Saturday, September 23, 2006

Everyone Loves a Parade

Yesterday I decided to walk to the newly dubbed "Pride and Dignity Square" , an 8 KM distance as the Google Earth flies, to get a full picture of Beirut on this day.

At 12:30 pm, I had my cup of coffee and scoured the daily newspapers at my favorite cafe. There was a shouting match across the street but surprisingly it was apolitical. By the way, Rania and Abdallah of Jordan are sleeping in seperate bedrooms.

1 pm; Hamra Street has its regular crowd combined with some motorists sporting their Hezbollah flags and blasting their Nasrallah speeches while some passers by discretely wish for them and him to drown in shit.

1:20 pm; I get side tracked when I spot a new restaurant. Food gets me everytime. However, this restaurant's decor is too colorfull for it to have good food. Also, the fact that this spot used to house a Pizza Hut doesn't work in its favor.

1:30 pm; Someone I know sees me and offers me a ride wherever I was going. He felt offended because I told him I just wanted to walk. He wasn't convinced. No one "just walks" in Beirut. Oh Well.

1:35 pm; The Spears Barbar bottleneck is not exclusive to cars on the street, the sidewalk is also a victim to this phenomenon. Instead of bombing bridges, Israel should've built Barbars everywhere that would've clogged all roads (and arteries) and paralyzed the country.

1:40 pm; in Zoqaq Blat you can buy one Kilogram of Tomatoes or Grapes for 500LL. No one will ever starve to death in Lebanon.

1:45 pm; I stopped at 3ezz Cafe Downtown, since this used to be my caffeine supply when I worked in the area. "3ezz" is a staunch Haririst, and so was everyone else present there. Let the fun begin. Ok, I couldn't take notes fast enough. Siniora stopped the war, he's no traitor. All the arabs abandoned the Palestinian cause, why won't we. If they open the Golan front, we will go and fight there. We all used to love Nasrallah, but not since he said "Thank You Syria." Overall, a lot of resentment towards Syria.

2:15 pm; I spot Ibrahim Kanaan at Le Georges in Gemmayze, the dude stood less than a meter away and I still couldn't tell whether or not he has a moustache. It's a light angle trick that has me baffled.

2:25 pm; The young cedar on the Lebanese Forces posters looks much healthier than the blossoming cedar on Almanar TV.

2:35 pm; Tabaris, Furn El Hayek, Sodeco are all emptyish, early start to the weekend I guess. I hear my name and have a 5 minute with someone that knows me without having a clue who he is.

2:45 pm; Oh I remember who he is, he used to work at one of the companies I worked for.

2:50 pm; I've been walking for two and half hours mixing with the people of Beirut, but fuck it , my destination is still over 5 kilometers away, so I'm hitching a ride.

3:15 pm; The Mar Mikhail church is as far as cars can get, so back to walking. Tons of people, mostly with yellow flags, but you'll spot occasional black, green, orange, red and the unmistakeable mutant radioactive pistacchio colored flags of the Marada party.

3:45 pm; Ice cream trucks, cotton candy, roasted nuts, Nasrallah speeches on Cassette or CD (I got me the classical 1998 Jerusalem day, but most youths prefer the Ashura 2003 remix.), and lots and lots of baby carriages; plenty of pride and dignity but still no square.

4:00 pm; More people heading away from the "square", than those heading to it , they said they weren't letting any more people in. Are you kidding me, I didn't walk and hitch all this distance to be left out. Oh and by the way, I spotted a couple of Israeli MK drones in the sky filming the event.

4:15 pm; the pace got slower and the space tighter and the oxygen scarcer and butt grabbing more frequent, it was getting obvious I' m not gonna make it and even if I managed to push my way close enough to Pride it would have to be at the expense of Dignity. Right there I decided to give up.

5:00 pm; While I was in an air conditioned living room, Nasrallah started delivering his victory speech.

6:15 pm; He finished his brief talk. Main points: Olmert and Peretz are pair of boobs. Condy's New Middle East is a miscarriage. Yo Arab Leaders, wake up(Dream on Sayyed). Blue Helmets, Blue Balls. Internally he delivered strong words but weak messages. The roof of his demands remained a National Unity government. I already commented on this issue in my last post.

8:00 pm; Shower!!!!!


أمل said...

Grand day eh Jamal?

but .. what's with you and jij? shou osset el minutes??

Maya@NYC said...

your take on things is hilarious Jamal. great recap..

Charles Malik said...

Great walk! I usually did the same thing, but you do get tired somewhere around ABC Ashrafieh. If you make it all the way there and can still make it back down the hill to Sodeco or Monnot (via Sassine, not Martyr's Square, which you would have already walked through), you take a rest stop there.

You must have been one stinky brother.

Angry Anarchist said...

Haha... I enjoy your posts and sarcasm a lot! Keep it up dude!

Ibrahim Kenaan should trim his moustache (??), it's too distracting; when he's on TV, I think most people just keep wondering about it instead of actually listening to what he's saying. :P

Solomon2 said...

What's wrong with Pizza Hut?

M. Simon said...

What's wrong with the ME?


aroundtheclock24_7 said...

Best comment i've heard about that day hehehe :) I envy you for talking to the Beirut people, i used to do that when i was in university in Lebanon :)Just walk through the streets of Hamra and talk to people some i know and others i get to know by standing in line waiting for something or by them asking me for help in somthing or a comment from here and there etc. but i do miss that here.

Bachir Sayegh said...

Incredible post there Jamal , very well written Gaby Nasr style..

I especially liked the part abt the mutant pistachio marada flags haha that was hilarious :)

Keep it up

I bookmarked you blog too