January 11, 2015

On Snow and the Decline of Civilizations

This place is so beautiful!


Walking to Hammana

Lebanese love snow as much as I do, judging from the 15 kilometer long traffic jam going up the mountain this Sunday. I bet half of Lebanon was stuck on that road between Araya and Bhamdoun. That’s a damn long jam, just to touch the snow! I - for once - was in the right lane: the one going down. I had my snow fix, with the help of the Minister of Education, whom extended my holidays until tomorrow.

 
 

Almost down, I sort of got stuck as well, because the up going traffic decided to take the lanes of the down going traffic as well. They needed the road, and so screw the rest. There’s something about that, this lack of empathy with others when it concerns traffic. We are empathic (yes, that word is correct) with others at times. And so we moved from #JesuisCharlie to #JusticforYves in a matter of days. I wonder if the assailant is going to get away with this one. If he’s connected to someone in the parliament or the government, my guess is probably yes. (some) People get away with the weirdest stuff in this place. It is sad when this is a given.
 
I have a thing for snow-covered evergreen trees, as you may have noticed

This house looks more like a fortress than a mansion. How people amass this kind of money is  mystery to me.
 

If you know your history, then you’ll know that every civilization experiences a time of growth and wealth, as well as a moment where the inevitable decline sets in. You can interchange the word ‘civilization’ for ‘empire’; it’s pretty much the same thing, because the ruling civilization behaves (like) an empire. When you look at civilizations in this part of the world, the descent of one civilization initiates a time for the rising of a new one. I learned in school, for instance, that the distant Egyptian history shows very distinct periods of civilization, which are separated by times of intermediate periods, often marked by chaos and lawlessness.  



View towards the sea (not sure if you can see it though)
 
My snow angel
 

Historians can – in retrospect – sometimes pinpoint the exact catalyst that announced the impending doom, but is not always clear when something ended and a new thing started. When, for instance, exactly the Middle Ages in Europe ended and the Renaissance started is unclear.
Right now we’re living in a period where Western civilization is obviously ruling much of the world, not to everyone’s liking, that is clear. I was talking with someone the other day who claimed this civilization has reached its peak. Or actually, it reached its peak some 20 years ago, and decline is imminent. “Don’t you see it around you?” he said. We won’t notice it has experienced its peak time until much later, when decline is already well underway. And then this morning I read someone’s blog who claimed the exact same thing. Things like that get you thinking.
 
Dusk (the other village obviously has electricity: we don't :(


The recent confrontations in France are not really related to religion, I think, but it’s rather a clash of cultures. Infusing a culture with another culture usually is a good thing, if it happens at a rate when both cultures get the chance to ‘absorb’ one another. Yet the rate at which cultural diffusion is taking place these days, makes it apparently very difficult for both cultures to ‘stomach’ one another, hence the outbreaks of violence and its backlashes. “Je suis Charlie” seems to be the result of a clash of cultures, or civilizations, yet it seems to be that in this case both civilizations are in decline, and I am curious to see what will appear as the new and ruling one. I doubt I will see the rise of that one; maybe my children will. #JusticeforYves  is not really about a clash of civilizations, but if someone gets away with murder because they are related to ‘the forces that be’, that’s a sign of decline. Corruption in general is.
 
 
It will last my time, this civilization. It’s an odd thought though, the realization that my children are living in a world where things, such as getting a diploma, getting a job and making a living for oneself, have become so much more complicated. They will be affected by global warming, lack of resources and the pollution of the existing ones, unlike us. On the other hand, they may not have to deal with things like Alzheimer’s, cancer or Ebola. I am not trying to say anything here, or preach impending doom. I just need a text to add to these pictures. I had my snow fix for the year, as you can see. I am surprised you made it all to the end of this post. You obviously have more stamina than I do.
 

2 comments:

Elie Touma said...

Wow!!! Well done Dutch lady.
Super photos for our enjoyment of this winter season. Thanks.

Tanya Dernaika said...

Breathtaking photos. They uplift the spirit with all the bad news going on.