Thursday, December 11, 2008

A trip to Beirute

My impressions of Lebanon (to be continued)
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Tyre, one of the Phoenician cities whose names we learned by heart at high school, offered apparently some resistance to the great army of Alexander...

Rafik Hariri

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One can show their patriotic pride in quite fashionable accessorizing...

Desirée Sadek

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The New Orientalism is everywhere in smart Beirut... People there know t the secret of blending East and West with the daring that it's needed but without falling into the kitsch caricature one tends to find -unfortunately - in other azimuths... A new Byzance indeed...

Shatilla 2

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Palestine refugee camp of Shatilla (November 2008)

Michel Suleiman

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The Lebanese army, on the eve of Independence Day, was very on the edge... These innocent photos almost derailed a smoothly planned trip aboard a UN-marked bus...

Yvonne Sursock

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Imagine the structure of an Andalusian grand house with a central patio as big as a pracieta and then convert the patio into the the floor of the central room and put a proper ceiling above everything... A Palace that counters years of bad press on the subject of Beirut... The "chatelaine" talks charmingly about Chomski amidst all the fluffy evidence of the discrete charm of the haute lebanese bourgeoisie ...

Leila Barakat

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An evening out in Beirute...


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A Muslim female friend first told me about this book... Frank self-awareness of sexuality in an autobiographical book by a Muslim female author must be rather difficult to swallow in some a-tolerant quarters...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ron Pundak

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The new HQ of the Peres Centre for Peace at the beach in Jaffa this blogger of yours used to consider his. The modern building, although beautiful in itself, invades the traditional architectural features of the decaying houses surrounding the beach like a Barbarian who nobody has invited for dinner. Reminds one of the Carlos V Palace in the Alhambra. Heavy-boots subtlety, if The Right Honourable Reader understands what I mean...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Constantin Cavafy

Che fece… il gran rifiuto

Pour certains hommes, il vient un jour
où il faut dire le grand OUI ou le grand
Celui qui l’a prêt en soi, ce OUI,
se manifeste tout de suite ; en le disant,
il progresse dans l’estime d’autrui
et selon ses propres lois.

Celui qui a refusé ne regrette rien : si on
l’interrogeait de nouveau, il répéterait
-et cependant ce NON, ce juste NON,
l’accable pendant toute sa vie.

Constantin Cavafy
Poèmes traduits par Marguerite Yourcenar
Poésie / Gallimard

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Avraham Burg


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The launching of the English edition of a controversial book, at the Pasha Room in the American Colony Hotel. This blogger of yours has read half the book already and keeps thinking "If only 51% of the Israeli electorate would share the insights of Mr Burg the prospects for Peace in the area would be brighter indeed".

Ibrahim Zegharia

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The very best bartender East of the Jordan River and who does the most alcohol-efficient Gin & Tonics ever tasted by this blogger of Yours. A pillar of the American Colony Hotel, East Jerusalem

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Simon Sebag Montefiore

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How a serious historian who has accumulated data - and published a good book or two about Stalin -one day decides he can't stand it anymore and let his novelist's persona come to the fore. Will he be taken seriously next time he writes Historiography? I doubt it.

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal

Hotel sign in Saladin Street in East Jerusalem

Made me thought of the legendary Cairo newspaper, and of the times of its formidable Editor-in-Chief, Mohamed Heikal, who performed a kind of double act with President Nasser in articulating the thoughts of the then new Egypt.

Jesus of Nazareth

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Along the Via Dolorosa. The image of pilgrims bearing crosses is somewhat awkward and disneylands the whole thing.


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Creative phonetical transcription of English words like "battery" and "mobile". One wonders about laughable mistakes we must be making all the time when trying to bring Arabic words into our texts...

Leonardo di Caprio

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A post-modern side-effect of the Titanic craze. Off Saladin Street, East Jerusalem

Andreas Palladio

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A "gathering" of Palestine refugees in South Lebanon. 'Gatherings' in UN slang are something in between aleatory shelter and a proper UNRWA-managed refugee camp. In the outskirts of Tyre. The housing was rather poor but the mosque was quite solid. "First things first" - said my neighbour when I pointed him the contrast between civil and religious architecture...

Arik Sharon

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An narrow alley at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirute. One shivers...

Joseph Brody

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"Aqua Alta" at the Burj el-Baraneh refugee camp in Beirute.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Max Fridman

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Just finnished the fourth installment of Giardino's tetralogy on the Spanish Civil War. Darker, less romantic than his previous works. Full of the politically correct assumptions about Rojos and Nacionales.

Jesus Christ

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A square in Ramallah. As far as artistic statement goes, it's a bit too much in your face ...

Michel Sabah

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A Award-cerimony gala in Ramallah... The former Latin Patriarch still has enough charisma in him...

Mahmoud Darwish

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Ramallah Cultural Palace: everybody pays tribute to the Palestinian Neruda...