Archive for the ‘La Lebanese’ Category

Disclaimer: If you consider yourself ignorant, rather, if you fall in my dictionary of being ignorant and cannot take the heat of pointed out what’s right and wrong and then feeling stupid eventually, don’t bother reading this. Also to be clear, the point of this article is not to attach a specific type of people based on their sect, rather based on their capacity of thinking. Also, this opinion-editorial will be published in AUB’s Outlook Newspaper on the issue of March 15, so you’ll see it in print then 😉

When I came to AUB, I thought people would be, how am I going to say this, a bit smarter than your Average Joe. I really thought so, given that they were given the honor of getting an education at this prestigious university. When I say “a bit smarter”, I usually mean respecting others and giving the benefit of the doubt of being ignorant rather then removing all doubt when that student opens his mouth.

I was wrong. Big time. Here’s why:

Usually, around this time, Lent starts for Christians. Now for those who don’t know what Lent means (believe me, I ran into a lot of those now), it’s like Ramadan for Muslims, where they fast for a whole month. Christians do that too, yet under different circumstances. On Day 1 of fasting, the tradition for Christians, especially the Maronites of them, is to go get the Cross painted on their forehead, usually by the priest, who says in Arabic ‘Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return,’ one of what Christianity is based on.

I’m not typing this to give a lesson on religion, as this isn’t my job. Back to the main story, after I had the cross painted on my forehead, I came back to AUB to attend classes as normal. Being a senior means this isn’t the first time I do such a tradition and come to classes.

But this year, it’s something else.

I could not walk five meters without getting a dirty look, a  “what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-you” look, some of my friends even going as far as saying: “Dude, do you know what’s on your head,” or even saying “You look like an Indian,” and even ignorant “Frenchie” girls going to each other “Yii look at this dumb guy hahaha what’s on his head OMG!”

Let’s make a few things clear. As a normal human being who prefers to respect the environment and the people around him, I do look at the mirror when I wake up and I do make sure that there’s nothing on my forehead. Also, comparing me to the people of a country that has more than a billion people isn’t really the right thing to do because I got a cross on my forehead. I’m not even going to respond to the dirty looks, given some people can be just plain stupid and lack respect for themselves or for others, or bother wondering why a girl who can’t speak two proper words of English is dumb enough to make herself look stupid in public. If your parents didn’t tell you are to mingle with other people in AUB, that’s not my problem. Yet, I’m pretty sure though at some point your parents taught them manners, and not to glare and make dumb comments that indicate what type of people you are.

If they didn’t, take this as a note for next time: It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Editor’s Note: It may not have been made clear in the article, but Christians fast for 40 or 47 days (depends on if you want to count the Sundays or not).

As part of my everyday ritual, I was checking out Facebook in the morning before heading out to class, when something caught my eye. A friend had confirmed his attendance to an event happening in almost two months that would bring the famous RnB star Usher to Lebanon. Curious, I clicked on the page to see the details, and it was everything you would normally expect for such events: promises that it would be like “nothing you’ve ever seen before,” the fancy location, the flashy organizers, the sponsors, and most importantly, the ticket prices.
Let’s just say, shock would not even begin to describe my reaction. On the screen in front of me, I saw $60 (no kidding, that’s SIX followed by a ZERO) indicating the price for the regular admittance. There’s nothing regular about that price, unless of course you’re in Lebanon. A quick Google search, as a matter of fact, helped me determine that you can usually purchase said tickets at around 20 bucks less. Now to the regular reader, it may not sound as much of a bargain deal, but trust me, it all adds up when you factor in transportation, food, and personal expenses.
You see, for the past two or three years, everyone from the local and international scene has been gracing us with their presence. To name just a few, we’ve had David Guetta, Akon, Placebo, Il Divo, Gorillaz, Mika, Pussycat Dolls, Faithless all perform on our stages in various Lebanese cities, at only the most exclusive of hotspots, because you know, the typical Lebanese prestige does not allow you to be seen at any second-class location, because after all, you’re in your most fancy clothes that you just bought from Paris.
But not all of these overly-hyped events have been up to the general expectations.
Yet, my Facebook buddies keep bombarding me with the images from that “oh-so-awesome-event/concert/rave” that they went to, on a weekly basis. Sometimes, and to my awe, these very same people attend more than one event a week.
That just goes against everything I’ve been told to believe: that our economy has been unstable for year, that the mean national salary per month is around 550$ (which isn’t enough to do anything), that the shadow of the Civil War still haunts us everywhere, that political instability is marring our chances of being a decent, developed country, and so on and so forth.
Well, apparently, they’ve been just lying to me my whole life, because if the concert attendance was any indicator, then nothing is wrong this country. We can all just keep lying to ourselves, because after all, that’s all what we’re good at here.
So, as a conclusion, while everyone will be rushing out to enjoy the night, I’m just going to skip, and spend a peaceful night at home, listening to the free copy of the CD, avoiding all the annoyances that come with such events, like bad organization, lousy music, and worse of all, bad atmosphere thanks to disappointed over-enthusiasts that end up drinking the night away.


As I type this post up, the whole world now knows that Spain have been crowned as World Champions, over the Netherlands, at the 19th edition of the FIFA World Cup, held in South Africa.
The whole world now knows that for a moment there, it really didn’t feel as though this was the very-much hyped final between two possible first-time winners.

Robben, one of the many recipients of a yellow card

As a matter of fact, the game was a race to see who would collect the most yellow-cards, a feat accomplished by the Dutch in the 120-minute game.
And after the whole world had accepted the fact that yet another World Cup would determined by penalty-shootouts, Andres Iniesta, the little Barcelona midfielder, worked his magic thanks to a pass from Cesc Fabregas, and ensured that the Spaniards would lift that glorious cup that evening.
But everyone knows that, and if you don’t, I suggest you read a sum-up right here You know, just in case it comes up in a conversation sometime this week.
And it will.
As many have established by now, no one gets caught up in World Cup fever the way the Lebanese do. All the buzz surrounding Paul the Octopus’ predictions pale in comparison to what’s been going on here.
The streets of Beirut have been decked out in other nations’ flags for around three months now.

One of many flag-sellers on the Lebanese streets

Wild enthusiasts have taken over Facebook and other social networking websites to show unyielding support for their team of choice. Fireworks have been blasted in the sky whenever a team won, or even lost, and celebration parties have gone on all night long. That’s not mentioning the most incredible ability that emerged this year: instantly organizing conveys that trekked most, if not all, the Lebanese roads.
And here’s something else.
The Lebanese are so passionate about football, that they have gone out of their way to create a non-existing rivalry between Brazil and Germany, and even raise their children upon that. In fact, if one of these teams loses, which happened to both this year, fans would rather support the team the entire world considers to be complete opposites, than cheer on the other of the two.
To everyone elsewhere in the world, the final was Netherlands versus Spain, but right here, it was the classic (Really?) Germany versus Brazil, decked in different kits.
Which brings me to my point.
Football is exciting. Rooting for a team and witnessing their triumphs is gratifying. Which is why I can understand this sort of behavior, to a certain extent, of course.
But this over-hyping fad just needs to go away, now, and the English are the greatest testament to its consequences.
I’m no expert on soccer, but last time I checked, Lebanon doesn’t even have its own national team that can compete along with the Brazilians and the Germans.
If we did, would we really stand behind them as we do for the others? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, no. No, because being patriotic is an awfully hard thing to do for us and we’d rather support anyone that doesn’t evoke memories of our own country.
I only wish that we receive some form of gratitude for all the support we pour in to those countries, like facilitating visa procedures, though that is a long shot.
The World Cup is over now, and won’t be back for another four years. During that time, only a quarter of those who tuned in for the “Mondial” will watch club matches, while the greater majority will remain in oblivion. It’s a sad, sad fact, but at least in the meanwhile, we can assume that nothing of what went on this past month has ever happened.