Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Hamra

Dalal Farah Baird, She did it Her Way

Posted on February 6, 2013 by Noor Harb,
Dalal Farah Baird, born in Damascus and raised in Zahleh (Wadi El Arayesh), is the mother of two daughters, and she has suffered the loss of her youngest one, Nadia.  Dalal has however chosen to turn her suffering into creativity and her loss into action.
Her first art exhibition at the Artwork Shop in Hamra, Beirut was titled “Cell-Abration” in memory of Nadia.

Dalal Farah Baird, She did it Her Way“I can remember you and only that you’re gone Or I can cherish your memory and let it live on”

“I chose not to sit in the corner and feel sorry for myself, but to go on doing what she wanted me to do; I chose to celebrate Nadia’s life instead of mourn her loss”.

Despite the challenges that she faced in life, Dalal was able to wear different hats and adapt quickly to all situations no matter their color.  Upon the start of the civil war in Lebanon, Dalal moved with The Ford Foundation to Aleppo, Syria where the organization started operating from.

It was tough times being away from her sick mother and at times not able to communicate with her family in Zahleh to find out whether they were still alive.

Life went on for Dalal the chameleon “I married an English man and lived in Beirut for a while until it was no longer safe as they were kidnapping westerners at that time. I got pregnant with Amanda so we moved to London, lived there for a while and then relocated to Istanbul, Turkey where we lived for 2 years.  The decision then came to migrate to Australia were we lived in different cities (Perth, Brisbane, South Coast and Sydney)”.

Dalal got pregnant for the second time, conceived another beautiful daughter, Nadia whom she named after her mother.

“Things did not work out with my husband and we divorced.  I raised the two girls on my own. This was quite challenging since you have to deal with both cultures: Lebanese and Australian.  I was raised on values which were considered uptight or “uncool” by my kids who adopted the western way of life”.

Being a parent, let alone a single parent did not change the nature of Dalal. She remained a chameleon changing and re-inventing herself.

She gave her girls unconditional love and while allowing them some freedom, she always emphasized that she trusted them.  Instead of turning off an unhealthy Television show the girls were watching, she would sit and watch it with them so she knows what ideas were being planted in their heads and so that she knows how to channel these ideas.

Dalal was a loving mother, and a smart father, who raised her daughters to be independent and encouraged them to explore what life has to offer.

As Dalal became stronger, life became tougher.

Dalal had to accept a job offer in Papua New Guinea and had to leave her teenage daughters alone: “I left the girls on their own.  It wasn’t easy although they were responsible girls. I used to ring my daughters every night, and visit them every 3 months.

That tortured me but I had no option. Years later I had to apologize to them because they had it tough.”

Dalal was prepared for life at a very young age, and was fully aware of the unlucky events that present themselves for every human being. She thought she was fully immune to all of life’s hardships and that her belief system will help her overcome life’s challenges; nothing however could prepare a mother for the loss of her child.

Nadia was a bright student and very much loved by both students and teachers.  She was 23 years old studying media and journalism in England, and she was due to receive the Ernest Petrie scholarship the day after she passed away.

She suffered from epilepsy but ironically her death was caused by suffocation as a result of a seizure. “Her time was up”.

I heard this in movie Nadia and it made me think of you. A shooting star is wonderful.  When it shoots across the sky it lights the whole world up and the other stars just stop and stare.

Shooting stars are only here for a brief moment but those that get to see one never forget and their spirit is forever touched.” Wrote Anna-Belen Fernandez

Dalal had to camouflage into yet another color, a color that has no light, a color that everyone fears, the color BLACK.

Here is why the story of Dalal is a story everyone can learn from and get inspired by.   Dalal was devastated at her daughter’s death but she couldn’t allow herself to mourn and be paralyzed.  She chose instead to celebrate Nadia’s life.

The eulogy was turned into a celebration were Dalal focused on how lucky she was having Nadia for 23 years, and how lucky she was being her mother for 23 years.

That same year, Dalal went with her eldest daughter Amanda to Barcelona (as it was previously planned to visit Nadia while she was there as an exchange student).  “We decided to go ahead with our plans as if she was still alive. I still sign the cards with the three names Dalal, Amanda and Nadia.”

There Dalal visited Picasso and Dali’s museums. She came back inspired, picked up the brush and started painting again. Dalal called her paintings “The Rainy Nights”.

“I had stopped painting after my divorce, but Nadia always encouraged me to try again, so I picked up the brush and I painted after her death.”

Dalal took the path less traveled, which made her an artist whose art belongs to everyone, and the philosophy behind it to the only ones who reveal it.   Her first art exhibition at the Artwork Shop in Hamra, Beirut was titled “Cell-Abration” in memory of Nadia.

“I could’ve focused on what happened to me and it would have made me miserable but I am grateful to have Amanda whose strong character has inspired me and helped me carry on.   I decided instead to monitor my thoughts and choose the positive ones.

It is easier said than done and it takes guts to unlearn old habits that no longer serve us and to make room for learning new things, but it works.

Our cells receive orders from our thoughts and react accordingly. Why make our life miserable and have health problems when we can control all of that?”

Looks like there’s more to this chameleon than just changing colors; for somewhere in the heart of black a rainbow bloomed with all its brightest shades. Through her art troubles melted like lemon drops and Dalal bloomed like Cherry blossoms in an everlasting spring.

Noor Harb

Note: The melody of Frank Sinatra “I did it my way” was borrowed from the french song “Comme d’habitude” by Claude Francois

Sexual harassment at Brick’s bar in Hamra

Thurayya Zreik posted on FB

I would like to share an incident that happened with me at Brick’s Hamra.

More shocking than this incident, I would like to detail the appalling reaction and response of the management.

On Friday November 2015 at around 8.20 PM, I walked into Brick’s Hamra to say hello to a girl I knew. On the next table was a young man, who, as soon I walked in, turned to me and yelled something along the lines of “Hey baby” / “let’s get together” / “give me your number.”

His advances were quite loud and offensive, and could be heard by all in the bar. However, I decided not to respond after my girl friend informed me that he was with her group of friends.

The second time he yelled at me, he was equally offensive and obnoxious, and this time I asked him to please stop. By the third time, I had had enough. I turned and yelled back, at the same volume, that I was not his “Baby,” that he was disrespectful, and I demanded that he stops harassing me (تلطيش).

At this, he began to yell back, calling me, among other things, a “bitch,” a “stupid bitch,” a “f–king bitch,” and other variations of the word “bitch”, telling me to “shut the f–k up” and “get the f–k out of his face.”

Nobody reacted to the very loud, very audible torrent of abuse he was hurling at me. I continued to yell in defense of myself, as I was being insulted and threatened by him because I had told him not to harass me; which I see as a very reasonable and justifiable request on my part and definitely not one that warrants that level of verbal abuse.

He got up, and made motions towards me, warning me to “get the f–k away” before he “slapped the f–k out of me.” As he approached, I slapped his arm away to push him back. At this, he proceeded to slap me hard in the face and throw a lit cigarette at me, also in my face.

Again, at this point, nobody from the staff to the manager (who was a woman, if I might add) made any movement to intervene. Luckily, I am fit and sprightly, and know how to stand for myself, so I was able to pin him back in a chokehold.

Still, nobody moved, until the manager sauntered over at a pace so slow it was nearly comical, and took me away, telling me to calm down. A member of staff removed the aggressor, allowed him to take a walk around the block, and then let him back in.

During the time that the aggressor had left, I sat in tears of rage for ten minutes, listening to people telling me to calm down, that I should accept that he didn’t mean it, and insinuating that I didn’t think he was cute or funny because I had to have already been in a bad mood before I walked in, which is why I reacted the way I did.

It seemed like people, including all the women, found it genuinely hard to believe that what happened could be offensive and that loud public harassment is not a cause for being incensed in and of itself.

It was almost as if I wasn’t threatened, verbally abused, or hit in the face in public for asking someone not to harass me.

I decided to leave after the aggressor returned and began to tell me he was “f–king sorry, okay?!”

I returned to Brick’s later that night because I had decided to speak to the manager about the poor and inexcusable response of the staff to this incident, and I thought it was important to do so in order to avoid the same thing happening to another woman customer. In response, she told me the following:

1. That she did not act because she assumed I was friends with the young man, which is both:

A) a poor management decision, because it is not in any management job description to make assumptions about the relationships of customers; and

B) totally irrelevant to the fact that someone was being an aggressor

2. She told me “But he said sorry, you just didn’t accept his apology”

3. She also informed me that it was, in fact, my own fault for being in a bad mood to begin with

4. That if I didn’t like what he was telling me, I should have just ignored him instead of making a scene

(NOTE: I find it interesting that loudly yelling harassment in public at a young woman does not constitute a scene, but her legitimate resistance to it does)

So, it is for this reason that I have decided to boycott Brick’s, and I hope that you will join me in my boycott and maybe even share this and engage in some wide public shaming over social media smile emoticon I am sure there are plenty of bars in Beirut that are safer environments for women.

Update: someone from Brick’s has contacted me and it seems like they are planning on dealing with the situation more appropriately.

بريكس خاضع للنظام الأبوي
لا_للتلطيش #




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