Beirut’s Newest Tourist Attraction: A Wall of Shame To “Protect” Our Politicians

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Originally posted on A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares:
Picture via @SalmanOnline. When you think Lebanon’s politicians couldn’t sink lower, they utterly and irrevocably surprise you. Two days ago, when we peacefully protested to defend our right to…

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When We Protested and The Lebanese Government Tried To Kill Us

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Originally posted on A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares:
At 6:00PM on August 22nd, 2015, around 10,000 Lebanese people gathered in Downtown Beirut to protest the country’s overwhelming garbage crisis and with it the corrupt political system…

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New Blog!

Hey everyone, in case you missed it I started a new blog called Resonance Theory in which I discuss findings in research on music psychology. Don’t worry, I won’t be leaving this site any time soon.


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How to write, according to the woman who wrote some of Pink Floyd’s biggest hits

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It sounded at first like drops of goo dripping from a stalagmite, each drop swiftly splashing to the ground before being followed by another. The drops did not echo-the sanctuary was not the massive, cavernous pit in the ground that people envisioned caves to be-but they still had a ring to them.

It was a green substance that the cave bled, thick and sludgy, appearing fatal to the touch. Each stalagmite fed a small but deep, murky pool that lay beneath it. I couldn’t tell if there were fish or any other lifeforms occupying the pools, or if they could even live in whatever that stuff was.

The cave was musty and humid, growing larger and deeper the further I progressed. Its air was something unusual: there was something organic about, like it literally breathed its oppressive atmosphere upon me; like there was something sleeping, hibernating, or watching me from somewhere within. Like that hadn’t happened before.

For some reason, and it baffles me to this day, there was the skeleton of a whale tucked into one of the walls: skull, ribcage and all. My limited knowledge told me that it was a blue whale, but I knew enough to know that it did not belong here. What was it doing there? More importantly, how did it end up there? Something told me that it had to have been dragged here as the skull was cracked, and some of the ribs looked broken and chewed upon.

Whatever it was doing there did not matter at that point: the ground began to rumble with slow, steady steps. Something big, gigantic was coming must have heard or seen me, and I wasn’t ready to make its acquaintance. Without another thought, I killed my flashlight and bolted for the skeleton, pressing myself behind one of the ribs until the unseen behemoth gave up its search; if it was pissed that it found nothing, it gave no indication. No grunts, angry howls, or broken stalagmites. Nothing.

Worn out, I decided that the rib was more comfortable than it appeared to be, and nodded off as more distant footsteps rumbled off in the distance.

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Here’s a monologue I wrote on the fly last night. Enjoy!


They say that you can’t remember things from when you were a baby. They call it “infantile amnesia”. There’s evidence for it but I refuse to believe it, just how like my boy Nadim’s grandma believes that the earth is flat. She’s old and spouts on about how the government lies to us, but that’s for another day.

I remember the last time I saw my dad like it was yesterday.

He was arguing with my mom about going to the store around the corner. She had him by his arms and was hissing at him, trying not to wake me up. I was watching from the bed since I didn’t have a crib. He won and promised us that he’d be back. He held me up and kissed my head, holding me for a good minute before doing the same with my mom and heading out the door.

Hours passed and he didn’t return. Mom waited for things to calm down outside and asked the neighbor’s husband had seen him. He went out to look for him and told her that he was lying dead in the street with the groceries all shot up. That was two days before we left for D.C.

There we were, another immigrant family, arriving tattered and haggard on the shores of opportunity with what little of nothing we had. We stayed in one of the roughest parts of town for five months because we bring enough money to rent, and it took mom three to find a job.

It was a miserable time in a miserable place, but for some reason I kept coming back, even after we moved to a slightly less-shitty part of Maryland. Still, I kept coming back to meet the boys and skate. Sure it was rough and at times it was tough being the only (relatively) white person there, but once I told them where I was from they’d either lay off or ask me about it.

Truth is I felt like an idiot at times because I didn’t know as much then, but moving on.

The DMV, and then the East Coast, was all I knew for a while but that all changed until I was about ten, when I laid eyes upon the old country for the first time. After that I just wanted more and people became a lot less interesting than they used to be.

So here I am now at the edge of the world, somewhere I never expected myself to be, happier than I ever was or expected to be, and this is how I got there.

Oh, before we move on, you’re probably wondering what to call me now. Ismael is my name, but my friends call me Ish.

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