Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Movable fairs

Third article on Lebanon’s mass upheaval since October 17

Note: If you care to read the second article

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/the-mass-upheaval-in-lebanon-starting-in-october-17-is-growing-stronger-and-widespread/

From 1971 to the onset of the civil war, Beirut experienced a mass upheaval that turned out to become a continuous movable feast/fair.  The upheaval demanded reforms in the political system that would drop this sectarian/comprador political and economic structure. You may read the link at the end of the article.

The militia/mafia “leaders”, in control of the political system since 1992, were trying hard Not to have a budget within the legal period and then Lebanon forgo the concept of budget from 2005 to 2018.

The current mass upheaval is in its 12th day. During the first 2 days, the protesters wanted to foment the people against the President Aoun and Saad Hariri PM, as totally impotent in governing and perform any change.

Their fake news and lies backfired. Even their hooligans felt shame facing this united massive uprising.

This surprised mass upheaval forced these militia leaders (Nabih Berry, Walid Jumblaat and Samir Jeaja) to backtrack and vote on the budget and all the reforms in the last government meeting.

Hariri was the first to deliver a speech and promised 72 hours before taking a decision for his resignation. Hezbollah secretary general was second in talking to the movement and declared that the resignation of the government is out of the question for practical reasons and to avoid a long lasting void.

Then the President delivered his speech and it was Not basically different from the PM, since Not a single reform action was executed in the last 9 days.

I warned that it was Not advisable for the President to deliver a speech without offering the protesters a tangible reform: Confidence that the President can deliver is worth a thousand speech.

Hassan Naser Allah’s second speech was alarming: he stated that this movement has been guided by foreign powers in order to drive Lebanon into chaos and ordered his followers to desist from joining the upheaval. He warned that if the government proved a resistance to deliver on its promises, then Hezbollah will act vigorously to prevent any chaos.

The army and the internal security forces met and reached an agreement to open blocked highways. The militia “leaders” such as Samir Ja3ja3 and Walid Jumblatt were given 48 hours to call home their armed hooligans and desist in acting as militia by blocking side roads and demanding citizens to show their identity cards…

The main difference between this mass upheaval and that of 1971 is that the newer generations refused to listen to the older “revolutionaries” and could Not produce quality political awareness.

In the 1971 uprising there were cultural events that bolstered the quality of the civil Lebanon, theaters, great movies, discussions… Should we hope for a qualitative change in how the protesters are spending their time?

I have no problems with a few protesters sitting on sofas and surrounded with the facilities of a cozy home. I am disturbed that they are Not discussing to enhance their political awareness: each one of them is isolated with his expensive iPhone. Thus, what basically changed?

Actually, you have people instructing the protesters methods of how to confront the army.

Nothing of quality comes in a hurry: it needs reflective periods and the ability to select the relevant facts in the constant streaming of the mass of facts. And be able to pinpoint the fake news on the base of good general knowledge

All the government institutions have been staffed with personnel that owe its survival to the mafia/militia “leaders” for 3 decades. You can constitute any government you want, the result is “who will execute the decisions”?

A technocrat, if Not strongly politically backed, cannot pressure the civil servant to obey his decision, especially those in the upper echelons.

The question is: How can any change occur if One Third of the population survive as civil servants and are used to sizable “backsheesh” and shady deals?

Pragmatically, only a Big Fish in a stagnant pond can clean it from the smaller fishes.

Thus, the movement must strike a deal with the government to dismiss the main higher level civil servants whom were demonstrated to be as rotten as the main mafia/militia “leaders” and who fully cooperated in this endemic “fassaad” or highway robbery of the budgets since 1991.

This mass upheaval can force this government to move forcefully against most of the civil servants that are in cohort with the monopolies of consumer goods, energy, financial transaction, services, communication…

So far, the movement has been intent on blocking roads and streets, in fact emulating the tactics of the civil war militia without being aware of their behavior. Blocking roads is tantamount of cutting communication among the citizens and making it difficult for the daily economic trade cycle.

This movement keep chanting “Down with this government”, “Down with this rotten regime”… but no viable pragmatic alternatives are materializing.

If the western States, Israel, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar are intent on weakening the social base of Hezbollah by persisting on a long upheaval without any communication with the current government, then I submit that Lebanon will experience a long protracted period of miseries.

The Lebanese will have to invent an alternative financial and economic structure to circumvent the lack of cash flow and investment. We will be going through very difficult time that will last years, until we manage to re-create another economical and financial system that permit us to survive as a State.

Representatives of this movement “7iraak” must meet with the President, the PM, Nabih Berry (chairman of Parliament for a quarter of century)and Riad Salami (Central Bank chief since 1992). They should meet with them on individual settings and on condition that these meetings be Live and transparent. Let see who of them dare meet the people Live.

Note 2: This link for a special article of most of my comments that I posted on FB pertaining to this mass upheaval. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/special-articles-of-comments-pertaining-to-lebanon-mass-upheaval/

Note 3: My article on the long upheaval from 1971 till the onset of the civil war: this movable feast. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/movable-fairs-in-beirut-1971-74/

Beirut before the civil war in 1975

I can attested to what this article claims: I walked all of Beirut between 1971-75 and didn’t need more than a single dollars (2 LP at the time) to spend during the entire day (food, fresh juices, theaters, movies…). You may read my post on that subject:

Movable fairs in Beirut: 1971-74 https://adonis49.wordpress.com/?s=Beirut+fair

منذ ما قبل الإستقلال حتى العام 75صنع البيارتة مسلمين ومسيحيين مدينة نموذجية… فيها ارقى المدارس والجامعات… واكبر الشركات… وأجمل المنتجعات والفنادق… والمراكز السياحية…

واروع الشوارع وانظفها واكثرها اناقة من التباريس الى شارع سرسق… الى البسطة حيث عاشت نجاح سلام ومحمد سلمان وحسن علاء الدين شوشو… وفي نفس منزله عاشت الممثلة بدور…
فالمصيطبة صائب سلام… وزقاق البلاط حيث ولدت وترعرعت فيروز …


وشارع حمد والجميزة والمزرعة وغيرها …
كان لكل شارع موهبته وشخصيته الخاصة الجميلة المحببة والملفتة…
وفيها تعايش كل الأديان والمذاهب والثقافات والحضارات سنة وشيعة ودروز ويهود وموارنة وروم وغيرهم بفطرة وتلقائية وعفوية وبدون مظاهر وتظاهر…


وتعاظمت السياحة فلم يبق سائح عربي او اجنبي الا وزارها مندهشا غير مصدق مما يراه…
وأذكر تماما وقوفهم متأملين مندهشين بسطات سوق الفرنج اول سوق اياس… وكيف تتواجد فيها جميع الفواكه الموسمية وغير الموسمية… وعند بركة العنتبلي لما تحويه من اطايب ملونة بجميع الالوان…


كذلك مسابح السان سيمون… والسان ميشال.. والفينيسيا والسان جورج… والكوت دازور وخلدة … ومطعم يلدزلار حيث تجد مازة من 45 صحن بسعر 42 ليرة….
وكثر فيها السواح عربا حيث كانت تبدو كأنها جدة او الكويت او الامارات وحتى اجانب المان وهولنديين وسويديين وانكليز واميركان وفرنسيين… لا يصدقون ما يرون…
فكانوا يشعرون انهم في جنة…. وليس في مدينة صنعها مجموعة من اهلها الطيبين حيث كانت الكنيسة والجامع احباب واصحاب وجيران والجار يحب جاره….


والناس تتكافل اجتماعيا وماديا بفطرة وغريزة وفروسية قل مثيلها…
ويذكر كبار السن ان صاحب الحظ والميسور كان يسكن بنايات الصادق قرب المدينة الرياضية…
فسكنها وزراء واثرياء ودكاترة الجامعات واطباء…


وكانت النساء تخرج قبل الغروب تغسل الرصيف قرب منزلها وتعبق الشوارع برائحة الياسمين والفل.
هذه بيروت الجمال…
بيروت الثقافة…
بيروت … التياترو الكبير
بيروت…الصمدي والبحصلي والعريسي….


بيروت العيش الفطري البريء…
بيروت درة الشرق وسويسرا الشرق عن حق…
بيروت الجامعة والمدرسة والثقافة والعلم والادبيات والعادات الحضارية …

بيروت الدولار بليرتين وربع….
بيروت … تعا كيس
بيروت قهوة الحاج داوود والبحري….
بيروت…. مرحبا جار يسعد صباحك…
بيروت … الله يرزقك خيي بحسنة عيلتك….

بيروت… كيفك حبيبي سلم على بابا يا عمي….
بيروت… خللي عنك عمو انا بحمل الاكياس عنك وبساعدك…
بيروت … غض النظر…

بيروت… افساح الطريق للمارة…
بيروت …. انا استفتتحت يرضى عليك روح اشتري من عند جاري بعد مااستفتح….
بيروت .. صباحا…
يا فتاح يا عليم يا رزاق يا كريم...

بيروت …. توزيع الزكاة سرا ومساعدة المحتاج طوعا….
بيروت …. توكلنا على الله…
بيروت … الأركيلة والمفتقة واربعة ايوب…

بيروت…الزيارت وصلة الرحم والاحتفال بالاعياد والخرجية وزيارة الكبير والقريب والعم والخال والعمة والخالة ….
بيروت… شارع الحمراء والمثقفين والقهوة والجريدة….
بيروت ملجأ كل مظلوم ببلده…..

بيروت … الحرية المسؤولة والصحافة الرصينة….
بيروت … نزار قباني… ويا ست الدنيا يا بيروت…
يا ست الدنيا يا بيروت….

Movable fairs in Beirut: 1971-74

I decided to re-edit my old article “Wonderful early 1970’s:  Movable fairs in Beirut” in order to demonstrate to the current generation in Lebanon that it is highly feasible to generate a mass upheaval as was done in Tunisia and Egypt. It is a scream against the total impunity that our politicians, in this semi-State of Lebanon, are enjoying, those militia/mafia “leaders” of our civil war, a war that no one was a victor.

Our movable fair lasted 4 years, 3 years behind Paris and Woodstock, and if it were Not for the control of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) over our political system, which diffused the purpose of the movement, Lebanon would have reformed against all odds.

Woodstock musical fiesta was organized in 1968 and disbanded three days later.  The French students revolt in Paris of 1968, then joined by the working organizations,  ended a week later. The French students revolt of 1968 was a big party with deep lucidity:  banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.” Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.

These students and youth movements crossed to Lebanon in 1970 and lingered for 5 years as movable fairs in Beirut, before the civil war set in.

I witnessed that wonderful and crazy period as a university student, witnessing far more than studying.

By 1970 I was attending university, mainly math, physics, and chemistry courses.   Once the morning courses were taken care of, I roamed Beirut freely and all alone. (Would have been more pleasurable and instructive if I had friends to join me then)

For less than 5 Lebanese pounds ($2 at the time) I could see movies, watch theater pieces, or go to the empty beaches in mid September and October, eat local sandwiches of falafel, shaworma, and freshly pressed fruits.

Most of the days I ended up attending conferences, political party meetings, joining regular demonstrations and marches by university students, sit-ins, hunger strikes on the street in front of the education ministry (I tried once for half a day).

Fleeing police tanks and water hoses, or just walking all around Beirut circulating where the “movable fairs” crossed my path, gathering of people chanting slogans against the sectarian and mercantile political system, the defeatist government, not responding to the frequent bombardment of Israel in south Lebanon...

The citizens (mostly Moslem Chiaa) in the south flocked to the suburbs of Beirut, mainly in Dahieh, and labelled the “Red belt of poverty” in order to flee the successive incursions of Israel, under all lame excuses.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization, led by Yasser Arafat, and its institutions were firmly established in Beirut and in a dozen Palestinian camps.  Cash in hard currency spent by the PLO and the various resistance movements maintained the Lebanese currency very strong.

In May 1972, Beirut Cinema Club in cooperation with the US Cultural Center projected a series of Orson Wells movies such as “Citizen Kane”, “The lady from Shanghai”, “Secret report”, “Satan’s touch”, and “Falstaff”.  Wells mostly recalls the negative critics: for example, a critic said that Orson shouts like a rhinoceros” when Orson played “Candid” of Bernard Show.

Wells and Charlie Chaplin might be the greatest American directors.  Wells prefers that producers invest massively on many movies, even if one of his films are not marketed.  He said: “Without men there is no art.  Without women, men never become artists”

In May 1973, the film “Red Weddings” by French director Claude Chabrol was projected in Eldorado movie theater. There was a curfew in the previous week:  The Lebanese army tried to enter the Palestinian camp of Dbayeh (mostly Christians).

A few feddayins escaped and fled through the valley of river Nahr Kalb (Dog River); and we provided them shelter for three days in Beit-Chabab and they were to resume the trip to Dhour Showier.  An ambush by the Phalange (Kataeb) Party killed several of them on the way.

Chabrol has a particular style and a deterministic view on how events should unfold:  His movies are about illicit love affairs, murder, then punishment by the “bourgeois” legal system:  that genuinely falling in-love is irrelevant and thus must be punished, one way or another.

In June 1974, “The hour of liberation has chimed.. Out colonialists” by the young woman director Heine Srour won a special acclaim in Cannes.  This movie is about the popular revolutionary struggle of the people in Zofar (Oman, Hadramout, and south Yemen) from the British colonial power and archaic monarchic structures.

Heine invested two years in preparation and shot the one-hour movie with the rudiment of equipment and finances.  Heine and three technicians walked hundreds of kilometers with the fighters under scorching sun and the bombing of British jets.

Heine conducted interviews in the local Arabic slang the “Himyari” and projected the essential roles that women shared in that revolution along the fighters.

This movie was one of the first to broach situation in other Arabic States outside of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, or Palestine.  Movies on the Algerian revolution were to be produced shortly after.

In February 1975, director Borhan Awalweyeh showed his movie “Kfar Kassem“.  Hundreds of spectators remained in the theater way after midnight discussing the movie.

The film is a retrospective documentary of the genocidal massacre that Israel committed against the Palestinians in the village of Kfar Kassem in 1956 before it invaded Sinai.  Peasants returning from the fields were killed because they could not know about the curfew that the Israeli troops declared in their absence.

This movie was based on the novel of the same name by Assem Jundi.  Issam Mahfouz wrote the dialogue in the Palestinian Arabic slang.

Lebanon of 1974, and particularly the Capital Beirut, experienced extraordinarily cultural, social, and political activities, quantitatively and qualitatively.

First, the number of women writers increased dramatically.  As Georges Rassi wrote: “In the Arab World, every woman writer is worth 100 free minded men“.

Second, many famous authors and poets opted to write columns in dailies; a move that brought them in close touch with the people and the daily difficulties.

Third, artists and thinkers from all over the Arab World settled in Beirut.  Most of these intellectuals were fleeing oppression and persecution for free expressions.  The Egyptian intellectuals flocked in great number as President Sadat had decided to connect with Israel and leave the Arab problems and the Palestinian cause way behind.

Fourth, the Lebanese TV witnessed a big jump in quality of local productions thanks to the director Paul Tannous.

Fifth, many cultural clubs were instituted and Arab States organized exhibitions and cultural events.

Most importantly, women became very vocal and active for women rights and drastic reforms in the laws and social awareness.

Late author Mai Ghoussoub was very young then, but she was one of the leaders of “Committees for Free women.”

Initially, men were permitted to join in the discussions until they proved to be elements of heckling and disturbances.  The committees of free women decided to meet among women because their cause must be priority in urgent reforms and not a usual side-show tackled by reformist political parties.

Arab movies of quality were being shown such as “Events of red years” by Akhdar Hamina;  “Beirut…O Beirut” by Maroun Baghdadi; “May… The Palestinians” by Rafic Hajjar; “The bird” by Youssef Chaheen; “Al Haram” by Henry Barakat; “Hold on… O Sea” by Khaled Seddik.

Karl Marx said:  ”When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce; it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

Spring in Paris was a movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure. There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.

It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns.

It was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.

Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.

The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs.

Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties (10% of the population!)

Note 1:  Details of this introspection were supplied by Georges Al Rassi in “Stations along the trail of Lebanese and Arab movies

Note 2: This student movement in Lebanon was mostly let by the students of our public university. The public university, in Choweifat, was mostly controlled by leftist-leaning organizations, including the teaching staff. Most probably, the colonial powers got weary of the growing influence of this university that was spreading to the private universities. The right-wing parties , the president and the army were ready to confront this movement by strong arm tactics.

Note 3:  You may read more details on my next post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/movable-fairs-beirut-1970-74/

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 147

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Trump akhad fesse’ (behind whipped). 128 countries slapped his ass pretty well. 9 of USA “colonies” voted against the UN resolution, Pretty lame alliances

Again, why US administration didn’t challenge Israel to conduct a referendum on Jerusalem before the pronouncement in the face of world community position? Simple: It is the US Evangelical Zionists who wanted it. (Something to do with Second Coming?)

Our existential enemies are the Evangelical Zionists who are spreading Jewish myths, every which way and manners

Most of the days (1971-75) I ended up attending conferences, political party meetings, joining regular demonstrations and marches by university students, sit-ins, hunger strikes on the street in front of the education ministry (I tried once for half a day), fleeing police tanks and water hoses, or just walking all around Beirut circulating where the “movable fairs” crossed my path, gathering of people chanting slogans against the sectarian and mercantile political system, the defeatist government, not responding to the frequent bombardment of Israel in south Lebanon...

The citizens (mostly Moslem Chiaa) in the south (1970-75), after each Israeli incursion in Lebanon, flocked to the suburbs of Beirut, mainly in Dahieh, and labelled the “Red belt of poverty

Let’s be focused: Until the Evangelical Zionists in US Senate and Congress rescind the 1995 law on Jerusalem, there should be No let-off of the various Intifadas in Palestine and everywhere else. Every week, on successive Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

38 countries abstained of voting on a UN resolution that didn’t even mention an independent Palestinian State? Shi mouzri. ba3d fi shoghol kteer

La survie de la region (Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan) depend des fleuves et des sources d’eau: mont Hermon (Jabal el Cheikh)

Imagine un corps, mirroir d’une identite’ honnie. Ma grand-mere se souvient de tous les humiliations depuis 1936 en Palestine. Elle a vu ses parents changer de domicile plusieurs fois, avec des bagages bien plus restreint au fil des evenements.

Trop d’intelligence innee’ qui se develop avec chaque boulversement: De la rationalite’ froide et efficace.

Movable fairs: Beirut (1970-74)

This post reminisces the activities in Beirut during the period 1970-1974. As a university student, I had the time and leisure to watch many of the hundreds of movies and attend most of the Lebanese pieces of theaters that were played.

The epic Woodstock musical fiesta of summer 1968 disbanded after three days.  The critical French student revolt in Paris of 1968 ended a week later. Spring of 1968 in Paris was a movable fair, an all free-invited party.  It was a movable feast for sharing ideas and desires for justice, peace, liberty, and pleasure.

There were plenty of generosity and compassion:  Youth was feeling bored of the old world system of unjust order, capitalism, petrified ideologies and dogmas.  It was a humongous fair where affluent lifestyle in the western States of plenty hide the miseries of the lowest classes living in shantytowns. It was in a period for the third world struggling to emerge from the slavery stage of colonialism.

The French student revolt of 1968 was a big party with deep lucidity: banners read “Run, comrade, run.  The old world is chasing after you.” Youth was taking a reprieve by running joyously, a week of total freedom, running as fast as he could, knowing that the old world will invariably catch up with him.

Karl Marx said:  ”When history repeats its cycles, the next time around is a farce.”  Spring of 68 was a sympathetic and spontaneous farce: it was an innovating and creative revolt with no arms.

These movements for change crossed to Lebanon in 1969 and lingered for 5 years as movable fairs in Beirut.  

I witnessed that wonderful and crazy period as a university student, witnessing far more than studying.

By 1970, I was mainly taking courses in math, physics, and chemistry.   Once the morning courses were taken care of, I roamed Beirut freely and all alone. The Lebanese pound was strong (the dollar was worth 2 LP at the time): I could afford in the afternoon to see movies, watch theater pieces, or go to the empty beaches in mid September and October, eat local sandwiches of falafel, shaworma, and freshly pressed fruits with less than a dollar.

Most of the days I ended up attending conferences, political party meetings, joining regular demonstrations and marches by university students, sit-ins, hunger strikes on the street in front of the education ministry (I tried once for half a day), fleeing police tanks and water hoses, or just walking all around Beirut circulating where the “movable fairs” crossed my path, gathering of people chanting slogans against the sectarian and mercantile political system, the defeatist government against the frequent bombardment of Israel in south Lebanon…

There was heavy polarization in Lebanon:  On one side, we had the groups that wanted a strong army ready to retaliate at Israel’s frequent aggressions, civil marriage, eliminating the privileges of the 19 officially recognized religious sects in administering civil status and not paying taxes, and planning for a modern economical basis: These groups backed the rights of the Palestinians for armed struggle to re-conquer lands occupied by Israel.  On the other side, there were groups against the armed presence of the Palestinians outside camps, the belief that Lebanon’s existence depended on its weak army, and that no political reforms should be on the table to be discussed.

The citizens in south Lebanon (mostly Moslem Chiaa)  flocked to the suburbs of Beirut, mainly in Dahieh that was labelled the “Red belt of poverty.”   The Palestinian Liberation Movement, led by Yasser Arafat, and its institutions were firmly established in Beirut and in a dozen Palestinian camps.  Cash in hard currency spent by the PLO and the various resistance movements maintained the Lebanese currency very strong.

In January 1972, a series of Charley Chaplin movies were shown in the theater Colise such as “Modern Times”, “City Lights”, “Gold rush”, and “Dog’s life”

In February 1972, “Traffic” by French director Jacque Tati was shown in the movie theater Etoile. Tati attended the show and fielded questions.  Tati directed only five films such as “Holiday”, Vacation of Mr. Hulo”, and “My uncle”.  The main character in the movies of Tati is a regular French person fond of American dreams of speed, machines, and order.

In May 1972, Beirut Cinema Club in cooperation with the US Cultural Center projected a series of Orson Wells movies such as “Citizen Kane”, “The lady from Shanghai”, “Secret report”, “Satan’s touch”, and “Falstaff”.  Wells mostly recalls the negative critics: for example, a critic said that Orson shouts like a rhinoceros” when Orson played “Candid” of Bernard Show.

Wells and Charlie Chaplin might be the greatest directors.  Wells prefers that producers invest massively on many movies even if one of his films are not marketed.  He said: “Without men there is no art.  Without women, men never become artists”

Also in May 1972, the movie theater projected a series of Ingmar Bergman films such as “The holder”, “The shame”, “Persona”, the hour of the wolf”, “the source”, and “Screams and Whispers”.  Bergman stands in front of doubt and points with his finger.  We are facing the nature of our existence on earth. He does not leave us any choices; he does not even choose.  People are left to face death alone, always alone and in isolation.  People are wary of the aristocratic double faces, lies, hate, and scheming.

December 1972 witnessed the first screening of “Hold it…O Sea” by Kuwaiti director Khaled Al Sidick in the theater Commodore in Hamra.  The movie describes three generations of Kuwaitis before oil production and after.  People in Kuwait were mostly into deep diving to retrieve pearles and sell it to big exploiters.  This movie cost 50,000 dinars from Khaled own money.  Khaled was sent to Bombay (India) at eight of age to study.  In India, they would wrap sweet with a piece of paper summarizing the movie you are attending. Khaled’s father supposed that his son was studying business; but khaled was studying cinema.

In January 1973, “Do it again Sam” and “Banana” by Woody Allen were projected along with “Fantasia” by Walt Disney in the theater Embassy.

In May 1973, the film “Red Weddings” by French director Claude Chabrol was projected in Eldorado movie theater.  There was a curfew in the previous week:  The Lebanese army tried to enter the Palestinian camp of Dbayeh (mostly Christians).  A few feddayins escaped and fled through the valley of river Nahr Kalb; we provided them shelter for three days in Beit-Chabab. These Christian feddayins resumed the trip to Dhour Shouwier.  An ambush by the Phalange (Kataeb) Party killed several of them on the way.

Chabrol has a particular style and a deterministic view on how events should unfold:  His movies are about illicit love affairs, then murder, then punishment by the “bourgeois” legal system.  That falling in-love is genuine, it is irrelevant and must be punished, one way or another.

In August 1973, the movie “American night” by French director Francois Truffeau is projected in the Piccadilly theater.  Truffeau was honor guest  in Beit Meri during the movie festival for the French-speaking countries.  Truffeau relates his love story with films and the difficulties for pulling up a movie.  He said: “The film begins with vast dreams, and the dream shrinks gradually until you wonder how diminished and regular the dream ended up.”

In September 1973, a series of Alfred Hitchcock movies were shown in the theater Starco. Among these films were “Pshyco”, “The mountain”, Frenzy”.  The common denominators in Hitchcock movies are:

First, they take place within bourgeois settings that reflect the strongest modern western societies’ troubles;

Second, the personalities are schizophrenic and live normal life among their communities;

Third, the murderers prefer hanging their victims or strangling them with any kinds of ropes;

Fourth, the main hero is basically the dead body.

In May 1975 (the Lebanese civil war had started in April), the Arabic Cinema Club hosted a series of Cuban movies in the Beirut movie theater. Director Octavio Gomez had several of his films projected such as “Days of water”  and “With God’s help”. Santiago Alvarez had “Ho chi Minh” and “I am the son of Americas”;  Pasteur Vega showed “Viva the Republic”; Manuel Herera in “Giron”. 

A short documentary on Miriam Makeba (wife of Stokely Carmichael).

Spring fairs in the western world spread to most nations where the partying lasted and lasted.  The virus of the movable feast reached countries with old systems destroyed by the colonial powers:  The newer power systems were unstable and mostly haphazard to come chasing after mass movable fairs.

Spring of 68 crossed to Lebanon and lasted 5 years and emerged on a civil war that lasted 13 years and produced 300 thousand casualties, dead and injured (10% of the population!)

Note:  Details of my reminiscing were supplied by Georges Al Rassi in “Stations along the trail of Lebanese and Arab movies


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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