Just under two years ago, I was in Paris with my wife. How the umr bi yigri. We visited the Arab Institute and bought some things there, and admired the view from its terrace. Then we crossed the Seine, and went up to the Place des Vosges, between the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement.
I saw an apartment for rent, and I thought to myself, yes, it would be nice to, again, live in Paris one day, before I became too old to do so, and my wife agreed.
She loves Paris, for her own reasons: mine is not only that the famed Egyptian writer Albert Cossery resided nearby for so long (I of course also went to visit the Hôtel La Louisiane in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, but alas there is nothing left of his romantic writer’s garret: it has been converted into some multi room living space), but because a sophisticated cultural notion of Arabness thrives in Paris, as you can see from the pic I have used as the header image to this post.
Compared to the wasteland of Florida, or the active suppression going on in New York, the notion of Egyptian and Lebanese and North African history and scholarship is alive and respected in Paris.
There are many serious problems, unfortunately, with the Jihadis in France: I would not rule out — if I were King of France — permanent expulsion or long term incarceration of those who advocate radicalized violence.
I support the idea of a laïque republic, which America, for example, is most definitely not, and thus do not think mass prayers in public spaces are appropriate; burkinis, ugly to look at as they are, I could care less about; and I personally feel sorry for young women who adopt the hijab.
Bearded unpleasantness aside, not far from the Institute is a wonderful Beiruti restaurant where I would love to have dinner again one day.
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, there’s no resemblance to a life lived in Paris, compared to say, Florida: it is as if they inhabit different worlds. Perhaps some of the 9.9 per cent “aristocracy” who dominate the Treasure Coast, where I live, are vaguely aware of the Paris I know. Perhaps they, too, recognize that the world would be a far better place free of religious superstitions.
But most of the gap-toothed locals who live here in trailer parks and attend Sunday services, well, all they truly care about — other than being assured that God and country are on their side — is finding another way to believe in the latest mensonges spewed by their venomous savior, the toxic Abydocomist-in-Chief.
I hope Macron (who is now rightfully paying a heavy political price for his right-wing policies as well as humiliating France on his recent White House visit) is eventually replaced by a full-throated Gauchiste. Why not? After all, this year in Cannes, it’s almost 1968 again.
I hope, too, Western Europe (absent the deeply misguided English, who may still wake up before it is too late — though I doubt it: the Brexit die is cast, and the Brits are lurching on a path that reminds me of a blind drunk person trying to stagger home) succeeds in realigning itself globally post-America, which it can longer rely upon nor agree with on most things that matter.
Should that happen, Western Europe would be a far better place to live in, for sure, compared to being subjected to Americana Collapsa.
I published a post yesterday about a novel called The Book of Khalid.
As usual, there was no commentary, and barely any views. I do not know why I continue to write posts in this blog, if the subjects I am interested in writing about are of little consequence to the average WP surfer. Maybe, and I say this unsneeringly, that their interest, or lack thereof, is hardly the point why I continue to add entries to this blog.
Now wading through The Book of Khalid is a hard slog. If you don’t believe me, here are my random notes that are just from the Preface (titled Al-Fatihah, which is modeled after sura Al Fatha, of course, or the opening verses of the Koran):
el shami – is that the band was called sam the sham?
AL FATHAH (intro)
the structure forming the entrance to a temple.
A scarf, usually of thin muslin, wound round the crown of a sun helmet or hat and originally fastened so that the ends hung down at the back to shade the neck.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Rosa Caroline Praed (1851–1935), novelist.
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition.Wikipedia
A scrip (or chit in India) is any substitute for legal tender. It is often a form of credit. Scrips have been created for payment of employees under truck systems, and for use in local commerce at times when regular currency was unavailable, for example in remote coal towns, military bases, ships on long voyages, or occupied countries in wartime. Besides company scrip, other forms of scrip include land scrip, vouchers, token coins such as subway tokens, IOUs, arcade tokens and tickets, and points on some credit cards.
Scrips have gained historical importance and become a subject of study in numismatics and exonumia due to their wide variety and recurring use. Scrip behaves similarly to a currency, and as such can be used to study monetary economics.
Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (German: [ˈhɛkəl]; 16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many …
a mixture of oil and balsam, consecrated and used for anointing at baptism and in other rites of Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches
a form of Jannah
“pale-faced intellectualities of Cairo flock”
So as you can see, he goes all over the place, as I am doing, in this post I must admit, the book’s not only heavy going, but tedious. I was bored stiff in fact, but kept going, because I am interested in understanding the structure of the novel, taking in the observations Rihani makes of life in lower Manhattan in the early part of the 20th Century, and reading about the tense developments that apparently take place later on the book — where I see parallels to what I am contemplating with the “Gouna novel.”
In other news, not much going on here: I look forward to the arrival of a Lavender plant that I intend to place in a large argile pot that I brought down with me from my former house in Greenwich.
But mostly what I am about these days is reading — a lot — widely and deep. I won’t bore you with the details, but I find this is what keeps me going, other than SUP paddling, losing weight, and exercising. All that physical stuff is only to allow the brain to survive ad long as possible in its encasement, such as it is nowadays. All I need is for that last to, er, last long enough to support my current ambitions.
So in that regard, it matters not if few of even no American readers of this blog are interested (or not) in novels such as The Book of Khalid, or who Al Shanfara was (and why exactly he’s a fascinating poet), or whether American War by Omar el Akkad is now part of my summer Reading List.
I mean no disrespect by that, truly, but instead of being glued to the telly every night watching Chris Hayes and Rachel and Lawrence, you — especially if you are an Arab-American, and are remotely interested in your cultural origins — might (or might not!) want try wading into Al Shanfara some, and you might get what I mean quicker than a takeout stop at Jimmy Mac: after all the L poem is less than 100 verses long.
Or, you can fester about Muller this and Trump that and Jerusalem the other thing and continue to have affrangis dictate the conversation inside your head.
Not that that’s any of me nittin’.