The Usual Suspects

A little Syrian boy goes into the kitchen where his mom is cooking. While playing, he wears a “tarbouch” and a “shirwal”… and says: “Mom, look, I’m a Lebanese boy now.”!!

His mom slaps him in the face and says: “Go show your father.”

He goes to his dad in the living room and says: “Look dad, I’m a Lebanese boy.” His dad slaps him hard in the face and says: “Go show your grandmother.”

The boy goes in his grandmother’s room and says: “Look, Grandma, I’m a Lebanese boy.” His grandmother slaps him in the face and sends him back to his mother.

His mother says “See. Did you learn anything from that?”

To which the boy replies: “Sure did!! I’ve only been Lebanese for five minutes and I already hate you Syrians.”

I laughed after reading this and then I thought about the realism behind it. These last few weeks post-harriri has flown off the calendar and it’s been talked to death. The first question floating around was “who killed him?” and then it became “should Syria leave?”.

There are so many variables but it appears the Arab world is more or less split on the issue as many polls have indicated. It’s more or less 50-50 with the marginal error.

What this joke reflected to me was the pitiful state Arab nations are in socially. To me this whole situation feels like I was walking with a Lebanese and Syrian friend just yesterday in the park, chit chatting before suddenly a rock flies out of nowhere and hits the Lebanese in the back of the head. I look to see two bullies behind the tree giggling with such obvious admission of guilt and then I realize that their not giggling because they threw it and know we can do nothing about it, but because of what’s happening behind me. So I turn around and find that the Lebanese has started to fight with the Syrian over an invisible rock. At this point other friends have come to look at the situation and all 20 of us are arguing over who’s fault it is. Meanwhile in the background the 2 bullies escape unnoticed, like a thief in the night, very cloak and dagger.

What surprises me about this situation is that the usual suspects were let off the hook. These are the same people we suspect of consipiring to do just about everything, from 9/11 to no water pressure in the shower today. In most cases these conspiracies are deadpan humor at best, I personally brush them off because nothing logical about them jumps of the page. But when something like this happens, and not only does it jump off the page, but it smacks you on the forehead…the result was? Nothing. All eyes looked to Syria.

What troubled me was two-fold, I could not see the logic in Syria killing Harriri taking into consideration the context of timing. But over the weeks something greater troubled me. No conspiracy theories. Do we really despise each other to such an extent that we stop one of our greatest cultural traditions? I fear a day will come when I am not sipping tea in a village with a group of old men blaming it on Israel. Was it just a fad or a fashionable thing? Is Syria the new Israel?

My own convictions about what happened are my own and don’t play a factor in what I’m saying really. Personally I like to look at things from a realistic cost-benefit analysis. If everyone in the room is a usual suspect then who has the most to gain and who has the most to loose, that’s how you find you’re perp. I’m sort of reminded of a Fahrenheit 911 scene where Moore plays back a scene from Dragnet to remind us how detective work is really done.

I already hate the custom of throwing the blame on someone else’s shoulders. But I didn’t care so much in the past when it was Israel. Now I’m worried it’s become Syria.

I mean I saw flags in beautiful red white and green. I saw a great social statement. But they soon changed. The colors began to float around and those flag began to look more like Syrian flags on fire. People calling for freedom and liberty? Was Syria a brutal occupying force? Were they that foreign? We’ve got two of those now, one to the east and one to west of Jordan, is Syria the new member to join the team? I gotta say, the day Arabs protested against Syria more than they did against Israel and America was the day I began to question my state of realism.

To quote Fight Club….Have I been sleeping all this time?

Meanwhile, the 2 usual suspect rode off into the sunset, giggling at our foolishness.

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