Sunday, October 13, 2013

The busy afterlife of Lebanese VIPs

Beirut has become the commemorative city of the dead par excellence. Here are some older samples (here and here and here and here) and this is just the tip of the iceberg of my archive. Death is in cohabitation mode with life here, perpetually, sometimes in a risible pacifist way - just one explosion and we're done which adds to the list of people (or at least VIP people) to commemorate.
This time it's the turn of Wissam el Hassan our late brigadier general. Wissam means medal of honor, so there was word play galore. "Cedar Medal of the rank of republic" (the cedar medal is the highest honor in Lebanon but has different ranks), "to the country a sacrifice, to justice a medal", and "a medal on the chest of the nation". Pity he's too dead to enjoy it.
One of the problems of such commemorations is how to always come up with catchy lines - I tried Kundera's "que les anciens morts fassent place aux nouveaux morts", then I had "I see dead people again", and "he was dead (then he got better)"...
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