Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘cultural

Whispered tales from Lebanon? 

We are Sabine Choucair and Chantal Mailhac. We are two independent Lebanese artists, and this is our storytelling company “Whispered Tales“.

We are touring countries with a show conceived with a compilation of 10 stories collected from every corner in Lebanon; ordinary people’s extraordinary stories…Whispered Tales has been performed in different Lebanese villages, Jordan and Portugal…

Our project is to include touring the USA with some whispered tales from Lebanon!

The tales were whispered to us during a one-month road trip through the villages of Lebanon… Actually, it all started when we heard the mother of our friend telling us:

Once upon a time, Wadih and me met by the beach, fell in love and decided to get married. It was the 13th of April 1975 !”
That’s the date the Lebanese civil war started … 
But they did not lose hope … and their amazing story began:
And despite all hitches and obstacles, they kept on trying, every month to get married…until…

Looking back at that story (that was just the beginning…), that same evening, it occurred to us how absurdly funny, yet dramatic it was, telling living stories.

Historical facts can always be found on the internet and in books.  But the people’s truth is the reality they have livedexperienced and remember, that’s what we wanted to hear…

And that evening, we felt we needed more stories!

We felt the need to know about real people’s stories, their personal, extraordinary stories. We wanted to understand our culture, to archive the memories, gather them in a collective memory and carry them around the world… 

So we went on a road trip across the villages and towns of Lebanon to meet people, collect stories that had happened over the last 50 years.

A month later, we had collected 150 stories, about love, hate, community, life and death. We chose 10 amazing ones to be the “Whispered Tales” of our show.
This August, we will be in New York to take part in the “Between the Seas” festival.
We also have invitations to perform in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco to tell everyone these amazing stories from Lebanon.

Performances are  in English.

We figured that this touring project will cost us $5,000. This money will cover our flights to and from the USA, and the production of our show “Whispered Tales” in the different cities we will visit. It will pay for accommodation, food, props, etc.

Contributions are the only way this project can keep evolving.
We hope you can be part of this unique experience by pledging the amount of money that you think right for our endeavor.

Dates and venues:

New York:  Between The Seas festival
@ The wild project, August 25th & 26th
Chicago: Taxim restaurant; September 2nd
San Francisco: September 7th ( venue to be confirmed)
Atlanta: Alif Institute; September 14th & 15th @ 7pm (  Boston: CAC; Saturday 21st.

Sabine on the left and Chantal: Beauty is not that evident, need to meet them.

A cultural political movement in Lebanon (December 4, 2008)


You would realize that the term “social” is not included in the movement because it would be both redundant and misleading.  It is redundant because a movement is ultimately targeting a society and cannot prosper and advance without appealing to a broad spectrum in the population.  It would be misleading to insert “social” because the movement is focusing on the individual to facilitating a climate of study, discourse, dialogue and communication with others regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious sect, professions, or social economical class or status.  The movement is “in” Lebanon because the guidelines are meant to be valid to most under-developed States but will start application in Lebanon.

The crux of the problem in under-developed countries is that the social structures are variations on caste system; a caste is a self-autonomous, closed community with its own tradition, customs and civil laws.  When a social caste system develops into a political system then the consequences are variations of “juntas of theocratic castes” dedicated to restricting the representation of other caste and generating economic and financial oligarchies through the power of State laws and institutions.

In social caste systems communications among the different castes are very restrictive and basically limited to a few representatives in the political and administrative institutions.  There are no feasible alternatives within these kinds of societies to develop, progress, change, and survive in an environment of competing interests.  What is needed is to work on the individuals of the new generations and offer them a climate of individual reflection, study groups, and communication platforms that entice them into recognizing the cultural characteristics of the various groups.


The two secular political parties in Lebanon (the various factions of communists and the Syrian Social National Party) have so far failed to make any headway, after over 75 years of their foundation, in the caste political system. The impression is that these two secular parties have been absorbed in the general spirit of the social caste system and the biased election laws have prohibited the institution of any democratic platforms for reforms.  The bottom line is that all our leaders never dared submit a secular law to the Parliament or tried to form a coalition of secular parties and associations.  It is thus paramount that a new secular movement be created that would project hope for snatching reforms through a grass root movement and working for the long haul.


Why this movement is about the individual? The only living “Truth” is what you arrived at individually by your own reflection and spiritual labor.  Any teaching that robs the individual of his own capacity of discovering his set of Truths is bogus; organizations and associations that claim to offer their unique way to spirituality by releasing the individual from his responsibility to think his way out have goals of amassing power through the unity of spiritually lazy members who lost confidence in their worth.

We exist because we still have the drive to find the Truth, and find it individually with confidence in our mental, rational, and spiritual ethical potentials.  The day-to-day struggle for survival may be the path to our sure death if we fail to find time to reflect on our spiritual power, to find time to exist as a free person regardless of the opinions imposed upon us by the masses surrounding us.

The fundamental basis for this movement is to consider the common denominators that the new generations in most castes are ready to agree with.  The leading value is equitability which is the under current of all the philosophical and moral concepts of equality, freedom, liberty, democracy, justice, security and the rest.  Citizens want to be listened to seriously and for their opinions to be considered at their just values after deep reflection and investment in time and energy.


First of all, the new movement has to declare it loyalty to the recognized State of Lebanon by the United Nations.  This movement should not be used as a platform for discussions on whether Lebanon is a Nation or not a nation or what are the basis for being labeled, Phoenician, Syrian, Arab, Moslem, or the dozen other exotic sources for an exclusive and elusive identity.  Tiny Lebanon is one of over 170 States recognized by the UN and not having the basis to be a nation in population or land sizes.

The notion of a nation is real and will still exist for years to come.  I suggest that the study of our nationality be done in study groups, of individuals who are interested enough to read, invest time and energy to discuss and dialogue and analyze.  Outside study groups, it is tantamount to return to our current states of affairs of dogmatism and infantile demagoguery.


Second, the movement should recognize plainly and bluntly the reality of our current socio-political system, analyze it clearly and then never bring that subject again.  The new movement should not be used as promotional medium for the confessional parties to inculcate our caste system, through repetition, into our psychic. Consequently, the members of the new movement are not to even indulge public challenges based on caste and confessional platforms and through the audio-visual communication media.  To the general public we may confidently say that we studied the system, we acknowledged its shortcoming, we set it behind us and we resumed the struggle according to programs and plans.

Confessionalism, feudalism, sectarianism and all the “isms” will be around for many years and approaching these realities should be done under serious study groups and communication platform research.


Third, the members are Lebanese who are striving for a modern civil society and central civil status register and working to instituting civil marriage laws and inheritance programs.  Any program that tends to open up the communication lines among castes is good enough to start with.  Any program that facilitates inner trade and association is good enough for a start.  Communication platforms designed for investigating and encouraging members of various castes to dialogue should be studied and adopted and disseminated.

It is plausible under the current circumstances that optional civil marriage law is acceptable until the legal institutions and corresponding administrations are firmly installed and functional.


What name to give for this secular movement?  How about “Communication Groups Movement” (CGM)?




January 2023

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