Wednesday, November 13, 2019

President Michel Aoun: on communication and Vaseline

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Anyone who was surprised our president Michel Aoun uttered the words “If people aren’t satisfied with any of the decent leaders let them immigrate,” perhaps their vision and version of the president is erroneous.
But let us start with an event that dates back exactly 30 years ago in 1989 when our president was then the head of the military government which per the constitution had to rule after the incapacity to elect a president to follow Amine el Gemayel (in what was known as the "Cognac night" because the power handover was done drinking this liquor which was the only one available at the Baabda Palace that night). So during an infamous press conference, live on television, Aoun says (about the later Member of the Parliament Georges Saade who was representing the Kataeb party) "chou Georges Saade 3am bi 7ot Vaseline ta y2ate3 khwezi2?" (what, Georges Saade is putting Vaseline to better insert d*icks?). Yes, it was live and on television at around 5 P.M. when kids were watching.
Let us also go back to an incident that happened in our school in 1991. As we were taking a French lession with our incredibly witty teacher Mr. Rouhana, suddenly a huge "bammmmm!" is heard. Naturally, since the sound was milder than an explosion (remember it was immediately post-war!) and much harsher than someone dropping a book, all teachers went to investigate. It turned out that a father had just slapped (quite, quite violently) the "prefet" or head of the section. Apparently the said prefet had just told the man "Monsieur, ibnak habile" (Sir, your son is stupid).
So upon returning to class, Mr. Rouhana said, "well, this was not in today's lesson but let me teach you about euphemism, you do not tell a father "Sir, your son is stupid" but rather "Sir, maybe your son is not extremely smart" - this goes down better".
Fortunately for Aoun people forgot about his "Vaseline" and "d*cks" quote, though I am not sure about history being as kind to him about his "immigration" quote today. Then again, to quote pop philosophers Bananarama "it ain't what you do it's the way you do it"...