Monday, April 11, 2011

The Lebanese National Anthem Is Not So Lebanese

Yes, I am very pissed but I have to announce that even the thing we pride the most and love so much is, in fact, stolen. Not surprising if you ask me. We, the lebanese, pride ourselves with stealing... pretty much everything. You name it, we stole it :D I'm not trying to denounce the potential and creativity we have, But we do steal a lot of good ideas. Have you seen Clementine lately??!! They're on the roll with this s**t.

Now back to the national anthem. Quoting wikipedia on this: "The Lebanese National Anthem was written by Rashid Nakhle and composed by Wadih Sabra." NOT so much... It WAS written by rashid nakhle BUT, the real music composition belongs to the Flayfel Brothers who composed this for a country then called Rif republic, which is known in our days as Morocco. On September 18, 1921, Rif republic announced its independence. On may 27, 1926, It was dissoluted by Spanish and French forces.

Now here's the funny part. Not more than a YEAR later, Wadih Sabra presented his masterpiece which was adopted in 1927 by the lebanese government. Now it's not just a note or two, He stole the WHOLE thing. But as embarrassing as this may sound, it is funny as hell. I mean, Internet wasn't even invented at that time, even Cars barely existed in our country. So you have GOT to admit that these guys are gooood at stealing. They had to get it the old fashioned way, not the youtube way. A year back then is like a day in internet time!!

So from now on, If you see a really catchy tune and you have the urge to steal it, just remember, its a genetic thing.. therefore you can't help but steal it :D
P.S: Can we now say "He pulled a Sabra" whenever someone steals a tune? Just a thought...

Al-Jadeed TV did a special on the subject last night and Ghassan Rahbani was rambling about how inappropriate it is to keep this anthem now we know it's stolen. Oh ghassan, we're not stupid enough to let you make a stupid rock version of the anthem for the fame and sake of immortalizing your name. Even though it IS stolen, doesn't mean we don't love it. Seriously, it still gives me the goosebumps whenever I hear the anthem, and to change it is to destroy that feeling of nationalism for at least a couple of generations...

Finally, we will always love you anthem, even though you were adopted... well more like kidnapped but you get my point..
Good night everyone... Or good morning... whenever you are reading this. And don't forget to listen to the Lebanese Moroccan Collaboration anthem before you head off to you daily business.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Lebanese Influence on Jazz!

Check This Out!!

   An american Jazz singer called Slim Gaillard lived in detroit through the 40s. He was apparently influenced by the well-known Arabic community that exists in detroit and wrote a couple of songs that have almost all arabic lyrics.

This one is called Yep-roc heresay. It's made up of food lyrics! Now all you arabs out there know that yabra2, or in the lebanese dialect wara2 3areesh, is stuffed grape leaves. Also, harissi is a meal made in special occasions in villages across lebanon and several other arab countries. It is made with wheat, chicken, and meat cooked slowly over long hours.

From what I've read so far, He was once broke and owners of an armenian restaurant took him in. So that's how he got the food lyrics from. He used many words but the ones I understood were: "kibbi b soniyi" (kebbe in a tray), la7me meshwi (ٌRoasted meat), Banadora (tomatoes), borghol, etc... The funny part is, The song was actually "banned on at least two Los Angeles radio stations for its suspicious lyric references to drug and crime"!! Now ain't that something... Yabra refers to drugs!! Well to be fair it is stuffed and rolled just like a joint... And harissi is cooked for long hours just like meth...

Now I cant get my hand on the second one but I've heard it before and it says "Sa3idi, kif l sa7a" which basically means "Good morning, how are you?" in the lebanese dialect... So if anyone finds it, please post it in a comment or e-mail it to me so I can add it here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My First Arak

The other day I was on my laptop viewing old pictures of family gatherings (The barbecue, Tabbouleh, hummus, Hookahs, and arak) that occur mostly on Sundays. So as I saw the arak bottles, I began this epic journey of self exploration and soul search... When was my first cup of arak??

To those of you who don't know arak, shame on you!
Arak is an alcoholic drink that is made exclusively in lebanon out of grapes and "Yansoon" or, as google translated it, Anise seeds. It is very strong and when mixed with water, to make it lighter, it turns white.

Soo back to my story :D
As I dwelled in the past, this random and really surprising memory came upon me... So here it is:

It was a sunny Sunday as we prepared the tables and the meat for the barbecue. My uncle, Lets call him MS, was building the fire to cook on. Now I was just 10, the age where the Christopher Columbus in you is ALIVE. So as I was admiring my uncle's then amazing skills of building a fire, I stumbled upon this great white mixture he was holding in his hands. So the following conversation took place:

Me: "Hey uncle MS, what's that in your hands?"

MS: "Oh don't you know what it is?"

Me: "No... Please enlighten me Oh wisdom uncle."

MS: "It's an amazing drink called white Nescafe."

Me: "Wooow!! is it good?"

MS: "it's amazing! Do you want some?"

Me: "ofcourse i do!! But why is it in a small cup?" 

MS: "Oh... because it's too delicious to be taken in large quantities... well, Here you go.. But before you take it, remember this, it's only good when you take it all at once."

Me: "OK!!!" (gulps drink all at once then spits half of it)
"OMG i hate it. I think I should stick to the regular Nescafe.." (Yes, most kids in lebanon start drinking coffee at a young age.)

And it wasn't until i was about 14 that i knew this drink was in fact Arak and not "White Nescafe"...
So Thank you uncle MS for the most Helpful and nurturing information you provided me all these years. 

And there it is, My first cup of Arak was an unintended one! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Lebanese boy

First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm one of those Lebanese people who live abroad (and wish they were back home). I've traveled almost my entire life, never in one place for more than 5 years. My passport has all kinds of visas, stamps, signatures.... So ya, I'm just a regular Lebanese...
This blog will mostly be about random funny situations that will happen or have happened to me in my life, while pointing out some of the MANY issues we have in Lebanon...