Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Page Out of the Old Book, Or…

“Suffer the cowards, the helpless and the sycophants to come unto me.”

I stand corrected. The “march in support of the President” will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 pm. It will be mostly made up of state employees who will be bused from their offices to the Stadium in the company of military and security personnel, all dressed in civilian attire. These people will represent all of us, all too enthusiastically and honestly, of course, at the scheduled Freak Show.

Meanwhile, today, our brethren the Lebanese had a freak show of their own. It was the Nasrallah Hizbollah Show, where thousands of adoring appreciative fans sang the praises of the Syrian President and Benefactor, or rather the son of the Benefactor, or, to be even more specific, the second eldest son of the Benefactor, the first having mysteriously and prematurely died in an unfortunate car accident – he was driving his car like a maniac on the way to the airport. Everyone is always in a such rush to leave this country, even the Benefactor’s sons. I wonder why.

The real song and dance though, was about power, as usually is the case around here, in the land of oil and saber-rattling, milk and sour grapes. Nasrallah has it, and he is flaunting it, but a bit too conspicuously, I am afraid. He needs simply to hedge his bets with the Opposition, not get out of the game, an always dangerous game, especially for the Nasrallahs of the world. It is indeed understandable that he should attempt to sweeten his pot, but he should simultaneously avoid setting the Opposition’s teeth on edge. Milk and sour grapes are a particularly sensitive combination, you know.

He is his father’s son! Or so he likes to think

Back in good old Damascus, the President, then, will be attempting another tap-dance performance. He is bound to amaze us all, of course, albeit for slightly to radically different reasons. But that doesn’t matter really. To each toughling a constituency of sheep. A lion cub will not be denied to attempt to walk in his father’s footsteps. And who the hell are we to even think of denying him such a feat?

A page out of the Old Book indeed. “In times of trouble, my son,” his father must have taught him, “dance to the tune of your own fears and lies. The rest will follow.” And indeed they will.

But methinks “the rest” in 2005 has undergone a few slight to radical changes in comparison to the way “the rest” was in the good old 80s. Now, you see, we can watch dozens of channels and listen to scores of analysts dissecting the President’s words and body language, not in search of timeless gems, mind you, as was the case in the good old days, but in search of potentially fatal flaws in logic and conceptualization.

The people, then, will be fooled for the duration of the show mostly, then it will be back to the detoxification centers of al-Jazeerah, al-Arabiyah, Future TV, LBC, and Abu Dhabi. After a few days of these for some, a few hours for others, things will be back to normal again. The toughling’s sheep will return to exploring the wolverine urges inside of them, urges which are no longer dormant, but smoldering.

Theirs will not be a revolution, mind you, but a vendetta. Do you know now why I have to leave?

The Versailles Syndrome

Still, in the good Old Palace, a new plot is being hatched. The people, it seems, will be asked to eat cake and more empty gestures and promises instead of bread and some necessary and glaringly obvious truths, as a sign of support and allegiance to the President. Their stomach being equally empty, the people will attempt to comply, really seriously. Meanwhile they will be spinning guillotines in the air, that is, until such time, they get the chance to forge them out of steel. And then, the Syndrome will be that of the Bastille.

It won’t be long now. It won’t be long. Do you know now why I have to leave?

“I shall not be your lamb but your cross.” Or so I used to think. Now, however, I say: "I shall not be your anything. I am finally free.” And for this, for this, you see, I have to leave. I will leave.