Sunday, May 31, 2009


Need I say more? Free Patriotic Movement one-off billboard by the highway.

Ping pong again!

The sois egale outing, even if late, has its share of butchering "Sois egale et vote... general" (Be equal and vote for the General (Michel Aoun)).... And then a new assembley of people "The Free Youth" telling the hizbullah, "Allah maa dwelibkon el mahrouka" which translates into "To hell with your burned tires" (Which is what is done when there are riots) but the original expression in Arabic means "May God protect your wheels" - something said when someone is departing mostly on a sour note.

Achrafieh Not For Sale - Point of sale material :)

In line with the selling line (Pardon the pun) of Massoud Ashkar, the last visit of the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement to Achrafieh saw the sympathizers decorate Sassine Square with Point of Sale material (Again, pardon the pun) that said: Achrafieh not for sale....

As it is - only the dialect differs

The new Free Patriotic Movement campaign emphasizes putting the whole electoral list as it is "Metl ma hiyye" without scratching any candidate - same message for the last breath of the Future Movement before D-Day "Zay ma hiyye" - it is only the dialect that changes.... Supposedly "zay" is a lot more Saudi influenced whereas "metl" is local... Go figure and scratch... your head!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's been a long time coming, and here it is!.... Finally the Lebanese Forces went back to their roots and unveiled the slogan that Bachir Gemayel has practially invented: 10452 (km2 i.e. the whole superficy of the Lebanese territory). The slogan goes: You didn't give them your land, don't give them your ballot. Of course, the "them" is very asbstract and refers to some hidden enemy because practically speaking, if anyone tried to protect the 10542 on the ground it was basically Hizbullah, so much that Hassan Nasrallah suprised everyone when he said to an audience that comprised Lebanese Forces members and other assortments of March 14th that he fully supported the 10452 slogan.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Steady now....

Whereas the Nadim Gemayel ad has been running for a long time, someone decided to spoil his fun (And that unlikely photoshop effect making him look like his dead father to gather some more emotional momentum). Whereas his line goes "steady today and tomorrow" the small additions goes "and the day after we falter." Suffer the little children assomeone else once said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Past, present and future tense...

Just as the Taghyir Movement's ads hit the streets - with one of them automatically withdrawn - comes the swift answer to "there are those whose past is ashamed of their present" to become "there are those whose present is ashamed of their future" - with future written in blue to highlight the Future Movement. Either someone is working overtime, or someone is so engaged that they have made it a cause to deface every ad that comes their way.

X-tra juice - juicy ad with X-tra brilliance

So finally the best ad of the elections has come by... from X-tra juice. True to its tradition of those pseudo-rapping ads, X-tra has found a brilliant way of attacking everyone.... The ad which runs for 53 seconds is full of innuendoes on political parties, below is the relevant witty fragment of the ad: "Allah Lebnan X-tra wou bass, Sah, Allah Lebnan X-tra wou bass, Falthya Haifa el kobra, zay ma hiyye, X-tra, wou ma baada baada X-tra, wel mahroumin X-tra, wou al sakhra mnofor X-tra, wou min hak el malaab X-tra, wel khat el ahmar X-tra, wou el hezb el akhdar X-tra, taratata X-tra" The decoding: Allah Lebnan X-tra wou bass - God, Lebanon, X-tra and only those. Reference: This is the slogan everyone shouts and replaces X-tra with the name of the politician du jour. Sah - Correct. Reference: The catch phrase of the Free Patriotic Movement in these elections. Falthya Haifa el kobra: May the great Haifa live forever. Reference: Lebanese pop start Haifa Wehbe, one of the rare convergence points between the Lebanese. Zay ma hiyye, X-tra - Put the electoral list as it is. Reference: A line associated with Saad Hariri Wou ma baada baada X-tra - Beyond, beyond X-tra. Reference: Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hizbullah when he talked about missiles reaching "beyond, beyond Haifa" Wel mahroumin X-tra - and the deprived X-tra. Reference: The way the Shiites refer to themselves. Wou al sakhra mnofor X-tra - on the rock we carve Phalangists. Reference: One of the most known anthems associated with the Phalangists. For the annecdote when the war was raging between the Maronites (Phalangistis and Lebanese Foreces) and the Druze (Socialist Progressist Party) in the mountains, someone phones the popular request show on the Sawt Al Jabal (Owned and run by the Druze) and asks for "al sakra mnohfor Kataeb" to which the very witty hostess answers "al sakhra mnofhor abrak" (On the rock we carve your tombstone). Wou min hak el malaab X-tra - from that greenfield we will not forget. Reference: An anthem of the Lebanese Forces relating to Bachir Gemayel's famous speech on a greenfield. Wel khat el ahmar X-tra - And the red line X-tra. Reference: Primary reference Hassan Nasrallah speaking about the Palestinian camp of Nahr el Bared in the north of Lebanon when the army was about to invade it due to presence of terrorists. Secondary reference: A campaign for the Lebanese forces who picked up the line and put in on many Maronite figures with the line "You are the cedar and we are its red line". Wou el hezb el akhdar X-tra - And the green party X-tra. Reference: Descendent of the ego of Philippe Skaff - CEO of a major advertising agency - the party exists on paper mostly. Tararatata X-tra. Reference: Tararatata is a honk which the supporters of Michel Aoun used to do when he was in power to show their support, and when he was in exile to show their nostalgia. Full of incredible references to all political parties, X-tra is an equal opportunity unemployer for political parties in Lebanon.

Melting pot: Got the T-shirt?

Here is a bit of one-off melting pots.... Walid el Khoury running for the Free Patriotic Movement has the cutest headline: "Hakkem sawtak ta syoh el watan" (Which means "Make your ballot wise in order for the country to heal" but also "Have your voice checked by the doctor in order for the country to become better")... The trick? He's a doctor of course!

Fares Souaid assrts that "Jbeil is for the state not for the micro-state" (Hizbullah inferred), and then current Vice-speaker Farid Makari attacks with "Alam, elem, a'amal" (Which in Arabic stem from the same three letters and which translate into "Flag, education, work." - this is not without a nod to the slogan that was hetched for Rafic Hariri ("Ammara, allama, harrar" - he built, he taught, and he freed) on whose son's list Makari is running.

Then comes wunderkid extraordinaire Rami Olleik. Rami was a student at the same faculty I was at the American University of Beirut, he was the ultra-Hizbullah boy complete with light yellow shirt and eternal beard. Fast forward to find him in ulta-hip jeans, tight t-shirt and rimless spectacles - that was his pro-US phase - and then he wrote a book "Tariq el nahl" (The bees road - subtitled "the republic of Rami Olleik)... Anyhow, he is currently running for a seat in the Jbeil district and apparently he had a talk with the city because his unipole headlines: Jbeil, to Rami Olleik - from my land come A.H.E.A.D. with AHEAD being some sort of an association of civic groups or something like it.

If Bechara Abi Younes is the candidate to save the environment as he positions himself, maybe someone should tell him that billboards are made to be read in 3 seconds flat as one is speeding on the highway, not as some sort of a substitute for Anna Karenina... So the incredible amount of information he plasters all over the place sort of backfires on him, and his program.

And then, last but not least, for anyone who is tired with these elections and wants to make a fashion statement how about a spreadmind T-shirt with those anti-elections statements on it?

Tripoli at a glance

The campaign for the Tripolo list might very easily be the silliest excuse for a teaser-revealer.... Within one week, there was a teaser, a pre-revealer, and a revealer all of them going almost at the same time. First there "one hand does not build alone" and then "one hand does not carry alone" a pre-revealer goes "together, for Tripoli" and then the full unveiling of the list with ex-MP Najib Mikati towering in the middle. Again, if the revealer was so quick, why bother with a all the foreplay?

Nazem el khoury is about time

The above campaign was the teaser for Nazem El Khoury... It goes "It's about time (Hallak) for you to relax and not be angry", "It's about time for you supported moderation and said no to fanatism", "It's about time you made laws rather than being a no show", "It's about time for you to move freely and to ditch following others." The words "It's about time" in Arabic mean "Hallak" which also means "Your solution" so it was of little wonder that the revealer posters said "Nazem el Khoury, Hallak".

Belated RSVP

And so the reply of March 14th just came out.... too little, too late one might add. The controversy around "Sois belle et vote" has now been relegated to the darkest corners of the internet, but it is only now that the March 14 machine has woken up with the house on fire. So they produced "Sois egale et vote" (Be equal and vote). Then they realized they also had to reply to "I vote 4 change" - an ad by the Free Patriotic Movement targeting the youth - so it was "I think there14 I am" - which means that anyone who votes for change does not think at all. Yawn....

Change is the only constant

So what's common with all these ads? Change, change and then some - or rather resistance to change to be more specific. The first one is for the Lebanese Forces with Bachir Gemayel - now long dead - warning them "stay on the course, beware of the change." Change naturally is anything that has to do with the Free Patriotic Movement. Going on with the third phase of the Phalangists' campaign, this one - in several visuals - goes "Do not change your references" (Keep the president Maronite), "Do not change your principles, change your parliament members", and then "Do not change your army" (And settle for Hizbullah's militia). Whereas the original idea might have been worth it, it is the ultra-gimmicky layout that sends this campaign to the trash.

Then, totally from left field, comes the "Taghyir" movement (Change), obviously they are anti-Aoun to the bone. Their first visual is "there are those whose past is ashamed of their present" and then "change without changing yourself" but the big coup - which was withdrawn immediately is "Ya chaab Loubnan al azim - intabih" (Oh great people of Lebanon, beware)... The first part of the sentence is the way Aoun used to open all his speeches and people gathered in drove on May 7th on Martyrs' square just to hear him utter those words - which he did twice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Backing vocals....

Ghassan Rahbani, who is known to be a singer, composer, manager and everything else related to music (And born into the musical family of the Rahbanis) is a candidate on the Free Patriotic Movement's list. His slogans? "Ghayyer ma'a Ghassan" which means "Change with Ghassan" (A winkn to the name of the overall list) but also an innuendo on his own program on Otv "Ghanni ma'a Ghassan". The other slogan goes "Samme'ena sawtak" or "Let's hear your voice" but also a local expression implying "Don't be a stranger and come on over!".... OK, so anyone on backing vocals?