31.12.13

The End

كلّ بداية في إلها نهاية أو عالقليلة تحوّل بغيّر التوجّهات.

توم إكسترا كانت مغامرة حلوة كتير، تعلّمنا وتعرّفنا من خلالها على كتير إشيا وناس
أغنو حياتنا والأهمّ إنّو ساعدونا نحقّق مشاريع ما كنّا منحلم فيها أبداً!

الأهل والأصحاب والمتابعين والمحبّين والمنتقدين كلّن كانوا دعايم أساسيّة لمشروعنا
وإلُن شكر من القلوب التلاتة اللي عملت توم إكسترا.

مبادئنا وأحلامنا ما تغيّرت بسّ المشروع تطوّر
وكلّ واحد منّا حبّ يكمّلو عطريقتو لإكمال المشوار.

منتمنّالكُن سنة ٢٠١٤ إكسترا!

رنا، طوني وسماح
*انتهى البثّ*


Every beginning has an end, or at least a transformation that changed directions.

Toom Extra was a beautiful adventure, one that has left us
with lots of new experiences and acquaintances that enriched our lives
and most importantly that helped us achieve what we never dreamt of!

Family, friends, followers, appreciators, haters...
All were pillars to our project and we sincerely thank them
from the three hearts that created Toom Extra.

Our guiding ideas and dreams have not changed, but our project has evolved
and each one of us chose to continue it in his/her own way.

We wish you a super extra 2014!

Rana, Tony & Samah
*End of Broadcast*

23.8.13

Lebanese or not?

There have never been better times than the current ones in Lebanon.
It was always a mix of gloomy, apprehensive, tensed, unpredictable, hopeful, shitty, bright, simple, fake, just-going-without-us-really-knowing-how-it-actually-is state...

But all in all it was and still is one thing: real.

This is our reality and it has been like this since my great grandpa's days, it's just the actors, the make-up, the decor, the accessories that have changed.

Today, we're at the bottom and it's getting worse and will keep getting exponentially worse relatively to the general decadent state of the world.
I cannot expect it to get better with corruption flawing the whole pyramid from its top to its bottom.
I cannot expect it to get better with plain imbeciles ruling, acting, teaching, managing, writing, designing, driving, constructing, blogging, etc... wherever I go because of who they know.
I cannot expect it to get better with all the "just-going-without-us-really-knowing-how-it-actually-is" state.
I cannot expect it to get better with a sectarian cancer embedded in our daily life, culture, regions, collective memory and system.

So, every Lebanese resident in Lebanon is in a fucked-up relationship with a cancer-ridden Lebanon, what is he/she going to do about it?
There are no grays here, it's either black or white, take it or leave it,
be Lebanese or be something else.

I've had it with wannabe Lebanese who don't know the value of Lebanon, and I can't stand the nagging, negativity and hatred anymore.

You can't stand living with chi'aa or sunnis or druzes or catholics or armenians or ...?
Because
"oooo they want to eat us alive!"
"they are slowly outbumbering us!"
"they are so wild and free!"

THEN FUCK THE HELL OFF!
Go find some desert of sand or snow and bury your fucking head there and everything will be alright for you!

Shit's everywhere on our doomed planet (and "shit" here refers to people, happenings & objects) and with all the shit that I've had in my life till now growing up in Lebanon, with all the insecurities I have, with all the dark days to come and with all the idiots surrounding me: I will stay here and fight the cancer my way.

What are you going to do?

22.7.13

Lebanon; blogs and "Revolution Action"*

As Rana’s reaction to Samah’s post started during his holidays in my homeland, I felt quite obliged to participate in this small debate about what could be better in Lebanon. You might say that I, as a Swiss guy, shouldn’t do it, but when I read that Samah is the male version of my beloved, I found that scary enough to react (no offense pal) and a look from outside upon a situation is always a good thing. I won’t say anything about the vision that the ones who are writing in this blog have of Switzerland, as it’s mostly true, but it seems that they forgot something speaking about revolution and all this kind of political rebellion.

Most of the "arabic-spring" countries didn’t have a war for the two or three last decades; which is not really the case in Lebanon. The egyptian or algerian people started riots and fights because they saw that as the only way to change their country, to fight fire with fire; but down in Lebanon, where it's always a diplomatic state of war, as no cease-fire agreement was ever signed; the reality is quite different: the country is engulfed in violence since several decades, and, from my point of view, the denial that Rana mentioned in her post comes from the fact that Lebanese are just fed up with all this violence. They reject a violent revolution, war and all the ghosts of the past, they already fought enough in the last decades, now, what they want is a peaceful revolution, the kind that doesn’t imply guns, bomb-tracks and urban guerilla. They just want to fight war with peace, corruption with honesty and betrayal with loyalty. You don’t believe me? Ask your friends around you about this topic, and you might realize that I’m quite right about it, and I disagree with Rana about the fact that this peaceful revolution hasn’t started yet. 
Just check out the Lebanese blogosphere, it has already started: independent journalists are reporting true facts, people are expressing their disagreement with the government, trying to gather people around them to find pragmatic solutions; people are informing each other on what’s really happening, leaks appear to alert people about what’s going on. People are exchanging their opinions outside the traditional faction against faction-logic, they are doing something that is new in Lebanon: using their freedom of thought and independence, outside the traditional partisan system; and they’re doing it with the most powerful weapon of all: the truth! This truth can make people change their minds, showing them how wrong they are and makes them leave a war which is lead for wrong reasons. If the power of truth makes people put their assault riffles down, then the politicians lose their power, and they’ll have to leave the stage making place for something new.

This phenomenon has already begun and will make things change in Lebanon, not as fast as street riots or politicians hangings but it’ll be the Lebanese way of changing the country: violence and corruption are part of the actual system, to make a tabula rasa, you’ll have to get rid of this system by opposing it to something else, something right, something new for the country: peace and honesty.

* by Atari Teenage Riot

12.7.13

The generation with no history and no future.

This post is a reply to Samah’s.  At Toom Extra, we believe that we all have our opinions and we are free to express them, even if we disagree with each other.

I've known Samah for more than 10 years now, we have a very peaceful relationship, we agree on various things, we both have a “clownish” character, etc. He even told me once, that I was the female version of him.


But today I am gonna tell him : Sorry “sixy” I don’t agree with you.

For Toom Extra’s regular readers, you know for sure, how much I love Lebanon. I’ve been an expat for 6 years and I've spent these 6 years between airplanes and airports, crying, venting, and getting drunk before leaving my country. Lebanon is where my heart is and will forever be as well.

BUT...

Human beings, workers, employees, citizens, animals deserve a better place to live in. I love chaos, I love the Lebanese spirit, where you can just show up at a friend’s house, order pizza at 2 am, dance until 6 am...(it took me 15 mins to think about something positive)

but we don’t deserve a country where MPs extend their legal time in the parliament, where a women gets beaten to death by her husband in front of her 5 children and where a man like him remains free because we don’t have a law that protects women from domestic violence.


We don’t deserve a country where any salafist can arm a few men and destroy a district, where a bomb can explode and kill our children and civilians any time, any day, anywhere!

We don’t deserve a country where an MP’s bodyguard can put my friends in jail because they are taking a picture near the MP’s car!

We don’t deserve a country where homosexuals go through anal tests, and are thrown in jail just for being who they are, and for living their lives as free human beings.

We deserve a country where a car stops for pedestrians! We deserve a country where we can go to the beach for free, because it’s a public property. We deserve a country where education is free and where we have a great social security system, an unemployment plan and a retirement plan.

Why don’t we have that?


Because of us ! Because of our constant denial, because of our nostalgia for “lebnen el akhadar” and “lebnen ya ot3et sama” ...
When soldiers were dying in “Abra” some people were posting their pictures from their weekends at Riccky’s on Facebook.
When the bomb exploded in “Dahyeh” this past tuesday, some were tweeting about Lana del Rey coming to Lebanon... I am not saying life should stop, but we are superficial beings. Lebanon is a lovely diamond dipped in shit, but all we see is the diamond’s top part but not it’s culet.

Now everyone will say : “What are you doing to your country other than typing behind your screen?” , Well my friends, I’ve been working with the people who want to make a change, and the only way we can move forward and get back our “Lebnen ot3et el sama” is by joining this movement.

The whole world is rebelling, and we are partying. We cannot be passive anymore, our rights were stolen from us, if we respect ourselves, we have to take them back. I urge you to do something, I love this country as much as you all do, I cannot see it sinking anymore, please act before it’s too late, before we become the generation with no history and no future.

7.7.13

Home Is Where Your Heart Is*

I had the chance to go visit Switzerland for a week to reunite with friends and family. It was a great vacation that was needed with all the stress I live in Lebanon. The weather was great, the natural sceneries unreal, the order, the politeness, the cleanliness, the color green, the history, ...
Yet, it all became nauseating for me towards the end of my journey...
Am I sick or what?
I guess I am, and I'm happy to have a sickness called "Lebanon".

With all the recent infuriating events taking place in Lebanon and the overall sickly/morbid "government" figure in place, I cannot but cling even more to this land - every inch of it...

I am not sure if chaos creates life or if it's our life that has been so mixed with the daily chaos that it becomes more... sexy?

I know for sure that Switzerland with all its beauty and all the above cited qualities will never have the essence and the soul of Lebanon emanating from its people, whomever they were.

Could you imagine:
a car in the middle of a popular area in Lebanon stopping to let a pedestrian pass?
Or a lunch where you only hear the sound of forks and knives on plates?
Or a bus with no sound but that of the engine?

I can't!

Suit yourself if you want to run from what is ours and claim it's worthless.
You are what makes Lebanon and it is where my heart is with all the love, appreciation, emotions and aching nostalgia that it all holds for family, friends, places and projects.

Lebanon's where my heart is and will forever be.

* Quote by Pliny the elder


3.6.13

La mélodie enchanteresse de Fayrouz chantant par-dessus les embouteillages

Ce qui frappe, la première fois que l’on pose le pied au Liban, c’est le bruit, enfin le mélange de bruits pour être plus exact.

Dès que l’on met le nez hors de l’aéroport, nos tympans se trouvent envahis par une symphonie urbaine assez intéressante: mélange savamment orchestré de klaxons, de bruits de moteurs passés d’âge depuis quelques siècles, musique des plus diverses sortant des vitres ouvertes des voitures, cris de chauffeurs de taxi, cris d’amis et de familles se retrouvant. Il est impossible de trouver le silence avant d’attendre, disons, le monastère de Saint Charbel; et encore, il ne faut pas que ce soit un jour de pèlerinage. Passée cette symphonie, c’est-à-dire une fois sorti de Beyrouth downtown et de l’autoroute, la mélopée continue: les tantes Libanaises vous rendant visite, la conversation tonitruante des amis, la télévision allumée en permanence sur un débat politique dont les protagonistes hurlent à tue-tête leurs convictions. De tout cet environnement sonore naît la conviction que les Libanais ne peuvent se passer du bruit, quoi qu’il soit.

Sortez, ne serait-ce que quelques heures au Liban, et vous vous rendrez compte que, outre le fond sonore permanent cité plus haut; la musique aussi est omniprésente au Liban: impossible d’aller dans un endroit où il n’y a pas ne serait-ce qu’un léger fond musical, fond qui d’ailleurs vous accompagnera, à des volumes différents , dans toutes les fêtes dans lesquelles vous vous rendrez. Même en voiture, la musique coulera à flot de l’auto-radio, afin de couvrir les bruits (encore eux) de l’embouteillage dans lequel vous êtes coincé depuis des heures. Cette musique représente d’ailleurs une joyeuse cacophonie, mélange de pop arabe aseptisée, de rock sauvage, de trance aux basses ultra-boostées et de heavy-metal. Le Liban est musique semble-t’il, à tel point qu’il vous sera impossible d’échapper à la symphonie Libanaise faite de tout ces bruits, ces musiques, Ces sons pendant la durée de votre séjour.

Pourtant, ce conglomérat sonore, aussi terrifiant qu’il soit dans les couloirs silencieux de la forteresse Europe, est terriblement rassurant au pays du cèdre, car il représente la vie. La vie des Libanais, le vie de la fête qui s’y déroule, la vie du Proche-Orient; la vie et l’espoir, car malgré tout, le Liban reste sonore dans toutes les circonstances, même dans ses moments les plus difficiles. C’est rassurant d’entendre du bruit, même une cacophonie, car ce bruit est finalement, pour le Liban, la musique du monde, la grande symphonie qui fait avancer la vie, et qui rythme le quotidien du pays. Le Liban, dans le fond, c’est la partition de la vie…

22.5.13

لأمتين؟


لأمتين؟ بدنا نضل عميان؟ ناكرين يلي عم بصير ببلدنا، لأمتين بدنا نضل شايفن حالنا؟ أنو نحنا اللبنانيي عايشين، ما بهمّنا يلّي عم بصير حوالينا... انو  يابا شو؟ نحنا تعودنا... الانسان إذا بيتعوّد على ريحة الخرى، بتبطّل تزعجو بعد فترة، وبصير الخرى منّو وفي... ومبسوط غاطس بالمجرور وعم يضحك.  إيه، ما نحنا فينا ننزل عالبحر ونطلع عالجبل بـ 30 دقيقة...

نزلنا بالـ٢٠٠٥، هوبرنا وطالبنا بإستقلال لبنان من النظام السوري، عملنا شي... كبير يمكن... مابعرف... بس لبنان قبل، ما يستقل من أيّ  نظام خارجي، لازم يستقل من هالنظام الداخلي، من هالباكتيريا يلّي عم تمصّ الدم من هالبلد، وما عم تخلّي يعيش... كلنا من سبّ بالبلد، شو ذنبو بلدنا؟ الحق علينا، نحنا وصّلني لهون، من ورا جهلنا وهبلنا...

ما تفكرو عم نظّر من بعيد، أنا راجعة وبدي أعطي فرصة لهالبلد، لأنّو حبي إلو، أكبر من حبي لحياتي ولضهراتي. لبنان عايز كل شخص منا، يحبّو ويفكر إنّو هيدي الأرض يلي استقبلتنا نحنا شو عملنالها؟ كيف عزّزناها؟

هلأ جايي الصيفية والمهرجانات والـ"سكاي بارات" والـ"بيتش-برتييات" والكلّ بيخلع وبهزّ بس كلنا بدنا خلع كفّ وهزّ... دماغنا بدّو هزّ!

بسّ فكّرو، إذا كلنا مننزل عالأرض نهار، من شلّ النظام، الحركة، بطريقة سلمية أكيد، من طالب بإنتخابات، مننتخب ناس جديدة مافي دم وسرقة على إيديهن. ليش ما منفكّر شو أحسن شي لبلدنا قبل ما نفكر بحالنا؟

البلد بشعبو بس نحنا ما منستاهل بلد.

13.4.13

تلاتّعْش

بمناسبة ذكرى بداية الحرب الأهلية اللبنانيّة، حبّينا ما نجيب سيرة هالموضوع الزّفت ونذكّركُن بِجمل كلّها تناقض.
للمُضحك ولِلمُبكي... كاسكُن!

١. يي! شو لابقلك هالفستان، بس نصحانة شوي إنتي أو لأ؟

٢. ليك، مزبوط هوّي عصبي كتير ومشكلجي بس قلبو طيب يا خيي...

٣. يا خيّي حبّوب هوّي الصبي بس مبهول شويّ، لأ؟

٤. ... يي! ساعة اللي بدّك يا حبيبتي، بس حكيني قبل شي يومين تسلميلي، أوكي؟

٥. يا حياتي، ع راسي الدراسات والأبحاث، بس أنا عم قلّك: إمّ جورج ما بتغلط بالفنجان!

٦. ...اه إيه! هيدا الفيلم أكيد حضرتو، ولو مين مش حاضرو؟ بس ذكرني بليز شو القصّة؟

٧. إنو طبيعي أضهر وجرب وشوف، أنا رجّال، بس أكيد بدّي إتجوّز وحده مش بايس تما غير إما.

٨. ع سلامتو! ما في أحلى وأهضم منّو وبأخلاقو ما بتلاقي، بس يا عمي... معقول ما معو سيارة؟!

٩. ليك... صدّقني، سيارتي ما في منا بالسوق... خيّي مظبوط اجت مع ٢٠٠ سيارة غيرا من أميركا، بس وقفتها غير شكل!

١٠. بليز بدي فستان، "سامبل وشيك" ومرتب... آه، ما في أقصر شوي... مم هيدا؟ ما في شي مفتوح أكتر ع صدرو ومع "paillettes"؟

١١. أنا مع حقوق المرأة واستقلاليتها، بس ولو... عالقليلة يدفع عني!

١٢. نحنا البنت اللي عنّا من عاملها متل أهل البيت، بس من وقت للتاني كفّين ما بضرّو.

١٣. ولك شو هالمرتّ هيدا، رحت طلبت منو ١٠٠٠ دولار، قال مش قادر يعطيني، منيح مش قاعد بالبيت متلي! 

9.4.13

Le Liban rêvé d’un occidental : ou le pouvoir de la littérature

Depuis que j’ai mis les pieds pour la première fois au Liban, moi petit européen ignorant de l’Orient, je me suis pris d’une passion soudaine pour ce qu’on écrit sur ce pays, ou sur les romans qu’on y situe, et je ne sais pas pourquoi, le Liban que j’ai découvert dans les livres m’a touché, et me fait dire que ce pays est, pour paraphraser ses habitants « le plus beau pays du monde », en connaissant bien entendu la sciences légendaire de l’exagération des libanais.

De grands auteurs ont écrit sur le Liban : Lamartine, Nerval et Chateaubriand pour ne citer qu’eux, l’on aimé et y ont séjourné avec plaisir, lui donnant une certaine image d’Epinal certes, mais qui n’est pas dénuée de vérité. D’ailleurs les livres ne sont jamais dénués de vérité : les trois écrivains précités parlent de l’argent qu’ils ont laissé… Mais ces grands romantiques ont commencé à construire mon imaginaire libanais, au-delà des conflits et des problèmes de la vie quotidienne, et à part ma femme, c’est sans doute les trois personnes qui m’ont fait aimer le Liban, jusqu’à présent. Mais les français n’ont pas l’apanage de la glorification du Pays du Cèdre, d’ailleurs qui d’autre pourrait mieux le faire que ces habitant eux-mêmes ! Alexandre Najjar, Amine Maalouf, Venus Khoury-Ghata, Nadia Tuèni m’ont tous permis de joindre le rêve à la réalité : tous parlent des conflits, de ce qui s’y est passé, mais ils ont su aller plus loin en y plaçant des histoires, en y créant des personnages issus de leurs réalités, de leur intimité avec leur Terre, et c’est là ce qui fait aimer le Liban. Pour un occidental, le Liban est un pays en guerre permanente (excusez moi le stéréotype, mais nos journaux vous présentent comme cela, même si je connais la réalité, maintenant), mais le fait de lire des écrivains aimant leur pays, et le faisant aller au-delà de la guerre, le transcende ; et m’ont permis d’avoir envie de le découvrir et de l’aimer ; et désolé pour la bouffe, les chicha-deliveries et les Roof Tops, mais Alexandre Najjar m’a rendu le pays plus aimable que vous (sans offense pour toutes les charmantes « tantes » que je connais là-bas).

Au delà des écrivains académiques, de simple bloggeurs publiant des livres, comme Toom Extra, ou Nasri Attallah, ou comme le nombre de « You know what… » ou de récits tous plus ou moins littéraires publiés sur le et au Liban sont des choses merveilleuses, des textes qui présentent un autre Liban, un Liban personnel, différent de la grande Histoire. Des récits de vie comme celui de Darina Al-Joundi, qui font que, malgré le tragique, on aime ce pays pour les personnages fictifs qu’on sait exister dans quelques recoins de ce pays. Bref, comment un pays qui peut produire autant de littérature, d’histoire et d’imaginaire autour de lui ne peut il pas être aimable ? Le Suisse n’a que peu de vrais écrivains qui écrivent sur elle (et qui se doivent de la détester), mais le Liban en foisonne !

Merci donc à tous ces auteurs de m’avoir fait aimer le Liban, même si cela paraît fleur bleue, n’oubliez pas ce que j’ai dit au début : « Les livres ne sont jamais dénués de vérité... »

28.3.13

شعنينة إكسترا!

- آلو؟
* ولِك أهلا بالجارة!  يلّا  حطّي الركوة أنا نازلة.
- ‫بلا ركوة بلا بلّوط! هلّق بدّي إحكي! ولي شفتي سهام نهار الشعنينة؟!
* ايه شفتا! حاطّا هالقبوعة فيا ريش ع راسا مفكّرتلي حالا ماري-انطوانيت!
- ولي ‫وقفت عالريش؟! إنتي شفتي كرشا بهالفستان المزَومَك؟ وما لاقتش غير تنإّي أصفر!
* هيدا ع اكل المعمول، هيديك الجمعة كانت مِن تعملون، وحدة بالعلبة واربعة بتمّا!
- ‫أشي هالملّالة هيدي... يا حرام ولادا، متل هالصيصان المنتوفة لاحقينا وجوزا راكد وراهُن...
* معتّر هالأنطون... ‫وشفتي ولاد جانيت؟ كل وحدة لابسة فستان، كأنو رايحين عالكرنفال، وخِدي على تتإيس صور بهالتليفونات!‬
- أيّا كرنفال، سيرك إنتي الصادقة! متل السعادين من ينطّو من شبّ للتاني قال ليتصوّرو معو ويحطّو الصور عالـ "تيس أبوك" مدري أشو!
* بإيامنا ما كانش في لا "تيس بوك" ولا سرامي عتيقة! كنا نروح نقدّس ونرجع عالبيت. هلّأني بين الشمعة اللّي عليا ريش، والشمعة اللي عليا خرز، ضاع العيد والمعنى...
- ولك يسلم تمّك! موديليت وشكال وفنطزة وللأيش؟! ويا ريت هالولاد حاملين هالشمعات، مدام سهام وصاحبِتا معربطين فيهن!
* ايه واذا مش المدام حاملتا، بتحملا السرلنكية. قال عيد قال، وتواضع! كلّو صرلو شهرين بحضّر بهالتياب!
- ولك يلّا... ماشي الحال، المهمّ الملّالة ما معستش حدا!‬
* يقصف عمرك إنتي وخبارك! أيشك مهضومة وعيّوقة!
- إنتي المهضومة يا جارة وأهضم شي بين هالناس كانو هالولاد، أفيش أحلى منُّن!
* يا حياتي عالولاد، كلُّن بضوّو متل الـ"بصبوص بو فعالة"!
- ما أهضمك صحيح! ليكي، ما إلتيليش هلّق؟ ما كانش حلو الـ"تايّور" تبعي؟‬
* ايه والله تايور غير شكل! وين مخيطّي دخلك، عند ايفون مرت الياس الكندرجي؟
- مزبوط! منّكش هينة! بس دخلك؟ وين شفتيني لابستو؟ ما شفتكش بالساحة ولا بالكنيسة، ما نزلتِش؟
* له! ما لقيتش شي إلبسو!

12.3.13

Société Ski... Zoo...

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène… tout le monde le sait apparemment… et s'en fou. Moi aussi, je commence à vivre dans mon écosystème et ne plus m'en soucier... 
(pour ne pas dire "m'en battre la gauche et la droite"... ce serait de mauvais goût, dans une société aussi raffinée que la nôtre).

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où les femmes vont se faire belles, sexy, se payer des sacs, des chaussures et des jupes à 3 fois leurs salaires… Et pourquoi? Pour espérer rencontrer un mec qui serait intéressé par "leur personnalité"

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où tout le monde déteste tous les politiciens… "TOUS! Sans Aucune Exception!" diront certains avec conviction… mais tout le monde va quand même voter les mêmes têtes en fin de compte… sous des prétextes qui me font pitié…

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où la majorité des salariés touchent moins de 1500$/mois, alors qu'ils se baladent dans leurs 4x4 derniers modèles, se payent 5 fois par semaine des restaurants et des boites de nuit de luxe, sans parler des journées de ski aux tarifs exorbitants.

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où modestie rime avec pitié, simplicité avec ridicule, culture avec ennui, truanderie avec intelligence et snobisme avec classe.

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où la religion est tout le temps présente sans jamais vraiment l'être… tout le monde fait le carême/jeune, va à l'église ou à la mosquée, et paradoxalement serait prêt à tuer si on dit du mal de sa religion… ou de sa famille… ou de son leader politique ou religieux… ou de sa région d'origine… ou de sa voiture… ou de son chien… ou de son putain de cactus…

Nous vivons dans une société schizophrène où… ou pas, en fait…
Il y a un an, j'aurais dit: "Nous vivons dans une société que certains nous rendent schizophrènes…"
Aujourd'hui, permettez-moi de dire qu'en fait "Nous faisons semblant de vivre… dans des micro-sociétés d'un pseudo-pays pourri… qui va très très bien avec notre fond, en fin de compte… "

8.3.13

Who are we ?


I am reading a book I bought at the airport, "Bet you didn't know this about beirut" by Warren Singh-Bartlett, and I was so surprised to read that the Bekaa Valley is on the borderline of two different tectonic plates, and brace yourselves "Libanisus Nationalista" for the west part of the Valley is on the African plate.
So, I find myself asking again: Who are we? Where do we come from? 

If you ask this question to the people around you, you'll get many answers depending on the confession, political party and the level of snobbery.

Some might say we are Phoenicians and proud.
The Phoenicians our ancestors, our 9000 years old ancestors. I should be among these proud people, for I am from Byblos. I admire this civilization but I really don't feel I am Phoenician, come on, we found 15 layers of civilizations under the Byblos archeological site. So for me, I don't think we are the descendants of Abi-Chemou.

Others will say we are Arabs, well in some way we are, we speak Arabic don't we? For now at least... It's still our mother tongue even though some are "embarrassed" to speak Arabic nowadays and prefer to speak English with their fellow Lebanese, like in the hip bars in Beirut. (I find this silly, honestly).
But are we 100% Arabs? Because we also have the Greeks, the Persians, the Ottomans, the French... It all got mixed up in a way, and we are what we are now, a mix of the bad, the good and the ugly.

I find this very rich, we have origins from almost everywhere in the world, but yet we are still racist, so be careful "Libanista Racista" next time you are insulting your Ethiopian maid, don't forget you come from the same tectonic plate as her.

28.2.13

Lebanese Bloggers Reinvent the World.

The electrical Pavlov experience.

Since we claim that we ARE the origin of the world, the origin of the alphabet, religions, hummus... well everything on earth is Lebanese! We asked ourselves this question: should we really reinvent the world before reinventing Lebanon? Reinventing Lebanon will exponentially reinvent the world, and it will be cheaper since it's on smaller scale.

To reinvent Lebanon, we have to reinvent the Lebanese because they are responsible for the country's illness.

We at Toom Extra Labs, invented a small chip programmed to recognize stupid Lebanese behavior.  This chip will be planted in the Lebanese citizen's body (in a discreet way of course), and will send different electric charges depending on the act and the level of stupidity involved.
Some examples to clarify a bit:
- Passing a red light / Throwing garbage out of the window / Double-parking
The chip will send a charge of 5 over 10 (intensity-wise)
- Fighting for political/religious purposes / Supporting and applauding untalented "artists"
The chip will send a charge of 7 over 10 (intensity-wise)
- Voting for the same corrupt people
The chip will send a charge of 9 over 10 (intensity-wise)
And so on...

Since these behaviors/electric charges are most likely to happen many times per month, week or even day, the Lebanese citizen will start thinking before doing any move, until his/her bad reflexes are totally cured and will not be passed to the future generations. 

That's how, ladies and gentlemen, we will reinvent a better world by simply "fixing" the Lebanese/Lebanon a.k.a. The Origin of The World. 

P.S.: The chip will work on solar power or body heat and cannot in any way be linked to the public or private electricity sectors.

23.2.13

A run of fear and laughter


I remembered this epic moment in my history and decided to share it with you away from any warehouses, casseroles or wrenches hitting my head.

It was a mid-spring day a while ago. I'm working in my room when my mom screams while opening the entrance door of our house: a ram is standing at our front door preparing itself to eat mom's precious plant!
As I jump to the front door at my mum's scream, I recognize the ram:
it's my uncle's famous "Dabe3".
Yes, its name is "Dabe3" (Hyena or some sort of wolf in Arabic) and it grew to become pretty wild due to all the pampering it gets. A serious proof of that was the broken chain on its neck and its 15-step climb to reach the plant at our front door add to all that a journey of 200m to our house.

I shout, wave and do all sorts of silly moves until it finally flinches, turns around and leaves the way it came. Feeling very brave (hero-level bravery), I chase it for about 50m away from our house when it happened:
Dabe3 stops abruptly,
turns,
gives me the "I-got-you-exactly-where-I-want-you" look
and... CHARGES!
YES, the ram charged towards me!

Being a novice in this area I had an instant reflex: I grabbed it by its horns and tried to send it backwards. This idiotic gesture from my part got it even more outraged and made it go all buffalo-style-harlem-shake-charging on me!
At this instant, I had only one solution: RUNNING!
So, I started running while laughing at the same time.
I was running away... from a SHEEP!
A hell of a mad sheep it was!

20.2.13

How to insult 51% of the world’s population with a bathroom sign ?


Updates:

We are not allowing comments on this post anymore, because the situation got weird, people started being aggressive just because we talked about their favorite venue ! Actually we didn't even talk about the venue or insulted it, if you read well the post.

We are sorry that everyone missed out the big idea behind this post, we only wanted to say that representing women as a casserole is putting her back in the "kitchen" while hundreds of women from all around the world fight for their rights to work and go to universities. Lebanese women think they have it all, although if we think about it, we have nothing, we are not covered by any law. Maybe the designer wanted to be funny, but for ME and I repeat this is MY personal opinion, we cannot joke about sexism until it stops existing, and that is never, and that goes as well for racism and homophobia.

The bathroom signs were just a trigger, we then talked about educating children in Lebanon and that was the main subject of this post.

Anyway thank you for reading and commenting, even though it was negative ( mostly ), you only tripled our traffic ;) and then you proved us right : Lebanese will only fight for their right to party.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marie-Curie and Joan of Arc, Simone de Beauvoir and Amelia Earhart, Daw Aung Suu Kyi and Frida Khalo, Susan B. Anthony and Ella Fitzgerald, Margaret Sanger and your MOM. Were all diminished to a single illustration : A casserole !

Of course THE casserole every little girl should have in her little pink kitchen in her girly pink room where a beautiful blond Barbie lies on her pink bed sheets.  

And the men’s bathroom sign is a wrench! Of course, because all men should use tools, drink lots of beer, scratch their balls and burp.

We in Lebanon, think that we master the art of educating children. Whenever a couple is expecting a boy, the baby’s room start looking so manly that even Chuck Norris is afraid of going in…the blue walls, and blue sheets, with trains, cars and soldiers…in Lebanon we extend that with rifles, tanks and guns. This boy’s identity is prepared and wrapped in blue paper before he was even born. He has no right to chose, this boy might like to play with his sister’s dolls but his parents are so afraid that this will turn him gay so they won’t let him and vice versa, cute little girls with ponytails, pink dresses, ribbons and flowers, übergirly to like spiderman or football. If it was legal to inject boys with testosterone and breast feed the girls with estrogen, Lebanese parents wouldn’t hesitate a second.

And these kids grew up to be designers, and they designed these wonderful bathroom signs for the “warehouse” in Beirut. Can we blame them ? They were raised that way and unfortunately they didn’t educate themselves enough to know that it’s insulting to illustrate women as a casserole and men as a wrench, ( even though the rationale behind them, might be "things you find in a warehouse" )  believe me I know some girls who handle their tools like a plumber while their husbands are going oliver james on their casseroles.

I had enough of the stereotypes, I had enough of people using women as a sexual object in the kitchen, we, Lebanese, are always proud of ourselves, we claim to be civilized, open-minded, cultivated, it’s not partying like there’s no tomorrow or wearing beautiful branded clothes that makes us “Europeans”! It’s our culture, our respect for any other human being, and our social behavior that will turn us in Homo sapiens instead of the Australopithecus we still are. 

Picture : @Acidburn_TD ( Thank you @Acidburn_TD for inspiring me to write this post) 



14.2.13

Min 7a yIggy Pope?

So this week’s biggest event is probably the pope’s resignation… this resignation has prompted much speculation about who will replace his holiness.

In my today’s post, I’ll try to imagine what could happen if the pope’s replacement was not conventional.

Note: I mean no harm or disrespect to the church at any point in this post… I’m just making virtual unrealistic assumptions… so if anyone feels offended with my post, please don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email, and I will answer you.


- so what if the new elected pope is… Chuck Norris:  then nothing much will change in Chuck Norris’ life… he will continue to cross crowds everyday…

- if the new elected pope is… Quentin Tarantino: then even the Vatican statues will bleed…

- if the new elected pope is… a Lebanese politician: then he will delete “You shall not steal” from the 10 commandments… and may be the “You shall not murder” too… and then replace the word “God” by “money and the supreme Leader” in the “You shall have no other Gods but me” commandment.

- if the new elected pope is an average Lebanese citizen: then the white smoke will stay in the Vatican’s sky from the minute of his election until Jesus’ return… and I’m talking about the burning tires "white smoke", not the pope’s election white smoke, huh?

- and what if the new elected pope is… my grandmother: well I believe that all cardinals and Vaticanians will gain at least 20 kgs each before the end of the year… no one dares/can stop my grandma from feeding people! Even if they can’t breathe anymore!

- and what if the new elected pope is… myself:… well, the bible will have a second volume… called ToomExtra… and all you readers shall be saved! Amen!


PS: I know that the post’s title is lame, but when I came with it, it just made me laugh my ass off… so I decided to keep it.

12.2.13

L’art subtil du parking au Liban

L’une des choses qui frappe les européens en visite au pays du cèdre, est la créativité que les libanais mettent dans la façon de parquer leurs voitures. Il y a certe certaines villes d’Europe moins sévères que ma Suisse natale en matière de stationnement, mais le Liban surpasse de loin tout ce qui peut se faire en la matière! Là ou la plupart des grandes villes européennes parlent de problème de stationnement, de surpopulation automobile, de problèmes récurrents de surface de parking ; le Liban quant à lui, a résolu le problème en redonnant sa signification au parking : un lieu où l’on parque une voiture !

Une fois ce concept enregistré, se parquer devient d’une simplicité extrême ! Fis des lignes et autres signalisations, des passages et autres ilots, lorsque l’on entre sur un parking, on y laisse simplement sa voiture. A quoi sert une ligne ! Il suffit de se parquer dans le bon sens à côté de la première voiture stationnée et la chose est réglée ! Pourquoi réfléchir et parquer sa voiture entre deux lignes blanches ? L’important est que tout le monde y trouve sa place ! La preuve en est les impressionnants tetris de voitures sur les parkings aux alentours Hamra Street ou Gemayzé... en serrant bien, il y aura de la place pour tout le monde ! D’ailleurs certains valets de parking se sont sans doute inscrits au championnat du monde de tetris, leur entraînement se faisant tous les jours en grandeur nature sur le terrain. Mais une fois de plus, le Liban a su trouver une solution à un problème que l’Europe se pose depuis longtemps.

Là ou la triste Europe emprisonne des voitures entre des lignes, avec un espace de sécurité minimum (on ne sais jamais, celui qui voudrait voler votre voiture a quand même besoin de pouvoir ouvrir la porte pour y rentrer…) des règles strictes et une uniformité dramatique, faisant que là ou une famille libanaise parquerait l’intégralité des ses voitures, les européens arrivent tout juste à en parquer une seule, et encore, après avoir longuement manœuvré. Le Liban a simplifié cela, en utilisant le moindre petit espace, et en faisant confiance aux conducteurs, qui feront attention à leurs Mercedes flambantes neuves sans avoir à suivre de longues heures de cours pour cela. Et surtout, le parking libanais devient un joyeux bordel où tout le monde crie, hurle, s’insulte puis se jette dans les bras l’un de l’autre après avoir réussi à parquer sa voiture ; là où tant d’européen font une crise cardiaque en voyant un inconnu se parquer à moins de deux mètres de leur voiture… et ne parlons pas non plus de la sacro-sainte chaise en plastique, symbolisant l’interdit le plus total de parquer, signe qu’un européen serait incapable de comprendre !

Une fois de plus le Liban a réussi à résoudre un problème de l’Europe de façon radicale et efficace, la créativité de ce pays est sans borne lorsqu’il s’agit de trouver des solutions simples aux problèmes du quotidien, pour se concentrer sur des choses beaucoup plus importantes, comme l’éternel dilemme du restaurant où l’on rejoindra ses amis.

Post by: Jack
Photos copyright : Jack












4.2.13

توما اكسترا - Tooma Extra


بحب الموسيقى و بحب الأصوات الحلوة، وبحب أحضر برامج الموسيقى، مبارح حضرت على شاشة TF1 برنامج THE VOICE وكتير نبسطت بس شفت المشترك اللبناني انطوني توما، وأكيد بدنا نشجعو كلنا سوا.


بس عطول بسأل حالي هالسؤال: ليش اللبناني بينطر اللبناني التاني تيطلع من لبنان، تيشجّعو ويحكي عنّو ويعملو مشهور؟

ليش انطوني بدو يروح ع فرنسا، كرمال يحقق حلمو ويغني، وما في يحقق هالحلم بلبنان؟

هو بالذات قال عالتليفزيون، انو بلبنان ما إلو مستقبل. ليش أمين معلوف بدا تكرمو فرنسا ويصير عضو بالأكاديمية الفرنسية ولبنان ما قدّملو شي؟ ( "ماكسيموم" وسام بس يموت). ليش أمين معلوف بدو يصير "فرنسي من أصل لبناني" ومش لبناني؟ أو جبران خليل جبران؟ 
ليش وجدي معوض صار كندي من أصل لبناني والفيلم يلي نعمل من كتابو "Incendies" بدو يربح 36 جائزة سينمائية بس لأن ما نعمل بلبنان؟ أو قولتكن لو نيكولا حايك عمل ساعة بلبنان وسمّاها "Lwatch" بدل "Swatch" كان حداً شتراها بلبنان؟ أكيد لأ... لأنّو "يي ياي يا الله، صناعة وطنية...".

طالما من فضّل كلّ الصناعة الأجنبية عالصناعة اللبنانية بس لأن نحن "كول" و"كلاس"، طالما مندفع بالدولار بدل الليرة اللبنانية، طالما ما منقدر المواهب هي وموجودة بلبنان ومن صير مبسوطين فيهن بس يصيرو بغير بلد، 
رح نخسر عالم متل انطوني وكتار غيرو وما راح يبقى بلبنان غير نحنا الزقّيفة. 

أكيد كلنا بدنا نشجع أنطوني ومنتمنّالو يربح، مش كرمال يرفع إسم لبنان بالعالي متل ما الكل رح يقولو، كرمال يحقّق حلمو ويرفع اسمو بالعالي، لأنو صوتو وشخصيتو الحلوين هوّي اشتغل عليهن وهوّي تعب فيهن، مش لأنو لبناني.

22.1.13

About the smoking ban...

I was among the people who didn't like the idea of the smoking ban.
I also thought that it's stupid and that it was not the right time to apply it in Lebanon.

I still think there are lots of other problems and laws that the Lebanese government must oversee and amend, but the main subject here is the smoking ban. 

I spent 2 months in Lebanon and that made me understand how important this ban is.
Being a smoker myself and a person who respect laws (I try my best respecting traffic rules in Lebanon, but if I drive like in Europe, I wouldn't be here to write about it!), I think that the positive points of the non-smoking ban for me are : 

- First: Your smell when you come back home after a night in a bar. During summer, I swear that my own bones smelled like cigarettes!

-Second: When you go out of a restaurant or a bar to smoke, you get to mingle and get to know the other smokers. I really made a lot of new friends in our usual pub in Jbeil (hint: it's a rock bar). They're people I used to see in summer, but never talk to, because everyone was sitting at the same place with the same group they came with, every time. 

-Third: You get to smoke less, especially if it's cold or raining (ok, if you want to smoke, you'll always find a way to stand under a small roof, but sometimes there are no roofs). So it's kind of cool, to smoke less. (And please non-smokers save me from your quit smoking speeches, it isn't as easy as preaching about it).

However, of all the places I've been to in Lebanon, only a few are applying the law. I once witnessed a huge fight between a restaurant owner and a guy from the "Touristic police": the owner of the restaurant -where everyone was smoking chicha inside- didn't want to pay the fine and was cursing the guy, as if he made the law. 


It's really "sadly funny" to see how restaurants are making changes in their interior designs to allow their clients to smoke, like Lina's in Kaslik and many other places. 
I think there is not enough control over this, Lebanese don't and will never apply a law, they think they are clever enough to get around it by demolishing a wall, or building a tent... It's really sad to see this, as if they don't want to progress in any way. 

I am very proud of my friends (the owners of the pub in jbeil) because they are applying the law perfectly, knowing that both of them are smokers. 
There is a great lesson to learn from them, that sometimes to make our country better, we must stick to laws, even if they are not 100 % in our benefit. This my friends is what I call : العيش المشترك


توم اكسترا يذكركم : إن التدخين يؤدي إلى العمى، العمى بقلبكن. 

17.1.13

حوار فتّوش ١

حوار فتّوش عبارة عن أحاديث واقعيّة تجري بين أعضاء فريق توم إكسترا.
نتمنّى أن تتمتّعوا بقراءتها!
-------
سماح: دخلِك؟ شو في قايمين القيامة؟ في رجّال مات بالشارع من الجليد أو شي هيك؟

*بعد مرور بضعة دقائق*

سماح: رنا؟ غفيتي؟

*تجيب رنا وكأنّ شيئاً لم يكن*

رنا: ايه هيك خبروني، مات علي، كان يبقى يقعد على مدخل الجامعة الاميركية ببيروت
سماح: أوف! هوّي بيشتغل هونيك يعني؟
رنا: ما حدا بيعرف... بس إنّو بتعرف كيف لما واحد يموت - بعيد الشر عن قلبك - بتبلش تطلع الاخبار بلبنان... 
سماح: الله يرحمو... بسّ إنّو هيك شغلي بعد بتصير يعني؟ إنّو واحد يموت من الصّقعة بشارع بنصّ دين شارع ببيروت؟
رنا: حبيبي العالم عم تموت من الصقعة هيي وقاعدة عم تحضر التلفزيون، كيف تا واحد قاعد بالشارع! بتضحكني أوقات بعدك بتتعجب... ليش وين عايش إنت؟
سماح: أنا عايش بمزرعة يشوع... هاهايز!

*يحسّ  بالسخافة ويُكمل*

سماح: عن جدّ هلّق، إذا كان معروف هالقدّ هالمعتّر ليش ما كان حدا يساعدو؟ ولّا  مبسوطين في عامل جوّ قدّام المدخل؟
رنا: هلّق في ناس صارت تقول أنو جربو كذا مرة يساعدوا بس هو ما بيقبل. شو بعرّفني... بتسألني اسئلة كأنو انا بعرف، كل شي عرفتو انو صار اسمو شهيد وعملو مظاهرة وصار في مطالب من الدولة للإهتمام بالأشخاص المشردة...
سماح: والله هالقدّ؟ طيب عال، شي منيح... بس المهمّ ما تكون الخبريّة كلّها مبنيّة على عواطف وبسّ... متل وقت ما يموت شي مطرب أو مغنّية وبِبلّش الزجل والأشعار والعواطف الملهلبة على فايسبوك وعالتويتر وبِكي ونحيب!
رنا: حبيبي نحن شعب عاطفي. هيدا الحلو فينا تخيّل لو كنا شعب عملي....تخيلّ ملّا  لبكة!
سماح: لبكة كبيرة! منصير مثلاً بدل ما نكرّم الشخص المبدع (شو ما كان نوع الإبداع) وقت يقرط موتة ويتختخ ونستفيد على ضهرو ونعمل كوكتيل، منصير نكرّمو هوّي وعايش! وإذا كان عايش، منستحي نعبّر عن العواطف!
رنا: انت مش عم تفهم...في متل بقول: ما بتعرف قيمة اللي عندك إلّا بس تفقدو، فنحنا ما بدنا نزعّل حدا وبدنا نطبّق المتل... هيدي هي مش اكتر
سماح: صايرة فيلسوفة أكتر منّي!... برافو. طيّب ليكي؟ سامعة بالـ"إستراغون" (Estragon) شي؟

*تُصعق لسماعها هذا السؤال السخيف/الغريب وتجيب بتردّد*

رنا: هيدي عشبة؟
سماح: إيه... بتلعّيلي نفسي! إنتي شو بِلعّيلِك نفسِك؟
رنا: ممم... قرط الحكي عالفاضي، "حبيبي وتقبرني وتسلملي، انت متل اختي" ...و بعدين بيبزقوا بضهرك! هيدا الشي بـ لعّي متلاً
سماح: إيه... بس مش قدّ الـ"إستراغون"!... طيّب، شفناكي... سلّمي عالمحروس وبلّغي إنّو "جيلدا" بتسلّم عليه!
رنا: حبيبي كل واحد بتلعي معو على قد نفَسو... سلامك يوصل... بس بعد ما قلتلي مين "جيلدا"؟

*ترعُد السماء وتنقطع الكهرباء وتبقى "جيلدا" مجهولة الهويّة*