Nobody is allowed to talk about Hamra… Nor the Syrians!

Posted: January 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Maraya 2011 Hamra Streets Festival was held August 30-September 1

Yesterday my Facebook news feed was full with posts concerning blonds and brunettes, I didn’t get it until I fell on a piece from An-nahar about the Syrian presence in Hamra… This is the Article in Arabic. By the time I was reading and thinking how to exactly feel about it another article emerged strongly criticizing the first one, This article was posted on Hummus for Thought, and you can read it right here.

Now I have the opportunity to reply to both articles at once, first off I would like to agree with the first article on the Idea: Yes, the huge Syrian presence in Lebanon is indeed a big problem, I wont go into details, I believe you all know that.
But I strongly disagree with the way the article is written, although it is featured on an important news paper and although the writer did his journalistic job of observing and taking different interviews from different observers, the article itself is poorly written, the language, context, words and syntax is very weak and poor and some sentences might give the impression of racism, plus this issue was over talked about already that we need to step into solutions instead of observations.

The second article is worse, although it is written with proper English, probably way better than mine, but it’s awfully just gibberish, a bunch of fancy words put together to deliver no Idea whatsoever. It starts by attacking the first article, goes on by defending Hamra, barely talking anything about the Syrians… and then contradicting itself by this beautiful sentence:
“I do not want to give the impression that the increasing presence of Syrians in Hamra poses no problem at all. Sure it does. Many things do as well”
We have a bad habit us Lebanese, I managed to get rid of it, whenever someone talks about a problem all criticizers have the punch line “Is that really a problem? what about other problems, no water, no electricity, traffic, corruption….” You have this urge that whenever somebody starts talking about a problem you shut him up by stating all the other problems that need to be fixed FIRST. Remember when the smoking law came out? how everybody started saying how about the government worries about something else and more important like traffic, When the Lebanese porn star emerged, everyone said why don’t we worry about more important things like traffic or the fact that we have no president… Then the new traffic law was announced and yet you still had someone somewhere criticizing that!

The Syrian Presence is A problem, along with other problems as well. But if we are going to keep “folcloring” and naming all the problems we have, we will never find a solution to any of them!

I never liked Hamra anyway, it is full of pretentiously deep people all with a cause and something important to fight for, while sipping a coffee, listening to Fairouz and deeply deeply thinking, then comes the writing and the expressing… But no one is allowed to touch that, or he will have a bunch of pan-arabs, communists and deep thinkers waving words like “racism”, “sexist”, “feminism”, “equality”, “Arab unity”, “unwanted western expansion” and so on…

I am a simple man, NOT conservative at all, but I prefer the blush of my 1st girlfriend (now wife) when I first kissed her cheek, over any crazy sex with any open minded girl who is free to do whatever she wants with her body… I prefer the honest stupid offensive words of the first article over the pretentious tone used in the second article… I believe everything should have a meaning.. not just a feeling! And it did, although the first article has some harsh words that people found racist, but I got the Idea, I read simple, stupid words with no filter… The second one is just pretentious I could not know what the writer wants exactly…

Last but not least I would like to say something for the Syrians, since most comments on the annahar article came from Syrians… All Lebanese, with no exception, are bothered by your presence, no exception no matter who tells you otherwise. That’s the bitter truth, and you know it. Some of the Lebanese hold it in their heart, and some others express it with the ugliest way possible. Some of you however are not that sad of being in Lebanon, since they think that Lebanon is a legit part of Syria. But you need to find a way to make this temporary stay as smooth as possible, you want to keep as many Lebanese as patient as possible, most of them did not forget your involvement in the Lebanese war. But patience has a limit, do not provide a breaking point to anybody, not by confronting a journalist who just got fed up, not by attacking Said Akl moments after his death, certainly not by treating Lebanese as a lower level of humans than you are… Understand us when someone snaps because we are really fed up, we can’t kick you out, we can’t kill you, we can’t harm you, because we are humans, all we can do is vent a little every now and then, so please understand us so we can remain good neighbors after you go back home.

  1. Joey Ayoub says:

    Ironically, you didn’t really give any argument here. Sentences like “All Lebanese, with no exception, are bothered by your presence” is clearly nonsense given that you’re responding to an article by a Lebanese, which was shared literally thousands of times by other Lebanese congratulating that Lebanese, in which the opposite is clearly stated. As to what you think we hold in our hearts, I have a feeling you can’t rationally argue for that either, except with a leap of faith argument.

    And you don’t like Hamra. That’s fine, obviously, you don’t have to. But I do, and clearly those who participated in the discussion, whether Syrian, Lebanese or other, do as well. By the way, you’re complaining about Hamra being full of pretentiously deep people (thanks?) who enjoy writing about problems and then went out to write about a problem.

    You’re embodying the problem you claim to loathe. How is it irrelevant to point out the real problems of Lebanon? Sewage flowing around you is not a distracting question. It’s extremely important given the massive health risks associated with it. Lack of public transportation is a huge issue with both health and social components to it. Same goes for electricity and everything I briefly mentioned.

    And I’m sorry, but disagreeing is one thing and misrepresenting is another. I did not say that Syrian presence is a non-issue or a distracting one. I clearly stated that it surely is. I have just not seen any solution coming from anyone, including yourself in this piece. You’re not actually saying anything.

    Final thing: you titled this piece “nobody is allowed to talk about Hamra nor the Syrians” and then went on to talk about Hamra and the Syrians as a response to a piece about Hamra and Syrians which was itself a response about Hamra and Syrians. Talk about Hamra and Syrians all you want, no one is stopping you. My piece was a response to clearly racist sentiments expressed in my name, not just once (as a Lebanese) but twice (as a resident/dweller of Hamra).


    Liked by 1 person

    • tafa7alkayl says:

      Thank you for reading my article and thank you for sharing your opinions.
      I deliberately called you, and the people commenting on your article as “pretentious”, therefore I believe that your claims of love and warm-welcoming of Syrians is by-itself pretentious.

      What I did is a comparing between 2 articles, which both I don’t like in a certain way, yours is too complex and did not tackle the problem. the annahar article is stupid and cliche already but it was at least simply written. You defended Hamra attacking the writer, meanwhile you did not mention any of the people interviewed in his article, it is like you wish he was silenced and never wrote his piece.

      It is surely irrelevant. when talking about a certain specific problem, it is an unproductive manner to bring up other problems that are not the topic of discussion, using them as a diversion from the problem being discussed.

      My humble, maybe shallow solution came in the last paragraph, unless, of course, you started writing your reply before getting to the last paragraph. I am sorry but this was all what my mind could come out with, Syrians need to tolerate us every once in a while because we are trying to tolerate the situation as much as we can.

      I believe the sarcasm tone did not reach you in my title. My article is a response on both the annahar article and yours who came out as a fast compulsive reaction to it.

      Rare are the people who will share and comment on your post that do not agree, but I believe you will benefit more from those who don’t agree, there is always something different to learn where the other opinion is. I hope you remain open to read other opinions even if they came harsh and politically incorrect, like my piece.


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