Saturday, 31 October 2015

It's Like Beirut Around Here...

Caf├ęs in downtown Beirut
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

O’Brien cut in. ‘Tom? Tom? You okay?’
Dunphy’s voice on the radio was tight. ‘We’re coming in. All units block access roads.’

Blue lights flashing, Dunphy’s car jerked forwards and right, sliding into the yard.

‘Dead. They’re all dead.’ O’Donnell sounded shaky. ‘It’s like Beirut in here.’

I have posted before about Lebanese blogger Jad Aoun's delightful campaign to post 'Looks Like Beirut' certificates to people who use this laziest of comparisons, although it looks like he's no longer running the campaign, which means I won't get my certificate.

Basically, he would send a certificate and some photos of modern Beirut to people who used 'looks like Beirut' to describe various degrees of carnage. Beirut, twenty years after the end of the civil war, doesn't look like that any more. It might stink, but it's not a war zone. It is, as I have pointed out many a time, a sexy, vibrant, gorgeous city with very up ups and, yes, very down downs. But it's not a war zone or the setting for something silly and lazy like 'Homeland'. To quote me:
"Beirut today is a complex city, sexy and shabby, filled with promise and hopeless, vibrant and drab, it rarely fails to entertain and challenge. Plagued by power cuts, creaking infrastructure and endemic corruption, Beirut is full of life, creativity and celebration – even if that celebration sometimes takes on a brittle, desperate air."
I couldn't resist it in my first non-Middle Eastern book and so here, in A Decent Bomber, we have what may be the first ironic use of the 'looks like Beirut' simile in print. You're welcome, Jad. That's what friends are for...

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