Friday, April 1, 2022

Living in Lebanon today feels like being in Macondo

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

The story goes that the idea of One Hundred Years Of Solitude came to Garbiel Garcia Marquez while driving his car with his wife next to him. Suddenly he stopped talking, went home, to his office and only came out when the novel was finished to which his wife said "it's better be worth it". Thankfully it was.

Now, the whole story happens in a town called Macondo that Garcia Marquez invented himself. A lot of strange and weird things happen there believe me. And for a long while, living in Lebanon feels like living in Macondo. Everything is surreal. Nothing makes sense. Take last winter, it was long, damp, humid, cold, and incredibly testing. All means of heating have gone exponential in price, which made all efforts of heating incredibly futile and very expensive (I myself have a central heater, so apart from the diesel price which was exorbitant I needed electricity to turn it on, with state electricity not coming at all, I had to rely on a communal generator I subscribe to which in itself was rationed and still is).

So it rained on Macondo for "four years, eleven months, and two days" which trust me, this is how long winter felt in Lebanon. I mean on March 15, it snowed in my backyard. Which in itself is an anomaly.

And the massacre mentioned in "One Hundred Years Of Solitude"? Feels the same in Lebanon. An event happens, a tragic, traumatizing one. Next thing you know all evidence of such event are taken out and the even is no longer spoken of or mentioned and the existence of which is denied if ever it was so. Typically Lebanon if you ask me.

And the analogies go on and on... Garcia Marquez' masterpiece is classified under magic realism, which at this point, living in Lebanon subscribes to neither - there is no magic and there is no realism whatsoever.

"It's better be worth it" said Mercedes Garcia Marquez. Right now in Lebanon it is not.