Archive Page 2

meat, fear and segregation

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The soul travels by horseback. In this age of flight that means -while I have arrived in Cape Town a few days ago- my soul has barely made it across the strait of Gibraltar, galloping on the rocky beaches of Morocco and starting the long trek into the African continent. Do I envy my soul or does it envy me? It has been missing out on comfortable airplane seats and complimentary bags of nuts, also, I think it might have enjoyed the annoying looks of compassion when I informed the 2 American girls on a Christian mission to Tanzania in the seats next to me of my hedonistic tendecies to do illegal substanses and dance to rave music. Ah, well…

Last night we had a braai. Delicious dead animals in copious amounts were devoured with our very South African guests. 3 entire chickens, lamb chops, 2 meter pork sausages, filled with cheese and bacon. I thought I would prepare a salad, and while cutting tomatoes our host comes into the kitchen and curiously asks why I am doing a woman’s job. I answer I quite enjoy the meditative aspect of cutting vegatables. Later he shows me his work-out room. A tiny room crammed full of medieval-looking torture devices. A blackboard showed his progress. He had used names from the tv show Spartacus to name his work-out days. Today was Krixus-day.

A story during dinner: A South African restaurant offers a 1 kilogram steak. If you eat it whole, you get another one for free. A man enters the restaurant and successfully eats both steaks. Afterwards the concerned waiter asks him if he would like to have a salad or something to balance out his diet. The man answers: “If I wanted a salad, I would order a chicken.”

During the drive back we nearly drive into a township. Our driver freaks out, and quickly makes a u-turn. I feel fear. At every “robot”, every dark street, every time a black man gets close to us. I hate myself for it but i can’t help it. Have I been conditioned by our white South African hosts? How much of this fear is imagined and how much is actually true? How many stories of burglaries or murders does it take to permanently instill a feeling of insecurity?

I remember reading about racism, how it’s an onion: at its core fear, around it layers of anger, and finally a skin of habits and rituals.

A fact: In white communities there is 1 policeman for every 11 people, in townships 1 in 50.

Nelson Mandela is in a vegetative state.

Backstage at the Zef Side – Die Antwoord plays at Club Trouw, Amsterdam

14:00 – Club “Trouw” Amsterdam on a rainy Monday afternoon, after a weekend filled with sunshine and festival fun. Unrelenting daylight of the palest kind shines through the windows and puts everything in a very un-club like atmosphere. I have been in clubs on strange moments, and believe me, also on Monday afternoons, but this is definitely the strangest. Everything is squeaky clean, and the only people around are some sweaty blokes trying to lift a crate on the stage. There is no music, and it smells like cleaning agent and coffee. As I said, the strangest moment. It’s another seven hours before the South African white trash rap spectacle goes down here, but already all the lights and the splendid Function-1 sound system are up and running. I’m wondering whether Die Antwoord’s “next level beats” are going to sound any good tonight.

15:30 – I try to find the man in charge, and it turns out his name is Lenny. A name that suits the guy in charge I think. “I was here since 9 this morning my friend. It’s always a day’s work to get this shit going, but when it’s done, it’s done!”

Tonights act has already arrived, but is apparently still recovering from previous gigs in their tour bus parked out back. Lenny already went outside and saw one coming out the bus. “He looked really rock ‘n roll. A real homeboy…”

17:00 – I wander backstage to see whether any of the artists have arrived. This is not the case. The dressing rooms are empty. Bowls of fruit and nuts covered in household film fill the table. The fridge is giving a friendly buzz, almost inviting me to open it. I feel like a kid left alone in a room full of candy. Which actually is the case, if your replace candy with rows of delicious looking Becks beer. I resist my budding alcoholism and close the fridge. Do you know what makes Becks so awesome? That aluminum foil around the neck. Peeling it off is a great activity while drinking. I’m telling you, somewhere in Germany, people thought of this.

I continue my stroll, now joined by my -super hot- (did I mention female?) partner in crime and photographer, to the dressing room belonging to the support act. We look around and take some pictures. Awesome graffiti. They have stupid Belgian Jupiler beer instead of glorious German Becks. 25 centiliters instead of 33. That must mean they’re 8 centiliters less awesome. And also, no foil to peel off! There has to be a difference I guess. I steal some chocolates and one of those totally inferior beers and we continue our shrewd raid through the backstage areas of Trouw.

17:30 – The first soundcheck begins. The sound guy is making neanderthaler-like noises into the microphone, but doing so with a totally serious and professional look on his face. It’s very hard not to find that hilarious. Meanwhile, desperate fans start gathering in front of the club, looking for a last ticket for this sold-out event. The doorbell rings constantly. But Trouw is ruthless. “But I came all the way from Tilburg, and I’ll wait here all day long, will you give me a ticket please?” No we won’t.

20:00 – Some noises from the backstage area, apparently, our South African guests have arrived. We don’t hesitate and make our way downstairs to take some pictures and maybe even a quick word with the artists. Before we can even get close to the dressing room where I previously drooled all over their fridge, we are stopped by an extraordinary little man with a quick temper and a shapeless t-shirt. He’s got this fanatical lok in his eyes. “No-one is allowed in this area, you have to leave!”

Behind him the door to the dressing room opens and we stretch our necks to peep inside, just in time to be granted a look upon the fabled Watkin Tudor Jones (aka the Ninja) and Yo-landi Vi$$er enjoying a beer (fabled because her voice sounds like she just inhaled a bunch of helium) Dj Hi-Tec (He owns a PC computer) is nowhere to be seen, but before we can look for him we are reminded once again of our unwantedness by the tiny English bloke. It now occurs to me this man must be their tour-manager. Surely, he must be part-midget. A normal person can’t be this small and still have a temper. Who would hire a midget tour-manager? That’s just silly. But hey, Die Antwoord featured pregoria (a super-fast aging disease) patient Leon Botha in their video clip “Enter the Ninja”, so that must mean they have a thing for people with disabilities.

21:00 – The club just opened and the first guests arrive. Nice people, not the normal type that would visit Trouw on a normal night. Remark of the night: “Wow! This place is awesome, they should definitely hold techno parties here!”

21:30 – Aux Raus, the support act begins their show. One guy plays the guitar and the other one screams hysterically in a microphone. Lovely tunes indeed. Meanwhile, we sneak backstage to see what they did to their dressing room. The music they play implies they drank a bottle of vodka each and they just totally trashed the room. We expect total mayhem, a small fire, passed out strippers and drugs everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, a bottle of vodka is on the table but they maybe drank two glasses. The apple juice on the other hand is almost finished. Pussies. I check the fridge. The only beer missing is the one I stole previously. I am so disappointed in rock ‘n roll right now. As a punishment I steal two more. Our second attempt to get into the main dressing room is once again thwarted by the evil British midget. O! How I hate him.

22:15 – Finally, The South African phenomena mounts the stage in Trouw for their show, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome. Yo-Landi totally makes up for her size with spectacular raw rapping power and some dirty moves, and Ninja, it turns out, possesses amazing crowd-surfing skills, which is impressive for a guy who looks like the gangsta-rap-version of miss Twiggy. They changed clothes four times, and for the last song they all wore bunny suits. You can’t argue with bunny suits. As a result the crowd goes insane. We attempt to take pictures, but some big douchebag with a much larger camera (compensation) is in our way. Ninja screams something about multiculturalism with his adorable South African accent. The crowd loves him for it. Admittedly, it would have helped if they actually had a black person in their group, which is not the case except if Yo-Landi turns out to be an albino. That would be sick. And it would fit their disabilities-fetish too.

23:30 – Afterwards, we try once more to sneak some pictures, and maybe a quick interview. No luck. All we get to see is a now seriously annoyed and worryingly red-faced tour manager. My Almost Famous dream just bursted: No doing cocaine with Dj Hi-Tec for me, no backstage pictures of me chillin’ with the creme de la creme of the South African hip-hop scene. We decide to go home. Ah well, we got some free beers out of it. Plus I got to see Yo-Landi’s ass. Totally worth it.

Words: Pepijn van den Wall Bake

Photo’s: Laura Luikens

Hungover at Hezbollah Headquarters


Saturday morning 09:30 pm, Beirut, Lebanon. I am brutally awoken from a drunken, dreamless sleep. “Get up, we’re leaving for Dahier in 15 minutes.” In quick succesion images from last night run trough my mind, the Basement, strobe lights, Anton Pieete, me hanging on to the speaker trying not to fall, puking. There’s definitely gaps, I know that. I get out of bed and walk to the toilet, and while taking these first unsteady steps of the day I realize two things. Firstly, I am still drunk, and secondly, I am completely naked. Why am I naked? Where are my clothes? How long did I sleep? 3 hours? 4? That’s not nearly enough time to get all that vodka out of my system. I’m in for at least 2 hours of blissful drunkenness before the real hangover kicks in. I decide to brush my teeth for my classmates sake, and while doing so I find most of my clothes in the shower. Strange.

I stand in the elevator to go down to the hotel lobby, my finger hovers in front of the button that says “0”. My hands are shaking uncontrollably and the inside of my head feels like a gyroscope gone mad. A voice in my head says ‘…go back to bed, sleep it off…’ It’s true, I can go back to bed. There is always a choice -I mean, its not like they can make you go or something… No! You must go, it’s a great opportunity, great material awaits! And above all, these media department people have no idea what to say to a Hezbollah spokesperson, they need some IR expertise.

An excruciating taxi ride later and we are in Dahier, the Hezbollah controlled part of Beirut. Here you can find pictures of martyrs displayed all around next to posters of Hassan Nasrallah smiling benevolently and advertisements that show female body parts are painted over with black paint. Everywhere there is construction going on. They’re still rebuilding the damage done by Israeli airstrikes and artillery attacks in the 2006 war. While waiting, my physical situation goes from terrible to abysmal. I can tell you now, the only thing worse than having a terrible hangover is having to experience the transition from being drunk to having a terrible hangover while being wide awake and experiencing every gruesome detail of it. To make things worse, we’re standing in a terribly hot and dusty alley in a very unfriendly part of town. The people that pass us give us scornful looks, and mumble arabic sentences that really don’t sound like ‘good morning’. My stomach is starting to feel slightly queazy, and I silently pray to Allah to help me keep the vomit down.

Finally the rest arrives, and we are taken to an inconspicuous building with equally inconspicuous looking men in green uniforms who are hanging around a little too discreetly. We go up some stairs and are brought to a room with comfortable chairs and couches by a friendly woman who asks if we would like some tea. Finally. Some much-needed liquid is on the way. Maybe I will survive this after all. We sit down, and are left alone for a little while. All around the room are Hezbollah flags and again posters of Nasrallah and his former second-in-command Imad Mughniyah -the man who killed the most Americans before 9/11. He died in an alleged Mossad conspired assassination in Damascus in 2008 (bomb in driver seat headrest). Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, was promptly declared “man of the year 2008” by Israeli Channel 2 News.
Julian and Andrew get their camera gear ready, and we pose in front of the Hezbollah flag while wearing sunglasses and looking really awesome. Giggles all around, until the door opens and an impressive man in a suit enters, followed by the woman with our tea. Our giggles our smothered, and we hastily scuttle back to our seats.
To my horror I see that the tea cups are about the size of a tequila shot glass (I know, bad comparison) That is not nearly going to be enough fluid for my raging thirst. Metaphors of droplets of water evaporating on cooking plates go through my mind, but I am brought back to the real world when the man in the suit starts speaking in perfect Oxfort English. He introduces himself as Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi, “Chief of Media Relations of Hezbollah”, he doesn’t fail to add. He starts by handing out several leaflets and books on Hezbollah and the 2006 war. Among those a book on weapons sales of EU countries and US to Israel, and Israel’s consecutive use of it. I leaf trough it. Apparently the Dutch government, together with a lot of other EU countries, have been busy little bees, selling all sorts of weaponry to Israel, including the infamous cluster bombs and phosphorus grenades. I continue reading, apparently these cluster bombs are rockets filled with 600-800 separate little bombs, each with a bright yellow or pink ribbon attached to it, so that when they fall to the earth and fail to explode (which is about 4 times out of 10), they’ll get stuck in trees and bushes, and make a great mine. In the final days of the 2006 war, the IDF dropped thousands (do the math: 1000×800/0,4=160000 unexploded cluster bombs) of those nasty things above Southern Lebanon, effectively making the place uninhabitable. Children are particularly drawn to these things and to prove this point the book also features pictures of little children without legs and/or arms, or terrible head wounds. In one picture an adorable little girl with bright green eyes stares into the camera. A large piece of her head is missing. The slight queasiness in my stomach now turns into violent nausea, and I have to put the book down. ‘Nose in, mouth out’… Ancient zen breathing techniques are needed to prevent myself from puking my guts out in the Lebanon Hezbollah headquarters.

I finish the tea in one tiny gulp, and I wonder how they manage to get that much sugar into such a small quantity of tea. Impressive. Dr. Mousawi in the meantime has started a monologue following each question we ask. He is now talking about the “new strategy” that Hezbollah is implementing on the streets of Lebanon. They have stopped showing weapons openly, in an attempt to get rid of their paramilitary image. Dr. Mousawi tells about an event that occurred last year, when Sunni militants had opened fire on Hezbollah members in a sectarian dispute. “Not a single bullet we fired in return!” he proudly exclaims. “Well, that’s pretty impressive for the organisation that invented suicide bombing.” I can’t help to think. Before the 2006 wars, Hezbollah was proudly parading Katyusha-122 rockets through the streets of Dahier, but today things have changed, apparently. Hezbollah is still considered to be one of the strongest military forces in the area, with more rockets and weaponry than most countries in the area. But in Beirut, you will not see any of that. They are struggling to change their image. They have suffered a tremendous blow in public support after the 2006 war and many Lebanese blame Hezbollah for provoking the IDF with their “Operation Truthful Promise” which lead to the invasion of Southern Lebanon and the bombardment of Beirut.

I realize something. What if we are part of that strategy? What if we are supposed to go out to our countries and spread stories of moderate looking, Oxfort educated men in suits that serve you ultra sugary tea and hand out neat looking leaflets written by western journalists? Dr. Mousawi knows that in our countries his organisation, the resistance, is described as a terrorist organisation. Perhaps he hopes to change that through us.
Well, he has a point. There is definitely some changes needed in our perception of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is political party, it is a school, a university, a television and radio station, it’s a labour union, a housing project, and yes, it is also a paramilitary force. People that work for Hezbollah are teachers, students, presenters, street makers, traffic wardens, farmers, journalists, and yes, militants. In our media the only Hezbollah members we get to see are the ones holding AK 47’s burning Israeli flags and chanting “down with the Zionists!” I mean, let’s get some facts straight: Hezbollah condemned Al-Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks on civilians, in an interview with the Washington Post, Nasrallah condemned violence against American citizens, and Hezbollah has not committed any suicide attacks since the IDF withdrew from Lebanese territory. And above all, the majority of Lebanese people consider Hezbollah’s existence and presence in Lebanon justified.

After Dr. Mousawi has finished, we leave our comfortable airconditioned room, and head back into Dahier, under supervision of a dangerous looking man with scars on his face and a walkie-talkie in his right hand. We walk through Dahier, and are allowed to take pictures on several occasions. At one point we see a butcher shop, with a skinned, but nevertheless intact cow hanging from his anus by a hook. The butcher himself stand next to it and grins. Yes. This is exactly what you want to see when having the most inappropriate hangover in you life. We are shown the former Hezbollah tv-station (a giant hole in the ground), and we walk through the streets, where most buildings are still under construction. We are told all of the projects are paid for by Hezbollah. I can’t stop thinking  that all that money was once Iranian oil, or Syrian taxes. And the bombs that destroyed the buildings in the first place are perhaps my fathers tax euros. The world is a strange place. Now that I know that, can we go find some aspirin please?

Self-censorship on facebook: The tragic loss of truth on the web

“There was an estimate last month that Facebook has something like 130 million unique visits every day. It now acts as a vast market place for ideas, preferences, suggestions and actings-out, extending far beyond the capacity of conventional institutions to influence.”

-David Aaronovitch

                                                                             

I used to live in Berlin. It was a glorious period during which I wallowed in wonderful hedonism. My life in Berlin meant maximizing my net pleasure together with a group of people with which I worked for “Zitty”, a magazine for the night. We lived together in a “WG” (wohngemeinschaft=sort of a living community) in Prenzlauer Berg. 27 people, 13 nationalities, and 1 kitchen. Just imagine the beautiful chaos.

I had especially developed a mutually reinforcing relationship with some guys from Boston, who were studying German in Berlin. I showed them how we spend the night in Europe -which they seemed to appreciate, and in return they introduced me to strange drinking games featuring ping-pong balls and something called a beerbong, but most importantly, they introduced me to facebook. Hundreds of pictures I have from these guys, pokernights that got out of hand, Thursdays at club Weekend, that one night Mike peed in a beer bottle and accidently drank it, the time Cody passed out face-down on the floor, that drunken boxing match in the middle of the night. The list is endless.

After I moved back to the Netherlands I wanted to relive those moments, and to my unpleasant surprise I found out I was -in fact, the only one who wanted to relive them. To make things worse, I started to get requests to stop tagging them in my pictures, or to even delete entire albums (Especially the album called “The gay bar” -the night everyone got naked-). When I refused, because I did not have the original pictures, they got really pissed off, telling me it was non of my business and I should “respect their privacy”. 

You see, my Boston friends had all finished their studies, and wanted to become bankers, stock brokers and government officials. And apparently, people in those lines of work never ever once step out of line. They never go to clubs or bars, they never get drunk, never even hold a beer in their hand. Their lives consist of continuus polite smiles and decently posed pictures with equally decent friends. If you have to believe their facebook profiles, family gatherings are their favorite pastime, together with some sports and cultural activities.

What has happened? What went wrong? We all cheer when Google decides to stop censoring in China, but we blatantly self-censor our very own lives until all that’s left is some hypocritical, politically correct version of it. A lie!

So I ask myself this question: Is privacy more important than the online truth about ourselves? And what do you know? There is an amazing article in the Times with exactly that phrase as a title! David Aaronovitch, columnist for the Times and award-winning writer has beaten me to the punch. You can find it here.

According to him, privacy is a cultural phenomena, and thus subject to cultural changes and influences. That makes the value of privacy fluent: “My view was that privacy was a culturally determined concept. Think of those open multiseated Roman latrines in Pompeii, and imagine having one installed at work.” More recently, I can think of other (cultural) influences on privacy. Take Saudi Arabia. It’s an entire society where certain aspects of privacy have become unnaturally important, or India, where en-mass pooping on the railroad is as normal as buying a pack of gum.

So it seems that the ease with which we can pretent online is going to mean the end of truth on the web. A truth that is, according to mr. Aaronovitch “essential to the value of the internet.” He continues: “Lack of privacy may be uncomfortable. Lack of truth is fatal.

Let’s hope that the cultural forces from facebook and other online networks as ‘insitutes’ change our concept of privacy before it’s too late, and we are stuck with facebook as a accumulation of fake lives and half-truths.

 Mr. Aaronovitch seems not to worry: “My children — Generation Y, rather than the Generation X-ers who make most of the current fuss about privacy — seem unworried by their mother’s capacity to track them and their social lives through Facebook. In fact, they seem unworried by anybody’s capacity to see what they’re up to — until, of course, it goes wrong. They seem to want to be in sight, and much effort goes into creating the public identity that they want others to see.”

I guess what I am trying to say is, post those embarrasing pictures online: that one drunken night, that nip-slip, that picture of you making out with a german midget, LET’S GET IT OUT THERE! Let’s change our culture!

Let me start:

Beirut street art continued

Before more taxi driver stories (currently working on the “incredible stories” part of the triptych) will find their way to this blog, let me first show you some more stencil art straight from the walls of Beirut.

Also, here I have a link to Ella’s blog, you can see her make some of the paintings I took photographs of.

Found this one on a construction site on Hamra street.

"Don't get any closer, my heart might swallow you"

More Ella

I think this is the same artist as the “triangulated city” stencil from the last street art blog. Anarchism is still alive in Beirut… At least on the walls it is.

It says “smoke” and a guy choking himself (?). This I found on these stairs near the sea. I was told that a lot of “forbidden things” happen on these stairs when night falls:

Getting ass-raped by the grim reaper. “Bareback” is a part of a larger group of stencils and graffiti artists in Beirut that deal with homosexuality.                        There is even a website on the top-10 gay stencils in Beirut. Click here to view.

This one is obviously also part of the gay stencil art series… Nice eh?

This one is fairly self-explanatory

This particular wall provided a lot of material…

Beirut taxidrivers Part I: How this city works

Taxi drivers. In every city in the world they are the ones on top of things. Constantly driving around they are aware of everything, not just by looking at the world around them through their car windows, but also by talking with their passengers. They can tell you everything that is wrong and right about their city, the latest news, the juiciest gossip: they are the people to talk to. Although taxi drivers are not known for their intelligence or exceptional social perception, they do sometimes give a very accurate, and usually extremely funny look at the world around them.

Beirut is not an exception, and I would like to start with a small personal project on Beirut taxi driver stories. In the short period that I have been here, I’ve already heard so many, I just can’t help to share them with you guys. 

On our way to school, our driver gave us an insight into a growing problem in the streets of Beirut: parking. (Traffic issues are, unsurprisingly, known to be very high upon the list of favorite subjects that taxi drivers like to talk about…) We drove through a busy shopping street, which was also an important vain for traffic going to the city centre. Our driver pointed out the many double-, and sometimes even triple-parked cars on the side of the road. The parked cars sometimes blocked the road completely, and this resulted in deafening, and mostly pointless horn-banging by drivers. “You see my friend, in Beirut parking is impossible! Stupid people parking everywhere blocking the road making many people angry, this is not good!”  He shared his insights with us while we waited for a small truck which was unloading vegetables with an excruciating lack of urgency. “It is a problem yes? You know why? Building a parking garage is not making many people rich, instead they built other building making them very rich, so they buy more cars, and they cannot park also!”

Baffled by the brilliant simplicity of his logic, I asked him whether he could perhaps enlighten us with a solution to this problem. “No problem!” he told us, “We will have only taxi’s, no normal cars. Taxi’s never park, and also many dollars for me yes?”

That same day I took a “service” (the difference between service and taxi is an extra zero to your fare, good thing to know when moving around the city), and we passed a military checkpoint. I quickly grabbed my camera to make a picture of the dangerous looking men carrying loaded M16 assault rifles. The driver was quick to interfere. He told me that in Beirut you cannot use a camera anywhere, and if the military catch you using one, they won’t hesitate to break it or take your film/memory card.

Hold on a minute. We went to Beirut to undertake a huge mobile media project, and we are not even allowed to use our mobile media devices, by penalty of vandalism? Something is terribly wrong here, and I even started to doubt the usefulness of te entire mission. I asked the driver why the military is so paranoid about camera’s. “They are afraid of Hezbollah spies, they are afraid of them because they have bigger guns, and maybe they take pictures of the soldier and the Hezbollah come to his house and kill the wife and kids…”

Hezbollah, who still controls large parts of the city actually outgun the Lebanese army on many fronts (they have missiles, something the Lebanese army apparently don’t have access to), I knew this, but I never realized what this meant for the city. There is a constant sectarian power struggle going on (Hezbollah-Lebanese army is merely one of the many power struggles that are going on), and one of the countless intangible “victims” of this power struggle is the freedom to document as you please.

So how will we deal with this? Our main project is a large “mapping Beirut” project, in which we use small camera’s and hand-held devices to capture Beirut on as many fronts as possible. This ban on camera’s is making this rather difficult, to say the least. For example, if you get caught using a camera in the Hezbollah controlled part of Beirut, members of the militia could easily capture you and hold you for interrogation for several hours, or even days. They don’t have to follow any laws. This has happened to many Lebanese students I met and heard of.

So a challenge indeed. Me and Rawad will take this on. Armed with concealed camera’s and microphones and a crappy looking car to avoid attention and blend in, we will attempt to capture on film as many checkpoints and cranky looking soldiers as possible. We’ll drive past the president’s house, politicians houses, military bases, etcetera. When stopped by the military, we will try to capture the conversation on tape, using my mobile phone. We will implement the same strategy when we visit Dahier tomorrow. Let’s see if we can successfully take on this suffocating veil of sectarianism that lies over this city by using simple mobile technology and a passion for freedom of media.

Wish us luck…

Unravelling Beirut street art is an art in itself

Beirut is a vibrant place, an intense place, a chaotic place. A place full of conflict and harmony, a place filled to the brim with emotion and history. It’s a city that collides with itself on religious, political and social grounds. And all this results in inspiration. Inspiration that can be found on the city walls in drawings and graffiti.

I was lucky enough to walk the streets today with Ramona Hijazi, looking for people we could interview on the history of Hamra, a neighborhood in Beirut. We passed some streets and I was drawn to the political and non-political graffiti on the walls, and took pictures. Without Ramona, I would never even have had a clue what it all meant. Hereby I share them with you.

this one does not need a lot of explaining…

President Mubarak of Egypt built the wall on the border with Gaza, this is not received well (to say the least) by many Arab countries. He is helping the enemy (Israel) contain the Palestinians. Indirectly, he is killing Palestinians, his fellow Arabs.

Underneath it says “smile”

I absolutely adored this one. Kinda reminded me of the movie 300. This. Is . Sparta!!!! hahahaha!

“Ella” is a female street artist with a very personal style. I was told by the internetcafe owner her work is so popular some people tear out pieces of the wall to take it home. This one was too big for that luckily…

yeah well, i can’t say smart stuff about all of them:)…

apparently the arab on his underwear says ” Mohammed put his hand on top of this”… Danish cartoonist eat your heart out:)

This is the last one for now. I have so may more, but uploading them takes AGES… And I desperately need a cold Lebanese beer… Shukran for reading people!