Lebanese Universities Should Stop Their Useless Stupid Elections

Student A from party B attacked student C from party D. The headline reads as such. Substitute the letters for whichever news website you follow for your party of choice, and you’ll get the gist of what happened at NDU earlier today.

An important aspect of the NDU fights has been, to me at least, a serious wakeup call as to how time is flying. It was university election season again, or as I like to call it dumbo open season. I daresay there isn’t a better description for that in 2014.

The following is a video of the fight that took place at NDU today:

And to think that it was only just last year that we had the following gem circulating:

I don’t have pictures of people from other parties

When I recovered from the shock that it was almost November, I couldn’t help but wonder: do these things seriously still exist? Universities still hold these things.

In November 2014, at a time when Lebanon doesn’t have 1) a president, 2) a functional parliament, 3) upcoming parliamentary elections and 4) people with political intellect, universities are still pretending that it’s a necessity for the parties roaming their classes to express democracy.

The fact of the matter remains that the following is correct:

1) Student elections are irrelevant. The only purpose they used to serve is to enrich the democratic spirit within students. When those students start to bludgeon each other over useless politics, the entire purpose is defeated.

2) Student councils that arise from these elections are, in most universities, essentially stillborn. Student movements that you hear of in universities regarding rising tuition fees rarely emanate from those councils. Based on my experience, those movements immediately manage to circumvent the limitations of said councils in order to make bigger impacts and get to what they need. It’s worth to note that USEK, which doesn’t have student elections, also managed to protest their rising tuition fees, albeit that didn’t get as much coverage as AUB because, well, AUB.

3) I can’t believe Lebanese students, who should – in theory – be an example of educated youth wanting to better our country and, you know, all that cliche that is associated with the benefits of higher education, still believe that them voting for Geagea or Aoun is proof enough that the latter or the former command the Christian scene. I can’t believe that they still believe voting for Hezbollah is a referendum over the resistance’s weapons, or that voting for Hariri is proof on his popularity among the Sunni scene. You’re just a tool. It’s high time you see yourself as they see you.

4) It’s sad, read depressing, that these students’ parents keep on paying hefty fees for their sons and daughters to essentially forgo their entire education for a period of a month that starts with scouting for candidates, making sure those candidates fit the required bill, going through student “pointage” to figure out who’s voting for whom. And, because that wasn’t enough, those students end up beating each other up to defend the honor of their za’im of choice. Your $20K tuition is definitely meant from broken ribs, swollen eyes and bruised prides.

5) It’s mortifying that the students going into those fights believe that the politician they’re getting beaten up for actually gives a shit. Here’s a reality check for you: he doesn’t remotely give a rat’s ass about your sorry ass. In fact, he’s probably laughing his ass off while his henchmen write up a speech to pretend he’s coming to your rescue while his last worry in the world is you. Do those students seriously think their politicians would come to their rescue when they end up in jail because of those scenes, when their future is ruined or when they end up expelled? Guess again.

6) In a country of no democracy, university elections are not the last vestige of the good times representing the Switzerland of the Middle East, the freedom of whatever that we had and whatnot. They’re irrelevant and, as it’s become apparently clear, dangerous.

High profile Lebanese universities that do not have student elections are:

  • The Lebanese University
  • University of Balamand
  • USEK

USJ is also considering canceling their elections this year. I say good riddance; USJ is the hub of yearly problems. I mean, what would Jesus say if Hezbollah won in Huvelin? Tsk tsk.

AUB and LAU are still scheduled to hold them.

If there’s a time to cancel university elections, it’s this year. The only thing at stake is a useless student council and political websites orgasming over them winning X or Z. Nobody cares – except the students beating each other up over it.

Lebanese Racist Attacks Sukleen Worker For Being A Foreigner

The news about the rising racism that foreigners in Lebanon, notably Syrians, keep on rolling.

Earlier this morning, Anastacia Al-Hajj was doing what she basically does every morning, take her commute road to work. On her way, she’s held up by a scene involving a Lebanese man shouting at a helpless Sukleen worker, telling him to kneel. The man put his hands over the man’s shoulders and tried to force him to the ground, insulting him in all kinds of ways in the process.

When the Sukleen worker didn’t budge, the Lebanese man animal held out a pocket knife and slashed the worker across the street. Seeing that no one was doing anything but observe, in typical Lebanese apathy to such scenarios, Anastacia went out to help the worker only to have one of the women in the nearby buildings tell her: “leave him, these foreigners all over our country, and they deserve it.”

Why was the Lebanese man assaulting the Sukleen worker? Because the latter was cleaning in front of that man’s building, which is the building’s orderly’s job.

Anastacia has reported the incident to Sukleen and they are investigating the matter. Of course, this will probably only amount to a few blog posts and a viral Facebook status, courtesy to the people in this country who still have an ounce of humanity left in them.

This is the Sukleen worker after he was attacked by the Lebanese goon. The look in his eyes is heartbreaking:

Sukleen Worker Attacked

 

It wasn’t enough that these helpless foreigners do the jobs that many Lebanese find themselves to be too high-end to do, we now attack them when they go out of their way to keep our streets clean from all the litter we pile up, in pure animalistic fashion.

This sheer racism against foreigners just because they are foreigners is unacceptable. The argument that these foreigners have done their share of hardships against the Lebanese population is essentially mute. How despicable do you have to be, as a human being, to attack someone whose only way to provide for his family is basically collect the garbage that other people pile up in the most disorganized of ways?

I’m finding myself more and more lately wishing that these people, such as the animal who attacked that helpless worker and that woman who said that worker deserved to have his face cut with a pocket knife, end up with their sons and daughters and maybe even fathers and mothers abroad, working at low-end jobs to provide them with better quality of life, and have their family members being treated with the same racism that they’re treating those they deem are lesser.

Some people deserve to live in a barn. It’s only fitting for their inner animals, all surrounded by filth, their own manure and their ego. And, ironically, some Lebanese people have become as bad as Daesh. As I said before, some people deserve Daesh.

On A Fucked Up Lebanese Reality

6-7-11.

The above numbers do not constitute my iPhone passcode. They are not random, arbitrary digits I chose to start a useless blog post that will have your head rolling: yet another nagging post by this guy? Meh.

6 is the number of civilians. 7 is the number of army men. 11 is the number of militia terrorists. These 24 people have all died in Tripoli over the past day, in the city’s heaviest clashes in many, many months. Not that you’d care. It’s understandable – deplorable, but understandable nonetheless. None of this goes hand in hand with Lebanese joie de vivre. What are we to tell the tourists?

It started when Lebanon’s army arrested Ahmad Miqati, a well known thug and terrorist, who also happens to be the henchman of a well-known Lebanese MP whose name roughly translates to “immortal going out.” Upon his arrest, Tripoli’s dormant cell of terrorists woke up from their deep slumber. How dare they?

Khaled Hoblos, a cleric at Haroun el Rashid mosque, then ignited their fury with a fiery Friday sermon. And the rest is undergoing present history.

The perfect summary for today

The perfect summary for today

As Tripoli’s people suffered in national silence, oblivious to the bullets and missiles, Achrafieh was having another field day. It’s funny how Achrafieh’s 2020 days always take place when something fucked up around Tripoli goes. Conspiracy, perhaps?

It does serve to show, however, exactly how divided and segregated and lala-landish some parts of Lebanon are. 80 kilometers away they may be, perhaps, but it’s an entirely different world out there. Kids playing, young adults trying to find that perfect instagram picture versus men carrying a body out of Nahr Abou Ali, taking pictures of the burned Tebbane souk as they hear bullets echo in the distance, in areas that those bullets had never visited before.

Ironically, this seems too familiar. Around the same time last year, after I had finished watching La Vie D’Adele at the European Film Festival and, while walking home, I looked at the parties taking place in Gemmayze and Mar Mkhayel. People were alive, proving whatever point they had to prove. Tripoli and the people I knew there were tucked away in corners of their houses, convincing themselves that the following day would be better, après l’éclipse le beau temps style.

Of course in times like these, everyone and their mother have an opinion. More often than not, that opinion stems from well-rooted political convictions that are, well, as worthy as garbage. But everyone’s got an opinion, right?

And, at times of national crises such as this, the least you’d expect people is to at least keep a united front facing the terrorism, horror and death. Well, guess again.

Exhibit A:

Tripoli - 1

Exhibit B:

Tripoli - 2

Such people’s logic wants to have a city of half a million people eradicated from the Lebanese scene just because they don’t agree with that city’s sect, politics. Of course, young as these people are, they probably got their ideas from their parents. Do you think blinded hate is a recessive or dominant trait? I’d go with the latter.

What’s sadder is that such a point of view is not a lone cry in the Lebanese wilderness. It is shared by many. The saddest part is that the people who have such ideas are the upcoming generation on whom everyone’s hope resides. I suppose you better find better foundations for that hope you have of a one-day prosperous Lebanese nation of understanding and love and intra-sectarian mating and whatnot.

Those people in question don’t know that there are people from that city they want burned who know exactly what’s wrong with their hometown and who are trying to change it, unlike useless hateful tweets:

By Mu'taz Salloum

By Mu’taz Salloum

People such as Mu’taz Salloum, who have no problem blaming everything and everyone for the situation in their city and their country, make me happy. Is it because I’m a natural-born downer?

The situation, however, is not Muslim-exclusive. Lebanese Christians have their own share of messed up stuff taking place, from extremism against the Syrians, to self-appointed guarding duties across Lebanese towns, to their sheer inability to govern amidst self-conviction that their existence in the country is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The people of Achrafieh at today’s event were probably having the following conversation with each other:

- T’as entendu qu’est ce qui se passe à Tghipoli?

- Tghipoli? C’est quoi ça?

- Ben, j’en sais pas. Je crois qu’ils ont quelque chose qui s’appelle Daesh.

- Daesh? C’est bien demodé chez eux. La vie est jolie chez nous à Ach.

The Lebanese South, prior to its liberation in 2000, was not as disassociated from Lebanon as Tripoli and effectively much of the North and Northern Beqaa are. If that’s not saying something, I don’t know what could.

This is beautiful <3

This is beautiful <3

However, ladies and gentlemen, things are not all bleak. There is news to brighten your day, news that will make all of the above disappear. Or at least that was the case for some people to pretend that we have the Paris of the Middle East again, Switzerland of the East, *insert some other possible cliche about Lebanon here.*

It’s that time of the year again. No, not Christmas. According to Siri, that’s in sixty days. It’s time for Conde Naste to publish their yearly list of the world’s best cities according to that magazine’s touristy readers. Drumroll please *drrrrrr.* For the third year in a row, Beirut has found itself a nice little spot on that list. Not only that, but Beirut has made great advances in ranks, up from number 20 last year, based on the voting of the tourists that read that magazine and have visited Beirut recently, which amounts to how many people exactly?

Beirut beat Sydney, and Paris, and Vienna, and *insert other eye-grabbing capital that makes Beirut’s feat all the more impressive.* Our very own capital. Can you believe it? The little city that could, with all its characteristic buildings, well-kept roads, clean sidewalks, enriching cultural life and activities, diverse touristic options within its boundaries, the insane amount of tourists and its charm that is overflowing.

What’s the mark of greatness in a city that’s destroying its own heritage, has little to no respect to its people and is making sure it becomes what it believes everyone wants: another Dubai, effectively losing everything that made it, once upon a time, charming?

Between people dying, people wanting those dying to be eradicated from existence, people who have no idea the former two categories exist and people who have massive orgasms every time a Western publication mentions Lebanon somehow, the Lebanese situation is utterly, devastatingly and surely, beyond measures, fucked.

BUT YOU GUYS BEIRUT IS THE WORLD’S #14 CITY. TAKE THAT PARIS. (Paris <3).

Khaled Hoblos: The Sheikh Who Roused Up The Terrorists Against The Army In Tripoli

In case you’ve been living under a rock, which is most likely true but it’s okay – no one’s judging, Tripoli has been having its most vicious rounds of fights in the past several months, for the past day. Its inhabitants didn’t sleep the night. The rhetoric is no longer about periods of calm broken by gunshots heard, but the entire opposite.

Of course, those inhabitants are, as far as we care, used to sleepless nights away from windows and to the sound of bullets that they tell their children is thunder.

What prompted the Tripoli fights is not just those militant terrorists being bored after such a long period of hibernation. These aren’t people with a functioning head above their skulls for them to make plans or act according to their own free will. These people always need a mastermind to orchestrate what they do. For that purpose, yet another of these masterminds popped out of the blue in Tripoli yesterday. His name is Khaled Hoblos, a local sheikh at one the Haroun el Rashid mosque in Tripoli.

Has anyone wondered how such creatures keep popping up out of the blue in Tripoli and immediately making a name for themselves?

Yesterday, as part of his Friday sermon at his mosque, Khaled Hoblos made fiery statements to the goons attending his service about how the army is, in typical Sunni-targeted rhetoric, is enforcing a security plan only against the Sunnis in Tripoli and that the plan in question, as well as other army actions, were hitting Sunni pride in its core and that such things were not to be tolerated anymore.

Of course, news of such actions – be it due to Hoblos or some other low-life creature, have been going around for a month. News of upcoming breaks in the security plan over Tripoli are not new. It’s just that nobody, including governmental bodies involved, cared.

Soon enough, about 200 of those militants gathered in Bab el Tebbane and spread across the old city, starting the fights in question across portions that Tripoli hadn’t seen fights in before.

Khaled Hoblos, however, wouldn’t accept not having the last word. So he made another statement, which I received thanks to one of my friends in Tripoli:

What that Hoblos creature fails to understand is that the security plan in question is what was keeping the city he calls home at bay, at least when it worked, from the rising madness sweeping across the region, be it with ISIS or the deterioration in Lebanese politics or other forms of extremism that people don’t like to discuss.

That security plan, and the sacrifices of the army personnel to make it work, was what was getting the thousands upon thousands of people in Tripoli to feel safe at their own homes again. For once in this god-forsaken country, such a plan was working. It doesn’t matter that they can’t enforce such plans in other areas in the country; those areas in question are not filled with filth who have guns and who are covered by Lebanese MPs providing them with all kinds of weapons and material and who act on sporadic whims, igniting a whole city in the process.

Soon enough, news of a ceasefire between the militants and the army will surface, as is always the case. The army is never allowed to kill or arrest every single last one of these militants, starting with those masterminds who make sure the goons still act, still kill, still terrorize innocent people and do what they do.

Today, ignore Nicolas Fattouch and his soap opera-like situation. That has become a distraction, and Tripoli is coming back to remind us all that there are more dangerous people in this country who deserve our attention. There are MPs who are, from behind the scenes, orchestrating figurative slaps and knock-downs to hundreds of thousands of people.

And there are sheikhs like Khaled Hoblos who are igniting an entire city with sectarian hate. Mr. Hoblos will come out of this unscathed. He’s a Sunni sheikh after all, he’s protected by some form of Allah-induced immunity. It shouldn’t be like this. Arrest Khaled Hoblos now. Put him in the darkest pits of dungeon hell you can find. The time for drastic measures is yesterday.

He said it best:

Ismail Sakalaki Friday Sermons

How Lebanon Is Bracing Itself For Ebola

Earlier today, my phone buzzed with a breaking news notification about a patient being investigated for Ebola at a, as of now, unnamed Beirut hospital. An hour or so later, as I had figured, the patient turned out to have malaria. But that didn’t stop people from freaking out about the disease’s possibility of invading Lebanese territory. I mean, it’s only a matter of time anyway as Ebola is the only thing, possibly, that hasn’t strutted across our borders yet.

At an almost 30% chance of having Ebola spread to it, Lebanon is not at bay. 30% is a lot in medical terms. However, that isn’t to say that nothing is being done regarding the issue or that it’s being ignored as we’ve ignored almost every other pertinent matter that could potentially affect this country. I guess when it comes to health, people pay more attention.

In a matter of weeks, Ebola has become something that we, as medical professionals (or soon to be medical professionals), had to keep at the forefront of our minds as we saw patients in ERs or in any other setting for that matter for patients who have fever or a constellation of indicative symptoms.

Back in the old days, we’d start by asking about associated symptoms to try and draw a picture of a syndrome, a viral illness or any possible etiologies that made sense give the season, the condition of the patient, etc. Nowadays, we start by asking: have you had any recent travel history, sir?

Our cut-off to rule out Ebola in someone who presented from an endemic area, few as those people are, is about 3 weeks. I’ve seen people panic that they’ve encountered someone who visited Lebanon from Nigeria 3 months ago and are currently presenting with fever. No, it doesn’t work that way.

The Ministry of Health, in its capacities, has circulated memos to Lebanon’s hospital to educate employees, nurses and doctors about Ebola and about the proper ways to handle patients suspected with the disease. I have taken pictures of the memo in question, which you can find as follows:

When it comes to our airports, however, the story is entirely different. Sure, there’s probably not a massive influx of Lebanese coming from West Africa, but even with the global worry regarding the virus, there’s been basically zero measures at our airport to screen passengers or attempt to keep ebola in the back of their minds, just in case, especially in passengers from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. I guess there are more important airport-related issues at hand, such as fixing that A/C.

The media, on another hand, isn’t doing a terrific job either at spreading awareness regarding the virus or educating people on it in order to decrease mass hysteria and help catch suspected cases earlier, in case they happen to be there as unlikely as that is.

In a way, Lebanon is better prepared for Ebola than it is for any of our average crisis. Our hospitals are well equipped and can handle such cases extremely well. We have excellent equipment and doctors and, believe it or not, excellent medical management – at least at Beirut’s major hospitals that is.

The status of Ebola and Lebanon can be summarized as follows: there are more people in Lebanon that have been attacked by MP Nicolas Fattouch than have had Ebola.

How MP Nicolas Fattoush Proved The Irrelevance of Lebanese Citizens

Nicolas Fattouch

When it comes to Lebanon, there’s a lot of crazy that keeps going around. There must be something in the water. Scratch that. There’s no water for anything to be in it. So I assume it must be in the air.

A quick round on today’s quirky news reveals MTV’s twitter account getting hacked by pro-hezbollah goons who wanted to teach the anti-hezbollah network a lesson in resistance morals. Another round of crazy in Lebanon comes in the form of what I wrote yesterday, about guards in my hometown assaulting Syrians left and right, just because. But of course, as it is natural around this country, there would be something to steal the spotlight.

I swear, some things you just can’t make up.

The story goes as follows:

MP Nicolas Fattouch, of Zahle, known to be the one our government paid about 240 million dollars as compensation for shutting down his illegal quarries, was heading to the justice palace in order to file paperwork, I’m assuming yet another lawsuit.

The clerk there, a woman named Manale Daou, respectful and helpful as she is kindly asked the parliament member to wait for his turn. As it stands, Mr. Fattouch wouldn’t have it. “I am Nicolas Fattouch,” he said to her, “a member of the Lebanese parliament. I can’t wait.”

I guess some people are above the rules. Honestly, at this point I don’t know why any of us are even feigning shock, except the story gets better.

“Of course sir,” Manale Daou replied, “but everyone has their turn.” So naturally, Nicolas Fattouch proceeded to quietly stand in line and wait his turn like the other desperate citizens in front of him stuck in Lebanese bureaucracy  took out his hand and proceeded to punch Manale Daou in her throat. Because she told him to effectively take a number, like a regular Lebanese citizen, like you and I are supposed to do every single day.

The employees at the Justice Palace then intervened to get the MP off of Manale Daou’s neck. Fattouch’s bodyguards came to escort him out of the building, then LBC reported on it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I’m sure many MPs, represented by Mr. Fattouch, view you as a Lebanese citizen: irrelevant, worthless, a nuisance, a hurdle, a throat ready to be punched, a voice ready to be squashed.

Other MPs are doing the latter by extending their mandate for a reported two years, yet again. They’re also suing people who dare speak up against their practices, using your tax money to drag you through a Lebanese circle of legal hell. Fattoush did the former, and will walk away unscathed, untouched, and possibly congratulated by his bodyguard, his people over in Zahle for being the epitome of Lebanese “roujoule,” not standing down to that pest at the Justice Palace. Women should know their place. Lebanese people should know their places.

In an ideal world, Manale Daou would be able to sue Mr. Fattouch for assault. And she would win. And she would throw him in jail for a few months, topped off with a hefty fine, which is only fair given the amount he was given out of our tax money for his illegal business’s demise.

In an ideal world, other MPs would stand against their comrade and denounce his behavior. Instead of calling for their next session to be about yet another renewal of parliamentary mandate, they’d call for a session to effectively strip Mr. Fattouch off of his diplomatic immunity, making him as vulnerable to the very fragile Lebanese law as people who aren’t immune are.

In an ideal world, what MP Fattouch did is considered political suicide. It’s an Anthony Weiner-level scandal, or even worse. At least the latter kept it digital. Mr. Fattouch would then never see the inside of parliament ever again, except on one of those tours that happen every now and then to show Lebanese citizens how beautiful the empty hall of that useless building is.

Enough with utopian paragraphs, I suppose. In corrupt, maimed, fragmented, despicable and fragmented Lebanon, there are varying degrees of inequality. There are those who are irrelevant, who view rules as something to make everyone’s lives easier, who think there’s a beauty to order and weep at its nonexistence over here, among other things. And there are those who are above standing in line, above the law, above being called corrupt and above facing repercussions for assaulting a woman in broad daylight, at her workplace, in front of her coworkers and leaving the scene without batting an eyelid. In today’s Lebanon, the only discourse pertaining to Fattouch will go as follows: Wayn yo? Just going about my day, bro.

You are irrelevant. Bask in the hopelessness.

Update: Manale Daou has reportedly apologized to MP Fattoush and a judge has reconciled the two. What a shame.

Racism, Bigotry and Anarchy: How My Hometown Is Breeding ISIS

Welcome to Ebrine

The sign says: welcome to Ebrine. Huddled on a bunch of hills east of Batroun, my hometown is considered as one of the area’s largest. It is Maronite by excellence. The sign could have also said welcome to Maronistan and you’d still be within realms of accuracy.

Growing up, I never truly fit there but I liked it nonetheless. It was peaceful, serene, had amazing scenery and, at the time, I thought it provided everything that I needed. Little did I know that a whole spectrum existed beyond the realms of those 7 hills, 2000 voters and dozen Churches.

My hometown has also lately become a hub where Syrian refugees and workers have aggregated in substantial numbers, or at least as substantial a number can be to tick off the brains of townsfolk that I had thought were kind. I was wrong.

The argument went: “if those Syrians got slingshots, they’d be able to overtake us.” Yes, 500 Syrians with slingshots overtaking a town of about 4000 people. Because that made a whole lot of sense. So some people in my hometown, without a municipality due to political bickering, decided to devise an ingenious idea: set up guard duty, whereby men whose ages range from prepubescent to senile made sure those Syrians were kept in line, whatever it took.

Those guards were self appointed, related to whoever felt it was his moral duty to protect the holy Christians of Ebrine from the fictive threat of Daesh looming among those dark Arab faces coming in from that desert to the East. Their duties were also entirely dependent on whatever they felt like doing. They circulated fliers, forcing shops to put them on their storefronts, to make sure that order is kept: you have to make sure the Syrians renting at your places are registered. You are not to hire Syrians to do work around the town. You are not to let those Syrians do anything that any normal human being is supposed to be able to do, because they are not worthy.

Day X of guarding. A Syrian woman goes into labor in my hometown. It takes her husband an hour between calling this or that to be able to get his wife out of their apartment, into a car and in to the nearest hospital so she can deliver her child. One more Syrian to protect those God-fearing Christians from. What a tragedy.

Day Y of guarding. A male Syrian worker is kept up by his employer at work beyond the 8PM curfew time for Syrians that the guards of my hometown set up for them. He complains about it because of how worried he was at the impeding hell he’d have to go through at the hands of those guards, manifesting primarily by a lovely town policeman who has been around as far as I can remember, bolstered by a support from the Frangieh household, that has seen him pull through a bunch of corruption scandals and still maintain his position. When that worker reached his home, he had the phone number of his employer at the ready, as the latter had told him to do, to ask the guards to call him. Our town’s policeman looked at that Syrian for a minute and told him: say this to your employer, slapping him across the face so hard he was left with a bruise over his left eye for the following week.

Day Z of guarding. Another male Syrian arrived from Syria to join his family at the very welcoming town of Ebrine. That young Syrian, aged in the early 20s, didn’t know of the rules that some random self-appointed people at that town had set up. So at 9PM, on the second day of him being in Lebanon, he decided to leave his house and visit a shop at the town renowned for opening late in order to purchase groceries. He was spotted by our town’s policeman. Why are you here was not even asked. Are you not aware of the rules was not even thrown out in the air. The next thing you know, that policeman was hitting that young Syrian like his entire existence depended on it. A few minutes later, he was joined by 5 or 6 other young men from Ebrine, with all their built up testosterone, and they let that young man have it. It wasn’t until his father showed up, and saw his son being tossed around from one macho to the next that they stopped. My son isn’t aware of your rules, he told them. He’s only been here for two days, he pleaded. What a shame.

I presume a bunch of thank yous are in order:

THANK YOU to those guards who found it’s their Jesus-given right to protect the townspeople against the nonexistent dangers of Daesh at the heart of Maronistan. I’ve never felt safer, or at ease at Ebrine as I do now. 1984 is alive and well. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

THANK YOU to the Qa’em Makam of Batroun for turning a blind eye to the practices of those guards and the arbitrary rules they’re setting up for everyone and the sheer immaturity with which they are governing a town that has no actual governing body. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

THANK YOU to my hometown’s policeman, roaming around with that SUV on which “Baladiyyat Ebrine” is plastered across. I am eternally grateful to those muscles you used to beat up unknowing Syrians whose only fault was them being Syrians renting at the premises of someone you didn’t like. I am eternally grateful to you being the man that you are because if it hadn’t been for that, none of us would be safe and sound. None. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

THANK YOU to the Frangieh household which has stuck with that policeman through thick and thin. Pistachio goes a long way round this town. Corruption? Who cares. Madness? Nobody gives a shit. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

THANK YOU to the people of Ebrine who haven’t spoken up against the guards roaming their streets, who believe their presence is absolutely normal, who think those duties are actually protecting them and who have forgotten how it is to live under duress, under an all-seeing eye monitoring your every move. What goes around comes around, indeed. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

THANK YOU to the Lebanese government, in all its facets, for turning a blind eye to the rising self-governance taking place across the Lebanese republic. Extending the mandate of parliament is definitely more important. Bravo, bravo. Applause everyone.

Some people, like those guards and that policeman, deserve Daesh. So, in frank Lebanese let me tell them: tfeh.