Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The world keeps on turning: Rafah crossing and the Met Gala

Yesterday yahoo headlines were:

Israel seizes control of Rafah border crossing, what all stars wore at  last night's Met Gala - and more...

Already, some people I follow on social media were up in arms about the Met Gala to begin with, and even the organizers of the said event were curling their toes for many reasons: Conde Nast which publishes Vogue (the Met Gala in case you did not know was headed by Dame Anna Wintour who also is the global chief content officer of Vogue) struck an 11th hour deal with employees threatening to disrupt the Met event, and pro-Palestinians were having a manifestation right across apparently. All this without even broaching the topic that the main sponsor of the event was Tiktok, which president Biden had signed into law that is either needed to be sold or banned due to the fact that its parent company Bytedance was Chinese.

The fashion gods were apparently clement and the mega-event went without issues.

Which brings us to the Rafah crossing and Israel.

I already said it that as a Lebanese 2023 was incredibly triggering as a year (here), and considering that - like most Lebanese - I lost all my money at the bank, I am dealing with all the other issues Lebanese are dealing with in terms of shortages (even if they are less acute than before), and since the market is in a disastrous state still, adding the Palestinian plight to my own is taxing and draining no matter how emphatic I am.

As a matter of fact, yesterday I had a row with a German person I know - the man had certain circumstances but his country pays for his hospitalization, his housing, his cleaning service, his transportation, etc... Trying to make him understand that I am flying without a parachute was just too much for him to grasp. I was trying to make him understand that he had a very sturdy safety net, one that is not there for me. He even implied that I should rest on my social security, only for me to gently explain to him that his too evaporated. 

All this is to say that whereas I am expected to be on the camp that it is sacrilegious that the Met Gala is happening right at the same time as the Israeli offensive in Rafah, believe it or not, I am not. Remember, war in Lebanon was not this eternal doom and gloom despite all the casualties that happened. We watched "al hijra min Dallas" (hehe "exodus from Dallas" or "Knots Landing" on a TV in the shelter wired on the battery of Ayoub's car stationed above), there were discotheques (though I was too young to attend), radio stations which played both local music (Jabal Loubnan), or foreign (Radio one, Pax, Magic 102, Fame, etc...), and so on and so forth.

I previously spoke of the demise of Kaslik (here) but the mere existence of that street and its accoutrements of luxury shops and beach resorts and night life was a proof that even in the midst of a war there was money to spend and people spending it. Fouad ElKoury has this image which sort of encapsulates this mood - in the middle of a war-torn Beirut a man - presumably a driver - changes the wheel of a Cadillac as two other men (one of them in a fancy coat) stand looking (also presumably one or both are the owners of the vehicle) - see the image here.

Life does go on - in both in its atrocity and sublime. And does it make sense? Well, who said it should anyhow.