Friday, August 30, 2013

Beirut mayhem-mek part IV

Beirut mayhem-mek by Tarek Chemaly part IV:

“It’s good to know I am in someone’s prayers. I certainly am not in mine. The pope says he’s praying for Lebanon. But I am not sure it helps, the more the middlemen, the less effective the prayer.”

Olmert was sitting in his office wondering how to invade Lebanon when his telephone rang.
"Hallo, Mr. Olmert!" a heavily accented voice said. "This is Abul Abed, down at the tea house in Beirut! I am callin` to tell ya dat we are officially declaring war on you, yes you!"
"Well" Olmert replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"
"Right now," said Abul Abed, after a moments calculation "there is myself, my cousin Mustafa, me next-door-neighbor Abou khaled, and the whole team from the tea house. That makes eight!"
Olmert paused. "I must tell you Abul Abed, that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."
"Holy jeez," said Abul Abed. "I`ll have to call ya back!" Sure enough, the next day, Abul Abed called again. "Mr. Olmert, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"
"And what equipment would that be Abul Abed?", Olmert asked. "Well sir, we have two Mercedes 180, and a truck."
Olmert sighed. "I must tell you Abul Abed, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also I`ve increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."
"Ya lateeeeef ", said A Abul Abed, "I`ll be getting back to ya." Sure enough, Abul Abed rang again the next day. "Mr. Olmert , the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We modified a helicopter with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four more neighbors have joined us as well!"
Olmert was silent for a minute then cleared his throat. "I must tell You Abul Abed that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I`ve increased my army to TWO MILLION!"
"Lah lah lah lah," said Abul Abed, "I`ll have to call you back."
Sure enough, Abul Abed called again the next day. "Olmert I am sorry to have to tell you dat we have had to call off this war."
"I`m sorry to hear that" said Olmert. "Why the sudden change of heart?"
"Well, sir," said Abul Abed, "we`ve all sat ourselves down and had a long chat, and come to realize that's no way we can feed two million prisoners."

The worst part is the hope, it is deceitful above all other things, it dupes and dopes, ceasefire, or rather ceasefires, multiple ones, for one is never enough, never too powerful, never too correctly brokered, never too serious, never reaching the “rogue elements” that end up breaking it, never well-meaning, always correlated to other terminologies such as “cautious calm” (Houdou2 hather), or to “interrupted bombing” (Kasf moutakate3), or to the “editing office with a new info” (Maktab el tahrir fi khabarin jadid), and the “bloodbath” (Hamam el damm), with the radio dial swinging every quarter of an hour to different stations with the hope of catching the “sum up” (Moujaz), or the more elaborate “bulletin” (Nahsra).

With so many antagonistic voices and opinions, and alliances shifting like dunes in the desert, a desert of love, where no tree ever grows, where only scorching heat of bombs shines through, and bombs mimicking satellite moons illuminate the night, where everyone was captured in love forever by Southside Johnny, where time can never mend the careless whispers of George Michael’s good friends, as foreigner were seeking to know what love is on behalf of everyone of us, and the stranglers’ sun shone forever.

The Communards pleaded not to leave them this way, all while Cyndi Lauper just wanted to have fun as Madonna was on holiday, and Michael Jackson was dismissing Billie Jean’s claims, and Patti LaBelle was on her own, as Patti Austin’s baby came to her, but people only saw “fame” and cried, as other people lived forever, while the rest of us might not make it through the night as shelters collapsed, and children cried, and mothers soothed, and dogs left out in the open screaming madly before every bomb falling with their superdog hearing, when superman was nowhere to be found, people hanging on to life while tangoing with death.

The truncated normalcy that phagocytes the city is betrayed by the availability of parking spaces, by the Brian Eno-ish humming of emergency generators that cure its power failure and duct-tape its muteness, by the lack of synchronization of the TV sets for either the grand finale of a Mexican (Or South American in general) soap opera, or by the absence of the mitigated shouts of approbation or resentment to a goal during the World Cup (Wasn't this summer supposed to be the "time to make friends" TM in Germany?).

The city is lathered in its mid-afternoon siesta, pity those dignitaries who have been given its "keys", for on the non-existent doors, signs stating "Do not disturb" (Stolen from the many vacant hotels that regurgitated their tourists the moment things started to boil) adorn imaginary gold-plated handles. Summertime in Beirut, it is the unsold football branded merchandise baring the German and Brazilian logos when it was the Italians that won. It is the six-pack "Pepsi Football 2006" emblazoned with heads of soccer gods, now sold in a "buy 5 get 1 for free" offer.

”How are you doing?”
“Very well, considering the circumstances”
“Why? What happened?”
To answer such a question will require the several books already being written, fuelled by cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs I suppose.
“Have you been to “Dahyeh”?” (The southern suburbs of Beirut which were almost totally destroyed by Israel and which are a Hizbullah stronghold)
“Why not? You should go there. Everyone is. You should see the magnitude of the destruction.”
“Have you ever been there – before?”
“Well, I have. I used to do social research there. I know people there. I knew houses there. This is not some voyeuristic reality show. One does not go to Dahyeh to photograph Teddy bears left behind by small girls. Besides, how can you catalogue the destruction when you don’t even know what was there in the first place.”
“But such research is important for my book. You know I am writing a book about the war, don’t you?”
“I rest my case.”
“I need to go replenish by cigarettes’ supply to last me through the long night of writing.”
“Good luck.”

"Great, with all these people sacrificing their souls and blood for political leaders, all parties must pay attention come election day: So many people would be dead by then there'd be no one to elect them! But then, when there's no one to elect them they do what they do every time: Forge identities of dead people and get them to vote! Oh, didn't he dye his hair? Yes, look. That politician giving a speech there! Some months ago he was already graying now he's back to black hair. But then again, I guess that's only normal: The pictures of him the crowds are holding date to something like two years ago, so I guess he wanted to look like that person everyone seemed to love in the pictures. Did you hear they were selling the international aid portions that got to Lebanon in the supermarkets? They were doing it openly. A TV got hold of that… What a shame! But then, what do you expect? It's always been like that. How are you coping down in Achrafieh?... Would you like some watermelon?"

On May 25th, 2000, the last soldier of Israel’s occupation army, Major Kobi Dostaka of the elite 7th Armored Brigade, jumped down from his Merkava tank and padlocked Gate No. 93 on the border fence after the last tank crossed back into Israel.
"Lieutenant Colonel Dostaka, wake up! It is time again!"
"Grrrrph… (Yawn!) Time for what?"
"To close the gate again."
"What gate?"
"Didn't you hear? We're pulling out of Lebanon. Again."
"Yes, so?"
"Well, you are our official "gate closer," it's time for you to do the number again. Well, you didn't get promoted for nothing you know."

On October 1rst, 2006, the last soldier of Israel’s occupation army, Lieutenant Colonel Kobi Dostaka of the elite 7th Armored Brigade, jumped down from his Merkava tank and padlocked Gate No. 93 on the border fence after the last tank crossed back into Israel.

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