Matters of the Heart

This must be the best National News Agency headline ever:

أفاد المندوب الأمني للوكالة الوطنية للاعلام، أن شخصا من آل زعيتر أطلق قذيفتين صاروخيتين في الهواء، في حي الشراونة في بعلبك، بعدما فشل في اختطاف فتاة

“A member from the Zoaiter family fired two RPGs in the air in Baalbek’s Sharawneh neighborhood after he failed to kidnap a girl.”

I love these guys. Anybody else would just shrug his shoulders if he failed to kidnap a girl. But not the Zoaiter boys. They don’t repress their rage; they express it in a healthy cathartic exercise involving shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons.

And “kidnap”? Really? I think that’s a little bit much. What it sounds like to me is that this guy asked a girl out on a date, and she told him to get lost. So he put a bag over her head and tried to stuff her in the trunk of his car, but she kneed him in the groin and fled. I’d hardly call that attempted kidnapping. As a friend wrote to me this morning, “In my day, we called it ‘a-courting’…”

I’m waiting for some enterprising graduate student to write a dissertation on the place of RPGs in the tribal customs of the Bekaa valley. Getting married? Graduating from high school? Celebrating a golden anniversary? An RPG makes everything just a little bit more meaningful.

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19 thoughts on “Matters of the Heart

  1. yeah that sounds like kidnap light. for serious Bride Kidnapping check out what they do in Georgia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bride_kidnapping#The_Caucasus

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | February 9, 2010, 3:47 pm
  2. Actually, it reminds me of when the IDF released a video of the ‘weapons cache’ they had found at a hospital in the Bekaa. It was something like 2 AKs, which made me realize two things: 1) the Israelis don’t understand their ‘enemies;’ 2)that hospital was taking its chances on basic security.

    Posted by david | February 9, 2010, 4:18 pm
  3. David

    Where did they find the AKs? Surely in the hospital gift shop, next to the balloons and the get well cards…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 9, 2010, 4:22 pm
  4. You know this post opens you to charges of casual misogyny. Make a penance.

    Posted by david | February 9, 2010, 4:37 pm
  5. The guy had ran out of firecrackers lol!! This country is SAFE!!

    Posted by danny | February 9, 2010, 5:02 pm
  6. Couldn’t he have waited a few days till Valentine’s? It would have been so romantic! Especially if he’s waring a Cupid costume with a cute little bow and RPG!

    Posted by mas | February 9, 2010, 6:43 pm
  7. QN,

    You’re getting more cynical at some pace.

    Posted by netsp | February 9, 2010, 9:38 pm
  8. netsp,

    who, moi? 😉

    what, btw, do you make of the turkey-israel spat?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 9, 2010, 10:04 pm
  9. As IC provided the Wikipedia info about bride kidnapping practice being part of many cultures. Lebanon is no different. Don’t know the extent if its practice today, but it was practiced in the past, and there were many shades of it, the benign and not so benign.

    The benign meaning that two lovers wanted to get married but somehow the family of one them didn’t approve of the dating or match up of the couple. Thus the loving couple elope or (Khatifa/Khatafa lal 7eleweh, etc.) and make the marriage as a “fait accompli”.

    The not so benign and not so common is when the young lady is snatched without her consent for the purpose of marriage. Worst yet, is when the snatching act fails, an RPG is used to blow off steam (hope it was aimed at an open field).

    Posted by Ras Beirut | February 9, 2010, 10:59 pm
  10. Interesting sources you read, I watched and heard every TV station yesterday not one mentioned this incident. That is because there was much more important news there. Like the strange and shady boats in the Lebanese waters. They are working in the name of rescue and help but only God knows their real concern! Wouldn’t that be more interesting topic to share information on?

    Posted by kt | February 10, 2010, 12:45 am
  11. The news got my attention too; don’t know why I thought immediately of Garcia Marquez’s novels and of Mexican “corridos”. These popular Mexican songs, many from the time of Zapata’s revolution, are full of references to the attachment to noisy weapons in all circumstances.

    “Por caja quiero un sarape,
    por cruz mis dobles cananas
    y escriban sobre mi tumba
    mi último adiós con mil balas”.

    Rough translaction: I want a sarape (shawl) as a coffin, my two cananas as a cross, and let them write on my grave, my last goodbye with a thousand bullets.

    This kidnapping thing has its funny sides, with due distance (read: the distance that you can put yourself in when you’re not the kidnapped, nor are your daughter, sister, friend or loved one). I’ve understood that originally it was the way for the couple to force their relation into their parents’ societies. I also remember having read that it survived as a part of the ceremonies of weddings in some places, without real kidnapping taking place. In any case, this kind of “taking the girl from her father” somehow implied the acceptance of the girl’s will at some point? Which was certainly more romantic –and definitely more feminist like- than an arranged marriage with, let’s say, Father’s grand cousin who doubled her in age. Who could in fact kidnap her AFTER the wedding… for life.

    Posted by mj | February 10, 2010, 2:39 am
  12. kt,
    Do you think that the Ethiopian plane was planned by a foreign intellignce service so that they can send they “shadowy” boats to intercept the highly classified information emminating from Lebanese think tanks, research centers and government military plans:-) Lighten up , will you.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 10, 2010, 7:46 am
  13. Kt,

    They wanted to know what kind of “detergent” do HA fighter use by sampling the water of the coast…(as they take their baths in the sea.)

    Posted by danny | February 10, 2010, 8:39 am
  14. You do not think the presence of these ships so close to the Lebanese waters, is not a more interesting subject to question? Especially when there could have been miss directions in the search for victims of the tragedy of the Ethiopian plain?
    The fact that these big deal ships are accused of piracy by other countries dose raise doubt!

    Posted by kt | February 10, 2010, 12:50 pm
  15. Pretty interesting. I hadn’t seen that.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2010, 1:20 pm
  16. KT
    What I find astounding about this story is the fact that the Lebanese Ministers and the Lebanese public think that it is worthwhile their time.

    Al Akhbar is a news organization and they filled some space with an interesting development but to present efforts to salvage less than half a ton of gold from the depth of the Med as a story of intrigue and espionage that deserves the attention of the Lebanese Ministers and the Lebanese public is rather silly to say the least.

    The Lebanese government spends over 15 million dollars each and every single day on financing its national debt. If the gold is recovered and if the split is a three way split then the government can expect a great big sum of about 7-8 million dollars. Is that what our Ministers are spending their time on? No wonder this government is doomed.

    Posted by ghassan karam | February 10, 2010, 3:09 pm
  17. 🙂
    Have some heart for the Zoaiter boy, it’s almost Valentines.

    Posted by Sietske in Beirut | February 11, 2010, 1:48 pm
  18. Was she also cousin of his? 🙂

    Posted by Marillionlb | February 12, 2010, 7:26 am
  19. Ahhhh that brings back some memories!
    Anyway, failed kidnapping is an understandable excuse for firing off RPGs in the air. He should be able to get away with it, and just about ready for the one his parents arranged for him.

    Posted by rolf | February 22, 2010, 6:32 pm

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