a whole branch of eastern music in Hebrew in Israel. And 20% of Israel are Arabs who speak both hebrew and arabic (so do many Palestinians). Anyway, in time of peace Israel won't be isolated, slowly but certainly everyone would be speaking Arabic here.”
And mone replied, “However, I don't think personally the solution will be ready in 2 or 10 years, I think, both sides will suffer much more before they brake the barriers (and the cement blocks that they just built) and try to shake hands and live together...”
And then we fell apart ... Oh well ... All the same anyway..

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Negotiation room

Chas came up with the idea of putting Lirun and myself in a virtual room so that we can work out our differences when the discussion heated up between us this last July.

I want to borrow this idea and try it out here with a few of the commentators who always seem to be in a dispute about issues in the world and the Middle-East.

I know the dispute can and will go on forever so this is more of a committee with a specific question to answer. The question that Andrey asked me early on in this blog. What are we doing to bring peace to the ME? The focus of the question is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It cannot be separated from neighboring countries so we can discuss that in the light of its effect on the Israeli/Palestinian issue alone.

So the assignment could be very interesting: Lirun, Andrey, Snurdly (and anyone else who's interested) on one hand could represent a spectrum of political opinions but will naturally represent Israel's interests and Rhiannon, mone and myself (and anyone else on this side) will naturally represent Palestine's interests.

By now we know we have differences in opinions and we are well aware of these differences so there is no point in repeating them. At the same time i don't see the use in pointing fingers or going back to the past. We have to look at what we have at hand and try to suggest a solution that will please all. If people like us with such opposing views could reach a middle ground, i don't see why politicians can't. Greed and power of course but in the process of reaching an understanding ourselves, we might at least see that clearly.

We will start with the two state solution of course and go from there.
Some members on both sides might be to the extreme but this is only a good representation of the political elements on the ground.

I elect Zee to be the moderator since he is objective (after all he's swiss) and throughout the discussions we had in the past he showed opposition to both sides.

So i say we start by suggesting the first step in a plan to bring peace. What would that be in your opinion? More importantly why hasn't it been implemented yet? You can engage in a discussion here in the comments section or answer on your blogs and i'll be happy to show your answers here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On Israel's "Right to Exist"

Now that the Palestinian civil war long sought by Israel, the U.S. and the EU appears on the verge of breaking out, it may be timely to examine the justification put forward by Israel, the U.S. and the EU for their collective punishment of the Palestinian people in retaliation for their having made the "wrong" choice in last January's democratic election -- the refusal of Hamas to "recognize Israel" or to "recognize Israel's existence" or to "recognize Israel's right to exist".
These three verbal formulations have been used by media, politicians and even diplomats interchangeably, as though they mean the same thing. They do not.

"Recognizing Israel" or any other state is a formal legal/diplomatic act by a state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate -- indeed, nonsensical -- to talk about a political party or movement, even one in a sovereign state, extending diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas "recognizing Israel" is simply sloppy, confusing and deceptive shorthand for the real demand being made.
"Recognizing Israel's existence" is not a logical nonsense and appears on first impression to involve a relatively straightforward acknowledgement of a fact of life -- like death and taxes. Yet there are serious practical problems with this formulation. What Israel, within what borders, is involved? The 55% of historical Palestine recommended for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947? The 78% of historical Palestine occupied by Israel in 1948 and now viewed by most of the world as "Israel" or "Israel proper"?
The 100% of historical Palestine occupied by Israel since June 1967 and shown as "Israel" on maps in Israeli schoolbooks? Israel has never defined its own borders, since doing so would, necessarily, place limits on them. Still, if this were all that were being demanded of Hamas, it might be possible for it to acknowledge, as a fact of life, that a State of Israel exists today within some specified borders.
"Recognizing Israel's right to exist", the actual demand, is in an entirely different league. This formulation does not address diplomatic formalities or simple acceptance of present realities. It calls for a moral judgment.
There is an enormous difference between "recognizing Israel's existence" and "recognizing Israel's right to exist". From a Palestinian perspective, the difference is in the same league as the difference between asking a Jew to acknowledge that the Holocaust happened and asking him to acknowledge that it was "right" that the Holocaust happened -- that the Holocaust (or, in the Palestinian case, the Nakba) was morally justified.

To demand that Palestinians recognize "Israel's right to exist" is to demand that a people who have for almost 60 years been treated, and continue to be treated, as sub-humans publicly proclaim that they ARE sub-humans -- and, at least implicitly, that they deserve what has been done, and continues to be done, to them. Even 19th century U.S. governments did not require the surviving Native Americans to publicly proclaim the "rightness" of their ethnic cleansing by the Pale Faces as a condition precedent to even discussing what reservation might be set aside for them -- under economic blockade and threat of starvation until they shed whatever pride they had left and conceded the point."---By John V. Whitbeck. Full article here.
What feels amazing to me is that, growing up, we did not speak of Israel. Saying the name Israel will give us feelings of fear and resentment and absolute hate. We did not understand why we hated to hear that name because, believe it or not, we were not raised on hate or on politics. Our parents wanted what is better for us. It was very hard though not to be exposed to the hate the Palestinians who took refuge in Lebanon carried with them and since they became part of the Lebanese society eventually, it became part of our national memory as well. The hate did.

When one grows up, one tries to examine his values and i do not say re-examine. I had the time and the freedom to think about how i feel towards Israel. I had to get rid of the pre-conceived ideas and the rooted feelings that were even involuntarily planted in me by my society. As a kid, the name Israel was associated with fear, with running for life, with neighbors getting blown up in the invasion of Beirut, with poor Palestinian refugees and their kids that my mother helped, mostly with confusion seeing my parents being helpless. As an adult, the name Israel evokes pictures of babies blown up under the bombs, ruthlessness and unfairness, mostly it is my turn to feel helpless. I then realized, I did not hate then. Kids do not hate. I hate now.

(And more useful documentaries that mone linked here)

And a short quote nicely summarizing what to anticipate in the war between the US and Iran, posted by Rhiannon (soon to have her own blog to have all this valuable information available in one place and backed up)
"Now, we must turn our attention to Iran. I believe that our government is considering initiating a war with this Islamic mega-power. They aren’t quite sure of exactly how to go about this in order to rally the American people behind this decision. So they will either state that Iran is a nuclear threat, or that their support of the Shiite Muslims in Iraq is empowering the "civil war."But I believe the truth is simpler than that: Iran no longer accepts our dollars for oil. This deflates the dollar on the world market and creates inflation in the United States. Therefore, we might possibly stage a false operation of Iranians killing our soldiers in Iraq in order to give us a good enough reason to declare war.....or we might just sit down and talk to them. The coming election will decide this. If the present administration maintains control of Congress, it might only be a matter of days before a new plan is executed. If control of the House is lost, America will be forced to negotiate. As our position in Iraq becomes more tenuous we are being forced to reassess our foreign policy concerning Syria. The United States has maintained no connection with them stating this isdue to their previous alliance with the Soviet Union and their occupation of Lebanon. Yet, the real reason we refuse to recognize Syria is because Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 war between Israel and the Arabs. Despite a UN resolution stating Israel must return the Golan Heights to Syria, they have never done so. This is because the Golan Heights holds the most precious resource on earth: Water."--- Dannion Brinkley, November 2006.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Silent night ... Scary night ...

Fear fear of the clocks
Wild teeth-clenching sights
heart wrenching tears
angry birds roaming at the docks
a fleeting tune from everyone’s memory
asphalt grown grass hearts of concrete
Rapa pam pam
Home and warmth
And peace for me and you

Under the bed he went hiding
The skies are roaring with madness
Mama washed her face
Papa went missing
No food on the table
And a dead tree in the ghetto
Rapa pam pam
Forgiveness and forgetness
And peace for me and you

In the streets they went roaming
Searching for the perfect find
Flocks of stomping plastic
Shine and lights and red and green
And across the bridge her spilled hair
Some spilled crumbs and some despair
Rapa pam pam
Wealth and fairness
And peace for me and you

A cascade of all there is
Is all there is. Perfect symmetry
Of virtues does not happen and mirror-images
Are a waste of the imagination, keep it random
None is gained and none is lost
Do not pretend to give just do
Rapa pam pam
Love you the world
Take some, give some
And let the love through

The crispy smell of your skin
Under the fresh morning dew
your head resting in my hands
my chalk-white skin crumbling
and under the tree two boxes
one is empty and the other is for two
Rapa pam pam
Hugs and kisses
And peace for me and you

She tied her hair and tied her brow
Opened the door to a silky silhouette
The day she loved him is the day she left
life is to be lived and giving …
It takes the audacity of a woman
And sometimes it takes two
Rapa pam pam
Days that come and go
And love for me and you ...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

- I’m not happy
- You’re not
- Not at all, it seems.
- You’re happy enough, no?
- No. I don’t have dreams anymore and all my days feel the same
- Yes I know
- I really think that you coming to my life will make me happy
- I am in your life
- No, I want you here. I want to see you every day. I want to be happy with you.
- Ok will do.
- I’m not a happy man. Help me change that?
- I’ll be happy to do that.
- Are you happy?
- Yeah.
- Why?
- Look at what I have

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


By Deb Reich (a writer and translator in Israel/Palestine)

Dear Santa,

I live in Israel/Palestine and I think I am probably addicted to the big bad conflict we have here. We all seem to be addicted to the conflict we have here. We are so used to it, sometimes I wonder if, given half a chance, we could really learn to live without it. Meanwhile, the academics study it. The politicians cook it and bake it and spin it. The pollsters monitor it. Nonprofit organizations and NGOs mop up the messes, frequently lethal, that it makes. Dissident poets bemoan it, and the journalists (with the exception of a courageous handful, who tell the truth) pretend to report on it. The prisoners find their education, for better or worse, in its shadow, while the wardens find some kinky pleasure there, or anyhow their paycheck.

Dear Spirit of Love,

Or whatever your name is - get us into rehab, quick! We need help! We are massacring the neighbors - we are killing each other here. People are besieged, shot, bombed, terrorized, and I swear, some folks justify this. They justify it. How sick is that?! We need help! Most of us want to stop the killing but we don’t know how. Help!

Dear Abby,

I am a Jewish freethinker in Israel. (Sometimes I write “in Israel/Palestine” because it seems to make more sense, but we won’t go into that now.) I have a question. If Jewish renewal in Palestine after a thousand generations is visionary and noble, why is the idea of repatriating the displaced Palestinians after a mere fifty or sixty years seen as delusional? I don’t get it.

Dear Allah,

I have an acquaintance, a Muslim, whose brother is a political prisoner. He’s been in prison in Israel more than twenty years – nearly half his life. He went into a cell at age 25, waving his banned manifestos; that was in 1986. Soon, he’ll have a Ph.D. and I think he’s starting to lose his hair. He writes eloquent essays in prison and works on his research. I’d like to play him Libby Roderick’s anthem of the oppressed, “How Could Anyone,” beginning: How could anyone ever tell you / you were anything less than beautiful? Tell me what else I can do for him. How will this balance ever be restored? How will this debt ever be paid? His name is Walid Daka. He belonged to a banned organization, and maybe he helped to plan violent acts of resistance; I don’t know. But I think his real crime was being born Palestinian, because all the rest followed from that.

Dear Jesus,

Come back! We need you! But don’t come back as a woman, they won’t listen. Don’t try to come back as an ordinary Muslim traveler on an airplane, God forbid – they’ll arrest you at the airport. Don’t come back as a foreign (guest) worker: they’ll take your passport and lock you up. Don’t come back as a cabinet minister because, inside of a week, you’ll start to care more about keeping your car and driver than about comforting the poor and afflicted. Better to stick with the donkey, like last time – but don’t try to cross a checkpoint with it; they’ll think it has a bomb in its belly and they’ll blow it up, poor critter. I read the other day that there are over 500 checkpoints on the West Bank now; hard to believe. That’s a lot of checkpoints. So maybe come on foot. Or get Scotty to beam you over here. But come quick! We’re sinking. And whatever you do, don’t go to Bethlehem this time. It’s under siege and crumbling, but the people are incredibly resilient. They’ll break your mortal heart.

Taken from this site.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy holidays

All of you going home have a great time..
Layoul, Maya, Hashem, Annie, Zouzou ..
I am sooooo jealous

I love christmas.
It reminds me of lights and songs in Hamra street and Dbayyeh when we were kids.
It reminds me of the holiday we spent in LA.
Of warming up next to the dead fireplace in Faraya with guys in the background screaming that they're out of anti-freeze.
It also brings back a sweet sadness of a time up in the snow ...
The big window, a basket full of red velvet, pate and wine ...
The intimacy of loneliness and the constant taste of sadness
Menthol cigarettes, blue carpets and green masks
And a room where we all came together
in silent prayer ...
oh yeah.. and Moulin Rouge

powered by ODEO

and another tag

Tagged by zee,
I don't know what this tag is about but here goes,

"She liked to go shopping at night, she claimed that the groceries were tired and so made no resistance to being bought. She opened the door and Gould said hi, without taking his eyes off the television. Shatzy looked at him, don't expect much, but it would be an improvement if you at least turn it on." City, Alessandro Baricco.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Calm the fuck down

It's bigger than us. Well of course. Nothing new. We always know as Lebanese that our internal issues are a mere reflection of anything that is happening in the region. We're cursed with geography.

I have posted Alex Jones' terror storm earlier on this blog but check the rest of his links here.
The only lesson to get out of this is how pre-planned and how big of an operation all this is. The troubles that resonate throughout the ME right now being nothing but a reflection of a larger power struggle in the world is not a reason for us to lose our principles or not to take a stand against it. However it is worth to stop and think. It is worth not to fight each other over matters that get planned by the leaders and get inflicted upon us. It is worth to look at the big picture and rise above our differences and take a stand together. Let's not self-destroy in the process.
I wish we just calm the fuck down. As hot headed as we are, thugs carrying guns on the streets are not going to solve our problems.

Descartes tells us, "Science in its entirety is true and evident cognition. He is no more learned who has doubts on many matters than the man who has never thought of them; nay, he appears to be less learned if he has formed wrong opinions on any particulars. Hence it were better not to study at all than to occupy one's self with objects of such difficulty, that, owing to our inability to distinguish true from false, we are forced to regard the doubtful as certain; for in those matters any hope of augmenting our knowledge is exceeded by the risk of diminishing it."

I think Descartes is an elitist bastard. Of course his maxim could be applied to science as we all know that the more we discover and learn, the more we know how much we still need to learn. That does not mean that the lack of initiative towards a better understanding on an individual level as well as a collective level is something we should give up on.
In politics as well, Descartes' warning fits nicely with the Orweillian state of mind that most uninformed people are left with. In the extreme case, people are getting informed on a portion of the facts and discarding facts that do not serve their blind loyalties or oppose to their system of belonging and beliefs. Emotions are very dangerous when they interfere with a thought process and only result in a state of cognitive dissonance where one believes in the facts that serve one's emotions.

What's the solution?
I would never say listen to Descartes and remain passive in this case. Learn the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth? That could be a start. Think and don't be emotional.

So it's bigger than us. That doesn't mean it's beyond your scope of understanding. Politics should be a science for the people. That means get the full story and get a full knowledge before you react. No one should be thinking for you and taking your decisions for you. However, you have to look at all the facts before you go on fighting each other. You have to pursue all the facts and make your decisions with moderation and plan your reactions away from emotions since if we learned anything from science is that we never know everything. We don't know all the facts.

We will as they go down in history books. We will as secret files become declassified. Maybe 50 years down the road. We will all find a piece of truth that we missed out on.

Does anyone feel confident about their knowledge enough right now to go and fight based on it? Does any leader inspire enough confidence to us right now to be followed blindly?
Did any religion ever tell you to fight?

Let's calm the fuck down!
A postcard...

Postcard reading " Dear America, This is an illustration of something that happened to two Palestinian friends of mine as we were all trying to cross through the Tayaseer checkpoint in the Jenin region of the West bank. Soldiers detained them for over an hour, threatened to beat them, and accused them of being Hizballah terrorists. One of the soldiers told them they were "disgusting Arabs who should be beaten like animals and stay in jail". Postcard by Katie Miranda.

Not to spread the hate dear 'evil twin' but not to live in denial either.
What mother raises her children to call other human beings animals? What Arabic or Israeli or American or any mother raises her children to dehumanize others?
Didn't promise we were the love generation? Which generation exactly will come to a world free of hate and racism? What will it take not to raise our children on this and not to propagate the segregation and the supremacy?

Thursday, December 14, 2006


أعلن شمعون بيريز أنه التقى سياسيين لبنانيين، لكنه رفض الإفصاح عن أسمائهم. وقال، لصحيفة «كل العرب» الأسبوعية التي تصدر في الأراضي المحتلة عام 48، إن إسرائيل مهتمة بعدم حدوث انقلاب في لبنان. وأضاف: «نحن معنيون بأن يبقى لبنان دولة مستقلة وكاملة من ناحية الأرض والمياه، ونحن ضد أي تدخّل أجنبي على أرض لبنان، وجيش حزب الله هو جيش إيراني مزود بالأسلحة الإيرانية ويتلقى الدعم المادي من الإيرانيين، آمل ألا يحدث انقلاب في لبنان، فالانقلاب سيُحدث الدمار في هذا البلد».
You ask shou sar?

They’re all snatching promising us a feast
Promising a piece of meet
We help with the hunt
The eternal hunt
And we forget that we’re all vegetarians
Now who’s going to make my salad?

Meanwhile …
- Ok ok enough with the silver belt already. I’ll get you the belt. I promise. We gheir heik?
- Mashi. Hayda el jaww halla’
- El jaww bil’shat? Shou sayyafna? la allah bi3tiya ... El balad keef?
- Same
- Yi7ri' ikht hal same? Are you being careful?
- Yeah the scene is back to monot
- Eh l7amdellah. Ya3ni talama fee sahra …
- Kill shi mnee7
- Are you out of your mind?
- No.
- How did you change your opinions so easily anyway about all this?
- I must be thinking no?
- Or giving up …
- Oh save me …
- How come we have inherited our parents’ intolerance even when we haven’t endured the burdens of the first war?
- I believe in standing up for who we are and I believe that life is not worth living in fear but all I can think about is how tired I am of all this …
- Tayyeb ok … Wein Ziad?
- Ba3ed ma’ija
- Ma7ayle’eeki 3al sahra?
- 7ayle’ina 3al terwee’a. ya7oo 3am bineim bil7adath la’enno immo dashareto.
- Meet marra eltella shoo badda minno bhal3omor? Haydi 3ammte majnouneh.
- Howwe ra7yjannena.
- Eh ma walad. Iza halla’ ma tsarraf heik, emta?
- Ra7 nitla3 3al starlet bokra
- Bokra khamees
- Eh maba’ nroo7 Cassino?
- Ma3am tshoufo allouna?
- La’ aktar shi Bil starlet 3a tawlet johnny
- Ya3ni mara7 titzaharo?
- Yimkin ba3dil dohor
- Tayyeb ntibho 3a7alkon. Bawwseele Tarek
- Eh ok. Matinsi le’shat lefoddi
- Hayyene talabto khalas. Battal fee shi bildene gheir ‘shat foddi.
- Lah. Fee orange we akhdar we asfar we l’azra’ 3ale7doud we fee ‘shat el amen we ‘shat eltames we fee zinnar elma7abbeh we tadamon wel wifak … halla’ khalleena 3al foddi
- Shou sa’eele. Bye habibi
- Bye hayete.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We'll sit this one out?

Maybe the next vigil, the next cause, the next fight ...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

La Pedrera

One more letter.
One more letter is all she can read.
One more letter before she resigned to a world of uncertainty. Before she leaves her planned days and planned fate to unravel the thick crust of life.

She will read and by the end of the lines she will forget him for good. She will leave her grief behind. This overwhelming feeling of sadness that became her accompanying emotion and her comfort. Today her physical pain leaves no room for sorrow. Today she chooses to be angry. She chooses herself and she chooses to blame the world for her troubles.
This was a letter she wrote for him,
“ My beloved,
As he becomes weaker before me every day, I cannot help but think about the futility of this path we call life. As the reason of my turmoil turns helpless, I cannot but question myself. I have to question my courage and my commitment to myself and to you. I have to question the reason I remain by his side. I long for you my love and I am in constant pain. My memory betrays me more so every day and it feels cruel when the memory of your face is all I have left. I ponder upon life around me. I look at the trees and the flowers and the dry leaves dancing in the wind and I wonder. I wish I could transcend my soul into a more simplistic form. Into a leaf hugged by its mother branch, into a fading ray warmed by the curb, into a dancing star hiding in the sky. I wish I could be a murmur, a lover’s whisper, a twinkle in a child’s eye. I wish I could be a tune that will once die. I wish I could be happy. I wish I could melt away like a sand grain under a foaming wave, like the memory of my life, like my skin under your touch. I wish I could love you once more. He screams my name in the long feverish nights. Long nights my love. Nights made bearable only by my watering eyes meeting the early morning rays. Long nights of sickness and of stillness in my heart. Tears are a wonderful thing. These rivers of my melting soul spilling away. These rivers of washed hesitations and washed sins and washed regrets. Regrets mean nothing when we do not have a choice. We cry to comfort ourselves and not to show regret. Tears are personal. These involuntary inevitable bursts of moaning hurting muscles oozing in drilling fluids, drilling into my face, drilling the lines on my skin. This kindness of nature. This natural right of our body to revolt and to react to the strength of our deep disappointment and confusion and distortion. Distortion. A distorted life is what we all live. A distortion of reality is what I am. A left shade of what I was prepared to be.”

She pauses and looks into the glass.
It is fall and the world has given up.
This habitual feeling of loss and of hurting. She collects her face in her fingers and tries to cry in vain. She cannot be sad anymore. She does not have the luxury of giving up in a storm of emotions. She chose anger instead. She was angry at the world. Loss was not of her making. Loss was the cold hand of fate that took her child away. Loss was inevitable and death was a reality. People die but children were not supposed to die. She suddenly remembered Emma. There was another. Her baby. Her baby that would be a piece of him. That would have his face. The empty cradle. A sudden emptiness. A sudden pain in her stomach. The crimson center piece on her desk. The smell of torture. The smell of blood in the wash room. The face of her mother. The darkness that was now her life and outside her window. A dim light coming from the house across the street. That trivial house that enclosed a trivial life and a silly family. That frozen woman who lived by the rules. Those plastic flowers. Those plastic lives. Those lives lived without her. Life will not cease without her. Or without him.

Who knew
Who knew that a moment stolen in life,
Is life?
Who knew that the beginning of one’s happiness
Never happens …
Who knew that the chilling morning breeze
Might remain one’s reason to live
That the days carry happiness only before they achieve
That there is nothing to unravel
That life is the act of unraveling.
That constant betterment leads to perpetual unsatisfaction
Who knew
Who knew that to choose not to wrestle with demons is to live blissfully
Who knew life’s anesthetic routine is not to be questioned
Who knew that jolts of joy are gifts to the youngsters
And that love visits only once?
Who knew?

“Some people cannot just be. Some people have to make a mess of it all and some women seem to need the reassurement of a lifetime every day. Life faces me every day. I do not know anymore if I am the reason of his survival or that of his pain as I do not remember if you were my cure or the reason for my ailment. The baby is growing inside me.”

I think it has been a year since I last saw him. We called him Techno Rami. He also went by Rami Tuesday and the Egyptian. He looked like the descendent of pharos and acted like one. His sense of style is what got him through. Through many circles and many rounds of forgiveness that is. He lived off of 42 street and I always thought it was fitting. He managed a high profiled underground lounge in the meat packing district reserved most of the nights for last minute fashion after parties, he had a mounted hookah in the living room, extra bob Marley orange shirts for guests, bottles of water every where and a complete set of skin treatment lotions cleverly hidden in his bathroom. He stayed up one night comforting his friend as we listened in the next room. Men obsess about the women they love too. These two men were far from intellectual and nicely fitted the profile of the wholesome night guys who you never introduce to your mother. Nonetheless they suffered and they actually displayed human-like feelings and disappointments in love. It was nice to know.

He came home running on a very cold December night. I was just about to clean my face and get ready to bed. He ran to his room. He must be coming down with a cold I thought. I can’t get sick again. I should stay away from him. People who get sick become so undesirable like people from horror movies who get bit by a vampire and want to hide it. He’s hiding the fact that he’s sick. I will keep away from him. He came out of his room after half an hour. His manly scent preceded him. His naturally auburn highlighted hair was now showing as he lost his wool cap and it fell next to his long lashes bringing the hazel that intercepted the blue in his eyes. He had replaced his old pumas with solid heel black Armani loafers that added a flirtatious young touch to his seriously pleated pants. I wondered who ironed his shirt. I looked him up and down and must have almost embarrassed him with the look of pride I had in my eyes. Ok go I said. Go before I change my mind.

We were having coffee as we do. We played with words and drawings and games and we laughed. I laughed like I haven’t laughed in a long time. We were screaming and cheating and fighting and not keeping scores. Every now and then we would just relax and talk. Every now and then I would shy away with my looks and think how did it happen? Every now and then I would remember our nights on the town. Running home to change into a night outfit, hopping through cabs and hopping through bars and hopping through guys here and there. Drinking and collecting phone numbers and harboring hangovers. Days long gone … I wish you were here with us. We always loved to play games me and you and we managed to fight and cheat and laugh every time. We sang karaoke in your living room and I couldn’t carry a single tune and you teased me. They promised to love us together and they promised to try and move down there with us. This might just work after all …

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


It’s quarter to life
A letter a picture and tomorrow

I’m 29 tomorrow. I know! I don’t look a day over 28 and a half!
My mama is coming soon …
I will be engaged soon … Yes! Engaged! Me!!!
I know where I’ll be early Spring. You guessed it ...
And I move to my new job early Summer

Soon nothing will be the same …
Life does surprise you when you least expect it …
It’s true …

I'm so stressed out right now and seem unable to hold a thought
So excited right now about all the changes around me
So scared still .. Good scared though ...

We'll see what happens ...

Today i go to bed, my good old bed,
I wake up to my New York
walk to my lab, talk to my boss,
get lunch at the same place
have a coffee break with Mia
Maybe see Mazen, Wassim or Tina ..
Design an experiment with Corina ..
fill out some forms, send some emails out ...
Write ...

Most of all start saying goodbye
little by little
every day ...
And start enjoying every moment left
In this place i called home for so many years
And in my cozy little life here ...
And i can't wait for what's next!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ya Ot3et Sama!
(pic, courtesy of

Wlak meet kiss ikhtek shou mahdoumeh wala the polite I think you’re cool …
Meet 7abibi arrab nos we nos wlal pretentious so you like hip hop, Spanish rock? …
Meet la i7sob alla makhala’ak welal keep it up and I will report you to someone …
Meet naffekh 3alayha tanjali welal you will have to step to the opposite sidewalk to smoke ...
Meet holel tawoo’ madaaaame baddik yehon mbahhrine walal I’m gonna need you to repeat your social security number …
Meet mafi sle7 3al shatt walal you will need to show your ID at all times and have it visible …
Meet oumi tanor’os yasabiyyeh walal hey what’s up, you need a beer, you’re fine?
Meet eh maba3rif shou baddi ishtighil walal I perfected my resume to match each recruiter’s demands and I have a bitchin cover letter …
Meet you work on proteins, like in steak? Walal so … biotech or pharm?
Meet double parks walal walks in the park …
Meet keis 3ara’ wala Cosmo we Martini … meet man’oushe wala muffineyeh …
Meet ‘re3 3ala 3ein lemraysseh wala thug in a navy shirt having an after work cocktail with his Wall Street colleagues on second ave. on a Friday night …
Meet sitt hoda ghasiletek shou ndaf wala so like.. I went to the gym while I had my clothes in the dryer …
Meet ya albi ya mama wala think about it rationally and have a detailed plan …
Meet bearded guys Che-style with green shirts and lots of issues wala clean shaved dudes with big muscles and lots of career options …
Mar’ad 3anze bi libnan wala meet studio apartment bi nyc wala meet town house bi La Jolla …
La Jolla???
Keef sorna hon?
Wein ar3et jiddna?
Seem to have lost it!!
Where are you authorized to work? Ummm … Lebanon
Where is the country of your nationality? Also Lebanon
The country you were born … Again … Lebanon
The country of your heart? Lebanon
Ouff hal heart shou baddo yil’a …

Tayyeb i see the mood has shifted a little.. At least on the blogs ..
I see laughter and songs and pictures and renewed promises ...
Keep smiling ... mafi a7la minkon when you smile ...
El La Jolla el ... hayda lli na'esneh ...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Come on now ...
I find myself pacing the room saying out loud.. ok.. ok ok ok now… now what…
We all seemed to realize during the July war how much we care. The thing that got to us the most and distressed us the most was some split in views and opinions but it seemed that our united feelings got us through. This is not an exaggerated romantic idea, it’s true. I don’t know what I would have done without my Lebanese friends here. It happened that just before July, we were all too busy to often check on each other. The minute the war started we all gathered up so naturally and with no words or 3atab we just sat down together wiping each other’s tears, throwing a joke here and there, hugging one another and simply crying together. We heard about the wonderful show of unity back home and we felt proud but we all saw signs of disagreement. It seems that we are only left with disagreement at this point and it feels merely exhausting. The two parties are split like a couple going through divorce and the country is self-destructing. Some of us already gave up. The same people who, not so long ago, were expressing their love for this little country of ours but I understand. We expressed our longing and nostalgia but we all produced images of childhood memories. Home is where you grew up. Home is family. Home is memories. Nothing we see or hear about these days represents our romantic idea of home. When the country itself loses its identity how are we supposed to still identify with it?

It is home though. Like it or not, it is all we have. If you lose perspective, think about the people you love. Home is also an accent that you relate to, a name that rings a bell, a shared memory or image with a complete stranger, people you meet for the first time and you connect with. Our home might be going through a rough period but we have to take the bad with the good. Our home doesn’t lose its identity because we are its identity. I love my Lebanon because I love Mar and Hashem and Gitanes and Eve and Maya and Jooj and Laila .. Some of them I loved just because they’re Lebanese. Let’s not give up just yet. Remember our promises to Lebanon? Remember our whispers not so long ago? Under the bombing and the absolute despair of being attacked by a mighty neighboring aggressor we stood tall and proud and screamed that we are Lebanese. I see how when our people fight each other, we might start to lose faith in our country. We are our country though and i have faith in you. We only realize how much we love something when we're about to lose it or when someone else tries to take it from us. I said i felt their boots on my skin and i meant it. I said every rip in the earth ripped in my heart, Ripped in my soul, and as they blocked the sky i lived in darkness, and i meant every word.
Home is where people speak your language, the language of your heart. Come on now ... Don't give up .. Not just yet ..

Friday, November 24, 2006

--- "Geagea was chilling in his denunciations. "We will not accept that this government shall be changed for a government of murderers and criminals," he shouted. And since it is Sayed Hassan Nasrallah of the Shia Hizbollah who has been abusing the Siniora cabinet as the government of "the US ambassador" - and since it is the Shia ministers who have withdrawn from this same cabinet - one could conclude, could one not, that Dr Geagea's "murderers and criminals" were Shia.

Indeed, dwelling on his bloody wartime sins, most of which were amnestied, one has to reflect why Geagea's lads blew up the congregation of the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in 1994; the court said that he wanted to persuade Christians that Hizbollah had committed the crime.

Funny how these things come back to us. Oddly, Pierre Gemayel's murder has had exactly the same effect on Christians and Sunni Muslims; it has persuaded many of them that the Hizbollah, on Syria's behalf, committed the crime. A distressing thought." -- Fisk, full article here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another victim of politics
I will just link Bech's comment on this and i urge all the young Lebanese PS students to reconsider their future in light of the campaign of weapons of mass distraction that we’re being subjected to and that incidentally uses politicians as a bait.

The lurking civil war might very well have started. A friend of mine who taught 4 year old school kids told me that the kids at school were screaming Aoun vs. Geagea in class.

Sometimes i wish Lebanese people were a bit more stupid and a bit less passionate since apparently we will remain divided no matter what, we could at least do it silently and passively. We seem to have adopted starbucks and plastic surgeries but missed out on working hard watching tv like vegetables and passing out with a beer at the end of the day. We need a full dose of conformity and blind loyalty with a side order of laziness, selfishness, indifference and ignorance to stay away from killing each other. I guess we're not fully americanized yet.

We even turned the world cup political. The 'new world order' will be implemented through stupid people like us who will propagate the disorder and give an excuse to world policing and fascism. It's not the 'security stupid', it's not the tribunal stupid, it's good old false flags stupid.

Allah yir7amo

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My ageless mama

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy birthday mama

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A bientot ... Until the next spring ...

I leave you with a smile and a wish and a thank you for all your comments and support. It has been great.

Next time I’ll write to you it’ll be from a new place and, who knows, maybe with a new tone.
I never summarized what my blog will be about. I didn’t know in advance what I wanted to talk to you about and what my message to you would be. I still don’t.

One thing I know for sure.. The best thing you can do in life besides loving is dancing!

So gentlemen,
Whether you’re half naked schmoozing the ladies in a beach party somewhere, or in your best drinking champagne on a boat in city island, or losing your mind jumping up and down and shaking to a shakira song in some foreign country, just keep dancing.
And ladies,
Whether you’re cute as a button in your heels and your up-do hanging to your man’s shoulder at the opera or swaying to Joe’s Waynik, whether you’re in your sneaks and hip hop hat hopping on bars dancing techno, or you’re twirling in a salsa joint somewhere in the Caribbean, remember the goddess you are and just keep dancing.

Be good to yourselves and each other, don't be to the left or the right be everywhere, don't forget your family and loved ones and the palestinians, help because you can and because it all concerns you, don't be limited by your borders (not in an occupation sense Israelis), don't be an Arab or a Lebanese or an Israeli or an American, be a humanist, live in every direction, now is the time.

And know that the world is yours.

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Ding Dong... The witch is gone!

Last week all reports were showing that Rumsfeld will remain the defense secretary for two more years. Bush heard the message of the voters loud and clear as they expressed their anger about the war in Iraq. Democrats control the house now and are winning the senate (only if a Florida situation could be avoided in Virginia in the next hours). This is the most unexpected surprise and it might well be the first sign of hope for all of us.
Toxic Tango!

- My eyes adore you every morning after
- Every night before, a perpetual disaster
- Your muffin with blueberry on my night stand
- Your coffee in a hurry and your hidden wedding band
- The wrinkle on your nose, the freckle on your shoulder
- Your unsolicited prose, an illusion I could smolder
- I found my home in you, my tower of strength
- What will I ever do, you’re my prison of eternal length
- The way you shake when your body becomes my salvation
- When all is fake, a girl has to delve into her imagination
- My love for you will stay
come shine or come rain
Paroles, paroles, paroles ... I wish I were in love again
- Fixing my missing buttons to keep me warm
- Tearing mine in your silly explosive storm
- Your playful glance towards me across the room
- My daily stare at the reason of my doom
- An endearing rub on my neck as you pass me by
- Testing my means of freedom and practicing the alibi
- You’re the voice in my head, you’re my premonition
- I’ll put a gun in my head if I don’t change my disposition
- Spending your day in my arm
- Thinking of ways to give you harm
- My love, my darling love, what am i to do?
- Just dance and try not to step on my shoe

Monday, November 06, 2006

Is that all there is?

Do you sometimes wonder how and why you got where you are and when will it happen for you? And by it, I mean all. I mean life. Life as we learned it in movies and in novels and in operas. The stage you were promised with, or promised yourself for that matter. I would gracefully step down and get over mourir sur scene but never thought of not being sur scene to begin with. Does it feel to you that the constant elephant in any room full of adults is that lingering question, what the hell happened to my dreams? Does it get down to a point where any food for our lost confused souls has to fall under the ugly self-help and self-assertion and affirmation bullshit we try to convince ourselves with? Somewhere between the who we were and the who we hope to be, do we even know who we are? I still am waiting for my life to take off. Are you? When was the last time you had a day at work that was, in your eyes, as exciting or stimulating or hopeful as the last big ‘life-changing’ exam you passed? When was the last time you went away on a vacation that felt as dreamy or adventurous as a ski trip in school or a weekend away with your buddies in college? When was the last night out on the town or the last party or wedding you’ve been to that felt like that first big birthday party you threw or that club you ran to with your underage friends behind your parents’ backs.
Maybe it’s me but in order for me not to settle in life I had to bet on love. Maybe that’s why whenever I start writing about life; I end up writing about love. Love would be my walk in Jardin de Tuillerie in Paris or even my weekend in Vegas, a sidetrack in life full of flowers and dreams and maybe neon lights. I remember a vacation in Cyprus when I was 14 and I remember sneaking out with my sister riding down the bike track to the bar district where we sat far away and watched the beautiful couples dancing. I also remember our neighbors next door, a young attractive couple. Dad would buy us ice cream at the place next door as we sat down and watched them having dinner at the terrace from across the street. We dreamt of love. The thought that this awaited us in life was so exciting and we secretly hoped for it. I wonder how long that cute couple stayed together. I wonder if she was sick and tired of him not listening to her when she talked and if he eventually couldn’t commit and started dating another woman on the other side of the island. I’ll always wonder about love. I don’t know anymore. I loved once before. The crazy love. The can’t live without him kind of love and I’m afraid nothing will ever live up to that. It is a fact we have to acknowledge that, as we get more practical in life (older), the surprise flowers, the secret admirers, the outrageous feelings and the possibilities just might get more realistic.
Some of my more mature friends tell me they can’t remember the last time they had a fuzzy stomach and they tell me to get real and embrace the idea that loves like that just won’t happen anymore. The dreamers, like me, refuse to settle for any less and still are hoping for fireworks. Should love be for companionship? Someone who would hold your hand to get through your other disappointments in life or is that in itself disappointing? Should love be your only hope for that life of excitement and dreams and hopes and adventure?
Would you wait for a man who would inspire your poems of passion or would you settle with the man you would dedicate them to?
I know I’ll have my coup de foudre with an umbrella for one for now...

Listen to Mike Malloy tonight at 9:00 p.m. here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday blues ...

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Well it's cold out!

- Rafii can I have half a pound turkey slices?
- Sure, now how are you? Are your parents alright? I was asking your friend about you.
- I’m fine. Perfectly fine and so will Lebanon be. You know what Rafi, everybody in the Arabic world looks down at Lebanese as people who are not serious just because they are ‘liberal’. You have made your share of wise comments to me about LBC and Lebanese women over the years. Where do you come off? I hope you realize that when faced with circumstances like that, Lebanese people have more strength respect and will of power, men and women alike, than any other Arabic people. As women, we fight for our life the same way Palestinian women do and we are as respectful as Saudi women are but when we live we live honestly and we have nothing to hide. Our men that you dismiss as weak have been through hell for decades now. Lebanon, as you seem to so conveniently forget as you write it off as a party land, has paid the price for the cowardice of its neighbors. We might party hard and seek entertainment to get our mind off of decades of war and suffering and economical disasters. So spare me your concern.
- Ok. Well take care of yourself and I hope your family is fine.

A scenario that took place last July. I stepped out of the store with tears in my eyes not knowing what came over me. The poor Rafii didn’t deserve this reaction. It’s true that I had been so frustrated with his chauvinistic attitude against women, with his judgmental attitude towards Lebanese people, with his altered reaction when he first heard me talking in Arabic to a friend and with his marriage proposal to me, even when he has a wife and kids back home, so that, in his words, he can make a better woman out of me as if I’ve been casually pursuing my studies here and trying to make a life for myself only waiting for a man from Yemen to come and save me from my meaningless life and make a ‘better woman’ out of me.

Let me give you another example. I got to know this Egyptian club owner and this Palestinian DJ at this club I like to go to in nyc. I was faced with the same patronizing attitude the minute I said I was Lebanese. It usually is reflected through comments like; Lebanese women are the best people, I would love to go to Lebanon and live in jounieh but I heard downtown is catching up. To these guys, a man who serves alcohol for a living and doesn’t like to go into the Egyptian politics because ‘he’s over it’ and a Palestinian who help people shake it for a living and is also ‘over the Palestinian issues’, being a woman, I must be easy or cheap because I am Lebanese and I party. The point was made through so many comments, trust me.

My real frustration though was not about this attitude towards Lebanese women or women in general. I don’t like to talk about equality between men and women. I think feminism is an oxymoron. Women should not be asking for equality, they should just act it and be convinced with it. Some problems should be solved organically and are better not being dwelled on and reinforced. What frustrates me is the way we are typically perceived, as Lebanese men and women, by the Arabic world. I started talking about that before by describing the beautiful mosaic in Lebanon but seeing this made me want to elaborate here.

As I said this is not about the way women are particularly viewed and I really wouldn’t let these situations normally bother me. I think we have much important issues as a people to worry about and more pressing differences as a nation to reconcile but this article was too much. Now we have Americans describing us as cheap because we don’t do things behind closed doors or under the 3abaya (as some women in Saudi Arabia do as I have heard and seen in our same downtown) and we don’t hide our love for life and for partying. Is it me or just a couple of months ago we were portrayed as a replica of Taliban women. So now we are the extreme of that, we’re a generation of silly women who are haunting men so that we’ll have a chance of a life. The men who live at home are also portrayed as lost causes with no ambitions that are not worth pursuing by these haunting women. The research behind the article was a couple of interviews with a couple of teenagers and the venue was, well, one nightclub.

I’m a competent person in society. I pay my bills and I aim high. I care for others and I like to be informed. It also so happens that I love to dance and, yes, I show skin when I go out to clubs. It happens that, aside from sweating over the bench in lab, I broke a sweat on top of bars in most of the clubs in Lebanon and a lot of major cities in the world. It so happens that, as opposed to the vulgarity one comes across in nyc clubs, the clubs in Lebanon still maintain a level of class. It also happen that, from what I hear, other Arabic countries, like UAE, are following the trend and emulating the free spirit and fun loving life style of the Lebanese people. It so happens at the same time that only Lebanese people end up with the same reputation over and over again.

I do acknowledge that there is a general feeling of despair in our beloved country and that there’s a shift in values and an exaggerated care for the materialistic. There’s a global sense of depression and an inclination towards business and a quick buck as opposed to intellect, in some cases. We all know that this feeling is a direct result of being in and out of wars for the past decades. This is the main reason we delve into a life of immediate fun. What’s the excuse of the other Arabic countries? There is a continual feeling of frustration with our country and our government and the impotent repetitive political and economical events that might leave one wanting to live for the moment and to look for easier faster solutions. There’s a sense of defeat and lack of dreams. There’s a lack of believing in better days. Again, what’s the excuse of other Arabic countries? Dictatorships? Well revolt. We have done more than you did even when it wasn’t enough. Globalization? Fight it. Lack of industrial power? They certainly had a chance to prosper intellectually yet our universities remain the best in the ME, for once. You think you’re suffering from the Arabic Nakba still, we certainly took the plunge for that. You think you’re better and you have the right to criticize us? Stop emulating the Lebanese life style then, back us up and protect this little country in times of wars, and maybe then you can earn a higher moral ground and teach us how we should cope with stress and live our lives. Until then, keep quiet.

I think the image about Lebanon in the Arabic world started in the 50’s and 60’s. Those were different times in the Arabic world. Lebanon was viewed as the most ‘liberal’. That, for some reason, was synonymous to the least serious country. Throughout the wars we’ve risen and celebrated life over and over again. All the while maintaining our worldly status and our level of talent and intellect. The only impression we seem to leave on neighboring Arabic countries is the one left by our entertainers and our free media. The hypocrisy of this situation is that most of these Arabic countries live and celebrate quietly. The close mindedness is that just because we reflect an image of life and fun, we are considered cheap and far from worries. Just because we dress as we wish and we party and we live, we are labeled as non-traditional, non-religious and silly, men and women. We are criticized because we have gay clubs because homosexuality is still not accepted in the Arabic world. Do other Arabic countries have a lower percentage of homosexuality? I sure don’t think so but again we don’t hide. Again, just because a man cares about his appearance and a woman dresses as she wishes and act with confidence and independence doesn’t make him a weak boy and doesn’t make her a whore. My sister prays and goes out and in Ramadan she doesn’t drink at the club since she fasts. She’s a true believer and I always admired that in her. I wish most of the people who don’t leave the mosque and judge others would have half as much faith as she does.

Seriously now, where do they come off?

But anyway, there are issues far more important to worry about like Saddam’s death sentence coinciding with the mid-term elections for once.
(pic: a mosque and a church in downtown, close to where i live, right across the street is my favorite club in Beirut)
Those guys.

Do you have a guy in your life like that? A guy who. You would give the world to. Easily. Not knowing why. Not knowing when, it all started for you. He makes you smile and gives you back that feeling of excitement. You tuck him in every night. Mentally. And send him a kiss. Out there in the world. You think of him and cry. Happily. In the middle of a busy day. Just like that. You look down and hide your smile. Touch your neck and flip your hair. And even blush in your deep thoughts. You might have had a story. That you treasure deep in your heart. With no regret. And maybe not. Maybe he broke your heart. And maybe not. But you miss him. Equally. He's your secret. And yours alone. And even when you’re love starved. You know he’s not for you. But that’s not why you keep him in your heart. You love him more when he's not there. And it’s ok. It keeps you happy. In some strange way. You know what you are to him. You know exactly what you are not. You know when he means to keep you around. Just in case. You know when he doesn’t. Anymore. It will never be enough for you. You know you’re a woman who doesn’t settle and doesn’t go by these terms. Nonetheless, you indulge a fantasy. You send him out there. Out in a thought. You keep him alive in a memory. You don’t kill the dream. Not yet. You don’t dare to write him off and you shy away from having him materializing. He is not to be real. He’s better than reality. He’s the man in your dreams. He’s a sparkle of recklessness. A promise for more heartbreak, more tears and more feelings. And it’s exquisitely painful. And you can’t get over it. After all he makes you smile. After all he’s just a thought.
You might not have that. I do. And i do it with no regrets.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Our times
It is true what I suspected. I get attached to people because I get nostalgic towards everything that happened in my past and I like the memory that corresponds to and gets evoked with certain faces from the past. I also have this very strong mental association of each person I know with a set of emotions that go with them like a short movie in my head and each movie has its own soundtrack and colors and smells. Seeing you again reminded me of hour long discussions about the Pagan origin of Christian traditions, of screaming at the radio listening to Michael Baisden, of running out of lab at 3 in the afternoon when the boss is not looking to watch Dr. Phil, of politics and life and love and your beautiful Jamaican colors, of your support during my desperation over the war in Iraq and mine during your desperation in love, of fighting me for being an atheist and accusing me of lacking a soul and changing your mind when I prayed with you for the recovery of the king of soul who made us both cry as we missed our fathers.

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On paper ... Off the mind ...

A couple of American soldiers or so were killed in a suicide attack in Iraq.
Let’s just be simple about this. The soldiers are clearly there because they’re idiots. They’re poor men gathered from ghettos and from the projects and the poor neighborhoods. They’re students who want to write off some loans or just mere idiots who think they’re on some kind of a mission other than policing the greasy interests of the stuffed suits in the region. Yet some are just thirsty for blood as the well-anticipated Seymour Hersh report will soon reveal. I have to acknowledge that the Iraqis who are operating against the Americans are resisting an occupation. We can't ignore the additional civil war turmoil which is cause by direct hatred of the different sectarian groups towards each other as well as by the covert false flags by outside groups turning these against each other, the Israeli, the American and the Iranian interference in the matter, but simply really why are the Americans fighting the Iraqis?

The resistance by the Iraqis might be carried on as a form of pressuring the government of a certain defined enemy. This is how small militias operate. I would assume this would be the only reasoning behind spilling bombs into civilian areas in Israel proper. As wicked as these actions are, I could understand the strategic significance of an unbalanced war against a much stronger occupier that is inflicting tortures and terror on the people it occupies. The problem in the case of Iraq though is that the American government had sent its troops abroad. Do you remember an old little cute movie with Dani Devito where his wife gets kidnapped and he doesn’t pay the ransom because he wanted to get rid of her in the first place? It leaves the kidnapper in a very embarrassing and hopeless situation. I think the American government can’t care less about those American kids dying there so really what’s the point of the resistance operations if the husband is not pressured? Instantaneous self-defense maybe so I presume the American troops are inflicting suffering that, to the people’s judgment, deserves such a response (Abu Ghreib maybe?). In the larger sense a moral obligation of freedom fighting towards an occupying force, of course.

That still leaves me wondering about the persistent motivation of those American kids who are there. So the troops find themselves stuck there because no one cares to bail them out. The Iraqis have to resist since it’s their national duty, fighting each other in the process as well due to a sudden release of authority that left them with territorial struggles as a priority. The American government is profiting and had assigned the Iraqi government as cover. Iran is negotiating …

How will this ever end? What country is next? Really what was the war in Lebanon about? How absurd is this? Only 2 months ago a bunch of Israeli kids and Lebanese kids were ready to kill each other. Why? Who do we do it for? The sons of an occupied land will always find a moral reason but what about the sons of the empire who do it just so the sons of bitches in power get richer? Where is the motivation there?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Whispers in the woods ...

And a wave of her scent
Lighting up the dark --
Was it cold that night?
Did she slant his destiny
away from harm’s way?
Was it cold,
or was it her shadow
in the meadow
playing with the light?

And a vision of her face
Lurking in the corner --
Did he strut in the moonlight
down the hills of pine,
down the cedar road?
Did he wrap his tired shoulders
with a garment of oak?
Or did his languished limbs pine
to the forgotten hills?

And a dream of her robe
shivering in the wind --
Did the grass lick his finger tips,
cold as the stones cold as the grains,
swollen like the half-ripe cherries,
electrifying like autumn chills?
Did her eyes sparkle like laughter in the woods ...
Her lips golden like half-open flowers Call his name?

And a wave of her scent
Lighting up the dark --
And a whisper and a dancing shadow ...
And his cold hands,
hugging her hair like an amber comb,
stroking her cheeks like beats of gentle rain,
like the glittering shine on the flickering stream,
like tender dew distilling down slowly on a green waxy stem ...

Did she pass him through?
Or was it the morning ray,
sweeping through the night
on a November day?

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Happy anniversary
An interesting video

here and some for fun here, here, here and here.

"US Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques"
By Greg Mitchell

"Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.

According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a "non-hostile weapons discharge."

She was only the third American woman killed in Iraq so her death drew wide press attention. A "non-hostile weapons discharge" leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials "said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson's own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian."

But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, unsatisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, "just on a hunch," he told E&P today. He made "hundreds of phone calls" to the military and couldn't get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here’s what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported yesterday:

"Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed...."

She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. "But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle," the documents disclose."

Full article here

And i'm in anticipation of Hersh's full disclosure:

“There has never been an American army as violent and murderous as the one in Iraq”

Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh slams Bush at McGill address.

Martin Lukacs

“The bad news,” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal audience last Wednesday, “is that there are 816 days left in the reign of King George II of America.” The good news? “When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be one less day.”

Hersh, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government for nearly 40 years. Since his 1969 exposé of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, which is widely believed to have helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, he has broken news about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called Media@McGill – Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer."

Full article here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Repeated thoughts ... Still no answers ...

8:00 a.m.
I feel so happy today I can scream! Is life finally catching up? I love it when things shake off a little and you get a peek into what you will do next and your heart can’t contain the joy of the excitement. Every turn in your carrier presents a new life in a new place. It felt so good to wake up today without any feeling of guilt. The first thing I usually get in the morning is a quick flashback from the day before where I focus on the negative and I sink into panic attack. This morning I only have flashbacks from a wonderful day of laughter hope and champagne.
Such a great day!!

8:30 a.m.
I should stop reading Ha’aretz. It is so depressing. Why are they still launching those air raids on Gaza? Why this excess use of power and how is that fine? What is the purpose of this? To kill all the Hamas men and Hamas women and Hamas babies?
- Dan stop it!
He keeps putting the moustache and the eye patch on and he scares me looking like that. Yesterday we decided that a phd is like pregnancy. Once you’re in, you’re stuck, there’s no way out before the defense a.k.a. delivery. Your gynecologist, just like your committee members, comes along to help you out but in the end you’re the only one who has to push and hurt. Your last meeting with them is equivalent to your last visit to the doctor when he tells you you’re on your own and next time he sees you you’ll be in a great deal of turmoil. You might make your life harder if you don’t do your exercises and be responsible but at the end all will suffer. You know it will result in something that theoretically should be great but will only result in more work, responsibilities and more guilt. Then we agreed it’s more like IVF because you go out of your way to make it happen and you only have yourself to blame when you’re screaming. Ok enough, happy thoughts.

9:00 a.m.
That professor yesterday kept asking about my next plans. The one I met in Germany is waiting for an email and the one in London seemed excited about having me join her group. But wait … Am I not going back home? I forgot how my feelings were before the war and how they changed with it. I love so many things about Lebanon. But I hate so many other things. I left for a reason. It did turn out to be a mistake though. Did it? Still not sure. And now what? I don’t know where I belong anymore … Will deal with it later anyway. But when? What will happen to the cats? Can I ship them? To work there is a major step back. Does it matter? And to whom? How will I live there again? There’s no online shopping but who needs it when everything is accessible? Everything is so chaotic. It is adorable though and so relaxed. And the beach … I could move to San Diego for that. I have a lot of friends there. Maybe Nice? Family. Do I want to live in France for sure? It’s a step closer to home and I do like it there. Why not go all the way home then?. Is it just work? Who cares? Everybody works. Arabic countries? No way. London is another option. Family. A lab I really like. Do I want to stay in a lab? Not sure anymore. I do like the search, the challenge and being at the edge of science. It makes more sense to stay in it to go home eventually. Academia is safer for Lebanon. It’s such a tedious life though. No money. Who cares about money? I never did. If I don’t then why not just go back home? Lebanon feels like the small town people leave to go live the city life. No one actually builds a life in the city. I will never belong here and I’m starting to detach from there. I should take that step before it’s too late. I have to decide where I want to live and the job opportunities follow. Or is it the other way around? It’s great to have the freedom to decide. Or is it? Sometimes I wish someone would tell me what to do. I do love so many things about Lebanon … or is it only in my head? ….

Will see how the rest of the day goes …

Update: 11:00 p.m.
Evil twin annoying the hell out of me!

Update: 12:00 p.m.
Had lunch with L., she recently got fired. Try telling a 50 year old that she will find another job easily when you've been trying telling yourself that all day

Update: 2:00 p.m.
Went to a seminar. I really think the presenter was a prototype of the next generation robot scientists. I don't know what a soul is exactly but i'm assuming it's whatever this person lacks!

5:00 p.m. Happy hour, told rightwinger Bush advocate Israel supporter professor to go srew himself.

5:01 p.m. Left happy hour.

6:00 p.m. Bush said again today that he's very pleased with the outcome in Iraq. Some people still think the war in Iraq was about bringing freedom to the Iraqis. It is so depressing to know that we have to share the earth with so many idiots. And to know these idiots, more than none, are running our lives.

6:30 p.m. What will happen to this world? I don't know if it's comforting to think that the world has known worse super powers in the past or if it's just disturbing to see it all happen again. Mike Malloy said on his last show, we wonder how the Germans let it happen? look at yourself.

7:00 p.m.

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8:00 p.m.
Allo, shou fi mafi
tayyeb i'm going out..

11:00 p.m.
That was fun enough for a Wednesday night ...
Hope to wake up with panic having left me. Hope people will vote democrat in the mid-term elections. Hope a long life to my mom. Hope my nephews' little ears had forgotten the nasty sounds of the war. Hope we all forget the hurt and some turn of events stop the suffering of the rest.
I'm tired ...
Good night

I hate Rachel Ray and Tyra Banks and Bill Oreilly and i really don't know why America runs on Dunkin!