November 22, 2013

Why I Vote for Poison

Today is Independence Day. I could make a snide remark about that. I won’t. I could fill a book with the pictures and comments that have passed me by e-mail and facebook regarding our ‘Independence’.
It seems I am not the only one fed up with Lebanese politicians

Instead, think I will talk about the new @$$hole on the block. (And you will have to read all the way to the end to understand why I vote for poison).

We’ve gotten into the habit of blowing up politicians and political figures in this country.
It is not too bad of a business; most of these politicians deserve to be blown up, as far as I am concerned, and the suicidal idiots that carry the bombs even more so, but it is unfortunately rarely the targeted person himself that bites the dust (yes, it’s always men. Makes you wonder).

Instead, it is an enormous group of absolutely innocent people, that have nothing to do whatsoever with  the problem and just happened to be in the neighborhood, that tends to perish in a most undignified and senseless manner. And if they do not die, then they will be scarred, either physically or psychologically, for life.

I loved this elderly couple. No idea what it says, but if they are willing to go out and demonstrate, than it must be serious. They could, of course, also be staunch communists :) .

On top of that, it also is quite costly for those people living around the explosion; you need new windows, new window sills, curtains are usually shred to pieces, doors blown out of their posts, and whatever car is parked under the building is now dented and scratched with the debris falling down the façade of the building. So it is not a fortunate business.

What makes it even more annoying is that - ever since we’ve gotten into this habit - many people of importance, or people-who-believe-themselves-to-be-of-importance, have resorted to the technique of cordoning off neighbor blocks. The bigger the (self-perceived) importance, the bigger the bomb needed to blow up the person, hence the bigger the city block that will become inaccessible.

Young people too are fed up too
It started already a long time ago. Fadlalallah, for instance, a religious man who at one point in time was seen as the spiritual chief of Hezbollah, survived an attempt on his life in a massive 1985 car bomb, but it cost the life of some 80 Lebanese. The bomb resulted in the blocking off of an entire city block in the southern suburbs, and the area became unapproachable to all but the inhabitants of that street.

The trend hasn’t stopped since. It is clear that you can’t do much about suicidal car bombers while on the road (see Hariri in 2005), but at home, they do their best to create little fords. All fine and dandy when you are a feudal lord living on a mountain top. Unfortunately, our feudal lords tend to dwell amongst us.

And so each one of them has, since 2005, if I am correct, ‘appropriated’ entire city blocks and closed off thorough streets in order to ‘protect’ themselves. No matter that this generates a high annoyance factor amongst the rest of the inhabitants. We are – after all – mere mortals in their minds, and of no importance.

There’s Hariri that has a nice stretch of real-estate that can no longer be seen by car, Jumblatt’s closed off a little street, you get harassed by armed elements if you linger around the houses of Geagea and Aoun (in Rabieh), and Berri has got himself just about two intersections and a round-about.

That's a fact. And I think this 'self-appropriation of entire streets' should be stopped.
That last one especially carries my wrath, as I frequently need to drop off or pick up a person in there. Getting access to the outer part of the compound requires a cross-examination, and resembles a lottery. One day they let you in without a problem, another day I have to pop open the hood, a third day the trunk as well, and sometimes they won’t even let you past that first gate.

It is a daily annoyance that we, normal Beirutis, have to suffer, and suffer in silence, I might add, as there is nothing you can do about it. You can pray they move. Or die. That would solve a lot of problems.

I saw these people - by the way - demonstrating today on the Corniche. They have a Facebook page as well.
But it can get worse. Last night, when I wanted to drive to the bakery, I suddenly came upon a new barrier. An entire street was closed off. There were some newly painted fences, a spike strip on the floor, and a few cement-filled oil drums with some flags on them. Qawmieh flags. There’s an Qawmieh Party office in that street.
 I need to pass here,” I say.
“It’s closed.”
“I can see that, but I need to drive through this street.”
“You can’t, it’s closed.”
“Why is it closed?”
“It is closed.”
“Why is it closed?”
“Yelle haji, move.” 

So now we have a new @$$hole on the block; a political party is deciding that it can confiscate public space for their own means and block off streets as well, out of fear of being blown up.  

Personally, I think that those who order and organize car-bombs, should go back to the old-fashioned way of poisoning their opponents.

Poisoning was a very popular way of disposing of unwanted political adversaries in the middle ages, but has lost its appeal in our day and age. It seems cheaper, cannot be detected by bombs-sniffers, it should be easier to target, and will limit collateral damage. And the best things of all is they longer have to block off entire streets. On the contrary, it will create a whole new job industry: 'food tasters!'

They gave it a new try with the PLO leader Arafat, but the new trend hasn’t really caught on yet. But I am all for poison.


Anonymous said...

Oh... what is that? Not happy all of a sudden? And you have been trying to explain to the rest of the world how beautiful a place Beirut is, and what a wonderful country Lebanon is, and how friendly the people and ...

Don't you ever worry that maybe you have the wrong perspective? These are Arabs, Sunni, Shia, Maronites, Hezbollah, whatever, and they will keep blowing things up for the coming 50 years at least, no doubt with a lot of support from some Western country.

You think Lebanon will come out of the Syria problem unscathed? You're dreaming, and naive. Lebanon will be ripped apart. Mafia bosses fencing off part of the city is only a first signal.

Anonymous said...

The place is beautiful. but Lebanese are sure making a mess of it and going from bad to worse.
What the lady is writing is true.
Who is getting the money from outsiders and working for them.
When will the Lebanese put Lebanon first and fix their country. There is a lot of talent, but it is used for the wrong things work.

Anonymous said...

Not all Lebanese are of Arab origin, Maronite Christians trace their origins to Assyrians and have always had their own spoken language,Syriac, still prevalent in church services today.
Recent terrorist bombings that have happened in Lebanon have always been preformed by Muslims.
The civil war did involve killings by Christians and Muslims Lebanese, but this was a war and all was fair at that time...

Yaser said...

I really love this slogan.
الي قوي الأمن
انتم الحماة ونحن الوطن
Thanks Sietske for the post and the photos.

mohamed kamel said...

i would like to thank Sietske for this post and
im in love with your slogan :) - i really Do love it

best wishes from Hawanim