Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category
Posted on September 9th, 2009 by admin. Filed under Lebanon.
I met Mona in Beirut. In her company I felt like an uptight prude. Probably because I was being one at the time (post-Iran), but also b/c Mona is so light and free. When I told Mona of what happened to me in Iran she immediately roared with laughter as if I just told her a hysterical joke. At first I did not know how to react to that but eventually I started cracking a smile- later even a snicker just to not rain on her parade. She loved telling everyone we met my story- sometimes in very incorrect wild interpretations. This usually sparked further laughter. After their roars of laughter died down people often left us with one-liners such as “that is horrible” and “I would be so scared.”
Something else fascinating about Mona is that she is just one representative of half the nation of Lebanon which supports Hezbollah. Sure, you may think of Hezbollah just as a terrorist group- but they are actually a recognized political party who perform major duties that the regular government is sometimes ill equipped for, such as providing schools, hospitals, social services, and defending from attacks- all of these things which easily win them fans. Sometimes some radicals in the group also do really stupid things like out of the blue sending rockets into Northern Israel- Not good, at all. I think most Americans would think that a female Hezbollah supporter would be covered, and submissive- bogged down with the mundanities of cooking, cleaning & raising several children. Mona however does not cover, shows off her figure, has a very cool job, travels the planet, is an expert tango dancer, a single mom, practices energy work, and captivates many a man. I love when people defy stereotypes with such unabashed style as Mona does. But part of this is that Hezbollah supporters truly are much more “mainstream” than we see in our news back home.
Despite what people warned me about terrorism and pollution, Mona made me go into the Mediterranean Sea south of Beirut to soak and ride waves for hours as we cracked open unshelled almonds with our teeth. We wore bikinis as other women went in fully covered. There seemed to be no strangeness about this. We also debated global politics, and went wine tasting in vineyards that rival California’s…. Staying at her apartment, Mona taught me how to “make” Lebanese cheese (soaking it in water), and thought it was funny that I took notice that her place is above a sometimes heavily sedated- sometimes not- roaring caged lion in a small zoo. She said she is so used to it she never hears it anymore- I am sure that’s a skill she had to develop while pressing on with life as usual during a decade of gunfire & bombings during Beirut’s civil war. On the other hand, I, the spoiled American, had to wear earplugs to drown out the roaring lion just so I could sleep at night- even after the long bath in the Mediterranean.
- Some photos from Misrata… stories to follow.
- The Boat to Misrata (Libya): Men’s quarters vs. Women’s quarters
- Why I had to visit Misrata (Libya).
- Greetings from Benghazi, Libya
- Just another day in Cairo…