Friday, November 28, 2014

Said Akl, A Lover Spurned

Said Akl has passed away a lover spurned.
He loved Arabs, Islam, Syria and Palestine passionately.  He gave them his soul in some of the most beautiful Arabic poems in the 20th century.
But after the defeats, cruelty, ignorance, violence, sectarianism and self-serving instincts of Arab politics, he felt betrayed.
He retreated to his Lebanese castle. He hid behind highly controversial walls to protect himself and his broken heart. Lebanon became the promised land of his exodus from Arab affairs. He wanted to shield it from the disappointments, violence and barbarism of the Middle East.
Although he was lost and bitter and espoused an extreme form of Lebanese nationalism, he was never a sectarian.
He was a Lebanese icon, a heroic Arab bard who retreated from the broken and degenerate Arab polity, a Lebanese nationalist who saw his Lebanon crumble.
The truth of Said Akl was in his blue eyes. Through them you could see the purity of his romantic soul where absolutes reigned.
His perfectionist tendencies to idolize causes, ideas, people and leaders always led him to disappointments but his verses were perfection and they will never disappoint.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sabbouha: Our Aphrodite has gone

Sabah was more than a diva. She incarnated the positive, happy, joyful and beautiful Lebanon.
She was bright, flashy, hard working and a real star. She was a smile, a breeze, eternal youth, the Lebanon of my youth.
She was a symbol of goodness, love and giving. She was everything beautiful that Lebanon had to give.
The Lebanese spirit that refused to die even during the darkest days of the civil war. But now she is no more.
 I never knew she was so entrenched in my psyche. I felt like I lost someone very close although I do not remember meeting her.
If I had to choose between Sabah and Fairuz. Sabah would win every time, although it is Fairuz’ songs that I hear and enjoy. But just seeing Sabah on magazine pages made me happy, gave me hope.
Your passing away made me sad, Sabbouha. Sabbouha, this alias made her close to all our hearts.
She will remain entangled with the Lebanon that I love. She was the good life. The myth of pre-war Lebanon. The belief that everything will be alright and that the war will end and Lebanon will be rebuilt.
She was Lebanon’s Venus and Aphrodite, a real goddess. She was a bond between us Lebanese. She was our girlfriend, our wife, our mistress. Our pretty sister, our funky grandma.
It didn’t matter what god you prayed to, what politics you followed, how poor or rich you were, if you were Lebanese, you had Sabah imprinted like an invisible tattoo on your subconscious mind.
But now she leaves us in very uncertain, dangerous and desperate times. She took with her a part of the Lebanon that I loved; a part that will never come back.