Monday, October 30, 2006

Jeux d'enfants

- Come. I saw something moving in the trees. The wind passed by. Come let’s see
- But where did everyone go? What are they doing?
- We don’t care. Come let’s play like we do. Do you see the stars? We will go to the stars tonight. How about that? Do you know what’s out there?
- Can we really still play? They all stopped playing.
- Yes we can.
- Where did they all leave to?
- To their world
- Where is that?
- In our heads.
- Where’s ours?
- In theirs.
- We have to make it pretty then.
- Yes we have ...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A voice of reason

Listen to my other favorite guy, Mike Malloy (Keith Olbermann being the first)

This is the podcast of his show on airamerica (where he used to speak before he got fired for speaking the truth) Thursday the 19th here and Friday the 20th here.

And Olbermann's take on the recently signed military commission's act.

Late news but can't be repeated enough.
Boo ...

My favorite time of the year is here. The only time I get to experiment with new shades of makeup without looking weird and to pull marathons of my favorite horror classics.
Have yourself a good old scare.. Go play!

powered by ODEO
Talking to you about home reminded me of talking to her about love

Void and space of possibilities.
A land uncluttered with broken smiles.
Clean of memories clean of rips and tears.
Shiny virgin cheeks untainted with tears.
tears, black tears ---
White tears.
Tears of madness at dawn.
Tears until morning yawns.
Void and emotions crippled.
Angry voices swiveled.
Into moans.
Neutered faces.
Blanched expressions.
Flaccid screams.
Plastered smiles.
Bouncing homes.
Bouncing sofas.
Disposable lives.
Easy sealed stories.
Easy peeled loves.

Void void.
Nothing but echoes.
White walls greased with sweat.
Heat of the moment.
Heat of any moment.
Heat of the days.
Heat of life.
Life under fire.
Burning desire.
And silence.
And space.
And void.
Vague potentials
Never materializing
Faced with the known
The safe
The small and warm
Home or life
Womb or life
A thought of mystery
Of the road not taken
Or knowing what’s behind the curb
Counting your steps or flying?

Love turns out is very similar to living
If you haven’t had a fuzzy stomach
If you haven’t cried when happy
More than you cried when sad
If you haven’t been scared
At the idea of losing someone
If you haven’t doubted your life
At the loss of someone
You haven’t loved
Nor lived ...

I told my baby sister to go and love and to break her heart for a new man and cry and make a mess out of life and never look back. I tell you leave and don't regret, throw yourself in the world, get scared, get overwhelmed, even get colder sometimes, go break your heart for a new city and don't look back ...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Lebanese night ...

Uff shou shta'na!

(Absolut pic taken from zouzou's blog)

powered by ODEO
My dear Dan

Thank you for making me tea and doing the dishes when I’m sick
Thank you for becoming like my surrogate little family away from home
For adding so much warmth to my life when I feel down or alone
For having a seat in the living room and keeping a seat for me
For your little habits that never change and that make me feel safe
Thank you for the laughter, the support and the friendship
For your hilarious stories about aliens and the making of the world
For the taped mice behavioral experiments you bring home for the cats to watch,
and they do!
For your laid back attitude that gives me perspective and calms me down
For taking my mind away from trouble by making me watch cartoons with you
And explaining the episode for me
For leaving the oven on and then accusing the cat of doing it
For the peace you bring home with your washed down attitude
For the smell of shaving cream in the morning that reminds me of my dad
For 7ala bread you bring back after your dinner with your folks
For wanting to throw a party every day
For explaining American expressions and American politics for me
For saying Gerard de pardieu the way you do evey time i want to laugh
For making fun of Bush
For feeding the cats sometimes
For being like a little brother
For teasing me like a little brother
And for being so much fun
For letting me highlight your hair
For wanting to adopt a monkey
And all the embarrassing stories you share
For all the years you were there
For abstaining from singing in the shower
For being you. The best roommate I could have wished for all those years.

Friday, October 27, 2006

One of their own is
breaking the silence.
The rest will follow ..

One of the main arguments that people, mainly American Jews, here in the United States are opposed with when they speak against Israel is that they are far away and they cannot evaluate what is better for the state of Israel. It is always refreshing to see people like Yehuda Shaul, a former Israeli soldier, touring the US informing people about the situation of the Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza and condemning the Israeli government. The irony is, in most of the cases we observed, that more Israelis are condemning the occupation than actual American Jews who are 100 % supportive of what the Israeli government does. I think it is a selfish act on behalf of American Jews because whereas Israelis care for a just peace to live a lasting peace and want to end the occupation, American Jews are not physically immediately affected by events in the 'promised land' and look at it as a military camp or a symbol of safety or even control, disregarding the safety and humanity of others.

From Yehuda Shaul's interview transcript,
---"And when I suddenly looked at myself from the outside and looked backwards, you know, to what I’ve done in the past two years and ten months in the Occupied Territories as a soldier, I was totally shocked. I realized that something mad was going around me. Suddenly I realized that the situation that I took part in brought me to do stuff that, you know -- I wanted to believe that it wasn't me. But, you know, I couldn't escape it. It was me. And when I realized that, I felt that I can't continue my life without doing something about it.


And I was discharged in March 2004. In June 2004, we started our activities with a photo exhibition and video testimonies from our service in Hebron. As I said, I served fourteen months in Hebron, so it was obvious that we're going to start from there. And the idea of the exhibition, we called it then, is to break the silence surrounding what's going on in the Occupied Territories, in what we called “Bringing Hebron to Tel Aviv,” because you must understand that, you know, what's going on in the Occupied Territories is like the biggest secret in Israeli society. It's like the taboo. You never talk about it. It's like something that happens in the backyard. It's the dirt from the back yard that no one wants to have it in the front. And for that reason --"
La Pedrera

His coffee with Antoni could have been as enjoyable as it usually is if it weren’t for his sudden absent mindedness. His friend’s restlessness seemed less entertaining that day and his despair less relatable and less comforting. Today was a good day, he kept thinking. Nothing was about to dampen the fire erupting inside him and no reality was about to take him away from his longing. Antoni’s ardent words turned to dust as they bounced around the room. His opinions, his attitude fell flat and unattended. He was only interested in obtaining those papers before leaving and he fixed his eyes on them totally oblivious of the man facing him. He had an idea of her and to him that was soothing enough. Nothing was as hopeful to him as seeing her again and being around her. Her feelings might have changed. He only had to see her to know. The trip to La Pedrera seemed short. He was almost running. His heart was already there, at her door, at her feet, where it always belonged.


Elisa’s thoughts were interrupted with a knock on the door.

It can’t be that Angelique is back from her trip. I specifically told her to spend the day. This girl will never get it right. The letters will have to wait.

- Franco, I wasn’t expecting your company this afternoon.
- Right. Well, I bring you the plans for the forth floor and I thought It would make you happy to know that Antoni is considering the project. He has the drawings for you. He has a very innovative idea for the eastern apartments.

She guided him to the terrace and he sat facing her as she reached for the basket of thread work and started carelessly working her needle through the red piece of linen. She was almost smug sitting in her chair as if she gathered all of the years’ confidence and fullness to contain him in her presence. He looked for a sign of her affection, for a look of hesitation witnessing her need for him. He hopelessly looked as she passed her needle slowly and carefully. He gazed at her fingers and his words betrayed him as he held his breath gazing at her playful fingers and her delicate wrist. She passed a look towards the hall behind him which compelled him saying,

- Are you expecting anyone?
- What? No. I need to apologize. I cannot serve you anything. I sent the servants away.
- I ran into them earlier today before my meeting with Antoni. Emma was with them ...

At that moment she leaned with her body towards him. Her language confused him. Her voice came tender almost moaned with exquisite femininity yet her phrases to him were cold and abrupt today. Her unbuttoned velvet robe hugged her hips as her long frail legs crossed so naturally and kept shaking slowly keeping his body attentive alert nervously wired in anticipation of her every move. Every now and then she would uncross her legs and sit straight to affirm what she was about to say, only to sit back again and stare in the hallway. Her face was not the face of the woman who once threw herself in his arms. He looked for the pure face that kneeled for him at that altar praying for his soul. He helplessly looked for a reaction. She had lost her confusion and her fragile skin was not conveying tenderness. She looked cold. She was not his Eurydice waving her long black hair as he carried her to safety, she was his Androphonos, his killer, and hers was an empty body that turned his to stone.

She looked like his torturer.

- About the plans. Listen, I really cannot invest in those plans at the moment and the last thing I need is an artist less committed than myself to this building. I’m not sure, in the light of the recent events that I am myself committed to this city.
- You're leaving?

She drops her work all at once, she drops her arms as well, as if to end their meeting, and his heart came to a halt. He mumbled her name in a last attempt to summon what they once had. This was his last chance to exorcise her out of her boredom. As he stood up he reached with one hand to grab the drawings as he reached with the other hand to hold hers. She turned her back to him.

- You need to leave now if you don’t mind. I have a lot of work around the house today.
- Certainly. He said with his head down and as he headed to the door.
- Do you still smell the red? Does it still remind you of me? Do you still see me in the faces of the strangers?

He felt insulted, belittled but he was strangely obliged to participate in her game. He owed it to himself to explore every chance she might give him and he owed his patience to her.

- I still do
- Then stop. You were my man when he couldn’t be. You know I love my husband.

At those words he had lost every hope. He had lost her. Eurydice had slipped away into her own world. Into a world of darkness and he could not salvage her soul.
He left.
He left her to go through one more letter.
To go through her day.
To go to her husband’s bedroom
NYC misses the bloggers terribly...

So you'll be in our hearts with every night out till 5 in the morning, every falafel and every Fairuz song.
Now we were thinking about January in Vegas for the next bloggers meeting?
Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

J'ai peur!!

I was never scared growing up. I never knew uncertainty or fear. I was generally happy and still am but it’s safe to say that with time it seems that I lose more than I gain. It could all be in my head. It could be that the gain to input is actually linear but, as we invest more time in life, we do develop higher expectations from it. With regards to everything, may that be professional or personal life, I now am scared. I heard myself saying that to a friend at the first sight of a serious relationship developing in my life. When did this happen? I try to find the girl who used to throw herself at life without a second thought. I used to be fearless. I ventured years ago into countries and procedures and adventures and hearts and lives completely foreign to me. I find myself lately shaking at the thought of any change. I used to drive like a maniac, now I drive like my mother. I feel exhausted when I think of some of the things I used to do. I feel scared too. Where does fear come from? And why is it proportional to age? And the idea that it develops at some more than others tells us that the predisposition to develop a lower threshold to fire the fear responses is what? Genetic?

Certainly there is a separation between conditioned and unconditioned fear. In the case of conditioned fear or unconditioned (exposure to new environment) Oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland. The mechanism of response to fear is well understood. Conditioned fear, as the name implies, relies on experience and is highly dependent on age. The exposure to a new environment could induce stress which explains people’s fear of change. While conditioned fear is obviously dependent on age, unconditioned fear should not be. Or maybe the more we know and we rely on experience as we go older, the more we are surprised and scared when faced with a new experience in our life. The question remains, why some people have higher fear responses than others or yet why some people develop a more sensitive fear response at an earlier stage in life? How does age control Oxytocin release? Is my pituitary aging faster than others’ and becoming more jumpy? Have I had more traumatic experiences that are deterring me from new environments? Or am I just predisposed to fear?

What’s the fear factor?
La Pedrera

He left his house for his usual morning walk. Every morning the driver asks to chaperone and every morning he gets the same reply. Despite his wealth he refrained from flaunting his large habits in a troubled Spain. In times where the aristocracy was imprisoned by its own detachment from reality, he walked the streets looking for a resemblance to his own life in the faces of the strangers. He was a man of strong convictions but he had a soft heart. He walked down the narrow streets of the old city sampling all the gifts of life that that world so generously endows the carefree man. It was a long walk from his carefully placed avant-garde apartment in the industrial Passeig de Gracia through the promiscuous colors and shapes of the stacked buildings in Catalunya down to the cathedral.
Every day he went back to that cathedral where he first met Elisa. Every day he traced back the memories and evoked the feelings as he traced the road that ushered his destiny into hers.

- Three red tulips please.
- As you like them sir?
- Yes without the stems.

He carried her three buds carefully in his hands and walked the steps to the cathedral. He laid the roses by the wholly mother and said a prayer for her. His walk down La Rambla was a blizzard of colors and sounds. Shouts of vendors and songs and people conversing and dancing and arguing. Everything was loud and extroverted about this part of town. Everything was also honest and simple and true. Racks full of life and of the ingenuity of crafts. He always pressed his step passing the market of cheap goods and the market of cheap painters to reach the carts of fabric. He stopped by the small wooden cart where he would greet the old lady who always seemed full of sorrow. She always had a new piece that she had created around her neck every day. She used to try to sell him in the beginning but then she stopped. She knew the deal they had. He gave her someone to talk to, even for moments, and she gave him moments of remembrance. As she flipped the fabric around with her hands that seem to age every day, she flipped his emotions around. For as long as he talked to her she could almost see the hope in his eyes. She saw how he was actually gazing into the colors on the cart. Almost in a daze, never looking around him and every day before he left she repeated to him,

You give your heart away,
How do you know they will stay?
How do you live without your heart?

He secretly smiled as he walked away. They had a deal.

The salted air from the sea announced the time to end his capricious trip and to meet his friend by the fishermen’s bay. His daily coffee with Antoni seemed to be his only thread with reality in those days. Descending from an equally wealthy family, Antoni shared his frustrations and reflected his fears of the social resentment that was broiling underneath the calm surface. Despite his genius artistic accomplishments, his friend was a dreamer none less who never mustered the required discipline to get through his projects as he never found the courage to get through his romances.

As he meant to take the curb to get to De Reial, he was stopped as he saw Angelica and Frederic leaving Boqeria market with little Emma. He waved at them.

- Good morning sir
- Good morning Angelica. Frederic.
- Sir, as the boy shied away with his looks.
- And the madam?
- Resting
- Very well. Maybe I will pay her a visit this afternoon.

His heart was pounding as he stepped away. He did not know whether to be excited or deeply worried at the fact that even the sight of the woman’s maid makes him happy.

Why is it that when we love, we love everything about the person? Even their eccentricities. Why is it that, by loving her, he was able to smell colors to? Why is it that the sound of her name makes his body tremble? Why is it that the thought of her makes him want to weep? And why is it that, even till this day, he can’t look at little Emma.

When a woman loves a man, she loves herself through him. She loves the woman he makes her feel she is. She loves the excitement of the possibility of what could be. She loves the frozen moments in time before reality happens, the energy before physicality achieves, she loves the reverie, the shadow of a man. A woman loves an idea, a role she wants to play. She loves a tortured soul praying for the goddess that she is forever. She loves the quest and the challenge. She was that woman. She was his torturer. To her, he was just a man in love. He was a poor soul that had committed to a body no longer estranged to his. He had committed to the warmth to the familiarity of her gestures. He had committed himself for eternity the day he cried in her arms.

Maybe I will see her this afternoon
Maybe it is time. Yes
It is the time …
Happy 3id yawl

kill 3id we into selmine jamee3an
el ahel wel as7ab wel jirane willi bi7ibbookon
willi mabi7ibbookon kamen .. yalla .. lesh la'
albkon kbeer

Hope the days will bring you happiness
and peace
and family and friends
and laughing with no reason
and a car that doesn't break down
and nights of moonlighting that go by fast
and a house by the sea
and a hidden piece of paper that carries dreams
and a hidden pocket where you find that picture you lost
and a book you forgot about that takes you to old places
and hidden places within yourself
and a smile of a person you made happy
even for moments
and a thank you
and i miss you
and strawberries and janerik
and a man as cute as the first time you met him
and a woman as tender as the heart you're giving her
and success
and an alarm clock you don't get used to
and an earth that's happy
and a bigger moon
and a house by the sea, another one
and i can't live without you
and a dance you don't get tired of
and a city that doesn't get tired of you
and i love you
and a newspaper full of good news
and applaud
and some ba'lewa we rizz b7alib

who needs blue birds and lemonade?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

La Pedrera

It was his smell. She had no doubt in her mind.

It was the smell of the man who drew her face and drew her destiny once again. The man who painted the veins of her face with the tip of a brush and painted the life in her body with the tip of his fingers. The man who flushed blood in her skin with a look and a smile. This letter. She knew this letter very well. How ruthless he was. How could she go on living after he touched her? The first time he touched her. The first time her urges did not daunt her and her heart not deter her as she succumbed and let her hair down flaring. She summons the first time he reached for the tip of her dress, how her shoulders shivered and how she let down of her guards. He made her lips tremble as she waited for his breath to pour his soul into hers. She remembered how her lashes curled wet, how her limbs ached as he draped her with his caress. How he wrapped her senseless and ravaged her essence with the flood of his manhood. He was the man who made her pray for life and pray for the day to purge her body. He was her curse, her doom, her fleeting hours, her culled memories and her turmoil. He was once the reason for her rising sun.

A knock on the door. She awaked from her daydreams, reached for her thick velvet robe as if to hide his traces on her body.

- Your mail madam.
- Thank you Frederic
- And Angelica?

She suspected the two were having a little affair. The boy looked very young and she felt Angelique was using him during her sejour a Barcelona. She could see it in his delicate yet startled looks and his diluted faded posture. She had seen them once by the stairwell as she climbed the stairs up to her home carrying flowers. They were both startled by the sight of the mistress and the girl ran to her help carrying the red tulips on her arms. As they went in the door that day, she remembered being revolted by the sight of those flowers in the girl’s arms. The red in her arms was too insolent it was almost mocking her.

- At my aunt’s house
- She left you alone?
- Certainly not. The mister is in him room, resting!

He looked uncertain but then he excused himself and left.

Those stairs where the girl leaned against the wall gazing at him. Where she stood inviting, defying his uncertainty with her explosive womanhood and her explosive laughter. Where she stroked the plaits of his young hair with gleaming confidence. Where she invaded his tucked in unappealing looks with her sure eyes and the fake purity on her cheeks. Why did that girl bother her? Is it because she was everything she could not be? Is it the recklessness of her young age or is it the fact that she didn’t live that bliss? Was she envious of her behavior?

All will be taken care of.
Once she becomes again the mistress of her own destiny.

She could not but hate her mother at that moment. She could almost see her judging looks. She could almost hear the strike of her cane against the floor as she repeated,

“What will become of you now my child? Who will take you in now?”

She imagined telling her about him, explaining to her that she once was worshiped, that she once had a worth and that she is a woman too. The thought of her mother’s horrified face amused her. She would go even further. She would tell her how she hated it all and how when she was in his arms, she forgot about being a mother and she forgot about being the decent wife she should be. She would tell her how she crawled into his bed and how he worked his fingers through her corset with care giving her, with every flip of lace, a new letter to her name.

She suddenly remembered the letters again. That smell. She was now shaking.

There was something else in those letters. She ran to her room again and to the letters again. The ribbon. The pale brown ribbon had seen other hands than hers. Other hands than his.
Could it be? …
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To learn more about this new initiative visit".

Saturday, October 21, 2006

La Pedrera

As she stood by the bed side, she could almost hear the smooth rustling sound of the leaves coming from the wash room window. Only then she realized that she hasn’t been breathing. Suddenly she had to make an effort to stand. She leaned on the dresser and she wandered with her eyes around the room. She looked at the crimson crochet on his nightstand. He always ridiculed her little decorative attempts. She weaved threads of color, threads of dreams. After achieving every piece, she would hold it in her palm and bring it closer to her face. She would pass it against her skin and smell it. She always thought that different colors had different smells and she ornamented her little world with aromas of colors. Pastel colors always smelled like the earth, like a freshly cut tree in her mother’s garden. Dark colors had the smell of the winter, the smell of the dancing dust coming through the dark attic spilling silver on the thick brown carpet, the smell of a black leather chair sweating in front of a chimney in her father's study and the poignant scent of cognac. Red smelled of her sin. Red smelled like voluptuous silky wine, like the rose he gave her, like their passion and indiscretion and impatience. Red was the smell of her secrets. Her secrets carefully folded in the creases of that crochet.

She stood by the bed as she heard the door open. The voice of Angelique came across the hall. Angelique was a young woman who came with her from Provence. She was young but she had a strong character that one can easily see coming through her high pitched voice and her fixed looks. She had a small frame and a very imposing presence that she asserted with her large hand gestures and her large steps. Her mother had insisted that she goes to Spain accompanied with the girl. She would say that Angelique had the life wisdom in her young age that she hadn’t acquired despite being older and that she will be of great help with the children. She never liked Angelique. The idea that she could not handle herself without her was true and was overbearing to her. Eventually she had to give her more responsibilities as her duties of nursing her husband took most of her time.
- Angelique, c’est toi?
- Oui madame. On a fait les courses et les enfants …
- Attends alors.

We all know pain. We all know pain. We cannot give tenderness if we don’t get it. My children need me. Little Francois was not nourished as my body was poisoned with sadness. I need to live in less sorrow for my children.
Is all she could think of as she stepped back out of the bedroom always staring at the crochet piece on the nightstand. She carefully closed the door and walked away. She did not understand her reaction to what might have been the fate of her husband. She did not understand the guilt she felt and the culpability she acted upon. All she knew was that she needed time to think.
- Tu vas prendre les petits au Carrer de Valencia.
- Chez ta tante ?
- Oui pour passer la journée.
- Et vous madame ?
- Je reste avec le monsieur. Il doit se reposer. Il a besoin de calme. Vas-t-en.
- Bien sur. Frédérique va chercher le courier.
- Très bien. Allez maintenant.

Back in her room the desk was still deserted. Her papers still on the armchair covered with her shawl. The package was still under the bed.
What if he’s dead? I will worry about that in a minute.
She took the papers that she was writing and tore them to small pieces. Wrapped the shawl really tight around her neck and sat in her chair. She reached for the empty cradle and started pushing it. She pushed hard.
Look at that, she thought … It is fall …
It is time …
The package was light. Somehow she knew what it will contain. As she starting unwrapping the knot, she noticed that it was wrinkled. It looked as if it was redone. She saw her letters to him. He had returned her letters. She covered them with both hands as if to make them disappear and she wept. She wept for a long time. As she wiped her tears she could smell the paper on her hands. There was another smell she recognized. It was his …
Me, myself and my blog!

I noticed that even after meeting a lot of my dear fellow bloggers i still only read the blogs that i used to read to begin with. This doesn't include the blog of some people i met recently whose personality i absolutely adored so I realized that I click with some blogs and not others independently of the personalities and characters behind the words. It also happens that some people like to read what I write but don’t really like me in person. In retrospect, I think we might also blog (Maya) because we need to present a side of ourselves that doesn’t necessarily come out in our social life, for whatever reason. May that be an emotional, intellectual, romantic, political or even a nasty side. Maybe our true selves are better reflected through the documentation of our observations, reactions and thoughts or is it that what doesn’t correspond to us in person isn’t necessarily who we are and it’s more who we like to be? How similar are we to our blog selves?

Friday, October 20, 2006

La Pedrera...

She sat by the window that morning writing his will for him. His desk was empty of everything but some drawings. Angelique had taken the children to the market and the house seemed so peaceful. Light came shining through the crisp curtains as she realized it will become noon. She had to finish before he awakes. The package was still under the bed. She wipes a sweat drop on her forehead, flips the pages and walks around her study. The sound of her heels on the marble floor made her anxious. It was time. It was time, she kept repeating to herself when she heard a moan coming from his room. It was the third year they had slept in different rooms. The first year she told him that he needed his rest and that the smell of the drugs made her nauseous during her pregnancy. As the time went by he stopped asking.

She went through the hall towards his room to help him with his morning bath when she stopped. Her reflection in the mirror stopped her. The large mirror also reflected her apartment behind her. She looked so frail in her unpretentious eggshell house gown. Her face sank leaving no marks of youth or freshness. Her pale skin only contrasted with the darkness under her eyes almost dissolved under her fingers. He had always told her that she looked common and unappealing. The day he took her away she overheard him saying he was pleased by her young age but not very enchanted by her poise. She almost hesitated as she regressed back to her times of weakness but then she repeated to herself that it was time. It was the right time. She was a woman now and a mother and she had gained the right to control her destiny.

Her thoughts were interrupted again by a squeaking noise coming from his room. The less quiet he was, the more she felt a wave of disgust and pressure raging through her limbs revolting her body. It was time for him to die. She was determined to salvage what remained of her spirit. She had to make a better life for herself. She hated him when he was strong and she hated the way he controlled her and her life. She also despised herself for giving in. She despised the mother she was and the wife she was. She hated him when he turned weak. She hated the darkness he left her to face, the episodes, the secrets and the shame. She could not bear the loneliness any longer. She could not bear the lack of laughter and the lack of color in her life.

She went back to her room and reached for the package when she heard another noise coming across the house. This time it was a fall. She runs to his room and looks in his bed to find it empty. Then she saw spilled water coming from his wash room ...
After eleven falls ...

Where do you go when I try to call you?
How could you not answer your phone?
Don’t you now how anxious I get for those minutes until I hear your voice …
- Hello
- Hey
- Is that you?
- Yeah, who else would it be? You can see my number!
- Yes I can ... I called earlier.
- I know ... I was screening.
- Again?
- Yeah, I was depressed ... I think
- Again?
- Yes.
- What happened?
- Nothing. Nothing happened ... silence ...
- Yeah I know
- Anyway, I wanted to read you this passage and see what you think..
- Go ahead;
I love it when you read for me. I don’t think there’s anything more intimate.
- I love it when you write for me but then you share it with everybody else...
Today I saw the hours again. Remember the line when she says people have to die for everybody else to realize how important life is?
- Yes I do.
- I thought that was something. I remember when he died.
- And?
- I don’t know … I felt that life got more meaningless back then … Not important.
- Is that the depression talking?
- No I’m not depressed anymore ... It rained... Fall ... You know? …
- Tell me about your day.
- Uneventful.
- Are you coming to see me?
- No. I’m too busy. Ok I’m not. I don’t want to see where you live.
- Why not? You’ve never visited me.
- I know. I don’t want this life you lead to become real for me. You live in my phone and in my heart and we’ll leave it at that.
- I know. I know how you think. I can read your mind, remember?
- And I read yours.
- I love you still
- I know. Goodnight my love

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And on this proposal,

"I wish to take advantage of this standing to call from here on the prime minister of Lebanon, Fouad Saniora, to meet me directly, without the use of go-betweens, in order to forge peace between us and Lebanon," Olmert said.

A statement from Saniora's office said he "had announced more than once that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to sign peace with Israel."

This will not be another Camp David or another fake withdrawal from Gaza. I want to say that these are my feelings exactly. Lebanon should be the last country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Israel has yet to withdraw its troops from some villages in south Lebanon, has yet to stop invading our country and steeling our water and behaving like a wicked neighbor and has yet to comply with international law returning Palestinian land and stopping the torture of Palestinians under its illegal occupation of West bank and Gaza. These are my feelings before and after the July war on Lebanon. I would not hope for my country to make peace with any criminal government especially when this government has a history of deceit and exploitation and when Lebanon cannot protect its interests by force as Israel does. We will not accept the bend over to the state of Israel or you'll be bombed policy which seems to be their foreign policy and their language of war and peace.

This article in Assafir on the newly occupied land between Gaza and Egypt by the Israelis really shows no change in the same old intentions.

More on Israel's war crimes,

"Italian probe: Israel used new weapon prototype in Gaza Strip
By Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondent"

"An investigative report to be aired on Italian television Wednesday raises the possibility that Israel has used an experimental weapon in the Gaza Strip in recent months, causing especially serious physical injuries, such as amputated limbs and severe burns.The weapon is similar to one developed by the U.S. military, known as DIME, which causes a powerful and lethal blast, but only within a relatively small radius.The Italian report is based on the eyewitness accounts of medical doctors in the Strip, as well as tests carried out in an Italian laboratory. The investigative team is the same one that exposed, several months ago, the use by U.S. forces in Iraq of phosphorous bombs, against Iraqi rebels in Faluja.

The Italian investigative team raised the possibility that the IDF is making use of a weapon similar in character to DIME - Dense Inert Metal Explosive - developed for the U.S. military.

The Italian reporters sent samples of the particles found in wounds of injured in the Gaza Strip to a laboratory at the University of Parma. Dr. Carmela Vaccaio said that in analyzing the samples, she found "a very high concentration of carbon and the presence of unusual materials," such as copper, aluminum and tungsten. Dr. Vaccaio says these findings "could be in line with the hypothesis" that the weapon in question is DIME.

It is believed that the weapon is highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment."

Lebanon is the last country to have peace with Israel.
Cognitive dissonance: Modern day racism

No child should die
Not even the brown ones
Ramadan in Palestine

(pic: Al-Jazeera)
Goes something like this.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My trip to Beirut (IV)

... Et au cote d'azure ...

To Nice,
L’azure makes the Mediterranean anywhere else look unappealing…

The loft by the Promenade des Anglais was everything I could ask for.

Cannes, Monaco, our black and white gala at the Troix diables a Place Massena and dancing all night at Milk at Juan les Pins.

Days were for the beach. Days were for sleeping.

I bathed in every beach from Saint Lauran du Var to St Jean Cap Ferrat,
till I found Villefranche-sur-mer. Only then I knew where I wanted to live. I knew exactly who I am and I knew who I am not and I can never be. I had found my heaven and I made a promise to myself to go back to Beirut.

Corsica, Saint Tropez, it was time to go home…
My anxiety finally left me knowing I will be home the next day so I slept. I slept so long I was late to the airport again. I had missed my flight to Beirut that morning…
My trip to Beirut (III)
And across Spain ...

Barcelona was a city i could relate to.
Some cities you immediately understand. You feel as if you’ve already been, in a different life maybe. The old charming balconies and the narrow streets had a feeling of home; this same trait took away from the excitement. At La Sagrada familia, I conquered my fear of climbing stairs

and I planned my short visit walking in the trace of Gaudi’s revelations. I don’t think I slept in this city. How could I when the same absolute tranquility of the day that leaves you at a distance and a privacy to taste the city alone invades your nights with the smell of the sea. Invades my room in that old hotel where the cold is hot and the hot is cold and mocks my schedules and my plans. I could hear my neighbors through the hotel walls and an small window in the bathroom overlooked the backs of the buildings where people dried their clothes, just like Beirut. The smell of the sea dragged me to La Rambla crossing the Gothic Quarter to dance with him till the morning hours until a taxi carried me to the airport again. It was getting cold by then and was time to leave.

To Milan, Ventimiglia San Remo …. Rome …

When I tell people that I saw everything there is to see in Rome in 2 days I get laughed at.

When he heard what I’m planning on doing on the train he laughed at me too. Being an artist himself, and an Italian, he was almost offended by my touristy attitude. I met him at Trastevere my second night in Rome and I told him about my journey. I showed him evidence that I have been to all the places I should go to and to some. He was still offended so I had to explain that no place I have been to will tempt me to prolong my stay. I explained that Beirut is next and that only when I live in Beirut again I can dare to love another city. Until then, it will all be stops between trains and flights. Until then, it will all be more reasons for me to go back to the city of my heart. And I explained to him that I didn’t sleep in Rome.

Rome is a city that needs a lifetime to be explored ... And my trip to Rome, at least will need another post ...
My trip to Beirut (II)

I caught a shuttle up to Max Planks with some girls from an institution in Israel. The conference concluded in a dinner that had me convinced, as I strengthened my circle of connections in the business that this is not who I am.

It was getting too cold anyway and was time to leave the charming town by the river..

I packed my bag and my quivering chin and ran to the bus. I still had his phone number in Switzerland in my pocket that I threw away. It felt exciting for moments to meet him in Germany. It’s all about the context sometimes.

The trip to Ibiza took a flight, a couple of bus trips and a train.

On the train I thought about him and a brief flash of pain took over my body and remained with me till I saw the pearly villas splintered in the warm hills away from the sea.

Soon enough i felt that Ibiza was an island too young for me. Too vibrant and too immediate in its colors and pleasures and lack of. The thought was almost depressing. Waiting for the room to be cleaned the first day, I met with an unofficial guide to the island who wanted me to experience the best food, best drinks and best sailing the island has to offer.
I fell in love with the sunset and sat for hours by the beach dreaming. In Ibiza, I slept on the sand. August was near and it got too noisy in the party island so I had to leave.
My trip to Beirut...(I)

I left nyc late as usual. Every time I come to JFK at night, I remember the first time I was here.
JFK always takes me back. My first impression of this country seen through the undergrounds of the violent city. I remember being late then, my suitcases from home overstuffed with books, memories, and smells from home. Running around trying to catch the last flight upstate. The cold insolent reality of this place portrayed through the behavior of the airport clerks will forever be my reminder. Since then I have struck a secret deal with the city. We agreed to admire each other from far, to brush against each other without impressing one another too much. I remember the enhancement of my sorrows in the minimalist portrait of stillness in the snow covered land and I remember almost melting in a background of my own sadness. I remember not being able to complain since I took the decision to pack my life and leave. JFK always takes me back.

Hardly on time to catch the plane to Frankfurt where the summer hasn’t reached yet. On the train to Heidelberg, i had enough time on the plane to go through my papers.
I arrive in time for the first seminar. The conference went by so quickly. I got to know people as fast as I wanted to forget them and their faces. As we were saying goodbye the last day I kept thinking about the night before. I don’t think I slept in Germany. I had snuck out of my hotel, despite the pressing schedule and the early lectures, to spend the night in the old city. The lights from the Schloss reflected in the Neckar water peeked into my hotel room and lured me to get close to it.

And I did. I went to the place where he played and I listened. We must have walked all night that night. I think he spoke English. I am not very sure anymore. I tried to understand till I lost him in a storm the next day.
My darlings ..

I miss you so much these days
... and on love

All the scrutiny
All the prescient wishes
The custodial recommendations
Rightfully so
I’m free

Wrestling with own demons now
Delusions of visionaries -writers
Alone and quietly
In Arabic please
Avoid the extinction of vocal morality
Avoid the anesthetic routine
The suffocating silence


Moments I tucked away for good
Jolt of awareness of one’s life
Violent happiness

Virtual moments

The rain … The rain …
Your eyes dripping down in deep thoughts
The insolent burning sun
Games of shadows and lights
Your warm breath on my skin
Games of senses and love …

I once cried
I cried for your touch

your touch,
crisp and wilting
in the midst of my dawn
your lasy tender pecks
watering my morning yawns
your shy skin dissolving
in a chuckle and a moan,
your warm breath quilting
the curves of my dunes
your mystical scent wrapping
my shivering lonely moon...
your silver rays enchanting
revolting my tidal foam..

To be free
To know by the end of these lines
You will be gone
Forever …

Virtual moments

Happiness lives in the moment we realize a possibility of happiness
Happiness also lives in the memory of this moment
Nostalgia brings a hidden feeling of hope in finding this happiness again
We should know this happiness is only virtual
We should know it only exist in the memory of that moment at that place

Everything else is a pleasant feeling
Of comfort, of satisfaction and of belonging

Happiness doesn’t exist
Love does

Love is a very selfish feeling. It comes from the need to be loved and the need to care for others. The need to feel needed and remembered and wanted. The need to feel and even suffer. Even the need to sacrifice one's happiness.

Love is not happiness.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"I don’t think two people could have been happier ...
Than we have been ..."

I cooked today. I made all the dishes you like.
The dishes you say I made up.
My chicken with basil my pasta soaked in rose water anf thyme and my sardine casserole.
I made it all the way you like it, with less salt and more olive oil.
And I know you’re not coming for dinner.
Maybe next time ...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our story ...

(pic, Heidelberg, last May)

Are we out of songs to sing
for each other
Have we explored
the hidden the subtle
and the abstruse
Did I read you through
Have you prayed a different prayer
Did the years,
the turns of events,
the turns of characters
tell our story
in full
The most terrifying
The most stupefying halts
to what forever effortlessly unraveled
Have the most chilling fate
that inhabited my being
and haunted my acts
without so much as doubt
Does emptiness now prevail.
Like a tender touch on a child’s cheek
Like the ample dunes
Like the warm skies of June
My eyes will follow you through
And my heart prays for you
Do I live with you for you
Can I make it without you
Is my soul now akinned
To yours
Do I have you under my skin?

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I am so sick of dating!

I am so sick of talking about this; I won’t bother making this post look pretty. I don’t like to tell people whenever I have a date anymore. I’m so sick of having to put my friends through indulging my hopes and building me up and cheering my naïve excitement until the idea fails. Again.

You know how we all had big dreams for life growing up? How we all thought we will make it big in life and be something different? And how, as far as love goes, we all thought we will live the ideal love story? How we're all waiting for a Mr. Darcey in Brad Pitt's body? 'Sleepless in Seattle' was out and I thought he might be anywhere, just waiting for me. 'You’ve got mail' followed and we all went online. Any Hugh Grant movie makes us think he has to be in England. Then sex and the city… Oh well...

This one is too quiet. This one is too noisy. This one is not assertive enough and the other too cocky. This one is freaked out by me. The other not freaked out enough. We live in different cities. We live in different worlds. We're too different. We're too similar. We're not only different but also have different interests. Oh Fuck it.

And you know how we tell ourselves only when we stop looking we’re going to find him? The ladybugs in 'Under the Tuscan Sun' and all this crap. And every time we decide to stop looking but we still do, deep down.
Well, I am not looking anymore. I am done with dating. This is official, after all it’s in writing.
Catching up ... Sunday madness!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rêveries a park Guell ... (II)

- Qu’est ce qu’elle est en train de faire dans le parc ?
- Elle pleure.
- Toujours ?
- Oui
- Je n’arrive jamais a voire ses larmes
- Elle pleure sans larmes
- Pourquoi ?
- Personne ne sait
- Mais il faisait nuit dans une heure
- Elle n’a pas fini
- Va-t-elle mourir ?
- Un jour, peut-être.
- C’est tellement drôle. Cette fille
- Non, tu ne connais pas sa vie
- Es-t-elle quelque chose de différent ?

Juste une femme. Elle est bonne au fond, généreuse, fière, très consciente et pleine de morales et vie, d’émotions et de cavités. Pleine d’histoires et des remissions innumérables a chaque partition. A chaque chapitre de sa vie. Sa vie, tu vois, n’existe que dans ma tête a moi. Son rendement, ça ne me concerne pas. Elle n’est pas une femme qu’on trompe. Moi seul je comprends ça et je n’abandonne jamais.

- Ne la regardes pas. Ne voles pas sa solitude. C’est juste a ce moment la qu’elle ...
- Il y a tous ces gens
- Non, elle est seule.
- Tu es drôle aussi
- Non, je l’aime
- Tu l’as rencontre ou ?
- Sur un matelas
- Est-ce qu’elle pleure son mari ?
- Toujours
- C’est quoi à propos de lui ? La façon a laquelle il l’a touche ?
- Elle manque sa manière à ne pas la toucher.
- A-t-il fait des petits avec elle ?
- I lui a fait de la musique.
- Un compositeur ?
- Un danseur … Son corps faisait les mémentos de leur vie.
- Et elle ?
- Elle a le corps d’une citadelle. Fait pour me tuer.
- Elle est blessée
- Elle a casse une vitre a son habitude.
- C’est grave ?
- Non c’est bon. C’est de la roux et pas du sang.
- Et toi ? Tu lui as offert des roses ?
- Non, elle va les détruire, certes. Ou les manger pour ne pas les voire, pour les posséder. Ou les brûler dans sa cheminée et puis détruire la cheminée. Son appartement est vide. Sauf d'une cheminee et de ses problèmes.
- C’est étrange votre rapport.
- Elle n’est pas désagréable. Simplement elle n’existe pas.
- Et toi.
- Moi j’existe pour elle.
- Elle sourit a toi
- Elle faisait ça de temps en temps. Elle voudrait que je reste. Moi je le sais.
- Puis-je l’aider ? Quelque chose je peux faire ?
- Non, rien du tout. Elle est heureuse.


- Pourquoi tu pleures aujourd’hui ? Qu’est ce que te peine ?
- Je pleure car elle ne pleure pas.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Those who can’t do, teach.
Those who can’t live, write.
When dreams die ... and you ...

He saw her reflection in the glass running out to the garden. He could almost feel the breeze under the folds of her chiffon. His heart beats raced as her whimsical sous-bas screeched between her legs. He fixed his dreamy lazy looks on the back of her hair. He could almost see her smiling. He knew she waited for him in the garden. He knew the calm that waited for him in her arms. The moon was not to flirt with her that night. Her finger tips touched her neck. She had him wired with her inviting gestures. He could almost taste her wrist. His lips opened wanting to call her name but he didn't know her name. Through the darkness her reflection was haunting him. She stopped and looked towards hin. Her shadow was now a face. He could almost see the sparkle in her eyes but it couldn't be true. He almost felt silly. He felt ashamed of the moments he stole with her. He stood tall and serene. He would have left. He could have left. He cannot leave the dinner behind. Behind was a world, wine, music, life. Behind was his prison.

And behind, he remained imprisoned ...

They locked eyes by the sunset. They walked towards each other, in silence. They knew it was time. He pushed his shoulders forward and she leaned with her eyes on his hair. On his eyes. She started caressing his face with the back of her hand. He recognized that scent. He burried his face deep in her chest and he started weeping. He told her about his parents and she knew she will love him forever. That night he slept peacefully. That night he knew her calm.

Until the morning ...
Until he faded with the tide …

The wind talked to her every night. Since that night. She kept his face in her memory. He kept her scent. Every moon she walked in the garden. Every moon he could feel her smile behind the curtains. But he had to stay behind …

…In his world… In his prison …

She who planted a smile in every garden, had finally lost her smile …

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Slow down child ...

Why is it that every time life catches up with you,
You close your eyes?
Why is it that you coat your roads,
With wings of butterflies?
And then forget to fly?

Do you still sing for her to sleep
To her long golden braids
Do you weep after the rain?
Does your voice still race
Your childhood betrays your face? …

Are you still the wonder that you are?
Then slow down child …

Do you crawl in bed with your Russian dolls
Do you peel through layers of illusions
Do you pray for colors
Do you still press your pace
When sadness takes its toll?

Are you still the joy that you are?
Then slow down child …

Why is it that whenever life understands you
You realize
The anchor that pulls your arms
To the tenderness of the rising sun
To the earth pulsing with Jasmine
To the whispers at the hills of the night?

Are you still the woman that you are?

Then slow down child …

The moon doesn’t lose its light …

So close your eyes,
just for the night ...

To my dear L.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Some absurdities

So near, yet so far ...

- So you’re from Lebanon
- Yeah
- You speak Arabic there?
- Yeah
- Do you speak Hebrew too?
- No!
- How come?
- …

Looking Away ...

- You haven’t been yourself?
- How so?
- You’ve been standoffish
- Oh God, this is how I come off?
- No, I mean, I’m used to you being more bubbly
- Yeah, well.. The war.. You know?
- Why? Was your family affected?

Frontiers of Dreams and Fears ...

- So you say you want to go back home?
- Yes
- And where is home for you?
- Lebanon
- May I ask
- Sure
- Is this the safest place to go to?
- …

Scratching the Surface ...

- Is your family alright?
- Yes… Yes they are, thank you for asking
- It must be quite difficult being here
- Yes it’s difficult being away from them
- No I meant being in a country that has the potential to interfere for the sake of peace and chose to stay out of it.
- *smile* oh so this is what we’re telling ourselves?
- What do you mean?
- ….

Light at the End of the Tunnel ...

- So what does Hizb Allah mean?
- The party of God
- And Nasr Allah?
- The victory of God
- And Allah..
- GOD!!!!.....
- Oh so your Allah is the same as our God?
- Ouff 7atdallo bajam
- What was that?
- Nothing ...

Fake hopes ...

- You have to go back
- I will… I’m trying to decide on when will be the best time.
- You have to build your country
- Yeah
- This is what we did after the world war
- Sure
- And look at Japan now

Nightfall ...

- Would you teach me Arabic?
- Why do you want to learn?
- I want to go to Iraq and become a soldier
- You know what you’re asking me?
- Yes but keep an open mind, soldiers are there anyway, what’s another one, they’ll write off my student’s loans. Just translate this sentence for me.
- Attack the enemy… who exactly is the enemy? Do you see now what you’re asking me? And why do you need Arabic anyway?
- I don’t know. This is what they ask for Arabic for people in higher ranks.
- Fuck off ...

‘Attention whore’
I have yet to meet the person who willingly and purposely wants to go in life unnoticed

‘Still looking for himself’
I don’t think he’ll ever find himself if he’s still looking.

‘Soul searching’
Civilizations and philosophies throughout history searched… nothing was found.

Why call it that? … The pre-religion life was not worth lumping into the same path with this one... Isn’t the path to religious awakening part of life for these people?

All the rest of the people are non-intellectuals? So they don’t use their intellect? So they’re all stupid?

‘Of a certain age’
Aren’t we all of a certain age?

‘Can I ask you an easy question?’
What if I can’t answer it, then what? You set me up for a big embarrassment. Why not ask a difficult question? Why waste my time?

‘All smart people carry themselves with humility’
Is that why you keep saying you're very modest?

‘The more we know the less we know’
Why bother then?

"Malgré les précisions atomiques des balances modernes, on n'arrive pas encore à mesurer le poids exact de la solitude." - Georges Raby
Until we lose someone...
Science.. What is it good for? (II)

Went to lab late ... as I usually do. Had a muffin at noon and a cappuccino for dessert. Nouga on my desk with a little note from Beirut. Pictures all around of faces from another life. A bottle of champagne chilling waiting for an occasion. And a bottle opener for the beer in the cold room. Happy hour every hour on the grass over spilled media spilled hearts and years spilling in waste of purpose. Waste of reagents and waste of days away from home. A paper in a paper out and two up and about. Printouts DVDs and release forms to some editorial capacity. Signed sealed wasted in space. Each figure is months of late hours unreturned phone calls uncooked meals lost faces panic attacks and stress amounting to severe memory loss … go figure
Panels and diagrams and pathways and lots and lots of arrows
some data to gain more to lose and many to borrow
grayscales and pseudocolor, resolution and solution and questions
but no conclusion disserting the science of dissolution
filters and reflections and substrate complexion
cells move to the right cells move to the left
drama drama drama
2000 dollars of imaging time in a month time
of cancer bits moving in a lapse of time
amounting to nothing
but beware of the font in figure 1A left panel image iii
seminars and talks and projections and attitudes and meetings about meetings
thinking it’s ok to be begging your cells to move at 4 in the morning
thinking it’s natural to microinject a 100 cells/10 minutes with a micropipette
thinking you’re incompetent if you don’t make this time
volumes of notes 2002a 2002b …. 2006
not remembering any of it …
a microscope not functioning
breath in and out .. Summon all the info in your head about the optical paths
exciter in place.. all kohlerized.. lamp aligned.. what the fuck is it?
Right lens, right objective, right phase … where’s the signal?
Filters check …. Software running…
Oh yes… the eyepiece is closed!
a new pupil walking in thinking he will cure cancer
looking down at your realism
error bars that meet.. rats that won’t eat… retreat after retreat
pubmed.. email …pubmed… blog… pubmed… lunch break…
stacks of papers that will be read … a week before I defend
a culmination of numbers that fit perfectly
and outlyers impossible to defend
paper version 1, 2, 3, 4 …. 45 …
collaborations and conspiracies
competitions and contaminations
being paid less than the rats
but they are sacrificing their lives
aren’t we too?
backing up and writing down
burning up and meting down
fucking hell …
and I’m just starting …
Am I going to cure cancer? No but I learned how to make exquisite microscopy images ....

labeling.. aliquoting… tracing… graphing… counting… recounting…mounting…

Ok don’t judge me unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoe … or my lab slippers

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The last cartoon reads "mirror mirror on the wall, who if she lost ten pounds and had her eyes and her neck done, and had the right haircut, could, in her age group, be the fairest one of all?"

By Roz Chast
A must watch video here

Monday, October 09, 2006

Today the park will change its colors
for you
The bridge will lay blushed
on a glittering surface
Covered in foliage
colors of your palette
The cracked branches
will broil with the rays
will Send life
drip moisture
to the veins of the earth
The green will fade
the sky pale
The lovers splinter
in calm
reinstating their vows
Gobbling down
the surging golden warmth
Before the white sweeps

Today the rain will shy
For you
The concrete will knock
On your soles
Reminding you
Of your aching limbs
Fault of the gray
Fault of the glass
A lazy saxophone
Will Warm the roads
Playing as the city changes outfits
For you
From the slick
To the earthy tones
To the drunken lights
That never fade
The lady that never sleeps

Is calling you … Is luring you
is waiting for you
as I wait too
I see her in your eyes
I hear her

hope in your voice
I feel her with your every step

And I know we’re home again ...

(Pic: Shaeri Mukherjee)
Lebanese bloggers meeting in New York

As is the case when Lebanese people in Lebanon and abroad meet, our little gathering was nothing short of eventful. I think it is safe for me to think that Lebanese people immediately click. We might not all share views on current events, share backgrounds or even love of Arak but we all relate to each other on many levels. During the July war I had the chance to meet a lot of Lebanese who live in nyc. While back then we focused on the mission at hand and related to each other on a humane level, the post war encounters with Lebanese people had been just for fun and laughter and sharing common memories and common culture. Strictly a la Libanaise, we want to forget and live. Even the most opinionated and most politically oriented among us did not venture into talks about the war and the after math. When we are out for fun we mean business.

In the course of meeting, trying to remember all the names and linking them mentally to all the blogs, sharing imported cigarettes and imported stories, sharing smiles and cabs and tips to dancing to sharing childhood memories over Falafel we again realize the common denominator that will always bring us together. For as long as we’ve lived in shelters as kids where we played with the neighbors’ kids, as long as we jump from joy dancing to raje3 yit3ammar Libnan, as long as we have Zeina we na77oul and Fairuz in our collective memories, we all carry a piece of home within us and we all speak the same language, may that be in French, Arabic, English or even Phoenician.

I still think Lebanese people are the easiest people to talk to. I think they’re the most personable people one can meet and i was very glad to get yet another affirmation of that out of this meeting.
And read more from our wonderful encyclopedic gitanes legeres here.
And here's another version by Jooj, very nostalgic here.
Another one from Hashem with a nice gift in it! here.
And it seems Maya is the only one who managed to post pictures ... of the drinks..
And _z and Arch's versions here and here

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Occupation 101

A very powerful documentary that aims to reveal the truth on the situation in Israel today. The two makers of the movie Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish are two brilliant independent film makers who happen to be brothers and also happen to be very young. The project took 5 years and the idea started when they both went to Israel for a visit and witnessed the very disturbing reality of the occupation. The film gives a very valuable background for the Israeli Palestinian conflict aiming to clarify many misconceptions about the issue, which is due either to the manipulation of the corporate media or to mere ignorance of the historical facts leading to the current situation.

The documentary describes Palestine before the end of WWI where Muslims Christians and Jews peacefully coexisted. It reminds us of a time when Jews flourished in Arab land during a time of strong anti-semitism in Europe. It discussed the initial immigration of Jews to Palestine leading to 1948. Very powerful footage shows the massacres and the atrocities that led to the displacement of the Palestinians like the massacre of Deir Yassine and shows the subhuman conditions in which the Palestinians had to live as refugees to our day. It clarifies the illusion of the peace process in the Oslo years which incidentally were the years when the Jewish only settlements doubled. The illusion of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza which led to the dismantling of only 2% of the settlements and left the people in Gaza in a large jail under complete economical and physical control. The film mostly reflects the reality of the occupation in Gaza and West bank today and draws a compelling comparison to Apartheid Africa using witnesses, footage and interviews with experts (Noam Chomsky, Amira Hass etc... ).

The strongest take home lesson was about the poverty and the humitialtion as well as the terrifying conditions that the Palestinians live in today as refugees on their own land. The land confiscation and the intimidation that aims to ethnically cleanse Israel towards the makingn of a Jewish only state. One study showed that Palestinian children (I think the figure was 80 % of) have completely lost the will to live. A heartbreaking interview with a 5 year old child (who is so outspoken and smart and would remind you of your own child) sheds the light on what these children go through. In her very simple words she describes her fear of the militants, her broken toys, the way her clothes smell like gas. The unemployement in Palestine had gone up to 70 % and most families have to live with 2 $ per day while the Israelis get US aid on an average of 500$/person a month. A footage also shows the discrepency of the economical situation in a Jewish settlement contrasted with a Palestinian ghetto next door.

A picture is worth a thousand word. I can not start to describe the feelings of absolute helplessness of a mother taking to the director about her fear to her child’s life. Her children’s fear to go to school thinking mom and dad would be dead by the time they go back home. The tears of a father telling us how he was humiliated in front of his children at a checkpoint. A mother describing her struggle with the IDF as they were demolishing her home and she ran to save her baby who was still in the house. Many many examples of christian and muslim families who live under the oppression of the israeli occupation.

A woman in the audience stood and told the directors that she feels so ashamed because she wasn’t aware of what is taking place in Israel. She was crying …
Go see the movie … the least we can do is to educate ourselves and people around us …

Friday, October 06, 2006

'OCCUPATION 101' is out!!!

I have linked this trailer before but the movie is out.. Go see it..
Harlem International Film Festival: Occupation 101:Voices of the Silenced Majority

When: Friday, October 6, 2006, 8:30 PM

Where: Johnson AMC Theatrecorner of 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th avenue) New York , NY 10011

What: Film Screening - Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority Sponsored by: Harlem International Film Festival

DETAILS: Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority -Directed by Sufyan Omeish -2006 / 87 min New York Premiere / Palestine, Israel Synopsis: Unlike any other film ever produced on the Palestinian Israeli conflict - "Occupation 101" explains the situation in a comprehensive manner and gives audiences a complete context in which to better understand the Israeli-Palestinian encounter. The film depicts the root causes of the conflict through Israeli, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, American, and Palestinian voices that are rarely ever heard through mainstream media outlets.

get ticket here
Film website here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I can never forgive you ...

Would you forgive me for that?

(picture by Wilfrid Hoffacker)
Get worse
More every day
More so every year
Every attempt of healing
Breaks down in rage seething
Poisoning the world blinding hate
Every new hope new brick new light
Goes up in flames leaving more reasons
More reasons for the same legacy to persist
New reasons for blame for blindness for apathy
Every failure goes well to be written in history pages
As a disaster another attempt as another date another place
Another fancy number for our children to fight for and remember
Another trick to keep us going and fighting dreaming of awakenings

Of a sudden rise of reckoning … Of dignities revolting after such long slumber… Of people for people …. Of love to love … Of a brotherly hand … Of power to the worker… Of a colorful world but a color blind heart … Of a silver spoon in the ghetto … of tolerance … Of a blue collar and a platinum card at a lunch table … Of spreading love instead of oil cables … Of spreading medicine and knowledge and wealth and safety for all and for everyone … Instead we crumble in a state of absolute ignorance and our little hearts get darker … Instead we parade our power and stall and rip the hope out of children’s eyes … Instead we stall for truth and for justice and we crawl in our holes of greed … We poison the atmosphere and belittle facts and ignore people’s needs …

We’re ruthless to the penniless and the powerless and we’re proud
Overconfident and overstuffed and we’re whores for crowds
We lead the earth and its population into sure obliteration
We foresee doom upon doom with each inauguration
We substitute hard work with mere manipulation
With less smart minds and more smart bombs
Less bookstores and more tanning salons
Less health care and more hair care
Less art and more bleak reality
Less love and more money
Less woman and more
Plastic and aquarelle
Money for apparels
Isolated citadels
For loneliness
In an ipod
A nano
All ….

Will just get worse
The failure to launch policy

(pic: Just Another Day at Huwarra Checkpoint: Journalist Beaten, 10 Men Detained)

The foreign policy of the United States and Israel has been very consistent. They use the same techniques over and over irrespective of the country in question (which country they occupy). It had consisted of false flags to rally the international street against the Arabic street. Divide and conquer, “Israel may want to cultivate alternatives to Arafat’s base of power” as mentioned here. It also includes psychological and physical torture en masse. The physical part we are we aware of and the psychological pressure is an old war trick that was even mentioned in the Bible. American troops blasted hard rock music on the streets of Iraq in residential areas to terrify the people, the sirens in Gaza and flyers dropped and threatening voice messages used in the Lebanon war are other examples. In a state of long occupation, the economical, social, physical and psychological pressures implemented on the Palestinians paved the way to the survival-induced divide. This is explained in Amira Hass’s article here.

Hasn’t Iraq been an example to the failure of the custody excuse? What surprises me is that people’s shortsightedness has not allowed them to attempt a more comparative approach to the matter. Instead there is a hidden tone of racism with the acceptance of the fact that Palestinians are fighting each other as if it’s almost expected that this is what Arabs do. We still act disappointed that another attempt by Rice to solve the mid-east crisis had failed. We still swallow fake attitudes from the so-called moderate Arab states and watch them ‘pressure’ the American government to implement the two-state solution. The last 50 or so years have witnessed an exponential increase in technology, awareness, leisure, mass communication medical and scientific development yet in the world of politics people are still savages that need to be controlled and policed and advances only serve to destroy. The divide seems to serve on several axes for the elite to conquer and remain in charge.
more for Hass's' article,
"The security forces of the Palestinian Authority - in other words, of Fatah, or in still other words, the ones that Mahmoud Abbas is in charge of - are hiding behind the genuine distress and protests of public employees who have not been receiving regular salaries. And they are doing so despite the fact that everyone knows that the failure to pay salaries is not a managerial failure, but is above all due to Israeli policy.
These forces were dispatched in order to sow organized anarchy, as taught in the school of Yasser Arafat. And why is this, too, an Israeli matter? Because those who dispatched these militants have a shared interest with Israel in regressing to a situation in which the Palestinian leadership collaborates with the appearance of holding peace talks, while Israel continues its occupation and the international community sends hush money in the form of salaries for the Palestinian public sector"