Tag Archives: lebanon

“The Paradox of Lebanese Activism” by Khaled Rajeh

 

He erected his tent in Martyrs’ Square,

Amidst cries against fraud and pollution,

As he waved his placard in grave despair,

“Hear ye, brethren, I have THE solution!”

 

Some minutes later he amassed a crowd,

Who starkly startled had started to stare

At the man who grew so awfully loud,

A hair-raising silence hung in the air…

 

“Whether you follow the Bible,” he cried,

“Or whether you’d rather not pray,

Whether you demand three more than one bride,

Or three cups of maté a day.”

 

“The holy figures you live to obey,

Through feeding your kids divine primacy,

Have long turned their faces in sheer dismay

At your eighteen sects of plain lunacy.”

 

“Politicians chase nothing but power

By stressing the lines of our difference;

We must not keep this up one more hour,

And start to promote Complete Tolerance!”

 

“We’ll teach our kids before they know their name,

About the Muslims and Christians and Druze;

We’ll teach them we are all one and the same,

their own universal truth they can choose!”

 

“We’ll hang up banners and write on the walls,

That not anyone from now on shall hate;

On billboards and bridges and bathroom stalls

Intol’rance we’ll no longer tolerate!”

 

By then he had garnered many a friend,

Who joined his chants with utmost elation,

All fiercely determined to put an end

To all the divides that scar their nation.

 

Cursing the State they hurled stones left and right,

“Down with the intolerant! Down with the intolerant!”

They forced all others fully out of sight,

And then swiftly proceeded to burn down the Parliament.

 

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“A Foreigner’s Guide To Lebanese Traffic Laws” by Khaled Rajeh

To a foreigner, an ordinary Lebanese road might often seem like an entirely disarrayed muddle of addling disruption and unadulterated havoc; but to a native that has spent enough time on the road to acquire a thorough understanding of the widely criticized Lebanese traffic laws, it always does.

I have therefore devised–after extremely meticulous scrutiny of traffic flow–a brief list that might be of help to any newcomers/tourists in Lebanon:

  • All lane markings, traffic signs, and traffic lights are purely ornamental and should not restrict your sense of adventure. If you, however, do happen to stop at a red light for any reason whatsoever, nearby drivers are never reluctant to publicly express their disfavor toward you.
  • Contrary to popular belief, our road surfaces are actually strategically designed to keep you soundly watchful at all times. A lapse of concentration might lead to fairly damaged suspensions and/or cervical vertebrae. Also, our drainage wells are constructed for the sole purpose of encouraging staying indoors on rainy days, so you won’t catch a cold.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination without inadvertently passing through your initial location multiple times.
  • One of the most commonly practiced extreme sports in Lebanon is road-crossing. If you happen to spot a pedestrian crossing a road, accelerating towards him/her at full speed, to augment the overall thrill of the experience, is highly appreciated.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination without repeatedly stopping to ask for directions that may often lead you to your initial location.
  • There are currently eight “Lebanon’s number one” radio stations on air. When in the right place, during the right weather conditions, with the right radio system and the odds in your favor, there is a slight possibility that you might just be able to listen to one of them.
  • Never fully expect to drive to a desired destination.
  • You are entitled, as a driver within Lebanese borders, to occupy two parking spaces. In the absence of parking spaces, you may park on a sidewalk. If the sidewalk is already occupied, feel free to park in the middle of the road. The Lebanese are free spirited, inventive, and appreciative of diverse viewpoints; there are no limitations as to how/where you can drive/park.