Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beirut Mayhem-ek by Tarek Chemaly (Part II)

Beirut mayhem-mek by Tarek Chemaly part II:

It’s Feyrouz again on the radio. She comes frequently between news flashes. The ex- militia man once pondered that Feyrouz was a bad omen for the “boys on the front”, whenever she was on the radio a hundred of them were killed. Someone replied that it was the opposite that was true: It was when a hundred “boys” were killed that radio stations played songs by feyrouz. They never did resolve that one. Just like many other things stayed unresolved. I always needed a straw for my bottle of “Crush”, it was too risky for me to drink directly from the bottle.

I remember the girl everyone wanted to sleep with, and she seemed to want to sleep with everyone too. She was the daughter of a displaced family who had fled their house to live - for a short while at least - in the lower ground of the two story house across. I recall that her mother was having a nervous breakdown always staying in the most damp part of the shelter, her eldest brother was in a right wing extremist militia and once tried to attack my parents because someone filled his head with the idea that they wanted to throw his mother out of the shelter. Her little brother was my age and clearly liked Egyptian movies starring Faten Hamama “ye2borne rabba!” – may her God burry me! .

Everyone wanted to sleep with her, and as I mentioned, she seemed to want to sleep with everyone too judging by her very shorts skirt and the way she swayed her hips every time she took a step. She always wore wooden heeled sabots which made an appealing sound as she dragged her feet instead of raising them to walk.
Once I heard two girls discussing the recipe of the “Baba au Rum” and took me quite some time of thinking before knowing why would two girls talk about making Baba au rum instead of simply buying them.

At times, the chronology of the events gets confusing. The first time I met Moslems I was nine. There was a girl in class who was also Moslem but for some reason no one wanted to believe that she was. When she drew her hand on a piece of paper and named the five fingers, the teacher liked the idea so much she posted the sketch close to the classroom’s board.

The hand she drew did not seem like a Moslem hand. Back then we thought that Moslems had a different anatomy than Christians. It is hard not to get impressed by your surroundings even if your family does not talk about religion, you learn to be perfect little fanatic from school. It took me around eight more years to meet the next Moslem person, and he was very nice too. He had nice little Christian hands too.

I want to be a fanatic. I have always wanted to be a fanatic. It is so easy to become one. In theory at least. All you have to do is to believe that whatever you believe in - or most likely what you have been taught to believe in - is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so God help everyone else.

I had problems with that last part, the one that deals in believing that I held the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But it’s cool to be a fanatic, at least you “belong”. You have someone to watch over your back, to reassure that you are right in case you have a doubt crisis.
I want to be a fanatic just as much as I believe that war was orange.

"Wann geht der nächste Schwan?" (What time is the next sawn?) asked a bemused Leo Slezak to his audience during an interpretation of Wagner’s Lohengrin when one of the technical people sent out the Swan too early for the tenor to hop on it. Do swans fly to the middle east? Maybe they’re pinioned swans with their primary feathers clipped, which means they can’t fly at all, and all they do is lurk around parks to the amusement of children and generating memories for lovers sitting at benches with engraved initials with heart shaped knife carvings in between them.

Reports also indicate that passenger ships are being chartered by other countries' governments to evacuate their citizens. The French and Norwegian Governments are reported to have jointly chartered the Greek Lane Lines ferry Ierapetra L and Louis Cruise Lines' Cypriot-based cruise ship Serenade has reportedly been chartered by the Australian Government to evacuate their citizens.
NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports: “As I stood at the port in Beirut on Wednesday watching the desperation on so many faces as they waited to board the Orient Queen cruise liner, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face for one fleeting moment.
The reason? I had just met one young boy who reached into his bag and showed me who he was bringing out of Lebanon to the safety of Cyprus: a pet frog named “Spitfire.””
“Love won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile on a friendly shore.
 (Love boat lyrics)

“I cannot imagine what is going on back there”, the voice said talking about Beirut.
“Neither can I.”