I observe with regret that the youngsters of my age, and the younger generation as well, have no acquaintance with the name of Kamal Youssef el-Hage–an important Lebanese philosopher abjectly assassinated for his ideas at the beginning of the war. I was thinking of devoting a blog post to his life and works. I hope to do so in the near future.
I remembered a quote Kamal el-Hage used to say often, before the war broke out: “Lebnen deyman 3ala kaff 3ifrît.” The expression “3ala kaff 3ifrît” literally translates as “on a goblin’s (or genie’s) palm,” and means “threatened by instability,” “predisposed to collapse,” “liable to fall apart,” etc. The meaning is not unrelated to the expression “under a sword of Damocles.”
Lebanon is forever doomed to remain vulnerable to outside interferences, and apt to looming instability.
You were so right, Kamal. Death was the reward for the rightness of your judgment. I thought of you while I was coming back from my Sunday jogging, going through bling-bling Beirut downtown and the fancy fashion shops. Billboards praising Beirut, panel walls vaunting the shopping capital to be… “Beirut is back, and it’s beautiful,” “Beyrouth se reconstruit à une vitesse formidable,” etc. A Brioni boutique on the right (best suits on earth, Zegna is for beggars compared to it).
… What if the Special Tribunal for Lebanon delivers its indictment tomorrow and riots suddenly erupt? I mean not just “mere” turmoil (we’re used to that), but armed clashes?
What if reprisals “occur” on the southern borders and another blitzkrieg starts?
What if all that we’ve rebuilt goes down again?
How happy are we allowed to be while getting down in posh nightclubs, squandering our money on alcohol, and counting our pennies for charity?
Our “happiness” rests on a goblin’s palm. Memento.