Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lebanese Vibes

One of my schoolmates is reading Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation. I told her I had tried reading it but have never gotten very far. The truth is, I don’t want to spend my valuable free time reading 700 pages of one violent male exploit after another. She looked at me with a quizzical look. She couldn't understand.

One of my dear friends who lives here in Lebanon stays away from politics. She says that I know more about the political situation than she does. I don't blame her one bit. The Daily Star said it well in their headline today, Lebanese Parties Find New Ways to Argue Old Disputes. I am not even going to bother reading the article unless I want to analyse the rhetoric of getting nowhere.

My suitemate is a journalist. There are many in the program. Story stealers I call them. That's why they are all here learning Arabic. Being here and/or learning the language may help them get a story. I told my suitemate how I felt about journalists, that they only report on the negative and rarely on the postive. What would happen if journalism used a strengths-based perspective and reported on something like the Al Najdeh Association instead? She is very empathetic and saw my point.

I asked my dear childhood friend what she thought would happen if we just stopped reading about their idiocy. Are political leaders like children, do they seek attention by misbehaving? If we stop giving them attention, will the violence stop? She thought that I was being silly.

I was talking to another woman today who has spent a good part of her life dreaming of returning to Lebanon. Now after the May conflict, she no longer wants to return.

There are probably more Lebanese living outside the country than in it. I'm not sure that they could all fit in the country if they visited at the same time.

An article I just saw in L'Orient-Le Jour discusses male infertility due to the trauma of war.

A woman at the beach helped me with my homework this weekend. "Why can't men say they love you?" she asked.
"Maybe for the same reason that you told me that you don't plan too far in advance," I answered.

Cynicism. It is very much alive here.

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