Upheaval of the present takes you back to nostalgia. Fragments of memories play in your mind. Incoherent thoughts edited. There is a certain place in the past where a part of you lived and no matter how far you have come, nostalgia takes over. It’s a romance with the past. These vintage images in black and white or in faded colors revived from imagination in full color. Vivid colors surface haunted memories of a buried past.
After life is exploded, changed, dehumanized, there are shattered pieces that do not heal for years, if at all. “What is left are scars and something else – shame, I suppose, shame for letting it all continue. Glances at the past where solace in tradition and myth prevailed only brings more shame over what the present is. We have lost the splendors of what our ancestors have created and go elsewhere.” (Anthony Shadid _ House of Stone)
Why did Mirsal leave her letters here, between my hands? Uprooting her from her existence just like the poplar trees shed their yellow leaves to end a precarious phase of time’s chapter. And time passes, and it keeps going, and I see its footprints on top of these yellow worn-out pages…
(Translated from Tyour Ayloul, I did not do justice to the text but that’s the best I could do)
“Sometime in the middle of the 1970s, a glistening, barrel-chested, tri-colored robot of Japanese provenance entered the lives of Lebanese youth. Wing-like protrusions emerged from his incongruously teeny head like a set of bull’s horns. His arms were Herculean, substantial enough to hurl any enemy into a distant abyss, while his robot hands seemed always to be clenched into little balls of fury. On occasion, he would commune with a flying saucer, which allowed him to soar over the sky at light speed as he battled a malicious empire run by a galactic dictator named Lord Vega the Great and his equally malicious associates. This robot, this savior of humanity, was called Grendizer.”
I am very proud to be the first to translate this song into English, so here it goes:
The word ‘war’ is feared by all
Everything that one can think of
Environment, Economics, Politics
All joins in the fray
Man against man
Sending dancers of death into the battlefield
Changing the landscape, death to all
Leaving behind a stage, full of agony
What can we say,
When wars are waged?
Life persists, among a field of death, shallow, bleeding but still with breath. A flag once soaring high, now bathed in red still lies standing, among the fallen dream. The skies are smoke, thick and hot like an inferno of battle and shells. The earth is painted in shades of brown but where splashes of red taint the ground. While innocence dies, the flag endures to war’s overtures.
Maroun Bagdadi was arguably Lebanon’s most prominent filmmaker, one whose work has been seen all over the world. One of his best-known films, “Houroub Saghira” (Little Wars), a narrative on the brutalities of Lebanon’s civil war, was shown at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, drawing this comment from a prominent film critic: “To make a film about Beirut that eschews polemics for more universal, more human issues is an achievement.” In 1975, he directed his first feature film, Beyrouth ya Beyrouth, Koullouna Lil Watan, a 75-minute documentary produced in 1979, won the Jury Honor Prize at the International Leipzig Festival Documentary and Animated Film.
Astute minds have always found ways to each other, and these pairings aren’t always disastrous. In fact, sometimes these partnerships result in even greater productivity. One such couple that has contributed more then any other in human, civil, and women’s right, are Laure and Joseph Moghaizel. They maintained a romantic bond that centered around an intellectual and emotional intimacy unmatched by any of their other liaisons. They met at the age of 17 and were inseparable since.
This is war paint, he puts it on everyday so we can remind ourselves of the atrocities of a distance past. They seam like distant dreams painted to heal open wounds. Although his paintings are just pictures of this collective memory of a bygone war era, yet they are worthy of a thousand words as real as life itself.
Scarred from the relentless passage of time pitted with bombshells and covered with grime forgotten by those who oft pass it by, it rarely is gazed upon by anyone’s eye. Haunted by memories, littered with broken dreams, this old building crumbling down under the weight of its own conscious, stands there as a reminder of dark times passed.