On Lebanese Priorities: Creamfields Isn’t One

I had no idea what Creamfields was a few hours ago. I honestly would have loved for it to stay that way. But the cancellation of that party/festival/whatever has seemingly unleashed the most rage I’ve seen from Lebanese in a long time. I guess those party animals – all of them by the looks of it – and their parties are not to be messed with or the real shit that this country has been going through will hit the fan: an event cancellation that is.

Another “cancellation” took place today. Hard Rock Cafe, a place where many of us have had a lot of memories and ate great burgers, announced it will be closing in three days. A restaurant closing is, in itself, not that big of a deal. But for an international chain such as Hard Rock Cafe to pick up its baggage and leave is indicative of the situation that the country is going through, a situation which forced this institution that has been here for 18 years to call it quits, which will now leave all its employees jobless until they see another paycheck again. But Creamfields is the worst thing that happened today.

And today marks the 5th month that my best friend hasn’t seen a paycheck, while constantly searching for that company that would hire him. It also marks the one year mark for when my other best friend started searching for a job in her domain. Both of them have Masters degrees. Both of them are great at what they do. Both of them are super qualified. And yet both of them are now only numbers in a growing statistics that is, reportedly, 43% of the Lebanese population. That is slightly less than half of this country is unemployed. Banks and CEOs went on strike a couple of days ago to protest the situation, the lack of work, lack of money, lack of opportunities. But Creamfields is the worst thing that happened today.

Today is also a Friday. And as of now, no explosions have happened. But the day is not over yet so you never know. But two Fridays ago, we had an explosion in Tripoli. And it killed more than 50 people. A week before the Tripoli explosion, another part of the country was also torn apart and 40 people died. More than a thousand people got injured in both explosions. And yet people did not get into the state of emotional upheaval back then as Creamfields has put them in today. Perhaps today’s casualty is Creamfields. But yes, that is the worst thing that has happened today.

Today is another day when thousands of Syrian refugees flock into the country. I’m not really sure which statistic we’re observing lately but last time I checked, 25% of this country was refugees. In other words, when 3 of my friends and I hang out, odds are one of them is a refugee. Our municipalities and politicians spew racist words that resonate for a while and then die off but most of us have no grasp on the possible repercussions that these refugees have on the already-fragile and ever-so-distengrating fabric of our society. Those of us who work in the medical field have been put on high alert for all the possible new diseases that these refugees are bringing with them and which Lebanon hasn’t seen in a long time. There are no regulations whatsoever to handle those refugees. The laissez-faire attitude of everyday life that we have extends to them as well.

Today is another day of us being government-less. I remember the days when our current PM designate spoke about forming a cabinet in the soonest delay possible. I should have known not to be foolish enough not to take those 3 words in the Lebanese sense: “soonest” and “delay” and “possible.” Our economy is breaking down, our nonexistent borders are disintegrating, our security is now extinct. But that isn’t the worst thing to take place today.

Today is another day in ticking down till the time when it’s been 3 months since we were supposed to vote. It’s been almost 3 months that our democratic rights were taken away from us, that are our parliament decided it had done a decent enough job since 2009 to warrant a few extra years for its mandate, that there are enough pertinent reasons for them to come up with whatever logic they used in order to do what they did. It’s a big mess sure. But there are other things that are far worse which have taken place today.

Today is another day of us waiting for that possible American strike over Syria, the strike that doesn’t know when to start – if ever. It’s another day of us living through the repercussions of the war raging on next door as some of our men bring it home because they miss fights, having been without them for several years now. It’s another day of being part of this regional chess-game that knows no ends. But Creamfields is the worst thing that happened today.

Today is another day of us wasting time until we start drilling for oil because signing laws to ratify the regulations required have proved to be way too tedious. Today is another day as all our neighboring countries beat us in the race towards economical richness as we stand by watching. But don’t be fooled, our oil is not the worst thing to take place today.

Today is another day of Lebanese people not receiving medical care just because they can’t afford it, of some hospitals turning them down just because. It’s another day of us ticking down the clock to a possible war with our Southern neighbor. But we’re ready – or so they say. Except since the last time we had a war with that neighbor, we have failed to build shelters, warning systems or any other protection entity for our people down there. But their lives don’t matter because that’s nowhere near the worst thing that could take place.

I’d have loved to maybe attend Creamfields with you. I’d have liked a Hard Rock burger with that as well. But if I were a DJ who was lined up to play during that festival, I wouldn’t come here. And I would tell my friends not to come as well. Lebanese people love life, of course they do. There are even slogans about that precise issue. But the simple fact that we’re now “used” to all those bombs doesn’t mean others should be as well. Just because we’ve gotten numb to the absolute hell we’re living in doesn’t mean those tourists we all want to bring here are numb as well and are absolutely careless about their safety as we are. Ask yourself this: would you come to Lebanon, unless you absolutely had to, in times like these?

I’d have loved to also be on the front-lines of being angry about Creamfields being cancelled with you. But the sheer amount of hormones that have raged due to that event being cancelled has shown many of us, I hope, how disassociated many seem to be from the country in which that festival was supposed to take place, a disassociation that borders on the lines of pathological. But don’t mind me, I suppose, because the cancellation of Creamfields is definitely among the Lebanese priorities that ought to make people believe this country whose passport we proudly hold is a failure.

Let’s hope nothing happens to that rumored Coldplay concert.

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3 thoughts on “On Lebanese Priorities: Creamfields Isn’t One

  1. I am no “party animal”, but I have to admit I was pretty devastated upon learning that the festival was cancelled. Now I do not object to any of the things you said above regarding all the devastating state of our country whether with regard to politics, security, economy, etc…I am also very well aware that “shit might the fan” any minute now (I have noticed that you are quite fond of this expression :P), if it hasn’t already, but that is exactly why this event came to mean more to me personally…Somehow it felt like “the last party before the apocalypse”, the last chance to get some sort of pleasure out of the shit life that’s ahead, because it seems that it is only going downhill from here….Did I get over that disappointment? Yes I did, because frankly, deep down I somehow saw this coming…Are the people taking this too far? Yes, they are; both the devastated people and the ones annoyed by the devastated people 😛
    But you know, there are other things being cancelled as well because foreigners are refusing to come over…not fun and entertainment events, but educational and productive events (such as the regional conference that we were supposed to have next week at the educational institution I work at, which was supposed to bring in guests from the UK, US and Arab region)…so you see, cancellation of events is in fact impacting some people’s jobs as well, and not only disappointing audiences (N.B. I am in no way equating a research conference to a music festival :P) …As for me personally, that’s two disappointments this week…

    Reply
  2. I respect ur opinion, and u have good points…but i dnt think ur lookin at it the right way. You can’t compare the cancellation of a festival to all the stuff u just compared it to. Creamfields since u don’t know is one of the biggest festivals in the world, like Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Zoo. This is something i NEVER EVER thought i would see in Lebanon, and when i heard the news that it was actually going to be held here, my hopes that this country was moving forward were restored. Not that it was moving forward party wise thats stupid(were way ahead of most countries when it comes to that anyways) but that it was moving ahead in the sense that it was atracting some of the biggest names and events out there! That it could have started on the path to lead it back to old days.(hey maybe even pre-civil war forward…u kno wa2ta keinit el lira te7ke?) But when i found out the event was going to be cancelled my hopes were extinguished just as fast as they were formed. And im the person who WANTS to live here, but today the only phrase i kept uttering was i cant wait to get out of this GODFORSAKEN place. I went to New York for just 1 WEEK one of the greatest cities in the world…and thats all it took me to realize this country has life figured out i would much rather live here than ANYWHERE in the world. Its just sad that this little piece of heaven in the middle of the world has to be shit on by situations like this. Thats what this cancellation represents…just the burning out of that last flame of hope we had for this country. Not because its a party but because of what that party represented…a possible step forward.
    And we have the right to be angry.

    Thank you

    Reply
  3. Have you ever thought that maybe in the midst of all this chaos, of everything shutting down, of all the bombs going off, of all the crap this so called failed state is going through, that this party was the break from the tragedy of everyday life in this so called ‘country’. There is no one that cares to protest anything because those left are mindless slaves, everyone with an education, with some sense of wanting to live a normal life has long left this God forsaken land. This party was the breeze in a burning summer and it was taken away from us, now we have nothing left in this country. Maybe this was the tipping point to the youth of this country? Maybe this has awaken them to say “screw this country” but no, we will not protest, we will only leave. There is nothing left here, in this failed state, nothing left to fight for or to die for, our dear Lebanon is a lost cause, the greatness of a nation known only in texts now.

    Yes everything is shit, everything is terrible, but the one thing that we could pride ourselves on is our nightlife and party scene and now this is also taking a blow. You’re right, if i had the chance I too would leave. I’ve seen too much to ever see this country grow and prosper. I don’t blame anyone for not coming. But do not treat us that got disappointed over the cancellation of cream fields ignorant. We know as well as you do what is going on, we just would have loved to take a break from it all.

    From a current, educated, Lebanese university student. Don’t ridicule those for being upset over the only good thing that was left in this country.

    Reply

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