’72 Benz

The coastline is transformed, the mountains are gouged out, the forests are burned to the ground… and the taxis remain. The low-slung faded chariots of third-millennium Beirut tick dutifully on, decade after decade.

The view from a ’72 Benz C250 is the only way for an amateur pollster to make a living in this town. For the price of a useless newspaper, a cab fare buys you several minutes of frank, anonymous, first-hand commentary. No need to diversify your sample set, for it is as diverse as the country itself. It is also, magically, self de-segregating, by the nature of the cabbie’s job, namely, circulation.

The service taxi is Lebanon’s national confessional. Candid revelations await those who make the trip.

(Read the whole series here).


11 thoughts on “’72 Benz

  1. The coastline is transformed, the mountains are gouged out, the forests are burned down…, but the low-slung faded chariots of twentieth-century Beirut tick dutifully on as the third-millennium dawns onto a scene as apprehensive of the future as it is self-delusional about the past.

    What do you think…?! If you think it too melodramatic, just put it down to the wine… it was Lebanese after all…:)

    Btw, I like the new site and I very much admire your relentless pursuit of form before substance… Do keep it up… a much needed improvement to the local discourse…!

    P.S. You must tell where you got the drawing for your banner and what that serene cow is smoking (presumably it is the plant shown, which must be indigenous for the effects are widely manifested among the natives!)

    Posted by Naji | October 10, 2008, 3:18 pm
  2. Naji

    Ahla w sahla fik. 🙂

    Let me know when you are next in Beirut.

    The cow will not divulge what she’s smoking.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | October 10, 2008, 3:27 pm
  3. You bet I will, buddy… You still owe me beer on the Corniche, and, in these tough times, one is calling any old markers…! 🙂

    Posted by Naji | October 10, 2008, 3:44 pm


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