Monday, March 31, 2014

Of musical chairs and existential voids

So who knew Lebanese are so obsessed with existential void? Before anyone says anything about Camus or Sartre or whomever, first let's understand - it's basically an empty chair we are talking about. The presidential one. With elections looming large and still no clear front runner (mainly because all other nations who end up doing the consensus have other things to handle for the moment), there is doubt if elections will happen. That has already triggered two interpretations on the streets. "Elections or void?" says the promo for Marcel Ghanem's Kalam Ra2is on LBC. Only to be backed up by - the same chair - with the line "el faragh 3adam ghayr char3i" - this one is tricky to explain.
"Faragh" - is void. "3adam" is "neant" in French or "nonthingness" "ghayr char3i" means "unconstitutional". "3adam char3i" means "extremely bad situation". So the double entendre is "void is an unconstitutional emptiness" but also means "letting the void happen will bring an unconstitutionality bad situation".
Now here's the bizarre part - the second ad is signed "in the name of the Lebanese people". I kid you not. I have been Lebanese for quite a bit of time now, and no one asked me if I wanted this ad, or if I would shell money on kickstarter for it, or if I agree to the message, or whatever. So what does this imply? Someone with deep pockets - a politician, a political party, etc... - has paid for this ad.. Most likely from money stolen from the Lebanese people, which, ironically - makes it "in the name of the Lebanese people" indeed - albeit not as intended.
Now, about that "hell is others" matter...

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