Saturday, November 01, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
When i started blogging, the thing that excited me the most about writing about my life is the idea of capturing feelings and emotions with a picture, a collection of words, a quote ... It was a mere selfish need to keep my memories safe and alive. I thought it would be a lot of fun to go back to old posts years down the road and re-live some of what i have been through.. It works ... It mostly works when it's about me and not people who read this. This is why i needed the distance. The purpose of these pages on the web was lost when i started writing to please and caring too much about comments i get ... So here .. I said it ..
9/11, 7 years ago, was it?
This was Zee's idea, so here goes ..
I had not been in the States for long, a matter of months actually. I was in Upstate New York, it had not snowed yet. I was going out with Mike, a guy from New York city, your typical white suburban guy and i had made a friend, Claudine, a very unusual little girl who was second generation American of Egyptian origins. We had just made it back from the city having driven for a total of 15 hours that weekend. Come Monday, we all went back to our classes. I was leaving an early class and going to the hospital to have my usual coffee break with Mike when a guy stopped me in the hallway to tell me that they hit the twin towers. I had no idea what he was talking about. I had heard of the towers but did not really understand what the significance of what had happened was. I walked the long hall towards Blackwell, around me people looked panicked and in a frenzy. I probably got scared for a second thinking maybe Upstate will get hit as well, but who was doing that and why? I had no clue. I did not see Mike on the bench and i couldn't wait for him to show up. It was a half hour to the next class anyway and it was all the way up on Adams street. I mostly had this feeling that i should keep moving .. My heart started pounding .. It felt the way war used to feel in Beirut. I felt so alone ..
The class got canceled. It was an ethics class and the professor elected to use the two hours to have a discussion about our feelings towards what happened. I collected some idea about what went on from what people were saying and only then i understood the gravity of the event. I was sad but i was very defensive as well. In retrospect, it was very silly to feel persecuted since what happened did not concern me but i remember the looks i was getting that day. I was suddenly too self-conscious with my long black hair and my Arabic features. The misled discussion covered various stereotypical misconceptions regarding culture and politics and religion, where Muslim got lumped with Arabic with Afghani with Irani .. I still remember my shock that day. I found myself defending myself but getting blank looks and i understood for the first time that some preconceptions and misconceptions are there to stay and are there just because .. I felt that some people will look down on you because they think they can. White America. I understood why on my visa papers it said that i am of color, when i'm pale as a ghost and i understood why at orientation lunch, that lady was making an extra effort to be extra friendly to me and to the Indian guy in the class ... I became too defensive, back in those days, until i got over my insecurities, i would just go out of my way to point out all of what is wrong with Americans so i would not feel i'm the one being attacked for being different.. With time i learned to phase it out, to stick with close friends who will not treat me any less for being Arabic and to try and stay away from stereotypes.. That day 7 years ago, though, i learned all about the bigotry that is nationalism.
Mike and I broke up later that day...
Monday, September 01, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Ephemeral soul bouts
There are times when I am excited about my hair, my job, the people around me, when I cook, I read, I write, I dance and there are times when I just cease to .. live … I just collapse onto myself and I start obsessing about all the mistakes I had done in my life, all the people I wronged, all the opportunities lost … It is not consolation enough anymore to think that other people go through the same periods of inexistence. It is certainly not relevant to my daily life to think of all the madness and misery in the world and I certainly do not feel blessed by comparison. People who do, in my opinion, are self-absorbed disillusioned small-minded pricks. If anything the collective despair in the world nowadays adds to my little circle of hopelessness and the guilt adds to my self-loathing and helplessness.
I never have the tolerance for bringing the metaphysical into my life in order to reconcile with the universe, never believe in self-help life styles, and I make fun of people who insert an abstract vocabulary in their sentences as a way to find excuses or reasons for their unhappiness or lack of purpose or lack of .. well.. living. My friend brought me ‘the secret’ on DVD to make me sit down and listen, having dismissed all of his attempts to quote to me from the book over the phone. He knows that I tend to worry a lot and tend to be negative even to the point of being deeply suspicious of what other people might perceive as happiness or even success, it is my curse .. I keep items in the fridge that normally are perfectly fine at room temperature because I would be anxious otherwise. I procrastinate because I am afraid of facing failure, because I am afraid of facing success … and I live in guilt.
‘The secret’ just pissed me off. It basically goes back to tell you that any misfortune in your life is your fault because you have summoned the negative thoughts that, according to the concept, materialize into your actual life. What a load of crap. It made me mad. One of the main exercises to live by the rules of ‘the secret’ is to make a visual board, where you have pictures that represent goals you want to achieve and things you want to acquire, and according to ‘the secret’ you should be able to obtain those things if you put them ‘out there’ in ‘the universe’.
I’m so sick and tired of people trying to find reasons for why we are not happy. I’m sick and tired of the exploitation of the self-help and the self-improvement business, the affirmative attitude, the books , the seminars, the people on tv whining because they’re single or broke or because they’re sloppy or lazy … Doesn’t it always go back to the same thing, the same question, the same reason for feeling lost and unfulfilled? The same disappointment faced with shackles that anchor our soul, shackles and responsibilities and commitments we willingly fell into in order to feel more relevant in this world. We are trapped when we think we’re not and we are sad when we think we’re not and we are not living when we think we are, and we need ‘the secret’ to explain that? We are trapped. We are slaves to the everyday rhythm, to the acceptable weight, the acceptable shade, the respectable bank account or title or power. We cannot but remain ‘connected’ on virtual venues and 3D virtual venues and venues about virtual venues fearing to fall out of ‘life’ or the life that someone had convinced us we should have. We look at photos of current friends and previous friends and feel inferior and not nearly happy enough. We feel lonely. We run to achieve a crust, a crust of glamour, a layer of shine. Stuck in half-finished projects, half-finished relationships, in the quest for the most intimidating look, the most prestigious hobby and sadly the most empowering charity case. Stuck in a shape for life, a grammar for a society, a calendar.
Our calendar has become our ‘visual board’. Our calendar includes no more dreams, no more aspirations but appointments and commitments and steps on the quest towards social acceptance. We need to feel relevant and the best forms we have come up with yet are organized traditions and religions and fanaticism and conformity. In societies where individualism became the structure of societies, we lost track of what should drive us and so we became collective consumers of similar foods and similar thoughts and similar ideas, albeit behind closed doors and in a more lonely fashion. The self-help crap is just another form of organized thought.
The human soul that suffers. I have decided to call soul that thing that keeps us hoping. That extra thing, the extra twinkle in our eyes when we cease to just be, when we get to live. We suffer even more intensely because we have known a time when we were not suffering. Because we miss the bouts of our ephemeral souls. We live in nostalgia to moments where we felt our soul awakening. Same in love. Same in every human emotion. When we love and lose, we grab onto those memories and we suffer because we miss the bouts of our soul. We live on the memory of loving ourselves and of simply living when allowed for a soul awakening. We hold on and not let go and try to cram the memory into our present life, faced with the possibility of another stretch of empty soul.
There’s really no answer and people who do not relate to any of that also piss me off. The people who live just blissfully on the surface of life, perfectly content with their small achievements and small thoughts .. you know .. the lucky ones!
I miss my soul these days.
I’ll just wait for a stimulus to bring it back. In the meantime, I go on automatically, I cease to live, I cease to celebrate the days … it’s ok .. it only makes the next adventure more interesting …
So I put up a ‘visual board’, on it is my picture smiling …
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
She stepped on some rotten leaves on her way to see him.. she stopped in her track to wipe her shoes.. she had her new white scandals on to go with her summer look.. she ran to the back to freshen up.. on her way to the wash room, she saw her reflection in the mirror.. something caught her eye and her intrigue.. for the first time in her life she was not sure of what she looked at.. for the first time she did not like what she saw.. someone odd was looking back at her.. a stranger.. She ran tens of scenarios in her head of a life together, of days with loved ones and laughter and nights of longing, of work and happiness and sorrows and effort to keep going on.. she suddenly collapsed.. and ran home…
Milky spills in the wedges of her tiles fade out
Sutured letters stitched in her blanket wear out
The charcoal lines on her face hide your trace
Hide her stories her turning every night
She closes her palm hides your scent in her arms
If she cannot need you she will not ...
The June rays dribble down the days, slowly
The shine in her hair falls down slowly
Color climbs onto her cheeks and onto the creases of her neck
She evens the plights in her mind and her life slips into a wreck
Her pillow case drips in bits of her memories pieces of her soul
She had always been forgetful ...
If she does not find you she will shed her skin
She will plow her light her compass from within
Your face will mystify but your name will echo through
You are there as she fights through
And when she tucks the sun away, washes the salt from her hair
As she finds herself again
She will find you
If she cannot need you
she will not
but love you she will ...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The day after ....
The storm seems to have passed. I have no idea how and why and for what reasons those who have died or suffered just did ... Since i don't know why things have worked out, i have no way of knowing if it will presist .. Maybe we have to hope Syria and Israel "indirect" negotiations work so that we can have this summer ...
We are capable of healing like no other people and capable of living when given the chance ...
Some pictures a day after the "demonstration" in downtown had ceased and a day before the "election"
my baby sister
2 hours of traffic to get to downtown Beirut
All the cafes were full .. you had to wait for half an hour to get a table anywhere..
All the beaches and resorts that weekend were full capacity..
Street traffic in Beirut
And i went out drinking and dancing for the first time in almost a year.. No reason to celebrate .. Just drinking away the stress of the past days and reloading for another round of insanity..
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
So what becomes of her .. Your love
When it gets dark and her head falls resting, far from the light,
When a moment of bliss dissipates in the dark,
When the waves shatter explode splatter
Absolutely no where
When the lack of screams squeeze her heart
What becomes of years,
Alone, in life, out there,
When the images fade and the soul of her soul wilts away
When rays of dryness melt away
Leaving tracks of deafness of colorless days
What becomes of a whisper, a smile, a face
Notches in the fabric of time
Shades that creep away
What will become of her
Will you still love her?
Two years and some since i started writing, since i started hoping to keep you close,
since i gave myself the right to keep you alive through my words ...
Two years and some ...
I have been waiting ...
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It seems that it had passed. Those who died died. Those who stayed are only more depressed and frustrated and feel a little more worthless. Those who were contemplating coming back to this country are now thinking twice. Boys and girls that belong to the social and intellectual ranks, we would all be richer and luckier having them come back and invest what they learned and what they are able to achieve in this country, are now, again, hesitating. People i was proud when i met, human rights activists, human rights lawyers, scientists, writers, thinkers and even diplomats, the Lebanese expariates who will now almost live and die in the hope of a chance of rebuilding their country. People who should, they are the ones who should, invade our culture and invade our streets and our hearts, and not the aspects of violence and backwardness.
On a positive note, it had indeed calmed down. I know how worried we usually are when we are stuck outside of Lebanon feeling totally helpless, so do not worry. It was another political hiccup, let's call it that, and it's dissolving as we speak.
The 'fitne' already happened? Something leaders are chanting, as if a sectarian split is another bargaining card right now, as if one side could be threatened without the other. As if the leaders are threatening with death and destruction that will reach each and everyone of us. They cannot possibly mean that. We cannot possibly come out of each others' hearts. We cannot hate anyone, let alone the people we grew up with, our families, our partners, our neighbors (neighbors in Lebanon had taken a negative connotation with Syria and Israel being our neighbors, but i mean your neighbor who will protect your home when you're weak) and people we share a language, a history, a culture and a country with.
We do not and will not hate each other under any command and never for any leader! What will we be left with if we did?
I don't know, let's try ..
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Typical American manoeuvre.
I find it curious that the policies in Syria shifted after Assad the father, leading to a manifestation of these policies (assassinations in political figures in Lebanon/reinvention of some old symbols/Militia-based forces in the region) that is totally in-sync with the manifestation of the American policies in the region.
I find it curious that the Americans are staging a state of fundemental clash with Iran while they seem to work harmoniously over the split of benefits with the Iranis in Iraqs. At the same time, the major benificiary of instating Iran as a major Arabic enemy and threat is the US arm trade. I find it interesting that Iran (along with its allies) is playing along.
Who knows? Who cares?
What i am saying is either it is very obvious or very wrong or very well the opposite.
The drive, however, is always money. Such as the contractors and the oil in Iraq. Such as the American arm industry. I just find it sad that in this day and age, we still lose life for more money and that the wars are always engineered in our part of the globe, as if it is easier to sell to the public opinion since we are already labeled as barbarians.
I do not see a future war in between Sicily and Sardinia to keep the American arm money going. After all, western countries are too busy advancing humanity. For that, wars should never end on our side and our reasons to start wars will always be encouraged and stressed upon.
Eastern Europe is impoverished, African states have their fair share of disasters and the post-USSR world and the -stan world is left under check. The 'civilized' west is compliant and in fear, the 'moderate' Arabic states are good investments which leaves China and North Korea for future uses ...
Our region is keeping the money flow for now. The tools, the collaborates ... Who cares? the political scene changes all the time. In the meantime, the victims are always the same.
My first observation when i first started interacting with Americans was that they are not very well-rounded as far as politics went. I think this is blissfull. They did not care much because they did not need to. Because they would never find themselves having to be directly involved in individual conflicts to defend some political party. This is mainly because they are not driven by ideologies or tribal feelings. We are. We care about politics. I wish we cared less. I wish we knew less. Americans are sadly now driven by blind nationalism in the post-9/11 world, towards war. It is always the ignorant bunch, the poor bunch, the desperate bunch.
Ideologies, racism, nationalism, religion, just mere hate .. reasons to kill each other, to destroy each other's homes and streets and hopes, to want to humitiate each other ..
Forget about all what i said. Forget about Conspiracies and about politics all together.
I want to believe that HA, albeit financially supported by Iran, is a mere resistance movement that wants to free Palestine or defend Lebanon in the future against possible Israeli invasion etc. Let's say this is the case (which is something i had believed in for a while). Taken all this as 'fact' if you will and after what HA did these past days, i do not want it as Lebanese resistance. Why should i live with such threat to be prepared in the event of another. why do i have to harbor a power that turned against me? against my home? against the street that raised me?
Why do i have to accept a political side, a resistance, that does not give me a choice, better yet, that condemns any alternative opinion i might have and considers it reason to persecute me and threaten my well-being, leaving no room for tolerance and understanding, reminiscent of the perpetrator this resistance opposes. Why can't i choose how to fight? Why am i belittled if i did not share the same ideology? Why do i have to respect their titles when they do not respect my life? Why can't i fight, as a human being, with my mind? Why can't we build consistently towards a culture, towards winning? Why are we not allowed to learn from our mistakes? Why are the children being raised on divides, on hate? Why do they raise future generations ready and willing to fight and to follow blindly, if they do not plan on keeping us in the dark and keeping us fighting each other for their gain? Why don't they raise minds like others did?
Why do i have to turn to politicians to know if i will be able to go to work the next day, if i will be able to leave the country if i want to, come back to my country and not be trapped in some foreign country that, soon, would want to expell me, if my nephews will be able to sleep in their beds, to sleep, if they will go to their schools, if i will be able to follow up on my medical treatment, if i will get paid ..
Why are we to be kept weak? kept silent, kept hypnotized, kept distracted, kept busy kept stupid. Why are we kept small? kept divided?
Why is my life made wortheless?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
or 4 dead and 6 injured according to other sources.
Currently they say things calmed down after HA (i say HA because it is) had taken over west Beirut.
Some March 14 leaders are still stuck in their homes, the roads are blocked again ...
I still don't get it
Saniyoura is speaking at 2:00 pm
Friday, May 09, 2008
Not equally dramatic but equally tragic, it seems that all the archives of future tv got totally destroyed! (18 years worth of records)
Some local treasures, including history in all it forms, belong to no one to destroy. It is far more important than any of us.
To me, it was always easy and logical to try and set a platform of commonly accepted undisputed facts, in the hope of reaching some common understanding.
The equation was that unfairness and a bullying attitude had to emanate from power:
Fact: Israel is obviously more powerful and it exercises a very tight control over Palestinians.
Fact: Israel had launched wider scale attacks on its opponents.
Fact: Israel had trespassed to land given to the Palestinians by UN resolutions.
Fact: Israel had controlled the media inside Israel/Palestine and had been able to solicit international support.
Power is a tricky one. It always leads to unfairness. It must be easy, for some, to cross lines of human rights of safety and freedom of one’s religious expression and political loyalty, when one is drunk with power.
Fact: power corrupts
Fact: the party trespassing is automatically held accountable for all what follows. Especially when trespassing while spreading fear and chaos.
Fact: muffling media outlets is the highest form of corruption and the closest form to injustice and totalitarian control.
Fact: wi2am wahhab is a total freak, and delusional no less.
Beirut is surrounded. They say Beirut fell. Was Beirut a war front?
Wanting to intimidate the government? Wanting to parade strength? What is the point of what happened today?
I know people are sick and tired of all politicians. People are craving peace of mind, one carefree summer, going to work, being able to feed their families. They are too depleted to stand against any political compromise, any new decision. Only the politicians have this kind of drive. Only the politicians have this kind of interest, so why are the people being punished again?
I blame -- for intimidating the other party and all of Lebanon, for the mere fact that they have developed material superiority. I think -- are promoting a state of dictatorship where thay do not take into account the needs, orientation or opinions of the other party. -- are ruling with power (a form of it at least) and keeping the interest of the people, down to the more basic of it, totally ignored and their hope of survival destroyed. At least part of the people anyway.
-- = who cares?
Thursday, May 08, 2008
For reasons not clear to me, Beirut is being attacked. My mother is stuck and the area where she lives turned into a battle ground (she just told me that my sister's building was hit by missiles, my sister is fine, so are her two children). I cannot get to them and they cannot get to me. It is milishia men, with snipers no less, against unarmed inhabitants of Beirut. It seems armed men are attacking people in their homes, hitting buildings with missiles, stopping people in cars and checking IDs. They're shooting and bombing with no specific aims but unarmed folks. Interestingly too, people are not allowed to flee. The civil war has started?
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
So as far as race goes, we are the same race.
But who cares? Right. Following one’s race is just another sorry excuse of bigotry and elitism anyway so there will always be alternative excuses for separation and self-righteousness.
We keep imploding from within.
The Phoenicians, as a culture, were as glorious as the Greeks and the Romans. In fact, at the time, those wondrous traders, writers, philosophers, and artists have given the competing Greek and Roman cultures the alphabet, their Gods (Aphrodite and Melqart), the name Europe (from the myth of Europa, the daughter of the king of Tyre). Politically speaking, if the punic wars have gone the way of the Phoenicians, the whole history of the western worl could have been very different today. Typical to our culture, however, the Phoenicians were city states. As a nation, they never called themselves Phoenicians. This was a name given to them by their neighbors. They called themselves by the city they belonged to and they acted upon it. Their loyalty was to their immediate business and their interest. They helped the invaders against their countrymen and they competed from one city to the next and from one harbor to the next. Due to invasions, all traces of that glorious culture are now gone. The Phoenician art mainly consisted of small pieces that were directed towards gain and of large vessels that were exported to Egyptians and other countries. The writings, the history.. all gone. How different the scenario would have been if the Phoenician had some perspective. If they would have worked together and built a strong nation. If they had focused on defense and if their colonies and trading posts were not autonomous. They could have at least lived more vividly in history books.
It is the curse of our fathers that we should never be together, that we should always be divided. That we should destroy everything we achieve. That we should work against each other. That we should always leave the next generation in dire despair and faced with the challenge of re-building a name for themselves and their country, until we ruin it all, all over again.
Feiruz is stuck at the airport!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I came home .. worked out .. cooked lunch .. and then spent the afternoon sitting in the sun, taking in the salty air, the summer warmth .. fishermen bickering under my balcony .. my favorite music in the background ... Such a blissful afternoon ... I had the world and i did not need more .. sat still .. looking at the waves, at the people walking by, at the skies, at my life ...
The simple pleasures ... The moments that leave you content and almost.. happy...
Of course there is the breakup.. the reactions from people.. those strange attempts by your family to help you .. to help you get over it, get busy finding another ... knowing they will never support you in your decision of being happy just on your own.. why do people think they need to live in couples to be happy? odd!
Although our love affair has gone astray...
still in my heart you'll be...
forever mine... "
i love my affairs, love the beginning and the end, the sweet nostalgia, the sweet sorrow when seperating, the passion at first .. most importantly, i love being alone in between affairs. i will never be able to give that up .. so here .. i said it ... i think i'm good! i cannot fake sadness, cannot fake loneliness..
What i had mistaken for apathy all this time might as well just be contentment .. a frightening thought still but very freeing .. it might be scary, especially to someone like me, to think that i can be content.. i have always worked and kept on leading to a goal ... going towards something i want, something i dream about, something i thought i needed and could not live without .. so i worked, dreamt and lived .. towards something ... something specific and within my reach ..
i do not dream anymore.. do you? i don't have dreams anymore. that i think is the scary part about being content, about being apathetic towards challenges ... towards overanalyzing problems.. towards caring about rules and protocols and projections and expectations ..
I do not care … simply .. not because i am apathetic towards life.. simply because i am content... i am apathetic towards the problems of life...
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
I have a very addictive personality and I am addicted to the people i love. Addiction in its worst form with visual cue triggers, withdrawal and total emotional dependence. There was that science paper that showed that the the brain registers the high from drugs in a distant place from where it registers the memory and need for the drug. Based on a lot of advances in this field, where the brain circuits and centers are understood and functions mapped in live patients reponding to stimuli, there is the near promise of a drug or a procedure to zap the trigger out at once. I think it will help with nostalgia too. The ramifications of it ... Scary!
So apparently there is this finding now that happiness could be inherited. With that too, i got screwed!! So i always thought that people with 'happier' more active more positive parents, tend to inherit the lifestyle and the approach and end up being more trained to go to the sunny side but it appears that there is a 'happiness gene' that is passed down along with the environmental influence. For the less 'sunny' of us, this sucks!!
"Some people born with 'happiness gene'
"It is often said some people by nature have a sunny disposition. Now scientists could have discovered why. Psychologists, who used data from 900 pairs of twins, identified evidence for common genes which result in certain personality traits that predispose individuals to happiness whatever their circumstances. The findings suggest those lucky enough to have the right inherited personality mix have a "reserve" of happiness which can be called upon in stressful times."