Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Can it ever be Ramadan without Sherihan?

So the month of Ramadan is upon us and may it be blessed on everyone. Here's a fact: I grew up in what was known as Eastern Beirut - the Christian quarter. So I was not exactly involved in Muslim rituals. But I knew that "Ramadan" was a thing. The reason I knew is because each and every afternoon - Sherihan would show up on television to ask riddles. I can think of her "amthal" (proverbs) in 1986 when LBC was merely in its infancy and teleliban was the screen to watch still. Honestly, the riddles were sometimes too easy (like, how difficult it was to pick Spain or Japan as an answer). But beyond the riddles, it was her. Talented, mesmerizing, dancing, singing, with some gimmicky computer tricks. She managed to be the center of the show, without it even looking like she was trying hard.

Of course, I knew Sherihan as an actress as well from several programs she was in (I can think of Rahma, or the epic Daouni Aeish among others). Sure, back then I was much more interested in shows such as Magnum, or Hunter, or Night Heat. But as a testament to her talent, she would be brilliant in whatever she was in (OK, just to call a spade a spade, one of her TV shows in the 90s was... ahem, not exactly classic). Still, a lot of other actresses have done fawazeer (riddles) in Ramadan. I can think of Nelly for example. Not to throw shade on anyone any time you mention the fawazeer, people of my generation would gravitate instantly to Sherihan.

Funny, last year someone asked me when I posted a video of her on instagram "min hayde?". A young person from a much more recent generation. I explained and linked one of her Fawazeer intros. He came back aghast "this existed and I had no idea?". I always go back to the same thought, pop culture will always be the bridging gap in a society. Even when I was in East Beirut someone like Sherihan was being watched (on teleliban) by someone else in West Beirut. And if we met today, I suppose we would say "A2olak ah ah, a2olak eh eh".