Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Kornet Chehwan

Tidbits and Notes. Part 276

Visiter un dentist a Bruxelles? Mais c’est une canine qui a des racines. Et si le dentist comprent de travers et marrache une dent tout a fait saine?

Le Gouvernement Libanais: Mais comment peut-on faire glisser la merde de ce budget cette fois-ci? Ca fait plus de 3 semaines que le governement essay d’appaiser tous les organizations and service public, de maniere a ne pas toucher a leur salaire et les epargnes des retraites.

Israel knows, but USA administrations refuse to admit that in order for Israel to survive the next 2 decades, Israel has to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanese occupied lands in Mazaare3 Sheb3a and Kfarshouba, and let the Lebanese army enter these restituted lands

Les souvenirs agissent comme antidote quand le passe’ n’ interesse personne. Et on reconsidere tout depuis le debut: Mais non, tous ces gens du passe’ n’ etaient pas des imbeciles

Tu a un sacre’ disque dur qui lui manque severement de ram? Allo, ca existe toujours les disques durs?

In Kornet Chehwan (Lebanon), there exist a private library of late Maitre Phares Zoghbi. After years of negotiation with the university USJ,  this university has decided to trample on its legal agreement and the spirit of keeping this library opened to the community. USJ decided to close the library, dismantle it and sell the house and land.  Is the soul of preserving a semblance of a community dead? This ignominy should Not passaran.

La langue francaise est feminine: Est-ce pour cella qu’elle sonne bonne?

The resistance forces against Israel will win: their legitimate morale and their moral are at the ascending. Israel soldiers return home morally and emotionally handicapped.

It is shameful that most EU states have either abstained or voted against the UN report on Israel crimes against human rights. It is urgent that foreign offices in neighboring countries to Palestine submit detailed reports on daily violent activities of Israel to EU ambassadors: NO excuses of Not doing due diligence.

“Seul celui qui travaille doit pouvoir manger?” (German Deputy Muntefering). Donc, Tous ceux qui touchent des allocations doivent fumer et boire de la bierre?

Geneticists at the turn of the century were hopeful that after the near completion of the Human Genome Project, they would be able to provide comprehensive personalized insights to everyone. While this idea may be true eventually, right now it’s still a pipe dream: Individual genetics have so many variations (membership), scientists couldn’t possibly understand them all in the few decades modern genetics has existed. (Waiting for AI to be more comprehensive?)

The growth of these services has been exponential in recent years: Globally over 26 million people have taken some kind of consumer genetic test, and in just five years, forecasts suggest, the industry will be worth $2.5 billion. It’s clear that the services’ popularity won’t go away anytime soon. (Tests’ shortcomings semi-scientifically clarified in the fine print?). The long-term effects they’ll have on consumers depend on how their creators choose to clarify the uncertainties of science. —Katherine Ellen Foley

In the US, Australia, and Canada, nearly one in three international students is from China. This happened because of the rise of China’s middle class, and universities’ increasingly revenue-focused approach to enrollment.

In Sri Lanka, efforts to combat violence might include analyses of women’s roles in such attacks and ensuring that the country’s Muslim population isn’t targeted. In most under-developed countries, women are the sources for maintaining archaic traditions in the household and controlling it in neighbourhoods.

In the 4 volumes of “L’ Amie Prodigieuse” by Elena Ferrante, it dawn on me that Lana was madly in love with Michele the “gangster”, since childhood, and this love was reciprocated. When his brother Marcelo wooed her for months and dropped him out of spite, she knew that marrying Michele was out of the question. She decided to remain in the Old Quarter of Naples to be close to Michele. There was no explicit allusion to this hypothesis in the 4 volumes.

You cannot be a traitor to your people and preserve your Druze religious sect Walid Jumblat. At best, you’ll end up an exiled in Turkey, the new Ottoman country

Why those who have worthy stories to tell, never write? Is it because they are old and never learned to write, or failed to practice noting down their experiences? Is it why most history stories are fraught with imagined “faked news”?

Si l’ oiseau sait marcher, l’homme doit savoir voler par soi-meme. Et si l’ oiseau peut voler apres avoir mange’ d’un seul coup son poids, l’homme doit pouvoir marcher apres un grand festin.

Lebanese refuse the wide variety and over- burdening indirect taxes that makes Lebanon the most expensive State: every paperwork requires dozen of expensive transactions, the tax on gasoline (50% on each gallon), two bills on water and electricity…

La temperance pratique’ en Paques par les peuples Protestants exprime deja le doute.

Many go to great extent to scientifically match the birth of Jesus to some extraordinary celestial occurrences. My question is: And the hundreds who were born at the same moment? Who can they be? Shou ta3neton?

The EU is for the youth, and the voters for Brexit denied them this right

Comments and Notes posted on FB and Twitter in Arabic/Lebanese slang. Part 11

Note: These are notes and comments are mostly local (Lebanon) and Middle-East events. Written in Lebanese dialect with Latin characters and with numbers (2,3, 5, 7,8) representing vocals and consonants Not available in Latin or Saxon languages.

3endi 7assassiyyeh moufratat: a7zaab wa clubs wa tajjamou3aat moughlakat. Aslan, mouhhemton jame3 al moujtama3, lakenna bet farre2 3end kel al a3maar. Al moustafeed al taame7 li manssab siyassi (moush bel al ma3na al razeel)

Rabou2. bas tol, bi sobbo kel ghadabon wa inzi3ajon 3ala masma3i, min naw3 shi tfoo3, shi bala 7eshmi, shi bijarress… Bodhar ka2enno anna sabab kel hal mashakel

Min kem yawm I wrote: “Kornet Chehwan baladiyyet monfatiha. baddak tel3ab petanque, ahlan wa sahlan”  I’ m starting to have misgiving. Kel shi bi Loubnan byenteze3, wa saree3an

Tawdee7. Al she2 al awal min “Iza jeet met2akher…” ello 3ela2a bi Club/Circle tani. Al 7ejjat: Revanche, a succession game for the loosing team.

La petanque n’ est pas un jeu Olympique et ne demande pas d’ entraineur. Khaffefo min ” c’ est la regle” 3ala al tale3 wal naazel. Enbosto. It should Not be petanque but meeting with good company

4 3ala 4 min al mawkoufeen twaffo? ma3koul kellon maatou bi zourouf so77iyyat sa3bat bi zarf 3 ayyam? Yekzbo bi wa7ad 3ala al akal.
Moush kadiyyat ladagha marrat taniyat: ro3b al 7abess wa torture sayyed al ta2jeel. Waiting for an internal Royal coup bi 2allem dafeer wali al 3ahd Bin Salman

Bernamaj “Da2 al jarass” la Sa3d “you7aawer” tolaab zghaar fekrat kawiyyat, 7atta ma3 kel al mouwarabaat bil al radd, wa bet sabbet estemrarito.  Bakiyyat al rou2assa2 3endon sneen kteereh bil al siyasseh wa 3endon msalaat kteereh bi tok3ar le ta2leed Sa3d wa al kezeb 3ala al wlaad.

Intikhabaat taa2ifiyyat 3ala al kabireh wa bil mshabra7. Hezbollah 7assam hal mawdou3 min awal al taree2 wa sabbat mawka3o.

General Jameel Al Sayyed batal nazeeh, nazeef wa moukawem min Loubnaan


A friend passed away: Maitre Farès Zoghbi (with 50,000 manuscripts private library, opened to all)

He passed away, Maitre Phares Zoghby. He owned the private library in Kornet Chehwan that I patronized in the last 10 years.

The burial ceremony is today Monday at 4:30 at the Church of St. Paul and Pierre.
I posted extensive reviews of his 2 published books and a couple of articles on the library and how it was run.

Maitre Zoghbi was handicapped in the last 4 years and could not come down to the lower level of his library to meet with the readers.
When Maitre Zoghby could come down to the lower floor of the library, he would ask Rita to call me up when I failed to show up and check if I was sick…

Nada CORBANI AKL (she represented the Jesuit university to care for the library before her retirement) wrote in the French daily:

C’était un humaniste doublé d’un philanthrope, un ami de la culture, un homme qui avait trouvé pour l’un de ses ouvrages ce titre admirable : Le salut par la culture. Il y croyait.
Né en 1918 au Brezil, transfere au Liban a l’ age de 13 ans,  licencié en droit de l’USJ en 1943, Farès Zoghbi fut longtemps l’avocat du Nahar et du Casino du Liban. Lié d’amitié à Ghassan Tuéni, il avait notamment joué un rôle-clé dans la jonction entre L’Orient et Le Jour.
Propriétaire d’une impressionnante collection de livres, Farès Zoghbi avait fini par en faire don à l’Université Saint-Joseph, à condition qu’elle demeure sur son site, à Kornet Chehwane, où il résidait, et qu’elle soit transformée en bibliothèque publique. Ce qui fut généreusement fait en 2002.
La santé de Farès avait décliné petit à petit, ces dernières années. Il est décédé hier matin des suites de complications pulmonaires. Seul survivant de sa fratrie, expatriée au Brésil, ce sont quelques proches, et surtout la grande famille de ses amis, qui lui feront ses adieux cet après-midi, en l’église Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, à Kornet Chehwane.


Une bibliothèque vivante s’est éteinte

Il est parti sans bruit, comme il avait vécu ces dernières années, entre ses réflexions, ses livres, ses écrits secrets, et quelques amis.
Il est parti sans savoir qu’on continue de violer les livres et de brûler les bibliothèques !
Pharès, toi dont le prénom signifie chevalier dans cette langue que tu chéris, tu as été chevalier par la noblesse de tes dons et la discrétion de tes gestes, par l’attention la plus généreuse et par le don d’une vie entière dédiée aux autres !
Tu fais partie de ces hommes en voie de disparition, ces hommes cultivés, généreux, simples, attentionnés, humains, à l’écoute des autres, toujours disponibles.
Tu as consacré l’essentiel de tes forces pour aider et surtout pour lutter en vue d’un dialogue des cultures, avec un humanisme et une tolérance reconnus de tous.
Cher Pharès, par ces multiples actions, par ta bibliothèque, par tes écrits, par ta lutte pour un Liban réunifié, tu as éveillé les consciences, tu as tracé les routes, et, après toi, plus rien ne sera comme avant !
Ton départ est une perte considérable pour le monde juridique, pour l’Université Saint-Joseph, pour le monde de la culture et des bibliothèques, pour la francophonie, pour ton pays et ta contrée, Kornet Chehwane, et surtout pour nous, tes amis.
Pars en paix Pharès !


Rita Zoghbi shared a link.
Farès Zoghbi : C’était un humaniste doublé d’un philanthrope, un ami de la culture, un homme qui avait trouvé pour l’un de ses ouvrages ce titre…
Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon: Re-opening of the Phares Zogbi library
On Saturday, February 29, the Cultural Foundation of Phares Zogbi library invited its readers to attend a formal re-opening ceremony.
Last year, St. Joseph University delayed appointing a manager to the library after Rita Zogbi opened her own business “Baby Steps“.
The faculty of law and political sciences at the University of Saint-Joseph announced the re-opening of the library of the Cultural Foundation of Phares Zoghbi.
Located in Kornet Chehwan, this former private library, turned over to be the university to become a public library, has a multi-disciplinary resources of over 50,000 manuscripts, mostly in French and Arabic.
The library is opened every day (Monday to Friday) from 8:30 to 4 pm and from 9 to 3 pm on Saturday. And Maha is the new administrator.
The inauguration started at 11 am and a delicious buffet was served after 3 people talked for the audience, mostly women and representative of the various local schools (responsible for their respective libraries and “research”).  I was practically the only male, besides the chairman of the university.
Maitre Zoghbi, over 96 of age and on a wheel chair, made the honor of “walking”  in.  In a couple of days was his birthday, and a birthday cake was presented to him.
Maitre Phares was feeling emotional, and for every figure he “thought” was familiar he would hide his face and cry bitterly.
The speakers learned to talk to Maitre Zoghbi instead of facing the audience: Otherwise, Phares would have a loud chat with his neighbor: He is hard of hearing.
Last year, Sherifeh opened one morning (every 2 Saturdays) so that we could return and borrow books.
In the inauguration photo below, I am at the far left side. Phares Zoghbi is in the center. On his right is the chairman of the university and on his left the Dean of the Law School.
Article paru dans l'Orient du Samedi 8 mars
Article paru dans l’Orient du Samedi 8 mars

Diary of a potential volunteer day-work in Rashaya (Lebanon): Or May be Not!

Saturday, Sept 17, 2011.

I woke up at 4:30 am and got busy preparing a large bag for a volunteer day-work in the village of Rashaya in west Bekaa Valley.

Rashaya is the gateway for hiking expeditions to Mount Haramoun (Hermon) or Jabal al Rab (over 3,500 meters in altitude), where Jesus supposedly was transfigured and showed up alongside Elias and someone else…

I have another larger bag for sleepover occasions that I used once in the last 10 years.

This program is a grant from Italy and coordinated by the ministry of social affairs.  The project is to refurbish all the 140 doors of the shops of the Old Souk…The program is for a series of 3-day volunteer works until the doors are done…

Ironically, this project was delayed twice. Why?

Every week, the minister Fa3our is either sick or busy to show up in Rashaya to have his picture taken. A few NGOs got pissed off and refused to participate any longer in that project. We have hundreds of NGO: They train people on how to fill and complete forms for grants…and very few other “useful” things…

I wore the T-shirt for this targeted project.  Let me think; I guess this is the only T-shirt I have that says “volunteer work”.  As if I am that stupid, at his advanced age, to physically get on my knees to rub and paint stupid doors…

I have been witnessing horror stories: University graduates in their late 20’s and 30’s, not finding steady jobs, or even temporary paying jobs, registering for volunteer projects with promises of free outing and free food…

I was supposed to be on the road around 6:15 am, but without warning me, Cedric decided that this time is too early.

I got in the car by 8 am and headed up toward Majdal Tarshish (1,200 meters in altitude), another road that links the seashore to the Bekaa Valley, beside the “Arab Highway” that passes by Aley, and has not advanced a single mile in the last two decades.

We crossed two dozen heavy trucks carrying loads from three big quarries in Majdal Tarshish.  I wish these trucks will dump their cargoes at a very useful public work, in order to justify these unlicensed quarries to keep functioning freely outside laws and regulations.  The trucks are either Abil Lama3, MSC, or non-marked.

We stopped at a small restaurant in Majdal Tarshish that serves breakfast of manakeesh, fresh vegetable, cheese, eggs, bread on saj… It turned out that the owner is the uncle of Father Simon, director of the private and religious school of St. Joseph in Cornet Chehwan.

Father Simon was the rector of the private Christian Maronite school of St. Joseph in Kornet Chehwan; he is now managing the religious association Caritas targeting needy communities and families: I am not sure this organization is transparent enough to verify that donated money is reaching the proper destinations.

We got back on the road at 9:30.  Ten minutes later, we had a flat tire. We used the spare tire that was not suitable to continue our trip.

I always warn people to borrow new cars for long trips.  We could see the Bekaa Valley down there; we saw a huge column of black fumes reaching 100 meters in the air: Was it a fire or an industrial complex…?

On our way back, we had to bypass the trucks.  The speed signs on the return way said 30 km.  I guess the signs were meant for the trucks, but we had to deal with this ugly reality since nothing was specific.

Cedric saw a tire shop in Bikfaya and got a deal to change two tires for $105 each.  Cedric dropped me home and went ahead to withdraw money…

The day was not a total loss: Days are never a loss to me, as long as I manage to post articles, read books, tend my garden, and do house chores…

Adrea is at the beach: She returned from a 3-week vacation in London, visiting her sister Joanna.

Chelsea refuses to study and joined the scouts’ activities this afternoon.

Raymonde is beside herself on how to control this Chelsea, the latest of 6, who dreams to be an actor in Hollywood…

I posted two articles and working on two other articles. Saturday, Sept 17, 2011.

Note: I almost forgot: I had my head shaved yesterday.  For over a year, I grew long hair and attached a ponytail.  I feel relieved, light, and energized.

I wake up looking as I looked before going to bed, no fuzzy hair every which way…. Many think that shaving my head was a drastic statement, sort of “I am still daring community common opinions...”.

This idea of shaving head was not originally in the plan: I am not an artist, or in the art business. It was a split-second decision, but I certainly love the interpretation.  I believe that extreme behavioral statements, Not political opinions, are the salt of mankind life.

Actually, I had my head shaved for a couple of weeks, three years ago, just to see how my head looked like, and if it was round enough and in nice shape…People didn’t like my head, my shaved head, and I was unable to get impartial feedback. (I think my shaved head is ugly and Not fit for esthetics)

At least, the skin of my head recovered health and got tanned for a while, for the first time in my long life. I intend to keep shaved the sides of my head, for the time being.

Auto Stop in Mount Lebanon: Around Ain 3ar, Kornet Chehwan and Beit-Chabab…

I have been walking to the nearby private library of Fares Zoghbi (50,000 books) almost every day, rain or shine in the last 15 years.

It is no longer private, see note. It is maybe a two-mile walk and I make sure to flag every passing car in the first years when I had no internet connection: my purpose is to reach the library and to type my articles and post them on

Yes, my purpose is to enjoy a climate of quiet and focused brain work and selecting fresh acquisition of books and magazine to read at home.

The manager Rita Zoghbi always bribes me with a cup of coffee: I am the most dedicated customer, and frequently I help myself with a cup of Nescafe around noon.

I am often invited to have pieces of cakes, sandwiches, cookies so that I don’t feel hungry when I arrive home around 2:15 pm.

The library closes at 2 pm and reopens at 3 pm, but I never return in the afternoon; supposedly I have other “cats to whip”.

Recently, Rita allowed me to stay while she is on afternoon break, and I am enjoying a continuous stay till 4:15 and generating plenty of productive works…

I decided to walk to the library, rain or shine, after I sold my car and do prefer Not to drive other people’s cars: You are always blamed for previous car defects that were not repaired…

Only old cars stop to pick me up; but I don’t mind at all: any short lift saves me time and physical energy.

A few drivers extend their arms meaning they are going far; as if I am going to Beirut or asking them to tour the world.

Any short lift is fantastic service to me, but how drivers figure that out?

Drivers of new cars and women drivers never even slow down to check on this hapless guy having the guts and recklessness of flagging them.

Since I start walking by 10 am, after finishing work on my garden and using up the scarce resources on water, I noticed that most cars are driven by women.  Not that they are going to a job, but they look intent on reaching destination and they have got to be driving somewhere.

Invariably, cars driven by women are very new; mostly monstrous four-wheel drive cars, and shining: cars driven by women have got to be shining for glamour reason.

In rainy days, I keep flagging my arms to warn drivers to slow down, lest they drench me worse than the pouring rain. Most people interpret my waving arms as curses and they accelerate. A few understand the gesture and smile to me sheepishly and slow down, then accelerate furiously.

You may be asking the interesting question: “Why do you have to walk?

First, I sold my old car: I could no longer afford to repair it, much less afford the increasing cost of gas.  I figured that 50% of my “savings” went into my old car.

Second, I am very reluctant supporting the huge budget imbalance of my pseudo-government, sort of civic disobedience:  apparently, the government makes tons of money from direct and indirect taxes from the stupid people who own a car.

Third, my monkish life-style (forced hermit) is restricted to about 4 miles around my residence and I don’t need to pay extra expenses renewing my driving license or car insurance or shoulder any other emergencies tasks like giving rides to nieces and nephews.

Oh, I can find many other reasons for why I have to walk, but mainly I am out of work and not in the mood of working at minimum wages or having to commute to a stupid job and wear down my nervous energy in traffic and pollution.

I used to teach at a university and I needed two hours to drive back and forth for a one-hour class.  I figured out that staying put, doing what I love to do best (reading, writing, and publishing for free), was saving me money and useless anxieties.

Thus, the best strategy to save your mental, physical, and nervous health is to decline earning money working for other people.

The less money you have the better; unless you win the jackpot: and you are stuck with an even bigger problem of managing too much money.

You almost always lose your money to scams who are much more astute than you are in these kinds of “money distribution” business.

One more huge advantage for walking to the library and being penniless:  I developed intelligent sensitivities.

I now have figured out that my close relatives are extremely judgmental for no other reasons that they have no guts to change their lifestyle.

I once asked my niece for $20 a month (less than what most people earn in third world countries).  That request was sent by internet two months ago; I have got to receive a reply.

I know that my other nieces and nephews learned about my request but there are no volunteers.

Judgmental are people; worst than Nazi, even if they don’t care about politics or are vegetarians or veg.

I noticed that all my nieces and nephews agreed to punish me for not trying to find an “earning job“. As if spending $100 on a stupid single eating out is an “energy booster” for their stupid “middle class” mentality…

Note: The library is no longer private: Owned by the French Jesuit University and making it hard for people to enjoy reading…They started charging $30 to come in and read.

And this year 2012, the university closed the library for December, and we are waiting for the end of February for the university to decide on a new manager and other higher fees and constraints.

Note:  You may check the category “List of Articles” to select the post that you like to start navigating my blog.

314.  Minorities in the Process of Disappearing: Iraq Case (April 30, 2009)


315.  More Copper Reserves for China (April 30, 2009)


316.  Julia (May 1, 2009)


317.  The Maitre Phares’ Library: Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon (May 1, 2009)


318.  A Typical Day (May 2, 2009)


319.  Jerusalem: Ur Salam (City of Peace) (May 2, 2009)

The Cultural Foundation of Maitre Phares Zoghbi: Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon (May 1, 2009)

I used to be, and still are, a frequent visitor to the Phares Zoghbi’s library in Kornet Chehwan.  I currently patronize it almost 5 days a week.

Once, I missed a day and Maitre Zoghbi called me home: he was worried that I might be sick.

Maitre Zoghbi turned over the library to the University of Saint Joseph (the Law Department) for management as long as the library is domiciled at his house. Many lawyers and judges pay visits the library for sources of references that are unavailable in other libraries and universities.

I once overheard Maitre Phares asking Rita Zoghbi, the resident manager, about the final count on the books in his library and she replied: “I think we reached over 50,000 manuscripts and counting”.

Fresh news books in French and Arabic are purchased on weekly basis and Maitre Zoghby used to enjoy touring the various commercial libraries for selection.  Recently, Maitre Zoghby was inspired to add magazines; he is paying for them. The University pays the tab for the new acquisition of books.

With this encouraging environment I am cranking up on average three articles every couple of days and publishing them on the internet that the library has connected to, a few months ago.

I enjoy having a smoke in the garden and picking up a rose or a flower and insert it in my lapel hole.

When Layal Kanaan spent a month in the library (she sits in a large room and I in another) to write her dissertation on French linguistics among the Lebanese I used to bring her an assortment of flowers.  She later told me that she prefers flowers to die in the garden.

It didn’t make much difference to me: I love to see everyone I encounter wearing a flower, a kind of “movable feast” for the eyes and morale proving nature’s eminent glory, beauty, and versatility.

I asked Rita about books that Maitre Zoghbi has published and she gave me two for free, both written in French: “Liban: le salut par la culture” and “A livres ouverts, une vie de souvenirs“, a biographical book.

I had posted this book review on my blog

Maitre Zoghbi was the lawyer of the Lebanese daily Al Nahar (The Day) and of the Casino of Lebanon.

In every trip outside Lebanon, it was the libraries that were his favorite hangout and books were shipped to his library/house.  Maitre Zoghbi financially aids several local “non-profit” institutions related to health and learning.

Rita is managing the library and taking good care of Maitre Zoghbi.  She arranges for his meetings, communications, translating his occasional illegible hand writing, preparing Turkish coffee for visitors, his appointments to physicians, and calling for taxis (Maitre Zoghbi never learned to drive and he would never miss an occasion to personally offer his condolences to a dear departed).

Occasionally, Rita organizes study groups on authors and philosophers once a month; she invites neighboring schools to check out the library and have special classes.

Maitre Zoghbi prefers to meet with his visitors among his books. As I enter he is already busy inserting “book marks” (that Rita had cut out and prepared for him) in every page he flips, just feeling the need to insert paper book marks.

Maitre Zoghbi is proud that he celebrated his 93 rd birthday this March. He is still relatively functional in walking and reading. Once, he had to climb an incline of a route around the house and it had rained; he was utterly exhausted and scared as he slipped several times; I found him walking by the wall as I parked and gave him my arm.

I horde an oversize room, well heated and well lighted.  I keep a dozen books on the conference table. That should keep the impression that Lebanese adore reading.

Rita shares with me cookies that go with coffee or sections of any fresh sandwiches that she receives. Sometimes I don’t feel hungry at lunch time when I go home.

The library closes when the University is officially closed, which cramps my style and habits.

Once, my sister gave me ride because of car problems. The library was closed and I had the opportunity of investigating drivers’ charity level. I walked half the distance before someone stopped for me.

It shouldn’t be more than a 2-kilometer trip from my home, and if my experience with hitchhiking is satisfactory then I will sell my old car.

For $20 a year you own a kingdom of learning and an oasis of peace and tranquility.

You can find huge volumes of artistic manuscripts for all kinds of famous painters and photographers.  Good reading.

Note 1: I have since sold my car and walk to the library carrying a school backpack. On rare occasions I am lucky with a driver stopping to pick me up.

Note 2: Last year, the library closed as Rita got busy with her own business “Baby Step“. This March 2014, the library re-opened officially and Maha can help you with your search. Opened from 8:30 to 4 pm Monday thru Friday, and Saturday from 9 to 3 pm.

Beit-Chabab: Hometown of my parents and grand parents and mine….

The late Lebanese writer Youssef (Joseph) Habshi Ashkar did an excellent job describing my village Beit-Chabab, which is his village.

Youssef told stories of the numerous ancient people and traditions in a simple, heart wrenching language and these stories were very funny most of the time. My father loves these stories because many of them happened during his time in the village and he can figure out the real protagonists. It would be nice to have all the works of Youssef translated, even if it would lose much of its original flavor and meanings.

When you see Beit-Chabab coming from Beirut you notice that it is vast and opening her arms to hold all its original main four quarters. Every house is visible with its red tiled roof, distinct, and having a sight to the sea.

The government encouraged new buildings to have red tile roofs for tax deduction but it turned mainly a paper promise because dad didn’t get any benefit. Beit-Chabab is a far cry of those villages scattered along a main road or hidden behind a mount or a valley.

Beit-Chabab is 700 meters above sea level and climbs over 100 meters in altitude from its bottom, west to east, and it is expanding mostly southward because the north side plunges toward the Nahr El Kalb River valley (Dog River).

Beit-Chabab has mainly 10 family clans that gathered around specific districts; each clan who could afford it had its own “nawbeh“, sort of a club of youthful members who could play instrument, sing and dance the ancient ways during happy and sad ceremonies.

Almost each major church, belonging to a clan, has a club of ladies “akhawiyeh” that cares for the less fortunate members of the clan. There was a time when a single policeman designated by the mayor would suffice to keep the peace and the streets clean.  Beit-Chabab grew bigger and clans permitted a few members of other family clans to purchase pieces of land in their own district, but out of town people still have hard time purchasing land.

Beit-Chabab could have been an ideal tourist attraction or a destination for summer residents but it blocked this kind of business by not allowing rental apartments or building commercial hotels and restaurants or movie theaters and thus discouraging outsiders to settle in.

Beit-Chabab used to be the main large town for miles around and it was called “The Town”.  It cultivated varieties of fruits and vegetables and hosted all kinds of industries like clothes “dima“, silk factories, church bells, potteries, fowl and cow businesses and supplied Lebanon with its products and produces and even exported to France until artificial silk was invented and other alternatives to potteries and cheaper clothing were manufactured.

Most of Beit-Chabab’s current  14,000 inhabitants immigrated abroad during and after WWI to Africa and returned to rehabilitate their houses; the immigration is still going stronger with the new generation after our latest civil war and the incapacity of our political system to bring peace, security and work opportunities.

The new wave of immigration has diversified its destinations to the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, South America and also Africa for the less educated.   The worst part is that the new educated generation is not ready to come back, simply because the old ways of visiting and caring for neighbors are dying and Beit-Chabab is far behind with the amenities of modern life.

Youssef described his dad as a true ancient personality.  His dad didn’t wear “al ghenbaz” (the traditional long tunic) since he wore European attire, and he didn’t cultivated his land since he commuted and worked in Beirut but he was an anciant. But Youssef lived the  ancients did.

Youssef’s dad is ancient because as soon as he arrived from the Capital Beirut he would change into comfortable clothes and walk to the valley where he had a grotto which was supplied with the implements of a water pipe “arghileh” and coffee and candles. He would spend the evening contemplating nature and returning with loads of wild fruits and vegetables and greens like “3erkbanieh”, “zbeizbeh”, sumac, “za3tar”, “zaizafoun”, “kouwissa”, “khatmieh” and an oak stick to supply the winter reserve for fireplace, not because his house is not centrally heated which is but because he loves to see and feel the winter fire.

Youssef’s father is ancient because he eats meat only on Sundays and eats it raw like “kebeh” and “smayskeh“, because he loves to hear the pounding of the “mdakah bil jorn“.

Youssef’s father used to do his own coal and his own “arak” and he raised his own chickens and had always one goat for the milk and one mouton for the winter meat and fat.  Youssef’s dad is ancient because he refused to pour concrete on his patio “mastabah” but would pass “al mahdalah” on the sand, mud, small stones and “kash”.

Youssef’s dad is an ancient individual because he kept the traditional ways for preserving food, oil, cheese and other condiments simply because it reminded him of the environment and climate in which his forefathers lived contented.

Youssef’s father lived the real life without discontinuity when his grandfather died and when his father died.  He loved to narrate the ancient stories of people and stories of imaginary ancient heroes while sitting on the sofa and drinking Turkish coffee without sugar “sada”.  His stories reflect the concepts that hell could be experienced on earth and the feeling of heaven is an earthly experience too.

I do currently live in Kunetra, a mile away from our original town called Beit-Chabab.

Kunetra is split among four municipalities of Beit-Chabab, Kornet Hamra, Kornet Chehwan, and Ain-Aar.  Our building is within the municipality of Kornet Chehwan that Dad finished constructing in 1970 .

Kunetra was relatively a virgin estate; it is now expanding and becoming a favorite Real Estate development with modern villas studded all over.

Beit-Chabab is the hometown of my parents and their parents.  I was an interned student for six years in its boys’ school affiliated to the Christian Maronite Order.  From 1963 to 1975, I spent the summers in Beit-Chabab until I graduated from university

I am reverting to the ancient ways of life: I garden and gather all kinds of vegetables and greens; I love to eat everything natural without addition of salt, sugar, or peppers; my mother still prepares all kinds of preserves of jam and “kabeess”.

Unfortunately, I am not a narrator of stories and cannot sing and have no intimate friends to share the bliss of ancient living.




March 2021

Blog Stats

  • 1,462,177 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 802 other followers

%d bloggers like this: