Á mon Beyrouth…
I went to three sessions in this conference… (actually 4 but one isn’t counted for homework)
The first one was about legendary singer, Sabah, her rise and downfall, and how she suffered from denial that she was
growing old. The session covered the reasons behind why she was not allowed by the public, to grow old gracefully, like Fairuz and Um Kulthoum… Personally I like Sabah’s songs, but I never knew her lifestyle was so harmful to her.
Haifa Wehbe was next… The Professor who presented Haifa Wehbe, seems to be an avid Haifa fan. Words like, “embodying the typical ideal of he Arab woman’s beauty…
With the professor’s descriptions, you would have thought Haifa had won the Nobel Prize or something. I am aware of the fact that Arabs are so judgmental of a woman’s sexuality, and Haifa is too harshly judged by too many hypocrites, but it doesn’t mean that we should turn her into some sort of martyr or something. I’m too idealistic in what I believe are the qualities of the true Arab woman, who for me is a symbol of strength, survival, intelligence and most of all, bravery. Of course, we should not forget a sense of rebelliousness we have kept hidden in the last few hundred years, although I believe it is returning to us.
There were other sessions that I attended, about Arab culture being taught outside the Arab World, and the Lebanese diaspora in Australia, which frankly amused me the most. Lebanese in Australia during the Cronulla Riots were accused of calling girls in bikinis a certain word I will not publish here since my mother reads all of my blogs….but anyhow.. I suggest that if any Lebanese abroad think that way means only one thing, that they have not visited Beirut recently. And by recently I mean the last 50 years… for goodness sake, my grandmother was the first girl in her village to wear a mini-skirt…now that’s what I call a Lebanese lady.
The session I had enjoyed the most was the session that was Fairuz’s documentary. It spoke of so much. For the
first time we had a closer look at who Fairuz was, the way she behaved, the way she spoke, drew shivers down my spine, as she told us of stories that we were waiting 60 years to hear… It was the only session in which people did not fall asleep, bite their nails, fidget, and a few tears fell, as always in the presence of the spirit of Fairuz. I wish that the feuds in the Rahbani circle would be respected by the public though, and not cause divisions among us. We have been united behind Fairuz in time of war and peace, we should at least respect that fact till the end of her days. Online covering was very effective because it simply covered so many aspects. When there were two sessions occurring at the same time we knew what was happening in both because we were online with each other…It was an enjoyable experience. The pictures and videos could have been more plentiful, but I believe some of us had limited resources.. Although we made the most of it. 🙂
The times where I enjoyed the online coverage the most was when we were many online at the same time… It was not fun to cover it when we were few… For example, while we covered Fairuz’s session, we were bombarding each other with comments continuously. In sessions when we were bored, we voiced what everyone was thinking..
The co-operation was fantastic… When I was alone.. it was not so much fun. We could have more communication among each other, although for a first time we were so nervous about getting our individual work properly done that we did not communicate with each other as we were supposed to…
For a first time it was nicely done. I look forward to the next major project. 🙂