Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I am still amazed at the manifestations of the Hariri personality cult all around Beirut. And they are so fancy and costly: we are not talking about simple posters, but building-size pictures, fancy billboards with special lightings. I was just telling a cab driver this morning (Unlike American reporters, I don't report the sayings of cab drivers in foreign lands. I merely report MY sayings to cab drivers in foreign lands) that those Hariri pictures will not last. Knowing Beirut as it is, they will sooner or later replace them with the pictures of the new masters. The Sunni-Shi`ite rift in Lebanon (not to be confused with other sectarian rifts in the Hummus land) is quite deep, and can explain many things about the recent Hummus revolution. Yesterday, I spoke to Nidal Al-Ashqar: the famous Lebanese stage actor, and the best stage actor probably in the Arab world. She invited me to speak at her Madinah Theatre next Thursday (not this one, the one after--for those who asked me to report my public speakings in Lebanon). I did not tell Nidal Al-Ashqar that I had a huge crush on her in my teens. Don't tell her that I said that. My talk is titled: America Discovers Lebanon. Al-Ashqar also asked me to not cut my hair, as so many Lebanese who see me on TV plead (along with my family) that I get a hair cut. Fat chance of course. The tourism season is non-existent. My hotel (which is usually hustling and bustling--I dont know what hustling and bustling mean but will use it on occasion--at this time of year) is almost empty. They told me that all hotels are empty. The downtown area, however, is still busy with people until early morning, smoking, eating, and drinking. This time I did not run into that nice but always drunk Saudi visitor who would invite me every day for dinner, and I would say no every day. My friend said that he run into him last week. The food: that is one things that is excellent, for those who can afford the pricy places. I notice a decrease of foreign workers in Lebanon. What will happen to the Lebanese middle and upper classes if Sri Lankan maids leave the country? I bet that Lebanon would reinstate slavery. I know that many Lebanese would just love to reinstate slavery.