Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 2nd, 2011

A life of a Pintade (guinea fowl) in Beirut” by Muriel Rozelio

“Une vie de Pintade a Beyrouth”

In Beirut, the girls and women have winds in their sails; they wear skyscraper high-heel shoes, their “claws” are manicured in all seasons… To be beautiful is a duty of the highest priority.

The pintades or guinea fowl (a bird in the category of Turkeys but more slim and prettier, called Pharaoh in Egypt), in all Lebanese confessional sects converge to the “Corniche” on the seashore of Ras Beirut to be seen, to see, and compare.

Seemingly emancipated, though plagued with all sorts of taboos, feminists or militants, superficial or courageous, the inhabitants of Beirut are kneaded in contradictions.

Submitted women?  Maybe in a few remote villages, but generally managing the family with an iron grip.

(In a tiny country, in a de-facto pseudo-State political structure, barely standing in a precarious political equilibrium, the behavior of the pintades can be considered a declaration of war against simmering wars).

This 400-page book, a study of the customs of urban women and girls, is divided into 9 chapters; among them:

1. Beautiful by day as at night;

2. Adult, but not entirely vaccinated;

3. Preserved enclosure;

4. Wedding in the soul;

5. Domestic divas;

6. Disoriented youth;

7. To come out is to exist;

8. Butterflies; and

9. Eternal youth.

You find addresses of sport clubs, spas, private expensive swimming beaches, restaurants, beauty shops, aesthetic surgery clinics…

There are many versions of pintades living in Tehran, Paris, and many other Capitals. It is in Beirut that 50 year-old women dance on tables at 5 am. The Lebanese women have a passion for Lebanon and they keep this non-State hanging on, refusing to vanish.

The pintades in Beirut are as pudic as much as proud. To be a pintade is to be a modern women, who constantly is on the look-out of the latest trends, who can reconcile the triumvirate: Family life, professional life, and personal equilibrium.  They exist only to have eyes riveted on them.

In the “Prophet”, Khalil Gibran wrote: “Handicapped, cows, old snakes…see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.  The sun for them is but a generator of shadows.  Who can prohibit a sparrow to sing?” (To be continued)

What is TEDx Awkar (Lebanon)? Changed to TEDxSKE

It all started when I read a post on William’s blog notesby.me    William said that another alternative to his “energy recharging” methods was to making the effort to joining the meeting of TEDx in Awkar.  I knew that the favorite technique for William’s energy recharging was undertaking dangerous trekking expeditions.  I was curious what could be the other alternative:  Would it be as dangerous?

I expressed to William my desire to check out this TEDx meeting.  One Thursday, William gave me ride to this curious meeting.  I have already attended five meetings since then, and published articles in my blog for each meeting I attended.  If a few of the speakers have vanished from the screen, for another encore of too much talking, Patsy might have sent them a link to my replies.

I soon realized that I read the books of a few of the speakers.  I may conjecture that most speakers have published books.  Maybe TED is a club of authors who were enticed or invited to talk for 15 minutes on their books.  Excellent promotional medium for those authors and a great venue to disseminate ideas to the general public, who hates to read and needs to be spoon fed via audio-visual medium.

It is a cozy newer apartment (Real Estates prices ballooned 4 folds!) and munchies are of the “healthy kinds”; you know what I mean, no salt, no poisonous additives, raw vegetables, nuts, green tea…I usually opt for some vodka, just to be different.  Yet, Riyad was not spared from lethal contamination (E-Coli?); just kidding:  not from Patsy’s food, and we don’t import vegetable from Europe (Do we?).   Riyad once came specifically to pick me up and gave me ride back home.  Riyad is good in “baby foot” or fussball game:  I think we form an unbeatable team: Ask Elie.  I yet have to check the dexterity of Riyad and Patsy in ping pong.  I feel very relaxed and recharged in these meetings: Excellent audience, great hosts.

Patsy is frequently experimenting in ways to making these meeting even more enjoyable and instructive:  Lately, we had people telling stories and personal experiences.  I won’t be surprise if I find a Grand piano installed and quartet playing for our amusement, as in old time Renaissance.  I could suggest we start with a Karioki session, or laughing our head off listening to a recording of varieties of laughter, or shout crazily,or hop, or carry out a meditation session…and Patsy might respond positively.  I read lately that too much sitting is a killer.

As Zeina T. wrote: “I have been asked to talk about that beautiful evening of Thursday last, December 9th, 2010 in Awkar Lebanon.  The meeting showed the insightful speaker Micheal Sandel lecturing on “Justice-The Right Thing To Do or The Freedom to choose” . Discussions ensued.

My report revolves around the thoughts, impressions and feelings that grew inside me whilst sitting there, in this new apartment, for two and a half hours contemplating, listening, and debating.

What drives two people to host “TEDxSKE salons” every week, non-stop for the past two years and open up their house to complete strangers?

What drives a Master Student from Yemen to halt her evening class half an hour before it is scheduled to end, just because she has a Ted meeting to go to?

What drives an Italian expatriate and his wife to leave their children every week at night?

What drives a non-Palestinian, non-Lebanese, very gifted architect to dedicate her full time to an event that has her flying around the Levant States (Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine) and the Gulf States and organizing its live stream from countries that are not even her own?

And what drives two cities (and more) to host, organize and live stream the same TEDx event?

I’ll tell you what that driving force is called: PASSION,” SHAGHAF” in Arabic. A passion so deep, so intense, so rooted you would not be able to describe it. A passion for something new, different, for an inspiring idea, for a beginning, for a better world maybe. A passion for inner fulfillment and self satisfaction.

Is this passion exclusive to Beirut, Ramallah and TEDx? Certainly not!!! But you can be sure to find it there.

This exact passion is the reason why I wake up every morning with a smile. I smile because Lebanon and Palestine are closer now than they were a few decades back. I smile because TEDx is bringing people together, I smile because the first page in my “book” has been opened.”

Good try Zeina T; very romantic, euh inspirational.  Transpose the term TEDx with Jesus and the crazy evangelists will hire you in a blink. I like to reserve SHAGHAF to this level headed audience.

It is no longer a matter of listening to TED speakers:  This was initially a valid and convincing excuse.   We are converging to Awkar to meet candid, level headed good people, to capturing renewed optimism, to getting a few heartfelt laughs, and recharging for another grueling week.  The audience may still not appreciate reading books, but they are mining modern audio-visual opportunities to emulating the Renaissance period: They want to be familiar with world ideas and conditions, and they are engaged for a better future.

Note 1: I had suggested to Patsy to screen all three selected speakers first before opening the discussion session.  My idea is that most topics are interconnected, one way or another, and it is most beneficial for the audience to making the effort of linking the dots among the topics.  Maybe a few in the audience suffer short-term memory deficiency and only recall the last speaker, but it worth the try.

Note 2:  William is no longer that excited of attending TEDx Awkar on the basis that he is too busy organizing for the TEDxBeirut.  Either William has become a bionic man and doesn’t need energy recharging that often, or he has discovered a lazier alternative to recharging (he is not even undertaking trekking expeditions) and refuses to share with his “tribe”, or he is feeling “getting old” is sneaking upon him, treacherously and offering the delicious fruits of staying put and letting the world turns round and visits him.  I guess that I should entice Reine to attending Awkar, since she lives in Bikfaya:  I will tell her that attending these meeting is like recharging from the tedious teaching routine…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2011
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