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