Monday, January 30, 2006

Just a little survey

Did you kill anyone during the war?
Did you steal?

I keep hearing that the reason we don't hold the war criminals accountable is that everyone killed during the war.

I don't think that is true. I'm pretty sure the grand majority of people wasn't doing much killing but rather was hiding from the killers.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I'm not sure what this is, either.


I'm not sure what this is.

Denmark in the News!

The controversial Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (prayed God upon him and saluted) are offensively bad, offensively unfunny, offensively childish (sort of like what I just said) . That is exactly why they are not worth all the fuss.

It reminds me of Salman Rushdie. Had it not been for all the death calls he got, no one would've looked at his book. It's dull, boring text with no nudity. It couldn't sell 3 copies if it wasn't for all the marketing the islamic governments did on its behalf.

So while the Danish Government is rightfully defending freedom of expression, the offended need to remember they have the freedom to ignore and stop reading that specific newspaper. There are other, more interesting publications in the world that they should look at.

By the way, South Park regularly makes fun of the Super Best Friends:Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, Buddha, and Krishna. So we should all boycott Colorado, or Blame Canada.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Libraries: Someone CARES!

As a follow up to the library subject, it turns out there is a netwrok of public libraries in Lebanon. It is very modest, but they do have free internet access. The main Beirut library is the size of an average apartment with a maid's room.

Someone is working on improving that however. They are adequately called the Friends of Public Libraries Association in Lebanon.

You can donate the original Russian print of War and Peace, but they prefer connect the dots books.

One of the book donation centers is literally 10 medium sized steps from where I am now. Damn, I thought I was inquisitive, now I have to scratch that out of my C.V.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Off the Scales

Everyone knows corruption is rampant in Lebanon. A lot of people stole alot of money, no surprise there.
However, when Nicola Fattoush wants a quarter billion dollars to stop raping the environment, something he shouldn't have been doing in the first place, you realize the scale of such corruption.
Nicola Fattoush! Who is Nicola Fattoush? He's barely a C-List corrupt politician. A quarter billion dollars as settlement for a C Lister! So that means he's been pocketing at least that much. Nicola Freaking Fattoush!
Where does that leave the other corruptos? The ones higher up on the food chain. The Murrs, Hrawis, Hamades, Husseinis, Mrads, Sayyeds, Lahouds, Franjiehs, Harbs, Shamseddines, Gemayels? I'm sure their ego wouldn't allow for a share smaller than that of Nicola Fattoush, It had to be multiple times more.
We haven't reached the All Stars yet? The Jordans and O'Neals of thievery. Abdel Halim Khaddam, Nabih Berri, Ghazi Kanaan, Walid Jumblatt, Rustum Ghazaleh, Rafik Hariri, Mustapha Tlas, Hekmat El Shahabi.

How about the Godfather himself? How much of the people's money did he die on?

Nicola Fattoush?!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Match Made in ...

... Holy Land.

Hamas and Likud are perfect for each other. Mirror images.

One headline I read was: World Leaders Shocked.

That shows you how detached these leaders are from the palestinean people, or people in general for that matter. Do you think when George was drawing up his Peace Road Map in Crawford, TX, he consulted with a mother from Gaza? Of course not he consulted with vultures and vegetables. That's why he is shocked.

A road map for peace is not a bad idea, unfortunately in this map the X is on the back of the paper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Modern Transparent Democracy

We know more about Star Academy contestants than Presidents.

We have 24 live video of a slumber party, but no evidence of closed door meetings that decide the world's fate.

We get to see Leyla from Morocco eat breakfast in her pajamas with puss in her eyes, but we only get to see our leaders once a month, with make up on, reading carefully scripted propaganda.

We put aspiring showgirls/boys into a rigorous 4 month series of tests to see who stands out, while we hire PR and marketing machines to cover our political aspirer's faults and highlight/ invent their merits.

We vote off a bad singer with the press of a button from home anytime of the day, but we have to wait years, then wait in line for hours, then put up with incompetent government workers to vote off someone that's stealing our money.

No Confidence

A motion of no confidence is usually the way out of a governmental deadlock like we have in Lebanon. Even Vanuatu figured out how to use this democratic tool in 2004. Usually it's the opposition that shows no confidence in the government and that might be enough to replace the government or call for an early election.
However, what happens when the majority of the members of the government show no confidence in the government?
Yes, only in my special country does a ruling coalition show no confidence in ... itself.
I have called for the government to shit or get off the pot before, but a lot of things have happened since then and I don't think you can find anyone that would label these events as positive. Enough shitting, just get off the pot.

First of all, the orange opposition has clearly and loudly voiced their NO CONFIDENCE in the government.
On to Hezboamalallah. Their 5 ministers decided to go on a prolonged paid vacation. Nice gig, but I'm pretty sure it counts as NO CONFIDENCE.
Yesterday, former ID card killer* MP Antoine Zahra (who happens to claim that he graduated from Harrington University in London) admitted that the Lebanese Forces are conducting military exercises in the Arz region. His rationale was that they were training individuals to protect LF Don Samir Geagea and LBC Headquarters. I'm not gonna ask how artillery practice protects you from possible car bombs which are the biggest threat in Lebanon these day, but this clearly shows that the LF have NO CONFIDENCE in the government to protect them. By the way they happen to be part of the government.
Then there is Future Corporation, the holding company that counts the government as one of its assets. CEO Saad Hariri has showed so much confidence in his investment that he hasn't set foot in Beirut since this government took over. He'd rather spend his time in Saudi Arabia!!! Saudi Arabia!!! If that isn't NO CONFIDENCE I don't know what is.

Government is not a trophy! It's responsibility. 5 million people worth of responsibility.

* ID card Killers: prominent during the Lebanese civil** war. ID Card killers used to stop and shoot people on the spot if they happened to be of the wrong sect.

**Civil: uncivil, savage, barbaric, primitive, inhuman, vicious, atrocious, and boorish.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cultural Capital

Downtown Beirut (10 blocks)

8 Mosques.
10 Churches.
1 Synagogue.
1 Buddha Bar.
100 Restaurants.
10 Night Clubs.
10 Bars.
20 Jewelry Stores.
40 Fashion shops.
1 Bookstore.
0 Art Galleries.
0 Theaters.
0 Libraries.

Moment of Silence

Walking home at 4 am the other day, I found 2 seconds of complete silence in Beirut. 2 seconds during which I could hear myself breathe, 2 seconds in which I could hear my footsteps.
It's eerie to be in the middle of all these buildings, lights, and people, and not hear a voice. The silence was beautiful, but I was too freaked out to enjoy it.
This surreal moment was abruptly interrupted by the very real and loud sounds of cats fucking, and Beirut was Beirut again.

Non Sequitur

Meet the Blogger
1-3 AM

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Freedom of Blog

I thought that by having my own personal blog, I was free to write anything I want to. That was the case for a month maybe, then I was forced to write a thing or two, no biggie. Now I got "tagged" with a worst habits post. I don't want to piss off the blog gods so I will comply, but I don't like where this is heading (عندي هواجس) . Soon the state police will force me to praise the government, or some corporation will buy my words (I am open to this idea by the way, I'll even call the Big Mac a culinary delight for the right price.)

So Worst Habits huh? I guess some self criticism is healthy.

1. I have no sense of money. I am not a material girl in a material world. It makes thing really inconvenient for me, since not many people are willing to accept barter deals. Then again maybe my nudes don't hold much bartering value.

2. I can not hold a job. My attention span is 3.5 seconds, so there is no way I can sit 40+ hours a week doing something, unless it's eating but that's #3. The worst part of it is that I tried hard to get fired at my last job, and I failed. I sat there for 3 months without doing a thing of value to the company other than my pleasant presence and that was enough for them to pay me.

3. I eat until there is no more food. Of course I leave nothing in my plate so the kids in Ethiopia don't starve. That's normal, even humanitarian. My vice , however, is that I don't stop when I'm full or the plate is empty, if there is something slightly edible within reach I will devour it even if I'm painfully stuffed. Doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, and it is not a once a month PMS deal. Which takes me to #4.

4. The ever Elusive Monday. I will start a regular workout routine on Monday. Diet on Monday. Monday I will shower.

5. I can't waste time on things that I know how they are gonna end up. Knowledge is satisfying enough for me. How do I know? It's a gift, I get visions, I know everything in advance. Everything.

I guess I have to tag someone now.

Boutros Boutros Ghali.

Women will rule the world soon

There's a revolution brewing. It's worldwide. Most men don't realize it since it's happening beyond their radar scope. Even though it's in their face, all the time. All women are in on it. It's the one thing women of Colombia have in common with women in Saudi Arabia. India, China, Mozambique; they are all ready for the day, waiting for the signal.

Who has united all the women of the world?

Who is the most powerful human alive today?

Whose word is never questioned?

Whose opinions shatter borders, overcome language barriers, unite colors, and transcend religion?

Who's God?





Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Scary Crowd

I caught a glimpse of today's protests against U.S. Interference in Lebanese affairs. That scene was scary.
Not because thousands, maybe tens of thousands i didn't really count, of youth were telling the World's biggest power, who isn't hesitant to show its power, to fuck off. Rather because these were college students and only a fraction of the total college student population of Lebanon.

Last time I checked the papers for jobs i saw probably 1 or 2 jobs listed for recent college grads.

So that gives us a job seekers to jobs available ratio of tens of thousands to one.


Monday, January 16, 2006

From Lebanon IIII

Cup of Coffee

A cup of coffee in Lebanon is not literally a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee is the unescapable, unbeatable, signature pin move of invitations; except it is not exclusive to steroidal freaks as sweet old grandmas can apply it with equal effectiveness.
But I have a meeting. Oh come on it's just a cup of coffee.
I don't drink Coffee. We'll make it tea then.
Just had tea. Then have a Baklawa.
On a diet. Have a cigarrette.
Hate cancer. Just have a glass of water, no one can refuse water.

Do not resist, it's futile. You might slip out of any other unwanted invite, but not the cup of coffee.
Just accept it and try to enjoy the 30 minutes (if you are lucky to get out in 30) of Lebanese hospitality.

P.S. Don't think that if you just went through a cup of coffee you are immune, as they tend to come in bunches.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cuban Butts

I was watching Israeli TV this morning. Sorry, I meant Zionist Terrorist Evil Enemy TV. They had this cheesy variety show much like most the shows on Lebanese TV(speaking of, I think I will write something soon about the concept of TV talent and how it hasn't made it to this region) . For some reason the host was dressed like McBurglar, but that is not the point. They had a dance group performing to the tune of "Dime Si Son Latinos". The scene reminded me of the time I went to a Ruben Blades concert in Brussells and witnessed the Belgians attempt to Salsa. It was like watching a cripple fight; funny as hell but sad.
Europeans, Asians, North Americans, basically all White people have to realize that they need to stick to head bobbing. Anatomically, they were not built to shake their butts. It took centuries of evolution for the Cuban Butt to come along, so white man's tries to cheat science are arrogant and silly. But they are funny to watch, so play that funky music white boy.


I want Freedom
I want Sovereignty
I want Independence.
I want Jobs.
I want Security.
I want a good Steak.
I want transparency.
I want democracy.
I want One Strong Army.
I want no mini lawless states in the country.
I want no racism.
I want no sexism.
I want no corruption.
I want Olympic Gold.
I want a fair electoral system.
I want equality.
I want clean air.
I want schools.
I want justice.
I want health care.
I want social security.
I want civil marriage.
I want to party.
I want safe roads.
I want greenery.
I want workers' rights.
I want cheap gas.
I want to sing.
I want an ice cold beer.
Most importantly, I want it all for free because I love my country and I wave a flag.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Turkey's Turkeys are Sick

Bird Flu is only a couple of hundred kilometers away as the crow flies, and drops.

How prepared is our government to face this epidemic?
Try asking this to the minister of public health, and he'll flip you the bird.
But what do you expect, you can't make chicken salad with chicken shit.

Let's just thank Geography we are close to Europe.
The EU has declared war on the pesky flying animals whose favorite passtime is to crap all over newly washed cars. That should involve some steps that would save our tails. At least I hope that is the case. Otherwise.... Duck!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blog Blog Blog

Note: I have a gun to my head as I write this.

I went to a Lebanese bloggers meeting yesterday. Not knowing what to expect, I had come up with a beautifully clever excuse to escape early. Fortunately I didn't have to use it. Unfortunately I did not get to show it off, but I'm sure there will be another occasion for that.

With a long table setup the meeting broke up into mini meetings, but I was strategically located in the middle so I could eavesdrop on all talks. Here's what I learned. Roughly half the bloggers blog because they are forced to by a mysterious someone (The same someone that has the gun to my head). There are no stories to tell about Vietnam, at least not for free. Twins aren't necessarily related. AUB is a popular choice for higher education. The waiter only comes once. People would rather watch a monkey for 3 hours than a local flick. One person at the table had more traffic on his blog than the rest of the table combined. Times 20. 3 to 1 male to female ratio offically qualifies the event as a sausage fest.

I think I forgot to thank the organizers of the meeting, oh well, next time.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Tribute to A Man of Peace

With everyone praising this great man of our time
in his final hours, I decided to hold hands with Condoleezza Rice, Jack Straw, and King Abdullah of Jordan, and sing "Kumbaya Sharon Kumbaya."

Prime Minister Sharon is showing strong, visionary leadership by difficult steps to improve the lives of people across the Middle East. I’m grateful to the prime minister for his friendship.- George W. Bush

Cool!! 2 more 9-11's and I'll be a Man of Peace too. - Osama Bin Laden

Prime Minister Sharon is a man of courage and peace. - George W. Bush

The prime minister had surprised everybody by the courage and statesmanship he's shown in recent years to work towards a long term peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.- Jack Straw

A wonderful, historic leader.- Condoleeza Rice

Donald Rumsfeld threatened to pull Nato's headquarters out of Brussels unless Belgium revoked a legislation giving its courts the power to prosecute foreigners for alleged war crimes committed anywhere in the world.

"He voted against the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. He voted against a withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 1985. He opposed Israel's participation in the Madrid peace conference in 1991. He opposed the Knesset plenum vote on the Oslo agreement in 1993. He abstained on a vote for peace with Jordan in 1994. He voted against the Hebron agreement in 1997. He condemned the manner of Israel's retreat from Lebanon in 2000. By 2002, he had built 34 new Jewish colonies on Palestinian land.
And he was a man of peace."-Robert Fisk's Eulogy

Thursday, January 05, 2006

From Lebanon III

The Misscall

It took me a while to get used to this one. I was so naive that when the phone rang my reaction was to pick it up. Don't do that. Not in Lebanon, that is unless you enjoy screaming "Hello!" into a dead phone. I was baffled, why do people call if they don't want to talk. I was convinced that the sole purpose of the call was to make you look silly. Then I got my first cellphone bill.

Lebanese Cell phone minutes(NYSE) value is comparable to platinum. My cab driver today had 7 kids and only 5 minutes on his phone, you do the math. The invention of the Misscall was an essential survival mechanism for the Lebanese. Fire, the wheel, and the misscall. The Lebanese also mastered the use of these three discoveries simultaneously (see the daily police blotter for more info on that) .

But what good can a simple misscall do you? Full conversations if you learn your Morse Code. The most common one is the simple call me back misscall. You can always use consecutive misscalls or combinations of one and two ring misscalls or other variations to say whatever you want.

The misscall. Another clever creation from the ever so creative (or cheap) Lebanese.

Extra Credit: If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many misscalls is that?