Monday, January 24, 2011

Conspiracy Theories in Lebanon

Last night the electricity went out shortly after Sayyed Nasrallah's speech and remained off all night into morning. I could not help thinking that it must have been intentional somehow because I just moved into a mixed neighborhood of Sunnis and Shi'is and the power usually only went out during the day in the other neighborhoods that I have stayed in. Of course it was probably just routine or if there was a conspiracy it was only because the neighborhood is not as well to do as my previous hoods. Fewer commercial businesses around to make the necessary bribes. But that is what Lebanon does to your brain. It reminded me of last summer when I wrote the following field note:

This afternoon the electricity went out for around one half an hour, despite being out this morning for the scheduled three hours. G, a firm supporter of Hariri, told me that the power outage was because the Saudi King was visiting Lebanon and Michel Aoun was not happy about the visit. She said that his son was the head of the energy ministry and they cut the power to prevent the Lebanese people from watching the Prime Minister welcome his austere guest. She insisted that she knows this was the case because that is how Lebanon works. She later repeated this theory to F but also included Hizbullah in on the plot.

I do not mean to complain about life here. While my Internet has not worked for three days I am still able to sit in a cafe all afternoon long and work without having to reorder food or drink every hour. Such a lovely place. The cafe manager is sitting in front of me eating and chatting with a friend and a (very loud) young American girl just interrupted them to ask for a marker. She could have asked any of the other three employees actively working. I mean why interrupt a man's meal?

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