The latest episode in the ongoing Lebanese civil war, which despite the legend did not start in 1975 and did not magically end in 1990, was attributed to an argument over a parking space.
A spokesperson for one for the parties involved called it an isolated incident over something silly. Well it is, but this country is "something silly" away from becoming just a silly footnote in history. The poster pictured above appeared on Beiruti walls before the Burj Abi Haydar incident.Whoever posted it either has psychic powers or the laws of averages make it a safe bet to bring up the topic of Lebanese in-fighting at any time without fearing it will be untimely. Lebanese in-fighting shocks no one... except the Lebanese that is.
There are many, many factors that have Lebanon at a constant simmer. One of them is the "silly" parking. You see, there's a field of study called urban planning. Believe it or not, some urban planners make money by offering urban planning services. It turns out people live more happily if they knew they could find a parking spot within a couple of kilometers of their home. They would be happier if they know that there is a reliable public transport system that will get them home. But that's really asking too much of incompetent political leadership. The last brilliant idea to come out of state institutions to address the parking problem in Beirut was to build car parks in place of the last remaining human parks in town. I'm no urban planner, but I'm pretty sure parks are also part of what makes people's lives in cities more bearable.
I'm no outlaw either, but I know people who know people that can get you out of a parking ticket. Though I'm thinking an RPG launcher is a much more effective tool to achieve that, plus you won't owe anyone any favors. Hmmm...
"Fouad Siniora is a Red Line".-Saad Hariri this past weekend
Rafiq Hariri is also a Red Line. It's true he's been dead for over five years now but he has not ceased to be a red line and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. That future is basically as long as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon keeps running its tab.
Saad Hariri is a Red Line too. He doesn't want to brag about himself, but he's along the same red line that started with his father and passed right through Siniora into his care.
I'm surprised that a politician that prides himself on following an infallible economic plan is being so frank, but I'm not complaining. His honesty is quite commendable. Even though if you really look at it, there just isn't any other way to put it.
When your finances yield $50 billion in debt.. that's one very Red bottom line.
MTV Arabia, a joint venture between MTV and Sheikh Mo's Dubai Holding, decided to observe Ramadan by refraining from airing vulgar Music videos and sticking to its more wholesome reality shows.
Daddy's Girls is one of these shows.
During one of the episodes I overheard an obscene amount of script being bleeped out. So I inquired with a subject matter expert, my sister, about the Ramadan spirit on display. She said she doesn't think they are saying any bad words since they are talking about a nice "bleeping" boy. Having watched the episode she thought the most logical choice for the bleeped out word is "Jewish".
Sure enough a small internet search confirmed that the "Girls" were talking about a nice jewish boy.
But I guess blatant anti-Semitism is OK if it comes from "moderates" who are tolerant of Israel.
Yesterday, Minister of Defense Elias El-Murr had a press conference to address a very urgent issue. His performance was indirectly questioned in a newspaper article written by Hassan Olleik and published in Al Akhbar. While answering questions he mentioned the famous MIG 29s that the Russians allegedly gave as a gift to Lebanon and were supposed to be patrolling the skies by now.
By El-Murr's logic, the MIGs were too expensive to operate so Lebanon asked for the gift to be replaced with cheaper and easier to operate helicopters. Now I'm not sure if those ever made it to Beirut, but that's not the issue. The defense strategy and military logic of the minister sees it is appropriate to cut corners and equip the army with what's cheaper rather than what is necessary. Why stop at helicopters, I hear tricycles are even easier to operate. Seriously though, wouldn't it have been beautiful had El-Murr uttered these words as Minister of Finance? All that lady ever says is tax.
El-Murr was offended by Olleik's article and felt he was wronged. So he applied the same logic. Why opt for the lengthy, complicated, and expensive legal defense, when you can go for the easier and cheaper tactic of bullying.
People over here are overly nosey. Widespread plastic surgery facilities can only take care of the physical aspect of this trait. Therefore, curiosity continues to kill the... well you know who.
Remember that barrage of questions that you answered this sweet looking old lady when you first moved into the neighborhood? Well your answers have become common knowledge in the neighborhood, because she told her neighbor who in turn told the grocer. The grocer wrote down your info in his accounts receivables file, but then gave up on you after he saw that you're a sucker that will pay five fold for the same fruits from the "organic" grocer down the street. Your data have now become parsley wrapping. After the tabbouleh is made, your confessions end up in the bottom of a birdcage which houses a parrot which keeps repeating the newly acquired gossip until it's old news.
Now combine that with the love of bragging which happens to be the other strong trait around here, and you end up with an environment that's not very conducive to keeping secrets.
So don't try to be some smart ass super secret agent, you will be caught. If you want to be an Israeli tool, do it openly and join the... well you know who.