Monday, June 5, 2017

Beirut, London, "khaye habibi" and the Blitzkrieg effect

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
You know that "keep calm and carry on" poster? Well, the Brits now understand the Lebanese mentality.
The image of the man fleeing the recent London attacks with a pint in hand is a proof of that - you paid for that pint might as well consume it and let the alcohol abstainers reel in their rage (no London is not reeling as NY Times put it!). Oh and a man went back to the pub he was in paid for his drinks and tipped.
But dear Londoners, this is how Beirut works too?
Bombs or no bombs, assassination or no assassination, life goes on (sorry for the Beatles references, no bad omen to Liverpool). Sorry Tony Walsh, whereas Manchester is the place London is the place too. Brexit or no Brexit, elections or not elections, "Labour isn't working" or Labour is working, it does not matter. Of course, we in Lebanon tend to be a bit less upper lip about things, but this does not mean that we do not - much like the Brits - "carry on". OK it is not within our DNA to "keep calm" - we will honk in the cars, and burn red lights, and speak on the cell phones and only put them down when some policeman is around, and squabble over nothings only to end it with "khayye habibi" (sorry, much like that lovely line for the old ad of Volupte by Oscar de la Renta "there's no proper translation" for these words!).
In London it used to be called the Blitzkrieg effect, whereby you survive the war sometimes - as my British friend William puts it - "without all your marbles intact". But survive you do. London survives, Beirut survives, and damn the naysayers and the idiots.
When a certain orange entity was tweeting not-very-smart things, a previous president of the United States by the name of Franklin Roosevelt said in his first inauguration address: "Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself".
Have no fear London. This is a message from Beirut with love!
No, you shall not overcome, you already have overcome!