That’s right, friends. QN is leaving the old country and returning to the New World where a dissertation and several sections of over-ambitious undergraduates await. I hope to keep the blog up so keep stopping by, won’t ya?
What a difference nine months make. Back when we set up shop, the media was full of news about Syria’s emergence as the go-to power for regional influence-mongering. Today, Saudi Arabia is thumping its chest again. And yet… things don’t seem all that different.
Later this week, I hope to be back to regular posting, but for now I leave you with a conversation between me and the doorman of my building, about my impending departure.
Kamal: We’re going to miss you Mr. Elias.
QN: I’m going to miss you too, Kamal. Are you planning on staying in Lebanon for long?
K: Nope. I’m going to try and smuggle myself into Greece.
QN: Interesting. Sounds dangerous.
QN: Why take the chance?
K: The economy’s terrible here. I only make $300 a month.
QN: Where’s your family?
K: Deir az-Zor [eastern Syria].
QN: Near the secret nuclear plant that the Israelis bombed?
K: I wouldn’t know anything about that, Mr. Elias.
QN: Why not just go back to Syria?
K: Ha ha ha. You’re joking right? As bad as Lebanon is, it’s 100 times better than Syria.
QN: Really? In what way?
K: Look, our foreign policy is good, but everything else is terrible. The economy is bad, the infrastructure, the jobs, education… everything.
QN: That’s too bad.
K: Plus, the worst thing… the censorship. It’s just awful.
QN: You mean, journalists? Intellectuals?
K: Well sure, that too, but I mean the internet. What are the three most important sites on the internet?
QN: Umm, I don’t know. Google? Ummm…
K: (with a pained expression) No! No, no no no… The three most important sites are: Facebook, YouTube, and Hotmail.
QN: Oh yes, those too.
K: Facebook, YouTube, and Hotmail. Those are the three most important sites on the internet, and they are ALL banned in Syria. (Shooting me an incredulous look). I mean, can you believe that?
QN: Must be rough.