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  • Ayoon Wa Azan (Various Stories)
    Sun, 08 January 2012
    Jihad el-Khazen

    The cover of Laha, our magazine featured the beautiful singer Latifa. The magazine ran a lengthy interview with her about the program “Let’s Sing”, and her musical albums and videos. All these things are not among my interests or indeed my expertise. Rather, what interests me about the Tunisian singer (believe it or not) is that she is smart and extremely well versed on political issues. In fact, when I see Latifa, she would have always had read the newspapers, gotten up to date through the radio and geared herself up to discuss all current issues.

    I usually see Latifa in Beirut. She had visited me at my home in London with some friends, when she was at the start of her career, and her visit was the start of a friendship with the whole family. After that, I saw her move from success to success, as she duly deserves.

    Now I continue with other stories:

    - I left Beirut to London and saw Latifa on the cover of Laha. I then went to Al-Hayat’s offices and found that work on the adjacent new Grand Olympia Hall has been completed. I would not have looked twice at the building were it not for the fact that it bears the name “West Hall”

    West Hall is a historic building at the American University of Beirut, which often hosts concerts, lectures and seminars. I spent a significant part of my life on the benches opposite it waiting for friends, especially attractive university girls.

    Those were the best years of my life; and though I left Beirut, it has followed me to London, it seems.

    - From Lebanon and Britain to Israel, i.e. occupied Palestine, a court has reportedly indicted Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister, on charges of corruption. In addition, there is an old and outgoing trial for the brothel bouncer Avigdor Lieberman. The war criminal Ariel Sharon and his son were also prosecuted in the past, while the eighth president of Israel Moshe Katsav is now serving a sentence in prison, after having been convicted of rape.

    Yet the worst kind of rape was the one that Palestine suffered at their hands, those who all have criminal records or are gangsters. By the way, Katsav was born in the city of Yazd in Iran, and his real name is Musa Qassab.

    - There are Israelis of a different kind than the war criminals in the government. Today, I would like to present to the readers the group called Boycott From Within, made up of pro-Palestinian Jewish peace activists. The group asked London’s Globe Theatre to withdraw its invitation to Israel’s Habima Theater to participate in the World Shakespeare Festival, on the grounds that Habima has organized plays in Israeli settlements.

    Boycott From Within is seeking to bring about an international boycott of Israel, a boycott that encompasses investments, joint projects, as well as academic and cultural ties.

    - “The Muslims Are Coming!” This time however, we have been spared. The phrase here was the title of a comedy tour presented by four Muslim American comedians in the American southern states of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The tour was well received by the public, and the goal of the comedians was to start a dialogue between religions through comedy, and achieve a better understanding of Islam among Americans.

    - Further to the above, I read that Muslim students in a world-class London university boycotted lectures on Darwin and the theory of evolution, arguing that they contradict their religion and creationist beliefs.

    I ask here, is that a good enough excuse to boycott the lectures? The students are not forced to accept or believe the theory, but rather it is additional knowledge that they could perhaps contest through arguments.

    We should not be afraid of education. Fear should be from ignorance instead.

    - As I folded the newspaper I read “Casualties and deaths in Tripoli”. I quickly opened the paper, while thinking about Tripoli, Lebanon, but found that the incident had taken place between Libyan rebels in Tripoli, Libya.

    Hence, I call on the revolutionaries in every Arab country to lay down their arms and return to work, before the people start lamenting the old regime.

    [email protected]

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