Thursday, September 29, 2022

Should Jad Aoun bring his "looks like Beirut" award back?

Today as I was reading an article in The Guardian (here) a sentence popped up describing a dilapidated house "like Beirut"... and bam it all brought back to me that award that Jad Aoun (at the time known as the blogger "under rug swept") used to distribute for articles mentioning the expression "looks like Beirut" - which of course at the time was ironic considering Beirut was thriving thank-you-very-much. So "just like Beirut" was an oddity to mention since it did not resemble anything of the Beirut known at that time.

Jad, much like many of the other bloggers has gone to better pastures - in this case Canada - where he blogged intermittently - and then not blogged at all. Actually in his website, there is a section which is called "new blog" which leads to... nothing

Naturally, in today's Beirut, the irony might have all gone. The idea that something is "just like Beirut" which, unlike the 80s comparison (meaning war-torn and a complete chaos) has been replaced by a soulless structure, one that is not dead but barely breathing to be considered a full functioning entity. And please spare me the "you're negative" connotations - look beyond the silly pubs and see the faces of people, those almost unable to pay their generator for the scraps of electricity they are provided with, or those who try to make meals out of nothing at all, or the large fragment of the population which is now under the poverty level, or quite simply the man who seriously asked in a supermarket "can we do tabbouleh without cucumbers?" upon seeing their price.

So yes, Jad. Bring back those awards but make them about people feeling helpless, and apply them to situations where they are barely making it. Surviving, but only just.... just like Beirut.